Man in court on murder charge

Newcastle Crown Court
Newcastle Crown Court
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A man has appeared in court in connection with the murder of a blind woman.

Jillian Grant, 38, of York Court, Wallsend, was found at a house in Tennyson Terrace, North Shields, on Christmas Day.

Emergency teams, including bomb disposal and firefighters, were called to the property just after 1pm.

Mark Smith, 41, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday charged with murder in relation to the death.

He is also accused of attempted murder following an alleged arson incident on Eastcheap, Heaton, in the early hours of Christmas morning.

Smith was remanded into custody until January 26.

A spokesperson for Jillian’s family said last week: “Jillian was the kind of person who would stop and have a chat with a stranger in the street.

“She was friendly, loving and full of life; it was a genuine pleasure to be around her.

“Jillian also had an independent spirit, she didn’t let blindness stand in her way as she took up opportunities to travel and be a speaker for the RNIB. She was deeply loved by her family and will be missed by all who knew her.”