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Family hears how Gemma Simpson was killed 14 years ago

The family of a woman who had been missing from her home in Leeds for 14 years have today heard in detail for the first time how she was in fact killed and then dismembered by one of her friends.

Since the year 2000, the loved ones of Gemma Simpson have been desperate for news of her. Today they wept in court as they were told she'd been bludgeoned and then stabbed to death before being dumped in a shallow grave - all those years ago.

Her killer - a man - who heard voices in his head and who'd been discharged from psychiatric hospital just weeks before the attack. Jon Hill's report begins with the words of Gemma's mum Linda when she spoke to the ITV programme Missing two years after her daughter vanished.

Man jailed for stealing from children's hospice

Richard Shepherd Credit: South Yorkshire Police

A Doncaster man has been jailed after pleading guilty to stealing from Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in Rotherham.

Richard Shepherd, 26, pleaded guilty to theft by employee at an earlier hearing.

At Sheffield Crown Court today he was sentenced to one year in prison and a further 12 months on license.

A police investigation was launched after staff at Bluebell Wood contacted police with their suspicions about Shepherd in July 2013. One member of staff reported observing Shepherd, employed as a finance assistant, counting large piles of money, which was outside of normal procedure.

The hospice installed covert cameras, which captured Shepherd putting bundles of money in his pockets before leaving the office.

Officers discovered that Shepherd had been paying significant sums of money into his bank account between December 2012 and July 2013. Financial investigation of the hospice’s donations log showed a deficit of just over £20,000 during that period.

Shepherd’s actions are deplorable and I am pleased he has now admitted his guilt.

To steal donated money from a charitable organisation, especially one that provides essential care and support for terminally ill children and their families, is despicable.

The money he stole allowed Shepherd to fund a lifestyle far above that afforded by his legitimate income.

We are grateful to Bluebell Wood for their support and patience through what has been a long investigation and I hope that the conclusion of proceedings today shows that justice has been done.

– PC Angela Harwick, South Yorkshire Police


Man stabbed in town centre on weekday afternoon

Police in South Yorkshire are appealing for witnesses after a man was stabbed in Rotherham town centre on a weekday afternoon.

At around 2:30pm on 9 December a 37-year-old man was walking through the town centre with his wife. In Howard Street it is alleged a group of teenage boys attacked him after an argument.

He was taken to hospital for treatment and is now recovering at home.

Two 19-year-old men and a 20-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of wounding and have been bailed pending further enquiries.

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Gemma's killer released from mental hospital weeks earlier

The court heard that Martin Bell, who was 30 at the time of the attack, had known Miss Simpson for around five years.

On the day of her death, the pair met at Leeds railway station before going back to Bell's flat in Harrogate.

Bell was questioned by police after Miss Simpson was reported missing and said the young woman had called him to ask if she could stay with him but he had not seen her that day.

In July this year, Bell rang a former girlfriend and told her he had killed someone 14 years ago. He then handed himself in at Scarborough police station.

During his interviews, Bell took police to Brimham Rocks and showed them where he had buried Miss Simpson, and her remains were recovered.

He said he had visited the site four or fives times since Miss Simpson's death.

Bell told police he had considered confessing in the past but his mother was still alive and he was concerned about losing his freedom.

Paul Greaney QC, defending Bell, told the court the defendant heard voices telling him to do things and had "developed complex delusional beliefs" which saw him moving around the country because he believed a group of men were trying to kill him.

He had been sectioned in a mental hospital for around nine months in August 1999 and was released around six weeks before he killed Miss Simpson.

Mr Greaney said the doctor who discharged Bell accepted that the delusions had not disappeared at that stage.

A psychiatric report carried out after Bell's arrest diagnosed his mental illness as schizophrenia.

Mr Greaney said: "At the time of the killing, Martin Bell was suffering from a serious mental illness which substantially impaired his mental responsibility in doing what he did in killing Gemma Simpson."

He added: "The killing would not have occurred had he been well."<

Mr Greaney said if Bell had not handed himself in to police, "he would probably have gone to his own grave without ever being punished".

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, said he would sentence Bell on Friday.

"God told him to kill her": Martin Bell's testimony


Martin Bell admits manslaughter of Gemma Simpson

Leeds United under transfer embargo

Leeds United is one of three Championship clubs under a transfer embargo.

Leeds United has been punished for failing to meet the League's Financial Fair Play rules Credit: Press Association

The Football League announced that the club will be prevented from signing players in the January transfer window after failing to meet the League's Financial Fair Play rules.

Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham Forest will also suffer the same punishment.

The Football League said the clubs were penalised for exceeding the maximum permitted deviation of £8m.

They will have the opportunity to have the embargo lifted at the end of the season by demonstrating that it has stayed within the maximum permitted deviation of £6m

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