UK
09/06/2015 09:04 BST | Updated 09/06/2015 09:59 BST

Two Men Charged With Murdering 'Wonderful Young Man' Lee Irving In Newcastle To Appear In Court

Two men are due to appear in court Tuesday charged with the murder of Lee Irving, which police said could have been a disability hate crime.

The body of Irving, who had learning difficulties and was described as "vulnerable", was discovered on a grassed area in Newcastle on Saturday. He had died at the scene.

James Wheatley, 28, of Newcastle, has been charged with murder along with Barry Imray, 31, of no fixed abode. Imray also faces a charge of perverting the course of justice.

Both men are due to appear at North Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

lee irving

Two men are due in court Tuesday charged with murdering Lee Irving, 24, who has been described as a 'wonderful young man' by his family

Two men, aged 50 and 23, along with two women, aged 50 and 20, have been bailed pending further enquiries.

Police had initially arrested five people on suspicion of murdering the 24-year-old.

Irving, from Camperdown, East Denton, was described by his family Monday as a "wonderful young man" who was "loved by many".

In a statement the family said: "He will be very sadly missed by all who knew him.

"What we have lost is irreplaceable and we must live with our loss every day.

"We would like to thank everyone who has supported us at this devastating time.

"Lee will always remain in our hearts and thoughts."

The family added that Irving enjoyed ice-skating and going to the movies.

lee irving

Irving was found dead near this walkway in Newcastle on Saturday

Northumbria Police said Monday that they were investigating whether 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."

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Emergency services were called to an area near a pathway between Dorrington Road and Hazeldene Avenue in Fawdon at around 8.34am after Irving was discovered. The area is a popular route for dog walkers and cyclists.

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

Officers are appealing for witnesses and want to speak to anyone who was in Fawdon between 7am and 9am on Saturday morning.

Mr Storey added: "It's important those suspected of being responsible face the consequences of their actions and I would urge anyone who was in Fawdon on Saturday morning, between 7am and 9am, to come forward and speak to us. If they saw anything at all that seemed out of the ordinary, no matter how insignificant they think it is we would ask them to get in contact."