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  1. A seven-year-old girl has brought her community closer together by creating beautiful messages of hope. Olivia Walker, from Bedlington, started by drawing a large poster to put on the fence for her next-door neighbours to see, because she "didn't want them to be sad when they were walking the dog". She then began to make more personalised posters, to display on fences or in her windows, aimed at cheering up other neighbours. The rainbow has become a popular symbol of hope within the pandemic over the two weeks, with many households displaying rainbows in their windows as a sign that this 'storm' will pass. But Olivia has taken it a step further with her personalised messages, drawing more for strangers online after her designs were shared on a local Facebook group and brought delight to many who saw them. The St Bede's R C Primary School pupil said: "I wanted to do it because people are along, and I wanted to make them happy. It makes me happy to see how much people like them." At ChronicleLive, we’re proud to be part of the NHS Heroes campaign, which aims to make sure all the amazing people of this wonderful organisation know exactly how much they mean to the nation. We’re asking you to show them love by helping us create a living map of gratitude from every corner of Britain. By dropping a heart on the map, you’re saying you appreciate the efforts undertaken daily in the NHS. To pledge your support, just go to www.thanksamillionnhs.co.uk
  2. Just one punch can lead to such devastating consequences. From broken jaws and fractured skulls, single acts of violence in the region have not only caused long-lasting serious injury. Some families will know how lucky they are that their son or daughter survived their injuries, but other families have had their lives wrecked. Lives have been lost with a number of victims unable to recover from the horrific injuries they sustained from a single punch. While some one-punch attackers have faced time behind bars, others have been able to walk free from court. We take a look at seven people who have been brought before the courts across the North East in recent years for a one-punch attack.
  3. The North East’s magistrates’ courts were closed from Tuesday for all-but-urgent cases and those where the defendant is in custody. Following Boris Johnson’s announcement of tough new measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, which include only allowing people to leave their homes under specific circumstances, the region’s courthouses shut their doors to members of the public. Only remand cases - where defendants have been charged with an offence and then kept in custody by the police - urgent cases, such as applications for Domestic Violence Protection Orders, and cases via video link will be heard in one courtroom each at North Tyneside, South East Northumberland and South Tyneside. All other matters, such as where the accused is on bail or has been summoned to appear at court via a postal requisition, will be adjourned until a later date. Staff members and security were on the doors on Tuesday, advising that only personnel directly linked to an urgent case, such as a defence solicitor or a prosecutor, would be allowed into the buildings. A tweet on Tuesday morning from HM Courts & Tribunal Service read: “Magistrates’ Courts will only hear urgent cases today (overnight custody & prisoner production).
  4. Major supermarkets are hiring hundreds of staff to help cater for increased demand caused by shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic. Jobs are available throughout the North East, from the tip of Northumberland to Teesside, as supermarkets boost staff levels to help serve customers, re-stock shelves and deliver shopping. There are roles to work in Tesco supermarkets throughout the entire region, including Amble, Berwick, Chester-le-Street, Consett, Durham, Gateshead, Hexham, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, North Shields, Sunderland and Stockton. The adverts offer an 'immediate start', with day and night roles available. An advert for an immediate customer service position says: "With the COVID-19 situation evolving every day, and unprecedented high demand, we urgently need to recruit extra temporary in-store colleagues. "Working in our stores, you’ll play a key role in keeping our shelves stocked, helping our customers get what they need during this challenging time."
  5. Police investigating a violent attack on a teenage boy have released their suspect on bail. The 15-year-old victim was seriously injured when he was allegedly assaulted in Bedlington, on Friday. On Monday Northumbria Police officers arrested a 26-year-old man in connection with the incident, which happened at around 9.10pm, at The Oval The suspect has now been released on bail as enquiries continue. A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “The 26-year-old man has been released on bail and enquiries are ongoing.” Police say the teenager suffered a head injury in the alleged attack.
  6. Hospital visiting has been suspended across Northumberland and North Tyneside in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus. Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has said it has made the decision to stop visiting to protect its patients and staff. The temporary measure comes into effect as of Wednesday with the only exceptions being for patients receiving end-of-life care, birthing partners in maternity units and parents or guardians in the children's unit. iPads will be available on wards to facilitate ‘virtual’ visiting and friends and relatives will be able to ring a central number for information about their loved one in hospital. Locations where the measures will be implemented include Alnwick Infirmary, Hexham General Hospital, Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital and North Tyneside General Hospital. Dr Jeremy Rushmer, executive medical director at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly. However, it is a sensible step to try and reduce the spread of Coronavirus in our hospitals, and in our communities, across Northumberland and North Tyneside. LIVE: Rolling coronavirus updates CORONAVIRUS VS FLU: Which is worse and what are the differences? WHAT IT DOES TO THE BODY: How coronavirus spreads STAY UP TO DATE: Join our dedicated Facebook group
  7. A teenager has been seriously injured in an alleged street attack. Cops are today quizzing an adult suspect in connection with the incident, which happened in Bedlington on Friday night. The 15-year-old boy suffered a head injury when he was allegedly assaulted by a man on The Oval. The incident was reported to police at around 9.10pm. And today officers investigating the attack arrested a 26-year-old man. The suspect remains in custody, and Northumbria Police is appealing for witnesses.
  8. A mum claimed to have a clean driving licence, despite having 12 penalty points, in order to get cheaper car insurance. Laura McBride fraudulently filled out an online form but failed to disclose her previous motoring convictions. A court heard that, having amassed 12 penalty points, the 25-year-old should have been disqualified but wasn't as it "had been missed" by the DVLA. McBride was pullled over by police a month after committing the fraud and was found to have no insurance as it had been voided. Now, McBride, of Cherrytree Drive, Bedlington, has been fined a total of £575 and banned from the roads for six months after she admitted making a false statement to obtain insurance and driving with no insurance. Sentencing her, District Judge Bernard Begley said: "You have pleaded guilty to the offence but fraud is fraud and that's what you have done here and, no doubt, to get your premium lower than it should have been because disclosure of that information would have increased it substantially so.
  9. Eight further suspects have been charged in connection with an alleged shooting in Newcastle. Police launched an investigation after reports that the firearm was fired on Ridsdale Avenue in West Denton on January 4. Witnesses reported seeing a man fire a gun at a car following an argument with the female driver at about 3pm. The bullet missed the vehicle and damaged the window of a nearby home before those involved then fled. Nobody was injured. Nathan Mackay, 31, has already appeared at South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court charged with a string of offences in relation to the alleged shooting. Mackay, of Ravenshill Road, West Denton, has been remanded in custody ahead of a trial at Newcastle Crown Court at a later date.
  10. A school girl from Bedlington was a natural on the catwalk when she modelled at the prestigious London Fashion Week. Adorable six-year-old Indie Watson was offered the lucky chance to parade down the runway wearing clothes made by top children's wear designers in front of the whole globe. After their little girl was chosen from hundreds of models from around the world, Indie's parents Carly and Dean Watson were bursting with pride and have made some lifelong family memories. And Indie loved every minute of being in the spotlight and made friends with other children from across the world. While out with Indie people would regularly mention to Carly how pretty she was, so when Indie turned three years old, Carly decided to try to get her into the modelling industry. After struggling to get Indie signed onto local agencies, the Northumberland mum set up an Instagram account to showcase images of her daughter which started to get quite a lot of attention from photographers. Looking for the latest news in your postcode? We have launched a brand new website InYourArea.co.uk allowing you to stay up to date with what's happening near you. It also has an app. Search the latest news, property listings, jobs, planning applications, public notices and more. To get breaking news sent to your phone, download the ChronicleLive app here.
  11. A shop thief was caught stealing booze while she waited for her partner to appear in the dock at the magistrates' court next door. Denise Reid decided she needed alcohol as she waited for her boyfriend's case to be called on, so popped over to a nearby Lidl. The 46-year-old picked out a bottle of wine and cider, valued at £6.84, but was detained leaving the store, in Bedlington, without paying. Reid was due to appear at the same court - South East Northumberland Magsitrates' Court - on Thursday to face one count of shop theft but failed to show. Instead, the case was proved in her absence and a warrant was issued for her arrest. James Long, prosecuting, read from a transcript of Reid's police interview after her arrest on December 2 last year.
  12. A jilted pest who breached a restraining order just 20 minutes after it was extended then scratched an obscene message on his wife's car has been jailed. Elias Gray didn't take the end of his 17 year relationship well and started harassing the mother of his four children, a court heard. After being convicted of breaching a non-molestation order last year, he was made subject to a restraining order, which he breached by phoning her. In December last year he pleaded guilty to breaching the restraining order on the day his case was listed for trial, with his wife already at court. The restraining order was extended but just 20 minutes later, as the woman made her way home, Gray breached it by contacting their teenage son and asking to speak to the victim. Gray went on to breach it again, including turning up at the house and scratching "f*** my wife" into her car, in the presence of one of the children.
  13. A driver had been on an eight-hour drinking trip when he crashed into a parked car in Northumberland. Stephen Cuthbert got behind the wheel of his Kia Rio in order to buy more alcohol, having got the train home from a drink-fuelled day in Edinburgh with work colleagues. The 49-year-old was heard by a resident on Ridge Terrace, in Bedlington, to crash into a stationary car before he left the scene on foot, a court heard. The police were called and traced Cuthbert to his home address on Knaresborough Close, also in Bedlington, where he was arrested after failing a breath test. He later gave a reading of 106 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath, the legal limit being 35. Cuthbert appeared at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court where he pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol.
  14. A double serving of Caribbean flavour is set to add an extra blast of summer this year at a Northumberland music showcase. Gallagher Park Festival in Bedlington will welcome seventies reggae legends Aswad in July who will have the crowds on their feet with a selection of their hits which include a number one version of Don't Turn Around and the hit Give a Little Love. And alongside the headline act, the community festival's street food pop-ups will join in the reggae theme and will be serving up vegan options too. Angus 'Drummie Zeb' Gaye, a founder member of Aswad which was established in 1975, and Tony 'Gad'Robinson, who joined a year later, will head up a nostalgia-fest of hits at the free festival which will play out on July 18. Known for their R&B and soul influences on the classic reggae sound, with other favourite tracks including Shine; Good Thing Going and Next to You, they have added to their back catalogue over the years with collaborations with the likes of Dennis Brown, Maxi Priest and Shabba Ranks. The festival is out to whet all appetites and, with further acts yet to be unveiled, Ron Thornton, clerk for its organiser East Bedlington Parish Council, said: "We’re bringing the sounds of the Caribbean to Gallagher Park with fun for all the family.
  15. A man suffered horrific injuries and was told he might not walk again after he got behind the wheel while over-the-limit and crashed into a tree. Uninsured Anthony Parker had to be cut free from his vehicle and was later found to have fractured his spine, broken his ribs and ruptured his bowel, kidney, bladder and liver. The 32-year-old had to have surgery to fit bolts into his back and spent five weeks in hospital, where he was initially told he may not walk again. However, after months of rehab, Parker was back on his feet and appeared at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court to plead guilty to driving with excess alcohol and without insurance. Prosecutor, Eve McDonnell, said police arrived at the scene of the accident on the A1068 Sheepwash Road, near Sheepwash, Northumberland, at 2am on September 1 last year, having been called by paramedics. Officers saw that Parker had misjudged a bend and ended-up crashing his Peugeot 207 into a tree.
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