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  1. Updates on Tuesday 20 December 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Pine Street, Grange Villa,

A man whose body was found tied up in a house in County Durham was savagely beaten and died of a single stab wound, police say.

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Our live coverage across the day

Our coverage here has come to an end - thank you for joining us. 

You can find the latest news online, on BBC Tees, on BBC Newcastle and on Look North.

We'll be back in the tomorrow morning with more news, sport, weather and travel from 08:00.

In the meantime you can use TwitterFacebook, or email if you would like to get in touch.

Force reassures public following Berlin attack

The chief of Northumbria Police, which was criticised by some members of the public for deploying armed police at Christmas markets, has expressed his sorrow at the events in Berlin

In November the force announced increased numbers of firearms officers on patrol at Newcastle's Christmas market. 

Critics said they did not want to see armed officers as it made people feel uncomfortable.

Chief Constable Steve Ashman said: "The incident in Berlin will no doubt cause concern for many people but we want to reassure those living and working in our region that there is nothing to suggest there is any specific threat to the North East.

"We pride ourselves on the fact that this is one of the safest places in the country and we want the public to feel safe and reassured that we are here to protect them."

Teesside prison awarded £9m

BBC Tees

Holme House prison in Stockton is to get £9m to improve security and tackle drugs inside the jail. 

The money will be used to install full body scanners and to employ 50 extra staff.

It is thought to be the single biggest investment in a prison.


NUFC players visit children's hospital

Newcastle United players and boss Rafa Benitez have been visiting the Great North Children's Hospital to bring the youngsters some Christmas cheer.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Paralysed miner forced to undergo reassessment

Sunderland Echo


A former miner left paralysed in a pit tragedy almost 25 years ago says it is “disgraceful” he was forced to reapply for his benefit payments.

Jeff Branson
Sunderland Echo

Market organisers 'saddened' by Berlin attack

The organisers of Newcastle Christmas Market say they are "shocked and deeply saddened" to hear of events in Berlin.

German police are investigating a "probable terrorist attack" after a man ploughed a lorry into a Christmas market in the heart of Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48.

The driver, reportedly a Pakistani asylum seeker who entered Germany last year, is being questioned.

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Dale Arnold

A teenager who admitted stabbing a man to death in a County Durham village is jailed for almost nine years.

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Sunderland - history makers

Only three players have scored a Premier League goal for Sunderland this season, the fewest of any team in a single season before Christmas (excluding own goals).

Jermain Defoe has eight, and Victor Anichebe and Patrick van Aanholt have three each.

Every Sunderland goalscorer this season in the Premier League is in this photo

Millennium Bridge to honour Berlin victims

Watch: Storm Barbara spinning in with her 70mph winds

Meteorologists are strengthening their forecasts for Storm Barbara to go spinning past the north of Scotland at the end of the week.

The storm's expected to bring winds gusting to 70mph or more across the region, but it's not expected to last long enough to drop dangerously large quantities of rain.

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Church miners' cross vandalised

A cross has been vandalised outside a North Tyneside village's church in the run up to Christmas. 

Residents were left in shock when the cross, a symbol of Burradon Colliery which closed in the 1970s, was snapped in two outside the Church of the Good Shepherd on 15 December. 

Reverend Angela Maughan said: "I'm very upset about it."

Burradon miners' church cross vandalised before Christmas

Mother 'devastated' by son's murder

The mother of a man whose body was found tied up in a house in County Durham says the family has been left "shocked and distraught" by his death.

Mark Shaw was found after a passing beat officer became suspicious and forced their way into a house in Grange Villa near Chester-le-Street.

The 29-year-old, known locally as "Sharky", was found in a bedroom and had been subjected to a "prolonged attack".

Mark Shaw
Durham Police

His mother Valerie Watson said: "Not only have I lost a son but Mark's sisters have lost their much-loved brother, and his 11-year-old son has lost a father.

"We have been left devastated by Mark's sudden death, but we have been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness shown to us by so many people."

The proposed new cricket stand at night

A £39m Headingley stadium redevelopment moves closer after planning applications were dropped.

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Police review security after attacks

UK police forces are reviewing security plans for public events after a lorry attack in Berlin killed 12 people.

The Metropolitan Police said it already had "detailed plans" in place for the festive period but was reviewing them "as a precaution".

Christmas market

In some cities, measures were put in place in the build-up to the festive period before Monday night's attack.

At Newcastle's Christmas market, armed police were pictured - causing a debate by smiling while posing with automatic weapons.

Marten De Roon

Middlesbrough must focus on their own results in the quest to retain their Premier League status, says Marten De Roon.

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Donkey injured after being hit by car

Jonjo Shelvey

Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is banned for five games and fined £100,000 for using racially abusive language.

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Metro customers pen stories

The winners of a competition to pen a short story about the Tyne and Wear Metro have been announced. 

Customers were asked to draw inspiration from their train journeys, with entries touching on everything from trains filled with subterranean plant life to a runaway bride.

Steve Lancaster, 45, from Whitley Bay, picked up the first prize in the adult category for his story titled ‘Wire’ and 13-year-old Gracie Ward, was selected as the winner for her story ‘My Famous Metro Past’.

Tyne and Wear Metro story winners
Tyne and Wear Metro

Mr Lancaster said: "It’s the first story I have written since school so it’s a very pleasant surprise to have won this competition."

Both stories will be on display at a number of Metro stations across the network.

BreakingJonjo Shelvey handed five-match ban

Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has been given a five-match ban and £100,000 fine after an FA misconduct charge against him was proven.

He was charged with using abusive and/or insulting words towards an opponent in the 87th minute of the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 17 September.

The player, who denied the charge, was also ordered to attend an FA education course.

The sanction has been set aside pending consideration for an appeal.

Jonjo Shelvey
Getty Images

Christmas message from Lady Robson

Lady Robson has thanked the public for their "magnificent and unwavering support" for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

She said: "For me, this year was also very special because we broke through the £10m fundraising barrier.

"I know Bob would be as touched and amazed as I am at the heartfelt support our charity continues to receive."

Sir Bobby Robson

The charity was established in 2008 while the former Newcastle manager was receiving cancer treatment.

Feeling flush?

A chance has come up to invest in one of Newcastle's most unusual buildings...

The underground toilets in Bigg Market opened in 1898, but were boarded up in 2012 when budget cuts forced their closure. 

A previous attempt to sell the toilets disappeared down the pan, but they have been put back up for rent after NE1 secured £3m of funding for a revamp of the Bigg Market.

Bigg Market toilets

Darlington to return to town from Bishop Auckland

BBC Sport

National League North side Darlington 1883 will return to play in the town for the first time since the end of the old club in 2012, after a move to Blackwell Meadows was passed by the Football Association.

Boxing Day's game against Halifax Town will be the first to be staged at the home of rugby club Darlington RFC.


The Quakers' pre-2012 Northern Echo Arena home is owned by the town's other union team, Darlington Mowden Park.

Since reforming in 2012, home games have been played in Bishop Auckland, about 15 miles away.

Met Office warning over strong winds

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for strong winds across the whole of the North East and Cumbria for Friday and Christmas Eve.

Storm Barbara is approaching from the Atlantic. 

Gusts of up to 70mph are expected on Friday into Saturday morning, when they'll start to ease. 

We're being told to be aware of the potential for structural damage and disruption to power supplies and travel. 

Weather map
Met Office

Your photos: Colourful Collingwood

Kristie Kinghorn

BBC Newcastle

Jane Mckeown sent us this beautiful photo of Collingwood Monument taken in Tynemouth last night.

If you have any photos you'd like to share with us you can tweet us @BBCNewsNEemail them, or contact us via our Facebook page.

Collingwood Monument
Jane Mckeown

Newcastle United offers child sex abuse advice

BBC Newcastle

Families of Newcastle United's young academy players are being reassured about safety at the club in the wake of claims of sexual abuse in football.

The club's invited people to learn more about what it calls the "stringent" safeguarding policies that are in place.

Sarah Carlick, who helps train staff and volunteers in safeguarding children, said: "I don't think we can ever ensure these things are never going to happen.

"I just think we need to develop safer cultures by having more skilled people in the organisation to support young people."

Three-vehicle crash causes A19 congestion

BBC Travel

Two lanes are blocked and there is queuing traffic on the A19 southbound in Sunderland between the A1231 Wessington Way junction and the A183 junction because of an accident involving three vehicles and a cyclist. 

There is congestion to the A1290.

Elsewhere, on the A1 Western Bypass in Westerhope there is one lane blocked on the exit slip road northbound because of a broken down vehicle.

Get the latest travel news for Tyne and Wear and Teesside.

Brighter spells after an unsettled start

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

A bit of an unsettled week in the run up to Christmas...

After a cloudy start with light winds, the wind will strengthen later, bringing some sunny spells.

Maximum temperature 7C (45F).

Weather forecast

Check the forecast where you are.

Cleveland Police logo

Cleveland Police should be disbanded if senior officers cannot not bring in improvements, an MP warns.

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Welcome to our live coverage

Kristie Kinghorn

BBC Newcastle

Good morning!

Throughout the day we'll be bringing you the latest news, weather, sport and travel updates.

If you have any photos you'd like to share with us or any stories you'd like to tell us about you can tweet us @BBCNewsNEemail them, or contact us via our Facebook page.