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Summary

  1. Cornish party Mebyon Kernow not putting candidates forward for general election
  2. Chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police cleared of misconduct
  3. Exeter Chiefs Sandy Park Stadium open despite smoke damage from fire
  4. Exeter's multimillion-pound flood defences branded 'ugly'
  5. Murder accused says internet search on decomposition was 'accident'
  6. Teenage drink-drive victim’s ‘life ruined’
  7. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Victoria Gould

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

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

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

Drink-driver victim's life devastated

BBC Spotlight

The family of a Devon teenager has been describing how her life has been devastated after she was hit by a drink-driver.

Ashley Godber, 27, from Plymouth has admitted drink driving on Christmas Eve - he was more than twice the legal alcohol limit.

He crashed into Ruby-Tuesday Hobbs outside Drakes Circus at around 60mph and she has undergone a number of operations to her legs.

Mr Godber has been bailed and will be sentenced next week.

Ashley Godber
BBC

Heavy showery rain later tonight

BBC Weather

After a cloudy afternoon with scattered showers cloud will thicken again tonight as further outbreaks of occasionally heavy, showery rain move in from the south.

There is also a risk of thunder in the heaviest showers and patches of misty low cloud may affect the south coast.

Winds will be quite variable, but will become moderate or fresh on the south coast for a time. Minimum temperature 9C (48F).

Weather map
BBC

Royal Marine denies 'groping' student at graduation ball

Rob England

BBC News Online

A Royal Marine groped a student who was having her photo taken at a university graduation ball, a court heard.

Thomas Telford
Irving of Exeter

Thomas Telford, 23, allegedly put his hand on her abdomen and touched her outside her underwear whilst the photo was being taken. 

Telford, 23, of Golf Road, Kenley, Surrey, denied one count of sexual assault at Exeter Crown Court. 

The victim, a 21-year-old woman, was celebrating her graduation in July 2016.

UKIP only fielding one candidate in Cornwall in General Election

BBC Radio Cornwall

UKIP says it will only field one candidate in Cornwall in the general election - in Truro and Falmouth.

The party says it has "no wish to stand against the other five sitting MPs in Cornwall who are all pro Brexit and who we campaigned with during the referendum campaign and who support our views on the EU".

The UKIP candidate for Truro and Falmouth Duncan Odgers said it would be "silly for the party to risk losing Brexit orientated MPs to either the Liberal Democrats or possibly even Labour".

He will compete for the seat against Conservative Sarah Newton, Labour's Jane Kirkham, Rob Nolan for the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party's Amanda Pennington.

RMT ballot Stagecoach south west bus staff on strike action

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

The bus workers union the RMT is balloting more than 400 staff in Devon on strike action over what it claims is the "victimisation and sacking of a branch official".

The majority of the affected staff, which includes bus drivers, engineers, clerks, cleaners and controllers are based in Exeter with the rest in Exmouth and Sidmouth.

The union claims it has repeatedly refuted the serious allegations levelled at one of its members by Stagecoach bosses, but says the management have chosen to ignore the facts and confirm the dismissal which the union says is grossly unfair and wholly disproportionate.

The ballot closes on the 18 May. 

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: "This ballot has been forced on us by Stagecoach's wholesale refusal to listen to reason throughout the disciplinary procedure.

"The union would appeal once again to see sense, get back around the table and negotiate a settlement with us."

The BBC has approached Stagecoach for comment.

Murder accused denies trying to cover up partner's death

BBC Spotlight

A Bulgarian man accused of murdering his former partner in Exeter has denied trying to put people of the scent in the days after her death. 

Kostadin Kostov denies killing Gergana Prodanova, stripping her body and putting her into a suitcase which was found by a railway line last August. 

at Exeter Crown Court it was put to Mr Kostov that he was using social media accounts to make it look as if Gergana was still alive. 

He is also alleged to have encouraged his mother in Bulgaria to tell her new partner that she was alive and not to contact police. 

He said this was not the case. 

The court was told that Ms Prodanova's clothes were found in rubbish at Mr Kostov's home in Mount Pleasant Road. 

Scissors inside had fibres of her clothes on them. 

He flatly denied the charges on a number of occasions and said he had been set up.

The trial continues.

Thugs smash up taxi and steal cabbie's phone

Devon Live

Thugs used a rock to smash a Devon taxi causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage and stealing the cabbie's phone and wallet. 

Free reusable cups for Exeter's coffee lovers

BBC Radio Devon

Exeter City Council is handing out free reusable cups to coffee lovers in the hope they'll stop using disposable ones. 

The council says takeaway cups cannot be recycled, and in the UK seven million of them are thrown away every day. 

It's giving away free limited edition Denis the Dustcart KeepCups at a series of events across the city. 

Cornwall-based charity gets aid to cyclone survivors in Mozambique

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

Devastated home in Mozambique
Shelterbox

The Cornwall-based charity Shelterbox has been working in Mozambique to help communities rebuild after it was struck by a cyclone earlier this year.

Cyclone Dineo was the first tropical cyclone to hit the southern African country since 2008. It destroyed 20,000 homes and affected more than 130,000 people.

Working with the Red Cross Shelterbox has been distributing ShelterKits to residents.

They contain materials to help repair basic dwellings, including tarpaulins, tools and fixings along with machetes and mosquito nets.

ShelterKits
Shelterbox

Judge slams contactless bank cards

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

A judge has attacked contactless bank cards as making life too easy for criminals.

Recorder David Bartlett said it was "quite ludicrous that the banks have allowed this to happen", after hearing how a card was used in a newsagent soon after being stolen.

Robert Vipond was jailed for 18 months at Exeter Crown Court after admitting a series of fraud offences.

He used the contactless card to buy £23 of tobacco and groceries in Exeter.

Robert Vipond
Devon and Cornwall Police

Contactless cards can be used for transactions of up to £30 and don't require a PIN number.

In sentencing, the judge said: "You can make these contactless payments now. It seems quite ludicrous that banks allow this to happen. It seems anyone who steals a card can wave it around until it is reported as stolen."

Vipond, 34, of Gissons Lane, Kennford, admitted handling stolen bank cards, theft, and four counts of fraud.

Newsnight heads to Cornwall to hunt for Andrea Leadsom

BBC Radio Cornwall

BBC Radio Cornwall's Ross Elllis hears from Newsnight's John Sweeney as he tries to track down Andrea Leadsom.

The Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is apparently on the campaign trail in Cornwall - but John has been struggling to track her down.

View more on twitter

'No emotion' for Dawe in Devon match

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Graham Dawe says he has "no emotion" ahead of his Cornwall side's County Championship game on Saturday at Devon, who he previously played for and coached.

The ex-England hooker, 57, won the competition with Devon in 2004 as a player and as coach in 2007, and played in Cornwall's triumphant 1991 campaign.

Graham Dawe
Brian tempest

Dawe, who lives near the Devon-Cornwall border, has been Cornwall head coach since 2013, leading them to victories in the 2015 and 2016 Twickenham finals.

"It's a nice local game for me, but I'm travelling as a Cornishman," he said. "I'm 100% behind Cornwall, there's no emotion at all."

Tattoo father would ‘do anything’ for deaf son

Rob England

BBC News Online

Seven-year-old Kenny from Plymouth lost his hearing in 2012, and now his father, also Kenny, has copied his son’s cochlear implants in the form of a tattoo.

After noticing people staring at his son in public Mr Rapson, 35, told the BBC he wanted Kenny to see "someone close to him have something similar" outside of school.

Kenny Rapson and his son
Kenny Rapson

Kenny junior lost his hearing after being diagnosed with Meningitis.

Mr Rapson, who now lives in Stoke, said: "He's my son, I'd do anything for him."

Smiling Bude toddler to be re-united with fire crew rescuers

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

Toddler Brandon Green was photographed smiling behind the wheel of his mother’s car, after he was accidentally locked in.

Now, 14-month-old Brandon and his mum, Kirsty, are to be reunited with the crew that freed him next week.  

The photo by the Bude Community Fire Station has been shared more than 75 times on twitter, and attracted comments from as far away as West Virginia and California in the USA.

Toddler locked in car
Bude Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters called to large chemical spill in Exeter

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

A hundred litres of sodium hydroxide has been spilled on a road in the Marsh Barton Industrial Estate in Exeter.

Fire engines from Exeter along with an environmental protection unit from Newton Abbot were sent to the scene at 09:40 this morning.

The chemical had leaked from a drum on a delivery lorry.

Firefighters contained the leak before a specialist company was called to clear the spill.

Police appeal for help on missing Bristol man found dead in Exmouth

David Clarke
Devon and Cornwall Police

Police are trying to find out what happened to a man who was found dead in Exmouth two days after he was reported missing from his home. 

David Clarke, 78, was reported missing from his Bristol home on 5 April. 

His body was discovered in Exmouth on 7 April. 

Police say his death was not treated as suspicious, but police are keen to trace his last movements. 

Det Con Matthew Burnell said: “I am keen to try and establish where he may have spent time between these dates. It is believed that he was sighted in Budleigh Salterton on Thursday 6 April, however, we do not know where he stayed during the rest of his time in Devon.

“I would be grateful if accommodation providers could consider whether David stayed with them during this time frame."

A30 Cornwall: Overnight lane closure

BBC News Travel

On the A30 eastbound between Indian Queens and Innis Downs one lane will be closed due to roadworks overnight tonight between 8pm and 6am.  

Teenage drink-drive victim’s ‘life ruined’

The aunt of Ruby-Tuesday Hobbs has said her niece isn’t the same since she was hit at about 60mph by a drink-driver on Christmas Eve last year.

The 18-year-old has since undergone a number of operations to her legs. 

Today, 27-year-old Ashley Godber from Plymouth admitted drink-driving and also causing serious injury by dangerous driving. 

Godber has been bailed and will be sentenced at Plymouth Crown Court on 18 May.

Speaking outside the court, Nicki Hobbs said: "She's just at home now, just doing nothing really. She's a young girl, it's ruined her life to be honest. She's just not the same girl she used to be."

Nicki Hobbs
BBC

Popular Newquay restaurant Big Daddy's Burgers closed down after owner obstructs police

Cornwall Live

A Newquay burger restaurant has been closed down by police after the owner breached his license and obstructed officers in their pursuit of an offender.

Murder accused says internet search about human decomposition was 'accident'

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

A Bulgarian man accused of murdering his former partner in Exeter says he made an internet search to find out how long a human body takes to decompose by accident.

Kostadin Kostov, 43, denies murdering hotel worker Gergana Prodanova last August and packing her body in a suitcase before dumping it on a railway embankment.

It was discovered he put the search "how long does it take for a human corpse to decompose?" into his phone.

He told the jury he was trying to find out how long drugs took to decompose in the body but he mistyped.

He read an article as a result of the search but said that was because he found it "interesting".

Gergana Prodanova
Devon and Cornwall Police

Kostadin Kostov was asked by his defence barrister "Did you kill Gergana Prodanova?" he answered "definitely no".

He also denied disposing of her body saying he was not the person seen with a suitcase near the railway line.

He told the court that he was "shocked" when he was charged with murder. "It was all shocking the arrest and the charge," he said.

Driver who left teenage girl impaled on railings admits drink-driving

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

A 27-year-old Plymouth man has admitted drink-driving and dangerous driving when he crashed into a teenager on Christmas Eve.

Godber was bailed by Plymouth magistrates to appear at the city's crown court for sentencing on 18 May.

Ruby-Tuesday Hobbs, who was 18, had been walking with friends to McDonalds for breakfast when she was hit by a BMW as she stood on the central reservation outside Drake Circus shopping centre.

Ruby-Tuesday Hobbs
Facebook

The court heard from a passenger in Godbers' BMW that he had been driving down North Hill when he "absolutely floored the accelerator" and the man was "forced back" in his seat.

He said he was "really scared" as the car "launched off down the road".

Magistrates heard Godber ploughed through two sets of railings on the central reservation before hitting the drama student.

The car ended up in a bus stop on the opposite dual carriageway and Godber told the man "run".

The man told the court he did not know at the time that they had hit Ruby-Tuesday.

Drakes Circus
Google

Another witness on the street said there was an "almighty bang like an explosion" and Ruby-Tuesday "skidded off down the road".

Sarah Ackland defending said Godber was "extremely remorseful" and "deeply regrets his actions".

City residents claim Exeter's multimillion-pound flood defences are 'ugly'

Adrian Campbell, Environment Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

A new £32m flood defence scheme in Exeter has been criticised by some local residents.

They claim the high walls which are being built along a four and a half mile stretch of the River Exe are "ugly".

The Environment Agency has previously said the defences, which run between Exe Bridges and the flood channel at Cowley will protect thousands of properties.

They also said the walls will be carefully landscaped.

Exeter flood wall
BBC

Driver who crashed into teen on Christmas Eve admits drink-driving

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

A man has admitted drink-driving when he smashed into a teenager at about 60mph on Christmas Eve.

Ashley Godber, 27, from Plymouth had a reading of 77 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath.

The legal limit is 35 micrograms. He also admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving. 

Godber was bailed by Plymouth magistrates to appear at the city's crown court for sentencing on 18 May. 

Ruby-Tuesday Hobbs
Facebook

Ruby-Tuesday Hobbs was hit by a BMW as she stood on the central reservation outside Drake Circus shopping centre.

She suffered multiple leg fractures and underwent a number of operations.

Robotics part of 'e-health' project for Cornwall

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

Robotics are being developed to comfort people living with dementia in care homes in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as part of a so-called 'e-health' project.

The University of Plymouth has been awarded £2.7m of European money to explore a number of projects to improve health in the county by using technology, phone apps and robotics.

It could also include using drones to deliver medical equipment to rural areas.

Older person
BBC

Dad gets tattoos of deaf son's implants

Rob England

BBC News Online

A father has had the image of his deaf son's hearing devices tattooed on his head.

Kenny Rapson, 35, said he started to notice people staring at his son, also called Kenny, in public. 

The seven-year-old was diagnosed with meningitis in 2012 and lost his hearing as a result. 

His father said he wanted to get the tattoos so his son has "someone close to him have something similar".

Kenny Rapson and his son
Kenny Rapson

New £32m flood defence scheme branded 'ugly'

Adrian Campbell, Environment Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Exeter's new £32m flood defence scheme has been described as "ugly" by some people living in the city.

Exeter Flood Defences
BBC

High walls are being built along a four and a half mile stretch of the River Exe between Exe Bridges and the flood channel at Cowley.

The Environment Agency has previously said that the defences will protect thousands of properties and they will be carefully landscaped.

Cornish teenager turns to sport to beat the bullies

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

A Cornish teenager who turned to sport after being badly bullied and physically attacked is heading to Canada in August to compete in a World Championship event.

Alison Birch and her mum
BBC

Abigail Birch, 14, from Madron, near Penzance, suffers from a rare form of Dwarfism and will compete in the discus, javelin and shot put events at the 7th World Dwarf Games in Ontario. 

Abigail said she was deeply affected by the bullying she suffered but her track and field successes gave her the strength to rise above the taunts and insults.

Abigail Birch
Abigail Birch

Bude roundabout almost finished after two years of roadworks

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

Cornwall Council has apologised for the delays to motorists during the construction of a roundabout in Bude that locals claim has taken more than two years to finish.

Business owners say the long queues trying to negotiate the junction have forced visitors and shoppers to avoid the town.

Spoof video of Bude roundworks
BBC

The council says the roundabout will be substantially complete by the end of this month and extensive works to install fibre optics, gas, electricity and water utilities were also required.

The roadworks caused so much frustration for some residents that pranksters placed these inflatable skeletons on the roundabout.

Mebyon Kernow too "exhausted" for General Election

Tamsin Melville

Political Reporter, BBC Radio Cornwall

Mebyon Kernow, which campaigns for a National Assembly for Cornwall, has announced it will not be putting forward any candidates for the 2017 general election.

Party leader Dick Cole blamed the timing of the snap election on 8 June and said there wasn't enough time or money to create a good enough campaign after the local council elections.

Dick Cole
BBC

Mr Cole, who was re-elected as a Cornwall Councillor last week said: "If you look at some of us who've been campaigning solidly for six weeks some of us are absolutely knackered and it would be very difficult to keep going - and I don't think it would be good for our well-being, to be blunt."

Sandy Park open for business despite kitchen fire

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

Managers at the Exeter Chiefs' ground Sandy Park say it remains fully open for business despite a small kitchen fire at the venue overnight.

Sandy Park
Getty Images

Firefighters were called to the stadium in the early hours of this morning following the fire, which was restricted to just an office in the downstairs kitchen area.

No one was injured during the incident, which has caused minor smoke damage.

Exeter Rugby Club chairman and chief executive, Tony Rowe OBE, said: "Despite the fire, the Sandy Park kitchen remains fully operational and will have no effect on the business or any planned events taking place at the venue either today or in the coming days."

Chief constable stands by comments on electoral misconduct

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

The chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police Shaun Sawyer says he still believes the procedures relating to electoral expenses and investigations into any future alleged electoral misconduct require a review.

He first made the comments during a media interview relating to the investigation into the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez.

Shaun Sawyer
BBC

They prompted a seven-month investigation by Gloucestershire Police, which has now cleared him of misconduct.

Mr Sawyer says his comments "specifically avoided reference to the police investigation into the Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez".

"My views expressed to the media on that day remain the same today. 

"One of the purposes of the media is to ask legitimate questions in the public interest and one of the purposes of policing is to answer those questions honestly, without fear or favour."

Mebyon Kernow not fielding candidates in General Election

Tamsin Melville

Political Reporter, BBC Radio Cornwall

The 'Party for Cornwall' Mebyon Kernow has revealed it will not be fielding candidates in June's General Election.

A spokesperson for the party, which campaigns for a National Assembly for Cornwall, has said the timing "so close to the local polls" has meant it cannot put together and finance "a meaningful campaign".

MK rosette
BBC

At the recent Cornwall Council elections four Mebyon Kernow councillors were re-elected.

It lost deposits in all six seats at both the last general elections.