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Turing actor urges further pardon for gay 'convicts'

Benedict Cumberbatch Credit: PA

Manchester University graduate Benedict Cumberbatch is one of several celebrities backing a campaign to pardon tens of thousands of gay men convicted for their sexuality. The actor plays Alan Turing in The Imitation Game the film about the maths genuis who broke the German Enigma Code saving hundreds of lives in the Second World War. Turing who worked at Manchester University went on to commit suicide at his home in Wilmslow when he was chemically castrated after being found guilty of gross indecency in 1952. Cumberbatch and Stephen Fry have put their names to a letter asking the Government to repeat the pardon given to Turing for hundreds of other men punished by the judiciary for their sexuality.

Alan Turing the maths genius who killed himself after being convicted of gross indecency Credit: PA

Fracking debate in Blackpool

Leading figures from both sides of the controversy surrounding fracking for shale gas have shared a stage in what's thought to be first conference of its kind in our region. Energy firm Cuadrilla are hoping to start drilling for shale gas on two sites in Lancashire - supporters say fracking is safe and could solve our country's future energy needs. But groups opposing them say the rush for shale gas ignores many potential dangers.


Police hunt ATM suspect

A prolific criminal from our region who targets hole in the wall cash machines has become one of the most wanted men in Europe. Andrew White from Liverpool was part of a gang who used explosives to steal tens of thousands of pounds from ATMs across the North West and other parts of the UK. It's believed he's in Spain - and responsible for a very similar crime spree over there.

Family of teenager killed in collision pay tribute

Jack Essex Credit: Greater Manchester Police

The family of a teenage boy who died after a collision in Manchester city centre has paid tribute. 18 year old Jack Essex from Manchester, died in hospital yesterday after suffering a head injury following a collision with a lorry on Portland Street on Wednesday.

Our lovely bright boy Jack would be revelling in the amount of Facebook and Twitter activity, but we kindly ask that people stick to tributes and facts. Jack's partner, Tony and Jack's siblings Kat, Charlotte and Alex and parents John and Donna are deeply moved by the thousands of messages and tributes that have been made and continue to pour in. Jack had always expressed a wish to be an organ donor and Tony and his family have ensured that this wish has come true. This tragic accident has affected not only ourselves, but others including the driver of the vehicle concerned. Our thoughts are also with him and his family. We kindly ask the press to now respect our privacy at this horrendous time for us all.

– Family statement

Police release CCTV of car in attempted abduction

Police have released this image of a car seen shortly before the attack Credit: GMP

Greater Manchester Police has released CCTV footage showing a car, moments before it is believed to have been involved in an attempted abduction in Gorton. Shortly before 12:35pm on Tuesday 27 January 2015, a 23-year-old woman was jogging on Gorton Lane, Gorton when a man driving a black Honda Accord pulled up alongside her, and beckoned her over. Once she got near the car he grabbed her arm. She managed to escape and raise the alarm. Detectives describe the driver as being a clean shaven Asian man of slim build in his mid-20s with a prominent nose and bushy eyebrows. He was wearing dark clothing.

This footage was taken nearby, shortly before the incident took place and although it doesn’t show the driver, we are releasing it today in the hope that somebody may recognise the car itself. I would like to reassure the local community that we believe this to be an isolated incident and we are working tirelessly to track down the offender. This poor young woman was understandably left terrified by the attack but she has been a great help to us and the investigation and I would like to pay a huge tribute to her for that. Thankfully, the victim was able to get away from the car unharmed but nobody should ever have to experience what she did that day and I would please urge anybody who may recognise the car in the footage to please come forward.

– Detective Constable Jamie Heaton, Greater Manchester Police


£45,000 fine for solar panel firm after worker death

The Health and Safety Executive have spoken out after a Preston-based company which installs solar panels was fined £45,000, following the death of a worker who fell through a barn roof.

Gregorz Sobko had been working on the roof of a cowshed when one of the clear plastic panels, designed to let in light, gave way. The 34-year-old from Southport fell five metres to the concrete floor below and died in hospital ten days later.

Eco Generation Ltd of Watkin Lane in Lostock Hall, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at Tower View Farm in Hutton on 15 November 2011 after an investigation found the company had failed to provide vital safety equipment.

Preston Crown Court heard that the company had been hired to fit solar panels to the flat roof on the cowshed, which was about 20 metres wide by 60 metres long. Each worker had only been given two wooden planks, known as youngmans boards, to stand on while they worked, despite there being dozens of fragile plastic panels on the roof.

Mr Sobko had been fitting a solar panel just over a metre away from one of the fragile roof panels when he accidentally stepped on it and fell through the roof. The court was told there were several measures Eco Generation could have taken to protect workers, such installing netting under the panels, placing protective covers over them or putting up barriers.

Gregorz tragically lost his life because his employer failed to make sure basic safety measures were in place to protect workers. The risk of people falling through fragile roofs in well known, and the fact that Eco Generation installed netting under a small part of the roof shows the company was aware of the dangers. However, this didn’t even come close to what was needed to protect the workers. The youngmans boards provided were entirely unsuitable and instead a proper working platform or safety barriers should have been erected on the roof. It is vital firms carrying out work on roofs take the risks seriously and put measures in place to protect their employees, otherwise we will continue to see the needless deaths of workers like Gregorz.

– HSE Inspector Chris Smith
  1. Tyne Tees

Search for York teenager extended to Manchester

North Yorkshire Police have extended the search for missing York teenager Darren Patrick Boyd to the Manchester area.

The 15-year-old was last seen at his home in the Boroughbridge Road area of York at 8pm on Wednesday, 28 January.

Darren Patrick Boyd was last seen on Wednesday night

Although it is believed Darren has not come to harm and left home by his own choice, his family and police remain concerned for his wellbeing.

Extensive police enquires are ongoing in both North Yorkshire and with assistance from Greater Manchester Police to confirm he is safe and well.

  1. National

Police investigating Roy Keane 'road rage' incident

Police are investigating an alleged road rage incident involving former Manchester United captain Roy Keane.

Roy Keane Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Keane, 43, is believed to have got into an altercation with a taxi driver in Altrincham town centre.

At 11.30am, police were called to Ashley Road, Altrincham, to a report that a man had behaved aggressively towards another man. An investigation is under way to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the incident.

– Greater Manchester Police spokesperson
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