‘Hate’ motive behind murder of man with learning difficulties: police

‘Hate’ motive behind murder of man with learning difficulties: police

Police investigating the murder of a 24-year-old man are treating his death as a disability hate crime.

Lee Irving, who had learning difficulties and was described as "vulnerable", was discovered on a grassed area in Newcastle on Saturday.

Four men and one woman have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Northumbria Police said they are investigating whether Mr Irving's learning difficulties were a factor in his death.

Superintendent Bruce Storey said: "It's thought those involved in this incident know each other.

"Lee had learning difficulties and was vulnerable. One of our key lines of inquiry was to establish whether this is a factor in his death and a motivation in this crime."

Emergency services were called to an area near a pathway between Dorrington Road and Hazeldene Avenue in Fawdon at around 8.34am on Saturday.

Mr Irving, from Camperdown, East Denton, was declared dead at the scene and a post-mortem examination was carried out.

Police said the local community are "shocked and appalled" by Mr Irving's death and extra officers are carrying out patrols in the area to offer reassurance.

Inquiries are ongoing and police want to speak to anyone who was in Fawdon between 7am and 9am on Saturday morning.