Man charged with murder of 79-year-old foster mother


A 32-year-old man has been charged with the murder of a foster mother whose body was found in the burnt remains of her home.

Norma Bell, who took care of more than 50 foster children as well as three of her own, was discovered in the property on Westbourne Road, Hartlepool.

Police launched a murder investigation after they confirmed she died before the fire began at her house, sometime between late evening on April 2 and the morning of April 3.

She had lived at the house for 27 years and was due to celebrate her 80th birthday next month.

The pensioner's handbag and a large amount of cash were stolen from the property, and a large LED television which she had bought for her grandson was also missing.

Earlier this week, officers arrested the man in connection with her death. He has since been charged with her murder and has been remanded to appear at Teesside Magistrates' Court on April 9.