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Summary

  1. Man 'hid body in suitcase' court hears
  2. Teenager charged with Exeter flat murder
  3. Falmouth property fire 'treated as arson'
  4. Motorist 'caught driving 117mph' over Dartmoor
  5. Cancer Research UK speaks out over charity haircut boy
  6. Exeter Chiefs players called to England squad
  7. Updates on Thursday 20 April

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

That's all from BBC Local Live in Devon & Cornwall for today, we'll be back at 08:00 to bring you all the day's news, sport, travel and weather updates.

Don't miss BBC Spotlight at 18:30 and the late bulletin at 22:30 tonight.

Marathon aim for man paralysed in motocross accident

A Devon man who was paralysed following a motocross accident is aiming to tackle the London Marathon.

Paralysed man plans London Marathon

Playtime made fun again

BBC Spotlight

A boy who has had to give up most sporting activities, due to a rare hip condition, has had a games room built for him at school.

Harry Johns, eight, has previously had to sit down while his classmates run around at playtime, but now the community at Leedstown in west Cornwall has paid for a new facility so he can have fun too.

Harry Johns
BBC

Harry can now play table football and snooker with other children.

More than half of children with his condition, Perthes' disease, return to normal activities within a few years from the beginning of the disease.

Running the London Marathon?

BBC Weather

It'll continue to be a dry one, with some sunny spells.

About 8-9C (46-48F) at the start and 15-16C (59-61F) by mid-afternoon.

London Marathon
BBC

Weather: Chilly but dry night

BBC Weather

Tonight will remain mostly cloudy and generally dry with a few clear spells.

With light winds it will turn chilly in places, but it will be frost free. Minimum temperature: 6C (43F).

Weather map
BBC

Friday will be another largely dry day with variable amounts of cloud, but some bright or sunny spells too.

With light winds, it will feel warm in the sunshine, particularly towards urban areas. Maximum Temperature: 16C (61F).

Thriller being filmed in Devon

Andrea Ormsby

BBC Spotlight

A new movie could be coming to a cinema near you at the same time as providing a big boost for tourism in North Devon.

It's a psychological thriller called Winter Ridge and it's being shot entirely on location around Lynton and Lynmouth. It's due to be released worldwide later this year.

View more on twitter

Put those shorts and T-shirts away

BBC Weather

Late April it may be, but any thoughts of shorts/T-shirt weather can be put on hold early next week...

Weather
BBC

England call-up for Chiefs players

BBC Sport

Four Exeter Chiefs players have been named in the England squad which will tour Argentina this year. 

It's a first call up for 20-year-old scrum half Jack Maunder and prop Harry Williams. They're among 15 uncapped players who've been selected.

Jack Maunder, Harry Williams, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan Dickie
BBC

They join Henry Slade and Luke Cowan Dickie and will head off for the two test tour in June.

'Mad' speeds on Dartmoor as one motorist recorded 'driving 117mph'

BBC Spotlight

Motorists are driving at 'mad' speeds on Dartmoor, campaigners say.

The national park has been looking at data from newly installed signs, that measure how fast people are driving and flash a warning if they're speeding.

Speed sign
BBC

Around a quarter were driving too fast with some of the speeds described as 'frightening'.

Karla Mckechnie from the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society said: "This year alone we're already up to 25 animal deaths on these roads, people have got to slow down, it's absolutely horrendous."

Langford eyes future Saunders fight

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Bideford middleweight Tommy Langford is confident victory over Avtandil Khurtsidze on Saturday will pave the way for a shot at compatriot and WBO world champion Billy Joe Saunders.

Langford, based in Birmingham, is undefeated in 18 contests and captured the British title in his last bout. He is the WBO's number-three ranked fighter, with Khurtsidze number one.

Tommy Langford (right)
Getty Images

"I've got a lot of following from north Devon and Bideford, people travel all the way up," he told BBC Sport.

"They've not got a boxer from down there really, so the whole area's behind me - they all show a huge amount of support. When I get to go home and celebrate with them all, that's always good as well."

Murder accused 'jealous of new relationship'

Press Association

A man killed his former partner because he was jealous of her new relationship, a court has heard.

Exeter Crown Court has been told Kostadin Kostov, 43, had an "unhealthy and obsessive interest in Gergana Prodanova" after the 38-year-old mother-of-three found love with another Bulgarian man in Exeter.

"On August 4 last year Ms Prodanova disappeared in Exeter," said Simon Laws QC, prosecuting. 

"She had not been in this country very long but she had made a small circle of friends and she had started a relationship with a man. She had a job and she was a dependable employee, so her new friends and her colleagues were surprised at her disappearance. 

"Then messages were sent by text and Facebook that looked as if they came from her. Those messages were intended to explain her sudden absence. Nearly a fortnight later her body was found here in Exeter.

"It was concealed in a suitcase by the side of the railway not far from the prison. She had not disappeared at all. She had been killed by the defendant."

Mr Kostov denies murder and the trial continues.

Latest travel for Devon

BBC News Travel

  • In Barnstaple the A361 Western Bypass is partially blocked at the Lake Roundabout due to a broken down vehicle
  • Also in Barnstaple Newport Road is partially blocked near Portland Street due to an accident
  • In Torquay we've got reports Grenville Avenue is blocked due to an accident near Davis Avenue
  • In Exeter on Wreford's Lane there's a broken down lorry near West Garth Road

Analysis: Green pact with Labour

Martyn Oates

BBC South West Political Editor

The Greens are hoping to arrange deals locally with Labour on targeting marginal seats - including Plymouth Sutton Devonport - the most marginal seat in the South West.

Oliver Colvile
Conservative Party

It's traditionally a Tory Labour contest. The Conservative defender Oliver Colvile held on in 2015 but by just 523 votes.

The Greens got more than 500 so the logic's pretty obvious.

Arguably the perfect seat for this is St Ives in Cornwall which was Lib Dem from 1997 to the last election.

There the Green vote alone, had it switched to the Lib Dems, would have seen the Lib Dem holder hold the seat.

And the previous Lib Dem MP Andrew George has done lots of campaigning with the Green Party's Caroline Lucas so there could be a perfect fit there.

Suitcase murder: Couple had 'complex and troubling relationship'

Press Association

A mother was killed by her former partner who stuffed her body into a suitcase before dumping it near train tracks, a court has heard.

Gergana Prodanova, 38, went missing on 4 August last year from the home she shared with her ex-partner, Kostadin Kostov, who is on trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of murdering her.

Simon Laws, QC, prosecuting, said the couple had been in a relationship for 15 years prior to Ms Prodanova moving to Exeter, Devon, in December 2015.

"It was a complex and very troubling relationship," said Mr Laws. "He had used physical violence against her on a number of occasions.

"He was a jealous and controlling man. He would lose his temper, especially when he had had a drink, and he would hit her. She stuck with him for many years. She seems to have found it very hard to break free from him."

The jury heard Ms Prodanova moved to England on her own, leaving Kostov and her children at home in Bulgaria and soon formed a relationship with another man, who Mr Laws said treated her "kindly" and made her happy.

Mr Kostov denies murder and the trial continues.

BreakingMother-of-three's body was found in a suitcase, court hears

Amy Gladwell, BBC News Online

A "jealous and controlling" Bulgarian man murdered his ex-partner and hid her body in a suitcase which he dumped near a railway line, a court has heard. 

Exeter Crown Court has been told Kostadin Kostov, 43, had an "unhealthy and obsessive interest in Gergana Prodanova" after the 38-year-old mother-of-three found love with another Bulgarian man in Exeter. 

Prosecutor Simon Laws QC told the jury her body was found near the railway line next to Exeter prison last August and that the motive for the murder was "old fashioned jealousy".

Kostov, of Mount Pleasant Road, Exeter, denies her murder and the trial continues.

Teenager charged with Exeter flat murder

Amy Gladwell, BBC News Online

A teenager accused of murdering a man at an Exeter flat in March has appeared in court.

Delton Jones, 19, was not required to enter a plea at Exeter Crown Court and the case was adjourned.

Mr Jones, of Burleigh Mews, Anfield, Liverpool, is charged with the murder of 47-year-old Jonathan Povey.

Mr Povey died from suspected chest injuries after he was found by police at a flat at Bridge Court, Exe Street.

Latest travel across Devon

BBC News Travel

  • In Barnstaple on Newport Road near Portland Street we've got reports of an accident
  • In Crediton on Mill Street we've got reports of an accident near East Street
  • In Torquay, Warren Road is blocked in both directions between Warren Hill and Abbey due to a broken-down car

New high-speed trains will have proper Wi-Fi, government promises

Plymouth Herald

A new fleet of high-speed trains serving Plymouth will be fitted with improved Wi-Fi connections, the government has promised.

Remember what rain is?

BBC Weather

October-March was the driest since 1995/6...and April is continuing that theme...   

Rainfall
BBC

Special playroom for boy with rare condition

BBC Spotlight

A boy with a rare medical condition has started using a special playroom designed for him.

Harry
BBC

Eight-year-old Harry Johns who suffers from Perthes' disease has been forced to sit out at play-times because he isn't supposed to run, jump or play sports.

Now a games room has been built at his school so he can play table football and snooker with other children. It's been provided thanks to local fundraising.  

View more on twitter

Power surge 'causes' shop fire

BBC Radio Devon

A power surge caused a fire in a light fitting in a shop in Torquay this morning, fire crews have told the BBC.

A fire engine from the town and one from Paignton were sent to Union Street just before 10:00. 

Minor damage was reported, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service added.

Bulgarian man on trial for city murder

Scott Bingham

BBC Spotlight

The jury has been sworn in this morning in the trial of a Bulgarian man accused of killing his ex-partner in Exeter.

Mother-of-three Gergana Prodanova, 38, who was from Bulgaria, was last seen on 4 August last year.

Kostadin Kostov, 42, denies murder. The trial at Exeter Crown Court is expected to last for four weeks.

Timeline: Schoolboy banned for charity head shave

Amy Gladwell, BBC News Online

Cancer Research UK has thanked a teenager who shaved his head for their cause and then found himself banned from school for breaking hair-style rules.

Taylor Jones, 15, from east Cornwall, remains excluded from lessons.

Taylor Jones
Lesley Jones

How did this happen?

  • Early in 2017 Taylor Jones, 15, started growing his hair with the aim of shaving it off in June for charity, after a friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer
  • In April, Taylor's hair was getting difficult to manage, so he brought the event forward and shaved it off
  • Taylor returned to Launceston College after Easter to be told his "extreme hairstyle" warranted a ban from classes
  • The school said he was advised before the holiday to have his hair cut to a "very short but acceptable length"
  • He is having "specialist tuition" for four days until it starts to grow back
  • Taylor's story hit the news after his mum said he should not be punished for trying to help others
  • On Wednesday, the college praised a teacher for a charity head shave in a post on its website
  • Cancer Research UK said it "hopes a solution can be reached"

Police hunt stabbing suspects

Amy Gladwell, BBC News Online

Police say they are investigating reports of a stabbing in Paignton.

Officers say a 27-year-old man was assaulted by two other men near Torbay Road at 18:20 on Wednesday. 

The victim has been treated in hospital and is currently in a stable condition. 

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "At this time the suspects are outstanding with significant investigative enquires continuing".

Falmouth fire: Tenant's 'shock' at seeing smoke

BBC Radio Cornwall

View more on twitter

Police believe that a fire in a property in Falmouth may have been started deliberately. 

The fire was reported soon after 10:00 in a two-storey rented semi-detached building in Boslowick Road. Three fire crews attended.

The road was temporarily closed. No injuries were reported.

Latest travel: Break-downs causing delays

BBC News Travel

  • In Tiverton on the A361 one lane is blocked by a broken-down vehicle westbound between Gornhay Cross and the Bolham Roundabout
  • In Bodmin - reports of a broken-down vehicle on the A391 Truro Road between Westheath Road and Old Coach Road
  • In Combe Martin the A399 High Street is partially blocked by a collision near Corner Lane and Church Street   

Tall order

 A baby giraffe has been born at Paignton Zoo. 

The zoo says animal experts have been patiently rebuilding the herd after a fire in early 2006, which claimed the lives of three of the animals.

Baby giraffe
Paignton Zoo

The calf, born to mother Sangha, was on its feet within a few hours and is nearly six feet tall. It has not yet been named.

Green Party seeks pact with Labour in Plymouth and Totnes

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

The Green Party says it is considering not standing a candidate in some seats to try and stop a Conservative victory.

Ballot box
European Photopress Agency

It says it would stand down in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport to give Labour a better chance of winning the seat from the Tory MP Oliver Colvile. 

But in return the Greens want Labour to agree not to contest the Totnes constituency. 

The Green Party said it was "early days" but hoped arrangements could be made locally.  

Police at scene of Falmouth blaze as arson suspected

BreakingFalmouth property fire 'treated as arson'

Amy Gladwell, BBC News Online

Police have confirmed a house fire in Falmouth is being treated as an arson attack.

Officers say no-one is believed to have been injured but Boslowick Road remains closed.

Fire crews prevent blaze from spreading

BBC Radio Cornwall

Fire
BBC

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service has prevented a fire in a garage from moving too far into a semi-detached house in Boslowick Road in Falmouth.

Fire crews were called to the area earlier this morning. The road was closed and people advised to stay away.

No-one was injured in the blaze.

Fire
BBC

Lights, camera, action

Amy Gladwell, BBC News Online

Filming in Exeter has brought in an estimated £140,000 worth of benefits to the city over the last year, the city council says.

Productions have included the ITV dating show Take Me Out, the BBC's Bargain Hunt, Countryfile - which was filmed on Exeter Canal - and BBC Four's A Very British History.

Stage
BBC

The council says last year's BBC Radio One's Big Weekend at Powderham Castle is also estimated to have brought in £88,450 to local hoteliers and an estimated £3.5m economic benefit to the local economy.  

Fire crews tackle house blaze as people advised to avoid area

Hannah Stacey

BBC Radio Cornwall

Fire crews are dealing with a house fire in Falmouth.

Boslowick Road has been closed and people are asked to avoid the area.

Fire engines at house
.

Falmouth road closed as firefighters tackle house blaze

BreakingFire crews 'tackle blaze in two-storey building'

Amy Gladwell, BBC News Online

There are reports of smoke "billowing out of the back of a house" in Falmouth.

Fire engines
.

Several fire engines have been seen to Boslowick Road. It's believed firefighters are tackling a blaze in a two-storey building.

Updates to follow.

Former long-standing MP will not stand in general election

Amy Gladwell, BBC News Online

Adrian Sanders who was Torbay's Liberal Democrat MP for 18 years until being defeated in 2015, has announced he will not be contesting the general election on 8 June.

Adrian Sanders
BBC

Mr Sanders - who lost his seat to Conservative Kevin Foster and now sits on Torbay Council - thanked constituents for their past support.

"I have discovered a good work-life balance and rediscovered what a weekend is," he said.