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Today’s top Greater Manchester stories – Thursday, December 16, 2021

A lifelong Stockport County fan died at just 46 from Covid-19 after being unable to get the vaccine, the Manchester Evening News revealed a fascinating snapshot of how the public here really feels about Boris Johnson’s biggest political priority: ‘levelling up’ and Greater Manchester Police has told bereaved families ‘the force let you down’ as it admitted a series of failures on the night of the Manchester Arena bombing.

Here are the top stories from our website today.

GMP tells bereaved families ‘we let you down’ as force admits raft of failures on night of Manchester Arena bombing



The 22 victims who died at the Manchester Arena bombing

Greater Manchester Police has told bereaved families ‘the force let you down’ as it admitted a series of failures on the night of the Manchester Arena bombing.

The force admitted six key failures including not working with other blue light services on the night of the attack, failing to provide training to some key staff about marauding terror attacks (MTAs) and failing to ensure adequate systems were in place to learn lessons from previous incidents and training drills.

But, the force blamed the force duty officer on the night, Chief Inspector Dale Sexton, who they allege ignored his training in failing to inform other blue light services he had declared Operation Plato, the plan to deal with a continuing multi-seated terror attack.

The now retired Mr Sexton’s failure was ‘beyond thought and beyond comprehension’, according to GMP.

He also failed to declare a major incident although senior colleagues could also have done this, the continuing public inquiry into the atrocity was told.

In his evidence, the former officer – now said to be suffering from PTSD – said he tried and failed to reach a commander at North West Ambulance Service before deciding he would not share his declaration of Plato for fear it would prompt first responders to abandon casualties.

Read the full story here.

What Greater Manchester really thinks about ‘levelling up’



What Greater Manchester really thinks about ‘levelling up’

The Manchester Evening News can reveal a fascinating snapshot of how the public here really feels about Boris Johnson’s biggest political priority: ‘levelling up’.

Exclusive polling from the political consultancy Public First reveals a sense of ‘wounded’ civic pride in a region that still holds its former industrial heritage, football teams and local markets dear, but where people are also more likely than elsewhere to feel their area has declined over the last decade, in large part thanks to rising neighbourhood crime and the state of our town centres.

It shows a public more open than elsewhere to devolution and especially to policies aimed at attracting green jobs, retraining and business investment outside of London, with people wanting and aiming to stay here, rather than move elsewhere for work.

Yet against a backdrop of recent broken promises, it also shows a higher-than-average pessimism that the government can actually close the regional divides it purports to be tackling.

The polling was carried out by Public First between November 23 and December 2 and asked 101 questions of 2,000 people nationally, just over 500 of whom were in Greater Manchester.

Read the full story here.

‘Extremely popular’ lifelong Stockport County fan, 46, couldn’t get jab and died from Covid



Rob Wellings, from Buxton, passed away in hospital on December 1

A lifelong Stockport County fan died at just 46 from Covid-19 — after being unable to get the vaccine.

Rob Wellings, from Buxton, passed away in hospital on December 1, after battling the virus for ‘a number of weeks’.

He was unable to get the coronavirus vaccine due to ongoing treatment for cellulitis, friend Simon Maguire told the Manchester Evening News.

“He fought it off for a bit and then it came back,” he said. “He had a real ordeal with it.

“He was on a ventilator, and then they got him back. Then he caught pneumonia.

“That took him back down. It was one thing after another.”

Simon, who would go to County matches with Rob, remembered his friend of 20 years as ‘popular’ and ‘generous’.

Read the full story here.

JD Sports worker stole thousands of pounds-worth of stock using ‘sophisticated’ method to fund ‘raging’ cocaine addiction



Anthony Riley was caught out when security guards became suspicious

A JD Sports worker stole thousands of pounds-worth of stock to fund a ‘raging’ cocaine addiction.

Anthony Riley, who worked in the clothing firm’s warehouse in Rochdale, used a ‘sophisticated’ method of defrauding his own employers.

By manually printing off old delivery labels he was able to divert ‘high value’ goods from the depot to his partner’s home.

Riley, 26, was caught out after a security guard became suspicious.

The dad-of-two has avoided jail after getting clean from drugs and finding new work.

“You now realise that the cocaine addiction was leading you to behave in a way that could not be tolerated by your employers,” a judge told Riley.

Speaking of the £23,761-worth of goods stolen by Riley, Recorder Eric Lamb said: “That did you no benefit whatsoever because it was simply used to pay off your by that time raging addiction to cocaine.”

Manchester Crown Court heard that £13,761-worth of the goods stolen were recovered, but the remaining £10,000 has not been.

Read the full story here.

Jury unable to agree again in trial of man who allegedly knocked out rival in 3am row before taxi ran him over



Ammar Terbeche, who died after he was allegedly attacked and then hit by a car in Rochdale town

Jurors have been unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a man who allegedly knocked out a rival during a 3am row – moments before he was run over by a taxi and killed.

Abdelllkader Heni, 28, was said to have punched Ammar Terbeche, 32, with a single blow to the back of the head after the pair were involved in an ‘animated’ argument on Packer Street outside Yates bar in Rochdale town centre, a court previously heard.

But 30 seconds after the punch Mr Terbeche was run over by a taxi van, a court heard. He died of ‘catastrophic’ injuries at the scene.

Mr Heni, of no fixed abode, was later caught ‘hiding’ in the back of a lorry trying to escape to France, the court heard.

He denies manslaughter.

Following two days of deliberations, jurors were unable to reach a verdict in which they could agree either unanimously or by a majority of 10-2, and the trial has concluded with a hung jury.

This is the second time there has been a hung jury in the case.

The jury has since been discharged.

A mention hearing will take place on Monday to discuss what happens next with the case.

Read the full story here.

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