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Police promise more officers than previous derbies

Police say Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby will see more officers on duty than at any previous match.

The game is however being approached differently with no road closures and no marching of fans to the stadium.

Inspired by the generosity of Sunderland fans who raised thousands for charity following the tragic deaths of Liam Sweeney and John Alder, supporters are being asked to make it a day to remember for the right reasons.

Travel advice for derby day

It's the last weekend before Christmas and one of the biggest days in the football calendar for Newcastle and Sunderland fans, so the public are being warned of busy roads and car parks in Newcastle city centre.

Fans queue outside St James' Park after delayed match earlier this year. Credit: PA

Travel information:

Unlike previous derby days, Sunderland fans will not be separately escorted into St James' Park and police have not requested the council close roads.

Newcastle City Council are encouraging drivers to consider using car parks on the outskirts of the city centre and to plan ahead.

Percy Street in particular is likely to be extremely busy. As well as car parks on Percy Street there are others that people can use around the city centre. “There will be buses and Metros running on Sunday and we would encourage people to consider using them as well, instead of bringing their car into Newcastle."

– Andrew McKegney, Newcastle City Council

There will be extra Metro trains for football supporters attending the game and extra services for Christmas shoppers.

The non-stop, direct Metro trains for away fans are not being run at the request of the police.

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10 years of Tyne & Wear derby results

Ahead of their derby this Sunday we look back at the results of the last 10 years of Premier League matches between Newcastle and Sunderland:

  • Wins for Newcastle = 5
  • Wins for Sunderland = 4
  • Draws = 5
Steven Taylor being fouled by former Sunderland player and now teammate Jack Colback Credit: PA

Sunderland lead the tally for the last ten games with four wins compared to two for Newcastle:

  • Feb 2014 - Newcastle vs. Sunderland 0-3
  • Oct 2013 - Sunderland vs. Newcastle 2-1
  • Apr 2013 - Newcastle vs. Sunderland 0-3
  • Oct 2012 - Sunderland vs. Newcastle 1-1
  • Mar 2012 - Newcastle vs. Sunderland 1-1
  • Aug 2011 - Sunderland vs. Newcastle 0-1
  • Jan 2011 - Sunderland vs. Newcastle 1-1
  • Oct 2010 - Newcastle vs. Sunderland 5-1
  • Feb 2009 - Newcastle vs. Sunderland 1-1
  • Oct 2008 - Sunderland vs. Newcastle 2-1

Text Santa: Supporting children in hospices

All this week we've be hearing about how some of the money being raised for Text Santa will benefit people right here in the region, ahead of tonight's live programme on ITV.

St Oswald's Hospice in Newcastle receives support from Together for Short Lives - a national charity that supports children's hospices in the UK.

Here's Deborah and Isabelle's story:

This year's beneficiaries are Alzheimer's Society, The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Teenage Cancer Trust, Together for Short Lives and WellChild.

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Appeal for taxi drivers help after Sunderland murder

Police investigating a murder in Sunderland are appealing for a taxi driver to come forward.

David Wilson was found dead in a property on Southwick Road on 14 December.

David Wilson Credit: Northumbria Police

A 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of his murder. He has now been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

At 4:18am on 14 December, police received a report from a man saying he had been mugged near to the Post Office cash machine in Southwick Green.

Officers believe that between 4:09am and 4:15am the victim flagged down a taxi in the Southwick Green area who stopped and spoke to him.

An appeal has been launched for the taxi driver to come forward and contact police as soon as possible, as he may have information that could help with the enquiry.

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Gemma Simpson's killer sentenced to 12 years in prison

A taxi driver who admitted killing a woman in a "frenzied" attack with a hammer and a knife before sawing her legs off and burying her at a beauty spot has been told he must serve a minimum of 12 years in prison.

Gemma Simpson disappeared in 2000

Martin Bell 45, said God had told him to kill 23-year-old Gemma Simpson when she was at his flat in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, 14 years ago in May 2000.

Bell pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court earlier this week.

Today, Judge Peter Collier QC gave him a life sentence and ordered him to serve a minimum of 12 years.

Martin Bell Credit: West Yorkshire Police

Judge Collier said: "The killing of Gemma Simpson was brutal. Your treatment of her body after death was dreadful.

"But your culpability was considerably diminished by your mental illness."

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.

Police digging at the scene where Gemma was buried

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.

Man dies in Sunderland after false calls

Police have launched an investigation after a man's death in Sunderland.

Officers were called to Toward Road after a report of men with guns inside the address last night.

It was established that the report was false and had come from an address in Wetherby Road - police attended that address and spoke with the caller.

While at the address the caller, a 36-year-old man, became unwell and an ambulance was called to the address.

He was treated at the scene by paramedics and taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital where he died.

Sunderland Royal Hospital Credit: Google Maps

Enquiries are ongoing and will be referred to the IPCC.

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