North Shields care home residents wife makes key worker plea

A woman whose husband of 50 years is in a care home with dementia has called on the government to give people like her key worker status.

Susan Ogden has been unable to visit her husband Peter at the home in North Shields since lockdown began.

She said if essential family carers were classed as key workers she would be able to go there and hold his hand.

The Department of Health and Social care said it was considering plans to enable people such as her to visit.

Prior to lockdown she had been visiting regularly, and initially believed the restrictions would only be temporary.

In the summer, she was offered a socially-distanced visit – with a mask on – in the care home’s garden but turned it down, believing it would be more likely to be more upsetting for him than comforting.

She said: “The best way to engage with someone with advanced dementia is by touch and if I couldn’t hold his hand or stroke his face or anything like that it would be a fairly pointless exercise.

“People like I am who are classed as an essential family carer should be given key worker status.

“They should be tested regularly and then allowed to visit, wearing an apron and gloves and visor, but being able to hold Peter’s hand.

“I’d say to the government ‘tomorrow won’t do, you must act now’.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognise how important it is to allow care home residents to safely meet their loved ones and the challenges visiting restrictions pose for people with dementia… and their family and friends.

“Our priority remains the prevention of infections to protect staff and residents but we are considering plans to allow specific family and friends to visit safely.

“We will set out further details in due course.”

Anthony Russell charged with Coventry and Leamington murders

A man wanted in connection with the deaths of three people has been charged with murder.

Julie Williams, 58, and her son David, 32, were found at separate flats in Coventry on consecutive days.

The body of Nicole McGregor, 31, was later discovered in woodland in Newbold Comyn, Leamington Spa.

Anthony Russell, 38, of Riley Square, Coventry, was arrested in Staffordshire on Friday and will appear before magistrates in Birmingham on Sunday.

He is further charged with offences related to an alleged car-jacking and a wounding which took place in Leamington on Wednesday, West Midlands Police said.

Post-mortem examinations for the three people were inconclusive, the force said, and further tests would be carried out.

The family of Ms McGregor said: “We wish to thank people for their well wishes. Nicole will be greatly missed. We request to be left alone to grieve at this difficult time.”

Det Insp Jim Mahon said: “Our thoughts remain with the families of Julie, David and Nicole as they come to terms with the tragic circumstances of their deaths.

“Our investigation continues and I would urge anyone with information who have not yet spoken to us, to get in touch.”

Antony Russell charged with murder over Coventry and Leamington deaths

A man wanted in connection with the deaths of three people has been charged with murder.

Julie Williams, 58, and her son David, 32, were found at separate flats in Coventry on consecutive days this week.

The body of Nicole McGregor, 31, was discovered in woodland in Newbold Comyn, Leamington Spa, on Thursday.

Anthony Russell, 38, of Riley Square, Coventry was arrested in Staffordshire on Friday and will appear before magistrates in Birmingham on Sunday.

He is further charged with offences related to a car-jacking and a section 18 wounding which took place in Leamington on Wednesday, West Midlands Police said.

Post-mortem examinations for the three people were inconclusive, the force said, and further tests would be carried out.

The family of Ms McGregor said: “We wish to thank people for their well wishes. Nicole will be greatly missed. We request to be left alone to grieve at this difficult time.”

Det Insp Jim Mahon said: “Our thoughts remain with the families of Julie, David and Nicole as they come to terms with the tragic circumstances of their deaths.

“Our investigation continues and I would urge anyone with information who have not yet spoken to us, to get in touch.”

Storm Aiden: Freak wave near Isles of Scilly capsizes 34ft yacht

A “freak wave” caused by the gale-force winds during Storm Aiden capsized a 34ft (10m) yacht, the coastguard said.

A man was rescued after getting into difficulty six miles south west of the Isles of Scilly, with “severe” force nine winds in the area.

Falmouth coastguard received a distress signal at about 05:00 BST.

The lone yachtsman was uninjured and his stricken sailing vessel was towed to safety by the St Mary’s RNLI lifeboat in “challenging conditions”.

Ian Guy from the coastguard said: “The yachtsman described being hit by a large freak wave which capsized, rolled and disabled the vessel and with a such a severe gale forecast for the area this morning, it was important to get assistance out to this small sailing vessel quickly.”

Paddy Cochrane from Falmouth coastguard confirmed in the last 24 hours of stormy conditions they had dispatched lifeboat crews from all over Cornwall, the coastguard helicopter and multiple lifeguard rescues on beaches.

He said: “It’s people going down to have a look at the large storm conditions, wave watching and what have you.”

Mr Cochrane said he could “guarantee” they would have a further rescues through the weekend, caused by “people making silly mistakes and getting far too close to very, very dangerous conditions”.

West Midlands PCC: No appetite to break up minor Christmas parties

There is “no appetite” for the police to break up minor Christmas parties over the festive period, a police and crime commissioner (PCC) has said.

David Jamieson, PCC for West Midlands Police, said he would be “very surprised” if police broke up “minor infringements”.

Earlier in the week a government minister warned people might not be able to get together in larger groups.

Mr Jamieson said “discretion” is needed in policing.

Speaking at the weekly West Midlands Combined Authority’s media briefing, he said: “The policing is always proportionate, and there has to be discretion.

“Is there an appetite, or the resources, to be breaking up Christmas parties and minor infringements of the law? I very, very much doubt it, and I’d be very surprised if that was happening.”

Mr Jamieson said he would expect police to “step in and enforce the law” where there are larger gatherings of about 30 or 40 people who are “clearly, flagrantly ignoring” the rules.

“So for the minor infringements, there just will not be the time or scope to do it – that’s not what the police do in this country,” reports the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

“But we are very clear, where people are ignoring the laws and putting themselves and the community at risk, we will step in and take action.”

He added that he did not want “heavy-handed policing” and wants people to enjoy Christmas.

Steam engine bought for £50 sells for more than £900k

A 1930s two-tonne steam engine which was bought for £50 in 1950, has sold at auction for £911,000.

The Lion was one of four showman’s road locomotives built by agricultural engineers Fowler for the West Country travelling fair Anderton and Rowland.

Built in the final days of steam, it powered fast and popular fairground rides until it was retired in 1946.

With a price guide “either side of £1m”, auction house Bonhams said it was sold to Saunders Steam Collection.

Steam enthusiast Mr Saunders said it was a “late birthday present” to himself.

Tim Schofield, from Bonhams, said the ornately painted locomotive had “put on quite a show” when it steamed in to New Bond Street earlier in the week.

“It was delivered at 4 o’clock in the morning and two engineers lit the boiler and after two hours it had got to operating temperature,” he said.

“At 7am it drove the correct way down New Bond Street, down into Brook Street and did a two-point turn to reverse into the saleroom’s yard.”

He said the Lion had only had “three owners from new” and had spent the last 70 years in Salisbury in Wiltshire.

“It worked with Anderton and Rowland up until the Second World War and in 1950 it was acquired by its second owner Ernie Lucas of Salisbury for £50,” he said.

In the 1990s it passed to its third owner – Arthur Thomson of Salisbury – who spent two-and-a half-years restoring it.

The auctioneers said following a “lively bidding battle between bidders from the UK and the USA” the 1932 10hp B6 Showman’s Road Locomotive had been sold to the Bedfordshire-based Saunders Steam Collection.

“It’s one of the largest steam collections in the UK,” a Bonhams spokeswoman said.

“The new owners are looking forward to showing the Lion at steam fairs and shows next year.”

Chessington: Murder arrest after woman found dead

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a woman was found dead in south-west London.

Police were called at 01:18 GMT to concerns for the welfare of a woman at a residential address in Ranyard Close, Chessington.

A 48-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 71-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody at a south London police station.

Officers believe both were known to each other.

A post-mortem examination will be held and the areas remains sealed off as a crime scene.

Supt Richard Smith, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Firstly, my thoughts are with the woman who has lost her life, and her friends and family.

“This is being treated as an isolated incident and we don’t believe there to be any wider risk to people living and working in the area.

“Local officers from our neighbourhood policing teams will be on duty throughout the weekend, working hard to keep the people of London safe.”