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  1. Updates on Friday 31 March
  2. News, sport, weather and travel updates return from 08:00 on Monday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Live updates from the North West have finished for the day, but we'll be back from 08:00 on Monday with the latest news, sport, weather and travel from across the region.

Weather: Cloudy and mild with some rain

BBC Weather

Remaining cloudy and mild with some outbreaks of rain.

Highs of 12C.

More from BBC Weather

Football: Ronald Koeman says Martin O'Neill did 'not protect' James McCarthy

BBC Sport

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has accused Republic of Ireland counterpart Martin O'Neill of as their row over the midfielder's fitness continues.

James McCarthy

McCarthy, 26, missed Everton's past two matches but linked up with the Republic squad in the international break.

He suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury, ruling him out of Saturday's derby at Liverpool.

"We advised extreme caution. He was not fit to play," said Koeman.

Wirral blast victim 'had just left home'

A critically-ill man injured in a suspected gas blast had just left his home "just a couple of minutes before the explosion", his family have said .  

Lewis Jones with his mother Maureen
Merseyside Police
Lewis Jones with his mother Maureen

Lewis Jones, 21, had stepped out to see friends when the explosion  ripped through New Ferry, Wirral,  on Saturday.

His family said they unsuccessfully tried his phone in the aftermath, but it was "only when we went outside that we found out what had happened".

A woman was also seriously injured in the blast, which hurt 31 others.  

Biker jailed for death crash

A biker who fled after he hit and killed a man crossing a road in Manchester has been jailed for six years six months.

Ryan Adshead

Ryan Adshead, 24, of Gladeside Road, Benchill, admitted aggravated vehicle taking where death is caused, causing death by dangerous driving, unlawful driving, breach of suspended sentence and perverting the course of justice.

Greater Manchester Police said  Adshead hit Jacinto Cabrera-Vargas, 67, on Rowlandsway, Wythenshawe, while riding at high speed with another motorcyclist, who has never been traced.

Police also said Adshead's friends Paul Wood, 27, and Stacey Wood, 28, both of Braintree Road, Wythenshawe, lied that he was at their at the home at the time of the crash on 9 June 2015.

Both admitted perverting the course of justice with Paul Wood jailed for a year and Stacey Wood receiving a one-year suspended jail term.

Westminster attack arrest woman released

A 32-year-old woman has been released following her arrest last week in Manchester over the attack in Westminster which saw three people fatally hit by a car and a police officer stabbed to death.

Scene after Westminster attack

Khalid Masood, from Birmingham, drove his hire car at pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then attacked a police officer at the gates of Parliament on 22 March before being shot dead.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the woman would face no further action.

Major repair work begins at Wythenshawe Hall

Major repair work began today to repair Wythenshawe Hall one year after a  fire caused extensive damage to the property.

Wythenshawe Hall
Mark Waugh

The fire crew who helped save the historic hall visited the home as work began to repair the roof and exterior.

Wythenshawe Hall damage to roof
Mark Waugh

“It was so rewarding for all of us who fought the fire to come back and see the progress that has been made.

“It was a sad sight when we arrived on that night and we did all we possibly could to stop the fire from spreading although at times it seemed the battle could be lost.

Wythenshawe Hall damage to windows
Mark Waugh

“It has given us real pleasure to know that our efforts were not in vain and I feel so pleased that we could play our part in saving this piece of history for future generations.”

Pete Lamb Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Isle of Man to Liverpool ferry's summer timetable begins

A ferry service between the Isle of Man and Liverpool starts its summer timetable today .

          The Manannan ferry will operate a daily service between the Isle of Man and Liverpool

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company said the Manannan fast craft will operate a daily service to Liverpool from later on Friday.

Crossings to both Belfast and Dublin will resume in April.

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe disruption, between J18 for A54 Middlewich and J19 for A556.

M6 Cheshire - Heavy traffic and one lane closed on M6 northbound between J18, A54 (Middlewich) and J19, A556 (Knutsford), because of a broken down vehicle. In the roadworks area.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Latest headlines for the North West

  • The director of three waste management firms involved in major fires in Stockport and Salford is jailed
  • Everton's bid to build a £300m stadium is backed by Liverpool City Council which is acting as guarantor
  • A swimming pool in north Lancashire, which has served the local community for 40 years, is set to close later due to council cuts 

Metro Mayor election: Green candidate launches manifesto

The Green party candidate to be the first ever Metro Mayor of the Liverpool city region says economic growth should not be pursued "at any cost".

Tom Crone

Speaking as he launched his manifesto, Tom Crone said, if elected, he would support small low-carbon businesses and seek to protect the city region's natural resources. 

Cllr Crone, who leads the Green group on Liverpool City Council, says too often local authorities are in thrall to developers and big business.

The Liverpool city region Metro Mayor election will be held on 4 May. You can see a full list of candidates here.

Rugby Union: Meet Sale Sharks' identical twins Ben and Tom Curry

BBC Sport

Sale Sharks flankers and identical twin brothers Ben and Tom Curry discuss breaking into the first team at the Premiership side, their sibling rivalry - and how to tell them apart.

Identical twins Ben and Tom Curry

Severe accident: M6 Lancashire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Lancashire northbound severe accident, between J33 for A6 and J34 for A683.

M6 Lancashire - Very slow traffic and a lane blocked on M6 northbound between J33, A6 (Galgate) and J34, A683 (Lancaster), because of a multi-vehicle accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Kop mosaic tribute to Anfield legend Ronnie Moran

Liverpool will pay tribute to "club legend" Ronnie Moran  tomorrow ahead of the Merseyside derby at Anfield.

Ronnie Moran
Rex Features

The Kop will display a mosaic in memory of the former Liverpool player, captain, coach and caretaker manager who died last week aged 83 - he spent 49 years with the club.

Fans are being asked to join players in a minute’s applause prior to kick-off against Everton.

Preston student threatened and robbed

A student in Preston has been threatened with a knife and had a bag containing a laptop stolen.

View more on twitter

The incident happened at about 21:00 on 18 March, when the man was walking along Moor Park Avenue and was approached by three males, then robbed.

The offenders ran off onto St Thomas' Road with the bag. One of them is described as black, about 6ft, of stocky build, wearing a black tracksuit and a balaclava.

The other two are described as white, about 5ft 10in and of stocky build. 

Director jailed over major waste fires

The director of three waste management firms involved in major fires in Stockport and Salford has been jailed.  

Fire at a recycling plant in Bredbury
John Newbiggin
The flames and smoke were visible across the Bredbury area in Stockport

Barry Kilroe, of J25 Recyling Limited, Recovered Fuels Shipping Limited, and Asset and Land Group, admitted ten charges relating to waste management.

A waste fire in Bredbury, Stockport, in 2013 burned for 41 days temporarily closing the M60 motorway. Another blaze in Salford in 2014 lasted 19 days.

Kilroe was sentenced to 15 months at Manchester Minshull Crown Court.

Hedgehog-like critters arrive at Chester Zoo

Is it a mouse? Is it a hedgehog? With stripes more like a bumblebee meet the latest spiky addition to Chester Zoo.

Hedgehog-like critters arrive at Chester Zoo

Football: Defender Morgan signs new Wigan deal

BBC Sport

Wales international defender Craig Morgan has signed a new two-year deal at Wigan Athletic that will run until the summer of 2019.

Craig Morgan

Morgan, 31, has played 52 games for the Latics since  moving from Championship rivals Rotherham United  in June 2015 and has 23 international caps.

He captained the side to the League One title last season, having previously done the same with Rotherham.

Missing Morecambe sex offender sighted in Manchester

Police say there has been a sighting of a sex offender from Lancashire who failed to turn up to court on Wednesday for sentencing. 

John Gilbert Blacktop
Lancashire Constabulary

John Gilbert Blacktop, 81, of Marine Road West, Morecambe was convicted in his absence at Bradford Crown Court of historical child sex offences.

He has since been seen in the Oxford Road area of Manchester at about 11:00 this morning, and was described as wearing a dark green blazer and burgundy shirt and carrying a large green suitcase.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.

Latest headlines for the North West

  • A Manchester man who set his sister on fire using a "petrol cocktail" is jailed for life
  • A Preston student is threatened and robbed, prompting a police appeal
  • Shops and businesses in New Ferry start to reopen less than a week after a suspected gas blast 

Construction of new Royal hospital delayed again by a year

Liverpool Echo

The construction of the new Royal Liverpool hospital has been delayed again after workers found “extensive” asbestos on site and several cracks in the new building.

Royal Liverpool University Hospital plans
Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Football: Brighton and Hove Albion v Blackburn Rovers

BBC Sport

Blackburn Rovers go to Brighton tomorrow , with five draws from Tony Mowbray's seven matches in charge.

Blackburn Rovers

Striker Danny Graham will miss out again with a groin injury, despite returning to training.

Defender Adam Henley has also returned to training following a hamstring injury, but will not be in the squad.

Firefighters return to Wythenshawe Hall a year after major fire

Firefighters have returned to Wythenshawe Hall a year after they tackled a fire which caused extensive damage to the property.

Wythenshawe Hall

The fire broke out in the early hours of 15 March, destroying the roof of the 16th Century hall.

The timber-framed hall was built in 1540 and was home to the Tatton family for about 400 years.  

More than 50 firefighters tackled the blaze.

A man from Wythenshawe was charged with arson in relation to the blaze and will face trial in July.

Football: Klopp says Southgate not to blame for Adam Lallana injury

BBC Sport

Liverpool manager J urgen Klopp does not blame England boss Gareth Southgate for Adam Lallana's injury but says the game's stakeholders need to work together on international fixtures.

Adam Lallana
Getty Images

Lallana, 28, suffered a thigh injury in England's  World Cup qualifying win over Lithuania  at Wembley last weekend.

He will miss up to a month, starting with Saturday's Merseyside derby.

"I was not happy that he played on Wednesday, but it is not about blaming Gareth Southgate," said the German.

Weather: Dry and bright

BBC Weather

A generally dry and bright afternoon with highs of 16C.

More from BBC Weather

Severe accident: A6 Lancashire both ways

BBC News Travel

A6 Lancashire both ways severe accident, between Aldcliffe Road and Spring Garden Street.

A6 Lancashire - A6 King Street / Penny Street in Lancaster closed and very slow traffic in both directions between the Aldcliffe Road junction and the Spring Garden Street junction, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Accrington students visit CERN

BBC Radio Lancashire

The mid-morning team have travelled to CERN in Geneva with students from Accrington for Women in Science Week.  

View more on twitter

The team are exploring the role of female scientists and what it takes to break into science as a woman.

CERN is the home of the Large Hadron Collider.   

Grand National 2017: Evacuate Aintree - 20 years on

BBC Radio 5 live

In 1997, the 150th Grand National was plunged into chaos by an IRA bomb threat minutes before the big race was about to start.

Sixty thousand people were hurried away from Aintree as TV viewers witnessed scenes of racegoers clambering over fences trying to escape. 

Twenty thousand spectators overwhelmed Liverpool's hotels leaving it to residents to take them in.

The BBC was the  only organisation allowed to continue broadcasting  as the race hung in the balance for 49 hours.

Travel: Two-vehicle crash shuts two lanes on M6

A two-vehicle crash has shut two lanes on the M6 in Cheshire this afternoon.

Highways England say it's between junctions 18 and 17 near Middlewich and Sandbach.

Scene of crash
Highways England

Football: Bury to sign Huddersfield keeper Murphy

BBC Sport

Huddersfield goalkeeper Joe Murphy has agreed to sign a one-year deal with League One Bury for next season.

Joe Murphy
Rex Features

The 35-year-old has been on loan at Gigg Lane since January, keeping seven clean sheets in his 11 appearances.

The ex-Tranmere, Scunthorpe and Coventry player has not appeared for the Terriers since January 2016.

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire southbound severe disruption, at J19 for A556.

M6 Cheshire - M6 lane closed on exit slip road and slow traffic southbound at J19, A556 (Knutsford), because of a broken down van.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Latest headlines for the North West

Protests in Lancaster to save community pool

Protests are due to take place at Hornby Community Pool in Lancaster today, which is closing due to budget cuts at Lancaster City Council.

Hornby Community Pool

The pool, which will be mothballed from today until it closes in September, lost £75,000 over the last financial year, but campaigners say the local community can run it themselves.

People will also be gathering to thank the pool manager, as it is her last day.

We, as the community, are determined to buy the pool back. It is a big part of the community up here, there's no other one around. The pool was originally built by the community and we would just like it back.

Bob McGachieCampaigner

'Public outcry' over controversial green belt masterplan

Manchester Evening News

Greater Manchester’s leaders have had to hire seven extra staff to deal with public concern about their green belt masterplan , which outlines plans to build 225,000 new homes across the region over the next 20 years.

Police release CCTV images after man is threatened

A 33-year-old man was verbally abused and threatened in Blackburn, prompting police to release CCTV images and launch an appeal. 

CCTV images
Lancashire Constabulary

The incident happened on 7 March at about 17:00 when the victim was walking along Lincoln Street. 

He was approached by a group of youths who threatened to attack him, but police say they spotted CCTV cameras which prevented anything further from happening.

The males are described as Asian, between 17 and 18 years old, and wearing dark clothing. 

Football: City Women reach Champions League semi-finals

BBC Sport

Manchester City Women became the first English team to reach the Champions League semi-finals since 2014 by beating Fortuna Hjorring.

Man city women
Rex Features

City, the Women's Super League champions, beat the Danish side 1-0 in the first leg and doubled that lead through Lucy Bronze's looping header.

Caroline Rask wasted Fortuna's best chance, while World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd fired just wide for City.

City, in the semi-finals for the first time, face Lyon in the last four.

New Ferry explosion: Residents and businesses start to return

People in New Ferry are starting to return to their homes and businesses five days after the explosion there. 

New Ferry explosion

The cordon around the outskirts of the site on Boundary Road has been reduced - meaning some people can now gain access. 

A smaller cordon is still in place while investigations continue. 

More than 30 people were hurt - two of them seriously.

Breaking Man who murdered sister with 'petrol cocktail' jailed for life

A Manchester man who murdered his sister has been jailed for life and told he will serve a minimum of 27 years.

Stephen Archer

Julie Archer, 49, died three days after Stephen Archer set her on fire using a "petrol cocktail" in February 2016, Manchester Crown Court heard.

The Crown Prosecution Service said Ms Archer suffered 95% burns in the attack at her home on Surbiton Road, Newton Heath.