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Summary

  1. Wadebridge murders: Brothers in new fight for freedom
  2. Walker killed in Snowdonia fall named as Exmouth man
  3. BMW driver jailed for paying witnesses to change statements after crash
  4. 'Famous' swan killed in 'dog attack'
  5. Cornwall Council power talks break down
  6. Plymouth council criticised by doctors over permit price rises
  7. Torbay climber's latest Everest ascent breaks records
  8. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Wednesday 17 May

Live Reporting

By Andrew Segal

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Devon and Cornwall have finished for the day, but we'll be back at 08:00 on Wednesday 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.

No more swanning around

Amy Gladwell, BBC News Online

There has been an outcry on social media after a "famous" swan was attacked and killed.

The bird, thought to be nearly 20-years-old, is believed to have been savaged by a dog as she guarded her nest at Perranporth boating lake.

"Mrs Swan", as she's known locally, has received national media coverage for parading her cygnets through the town.

Swans
Perran Tremewan

Vets tried to treat her leg wound but she had to be put down on Sunday.    

Mat Judge, who works for Perranporth Gardens Charities which manages the land, said: "She was a big friend of the community and a lot of people are really upset. The male is going to be lost". 

He said they were contacting the RSPCA to see if another female could be introduced.

Teignbridge Council boss who earns as much as Prime Minister is leaving and won't be replaced

Devon Live

A council chief who is paid almost as much as the Prime Minister is leaving her post next month

Marjon job losses 'necessary to ensuring financial safety and longevity of institution'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

The loss of about 11 full-time academic posts at Plymouth's Marjon University are "regrettable" but part of a "necessary procedure" to ensure the institution's future, student leaders say.

The former teacher training college said it was undergoing restructuring "to ensure efficiency savings".

Marjon Students' Union said: "Although we would prefer not to see any job losses, we also have a duty of care to ensuring the financial safety and longevity of the institution and therefore understand the necessity of this restructuring process."

Marjon
Google

Cornwall Council: Former Tory leader 'let down' by party

Laurence Reed

BBC Radio Cornwall

John Keeling, the former leader of the Conservative group on Cornwall Council, says he feels "let down" by his party replacing him as leader. 

He told me on air he "forgot" to hand in his nomination papers for the leadership of the party. He has been succeeded by Phil Seeva.

The Tories have 46 seats on the authority after last week's local elections. There are also 37 Liberal Democrats, 30 Independents, five Labour and four Mebyon Kernow councillors. 

Sixty-two seats are needed for an overall majority. Power talks between the Conservative and Independent groups broke down yesterday, with claims the Independents want disproportionate power. 

Mr Seeva said he'd like to see an "inclusive" council.

Cornwall Council
BBC

Firefighters thanked for freeing trapped toddler

Clare Woodling

BBC Spotlight

A picture of a toddler who locked himself in a car in Cornwall has led to "lost of positive messages" to firefighters who freed the trapped child.

Brandon
bbc

Bude fire station watch manager Matt Wonnacott said: "The response to the picture was crazy."

Brandon and mum Kirsty thanked the crew who who were forced to smash the window of the car after Brandon accidentally set off the central locking system.

Marjon University to lose equivalent of 11 full-time jobs

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Marjon. Pic: Google
Google

The equivalent of about 11 full-time academic posts are expected to be cut at Plymouth's Marjon University, bosses say.

The former teacher training college said it was undergoing "difficult but necessary" restructuring "to ensure efficiency savings".

It added: "These are in areas where there has been a reduction in student numbers, or growth has not been as expected, and so we expect the impact on students will be minimal."

Doctors' practices 'may close because of increased parking permits charges'

Anna Varle

BBC News Online

GP practices in Plymouth may close because of having to deal with increased charges by the city council for parking permits, medical staff say.

Liz Brimacombe
BBC

Surgeries used to pay £30 a year for each permit, but now have to pay a business rate of £300 for long stay or £150 for short stay paperwork.

Liz Brimacombe (pictured), managing partner of the city's Adelaide Street Surgery, said: "We've already lost a few surgeries in the area. Surgeries are working incredibly hard to maintain some kind of service. For some of them, a £6,000 parking bill may be the straw that breaks the camel's back."

The council said its final decision, which took into account all feedback received during the consultation, was published and publicised in March.

Council funds leisure centre to allow time to finish off operator contracts

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A Devon leisure centre is to remain open with council funding for two weeks to allow work to be finished off concerning its future, a council says.

South Hams District Council said Totnes Leisure Centre was open "as usual" after "positive discussions" between it, national charity and centre operator Fusion Lifestyle and local charity and pool and gym operator Tadpool.

Totnes Leisure Centre
Google

The council said Fusion had been operating the centre "whilst the final details of their lease are completed" since December but it had been facing closure this week because "agreements with Tadpool have not been concluded".

It said it would fund the centre until 30 May to allow "a little more time to complete this process, which would involve the drafting and reviewing of contacts".

Latest weather: Damp and cloudy

BBC Weather

Tonight, cloud will thicken again from the east as rain returns westwards to all parts during the night. The rain will be occasionally heavy and persistent, while winds will become mainly northwesterly, but generally light. Minimum temperature: 11C (52F).

Weather
BBC

Wednesday will be another damp and cloudy start with outbreaks of occasionally heavy rain slowly clearing eastwards. It will become drier from the west during the afternooon and also a little brighter with some late sunshine for the far west. Winds will be mainly light or moderate from the north or northwest. Maximum temperature: 12C (54F).

Wadebridge murders: 'Such a dreadful crime'

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

The convictions of two brothers for one of Cornwall’s most violent and notorious murder cases are being challenged again.

Graham and Carol Fisher were shot repeatedly after being bludgeoned with a sledgehammer at their isolated garage near Wadebridge in 2003. Two years later, Lee and Robert Firkins (pictured), from Weston-Super-Mare, were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Lee and Robert Firkins
Handout

It was such a dreadful crime, many will remember it. I covered the case, and even senior and experienced detectives described it as one of the most shocking they’d ever seen.

But the conviction has always been controversial amongst lawyers - largely because no physical evidence was found to link the brothers to the crime scene.

But the Firkins believe DNA evidence could be used to clear them. Their solicitors want exhibits from the Fisher’s bungalow to be tested for traces of DNA. The lawyers believe advances in DNA profiling could show other people, who may have been responsible for the killings, were in the bungalow.

Death of swan 'too sad for words'

Amy Gladwell, BBC News Online

There has been an outpouring of sadness on social media after a 'famous' local swan was killed.

The bird and its mate have been in the national media for their antics in the town, crossing the busy main road and waddling with surfers one the shore with their cygnets.

However 'Mrs Swan' was attacked and wounded by a dog last week it is believed, and was put down on Sunday.

Facebook comments
Facebook
Swan and two cygnets
Sally Brown

People took to social media to express their sadness with one, Jeanne Barsch, describing it as "too sad for words" and several more calling for dogs to be banned from the park.

Cornwall Council: Independents leader 'certainly wouldn't deal with Conservatives'

Laurence Reed

BBC Radio Cornwall

Andrew Mitchell and Laurence Reed
BBC

Andrew Mitchell, the leader of the Independent group at Cornwall Council, has ruled out a deal with the Conservative group to form an administration to run Cornwall Council, he has confirmed. 

The Independents unanimously rejected the offer made by the Conservative group under newly elected leader Phil Seeva, who replaced previous leader John Keeling.

Mr Mitchell (pictured) said Mr Keeling was "stabbed in the back" by the Conservatives and "I certainly wouldn't want to deal with people who deal like that".

Mr Mitchell said he hoped a so-called rainbow coalition of other groups on the council could now be made.

Mr Seeva said he'd like to see an "inclusive" council.

The Tories have 46 seats. There are also 37 Liberal Democrats, 30 Independents, five Labour and four Mebyon Kernow councillors. Sixty-two seats are needed for an overall majority.

Burglars take 'substantial amount of watches' in St Ives raid

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A "substantial amount of watches" have been stolen during a burglary at a jewellers in St Ives, police say.

Calico, on Fore Street, was broken into early on Tuesday. Police said burglars gained entry by forcing a door, which they discovered after being called at about 04:00.

Officers said they believed there were three offenders, with one described as a male wearing a blue tracksuit with a red stripe across the chest. They are also trying to trace a blue car seen heading down Fore Street. 

Calico. Pic: Google
Google

Latest travel in Devon

BBC News Travel

  • In Exeter, Pennsylvania Road is being closed due to a burst water main and a hole in the road near Oriole Drive. Closures were likely from Rosebarn Avenue to Union Road, Devon Highways said
  • On the M5 Plymouth-bound at Junction 29 - Exeter and Honiton - the exit slip road blocked by an accident. There is slow traffic on the A30 as a result

Hayle's South Quay designs unveiled

Cornwall Live

The final piece of the South Quay regeneration jigsaw goes on display at the Passmore Edwards Institute in Hayle next week.

Wadebridge murders: Criminal Cases Review Commission looks at case

Andrew Segal

Local Live

An organisation which looks into suspected miscarriages of justice has been told of an attempt to exonerate two brothers jailed for murdering a couple at their garage in Cornwall, it has confirmed.

Graham and Carol Fisher
Handout

Lee and Robert Firkins were found guilty in 2005 of murdering Graham and Carol Fisher (pictured) near Wadebridge on Bonfire Night in 2003.

Solicitors said DNA from the Fishers' bungalow could show other people who may have been responsible for the killings were there. Their submissions are being examined by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

The commission said: "We received submissions relating to forensics in this case - we are considering those at the moment." 

If it agrees to back the submissions, and new evidence is found, the case could go to the Court of Appeal.

Cornish aims for World Cup gold

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Sailor Ben Cornish says he is aiming for a gold medal at the World Cup Final in Santander next month.

The 25-year-old, from Budleigh Salterton in East Devon, claimed his first major medal at the weekend, finishing third at the European Championships in Marseille.   

Ben Cornish
Robert Deaves

“Santander is a venue I love and I believe that with the right review process from last week we can be in a good place to challenge for that missing gold medal in 2017," Cornish said.

Cornish continues on his quest towards selection for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.  

South West IT expert who foiled cyber attack gives £7,800 reward to charity

The Daily Telegraph

The 22-year-old British security expert who helped foil last week's global cyber attack will give a $10,000 (£7,800) reward to charity.

Have you lost a wedding ring in Plymouth?

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

A wedding ring has been found close to the BBC Plymouth office and we're on the hunt to return it to its owner.

The gold ring was found on Compton Avenue, Mannamead, yesterday and is inscribed with the words: "3 Oct 1998".

If you know who it belongs to, please email us.  

Lost ring
BBC

Severe accident: M5 Devon southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon southbound severe accident, at J29 for A30 Exeter.

M5 Devon - M5 exit slip road closed southbound at J29, A30 (Exeter), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Sad end for feathered friend

Amy Gladwell, BBC News Online

She has been loved by locals for years as she holds up traffic and surfers alike, but a famous female swan has met a sad end.

"Mrs Swan", a "big friend of the community" in Perranporth has been put down after being attacked by a dog last week, it is believed.

Swans on beach
Perran Tremewan

Mat Judge, who helps run the boating lake where the swans nest, said a lot of people who came to see her and her mate each day have been left "very sad".

"A lot of people are now saying they don't even want dogs in the boating lake, or that they should be kept on leads," he added.

Jobs cut at Plymouth Marjon University

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Marjon
Google

Jobs are to be cut at Plymouth Marjon University, bosses have confirmed.

The former teacher training college said it was undergoing restructuring "to ensure efficiency savings".

It added that it could not confirm final numbers but that a "tier of senior management" was to leave.

Everest record: 'North face climb more difficult'

BBC News Scotland

Mollie Hughes
PA

An Edinburgh-based climber originally from Devon - who has become the youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest from the north and south sides - says climbing the mountain from the north was "definitely more difficult".

Mollie Hughes reached the summit at 01:14 GMT (05:34 local time) with climbing guide Jon Gupta. The 26-year-old, originally from Torbay, successfully climbed the mountain from its south side in 2012.

Climbing the 8,848m (29,029ft) mountain from the north, starting in Tibet, is thought to expose mountaineers to colder and windier conditions.

In a message from the summit, Mollie said: "The climbing has been really, really hard but our mental and physical strength got us up here. I can confirm that the north side is definitely more difficult than the south side!"

BreakingBMW driver jailed for paying witnesses to change statements after crash

A BMW driver has been jailed after he paid two witnesses £250 to change their statements about a late night crash.

Daniel Honey offered the two women cash after seeing them at court on a day when his trial was adjourned.

The witnesses were due to give evidence about a late night crash in Bradworthy in June 2015 in which Honey's silver car crashed into a cottage causing £4,000 damage.

Honey, 26, of Chillaton, near Lifton, denied being the driver. He admitted doing acts intending to pervert the course of justice and was jailed for three months by Judge Erik Salomonsen at Exeter Crown Court.

Locked-in Bude toddler thanks firefighters

Clare Woodling

BBC Spotlight

A toddler who locked himself inside his mother's car has been reunited with the firefighters that rescued him.

Brandon
Simon Goodearl

A picture of Brandon Green in the car went viral and was shared all over the world. 

He had accidentally locked the car from the inside after his mother Kirsty left the keys in the boot while unloading her shopping.

Fourteen-month-old Brandon and Kirsty went to Bude fire station in Cornwall to thank firefighters who freed him.  

Brandon
BBC

BreakingWalker killed in Snowdonia fall named as Exmouth man

BBC Cymru Wales

A man who died after falling a "considerable" distance while walking in Snowdonia has been named.

John Gerrard Wynne, 61, of Exmouth, Devon, was walking with his 26-year-old daughter on 3,000ft (100m) Tryfan when he fell on Sunday.

They were descending down the South Gully when they decided to turn around but Mr Wynne slipped. He is believed to have fallen more than 200ft (60m).

He was airlifted to hospital in Bangor where he died.

Snowdonia
TERRY HUGHES/GEOGRAPH

Latest weather: Staying damp and cloudy

Kevin Thomas

BBC Weather Forecaster

It'll continue damp and cloudy with outbreaks of occasionally heavy rain moving across the counties during the day. Moderate or fresh southwesterly winds will be occasionally strong over the moors and around the south coast to the west before easing later. Maximum temperature: 17C (63F).

Weather
BBC

Cloud will thicken again as rain returns westwards to all parts during the night. The rain will be occasionally heavy and persistent, while winds will become mainly northwesterly, but generally light. Minimum temperature: 11C (52F).

Jolly hockey sticks as Olympics increases sport's popularity

BBC Radio Devon

Hockey
BBC

The popularity of hockey has exploded in Devon. 

The number of people playing the sport has gone up by more than 50% in the last five years, according to England Hockey.

Since Great Britain's women took gold in the Rio Olympics, demand for pitches has outstripped supply. Now work has now begun on a new hockey hub in Plymouth which will benefit talented young players from across the region. 

Cornwall Council: Independents rejected power deal 'because Tory manifesto commitment required'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

The Independent group on Cornwall Council says its members unanimously rejected an offer by Conservatives to share power because it "required" them to agree to the Tories' manifesto.

This month's local elections left the authority in limbo and no party in overall control. 

Power talks between the Conservative and Independent groups on the council broke down yesterday. The Conservatives then claimed the Independents wanted "an amount of power and influence on the council that is not proportionate".

Independents are proposing that the council's chairman and leader are elected at next week's annual meeting. The Liberal Democrat group is meeting later at County Hall.

Cornwall Council
BBC

Swan but not forgotten

Amy Gladwell, BBC News Online

A swan made famous for parading her cygnets through a popular Cornish resort each year has been killed in a suspected dog attack. 

The bird, which was thought to be nearly 20 years old, had been guarding her nest of six eggs when she was savaged, it is believed.

Swans on beach
Perran Tremewan

'Mrs Swan' and her mate 'Mr Swan' have been described as 'big friends of the Perranporth community' and have made national headlines in recent years. 

Vets tried to treat her leg wound but she had to be put down on Sunday, according to Perranporth Gardens Charities which manages their nesting ground, the town's boating lake.

Buckfast Abbey organ to pipe up again

Harriet Bradshaw

BBC Spotlight

Organ pipe
BBC

Melodies composed more than 1,000 years ago will soon be heard again at Buckfast Abbey on a rather magical musical instrument.

This is one of more than 5,000 pipes from what's believed to be the first large Italian organ in England. It's been brought from Italy piece by piece. Each pipe started life in a workshop near Venice. 

The first section will take five weeks to install, with the second section arriving in September.

Broken-down lorry hits A39 traffic near Truro

BBC News Travel

There's slow traffic on the A39 Arch Hill around Mill Lane, near Truro, due to a broken-down lorry.

Fostering charity looks for more carers under 35

BBC Radio Devon

A fostering charity is looking for more people under the age of 35 in Devon and the wider South West to become foster carers. 

The call comes during the second week of Foster Care Fortnight, as part of the Fostering Network's campaign to help recruit 480 new foster families in the region in the coming year. 

The charity said that younger foster carers would be in a great position to offer homes to the many children who needed to live with a foster family for the long-term, often until the age of 21.

Wadebridge murders: Garage was a scene of 'indescribable horror'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Lawyers for Lee and Robert Firkins say a jury got it wrong when the brothers were jailed in 2005 for murdering Graham and Carol Fisher, and believe DNA evidence could be used to clear them

They are currently serving life sentences for killing the Fishers at the couple's Perch garage, near Wadebridge, in 2003. The couple were shot a number of times after being bludgeoned with a sledgehammer. 

The garage, which has since been levelled, was described as a scene of "indescribable horror" by a judge at Exeter Crown Court during the brothers' lengthy trial.

The Firkins, from Weston-super-Mare, always denied the murders, saying previously they were seeing relatives and visiting a pub at the time.

Murder scene
BBC

Second case of dog disease Alabama Rot diagnosed by Devon vets

Devon Live

Vets in Cullompton have confirmed a second dog that has contracted killer flesh eating disease Alabama Rot.

Perryman asks fans for 'positive noise'

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Exeter City director of football Steve Perryman has called on fans to make "positive noise" during their League Two play-off semi-final second leg at home to Carlisle on Thursday.

While no team won more away games than Exeter this season, only three sides suffered more defeats at home.

The first leg against Carlisle finished 3-3 at Brunton Park on Sunday.

Steve Perryman
Rex Features

"There's something wrong if it's not a great atmosphere, because what more do people want?" Perryman told BBC Devon. "You sometimes think there's a bit of negativity at home."

Torbay climber's latest Everest ascent breaks records

BBC Radio Devon

A young Torbay climber has just scaled the heights of Mount Everest.

Mollie Hughes
PA

Mollie Hughes' success makes her the youngest Briton, the youngest European woman and the first English woman to successfully scale the peak from both the north and south sides of the world's highest mountain. 

In temperatures as low as minus -40C (-40F), the 26-year-old reached the summit of Mount Everest - a height of 8,848m from the north side - in the early hours of this morning.

Police crackdown on travellers at South Devon beauty spot

Devon Live

Police have begun a crackdown on travellers who have moved on to a South Devon beauty spot by targeting illegal vehicles.