Blackpool dad Jordan Lee denies murdering baby Willow as jurors told of Snapchat video recording ‘thud’

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The trial of a father accused of murdering his baby daughter has started at Preston Crown Court.

 

She was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where a CT scan showed a brain injury, and was later transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where she died on Sunday, December 6.

A post mortem examination found Willow had sustained a serious traumatic head injury consistent with being sustained during an assault and in keeping with forceful shaking and a probable impact to the head, and pathologists concluded the degree of force required to sustain the head injury was considerable and would have caused immense pain and suffering to the baby.

Willow LeeWillow Lee

Willow’s father Jordan Lee, 28, of Onslow Road, denies her murder.

It is alleged the moment of impact had been caught on audio in a Snapchat video recorded by Lee’s brother Daniel, who had become concerned about the dad’s conduct towards the crying baby throughout the day.

Lee claims the baby rolled off the sofa and hit her head on a glass milkshake bottle, while he was playing an X Box game, but the prosecution argues the injury is not consistent with his account.

Prosecuting, David McLachlan QC told jurors it was a “very sad case”.

He added: “It is the prosecution case, but we accept it is a matter for you to decide and no one else, that Jordan Lee, the man in the dock, was responsible for the death of his daughter. The prosecution case is, to put it bluntly, that he murdered his own daughter, specifically on December 3 last year he assaulted her with a murderous intent and that ultimately led to her death.

“The responsibility rests fairly and squarely on the prosecution’s shoulders and you must not convict him unless at the conclusion of the case you are satisfied so that you are sure.”

The court heard Willow, who was not been a planned baby, lived in a two bedroomed house with Lee, her mum Jade Bell, who works as a acre assistant, and Lee’s brother Daniel.

On December 1 Jade finished work early because Willow Lee was being sick at her mother’s home, but a subsequent doctor’s consultation deemed her to be “alert and happy”.

On December 3, Willow woke up at 4am and was given a bottle by her mum, who later went to work

The couple exchanged various texts, but at 1.18pm Lee’s brother sent her a Messenger message which said: ” He is seriously not fit to be a father. I feel sorry for Willow.”

After the mum responded, he replied: ” She been pretty much crying all day and he’s getting really angry and shouting at her”

He added he “didn’t want to scare you or anything” but when he had offered to help Lee he “literally picked her up by the ankle and said here you go” but then put her back down.

Their next door neighbour was also so concerned at hearing Lee shouting at the baby that she texted her dad.

Willow’s mum sent texts back to Danile Lee, with one reading: ” Please please make sure he doesn’t hurt her in any way” and “Please just make sure my baby is safe Dan.”

Jurors were told at 5pm Daniel Lee could hear Jordan Lee shouting words to the effect of ‘Will you shut up?’

When he offered to take Willow off his brother so he could calm down he replied: “If I can’t stop her from crying what are you going to do about it?”

Daniel continued to hear him shouting downstairs and went on to record a series of Snapchat recordings between 5.32 and 6.04pm in which a baby can be heard crying.

Mr McLachlan added: ” On that last occasion, and you will hear a thud, Willow stopped crying.

“The prosecution say that was the moment in essence, the significant moment that led to the loss of her life a few days later.

“Jordan Lee was then heard to say ‘Willow, Willow, Willow what’s the matter’?”

The court heard he ran up to his brother with Willow in his hands, unresponsive and her head was floppy.

(proceeding)

BBC Radio One presenter Jordan North brings Vick Hope and Greg James to Blackpool for Summer Break camper van reveal

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BBC Radio One presenters are set to embark on their summer tour in a camper van, which kicks off on BBC’s The One Show in Blackpool this evening.

 

“When you say going on holiday in the UK, this is probably the first town that comes to most peoples’ heads,” Jordan North told fellow presenters Greg James and Vick Hope ahead of a live appearance on BBC’s The One Show tonight (Monday, July 19).

And – of course – he was talking about Blackpool.

The trio will embark on a ” BBC Radio One (BBCR1) Summer Break” tour, traversing the UK in a camper van set to be revealed live on air tonight.

BBC Radio One presenter Jordan North.BBC Radio One presenter Jordan North.

Starting in the resort, Jordan and Vick, who present BBC Radio One’s afternoon drive show, and Greg, the breakfast show presenter, will travel the length and breadth of the country meeting listeners for the first time since the pandemic began.

Vick and Jordan could barely contain their excitement on air, when it was revealed tonight’s appearance on The One Show would be their first time.

Telling listeners about the BBCR1 Summer Break, Greg said: “We’re all excited, it feels like a long time since we’ve done anything like this on Radio One because of the pandemic.

“We’ve hopefully managed to cobble together something, get out of the building, get out around the UK and meet some listeners. We’ll be heading out together on the ultimate UK summer break.”

After Jordan revealed the first stop of their tour would be Blackpool, his fellow presenters cheered and said “I knew he wouldn’t resist the north.”

Lancashire lad Jordan, who grew up in Burnley, first hit the airwaves as a presenter at Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s in-house radio station before moving to Preston’s Rock FM.

In December, he won a place in the nation’s hearts – and the final of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here – before joining forces with Vick Hope and taking over from Nick Grimshaw’s BBCR1 afternoon drive time show.

 

Sinkhole opens up in middle of busy road in Thornton

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A section of a major road in Thornton has been forced to close after a sinkhole opened up today (July 19).

 

Victoria Road East has been closed between Fleetwood Road North and Sandringham Avenue this afternoon due to the sinkhole.

The sinkhole opened after a utility hole collapsed, according to the AA.

Diversions have been put in place and motorists have been asked to avoid the area.

Blackpool Transport has diverted bus route 75 via Lawsons Road, Trunnah Road and Fleetwood Road due to the emergency roadworks.
Victoria Road East was closed between Fleetwood Road North and Sandringham Avenue due to a sinkhole. (Credit: Google)
Victoria Road East was closed between Fleetwood Road North and Sandringham Avenue due to a sinkhole. (Credit: Google)
Police urged motorists to avoid the area while emergency roadworks took place. (Credit: AA)
Police urged motorists to avoid the area while emergency roadworks took place. (Credit: AA)

Car found dumped in Fleetwood’s Model Yacht Pond

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A car has been found dumped in Fleetwood’s Model Yacht Pond on the seafront this morning (Monday, July 19).

 

The car, believed to be a 70 plate Kia Sportage, was discovered partly submerged in the shallow waters of the model boating lake at around 7am.

Lancashire Police say it has been reported to them, but it is not clear at this stage whether the vehicle has been stolen.

North West Ambulance Service say they were not called to any incidents at the Boating Lake overnight.

The car was found this morning in Fleetwood Boating LakeThe car was found this morning in Fleetwood Boating Lake

Blackpool locals and tourists have their say on masks on ‘Freedom Day’

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‘Leave your masks on’ is the overwhelming view from Blackpool residents and holidaymakers in the resort as the legal requirement to do so was lifted in England today.

People generally said they wanted to continue wearing masks

People generally said they wanted to continue wearing masks

And a large number of those out and about on the Fylde coast were in agreement with continued recommendations to continue to wear face masks in public crowded areas and public transport, with the majority saying they would continue to carry a mask for the safety of themselves and others.

Grandmother Margaret Cutler from Fleetwood, making one of her first trips to the town centre since lockdown was imposed last year, said “without doubt” she would be wearing her mask when mingling in indoor areas.

“It just makes sense and I hope that quite a few people will also continue to do it when they’re in shops or travelling on public transport,” she said.

“We’ve all seen the rates are going up – I think it’s common sense, we do what we can to keep people safe.”

Nicola McKeown, 49, held a similar view and added the conflicting messaging from the Government was unhelpful, particularly in making more vulnerable people feel safe when out and about.

She said: “It should have a been a clear cut decision and I think that should have been they should remain mandatory going forward.

“I’m using the mask because it feels safer for me but I understand others feel differently  “Leaving the public to decide and do what they want – I think will make it more divisive. We all recognise we have to live with the virus but we all should continue to do what we can to reduce the spread too.”

Colin McDermott, 64, visiting with his family from Scotland, said he had felt comfortable travelling to the resort and was happy to still see many of the Covid protective measures in place in the accommodation and attractions.

He said: “For me, it makes me feel better to see people wearing them. It makes sense to carry on. We all need to continue doing our own bit.”

Business owner Colin Burbidge, 63, from Blackpool said public spaces remained a breeding ground for the virus and new variants were a cause for concern.

The wine school owner added: “It’s as much about the protection of others as it for yourself. We don’t know if we’re carrying the virus of not so to protect yourself on public transport seems a sensible approach.

“We know people are still catching it.”

Charlie MacKeath, 58, from Blackpool, said the issue over the wearing of face masks had been “mishandled” by the government.

“I’ve been travelling all the way through Covid in construction and all of a sudden with mishandled messaging about potentially getting rid of masks, 25 per cent of people are not wearing them on packed trains and that’s even before it’s gone.

“I’m going to continue wearing a mask after July 19 and it’s mainly about respecting others,” Mr MacKeath said.

Married couple Colin and Naomi Smith also supported the view that face masks remain an important part in the fight against the virus.

“We’ve made so much head way,” said 45-year-old facilities manager Colin, “I think this move is asking for trouble – it might be under control for now but we’ve not got rid of it.”

Naomi, 32, added: “We had a conversation together that we would still be wearing ours definitely. It’s a level of protection in enclosed spaces and visiting restaurants I’d still prefer to sit outside if I can.”

Robert Caddick, a Blackpool restaurant worker, said: “I don’t believe in the way the government have handled this at all – they wanted initially to lift all the restrictions in June with social distancing and that proved not to work so how can we believe it is right to do it now.

“At work I want it to be a safe environment for the customers but also for the staff too. I’m double vaccinated but I’ll still be keeping the mask on as we now know that even that doesn’t full stop you from getting it and passing on.”

Dawn Porter, 54, who is exempt from a mask owing to a medical condition said: “I registered early last year for my exemption because of the difficulties the mask gave me when I was out and about and people have been understanding.

“I support the wearing of the masks for those that can as it helps more vulnerable people feel safer when out and about.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the Commons: “As we make these changes, it is so important that people act with caution and with personal responsibility.”

Almost two thirds of adults say they will continue wearing face coverings in shops and on public transport when this is no longer a legal requirement, figures have showed.

Some 64 per cent of the public said they plan to keep wearing face coverings following the removal of most legal restrictions in England today, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Its poll found most adults believe that measures such as wearing a face covering when shopping (90 per cent) and social distancing (88 per cent) to stop the spread of coronavirus are important.

And more than half (57 per cent) of adults said they were worried about the Government’s plan to lift legal restrictions when it moves to Step four today, including a fifth who were “very worried”.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick denied the Government’s Covid rules have become a “total shambles” as ministers end lockdown restrictions in England.

The latest Government guidance says shoppers will still be expected to wear face masks and table service should continue in pubs and bars, even though it will no longer be a statutory requirement from today.

The move has been widely criticised by both trade unions and employers, with ministers accused of sending out “mixed messages” while giving businesses little time to prepare the new regime. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the UK Government is an “outlier” and that it would be better if England followed Scotland and Wales in continuing to make masks compulsory.

But Mr Jenrick insisted that as the vaccine rollout continues it is right to allow individuals and businesses to make their own judgments about what precautions to take.

Asked if the policy has become a “total shambles”, he replied: “No, I don’t accept that.

“As a result of the vaccine rollout we are able to move into a new phase and that’s one where we all exercise our own personal judgment.

“But also businesses and those people who are operating public transport networks, for example, will also make judgments about what is right for their settings. I think that is a sensible way forward.”

The latest guidance, issued last Wednesday, said the Government “expects and recommends” masks to be worn by workers and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces as the work-from-home order ends.

Table service is recommended to continue in bars, while pubs, restaurants and nightclubs are encouraged to check vaccine and testing status as a condition of entry through the NHS Covid Pass. Police officers will still wear face masks after Monday, the National

Police Chiefs’ Council has said.

The TUC said the Government’s guidance is a “recipe for chaos and rising infections”, while the shop workers union Usdaw said it is a “real mess” offering no assurances for staff or customers.

Dr Roger Barker, policy director at the Institute of Directors, said firms are “understandably confused” by the Government’s “mixed messages and patchwork requirements”.

Mr Drakeford said:“It is the UK Government that is the outlier and if they were prepared to bring themselves into line with the decisions that have been made in Scotland and in Wales, for example, that would be clearer and simpler for everybody.”

Council and bus firm to pay £109,000 after Christian festival adverts were removed from buses

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Blackpool Council and Blackpool Transport have had to issue a public apology and pay £109,000 to an Christian evangelist group.

 

The pair were taken to court by the organisers of the Lancashire Festival of Hope, which took place in 2018, after adverts for the three day festival were removed from Blackpool buses.

This followed a string of complaints to the council and bus company by members of the public in Blackpool about the appearance of US preacher Franklin Graham at the festival, related to sexuality and same sex marriages.

But a judge ruled that the council and bus firm violated the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act by banning the adverts. Now the judges has said they must pay £25,000 in “just satisfaction” damages plus £84,000 in legal costs to the festival team.

The bus adverts which caused the controversyThe bus adverts which caused the controversy

In addition they have had to publish a public apology. In it they state: “We accept that the advertisements were not in themselves offensive.

“We further accept that in removing the advertisements we did not take into account the fact that this might cause offence to other members of the public and suggest that some voices should not be heard.

“We also regret that we did not consult with the organisers prior to taking our decision.

“We accept the findings of the court that we discriminated against Lancashire Festival of Hope because of the religious beliefs of Franklin Graham and in doing so interfered with Lancashire Festival of Hope’s right to freedom of speech.

US evangelist Franklin GrahamUS evangelist Franklin Graham

“We sincerely apologise to the organisers of the event for the upset and inconvenience caused.”

The festival organisers say they are pleased with the result and that it sets a precedent for others in the country.

Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said: “This is an important moment for religious freedom in the UK.

“We’re grateful to God for the final outcome of this case, and for what it will mean for churches and Christians across the UK in the years ahead. The Good News of Jesus Christ must be proclaimed.

“My prayer is that this case will encourage Christians to stand firm.”

The Festival of Hope took place in September 2018 at the Winter Gardens where Franklin Graham’s father Billy had preached in 1982.

 

Holidaymaker, 29, feared to have drowned near Blackpool after ‘accidentally getting out of his depth’

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A holidaymaker feared to have drowned off the coast of Rossall vanished after accidentally getting out of his depth.

 

The 29-year-old from Bolton was in the surf on Saturday – one of the hottest days of the year – with friends when he suddenly went under the waves and failed to resurface.

The sand can be treacherously uneven, especially near the groynes which extend down the beach and into the water.

A five-hour search involving RNLI lifeboats and the Coastguard – including the helicopter from North Wales, which can recalled shortly after flying over the resort while on a training exercise – was launched after the alarm was raised at around 3.25pm on Saturday.

A lifeboat from the RNLI searching the sea off the coast of Rossall on Saturday afternoon, after a 29-year-old holidaymaker from Bolton vanished while playing in the water with friends (Picture: Dave Nelson)A lifeboat from the RNLI searching the sea off the coast of Rossall on Saturday afternoon, after a 29-year-old holidaymaker from Bolton vanished while playing in the water with friends (Picture: Dave Nelson)

High tide was at 5.40pm, with the man’s body found by the Coastguard, near to where he went missing, when the water receded.

The resort’s coroner’s offfice yesterday said no date had been set for the opening of the tourist’s inquest, which will seek to determine exactly what happened – and if anything could be done to prevent further tragedies.

Officials fear the number of people holidaying in the resort this year rather than abroad, like in Spain where the tides tend to be less treacherous, could lead to more deaths.

It comes after a record weekend for Coastguard rescuers in Fleetwood and Knott End, where volunteers faced a relentless weekend of searches in scorching heat and on packed Promenades and sand.

Jobs including an object in the water at Norbreck, which turned out to be a dead porpoise; a missing five-year-old; several injuries including an unconcious person; and a number of groups being surrounded and cut-off by the incoming tide.

Paul Little, station officer for Blackpool and Lytham’s Coastguard team, said it wasn’t its busiest weekend, though, with three jobs on Saturday, two yesterday, and two by 1pm today.

He said: “We weren’t quiet either.”

 

 

Major sea search off Cleveleys and Fleetwood coast after reports of missing man

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A major search and rescue operation is ongoing off the coast of Cleveleys and Fleetwood Saturday evening after reports of a missing person.

Sea rescue teams search the coast of Bispham and Cleveleys after reports of a missing person today. Pic: Dave Nelson

Sea rescue teams search the coast of Bispham and Cleveleys after reports of a missing person today. Pic: Dave Nelson

Coastguard helicopters and RNLI lifeboats have been searching the coast for more than four hours for the missing man.

Lancashire Police have also joined forces with sea rescue teams with officers patrolling the seafront in a bid to find him.

A spokesman for HM Coastguard Fleetwood said the “the search is still ongoing”.

Sea rescue teams search the coast of Bispham and Cleveleys after reports of a missing person today. Pic: Dave NelsonSea rescue teams search the coast of Bispham and Cleveleys after reports of a missing person today. Pic: Dave Nelson

RNLI, HM Coastguard and Lancashire Police have been contacted for further details.

Last year, the Fylde coast mourned the death of two teenage brothers – Muhammad Azhar Shabbir, 18, and Ali Athar Shabbir, 16 – who died at sea in St Annes.

The tragic discovery was made by HM Coastguard and RNLI volunteers around a mile away from where the boys had last been seen after a lengthy sea search.

Police have been working alongside RNLI and Coastguard after reports of a missing person off the Cleveleys and Fleetwood coast today. Pic: Dave NelsonPolice have been working alongside RNLI and Coastguard after reports of a missing person off the Cleveleys and Fleetwood coast today. Pic: Dave Nelson

Police have been working alongside RNLI and Coastguard after reports of a missing person off the Cleveleys and Fleetwood coast today. Pic: Dave Nelson

Police have been working alongside RNLI and Coastguard after reports of a missing person off the Cleveleys and Fleetwood coast today. Pic: Dave Nelson