OCTOBER started on a tragic note, with a mass shooting at an outdoor music festival in Las Vegas leaving 59 people dead and 527 others injured.

Stephen Craig Paddock sprayed bullets on revellers enjoying the Route 91 Harvest Festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, on Las Vegas Strip.

The 64-year-old retired accountant from Mesquite, Nevada, killed himself before officers stormed Room 135 in the gold-coloured glass skyscraper.

Assistant sheriff Todd Fasulo said Paddock had 23 guns – some with scopes – in his hotel room. Authorities found 19 more guns at his home in Mesquite, as well as explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Several pounds of ammonium nitrate, a fertiliser that can be turned into explosives such as those used in the 1995 Oklahoma bombing, were discovered in his car.

Investigators believe the shooting – the most deadly in modern US history – was a “lone wolf” attack, and say they do not have any information to lead them to suspect there were more assailants.

THE holiday plans of hundreds of thousands of Britons were plunged into turmoil after travel firm Monarch went into administration, cancelling the flights and holidays of an estimated 860,000. Some 110,000 customers overseas were being flown home in what the Government called the UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation.

A further three quarters of a million people held future bookings with the travel firm. Monarch’s board called in administrators KPMG, and administrator Blair Nimmo said the company, which employs around 2,100 people across its airline and tour group, had struggled with mounting costs and competitive market conditions that saw it suffer a period of sustained losses.

ONE of October’s most remarkable stories saw a flag which was stolen during the 1966 World Cup handed in to The Northern Echo by the man who took it – more than half a century after the theft was discovered.

The Soviet Union flag was being flown outside Durham University sports centre, where the country was training for the football World Cup, which was held in England in July 1966. But following the match between Italy and Chile at Roker Park in Sunderland, Alex Henderson, the warden of the sports centre, reported it missing. Durham Police launched an investigation, but the flag was never found.

Remarkably, 51 years after the flag was stolen, it was handed into to The Northern Echo’s Priestgate office in Darlington. The man who took the flag asked to remain anonymous, and said it had been stored in his home for the last 50 years. He said he had decided now was the right time to return the flag because he had no one to pass it onto. Asked why he stole the flag in the first place, the man said it was a “spur of the moment thing”.

EX-ENGLAND captains Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney were among the great and good of football at the funeral of former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd that month.

More than 500 people were at the service for Mr Shepherd, who was described as Mr Charisma by one of his three sons. Mr Shepherd, a devoted family man who helped revive Newcastle United’s fortunes in the 1990s, died suddenly aged 75 on September 25. Former Newcastle striker Shearer gave a eulogy, thanking Mr Shepherd for bringing him back to his home town team, allowing him to break the club’s scoring record.

TEES Valley mayor Ben Houchen unveiled plans to develop land belonging to the former SSI steelworks in Redcar that aim to create thousands of jobs.

He said the vision could be “the engine for the next industrial revolution”. The 25-year regeneration ‘masterplan’ has the potential to bring 20,000 jobs to the area, as well as add an additional £1bn per year to the local economy, and will help to repair the “heartache and human tragedy” of the SSI collapse, according to Mr Houchen. The land earmarked for development, which is in excess of 2,000 acres, is still owned by SSI-IL (SSI in liquidation), Tata Steel, Redcar Bulk Terminal and British Steel. However, Mr Houchen insisted it will be a case of “when, not if” the land is available for development.

THIEVES used explosives to gain entry to a cash machine at Matalan on Neasham Road, Darlington. The blast was heard two miles away in the early hours of October 26.

One women who heard the explosion said: “I've never heard anything like it. I shot up straight in bed.”

Resident Joan Latcham, who lives opposite the scene, said: "I heard a big bang but just thought that it was fireworks at first. When I looked out of the window, I could see crowds of people out on the streets.

"I don’t know how anyone wasn’t hurt in the explosion, they must have used a timer or something.

"Whoever did it must have been fast as the police were here within minutes."

Acting Inspector John Hoar from Durham Constabulary, said: “We would like to reassure local residents that this is a targeted isolated incident.”

ALSO that month, a couple were charged with engaging in sex acts in a Domino’s pizza shop.

Daniella Hirst and Craig Smith were shown on CCTV having sex while employees worked on the other side of the counter in the Domino's Pizza restaurant, on Castle Road, in Scarborough.

The pair were issued with community orders which included a curfew between 7am and 7pm that will be monitored by electronic tags. The punishment also means the couple will have to participate in rehabilitation activities.

TWO people were found guilty of murder after they tied up and tortured a man for a prolonged period.

Kieran Adey, 19, of Queen Street, Grange Villa, and Zoe Warren, 20, of Hexham, Washington were convicted of killing Mark Shaw at his home near Chester-le-Street.

The victim died of a stab wound to his back after being punched, kicked, bitten and beaten with a pool cue.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Mr Shaw, 29, suffered more than 80 injuries to his head, body and torso.

DARLINGTON Borough Council hit the headlines for selling off vintage chairs for a fraction of their potential value.

The borough's councillors made important decisions while sitting in the leather rosewood armchairs since the town hall opened in 1970.

The chairs were designed by Peter Hoyte, who made 60 of them for the council chamber.

Darlington Borough Council using an online auction site to sell each of the chairs for £100, bringing in a total of £5,000 which was spent on the refurbishment of the council chamber.

A spokesman for Darlington Borough Council said: “Although the chairs were an attractive feature, they were bespoke and not particularly suitable for use in wedding ceremonies.

“The money raised for the sale of the chairs – about £5,000 – was offset against the cost of the council chamber refurbishment, which was necessary because of the relocation of the register office service.”

After the sale many of the chairs were sold on by individuals who were commanding a price of up to £695 for a single chair.