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  1. Updates on Tuesday 12 April 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Rebecca Turner

BBC North East

Updates for the North East have now finished for the day. 

We'll be back with more news, sport, weather and travel from 08:00 tomorrow. We hope you can join us then.

If you'd like to get in touch you can tweet us, email, or contact us through our Facebook page.  

Thefts from cars went up 20% in Middlesbrough last month

There were 60 reported thefts from motor vehicles across Middlesbrough last month, a 20% increase compared to the 50 reported offences in February.

Some of the vehicles targeted had valuable items left on display, and officers have reminded people to keep their valuables hidden away and their vehicles securely locked.

Weather: Bursts of rain to continue through afternoon

Owain Wyn Evans

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

It's been rather dull throughout the day with low cloud giving misty conditions and extensive hill fog. 

Showery bursts of rain are likely at times, some of which could be heavy, interspersed with drier periods. Winds easing but feeling chilly.  

Check the forecast where you are here.

Weather forecast

Liam Fee murder: Grandmother tells of 'losing' grandson

Some more on the story we brought you earlier - The grandmother of a dead toddler has told a murder trial how she 'lost' her grandson after her daughter left his father to be with a woman.

Gail Trelfa, 55, said she had been very close to her daughter Rachel Fee, 31, and her two-year-old grandson Liam Fee.

Rachel Fee and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, from Gateshead, deny killing her son in a house near Glenrothes on 22 March 2014 and blaming the death on another child.

The trial at the High Court in Livingston continues.

Tunisia terror attacks memorial hailed

Friends of a Gateshead grandmother killed in the terror attack on a Tunisia beach have praised a ceremony remembering the victims.

Lisa Burbage was killed in the attack but her friend, Jen, survived. Jen attended the service in London with Lisa's best friend, Rita.

She said: "It was absolutely brilliant. Perfect. Very dignified. Perfect in every way. Very moving. 

"When they took the candles, a member of each party, it was absolutely lovely. It just brings everybody together."

Memorial ceremony

Vehicles damaged in vandalism spree in Middlesbrough

Four vehicles have been damaged during a vandalism spree in a single street in Middlesbrough.

A Chevrolet Matiz, a VW Caddy, a Ford Focus and a Vauxhall Corsa were all scratched down the side in Croydon Road on the Friday afternoon.

Newcastle United 'did not include relegation clauses in contracts'

Newcastle United will face paying huge salaries in the Championship if they suffer the drop as they failed to insert relegation clauses into the contracts of new signings, it has emerged.

The Magpies have spent in the region of £80m in the last two transfer windows but have not been able to avoid another battle for safety.

Daryl Janmaat
Getty Images

They host Swansea on Saturday in a must-win fixture, but will likely have to do without Daryl Janmaat, who is understood to have broken two fingers when he punched the dressing room wall at St Mary's at the weekend as Newcastle lost 3-1 to Southampton.

Newcastle did not comment on the incident involving the Dutchman, who also suffered a suspected groin injury during the match. 

Business Secretary speaks out about Redcar steelworks

The government says it's looking at a series of options to help save the British steel industry following Tata Steel's decision to sell off its UK operations. 

Ministers say they're looking at what they call "co-investment" with any potential buyers who want to take over parts of the business. 

More than 2,000 jobs were lost with the closure of the Redcar steelworks by rival firm SSI last year.

But Business Secretary Sajid Javid says that so far nearly 700 jobs have been created, safeguarded or supported.

He said: "Of the more than 2,000 workers at the SSI plant, only a quarter are claiming job seekers allowance at end of February."

Vandals damage community garden in Newcastle

Vandals climbed a fence and damaged a community garden in west Newcastle, police say.

Some time between Friday and Monday, vandals got inside what's known locally as the bike garden and destroyed a tunnel that was being used to grow plants as part of a community project.

The park is ran by a local charity called The Time Exchange and the damage caused has been estimated at about £500 to repair.

Durham's cricket match rained off

BBC Tees

BBC Tees Sport

There will be no play on day three of Durham's County Championship tie against Somerset due to rain. Play will continue tomorrow.  

Royal visits and royal birthdays in Northumberland and Sunderland

Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex is visiting Northumberland next week, where she'll will be spending time in Amble, Blyth and Hexham.

And, over in Sunderland, another royal occasion - as Nonagenarians are invited to join civic celebrations of The Queen's 90th birthday.

Those born in Sunderland in the year of the Queen's birth, 1926, can apply for a ticket.

Rescue guinea pigs living in a special shed in North Shields

Jury told of moment toddler was found dead

A jury has heard an account of the moment a toddler Liam Fee was found dead at a house.

Rachel Fee, 31, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 28, deny killing their son Liam Fee in a house near Glenrothes in Scotland on 22 March 2014.

The women also plead not guilty to a catalogue of allegations of wilfully ill-treating and neglecting two other young boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, over a period of more than two years. 

Liam Fee
Police Scotland

The pair, originally from Ryton in Gateshead, are accused of falsely telling others, including police, that one of the other young boys was responsible for Liam's death

At the High Court in Livingston, the jury heard evidence from Nyomi Fee's mother, Janice Fee, 57, a part-time carer.

Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC read her statement to the court. It said: "She [Rachel] was screaming and very upset, saying Liam's dead, Liam's dead. "I could also hear Rachel screaming. I was in shock and didn't know what was happening."

The trial continues.

MPs debating the future of the steel industry

MPs are holding an emergency debate on the future of the steel industry following Tata Steel's decision to sell off its UK operations. 

The firm employs more than 700 people in Hartlepool, Lackenby and Skinningrove, although has been reached to sell the latter two sites.

The government says it's prepared to use taxpayers' money to help potential buyers take over parts of the business, but full-scale nationalisation is being ruled out. 

The Shadow Business Secretary, Angela Eagle, told the Commons that ministers had to be more specific on what help they would provide: "Call it what you like, co-investing, part nationalisation, temporary public stewardship. They should spare their ideological blushes and just get on with it."

Steel plant

Durham Police pull over van driver for no licence

Man stabbed in Cowgate left with 5in cut from ear to chin

A man's face was slashed in the Cowgate area of Newcastle leaving him with a 5in cut from ear to chin, but he's refused to tell police where it happened.

On Friday evening police got a report that a man had been stabbed in the face and had gone into the Aldi store in Ponteland Road asking for help.

He was taken to the RVI where he received treatment.

Police say he then refused to tell them where the attack happened, but that they found traces of blood leading from Aldi to the junction of Eastern Way with Ponteland Road.

Middlesbrough forward charged for 'violent conduct'

Middlesbrough forward Cristhian Stuani has been charged for an "alleged act of violent conduct" by the Football Association.

An FA panel reviewed video footage of an incident during Saturday's 1-0 win over Preston which was missed by the match officials.

Middlesbrough have already confirmed they will appeal against the charge by the deadline of 18:00 today. 

An FA statement said that for an FA charge to follow "the decision by the panel must be unanimous".

Norma Bell death: Hartlepool murder accused appears in court

A man has appeared in crown court charged with the murder of a foster mother whose body was found in the burnt out remains of her home.

Norma Bell, who cared for more than 50 children, died prior to a blaze at her home in Hartlepool on 2 April.

She had lived at her Westbourne Road home for 27 years and was due to celebrate her 80th birthday next month.

Gareth Dack, 32, appeared via videolink for a brief hearing at Teesside Crown Court. He made no plea.

Mr Dack, of Windermere Road, Hartlepool, was remanded in custody ahead of further hearing on 10 May.

Norma Bell
Cleveland Police

Match facts: Middlesbrough vs Reading

BBC Sport

Some match facts ahead of tonight's Middlesbrough v Reading match at The Riverside:

  • Middlesbrough have failed to find the back of the net in six of their last seven games against the Royals.
  • Reading have won three of the last four meetings with Middlesbrough in league competition (L1).
  • Boro have won their last four league games, keeping a clean sheet in three of those.
  • The Royals have won two of their last four away games in the Championship, after a run of 10 games without a win on the road.
  • Middlesbrough have conceded fewer home goals than any other team in the top four tiers this season (6).

Adam Johnson: What is he appealing against?

Rebecca Turner

BBC North East

Disgraced former footballer Adam Johnson is appealing against his sentence and his conviction, it has been confirmed.

The ex-Sunderland and Boro winger was jailed for six years for grooming and two counts of sexual activity with a girl aged 15.

Here's a breakdown of exactly what his appeal means:

Read more about the appeal process here.

David Miliband: EU exit 'unilateral political disarmament'

Leaving the EU would be an act of 'unilateral political disarmament' former Labour Foreign Secretary David Miliband will warn.

The former South Shields Labour MP will say a vote to leave would be disastrous for the UK and the world.

Miliband: 'It's time for battle to be joined'

Mr Milliband, who quit as an MP in 2013, will urge the In camp not to "cede patriotism" to the other side.

Pro-exit Conservative employment minister Priti Patel said Mr Miliband had always been "wrong" on the EU.

Innovation 'is the UK's trump card in steel'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Ahead of the Commons debate on the UK steel industry later, Chris McDonald, chief executive of the Materials Processing Institute - which works with the steel industry - has been on Today.

He's asked if plans by Greybull, which yesterday bought parts of Tata's UK steel business, including the Lackenby and Skinningrove sites in Teesside, to revive the British Steel name will boost sales. 

"This is not about nostalgia," Mr McDonald insists. "Greybull are really strong businessmen and they understand the value of a brand and the British Steel brand is one of the strongest brands in the steel industry .

"What it really stood for in the past was around quality and innovation and technology and really innovation is the UK's trump card in steel. We've heard a lot of negative things about steel, but in the UK we've got very strong research in universities, research institutes like ourselves and so on and that's where we can have an advantage."

BreakingAdam Johnson to appeal against his sentence

Adam Johnson is to appeal against his sentence and papers have now been lodged with the court, it's been confirmed.

The former Sunderland and Middlesbrough footballer was jailed for six years for grooming and sexual activity with a girl aged 15.

Adam Johnson
Durham Police

Reece Allen North Shields death: Man denies murder

A man has denied stabbing to death a 24-year-old man in North Tyneside.

Reece Allen was discovered with multiple stab wounds outside an address in West Avenue, North Shields, in the early hours of 25 January. He later died in hospital.

Reece Allen
Northumbria Police

Joe Welsh, also 24, of no fixed address, pleaded not guilty to murder at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday.

He was remanded in custody ahead of a further hearing scheduled for 1 July. His trial date was set for 25 July.

Cricket: Keaton Jennings second century hands Durham control

BBC Sport

Keaton Jennings' second century of the match kept Durham on top on day two against Somerset at Chester-le-Street.

Somerset resumed day two on 30-3 but lost James Hildreth and Jim Allenby cheaply as they fell in successive balls to seamer Graham Onions.

Having been reduced to 85-7, Peter Trego then hit 45 to help them limp to 179 all out, a deficit of 77.

Mike Ashley snaps up buildings for £108m

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has been shopping again.

His Sports Direct firm has bought the freehold of a property at 161-167 Oxford Street and 36 Poland St for £108m. 

The retailer plans to convert the property into a flagship outlet for, which sells luxury brands including Kenzo, Dolce & Gabbana and Boss. 

Mike Ashley's company bought a majority stake in Flannels, founded in Cheshire in 1976, four years ago.

The property will also become Sports Direct's new London office.

Sports Direct

Bob Mortimer backing the Boro all the way

Comedian Bob Mortimer is making his feelings clear to all Middlesbrough fans...

View more on twitter

If you can't make it to The Riverside for the Reading match, you can follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website or tune in to BBC Tees.

Government 'must help keep Hartlepool Tata site open'

The government needs to keep the remaining parts of Tata Steel's UK business going while a buyer is found, Hartlepool's Labour MP says.

Some 500 workers at the town's Pipe Mill are waiting for news on their future. 

The site is up for sale as Tata looks to dispose of its UK assets. 

The company's Long Products Division, which in our region employs more than 700 people at Lackenby and Skinningrove, is being bought by Greybull Capital. 

But Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, who's taking part in an emergency House of Commons debate later, says any further deal will take time.

Steel sites graphic

Two men arrested after elderly woman shot by air weapon

Two men have been arrested after an elderly woman was shot with an air weapon in South Shields.

It happened 08:40 on Sunday in Erskine Road in South Shields.

The woman was taken to hospital for treatment for her injuries, and is now recovering at home.

A 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent and a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. Both have been released on bail. 

Weather: A dull and misty day ahead

BBC Weather

Rather dull through the day with low cloud giving misty conditions and extensive hill fog.

Showery bursts of rain are likely at times, some of which could be heavy, interspersed with drier periods. Winds easing but feeling chilly.  

Check the weather where you are.

Tunisia terror attacks: Memorial for British victims

A memorial is to be held to commemorate the British tourists killed in terror attacks in Tunisia last year, including Gateshead grandma Lisa Burbidge.

The service for survivors of the attacks and victims' families will be held at Westminster Abbey.

Lisa Burbidge

Ms Burbidge, in her 60s, from Whickham, Gateshead, was described as "the most beautiful, amazing, caring and gentle person in our lives" by her family.

"We have been left with a massive hole in our hearts," they said.

Thirty Britons were among 38 tourists killed by gunman Seifeddine Rezgui at Port El Kantaoui in an attack on 26 June.

Good morning, welcome to our live coverage

Rebecca Turner

BBC North East

We'll be here until 18:00 bringing you news, sport, weather and travel from across the North East.

If you'd like to get in touch you can tweet us @BBCNewsNEemail, or contact us through our Facebook page.