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Summary

  1. A Luton man has been found guilty of preparing to carry out a terror attack on US military personnel in Britain
  2. A man who pushed his girlfriend off the balcony of a fourth floor flat in Hemel Hempstead has been sentenced to 15 years in prison
  3. Changes to a road layout in Luton following the death of a three-year-old girl are being considered by the borough council
  4. Updates for Friday, 1 April 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's all from us today at Local Live. If you missed anything, why not take a scroll through the page to catch up on the day's events? 

We'll be back with the latest news, sport, weather and travel for Beds, Herts and Bucks on Monday from 08:00.

Weather: Staying dry with clear spells

Chris Bell

BBC Look East weather

It will be dry with clear spells, but with cloud thickening at times and a ground frost possible in places.

Minimum Temperature: 1C (34F).

\weather chart
BBC

Most of Saturday should be dry, with spells of hazy sunshine but rain will spread more widely in the evening.

Drunk teenager kicked woman in head in unprovoked attack

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

A drunk teenager who kicked a woman in the head in an unprovoked attack has been ordered to pay her £1,000 compensation and been handed a suspended sentence.

Luton Crown Court
South Beds News

Joshua Scrutton, 18, of Little Berries, Luton, had downed seven pints of lager, two whiskies, 12 tequila shots and other alcohol when he attacked his victim in Wellington Street, in the town, on 27 December last year. 

The unnamed victim suffered two black eyes and a cut and swollen nose. Scrutton pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to causing actual bodily harm. Judge Richard Foster passed a 12-month sentence suspended for two years and ordered Scutton to carry out 250 hours' unpaid work.

Disabled fans must pay for parking, say Wycombe Wanderers

Bucks Free Press

Disabled supporters of Wycombe Wanderers will be forced to pay for their parking spaces after the club confirmed they will charge blue badge holders up to £120 to park their cars next season.

How Islamic State group supporters targeted the UK

A delivery driver from Luton has been found guilty of plotting a terror attack on US military personnel in the UK as a show of his allegiance to the self-styled Islamic State group. What does his case say about the nature of the threat faced by the UK?  

Read Dominic Casciani's background article here.

Junead Khan
Other

Headlines: Man jailed for attempted murder... MK Dons travel to Fulham in relegation battle

  • Islamic extremist Junead Khan, 25, from Luton has been found guilty of planning to kill American servicemen in Britain
  • A man from Hemel Hempstead has been jailed for attempted murder for throwing his girlfriend off a balcony 
  • On-loan centre half Kevin Long travels with MK Dons to relegation battle rivals Fulham

Weather: Cloud thickening, but staying dry

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

Skies will become hazier through the afternoon, as cloud begins to thicken. It will stay dry, but become breezy.

Weather chart
BBC

There is a cloudy night expected for many, but it will stay dry.

Maximum temp: 13C (55F).

Travel: Three-car crash on M1 causes long tailback

BBC Travel

A crash involving three cars on the south-bound M1 has closed two lanes and caused a nine-mile tailback from J13 for the A421 for Bedford.

More details on BBC Travel.

Watch: Background to Junead Khan conviction

The BBC's Alex Dunlop looks at the background to Luton man Junead Khan's guilty conviction at Kingston Crown Court of terrorism offences, and speaks to the commander of 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, Colonel Robert Novotny:

Junead Khan convicted of planning a terror attack in Suffolk

Would-be jihadis spent 'considerable amount of time' planning

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Two would-be jihadis found guilty of preparing to travel to Syria had spent a considerable amount of time planning attacks in Britain and their journey.

Junead Khan
PA

Junead Khan, 25, and his uncle Shazib Khan, 23, were remanded in custody by Kingston Crown Court and will be sentenced on 13 May.

Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service's counter-terrorism division, said: "Even though they did not leave the country, they had spent a significant amount of time planning their journey." 

Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism unit trawled through about 66,000 texts, social media messages and emails after arresting them.

Bedford mayor criticises on-going healthcare review

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

The Mayor of Bedford has criticised an on-going review into healthcare in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, which will make recommendations about Bedford and Milton Keynes hospitals.

Bedford Hospital
BBC

The latest review, launched in 2014, has so far cost £4.5m, after an earlier review - Healthier Together - costing £2m was scrapped, but a spokesman said the spending is in line with their budget.

Mayor Dave Hodgson, who has described the delay as "scandalous", said: "They seem to know what they want, they want to downgrade Bedford or Milton Keynes hospital, but they can't get either the clinical outcomes to add up or the finances to add up."

Man cleared of involvement with Aylesbury sex ring

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

A man has been cleared of being part of a child sex ring in Aylesbury.

Jerome Joe, 38, from the town, was found not guilty of rape and sexual activity with a child at a re-trial at the Old Bailey.

He had been charged with two offences relating to the same girl, who was aged between 13 and 15, between January 2007 and January 2010.

Hemel Hempstead balcony push girl has 'no memory' of what happened

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The girlfriend of a man convicted of attempted murder after throwing her off the balcony of a fourth floor flat in Hemel Hempstead has no memory of what happened.

Lord Alexander House
South Beds News Agency

Danielle Hammond, 21, fell 45ft (14m) when John McAleer pushed her over the balcony after an argument inside the flat at Lord Alexander House on 30 June 2015. She landed in bushes and on a manhole cover.

She survived the fall, but her skull was fractured and she had bleeding around the brain. She also suffered major trauma to her abdominal organs, her wrists were broken and her hearing and speech have been impaired. She has since been discharged from hospital and is walking independently.

Thousands sign Aylesbury man's petition for harsher animal cruelty sentences

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

An online petition started by a Buckinghamshire man calling for harsher sentences for two brothers who threw their bulldog down the stairs and filmed the pet's ordeal - has now been signed by more than 270,000 people.

Alex Richardson-Lee, from Aylesbury, started the petition after Andrew and Daniel Frankish from Cleveland were handed a suspended jail sentence by magistrates following an RSPCA prosecution.

Mr Richardson-Lee said: "It's absolutely mental how quickly it's grown, the support is hugely appreciated, I never expected it to get this far."

Murder bid victim suffered personality change

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

The mother of a woman thrown over a balcony by her drug crazed "violent" boyfriend said she had suffered a personality change and speech impairment as a result of her injuries.

St Albans Crown Court
South Beds

John McAleer was jailed at St Albans Crown Court for 15 years with a further five on licence for the attempted murder of Danielle Hammond , 21, in June last year. 

Her mother, Mandy Hammond, n a letter to Judge Marie Catterson, said Miss Hammond's hearing, eyesight and speech had been affected and because of injuries caused to her arms and hands she could not care for her own five-year-old daughter.

Miss Hammond suffered a fractured skull, bruising to her brain and internal organs.

John McAleer: Man convicted of girlfriend's balcony push 'loved her to bits'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A man jailed for 15 years for attempted murder after throwing his girlfriend off the balcony of a fourth floor flat leaving her badly injured had told a court he "loved her to bits".

Danielle Hammond
South Beds News Agency

John McAleer, 24, had denied trying to kill Danielle Hammond, 21, at a flat in Hemel Hempstead in June last year. St Albans Crown Court heard McAleer, of Belsize Road, was seen lifting Ms Hammond before she went over a railing.

Judge Marie Catterson said he posed a "severe risk" and would serve 15 years in custody and five more "on licence".

Luton terror attack planner 'legitimately' drove close to bases in East Anglia

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A Luton delivery driver convicted of planning a terror attack on American military personnel in East Anglia drove close to bases operated by USAF as part of his work, Kingston Crown Court heard.

Lakenheath sign
PA

The jury heard Junead Khan, 25, worked as an agency driver for pharmaceutical firm Alliance Healthcare and legitimately visited East Anglia in May and June 2015.

During these trips he drove close to RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, RAF Feltwell in Norfolk, and RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire. He was arrested on 14 July at Alliance's depot in Letchworth, Hertfordshire.

Would-be Jihadis mocked government Prevent programme

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Two British Islamic would-be jihadis from Luton were on the radar of the Government's anti-extremism programme a year before they were arrested - and joked about it.

Junead Khan, 25, and his uncle Shazib Khan, 23, mocked the Prevent programme after a police officer visited Junead's Luton home in 2014, their trial heard. The pair have been found guilty at Kingston Crown Court of preparing to travel to Syria.

They used the WhatsApp instant messenger to discuss the visit from Bedfordshire Police, in which an officer left a card asking for Junead to call him. The trial heard the two men also shared extremist material using WhatsApp and other encrypted messaging programmes.

John McAleer: 'Dangerous' man jailed for 15 years

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A man sentenced to 15 years in prison for the attempted murder of his girlfriend in Hemel Hempstead has been called "dangerous" by the judge sentencing him at St Albans Crown Court.

John McAleer
Hertfordshire Police

John McAleer, 24, from Belsize Road, Hemel Hempstead had been with his 21-year-old girlfriend Danielle Hammond at a flat in Waterhouse Street in the town on 30 June. Following an argument, the two went to the balcony where he threw his victim over the edge. She fell 45ft (14m) and suffered serious injuries.

McAleer had denied attempted murder, but was found guilty on 30 November following a three week trial.

BreakingJohn McAleer sentenced over balcony push

A man who pushed his girlfriend off the balcony of a fourth floor flat in Hemel Hempstead has been sentenced to 15 years in prison with an extended licence of five years for attempted murder.

Luton pair convicted of preparing to go to Syria

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A Luton man found guilty of planning a terror attack on American military personnel in East Anglia was also convicted alongside his uncle of preparing to go to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State.

Junead Khan and Shazib Khan
CPS

Some of the evidence used to convict Junead Khan, 25, and Shazib Khan, 23, (pictured right) cannot be revealed for legal reasons, but both men had denied engaging in the preparation of terrorist acts between 1 August 2014 and 15 July 2015.

Neither showed any emotion as the jury returned its verdicts after deliberating for almost 24 hours at the end of a six-and-a-half-week trial.

Luton man guilty of terror plan used delivery job as cover

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Junead Khan, the Luton man found guilty of planning a terror attack on American military personnel between May and July 2015, used his job with a pharmaceutical firm as cover to scout United States Air Force bases in East Anglia, his trial heard.

Detectives later found he had been exchanging chilling online messages with a so-called Islamic State fighter in Syria calling himself Abu Hussain, including describing attacking military personnel after faking a road accident.

After Khan was arrested in July, police found pictures on his phone of him posing in his bedroom with an Islamic State-style black flag which officers later found in the attic. His computer was also found to contain an al-Qaida bomb manual and Amazon searches for a large combat knife.

Luton man guilty of planning US airmen attack

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A delivery driver from Luton has been convicted of plotting to kill an American airman outside a base in East Anglia.

Junead Khan
PA

Junead Khan, 25, a supporter of so-called Islamic State, was found guilty at Kingston Crown Court of preparing terrorist acts.

In July 2015 he was in an encrypted online conversation with a British IS operative in Raqqa, Syria. Khan - who had driven past RAF Lakenheath and other bases on his delivery route - discussed staging a car crash and attacking a soldier with a knife.

BreakingLuton pair guilty of preparing to travel to Syria

Junead Khan, 25, from Luton has also been found guilty of preparing to travel to Syria to join so-called Isalmic State, together with his uncle, Shazib Khan, 23.

BreakingLuton man guilty of terror attack plan

Junead Khan, 25, from Luton, has been found guilty at Kingston Crown Court of preparing to carry out a terror attack on US military personnel in Britain.

Dons travel to Fulham with on-loan Long set to make debut

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Milton Keynes Dons travel to Championship relegation rivals Fulham on Saturday with on-loan centre half Kevin Long set to make his debut in place of the suspended Kyle McFadzean.

Karl Robinson
Getty Images

Dons boss Karl Robinson said the defender comes with a glowing reference from Burnley manager Sean Dyche.

"I could show you the text on my phone about how much he rates this boy, how he likes his mentality and how he likes his attitude, his grit and determination and his willingness to succeed, he couldn't speak highly enough of him," Robinson said.

Lunchtime headlines: Man accused of stabbing widow appears in court... Online petition over harsher sentences for animal cruelty brothers

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Here are the top stories we're looking at this afternoon:

  • A man accused of stabbing a widowed Luton shopkeeper in the same spot as her husband was murdered nearly seven years ago has appeared in court
  • An online petition started by a Buckinghamshire man calling for harsher sentences for two brothers who threw their bulldog down the stairs has been signed by more than 270,000 people
  • A man who pushed his girlfriend off the balcony of a fourth floor flat in Hemel Hempstead will be sentenced for attempted murder today

Whipsnade white lion due for ' special maintenance'

Ben Nye

BBC Three Counties Radio

People living in Dunstable who complained a town landmark is not being properly maintained have been told the white lion, cut into the side of Dunstable Downs, is due for "special maintenance".

Whipsnade white lion
Geograph/Rob Farrow

Dunstable Rotary Club said it had volunteered to clean the lion, but Whipsnade Zoo - which is responsible for it - had prevented them from doing so because of health and safety rules.

The zoo said the latest maintenance of the lion would involve the addition of new chalk, which has to be transported and unloaded by machinery that can cope with the steep gradient of the hill, something which has "health and safety implications" which are being "worked on".

The news today... you decide!

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

We’ve noticed some even stranger than usual stories in the news this morning – we’ll leave you to decide whether they’re real… although I have to say, some are not unbelievable.

The Luton News has reported on a planned new ‘cattle class’  service for rail commuters where all seats will "either be standing, or on converted bicycle seats with pedals that help to power the trains".

Meanwhile, Milton Keynes Citizen says Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been drafted in as Labour council candidate for Stantonbury in the forthcoming local elections.

My personal favourite is from Thames Valley Police which announced it was trialling the UK’s very first Police Cat Unit.

The promotional video claims efforts to pair the new division with its current dog unit had “proved unsuccessful”.

View more on youtube

Faruk Ali police misconduct hearing: Case adjourned until Monday

Tom Barton

BBC Look East political reporter

Proceedings on the fourth day of a misconduct hearing into the way two police officers treated an autistic man in Luton more than two years ago have finished for the day with the case adjourned until Monday.

Faruk Ali
BBC

Bedfordshire Police officers, PCs Christopher Pitts from Bedford and Christopher Thomas from Welwyn Garden City, were previously been found not guilty at Luton Crown Court of assaulting Faruk Ali.

On Monday, the panel will hear from PCs Reid and Fairclough, who spoke to the two accused officers after the incident - a conversation which was caught on CCTV. The defence will open after that, but I believe neither of the accused officers are planning to take the stand.

Widow stabbed in same spot where husband was murdered

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A man accused of stabbing a widowed shopkeeper in the same spot as her husband was murdered nearly seven years ago is to been seen by a second psychiatrist in prison.

Moon's Newsagent
Google

The 30-year-old, of no fixed address, is accused of the attempted murder of Nirupa Patel, 56, at Moon's Newsagents in Park Street, Luton on Christmas Eve. Her husband Jashbai, 59, was murdered on June 14 2009. His killer was jailed for life.

The accused made a brief appearance at Luton Crown Court this morning via a video link from Bedford Prison where he is on remand.

Councillor says 'various options available' for Bury Park road changes

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

A Luton councillor has said there are various options available for changes to a road layout in Bury Park following the death of a three-year-old girl. Councillors were told there's no money allocated in the budget for £87,000 worth of planned work.

Mayah Shazad
Shazia Imtiaz

Mayah Shazad died after being hit by a bus on Dunstable Road in August 2014, but an inquest ruled the road layout was not to blame.

Councillor Tahir Khan said: "Obviously the council's budget is very tight and the report that is going for consultation has got various options... the options are costed out... we will go for further consultation with the residents and a final decision will be made."

Lewis Hamilton says it is strange qualifying is unchanged at Bahrain GP

BBC Sport

Practice starts later today for the second Formula One Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain with Hertfordshire's Lewis Hamilton criticising the decision to keep the controversial new qualifying format.

Lewis Hamilton
Getty Images

Teams agreed unanimously to ditch the system after negative reaction in Australia two weeks ago. It had been condemned because it ended with four minutes of an empty track as teams sought to save tyres for the race.

Stevenage's Hamilton said: "It's strange we've kept it the same, particularly because the most important thing is the fans were unhappy."

Home Retail Group shareholders to back Sainsbury's takeover

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

The Milton Keynes-based Home Retail Group - which owns Argos - is telling shareholders to back a £1.4bn takeover by supermarket Sainsbury's.

Home Retail Group HQ
Google

The group sold its Homebase chain to an Australian company earlier this year.

The supermarket said the deal to buy Home Retail Group would create a "multi-product, multi-channel" retailer with about 200 stores.

Flores: Arsenal 'will want to win'

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Watford travel to Arsenal in the Premier League tomorrow - just three weeks after their FA Cup win there.

Quique Flores
Getty Images

But manager Quique Flores is not sure this gives his side an advantage, saying: "They know now we can win, we did two weeks ago... they will not be happy with that loss, they will want to win."

Meanwhile at a press conference this morning, Arsenal manager Arsene Wengerconfirmed goalkeeper Petr Cechwill train today after missing the last five games with injury.

Latest headlines: Balcony push sentencing due... Thousands sign Aylesbury man's petition for harsher animal cruelty sentences

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Here are the top stories we're looking at this morning:

  • A man who pushed his girlfriend off the balcony of a fourth floor flat in Hemel Hempstead will be sentenced for attempted murder today
  • An online petition, started by a Buckinghamshire man, calling for harsher sentences for two brothers who threw their bulldog down the stairs has been signed by more than a quarter of a million people
  • Changes to a road layout in Luton following the death of a three year old girl are being considered by the borough council 

John McAleer due to be sentenced for pushing girlfriend over balcony

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A man who pushed his girlfriend off the balcony of a fourth floor flat in Hemel Hempstead will be sentenced for attempted murder today.

John McAleer
South Beds News Agency

John McAleer, 24, of Belsize Road in Hemel Hempstead, had denied trying to kill Danielle Hammond, 21, at a flat in Lord Alexander House last June, but was found guilty in November.  

Ms Hammond was seriously injured, but survived the fall which happened during an argument after a night out drinking.

Man due in court over newsagent's attempted murder

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

A 30-year-old man is due in court today charged with attempted murder and assault following an incident at a Luton newsagent's shop.

One of the alleged victims is the wife of a man murdered on the doorstep of the same newsagents in Park Street in 2009.

Road layout changes considered after toddler death

Carol Abercrombie

BBC Three Counties Radio

Changes to the road layout in the Bury Park area of Luton following the death of a three-year-old girl are being considered by the borough council.

Mayah Shazad died after being hit by a bus on Dunstable Road in August 2014. An inquest into her death heard the road layout had no bearing on the accident, but the council has listened to resident's concerns.

Tributes to Mayah Shazad
BBC

Their report recommends a puffin crossing near Bury Park Road, an extended 20mph zone, a ban on parking on the footpath and extra waiting restrictions at junctions - at a cost of £87,000.

Councillors are being recommended to approve public consultation on the plans, but have been told there's no money allocated in the budget.

Latest headlines: Road layout changes considered after toddler death... Balcony push sentencing due

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Here are the top stories we're looking at this morning:

  • Changes to a road layout in Luton following the death of a three-year-old girl are being considered by the borough council
  • A man who pushed his girlfriend off the balcony of a fourth floor flat in Hemel Hempstead will be sentenced for attempted murder today
  • A man is due in court today charged with attempted murder and assault following an incident at a Luton newsagents shop