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Live Reporting

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All today's news

That's all from the Essex Live team for today and for the week. Our main stories included the following:

Any breaking news will be added to the site and we'll be back on Monday at 08:00.

Overnight weather: Dry at first with patchy rain later

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

A dry start to the night across the BBC East region with clear spells, but patchy rain will eventually spread in from the north-west. 

The winds will pick up to a moderate-to-fresh south-westerly, and temperatures will drop to 3C (37F).

Overnight weather map

Saturday will be blustery with a fresh, occasionally strong, south-westerly wind. 

Early rain will clear eastwards and it should then become drier and brighter, before more rain spreads in from the north-west. 

Highs of 10C (50F).

Get the full forecast where you are from BBC Weather .

Pedestrian, in 30s, dies after St Valentine's Day road crash

Police have renewed their appeal for witnesses after a pedestrian died nine days after a road crash in Chelmsford. 

A woman, in her 30s, was crossing Roxwell Road near the BP garage when she was in collision with a red Citroen C2 on 14 February, just after 19:00. 

She was seriously injured and flown to hospital, but died yesterday.

Essex Police is asking for witnesses, especially if they've got dashcam footage.

Third arrest in armed shop robbery inquiry

A third man has been arrested in connection with the armed robbery of a post office near Braintree which we covered earlier this week .

Cressing store and sub-post office

The sub-post office at Cressing was held up by two men, one with a gun, on Tuesday at 12:30.

A 26-year-old from Tiptree was picked up in Southminster at 11:30 today and he's now in custody.

Two other men, aged 49 and 19 and also from Tiptree, were arrested earlier this morning.

Claim: Tax rise result of council 'not controlling finances'

As Southend Borough Council leader John Lamb blames government funding cuts for the council tax rise, one of his opponents says they need to "control" their finances. 

The tax is going up 5% from April, which is an extra £50 a year for the average household. 

Meanwhile, Independent councillor Ron Woodley says it's not all Whitehall's fault, and that the local authority needs to look at itself.

"They're not helping themselves by not controlling their finances, by overspending on employees' costs and other costs by £4.2m over this year's budget," he said.

"Going into next year, they've got unsupported borrowings of up to £63m in the next four years."

Dig deeper: Council tax to rise in Southend

Council tax payers in Southend face a 5% hike in their bills, meaning from April, the average household will have to pay an extra £50 a year. 

Tory council leader John Lamb blames cuts in government funding for the rise.

He said: "A number of Conservative boroughs are all saying the same thing. 

"They need to put more funding into adult social care and ourselves. It is a big problem.

Council tax bill

"No one wants to put council tax up or the cost of adult social care. We are not getting the funding, despite what people in the treasury may say. 

"I've told our MPs this and it is only right that I speak truthfully that what is being done is not right." 

Arrest after post office 'axe' armed robbery at Sible Hedingham

A man's been arrested on suspicion of armed robbery, after staff at a post office near Sible Hedingham near Halstead were threatened with axes. 

Four suspects made off from the store on High Street in Great Yeldham with cash last month. 

The 20-year-old who was arrested is still in custody. 

Severe accident: M11 Cambridgeshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M11 Cambridgeshire southbound severe accident, between J10 for A505 and J8 for A120.

M11 Cambridgeshire - Heavy traffic and one lane closed on M11 southbound between J10, A505 (Duxford) and J8, A120 (Bishops Stortford), because of an accident.

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

The big question: Who will be match-fit tomorrow?

Southend United are hoping to have Anton Ferdinand fit to return to the side at Gillingham tomorrow. 

Ferdinand is pictured below leaving the pitch with physio Ben Clarkson during the match against Northampton Town at Roots Hall last Saturday.

Anton Ferdinand and physio
Getty Images

Midfielder Will Atkinson's available after serving a three-match suspension, but the game will come too soon for David Mooney and Stephen McLaughlin to be considered. 

Meanwhile,  Colchester United  are assessing the fitness of Craig Slater for tomorrow's League Two match at home to Hartlepool. The midfielder missed Tuesday's win over Wycombe.    

Essex lottery win: The stuff that dreams are made of

An Essex pub landlady has told how she shouted "someone tell me if this is true or not" after checking their syndicate's lottery ticket which made them £187,000 better off.

Emma Crawford, who runs the Kings Arms in Orsett, had to run the EuroMillions ticket scanning function twice before she really began to get excited about the win.

She'd been preparing a roast chicken for Valentine's Day when she decided to check a pile of tickets she'd left in the upstairs of the pub. 

Sydicate winners

She said: “Although I’m the syndicate leader, I’ve got a bit of a reputation for being a bit slow at checking our tickets, sometimes not getting around to it until a few months later! 

"There was a stack of tickets on the side in the kitchen and I popped the chicken in the oven, picked up my phone and scanned the top ticket all in one move. It just so happened the top ticket was worth £187,109.80!”

She said she ran downstairs and burst into the bar, saying: ‘Someone needs to tell me if this is true or not!"

The syndicate of sixteen are each £11,694.36 better off after their ticket matched five numbers and one lucky star in the EuroMillions draw on 10 February. 

Sydicate winners

Calm after the storm: A closer look at some of Bentleigh Court's problems

Richard Smith

BBC Essex

So here's a closer look at what things look like at Bentleigh Court in Colchester.

Part of the roof - which is a flat roof - has been raised up at a 45-degree angle, so it looks a little like a half-opened can of fish.

Then in the car park behind, I can see a really big chunk of building materials, and more bricks and bits of metal and roof fixings on the lawns. 

The flat roof coming off at Bentleigh Court

The building, with 30 flats, was evacuated yesterday after Storm Doris swept across the UK.

The flat roof coming off at Bentleigh Court

Care still required on roads today in Doris' aftermath

Essex Fire and Rescue service say great care is still needed on the county's roads today, despite Doris having blown herself out. 

The force was called to 120 incidents, which were mainly fallen trees throughout the storm yesterday, and in the hours afterwards. 

Nigel Dilley, emergency planning divisional officer from the fire service, said: "We gave out advice yesterday about don't drive unnecessarily, slow down and allow for extra time, that sort of continues really - just having a heightened awareness for the next few days, because there are still trees in precarious positions."

Tree down in Epping

Trains going between Harlow and Roydon: Cancelled, delayed or revised

Greater Anglia says due to a fallen tree blocking the line, trains are affected between Harlow and Roydon.

View more on twitter

Structural checks for Bentleigh Court today

Richard Smith

BBC Essex

Structural checks will be carried out on flats in Colchester before the decision is taken on when residents will be allowed back home. 

Bentleigh Court was evacuated yesterday afternoon, when Storm Doris caused the roof to be damaged, meaning residents spent the night in hotels or with friends and family. 

Liam Gillen from Colchester Property Services

Liam Gillen from Colchester Property Services (pictured), said: "Making sure that nothing else is going to come off the roof, making sure what is up there is going to stay there. 

"And as the day goes on contact will be made with the residents as to what the situation is, and I suppose, trying to look at a timescale as to how long it'll be before people can come back. 

"It's all down to safety, the building has to be safe. 

"There is work to be done which is visible, and all of that needs to be taken care of before anyone comes back, but I'm pretty sure that will happen fast. 

"There's a lot of people coming today who'll make decisions and make it happen."

Resident talks of a 'loud bang' and 'load of bricks coming off the roof'

Richard Smith

BBC Essex

Residents at 30 flats in Colchester are still waiting to hear when they'll be allowed back home. 

Bentleigh Court was evacuated yesterday afternoon, when winds of up to 70mph (110km/h) caused damage to the roof of the four-storey building.  

Bentleigh Court this morning
Bentleigh Court this morning

Kelly Bechay-Gerges lives there, and told me: "First we heard a bang, and we wondered what it was, and I looked out of the window and there was loads of bricks coming off the roof. 

"And then we had the firemen come round to say the building was getting evacuated. 

"We went outside the front door and we saw the mess, and the firemen told us to get our personal belongings and get out."

Severe congestion: M25 Essex clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex clockwise severe congestion, on the QE2 Bridge affecting J31 for A1306.

M25 Essex - Queuing traffic on M25 clockwise on the QE2 Bridge. Congestion to J31, A1306 (Thurrock Services).

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

Royal tweet for Max

In case you missed it during Storm Doris yesterday, Basildon's Olympic champion gymnast Max Whitlock was at Buckingham Palace to collect his Member of the Order of the British Empire medal.

The Royal Family tweeted their congratulations:

View more on twitter

Where do prison escapees go?: Prisoner reveals why inmates flee jail

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

A former prisoner who served time in HMP Chelmsford in Essex has lifted the lid on some of the reasons inmates flee prison to 'go on the run'. 

Phil Aldis, who has also previously been jailed at HMP Wayland in Norfolk. said relationship breakdowns, sick family members or desperation at being in prison are to blame. 

He was speaking to the BBC as part of an investigation into where people fleeing lawful custody go and why. 

          The faces of some England's offenders who have fled lawful custody in the past three years
UK Police Forces

There were 13 prison escapes and 105 cases of absconding in 2015/2016 across the UK. Our composite picture above shows the faces of some of those who have fled lawful custody in the past three years.

Mr Aldis said: "There is not a lot of support in prison. Prisoners do not like speaking to anybody about emotional stuff because they are very worried about being seen as weak.

"Prison can be an extremely lonely place and you keep your emotions bottled up and that causes frustration and desperation."

Colchester: No lights on at Bentleigh Court this morning

Richard Smith

BBC Essex

Residents are yet to return home and Bentleigh Court is sealed off by a temporary metal fence this morning. 

Not one of the 30 flats in this four-storey block has a light on this morning. 

Scene at Bentleigh Court in Colchester

With a police cordon across Greenstead Road lifted, it's possible to see more damage to the flat roof. A large section has been peeled back and juts over the grass area below.

A police cordon surrounds the larger pieces of debris behind the block.

This morning it's been reported that part of the roof had crashed into St Andrews Avenue - which is adjacent to the block.

Of the flats, 25 were occupied at the time the building was evacuated.

Yesterday residents were given letters advising them to contact the block's managing agent to see how long the situation would last. It also said insurance would cover "reasonable expenses" of people who needed to use hotels or bed and breakfasts overnight.

Scene at Bentleigh Court in Colchester

Police search for witnesses to fatal car collision

Essex Police is looking for people who may have seen a man before he was hit by a car near Southend earlier this month.

Officers have been investigating after a Ford Fiesta collided with the victim, who was lying in Poynters Lane in Shoeburyness, on 4 February.

Anthony Lewis, who was 46 and from Tilbury, died at the scene.

Southend council taxpayers face £50 increase

Simon Dedman

BBC Essex political reporter

Council tax in Southend is set to go up by 5% following a meeting last night.

The increase will come in from April, meaning the average Band D household will have to pay an extra £50 per year.

The budget was passed just before midnight.

View more on twitter

Storm Doris: Lights out and security fencing up at evacuated flats

Richard Smith

BBC Essex

There is still no indication when residents at Bentleigh Court in Colchester will be allowed back into their flats.

Yesterday Storm Doris ripped through the area, tearing a large part of the roof down - much of which landed in St Andrews Avenue.  

All the lights in the building are off and security fencing has been erected.

The residents were not allowed home last night, with many spending the night with friends.

View more on twitter

Storm Doris: Flat residents waiting to hear when they can return

Residents of 30 flats in Colchester are still waiting to hear when they'll be allowed back home.

Bentleigh Court was evacuated yesterday afternoon, when winds of up to 70mph (110kh/h) caused damage to the roof of the four-storey building.

Bentleigh Court, Colchester

Quince Twitter abuse investigated by police and Parliament

An anonymous Twitter user heaped hate on Colchester MP Will Quince via a series of messages - including writing that Mr Quince had "savoured" the agony his stillborn son had suffered. 

The Conservative MP said the messages, sent on Wednesday by a user simply called "The Horse Respecter" were "horrible". 

He added he was "reluctant to go to the police", but after seeking advice felt it would be wrong to "just ignore these things".

Mr Quince reported the tweets to the Metropolitan Police on Thursday.

The force said a case of malicious communication had been reported and an investigation was being carried out by the parliamentary liaison and investigation group.

Impact of Storm Doris 'worse than expected'

UK Power Networks say the impact of Storm Doris was probably worse than they expected, based on forecasts before the winds arrived.

Jobcentre at Haverhill

Spokesman Matt Rudling, who said more than 12,000 homes and businesses in Suffolk lost their power during the day, added: "It was also the duration of the winds.

"They were with us all day long, and that impacts our ability to get out and do repairs as well."

Around 3,500 homes remain without power this morning. 

The picture shows part of the roof of Haverhill's JobCentre, which blew off.

Weather: A cold, but often sunny day with much lighter winds

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

It will be a cold start, with sunny spells and any very isolated wintry showers will soon fade away. Most will then have a fine and cold day with much lighter winds and some spells of sunshine and a high of 8C (46F).

Here's my full forecast...

There are more details on the BBC Weather website.

Abusive Tweet about MP's stillborn son under investigation

Abusive social media messages about a Conservative MP's stillborn son are being investigated by police.

The first message was sent to Colchester MP Will Quince on Wednesday after he spoke out earlier this week in a row over proposed cuts to maternity services in Cumbria.

Colchester MP Will Quince

Mr Quince said he was "horrified" to receive abuse from an anonymous Twitter user called The Horse Respecter.

One message said the user was "glad his Tory baby is dead".

Good morning and welcome to today's live updates

Craig Lewis

BBC News

Good morning and welcome to today's live updates from across Essex.

We'll be here until 18:00 bringing you news and analysis from across the region.

First up we'll have a look at the disturbing story of how Colchester MP Will Quince received a "horrfying" Tweet about his stillborn son from one anonymous user on the social media site. 

Thousands left without power as Storm Doris hits the East of England
Several drivers had lucky escapes and fallen power lines caused rail delays.

Overnight weather: Staying windy in places, with some showery rain

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

The region will continue to experience gale force winds, with an amber warning for wind in force until 20:00.  

It’s going to stay windy on the north Norfolk coast, but elsewhere winds will ease down this evening and overnight.  

Rather cloudy at first with some showery rain, which will become more isolated.

There's a risk of a touch of frost and some icy patches as temperatures drop close to freezing - lows of 2C (36F).

Friday's weather map

There'll be a chilly start to Friday, but we'll have much calmer conditions.

It'll be mainly dry with bright or sunny spells, turning cloudier later.

Get the full forecast where you live, from BBC Weather .

Time to blow

Nikki Jenkins

BBC Local Live

That's it for Local Live today. Automatic postings will keep you up to date with any major incidents on the roads as a result of Storm Doris. Details of other problems are here along with any more of today's news.

Please keep in touch on Twitter or Facebook . We've appreciated your help today. We'll bring you the clear-up tomorrow.

Stay safe.

Evacuation letter in the wake of Doris

Here's the letter posted to about 31 homes at Bentleigh Court block of flats in Colchester.

Roofs have been lifted from the buildings, but there are no reports of any injuries.

Letter to Bentleigh Court residents

Met Office shares a view of Storm Doris most of us won't have seen

Philippa Taylor

BBC Local Live

Injury crisis continues for Colchester

Nick Alliker

BBC Essex

Colchester United will be without two more players for the rest of the season.

Defender Frankie Kent has an ankle injury and striker Denny Johnstone has a knee problem. 

However, the U's are hopeful of having Tom Eastman back for the run-in. He's having injections in an ankle injury which it was thought would end his season.

Colchester are at home to Hartlepool on Saturday.


Power out and trees down in Tendring district

The chief executive of Tendring District Council has tweeted an update on the latest problems in north east Essex.

View more on twitter

BreakingSome 64 homes evacuated in Colchester

Essex Police are evacuating 64 homes following concerns that a block of flats on Greenstead Road in Colchester is structurally unsafe.

The force said it was called at about 12:50 following reports from people who felt the building could collapse.

Surrounding roads, including the Avenue of Remembrance, have been closed to traffic and pedestrians.

Police said the closures would cause "significant disruption".

Listen: Wind 'lifted entire roof off'

Disruption to some Greater Anglia services to and from capital

Greater Anglia have had to amend some services between Ipswich and London Liverpool Street, due to overhead wire problems.

The routes affected:

  • 16:02 and 16:32 Liverpool Street to Ipswich services will all terminate at Colchester
  • 15:52 Ipswich to Liverpool Street service will start at Colchester

Storm Doris: Haverhill update

We told you earlier that a roof had been blown off a building in Haverhill, and that the High Street was closed.

The building affected is the Jobcentre.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "Contingency plans are in place, the fire brigade are present and staff have been moved to the Cambridge Office. 

"The office is closed to the public and so customers will be diverted to that office also. 

"Customers who are unable to travel will have telephone interviews." 

If you want to send us a photo of it, use the "Get Involved" button at the top of this feed, where you can find our email, Twitter and Facebook addresses.