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Summary

  1. Updates on Tuesday, 12 April 2016
  2. A lorry driver was murdered by a vigilante gang who wanted to target paedophiles, a court hears
  3. The trial of a 17-year-old boy accused of two murders in Colchester restarts after initial jury dismissed
  4. Council housing chief in Tendring pledges to crack down on "tenancy fraud"
  5. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

That's it from us at Essex Live today - thanks for joining us. 

We'll be back tomorrow morning from 08:00 with the latest news, sport, travel and weather for the county. 

Have a great evening.

Weather: Torrential downpours clearing to leave a mainly dry night

Some heavy, thundery showers affecting parts of the region later bringing some torrential downpours, but they'll gradually clear away to bring a mainly dry night with clear spells and patchy mist and fog. 

Weather map
BBC

Any mist or fog clearing first thing on Wednesday, to leave a fine morning with sunny spells - but turning cloudy with heavy, thundery showers developing.  

For a detailed forecast where you live visit BBC Weather.

Southend pageant organisers decide to axe carnival queen

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Southend Carnival is to end the tradition of crowning a carnival queen at this year's event, because it is "old-fashioned".

Carnival queen
Getty Images

The role has been in place for almost a century but organisers said the title and pageant were not right for today, the Southend Standard reported.

Carnival vice-chairwoman Gemma Cartwright told BBC Essex that it was time to change, and this opinion was expressed in online polls and residents' questionnaires. 

She said: "It was not a decision we took lightly."

Witness spoke to James Attfield before he was killed

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

A murder victim was seen lying on the floor on a riverside path in Colchester just before he was attacked, Guildford Crown Court has heard.

Witness Ben Mayhew said he spoke to James Attfield, who he did not know, before he was killed in March 2014, and asked if he was OK. "He replied yeah, yeah," Mr Mayhew told the court. "I said 'you want to be careful mate' and left him." 

PC Ben Savory was among the emergency workers who went to the scene after a cyclist alerted them to Mr Attfield's body. He described "a large number of wounds" and a "huge amount of blood from under his head" in a statement read out in court.

 A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named, denies murdering Mr Attfield, 33, and Nahid Almanea, 31.

Final headlines: Court hears of 'paedophile hunt' that led to murder...Carnival queen axed

BBC Essex

The stories we're looking at this afternoon:

  • Jury told about discovery of bodies of James Attfield and Nahid Almanea in Colchester 
  • Girl recruited gang of 'vigilantes' in hunt for suspected paedophiles that led to murder, court hears
  • Southend Carnival organisers axe pageant queen labelled "old-fashioned" in online survey

Travel: Heavy traffic causing congestion in Chelmsford

BBC Travel

Congestion is affecting several roads in Chelmsford. Long queues of traffic have formed southbound on the A1099 High Bridge Road, between Springfield Road and the Odeon roundabout. 

Traffiic is slow on the A1060 from High Bridge Road to Van Dieman's Road because of roadworks.

Travel: A414 blocked in both directions

BBC Travel

A crash has blocked the A414 Main Road in Danbury in both directions, with traffic queuing at the Hull's Lane junction. 

More details on BBC Travel.

Knife and latex glove found inside murder accused's blazer

Charlotte Rose

BBC Essex

A knife was found inside the lining of a school blazer belonging to a teenager accused of two murders, a court has heard.

Nahid Almanea and James Attfield
BBC

A 17-year-old boy is on trial at Guildford Crown Court, where he denies murdering James Attfield, 33, and Nahid Almanea, 31.

Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC said: "There is no dispute he killed both people, people he did not know. Both people who had no connection with him." 

Max Whitlock training for next big test

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

South Essex gymnast Max Whitlock is hard in training for his next big test - the European Championships in Switzerland next month.

Max Whitlock
British Gymnastics Championship

He took gold in the Masters event at the British Gymnastics Championships at the weekend and he hopes to make his routines even more consistent.

Witness thought fatally stabbed student had heart attack

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

A witness saw fatally stabbed Essex University student Nahid Almanea lying on the floor and initially thought she'd had a heart attack.

Nahid on path
Essex Police

A 17-year-old man from Colchester, not named for legal reasons, denies murdering her and James Attfield but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The witness told Guildford Crown Court he saw the student from his flat and a paramedic who first attended the scene checked her pulse but could not find one. 

Pathologist Dr Nat Carey said Ms Almanea died from stab wounds to the head, eyes, back and chest. The case continues.

Crack down on council 'tenancy fraud' promised after amnesty expires

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

The Conservative councillor in charge of housing in Tendring has told BBC Essex he wants to crack down on residents illegally occupying homes owned by the authority. 

An amnesty in March asked occupants committing so-called "tenancy fraud" to surrender their keys. Paul Honeywood, cabinet member for housing, said it had raised awareness about the issue. 

"Was it likely that any keys were going to be handed in - probably not, and we sort of expected that," he said.

Killed lorry driver 'believed he was meeting adult'

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

A lorry driver lured to his death by a self-appointed paedophile "vigilante gang" was trying to contact women over the age of 45 on the internet, a court has heard.

Instead, Darren Kelly, 42, from Basildon, was contacted by a 15-year-old girl who arranged to meet him outside her school. Messages recovered by police suggested that Mr Kelly may have believed he was meeting an adult, possibly the girl's mother. 

Mr Kelly was ambushed by the gang and kicked and punched before he fled. But he was caught and fatally stabbed, prosecutor Crispin Aylett told Chelmsford Crown Court.  

Chris Carroll, 20, of Pevensey Close, Pitsea, the girl, and two 17-year-old boys, who have not been named for legal reasons, all deny murder.

Weather: Sunny spells and scattered showers

Sara Thornton

BBC Weather

A mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers is expected this afternoon.

Weather chart
BBC

Where showers occur they will be heavy with the risk of hail and thunder, but some areas will remain dry.  

Maximum temperature: 16C (61F).

'Vigilante gang' hunted suspected paedophiles girl leader met online

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

The 15-year-old girl leader of a "vigilante" gang hunting suspected paedophiles met a man online who was later stabbed to death near his home at Pitsea in Essex, a court has heard. 

Chris Carroll, 20, of Pevensey Close, Pitsea, the girl and two 17-year-old boys, who have not been named for legal reasons, all deny murder at Chelmsford Crown Court. 

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett said: "The girl... had told the others the man was a paedophile and as a result he was punched, kicked and then stabbed to death in the street." 

She had already met two men, aged 23 and 67, whom she contacted on Facebook and had described them as "perverts". The court heard she had said: "I don't think perverts should be around and I don't see anybody else doing anything about it."

Murder accused girl recruited 'vigilante' gang to pursue suspected paedophiles

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

A 15-year-old girl who launched a personal campaign against paedophiles recruited a gang of "vigilantes" to lure a man to his death, a court has heard.

Chelmsford Crown Court
Google

Lorry driver Darren Kelly, 42, from Basildon, was stabbed to death near his home in Pitsea, on 20 October. A 20-year-old man, the girl and two 17-year-old boys are on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court after pleading not guilty to murder.

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett said the case was "as disturbing as it is extraordinary". He said there was no evidence Mr Kelly was interested in underage girls but had used the internet to contact women for sex.

Basildon lorry driver murder trial begins

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

A jury of eight men and four women have been sworn in at the trial of a 20-year-old man and three teenagers charged with murdering a lorry driver in Basildon. 

Darren Kelly
BBC

Christopher Carroll, of Pevensey Close in Pitsea, a 16-year-old girl and two 17-year-old boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, all deny murdering Darren Kelly, 42, in October.

The trial has opened at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Council buys drones costing £5,000 that staff cannot fly

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

A council which spent £5,000 on drones has admitted they are not in use because it has nobody qualified to fly them.

drone
Getty Images

Epping Forest Council agreed to buy the two drones in January 2016, saying they would be useful for planning, investigations and emergencies.

The council said it now hopes to be able to use the drones from June onwards, if staff pass pilot tests.

Double murder trial restarts after jury dismissed

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

The trial of a 17-year-old boy accused of murdering James Attfield and Nahid Almanea in Colchester two years ago has restarted, after a new jury was sworn in.

The trial at Guildford Crown Court was halted when a juror said they had an an issue of "a personal sensitive" nature.

The trial has restarted, with the prosecution repeating its opening statement for a new jury.

Travel: Flood causes disruption on A120

BBC Travel

Flooding on the A120 at the Crown Interchange in Colchester has shut one lane on the roundabout. 

More details from BBC Travel.

Lunchtime headlines: Murder trial resumes after jury dismissed...Tribute to passenger killed in M25 crash

Sonia Watson

BBC Essex

  • The trial of a 17-year-old boy accused of murdering two people in Colchester has restarted, after the initial jury was dismissed
  • Tributes are paid to a "very popular and generous" woman who was killed on the M25 in Essex earlier this month
  • Four people go on trial over Basildon stab murder

Concord Rangers going for third successive senior cup title

BBC Essex

The final of the BBC Essex Senior Cup tonight sees Canvey-based Concord Rangers looking for their third successive title, taking on Heybridge Swifts.

Club logos
BBC

Rangers start the match as favourites as they are ninth in the Conference National League South, two divisions above Ryman League North side Heybridge.

The match kicks-off at 19:45.

Colchester murders: Trial jury dismissed

The trial of a 17-year-old boy who is accused of murdering two people in Colchester will have to restart, with a new jury sworn in.

The defendant, who has not been named for legal reasons, is accused of stabbing to death James Attfield and Nahid Almanea two years ago. 

Guildford Crown Court was told one of the jurors said they had a personal sensitive reason for not sitting. A new jury will be sworn in and the opening statement from prosecution will be repeated.

BreakingMurders trial jury dismissed over 'personal sensitive' issue

Claire Sawyer

BBC Essex

The trial of a 17-year-old boy accused of two murders in Colchester has been delayed after the jury was dismissed.

Braintree need win to stay in play-off contention

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Braintree Town need a win at Grimsby tonight if they are to stay hot on the heels of the National League's top six and get into the play-offs. 

The Iron go into tonight's match having lost three of their last four in the league but still have a game in hand over Tranmere, who are three points above them

M25 fatal crash victim was royal protection officer

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

A man who died on the M25 in Essex last month was a royal protection officer with the Met Police, it has emerged.

Met Police
Reuters

Sgt David Jennings, 48, served with the Met Police Royalty and Specialist Protection Command. He was hit by a lorry after he pulled up on the hard shoulder near Brentwood and got out of his car. 

A 28-year-old man is currently on police bail in connection with the crash.

Essex captain 'disappointed' by late wickets

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Essex captain Alastair Cook was disappointed his side lost four late wickets against Gloucester at Chelmsford, but will look to capitalise on a 25-run lead if play resumes after rain today.

Cook and Westley
Getty Images

Cook and Tom Westley both scored centuries in the County Championship Division Two clash yesterday and were the mainstay of a score of 287 for six at the close of play.

"The conditions changed with the new ball because it became overcast and then started to rain," Cook said. "But that's the beauty of four-day cricket, conditions can change."

Council buys drones to check planning applications

BBC Essex

Epping Forest District Council has bought two drones, at a cost of £5,000, to check planning applications.

Drone
PA

As reported in the Daily Telegraph, the remote controlled drones will fly over houses and buildings to check the size of the property and the surrounding area. 

A Freedom of Information request to "hundreds of councils" uncovered that a dozen had used or hired drones.

Tributes to 'very popular and generous' M25 crash victim Laura Cooper

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

The family of a passenger who died after the car she was travelling in crashed with a lorry on the M25 in Essex say she "was a very popular and generous young woman".

Laura Cooper
Adamson Family

Laura Cooper, 34, from Leicestershire, died in hospital on 2 April, four days after the crash near Waltham Abbey.

Her sister, Jo-Anne Adamson, said: "Laura leaves behind a devastated 18-year-old son, her parents, siblings and a wealth of friends. She will leave a huge hole in the lives of her many loved ones.

"Tributes have poured in from her wide friendship group. This, and the fact that Laura chose to save others through organ donation, make me proud to have called her my sister."

Defence statements expected in James Attfield and Nahid Almanea murder trial

Gareth George

BBC Look East

Lawyers defending a 17-year-old boy accused of murdering James Attfield and Nahid Almanea in Colchester two years ago are due to make their opening statement.

James Attfield and Nahid Almanea
BBC

The boy, who has not been named for legal reasons, is on trial at Guilford Crown Court, near the hospital where he was being held. He admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denies murder. 

He claims voices in his head told him to kill, but prosecutors said he had planned the attacks and had tried to conceal evidence. The first witnesses are also due to appear once the defence has finished its opening to the case. 

Travel: Train fault causes cancellations on London line

BBC Travel

A train fault on the Norwich to London line is causing cancellations in both directions. 

More details from Abellio Greater Anglia.

Weather: Cloudy with patchy rain but brighter later

Sara Thornton

BBC Weather

It's a cloudy start to the day but it will soon become drier and brighter from the south.

One or two heavy, possibly thundery, showers expected later but feeling fine in the sunshine with light winds. 

Maximum temperature: 16C (61F).

Travel: Crash closes A12 slip road at Colchester

BBC Travel

A crash has caused the closure of the London-bound A120 slip road at Colchester (J29 - Crown Interchange) causing delays.

More details from BBC Travel

News: First witnesses expected in double murder trial...Council chief to crack down on 'tenancy fraud'

BBC Essex

These are the stories we're looking at so far today:

  • First witnesses to give evidence in trial of 17-year-old boy accused of two Colchester murders
  • Man who died on M25 last month served with the Met Police's royal protection command 
  • The council housing chief in Tendring pledges to crack down on "tenancy fraud"

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage for Essex

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Welcome to today's Essex Live page, where we'll bring you the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates until 18:00 this evening.

We're always interested in what's happening in your part of the county. 

If there's anything you wish to share with us you can contact us on email, Facebook or Twitter.