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Summary

  1. Updates on Tuesday, 10 May 2016
  2. Murder investigation launched after pregnant woman injured in fire at block of flats near Southend dies
  3. Conservative group on Southend Borough Council strikes deal with UKIP to take control of the authority
  4. Braintree Town manager Danny Cowley will talk to Lincoln City about their vacant managerial role
  5. Updates resume at 08:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

By Jack Warren

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's it from us at Essex Live - thanks for stopping by.

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

Have a great evening. 

Weather: Mild and damp tonight

BBC Weather

Tonight will be mild and damp with further outbreaks of rain across the county, which again will turn heavy at times. 

Minimum temperature: 12C (54F).

Weather
BBC

It'll be a cloudy and mostly dry start tomorrow, but it will gradually turn brighter through the morning.

Get can stay up-to-date with the latest forecast at BBC Weather.

Southend independent leader will not resign despite Conservative-UKIP deal

Simon Dedman

BBC Essex political reporter

The independent leader of Southend Borough Council, Ron Woodley, told me he will not resign from his role.

Ron Woodley
Southend Borough Council

He said although it looked likely he and the independent-led coalition would lose power, he would force the Conservatives to table a motion to remove him. 

It comes as BBC Essex learned the Tories had struck a deal with UKIP to run the authority after no party gained overall control at Thursday's elections.  

Typhoon jet confirmed for both days of Clacton Airshow

Today it has been confirmed the Typhoon jet will be making an appearance at Clacton Airshow.

Typhoon jet
Tendring District Council

The Royal Air Force fighter will feature on both days of the event, which takes place on 25 and 26 August.

Earlier in the year it was confirmed the famous Red Arrows will also flying.

Tendring councillor cautioned by police for swearing at man in the street

A Tendring councillor filmed swearing at a man in the street has been cautioned by police.

Michael Skeels
YouTube/Bard Guido

Michael Skeels (pictured) was recorded being abusive at William Hones, who used to be a member of UKIP. Mr Skeels left UKIP to join the Conservatives before forming the Coastal Independents.

Essex Police said a 69-year-old man from St Osyth was voluntarily interviewed and given a caution for committing a public order offence.

In the news: Vigilante victim 'kept virginity photos'... Flowers laid in tribute to Westcliff flat fire victims

Nick Alliker

BBC Essex

If you're just joining us, here are our top stories for the county: 

  • Flowers have been laid outside the Grampian block of flats in Westcliff after a woman and her unborn child died following a fire there on Saturday
  • The victim of an alleged vigilante gang murder "kept images of people wanting to lose their virginity", a jury has heard
  • Police have asked parents of small children to stay alert after officers dealt with many reports of missing children in Southend during the weekend's hot snap  

Your pictures: Swans and cygnets in Stanford Rivers

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

You and I may be sheltering indoors today, but these swans and their cygnets are loving it down in Stanford Rivers. One's even hitching a ride!

Swans in Stanford Rivers
BBC Weather Watchers/Maximus

Thanks to BBC Weather Watcher "Maximus" for sending his picture to us. 

Parents asked to keep an eye on children on busy seafront

Chris Flynn

BBC Essex

Police have asked parents of small children to stay alert after officers dealt with many reports of missing children in Southend during the weekend's hot snap.

Southend seafront
Getty Images

Ch Insp Simon Anslow told me at one point on Sunday his officers were trying to find eight children - that's more reports than they had of missing mobile phones.

"As a parent myself I wonder how you find yourself in a situation where you've lost such young children in an area where the risk [of doing that] is obviously so high," he said. "We just need to keep some of those preventable things to a minimum so we can deal with the stuff that's more crime-based."

Darren Kelly murder: Victim 'kept images of young people'

The victim of an alleged vigilante gang murder "kept images of people wanting to lose their virginity", a jury heard.

Darren Kelly
Facebook

Darren Kelly (pictured), 42, from Basildon, was kicked, punched and stabbed to death near his home last October. A group of four denies his murder and is currently on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Karim Khalil QC, representing the now 16-year-old girl accused of luring Mr Kelly to his place of death, said Mr Kelly had used "at least four aliases" when using the Whispr messaging system and on one occasion had pretended to be the daughter of a former partner.

The trial continues.

Essex's tour match against Sri Lanka abandoned due to rain

Essex's tour match against Sri Lanka in Chelmsford has been abandoned due to continued rainfall.

Wet weather in Chelmsford
Essex County Cricket

The game was declared a draw after only two days play was possible. 

Essex will next be in action on Sunday when they host Derbyshire in their fifth County Championship match.

Thieves steal hundreds of pounds worth of garden furniture and ornaments from retirement complex

Basildon Echo

"Disgraceful" thieves stole hundreds of pounds worth of furniture and ornaments from a retired housing complex.

Roger Hirst: It's not about bobbies on the beat

The newly-elected Conservative police and crime commissioner for Essex says he has no plans to put more "bobbies on the beat".

Roger Hirst
BBC

Speaking on BBC Essex, Roger Hirst said he hopes to improve response times and police visibility by encouraging officers to work outside the office.

"If they're doing their paperwork via remote devices, such as in a cafe where people can talk to them, then they'll have a much better presence," he said.

Southend United: Franck Moussa unsure where he'll be playing next season

Ben Fryer

BBC Essex sport

Southend United midfielder Franck Moussa is unsure where he'll be playing his football next season. 

Franck Moussa
Getty Images

Moussa scored in Sunday's loss at Bury - his first goal since he rejoined the club in March. The Belgian is now a free agent and open to a contract offer from the manager Phil Brown.

"All I will do is make sure I'm ready for whoever wants to have me so I can perform straight away," Moussa told BBC Essex Sport.

Flowers laid in tribute of Westcliff flat fire victims

Flowers have been laid outside the Grampian block of flats in Balmoral Road in Westcliff.

Flowers laid
BBC

It's after a 30-year-old woman and her unborn child died after a fire on the ninth floor here on Saturday. Essex Police has since launched a murder investigation. 

A bunch of flowers with the words "gone too soon" have been fixed to the railings outside, along with a white cross.

Weather: Showery rain with the chance of thunder

BBC Weather

This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with outbreaks of showery rain. There will be heavy downpours at times, with the risk of thunder too. 

Maximum temperature: 18C (64F).

Weather map
BBC

You can get the latest forecast for your part of Essex here.

In the news: Pregnant woman and unborn child die in tower block fire... Conservatives set to take control of Southend Borough Council after UKIP deal

Nick Alliker

BBC Essex

If you're just joining us, here are your top stories for Essex this lunchtime: 

  • Essex Police are assessing if a fire that killed a pregnant woman and her unborn child on Saturday was a "targeted attacked"
  • The new police and crime commissioner for Essex says a rise in gang crime in the county is partly down to a successful campaign by the Metropolitan Police
  • The Conservative group on Southend Borough Council has struck a deal with UKIP to take control of the authority  

Essex Police officer 'shocked and appalled' at fatal Westcliff flat fire

Chris Flynn

BBC Essex

Ch Insp Simon Anslow told BBC Essex he was "shocked and appalled" at the death of a mother and her unborn baby following a fire in a tower block in Westcliff. 

Ch Insp Simon Anslow
BBC

Officers are working to assess if the blaze at the Balmoral Road flats on Saturday night was a targeted attack.

"This is a tragic and terrible incident... Whoever was responsible may have suffered minor burns or returned home with the smell of smoke on their clothes," he said. 

Your pictures: Sunday's sunset in Kirby-le-Soken

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

If today's weather has left you longing for Sunday's sunshine, we can briefly relive it with this photo taken in Kirby-le-Soken over the weekend.

Sunset in Kirby-le-Soken
Dan Manning

It was sent to us by Dan Manning. We love seeing your pictures from around the county - you can send them to us via email, Twitter or Facebook.

Covers remain on in Chelmsford

No play has taken place this morning in Essex's tour match against Sri Lanka. 

View more on twitter

'Too late' to investigate Clacton by-election spending claims

Ian Puckey

BBC Essex

Essex Police says it can't charge anyone with breaking rules on election expenses during the 2014 Clacton by-election because too much time has passed since any alleged offences took place.

Clacton by-election result
AP

Officers started an investigation after Channel 4 News claimed in February there were irregularities over the Conservatives' spending, which the Tory party denied.

However, the relevant piece of law, the Representation of the People Act, has a 12-month limit for matters to be reported, and so no prosecutions can be brought. The force says it is considering applying for an extension on time to investigate.

Police assessing if Westcliff fatal fire was a 'targeted attack'

BBC Essex

Essex Police are assessing if a fire that killed a pregnant woman and her unborn child on Saturday was a "targeted attacked". 

Speaking on BBC Essex, Ch Insp Simon Anslow said: "The fire was set in a communal area close to the victim's door". 

Mr Anslow appealed for anyone with information about Saturday's blaze at the Balmoral Road flats in Westcliff to come forward. 

Unborn child also killed in Westcliff flat blaze, police confirm

The unborn child of the pregnant lady who died in hospital days after a blaze at a block of flats in Westcliff could also not be saved, Essex Police have confirmed.

Simon Anslow
Essex Police

A 30-year-old woman, who was in the late stages of her pregnancy, died yesterday after the fire on the ninth floor of the Balmoral Road flats on Saturday.

Ch Insp Simon Anslow (pictured) said: "Her family are now having to come to terms with their devastating loss." The force has launched a murder investigation.

Woman cancels holiday after car 'keyed' in Leigh

A woman from Leigh-on-Sea says she has had to cancel her trip abroad to pay for damages to her car which was "keyed" all over. 

Scratches
Stacey McConville-Reynolds

Stacey McConville-Reynolds, who only moved to the area on Saturday, found her car covered in scratches after leaving it parked overnight in a nearby street.

She told BBC Essex: "I was in disbelief - gobsmacked... I've had to pay nearly £500 in excess. I was supposed to go to Barcelona yesterday but couldn't go."

Firefighters simulate 'horrific' A12 road crash

More than 15 firefighters have tested how they would respond to a "horrific road accident" on the A12. 

A12 crash simulation
Essex Fire and Rescue

The exercise, which took place in Lexdon, simulated casualties trapped in cars halfway down a ditch by the side of the road. 

You can see a full gallery on the fire service's Facebook page.

Man found with puncture wound to abdomen in Walton High Street

A man was found with a puncture wound to his abdomen in Walton High Street last night, police say.

Walton High Street
Google

The 26-year-old attended the Premier shop at about 21:15. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening. 

A man, 25, was arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent, but was later released without charge. Officers are now trying to establish a motive. 

Essex gang problem down to 'successful' Met Police crackdown

The new police and crime commissioner for Essex says a rise in gang crime in the county is partly down to a successful campaign by the Metropolitan Police.

Roger Hirst
BBC

Roger Hirst, Conservative, said criminals, particularly from east London, had been "forced" to cross the border.

"We need to learn from them [the Met], and I'm sure they'll be prepared to help us understand what they've been doing so successfully," he said.

Essex continue to dominate Sri Lanka in tour match

Essex have continued to dominate their tour match against Sri Lanka. 

After declaring on 412 for 4 in their innings, Essex have reduced the tourists to 42 for 2. 

Sri Lanka will resume their second innings on day three 116 runs behind - however, looking at today's forecast there isn't much hope of play at the moment. 

View more on twitter

Conservatives set to take control of Southend Borough Council after UKIP deal

Ian Puckey

BBC Essex

The Conservative group on Southend Borough Council has struck a deal with UKIP to take control of the authority. 

Southend Borough Council
BBC

BBC Essex has been told UKIP will back the Tories on certain key issues like votes on leadership and budget. 

The deal gives the Conservatives control of the council for the first time in two years.  

Danny Cowley to hold talks with Lincoln City over vacant managerial role

Ben Fryer

BBC Essex sport

Braintree Town manager Danny Cowley says he will talk to Lincoln City about their vacant managerial role.

Danny Cowley
Getty Images

But, less than 48 hours after their National League play-off defeat, he told me he is not in the right frame of mind to make an "intelligent decision" just yet. 

Fellow National League side Lincoln made an approach yesterday.  

Weather: A cloudy and wet day, with the risk of thunder

Kate Kinsella

BBC Look East weather

Today will be mostly cloudy with outbreaks of showery rain throughout. There will be heavy downpours at times, with the risk of thunder too. 

Maximum temperature: 18C (64F).

You can stay up-to-date with the latest forecast with BBC Weather.

Headlines: Pregnant woman dies following Westcliff flat fire... Conservative Group takes control of Southend Borough Council

Sonia Watson

BBC Essex

Here are the top stories for Essex this morning: 

  • A murder investigation has been launched after a pregnant woman who was injured in a fire at a block of flats near Southend died
  • The Conservative group on Southend Borough Council has struck a deal with UKIP to take control of the authority
  • Braintree Town manager Danny Cowley says he will talk to Lincoln City about their vacant managerial role

Westcliff flat fire murder investigation: What we know so far

Here's what we know so far about the flat fire in Westcliff-on-Sea, which has now turned into a murder investigation:

Balmoral Road flats
BBC
  • Seven people, including a baby, were taken to hospital after the blaze on the ninth floor of the Balmoral Road flats at about 23:00 on Saturday
  • A pregnant woman sustained life-threatening injuries and subsequently died last night
  • Essex Police said it was treating the blaze as suspicious and has since launched a murder investigation 

Police seek witnesses in Westcliff flat fire murder investigation

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Essex Police is asking witnesses or anyone with information that could help its murder investigation to contact 101 or email: scdappeals@essex.pnn.police.uk

We'll bring you more on the murder investigation throughout today. 

Balmoral Road
Google

Pregnant woman dies following Westcliff flat fire

A 30-year-old woman from Southend was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries following a fire on the ninth floor of a block of flats in Balmoral Road, Westcliff, on Saturday evening.

Essex Police says she died yesterday evening.   

fire
BBC

The fire is being treated as suspicious and the force is investigating the circumstances leading up to the incident. A murder investigation has now been launched. 

BreakingMurder investigation launched after pregnant woman dies

We start this morning with some breaking news.

Police have launched a murder investigation after a pregnant woman, who was injured in a fire at a block of flats in Westcliff, died in hospital last night.

More to follow.