Teenager, 17, admits screwdriver murder of lawyer outside Greggs

A Northumbria Police handout photo of Peter Duncan, 52, from Newcastle, who was fatally stabbed at a shopping centre at Old Eldon Square in the city. (PA)

A 17-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to murdering Newcastle lawyer Peter Duncan, who was stabbed with a screwdriver in the city last month.

Mr Duncan, 52, had reportedly stepped in to break up a fight at a shopping centre in the city on August 14 when he was brutally attacked.

The youth, who cannot be named by the media due to his age, appeared via videolink from HMP Wetherby to admit murder, as well as stealing screwdrivers from Poundland and possessing an offensive weapon.

A total of eight people were arrested as part of the investigation.

After the attack, Mr Duncan was taken to the city’s Royal Victoria Infirmary but died, and a murder inquiry was launched.

Mr Duncan’s family later paid tribute saying he will be in their “hearts and thoughts every day”.

They said in a statement: “Peter was a kind and caring man who was always first to help others.”

The murderer wore headphones for the case that were linked to Leeds Crown Court, where the judge and prosecution barrister were sitting, and Newcastle Crown Court, where his defence barrister was present.

At a previous hearing, it was said that Mr Duncan was “simply in the wrong place at the wrong time” when he crossed paths with the teenager, who has a history of violence and carrying knives.

Police officers outside the branch of Greggs near Old Eldon Square, Newcastle, where Mr Duncan was assaulted. (PA)

Mr Duncan worked as a lawyer for a multinational maritime firm and lived in the Benton area of the city.

At a previous bail hearing for the youth, prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw said Mr Duncan and his killer came into contact with each other by chance at the entrance to the shopping centre, when they were walking in opposite directions.

The teenager had stolen the screwdrivers and was looking for another youth with whom he had previously argued about cigarettes.

Mr Wardlaw said: “The deceased raised his arm to let the defendant get past.

“It is captured on CCTV footage.

“The defendant took exception to that, took hold of the deceased and a struggle ensued.”

Mr Duncan managed to push the teenager off, at which point the youth stabbed him once in the heart.

He managed to walk a short distance away before he collapsed to the floor.

CCTV camera tracked the youth’s movements through the city centre and the murder weapon was found later.

At the previous bail hearing, Newcastle Crown Court heard the youth had 17 convictions for 31 offences between 2017 and 2019, including an incident where he grabbed a knife during a family argument and an occasion where he threatened a driver with a blade after he was challenged about drinking alcohol on the bus.

At the time of the murder, the boy was on bail for affray.

He will be sentenced in December after psychiatric and psychological reports are prepared.

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