‘Sex party’ in Newcastle cathedral under investigation by Vatican
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.”
Beth Mead left out of England Women’s World Cup squad
Euro 2022 top goal scorer Beth Mead is not included in England Women’s World Cup squad.
The 27-year-old Arsenal forward has not played since November having been a major doubt for the competition.
This comes after an anterior cruciate ligament injury which she still has not fully recovered from.
England head coach Sarina Wiegman has named the 23-player squad for this summer’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
Tottenham striker Beth England, who has not been involved since last summer’s Euro competition is included.
Chelsea centre-back Millie Bright, who has been out with a knee injury since March, has made the 23-player squad.
Sarina Wiegman confirmed Bright would captain the team in the absence of injured defender Leah Williamson.
Wiegman went on to say she never thought Beth Mead would be fit in time for the tournament, saying: “She’s so positive and going well, but the timescale she had we would have taken so many risks to get to the World Cup
“I’m not willing to take that risk to push her too much and she gets injured again. We need to take care of players.”
England play Haiti in their opening match on 22nd July in Australia where they look to build on their success following Euro 2022.
Best of North East
Plans for STACK Whitley Bay unveiled for former Empress Ballroom
A landmark Tyneside venue is set for a new lease of life as a STACK drinking and dining destination if new planning proposals are given the green light.
Newcastle leisure company Danieli Group has submitted plans to create a new STACK development in the former Empress Ballroom in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, which was originally part of the town’s Spanish City. If successful, the business hopes to return the 113-year-old building to its former position at the forefront of the seaside town’s entertainment scene.
Built in 1910, the Empress Ballroom regularly hosted more than 750 dancers before going on to become the Carlton Club bingo hall. It has lain empty for some time and fallen into disrepair – yet the Stack submission would deliver a new future for the building while also injecting a boost to the local economy.
Plans by current owner Mark Holmes to transform it into a leisure and community venue were delayed by Covid and now, although planning permission for a leisure venue is in place, Danieli Group has applied for a variation of the plans to create Stack Whitley Bay. The plans, to be submitted this week, include the creation of an external roof terrace together with the premises licence application. If successful the hope is to continue along the same route as other successful STACK sites, with the inclusion of a stage for live entertainment and space for street food and drink outlets.
Neill Winch, CEO of the Danieli Group, believes STACK would be a great addition to the town. He said: “Not only will it bring a new dimension to the existing leisure offering but, subject to planning and licensing, it will bring an underutilised building – and much-loved heritage asset – back into use. We are delighted to hopefully be able to continue to build STACK’s strong presence in the North East with this new and exciting venture.”
Owner Mark Holmes added: “When we bought the Empress Ballroom, we had a vision for the magnificent venue, it’s really a hidden treasure in the Spanish City. Our plans were good, but now Neill Winch and STACK have turbo charged these plans and I am convinced they will deliver the quality venue that will benefit Whitley Bay, residents, and the whole community.”
If the application is successful, Whitley Bay will become the latest in a fast-growing portfolio of STACKS being created in the North East and beyond. A year after the closure of its original STACK Newcastle on the site of the former Odeon Cinema, Seaburn in Sunderland continues to go from strength to strength, while developments in Durham, Middlesbrough, Bishop Auckland, Carlisle and a new site in Newcastle city centre are also being created.
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Eamonn Holmes claims ITV were involved in ‘total cover-up’ over Phillip Schofield scandal
Eamonn Holmes claims there was a ‘total cover-up’ on ITV’s This Morning show over Phillip Schofield’s affair with a younger male colleague.
The 63-year-old presenter has accused Schofield of ‘toxicity’ amid the furore over the culture of the programme.
Holmes spoke about Schofield’s affair on GB News and alleged that “those in authority” had to have known what was going on. He said: “It’s a total cover-up. Those in authority had to know what was going on and they thought they could dodge a bullet with this.
“Which they do, and they do constantly, because with Schofield talking about those who speak about against him, namely me, Amanda Holden, and you (Dan Wooton), you’ll be included in the toxicity that goes on. Dr Ranj, of course, as well. And you simply sit there and think ‘No mate, you’ve had it all your way for too long’.”
Phillip Schofield, 61, resigned from ITV on Friday (26th May) and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to an “unwise, but not illegal” affair.
Following this revelation, some former This Morning employees have spoken out in criticism of the culture of the broadcaster.
Dr Ranj Singh who was the resident doctor on the show for some time slammed the show’s “toxic” culture, saying he raised concerns about “bullying and discrimination” two years ago whilst working there and says he felt like he was “managed out” for whistleblowing.
In an Instagram post, Schofield hit back at the critics saying that there was “no toxicity” on This Morning, adding: “I hope you have noticed that it’s the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice.”
Referring to Schofield’s comments in an interview with Dan Wooton on GB News on Monday (29th May), Holmes accused Schofield of “toxicity”. He said: “I think that Phillip is absolutely right about the toxicity. But my friend, the toxicity is not with me, Dan Wooton, or anyone else, the toxicity is with you”.
He said that Schofield “created an atmosphere” on This Morning “where people hated him”, adding: “This nonsense that he wrote today about toxicity, about how (This Morning) is a happy place or whatever, holy god, what planet does this man live on?”
“He created an atmosphere where people hated him. People would avoid him in the corridor. He didn’t look at anybody, didn’t know anybody’s name. Holly doesn’t know people’s names either. This is legendary within the production team, how distant they are, and how they just don’t care.”
Asked after a trailer for Holmes’ GB News interview had aired but before it had been played in full at around 10:30pm, a spokesperson for Schofield said: “Phillip has no comment”.
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