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Local Geordie Man Drowns in Amsterdam

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Author: Emma Robson

Newcastle man dies in Amsterdam after jumping off party boat at ‘Bounce Til I Die Event.’

Neil Stewart from Benwell, was visiting the Netherlands with his fiancé when he drowned after jumping of a party boat in the North Sea Canal in November 2017. Stewart 30, was visiting the Dutch capital after being given the trip as a surprise from his fiancé Chelsea Dixon which included flights, hotel and tickets to the DTID party event. Dixon told the inquiry that the couple had flown out to meet friends that had gotten engaged the previous day.

The couple had enjoyed drinks and a space cake during the day and coroner Karen Wilks also found cocaine in Stewart’s system during the autopsy. The coroner was also told that the wind farm rigger was seen involved in an altercation in the smoking area at the event and had reportedly been separated from the other partygoers as security tried to calm his down. The coroner was also told that the wind farm rigger was seen involved in an altercation in the smoking area at the event and had reportedly been separated from the other partygoers as security tried to calm his down.

Ms Dixon told the hearing she didn’t see the altercation but was calming him down when he went to get a chair so she could sit with him, and he vanished. She spoke about the moment she realised he must have gone overboard,I realised Neil was gone,” said Ms Dixon. “I realised he must have been in the water. There’s nowhere else he could physically have been.”

Neil and his mother back in 2014

Kirsty Green a witness issued a statement saying she believed saw Stewart jump deliberately from the boat, “He was stood alone, smoking and the next thing I saw was him in the air, it looked like it was slow motion, I saw him smiling or laughing. I then panicked and called security.”

Paul Armes an offshore supervisor who worked with Stewart was also on board the party boat and wept when he told the hearing he tried desperately to save his friend. Armes, who is trained in first aid and water rescue realised someone was in the water when the ship stopped. He said another guest on the ship had told him his friend had climbed three steps and jumped in. He reportedly told the crew he was water rescue qualified and asked the crew to deploy the emergency safety boat on top of the vessel but was told that it was not safe to deploy it.

The hearing also heard from a surprise witness who had come forward after seeing the case on social media. Angelica Hindle had been aboard the party board on the same night as Stewart and stated that she saw him “Me and my friend were sat smoking. I looked to my left-hand side and there was a man that I now know to be Neil sat there. There was a security guard sat with him. Neil was sat, he was calm, and the security guard turned around for a split second. As he did that, Neil dived over the side of the boat and then he hit the water and the boat propelled him back because it was going at such a speed.”

The father of two’s body was found two weeks later. His mother Alma Stewart thanked the witness who came forward adding ‘Neil’s children will now know… how their father died thanks to you and I cannot thank you enough, it means so so much to me personally.’

Condolences are with the family at this time.

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Beyoncé to play Sunderland Stadium of Light in this year as part of Renaissance world tour!

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The multi-million record-selling singer and songwriter announced on her website she will be returning to the home of the Black Cats on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.

It’s one of only four UK dates on the tour, with the star also playing Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, Murrayfield in Edinburgh and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Ticketing will begin on Monday, February 6, 2023, starting with an exclusive presale to BeyHive members.

The global superstar, 41, returned to the stage in January with a show in Dubai, which made headlines around the world. There’s been rumours for weeks of a tour after the star released new album Renaissance last summer, featuring tracks including Break My Soul and Cuff It, her first solo studio album since Lemonade in 2016.

The 2023 tour, produced by Parkwood Entertainment, and promoted by Live Nation, kicks off on May 10, 2023, at Friends Arena in Stockholm, SE, making stops throughout Europe in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Sunderland, Paris, London, Marseille, Amsterdam, Warsaw and more.

The tour then continues across North America with shows in Toronto, Chicago, East Rutherford, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Houston and more.

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Metro penalty fare rise from £20 to £100 supported by public, Nexus survey finds

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The penalty for fare evasion on the Tyne and Wear Metro has now increased to £100, with commuters largely supporting the change.

But despite the steep increase in the penalty fee, a survey conducted by Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, found that 72% of people supported the increase. And 88% of people surveyed said that other passengers were the ones who were the real victims of ticketless Metro travel.

The survey, conducted through Nexus’ customer insight panel revealed that respondents regard fared evasion as seriously as handling stolen goods, tax evasion or weighing a cheaper item at a self-serve check-out.

It increased penalty fare comes after The Department for Transport (DfT) decided to raise the penalty for rail fare evasion in England and Wales as part of a new effort to crackdown on fare evasion across Britain’s railways. Metro is part of the Government’s national penalty fare regime, so it is included in the change.

Fare evasion on Metro costs Nexus £1m a year in lost revenue on what is a vital public service which does not make any profit.

Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “The penalty for fare evasion on Metro has gone up to £100 from today and this is something that the overwhelming majority of our customers support.

“This is the first change since 2005 and reflects feedback from customers who want to see a strong deterrent against fraud. Anyone who is issued with a £100 penalty fare will pay £50 if it is paid with 21 days of it being issued.

“The Government consulted the whole rail industry and Nexus was among those keen to see an increase. Our customers tell us they want tougher penalties for those who decide not to pay their fare.

“The simple message for Metro customers is to buy a ticket every time you travel, that is a lot more affordable than risking the £100 fine.

“It’s never been easier to pay for Metro travel with a Pop Pay As You Go card and Android’s Google Pay. One in four customers are now accessing Metro this way and getting the lowest fares we have on offer.”

The penalty for Metro fare evasion, which is always set by the Government, has been £20 since May 2005.

If paid within 21 days, however, the £100 penalty is reduced to £50. But anyone who fails to pay the penalty fare will be taken to court, where a conviction results in much steeper fines.

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‘Sex party’ in Newcastle cathedral under investigation by Vatican

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St Mary’s Cathedral Newcastle upon Tyne

Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral alleged to have invited worshippers to his living quarters during lockdown.

The Vatican is investigating rumours of a “sex party” at a British cathedral which is alleged to have happened during lockdown.

As part of an investigation into the circumstances of Robert Byrne’s resignation as the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, the Catholic church is looking into claims one of his priests invited worshippers to a private party at his lodgings.

Multiple people are said to have complained that Father Michael McCoy, dean of Newcastle Cathedral, approached them to attend a party at a time when gatherings were not permitted.

A diocese source told the Sunday Times said: “A number of complaints were made by individuals within the diocese after information came to light about a sex party taking place in the priests’ living quarters attached to Newcastle Cathedral.”

McCoy, 57, killed himself in April 2021 four days after finding out he was subject to an investigation by Northumbria police’s child and adult protection department for child sexual abuse.

He had been appointed by Byrne in 2019, replacing the popular Father Dermott Donnelly, the older brother of TV presenter Declan Donnelly. Father Donnelly has since died after an illness in July 2022.

While there is no suggestion Byrne attended the party, he resigned as bishop in December, telling worshippers his office “has become too great a burden”.

In a letter to clergy, which he read in St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle, he said: “My own discernment has caused me to recognise that I now feel unable to continue serving the people of the diocese in the way that I would wish.”

He was appointed in 2019, after previously serving as an auxiliary in the archdiocese of Birmingham and as provost of the Oxford Oratory from 1993 to 2011.

In a letter seen by the Sunday Times, the archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon who is running the diocese until Byrne’s successor is appointed and is leading the investigation into his resignation, said he has been asked by the pope’s advisers to prepare “an in-depth report into the events leading up to Bishop Byrne’s resignation”.

The Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) last week began an “unscheduled safeguarding audit” at the diocese.

Steve Ashley, the CSSA chief executive officer said the body was independent and had “full autonomy”. He said: “The scope of the investigatory work will cover any reported abuses, alleged abuses, safeguarding concerns and the culture of safeguarding in the diocese as a whole.”

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