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Summary

  1. Thursday 13 April 2017
  2. Priest jailed for child sex abuse
  3. Body found in Seaham house fire
  4. East Coast rail staff announce strike
  5. Council defends £17m hotel investment

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Thank you for joining us today. Our live updates are finished, but you can still find the latest news on BBC TeesBBC NewcastleLook North and online.

We'll be back with more news, sport, weather and travel at 08:00 on 18 April.

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Have a wonderful Easter bank holiday!

Charlie and ferret complete Hadrian's Wall fundraising walk

Charlie Hammerton and his pet ferret Bandit have reached the finish line after a 84-mile (135km) walk along Hadrian's Wall.

The 22-year-old is raising funds to fight motor neurone disease, which killed his mother.

He said: "It is a relief, I've met some amazing people. I wanted to do the walk as a grieving process. People have been coming out of their houses and stopping us and donating."

Charlie, from Ipswich, and Bandit have managed to complete the hike from Newcastle to Bowness in three days despite Charlie suffering foot pain and having to walk for four miles without walking boots.

Charlie and Bandit
Charlie Hammerton

Mr Hammerton is raising money for St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich, where his mother died, and the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association. He originally wished to raise £600, but the final total will be above £3,000.

There is no cure for MND, which attacks the nerves that control movement, leaving people unable to move, talk and, eventually, breathe.   

Person dies in Seaham house fire

A person has died following a house fire in Country Durham.

Fire crews were called to a house on Gregson Terrace, Seaham, at 03.30 and firefighters found a body on the first floor.

The victim's identity has not yet been confirmed.

A joint fire and police investigation will begin shortly to determine the cause of the blaze.

NUFC reveal new crest design to mark anniversary season

Newcastle United have unveiled a new commemorative crest to celebrate the club's 125th season.

It will appear during the 2017/18 season on both home and away kits. 

The club was formed in 1892 after the merging of Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End with the name Newcastle United being officially recognised in December of that year .

As fans will know, it's been an up-and-down ride since then!

NUFC crest for the 2017/18 season
NUFC

Sunderland keeper in the running for top football award

BBC Sport

Sunderland's Jordan Pickford has made the shortlist for PFA Young Player of the Year. 

The 23-year-old has made 108 saves so far this season - the second highest in the Premier League. 

The Professional Footballers' Association Young Player of the Year award is for those players aged 23 or under at the start of the season.

The other nominees include Everton's Romelu Lukaku, Burnley's Michael Keane and Manchester City's Leroy Sane. A full list of nominees can be found here

The winners, voted for by PFA members, will be announced on 23 April. 

Jordan Pickford celebrates
Getty Images

Your Photos: Overcast skies in in Northumberland

Carolyn Farthing took this picture of a cloudy sky over Dunstanburgh Castle while taking a walk along the coast in Northumberland.

Dunstanburgh Castle under a cloudy sky
Carolyn Farthing

If you have a photo you'd like to share with us you can tweet usemail us, or contact us via our Facebook page.     

Newcastle United's 'legendary' tea lady laid to rest

The funeral of Newcastle United's "legendary" tea lady took place in Wallsend yesterday.

Kath Cassidy served at the club for more than 50 years before retiring in 2015.

Many former players turned out for the ceremony and bosses said she was "adored" by all who knew her.

Newcastle United's 'legendary' tea lady laid to rest

Wallsend's Wilson to face Ronnie O'Sullivan at Crucible

BBC Sport

Wallsend's Gary Wilson has been drawn against the five-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the last 32 of the World Snooker Championships in Sheffield.

The world number 59 came through qualifying this week making eight century breaks, including a maximum 147.

The tournament begins this Saturday with coverage on BBC Two and the BBC Sport website.

Ronnie O'Sullivan holding aloft the 2013 World Snooker Championship trophy
Getty Images

Bird flu restrictions lifted

North East and North Yorkshire farmers are now allowed to let all of their birds run outside again - even those in high-risk area's such as Hartlepool.

The restrictions were put in place after the H5N8 strain of the disease was found in farmed and wild birds in December 2016.

Nationally, nearly a fifth of producers affected by the measures have had to temporarily resist labelling their eggs as free-range.

North East railway trespassing reaches all-time high

Sunderland Echo

Newspaper

More people than ever are risking their lives by trespassing on railway tracks in the North East, new figures have revealed.

Last year there were 313 incidents- a 22% rise on the previous year.

Do not trespass sign on railway tracks
Sunderland Echo

Hospital bosses to be quizzed over stored organs

Stephanie Finnon

BBC Newcastle

South Shields MP Emma Lewell Buck is planning to meet bosses at South Tyneside Hospital (pictured) after it emerged some organs had been stored there for more than 20 years.

It revealed earlier this week body parts and other material had been kept for years after people had died.

South Tyneside Hospital
Google

The discovery was made following an audit at the hospital in March 2015 and specialist officers from Northumbria and Cleveland police forces are now contacting an unspecified number of families affected. 

The officer leading the investigation said significant improvements had been in relation to the "management and retention" of human tissue samples.

Bradley Lowery off to Disney World Florida

Terminally ill Bradley Lowery is off on another adventure - to Disney World Florida.

The five-year-old, from County Durham, has been given the go-ahead to fly to the United States by doctors.

The news comes days after the youngster, who has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, was given honorary 41st place in the racecard for the Grand National at Aintree.

Sunderland fan Bradley was diagnosed in 2013 and has won widespread admiration for the way he has dealt with the cancer.

Bradley Lowery thumbs up smiling at the camera in a Sunderland kit
PA

Man charged after car 'driven at pedestrians'

A 26-year-old man has been charged with a string of offences after a car was driven at pedestrians in Peterlee.

Officers were called to the Little Eden area on Tuesday afternoon amid reports a Seat was being driven recklessly.

A five-hour stand-off involving police negotiators then ensued when the man entered a house of Barsloan Avenue and took to the roof.

Luther Ankonum, of Fairclough Court, Peterlee, has been charged with four counts of attempted GBH, two counts of criminal damage and public order and driving offences and will appear before magistrates in the town later.

Sex abuse priest facing jail

Colin Briggs

Look North

A former priest from Newcastle is due to be sentenced later after being found guilty of sexually abusing a pupil at a Catholic boarding school in the 1970s.

Father Michael Higginbottom, 74, of West Farm Road, Newcastle, denied subjecting a teenage boy to repeated sexual abuse while he was a teacher at St Joseph's College in Lancashire.

Michael Higginbottom
BBC

But at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday he was convicted of four counts of a serious sexual offence and four counts of indecent assault.

The court heard the victim was aged between 13 and 14 at the time of the abuse, but only went to the police in 2014 after telling a friend who encouraged him to report it.

Council defends decision to borrow £17m to build hotel

Louise Hobson

BBC Tees reporter

Stockton Council has defended its decision to invest millions of pounds in a hotel. 

Cabinet members met on Wednesday to approve plans for a Hampton by Hilton to be built on the town's Riverside as part of the North Shore regeneration. 

The authority had already agreed to borrow £17m to fund the project.

Hampton by Hilton Stockton
Stockton Council

The council said it expected to make a profit profit of about £250,000 a year on the deal.

Those opposed to the scheme said money should instead be spent on council services suffering budget cuts.

The council said there remains a shortage of business and leisure accommodation in the town.

Armed police use Taser to arrest man

Colin Briggs

Look North

Police used a Taser in the arrest of a man thought to be armed with a machete in Gateshead.

Officers responded to reports the man was threatening people on Litchfield Terrace at about 17:00 on Wednesday.

The 45-year-old man later entered a nearby shop which had two women inside, police said.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: "Armed officers were called out and went into the shop to protect the women.

"Officers used a Taser to detain the man and recovered a samurai sword, a club and a knife from the scene." 

One of the women in the shop suffered head injuries, which are not believed to be serious.  

The man is being held on suspicion of making threats to kill.

Bright start, turning cloudy later with an odd shower.

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

It will be a pretty chilly start with some early sunshine, but cloud will gradually develop during the day, becoming rather overcast at times. 

Most parts will stay dry though, with only a low chance of catching a light shower.

The best chance of sunshine will be in eastern areas, especially closer to coasts.

Weather
BBC

Maximum temperatures should stay around the 11C (52F) mark.

Later it will stay mostly cloudy, with some spells of light rain overnight. 

Rail union seeking 'specific assurances' over train safety

The planned walkout by Virgin East Coast staff on 28 April follows recent strikes at three other train operators in bitter rows over staffing. 

The RMT said it has been seeking an "explicit clarification" from Virgin on the retention of the role of the guard.

It wants a specific assurance that a new position of train manager will retain what it says are the safety-critical roles and training currently held by train guards. 

The union said: "The only response the company has offered is to repeat the vague and non-committal mantra of 'within our discussions we have confirmed that the safety-critical duties of the guard will remain on the train'. 

"This mealy-mouthed form of words gives no reassurance to RMT members in the front line nor any protection from the possible introduction of driver-only operation."

Virgin East Coast has yet to comment.

Virgin East Coast staff to strike

Workers on Virgin Trains East Coast are to stage a 48-hour strike from 28 April in a row over the role of guards and jobs, the RMT union has announced in the last few minutes.

Virgin East Coast train
BBC

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