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Summary

  1. Baby died of a head injury, court hears
  2. Man injured in Vicarage Road stadium collapse
  3. Failed academy owes government thousands
  4. Watford to kick off Prem campaign at Southampton
  5. Updates resume at 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

That's it from the team here at Local Live for Beds, Herts and Bucks. We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday with all your news updates. 

The stories we've been covering today include a testy exchange in the Commons between Sir Philip Green and Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller, and a guilty verdict in the case of a St Albans man who kept a homeless man as a slave.

You can read all the updates by scrolling down the page.

But our top trumps ending has to be this video of Elizabeth, a five day old elephant born at Whipsnade Zoo...

New blood on way to Blues

Bedford Blues have signed two front row forwards.

Hooker George Edgson has joined the club from Wasps and tighthead prop David Spelman from Cambridge University.

Edgson, 20, already has Championship experience having spent the second half of last season with Rotherham Titans.

Spelman, 23, was part of the Cambridge team that suffered a narrow defeat to Oxford in the Varsity game at Twickenham in December.

Say hello to 2 new signings at Goldington Road! bedfordrugby.co.uk/content/two-jo… - Welcome @GeorgeEdgson2 & @Duvet_Dave #COYB

Say hello to 2 new signings at Goldington Road! bedfordrugby.co.uk/content/two-jo… - Welcome @GeorgeEdgson2 & @Duvet_Dave #COYB

'Where else am I supposed to look,' says Bedford MP told off by Sir Philip Green

Roberto Perrone

BBC Three Counties Radio

I've just spoken to Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller, who's made the news today for being told off by Sir Philip Green at a House of Commons select committee meeting

He told me during the five and a half hour session, the former BHS boss showed "extraordinary behaviour" as many times he "tried to run the show".

On being told his stare "unnerved" Sir Philip he said, "where else am I supposed to look... yes I was looking at him...if that unnerves him I'm really sorry... but I'm not going to get him to tell me who I can look at or not".

Philip Green
BBC

Herts tennis player courts Wimbledon qualifying spot

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

Hertfordshire's Katy Dunne has been given a qualifying spot for Wimbledon. 

The 17-year-old Hemel Hempstead player will play next week to try and book a place in the Ladies Singles event.

She's has trained at both Halton tennis club in Buckinghamshire and Gosling tennis academy in Welwyn Garden City.

Katy Dunne
Getty Images

Cloudy with a chance of thunder...

BBC Weather Watchers

Scattered heavy showers and a few thunderstorms are possible tonight with of the same tomorrow, but as these pictures from our Weather Watchers show today's cloud formations are making for some superb photographs.

Royston
Valshebra/Weather Watcher
Bedford
Izzy Smart/Weather Watchers

Homeless man forced to carry out labour in slavery case

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

Cameron Biggar was picked up by Johnny Moloney on the Strand in London in June 2004, and was taken to his home in St Albans.

He admitted in court this week he was "down on his luck" and saw it as an "opportunity not to be homeless anymore".

He said at first he was made to feel welcome at the Moloney's family home in Watford Road, St Albans, but was kept in servitude to carry out forced labour and was hit on about five occasions.

Lengthy sentence expected in slavery case

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

A man who kept a homeless man as a slave has been told by a judge he's likely to face a lengthy period behind bars.

St Albans crown court
SBNA

It comes after the week long trial at St Albans Crown Court found Johnny Moloney, from Watford Road, St Albans had forced Cameron Biggar to carry out unpaid block paving and building work for Moloney. 

Mr Biggar had been taken to work in Ireland, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and Norway and Sweden.

Moloney is due to be sentenced at St Albans crown court on Friday.

St Albans man found guilty of holding homeless man as a slave

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

Johnny Moloney, 30, of Watford Road, St Albans was found guilty today of knowingly holding a person in slavery or servitude and knowingly requiring another person to perform forced labour in St Albans between April 2010 and December 2014. 

It was after he picked up homeless Cameron Biggar with the promise of work and accommodation. 

Instead he was forced to live in a shed, and work 14 hours a day without pay.

Johnny Moloney
sbna

BreakingHertfordshire man found guilty of slavery offences

A Hertfordshire man has today been found guilty of slavery offences at St Albans Crown Court.

Johnny Moloney, also known as Johnny Murphy, 26, of Watford Road, St Albans held Cameron Biggar between 2010 and 2014.

More details to follow.

Trumpets sound for new Whipsnade arrival

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

When the lead keeper of Whipsnade Zoo turned up for work on Friday morning he was met with an unexpected surprise.

Darren Fellowes found 17-year-old Karishma had given birth to a baby Asian elephant.

Although the calf was due to be born, she arrived a bit earlier than planned and was already getting to know the rest of the herd.

Elizabeth the elephant
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

To trumpet her arrival just ahead of the Queen's official 90th birthday celebrates she was named... yes, you've guessed it... Elizabeth.

Elizabeth the elephant
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

What is a 'Phantom' hoverfly?

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The first ever recorded sighting a rare hoverfly has taken place in the Chilterns, but just what is a Phantom Hoverfly, or to give it it's proper name; Doros profuges?

  • It's 1.5cm long with an elegant narrow waist and black and yellow bands across its body
  • Across England, there are between one and two sightings of the insect every year
  • The Phantom Hoverfly is listed as a priority species on the UK Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan
  • It's believed the management of chalk downland on the estate for rare Duke of Burgundy butterflies has also benefited the Phantom Hoverfly
  • It's likes to stay in the trees canopy and only descends to the ground to breed
Phantom Hoverfly
National Trust
Phantom Hoverfly
National Trust

Rare 'Phantom' haunts the Chilterns

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A haunting site has been spotted in the Chilterns.

A hoverfly species that's so rare it's named the 'Phantom' has been seen near Ivinghoe Beacon on the National Trust's Ashbridge Estate.

It was discovered by entomologist Peter Brash, who first saw one 23 years ago... but only in a picture. 

Phantom Hoverfly
National Trust

It's thought to only survive for 10 days as an adult and lives on chalk grassland.

Copper worth thousands stolen from Hertfordshire church

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Thousand of pounds worth of copper has been stolen from the roof of a 12th Century church in Hertfordshire.

Police say the theft at St Mary's Church in Clothall, Baldock happened between 2-8 June, but as it wasn't discovered for a couple of days, rain water got into the building and caused further damage.

Half of the copper on the roof was taken and tiles had to be removed to get to it.

St Mary's Church, Baldock
Herts Police

Noah Serra-Morrison death: Mother googled 'my baby is hurt'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A mother accused of killing her baby son used her mobile phone to google terms including "my baby is hurt" and "my baby is breathing, but not moving" shortly before she called an ambulance.

Ronnie Tayler-Morrison, 21 and her partner Hardeep Hunjan, 26, both deny the murder of 13-month-old Noah Serra-Morrison in Crawley Road, Luton on 20 November.

Luton Crown Court heard on the night he died, Miss Tayler-Morrison is also alleged to have phoned her sister to say she had put her son in his cot, but when she went to check on him she found him lying on the floor. An hour and a quarter later she called an ambulance.

Paramedics found Noah was not breathing, had no heartbeat and had swelling on the right side of his head. He was rushed to Luton a& Dunstable Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Noah Serra-Morrison death: Mother and partner 'pedalling lies'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The prosecution in the case of a couple accused of killing 13-month-old Noah Serra-Morrison has said his mother and partner had been "pedalling lies" about the circumstances surrounding the child's death.

The baby sustained a fractured skull and 15 fractures of his arms and legs at his home in Crawley Road, Luton, on 20 November last year. His mother Ronnie Tayler-Morrison, 21 and her partner Hardeep Hunjan, 26, deny murdering the child, claiming to police, doctors, paramedics and neighbours he had fallen out of his cot.

Luton Crown Court heard a doctor told police at the hospital the mother's explanation was "suspicious" and the injuries were not consistent with a fall from a cot. Prosecutor Jane Bickerstaff QC said the injuries were consistent with his head having been smashed against a hard surface like a "wall or a floor".

The trial continues.

Noah Serra-Morrison death: Toddler's injuries 'not an accident'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A baby boy died from a head injury which his mother later claimed was caused when the child fell out of its crib, a court has heard.

Luton Crown Court
South Beds News Agency

Ronnie Tayler-Morrison, 21, and her partner Hardeep Hunjan, 26, deny the murder of 13-month-old Noah Serra-Morrison in Luton on 20 November. They have also pleaded not guilty to causing or allowing the death of a child and cruelty by wilful neglect.

Luton Crown Court heard the injuries inflicted "could not have been an accident".

Prosecutor Jane Bickerstaff told the jury the toddler died of a "massive head injury" and the prosecution could "prove Noah's death was murder". She said in addition to the fractured skull the baby had suffered 15 fractures of his arms and legs that same night.

Letchworth pool remains closed after floods

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The Letchworth Outdoor Pool will remain closed after it flooded at the weekend following heavy rain.

Although ground surface water has now been pumped from the site, the pool is currently being drained so it can be thoroughly cleaned.

Letchworth pool
North Hertfordshire District Council

As you can see, North Common is also still closed and the council is monitoring the situation.

North Common play area
North Hertfordshire District Council

Watch the moment Sir Philip Green tells Bedford MP off for 'disturbing' him....

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

"You looking at me? You looking at me? Then who else are you looking at - you looking at me? Well, I'm the only one here."

Or something like that...

If you want to see a more accurate version of the moment Sir Philip Green told Bedford's MP Richard Fuller off for staring at him,  you can watch the footage via parlimentarylive.tv

If you forward to 09:50:04 you'll fine the moment Sir Philip starts to feel "uncomfortable".

Sir Philip Green
BBC

Police say tackling cybercrime is one of their 'main priorities'

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Online crime costs Hertfordshire businesses more than £6m last year - but in which areas? 

Hertfordshire Police say there were 51 cases of Mandate Fraud, which is when fraudsters get victims to change a direct debit or standing order by pretending to be someone they make regular payments to. Last year more than £2m was lost like this.

Image depicting online fraud
BrianAJackson

Corporate employee fraud is also rising with 27 cases being reported. This works by employees or ex-employees getting property or compensation through fraud or misuse of corporate cards and expenses.

Police also say hacking is still an on-going problem and "driving down cybercrime is one of their main priorities".

'Sloppy habits' means online crime is on the rise, warn Herts police

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Over £6m has been lost by businesses in Hertfordshire, according to figures from Get Safe Online and Action Fraud.

They show between March 2015 and March 2016, 37,070 crimes were reported - a 22% increase on the year before. 

Hertfordshire Police say businesses need to do more, siting a "lack of knowledge or sloppy habits by employees".

Computer
PA

Watford statement due following Vicarage Road stadium collapse which left man injured

Matthew Lockwood

BBC Three Counties Radio

I've just approached Watford to find out more about last night's incident which left a worker with head and leg injuries after a roof collapsed on a new corner section of the ground. 

So far the club has refused to say anything until investigations are carried out.

The only thing it has confirmed is it will release a statement "later" - as soon as we have that, we will bring it to you.

Bedford MP 'sorry' for staring at Sir Philip Green

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

Bedford's MP has apologised to Sir Philip Green after he was told today to stop "staring" at him.

Richard Fuller said "I don't wish to make you feel uncomfortable, Sir Philip... I think it is another parliamentary colleague that is known for his death stare."  

"So I'm sorry if I unnerved you, but I learnt in my previous career in business and also in politics that if you're doing something important you should look someone straight in the eye."

Sir Philip responded: "Now we're talking we can look each other in the eye."

Richard Fuller finished with "thank you for that."

Sir Philip Green
PA

Bedford MP told to stop 'staring' at Phillip Green

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

The MP for Bedford, Richard Fuller has been told off by the former boss of BHS, Sir Phillip Green. 

It was before a joint committee of MPs hearing evidence about the collapse of the company.

Sir Phillip stopped mid-sentence at one point to rebuke Mr Fuller for "staring" at him.

He said: "Sir, do you mind not looking at me like that all the time, it's really disturbing. You just want to stare at me, it's uncomfortable."

Richard Fuller, MP
PA

Law firm's 'offensive' tweets: Hertfordshire county council to 'terminate contract'

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

Hertfordshire County Council has confirmed it is dropping its association with Milton Keynes law firm Baker Small, after the company came under fire for offensive messages posted on social media, as reported in The Guardian.

Hertfordshire County Council
BBC

The council said it had been "very disappointed to read the totally unacceptable and insensitive comments" adding it "will be terminating our association" with Baker Small as soon as possible.

The law firm has lost a number of local authority clients after appearing to gloat on social media about victories over parents of children with Special Educational Needs.

Today's weather: Yellow warning for rain

Kate Kinsella

BBC Look East weather

It's going to be another day of dodging the showers and the Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Luton.

There will be sunny intervals, but scattered heavy, thundery showers are expected to develop.

Maximum temperature of 20C (68F).

High Wycombe car showroom on fire overnight

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

About 40 firefighters have tackled a blaze overnight at a car showroom in High Wycombe.

Bucks Fire and Rescue said it was called to the BMW garage in London Road at 22:00 where a fire had started in a workshop, which, along with about 20 cars, was damaged by fire, smoke and heat.

The story has also been reported in the Bucks Free Press, where you can see some pictures of the scene.

Watford: Our time is now!

Watford have tweeted this morning about "an exciting start" to the football season.

Here's their full schedule...

View more on twitter

Vicarage Road collapse: Pictures from the scene

Matthew Lockwood

BBC Three Counties Radio

Vicarage Road collapse
BBC
Vicarage Road collapse
BBC

Man injured in Vicarage Road stadium collapse

Matthew Lockwood

BBC Three Counties Radio

I've been talking to last night's watch commander at Watford fire station, who's been telling me how a builder suffered head and leg injuries after falling about 12m at Watford's Vicarage Road ground yesterday.

Vicarage Road
BBC

Cliff Webb told me it happened at about 18:30 when a roof collapsed on a new corner section of the ground.

The air ambulance landed on the pitch and took the man - who had a fractured leg, a possible pelvic fracture and a head injury - to the Royal London Hospital. Nobody else was hurt.

The Health & Safety Executive has also been informed.

Luton Girls Academy: 'It could happen again,' MP says

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Luton South MP Gavin Shuker has said more free schools in the area might not get off the ground and have to return money to the government.

Gavin Shuker
Labour Party

He said: "The attitude of the department is, well this just happens. Sometimes people bring along projects and it turns out they're not quite good enough to open in the first place and so we are going to see this replicated here in Luton.

"There are other free school projects that have been given the green light - I hope that's going to result in some school places."

Luton Girls Academy: What the government says...

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

In the light of the Luton Girls Academy only repaying 14% of the funds it was given to set up - after the project was halted - I've been in contact with the Department for Education about what happens to funds given to free schools which aren't spent.

Luton Girls Academy proposed site
Google

A spokesman said: "All proposed free schools are required to meet strict conditions before opening, and where it becomes clear that a school will not meet these, any grant payments are stopped immediately and unspent money is returned to the department.

"As we expand this increasingly popular programme, there will inevitably be spending that has to be written off - this represents a very small proportion of the Department's total budget."

Watford FC: Premier League fixtures released

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Well - here it is... the Premier League fixtures for next season have been released. 

It's a tough start for Watford who begin the campaign away at Southampton on 13 August, then their first three home games will be against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.

Southampton v Watford - January 2016
Getty Images

A Christmas lie-in is on the cards as the Hornets will be home against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day. And on New Year's Eve they'll be at home to Spurs.

In the last match of the season, on 21 May, they'll face Manchester City at Vicarage Road.

Obviously, once the telly gets its hand on these, times and dates could change.

Watford FC: Premier League fixtures due for release

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

It may be all about Iceland at the Euros this morning, but closer to home we're poised for the release of next season's Premier League fixtures when Watford fans find out where they'll need to get to on Boxing Day.

All will be revealed at 09:00, so not long to wait now.

The Football League fixtures for MK Dons, Luton, Wycombe and Stevenage will be released next Wednesday.

Watford in action
Getty Images

Luton Girls Academy: The proposed site

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

The proposed site for the Luton Girls Academy was believed to be off Kingsway - just south of Hatters Way. I took these pictures last year.

Luton Girls Academy proposed site
BBC
Luton Girls Academy proposed site
BBC
Luton Girls Academy proposed site
BBC

Luton Girls Academy: The story so far...

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

  • The school for 120 girls aged 11-18 was approved in May 2014 by Michael Gove, then Secretary of State for Schools and was due to open in September last year
  • It was to be run by Harpenden-based ACE Trust Limited, which was given £180,000 to set it up
  • The project was halted by the government in February last year because it hadn't made the necessary progress
  • Junior schools minister Lord Nash said the school had "fallen short of the rigorous criteria" needed to gain approval
  • It's now been revealed the directors of Ace Trust Limited have only paid back £25,000 of the £180,000 - less than 14% of the funds

Cost revealed of failed Luton academy school

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

It's been revealed a planned academy school in Luton, which failed to open, has only paid back £25,000 of the £180,000 it was paid by the government.

Proposed site of Luton Girls Academy
BBC

The public funds were paid to the directors of the proposed Luton Girl's Academy - run by Harpenden-based Ace Trust Ltd. It should have opened last year, but was halted by the Department for Education having failed to make sufficient progress. It's not known where the money went.

The details were revealed by the DfE after months of questions by MP Gavin Shuker and BBC Three Counties Radio. The DfE said any unspent money is returned to the department, but there will inevitably be spending that has to be written off.

We have made many attempts to contact the directors of Ace Trust over the past two years and in the past few days. As yet we've had no response.

Welcome to Local Live for Beds, Herts and Bucks

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to the live page for the three counties, where we'll bring you the latest news, sport, weather and travel until 18:00.

This morning we'll be starting with the latest on a planned academy in Luton which failed to open - and looking at how much of the money given to it by the government has been paid back.

Remember, if you'd like to get in touch at all, you can email us or send us a tweet.