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Summary

  1. Ex Jackanory presenter, John Earle, jailed for sex assaults
  2. Major scrapyard blaze: Firefighters search for hotspots
  3. Ex Plymouth-based Marine A freed from prison
  4. Grounded charity rowers rescued
  5. Job cut fears as student numbers fall at Plymouth University
  6. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Tuesday 2 May

Live Reporting

By Lynne French

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Thanks for joining us today.

Live updates for Devon and Cornwall have finished for the day, but we'll be back at 08:00 on Tuesday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather. 

You can keep up to date across the weekend on BBC Radio Cornwall and BBC Radio Devon.

Weather forecast for Devon and Cornwall: Mainly dry with a risk of showers

David Braine

Weather Forecaster

Tonight there will be the risk of one or two showers but for many it will remain dry.

Despite plenty of clear spells tonight, any frost will be patchy and confined to rural areas, with a minimum temperature of 5C (41F).

Weather map
BBC

Saturday will be another largely dry day with some bright or sunny spells, although the odd shower or two is likely. Feeling relatively mild in the sunshine, however later in the day it will become breezier, especially for coastal spots with a maximum temperature of 14C (57F)  

Mounting cost of falling student numbers

Neil Gallacher, Business & Industry Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

A drop in student numbers at Plymouth University could result in a number of job cuts.

Over the past five years, enrolment has fallen from 30,455 to 23,026 - a fall of about 24%, according to the university's own statistics.

Plymouth University
BBC

The financial cost to the university, based on a three-year degree course at £9,000 a year, could be about £20m.

The university claims the drop in numbers is only about 9% because of a change in the way data was colleced over the period.

In a statement, it said many sectors, including the university sector, were operating in a highly challenging environment, including "political uncertainties like Brexit and policies on international students, reductions in public funding, a significant drop in the number of 18 year-olds and increased market competition".

Snakebite victim's 'severe' paralysis

A man thought to have been bitten by a snake in Cornwall last weekend suffered a more severe reaction than normal, a doctor at the Royal Cornwall Hospital has said.

John Kiernan was partially paralysed after the incident in Tehidy Woods near Camborne and spent three days in the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Adder
BBC
The UK's only venomous snake is the adder

Dr Rob Taylor, an emergency doctor at the hospital in Truro, said most people would not have such a severe reaction.

Although 55-year-old Mr Kiernan didn't see the snake, it's believed it was an adder - the UK's only venomous snake.

Predator's sex abuse 'blighted' the life of victim

Lynne French

BBC News Online

The victim of a sexual predator has said the years of abuse he suffered as a child nearly 60 years ago "blighted his life".

Iain Peters, who's now 69, was abused by former children's TV presenter John Earle from the age of nine until he was 14.

Earle, who admitted six counts of indecent assaults at an earlier hearing, was jailed at Exeter Crown Court for four years and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.

Mr Peters, who has waived his right to anonymity, said: "The terrible burden of shame which caused me pain and blighted my life for 60 years has now been lifted."

Scrap yard blaze blamed on gas canister

Rob England

BBC News Online

The owner of a scrap yard that went up in flames believes it was started by a gas canister that was concealed in the shell of a car being crushed. 

Firefighters are continuing to damp down at the scene of the major fire which started on Thursday at W H Orchard and Sons in Dobwalls, Cornwall. 

People living nearby were warned to stay indoors overnight.

Huge fire rages at scrap yard in Cornwall

RNLI lifeguards return to region's beaches

RNLI lifeguards will return to the region’s beaches on Saturday as patrols for the 2017 summer season get under way. 

The RNLI is urging local people and holidaymakers heading to the coast to take heed of the charity’s safety advice this weekend as the main lifeguard season starts. 

Beau Gillett, RNLI lifeguard supervisor for South East Cornwall, said: "We remind beachgoers to use RNLI lifeguarded beaches and to swim in supervised areas between the red and yellow flags."

RNLI
Nigel Millard - RNLI

Sex abuse victim urges others to come forward

A man who suffered years of sexual assault as a child at the hands of former TV presenter John Earle has urged other victims of abuse to come forward.

Iain Peters, who's now 69, was abused from the age of nine until he was 14. He said although it had blighted his life, coming forward had lifted a "terrible burden of shame".

John Earle
Devon and Cornwall Police

Earle, 87, who narrated two Jackanory stories and presented children's programmes in the 1960s and 70s, was jailed at Exeter Crown Court for four years and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life after admitting six counts of indecent assault at an earlier hearing.

Mr Peters, who has waived his right to anonymity, said after reporting the abuse he was able to get expert counselling which transformed his life.

"Counselling allowed me to understand what had been done to me, so that after decades of painful shame and guilt I am now able to live freely for the first time since I was nine-years-old.

“I would assure other victims who want to come forward that the police were brilliantly supportive and that professional help can be hugely liberating for survivors of child sex abuse.”

Hungry boy forced to eat hamster food and dog biscuits

Lynne French

BBC News Online

A mother who subjected her young son to a decade of hunger, beatings and humiliations has been jailed for three years.

Christine Copley, 66, of Laburnum Road, Exeter, was found guilty of six counts of cruelty at Exeter Crown Court at an earlier hearing.

Christine Copley
Irving of Exeter

The court was told her son Andrew had so little food while he was growing up in the 1980s and 90s, he was sometimes forced to eat dog biscuits or hamster food to survive.

The jury also heard Copley whipped her son with a dog lead, squeezed his testicles, hit parts of his body where marks could not be seen and put him in a cold bath after a beating to try to reduce the visible bruising.

Andrew Copley
Irving of Exeter

Sentencing Copley, Judge Erik Salomonsen said the 10-year ill-treatment of her son from the age of five to 15 had also included stripping him and making him stand outside the house naked.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Andrew said he re-lives his childhood on a daily basis.

"I wished for death when I was a child and I wish for death still today as I struggle to get over what she did," he said.

Plymouth footbridge closed because of a mechanical problem

BBC News Travel

  • In Kingsbridge on the A379 Promenade between Bridge Street and Derby Road we've got reports of an accident
  • The Dartmouth Higher Ferry is currently out of service
  • In Plymouth, the pedestrian footbridge across Sutton Lock is closed due to a mechanical problem

Exeter make four changes for Northampton match

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Exeter Chiefs half-backs Henry Slade and Jack Maunder, called up by England last week, miss out through injury, with Stu Townsend and Gareth Steenson coming in for their game against Northampton tomorrow.

Wing Jack Nowell returns in place of James Short and Michele Campagnaro is replaced at centre by Ian Whitten, while scrum-half Will Chudley is on the Exeter bench and is likely to make his first appearance since a shoulder injury in January.

Jack Nowell
Getty Images

"The players have trained extremely well and they're worried about getting themselves in good condition for what will be a big challenge, from a team that have only lost in the last couple of minutes of their last three Premiership games against very good sides," Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon.

Jailing of ex TV presenter John Earle welcomed by police

BBC News England

The victim of repeated sex abuse as a child nearly 60 years ago has been praised by police for coming forward to report it.

John Earle, 87, a former children's TV presenter, was jailed at Exeter Crown Court for four years and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life after admitting six counts of sexual assault at an earlier hearing.

John Earle
Devon and Cornwall Police

Det Con Martin Pearse said the victim had shown "great strength" and jailing Earle should provide him "some comfort".

“During the time of the offences Earle was in a position of trust as a deputy headmaster at a private school. 

"The victim has shown great strength in reporting this to us and throughout the lengthy investigation."

The officer added that he hoped it could also help reassure other victims and give them the confidence to report sexual abuse.

Latest travel: Lorry stuck in Bodmin

BBC News Travel

  • In Ponsanooth on the A393 St Michael's Road between Commercial Hill and the Treluswell Roundabout we've got reports of an accident
  • In Bodmin on Bodiniel Road near the jail we've got reports a lorry has got stuck and blocked the road. Traffic is heavy in the area
  • At Grampound Road on South Street near Station Road we've got reports there's been a concrete spillage. Approach with care
  • Near Dobwalls the road from Burnthouse Crossroads to Redgate is closed due to the scrapyard fire 

Awesome shark snagged by Devon fishermen

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

A porbeagle shark caught off north Devon makes an awesome sight as it is reeled in by fishermen.

The large female was freed but conservationists the Shark Trust warned that sharks are often pregnant at this time of year could become fatally exhausted when caught.

Porbeagles are related to notorious great whites but are renowned for their inquisitiveness and are not a threat to humans said the trust.

Awesome shark snagged by fishermen

Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be.....

#PeoplesCup

Images from the 2017 FA People's Cup
BBC Sport

....there'll be just under a hundred teams taking part in the FA People's Cup finals this weekend hoping to book their trip to Wembley.

Each of the winners in the 16 categories in the free five-a-side competition will win tickets to the FA Cup final on 27 May, where they will be presented with their trophies.

You can catch up with what's been going on in the competition here - and you'll be able to follow live coverage from the finals in Birmingham on Sunday and Monday.

Plymouth road blocked

BBC News Travel

  • In Plymouth Buckwell Street is blocked in both directions between Vauxhall Street and Palace Street due to a broken-down vehicle

Umbrella in the road on A30

BBC News Travel

  • On the A30 westbound between Tolvaddon and Camborne West we've got reports there's an umbrella in the road. Approach with care
  • In Redruth on Station Road near Station Hill we've got reports there's an accident
  • Near Dobwalls the road from Burnthouse Crossroads to Redgate is closed due to the scrapyard fire

Who is John Earle?

Press Association

John Earle has been jailed for a series of sexual assaults on a young boy.

Earle, who started his television career on a show called Treasure House, then worked on the BBC children's science programme Tom Tom.

He was on TV in the 1960s and 1970s.

His appearances as a Jackanory storyteller marked the end of his television career and in the intervening years he has written books about Dartmoor and ran an expedition centre there, becoming an expert on trekking on the moors.

He admitted six counts of indecent assault at Exeter Crown Court and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Earle's 'offending has had lifelong impact on victim'

Former children's TV presenter John Earle, 87, has been jailed for a series of sexual assaults on a young boy nearly 60 years ago. 

Alison Longhorn, from the CPS, said: "John Earle took advantage of his young victim for his own sexual gratification. 

"We worked closely with the police to build a strong case and faced with the evidence against him, Earle pleaded guilty. 

"Earle's offending has had a lifelong impact on his victim, to whom I would like to express my appreciation. Without him this prosecution would not have been possible."

John Earle
Devon and Cornwall Police

Major scrapyard blaze: Firefighters search for hotspots

BBC Radio Cornwall

Fire
BBC

Fire crews from across Cornwall are still damping down and searching for hotspots after a severe fire at a scrapyard near Dobwalls. 

People living nearby were warned to stay indoors overnight and keep their windows closed to avoid fumes.

The blaze broke out at WH Orchard and Son yesterday afternoon. Tyres and cars were involved in the blaze causing large plumes of smoke. 

TV's John Earle 'used young child to satisfy sexual needs'

Press Association

Former children's TV presenter John Earle, 87, has been jailed for a series of sexual assaults on a young boy nearly 60 years ago. 

Earle narrated two Jackanory stories in 1971 and presented programmes for youngsters in the 1960s and 1970s.

At Exeter Crown Court, Earle, who admitted six counts of indecent assault at an earlier hearing, was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.

The court heard the victim was subjected to the abuse in the 1950s and 1960s.

Sentencing Earle, Judge Erik Salomonsen said: "You used a young child to satisfy your sexual needs on many occasions."

BreakingFormer Jackanory presenter jailed for sex assaults

Press Association

A former Jackanory storyteller has been jailed for a series of sexual assaults on a young boy nearly 60 years ago. 

John Earle, 87, who narrated two Jackanory stories in 1971 and presented programmes for youngsters in the 1960s and 1970s, was deputy headteacher at a school in Devon when he carried out the attacks.

More to follow.

Milestone reached for Great Western Railway's new train fleet

The new fleet of Intercity Express Trains for the Great Western Railway (GWR) line from London to the South West has reached a new milestone, the firm has said.

The route will link Paddington to Exeter and Cornwall via Reading and Newbury.

The test train in Japan
GWR
The test train being loaded at Kobe port, Japan
GWR

The first five-car test train left Japan for the UK on Wednesday and is expected to reach Southampton port in June, GWR said.  

The Class 802 fleet is currently being built in Pistoia, Italy, and due to enter passenger service next summer.

In total, three test trains will be used ahead of the trains entering service.

The Class 800 fleet, built at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, is currently being tested in the UK and due to enter service later this year.

Professional deals offered to Devon youngsters

James Law

BBC Sport Online

League Two sides Exeter City and Plymouth Argyle have offered professional contracts to eight youngsters who have come through their academy systems.

The Grecians have offered deals to Archie Collins, Max Smallcombe, Ben Seymour and Lewis Williams, who are all second-year scholars, as well as Alex Hartridge.

Meanwhile the Pilgrims have tabled offers to three youth graduates - defenders Jordan Bentley and Callum Rose, and striker Alex Fletcher.

The players are yet to put pen to paper but will be part of the first-team squads next season if they agree to stay.

Crowds expected at food and drink festival

BBC Radio Devon

Thousands of people are expected at Exeter's food and drink festival over the bank holiday weekend.

Seven Michelin-starred chefs, including Tom Kerridge and Michael Caines MBE, will take part in cookery demonstations at the three-day event, which showcases regional produce.

Michael Caines
Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink

A "Let's Talk Farming" roadshow is being run by the National Farmers' Union for children to learn more about how food is produced.  

Snakebite victim praises hospital doctors

BBC Radio Cornwall

A man from Cornwall says doctors saved his life after he was partially paralysed by what's believed to be an adder bite. 

John Kiernan, 55, from Charlestown, spent three days in hospital in Truro after the incident in Tehidy Woods near Camborne last weekend. 

Adder
Mark Bowen
The adder is the UK's only venomous snake

Although the 55-year-old didn't actually see the adder - which is the UK's only venomous snake - doctors say his symptoms were consistent with a snakebite and that is what he was treated for.

Ups and downs for Hemerdon tungsten mine

Neil Gallacher, Business & Industry Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

A financial update from the new tungsten mine at Hemerdon near Plymouth gives a mixed picture. 

Run by Wolf Minerals, Drakelands Mine - which has one of the world's largest tungsten and tin sources and employs 200 people - is still making a loss as it adjusts its huge mill to suit the ores it's digging out.

Drakelands Mine
Wolf Minerals

However, it's now producing better grade tungsten as a result and the world tungsten price is up 12% in three months.

Proposal ahead of gig championships

BBC Radio Cornwall

Rowers from as far afield as Ireland and the United States are gathering on the Isles of Scilly for this year's World Pilot Gig Championships.

The event - which is taking place over the next three days - has been running every year since 1990. 

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Milestone for new Great Western Railway trains

The first test train of a new Intercity Express fleet for Great Western Railway’s (GWR) Devon and Cornwall route has left Japan en route to the UK.

train
Great Western Railway

In total, three test trains will be used ahead of the Class 802 fleet entering passenger service in summer next year.  

Tide times around Devon and Cornwall's coastline

BBC Weather

If you're planning a trip to the seaside today, here are the times of high water around the region's coastline.

Tide times
BBC

There'll be a full weather forecast in the lunchtime Spotlight news at 13:30 on BBC One.

Dobwalls road closed due to scrapyard fire

BBC News Travel

  • Reports of a collision in Plymouth by the railway station near the Liskeard exit. Police are at the scene
  • The road from Burnthouse Crossroads to Redgate is currently closed due to the scrapyard fire at Dobwalls
  • In Cornwall, delays are expected in Lanner on the A393 Lanner Hill near Sandy Lane for electricity work

Marine A released: 'It couldn't have been done without the amazing public support'

Victoria Derbyshire

The Royal Marine jailed for shooting dead a wounded Taliban fighter has been released from prison.

Sgt Alexander Blackman - who served with Plymouth-based 42 Commando - received a life term in 2013 for murder, but his conviction was reduced to manslaughter.

Judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court were told he had a recognised mental illness at the time of the killing in September 2011.  

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