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Summary

  1. Updates for Friday, 7 April, 2017
  2. Child rapist jailed for 22 years for offences in the 1970s and 80s
  3. .. meanwhile a football coach is jailed for sex offences against boys
  4. Essex spends £5m scrapping equipment
  5. High Court bid to stop unauthorised travellers site
  6. Payouts 'change culture of school'
  7. TalkTalk scam hits Southend man

Live Reporting

By Nic Rigby

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Welcome to live coverage for Essex in a new week

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Hello and welcome to Monday's Essex Live and a new week. 

We're here throughout the day, bringing you the latest news from across the county. But you are our eyes and ears so if you want to share your news with us click the "Get involved" button at the top of the page to get in touch.

Georgina Burnett will be here shortly with the forecast and it's a chilly start to the day with a cooling northerly breeze so the weekend warmth is not likely to be repeated.

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe disruption, after J28 for A1023 Brook Street affecting J30 for A13 Lakeside.

M25 Greater London - Slow traffic on M25 anticlockwise after J28, A1023 (Brook Street Roundabout), because of earlier debris on the road. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J30, A13 (Lakeside).

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

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London clockwise severe disruption, between J29 for A127 and J30 for A13 Lakeside.

M25 Greater London - Two lanes closed on M25 clockwise between J29, A127 (Romford) and J30, A13 (Lakeside), because of debris on the road. Traffic is coping well.

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

Severe disruption: M25 Essex clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex clockwise severe disruption, between J26 for A121 and J27 for M11.

M25 Essex - One lane closed and slow traffic on M25 clockwise between J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey) and J27 M11, because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Severe accident: M25 Greater London clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London clockwise severe accident, at J29 for A127.

M25 Greater London - M25 lane closed on exit slip road to the roundabout below the motorway and very slow traffic clockwise at J29, A127 (Romford), because of an accident.

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

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 - One lane closed on M25 clockwise between J25, A10 (Enfield) and J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey), because of a broken down car.

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

Severe accident: M25 Greater London clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London clockwise severe accident, at J29 for A127 affecting J28 for A1023 Brook Street.

M25 Greater London - M25 lane blocked on exit slip road, slow traffic and two lanes closed clockwise at J29, A127 (Romford), because of an accident. Congestion to J28, A1023 (Brook Street Roundabout).

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

Why did Boris Johnson cancel his Moscow visit?
Priti Patel explains why the Syria crisis played a part in Boris Johnson cancelling his Moscow visit.
Football

A superb first-half display gives Colchester a thumping 4-0 victory over fellow League Two play-off hopefuls Stevenage.

Read more

Severe accident: M11 Essex southbound

BBC News Travel

M11 Essex southbound severe accident, between J6 for M25 and J4 for A406.

M11 Essex - One lane closed on M11 southbound between J6 M25 and J4, A406 (Woodford), because of an accident.

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

Haseeb Hameed

England's Haseeb Hameed shrugs off injury to make 47 for Lancashire in their Championship season opener against Essex.

Read more

Severe disruption: M25 Essex clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex clockwise severe disruption, between J26 for A121 and J27 for M11 affecting J25 for A10.

M25 Essex - One lane blocked and queuing traffic on M25 clockwise between J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey) and J27 M11, because of a broken down lorry. Congestion to J25, A10 (Enfield).

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

All the news through the day

Thanks for joining us for Friday's live updates for Essex. Our coverage has now finished for the week, but if any news breaks overnight or over the weekend then you'll find it here.

If you want to read more, just scroll down the page and have a catch-up with our top stories.

We'll be back on Monday at 08:00.

Weather: Get ready for a warm weekend

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

It will be a dry night with long clear spells. There may be some patchy mist and fog and a touch of ground frost in places. 

Minimum temperature: 2C (36F). 

Weather map
BBC

It will be a cold start to Saturday, but any mist and fog should quickly clear to leave a largely sunny day. 

There may be a bit more patchy cloud in the east for a time. Light winds and highs inland of 18C (64F). 

Patchy mist and fog should clear very quickly on Sunday to leave another fine, dry and very warm day, with temperatures about 22C (72F). 

Much cooler and cloudier on Monday, with a few showers.

BBC Weather has more.

Child rapist jailed for 22 years for Essex attacks

Nic Rigby

BBC News

A man has been jailed for 22 years after admitting rape, indecency and other sexual offences against children in Essex aged between five and 15.

Christopher Francis
Essex Police

Christopher Francis, 70, of Palmerston Mews, Bournemouth, was living in the Maldon area in the 1970s and 80s when the offences, which relate to four victims, took place.

On 24 February at Chelmsford Crown Court, Francis admitted two rapes, 11 counts of indecency with a child, eight indecent assaults and two counts of taking indecent photographs of a child.

He was sentenced today.The offences came to light when Francis, was arrested during a separate investigation by Dorset Police in 2015. In December 2016, Essex Police charged Francis with 23 sexual offences against children.Essex's Det Con Carol Astbury said: "Christopher Francis is a dangerous abuser who subjected his victims to evil crimes over several years."They were young and vulnerable and he took advantage of them."

Top senior managers at Harlow Council set to leave

Nic Rigby

BBC News

Two of Harlow Council 's top senior managers are to leave the authority by agreement to save money.

Harlow Council
Harlow Council

Chief executive Malcolm Morley will move on by end of October with the council's chief operating officer Graham Branchett leaving before him by the end of July.

Last night’s council meeting agreed to a proposal which will see both posts deleted and replaced by a new single chief officer post of managing director. 

Reducing the top management team to one post will save over £424,000 over the next four years. 

Jon Clempner, Labour leader of Harlow Council, said: "Reducing the council’s most senior management structure to one post will not impact on frontline services, but will help to protect services and other jobs."  

High Court warning over caravans at Hovefields

A High Court judge is today warning against the placing of any further caravans on a plot of land off Hovefields Avenue in Wickford.

The site has been layed with roads and plots with hard surfaces, while electricity has been installed.

However, Basildon Borough Council has taken out an injunction to stop any developments, and return it to its original state.

A further hearing is due to take place next month.

A High Court hearing about a neighbouring, but separate, part of the site called Silva Lodge Kennels is due to take place on Tuesday.

NSPCC statement on child sex abuser who was football coach

Nic Rigby

BBC News

We earlier reported that a football coach has been jailed for nine years for grooming and sexual activity with teenage boys.

Chelmsford Crown Court
BBC

At Chelmsford Crown Court, Robert Ellis, 50, of Church End, Harlow,  was found guilty of grooming a boy under 16 and six counts of engaging in sexual activity with a boy aged under 15.  

The children's charity the  NSPCC  has issued a statement saying: "Ellis is a devious and manipulative sexual predator who used his position as a football coach to commit vile abuse against children.

"His sickening actions will have a long-lasting effect on his victims and it’s important they receive all possible support to help rebuild their lives. 

"We hope they can take some comfort from today’s sentence and the fact that Ellis’s campaign of abuse has finally come to an end."

Ryman League: Suffolk clubs continue their promotion battle

Brenner Woolley

BBC Radio Suffolk sport

Leiston have an excellent chance to get their Ryman Premier Division play-off push back on track tomorrow with a home game against struggling Leatherhead.

Leiston FC
Leiston FC

Glenn Driver's men are still third in the table despite losing their last three matches.

Fellow promotion chasers Needham Market , who are outside the top five, but only on goal difference, head to Metropolitan Police.

AFC Sudbury's relegation battle continues at home to leaders Bognor Regis, while Lowestoft Town can do Leiston and Needham a favour by beating fourth-placed Dulwich Hamlet.

Bury Town entertain Cheshunt in the North Division.

Severe accident: M11 Essex northbound

BBC News Travel

M11 Essex northbound severe accident, at J9 for A11 Saffron Walden.

M11 Essex - M11 partially blocked and queuing traffic northbound at J9 A11 Saffron Walden, because of an accident.

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

From the archives: German prisoners of war in Colchester 1947

Some 70 years ago this month, a photographer took a picture of Hans and Helmuth, German prisoners of war in Colchester, leaving the hut for a walk to say goodbye before they were released. The animals in the photograph are strays cared for by the prisoners.


          Hans and Helmuth, German prisoners of war in Colchester, Essex leaving the hut for a walk to say goodbye before they were released in 1947
Getty Images

Kick-start your career with street cricket

#GetInspired

As the County Cricket season gets underway today,  England opener Haseeb Hameed gives his support to a different form of the game....

Street Cricket: From tape balls to playing at the highest level

If you want to find out more about how to get into cricket, take a look at the Get Inspired guide.

Wheater keeping wicket for Essex

BBC Sport

Adam Wheater (pictured) is keeping wicket for Essex in their opening County Championship match of the season against Lancashire which started at Chelmsford today.

Adam Wheater
Getty Images

Former captain James Foster has been left out of the 13 man squad which includes winter signings Neil Wagner and Simon Harmer.  

Follow all the action from the County Championship's six matches at  BBC Sport's live page .

Expert's views on Brentwood jockey's chances in Grand National

Cornelius Lysaght

BBC horse racing correspondent at Aintree

With Aintree being on Merseyside, where red is so prevalent in football (for one half of Liverpool at least), and the fact many people worldwide believe it their lucky colour, Definitly Red (pictured at Haydock in 2015) is sure to be all the rage. 

Definitly Red at Haydock Races on February 14, 2015
Getty Images

And the credentials of the Brian Ellison-trained runner, who has an attractive mid-range weight, add up too: he's the winner of three races this season, earning his place in the line-up with a fine-jumping success over 2016 runner-up The Last Samuri (also misspelled, you might have noticed) in Doncaster's Grimthorpe Chase.

The preparation of Definitly Red, one of three fancied runners - along with One For Arthur and Highland Lodge - from jump racing's currently less fashionable Northern and Scottish circuit, is described by Yorkshire-based Ellison as "better than perfect". 

Danny Cook pictured at Wetherby Racecourse on March 22, 2016
Getty Images

On board, riding in the silks of owner Phil Martin, will be jockey Danny Cook (pictured at Wetherby in 2016), from Brentwood, whose appearance on jump racing's biggest stage is, in a way, doubly unlikely.

Not only has Cook successfully rebuilt his reputation after serving a six-month ban in 2015 following a positive test for cocaine - "a catastrophic error of judgement" - he might also have been facing rather more formidable opponents than Becher's Brook and The Chair.

As a teenager, he applied to the Army as well as to the Northern Racing College - it's the Grand National's gain that the NRC answered first.

Arriving aged 16 at the Racing College, Cook had never sat on a horse and admits to be being scared of them.

Severe disruption: M25 Essex anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex anti-clockwise severe disruption, between J26 for A121 and J25 for A10.

M25 Essex - One lane closed and slow traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey) and J25, A10 (Enfield), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Tour offer to Paul O'Grady after reports he insulted Southend

Nic Rigby

BBC News

TV presenter Paul O'Grady has been invited on a tour of an Essex town after reportedly lambasting it on his revamp of Blind Date. 

Paul O'Grady and Cilla Black
PA

The comedian used insulting language to describe Southend-on-Sea as a place for "single mothers" on the Channel 5 reboot of the dating show, The Sun has reported.

Southend Council and Visit Southend responded on Twitter by suggesting O'Grady "hadn't visited for a while".

"Who would help us give him a tour of the best of Southend?" they tweeted.

The BBC has contacted Mr O'Grady's manager and a statement is due to be issued later by Channel 5.

BreakingFootball coach jailed for grooming teenagers

Nic Rigby

BBC News

A football coach has been jailed for nine years for grooming and sexual activity with teenage boys. Robert Ellis, 50, of Church End, Harlow, denied one charge of meeting a boy aged under 16 following grooming, six counts of engaging in sexual activity with a boy aged under 15 and three counts of sexual touching.

Robert Ellis
Essex Police

He stood trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, where he was found guilty of all charges on 28 February and was sentenced today. 

The court heard that Ellis met one of the 15-year-old victims online in April 2015.

He invited him to football matches, claimed to have talent-spotted goalkeepers and offered to coach the teenager, who was from Lincolnshire.

Ellis, a civil servant, arranged to meet him in a park in July 2015 where they played football and later went for a meal.

The boy's mother reported Ellis to local police after finding out and banned her son from contacting him again.

However, they resumed contact in December 2015 and arranged to meet.

This was reported to police and Ellis was arrested in January 2016, before the meeting could take place.

During the course of their inquiries, officers spoke to another young man who said he had been in a sexual relationship with Ellis when he was 15 after they met online.

During the police investigation, it was also found Ellis had been banned by the Football Association from taking part in any FA-football related activity involving under 18s, since December 2013.

However, he continued to take part in informal football sessions in Harlow that were not covered by this ban. 

Essex jockey set for the Grand National

BBC Sport

An Essex jockey says he's nervous, but can't wait to take part in tomorrow's Grand National at Aintree .

Danny Cook pictured riding Yesyoucan at Haydock in 2012
Getty Images

Danny Cook, who grew up in Romford and has a home in Brentwood, is riding one of the favourites.

He's told BBC Essex today is all about looking after his horse Definitly Red (there's a missing e in his name, it is believed whoever filled out the horse's registration papers wasn't a great speller). 

Cook (pictured riding Yesyoucan at Haydock in 2012) said: "He [Definitly Red] had a gallop this morning, not a hard gallop. That should put him spot-on ready for tomorrow.

"You have got to keep him fresh as well as fit - to find a happy medium."

South Essex gymnast Tinkler competing in World Cup

Olympic bronze medallist Amy Tinkler, now part of the South Essex Gymnastics Club in Basildon, hopes to rise to the big occasion once again as the World Cup of Gymnastics heads to the O2 Arena in London on Saturday.

Amy Tinkler
Getty Images

The 17-year-old is part of a four-strong Great Britain team which also includes fellow Rio Olympian Brinn Bevan, London 2012 bronze medallist Sam Oldham and Georgia-Mae Fenton.

Tinkler (pictured) switched to the South Essex GC from her "home" club in County Durham after her Rio success and is looking to step up her comeback after being hampered by a minor calf injury at the National Championships last month.

Amy Tinkler
Getty Images

Tinkler said: "The World Cup is my first big event of the year and I'm really looking to go out there and enjoy it.

"I don't feel any extra pressure because of what I did in Rio.

"I feel more motivated than ever to get back in what is going to be another really big year for me. I'm excited to compete in London in front of a massive crowd and it will definitely boost my performance."

Severe disruption: M25 Essex anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex anti-clockwise severe disruption, between J27 for M11 and J26 for A121.

M25 Essex - One lane blocked and slow traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J27 M11 and J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey), because of a broken down tipper truck.

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

From the archive: Nazi women at Tilbury

Some 79 years ago this month, at Tilbury docks, a group of women were photographed giving the Nazi salute on the deck of the Wilhelm Gustloff .


          A group of women at Tilbury photographed giving the Nazi salute on the deck of the Wilhelm Gustloff
get

The ship was a floating polling station enabling the 2,500 German citizens in Britain to vote in Nazi Germany's 1938 plebiscite on bringing together Germany and Austria.

A month earlier German troop had marched into Austria to complete the "Anchluss".

TalkTalk scam hits Southend man

Nic Rigby

BBC News

Essex Police are warning people about a scam by fraudsters claiming to be ringing from TalkTalk. It comes after a 73-year-old from Southend had a four-figure sum stolen.

TalkTalk
Reuters

The pensioner had the money taken from his account by a bogus caller who claimed the victim was due compensation of £200, but that £7,500 had been incorrectly deposited into his bank account. 

The fraudster, who had the victim’s TalkTalk account number, asked him to download a software application so that the "error" could be corrected.

However, the suspect used the software to remotely access his account.

A further victim in her late 80s was persistently called by the fraudster, but she did not give him access to her account. PC Jim Aldridge said: "TalkTalk has stated it will never call customers and ask for bank details, unless they have specific permission to do so."

Man, caught in Essex speed campaign, to be extradited

Essex Police say a man has been arrested on a European warrant during a special road safety operation in Braintree. 

 He's now being extradited to Romania to complete a theft offence sentence.

Police caught 52 people speeding, five vehicles were seized and 23 people were found not wearing a seatbelt during Wednesday's clampdown.