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Church service held after teenager raped in Shiremoor

The vicar at St Mark's Church in Shiremoor led a church service on Sunday evening after reports a teenage girl had been raped in the grounds.

The young teenager reported being attacked last Monday evening at around 8pm after being forcibly led from Park Lane into the church grounds by a stranger who police believe is in his early teens.

Most people have found out over the weekend about what happened, most people are deeply in shock and very sad about what's happened here in Shiremoor, which is a really strong, close-knit community

We held a church service on Sunday evening once the news broke to pray for the local community, for the victim and her family, and for healing in our community. But also, there is a lot of work with children and young people that goes on at St Mark's and that will be continuing and we want to make sure that people know that we're here to bring the community together and that we'll be helping them look after each other.

– Father Tony Curtis

Anyone with information should contact police on 101.

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University staff vote for strike action over pensions

Staff at the universities of Newcastle and Durham have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a row over pensions.

A total of 78% of members of the University and College Union (UCU) who were balloted across 69 universities voted in favour of strike action.

Talks between the union and the universities will be held on Wednesday to try to negotiate a solution.

The union said if the employers continued with their proposals then the union would meet on Friday to decide what form the disruption would take and when it would start.

A vote for action would by likely to include a marking boycott and a refusal to set exams. The action would stop students being set coursework or receiving formal marks and feedback, as well as halting exams.

Woman injured after firework explodes inside car

A 35-year-old woman is recovering after a firework exploded inside her car after being thrown in through the window.

The victim was sat in the stationary vehicle on Sea Road on Wednesday October 15 at around 3:30pm when a man in a dark Audi threw the lit firework into the open window and drove off.

She was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital for treatment.

Earlier that day, a woman saw two fireworks being thrown from a black Audi car, one at the junction of Fulwell Road and Roker Avenue and the second at the junction of Fulwell Road and Roker Baths Road.

Both were thrown onto the road near to passing cars but no damage has been reported.

A 20-year-old man has been arrested.

Throwing fireworks is extremely dangerous and can have serious consequences and we won't tolerate this dangerous anti-social behaviour.

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact officers.

– Sergeant Graeme Ward, Northumbria Police

Man threatened with knife during Sunderland burglary

Police are appealing for information after a man was threatened with a knife during a burglary in Sunderland.

Two men knocked on the door of a house at Lynthorpe in Sunderland on Saturday morning, and when a man in his late 20s answered, they forced their way into the house.

One of the men threatened him with a knife and the pair stole the man's property.

The men are described as white, 6ft tall, medium build and of similar age to the victim. One was wearing dark jeans and a navy hooded top, and had a blue scarf covering his mouth and nose, while the other was wearing blue jogging bottoms and a blue tracksuit top.

Anyone with information should contact police.

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Kitten 'covered in anti-freeze' fighting for its life

A four-month-old kitten is fighting for its life after being covered in a substance, believed to be anti-freeze, outside its owner's home in Redcar.

The owner let the kitten out of the house last Tuesday evening (October 14) and said it was 'very obviously unwell' when it came back indoors.

The kitten is still receiving treatment for life-threatening poisoning.

It's the second time in five weeks one of the owner's cats has been poisoned.

Another of his cats was apparently caught in a snare and had an acid-like substance poured over its back. The cat has now recovered but is scarred for life.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101.

Double murder house up for sale for £390,000

The property on Front Street, Benton is up for sale for £390,000. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A house that was the scene of a double murder has been put up for sale with a price tag of £390,000.

The property on Front Street in Benton is on the market with a local estate agency.

Glen Patterson, 25, was detained indefinitely at Broadmoor Hospital after admitting stabbing his father Ray and grandmother Clara to death at the house in February this year.

County Durham aid worker sets up Ebola hospital in Sierra Leone

Aid worker Paula Sansom has travelled to Sierra Leone. Credit: Family photo

The parents of an aid worker from County Durham, who has joined the effort to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa, say it's probably the most dangerous mission their daughter has ever undertaken.

Paula Sansom, from Middleton St George, has worked on disaster relief operations across the world.

She had just two days' notice to get to Sierra Leone, to help set up a hospital.

It's different because when she's been out to earthquakes, or tsunamis, floods, that sort of thing, you've know what you're up against.

I should imagine this one's a bit more scary because it's in the air, you don't know who your enemy is.

It's a virus, it's horrific.

– Roger Sansom, Paula's father

Barry Sweeney: Majority of SAFC fans have been great

The father of one of the two Newcastle fans killed on flight MH17 has told ITV News Tyne Tees that he doesn't want the actions of a small minority of Sunderland fans to spoil the relationship his family has with the club.

Liam Sweeney and John Alder died in July when the plane they were travelling on was shot down over Ukraine.

At the time, Newcastle and Sunderland fans put aside their rivalry to unite in grief, with SAFC supporters fundraising thousands of pounds.

A 19-year-old man was arrested over the weekend for mocking the deaths of the Newcastle supporters following Sunderland's 8-0 defeat.

I don't want the actions of a small minority to tarnish the relationship that this family has with the majority of Sunderland fans who have been great to us since Liam's death.

– Barry Sweeney
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