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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 February 2006, 15:39 GMT
Murder police in plea to drinkers
Andrea Howarth
Andrea Howarth was found by residents on her estate
Police say drinkers in a village pub could hold information about the murder of a school teacher found stabbed to death yards from her Co Durham home.

Andrea Howarth, 28, was found on Friday night in Chillerton Way, on the Manor Grange Estate, Wingate.

Police said she had spent the evening in the Fir Tree pub and are appealing for anyone who saw her to contact them.

A 28-year-old man was arrested on Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, on suspicion of murder.

He was brought to County Durham on Sunday afternoon where he is being questioned by detectives.

Ms Howarth, who had a six-year-old son, was a teacher at Hetton Secondary School. She had been married since July 2003.

Murder weapon

Just days before her death, she and her son had moved into a temporary home on the estate, which is still under construction, while her home was being completed.

Residents and security staff tried to give Ms Howarth first aid after finding her on the ground, but she died shortly after arriving at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

A post-mortem examination revealed she died from a loss of blood caused when she was stabbed with what is thought to be a large knife.

Det Supt Andy Reddick said: "Ms Howarth was in the Fir Tree pub, around a mile from the estate, between 1930 GMT and 2155 GMT on Friday.

"We are trying to establish whether she walked home or caught a bus or taxi.

"I am very keen to hear from drinkers or members of staff who may have seen her or who she was with."

Specialist search teams are at the scene in an effort to find the murder weapon, and fields, drains and other possible sites where it could have been dumped are being examined.

Woman stabbed to death in street
19 Feb 06 |  England

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