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Summary

  1. Updates from across the West of England on Wednesday 15 March 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Barnet 2-2 Yeovil at full time

Tomorrow's weather in the West with Ian Fergusson

That's nearly all from us for this evening, we'll be back from 7am tomorrow morning with all of your news, sport, travel and weather updates.

Before we go there's just time for a look at the weather forecast and unfortunately there's no repeat of today's glorious sunshine.

Watch: Weather for the West with Ian Fergusson

Wilton Windmill's sails back on

Watch: After seven months off they've been winched back into place

This Wiltshire landmark is looking back to its best after a £20,000 makeover. 

The windmill in Wilton near Marlborough is the last in active use in the South West and it's the first major renovation it's had since the 1970s. 

The windmill was built in 1821 and still produces wholemeal, stone-ground flour.  

Police forces pass election spending files to CPS

Conservatives election bus
Getty Images

Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset Police are among 12 forces that have asked the Crown Prosecution Service to consider charges over general election expenses.

The CPS said it had received files from 11 forces, and a 12th, Staffordshire Police, confirmed to the BBC it too had sent one.  

The files are for the CPS to decide whether charges should be brought.

It comes after complaints about the way Conservative "battle bus" visits to constituencies had been recorded in campaign spending returns.

The allegations came to light following an investigation by  Channel 4 News  into claims the Tories may have broken election law at the 2015 general election and three earlier by-elections.

I still wait for the 'night night mum, love you loads' texts

Watch: Kyle's mum Helen Stockford talks about the loss that has "crippled" her.

A funeral was held today for a South Gloucestershire man who was run over and killed by a car in Knowle West earlier this year.

Kyle Clark died at the scene after being dragged under a car.

The 27-year-old's mother Helen Stockford has spoken about how Kyle had saved her life from a convicted killer seven years ago .

Kyle interrupted burglar Kenneth Shirley who had  broken into the family home, raped his mother and planned to kill her . He also looked after his mum following the incident.

Shakrun Islam, 30, from Chipping Sodbury is charged with Kyle's manslaughter.

He is to appear before Bristol Crown Court on Friday.

Vote 'puts adult day centres at risk'

Watch: Campaigners had called for a rethink of the transfer to a social enterprise

Day care centres for disabled adults have been left under threat after a council voted to move services to an external provider, opponents claim.

The adult learning disability service will be transferred to a social enterprise along with a smaller budget.

Somerset County Council aims to save £10m from adult services, mental health and children's services budgets.

Ahead of the vote earlier, up to 200 people protested at county hall, urging members to vote against the proposals.

Barnet 1-1 Yeovil at half time

Oil pollution in the River Cole

Watch: The Environment Agency say disposing of pollutants into surface drains is illegal

The Environment Agency​ are cleaning up what they suspect is old engine oil in the River Cole in Swindon. 

It has traced the source to a surface water drain that discharges into the river and are working with Thames Water to establish how and when the oil got into the drainage system, which serves a large industrial and residential area of Swindon. 

They say they'll continue to monitor the oil until it's gone.

Barnet equalise against Yeovil

Yeovil Town lead with a goal in first half

The owner of a camera discovered on a beach has been found

He was tracked down after photos were posted on Facebook
The man from Nether Stowey was tracked down after photos were posted on Facebook.

Lydiard Park takeover formally agreed

Lydiard Park Heritage Trust to run the site from next year

Cheltenham Festival day two: It's all about the ladies

It's day two at Cheltenham and that means Ladies' Day, which for one young jockey has been particularly apt - Lizzie Kelly made her professional debut at the Festival and came fifth on Diable De Sivola.

On Friday she aims to become only the second woman ever to take part in the Gold Cup.

Elsewhere Special Tiara (11-1) landed the Queen Mother Champion Chase to give jockey Noel Fehily a second big-race win at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.  

The day was also soaked with sunshine so here's a flavour of some of the fashion and flamboyance on show.

Tonight's football: Barnet v Yeovil Town

Football
Getty Images

Yeovil are away to Barnet tonight in League Two. Kick off is at 8pm and we'll bring you goal updates.

You can follow live coverage here .

Hat designer shares her style secrets for Cheltenham Ladies' Day

Watch: Hat designer shares her secrets on styling the perfect hat

It's Ladies' Day at Cheltenham Festival and an incredible array of hats have been on display.

If you've ever wondered about styling your own, here are some tips on standing out from a Willow and Lace hat designer.

She says using this years trending styles is the way forward.

Ducklings given a safer exit at this lake

Ramps have been fitted to the banks of a lake in Warminster to make it easier for ducklings to get out.

The town council sought the solution after locals grew concerned about the ducklings safety.

The feathered young often struggled to get off the lake once on it which made them easy prey for gulls and the local heron.

Ducks on the lake
Warminster Town Council

Marine A's murder conviction quashing: Judges' findings

BBC News UK

Former Plymouth-based Royal Marine Alexander Blackman has had a murder conviction quashed and replaced with a verdict of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The 42-year-old, from Taunton, was jailed in 2013 for shooting an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. 

Five judges reduced his conviction, finding that the 2011 incident was not a "cold-blooded execution" as a court martial had earlier concluded, but the result of a mental illness - an "adjustment disorder".

Alexander Blackman
PA

In Wednesday's ruling, the judges said:

  • Blackman had been "an exemplary soldier before his deployment to Afghanistan in March 2011"
  • He had suffered from "quite exceptional stressors" which increasingly impacted on him the longer he was in command
  • It was "clear that a consequence was that he had developed a hatred for the Taliban and a desire for revenge"
  • At the time of the killing "the patrol remained under threat from other insurgents"
  • In concluding, they said the stressors and his adjustment disorder had been factors in "substantially" impairing his ability to form a rational judgment

A further hearing is to decide how long he should be imprisoned for.

West of England mayor's pay revealed

View more on twitter

The new mayor of the West of England will be taking home less money than Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and Police Commissioner Sue Mounstevens.

Elections for the role will be taking place on 4th May this year.

The 'Metro Mayor' will cover Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Marine A: Author Frederick Forsyth says they 'always wanted justice'

Watch: Author Frederick Forsyth on Marine A appeal win

Frederick Forsyth has welcomed the decision to reduce the murder conviction of Alexander Blackman - Marine A - to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The author also called for the media to help find out "what really happened" to Sgt Blackman. 

The Royal Marine from Taunton was jailed for life with a minimum term of 10 years (later reduced to eight) in 2013 after being convicted of shooting an injured Taliban fighter. 

There will be a further hearing to decide his new sentence.

Cheltenham Gold Cup: Cue Card, Native River and Djakadam among favourites

Colin Tizzard with Cue Card and Native River
Getty Images

Cue Card and Native River are among the 14 horses declared for Friday's Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Colin Tizzard's pair dispute favouritism for the blue riband event along with the Willie Mullins-trained Djakadam.

Cue Card fell three fences from the finish 12 months ago and has since won a third Betfair Chase at Haydock.

He lost out to stablemate Thistlecrack at Kempton on Boxing Day but returned to winning ways at Ascot in February.

Lizzie Kelly will become the first woman to ride in the race for 33 years when she partners outsider Tea For Two. Kelly became the only woman to win a Grade One race over jumps when she rode the horse to success in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase in December 2015.  

Council learning disability service to transfer to social enterprise

Demonstration outside County Hall
BBC

The transfer of the learning disability service from Somerset County Council to a social enterprise will go ahead from the start of April. 

The council's Conservative cabinet was forced to reconsider the proposals and asked to defer the decision until after local elections in May. 

But at a meeting today the cabinet voted unanimously to stick to its plans. 

Dozens of staff and service users staged a protest outside County Hall earlier today. They claim the change could lead to the closure of day centres.

Gold torc and silver badge finds declared as treasure

Top image; silver badge, bottom image, gold twisted torq
Portable Antiquities Scheme

A Middle Bronze Age piece of twisted gold and a silver badge found in Somerset have both been declared as treasure. 

The gold torc, weighing nearly 6g, was dated from the 1400 BC to 1150 BC which is Middle Bronze Age. It was found in a field in Horton last February. 

A second item, a silver badge commonly worn as a belt decoration by pilgrims, was found in Orchard Portman in August. The tiny object, weighing 1.48g depicts a hand holding an arrow wrapped in a cloth. 

The inquest heard Somerset County Museum was interested in buying them for its collection.

Volunteers wanted to monitor police powers

View more on twitter

Volunteers to monitor police powers are being sought by Avon and Somerset's Police and Crime Commisioner (PCC). 

The new panel will be asked to look at the use of Taser, stop and search, body worn video and the use of force by the police.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “During my time as PCC I have heard from local people about incidences where police powers have been used.  

"Young people who aren’t clear why the police used the force they did, mothers whose sons have been stopped and searched and individuals who have been tasered."

For more information about the Scrutiny of Police Powers Panel click here

Mother says family 'struggling to cope' after son killed at petrol station

Helen Stockford
BBC

The funeral is taking place later of Kyle Clarke who was knocked over on a petrol station forecourt and dragged under a car.  

His mother Helen Stockford says the family is "struggling to cope".

Ms Stockford, was subjected to a brutal rape, witnessed by her son, in her Bristol home by killer Kenneth Shirley, in 2009. 

She waived her right to anonymity in her fight to make sure Shirley is never released.

Severe disruption: M5 Somerset northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset northbound severe disruption, between J26 for A38 and J25 for A358.

M5 Somerset - One lane closed on M5 northbound between J26, A38 (Wellington) and J25, A358 (Taunton), because of a broken down lorry and recovery work. Traffic is coping well.

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

Beautiful weather lights up the West of England

It's a stunning day out there, here's some of the best shots we've received of the early spring sunshine.

Clifton Downs
BBC
Clifton Downs
BBC
Houses in Bristol
BBC

Village hall £100k loan paid off by community

WATCH: Broad Hinton locals enjoy their village hall

The community of Broad Hinton, near Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, has paid off the loan on their village hall 17 years early. 

The £100,000 loan was borrowed to help fund a new hall which is used by the whole community.  

Sails set on county's last working windmill

Izzy Gentry inquest: 'No glaring errors in treatment'

Andrew Plant

BBC Points West reporter

A doctor has said there were "no glaring errors" in the treatment of a girl who died from meningitis hours after being discharged from hospital.

Professor Jonathan Benger said he would have also discharged 16-year-old Izzy Gentry based on her symptoms when she went to the BRI feeling unwell in May last year.

She was sent home by doctors but was readmitted hours later and died of the disease shortly afterwards. 

Giving evidence at her inquest, Professor Benger said he would have made the same incorrect diagnosis, and called for all young people to be given access to a meningitis vaccine.

Izzy Gentry
Family photo

Police release CCTV of four people who could 'help solve' murder

Trowbridge CCTV
Wiltshire Police

CCTV images showing four people who were "within minutes" of the place where a man was murdered are being "urgently" sought by police. 

Jordan Taylor, 25, was stabbed to death in Trowbridge on Sunday

Wiltshire Police released CCTV showing four people they would like to "eliminate from their inquiries". 

Det Insp Jim Taylor said: "It is likely that some of the four were just walking home from a night out but they all pass closely to the incident and they may hold the key to solving this murder investigation. 

"In particular, we have already released a description of the white man in the green Parka coat. We are certain that someone knows who this man is and that he might be from the local area."

Trowbridge CCTV
Wiltshire Police
Trowbridge CCTV
Wiltshire Police
Trowbridge CCTV
Wiltshire Police

Protest over proposed changes to learning disability service

Demonstration at county hall Taunton
BBC

Dozens of staff and service users from the learning disability department of Somerset County Council are protesting outside County Hall this morning.

It's ahead of a meeting by the Conservative cabinet, which is re-examining a decision to transfer the in-house learning disability service to a social enterprise from next month.

The authority says the current system isn't competitive and delays will cause uncertainty for service users.

Demonstration at County Hall Taunton
BBC

Marine A: Wife thanks public for support during murder conviction appeal

Victoria Derbyshire

View more on twitter

The murder conviction of Alexander Blackman - Marine A - has been quashed and replaced with manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He was jailed for shooting an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan in 2011.  

Cheltenham Festival: We're live at ladies day

Marine A: Wife Claire Blackman 'delighted' at appeal decision

The wife of a former Plymouth-based Royal Marine who shot an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan has expressed her joy at a decision to quash his murder conviction. 

Five judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court in London reduced Alexander Blackman's conviction to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.  

Claire Blackman was greeted by cheers from supporters as she walked out of the court.

Claire Blackman. Pic: PA
PA

"We are delighted at the judges' decision to substitute manslaughter by diminished responsibility. This is a crucial decision and one that much better reflects the circumstances that my husband found himself in during that terrible tour of Afghanistan."

Claire BlackmanWife of Alexander Blackman

The Royal Marine from Taunton was convicted in November 2013 and sentenced to life with a minimum term of 10 years. It was later reduced to eight years. 

There will be a further hearing to decide his sentence.

Newspaper headlines from across the West

Newspapers
Getty Images
  • Bristol Post: Two men stabbed with a bottle in street attack outside Bristol Subway sandwich shop
  • Bath Chronicle: Police still search for key to crack Beryl Culverwell murder as cold case nears 40th anniversary
  • GloucestershireLive:Shocking moment a moped almost hits woman and children on pedestrian crossing
  • Swindon Advertiser:Murder investigation launched after young boy found dead in Faringdon. 

Marine A: Wife "delighted" by appeal decision

Claire Blackman
PA

Claire Blackman, the wife of Royal Marine Alexander Blackman, said she was "delighted" by the decision to reduce her husband's murder conviction.

It much better reflects the circumstances that my husband found himself in during that terrible tour of Afghanistan.

Claire Blackman

Marine A: Here's what the appeal judges said

1. The verdict is unsafe and the conviction for murder must be quashed.

2. We substitute a verdict of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

3. As agreed, we will fix a date for the hearing of the submissions in relation to sentence.

Marine A: Wins murder conviction appeal

Marine A
PA

A Royal Marine who shot an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan has won an appeal against his murder conviction. 

Sergeant Alexander Blackman, 42, from Taunton, had the conviction quashed by five judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court in London. They replaced it with manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. 

There will now be a further hearing at a date to be fixed to decide on the sentence he now has to serve. 

Blackman, who was not present for the ruling in the packed courtroom, was convicted in November 2013 by a court martial in Bulford in Wiltshire and sentenced to life with a minimum term of 10 years. 

The minimum term was later reduced to eight years because of the combat stress disorder he was suffering from. 

BreakingMarine A: Conviction reduced to manslaughter

Alexander Blackman
PA

Alexander Blackman, the Royal Marine who shot an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, had his murder conviction reduced to manslaughter by five judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court in London. 

Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire northbound severe disruption, between J11A for A417 Gloucester and J11 for A40 Golden Valley Bypass Gloucester.

M5 Gloucestershire - One lane closed and heavy traffic on M5 northbound between J11a, A417 (Gloucester) and J11, A40 (Gloucester), because of a broken down vehicle.

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