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Investigation launched into death of woman at Co. Durham prison

The Ministry of Justice has launched an investigation into the death of a mother who hanged herself at a Durham jail, six days after giving birth and shortly after being taken off suicide watch.

Michelle Barnes died in her cell at Low Newton prison on December 16th 2015. Her partner claims she told a guard she was planning to harm herself that day. He also claims that she told staff she was concerned her daughter would be taken into care at a hearing the following day

Low Newton Prison Credit: Google Maps

Questions are being asked about why a woman with a history of psychological problems was not put back on suicide watch immediately after having her baby.

The Prison Service says as with all deaths in custody, the independent Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation. An inquest into her death has been opened.


Northumbria Police response to HMIC report

Northumbria and Cleveland Police forces were among 5 in the country - out of 43 - that 'require improvement' in their use of stop-and-search powers.

They have issued this response to the report's findings:

"We accept most of the findings of this report and acknowledge that at the time the inspection took place there were areas for improvement in Northumbria Police.

"It is reassuring to note the positive comments of the HMIC regarding the way our officers engage so positively with our communities, however, we recognise the need to make further improvements in our compliance with the Best use of Stop and Search scheme. We have already taken active steps to ensure we become fully compliant with HMIC recommendations and are now seeking to make further improvements, such as the introduction of a Youth Scrutiny Panel.

"The report highlights the fact that the inspection took place in the spring of 2015, since when a significant amount of change has taken place.

"I am confident that we have made real progress in changing the culture of the organisation to one which welcomes challenge and encourages innovation. I look forward to this year’s inspection as an opportunity for us to show exactly where we are now."

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£14 million works in bid to protect Scarborough cliffs

Scarborough's shoreline could benefit from a £14 million boost in protection against cliff erosion.

Plans are in motion to avoid similar scenes as when Holbeck Hall slid into the sea in 1993 Credit: Press Association

Councillors will be asked to approve the emergency plans at a meeting next week in a bid to protect the area around the South Cliff.

Without the work, there are fears the area above Scarborough Spa, which hosts shows and performances, could fall into the sea.

The Environment Agency has pledged £11.6 million pounds to the works already, with North Yorkshire County Council's members being asked to rubber stamp a further £1.2 million of their own money.


Concern grows for missing Sacriston woman, 67

Police are appealing for help to trace missing Kathleen Holdroyd, 67.

Kathleen lives with family in Plawsworth Road in Sacriston and has mental health issues. She left the house in a distressed state on February 10.

Kathleen Holdroyd

Police are concerned for her welfare and are asking anyone with information to call them on 101.

Weather: Thursday

Credit: Carolyn Farthing-Dunn

Cloud will quickly increase with a few showers spreading southwards, these wintry over higher ground.

Some brighter spells may return before dusk.

Chilly with light winds. Then sharp frost overnight.

Maximum Temperature 4°C.

  1. National

Junior doctor contract talks reach 'end of the road'

A picket line outside Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol. Credit: PA

New contracts could be imposed on junior doctors by the Health Secretary after union leaders rejected his "best and final offer".

The Government's chief negotiator, Sir David Dalton, had warned talks were at "the end of the road" should the British Medical Association not endorse his latest offer by Wednesday afternoon.

Instead the BMA again called on the Health Secretary to accept its own proposed pay model and withdraw his threat to force through changes, even though the Government has refused to "remove that from the table".

A 24-hour strike by medics will end at 8am today.

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