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Summary

  1. A serious case review into the death of Alexa-Marie Quinn at the hands of her father has concluded there was a lack of understanding about potential risks
  2. More than 1,000 people from the three counties are on the run after skipping bail
  3. Review published into how Alexa-Marie Quinn, 4, was put into the care of her father, who then beat her to death
  4. Bedfordshire Police defends decision not to sack anyone over the death of a man in custody
  5. Updates for Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Goodbye

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

That's it from all of us here working on the Local Live feed for Beds, Herts and Bucks.

We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday morning with all your news, sport, travel and weather. 

In the meantime if you have a story you want to share while we're away please send us an email.

Woods searched in missing mother hunt

We've just had these photographs sent in by BBC 3CR reporter Paul Scoins. They show specialist police search teams with dogs scouring woods for missing mother of three Natalie Hemming.

Police searching woods
BBC

They searched an area around Salden Wood near Newton Longville, Bucks and a disused rail line, which are near the family home on the edge of Milton Keynes.

Her partner has been charged with her murder.

Police officer with dog
BBC

Woods being searched in Natalie Hemming case

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

I'm at the entrance to Salden Woods close to Newton Longville, where the police are currently searching the area. 

Entrance to Salden Wood
BBC

It's part of ongoing investigations into the disappearance of Natalie Hemming, from Newton Leys, who hasn't been seen for ten days. 

Natalie's partner Paul Hemming, 42, of Alderney Avenue, Milton Keynes, has been charged with her murder. 

Weather: Dry night expected the clear spells

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Any isolated showers will quickly ease through this evening, leaving the night largely dry with clear spells. 

However, we may have the odd shower passing westwards during the early hours. 

Minimum Temperature: 10C (50F). 

Stokenchurch
Chilternman/Weather Watcher

On Thursday it will be a fine and dry day with sunny spells. It's likely to be the last day with a warm, humid feel before it turns colder by the end of the week. 

Travel: M11 closure causing problems on Beds and Herts roads

BBC Travel

The closure of the M11 northbound between J8, A120 (Bishops Stortford) and J9, A11 Saffron Walden, because of an earlier lorry fire is causing delays on surrounding roads in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. 

The Northbound A1m between J5 at Welwyn Garden City and J7 at Stevenage is slow and all approaches to the Blackcat roundabout are congested. 

'Purrfect' place for Police pet

Sally Chidzoy

BBC Look East home affairs correspondent

It looks like Bedfordshire police has a new PC on the books! 

This is Police Cat Bobby who lives locally and pops into the reception at their headquarters in Kempston on a daily basis. 

Bobby the Police Cat
BBC

He likes hanging around reception mainly because he gets lots of attention!   

Investigation under way into Bedford death

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has confirmed it has started an investigation into the death of a man on Midland Road in Bedford just after noon. 

It says it can't provide anymore information but would like any witnesses to contact their investigators via witness@ipcc.gsi.gov.uk or 0800 0969070.  

View more on twitter

Missing Helen Bailey: How you can help?

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Officers searching for missing Hertfordshire author Helen Bailey have thanked the public for their help.

She was last seen walking her miniature dachshund Boris near her home in Royston on 11 April. Hertfordshire Police have said there's no evidence to say she has left the North Herts area, but she also has links to Broadstairs in Kent and Northumberland. 

If people want to help they should

  • Check any out buildings and sheds for signs someone may have been there
  • Keep an out eye for Helen and/or Boris  in the Royston area
  • Report any possible sightings since 11 April
  • Call police if you work at a B&B or hotel and believe Helen has stayed with you

Travel: Delays on Northbound M1 by Newport Pagnell services and Stevenage

BBC Travel

One lane is blocked on the M1 northbound between Newport Pagnell Services and J15 because of a broken down car.  

There are delays on the Northbound M1 from J5 at Watford through J6a M25 and J7, because of an earlier accident.  

Five due in court for people smuggling

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Five people, including four from Bedfordshire, are due to appear in court today charged with smuggling illegal immigrants into the UK.

Two are from Luton, and two are from Houghton Regis. They're expected at Stevenage Magistrates' Court.

Police say a total of 16 Albanian nationals were detained and deported as part of the investigation.

Man robbed in Bedford High Street

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A man has been left with serious injuries after being robbed on Bedford High Street at 09:30 on Sunday morning.

Bedfordshire Police say he approached two arguing women and tried to intervene. He was then assaulted by a man and knocked to the ground. He later realised his wallet had been stolen.

Alexa-Marie Quinn murder: NPCC blasts 'damning' report

The NSPCC has responded to the "damning" report into the death of four-year-old Alexa-Marie Quinn.

They say it reveals a catalogue of failures and missed opportunities in the months leading up to her death.    

Alexa-Marie Quinn
John O'Reilly

“It is hard to understand how it was decided she should live with her father permanently despite allegations of domestic violence and concerns over his behaviour," a charity spokesman said.

“Such a complex case required close working between agencies across area boundaries – and this was severely lacking."

Outgoing Beds PCC would be 'shocked' if force got more funds based on politics

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

The outgoing Bedfordshire police and crime commissioner says it would be "shocking" if his successor was given extra-funding on the basis of her political party.

Olly Martins
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Labour's Olly Martins - who steps down today - was responding to comments by Conservative successor Kathryn Holloway that she's been promised more money by the government. Last year he lost a referendum which asked the public if they would accept a council tax rise to fund more police.

He said: "I think a lot of people would find it pretty shocking if a police force's funding was dependent on the party political persuasion of the police and crime commissioner."

Nearly 400 outstanding arrest warrants in Hertfordshire

Craig Lewis

BBC News

There are currently 387 outstanding arrest warrants in Hertfordshire.

Suspected criminals wanted in Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire Police

Freedom of Information request from the BBC showed police are pursuing suspects and convicted criminals who skipped court bail on charges including grievous bodily harm, indecent child images, robbery and arson.

They are among more than 13,000 people in England who are on the run.

Quique Sanchez Flores: 'Responsibility is to win' against Norwich

BBC Sport

Watford play their final away match of the Premier League season tonight with no fresh injury problems as they travel to relegation threatened Norwich.

Quique Sanchez Flores
Getty Images

Hornets boss Quique Sanchez Flores has said playing against those fighting the drop is "always very sad," but they have a "role and need to play it".

He said: "For us it will be important to go to the pitch with the idea to play well, to think about how we can stop Norwich, to play football and to score goals."

Police to search woods for missing MK mother

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

Police investigating the suspected murder of a woman from Milton Keynes have begun searching Salden Wood near Newton Longville. 

Natalie Hemming
South Beds News

Paul Hemming, from Newton Leys, has been charged with murdering his partner Natalie Hemming. 

The 31-year-old mother of three hasn't been seen for ten days.

Missing Helen Bailey: Case is 'very perplexing'

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

The police officer in charge of the search for missing Hertfordshire author Helen Bailey has said what makes the case "very, very perplexing" is that they have very little to work on. 

The 51-year-old has left no digital footprint - records show she hasn't used her phone or accessed her bank account.

Chief inspector Julie Wheatley
South Beds News Agency

Chief inspector Julie Wheatley said she didn't want to speculate on whether the disappearance was pre-planned as there was very little evidence to show whether this was the case or if it was spontaneous.

She said: "It's everyone's right to a private life. If Helen has decided she wanted some time to herself, we respect that - we're just concerned and her family are very concerned."

Police watchdog to investigate death in Bedford

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Bedfordshire Police have confirmed that the death of a man in the centre of Bedford today is to be reported to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. 

They say officers gave the man first aid and the ambulance service also attended at about 12:35 on Midland Road, but the man died. 

Police have refused to release any further details.

BreakingBedford death to be reported to police watchdog

The death of a man in a street in Bedford is being reported to the police watchdog. 

West Ham's Mark Noble tackles Houghton Regis regeneration

West Ham's Mark Noble was challenged to show off his football skills in front of pupils at Houghton Regis Academy this afternoon. 

He's in the area along with Bobby Zamora talk to young people about plans to regenerate the Kingsland site in Houghton Regis. 

Noble is one of the founders of Legacy, which hopes to build a sports academy with education and community facilities. 

View more on twitter

Nearly 1,000 oustanding arrest warrants in Thames Valley

Craig Lewis

BBC News

There are currently 968 outstanding arrest warrants in the Thames Valley area.

A Freedom of Information request from the BBC showed police are pursuing suspects and convicted criminals who skipped court bail on charges including assault (55 cases) and drug offences (22 cases).

Other outstanding warrants include ten relating to sexual activity involving a child, four relating to rape and one relating to threats to kill.

Council failings in Alexa-Marie murder

Alexa-Marie Quinn
JOHN O REILLY

Two councils misunderstood the risks posed to a four-year-old girl who was beaten to death by her father, a serious case review has found.

Alexa-Marie Quinn

Council failings in Alexa-Marie murder

Two councils misunderstood the risks posed to a four-year-old girl who was beaten to death by her father, a serious case review has found.

Read more

Bedford road closure costs local businesses thousands of pounds

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Bedford store owners say they've lost thousands of pounds in trade as a result of major roadworks in the town. 

They say because a part of Tavistock street was closed for nearly three months, they had no passing trade and their takings dropped dramatically. 

Tavistock street roadwork signs
BBC

The council says they can consider rate relief compensation for companies that have experienced hardship. 

The road re-opened to traffic yesterday afternoon, one week ahead of schedule.   

Missing Helen Bailey: Brother talks of 'extremely difficult time'

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

This morning, John Bailey, the brother of missing Hertfordshire author Helen Bailey who was last seen a month ago today, appealed for her, or anyone who knows where she might be, to contact the police.

John Bailey
South Beds News Agency

Mr Bailey said it had been an "extremely difficult time" for her family and "as more time passes since she was last seen, the more concerned we become".

"There is little information for the police to work on, we are all so worried. If any one has any information concerning my sister, where my sister may be, I would urge you to call the police," he said.

"Helen, if you see or read this appeal please let someone know you are OK."

Missing Helen Bailey: Brother appeals for 'information she is OK'

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

I'm at Hitchin police station where John Bailey, the brother of missing Hertfordshire author Helen Bailey, is making an appeal for her to get in touch.

He said: I know you had said you wanted some time and space and we don't want to intrude on that unless you want us to... We'll do anything you need us to... All we need is some information that you are OK, even if that comes from someone you know."

View more on twitter

Charge over Natalia Doherty death investigation

A man has been charged in connection with the death of 50-year-old Natalia Doherty who disappeared in April 2003. 

Forensic officers at an address in Icknield Way, Luton
South Beds News Agency

Daniel Doherty, 67, of Icknield Way, Luton, has been charged with preventing a lawful burial, obstructing a coroner in the execution of his duty and perverting the course of justice in relation to the discovery of Natalia Doherty’s remains in a garden in Luton in December 2015. 

He's due at Luton Magistrates’ Court on 26 May. 

Outgoing Beds PCC says public 'pretty positively disposed' towards police

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

The outgoing Bedfordshire police and crime commissioner says the community does trust the county's force, despite criticism over the death of a man in custody.

Bedfordshire Police HQ
Google

Olly Martins was speaking after an inquest jury yesterday ruled the way police searched and checked Istiak Yusuf was insufficient and may have contributed to his death.

He said: "I think we've got to be careful not to exaggerate the damage done to community relations by incidents like this... Yes, you often find there are some people who quite understandably can be upset by things like this, but the general public are pretty positively disposed towards the police." 

Tina Beloveth Powerful: Fraudster on the run

Craig Lewis

BBC News

Convicted fraudster Tina Beloveth Powerful has been on the run for more than nine months since a warrant was issued for her arrest at Milton Keynes Magistrates' Court, when she failed to turn up for sentencing.

Tina Beloveth Powerful graphic
BBC

Powerful was found guilty of fraud and false advertising in June 2015, after running a business bogus school without the correct accreditation.

The case went to court eight times before she was convicted. Powerful then didn't turn up for sentencing on three further occasions, with the case costing Milton Keynes Council around £8,000 to prosecute.

Thames Valley Police, which has 986 outstanding arrest warrants on its books, has continually refused to comment on her case.

Missing Helen Bailey: Herts Police say she's 'simply disappeared'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Officers searching for missing Hertfordshire author Helen Bailey have carried out extensive searches of the area and checked hundreds of hours of CCTV footage.

Police search for Helen Bailey
South Beds News Agency

Hertfordshire Police chief inspector Julie Wheatley said it was a "highly unusual case" because Ms Bailey "seems to have simply disappeared".

"We literally have no trace of her," she said. "While this very much remains a missing person's inquiry... as the days and weeks pass we and Helen's family and friends are becoming increasingly concerned for her welfare."

Missing Helen Bailey: Partner's full statement

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

On the one month anniversary of the disappearance of Hertfordshire author Helen Bailey, her partner Ian Stewart has issued a statement appealing for her to get in touch.

In it he said how he missed her and their dog Boris "so much," adding that the family is "shattered in so many ways". 

He added: "You not only mended my heart five years ago but made it bigger, stronger and kinder. Together we learnt to live with our grief and move forward with our lives but never forgetting."

The statement finished: "We promised each other 30 years please keep that promise and come home. Whatever has happened, wherever you are I will come and get you."

Alexa-Marie Quinn murder: Bedford Borough council 'action plan' in place

Tony Fisher

BBC Three Counties Radio

An action plan has been put in place at Bedford Borough council so it can improve after the death of four-year-old Alexa-Marie Quinn, who was released from their care into the hands of her father, Carl Wheatley, who murdered her.

Bedford Borough Council statement
BBC

In a statement above, the council says it has taken action to strengthen its social work practice and improve how it works with more than one local authority. 

It has reduced its caseload of social workers and strengthened the process by which friends and family members are assessed as potential carers. 

Missing Helen Bailey: Partner's appeal to author

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

One month after a missing children's author was last seen, her partner has said her disappearance has "shattered" the family.

Helen Bailey
Hertfordshire Police

Helen Bailey, who wrote the Electra Brown series, was last seen walking her dog near her home in Royston, Hertfordshire, on 11 April. There has not been any trace of the 51-year-old or her pet despite searches.

Her partner Ian Stewart said: "Whatever has happened, wherever you are I will come and get you."

Alexa-Marie Quinn murder: Hertfordshire County Council says 'changes have been made'

Tony Fisher

BBC Three Counties Radio

Hertfordshire County Council have responded after being criticised in a serious case review into the death of four-year-old Alexa-Marie Quinn.

Hertfordshire County Council press release
BBC

They say improvements have already been made, lessons learnt adding that she died at the hands of a "viscous, devious and manipulative man".

Their response can be seen above.

Alexa-Marie Quinn murder: 'No-one' considered her to be at risk

Tony Fisher

BBC Three Counties Radio

The serious case review found there was a fixed view Carl Wheatley would be able to care for his four-year-old daughter, Alexa-Marie Quinn, with her particular needs and despite his history of domestic violence and mental ill health.

Serious case review paper
BBC

"No one", it said, considered her to be at risk of significant physical harm. 

Bedford Borough Council, from who's care Alexa-Marie was removed, says her murder came at the hands of someone who the courts and professionals judged as a suitable parent and should have been protecting her from harm.

Alexa-Marie Quinn murder: Councils 'mis-understood' risks

Tony Fisher

BBC Three Counties Radio

I've been going through the serious case review that's just been published into the murder of four-year-old Alexa-Marie Quinn by her Hertfordshire father, Carl Wheatley.

Serious case review papers
BBC

It found there was a weakness in both Bedford Borough and Hertfordshire County Councils, which lead to a misunderstanding into the potential risks for Alexa-Marie. It said less rigorous checks were carried out on Wheatley, because he was her father.

The councils failed to consider a psychiatric report and didn't adequately challenge an independent social worker.

Alexa-Marie Quinn murder: Councils criticised

Carol Abercrombie

BBC Three Counties Radio

A serious case review into the death of Alexa-Marie Quinn at the hands of her father has just been published.

Carl Wheatley and Alexa-Marie Quinn
John O'Reilly

It criticises Bedford Borough and Hertfordshire County councils after Carl Wheatley, from Hatfield, was granted custody of four-year-old Alexa-Marie after she'd lived with foster parents in Bedfordshire. 

It states that weaknesses in management at the local authorities and social work teams led to a lack of understanding about the potential risks.

BreakingAlexa-Marie Quinn murder: Serious case review published

A review into how a child was put into the care of her father, Carl Wheatley from Hertfordshire, who then beat her to death, has criticised Bedford Borough and Hertfordshire County councils. 

More details to follow. 

Travel: Ten-minute delays at Bedford railway station

BBC Travel

There are signalling problems at Bedford railway station, causing delays of up to 10 minutes. 

View more on twitter

Thames Valley Police's 23-year search for suspected criminal

Craig Lewis

BBC News

Thames Valley Police is still searching for a suspected criminal who skipped bail more than 23 years ago.

Thames Valley Police outstanding arrest warrants graphic
BBC

The details were revealed as part of a series of Freedom of Information requests, which revealed there were more than 986 outstanding warrants in the Thames Valley.

Police refused to reveal any more details of the oldest-issued warrant, which was one of 44 more than 10 years old.

Outgoing Beds PCC says it's 'time to get a proper job'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The outgoing Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins says that after spending much of his life in politics, it might be "time to get a proper job".

Olly Martins
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

On his last day in the post, Mr Martins, who was beaten into second place in last week's election by the Conservative Kathryn Holloway, told BBC Three Counties Radio he hoped the experience he'd gained from the post would help him in whatever his future job might be.

"I took a brand new role, I think I did something with it," he said. "I think I made a difference so hopefully that makes me a marketable commodity.

"[I] probably won't be totally out of politics but on the other hand might be. I've spent a lot of my life involved in party politics and I think it might be time to get a proper job."