Couple to be reunited after grandson’s petition to council

A couple who have been together for 70 years will be allowed to stay in the same care home after their family launched a social media campaign to change a ruling from South Tyneside council.

Ray Lorrison, 95, has Alzheimer’s disease and has been staying at Westoe Grange care home while his wife Jessie, 88, had been in hospital after a fall. She was expected to return home against the family’s wishes because she did not meet the criteria to join him. Lee Bates, the couple’s grandson, started an online petition, which attracted 21,000 signatures from around the world, and the council reversed its decision. “We are incredibly relieved that my grandparents are going to be back together and that my grandmother is going to get the care that she deserves,” he said. The couple may be reunited this week when she is discharged.

Drunken girls’ night out ends with sex assault court case
Two friends have appeared in court after one of them accused the other of sexually assaulting her after a drunken girls’ night out.

Samantha Bowers, 31, and her friend, who described herself as having been “ten out of ten drunk”, spent five hours drinking lager, sambuca shots and rum at pubs and bars, a court was told. After returning to the alleged victim’s house, Ms Bowers, is said to have rubbed her friend’s back as she vomited in her bathroom, and allegedly moved her hands to her victim’s breasts and bottom.

The victim also claims that she woke up to find Ms Bowers’s hand between her legs. Ms Bowers denies the charges. Jane Oldfield, for the defence, suggested that the pair had a history of sexual encounters during their 11-year friendship and that the victim had enjoyed being touched. The trial, at Reading crown court, continues.

Woman, 70, arrested for ‘stealing grass from garden’

A villager who has been embroiled in a long-running planning row with her neighbours has been arrested for allegedly stealing grass from a communal garden.

Neighbours claim that Valerie Vivian, 70, was seen taking a trowel to the turf in Bathampton, near Bath, after residents grassed over a 150ft gravel path that she had laid. Mrs Vivian, who rents a house in a cul-de-sac where homes cost about £1 million, had allegedly tried to build a track to a field where she wants to build houses.

In September the local council, which has denied Mrs Vivian planning permission for the houses, ordered that the path be returned to grass. At the weekend Mrs Vivian was spotted apparently taking matters into her own hands. “She was ripping the grass out and dropping each piece in a bag,” one resident said.

Neighbours called police, who said that they arrested a woman in her seventies on suspicion of theft.

Bribery gets results
Bribing teenagers to attend school and behave well in the classroom boosts GCSE results for low-achieving pupils and helps to close the attainment gap, a study has found. Rather than promising to reward Year 11 pupils for exam results, teenagers who turned up on time, completed homework and behaved well in lessons were given £80 per half term or were taken to events. The study was led by Bristol university and funded by the Education Endowment Foundation.

Battle over life support
A judge has been asked to decide whether doctors should stop providing life support to a policeman left in a coma after a road accident. Paul Briggs, 43, a Gulf War veteran, suffered a severe brain injury last July. His wife, Lindsey, said life-sustaining treatment should stop but doctors disagree. Mr Justice Charles is expected to make a ruling after a Court of Protection hearing.

Man ‘researched killing’
A man stabbed his wife several times after searching the internet for “the most painful place to stab someone”, the Old Bailey heard. Jose Leonardo, 56, who worked as an Uber driver, is accused of the murder of Maria Mbombo, 46, at their home in Belsize Park, north London, in May. He has admitted manslaughter by “loss of control”, but denies murder and perverting the course of justice.

Kindness of a stranger
A couple were handed £50 by a stranger so they could go on a date after she overheard them discussing money worries. Alex Doyle, 23, who has no job, and Zoe Paton, 21, were sitting in a parked car at Roadford Lake near Launceston, Cornwall, on Sunday when a woman came over to give them the gift. Miss Paton said: “I really hope we can find her so we can say thank you properly.”