Hartlepool man appears in court charged with murder of Norma Bell

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A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of Hartlepool pensioner Norma Bell.

Gareth Dack, 32, of Windermere Road, Hartlepool, was arrested earlier this week in connection with the death of the 79-year-old who was found after a fire in her home in Westbourne Road, early on Sunday morning.

Norma Bell murder investigation.
Press conference with Detective Superintendent Alastair Simpson.

Norma Bell murder investigation. Press conference with Detective Superintendent Alastair Simpson.

Police say Mrs Bell died sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

A murder probe was launched after a post mortem examination found the blaze had been started after she had died.

Mr Dack appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court this morning. He was remanded in custody and will appear at Teesside Crown Court on Tuesday.

A Cleveland Police spokesman said last night: “Mrs Bell’s family has asked that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.”

Earlier police thanked the public after a television found to be missing from the home was found.

The 49-inch Digihome television was traced on Thursday night.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Superintendent Alastair Simpson, thanked the public for sharing pictures of the TV on social media.

He said: “Following that appeal, we were contacted by a member of the public in the Hartlepool area and the television was traced.

“I’d like to thank everyone that contributed in assisting the appeal by sharing it on social media. The television is a key line of inquiry in this investigation.”

The TV had been bought last November as a present for Norma’s grandson.

Police are continuing to appeal to anyone with information to call Cleveland Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.