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  1. Updates on Thursday 12 March 2015

Live Reporting

By Matt Pengelly and Ben Chapple

All times stated are UK

Get involved


That's all from BBC Local Live in Devon and Cornwall team today, thanks for joining us.

We'll be back at 08:00 to bring you all of Friday's news, sport, travel and weather updates.

News on the hour

The top stories at 18:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: A developer behind plans to fund a stadium for Cornwall, recommended for refusal, says councillors will be making a crucial decision.

BBC Radio Devon: Devon and Cornwall has one of the highest rates in the country of recorded adult and child rape, a policing watchdog says.

Rain through the night and tomorrow

Holly Green

BBC Weather

The outbreaks of rain will persist through the evening, with the odd heavy burst in places. During the second half of the night in may turn a little drier from the west. Min Temp: 3C (37F).

Weather chart

Outbreaks of rain are likely to affect Devon on and off throughout Friday. It will feel chillier than Thursday too, with a breezy northerly wind and a maximum temperature of 8C (46F).

Open verdict in Kew Gardens scientist's death

Andrew Segal

Local Live

An open verdict has been ruled in the death of a scientist who worked at Kew Gardens whose body was found floating in the sea off Cornwall.

An inquest in Truro was told Dr Nigel Veitch's body was spotted off St Ives by the crew of a fishing boat last September. Dr Veitch, 49, from Ascot in Berkshire, has been

described by the gardens as an "outstanding scientist".

MP seeks NHS cash crisis assurances

BBC Radio Devon

The government is being urged to intervene over a cash crisis in the NHS in Devon.

Exeter Labour MP Ben Bradshaw told the House Commons the county was facing a deficit of £430m over the next four years and he feared ministers were trying to delay making any decisions until after the general election. He said he wanted assurances that the government "is not seeking to bury bad news".

Muse to Plug In Baby in Exeter

Tickets to see Teignmouth stadium-filling band Muse in a 1,400-seat venue in their home county as part of their

latest UK tour sold out within minutes.


The three-piece group, who have sold 17 million albums worldwide, are to play at Exeter's Great Hall on 20 March.

Exam complaints 'not made up'

Judith Burns

Education reporter, BBC News

A student not satisfied at how

Exeter University has handled complaints over what has been described as
an "unfair" economics exam said: "It's as if they think we have made this whole thing up! If 240 students isn't evidence I don't know what is."

Exeter University Business School
Exeter University
Students say teaching on an economics module left them poorly prepared for an exam

The university said it "has no case to answer in relation to the issues concerned".

News on the hour

The top stories at 17:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: Devon and Cornwall Police say they are trying to change how they deal with rape cases after a watchdog reported that fewer than one in 10 such attacks results in a conviction.

BBC Radio Devon: Exeter Labour MP Ben Bradshaw has demanded that the government does more to save bass fish stocks.

Hunting ban 'a mistake'

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss has told MPs the hunting ban was a "mistake", the

Western Morning News reports.

The minister's comments came after David Cameron said last week people in the countryside must have "the freedom to hunt". He has pledged to give MPs a free vote on whether to repeal the Hunting Act if the Tories win the general election. Labour has made clear it would do nothing to alter the ban if it came to power.

Strictly win 'like a dream'

BBC Radio Cornwall

The Cornish contestant in

The People's Strictly for Comic Relief has told BBC Cornwall getting a perfect score of four 10s in the dance competition was like "a dream".

Phil Barnett with dance partner Janette Manrara

Phil Barnett, from St Ives, said: "It was amazing. It's surreal because you are stood on the floor with the audience all around, and the judges and all these famous people."

Train wi-fi delight

BBC Radio Cornwall

Cornwall Council and business leaders have welcome the introduction of free wi-fi on board First Great Western Intercity and Night Riviera Sleeper rail services.

Senior Councillor Julian German said: "Improving connectivity is a fantastic incentive for business users who will be able to work while on board."

'Band of Brothers' imitator fined


World War Two enthusiast has admitted having bladed articles and an imitation firearm in public after walking along Exeter High Street dressed like an American solider in the TV series Band of Brothers, the
Express and Echo reports.

Michael Devereux, 48, was in the full uniform of the 101st Airborne on Christmas night. He admitted the charges at Exeter Crown Court, dressed in a demob suit and with his hair slicked back in 1940s fashion. He was ordered to do 100 hours unpaid community work, pay £425 costs and his weapons were confiscated.

Red Arrows

The Red Arrows are to display over Plymouth this summer - as part of the city's British Firework Championships.

Red Arrows


RAF display team will be over Plymouth Sound at 19:00 on 19 August - the second day of the championships. day one will see a performance by the
Twister Aerobatics display team.

News on the hour

The top stories at 16:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: A football match in Cornwall which was called off after just 58 seconds because of fog may be the shortest-lived game ever played in England, the South Western League says.

BBC Radio Devon: The government is being urged to intervene over a cash crisis in the NHS in Devon.


BBC Radio Cornwall

St Ives Jazz Club has been hailed 2015 Jazz Venue of the Year in the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards.

Hayley Madden

St Ives Jazz Club founder Ralph Freeman travelled to the House of Commons to collect the award before commenting: "This is fantastic news and further recognition for the Club and for jazz in Cornwall. It confirms St Ives Jazz Club as one of the best jazz venues in the UK, and it's a testament to all the hard work by unpaid volunteers that's gone into the club since it started in 1998."

Rugby star backs Stadium bid

The England and Exeter Chiefs winger - and former Cornish Pirate - Jack Nowell

tweets: Big day for Cornwall today fingers crossed for @Stadium4Cornwll that they get the go ahead #S4C #kernow

Campaigning councillor

Laurence Reed

Presenter, BBC Radio Cornwall

It was great to welcome Dick Cole, the leader of Mebyon Kernow,

into the studio this afternoon, chatting about devolution issues and answering your questions.


Mr Cole, who also represents St Enoder, admitted: "It's a very, very busy time, trying to balance campaigning with doing my day job of being a councillor, I've got a lot of issues going on I'm trying to deal with - to put it bluntly, the days aren't actually long enough at the moment."

Council approves office move

East Devon District Council

tweets: Cabinet voted unanimously last night to recommend adoption of proposals for relocating @eastdevon offices away from Sidmouth.

Uni exams 'unfair'

Angry students

say their university has broken its own complaints handling rules in its response to a row over an "unfair" economics exam.

Economics undergraduates at Exeter University have complained about poor teaching, which they say left them unprepared for an exam in January. An investigation by the university's business school has rejected these concerns, but up to 240 students have signed an online petition with 70 submitting formal complaints.

Rape victim justice concerns

Simon Hall

Correspondent, BBC South West

Rape support groups have told me they're alarmed at new research revealing fewer than one in 10 rape attacks in the south west result in a conviction.


The Rape Monitoring Group looked at

how the crimes were handled by police and prosecutors - the region's police forces have said victims would be believed and offered help and support by dedicated teams of specially-trained detectives.

Fee Scott from

Devon Rape Crisis said: "It's depressing for me working in the sector but how depressing is it for women who maybe have experienced an attack yesterday or two years ago or 10 years ago to be thinking about their options, about whether to report or not, to be thinking about what they need in terms of getting justice?"

News on the hour

The top stories at 15:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: A football match called off on Wednesday just 58 seconds into play because of fog has been rescheduled for Monday, 27 April.

BBC Radio Devon: Investigators trying to identify the cause of the unexplained deaths of an elderly couple at their home in Paignton say there were no signs of a gas leak or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Argus to return

BBC Radio Cornwall

tweets: RFA Argus is set to return at the end of the month to Falmouth after helping to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone.


Lack of rape reporting 'a particular problem'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

The Devon and Cornwall Police Commissioner says that increasing the confidence of rape and sexual assault victims to report the crime and providing them with more support to do so "are a key focus" in his police and crime plan.

Tony Hogg's said: "Devon and Cornwall has one of the highest rates of recorded adult and child rape nationally. Non-reporting of crimes of rape and sexual assault is a particular problem that needs to be dealt with". He added he was "extremely focussed on encouraging victims to report these offences and remove barriers to dissuade them from doing so".

Rain sweeps in

Kevin Thomas

BBC Weather Forecaster

A band of heavier and more persistent rain will move into west Cornwall and Scilly later this afternoon. Moderate or fresh south to southeasterly winds will veer to northwest, in the west later.



the rain band will clear to the east by around midnight to become mostly dry with clear spells and perhaps an isolated shower developing. Winds will continue to veer to the west or northwest and become light or moderate. Min Temp: 3C (37F).

Cornish road problems

BBC Travel South West


A30 in Canonstown is partially blocked and there's slow traffic northbound between the Gitchell Lane junction and St Erth Roundabout, because of an accident involving two vehicles in the roadworks area.

The A39 in Playing Place is partially blocked with slow traffic around the Holywell Road junction because of an accident involving three cars.

Broadband connections questioned

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A Cornish MP has told a minister that more needs to be done to improve broadband computer connections in rural areas.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss said 80% of the country had broadband access, but South East Cornwall Conservative MP Sheryll Murray responded: "In my constituency, most of that 80% is spread amongst six towns. It's very disproportionate to use a figure covering a wide area when you've got a lot of countryside where broadband connection is a lot lower than that."

News on the hour

The top stories at 14:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: A Cornish contestant in the People's Strictly on BBC1, Phil Barnett, says he was amazed to receive a perfect score with four 10s from judges on Wednesday night.

BBC Radio Devon: Police are treating the deaths of an elderly man and woman at their home in Paignton as unexplained.

Mobile library hopes

Sylvia Edwards

tweets in response to news that Devon County Council is putting all its libraries into a trust: Hope mobile library service to smaller villages will continue! #olderpeople

Town's PC remembered at flower fest


West Briton is reporting how Falmouth Spring Festival gets under way today and has been dedicated to the memory of PC Andy Hocking.

Devon & Cornwall police

PC Hocking and his wife Sally were keen supporters of the event and were due to take part in the spring clean events today and tomorrow. A memorial march through Falmouth is planned for midday on Saturday.

Rape cases concern

Simon Hall

Correspondent, BBC South West

Fewer than

one in 10 rape attacks reported to the police in the south west result in a conviction, according to new figures from a policing watchdog.


Rape Monitoring Group examined how the crime is investigated by the police and treated by prosecutors.

The findings have alarmed rape victim support groups but the region's police forces have said rape is a priority issue and all attacks would be investigated thoroughly.

Stadium debate

Cornwall Councillor Andrew Wallis


@CornwallCouncil's Strat Planning committee hearing from all the applicants first before any decision is made.


Exeter councillors to shrink (in numbers)

BBC Radio Devon

Exeter could be getting smaller.... in council terms anyway.


The city is looking at

redrawing, merging or cutting the number of its council wards from 18 to 13, each with three councillors. It means some ward names could disappear altogether, including St James - home to Exeter City Football Club. The
city council will discuss the proposed new layout next week before sending it on to the
Boundary Commission.

Divorce settlements

Bill Buckley

Presenter, BBC Radio Devon

After 13:00 I'll be asking if an ex-husband/wife should be able to make a claim on your millions if you made them AFTER your divorce settlement?

Kathleen Wyatt has been told by the Supreme Court

she can try to claim from her husband Dale Vince who became a millionaire after their divorce settlement.

Fair deal or just greedy opportunism?

Tune in and get in touch on 0345 301 1034.

Stadium supporters hand in petition

via Facebook

BBC Spotlight has posted video on its

Facebook page, saying: Campaigners lobbied the meeting this morning where councillors will consider plans for the Stadium for Cornwall project.

Stadium petition handed in

Supporters of the project also handed in a 5,000-signature petition backing the proposals.

Questions for Dick Cole?

Laurence Reed

Presenter, BBC Radio Cornwall

On today's programme just after 13:00 I'll be joined in the studio by the leader of the Mebyon Kernow party, Dick Cole.


I'll be talking to him about devolution and the coming General Election campaign, but he's happy to answer your questions too.

Tune in now or contact us on 01872 222222.

'Unexplained' Paignton deaths

BBC Radio Devon

The police in Paignton are investigating

the deaths of an elderly couple in the town.

Officers were called to Freshwater Drive yesterday evening and discovered the bodies of an elderly man and woman. The house has been cordoned off and officers remain at the property this morning.

The deaths are being treated as "unexplained" and fire officers have found no signs of a gas leak or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Buyers 'in the wings' for Gulls

Brent Pilnick

BBC South West Sport

There are a number of groups

interested in investing in Torquay United, according to the man tasked with trying to find a buyer for the club.

Getty Images

Kelvin Thomas says he expects more interest to come in the next few days following the chairman Thea Bristow's

decision to leave the club at the end of the season.

News on the hour

The top stories at 12:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: Councillors are voting on five rival supermarket schemes, including one which could affect plans for a major stadium for the county.

BBC Radio Devon: Exeter looks at redrawing, merging or cutting the number of its council wards from 18 to 13, each with three councillors.

Truro 'facing traffic increase'

Cornwall Councillor Fiona Ferguson

tweets from a council meeting: Officers estimate vehicle movements on A390 thro' Truro will increase by 6,500 from 27,100 movements per day if all apps are approved today.