• Taxi driver in court over murder

    A TAXI driver appeared before magistrates on Saturday morning charged with the murder of New Year partygoer Colin Arnold. An investigation was launched after Mr Arnold, 34, of Sadberge Road, Stockton, was found fatally wounded outside a house in the town

  • Dangerous bridges left out of report

    A MAJOR inquiry into the causes of the Selby train crash, which killed ten people, was condemned last night for failing to recognise the condition of railway bridges. Experts urged the rail industry to implement a series of safety measures to prevent

  • Video of bypass surgery 'brought on heart scare'

    A GRANDMOTHER suffered an angina attack after watching a video of open heart surgery sent by a North-East hospital to reassure her about a forthcoming operation. Elizabeth Johnston, 63, of Workington, Cumbria, was taken to hospital in severe pain after

  • 'Family firm' sold death and despair

    JUBILANT police were celebrating last night after a judge jailed a gang at the centre of what detectives called the biggest heroin network in the North-East. The "family firm" of Tees-side drug dealers ran an operation earning £1,000 an hour, "pedalling

  • Train company agrees action on signal record

    ARRIVA Trains Northern has been forced to agree an action plan with Railtrack in a bid to improve its record on trains passing red danger signals. The company, which has previously been named and shamed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), has recorded

  • Carew swoop sees Boro ahead in race for Yorke

    MIDDLESBROUGH were left clear in the race to sign Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke last night. Fulham, who were named alongside Boro as the clubs rumoured to be interested in Yorke, are close to agreeing a deal to sign Norway striker John Carew

  • Cats crash out of Cup

    THE NATIVES are growing restless. And for the first time this season Sunderland manager Peter Reid had to suffer a torrent of abuse from discontented home supporters after bowing out of the FA Cup to First Division West Bromwich Albion. There were angry

  • Comment from The Northern Echo - Chance to make amends

    THE Richard Neale scandal did much to tarnish the image of The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton and - with a legal battle continuing in a bid to force a public inquiry - it is not over yet. Mr Neale is an incompetent gynaecologist who is also a liar

  • Suspended surgeon returns

    A RESPECTED surgeon who was sacked and then reinstated after his affair with a patient is to return to work, it was revealed last night. Suspended gynaecologist Neil Hebblethwaite was due to face a General Medical Council misconduct hearing. But yesterday

  • New year, same old names

    OUT with the old, in with a New Year tradition. Gayle Methodist Chapel has held a New Year's Day Festival since at least 1845, when more than 150 sat down to the free tea which, no less customarily, follows. The chapel history also records the case of

  • Magpies edge past Palace

    WHERE goals are concerned, Alan Shearer has always had what you might call the gift of the grab. But Palace manager Trevor Francis, who scored a few of his own in his time, insists the Newcastle captain has developed a new quality - the gift of the gab

  • Police question youths over stabbing

    THREE youths are being questioned by police in Redcar in connection with the stabbing of a 44-year-old man. The man was taken to Middlesbrough General Hospital on December 28 after he was stabbed in the stomach, face and leg by a gang of six youths, in

  • 'Horrific' paedophile jailed for 14 years

    A PAEDOPHILE who sexually abused three fatherless children in County Durham and fed them their pet rabbits was last night beginning a 14-year jail sentence. Police who investigated the "horrific" offences of former soldier James Mason said yesterday that

  • Turner's harsh words as freeze threatens chaos

    POSTPONEMENTS over the festive period have meant Third Division clubs Hartlepool United and Darlington are faced with a fixture back-log over the coming months. Pool have rearranged matches with Scunthorpe (January 29), Bristol Rovers (February 12) and

  • Flower Power at the Gala

    It has taken five years to get from the drawing board to reality, but the region's newest theatre finally opens later this month. Nick Morrison meets the team in charge of making it a success. WHEN Rob Flower invited people living near the new theatre

  • Drivers ignore alcohol limits

    HUNDREDS of motorists across the North-East have taken to the roads over the drink-drive limit this Christmas - despite a campaign warning of the effects of excessive alcohol. Of 6,815 drivers breath-tested by police in Cleveland, Durham and Northumberland

  • Car man attacks snowball fight boy

    A TEENAGE boy was attacked by a passenger who saw red when a snowball hit the car in which he was travelling. The man, in his 30s, wrestled the 13-year-old boy to the ground before punching him in the face. Youngster Glen Crosier had been taking part

  • Widow's worry over pension

    Q I have just started reading your column, where I have learned about minimum income guarantee. Could it apply to me? Since my husband died 18 months ago, I have been struggling to live on a retirement pension of £65 a week, out of which I pay council

  • Hear All Sides

    Letters from The Northern Echo METRIC MARTYRS W COLLINSON'S (HAS, Dec 29) half truths about Stephen Thoburn, the Metric Martyr, and the computer age, prove that spin and smokescreens have now reached the Labour rank and file. Would that be a computer,

  • Wind farm plan in line for cash boost

    ONE of the world's largest wind farms - being planned for the North-East - could be in line for Government cash after ministers declared 2002 "the year of renewables". Plans are being drawn up for a wind farm at former steel sites at Redcar and Lackenby

  • Vice girl shame of police authority stalwart

    A SENIOR member of a police authority has resigned after being caught kerb crawling in a notorious Teesside red light district. John Whiteman, the deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, was found in a "state of undress" with a prostitute after

  • Finances the top priority

    THE favourite New Year's resolution among people in the North-East is to get their finances in better shape. Thirty-two per cent of Northerners claim they are disorganised when it comes to their finances and they intend to change their ways, according

  • Theatre takes a bow before restoration

    THE curtain falls on another act in the life of one of the region's playhouses this evening. The Georgian Theatre Royal, in Richmond, North Yorkshire, closes with a sell-out performance of Auld Lang Syne, by Martin Reynolds and his troupe of artistes

  • Plenty of volunteers for Phillips' penalty duties

    SUNDERLAND manager Peter Reid will keep the name of his new penalty-taker a secret until the next spot-kick award. But there was no shortage of volunteers to take over from ace striker Kevin Phillips in the final training session before today's FA Cup

  • Site approval will provide jobs tonic for medicine firm

    MORE than 300 jobs could be created on Teesside if plans to build a bio-pharmaceutical facility are approved. The site at medicines producer Avecia, in Belasis Avenue, Billingham, will provide for the contract manufacturing of bio-pharmaceutical products

  • Happy couple are aiming for a double Tun at Southwell

    TRAINER Julie Craze and long-term partner Stuart Webster have a rare opportunity to grab some well-deserved limelight at Southwell this afternoon courtesy of the double act Tom and Henry Tun. With the four scheduled National Hunt fixtures falling foul

  • Mellanby's Cup dream is put on ice

    DESPITE being paired with opposition from a higher division, Darlington's Danny Mellanby was in confident mood before today's Feethams FA Cup clash was called off. Peterborough are currently 17th in the second division and have struggled this term, and

  • Training ground delays anger Robson

    BOBBY ROBSON has told chairman Freddy Shepherd to put Newcastle United's Premiership title hopes on ice - until he provides the club with proper training facilities. As the big freeze kept its grip on the North-East yesterday, Magpies manager Robson admitted

  • Newcastle sign Ameobi on new long-term deal

    STRIKER Shola Ameobi has signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract with Newcastle United. The 20-year-old, a product of United's youth academy who broke into the first team early last season, is now tied to the club until the end of season 2005-06. Born

  • Oops, sorry for the noise . . . back to the interview

    BREAKING wind, using unintentional double-entendres and falling off the chair are just some of the most embarrassing moments during job interviews. Other anecdotes from red-faced job seekers include bras and buttons bursting open, forgetting your own

  • Reject Aaron backs Zoe in hunt for TV's Pop Idol

    FORMER Pop Idol hopeful Aaron Bayley is backing Darlington teenager Zoe Birkett for success in the ITV show. The Geordie, ejected from the contest last weekend, believes the 16-year-old will be in the final two, with Popstars reject Darius Danesh. Meanwhile

  • Hearing strips Falcons of powerhouse Taione

    NEWCASTLE Falcons will not be able to include Tongan powerhouse Epi Taione if their Heineken European Cup tie against Leinster goes ahead at Kingston Park this evening. As the hearing has yet to be held into his dismissal against Gloucester last Saturday

  • Spending dents hope of rate cut

    DATA on Britain's spending habits put a nail in the coffin of any remaining hopes of an interest rate cut next week. While some economists say rates could still fall lower, perhaps in February or March, a number say rates have reached their lowest point

  • Christmas trading updates in store

    After a quiet couple of weeks, City announcements are set to pick up, with a number of high street store firms due to give updates on the key Christmas trading period. Analysts say anecdotal evidence suggests most of the UK retailers have traded strongly

  • Killer told he'll serve at least nine years

    A TEENAGE killer who battered a student to death on a pier will serve at least nine years behind bars, a judge ruled yesterday. A month after Kevin Littlewood 18, was convicted of murdering John Paul Jeffries on Skeleton Pier, near Hartlepool Marina,

  • Kilbane backing Sunderland for FA Cup run

    REPUBLIC of Ireland international Kevin Kilbane believes that Sunderland are good enough to put an FA Cup run together - and he is hoping to be part of it in today's home third round tie against his old club, West Brom. Kilbane is in the unusual position

  • Creature comforts

    A furry, eight foot tall, 800lb monster and a jolly green ogre are set to upstage the familiar red carpet parade of actresses in flesh-revealing designer dresses and tuxedo-wearing actors at this year's Academy Awards ceremony. These outsize creatures