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Man arrested in connection with murder of Norma Bell

Police have arrested a 32-year-old man on suspicion of murder in connection with the death of 79-year-old Norma Bell.

Norma was found dead in her home on Sunday 3rd April in Westbourne Road, Hartlepool after a suspicious fire and a postmortem examination confirmed that she had died prior to the blaze.

It emerged yesterday that after forensic searches in the wreckage of Norma's home, officers believed a substantial amount of money, thought to be hundreds of pounds, was missing from the address.

Cleveland police confirmed today that a 32-year-old man was arrested overnight in connection with her death.

A spokesperson for the force said: "The man remains in police custody at this time."

Norma was a mother of three biological children and a foster mother to more than 50 foster children. She had lived on Westbourne Road for 27 years and would have celebrated her 80th birthday in May.

Our mum was a loving and caring person who lived for her family. To lose her in this manner is heartbreaking.

We would urge anybody with information regarding the death of our mother to come forward and speak to police.

We also ask for privacy at this sad time to allow us to come to terms with this huge loss.

– Norma Bell's family

Police have urged anyone with any information to come forward.

Hartlepool hospital fertility service has reprieve

The University Hospital of Hartlepool. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Fertility services in Hartlepool will continue until the end of July, following a ruling at the High Court.

The town's council say they will now do all they can to keep the services full time.

North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust say they will consult with the council about whether to continue offering treatment locally, but are concerned they can't recruit enough staff to keep the unit running.


Angela Wrightson: murder verdicts for teenage girls

Angela Wrightson

Two teenage girls have been found guilty of the murder of Hartlepool woman Angela Wrightson.

Ms Wrightson was 39 when she was found dead in her home in Stephen Street in December 2014, with more than 100 injuries, after becoming the victim of what was described as a 'brutal and sustained assault.'

She was attacked with a number of weapons, including a television, shovel, a computer printer, and a piece of wood with screws protruding.

The girls, who were 13 and 14 at the time and are now both 15, often went to Angela's house to get her to buy them cigarettes and alcohol. There was no apparent motive.

The girls cannot be named for legal reasons. They were both in tears as the verdicts were delivered at Leeds Crown Court.

Angela Wrightson murder verdict: NHS statement

We would like to express our deepest sympathies to Angela Wrightson’s family and friends at this difficult time. We understand that it has also been a challenging and emotional time for the community, staff and agencies involved in this case.

The Local Safeguarding Adults and Children’s Boards have commissioned an independent safeguarding adult review in respect of Angela and a serious case review in respect of the two children. Until these reviews are concluded, we are unable to comment on the circumstances of the children.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is fully supportive of these reviews which will involve all relevant organisations working together along with the help of national experts and national research in this field.

The reviews will look in depth at the circumstances that led to Angela’s murder and the conclusions of these, which will be made public in due course, will establish what lessons can be learnt to help prevent similar events in the future.

– Jean Golightly, Executive Nurse, NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning

Norma Bell murder: handbag found

Detectives can now confirm that a handbag believed to have been previously missing from Norma Bell's address has now been located inside the property.

Cleveland Police say a forensic and extremely detailed search is a painstaking and slow task.

They say hundreds of pounds does appear to have been taken from the house.

Meanwhile, officers are putting up posters around the area.

Angela Wrightson murder verdict: Hartlepool Council

Firstly, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Angela Wrightson’s family and friends at this difficult time following her tragic death.

Angela’s death has touched the hearts of many people in the Hartlepool community who knew her, and as such it has also been an emotionally challenging time for council staff and other agencies who have been involved in this case.

An independent safeguarding adult review is being undertaken regarding Angela Wrightson and independent serious case reviews are being carried out in respect of the two children.

The council fully supports these multi-agency reviews which will involve all of the relevant organisations. The two children were receiving services from the council and other agencies, but until the ongoing serious case reviews are concluded, it would not be appropriate to comment on the circumstances of the children at this time.

Incidents like this are extremely rare, but we need to do everything possible to try to better understand what motivated the two children to behave as they did.

Given the exceptional circumstances of this case, the serious case reviews and the safeguarding adult review will be seeking the help of national experts and national research in this field, to ensure that everyone can learn from this case to help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

– Gill Alexander, Hartlepool Council’s Chief Executive


Angela Wrightson murder verdict: police statement

Detective Chief Superintendent Peter McPhillips (R). Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Angela Wrightson was murdered in her home address 14 Stephen Street Hartlepool, overnight on December 8, 2014.

This was a highly unusual and shocking incident. Throughout almost 25 years of service I have never come across such a brutal murder committed by such young girls. Angela was subjected to a prolonged, sustained attack and the pathologist identified a significant number of injuries to her body caused by at least twenty-five blows with weapons.

Officers have worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and other partner agencies to build a case against the two girls and I am pleased that the overwhelming weight of evidence in the prosecution case has resulted in guilty verdicts today.

In my experience this is an almost unique investigation in terms of the age of the offenders and the fact that they are girls. Many questions remain unanswered about the motive for the murder but the family of Angelawho have had to endure the most shocking and traumatic details unfolding over the last few weeks will get some satisfaction from knowing that her killers have now been convicted of the killing.

The Local Safeguarding Adult and Children Board have commissioned a Safeguarding Adult Review and a Serious Case Review, which hopefully will examine the circumstances leading up to the murder. The reviews will determine whether any lessons can be learned and the report will be made public.

– Statement from Detective Chief Superintendent Peter McPhillips

Wrightson family tribute

It’s true that Angela (or Angie as she was known to us all) led a troubled and at times chaotic lifestyle.

And as a family we were not as close as we ought to have been. The chance to put that right has been taken away from us.

Angie was attacked and brutally murdered in her own home, a place where we all have the right to feel safe. Listening to the details of her injuries and of her final moments has been a harrowing experience and something which will continue to haunt us each and every day.

No sentence, regardless of its severity, will ever bring Angie back. The two girls responsible will one day be women themselves, free to live their lives and perhaps have children of their own. A right which was taken from Angie.

We would like to thank the police and the prosecution team for their compassion and continued support throughout this difficult time. We’d also like to thank those people who gave evidence and spoke on Angie’s behalf in court. And if any positive can be taken from this experience it is the kindness displayed by those who knew Angie best.

Angie’s infectious personality touched the hearts of so many people and it is those fond memories which we continue to cherish as we attempt to move forward.

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