A SAILOR was jailed for nine years yesterday after a brave rape victim told of her ordeal after two decades of silence.

The woman, now in her thirties, contacted police when she heard that James Purvis, 53, was a grandfather with access to young girls. During a trial at Newcastle Crown Court the woman relived what had happened to her when she was a girl of just nine. Purvis, of Dickens Avenue, South Shields, was found guilty of four charges of rape and one of indecent assault relating to another girl who was also aged about nine. Purvis, who has no previous convictions, claims that the allegations were made simply because he was an easy target.

Prison death: An inquest opened yesterday into the death of a prison inmate in Durham last week. Scott Charles Fisher was found hanging in his cell at Durham Jail on June 26. Mr Fisher, 24, was a single man from the Carlisle area. After hearing brief identification evidence, North Durham Coroner Andrew Tweddle adjourned the inquest pending further inquiries, allowing Mr Fisher's family to make funeral arrangements.

TV recording: A TV show is returning to the region after a successful trip to the auction rooms. BBC1's Bargain Hunt will be back in Darlington in October after recording four shows at Thomas Watson's auction rooms, in Northumberland Street, last month. The film crew and presenter David Dickinson are returning to the auction rooms on October 1, to film more programmes.

One way: A one-way system is to be introduced for those attending Croft circuit for the British Touring Cars meeting next weekend. The one-way system along West lane, south of Dalton-on-Tees to its junction with the A167, will be introduced as necessary to cope with traffic flow in and out of the circuit.

MAGAZINE LAUNCH: Arriva Trains Northern has launched a quarterly on-board magazine for rail travellers. On-Line will contain lifestyle articles, travel features, puzzles and promotions. More than 20,000 copies of the magazine will be available on trains and stations across its network.

Language star: A comprehensive school pupil who was taught French by her mum is Cambridge University's top scholar. Catherine Dobson's mother, Elizabeth, taught her the language for five years and now she has a first class degree and become Cambridge's top woman student. Catherine, 23, of Morpeth, Northumberland, said: "I was absolutely thrilled. I've always loved languages but I never expected to do this well. But I have my mum to thank for all this."

study FINDINGS: Details of a year-long study into issues raised among young people in County Durham will be revealed next week. Durham Youth Assembly will present its findings to North Durham MP Kevan Jones and Councillor Neil Foster, the county council cabinet member for education, at a meeting at Neville's Cross, Durham, next Friday.

Epilepsy guide: Epilepsy Action yesterday launched an introductory guide for people who have been diagnosed with epilepsy. For details, call the Epilepsy Action Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 5050, or order on line at www.epilepsy.org.uk