This is the woman who was stabbed to death in broad daylight close to the Newcastle United football stadium. Jodie Wilkinson, 27, and a man, 25, were attacked on Stanhope Street, close to St James’ Park, at around 3.50pm yesterday afternoon.

Ms Wilkinson died from her injuries while the unidentified man was also stabbed. He has since been discharged from hospital.

A murder investigation has now been launched and police fear there may have been up to 11 men in the group that attacked Ms Wilkinson.

Northumbria Police have arrested three men, aged 22, 25 and 25, in connection with the attacks and they are all in custody.

The group suspected of stabbing the pair fled to a nearby address in the Queens Court area.

No weapon has been recovered.

A police cordon in Stanhope Street remained in place while inquiries continue.

Flowers, cards and candles have also been left on the road where the stabbing happened, paying tribute to a ‘loving aunt and sister’.

Her sister, Amy, said: ‘She would do anything for anyone and we’ve got no idea why someone would take her life.

‘All we ask is at this stage anyone with any information, no matter how small, to please come forward and assist the police.’

Chief Superintendent David Felton said it was not thought to be a random attack.

He said: ‘Although the motive behind the attack is still being investigated, we believe it potentially could have been some kind of dispute and I want to reassure the community that we do not believe there is any risk to the general public.’

‘The attack happened in Stanhope Street and we know it was fairly busy at the time.

‘There will be lots of people who were there or who were passing through and who might have seen something.

‘We really need these people, or anybody who thinks they can help us, to speak to us straight away.

‘Any tiny piece of information could be key so please don’t hesitate in contacting us.

‘The incident itself would have looked like a group of people fighting, like an altercation of some kind, and there would have been shouting and fighting.

‘People would have then seen a group flee the scene, we believe, in the direction of Queens Court.’

Asad Ibrahimi, 23, works in the Family Shopper store on Stanhope Road, said: ‘I was in the shop and a little kid came over and said there are some people arguing at the bus stop.

‘There were people at the top of the street shouting.

‘I went back inside as I was serving a customer.

‘I heard some shouting and I came out and she was on the floor. People were trying to help her.

‘The lad was a little bit further up.

‘I came over and tried to help. I was in the shop by myself.

‘A woman from the area rang the police and ambulance. It’s disgusting to see that type of thing in the street. It’s just horrible. It shocked me to see that.

The 23-year-old, who studies biomedical science at Sunderland University, added: ‘I tried to help but I didn’t know what I was doing. I went back inside the shop to get something but I didn’t know what to get.

‘The police came, the ambulance came and the helicopter came.

‘They took her to hospital in the helicopter.’

Clive Harding, the pastor of Harvest Church on Stanhope Street has organised a special service to bring the community together.

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes has also spoken about the stabbing.

He said: ‘Many people will have been shocked and saddened and by this horrific incident and my sympathies are with the friends and family of the victim.

‘The people involved in this incident were known to each other and while there is no risk to the public I am pleased that the police have stepped up their help and reassurances to our local community.’

Urging witnesses to come forward, he added: ‘I would urge anyone who was in the Stanhope Street area at the time to speak to the police.’

‘Anyone with information, no matter how small, should tell the police so that this can be resolved as soon as possible.’

A spokesman for the force said: ‘Extra patrols are being carried out in the local area to reassure residents and identify and speak to potential witnesses.

‘The investigation is in its very early stages and although three arrests have been made detectives are very keen to hear from anyone who was in the area of Stanhope Street around the time of the incident and who might have seen or heard anything to contact them on 101 quoting reference number 702 17/10/16.

‘Any witnesses who would prefer to pass information to the police anonymously can do so by ringing the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.’