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Hostel murder: Man in court; SUSPECT CHARGED WITH KILLING 61-YEAR-OLD.

Byline: By ALASTAIR CRAIG

A SUSPECT was in court today charged with murder after a body was found at a hostel.

Spencer Barnes, 34, was appearing before Newcastle Magistrates' Court, in connection with the death of 61-year-old Tony Steven Petersen.

Mr Petersen's body was found in a room at the Westgate House Hotel, in Newcastle's West End, on Sunday evening.

Both the victim and Mr Barnes lived at the guesthouse, on Graingerville South.

A post mortem carried out on Monday revealed Mr Petersen died of head injuries.

Police were called to the hostel, at around 5.30pm on Sunday, and a murder investigation, led by Det Chief Insp Mark Anastasi, of Northumbria Police was launched.

It is understood that members of Mr Petersen's immediate family, who do not live in the North East, have travelled to Tyneside. A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: "Police can now confirm that Spencer Adam Barnes, aged 34, of Westgate House Hotel, Graingerville South Newcastle, has been charged with murder and is due to appear before Newcastle Magistrates' Court."

The guesthouse was cordoned off by police tape on Monday while the death was investigated.

People living nearby told the Chronicle they saw police cars arrive at around 7pm on Sunday, and that officers stayed at the hotel until the early hours of the morning.

Hotel worker Fahad Khan, who works at the Grainger Hotel across the road, said he saw the commotion last night.

The 29-year-old said: "I saw the police cars coming in at about 7pm.

"There were quite a few of them but I didn't know what was happening."

And a resident who did not want to be named added: "When I got home last night there were two cop cars outside and a lot of officers around."

Westgate House Hotel sits between the Anglo-Asian Club and the Grainger Sports and Social Club, off Westgate Road.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2009
Words:320
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