Looking back on the events of 2014

Amanda Spencer of Sheffield arrives at Sheffield Crown Court
Amanda Spencer of Sheffield arrives at Sheffield Crown Court
0
Have your say

How we brought you the year’s most memorable stories.

JANUARY

04/03/14''Picture shows the weapons being removed from the property. South Yorkshire police were called out to investigate the death of a man in his fifties and  discovered the material, believed to include grenades and shells, at his home. An 800m cordon was set up around the house in Sheffield Road.  Experts have been at the scene assessing the items and have now deemed that there is no risk to the public and that residents can return to their homes. The cordon has been reduced and officers will be in Sheffield Road tonight speaking to people as they go back to their houses.''rossparry.co.uk / Tom Maddick

04/03/14''Picture shows the weapons being removed from the property. South Yorkshire police were called out to investigate the death of a man in his fifties and discovered the material, believed to include grenades and shells, at his home. An 800m cordon was set up around the house in Sheffield Road. Experts have been at the scene assessing the items and have now deemed that there is no risk to the public and that residents can return to their homes. The cordon has been reduced and officers will be in Sheffield Road tonight speaking to people as they go back to their houses.''rossparry.co.uk / Tom Maddick

People in Sheffield and across the UK were shocked on the first month of the year following the revelation that a couple and their son in Parson Cross had been using a man with learning difficulties as their slave and punchbag.

David, Donna and Jamie Rooke were all jailed for their parts in forcing 34-year-old Craig Kinsella to work 15 hours a day and live in their garage on Halifax Road. They starved him, forced him to sleep on a concrete floor and made him use a bucket as a toilet.

Harrowing CCTV footage of the beatings meted out to Mr Kinsella was played to Sheffield Crown Court Judge Peter Kelson, who said the vulnerable victim had been ‘treated like a dog’.

On January 13, The Star broke the story of tragic Beverley Pickorer, who aged 35 had been left on her deathbed due to chronic alcohol abuse. Heartbreaking photographs showed her face ravaged, teeth ruined, and skin paper-thin and jaundiced from years of heavy drinking.

rossparry.co.uk/syndication'This is the shocking effect of chronic alcohol abuse - as Sheffield mum Beverley Pickorer, aged 35, faces certain death from liver disease pictured with her distraught partner Anthony Howard, 31'SEE COPY RPYDRINK'Wracked by epileptic seizures, her face ravaged, her teeth ruined, her skin paper-thin and jaundiced, this is the damage inflicted by years of heavy drinking.''Now her distraught partner Anthony Howard, 31, is pleading for her to be allowed to return home to Parson Cross to die, instead of spending her last days being nursed around the clock at Haythorne Place Care Home, in Shiregreen.''Anthony said Beverley has been drink-dependent for years - at her worst she was downing up to 24 cans of lager plus a bottle of perry in the morning, then visiting the pub, then drinking as many as 16 cans when she returned home.''Beverley has spent the last eight months receiving palliative care in the home, where most other residents are OAPs. Prior to her move she spent four months in ho

rossparry.co.uk/syndication'This is the shocking effect of chronic alcohol abuse - as Sheffield mum Beverley Pickorer, aged 35, faces certain death from liver disease pictured with her distraught partner Anthony Howard, 31'SEE COPY RPYDRINK'Wracked by epileptic seizures, her face ravaged, her teeth ruined, her skin paper-thin and jaundiced, this is the damage inflicted by years of heavy drinking.''Now her distraught partner Anthony Howard, 31, is pleading for her to be allowed to return home to Parson Cross to die, instead of spending her last days being nursed around the clock at Haythorne Place Care Home, in Shiregreen.''Anthony said Beverley has been drink-dependent for years - at her worst she was downing up to 24 cans of lager plus a bottle of perry in the morning, then visiting the pub, then drinking as many as 16 cans when she returned home.''Beverley has spent the last eight months receiving palliative care in the home, where most other residents are OAPs. Prior to her move she spent four months in ho

Her distraught partner, Anthony Howard, aged 31, was pleading for her to be allowed to return home to Parson Cross to die, instead of her spending her last days at a care home in Shiregreen. The story soon picked up national coverage as Anthony battled for Beverley to be able to die at home in his arms.

In lighter news, youngsters at Handsworth Grange Community School in Sheffield donated more than 800 tins, jars and packets of food in just three days for a community food bank. The donations flooded in after a teenage pupil confessed she had gone without food for a weekend so the rest of her family could eat.

Headteacher Paul Burrows said at the time: “She said the last meal she had was her school lunch on the Friday. When you hear about poverty existing like this in the heart of your school community it really hits you in the face.”

Nationally, Latvia joined the European Union, while the world said farewell to Portuguese footballing legend Eusebio, who died aged 71, and Only Fools and Horses and Vicar of Dibley actor Roger Lloyd-Pack, who died aged 69.

Handsworth Grange School in Sheffield have set up a food bank for under-priveleged families and after only three days the corridor tables are filling with food. Pictured, top-left then clockwise, Ella Cox,13,  Reece Gouldercourt, 15, Lilly Goddard and Jack Gascoigne, both 14

Handsworth Grange School in Sheffield have set up a food bank for under-priveleged families and after only three days the corridor tables are filling with food. Pictured, top-left then clockwise, Ella Cox,13, Reece Gouldercourt, 15, Lilly Goddard and Jack Gascoigne, both 14

FEBRUARY

In February, little Aaron Hopkins won the hearts of people in South Yorkshire and beyond after we shared his story about how the humble banana turned out to be a miracle cure for his night terrors.

The sleepless three-year-old finally managed to get his 40 winks with the help of a special sleep workshop and a banana before bed.

Before the Rotherham youngster received help from sleep expert Vicki Dawson, he was suffering from horrendous night terrors and hallucinations. But after the miracle banana cure was found, everything changed.

Simon Holdsworth, 36, was killed after getting off a bus and beginning a short walk across fields at the back of a primary school on the way home to his fiancee Carleen McKeown and stepson Tiarnan.

Simon Holdsworth, 36, was killed after getting off a bus and beginning a short walk across fields at the back of a primary school on the way home to his fiancee Carleen McKeown and stepson Tiarnan.

His mum, Maryann Battersby, said: “Now we are a family. Aaron is amazing now – he’s a happy boy.”

There was more happy news later in the month, when a couple who tried for 12 years to have a baby finally welcomed a daughter into the world.

Carol and Nick Ions, of Halfway, Sheffield, had endured four unsuccessful courses of IVF in their battle to conceive.

It wasn’t until a doctor in Sheffield carried out a series of extra tests that the couple learned Carol, aged 41, had a gene mutation which affected the clotting of her blood and, potentially, her ability to get pregnant.

Carol said: “We had been trying since I was 27 to start a family – I just feel like Neve is a miracle.”

At the end of the month, Sheffield Crown Court began hearing a disturbing case of sexual exploitation in the city. Amanda Spencer befriended girls as young as 11 and plied them with drink and drugs before luring them into prostitution.

rossparry.co.uk/Andrew McCaren'See Ross Parry Copy RPYBANANA'Say sweet dreams to Aaron Hopkins - the sleepless little boy who�"s finally managed to get his 40 winks... with the help of the humble banana. For three-and-a-half years, Aaron�"s parents were battling to find a solution to the youngster�"s night terrors, hallucinations and violent behaviour.'But with the help of a miraculous sleep workshop - and a banana before bed - it seems Aaron is finally able to drift into the land of nod. Aaron�"s problems began when he was born 14 weeks early. He was in hospital for four months before he was allowed home to East Dene, Rotherham, with mum Maryann Battersby and dad Matthew Hopkins.

rossparry.co.uk/Andrew McCaren'See Ross Parry Copy RPYBANANA'Say sweet dreams to Aaron Hopkins - the sleepless little boy who�"s finally managed to get his 40 winks... with the help of the humble banana. For three-and-a-half years, Aaron�"s parents were battling to find a solution to the youngster�"s night terrors, hallucinations and violent behaviour.'But with the help of a miraculous sleep workshop - and a banana before bed - it seems Aaron is finally able to drift into the land of nod. Aaron�"s problems began when he was born 14 weeks early. He was in hospital for four months before he was allowed home to East Dene, Rotherham, with mum Maryann Battersby and dad Matthew Hopkins.

She introduced the girls to men at locations across Sheffield, including the Peace Gardens and Castle Market, and spent the money she made on drugs and alcohol.

In Doncaster, a motorist who was seriously injured when a tree fell on top of his van said other drivers ignored him as he lay hurt.

Paul White suffered a fractured spine when the tree was blown onto his vehicle in the storms. A Good Samaritan eventually stopped to help.

Elsewhere, the winter Olympics took place in Sochi, Russia, while the ebola virus epidemic began in West Africa, and actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died, aged 46.

MARCH

In March, Sheffield was hailed as the greenest city on the planet after sending the lowest amount of waste to landfill ‘in the world’.

Less than 1 per cent of the city’s household rubbish was junked in December 2013 and January 2014, according to new figures.

The amount of waste sent to landfill by Sheffield Council dropped from 30,935 tonnes in 2008 to 6.077 in 2013.

There was an evacuation drama in Barnsley in early March as an arsenal of weapons was found in a house on a residential street.

Some 100 households were evacuated in Penistone after police discovered a hoard of WW2 ammunition in the home of a local man who had died.

Neighbours were given just a few minutes to grab some belongings before they were ordered to leave their homes for the night while the bomb squad dealt with the arsenal of grenades, bullets and other munitions.

On March 19, BBC show Crimewatch featured the murder of Simon Holdsworth, who was attacked as he made his way home from work. The body of the 36-year-old was found on a playing field in Hackenthorpe. He left a fiancee, Carleen McKeown, and her son, Tiarnan.

Simon’s mother, Christine, told the programme: “My heart is truly broken. There’s a big hole inside that will never heal. I don’t want it to happen to anyone else. I’d do anything not to let it happen to anyone else.”

Tributes poured in from across the world to former Energy Secretary and Chesterfield MP Tony Benn. The left wing politiciian died at the age of 88.

Doncaster mourned the death of an inspirational woman who had worked tirelessly to provide transport for cancer patients.

Denise Dunn was the woman behind Firefly and lost her own long battle with cancer. Firefly continues to provide a free shuttle bus service to hospitals in Sheffield, where patients must go for regular treatment.

Making the news worldwide was the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, bound for Beijing, China, from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpar. The aircraft, which has still not been found, is presumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.

Denise Dunn at the Firefly Fashion Show at the Doncaster Dome. Picture: Andrew Roe

Denise Dunn at the Firefly Fashion Show at the Doncaster Dome. Picture: Andrew Roe