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Convicted murderer who stabbed friend to death after escaping open prison dies at HMP Frankland



A convicted murderer who stabbed his friend to death after escaping from an open prison has died behind bars.

Joseph Turnbull was given four life sentences after he admitted murdering Paul Wharton, 37, by stabbing him in the heart, and robbing betting offices and off-licences.

The prisoner, who was 53 years old when he was jailed at The Old Bailey in 2006, committed the offences during a five-month period the previous year, after absconding from Leyhill prison in Gloucester.

Turnbull, who had been in HMP Frankland for 14 years, died at the prison on October 12 last year, aged 68. An independent investigation into his death has revealed how he had been diagnosed with lung cancer which has spread to his lower spine.

The murderer was previously jailed for seven years in 2000 for theft and robbery and was due to be released seven months after he walked out of Leyhill in May 2005. During that time, Turnbull travelled to London and worked as a Big Issue seller, earning £50 a day. But the money was not enough to fund his drug habit of five different drugs a day, including methadone prescribed by a doctor.

Turnbull met Paul Wharton after falling in with addicts in north London. Mr Wharton’s body was found in his flat in October 2005. He had been stabbed in the heart. The Old Bailey heard in 2006 how the victim’s hands and legs were tied with shoe laces and a tea towel had been placed in his mouth as a gag.

Turnbull had used his card and pin number to withdraw Mr Wharton’s benefits from a local post office. He was captured on October 18 for robbery after being caught on CCTV.


Man denies 1992 murder of Sunderland schoolgirl Nikki Allan



A man accused of the murder of a schoolgirl who was stabbed to death 30 years ago has denied the charge.

Seven-year-old Nikki Allan vanished on Wednesday, October 7, 1992 after leaving her grandparents’ flat in Wear Garth, Sunderland.

The next morning, Nikki’s school shoes were found a few hundred yards away outside of the Old Exchange building. Her body was discovered lying in a pool of blood inside the derelict building by a neighbour who was helping the police with their search for the missing youngster. She had been stabbed 37 times.

David Boyd, of Chesterton Court, Norton, Stockton-on-Tees, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on the morning of Monday, June 20, where he faced a charge of murder.

The 54-year-old appeared via video link where he pleaded not guilty to the offence during the short, 25-minute hearing.

A trial had originally been listed to start on January 11 next year but the court heard it may now be put back until April 19. Any trial could last up to six weeks.

Boyd was remanded in custody in the meantime.

Judge Paul Sloan QC informed the court that a further pre-trial hearing will now take place on Monday, November 7.

The judge told Boyd: “I am adjourning your case to trial. The precise trial date will be confirmed, hopefully in the next few days.

“There will be at least one further pre-trial hearing before the trial date.

“In due course you will be required to provide a defence statement, setting out in detail your defence to the charge you face.”

Nikki’s mother Sharon Henderson sat in the public gallery for the hearing. She burst into tears when the charge was read out, was consoled by supporters and the court usher gave her a tissue.

After Boyd was charged, Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable David Felton said: “This is an extremely tragic case and our thoughts very much continue to be with the family and friends of Nikki Allan.

“A significant investigation has been ongoing ever since Nikki’s death 30 years ago.

“As with any unsolved cases of this nature, they are never closed. Our dedicated teams constantly review the evidence and follow any new investigative leads that may come to light.”

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Concern over school meals at Darlington school



Vegetables placed onto a school dinner
Image credit: Instagram (@schoolhealthuk)

Wyvern Academy, a secondary school in Darlington, County Durham, has recently received complaints from many concerned parents over the quality and quantity of their school dinners.


Parents have complained that their children are going hungry as the meals the school provides are too small. On occasion, the school reportedly has even ran out of food supplies leaving some pupils without lunch.


A parent, who wished to remain anonymous, reported to the Chronicle Live that “they regularly run out of food,” and her daughter now takes a packed lunch “so she isn’t hungry for the rest of the day.”


These claims of insufficient portion sizes and quality have worried parents. This is particularly worrying for parents whose children are on free school meals. Another parent told Chronicle Live “my child, along with other’s are eligible for free school meals [but] now I’m having to provide her with a packed lunch.”


The Government’s Free School Meals scheme offers children free lunches at school if their parents are eligible and meet the criteria. This criteria includes those who receive income support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Child Tax Credit and Universal credit.


These claims about inadequate quantity of school dinners are disappointing and distressing for parents/guardians who were promised free school meals for their children.


According to The Guardian, one in three children in North-East England are on free school meals. This follows an increase this year of 160,000 more children being eligible for free school meals, taking the total to 1.9million, according to January figures.


The north-east of England has the highest rate, with 29.1% of school pupils eligible for free school meals whereas the south-east of England comparatively has the lowest rate with 17.6% eligible.


Wyvern Academy, who were rated “requires improvement” by Ofsted in all areas on their latest inspection in November 2019, released a form for parents on their twitter account on Monday 6th June.


This form includes questions on the quality, quantity, availability, and choices of school dinners as well as questions on further dinner arrangements and time allocated for meals with a 5-star system. It also provides a comment box for parents/guardians to suggest improvements to the school meals.


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Pet owner devastated after beloved dog is stabbed and dies in Gateshead



An owner has been left devastated after his beloved pet dog tragically passed away after being “stabbed” in Gateshead.

Kyle Mason, 28, said his staffordshire bull terrier, Robbie, who was around three or four years old, got out and found his way into a back alley near his home in Bensham on May 5. But when Kyle found him, he was covered in blood.

He immediately called the vets and got an emergency appointment at a nearby PDSA hospital where they treated two large gashes on his body. Kyle was due to return to the vets with Robbie the following morning but tragically his beloved pet passed away during the night.

The sudden loss of Robbie has left Kyle heartbroken and shaken saying: “Robbie got out and went out the back alley and when he came back he was covered in blood. I just started panicking because I’m autistic so I was just panicking really bad. I just didn’t know what had happened.

“I had to get an emergency appointment and I took him to the vets. We got back and he was supposed to go back to the vets in the morning but he passed away during the night.

“This has really hit me. I’m having nightmares, I wake up thinking I’ve been stabbed and keep having to check I haven’t been stabbed when I wake up.

“Robbie was a great support for me, he helped a lot with my autism. He was always there when I was crying or emotional, he was such a loving dog. He was just fantastic, I miss him so much.”

Kyle reported the incident to Northumbria Police and the RSPCA but no charges have been brought against anyone yet. He said RSPCA officers came to see Robbie and confirmed it looked like he had been stabbed.

He said Robbie was “an innocent dog” and said the incident has caused him “a great deal of stress”. Kyle said: “There seems to be a lot of animal cruelty happening at the moment and it’s just disgraceful. Robbie was just an innocent dog, no animal deserves this. I just wanted to raise awareness.

“I rescued him after I saw him being advertised as dog bait and now this has happened. I’ve just lost my older dog in 2020 who I had since I was a young child and now Robbie has died so it’s a short time between them. I’m autistic and have mental health issues so this had caused me a great deal of stress.”

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “On May 5 we were made aware of a dog that had been attacked in the Saltwell Road area of Gateshead. A full investigation has since been carried out into the incident, but there has so far been insufficient evidence to seek a criminal prosecution.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact police via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of our website or by calling 101 quoting crime number 054150A/22.”

An RSPCA spokesperson said: “We were called to a property in Bensham and sadly found the dog had died from his injuries. Anyone with information about how the dog became injured should call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999, or contact Northumbria Police.”

RIP Robbie, you were a good boy, we hope you find justice <3

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