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Summary

  1. Updates from across the West of England on Monday, 13 March

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodnight from Local Live in the West of England

That's it from us here on the Local Live team.

We'll be back at 7am tomorrow ready for more news, sport, travel, weather and the first day of Cheltenham Festival.

See what tonight has in store for you weather-wise with Ian Fergusson.

Watch: West country weather forecast

Grass gets one final trim before Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Festival gets under way tomorrow with race goers arriving from all over the world. 

Around a quarter of a million people are expected to attend in the next four days, bringing in around a £100m to the local economy.

Simon Claisse, Clerk of the Course at Cheltenham Racecourse, explains how much hard work has gone in to preparations for this year's festival.  

Watch: Clerk of the Course Simon Claisse says it's been full on since the new year

And a reminder not all the horses at the festival will be racing...

View more on twitter

Decision on 'Marine A' Alexander Blackman expected this week

A court drawing of Alexander Blackman
BBC

A former Somerset Royal Marine who fatally shot an injured Taliban fighter will find out on Wednesday if he's won his appeal against his conviction for murder.

Lawyers for Sergeant Alexander Blackman, 42, from Taunton, say he was suffering from a mental illness at the time of the shooting in 2011 which wasn't taken into account in his original trial. 

Blackman, known as Marine A, was sentenced to life in 2013.

Five judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court in London will announce their decision on Wednesday morning. 

Can you call house on Cheltenham Festival bingo?


          A screen grab of the list created by Cheltenham man Andrew Lansley
Andrew Lansley

As Cheltenham prepares for racegoers to descend for The Festival tomorrow it seems it's not just the businesses involved who are getting ready.

One resident has tweeted a Cheltenham Raceweek Bingo card for other locals to play along with during the event.

It includes not being able to get on public transport and spotting places that don't usually sell breakfast which start to do so.

The prize, according to the list, is "inconvenience for another week of your life".

Andrew Lansley started the list a few years ago as a joke but carried it on after friends started making their own suggestions for the list.

The funniest part was people sharing their own personal 'raceweek bingo’ find and that’s how I started developing and refining the list every year. I think it’s in its fourth iteration now and I already have new suggestions to consider for 2018, so will keep this going as long as people find it funny."

Andrew Lansley

Students' atmospheric pressure device could be sent to the moon

Watch: Students work on LunaDome

Aerospace students from Bath University have reached the final of an international competition to send an experiment to the moon. 

The Lab2Moon challenge pits the best student minds worldwide against each other to innovate, design and build an experimental payload that will aid the development of sustainable human presence there.

The Bath students' Lunadome device is the last remaining UK entry in the compeition.   

  • LunaDome aims to understand the effect of temperature fluctuations experienced on the lunar surface upon a pressure controlled environment
  • The critical payload specifications state that the experiment has to fit into a space the size of a generic coke can, and weigh no more than 250g. 
  • A compressed CO2 canister will vent CO2 through a bespoke valve into a sealed, fixed volume "dome"
  • This "dome" will be filled to atmospheric pressure and controlled so as to maintain this pressure
  • The temperature variation experienced by the sealed CO2 will be measured and sent back to earth for analysis
  • The aim is to understand what heating and cooling capacity an environmental control and life support system would have to achieve for a habitable atmosphere on the lunar surface

The Lab2Moon final is being staged in Bangalore, India this week. We wish Team LunaDome all the best!

Ruby Walsh on his Cheltenham Festival routine

On the eve of Cheltenham Festival many of the jockeys have been at the racecourse to get a feel for the ground and settle into the venue.

Someone familiar with the turf is Ruby Walsh, he's been top jockey at the festival for 10 of the last 13 years with 52 winners in total.

But when the jockeys aren't racing what do they get up to?

Ruby tells the BBC about his routine including where he prefers to stay.

Listen: Ruby Walsh on why he doesn't stay in hotels during the Cheltenham Festival

School reopens after arson attack

A school targeted by arsonists last week is now safe for pupils to return to.

The fire, which destroyed three classrooms at Hareclive Primary School on Moxham Drive in Hartcliffe, is believed to have been started deliberately on Thursday night.

In a statement the school said: "The academy is working closely with the fire services and the police while the matter is investigated. 

"Fortunately no one has been hurt, and having taken advice from the authorities, the academy site is safe for pupils to be in for a normal school day."

Fire engine
BBC

Missing person search training on Coate Water

Watch: Missing person search mocked up

Things got a bit dramatic at Coate Water in Swindon over the weekend when a major search and rescue took place in the water.

Thankfully it was all part of a training exercise involving the emergency services and Wiltshire Search and Rescue.

Cheltenham MP opposes goverment on Brexit EU citizens' amendment

MPs have voted with a majority of 48 not to support the Lords amendment which would have guaranteed rights for EU citizens currently in the UK

A total of 287 MPs supported the amendment, including Cheltenham's Alex Chalk, while 335 voted with the government against it. 

Mr Chalk was one of just two Conservative MPs to vote against the government.

View more on twitter

Auctioneer presides over Indian Premier League bidding

Listen: Ali Vowles asked Richard how he got involved in the IPL

Richard Madley from Biddestone near Devizes is not long back from Bengaluru in south India where he was in charge of the bidding for players in the Indian Premier League (IPL). 

The IPL is an opportunity for clubs to buy and sell players and they do it in style - the auction is televised and attracts 200m viewers, not to mention the millions of rupees which changed hands.

What's behind the board? Statue ready for Cheltenham Festival

View more on twitter

A statue of jockey AP McCoy is ready for it's debut at Cheltenham Festival which begins tomorrow.

The bronze has been created by Dublin-based sculptor Paul Ferriter.

Trowbridge murder: Scale of investigation is 'significant'

A police spokesman says resources have been brought in from outside the area to investigate the death of a man in Trowbridge. 

Det Ch Insp Jeremy Carter told the BBC that the scale of the enquiries is significant and shows how seriously the police are taking what happened. 

Twenty-five-year-old Jordan Taylor died as a result of stab wounds in the early hours of Sunday.  

Glittering hopes beneath the waters

A gold prospector from the Forest of Dean is teaching people to pan for gold. 

Kit Andrews, from Westbury-on-Severn, has been practising his hobby in the UK for 35 years. 

He's now offering lessons with a local jeweller in a stream in Longhope.

Watch: Panning for gold in the Forest of Dean

Preparations nearly complete for Cheltenham Festival... right down to the wheelie bins!

Power outage in parts of Gloucester

Seventy-five homes and businesses in the centre of Gloucester are without power.

Western Power (WPD) says it won't have repaired the fault until 9pm tonight. 

One of those businesses affected within the GL1 1, and GL1 2 areas is Angell Pets shop on Spa Road. 

The firm said on its Facebook page that it was looking into getting a generator to maintain heat and light for all the exotic reptiles in its care. 

A manager from Gloucester Docks says she has given permission to WPD to work through the night to fix the problem. 

It's believed a fault was found on a power cable at a substation on the land at the docks. 

Residents living in the area might hear some noise tonight while the problem is being fixed but they shouldn't be affected by a lack of power.


          A map showing an area of Gloucester affected by a power outage
WPDUK; Google

Trowbridge murder: Victim named as Jordan Taylor

Watch: Police appeal for witnesses to come forward

Up to 100 officers are currently carrying out enquiries into the murder of a Trowbridge man on Sunday morning. 

A post-mortem examination has confirmed that 25-year-old Jordan Taylor died after being stabbed. 

Officers and specialists from across the West are involved in the investigation, and Det Ch Insp Jeremy Carter is appealing for anyone with information to come forward.  

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire westbound severe disruption, at J16 for A3102.

M4 Wiltshire - One lane closed on M4 westbound at J16, A3102 (Swindon West), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Decorated hare unveiled for Cotswold trail

Trowbridge murder: Police appeal over death in Wiltshire town

Wiltshire Police say they want to hear from anybody who may have seen anything around the time a man was murdered in Trowbridge.

We would like to speak to anyone who heard or saw anything suspicious in this area of Trowbridge around 1.45am today. Irrespective of how small you may think it is, if you heard or saw anything that struck you as strange - please come forward. I want to reassure everyone living locally that we are treating this as a major investigation and are doing our utmost to find the offender. We will be putting on extra patrols in the area, so you may see an increased police presence in the town - rest assured this is all part of our investigation in to this incident."

Det Ch Insp Jeremy Carter Brunel Major Crime Investigation Team

Izzy Gentry inquest: Paramedic could not detect meningitis symptoms

Scott Ellis

BBC Points West reporter

Izzy Gentry
BBC

A paramedic has told an inquest he had been told a 16-year-old patient might have meningitis but he couldn’t detect any major symptoms such as a rash or sensitivity to light. 

Gary White was working for the Bristol Ambulance Service when he was called out on 18th May last year to help Izzy Gentry in Mangotsfield. 

Her mother Claire Booty was worried her daughter might have meningitis as there had been a case of the infection at her school two weeks earlier.

Izzy was taken to hospital but discharged, only to return the same day and be diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. She died two days later.

Pippa Bishop, the South West Ambulance Service paramedic who took her to hospital on the second and final trip, said meningitis was one of many considerations but said she did know that Izzy needed to be transferred to hospital urgently.

Teenagers bailed following tractor trailer death crash

Two teenagers arrested on suspicion of death by dangerous driving after a woman's death in Taunton have been released on police bail.

The crash happened when the woman's car was struck by a trailer which came loose from a tractor on Bridgwater Road on Thursday evening. 

The woman died at the scene and another was taken to Southmead Hospital with serious head injuries.

The 16 and 19-year-old males have been bailed until 11th April while investigations continue.

Trowbridge murder: officers conduct house to house enquiries

Police teams will be knocking on doors in Trowbridge today to try to establish how a man came to be murdered there in the early hours of Sunday.

Wiltshire Police has set up a major incident room at the town's police station and has drafted in specialist investigators to establish what happened.

Cordons remain in place in the Timbrell Street and Prospect Place areas where forensic teams are in operation.

A post-mortem is due to be carried out.

We're expecting a press conference at around 2pm. We'll bring you the latest as soon as we can.

View more on twitter

Izzy Gentry inquest: Latest from Scott Ellis

Scott Ellis has the latest from the Izzy Gentry inquest at Flax Bourton.

Disruption on trains between Yeovil and Exeter

Plan ahead if you're travelling to the Cheltenham Festival

View more on twitter

The annual Cheltenham Festival gets under way tomorrow. 

Thousands of visitors are expected to attend over the four days. 

The Highways Agency has all the advice if you're travelling by car on the M5. Hit the link in the Tweet.

What is fly-grazing?

Horse
BBC
  • Fly-grazing is the practice of placing a horse on someone else's land without their permission
  • Horses are often left untethered meaning they can be a danger to people coming across them or if they stray onto nearby roads
  • Residents regularly complain about abandoned horses, with concerns often being for their well-being 
  • In some cases horses are left on sites where there is not enough food for them and they are at risk of harming themselves 

Source: Mendip District Council

BreakingBath half: up to 700 miss out on medals

The organisers of the Bath Half Marathon say they have reviewed their information and it now appears up to 700 runners did not receive a medal or a t-shirt.

Race director Andrew Taylor told the BBC: "We fully appreciate that receiving a finisher’s medal and t-shirt is a significant recognition of achievement, particularly important for the last group of runners.

"Our initial estimate yesterday of a shortfall of 250 was based on 12,748 runners starting the race, and 12,500 medals and T-shirts ordered.

"Our team recorded the race numbers of all runners who didn’t get a medal and T-shirt, and from reviewing that information it appears the shortfall was nearer 700."

He said they will contact affected runners directly to confirm the date their replacement items will be posted.

"We hope this will not take anything away from their huge accomplishment in completing the half marathon," he added.

Bath half runners
BBC

Severe accident: M4 Monmouthshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Monmouthshire eastbound severe accident, between J23 for M48 and J22 for M49.

M4 Monmouthshire - M4 Second Severn Crossing busy but moving and one lane closed eastbound between J23 M48 and J22 M49, because of a multi-vehicle accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Rainbow rocks set to go on show in Bath

Mineral exhibition
BRLSI

Budding geologists will enjoy this colourful display of rocks and minerals going on display next month in Bath.

The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) is showing off a selection of its 2,300 collection which has been built up during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Some of the rocks glow under UV light, and others have some wonderful patterns - as you can see here:

Mineral exhibition
BRLSI
Mineral exhibition
BRLSI

The exhibition runs from 8 April to 30 September at the charity's base in Queen's Square, Bath.

Meningitis death teenager 'not given a chance'

Izzy Gentry
Izzy Gentry

The mother of a schoolgirl who died of suspected meningitis, 48 hours after being sent home from a Bristol hospital, has told an inquest her daughter could barely walk when she was discharged. 

Izzy Gentry, 16, was revising for exams in May last year when she started feeling unwell and was taken to the Bristol Royal Infirmary by ambulance.

Mother Claire Booty said the initial assessment on her daughter at the hospital was "cursory and brief".

Izzy Gentry died on the 20th May 2016 after her brain swelled up. “She was not given a chance,” Mrs Booty said.

The NHS Foundation Trust said in a review, after Izzy's death, that the assessment and treatment were "appropriate" as initial symptoms were "not typical of meningitis”.

The inquest is expected to last five days and will hear from paramedics, nurses and doctors responsible for Izzy Gentry's care. 

Fly-grazing 'on the increase'

A Somerset council says fly-grazing has become an increasing problem in recent years with more horses being abandoned and more people reporting it. 

Mendip District Councillors will tonight vote on whether to adopt new powers which would allow it to take away horses dumped on public land. 

If their owner doesn't come forward the animals could be sold, rehomed or in some cases even put down. 

Enforcement officer Ian Glover explains some of the problems fly-grazing can cause

Newspaper headlines from across the West of England

Bath half medal shortage: Why did it happen?

If you missed out on a medal yesterday, despite finishing the Bath Half Marathon, here's what happened.

Race organisers said they had been caught out by an unusually high number of finishers in the race.

"Each year, we get 15,000 entrants to the Bath Half, and normally 3,000 who have entered do not run the race," they said.

"We order 12,500 t-shirts and medals – the most finishers we have ever had is 12,100 people – which normally gives more than enough slack.

"This year, we have had an astonishing 12,748 finishers and unfortunately therefore there are a small number of people who will not have had a t-shirt and medal at the end of the race."

Those without a medal are urged to fill in a form and their medal and t-shirt will be sent to them .

Bath half runners
BBC

Train lines blocked due to signalling issue

Students reach lunar experiment final

Bath students have reached the final of a competition to send an experiment to the moon.

Engineering students from Bath University have reached the final of a competition to send an experiment to the moon. 

Their device, the LunaDome, is designed to maintain atmospheric pressure on a manned lunar base. 

The LunaDome is the only UK entry left, and the final takes place in India this week.

Good luck Team LunaDome!

Hitting the headlines this morning

Here's a round-up of the headlines from your BBC local radio stations in the region this morning:

BBC Radio Bristol: Organisers of the Bath Half Marathon apologise after more than 200 competitors left without receiving a medal. 

BBC Radio Gloucestershire: The Cheltenham Festival is set to generate £100m for the local economy.

BBC Somerset: Powers allowing a Somerset council to seize horses abandoned on public land could be approved later.

BBC Wiltshire: Wiltshire Police have launched a murder inquiry after a man in his 20s died in Trowbridge in the early hours of yesterday morning.

BBC microphones
BBC

What does it take to breed a prize winning budgie?

Do you ever hear the dawn chorus? It's the bird song that accompanies the start of every day.

But one corner of Little Stoke near Bristol resonates at that time of day to the sound of 125 budgies.

They all belong to breeder Bob Allen, who has been breeding the birds since the 1960s, when his father gave him a pair.

Bob takes several birds off to be displayed at shows up and down the country.  

Watch: Robert Allen is a prizewinning budgie breeder from Little Stoke.

Bath half race director: 'We're really very sorry'

The director of the Bath half marathon says he is "heartbroken" for those who didn't get a medal or t-shirt.

"It's the people at the back of the race who really deserve those medals and t-shirts the most," he told BBC Radio Bristol's Emma Britton.

"My heart's broken for them and I'm really very sorry."

He said they had contacted suppliers and hope to order replacement items today.

You can request yours here if you missed out .

Bath Half runnders
BBC