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  1. French gardener appears in court charged with murder of former Welwyn Garden City woman Patricia Wilson
  2. Family of missing mother-of-three Natalie Hemming informed of body find in Hertfordshire wood
  3. New manager Walter Mazzarri 'had a number of approaches' before taking Watford job, club says
  4. Luton Town stadium consultation begins
  5. Updates for Monday, 23 May 2016
  6. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume on Tuesday at 08:00

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

That's all from the live team here today but we'll be back with the news, sport, weather and travel for Beds, Herts and Bucks tomorrow at 08:00.

We finish today on news that a post-mortem examination has begun on the body found in Hertfordshire at the weekend.

Police say the examination has not yet concluded. The body, which has not been formally identified, was found by a member of the public in Toms Hill in Chandlers Cross. Officers have informed the family of missing Milton Keynes mother-of-three, Natalie Hemming, of the discovery.

Police in Chandlers Cross

Weather: Dry night and sunshine tomorrow

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

Any showers should die away this evening to leave a largely dry night. Under clear skies we could see some patchy mist developing. Lows of about 6C (43F).

Weather graphic shows clear skies tomorrow morning

Tomorrow should be generally fine and dry with some sunshine but some cloudier periods expected too. Temperatures reaching about 16C (61F).  

It's a jungle out there: Monkeys, cheetahs and pumas kept in Bucks and Herts

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

We've already heard that Central Bedfordshire Council has issued many licenses for residents to keep wild animals, but what about elsewhere in Bucks and Herts?

Capuchin monkey
AFP/Getty Images

According to Freedom of Information requests by the Press Association, there are capuchin monkeys, lemurs and alligators in Buckinghamshire.

In Hertfordshire, there are scorpions, rattlesnakes, cheetahs and pumas! Not much to make you want to stay indoors and out of harm's way, then...

Guide dog owners 'discriminated against' by taxi drivers

Tony Fisher

BBC Three Counties Radio

A Milton Keynes man is among hundreds of guide dog owners who claim they are discriminated against by taxi drivers.

Guide dogs

Colin Bradford says he was let down when seven taxi drivers refused to pick him, his son and his guide dog from outside a hospital in Milton Keynes. He says there should be tougher sentences for taxi drivers who refuse to take guide dogs. 

Charity Guide Dogs says this is not an isolated case and has organised a protest on the issue at Parliament on Wednesday. It says prosecutions are rare and fines are low, with some licensing authorities reporting fines as low as £50 to £100.

Watch: Bedford blooms at Chelsea Flower Show

Nick Coffer

BBC Three Counties Radio

It's one of the events that makes us truly British - the Chelsea Flower Show.

Representing Bedford at this year's show is Bloms Bulbs, who are exhibiting their floral fancies.

The company, which began in 1860 and is still family-owned, produces its own bulbs across nurseries in England, Holland and the United States.  

Missed it Monday: The Bedfordshire Clanger

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

So it's not quite Throwback Thursday but we thought Monday deserved its own title for things you may have missed over the weekend.

If you were getting ready for a big Friday night out you might have missed this feature about the Bedfordshire Clanger on BBC One's The One Show, where chef Ricky Andalcio got to B in his A-Z of UK Food.

Luckily, I wasn't going out and - without a hint of bitterness - made a mental note to share it with you today.  

High Wycombe woman may be 'too scared' to wear hijab

Sophie Sulehria

BBC Three Counties Radio

Earlier we told you about a Muslim mother from High Wycombe, who says she has been racially abused for wearing her hijab in public.

Girls wearing Hijab
Halfeez/Creative Commons

Arsia, as she wants to be known, said: "I'm just scared of turning on the television and hearing of another attack then thinking 'I've got to go out - am I going to bump into another person who thinks I'm a terrorist?'" 

Arsia told us she was abused following the Paris attacks in November and that if Islamist terror attacks continued, she would soon be scared to leave her house wearing her head scarf.

"I might get punched in the nose, I might get spat at. I will get verbal abuse," she said. 

Travel: A4146 closed in Bucks... Delays on M1 in Beds

BBC Travel

In Buckinghamshire, the A4146 northbound is closed between Linslade and Water Eaton due to an overturned lorry and mud on the road.

There's a lane closed on the M1 northbound at J11 due to a collision, with traffic queuing to J7.  

Check the latest here.

St Albans postcode one of luckiest for lottery wins

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

The St Albans postcode has been revealed as one of the luckiest for major National Lottery prize winners

National Lottery logos
Getty Images

Since 2014, 15 winners with an AL postcode have won more than £50,000, placing it 15th in the table of 121 postcodes for big winners.

Lottery operator Camelot also says St Albans has seen seven players in the last five years become lottery millionaires.

Man rescued from quarry after fall

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

A man who was retrieving a ball for his dog at a quarry in Bedfordshire had to be rescued after he fell down a steep slope and broke his leg.

Rescue at Dunstable quarry
Beds Fire and Rescue

The man slipped down the slope at Blows Downs Quarry in Dunstable yesterday afternoon.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service's special "Rope Rescue team" assisted paramedics in getting to the injured man who was then taken to hospital.

French gardener says murder claims are 'lies'

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

A French gardener has denied murdering a British expat, originally from Welwyn Garden City, telling a court that claims against him are "lies".

Jean-Louis Cayrou, 54, is charged with murdering Patricia Wilson, 58, after their brief romance broke down. The pair started seeing each other around April 2012, and Mrs Wilson vanished from her home near the village of Vabre-Tizac in southern France in August, just four months later.

Patricia Wilson pictured left, with her mother

Mrs Wilson's friends became concerned for her after a lack of contact and let themselves into her home, where they say they found traces of blood, and that the electricity had been cut.

Human blood and DNA from Mrs Wilson were found in the boot of Cayrou's car, on a head torch and a strap, the court heard. Mr Cayrou said these were "lies" as charges were read.

Luton Town's Howells signs to Eastleigh

BBC Sport

National League club Eastleigh have secured the signing of Luton midfielder Jake Howells on a two-year contract.

Jake Howells
Getty Images

Howells was released by Luton at the end of the season and is Eastleigh's second signing for next term, following David Pipe from Forest Green.

"I'm really pleased to be signing for such an ambitious club as Eastleigh and really looking forward to the challenge ahead," the 25-year-old said.

Improving West Anglia line is 'crucial... and overdue'

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Business leaders in Hertfordshire are calling for improvements to the West Anglia railway line which runs through the east into London. 

Mark Prisk

The MP for Hertford and Bishop's Stortford, Mark Prisk, wants the government to invest more money. "The case for improvement is to make sure that we get new rolling stock, better tracking, a larger railway service in and out of London," he said.

"It's crucial for commuters, it's very important for local businesses and, frankly, it's overdue."

World War 2 bomb leads to evacuation in Watford

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Watford police station and magistrates' court were evacuated this morning after a man handed in a World War Two bomb that he'd found in his garage.

Watford police station and magistrates' court

A bomb disposal unit was called to Shady Lane to check the device. It was declared safe at about 11:00.

Elderly woman told there was bee on her - then robbed

An elderly woman was robbed by another woman who told her she had a bee on her shoulder before pushing her to the ground.

High Street, Arlesey

The robbery happened along the High Street in Arlesey, Bedfordshire, on Thursday, where the woman's handbag, money and keys were stolen.

The offender is described as white, about 5ft 4in (1.62m), slim and in her 20s.

Organisers of Helen Bailey walk 'delighted' with response

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

About 25 walkers and their dogs turned out for the Boris and Helen Bailey sausage dog walk on Royston Heath.

The event was organised by Ms Bailey's friends to keep the search for the 51-year-old author and her pet sausage dog Boris, last seen on 11 April, in people's minds.

Helen Bailey walk
Where is Helen Bailey?

Ms Bailey's partner Ian Stewart saw the walkers off on their trek, during which they gave out leaflets to other walkers, dog owners and members of the public.

Jay Latchford, who started the Facebook page Where is Helen Bailey?, said: “Although the mood was a little sombre we were so pleased to be walking in the sunshine, each reflecting on Helen and Boris and the small part we were playing in helping to raise awareness that nearly six weeks on they are still missing."

Weather: Sunny with some possible showers

BBC Weather

It'll be a bright day with plenty of sunny spells, and it will feel warm in the sunshine. There is a risk of seeing some heavy and perhaps even thundery showers developing into afternoon, though. 

Maximum temperature: 18C (64F).

Sculptures in Hoddesdon
The Cranbourne School

Penguin-scare opera singer covers Nelly's Hot In Herre

Justin Dealey

BBC Three Counties Radio

Opera singer Nick Allen from Hitchin has become known across the globe after a video of him singing to penguins went viral.

Nick was in Antarctica when he began singing opera to the penguins who promptly ran away.

He sang something a little bit different when he visited our Dunstable studios...

View more on twitter

Lunchtime headlines: Body found in search for missing mum... School evacuated over security alert

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

The top stories this lunchtime:

Gardener surrounded by press as he is led to the dock

Jean-Louis Cayrou, 54, is appearing in court today charged with murdering Patricia Wilson, 58, (pictured below right), originally from Welwyn Garden City. 

Patricia Wilson (right) with her mother Jean
Press Association

He was surrounded by press as he was led to the dock in the Cour d'Assises de l'Aveyron, in Rodez, southern France.

Dressed in a dark blue ribbed jumper and light blue shirt, he stood for photos, speaking quietly to his lawyer. 

Map showing location of Vabre-Tizac

Wootton Upper School evacuated in 'security alert'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

We're getting reports that Wootton Upper School has been evacuated.

Bedford school transport service Herberts Travel said that "due to an incident" all its school services had been sent to take students home.

A parent from the school also contacted us to say pupils at the school had been evacuated to the fields next door.

Bedfordshire Police have told us it is due to a "security alert".

Wootton Upper School

Gardener charged with Patricia Wilson murder appears in court

A gardener accused of the murder of a British expat in rural France has arrived in court.

Jean-Louis Cayrou, 54, is charged with murdering Patricia Wilson, 58, who vanished from her home in the Aveyron region of south-west France in August 2012.

The body of Mrs Wilson, who was originally from Welwyn Garden City before moving to Les Landes Basses, a small hamlet near the village of Vabre-Tizac, has never been found.

Jean-Louis Cayrou

Treasury does not show its working for '50,000 jobs lost' figure

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

Regarding its claim that leaving the European Union could cost 50,000 jobs in the East of England, the Treasury does not show how it reached that figure.

Its document says only: "Exactly how these job losses would be distributed across the UK would depend on how the shock impacted different sectors, and the demand for labour in each region."   

Milton Keynes school denies whistle-ban claim

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A Milton Keynes school accused of banning the blowing of whistles because they were "too aggressive" has denied this has ever been a policy.  

You may have seen the story in a number of newspapers over the weekend - including One MK and The Independent - about St Monica's Catholic Primary School in Milton Keynes which had allegedly prohibited their use to signal the end of playtime. The reports came after a letter in Country Life magazine from a woman believed to be a teaching assistant at the school who said it had been done because "some children may be afraid of the noise".

Well, this morning, the school issued a statement to say there was "no ban on whistles".

"The view that loud noises can be 'aggressive' has never been a point of discussion in our school (let alone a policy)," it read.

St Monica's Primary School

Wolves and alligators kept in Bedfordshire

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Wolves, alligators and black widow spiders are being kept in Bedfordshire... and not just at Whipsnade Zoo!

Central Bedfordshire Council has issued licences to people who keep undomesticated animals at home, including wolves, alligators, caiman crocodiles, black widow spiders, venomous snakes and short-clawed otters. 

King Cobra snake
Science Photo Library

Animal welfare experts have expressed concern at the findings from a Freedom of Information request by the Press Association news agency. More than 100 councils have issued licenses across the UK.  

On this day... Whipsnade Zoo opened

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

On this day in 1931, Whipsnade Zoo opened with the aim of creating a park where animals could be observed in natural surroundings. Set in 600 acres (243 hectares) on the Chilterns in Bedfordshire, it was the first open zoological park in the world.  

To celebrate its 85th birthday, we thought you might like to see some of the zoo's latest arrivals and give you a Monday cuteness overload - five baby ring-tailed lemurs which were born in its In With The Lemurs display.

View more on youtube

On this day... Dunstable's famous royal event

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

On 23 May 1533, Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon to marry wife number two Anne Boleyn, an act that ultimately led to a break with the church in Rome.

What's this got to do with Beds, Herts or Bucks, I hear you ask?

The Priory Church of St Peter
Geograph/Nigel Cox

Well, it was on this day that Archbishop Thomas Cranmer announced the divorce in the church of Dunstable Priory. He published his and his committee’s decision that Henry’s marriage to Catherine had never been legal and had therefore been annulled.

Bucks woman 'abused' for wearing hijab

Sophie Sulehria

BBC Three Counties Radio

A Muslim mother from Buckinghamshire says she's been racially abused for wearing her hijab in public. 

Girls wearing Hijab
Peter Rowley/Creative Commons

The woman from High Wycombe, who only wants to be known as Arsia, says she was repeatedly called a terrorist, after the Paris terror attacks last November. 

"We bear the brunt of the verbal abuse; the physical abuse. To make out that you're part of this group, which you don't even believe their ideology, that hurts," she said.

Police and fire to work more closely in Beds, Herts and Cambs

Police and fire services in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire have pledged to work more closely so that services are more "efficient".

Bedfordshire Police HQ

The six emergency services have signed a memorandum of understanding about the investigation of fire scenes across those three counties.

"The public rightly expects us to find ways to work more efficiently and this is a positive step forward. It means blue light colleagues will have greater access to good practice and support as required," the Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Constabulary, Andy Bliss, said.

'Laptop scheme is voluntary', says Tring School

Usman Azad

BBC Three Counties Radio

Last week we told you how parents of pupils at Tring School in Hertfordshire had been told they must pay £149 for a Google Chromebook laptop computer so their children could use one as part of their studies.

Tring School

The school told BBC Three Counties Radio it was having to manage an £800,000 per year cut in its budget from the government. At no point it its discussion with the BBC or in letters to parents did it say it was a voluntary scheme but it's now been explained that the scheme IS voluntary and the school's website now reflects this.

Headteacher Sue Collins said: "Provision will be in place for those students who are not part of the scheme and no student will be made to feel excluded."

The Department for Education said it had not intervened in what the school did but clarified that while schools could ask for voluntary contributions they "must make clear to parents that there is absolutely no obligation for them to pay".

Gardener charged with murder of Hertfordshire expat Patricia Wilson

Andrew Woodger

BBC News

A gardener has been charged with the murder of a Hertfordshire woman who disappeared from a village in France four years ago.

Vabre-Tizac, France

Patricia Wilson, 58, formerly of Welwyn Garden City, vanished from her home in Vabre-Tizac in August 2012. Her body has never been found.

Jean-Louis Cayrou, 55, is due in court in Rodez in the south of France later. Mrs Wilson had moved to the small hamlet of Les Landes Basses before she disappeared.

Supporters turn out for Helen Bailey walk

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Friends and supporters of missing Hertfordshire author Helen Bailey turned out for a walk on Royston Heath on Sunday with their dogs.

Boris and Helen Bailey walk
Where is Helen Bailey?

It was organised by her friends to raise awareness of the 51-year-old and her pet sausage dog Boris, who were last seen on 11 April.

Ms Bailey, who wrote the Electra Brown series, was last seen walking Boris near her home in Royston and, despite searches, there has been no trace of either her or her pet since.

Luton Town stadium consultation begins

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

More than 1,000 people have been to see the plans for Luton Town's new stadium which were on display at the club's Kenilworth Road ground over the weekend.

The exhibition of 2020 Developments' plans is now open as part of a week-long public consultation and will move next to Venue Central in Leagrave Road and then The Hat Factory in Bute Street.

New Luton Town stadium plans
2020 Developments
New Luton Town stadium plans
2020 Developments

The club identified the Power Court site, near the town's railway station, as the ideal location in December and wants to move into the new ground by 2020. It is due to submit a planning application in the summer. 

Travel: M25 queues... Delays on Greater Anglia trains

BBC Travel

There's queuing traffic on the M25 anticlockwise before J20 due to a collision, which has now been moved to the hard shoulder. Congestion to J22.

Abellio Greater Anglia trains are delayed by up to an hour and a half through Hertfordshire due to emergency services dealing with an incident between Stowmarket and Ipswich.

Walter Mazzarri: New Watford coach had 'a number of approaches'

BBC Sport

Watford FC have said their new manager, Walter Mazzarri, had a number of approaches for his services, before signing a three-year contract at Vicarage Road.

Walter Mazzarri
Getty Images

The former Inter Milan coach, who has also managed Sampdoria and Napoli, was confirmed as Quique Sanchez Flores' successor over the weekend.

Hornets chief executive Scott Duxbury told the club's official website: "Walter has been the target of a number of approaches for his services, so we're delighted to secure him as head coach here at Watford."

Natalie Hemming search: Pictures of the scene in Chandlers Cross

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Here's some pictures of the scene yesterday as officers arrived following the discovery of a body in Chandlers Cross, near Watford.

The family of missing Natalie Hemming, from Newton Leys near Milton Keynes, has been informed.

Chandlers Cross body find
South Beds News Agency
Chandlers Cross body find
South Beds News Agency
Chandlers Cross body find
South Beds News Agency
Chandlers Cross body find
South Beds News Agency

Travel: Accident on the M25

BBC Travel

The anti-clockwise M25 is blocked between J21 for the M1 and J20 for the A41 at Kings Langley due to an accident involving two cars, a minibus and a van.

Get the latest updates at BBC Travel.

Natalie Hemming search: Missing mum's family told of body find

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

As we mentioned just a while ago, the family of missing mother-of-three Natalie Hemming has been informed by police of the discovery of a woman's body in Hertfordshire over the weekend.

Natalie Hemming
South Beds News Agency

A body, which has yet to be formally identified, was found at Toms Hill, Chandlers Cross, after Hertfordshire Police was alerted by a member of the public at about 11:00 on Sunday.

Ms Hemming, 31, of Newton Leys, Milton Keynes, was last seen in Hemel Hempstead at about 15:00 on 1 May, and was reported missing by a relative two days later.

Her partner Paul Hemming, 42, was charged with her murder on 6 May.

Today's weather: Sunshine and showers

BBC Weather

There's some lovely blue sky around in Bedfordshire this morning, as this picture from BBC Weather Watcher "Suzies Street" shows.

The early part of today will be mostly sunny, but showers later could turn heavy and thundery. Maximum temperature: 17C (62F).

Weather Watchers: Suzies Street

Get the detailed forecast for where you live at BBC Weather.

Natalie Hemming's family told of body find

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to today's live page.

Coming up: Yesterday afternoon, Thames Valley Police told us the family of missing Natalie Hemming had been informed of the discovery of a woman's body in woodland in Hertfordshire.

Body found at Chandlers Cross
South Beds News Agency

We'll bring you any more updates on that story as it happens, plus all the other news, sport, weather and travel from across the three counties.