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Leeds car crash: Five victims named locally – BBC News

Two young brothers are among the five who died after a stolen car crashed into a tree in Leeds.

Brothers Ellis and Elliott Thornton, aged 12 and 15, died along with 15-year-old Darnell Harte and 24-year-old Robbie Meerun.

Father-of-two Anthoney Armour, 28, whose partner is pregnant with a third child, also died.

Police were called to Stonegate Road in the Meanwood area of the city at 21:54 GMT on Saturday.


Two 15-year-old boys are being held in custody on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

A vigil was held opposite the crash scene late on Sunday night and floral tributes are being left.

One message read: “Elliot and Ellis. Two beautiful boys taken too soon. We will never forget you both and love you both forever and always sleep tight boys.”

Julie, a former neighbour of the brothers, told BBC Radio Leeds: “It’s devastating, they were funny, cheeky lads, always a smile on their faces.”

Some of those involved in the crash are understood to have gone to the nearby Carr Manor Community School.

In a message posted on its website, the school said: “We are aware of the tragic road accident in our local community and send our condolences and sympathies to the families and all those affected by this shocking and upsetting incident.

“Until the police confirm relevant details we are unable to comment further and we will continue to offer support and help to all our pupils who may be affected by this distressing event.”

A police spokesman said officers were confronted by a scene of “complete carnage” when they arrived.

Two victims were pronounced dead at the scene and three died a short time later at hospital, West Yorkshire Police added.

Their families have been informed.

Louise Thornton, 34, described as Ellis and Elliot’s “godmother/aunty Lou”, told the Yorkshire Evening Post the family was “devastated”.

She said: “We were so proud of the boys. They will be hugely missed by the family. It will leave a huge devastating void.

“They were very well-loved. We just can’t describe how much these little boys have left a big void in our family.”

Det Ch Insp Jim Griffiths said: “This is clearly a tragic incident in which five young people have lost their lives.”

Earlier, police said they were working on the assumption all seven were in the same vehicle – a Renault Clio.

However, the force has since said: “Whether they were all in the car or whether some of [the victims] were pedestrians we can’t say at this point in time.”

Stonegate Road is about three miles north of Leeds city centre and has semi-detached houses and wide grass verges between the houses and the road.

Investigators were back at the scene on Monday morning, with anyone with information asked to contact West Yorkshire Police.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This is a truly terrible tragedy, and our thoughts and deepest condolences are with the families and friends of those that have lost loved ones.”





There has been a rise in complaints against the Welsh NHS

A rise in complaints against Welsh NHS bodies is “concerning” and needs to be addressed with tougher legislation, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales has warned.

A new annual report found that the number of health-related complaints in Wales increased from 798 in 2015-16 to 863 in 2016-17, a rise of 8%.

The report states that more than half (55%) of them were upheld or had some form of resolution in the last financial year.

Ombudsman Nick Bennett has now called on the Assembly to push forward with new legislation to help drive up standards of public service delivery.

He said complaints received about health now make up 38% of the ombudsman’s caseload and led to special “improvement officers” being hired in five of Wales’ health boards.

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales Nick Bennett

“The ongoing rise in complaints about NHS bodies is concerning,” he said.

“A significant factor is the high volume of complaints received about Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and my improvement officer will continue to work with the health board to ensure continued learning.

“There is evidence of a fear and blame culture still permeating some public sector bodies and my thematic report, Ending Groundhog Day: Lessons from Poor Complaint Handling, highlighted key areas for improvement.

“However, I’m pleased that following a health complaint seminar held by my office recently, it’s clear that health board staff are keen to strengthen governance, training and data collection arrangements to improve complaints handling.

“I would urge the Assembly to push forward with the new draft Ombudsman bill in the autumn. I am confident that if passed the new legislation will allow cycles of poor service delivery to be spotted more easily and dealt with greater efficiency.”

In total the ombudsman received 2,056 new complaints about public services in Wales and a further 236 code of conduct complaints against local government councillors.

The highest number of complaints in 2016-17 were directed at local authorities (881), followed by health boards (863), social housing (191), Welsh Government and its sponsored bodies (68) and community councils (28).

In contrast just three complaints were made to the ombudsman against the fire authorities and three against the police. But it must be noted that these two services have their own independent commissions which handle complaints.

The ombudsman said the overall number of inquiries and complaints has increased by 75% over the past six years.

The Welsh NHS Confederation, which represents Wales’ seven health boards, said: “NHS staff at all levels are committed to making sure that all patients receive the high standards of care that they deserve, delivering the best for patients – is the primary focus.

“While it is important to highlight that the majority of people who receive care and treatment from the NHS in Wales have a positive experience, it is also important that we recognise this is not always the case.

“When care does not meet the high standards which patients deserve and expect, we must hold its hands up and make sure action is taken to put things right.

“We strongly encourage anyone who is concerned about their care or treatment to talk to a senior staff member on duty as soon as possible so their concern can be dealt with immediately.

“The feedback and experiences of patients, their families and staff are critical in helping the NHS in Wales to provide the high standards of care that staff strive to deliver on a daily basis.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We have not yet seen the ombudsman’s report but will consider it carefully when we do.

“All NHS bodies in Wales are working hard to prevent complaints and to deal with them appropriately when they arise.

“As well as the work already under way in the NHS we welcome the ombudsman’s assistance through the improvement officers he has put in place. Every complaint made to the NHS is taken seriously and we expect health boards to investigate them thoroughly.

“We value feedback and encourage concerns to be raised as soon as possible so they can be dealt with quickly and easily so services can continuously learn and improve.

“Across Wales we know that patient satisfaction with our NHS remains extremely high.

“It’s important to remember that every year the Welsh NHS deals with around 18m contacts in primary care, three million outpatient attendances each year and one million A&E attendances and 750,000 admissions to hospital.”

He necked half a litre of vodka on the flight from Malaga – with predictable results

A holidaymaker who necked half a bottle of vodka on board a flight from Malaga was so drunk police had to remove him from the plane.

Bradley Underwood had bought the one litre bottle from the airport in Spain for his son – but while on the short flight to Manchester he drank half of it.

The 58-year-old labourer remained in his own seat on the Jet 2 aircraft on July 28 but crew said he was ‘shouting’ – although he was not aggressive or abusive.

Bradley Underwood bought the vodka for his son – but decided to have a drink himself

When passengers were leaving the aircraft once it had landed, Underwood was not responding to flight attendants.

Prosecuting at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, Kate Gaskell said: “The defendant was sat in his own allocated seat but was not responding to requests from crew members.”

Police were called on board and stated Underwood was slumped in his seat and his speech was ‘slurred’.

They said he was so intoxicated he was ‘struggling to walk’.

He was then arrested.

The court was told that Underwood was extremely embarrassed

Underwood, of Manchester Road, Audenshaw, pleaded guilty to being drunk on a flight.

Mitigating, Daniel David said: “There was very little disturbance caused by this incident and there was no violence and he has shown full remorse for his actions and has co-operated fully with the police.”

He added he had bought the vodka for his son but decided to have a drink.

Mr David added: “He got on the plane and had a drink himself and then he found he had drunk more than expected.”

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Flight madness

Underwood then fell asleep. He said he was extremely embarrassed.

District Judge Mark Hadfield said: “I accept that when passengers boarded the plane you caused no difficulties for them.

“But something had happened on the plane because the crew had asked for assistance from the police.”

“He got on the plane and had a drink himself and then he found he had drunk more than expected.”

Underwood was fined £200 and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £30.

Judge Hadfield added that passengers ‘partaking in using their own alcohol on board’ is currently in the public eye.

Arrests for drink related offences at airports and on flights have risen dramatically.

A total of 387 people suspected of being under the influence were arrested airside between February 2016 and February 2017 – up from 255 the previous year.

Ryanair are now calling for a ban on the amount of alcohol passengers can consume before flights to prevent so much chaos in the air.

It also wants to end the sale of alcohol before 10am which would spell the death of the early morning pre-flight pints but potentially lose airport businesses a substantial amount of money.

Ryanair says the Civil Aviation Authority reported a 600% increase in disruptive passenger incidents in the UK between 2012 and 2016, with most incidents “ involving alcohol”.

The best selfies so far with the Baltic Triangle Liver Bird Wings

Dozens of people have been visiting the latest interactive art mural in Liverpool this week.

Thanks to artist Paul Curtis people now have the chance to transform themselves into the famous Liver Birds in the city‘s Baltic triangle.

Located on Jamaica Street, the new mural has seen a wide variety of people posing for the perfect selfie, in what has been described as “the best place to take your new profile picture.”

It is one of the most “Instagramable” spots in the city and has become a social media sensation.

Here are some of the best pictures we have seen at the site so far.

Flying police horses

These images of two Merseyside Police horses at the mural has gone viral since first being posted.

After the picture was shared online Angie Kenny tweeted: “Police horse went by our house before in Mossley Hill and my little girl asked where have his wings gone after seeing this picture today.”

Little cherub

This baby got their wings nice and early by posing with mum at the mural.

We hope to see lots more getting their wings before the mural is removed.

Liverpool newest Liver bird, a painted wings mural by artist Paul Curtis as Ros Hale and family pose for the camera. Photo by Colin Lane

It’s a wonderful life

“Everytime a bell rings, an angel gets their wings”

The creator

Artist Paul Curtis is the man behind the popular mural.

Paul was formerly a geologist who after being made redundant decided to become an artist.

He told the ECHO: “I found the wall on Jamaica Street and asked the owners if I could do something and they said it was fine.

“I was going to do a really big one but the wall owners said it might only be up for the next six months so I did a smaller one.

“When I started designing it, I thought how could I make it unique and settled on the colour and wings of the Liver Bird.

“I wanted to do something people could interact with and make it a bit of fun.”

Paul Curtis is the man behind the amazing new artwork in the Baltic Triangle

Praise from artist to artist

The staff from Splinter Design in the Baltic Triangle have been stopping on Jamaica Street to get their wings

If you had an album, this would be the cover

Rachael, 21, from Liverpool has solidified the mural as the best place to get a new profile picture

*Please send us your selfies from the Liver Birds mural on Twitter or Facebook*

Dramatic moment car screeches off after raid on Park Road pawnbrokers

Dramatic footage shows the moment a car screeched off after a terrifying raid at a Liverpool pawnbrokers.

Police have today launched a fresh appeal for information in relation to the raid – which happened at Brown and Gold pawnbrokers on June 21.

A man used a stick to smash his way into Brown & Gold pawnbrokers next to the Park Road Tesco before he fleeing in a dark blue Ford Focus.

Valuables from the shop window were stolen during the raid, which left shattered glass showered across the pavement.

The car was later found torched on Stonegate Drive in Dingle.

A man seen smashing his way inside the shop was described as in his late 30s to early 40s and wearing a light grey hooded top covering his face and a blue jacket.

One eye witnesses recorded dramatic footage of a dark blue Ford Focus roaring off seconds after the raid. The ECHO has since passed the footage onto police.

A police spokesman said: “The offenders are believed to have left the scene in a blue Ford Focus, which was later recovered nearby.”

No arrests have been made so far.

The same shop had been targeted on June 8, when a blue Toyota was driven through the window.

After smashing the front window two men got out and stole “a number of items” before leaving the scene and driving off in the direction of Isaac Street.

* Anyone with information about the raid on June 21 should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers free on 0800 555 111

Burglar ‘pressured’ into ransacking Walton nursery to clear drug debts

A burglar ‘pressured’ into ransacking a nursery to pay off drug debts was locked up for seven months.

Peter Bennett was part of a two man team who smashed into Rainbow House Nursery, in Walton, leaving broken glass littering the floor of its toddler room.

Bennett and his accomplice made off with iPads worth £956 and iPad covers worth £80, and caused £90 worth of damage to the window.

The 39-year-old, of Selina Road in Walton, pleaded guilty to burglary at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court today and was handed 16 weeks in prison.

However magistrates added 12 weeks after activating a suspended sentence Bennett had received for theft in October last year.

Amanda Cullen, prosecuting, told the court the offence came to light on June 23 when a member of staff at the nursery, on Arnot Street off County Road, turned up for work.

She said: “She arrived at work at 6.45am to find broken glass on the floor of the toddler room. The play area and the office had been ransacked. She found three iPad minis and screen covers had been taken.”

The court heard CCTV showed two males enter the nursery who were identified by police as Bennett and his accomplice.

Rainbow House Nursery on Arnot Road, Walton

He was later arrested and admitted he was the male in the CCTV footage, but claimed he had been forced to take part by men he owed drugs money to.

Paul Kilty, defending, told the court his client had completed a drug rehabilitation order as part of his suspended sentence and was not using drugs at present.

Mr Kilty said: “The reason he became involved in this offence was that he was put under some pressure in relation to drugs debts.

“In order to complete this drug debt he was put under significant pressure, he says he was threatened personally and his family were threatened but he understands this falls short of duress.”

Bennett, who appeared in court via video-link from prison, was ordered to pay £556 in compensation and a £115 victim surcharge upon his release.

*A second man is due to appear in Liverpool Crown Court next month charged in relation to the burglary, along with other offences.

DJ claimed he used knuckle duster to train dogs by hitting them

A DJ caught with a knuckle duster while driving an ex-police car claimed he used the weapon to train dogs by hitting them.

Officers discovered the knuckle duster when they stopped Stuart Forster in his Ford Focus estate on the M56 in Cheshire.

The 31-year-old said he was a dog trainer who used the knuckle duster inside a glove to control misbehaving animals.

But a judge branded him a “pathological liar” and said it was “nonsense” after a dog training expert and jury rejected his explanation.

Ffion Tomos, prosecuting, said an officer pulled over Forster’s car near Frodsham at around 3.10am on January 10 this year.

She said this was for “an unrelated matter”, but when asked if he had anything he shouldn’t, Forster, of The Uplands, Runcorn, said “no”.

The officer searched Forster, who was wearing dark combat clothing, and found the weapon in his jacket pocket.

He explained he “used it for training” and on dogs “if they got out of control” and repeated the claim in an interview.

The house music DJ, who regularly performs at Imagine bar in Mathew Street, stood trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Forster said he worked on a voluntary basis for his dad’s guard dog firm and at a dog training centre in Kirkby.

He said he was qualified in the preliminary training of dogs, many of which were abandoned or from rescue centres.

Stuart Forster, 31, of The Uplands, Runcorn, claimed he used a knuckle duster to train dogs by hitting them
(Image: Liverpool Echo)

Forster said he would hold a dog lead in his right hand and on his left hand wore the knuckle duster, covered with a glove.

He said he would “tap” dogs – not hard – with the gloved weapon on the side of the neck to bring them under control.

However, he was found guilty of having an offensive weapon in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.

Trevor Parry-Jones, defending, said Forster had suffered a serious back injury and was unemployed and receiving benefits.

Recorder David Turner, QC, said: “I take the view he is a pathological liar. There are other features in the case that cause me concern about him.”

The judge said Forster told a probation officer he only trained dogs voluntarily and part-time, but never said this to the jury.

He said: “I was amazed to read he was actually unemployed and receiving benefits.

“He has been presenting himself as a man who can hold off and deal with dangerous dogs that are going to jump at him.”

Mr Parry-Jones said his client was able to work with dogs for short periods, which was different to a full-time job.

But the judge added: “He was convicted quite rightly by the jury, having told lies on oath.

“I find it quite difficult to accept he is a man without means.”

Mr Parry-Jones said Forster was bought the ex-police car by his dad and its blue lights were inoperable.

He said the wires were not connected and no charges were ever brought in relation to the vehicle.

Recorder Turner said Forster was caught with a knuckle duster “with no explanation”.

A knuckle duster owned by Stuart Forster, 31, of the Uplands, Runcorn, who said he used it to hit dogs
(Image: Merseyside Police)

He said Forster claimed he would hit dogs with it to train them, but added: “The expert dog handler considered that to be nonsense.”

The judge added: “I have concerns about you because to some extent I think we’ve only seen a part of the picture here.

“I wondered if it was something more serious, having regard to the way you were travelling in that vehicle.”

The judge said it emerged during Forster’s evidence that his dog training qualification post-dated the offence.

He said: “You were presenting yourself as a person expert in handling dogs, that you assisted your father in his business of providing guard dogs and it was not suggested for one minute that you were in fact on benefits.

“I take the view you’re not telling the truth about your means. I take the view you are working.”

Recorder Turner said Forster had “the luxury of a crown court trial, costing thousands and thousands of pounds”.

He handed him a 12-month community order with 250 hours of unpaid work and said he must pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs.

Celebrity Big Brother: Huge row kicks off in the house after boozy game of spin the bottle

An astonishing row kicked off on tonight’s Celebrity Big Brother following a game of spin the bottle that led to an alcohol ban in the house for the rest of the night, and Sarah Harding and Chad Johnson climbing back into bed together.

Former Girls Aloud singer Sarah demanded that Manchester model Jemma Lucy be removed from the CBB house after the tattooed reality star asked Sarah to kiss housemate Sam Thompson, and when she refused Jemma kicked a table.

Raging at Stockport singer Sarah, Jemma said: “Are you actually p***ying out on that? You’ve got a boyfriend and you’re kissing Chad anyway.”

Earlier in the game Jemma caused Sarah to flinch after kissing American reality star Chad Johnson.

(Image: Celebrity Big Brother/Channel Five)

On Friday Sarah raised eyebrows after she passionately kissed Chad and crawled into bed with him, before deciding they needed to end things because she had been dating someone outside the house.

Sarah stormed into the Diary Room in tonight’s angry scenes and said about Jemma: “She needs to go. If someone says no it gets out of hand. She’s poisonous.”

Big Brother then announced that they were stopping alcohol because of the heated incident.

After confronting Sarah in the garden housemate Jordan Davies sarcastically applauded and said: “Nobody can drink now because of you, so well done.”

A furious Sarah then shut herself in the bathroom and told her concerned friend Amelia Lily to go away.

(Image: Celebrity Big Brother/Channel Five)

Joined in the bathroom by a sympathetic Chad, the pair could clearly be heard kissing.

The “besties” later snuggled up on bed and could be seen embracing and sharing another kiss under the covers.

Evicted housemate Jordan Davies has blasted Sarah in his exit interview saying: “I used to love Girls Aloud but I actually hate her.

She’s meant up be a role model but she’s getting p***ed, kicking off, hiding fags.” He then dismissed her budding romance with reality star Chad as “bulls***”.

Shocked host Emma Willis gasped “those are such harsh words.”

There is going to be a permanent memorial to the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena attack in the city

A permanent memorial to the 22 victims of the Arena attack is being planned – with bosses saying floral inspired tributes could be included following the emotional scenes in St Ann’s Square.

Organisers say it is too early to say what form the memorial will take, but stress that the families of the deceased will be consulted and play an important role.

They will look to experiences in other cities affected by terror, including in Boston where a memorial will be unveiled next year following the attack at the city’s marathon in 2013.

A preliminary meeting of a group behind the plans, formed by civic and business leaders will meet next month to discuss the proposals for Manchester.

Coun Sue Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester council, told the M.E.N it is likely the memorial will be in the city centre.

She said: “We are still in the early stages at the moment.

“It needs to be something that is appropriate and that the people affected are comfortable with, so we need to talk to the families.

“It’s going to take a while and we really need to do it properly.

“We have had lots of suggestions from people, be it statues, plaques, flowers or gardens, especially after the tributes at St Ann’s Square which really resonated with people.

“We’ve also had offers of help from people including sculptors and gardeners already.”

A charitable fund separate from the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund will pay for the memorial.

Mourners congregated in St Ann’s Square in the days and weeks after the attack, on May 22, to pay their respects to the victims.

It became a living memorial with flowers, balloons, shirts, scarves and other items being placed in the square.

They will remain part of Manchester’s history in the future, as curators at the Manchester Art Gallery will preserve the flowers and use them in memorial books for the families of those lost in the atrocity.

Messages and cards left in the square will be kept at Manchester Central Library and John Rylands Library.

New footage shows kids DID NOT jump on road sweeper before it began to smoke

A video has emerged that appears to shed new light on an incident in which children were accused of jumping on a road sweeping machine.

The new footage clearly shows the road sweeper topple onto its side after turning a tight corner at speed. Smoke is then seen billowing from underneath it, on St Paul’s Road in Seacombe just after 2pm today

Earlier today an eyewitness told ECHO that he saw “kids jumping on the road sweeper” before watching them “run off”.

In the video which has just come to light, a group of children can be seen standing at the corner of the street and watching but they do not approach the vehicle before it begins to smoke.

The children at the scene at the time of the accident can be seen walking away from the street, having not touched or approached the sweeper at all.

The driver of the Merseytravel vehicle can be seen trying to turn off the engine of the damaged vehicle, which is blocking part of the road.

Merseyside Police said it is looking into the incident.

A spokesperson for Merseytravel said: “We can confirm that the vehicle shown in the video is owned by Merseytravel and was involved in an incident earlier today.

New footage shows that kids DID NOT jump on road sweeper before it began to billow smoke

“The police have been informed and we have already taken action to recover vehicle and clear-up the scene.”

Firefighters were also contacted because of the huge amount of smoke coming from the damaged vehicle – but a spokesperson said they were eventually not required.

He said: “We were contacted about a mini sweeper on fire on St Paul’s Road in Wallasey at 2.21pm today but our assistance was not required in the end.

“The caller informed us that the smoke had dissipated and the fire service was no longer needed.”

Merseytravel operates the Mersey Ferries facility in Seacombe as well as the nearby Spaceport tourist attraction and uses road sweepers to maintain and clean the area.