Live updates

Body found on Crimdon beach

The body of a man has been found washed up on the beach in the Crimdon area, a relatively short distance to the south of Blackhall in County Durham.

Although the body has not yet been formally identified, police believe this is the local man in his mid-twenties who is thought to have gone into the water at Blackhall yesterday (December 14).

There do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances.

The man’s family has been informed and the work being carried out by police and HM Coastguard has now finished.

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Drunk dad kills baby daughter during nappy change

Stephen Gallagher

A doting dad killed his 14-week old baby girl when he tried to change her nappy while "horribly drunk".

Skylar Cowan Gallagher, who was born seven weeks premature, had been left in the care of her father, 35-year-old Stephen Gallagher, while her mother went out for the night last June.

Newcastle Crown Court heard when the baby's mother, Angela Cowan, left the family home, her baby girl was content, clean and asleep in her bouncy chair in the living room.

When she returned early the next morning, her young daughter was lying face-down and lifeless on the rug, without her nappy on.

The baby's father, who had been downing cans of lager and cider and was so drunk he urinated under the fish tank, was asleep on the sofa, with no memory of what had happened to his baby.

Despite the desperate mum's frantic effort to get help for her little girl, she was pronounced dead at hospital from asphyxiation.

Gallagher, of Hepscott Avenue, Blackhall Colliery, County Durham, has never been able to explain what exactly happened to the baby girl.

He admitted causing or allowing the death of a child and has been jailed for 32 months.

Man to appear in court following Peterlee assault

Andrew Ford was critically injured after being attacked in Perterlee Credit: Durham Police

A man will appear at Peterlee Magistrates tomorrow morning charged with assault following an incident which left a father of two with serious head injuries.

Andrew Ford, 34, was attacked at his home in Second Street, Blackhall on the morning of Tuesday, 5 June.

He suffered a serious head injury and has remained since then in the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. He has not regained consciousness.

Yesterday detectives arrested a 27-year-old Blackhall man, Paul Michael Bishop in connection with the incident.

Last week 20-year-old Christopher Hilton, from Brandlings Way in Blackhall appeared at Peterlee magistrates charged with a section 18 assault on Mr Ford. He was remanded in custody and is due before Durham Crown Court tomorrow, June 20.

Man found beaten in his home is critical

A man's critically ill in hospital after he was found badly beaten in his home.

Police were called to Second Street in Blackhall on Tuesday morning following reports of a disturbance. When officers arrived they found the 30-year-old unconscious and bleeding from his mouth.

He was taken by ambulance to the James Cook University Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

Two local men have been arrested on suspicion of assault and have been released on police bail.

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