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  1. Updates for Monday, 18 April 2016
  2. A 26-year-old man has admitted the manslaughter of a hairdresser in Milton Keynes, but denies his murder
  3. Concerns are growing for the welfare of a children's author from Royston missing for nearly a week
  4. A teenager is jailed for nine years for stabbing a man 12 times at a house party in Milton Keynes
  5. A blue plaque is being unveiled today on the childhood home of two polar explorers from Bedfordshire
  6. More news, sport, travel and weather updates from 08:00 on Tuesday

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All times stated are UK

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Weather Watchers: Sunny woodland scenes

BBC Weather Watchers

We've had quite a mix of sunshine and cloud this morning by the look of weather reports dropping into our inbox today - like this woodland scene in Welwyn Garden City.

Woodland walk in Welwyn Garden City
BBC Weather Watchers/LouieMurg

Remember, you too can sign up to be a Weather Watcher and share you weather reports.

Weather: Cloudy tonight with chance of rain

BBC Weather

Tonight: Staying cloudy with the chance of some spots of rain. Some clear spells developing later and a risk of frost under any cloud breaks. Lows of 2C (35F).

Weather graphic

Tomorrow: Early frost clearing to bring a fine dry day with sunny spells. Turning cloudy at times but feeling warm in the sunshine with light winds. Highs of 13C (55F).  

Royal Anglian Regiment march through Harpenden

St Albans Review

The sound of a beating drum and marching feet filled the streets of Harpenden when one of the British Army’s regiments exercised its right to the Freedom of the Town.  

Bedfordshire death crash victim named

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

A man who died yesterday in a crash on the A421 in Bedfordshire has been named as Jamie Bradley from Northampton.

Jamie Bradley
Bedfordshire Police

The 27-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene of a two-vehicle collision on the westbound carriageway between Elstow and Cardington.

Mr Bradley's family say they "are absolutely broken" and "cannot imagine a life without him". They described him as "a much-loved son and a great friend to many".

Dunstable club punch death: Man guilty of manslaughter

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

A civil engineer from Luton has been found guilty of manslaughter after a man he punched outside a nightclub in Dunstable died.

Cortney Batchelor
Bedfordshire Police

Cortney Batchelor, 22, of Paisley Close, was convicted at Luton Crown Court today. Throughout the trial, the jury heard how Tomas Juska, 24, suffered a lethal brain injury from the upper-cut punch outside Club Cookies and died the next day.

Batchelor had denied the charges, claiming he acted in self-defence after being confronted by Mr Juska. He will be sentenced on 20 May.

Milton Keynes estate has more than 100 potholes

One MK

As many as 121 potholes were counted in a Milton Keynes estate during the Easter holidays.

Man was in relationship with hairdresser he killed, court hears

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

A man has admitted killing a hairdresser whose body was found after a fire at a flat in Milton Keynes.

Luton Crown Court heard that Thomas White, 26, and Ashley Gillard, 31, had been in a relationship. 

Luton Crown Court

White, who admits manslaughter but denies murder, claimed he flew into a range after Mr Gillard told him he was HIV-positive. The court heard Mr Gillard then went into a seizure after taking a large quantity of drugs and later died. 

White confessed he had not called an ambulance, as he was too angry to help Mr Gillard. He set fire to his flat several days later to destroy DNA evidence.

Penalty-saving striker: MK Dons' Revell secures point

BBC Sport

We've all got a cherished memory of watching an outfield player in goal, haven't we?

When the MK Dons played Preston this weekend, their keeper Cody Cropper was sent off nine minutes from time for a challenge inside the area on Eoin Doyle and striker Alex Revell donned the gloves.

MK Dons tweets about save

Revell, who has four goals this season, saved the resultant penalty from Joe Garner, and secured a point that ended a four-game losing run for his relegation-threatened side.

Not only did he help his team to a draw, he can also now lay claim to a clean sheet in the Football League.

Illegal puppy trade targeted in Hertfordshire

The illegal puppy trade in Hertfordshire is being targeted after the bodies of more than a dozen were found dumped in St Albans over several months.

The RSPCA is working with the police and Dacorum Borough Council to educate local people about buying pets after puppies were found in a ditch along Hogg End Lane in February and March, which they believe is connected to "illicit puppy trade in the area".

Police say "breeders are believed to be targeting people" around Hemel Hempstead to use their properties as meeting places "after advertising the dogs online". 

Malicious notes posted in Bedford

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Malicious notes about a man have been posted through the doors of houses in Bedford. 

Homes in Nedwood Road and Church Lane received the notes between 08:00 and 11:00 on Saturday. 

Police say the man in question has been caused a great deal of distress and want to hear from people who saw the person posting the notes.

Time limit on detention of pregnant women

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

The government is announcing a new 72-hour time limit on the detention of pregnant women in immigration custody, but it means expectant mothers will still be held at Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire.

Yarls Wood detention centre
South Beds News Agency

The time limit has been announced despite the House of Lords voting in favour of banning the detention of pregnant women. It also follows a government-commissioned report which also recommended a ban, but the Home Secretary Theresa May says it has to strike the right balance between safeguarding pregnant women and maintaining effective immigration control. 

The Refugee Council says it is "disappointing" the government has "chosen to defy the Lords, defy public opinion and defy common sense".

Soulbury stone: No listed status for rock

Ollie Bayliss

BBC Three Counties Radio

Soulbury Parish Council has been told the "Soulbury stone" cannot be granted listed status.

Soulbury stone

The boulder sits opposite a Grade II-listed building which is protected but the parish council has been told by Historic England that it is not possible to list the rock since it is not man-made.

Villagers have been reacting to Buckinghamshire County Council painting white lines around the boulder following concerns over safety after a driver reversed into it.

Missing author said she needed time to herself

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Children's author Helen Bailey, who has been reported missing, stated that she needed some time to herself, police said. 

Helen Bailey
Hertfordshire Police

The 51-year-old, known for the Electra Brown series for teenagers, was last seen walking her miniature Dachsund near her home in Royston, Hertfordshire, on Monday last week at about 14:45. 

Officers say they are constantly reviewing the situation and "are keeping an open mind about the circumstances" but have asked her to contact them to let them know she's safe and well.

Ashley Gillard fire death: Man admits hairdresser killing

A man has admitted killing hairdresser Ashley Gillard, 31, whose body was found after a fire at a flat in Wolverton, Milton Keynes, in June last year.

The riverside flat in Trevithick Court where Mr Gillard's body had been damaged by fire and the door had been barricaded.  

Ashley Gillard
South Beds News Agency

Thomas White, 26, from Wellingborough, pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to manslaughter by gross negligence, but denies murder.

White, of Bibury Close, also pleaded guilty to 10 other charges include arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered, theft, fraud and possession of Class B and C drugs.

Andre Gray named Championship Player of the Year

BBC Sport

Former Luton Town striker Andre Gray has been named Championship Player of the Year at The Football League Awards.

Andre Gray
Getty Images

The 24-year-old, who moved to Burnley from Brentford in August 2015 for £6m, has scored 24 goals in 39 league games this season.

Gillingham midfielder Bradley Dack, 22, and Oxford United's Kemar Roofe, 23, won the respective League One and League Two awards in Manchester.

Man killed in A421 crash

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

A man in his 20s was killed in a collision on the A421 in Bedfordshire yesterday.


Emergency services were called to the westbound carriageway between the A603 at Cardington and the A6 at Elstow where a 27-year-old man from Northampton was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash happened at about 05:15. Officers believe that a silver Volkswagen Up was travelling east, on the wrong side of the road, before colliding with a lorry.

Rose Polge: Washed-up body confirmed as that of junior doctor

BBC News England

A body found washed up in Dorset has been formally identified as that of missing junior doctor Rose Polge, police said.

Rose Polge
Devon and Cornwall Police

The body of Ms Polge, 25, who has links to Royston in Hertfordshire, was recovered from the sea east of Portland Bill on 1 April.

The doctor's car was found in February at Anstey's Cove, near Torquay, the town where she worked.

Hay fire tackled in Bedfordshire

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Bedfordshire firefighters have returned to the scene this morning of a crop of hay that caught alight last night. 

They were called just after 23:00 to Wootton, near Bedford, where 100 tonnes of hay was on fire in what is thought to have been an arson attack. 

Firefighters set up a break in the hay to stop the fire spreading, with the help of the farmer's forklift, and were able to prevent it spreading to a horse barn.

Latest headlines: St Albans murder trial... Residents divided over lines around stone

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

The latest headlines:

  • A man is due to stand trial today accused a murdering a 20-year-old in St Albans 
  • People living in the Buckinghamshire village of Soulbury are divided over white lines painted around an ancient boulder
  • A multi-million pound factory is being opened at Ware in Hertfordshire today which will create 150 jobs

Weather: Cloudy afternoon with risk of showers

BBC Weather

This afternoon will remain cloudy with one or two light showers possible, though many places will stay dry and winds will ease. 

Maximum temperature: 11C (52F).

Weather graphic shows cloud this afternoon

Milton Keynes killing: Accused may have used rope to escape fire

Abseil ropes were seen hanging from the window of the flat where the body of Ashley Gillard was found after a fire, but it's not known if these were used by his killer to escape.

Black rope hanging from the window of Ashley Gillard's flat

Thomas White, 26, from Bilbury Close,  Wellingborough, has today pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Gillard after originally being charged with his murder, which he denied. The prosecution have accepted a guilty plea for manslaughter by gross negligence and will not proceed with the murder charge.

At the time, police refused to confirm or deny whether a black rope hanging from the flat window in Trevithick Court, Wolverton had been used by Mr White to abseil to safety.

Milton Keynes killing: Accused pleads guilty to manslaughter

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

A man standing trial charged with the murder of a Milton Keynes hairdresser last June has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Murder scene in Wolverton
Thames Valley Police

Thomas White, 26, from Wellingborough, denies murder but pleaded guilty to other charges, including arson, theft, fraud and possession of class B and C drugs at Luton Crown Court.

The body of hairdresser Ashley Gillard, 31, was found by firefighters in his third-floor flat at Wolverton after a fire had broken out.  

Soulbury stone: White lines 'horrific' and 'an eyesore'

White lines painted around a boulder, thought to have been in place 11,000 years, in an attempt to make it safer, have been described as an "eyesore" and "horrific" on social media..

Stone in Soulbury before and after white lines were painted around it
Google / Soulbury News

The stone in Soulbury, Buckinghamshire, was under threat of being moved after a car reportedly crashed into it.

The county council has since painted white chevrons around it. Photos of its new look on the Soulbury News Facebook page have attracted dozens of negative comments.

Frank Wild: Shackleton's right-hand man

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

We told you earlier about the blue plaque that will be unveiled later on the childhood home of Antarctic explorer, Frank Wild, from Eversholt, who made five journeys to the Antarctic, one led by Captain Scott, and the others with Ernest Shackleton. 

Elephant Island
Getty Images

After the sinking of the Endurance, Wild was left in charge on desolate Elephant Island (pictured) as Shackleton made an epic rescue mission to South Georgia - about 800 miles (1,300km) away - in a lifeboat.

Wild was left in charge of 21 men in temperatures as low as -45C (-49F). They lived under two upturned boats and ate raw seals and seaweed. Shackleton eventually returned to rescue them, although it did take him four attempts.

West Brom 0-1 Watford: Hornets 'close to safety', says Flores

BBC Sport

Watford manager Quique Flores says his team are "really close" to securing their Premier League future following their 1-0 win over West Brom and praises the "amazing performance" of Hornets keeper Hurelho Gomes, who saved two penalties.

Factory opened in Ware creates new jobs

A multi-million pound factory that will create 150 jobs is being opened at Ware in Hertfordshire today.

GSK building
Getty Images

Pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline will make inhalers at the plant to help meet its growing export demand.  

Watch: Flying dog's plane ride over Buckinghamshire

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Callie the labrador from Leighton Buzzard has been flying as a co-pilot for nearly five years.

Owner Graham Mountford has been training her to take control but she doesn't always play ball. BBC Three Counties Radio's Justin Dealey took a flight with her over Buckinghamshire.

Man accused of St Albans murder due to stand trial

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A man is due to stand trial today in Cambridge accused a murdering a 20-year-old man in St Albans.

Paul Crosbie/Emille Stapleton
Herts Police/South Beds News Agency

Paul Crosbie (pictured left), 26, from Camden, north London, is accused of fatally stabbing Emille Stapleton, in the early hours of 24 October.

Mr Stapleton died in hospital after trouble broke out on London Road in the city.

Lewis Hamilton 'has no more jokers available' after Chinese GP

BBC Sport

Hertfordshire's Lewis Hamilton says he cannot afford any more bad luck if he is to beat Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to the world title this season.

Lewis Hamilton, Chinese Grand Prix
Getty Images

The German, who finished runner-up to Hamilton last year, is 36 points ahead after winning the Chinese Grand Prix. Rosberg has now won the first three races - and no driver has failed to win the championship from this position.

Hamilton, who was seventh in Shanghai, said: "There is a long way to go, but I've no more jokers available."

Man due to stand trial over Wolverton murder

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

A man is due to stand trial today charged with the murder of Ashley Gillard in Milton Keynes last June.

Scene from Ashley Gillard murder
Thames Valley Police

The 31-year-old's body was found by firefighters in his third-floor flat at Wolverton after a fire had broken out.

Thomas White, 26, from Wellingborough has denied 11 charges, including murder and arson.

Blue plaque for polar explorers set to be unveiled

Carol Abercrombie

BBC Three Counties Radio

A blue plaque is being unveiled today on the childhood home of Ernest and Frank Wild, two polar explorers from Bedfordshire who took part in some of the most famous Antarctic expeditions.

Frank Wild
The Wild family

Frank Wild (pictured) made five journeys to the Antarctic, one led by Captain Scott, and the others with Ernest Shackleton. His younger brother Ernest took part in a single polar mission, but was awarded the Albert medal for saving the lives of two men. 

Both lived at the School House in Eversholt where the plaque will be revealed later.

Helen Bailey said she wanted to 'live the best life she could'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Missing author Helen Bailey, who wrote the Electra Brown series of books for teenagers, and hasn't been seen since last Monday, told BBC Three Counties Radio in January that she owed it to her late husband to "live the best life [she] can".

Planet Grief blog
Plant Grief Blog

Ms Bailey's husband drowned five years ago while they were on holiday in Barbados, and she recently turned her blog Planet Grief (pictured above) into a book.

She said: "I really do feel very strongly that we owe it to the dead to live the best life we can, I really do... And if that means taking every opportunity, whether it was to write the book, which I was never going to do, it took three attempts for people to get me to write it, or to embrace new love, so be it, do it." 

Teenager given custodial sentence over party stabbing

Jessica Cooper

BBC Three Counties Radio

A teenager has been given a nine-year custodial sentence for stabbing a man 12 times at a house party in Milton Keynes.

Ashby, Eaglestone

The 17-year-old, of no fixed abode, who can't be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and causing actual bodily harm at the party in Ashby, Eaglestone on 25 October last year.

In the early hours of the morning he used a knife to repeatedly stab an 18-year-old before cutting another man on the side of his head. Police say the length of his sentence reflects the fact that this was a "deliberate and frenzied attack".

Today's weather: Generally cloudy with the chance of light rain

Georgina Burnett

BBC Weather

After the early sunshine, today will be generally cloudy, with the chance of light rain in places.

Maximum temperature: 12C (54F).

Get the detailed forecast where you live at BBC Weather.      

Concern grows for missing author Helen Bailey

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Concerns are growing for the welfare of a children's author missing for nearly a week.

Helen Bailey
Hertfordshire Police

Helen Bailey, 51,  known for the Electra Brown series for teenagers, was last seen at about 14:45 on Monday walking her dog, a miniature Dachshund, near her home in Royston, Hertfordshire.

The Northumberland-born author, is described as slim and with long black hair. It is not known what she was wearing at the time disappeared.

She is also known for a blog which she began writing after her husband drowned while the couple were on holiday in Barbados in 2011. The blog, Planet Grief, was later turned into a book.

Latest headlines: Concern grows over missing children's author... Teenager given custodial sentence over party stabbing

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

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

  • Concerns are growing for the welfare of a children's author from Royston who has been missing for nearly a week
  •  A teenager has been sentenced to nine years' youth custody for stabbing a man 12 times at a house party in Milton Keynes
  • A blue plaque is being unveiled today on the childhood home of two polar explorers from Bedfordshire

Welcome to Beds, Herts and Bucks Live

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to a new week on the live page for the three counties, where we'll be bringing you the latest news, sport, weather and travel until 18:00.

You can get in touch with us at anytime via Twitter or send us an email.