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Student admits murdering grandmother

Alexander Carr, who has admitted murdering 47-year-old Michelle Hanson (Northumbria Police/PA)
Tom Wilkinson, PA

A student who went on the run after stabbing a grandmother in the neck has admitted murdering her.

Alexander Carr, 33, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court via a videolink from prison to admit murdering Michelle Hanson in late November or early December.

The 47-year-old was a much-loved grandmother was found dead at her home in Brady Street, Sunderland, having suffered suspected stab wounds.

Michelle Hanson murder
Michelle Hanson whose body was discovered at her Sunderland home (Northumbria Police/PA)

An appeal was made to find Carr and he was arrested days later in Islington, North London, armed with a knife.

He was a student at the University of Sunderland, is from Wearside, and had links to London and several parts of the North East.

During the search for him, police said he was thought to have some survival skills and could have been hiding outdoors.

At the brief plea hearing at court, it was said that Carr suffered personality disorders at the time of the murder.

Michelle Hanson murder
A CCTV image issued by police when Carr was at large (Northumbria Police/PA)

Judge Paul Sloan KC told Carr only a life sentence was possible, but he will set the minimum term the defendant must serve behind bars at a hearing on June 16.

While Carr was on the run, Ms Hanson’s daughter Shannon Brown paid tribute to her mother and appealed for the public’s help in tracing him.

She said: “As a family, we are all devastated by what has happened.

Michelle Hanson murder
Shannon Brown holding a photo of her with her mother Michelle Hanson (Northumbria Police/PA)

“My mam was a caring, kind and loving person.

“She would never hurt anyone, even if someone did something to hurt her, she would forgive them because she always saw the good in people.

“She always got on with things and never gave up.

“It’s heartbreaking for us as a family to know we will never see her again.”

Outside court, senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Barr said: “Firstly I would like to praise the bravery and strength shown by Michelle’s family throughout these proceedings.

“Not only have they had to come to terms with the tragic loss of their mam and grandmother, but they also played a role in helping us to locate Carr, who was desperately trying to evade arrest.

“His despicable actions speak volumes.

“Carr murdered Michelle and then fled down south and went into hiding so he could not be held accountable.

“That arrogance and lack of remorse has been difficult for Michelle’s family to come to terms with, and we are thankful he is now behind bars, facing a life sentence for his actions.

“We know nothing can bring Michelle back but we hope today can serve as the first step towards the closure her family deserve.

“No one should have to lose a loved one in such horrific circumstances and as a Force, we are committed to tackling all types of violence, and ensuring perpetrators are brought to justice.”

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