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Officers praise 84-year-old man who fought off an intruder



Credit: Northumbria Police

Northumbria Police have applauded the bravery of an 84-year-old man who defended himself from an intruder.

In January 2020, desperate Daniel Sullivan donned a black balaclava and crept into the pensioner’s South Shields home, threatening to shoot him if he didn’t hand over £100.

However, the brave pensioner refused the request and demanded Sullivan leave.

Angered, the 32-year-old opened fire and shot his victim in the chest with a BB gun.

But the plucky victim’s fight and determination prevailed as he picked up a mop to chase his attacker away and called 999.

The victim was taken to hospital and officers launched an investigation.

Sullivan was arrested the next day and a search of an address recovered a BB gun and pellets.

Members of Northumbria Police’s forensics department successfully linked the items and DNA found at the scene to Sullivan – who continued to claim his innocence.

He was charged and later found guilty of aggravated burglary, wounding with intent and possessing a firearm.

During the trial, a jury was read a statement from the elderly victim, which said: “I have always been proud of my ability to defend myself and have always stood up for myself and what I believe to be right.

“On the night my home was entered this was no different; I stood up to the man who threatened me.”

But despite his immense bravery, the pensioner revealed the incident has had a long term impact on his quality of life.

He said: “Before this incident I had never felt vulnerable despite my advancing years.

“I now know I am vulnerable and was most likely targeted because I am older. I was frustrated that I couldn’t catch the person who did this to me at the time, although I did try to go after him.

“Having been so strong in my younger years I have found this difficult to cope feeling like this.”

On Wednesday, at Newcastle Crown Court, a judge sentenced Sullivan, of no fixed address, to 14 years behind bars.

Detective Constable Kyle led the investigation, she said: “While we would never ask members of the public to put themselves in danger, we want to recognise the bravery of the pensioner who fought to protect his property and stand up for what was right.

“But even the bravest among us don’t manage to walk away unscathed and sadly this heroic gentleman has been left with scars both physical and psychological.

“We continue to support him and sincerely hope that knowing his attacker was so swiftly arrested and has now been jailed for 14 years will provide some comfort to him.”

She added: “We know the age defying gentleman in this case has regrets that he never managed to catch his attacker himself, but we want him to know he did everything he possibly could to defend himself and his help with our investigation means a dangerous man is now behind bars. Thank you for your bravery that day, and every day since.”


Michael Gove proposes House of Lords sit in Sunderland during Parliament refurbishment



Sunderland has been suggested as one of several locations for the House of Lords to relocate to while Parliament undergoes refurbishment.

York had been previously been proposed but the Government vetoed the plans.

Michael Gove, who is Levelling Up Secretary, is said to have written to Lord McFall of Alcluith suggesting locations including Stoke-on-Trent, Burnley and Sunderland.

In the letter, Mr Gove said he knows “cities and towns across the United Kingdom would be pleased to extend their hospitality to peers”.

He is quoted as saying that having “carefully reviewed the proposed arrangements”, he “will not support the use of the QEII Centre as an alternative location”.

The Queen Elizabeth II Centre conference and exhibition space is just a few minutes’ walk from the Palace of Westminster in London.

In the letter, which the Sunday Times said was also sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, Mr Gove suggested a move elsewhere in England, Scotland or Wales.

He is reported to have written: “As the minister responsible for levelling up, it is clear to me that the House of Lords moving elsewhere, even for a temporary period, would be widely welcomed.

“I have carefully reviewed the proposed arrangements and…I will not support the use of the QEII Centre as an alternative location.

“I propose to establish dedicated liaison points for you in my department to support you in identifying a suitable location for the House of Lords in the North, Midlands, South West, Scotland or Wales. I would, of course, be happy to meet you to discuss this.”

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Tyne Bridge to Close for Several Weeks for £41m Restoration



Several weeks of overnight closures are planned in order to allow engineers to assess how bad a state the Tyne Bridge is in, before it can be restored to its former glory.

The long-overdue restoration is estimated to cost £41m in order to restore the bridge and refurbish the Central Motorway.

According to a local authority report, the inspection is expected to require the famous crossing to be closed from 10pm to 6am from June 13 to July 1. A number of roads underneath the bridge on the Newcastle Quayside are also due to be affected by the works – with closures due between May 16 and June 10 on Quayside, Lombard Street, Queen Street, and Akenside Hill from 8pm to 6am.

A Newcastle City Council spokesperson said: “We submitted a bid for £41.4 million to Government which, if approved, will enable a four-year maintenance programme for the Tyne Bridge and the Central Motorway to go ahead. As part of the funding process, we are required to carry out some initial works on the Tyne Bridge.

“This includes a full inspection of the bridge, so we can assess its condition and the scale of works required to finalise the costings and project plans to fully restore and refurbish this major structure. This needs to be completed ahead of funding being approved.

“As we need to inspect the entire span of the bridge, overnight closures may be required on the bridge and roads underneath it, so engineers can complete this work safely. Details on the programming are being finalised.”

The Tyne Bridge has not had any major maintenance for two decades and its much-needed refurbishment has been at the top of council officials’ to do list for years, in the hope of ensuring it is looking its best once again by its 100th birthday in 2028. However, it has been warned that the grade II* listed structure may have deteriorated into a worse condition than currently known and council bosses have warned that, like on other major projects like the Grainger Market’s roof repairs, the refurbishment may take longer than expected.”

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Seaburn and Roker Beaches Named Best Beaches in the Country in 2022



Sunderland’s beaches have been named among the best in the country for the 11th year running.

Seaburn and Roker were both named as winners of the Seaside Award by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. The pair were once again handed Blue Flags, marking them out for their for their excellent water quality, cleanliness and attempts to constantly improve visitor amenities.

The Blue Flag awards, now in their 35th year, are issued by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy and act as ‘a quality mark so visitors can be sure the beaches boast top-notch facilities and meet the highest environmental standards’.

Linda Williams, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for Vibrant City, said: “It is fantastic to see Sunderland’s beautiful beaches once again awarded the prestigious Blue Flag and Seaside Award.

“Flying these flags at Roker and Seaburn shows everyone who visits that our seafront has excellent quality bathing water and first-class facilities.

“We’re very lucky to have fantastic beaches with beautiful, clean water to swim and bathe in, and this national recognition is testament to the hard work of everyone involved in keeping our beaches clean, tidy and well-maintained.”

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