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Summary

  1. Updates for Friday 3 March 2017
  2. Crackhead jailed for 12 years for flat fire killing
  3. Driver in his 60s charged over road crash death
  4. Failure to pay stops us investing, says train operator
  5. Weather: Turning wet through the morning

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Andrew Woodger

BBC News

BBC Local Live: Essex is signing off for the week, but you can carry on monitoring this page for football reports and other breaking news across the weekend.

Here are the headlines across the county on Friday:

Have a great weekend and we'll see you again with regular updates from 08:00 on Monday.

Weather: Rain later, but feeling mild

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

A mainly dry evening, but rain will spread across the whole of the BBC East region later.

It'll turn misty, but feel mild with temperatures falling to 7C (44F).

WEeather graphic for 15:00 Saturday
BBC

A grey and misty start to the weekend, with outbreaks of rain.

It will become drier and brighter by Saturday afternoon, with sunny spells by the end of the day.

Feeling mild, with temperatures reaching 11C (52F).

Visit BBC Weather for more details where you are.

Drug addict arsonist's actions 'disgusting and unforgiveable'

Lisa Connelly, 42, also of Rochdale Way, Colchester, was jailed for 12 years for manslaughter and eight years for arson, to run concurrently.

Lisa Connelly
Essex Police

Det Ch Insp Steve Jennings said: "Fred Payne was an elderly, vulnerable man with no traceable relatives.

"Lisa Connelly exploited of him, inserting herself in his life, taking over his house, and stealing money on a daily basis to feed her drug addiction.

"She left Mr Payne unwell and took no action which may have saved his life. If it were not for her actions and her negligence Mr Payne would still be alive.

"Lisa Connelly’s actions were disgusting and unforgiveable. 

"While today’s sentence will give her ample opportunity to reflect on what she has done, it will not bring Fred back.”   

Crack-addict arsonist jailed after 78-year-old Good Samaritan dies in house fire

A drug addict has been jailed for 12 years after she admitted the manslaughter of an elderly man who had taken her into his home in Colchester.

Fred Payne, 78, died after a fire at his home on Rochdale Way on 4 September.

Rochdale Way
BBC

Lisa Connelly, 42, who lived there, claimed at first to be his granddaughter, but the subsequent police investigation revealed this to be a lie.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard prosecutors say Mr Payne, who was in ill health, took her in and gave her a home.

She took money from him to fund her crack cocaine habit, which she had had since she was 30 years old.

She was charged with murder and arson with intent to endanger life, but admitted the lesser charge of manslaughter today and was jailed this afternoon.

Final fund-raising gig for Superglu's trip to the US

The second fundraising gig to help SuperGlu , who are based in Ipswich and Manningtree, get to the SXSW Festival in the USA, is taking place at The Swan in Ipswich tonight.

Superglu
Chris Driver Photography

The first gig, at the Hunter Club in Bury St Edmunds last weekend, brought in £925 and should have been followed by a gig in Hackney last night, but the venue closed.

Drummer Ben Ward said: "We have been absolutely blown away by the generosity of the Bury St Edmunds music scene.

"We have always enjoyed an incredible reception from fans at shows there, but this was something else. 

"The money raised has helped so much, we can never thank everyone enough." 

Travel costs for the band, which has been picked to play three showcase gigs at the Texas festival, are in the region of £2,000.  

Dog re-homing centre has influx of border collies

An Essex rehoming centre is appealing for help as they try to find new homes for 11 border collies, following an influx of the breed.

Staff at the Wickford-based Dogs Trust Basildon  say they are baffled as to why the eleven dogs are being overlooked by visitors.

View more on youtube

Filmed above is one of the 11 dogs, three-year-old Colleen, who is said to need a patient owner who can help her flourish. She needs to be the only pet, and can live with teens of 14 years and up.

Lisa Cooper, centre manager, said: "Sadly, we are seeing many of these types of dogs being handed in when they become too much for their owners who have not considered the implications of owning a breed that requires a lot of mental and physical stimulation. 

"They need regular exercise so it is important that we find owners who understand the demands of this breed and are in a position to offer a life-long commitment."

Ryman League: Lacklustre Leiston lacking leaders

Brenner Woolley

BBC Radio Suffolk sport

Leiston will be trying to get their season back on track when they head to Hendon in the Ryman Premier Division tomorrow afternoon.

Glenn Driver
Leiston FC

The Victory Road side has lost five of their last six games, falling out of the play-off places in the process.

"We've got to go to Hendon and stop this rot," said boss Glenn Driver. 

"I look at us at this moment in time and we haven't got enough leaders on the pitch."

AFC Sudbury host Folkestone Invicta, Needham Market are at Tonbridge Angels,  Lowestoft Town head to Burgess Hill while  Bury Town  travel to Haringey Borough in the North Division.

Stabilisation project is 'keeping promise' says councillor

The work beginning to stabilise cliffs on the Clacton to Holland-on-Sea coastline is part of a much larger project ahead, says the councillor in charge at Tendring District Council.

Nick Turner, cabinet member for commercialisation, seafronts and parking, said: "The team will be reviewing the existing cliff drainage systems and undertaking a number of surveys. 

Cllr Nick Turner
Tendring District Council

"This early work will help us to shape the various options we need to consider and eventually use to stabilise the cliffs.

"When we announced this programme would be taking place we promised that we would keep residents informed all the way along – as we did with the major £36m Coastal Protection project – and we are keeping that promise.”

What will happen during the cliff stabilisation project?

The initial work on the cliff stabilisation project along the Clacton to Holland-on-Sea coastline will involve eight sample boreholes being sunk on the Greensward. 

The holes, on the grassy area at the top of the cliffs, will go 10m down, or at least two metres into the London Clay.  

A further eight holes will be made on the slope itself and water samples will be sent off for laboratory testing and water levels monitored throughout the process.

Tendring District Council says the benefits of the project include "cost-effective maintenance of the cliffs, an improved public realm and experience for residents and visitors" and an opportunity to restore beach huts.

Magic moments from FA People's Cup

#PeoplesCup

Cheeky chips, celebrations and managerial sackings - watch 10 magic moments from the first round of the FA People's Cup...... 

More than 6,000 teams signed up for the 2017 FA People's Cup, which has 16 separate categories

You'll be able to watch a highlights programme from the first round of the nationwide five-a-side competition on the iPlayer from 06:00 GMT Saturday, 4 March and on the red button from 14:10 GMT on Saturday and throughout the weekend.

Work to begin on £5m project to stabilise Essex cliffs

Initial work on a £5m project to stabilise the cliffs along the Clacton to Holland-on-Sea coastline is due to get under way later this month.

The coastline between Clacton and Holland-on-Sea
Tendring District Council

A ground investigation programme will begin on 13 March with the aim of providing valuable information towards forming the design of the scheme.

Much of the investigation will revolve around the features and properties of the London clay in the slopes as well as the thickness and composition of superficial deposits.

Head teacher threatens to quit in funding cuts row

Chris Bond

BBC Sunday Politics East

An Essex school head has threatened to resign if government plans to cut his school budget by £765,000 go ahead. 

Vic Goddard, principal of Passmores Academy in Harlow, which featured in Channel 4's Educating Essex, said proposed changes to the funding formula could mean larger class sizes and the loss of 20 teachers. 

But he's vowed not to implement such a plan. 

"There will be a difficult choice at some point," said Mr Goddard. 

"I am not prepared to come into this profession which I love so much and ruin children's lives. It's not fair on the kids." 

Vic Goddard, Principal of Passmores Academy
BBC
Vic Goddard, Principal of Passmores Academy

Figures from the Department for Education (DfE) show 149 Essex schools could be worse off under the proposed funding formula while 383 would get more cash in the shake up. 

A statement from the DfE said the current way of calculating school budgets was "unfair, opaque and outdated" and consultations were under way to fix this. 

"In Essex school funding would go up by 2.6% (by over £20m) if the proposed new funding formula were implemented," the statement said. 

"We know it is important that we get the formulae and system right so that every pound of the investment we make in education has the greatest impact."  

But the teaching unions say that DfE figures do not tell the whole story and, when adjusted for inflation and rising costs, around 500 Essex schools will be worse off. 

Jerry Glazier, from the NUT in Essex, said the formula would not even fund current levels of teaching and resources. 

"That is what is wrong with this formula - it is not giving enough money to schools," he said.

Jerry Glazier, National Union of Teachers
BBC
Jerry Glazier, National Union of Teachers

There will be more on this story on the BBC Sunday Politics East on BBC1 on Sunday, 5 March at 11:00.

Bad news: Two further injuries for Colchester United

Colchester United will be without Kurtis Guthrie and Craig Slater for the rest of the League Two season.

Both players will need surgery on injuries. 

Guthrie (pictured left) is the U's leading scorer while influential midfielder Craig Slater joined from Kilmarnock last summer.

Kurtis Guthrie
Getty Images

Colchester United's Macauley Bonne return gives 'forward options'

Colchester United have Macauley Bonne back available for tomorrow's League Two match at Cambridge United , having returned from a loan spell with Woking. 

A statement on the club's website says the player's loan with the Vanarama National side expired on Tuesday.

Macauley Bonne playing against Northampton Town back in 2015
Getty Images

It read: "With Denny Johnstone and Kurtis Guthrie picking up injuries in recent weeks, Macauley's return will give the U's forward options a boost ahead of the final twelve games of the League Two season.

"During his loan stint, he played seven times for Woking, starting on five occasions and helped the Cards to ten points in their efforts to move away from trouble in the league."

Lorry driver charged with causing death by dangerous driving

Essex Police say a Kent lorry driver has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, following a fatal road crash in Orsett - a different accident to the one we mentioned earlier.

The two-vehicle collision happened in Dock Approach Road in July, and a 60-year-old car passenger from Grays died at the scene. 

The accused man is due to appear at Basildon Magistrates Court next month.  

Final report into airshow disaster published

Air accident investigators have published their final report into the Shoreham airshow disaster in 2015. 

A vintage jet, which was based at the North Weald airfield in south Essex, was performing a stunt when it crashed onto a road and killed eleven people

The Shoreham air crash
EPA

The investigators found that the pilot, Andy Hill, 52, from Hertfordshire, who survived, started a loop stunt too low and too slow. 

The report said he could have taken action to abort the display. 

Happy ending to 'tail' of disabled dumped dogs

Two tiny disabled dogs who were found abandoned by the roadside in August have now settled into their "paw-fect" new homes.

The RSPCA launched an investigation after the chihuahuas, three-year-old Peggy and her six-week-old puppy Pip, were found by the side of the A127 in Basildon in Essex.

The future didn't look bright for the tiny pair - Peggy was missing part of her left leg, and Pip was missing part of her brain - leaving her blind and with no functioning eyelids.

Pip and Peggy, sitting on a cushion
RSPCA

After a search to find a special home for the disabled pair, they've now settled into the life of luxury with Penny Andrews and her four cats, a budgie, cockatiel, tortoise and a Jack Russell cross dachshund - and Penny's daughter Jess..

Penny, who lives in Hunstanton and is a volunter at her local RSPCA charity shop, says all the animals get on well, with the dogs sleeping in the bed under a duvet a night.

They have come a long way and now live the life of luxury... they’ve settled in so well. I saw them on social media and fell in love with them, they were just so cute and I thought: ‘I can look after them’.”

Penny Andrews

Billericay Town 'sorry to announce' manager's departure

Essex non-league side Billericay Town are starting life without long-time manager Craig Edwards, after he parted company with the club yesterday.

In a statement on the website, the club said it was sorry to announce that Mr Edwards had left and thanked him for a "great seven years".

Football
BBC

It said: "Craig joined the club in April 2010 and led the club to its first Essex Senior Cup title since 1976.  

"The following season he managed the club to Isthmian League Premier Division glory, taking them in to the Conference South.

"The management, fans and everyone linked with the club would like to thank Craig for a great seven years and wish him all the best for the future."

Drugs-in-yams gang leader gets extra two months for wasting court time

The ring leader of a gang which smuggled drugs into the UK inside fake yams has been given an extra two months behind bars for "wasting court time" with a hopeless bid to clear his name.

Ronnie Melius ran a firm which shipped seemingly harmless consignments of vegetables from the Carribean and west Africa.

An investigation found he and his gang were actually importing large quantities of cocaine and cannabis, hidden inside yams made of fibreglass in 2011.

Police believed the gang smuggled about 1.7 tonnes of drugs into the UK - thought to be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Box of fake yams
SOCA

Melius was jailed for 24 years at Reading Crown Court in November 2012 after being found guilty of importing the class A and B drugs.

The 49-year-old, of Sedge Court in Grays, Essex, had launched a bid to clear his name at the Court of Appeal.

He argued his case was a mis-trial because the prosecution involved an overseas plot and therefore should have been approved by the Attorney General.

But his appeal bid was dismissed by three judges, who said the conspiracy took place in the UK and his case was "hopeless".

They added two months to the time he will spend in prison because of his "persistence" in taking up the court's time with it.

Driver in his 60s charged over road crash death

A 61-year-old car driver has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, after a road crash in Orsett in which a motorcyclist was killed.

Douglas Dines, 55, from Grays died at the scene of the collision in Stanford Road last September. 

The accused driver is due to appear at Basildon Magistrates Court next month. 

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London clockwise severe disruption, between J25 for A10 and J26 for A121.

M25 Greater London - Queuing traffic and one lane blocked on M25 clockwise between J25, A10 (Enfield) and J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Check out Essex police's tweet: Spaniels in the van ahead of their training

Failure to pay stops us investing, says train operator

Rail operator Greater Anglia, says ticket prices are having to rise as a result of the number of people who are failing to pay the correct fare. 

Earlier this week, more than 100 passengers were prosecuted, and found guilty of a range of offences on the regional rail network. 

Greater Anglia train
BBC

Juliette Maxam, from Greater Anglia, said: "The trouble is, if people aren't paying for their tickets, that means we're not getting the money from their tickets, and we use that money to invest in the railway to make it better for every passenger. 

"So, if you don't pay for your ticket, you're not only not allowing us to invest in the railway, but also it ends up with the prices going up for everybody as well."

All the people...So many people...

And they all... Read... Music News.... Music News... through their... Work liiiife.

Know what I mean?

View more on twitter

Morning all.

We're going Britpop mad today to mark 6 Music's 1994 day.

But we're not only looking back, as it's New Music Friday of course and we'll have fresh tunes from Lorde (who wasn't even born then), Ed Sheeran (who was three) and Little Mix (who were also barely out of nappies).

Plus, later, 5 Things We Learned This Week.

For now have a listen to our special 94 playlist  while you sneak one last look at yesterday's blog  for news of Adele's fire-free show down under and a surprise 40th birthday prezzie for Coldplay's Chris Martin... from himself.

Fifteen cars alight in scrap yard blaze

Firefighters have been dealing with a blaze at a scrap yard in Colchester overnight, where 15 cars caught fire and had to be extinguished.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service said it was called to a site on Haven Road at 23:45.

It took two crews about an hour to get the fire out. The cause of the blaze isn't yet known.

Greater Anglia warns of cancellation

Greater Anglia 'should use discretion' over fare dodger prosecutions

The Conservative MP for Colchester says discretion should be used by local rail operators as they clamp down on fare dodgers. 

Earlier this week, more than 100 passengers were prosecuted, and found guilty, of a range of offences on the Greater Anglia network. The company said a "common-sense approach" was used.

Will Quince
BBC

"My concern is around people who do the right thing, but make honest mistakes," said Will Quince MP.

"I want to make sure all rail operating companies, including GA, are using discretion where appropriate.

"Where people have paid over £50 to get to and from London in a day, or £5,000 for a season ticket, that they're not penalised for sitting in the wrong seat, or when the train's full they sit in the wrong carriage, or they forget their season ticket."

Listen: Fare-dodging problems 'cost train companies millions'

East Anglian train operator Greater Anglia says its ticket inspectors issue between 4,000 and 6,000 penalty fares a month - but the issue of fare-dodging is costing companies millions, says Greater Anglia's Juliette Maxam:

View more on twitter

Weather: Turning wet through the morning

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

After what looks like a promising start, cloud will thicken with persistent and occasionally heavy rain spreading north  through the morning. 

The rain will hang around the further north you are for much of the afternoon, but further south things will clear.

A cloudy end to the day for most of us. Highs today of 10C, that's 50F.  

Check the latest forecast for where you live with BBC Weather.

Welcome to today's live updates for Essex

Jodie Halford

BBC News

Good morning and welcome to Friday. Here on the Essex Local Live page, we're pleased that it's Friday but sad that it's raining - more on the latter shortly when we bring you the weather forecast.

We'll be here until 18:00 with all the latest news, sport, aforementioned weather and travel for Essex. You can email us if you'd like to chat, or if you've got stories or photos to send.

Greater Anglia
BBC

The top story we'll be following this morning is about fare dodging - train operator Greater Anglia says the number of people who fail to pay the correct fare is costing millions of pounds and ticket prices have to go up as a result.

More on this coming up.

Severe disruption: A13 Essex eastbound

BBC News Travel

A13 Essex eastbound severe disruption, at A176 Nether Mayne affecting A1013 Stanford Road.

A13 Essex - A13 in Basildon closed eastbound at Five Bells Interchange. Congestion to Stanford-Le-Hope Turn Off and to Pitsea Flyover.

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

Severe congestion: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe congestion, from J29 for A127 to J27 for M11.

M25 Greater London - Queuing traffic for ten miles on M25 anticlockwise from J29, A127 (Romford) to J27 M11. Travel time is around 30 minutes.

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

Severe accident: M11 Essex northbound

BBC News Travel

M11 Essex northbound severe accident, between J6 for M25 and J7 for A414.

M11 Essex - M11 partially blocked and slow traffic northbound between J6 M25 and J7, A414 (Harlow), because of an accident involving three vehicles.

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

Severe accident: A13 Essex both ways

BBC News Travel

A13 Essex both ways severe accident, between Southchurch Avenue and A1160 Queensway.

A13 Essex - A13 Southchurch Road in Southend-On-Sea closed in both directions between the Southchurch Avenue junction and the A1160 Queensway junction, because of an accident.

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

Our live coverage throughout the day

Nikki Jenkins

BBC Local Live

Thanks for joining us again today, it's been busy.

Scroll back for all the main stories and reaction. Automatic postings continue to keep you up to date on weather and traffic overnight and we'll be back again from 08:00 on Friday.

Severe disruption: M25 Kent anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Kent anti-clockwise severe disruption, between J1A for A206 and J31 for A1306 affecting J2 for A2.

M25 Kent - Very slow traffic on M25 Dartford Tunnel anticlockwise between J1a, A206 (Erith) and J31, A1306 (West Thurrock), because of an earlier broken down vehicle. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J2, A2 (Darenth Interchange).

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

Overnight weather: Dry with clear spells

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Staying dry this evening with clear spells.

Overnight temperatures are expected to drop to 3C (37F) early on, but as cloud increases from the west they'll recover to about 7C (45F) by the end of the night.

Friday's weather map
BBC

Tomorrow will be rather cloudy with outbreaks of rain, some heavy, although it'll be come drier and a little brighter later, with further showers following.

Top temperature: 10C (50F)

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