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Summary

  1. Ex-Royal Marine Alexander Blackman has murder conviction replaced with a manslaughter verdict
  2. Out-of-court settlement of £8m agreed over demolished primary school after it leaked
  3. Investigations into whether power surge caused fire in St Day which left families homeless
  4. Cornwall health bosses told community hospitals and funding should be "top priorities"
  5. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Morris

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

Live updates from across Devon and Cornwall have finished for the day. We will be back with more news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 tomorrow morning. 

Don't forget  Spotlight on BBC One  later. There will also be news through the night on your BBC Local Radio station.  

Shelling out. Stumbling upon St Piran's crabs

Adrian Campbell, Environment Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

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These 10 little fellows I stumbled across near Padstow are rare.

The St Piran’s crab is a type of hermit crab which uses the empty shells of other molluscs to make a home.

Latest weather: Clouding over

David Braine

Weather Forecaster

Skies will cloud over from the west through the evening, with hill fog forming overnight over high ground. A few spots of light rain or drizzle are likely over the hills. Minimum temperature: 7C (45F).

Weather
BBC

Thursday will be mostly dry but cloudy, although there may be the odd spot of drizzle at times. It will be another mild day with light winds, but bright spells will be limited. Maximum temperature: 11C (52F).

Devon beavers win BBC Countryfile Magazine award

BBC Radio Devon

Beaver. Pic: Chris Townend/Wise Birding Holidays
Chris Townend/Wise Birding Holidays

Devon’s wild beavers project has won BBC Countryfile Magazine's Wildlife Success Story of the Year 2017, the Devon Wildlife Trust says.

The Devon project is joint winner of the public poll award, along with a similar trial in Scotland.

Its work has seen it support beavers living on the River Otter in East Devon, which are thought to be the first wild beaver population in England in 400 years.

The trust said it was "delighted" at the accolade.

A golden legacy for Sidmouth

BBC Radio Devon

A host of golden daffodils is brightening up Sidmouth, thanks to a multi-million pound legacy. 

Investment banker Keith Owen was born in Devon but moved to Canada. 

When he died, he left £2.3m to the town to plant thousands of bulbs because of his dying wish for a " million flowers ".

Daffodils in Sidmouth
BBC

Friday the turtle moves to a bigger pad

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

Friday the Green Turtle
National Marine Aquarium

Plymouth National Marine Aquarium has welcomed a new Green Turtle to the family. 

Weighing in at an impressive 120kgs, Friday had outgrown his former home at Bournemouth's Oceanarium. 

The 30-year-old turtle munches his way through about 1.5kg of fruit and vegetables every day. His favourite treat is cauliflower.

Four rescued from bottom of Torbay cliffs

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Four people have been rescued from the bottom of cliffs in Torbay, firefighters say .

Emergency services were alerted at about 16:30 to "persons stuck at the bottom of the cliff at Daddyhole Cove".

The adults were rescued by an inshore lifeboat.

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.

Lizzie Kelly: The first female Gold Cup jockey for 33 years

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

A jockey in this week's Gold Cup will become the first female rider to compete in the race in 33 years. 

Lizzie Kelly, from Devon, has already broken records, becoming the first female jockey to win a British grade one race over jumps. 

She'll be racing Tea For Two at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday.

Outline plans to reshape Cornwall's NHS 'not fit for purpose'

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

Members of Cornwall's Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee have strongly criticised a business plan to reshape health services in Cornwall. 

An outline business case for Sustainability and Transformation Plan, or STP, was discussed by councillors today. 

They raised concerns about its financial viability, the quality of the engagement with members of the public, staff and stakeholders, and a potential reduction in beds. In a strongly-worded statement, the committee said it did not believe the business case was fit for purpose.

Responding to the councillors' concerns, Dr Ian Chorlton, who was involved in drawing up the plan, said: "Our sole aim is to improve health and care services for our population. We will listen to and reflect upon the scrutiny committee views on our draft plans." 

Man, 22, attacked in Plymouth

Police are appealing for witnesses after a 22-year-old man was assaulted in Plymouth. 

The attack, which happened in the early hours on 29 January, took place at Derry's Cross. A male offender punched the victim in the face, leaving him with a broken jaw. 

The offender was described as white, about 6ft tall, in his early 20s and of a muscly and stocky build, with a goatee beard.

Mental health care in Devon 'good'

BBC Radio Devon

There have been big improvements in Devon's mental health trust, according to inspectors. 

Following a recent inspection, the Care Quality Commission increased Devon Partnership Trust's rating from "requires improvement" to "good" and praised work being carried out to prevent suicide, and reduce violent incidents. 

But it said that the trust must do more to improve patient access to psychological therapies, and identify areas on wards where patients could self-harm. 

Devon Partnership Trust
Google Maps

Marine A appeal ruling: Ministry of Defence 'cooperated fully' - Prime Minister

Press Association

Alexander Blackman. Pic:
Service Prosecuting Authority

Prime Minister Theresa May says she respects a court decision to replace the murder conviction of ex-Royal Marine Alexander Blackman with a manslaughter verdict .

Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions, Mrs May said: "Of course we respect the court's decision. 

"The Ministry of Defence will be looking very closely at the judgment, but I can assure the House that the Ministry of Defence has cooperated fully at each stage of Sergeant Blackman's case, and they will continue to provide support to the family, as they have done since the charges were first brought.

"What I would just say on the general point is that our Royal Marines have a worldwide reputation as one of the world's elite fighting forces. They make an incredible contribution to our country and we should pay tribute to them all for that."

Fire service makes film to warn of dangers of water after 23 deaths in a year

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The film is being made after the brigade had to deal with 23 water-related fatalities in 2016, "the highest of any fire service in the country".

Prolific rapist groomed girl, 11, at dance classes

Cornwall Live

A rapist and paedophile who groomed a vulnerable 11-year-old girl at dance classes has been sent to prison for 23 years .

Body discovered off north Cornwall coast

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

Police and coastguards have been called to Watergate Bay Beach, near Newquay, following the discovery of a man's body. 

The emergency services were called to the scene at about 13:40. 

The man has not yet been formally identified. Police said they were not treating the death as suspicious.

Watergate Bay
Google maps

Council tackles fly tippers in West Devon

Serious collision in Paignton

BBC News Travel

Marldon Road in Paignton has been closed between Edenvale Road and Blatchcombe Road following a serious collision. 

£8m for Devon County Council after 'eco-school' had to be demolished

BBC Spotlight

Demolition notice
BBC

Devon County Council says it has reached an £8m out-of-court settlement with the builders and architects responsible for a state-of-the-art "eco-school", which leaked so badly it had to be torn down. 

Dartington was hailed as the greenest primary school in the country when it opened in 2010. But pupils had to be moved because it leaked. It was eventually demolished late last year.

The council launched a claim  in 2014, with some of the money to cover the cost of relocating to temporary buildings. 

The 310-pupil school suffered "considerable problems" with leaks.  A report commissioned by the council  in 2013 said the building started letting in water shortly after it was finished

Marine A: Ministry of Defence 'respects' the appeal judges decision

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

The Ministry of Defence says it respects a decision to replace the murder conviction of an ex-Royal Marine with a manslaughter verdict. 

Alexander Blackman, 42 from Taunton, was jailed in 2013 for shooting an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan.

Five judges today said he was suffering from "quite exceptional stressors", during his deployment.

The MoD said: "We have fully co-operated with each stage of Sergeant Blackman's case, which has now involved a criminal investigation, a court martial and the appeal process; and will continue to provide personal support to the family, as we have done since charges were first brought." 

It added it would "be inappropriate for us to comment further on it."

Alexander Blackman
PA

Plans for on-street pay and display parking scrapped

Laurence Reed

BBC Radio Cornwall

Cornwall Council has said that on-street pay and display parking will not be introduced in any of seven areas recently surveyed after feedback from council tax payers.

Residents of Bude, Falmouth & Penryn, Newquay, Penzance & Newlyn, St Ives, Truro and Wadebridge gave an overwhelming no to the idea raised in a large survey on the future of parking.

Cornwall Council spent about £750,000 on consultants to see if the areas wanted new parking restrictions introduced.

Travel: Accident causes delays in Plymouth

BBC News Travel

  • In Devon, Mannamead Road in Plymouth is partially blocked near Seymour Road due to a collision
  • On the A386, Alma Road near the Pennycomequick Hill roundabout, is partially blocked following an incident. Traffic is heavy
  • In Paignton, Marldon Road is closed between Edenvale Road and Blatchcombe Road following a crash
  • In Barnstaple, Sticklepath Hill, near Westfield Avenue, is partially blocked following an incident
  • On the A377 in Crediton, traffic is slow-moving on Western Road, near Queen Elizabeth's School, due to traffic light failure
  • In Cornwall, there's slow-moving traffic on the A390 at St Blazey, on St Austell Road, due to roadworks
  • And on the A30 at Penryn, there is heavy traffic near the Treluswell Roundabout in the roadworks area

Bodmin 13-year-old gets on his bike for an epic journey

BBC Radio Cornwall

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Like most teens, Si-am Juntakereket, from Bodmin, is enjoying the time he is spending in Australia. Unlike most, he's trying to cycle across the continent in a record time. 

He is on a quest to cycle from Sydney to Perth - nearly 2,800 miles - in 32 days. He's also trying to raise £100,000 for charity.

Weather: Mist and low cloud developing later

BBC Weather

Although cloudy for a time with a little light drizzle in places, it'll become brighter through the afternoon with some sunny periods developing.

However, some mist and low cloud may linger around parts of the coast and towards the far west. Winds will be light and rather variable. Max Temp 14C (57F).

Weather map
BBC

It will cloud over again this evening with outbreaks of light rain or drizzle returning along with mist and fog patches around coasts and hills.

Winds will become mainly light from the south or southeast. Min Temp 7C (45F).

Thousands of pounds worth of catalytic converters stolen in east Devon

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

Police say nine vehicles in Exmouth and Sidmouth had their exhaust filters and catalytic converters stolen over the weekend.

The thieves appear to have targeted people carriers in this recent spate, with seven Ford Galaxys affected.

On each occasion officers say the vehicle part was removed with a tool similar to a pipe cutter. 

Catalytic converters
BBC

Police are particularly keen to hear from scrap metal merchants who may have been offered second hand catalytic converters for sale.

A police spokesman said: "The offenders clearly singled out certain vehicle models, particularly Ford Galaxys, for these thefts which amount to thousands of pounds. Catalytic converters are often a target for thieves who then attempt to sell these high-value materials to scrap metal merchants."

Marine A: Justice a two-bladed weapon, says supporter Frederick Forsyth

Frederick Forsyth
PA

Supporters of a former Royal Marine who shot an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan have "always wanted justice", author Frederick Forsyth says.

Plymouth-based Alexander Blackman, who shot an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, has had his murder conviction reduced to manslaughter at the Court Martial Appeal Court. 

Five judges agreed that he was mentally impaired at the time of the killing. A new sentence will be announced at a later date.

The Day of The Jackal author Mr Forsyth - described by Blackman's lawyer as someone who "knew a miscarriage of justice when he smelt one" - helped campaign on behalf of the soldier. 

"We always wanted just justice - a very elusive word, much used, seldom achieved. It's a two-bladed weapon: firstly, one blade, to get a man who should never have been in prison out of prison; secondly, we go after those people who wrongly - and I think villainously - put him there."

Frederick Forsyth Supporter of Alexander Blackman

Police investigating robbery want to hear from car owner

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

Lacy Hawthorn
Lucy Hawthorn

Police investigating the robbery of a woman on the St Columb to St Eval road want the owner of a light metallic blue car to get in touch.

Lucy Hawthorn, who stopped her car to help a man, was beaten up and robbed in the attack on Tuesday 7 March.

Officers said the car was parked at the entrance of a field gateway, at the junction of the St Mawgan-Mawgan Porth road, during the afternoon and evening of the attack.

They said they wanted the owner to get in touch so they may be eliminated from the inquiry.

Judges agree Marine A 'mentally impaired' at time he killed Taliban fighter

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

Claire Blackman and supporters outside court
PA

A Royal Marine jailed for shooting an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan was suffering from "quite exceptional stressors" during his deployment, appeal judges said.

Alexander Blackman, 42, from Taunton, Somerset, has had his murder conviction replaced with manslaughter by an appeal court after being convicted in 2013.

The marine had a recognised mental illness at the time of the shooting in 2011, the hearing was told.

Five judges decided the stressors "increasingly impacted on him the longer he was in command at CP [Command Post] Omar" in Helmand.

A further hearing will now decide what sentence Blackman should serve.

Blackman's wife, Claire, said she was "delighted" by the decision to change the conviction.

Devon university rivals burn scarves and invade pitch

Devon Live

Student rivals burned a Devon university's scarves as a rugby match turned to disorder , with pitch invaders having to be ordered out of the ground.

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.  

Missing Truro woman found

BBC Radio Cornwall

A 42-year-old woman missing from her home in Truro has been found, rescuers say. 

Emma Tremain was discovered by a police dog team in woodland on the outskirts of the city yesterday lunchtime. 

Cornwall Search and Rescue said she was suffering from the effects of a night out in the cold, and was taken to hospital by ambulance.  

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.

Marine A: Further hearing to decide sentence

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

A former Plymouth-based Royal Marine who shot an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan has had his conviction reduced to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. 

Sergeant Alexander Blackman, 42, had his original conviction for murder quashed by five judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court in London. 

Blackman, from Taunton, Somerset, who was not present for the ruling in the packed courtroom, was convicted in November 2013 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. There will now be a further hearing to decide on the sentence he now has to serve.

Hundreds expected to attend meeting about hospital's future

The mayor of Holsworthy has called a public meeting amid concerns that the inpatient beds in the town's hospital could be closed for good. 

About 300 people are expected to attend the meeting in the town's Memorial Hall tonight.  

The Northern Devon Healthcare Trust said the beds were temporarily closed earlier this month because of staff shortages and reducing demand.

Holsworthy Hospital
Google

Marine A: Murder conviction replaced with manslaughter verdict

Alexander Blackman, the former Plymouth-based Royal Marine who shot an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, has won an appeal against his murder conviction. 

Sergeant Alexander Blackman, 42, from Taunton, Somerset, 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 be a further hearing at a date to be fixed to decide on the sentence he has to serve. He is currently serving an eight-year prison term.

Alexander Blackman
PA

BreakingMarine A murder conviction quashed

The murder conviction of Alexander Blackman - Marine A - has been quashed.

Five judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court in London replaced his conviction with manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Alexander Blackman
Service Prosecuting Authority