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Summary

  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume at 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

By Phil Mawson

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

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.  

Remaining cloudy overnight, clearer on Thursday

BBC Weather

It will stay cloudy overnight, with further rain or drizzle at times, especially over the north of the region.

It is likely to remaining misty, with fog across the hills.

The outlook for Thursday is for light rain early on, with clearer, drier weather moving in throughout the afternoon.

Maximum temperatures should be around the 8C (46F) mark. 

Weather graph
BBC

Toddler Liam Fee had head injuries, murder trial told

Paediatric pathologist Dr Paul French has told the High Court at Livingston that Liam Fee had multiple external injuries and his report concluded that his death was caused by injury to the torso.

Nyomi Fee, 28, and Rachel Fee, 31, from Ryton on Tyneside, deny killing Rachel's son Liam in a house near Glenrothes on 22 March 2014.

Liam Fee
Police Scotland

The couple also deny harming two other children.

Dr French, 38, who carried out a post-mortem on Liam two days after he was pronounced dead, also described bruises on the toddler's face and injuries to the back of his head.

Dr French said Liam had a low body weight for his age, and his body was thin with reduced muscle tone.

Charity cash from Billy Elliot cast

Great news for East Durham Trust.

Boss of @EastDurhamTrust collects cheque for nearly £60K from @BillyElliotUK & speaks of his own "Billy" moment!

Boss of @EastDurhamTrust collects cheque for nearly £60K from @BillyElliotUK & speaks of his own "Billy" moment!

Energy firm in hot water over 'misleading terms'

Hartlepool Mail

Newspaper

One of the 'Big Six' energy firms has been rapped by watchdogs for making "misleading" price claims on its website.

E.on made the claims about charges for a heat network on its own website, www.eonenergy.com.

E.on website
Hartlepool Mail

Man sprayed in face by would-be thieves

Pippa Rifka

BBC Newcastle

A man was sprayed in the face with a mystery liquid as two would-be thieves tried to steal his mobile phone.

The incident happened in Derwent Walk, Gateshead, on Monday afternoon, police said.

The 22-year-old victim was knocked to the ground and kicked before the two men fled the scene.

He was treated in hospital.

One of the attackers was around 6ft tall and wearing a white hooded top and dark cap. 

Northern Powerhouse Minister defends under-fire Whittingdale

Stockton MP and Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton has said he sees no reason for under-fire Culture Secretary John Whittingdale to relinquish any duties.

Mr Whittingdale is facing calls from Labour to withdraw from press regulation decisions after news of his relationship with a sex worker. 

John Whittingdale
PA

But Mr Wharton said: "I see a story which seems to be a storm in a teacup. There's nothing of substance here that I can see at all. 

"John Whittingdale is somebody for whom I have the utmost respect. He's a very effective secretary of state. 

"He also has more experience and knowledge in this area of policy than almost anyone else I can think of from his time as the chair of the culture, media and sport select committee and he's never been afraid of challenging the press and doing his job to the full extent of his very impressive abilities."

Applause as Denise Robertson coffin driven away

Applause broke out in the street outside Sunderland Minster as Denise Robertson's coffin was driven away in a hearse after the hour-long service. 

This Morning presenter Philip Schofield wiped a tear from his eye as he spoke to mourners after the funeral. 

The service was followed by a private burial.

Philip Schofield
PA

Staff 'pulling together' after mine fire

Kristie Kinghorn

BBC Newcastle

John Chilton who has worked at the Boulby potash mines for 29 years and is a representative for the Unite union, said: "It's not a nice thing to have gone through, the biggest fear for any miner, is a fire underground, particularly a large fire like this.

"People are very shaken, but miners are a very strong community and we are pulling together."

The fire meant trapped miners had to spend five hours in a "safe-haven" area underground while emergency services dealt with the incident. 

Jobs boost for waste firm

BBC Tees

www.bbc.co.uk/BBCTees

A Teesside company is creating 21 new jobs as it starts a three-year contract sending waste to Scandinavia. 

Probio Energy based in Hartlepool is sending one hundred thousand tonnes of waste otherwise destined to go to landfill from Scotland to Scandinavia where it will be used to create energy.

Celebrating the work of Capability Brown

Colin Briggs

Look North

This year marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Capability Brown - the Northumberland man who became England's finest landscape gardener.

Capability Brown
Hutton Archive/Getty

He earned around £40m in modern terms - and you can see my special report from Harwood House in North Yorkshire on Look North tonight - as I discover what makes his work so extraordinary - and how he earned that strange nickname. 

That's at 18:30 this evening. 

Harewood House
BBC

Son tells of pain at loss of agony aunt mum Denise Robertson

Denise Robertson's son Mark, told the congregation at the Sunderland-born TV agony aunt's funeral: "When mum took on her role at ITV it was on strict understanding that they would help every correspondent, not just those who made it to air. 

"And ITV were good to their word. She was welcomed in to every home in the country and made people's lives more bearable, easier, happier.

Denise Robertson funeral order of service
PA

"The pain this has caused me and Bryan is a measure of how much we have lost, so I hold on to knowing I have had the country's greatest problem solver on call 24 hours a day for my entire life. 

"She was a mother not to just my brothers, our extended families and myself, but to everyone she ever came into contact with. 

"She managed to give love to half the nation whilst still managing to make me feel more adored than I thought humanly possible. 

"And to an orphaned and hungry boy she met in Uganda, who is soon to qualify as a doctor, she was Mammy - and that is good enough for me."

Obesity fuelling womb cancer rise

Colin Briggs

Look North

It's being claimed rising levels of obesity among women have helped fuel a 35% increase in womb cancer rates in the region over the last decade.

Overweight woman
PA

Cancer Research UK says around 350 women are diagnosed with womb cancer every year in the region around 80 die from the disease.

More on this story on Look North at 18:30.

Injured miners released from hospital

Seven workers who were treated after an underground fire at an East Cleveland potash mine have been discharged from hospital.

The men were taken to hospital after the blaze at Boulby potash mine, hundreds of metres below the sea bed.

The workers, who were 1,100m (3,600 ft) down and five miles (8km) from land, were treated for smoke inhalation and later discharged.

Boulby mine
Google

Polystyrene blocks are believed to have caught fire in the mine.

More than 100 staff were underground at the time, 11 of whom were temporarily unaccounted for, a spokesman for the mine said.

Mining operations at the site have been temporarily suspended.

One of Europe's deepest mines, the site employs about 1,100 people.

Last year, the company announced it was shedding hundreds of jobs as part of a "new business strategy" to produce fertiliser polysulphate.

Eamon Holmes' tribute to Denise Robertson

The funeral of TV agony aunt Denise Robertson has heard moving tributes from family and colleagues.

This is an extract of the eulogy from This Morning presenter Eamon Holmes.

"You have to pinch yourself, is this really what we think it is! Saying goodbye to Denise. 

Denise Robertson's coffin is taken into Sunderland Minster
PA

"It was only a few weeks ago that Denise, a healthy looking Denise at that , was on stage at the O2 celebrating This Morning's win at the National Television Awards. 

"She had the unique gift of being a companion to a student, a young mum, a divorced housewife or a struggling pensioner - all could relate to Denise.

"She could spot a fake at 100 paces, but once you were in as a graduate of the Robertson Academy of Life then you had a mum, an aunt, a best friend, a shoulder to cry on and a friend for life. 

"Because Denise was not just Sunderland's own Angel of the North, not just a devoted mum, step mum and wife, not just a companion to millions of viewers. And here's where it gets selfish, she was our Denise as well. 

Eamon Holmes and wife Ruth Langsford
PA

"At work she was someone to turn to when the going was tough or life was getting wobbly.

"When people say the age of the TV agony aunt has passed consider this, within half an hour of the news of Denise's death, 17,000 messages of sympathy had been posted on This Morning's Facebook page.

"Viewers were in tears, every online site had Denise Robertson as their top story. Until a few weeks ago she had still been hard at work. Even from her bed at the Royal Marsden when she knew she had limited time left she was still worried about others. 

"There's a saying that the camera never lies. Well for 28 seasons at ITV, a record in itself, the glass lens never tired of Denise Robertson, it never found her out, because Denise was the real deal. 

"Sleep in peace our dear friend, your work is over, for the last time Denise, 'that's a wrap '". 

Families of WW2 pilots lost in bombing raids sought

Andrew Dawkins

BBC News Online

The families of six Second World War pilots, including one from Northumberland, who failed to return home from bombing raids over Germany are being sought.

The Ministry of Defence said they are trying to trace relatives of the servicemen so they would be able to attend their burial service in Berlin on 27 April.

Warplane
Gett

Among them is Flt Sgt Norman Thompson Steele - born on 24 December 1922, in Ashington. 

He was the son of Edward and Ann Sankey Murray and married to Laura Mckie. 

His last known address was Cross Row, Ashington.

Hannah Hauxwell farm up for sale

Helen Richardson

BBC Newcastle

The farm made famous as the home of Durham Daleswoman Hannah Hauxwell is up for sale.

The owners bought the Low Birk Hatt Farm in Baldersdale, near Barnard Castle, from Miss Hauxwell in the late 1980s. 

She had lived there on her own without running water or electricity. The couple have now decided to retire and sell up.

Hannah Hauxwell
BBC

A spokesman for property management firm Robin Jessop Ltd, which is handling the sale, said: "Present owners Ann and Robin Dant, who bought the 15-acre smallholding from Miss Hauxwell have decided to retire and sell up.

"During the 1970s and 1980s, people were captivated by the story of Miss Hauxwell, who lived at the property with no running water or electricity."

The farm is on sale for £590,000.

Man jailed for attempted murder

Rebecca O'Neill

BBC Newcastle

A man from Newcastle has been jailed for 14 years for attempted murder. 

The city's crown court heard that in July last year, 41-year-old Fraser Winton from Pandon Gate House in Newcastle, was found covered in blood in a carpark on the Quayside. 

Police inquires led to them to Winton's home address, where a man was found with stab wounds to his throat, chest and head. 

The man was taken to hospital where he received emergency life-saving surgery. 

Winton was arrested and later charged with attempted murder. 

Det Insp Michelle Robson of Northumbria Police said: "Winton is a dangerous man who will now spend a considerable amount of time behind bars."

North East has highest gambling levels in the UK, charity reveals

The Chronicle

The North East is the gambling capital of Britain, according to a new report.

It revealed that 57% of those who responded in the region had gambled at least once in the last 12 month, the highest amount in the UK where the average was 41%.

Gaming machine
The Chronicle

Eamon Holmes attends Denise Robertson funeral

From Look North's Alison Freeman in Sunderland.

Eamon Holmes arrives ahead of funeral for Denise Robertson in Sunderland.

Eamon Holmes arrives ahead of funeral for Denise Robertson in Sunderland.

Beacons celebrate Queen's 90th birthday

Hartlepool's two coastal beacons will light up the evening sky next Thursday as part of a 1,000-strong beacon salute to mark The Queen’s 90th birthday.  

The Prince of Wales will invite The Queen to light the first and Principal Beacon at Windsor Castle.

This will be followed by the lighting of a number of beacons along the Long Walk in Windsor Great Park and then more than 1,000 beacons will be lit throughout the UK.

Seaton Carew beacon in 2012
Hartlepool Council

In Hartlepool, members of the public have been invited to gather at 19:15 at the Town Moor beacon on the Headland and at the beacon on the seafront at Seaton Carew.

A Hartlepool Council spokesman said: “Her Majesty The Queen has devoted her life to the service of her country and its people and she is a marvellous example to us all.

“We hope people will join us to wish her a very happy 90th birthday and continuing good health and happiness in the years ahead as Hartlepool plays its part in this striking beacon tribute.” 

The last time the two Hartlepool beacons were lit was during The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June 2012.

Murder trial hears toddler died from chest injury

Pippa Rifka

BBC Newcastle

A murder trial has heard a two-year-old toddler died from a blunt force to his chest. 

Rachel and Nyomi Fee from Ryton on Tyneside are accused of murdering Rachel's son Liam. 

Liam Fee
Police Scotland

Pathologist Dr Paul French, who carried out a post-mortem examination has given evidence. 

Both women deny murdering Liam and hurting two other boys.

The trial continues.

Boy, 9, hurt by car being pursued by police

A nine-year-old boy was hurt after being in collision with a car which was being pursued by police in Hartlepool.

Cleveland Police said a green Peugeot 307 failed to stop for officers on Grainger Street at about 21:35 last night.

A force spokesman said: "The vehicle was pursued along York Road, Raby Road, Hart Lane, Murray Street, Sandringham Road, Topcliffe Street and Zetland Road. 

"The Peugeot is believed to have collided with a nine-year-old boy at the junctions of Raby Road and Perth Street as he crossed the road with his mother, causing minor injuries. 

"The vehicle also caused damage to the wall of a property and two other vehicles on Weldeck Road, before finally coming to a stop after becoming wedged in between a wall and a car on Zetland Road. 

"The 35-year-old male driver was arrested on suspicion of driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance, failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, driving whilst unfit through drugs and possession of an offensive weapon. 

"He remains in police custody."

This Morning presenters arrive for Denise Robertson funeral

TV presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby have paid an emotional tribute to agony aunt Denise Robertson ahead of her funeral. 

The pair arrived at Sunderland Minster, where the service for the This Morning expert is being held following her death from pancreatic cancer at the age of 83. 

Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby
PA

Before the funeral, Mr Schofield said: "She was such a kind, loving person, friend." 

He talked of the emotion of seeing her photo on the wall at the ITV studio. "We walked past it the other day and I said this feels so wrong, so strange. It's terribly emotional still in the building," he added. 

Willoughby said: "This Morning is such a family show and she was the matriarch. 

"It doesn't quite feel real. All of us need to be here to say goodbye today because she still feels very much part of the show." 

Eamonn Holmes and wife Ruth Langsford are also expected at the service. 

More on Boulby mine fire

BBC Tees reporter Jonathan Swingler at the scene of the mine blaze in East Cleveland.

Boulby Potash mine fire. Spokesman tells me polystyrene blocks which are meant to be flame retardant caught fire.

Boulby Potash mine fire. Spokesman tells me polystyrene blocks which are meant to be flame retardant caught fire.

Family 'overwhelmed' at death of Denise Robertson

The service celebrating the life of Wearside-born TV agony aunt Denise Robertson will be led by Sunderland Minster's Canon Provost Sheila Bamber. 

Ahead of the service, she said: "There's an enormous amount to say about Denise. 

"I don't know anyone who crammed so much into 83 years of life. 

"She's been involved in so many things and close to so many people with her advice work and support for charity. But above all she has been a real family person and a Sunderland person. 

Denise Robertson
PA

"She always wanted to come home because she was rooted in the home. Sometimes she would go to London to do the programme and come back twice in the same day. That is such a tribute to her dedication. 

"He family have been absolutely overwhelmed by what has happened and they have received a vast number of messages of support. 

"Obviously they are very sad because they have lost someone who was at the centre of their family. But they are really grateful to everyone for the way they took Denise to their hearts."

Durham cricket abandoned

Bad news for cricket fans in Durham.

The game has been abandoned as a draw, quite sensibly by 11.15am. No more play for @DurhamCricket & @SomersetCCC #bbccricket

Concern for two miners injured in fire

BBC Tees report Jonathan Swingler at the scene of the fire which has injured seven miners at Boulby in East Cleveland.

Boulby Potash mine fire. 7 in hospital. Spokesperson says particular concern for two of them. More on @bbctees @bbcln

A167 in Gateshead now clear

BBC Travel

The earlier problems on the A167 in Gateshead have been cleared.

Traffic is running normally again.

Euro cash secures youth training programme

BBC Tees

www.bbc.co.uk/BBCTees

A successful bid of £17m from the European Council has allowed a work and training programme for young people in County Durham to go ahead. 

The DurhamWorks programme is aimed at the county's 16-24 year-olds who are not in employment, education or training. 

Durham County Council will work with partners in the private, public and voluntary sectors. 

DurhamWorks will create openings in work, traineeships and self-employment.

More on this story throughout the day on BBC Tees.

Mine blaze workers were 3,600ft underground

Kristie Kinghorn

BBC Newcastle

Emergency services were called to the blaze at the ICL UK Boulby mine in East Cleveland at 12:30 this morning.

The workers, who were 1,100m (3,600 ft) under the sea and five miles (8km) from land, were taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation. 

Owners ICL said the fire was extinguished quickly and mining operations at the site were only temporarily suspended. 

HM Inspectorate of Mines said a full investigation into the incident would be carried out. 

Last year the company announced job losses in a "significant restructuring" of its operations, including moving from producing potash to Polysulphate fertiliser. 

Schofield's message to Sunderland ahead of Denise Robertson funeral

Sunderland Echo

Newspaper

This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield has said he is sure Sunderland will give Denise Robertson a "fitting send-off" as he arrived in the city to pay his respects.

The 54-year-old will be among the thousands expected to turn out for the funeral of the popular North East agony aunt, as she is laid to rest today.

Philip Schofield
Sunderland Echo

Falcons face bottom of table clash

BBC Sport

London Irish assistant coach Clark Laidlaw says the side can "play with freedom" in their must-win Premiership match at Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.

Irish travel to Kingston Park four points adrift of the Falcons at the bottom with three games to play.

Laidlaw said there were positive signs in their 38-30 European Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat at Harlequins.

Concern for missing woman in Gateshead

Helen Richardson

BBC Newcastle

Police are appealing for help to locate a missing woman in Gateshead.   Ann Dixon, who is 48 and from Newbury Avenue in the town, left her home address at around 07:15 this morning.

Ann Dixon
Northumbria Police

She is described as being 5ft 1ins tall, has short tipped hair that is shaved at the sides and was last seen wearing a dark jacket and pyjama bottoms. A Northumbria force spokesman said she left house in a "very upset state" and officers are concerned for her welfare.       

Denise was 'crucial' to This Morning success

Denise Robertson played a "crucial part" in the popularity of This Morning, presenter Philip Schofield said at the time of her death.

From its first broadcast in 1988 she brought a "warm but no-nonsense approach" to the programme, leading to her being dubbed the matriarch of the show, he said.

Denise Robertson
Getty Images

She made several guest appearances on other TV programmes and was a regular fixture on Channel 5's Big Brother's Bit On The Side. 

She was widowed twice - losing first husband Alex to cancer in 1972 and then Jack to a stroke in 1995. 

She also lost her 44-year-old stepson John to cancer in 2006. 

The great-grandmother was awarded an MBE a decade ago and given the freedom of the City of Sunderland. 

Stars in tributes to Denise Robertson ahead of agony aunt's funeral

This Morning colleagues travel to Wearside for agony aunt's funeral.

Hello Sunderland, what a shame to be here under such sad circumstances, but I'm sure we'll give our Denise a fitting send off

Heading with @RuthieeL to Sunderland. It's Denise Robertson "s funeral today. A sad day but we will also celebrate her life .

Slow traffic on A167 in Gateshead

BBC Travel

Traffic backing up on the A167 northbound in Gateshead between the A184 Charles Street junction and Bottle Bank because of an accident.

Get localised traffic updates from BBC Travel.

Trial hears of 'mini-riot' in Shane Tunney trial

The Gazette

Newspaper

The Shane Tunney murder trial has heard how a “free-for-all” and “mini-riot” erupted in Norton.

The trial of seven teenagers heard eyewitness accounts of the violence at Teesside Crown Court today.

Shane Tunney
Gazette

Man's death 'unexplained'

Police are treating the death of a man found in Gateshead as unexplained.

The man's body was discovered at 17:15 on Tuesday, near to the old railway viaduct on the Derwent Walk in between Winlaton Mill and Rowlands Gill.

He was declared dead at the scene.

He is described as a white, aged about 40 of medium build with short brown greying hair.

He was wearing a black waist length rain jacket, a grey “Game of Thrones” T-shirt, blue jeans, blue Nike trainers and had a tattoo of an oriental dragon on his left arm.

Ch Insp Dave Gould of Northumbria Police said: “So far we have been unable to identify him and we want to be able to inform his family of his death."

Stars expected to gather for funeral of agony aunt

The funeral of TV agony aunt Denise Robertson is taking place later in her home city of Sunderland.

This Morning stars Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, and previous presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan all paid tribute after she died earlier this month at the age of 83 from pancreatic cancer. 

Denise Robertson
PA

A service will be held in Sunderland Minster on Wednesday, conducted by The Rev Canon Provost Sheila Bamber, followed by a private burial.

Her family have requested family flowers only, with donations to be made to The Bubble Foundation.