Man, 41, charged with the murder of Jillian Grant

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A man has been charged with murder after the body of a woman was found in a flat in Tennyson Terrace, North Shields, on Christmas Day.

Mark Smith, 41, of Tennyson Terrace, has been charged with murdering 38-year-old Jillian Grant, of York Court, Wallsend, who was blind.

He has been charged with attempted murder after an arson incident in the early hours of December 25 at Eastcheap in Heaton.

Following the incident in Eastcheap, officers conducted a search of Smith’s property on Tennyson Terrace, which lead to the discovery of Jillian Grant’s body.

Smith will appear in court at North Shields on December 29.

A family spokesperson said: “Jillian was the kind of person who would stop and have a chat with a stranger in the street. She was friendly, loving and full of life; it was a genuine pleasure to be around her. She surrounded herself with her pets, who she loved to care for. Jillian also had an independent spirit, she didn’t let blindness stand in her way as she took up opportunities to travel and be a speaker for the RNIB. Above all, she was deeply loved by her family and will be missed by all who knew her.”