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Mayor of Gateshead offers condolences to France attack victims

A priest taken hostage by two armed men in a church in Saint-Etienne-Du-Rouvray in Normandy has been killed.

French police confirmed he died after being attacked with a knife and one of the members of the congregation was also seriously injured in the attack.

Gateshead has been twinned with Saint-Etienne-Du-Rouvray since 1974, a relationship that first began in 1963 at Felling town council.

On behalf of the people of Gateshead I want to express our sincere condolences to the people of Saint-Etienne-Du-Rouvray following the horrific attack today.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones at this difficult time."

– Councillor Allison Ilderton-Thompson, Mayor of Gateshead


Families involved in coach crash to be refunded

Families from the North East, who had a miraculous escape from a burning coach in France, have been told they'll receive a refund.

More than 60 firefighters worked through the night to control flames. Credit: Sapeurs-pompiers de l'Oise @SDIS60

They were on their way to Disneyland in Paris on Friday night, February 13, when their National Holidays bus crashed with lorries and a petrol tanker.

Many of the families arrived back in the region last night:


Durham family say Foreign Office has wasted their time

The family of a man from Durham who died in France have accused the Foreign Office of wasting their time and putting them through needless stress and expense.

Andrew Watt's body was found in a country lane 140 miles West of Paris nearly four years ago.

For the past two years Andrew's family have been embroiled in a legal fight with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to gain access to documents relating to the case. They claim that access has always been refused because they were told the documents were so sensitive they threatened relations between France and the UK.

Last week, after a £5,000 legal battle and a 27,000-strong petition, they were finally invited to view the material for themselves in London.

But when they got there they discovered the that documents they had been waiting so long to see contained information they had already been given.

The Foreign Office saysit can't comment on individual cases

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