Connor Brown’s family reveals heartache when a man dies after suspected Newbottle stabbing

Connor Brown’s family has been talking about their heartache after a man lost his life after a suspected stabbing in Newbottle.

Connor, 18, was fatally stabbed in an alley in Sunderland in 2019 after stepping in to help others, and his family set up the Connor Brown Trust to raise awareness about knife crime.

His family, including parents Tanya and Simon Brown, have vowed to continue his legacy through trust by engaging with young people and preventing knife crime in the community.

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But his family recently shared their “heartache” at the death of 39-year-old Simon Birch, who died after a suspected stabbing on Christmas Day.

Simon, known by many as ‘Birchie’, died after a suspected assault at an address on Sunderland Road in Newbottle shortly before 11.20pm on Saturday.

Emergency services found Simon with a serious injury, which was caused by an article with leaves, and he died on the spot.



Simon and Tanya Brown at the launch of the Connor Brown Trust in Sunderland.
Simon and Tanya Brown at the launch of the Connor Brown Trust in Sunderland.

A 34-year-old man has been charged with murder and is due to appear in Newcastle Crown Court on Wednesday.

In a Facebook post, Connor Brown’s family said it was “absolutely heartbreaking” and passed on their condolences to Simon’s family.

The post said: “Absolutely heartbreaking news.

“Getting his loved one’s life taken at any given time is tragic, but that this is happening on Christmas Day … it’s just awful.

“We send our deepest condolences to Simon’s family and friends during this terrible time.

“The circumstances surrounding this are nothing short of a nightmare and we want to offer our support to the family at this time. RIP Simon.”

Simon’s family hailed him after his death, saying his smile “would light up a room”.

His parents, Ian and Jennifer Birch, said: “Simon was a much loved son, father, brother and uncle. He had so many friends and was loved by so many who knew him.

“He lived life in the overtaking lane. He loved his cars and motorcycles, was full of energy and was the life and soul of any party. Whenever he was around, his smile lit up a room.

“He had a big heart and was very generous. He would give you his last penny if he could. He will be missed by everyone.”

Simon’s crushed daughters, 18-year-old Brogan and 13-year-old Georgie, added: “He was always there to support us and would give us the biggest hug and tell us how much he loved us.

“He had the biggest and best heart. He would always protect us no matter what, and was always there if we ever needed anything.

“It’s hard to put into words how much he will be missed by everyone who knew him.”

Northumbria Police officers said their thoughts remain with his family as they try to come to terms with what has happened, but asked that their privacy be respected.

They also thanked them for the way they have supported their study at every step of the process.

The force also urged people to avoid any speculation on social media or in the community that could jeopardize the ongoing lawsuit.

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