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  1. A 74-year-old man who murdered his partner in bed in a row over a duvet has been jailed for life
  2. Police appeal after boy, 13, sexually assaulted
  3. A woman is in critical condition after an incident in Paignton
  4. A teenage girl with Down's syndrome was turned down eight times by different shops as she tried to get her ears pierced
  5. EU referendum: UK goes to the polls
  6. The number of sheep being killed on Dartmoor roads reaches a record high
  7. Updates on Thursday 23 June 2016

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Morris

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Thursday's live coverage

Live updates for Devon and Cornwall have finished for the day, but we'll be back early tomorrow morning with the latest on the EU Referendum result, plus the rest of the day's news, sport, travel and weather.

Lifeguards rescue swimmer in danger from strong current

Woman 'cried for weeks' after dog was stolen

BBC Spotlight

A woman says she cried "for weeks on end" after her dog was stolen from her garden in Devon last year, never to be found.

Jackie Veale

Jackie Veale from Rattery, who offered a reward of £1000 for anyone who found her dog Poppy, said: "It upset our whole family - my youngest grandson's had night terrors over it for a very long time".

A BBC investigation has found more than 100 dogs were reported stolen over the last two years to Devon and Cornwall Police. More on this story on Spotlight at 1.30pm.

Marjorie Elphick's family pays tribute to 'kind and vivacious woman'

Elisabeth Mahy

BBC News Online

The family of Marjorie Elphick, murdered by her partner, have paid tribute to the 83 year-old.

Marjorie Elphick
Devon & Cornwall Police

Edgar Fairhurst, 74, has today been found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court and jailed for life for bludgeoning Mrs Elphick to death with a hammer in December 2015.

Marjorie's niece, Stephanie Artress, said: "Although she was 83, she was healthy and active and had the promise of many more years in front of her".

Holsworthy girl, 15, 'in living nightmare' due to topical steroid withdrawal

North Devon Journal

A Holsworthy mother whose 15-year-old daughter "in a living nightmare" is undefined due to Topical Steroid Withdrawal has started a petition to get the condition recognised.

Latest weather: Friday starting dry and bright before showers arrive

David Braine, Weather Forecaster

Patchy rain in the east clearing then dry for many overnight, with some clear spells for a time. Cloud will gradually increase from the west by dawn, introducing very isolated light showers. Minimum Temperature: 11 Deg C (52 Deg F).

Weather graphic

Friday: A dry and bright start but scattered heavy showers will develop during the afternoon. Despite this there will still be plenty of dry and bright weather around, making it feel warm in the sunshine. Maximum Temperature: 20 Deg C (68 Deg F).

'Disgust' at Down's girl's ear piercing rejection

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

A body piercer said he was "disgusted" that an 18-year-old Down's syndrome girl was turned down for ear piercings.

Emily Wheeler
Vikki Findlay

Nicholas Pinch of Voodoo Body Piercing in Barnstaple pierced Emily Wheeler's ears for her birthday after eight shops rejected her on the grounds of her having Down's.

Mr Pinch said on Facebook: "I'm ashamed of the studios who turned her down!!!! She waited so long for her lobes to be pierced I'm really glad i could do it for her."  

A soggy start to Glastonbury festival

Latest travel for Devon and Cornwall

BBC Travel

  • In Tiverton we've got reports of an incident on A3126 Kennedy Way near the B3137
  • A collision involving a car and a motorcycle is causing delays around Lyme Road in Axminster
  • There are delays on the A39 around Stratton because of roadworks 
  • Watch out for slow traffic on the A38 in Bodmin between the Launceston Road and Priory Road junctions 
  • Queues around the A390/A39 junction on Arch Hill in Truro

Latest headlines from Devon and Cornwall

Elisabeth Mahy

BBC News Online

  • A 74-year-old man who murdered his partner in bed in a row over a duvet has been jailed for life
  •  A teenage girl with Down's syndrome was turned down by eight different shops as she tried to get her ears pierced
  • Police have cordoned off the top end of Winner Street in Paignton after an incident which has left a woman in a critical condition
  • The number of sheep being killed on Dartmoor roads has reached a record high
  • Voters have until 22:00 to cast their votes in the historic referendum on Britain's future membership of the European Union

Plymouth Argyle reject 'derisory' offer for Curtis Nelson

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Plymouth Argyle have confirmed they turned down a "derisory" offer from newly-promoted Championship side Barnsley for captain Curtis Nelson.

The 23-year-old centre back is out of contract at the end of the month, but has been offered a new deal, meaning the Pilgrims are entitled to compensation for the ex-Stoke trainee if he leaves.

Curtis Nelson
Getty Images

"We can confirm that we have rejected a derisory offer from Barnsley for the player," said a club statement. "Curtis remains under contract to us and any approach to him without our approval would be in contravention of EFL (English Football League) rules."

Fairhurst 'determined to kill' partner, judge says

Elisabeth Mahy

BBC News Online

A man who bludgeoned his partner to death with a hammer after a row over a duvet was "determined to kill" her, the judge presiding over the case has said.

Edgar Fairhurst
Devon & Cornwall Police

Edgar Fairhurst, 74, was today sentenced to life for murdering his partner of 40 years, 83 year-old Marjorie Elphick.

Mr Justice Teare said: "There is no doubt you intended to kill her. You told the police you had to make sure she was dead. She died as a result of dreadful injuries."

Can you help find pierced Penryn bus bag snatcher?

West Briton

Police have released CCTV images of a man with "distinct piercings" they want to speak to after a student's rucksack and games console were stolen from a bus in Penryn.

Man leaves wife brain damaged in savage hammer attack

Rachael Thorn

BBC News Online

A jilted husband stalked his wife before smashing her head in with a hammer and leaving her permanently brain damaged, a court has heard.

Window cleaner Alexander Toth ambushed his wife Brigitta, stabbing her in the back twice and then bludgeoning her with a claw hammer.

Mrs Toth, 41, had told her husband their 20-year marriage was over and that she was leaving him. Toth, from Torquay, has admitted attempted murder.

Woman in 'critical' condition, man in custody

BBC Radio Devon

A woman is in critical condition after an incident in Paington this afternoon. 

Police were called to Winner Street just before one o'clock where a woman was reported to be injured. 

A man is currently in police custody in connection with the incident.

Latest travel across Devon and Cornwall

BBC Travel

  •  On the A390 at Grampound Road one lane is closed due to an overturned tractor  
  • In Exmouth we've got reports of an incident on Dinan Way near Salterton Road
  • In Bodmin on the A389 Priory Road Westbound there is slow traffic between Gilbert Road and Westheath Avenue 
  • In Barnstaple on the A39 Pilton Causeway there is traffic congestion Westbound near the A361 Boutport Street
  • At Five Lanes on the A30 Westbound we've got reports of animals on road between Five Lanes and Jamaica Inn Road, approach with care  

Tractor falls over on main road

BreakingDuvet row wife murderer jailed for life

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

A 74-year-old man who murdered his partner in bed in a row over a duvet has been jailed for life.

Edgar Fairhurst
Devon and Cornwall Police

Edgar Fairhurst, 74, was found guilty of murdering Marjorie Elphick, 83, at their home in Riverside Close, Bideford in December 2015.

Marjorie Elphick
Devon and Cornwall Police

Fairhurst was told at Exeter Crown Court that he will serve a minimum of 20 years in jail.

Senior investigating officer, Det Insp Sharon Donald, said "independent, active" Mrs Elphick was "subjected to an unprovoked, violent and sustained attack".

Headlines from Devon and Cornwall

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

Coin collection worth up to £30k stolen from Penzance

Rachael Thorn

BBC News Online

A Royal Mint collection valued between £20,000 and £30,000 has been stolen from a home in Cornwall.

The collection which was stolen between 7 and 9 May from a property in Newbridge, Penzance included an £800 King George V gold sovereign from 1926, and a 1979 Queen Elizabeth II gold sovereign of the same value.

Devon and Cornwall Police said they want to hear from anyone who has been offered coins that might have been from the collection.

Scottish defender Gary Miller joins Plymouth Argyle

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Plymouth Argyle have signed right-back Gary Miller after he turned down a new contract with Scottish Premiership club Partick Thistle earlier this month.

It is the second time Pilgrims boss Derek Adams has signed the 29-year-old, having brought him in at Ross County.

Gary Miller

Miller has spent all of his career north of the border, also playing for St Johnstone, Ayr Utd and Livingston.  

Thousands of pots of supermarket guacamole have been recalled over fears they contain salmonella

Cornish Guardian

Thousands of pots of supermarket guacamole have been recalled over fears they could contain salmonella.

Devon Down's girl Emily Wheeler wins ear pierce struggle

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

A teenage girl with Down's syndrome was turned down eight times by different shops as she tried to get her ears pierced. 

Emily Wheeler
Nicholas Pinch

Emily Wheeler from north Devon was hoping to get her ears pierced for her 18th birthday

But all of them rejected her on the grounds of her having Down's. 

Nicholas Pinch, who carried out the piercing at his shop in Barnstaple, called the attitude towards Emily "absolutely disgusting".

Six police cars and an ambulance in Paignton after woman 'critical' in incident

Brent Pilnick

BBC Spotlight

Police have cordoned off the top end of Winner Street in Paignton after an incident which has left a woman in a critical condition.

Up to six police cars and an ambulance are at the top end of the street and traffic is being diverted down Palace Avenue. 

Devon and Cornwall Police is expected to release more information later.  

'Death Row' dog Stella freed and gets new owner

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

A dog seized by police and refused exercise for nearly two years has been freed from a death sentence and adopted by a kennel owner.

Stella, a pitbull-type dog, was seized in 2014 and a destruction order was passed by a court in February.


But earlier, Exeter Crown Court granted Stella a reprieve.

Her new owner Carolyne Pharaoh took her on after Stella's previous owner Antony Hastie agreed to transfer ownership.

Gang that conned £1.3m from 40 vulnerable victims in banking phone scam is jailed

Plymouth Herald

A gang of fraudsters who stole £1.3 from vulnerable people across the UK and Channel Islands, by siphoning money from their bank accounts, have been jailed.

Woman critical after incident in Paignton, say police

BBC Spotlight

A woman is in critical condition after an incident in Paignton this afternoon. 

Police were called to Winner Street just before 13:00 after a woman was reported to have been injured. 

A man is currently in police custody. A police spokesman said the force would be releasing more information later.

Swimmers and surfer rescued

BBC Radio Cornwall

Two swimmers and a surfer have been rescued from Porthtowan beach in Cornwall.

The first rescue was on Monday when a surfer got into trouble at around 16:00 when he was hit by a big set of waves which pushed him into a current - taking him around the headland. The inshore rescue boat was launched and he was successfully picked up in heavy seas. 

On Tuesday two swimmers were caught in a rip current and a strong offshore wind took them away from the beach - they were both bought back on RNLI rescue boards.

Getty Images

Latest weather for Devon and Cornwall

BBC Weather

A cloudy day with some bright or sunny spells and a high of 19 Deg C (66 Deg F).

Weather map

Tonight: Cloud amounts will increase through the night with the risk of some isolated showers. Mist patches will form under areas with clearer skies.

Minimum Temperature: 12 Deg C.

Latest travel across Devon and Cornwall

BBC Travel

  • On the A30 around Kennards House one lane is closed in both directions for drainage works with slow traffic in both directions 

What can be done to solve the rise in dog thefts?

Vic Morgan

BBC Radio Devon

Vic Morgan will be on Radio Devon from 1pm - debating the big stories of the day.

More than 100 dogs in Devon and Cornwall have been reported as stolen since 2013 - but what can be done about it? 

Also, should patients be allowed to sign themselves off work for two weeks without a sick note? 

Poppy the dog

You can email me with your questions, or call 0345 3011034.  

Rat run drivers blamed on Dartmoor sheep death rise

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

Farmers believe a rise in numbers of sheep being killed on Dartmoor is down to drivers speeding on rat runs.


The worst hit area for deaths are between Lee Moor and Shaugh Prior and the road between Yelverton to Plympton via Cadover said livestock protection officer Karla McKechnie.

She has had 83 reports of pony and sheep deaths since January - 10 ponies and the rest are sheep - and says it's the worst year she has seen.

Torquay United defender Dan Butler leaves club

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Torquay United left-back Dan Butler has left the National League club after turning down a new contract.

The 21-year-old, who can also play in midfield, started all but one of the Devon side's league games last season after joining from Portsmouth.

Dan Butler
Rex Features

"We made Dan a very good offer to be part of this squad, to continue his growth and help us achieve our aims," said player-boss Kevin Nicholson. "He chose to move to another club, and he goes with our very best wishes."

Endangered turtle born at Paignton Zoo

Rachael Thorn

BBC News Online

Keepers at Paington Zoo have been celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Indochinese box turtle.

Andy Meek

“We hatched one here in June 2013 – now we’ve done it again. There are no more than 60 individuals of this species in top zoos around the world", the curator of lower vertebrates and invertebrates Mike Bungard said.

Indochinese box turtles are threatened by the pet trade and the demand for turtles as sources of food and medicines, especially in China. 

Jack Nowell recovers from concussion to keep England place

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Exeter Chiefs wing Jack Nowell has kept his place in the England starting XV for their final test against Australia after recovering from concussion.

The Newlyn-born player scored a try in England's first win over the Wallabies and will be hoping to help his country complete a series whitewash.

Jack Nowell
Getty Images

"We've treated this week like a dress rehearsal for the World Cup because that's what we're always building towards," said England coach Eddie Jones. "To win a World Cup you have to win three big games in a row - we've won two so this third game is the most important game we'll play all year."  

Increased patrols after boy, 13, sexually assaulted

A 13-year-old boy was approached and sexually assaulted by a man in Plymouth, police have said.

The incident happened close to the children's play area on The Hoe on 24 May between 17:30 and 18:30.

PC Stacey Carr said: "Thankfully the victim was unharmed, but understandably shaken up by what happened.

“This initially appears to be an isolated incident but local teams have been made aware and we have increased patrols in the area. Police are keen to ensure that this behaviour doesn’t escalate so it is important that we locate the offender. If you have any information that can help with our investigation please contact us immediately.”

Woman 'sick' of hearing her stolen dog is dead

Rachael Thorn

BBC News Online

A woman whose dog was stolen in Cornwall says she's "absolutely sick and tired" of people telling her "the pup's dead".

Sarah Williams' five-month-old English springer spaniel was stolen from secured kennels right outside her house, and is one of more than 100 dogs reported stolen in Devon and Cornwall in the last two years.

"It's quick money, it's easy money and all they do is sell them, get a bit of money, and nick another one", she said.

Brazilian fencer swaps Copacabana for Cornwall

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Fencer Marta Baeza has already qualified for this summer's Olympics, which is to be hosted by the city in which she grew up.

In preparation, Baeza, has decided to swap the flamboyance of Rio de Janeiro for the more tranquil setting of Truro - the Cornish capital.

Marta Baeza
BBC Sport

"I moved to Truro for the London Olympic Games. There were three fencers who went to the games based here and I thought it was the best place for me to train," she told BBC Sport. "Jon Salfield is my coach and he's one of the best coaches in the world."

Farmer finds injured sheep as the number killed on Dartmoor reaches a record high

BBC Spotlight

The number of sheep being killed on Dartmoor roads has reached a record high. Farmer Nicky Skelley has lost 10 ewes and four lambs at Wotter in the last few weeks alone.

This content only works in the UK.

Sheep thefts rise on Dartmoor

In the last six months 72 have been killed compared with about 70 reported in 2015.

Farmers claim the animals are being hit by speeding motorists and left at the side of the road.

Three-hour ambulance wait for 85-year-old 'unacceptable'

Rachael Thorn

BBC News Online

The son of an 85-year-old man who waited three-and-a-half hours for an ambulance after he was diagnosed with suspected blood clots says the service was "unacceptable".

South Western Ambulances

Brian Sanders, from St Neot, Cornwall, said his father's GP called an ambulance to take him to Derriford Hospital, but the wait left his father "worried" and the family "feeling very tense".

"I've been really angry, the doctor thought it was a fairly urgent case, and we expected the ambulance to be here within half-an-hour really", he said. South Western Ambulance Service said it was dealing with excessive demands and had to prioritize emergency calls.