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  1. Updates on Thursday 15 June 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Magdy Eskander

Magdy Eskander denied sexually assaulting the girl during an examination at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

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Our live coverage across the day

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To keep up with whats happening overnight, head to BBC Tees, BBC Newcastle, Look North, and online.

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We'll be back tomorrow morning from 08:00.

Authorities 'knew Lee Irving was vulnerable'

Alison Freeman

BBC Look North

A report into the murder of a young man with learning difficulties in Newcastle says the full extent of his vulnerability was known three years before his death.

Lee Irving died from multiple injuries after being repeatedly beaten at the house in Fawdon he had been sharing with his eventual killers.

Today a review into his death says that as far back as 2011, when the the probation service came into contact with Lee over a criminal conviction, he was found to be vulnerable.

By 2012 the service had realised the full extent of his, with the report saying he would rather put up with bullying than be rejected by his peers - bu this did not raise an alert.

His mum reported in 2014 that he was being exploited by those he lived with and, in March 2015, an assessment found he did not have the ability to make decisions to keep himself safe.

By June he was dead.

Lee Irving
Family photo

Scarlett's Streetmate amid cult comebacks

Francesca Williams

BBC News

There's something about cult telly that producers just can't resist.

Well, it stands to reason, doesn't it? If it's cult that means people were watching - and might watch again.

Who wouldn't want a slice of a re-baked popular pie?

We're particularly pleased at the return of Streetmate, now hosted by our County Durham Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt.

Scarlett Moffatt, Pat Sharp and Holly Willoughby
Getty Images

Fresh but clear and dry night in store

Alina Jenkins

BBC Weather

There will still be a fair few showers peppered around through this evening.

These could be on the sharp side but they'll start to fade and, as the night wears on, we'll start to see some clear spells.

It'll be a fresher night, with temperatures down to about 12C.

Tomorrow will be mainly dry.

Weather map
Manchester attack: Victims Chloe and Liam laid to rest
A joint funeral service for a 'perfect' teenage couple killed in the Manchester terror attack has been held.
Jordan Pickford

Jordan Pickford becomes the most expensive British keeper after Everton pay £25m - rising to what would be a club record £30m - to sign him from Sunderland.

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'We're not moving unless they carry us out'

Elderly residents are defiant in the face of attempts by a housing company in County Durham to demolish their homes and move them to new ones nearby.

The company Livin says the properties at Travellers Green and Clarence Green in Newton Aycliffe are outdated and plans to spend £8m demolishing 32 properties and replacing them with 86 new ones.

But 87-year-old Frank Daniels, who's lived on Clarence Green for 21 years, says he has "no intention of going out of this bungalow other than in a wooden box".

"By the time this happens I'll be 90-year-old and I have no intention of starting to make a new home on my own at 90 years old."

Travellers Green

Fred and Margaret Jackson also say they don't want to move.

Mr Jackson said: "We're all the same, we're all near our 70s, 80s, we've all got something wrong with us and there's no way we can move."

Livin says residents would be given up to £5,000 to help with moving costs and that there are many willing to move.

Happiness of Liam and Chloe amid the sadness

Megan Paterson

Reporter, BBC Look North

Pictures of the couple together were placed on their coffins when they left the church.

The hundreds gathered then filled the church yard, embracing and wiping away tears - all trying to remember the joy-filled lives Liam and Chloe led together, not the tragic way they died.

Funeral of Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry

Northern Powerhouse gets another new minister

BBC Tees

Lancashire Conservative MP Jake Berry has been appointed Northern Powerhouse minister as part of Theresa May's cabinet reshuffle.

The Rossendale and Darwen MP replaces Andrew Percy, who's standing down despite being offered the chance to carry on in the post.

In a post on Instagram Mr Percy said he had reluctantly decided to step down to pursue other challenges.

Berry is the third powerhouse minister in two years.

Jake Berry
Conservative Party

Man arrested over house chemical find

Man arrested over chemical find in house at Heaton
A 42-year-old man has been arrested after a quantity of chemicals was found at a house in Newcastle.

Suspicious incident in Stockton

A man opened the back door of a taxi, put a gripped hand on the shoulder of the child sitting there, then let go and walked way, police have said.

They are describing what happened as "suspicious" and are appealing for anyone who saw it to contact them.

It happened at about 17:00 on Sunday at the A1825 junction with Bridge Road, Yarm Lane and Riverside Road, Stockton.

The boy was in the taxi with his mother, who was also sitting in the back.

Three men, described as being of East European appearance were standing on the road near Halfords, police say.

One, about 25-30 and dark skinned, with short black hair, opened the taxi door, before returning to the other men and walking off.

Water voles reintroduced into Kielder

Water voles reintroduced into Kielder
A project to reintroduce hundreds of water voles in Northumberland is under way.

BreakingSurgeon found not guilty of sexual assault

Retired orthopaedic surgeon Magdy Eskander has been cleared of sexual assault by jury at Teesside Crown Court.

The 59-year-old was accused of touching a child in intimate areas while examining her at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Charges regarding a second girl were dropped during the trial.

The surgeon was accused of sexually assaulting two different young girls in 2014 but the case was thrown out of court.

Magdy Eskander

BreakingShearer agrees settlement over 'negligent' advice

Former Newcastle and England football star Alan Shearer has agreed a settlement from a financial advisor and a pension specialist he'd accused of giving him "negligent" financial advice.

Shearer, 46, was suing financial adviser Kevin Neal and pension specialist Suffolk Life for £9m at the High Court.

Proceedings started on Wednesday but a lawyer representing Shearer told the judge - Mr Justice Leggatt - today that an agreement had been reached.

Alan Shearer

BreakingMan arrested after 'quantity of chemicals' found

A man has been arrested after a "quantity of chemicals" was found at a house in Newcastle

Police were called to a house in Heaton Park View in Heaton following reports of "suspicious behaviour".

A 42-year-old local man was arrested and remains in police custody.

Chief Supt Sharon Scott said: "We have been carrying out a search of a property today and work will be ongoing throughout the day to assess the materials that we have found in the address.

"I would like to reassure members of the public that this being treated as an isolated incident at this time. We have taken this action today as a precaution and we would always ask that if anyone has any information that may help our inquiries, or anyone who has seen anything suspicious in the area, to please contact us."

Fire closes A66 in County Durham

Some more on the closure of the A66 we just mentioned:

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: A66 County Durham both ways

BBC News Travel

A66 County Durham both ways severe disruption, between A67 and A1150.

A66 County Durham - A66 in Darlington closed in both directions between the A67 junction and Great Burdon Roundabout, because of a police incident.

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

Police searching house in Heaton

The bomb disposal team has now left the scene in Heaton, Newcastle.

A police officer outside the house on the corner of Heaton Park View told our reporter there is no risk to the public, and they've got to go and search the property.

House in Heaton

BreakingBomb disposal team arrives at Heaton property

Armed police are searching a property in Heaton, Newcastle.

A bomb disposal squad has also arrived following reports of "suspicious behaviour" at the house on the corner of Heaton Park View and Eversley Place.

Police in Heaton

A Northumbria Police spokesman said there is no risk to the wider public and officers will be in the area throughout the day.

Police in Heaton

Water voles reintroduced to Kielder Forest

Mark McAlindon

BBC Look North

Hundreds of water voles are being released along waterways at Kielder Forest in Northumberland as part of a programme to reintroduce the animal made famous as Ratty in Wind in the Willows.

The water vole was almost hunted to extinction by predators such as mink in much of the country.

But it is hoped captive-bred animals can reestablish themselves in ponds and streams.

The Kielder Water Vole Partnership is to release 700 water vole in total in what it has said is the largest reintroduction to one place ever undertaken in the UK.

Water vole

The first release of 325 water voles took place on Wednesday, with a further 350 due to be released in August.

Kelly Hollings of Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Restoring Ratty project says: “Water voles belong here and are an essential element of our wild and watery places.

It’s terribly sad to have witnessed such huge declines of this lovely mammal in my lifetime.

"We’re doing everything we can to help bring them back and we’re so grateful to all those who are supporting our work.”

Watch: Northumberland club's try in running for season award

This effort from Tynedale Rugby Club in Corbridge, Northumberland, is in the running for England Rugby's try of the season:

View more on twitter

Mourners remember Chloe and Liam with colour and music

Megan Paterson

Reporter, BBC Look North

Family and friends began arriving at St Hilda's Church in South Shields more than an hour before the service for Manchester bomb attack victims Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford started.

When the church was full, groups gathered outside in the sunshine with their arms around each other, listening to the service on loud speakers.

The black of traditional funeral dress was brightened by splashes of pink and blue, as requested by the families of the pair.

Chloe Rutherford's and Liam Curry's coffins

Arriving together the funeral cars were filled with flowers spelling out "Son" and "Sis" and a picture of the smiling young couple sitting by the roadside.

As their two white coffins were carried in, people stopped on the pavement and bowed their heads and One Last Time sung by Stacey Ghent echoed across the street.

Music was a poignant part of the service: Perfect by Ed Sheenan was played as well as a recording of talented Chloe singing Keane's Somewhere Only We Know.

Local fire brigade comments on 'stay put' policy

Many people are still missing a day after the fire that engulfed Grenfell Tower in west London.

The number of dead, currently 17, is expected to rise significantly during a long and complex recovery operation.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service assistant chief officer Alan Robson said the "stay put" advice is the safest, but only if the fire is inside the building, whereas the London fire also spread on the outside.

"The idea behind a 'stay put' policy is because, essentially, high-rise flats are very safe, self-contained units, they're built to withstand fire for over an hour," he said.

"Because it [Tuesday's fire] spread on the outside of the building it's effectively burnt from the outside of the building in and, essentially, the safety system within the building isn't necessarily designed for that."

Grenfell Tower

Other fire brigades have been describing their procedures and most housing associations and councils have issued statements to say their accommodation complies with regulations and is safe.

Pink and blue to remember 'inseparable' couple

Friends and relatives of Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford have been asked to celebrate the couple with the colour of their clothes.

View more on twitter

Ariana Grande fan reunited with police

A young Ariana Grande fan who was at the Manchester Arena when a bomb killed 22 people was understandably nervous about going back for the One Love concert.

But two Lancashire police officers gave her and her mum reassurance and a cuddle and that, as they say, might have been that.

Except that 10-year-old Poppy's mum Sarah Sutcliffe really wanted to say thank you, and, after a post on Facebook and some clever detective work by a Durham PCSO she'd once worked with, the pair were reunited with Sgt Luke Newman and PC Nick Cross.

Sgt Newman said that, on the night outside the Old Trafford Criccket Ground, they'd spotted them looking "very scared and upset".

"Poor Poppy was crying and sought comfort from Nick, who ended up hugging her because she was so upset," he said.

Poppy with PC Nick Cross and Sgt Luke Newman
Lancashire constabulary

The officers have now paid surprise visits to both Middlesbrough College, where Sarah works, and Poppy's school.

Sarah said: “I was overjoyed to see two people that on the 4th of June became my inspiration, my reason to feel strong and protected and the catalyst to believe me and my little girl could confidently attend the benefit concert."

Sgt Newman said they had been just doing their jobs "but it was so rewarding to see what a positive impact we had on Lisa and young Poppy who could have been so traumatised by their previous experience that they dared not go to the concert".

After the attack Poppy wrote a letter to Ariana Grande, asking her not to be too scared to come back to the UK.

Sgt Sam Turner from Durham Police, PC Nick Cross from Lancashire Police, Poppy Sutcliffe, Sgt Luke Newman from Lancashire Police and PC Grant Irvin from Durham Police
Lancashire Police

Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry are remembered

Mourners are congregating ahead of the funeral of two of the Manchester bomb attack victims, Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford from South Shields.

View more on twitter

BreakingReport into man's torture murder released

A number of recommendations have been made after a vulnerable man was tortured to death in Newcastle.

Lee Irving, 24, who had learning disabilities, was killed by people he thought were his friends in 2015.

Lee Irving

A Safeguarding Adults Review published this morning found police, probation and mental health services, as well as Adult Social Care, had extensive contact with him before his death.

It recommended improving how people move from the care of children's to adult's services, saying support currently had weaknesses.

It also recommended better training and improved use of social media to track missing adults.

James Wheatley, 29, was jailed in December for 23 years for murder. Wheatley's mother, Julie Mills, and his girlfriend, Nicole Lawrence, have had their sentences increased by the Court of Appeal this year.

Mills, 52, had her eight-year sentence increased to 10 years while Lawrence, 22, had her four-year sentence lengthened to seven years.

High rise residents reassured after London fire deaths

BBC Newcastle

Housing associations in in Newcastle and Sunderland are contacting tenants in high rise blocks to talk about fire safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze in London.

At least 12 people died and dozens others injured when the west London block of flats caught fire early on Wednesday.

Grenfell Tower fire

There are more than 5,000 properties in tower blocks in Newcastle and Sunderland.

Wearside housing association Gentoo says it is reviewing its fire safety policies with the fire service after the London tragedy as wells as getting in touch with all its high rise residents.

Your Homes Newcastle, which has more than 3,000 high rise properties, says it has published a special newsletter which will go out to everyone this week.

Funeral for 'inseparable' couple killed in Manchester terror attack

Colin Briggs

Look North

A joint funeral will be held later for a "perfect" young South Shields couple who were killed in the Manchester Arena bombing.

The service for Liam Curry, 19, and Chloe Rutherford, 17, will take place at the town's St Hilda's Church.

The couple's families have asked people attending to wear pink and blue for the funeral.

Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry
Family photo

The teenagers, who were described as "inseparable", were among the 22 people killed in the terror attack on the Ariana Grande concert last month.

Miss Rutherford was studying music at college and was about to start an apprenticeship in travel.

Graeme Brett, owner of Westoe Travel in South Shields where she worked part-time, said: "She was a lovely, bubbly girl.

"The two of them were always together, very close, he was a lovely lad."

Mr Curry, a former pupil of Gateshead College, was studying for a degree in sport and exercise science at Northumbria University.

Weather: Mix of sun and cloud and the chance of a shower

Alina Jenkins

BBC Weather

A band of cloud and mostly light showery rain will cross the region from the west through the morning, clearing the North Sea coast through quickly in the afternoon.

Through the afternoon it will turn brighter with sunny spells, although it will be breezier with some places catching a shower.

weather map

Maximum temperatures are unlikely to get much above about 19C (66F).

Eastern areas will generally get the best of any prolonged sunshine.

Check the forecast where you are.

Shearer to give evidence in £9m 'negligence' claim

BBC Newcastle

Former Newcastle and England footballer Alan Shearer is due to give evidence at a High Court trial after claiming was given "negligent" financial advice and launching a £9m damages claim.

Shearer, 46, has sued financial adviser Kevin Neal and pension specialist Suffolk Life.

A judge began overseeing a hearing in London yesterday.

Shearer says Mr Neal was "careless" and "dishonest" and claims Suffolk Life breached fiduciary and regulatory duties.

Alan Shearer
BBC Sport

But Mr Neal and Suffolk Life, which is based in Ipswich, dispute his allegations.

Mr Neal told Mr Justice Leggatt that Shearer's claims were "just driven by pure greed and ego".

Suffolk Life's lawyers said Shearer's claim faced "very serious obstacles".

Lawyers say the trial will run into next week.

Shearer stopped playing in the top flight more than a decade ago after a career spanning 18 years.

He made more than 600 appearances in top level club football and won more than 60 England caps.

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