Overnight new digest - Family of tragic ex-nurse want answers, pensioner dies after being hit with car, and more ex-footballers speak out about 'abuse'

Pam Briggs

Pam Briggs

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Catch up with all the latest national and regional news with our morning roundup

REGIONAL NEWS

CORONER DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM BLACKPOOL VICTORIA HOSPITAL FOLLOWING TRAGIC DEATH

THE family of a Leyland woman whose death sparked an investigation into care at a Lancashire hospital today said: “This can’t all be for nothing.”

Former auxiliary nurse Pamela Briggs, a stalwart of St Catherine’s Hospice, died on her 69th birthday following a routine heart operation.

A coroner has written to Blackpool Victoria Hospital NHS Trust interim chief executive Wendy Swift warning the process for dealing with serious incidents, which he said is not robust or thorough enough, is putting lives at risk.

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PRESTON MAN ADMITS HE IS JEWELLERY SHOP'S ROOFTOP RAIDER

A burglar whose rooftop heist prompted the closure of a Preston street - and the retirement of one of the city’s longest serving jewellers - has admitted his guilt.

Mark Bentley, of Woodplumpton Road, Ashton, Preston, admitted a single offence of burglary over the £8,000 break in at Hackler’s in Lune Street, Preston city centre, a Lancashire Police spokesman said.

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WARNING TO DRIVERS AFTER LOLLIPOP LADY IS KNOCKED DOWN

A headteacher has warned drivers and children to take extra care around his school after a lollipop woman was knocked down

The incident happened on Thursday morning as the school crossing patrol worker was helping children to cross Stanah Road in Thornton. Elaine Ross was not seriously hurt in the incident and no children were involved.

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PENSIONER DIES AFTER BEING HIT BY CAR

A pensioner has died after he was hit by a car in Wigan.

The elderly man was in collision with what is believed to have been a Jaguar on Golborne High Street close to the Charles Napier pub early on Tuesday evening.

Emergency services were called to the scene at around 6.25pm and the unnamed victim was taken to hospital but doctors were unable to save him and he died a short time later.

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NATIONAL NEWS

MINISTERS URGED TO 'GET A GRIP' AFTER CRITICISM OF BENEFIT SANCTIONS

Benefit sanctions that can plunge claimants into hardship, hunger and depression are being handed out with little evidence they work, a scathing report by the public spending watchdog has found.

Use of the penalties also varies "substantially" across the country and referral rates have changed significantly over time, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

It accused the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of not doing enough to find out how sanctions affect people on benefits.

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MORE EX-FOOTBALLERS SPEAK OUT ABOUT 'ABUSE' AS EIGHT POLICE FORCES INVESTIGATE

Eight police forces are now looking into allegations of historical child sex abuse in football.

There have been 250 reports made to police and more than 50 calls were made to an NSPCC hotline set up for sexual abuse victims in football in the initial hours of opening.

More than 20 former players have now spoken out about alleged abuse, including former Newcastle United footballer Derek Bell, who waived his anonymity to the Guardian.

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FOUR MEN TOOK OWN LIVES AFTER 'SEXTORTION' BLACKMAILING

Four men killed themselves in the last year after being blackmailed as part of an increasing cyber "sextortion" racket.

International gangs of organised criminals are targeting more and more young men by luring them into potentially compromising positions, the National Crime Agency said.

The number of people reporting financially-motivated cyber enabled blackmails more than doubled from 385 in 2015 to 864 up to November 2016.

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LABOUR MPs WILL NOT BE FORCED TO BLOCK SNP OVER TONY BLAIR PROBE

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will not force his MPs to block an SNP attempt to trigger a parliamentary investigation into whether Tony Blair misled the Commons in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Mr Corbyn has decided to impose only a one-line whip on his MPs for Wednesday's vote on the SNP bid, meaning they are not obliged to attend, and could even back the former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond's motion without fear of sanction.

Mr Salmond has drawn cross-party support for his motion calling on the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee to probe any differences between Mr Blair's public statements in the lead-up to the invasion, and private correspondence with then US president George Bush revealed by the Chilcot inquiry.

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WORLD LEADERS HONOUR FIDEL CASTRO AT HAVANA RALLY

World leaders joined tens of thousands of Cubans in Havana's Plaza of the Revolution, celebrating Fidel Castro on the spot where he delivered fiery speeches to mammoth crowds in the years after he seized power.

The presidents of Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and South Africa, along with leaders of a host of smaller nations, offered speeches paying tribute to Castro, 90, who died on Friday night.

South African president Jacob Zuma praised Cuba under Castro for its record on education and health care and its support for African independence struggles.

EXPERTS PROBE AIR CRASH THAT WIPED OUT 'CINDERELLA' FOOTBALL TEAM

Colombian authorities are searching for answers after a charter plane carrying a football team whose Cinderella story took them to the finals of one of South America's most prestigious regional tournaments slammed into Colombia's Andes mountains, killing all but six of the 77 people on board.

The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane's crew declared an emergency and lost radar contact just before 10pm local time on Monday (3am GMT on Tuesday), according to Colombia's aviation agency. It said the plane's black boxes had been recovered and were being analysed.

The aircraft, which departed from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was carrying the Chapecoense team from southern Brazil for Wednesday's first leg of the two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin. Twenty-one Brazilian journalists were also on board.

STRAINED AMBULANCE CREWS TOO SLOW TO REACH CRITICAL PATIENTS - REPORT

Ambulances are failing to reach dying and seriously-ill patients fast enough as the service creaks under the strain of high demand, according to a report.

Only one of the UK's 13 ambulance services, the Welsh Ambulance Service, is meeting the target to reach patients with life-threatening conditions within eight minutes, a BBC investigation has found.

Freedom of Information requests by the broadcaster found more than 500,000 hours of ambulance crews' time in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was wasted waiting at A&E to hand over patients to hospital staff.

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RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS EROSION 'ENDANGERS FAITH COMMUNITIES' HELP TO COMMON GOOD'

Religious freedoms in everyday life are being eroded in modern Britain, a new report warns.

Magistrates, teachers, foster parents, doctors, and therapists have been disciplined, demoted, or sacked for living in accordance with their beliefs, the paper from think tank ResPublica said.

Compromises to religious freedom "seriously endanger" the contributions of faith communities to the common good, the study argued.

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POLICEMAN INJURED IN LORRY DRIVER CHASE DRAMA

A police officer was seriously injured when he was struck by a passing car after being threatened by the driver of a "suspicious" lorry during a chase, his force has said.

The Staffordshire Police officer was taken to hospital after stopping the HGV at around 6.15pm on Tuesday.

The lorry driver ran off and the officer followed him on foot along the A5 near Lichfield.

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