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Tributes paid to grandfather killed during tractor rally

The family of a man who was killed during a tractor rally on Sunday have paid tribute to their "much loved husband, father, grandfather, brother and greatly respected friend of so many".

Robert Hanson was driving a Fordson Power as part of rally involving numerous vintage tractors on Sunday.

The tractor toppled over when on the B6278 south of Stanhope, killing the 64-year-old from Wingate.

His family have paid tribute to him:

It is with deepest regret that we announce the death of Rob. He was a much loved husband, father, grandfather, brother and greatly respected friend of so many - he will be sadly missed by everyone who had the privilege to have him in their lives.

We wish to thank everyone for their support and now ask to be left in peace in order that we can grieve as a family.

– Robert Hanson's family

Man dies following a tractor crash in Stanhope

A man, who was driving a vintage tractor has lost his life. Credit: PA

A man has died following a tractor crash in Stanhope.

It happened at Bollihope Common on the B6278 south of Stanhope, on the junction with Juniper Banks towards Hill End.

It is believed a man, who was visiting a vintage car show was driving a tractor when he left the road.

Police have confirmed the man, driving the vintage tractor has lost his life.

It is thought the collision took place around 11:30 on Sunday morning.

Police are appealing for witnesses that may be able to help with then enquiries.

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Alleged abuse victims 'failed' by Durham Police

A police chief has urged alleged abuse victims from a former approved school to contact him directly after some former pupils have claimed their complaints were being “swept under the carpet”.

Police were looking into complaints from three individuals over their treatment while pupils at Stanhope Castle school, in County Durham, between the late 1950s and early 1970s.

Following publicity surrounding the case, a number of other people came forward also alleging physical and sexual assaults.

Durham Police say no further action is to be taken in respect of those complaints, although one line of enquiry into a reported incident remains active.

But the angry former pupils say the true scale of the abuse is not being made known and claim police failed to properly investigate.

One former pupil, who was told his case has now been closed, said that he first went to Durham Police in 1999, only to be told years later his files had been lost.

He said 20 ex-pupils living in the region, who have formed a group, recently lodged complaints.

The 67-year-old, who lives in Middlesbrough and claims he was repeatedly raped while at Stanhope, said:

“People don’t realise what went on there. This has affected me all through my life. I named five people and have been told two are dead and there are three they can’t trace. They were four members of staff and one former pupil. This can’t be shut down as long as people are still alive and they haven’t been investigated. I want all this out in the open before I die.”

Another man said he attended Stanhope in the mid 1970s and described it as an “evil, brutal, horrible place”.

He claimed he was tortured, stripped naked and locked in a room without heating or light for up to four days at a time.

He said: “I am not satisfied with the recent investigation. Every time I report this, it is always swept under the carpet.”

Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry, head of Durham Police's safeguarding team, has taken the unusual step of asking anyone unhappy to get in touch with him, while acknowledging the challenging nature of investigating historic abuse from decades ago.

“As a force we are committed to fully investigate every report of historic sexual abuse, as is evident in the Medomsley inquiry [concerning the former detention centre near Consett], where we are working with more than 1,250 victims. We will also investigate reports of historic physical assaults, but there are clear thresholds that have to be met to be made before any charge can be made. The police in co-operation with the Crown Prosecution Service need to consider each allegation on an individual basis, including the opportunities to gather evidence for an offence that took place decades ago. I urge any victim of an assault who is unhappy with Durham Constabulary’s service regarding their investigation to email me directly via paul.goundry@durham.pnn.police.uk. This will enable me to make a decision on the most appropriate course of action.”

– Det Supt Goundry, Durham Police

Stanhope Castle, a grade II listed castle which was built in the late 18th century, became the location for a Home Office approved school during the Second World War.

It was later taken over by Cleveland County Council’s social services department in the early 1970s and turned into a children’s home, but closed in 1981 after becoming under occupied.

Historic sex abuse claims at County Durham school

Claims of historic sex abuse at a former approved school in County Durham are being investigated by police.

Durham Police said it was investigating three separate reports from complainants alleging they were the victims of sexual assaults while they attended Stanhope Castle approved school, in County Durham.

A spokesman for Durham Police said in a statement: "We are currently investigating three separate reports from complainants alleging they were the victims of sexual offences while they were at the school.

"These allegations relate not to former members of staff but two other individuals, a male and a female, who had access to the school premises.

"The offences are said to have happened in the 1950s and the early 1970s."

Stanhope Castle, a grade II listed castle which was built in the late 18th century, became the location for a Home Office approved school during the Second World War with boys being sent to the school after persistent crime.

It closed in 1981 after becoming under occupied and the main building was sold before being divided into flats and maisonettes which are still lived in today.

Police said their enquiries into the sex claims were at a “relatively early stage”.

Man rescued after car washes into the ford

A man was rescued from his car that was washed into the ford in Westgate, near Stanhope.

He was trapped yesterday evening, trying to cross the ford, because of the swollen river and strong currents.

Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service and a specialist Water Rescue Resource from Bishop Auckland freed him by using throw lines and a floating hose.

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