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Summary

  1. Updates from Wednesday 7 February

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

That's all for today

Thank you for joining us today.

We will be back at 08:00 tomorrow with all of the region's latest news, travel, sport and weather.

Floating bridge: Ferry troubles have 'hurt island's image'

The ongoing issues with the Isle of Wight's £3.2m chain ferry have "really hurt" the island's image, tourism and local business, a councillor has said.

It has broken down repeatedly since it started service in May and is currently not running after the chain which works its prow broke on Friday night.

Isle of Wight Council said: "It is important to remember that we are still in commissioning trials."

It added it hoped the ferry would be back in service "by the end of the week" - it had been anticipated it would resume on Monday.

The problems which have afflicted the Isle of Wight's new £3.2 chain ferry.

"The replacement launch means shift workers are not able to get home, community activities between both parts of Cowes are curtailed and tourists are not able to use restaurants and eat out. This bridge has really hurt our island's image, tourism and local business."

Karl LoveCouncillor for East Cowes (Ind)

Flats explosion 'likely' to have been an accident

David Lumb

BBC News Online

Explosion aftermath
Alexander Hammonds
Three properties collapsed in the blaze on Gibbs Crescent

An explosion that destroyed three flats and killed a man was likely to have been an accident, an inquest has found.

Guido Schuette, 46, died in the blast in Gibbs Crescent in Oxford on 14 February last year.

Oxford Coroner's Court heard Mr Schuette was heard making threats "to blow this place up" in a row over noise several days before the blast.

But firefighter Bob Speakman suggested a petrol vapour cloud may have accidentally ignited inside the flat.

In a narrative verdict, the coroner said he could not rule out the chance it was caused deliberately but considered it was "less likely".

Police cuts and homelessness subjects of PMQ questions

South of England MPs quiz Theresa May at Prime Minister's Questions.

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Graduate loses bid to sue Oxford over 2:1

Faiz Siddiqui
PA
Faiz Siddiqui sued Oxford university for £1m in damages

A graduate who sued Oxford University over his failure to get a top degree has had his claim dismissed by the high court.

Faiz Siddiqui claimed "inadequate teaching" contributed to his low mark in a final year history paper in 2000.

He alleged this cost him entry to a top US law college and sought £1m from the university.

But in his ruling, Mr Justice Foskett said he was not convinced teaching was "negligently inadequate".

Pensioners' bars of silver stolen by conmen

An elderly couple's £40,000 life savings, including sovereigns and silver bars, have been stolen by bogus water officials.

The three men asked to check taps and the boiler at the property in West Moors, Dorset, on Monday.

When they were gone, the victims found sovereign coins and 6 kg (13 lb) of silver bars had been taken from a safe.

The men were described as having Irish accents, with one being about 6ft 4in tall and well-built with short brown hair, police said.

Severe disruption: M4 Berkshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Berkshire westbound severe disruption, between J6 for A355 Slough and J7 for A4 affecting J4B for M25.

M4 Berkshire - Queuing traffic on M4 westbound between J6, A355 (Slough) and J7, A4 (Slough West), because of an earlier broken down vehicle. Congestion to J4b M25.

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

The woman who opposed the right to vote

The extension of the right to vote to some women in 1918 was a victory for female suffrage campaigners, but was not supported by every woman.

Mary Humphrey Ward, from Oxford, founded the Women's National Anti-Suffrage League and wrote books and articles criticising women's suffrage campaigners.

Southampton chosen for drone research

a drone in flight
PA

Southampton has been chosen as one of five areas in the UK to design drone technology to support local needs.

The city council and the University of Southampton will develop ways to use drones including gathering weather data and monitoring pollution and traffic.

The five-month project is led by the charity Nesta, which supports innovation.

Planning row over Beckham's tree house

David and Victoria Beckham
Reuters
The Beckham's bought their property on the Great Tew estate in December 2016

David and Victoria Beckham have been told they can have a tree house in the garden of their home near Chipping Norton.

They've been given planning permission despite claims it had already been built before approval was granted.

A submission to West Oxfordshire District Council from Great Tew Parish Council said it was built in December.

Another comment from David Holland said it made a "mockery" of planning procedure and "normal folk" would have had to take it down.

The Beckham's moved into the area in December 2016 and have been in the process of converting their property, which had consisted of a set of abandoned farm buildings, into a home.

Documents prepared for West Oxfordshire District Council said the tree house would be a "play area" for the owner's children.

The snowboarder going for Olympic glory

A Southampton snowboarder will be competing for medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Billy Morgan, 28, finished 10th in the Sochi Games four years ago.

Da Vinci drawings to go on show

Saint Sebastian drawing by Leonardo da Vinci next to a drawing of the artist
Tajan/Getty Images
A Da Vinci sketch (left) which was unearthed in 2016 has been valued at £12.4m by a French auction house.

Drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci will go on display in Southampton and 11 other cities next year to mark the 500th anniversary of the Renaissance master's death.

Each venue will simultaneously show 12 drawings taken from the Royal Collection.

Da Vinci's 'designs for gun-barrels and mortars' will be among the works on display at Southampton City Art Gallery from February to May 2019.

The entire collection of 144 works will be exhibited afterwards at The Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace.

Oxford flats explosion: Threat to blow up flats 'wasn't genuine'

David Lumb

BBC News Online

Osney flat blast
BBC

Dr Janet Patterson, a consultant psychiatrist, said at the inquest into the death of Guido Schuette that his threat to blow up his flat could be interpreted as a "playground threat" to get what he wanted.

There was no clear evidence of a psychotic illness and no genuine signs he would commit suicide, she said.

She added: "He was a difficult character who had his way of doing things. He didn't get on with a lot of people."

Severe disruption: A350 Dorset both ways

BBC News Travel

A350 Dorset both ways severe disruption, at A3049.

A350 Dorset - A350 in Poole closed in both directions at Holes Bay North Fire Station Roundabout, because of recovery work.

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

Towersey Festival headliners revealed

The Proclaimers, Richard Thompson, Beth Orton
BBC / BBC / Getty Images

The Proclaimers, the Richard Thompson Electric Trio and Beth Orton have been named as headline acts at this year's Towersey Festival.

The event, established in 1965, takes place at Thame, Oxfordshire, over the August bank holiday weekend.

Veteran duo The Proclaimers will be making their first-ever appearance at Towersey, topping the bill on Saturday 25 August.

Oxford flats explosion: Deceased man 'warned about storing containers in flats'

David Lumb

BBC News Online

Gibbs Crescent blast
Stan Mackrell

Dawn Wightman from A2 Dominion said they had no knowledge of how Guido Schuette was using his flat.

There was no record of anyone going inside it for some time.

But he had been warned about storing containers in the communal area of the flats.

He could be aggressive towards staff and therefore a restriction was imposed on workers' dealings with him.

They'd also sent him a letter inviting him to an appointment to discuss the ongoing noise row.

Oxford flats explosion: Police visited flat days before explosion

David Lumb

BBC News Online

Osney blast site
BBC

Police were called to Guido Schuette's flat on 10 February 2017, four days before the explosion, the inquest has heard.

A neighbour reported hearing him banging and shouting: "Everyone wake up, it's the master, the master's awake".

The inquest also heard from Michael Gurvitz, who spoke to Mr Schuette on the day of the explosion.

Mr Gurvitz said Mr Schuette was distressed, saying no-one was listening to his problems.

He said Mr Schuette been upset with housing association A2 Dominion, and was angry that no-one listening to him about his noise row with Annie May.

A statement from Michael Gurvitz said Mr Schuette had previously burnt out a car in Botley Road.

Police have confirmed a car was found but didn't make any arrests.

Bestival announces line-up

London Grammar, M.I.A., Jorja Smith
BBC; Getty Images; John Marshall/BRIT Awards

London Grammar, M.I.A. and Jorja Smith have been named as headline acts at Bestival 2018.

The event will again be held on the Lulworth Estate in Dorset after moving from the Isle of Wight in 2017.

Grace Jones and Chaka Khan will also be performing at the festival, which takes place this year in August instead of September.

Organiser Rob da Bank said the line-up "covered all bases" from "must see... girls and a few boys too" to "legends in the game".

New Isle of Wight ferry launched in Turkey

Victoria of Wight
Wightlink

A new £30m Solent ferry has been launched from a Turkish shipyard.

Construction of the ship, Victoria of Wight, began in November 2016 at the Cemre shipyard in Yalova.

The flagship Wightlink vessel will undergo trials in the Solent this summer before entering service on the Fishbourne - Portsmouth route.

Pair rescued from car fire after crash

Crashed car
Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Two people have been rescued by a member of the public after their car overturned, collided with a house and caught fire in Charlbury, Oxfordshire.

The vehicle landed upside down near the front door of the property in The Slade on Tuesday evening.

A person released the pair from the car before fire crews arrived at about 21:00 GMT and prevented the blaze from spreading to the building.

Fire station manager Chris Barber said: "The swift actions of a member of the public helped to prevent tragic consequences."

He said the car occupants were "extremely lucky to escape with minor injuries" despite the "level of impact".

Oxford flats explosion: 'Likely accidental in nature'

David Lumb

BBC News Online

Guido Schuette
BBC

One neighbour Ian Francis heard Guido Schuette (pictured) threatening to blow up the flats one day running up to the explosion.

But firefighter Bob Speakman identified two likely ignition sources - from a cigarette, or a spark during vehicle testing, that could have ignited a vapour cloud.

"If Mr Schuette was intending to destroy the flat, why leave 20 litres untouched?" he asked.

"Why not use it all?"

He added: "Three of the four [containers] had lids attached.

"A desperate person is less likely to leave lids attached.

"It was most likely accidental in nature caused either by a spark from smoking, or home-made electrical equipment."

Oxford flats explosion inquest under way

David Lumb

BBC News Online

Gibbs Crescent fire
Alexander Hammonds

An inquest is taking place into the death of Guido Schuette at Oxford Coroner's Court.

He died in a blast that destroyed three flats and badly damaged others in the Gibbs Crescent area of the city on 14 February last year.

Witness statements from his mother Angelika and brother Andreas say he was a "loner" who had grown distant, probably due to mental health issues.

He had four cars registered to him, including two Mercedes. The family said he loved cars.

The inquest also heard he was involved with an ongoing noise dispute with neighbour Annie May.

CCTV revealed he bought 60 litres of fuel in the four weeks prior to the explosion.

Bob Speakman, from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue, described his flat as "less of a residence and more of a car workshop" filled with wheels, alloys, and car batteries.

Det Sup David Whittle hypothesised the blast was an accident caused by an accumulation of petrol vapour.

BreakingBird flu confirmed in Queen's flock

An illness which led to the death of dozens of the Queen's swans in Windsor has been confirmed as Bird Flu, Defra has said.

More than 30 of the swans on the River Thames have died and several more are "still dying".

Seven of the dead birds were sent for testing on Monday after experts suspected an outbreak of avian flu.

Defra has said that the outbreak, which is the largest in England this year, will not lead to a cull of the birds.

Swan
Getty Images

M4 incident - 'driver suffers medical episode'

One lane remains closed on the M4 westbound between junctions 14 for Hungerford and 15 for Swindon.

Paramedics were called to a driver who is believed to have suffered a medical episode, according to Wiltshire Police.

A force spokeswoman said one lane of the carriageway remains closed and the vehicle is on the hard shoulder.

WW1 Victoria Cross 'on sale for £140,000'

The medal was awarded to Corporal Sidney Day who was shot six times during the First World War and later settled in Portsmouth.

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The Prodigy and Paul Weller to top the bill at Victorious

Keith Flint of The Prodigy
BBC
Paul Weller
BBC

The Prodigy and Paul Weller have been named as headliners at this year's Victorious festival in Portsmouth.

The former Jam and Style Council frontman tops the bill on Saturday 25 August while electronic dance band The Prodigy provide the festival finale on Sunday.

The Libertines and Kaiser Chiefs have previously been announced as Friday's headline acts.

Plans revealed for '£20m super recycling plant'

Hampshire's two recycling plants in Alton and Portsmouth could close and be replaced by a single facility in the Eastleigh area, it has been reported.

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Murder inquiry launched over baby's death

Police in Poole have opened a murder investigation following the death of a baby girl.

Officers found a lifeless two-month-old baby at an address in Sunnyside Road after being called by the ambulance service at about 07:20 GMT on Saturday.

She was pronounced dead in hospital.

A 28-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman, both from Poole, have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

The pair have been released under investigation while inquiries continue.

Grumpy app vents commuter frustrations

A man has created an app allowing customers to complain, or "grump", to train companies about poor service.

Nick Schutz created the app because he was tired of the repeated problems he had travelling to work from Wargrave, Berkshire, into London.

"We were about to feed the kievs to our children but luckily noticed the e-cigarette in the bottom of the box," a Portsmouth family tell the BBC

Victoria Park

BBC News

Tesco gives £60 in vouchers to a Hampshire family who say they found an e-cigarette in a box of chicken Kievs.

Read more

E-cigarette 'found in Tesco chicken Kievs'

Chicken kievs and e-cigarette
Family from Havant, Hampshire

Tesco has given £60 in vouchers and some chocolate to a familiy from Havant, Hampshire, who say they found an e-cigarette in a box of chicken Kievs.

"We didn't know what it was at first as we don't smoke and have never used one," the family told BBC News.

In a letter, Tesco told them: "We cannot accept liability for the e-cigarette you found in the kievs."

"It's unlikely the e-cigarette was sold within the packaging," a Tesco spokesperson said.

Travel: Air ambulance attends M4 crash

Severe disruption: M4 Berkshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Berkshire westbound severe disruption, between J14 for A338 and J15 for A346 Marlborough Road.

M4 Berkshire - One lane closed on M4 westbound between J14, A338 (Hungerford) and J15, A346 (Swindon East). Traffic is coping well.

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

Cowes floating bridge won't be back in service today

The Cowes chain ferry which was withdrawn from service on Friday after a prow chain that operates a ramp failed won't be back in service today as hoped.

Isle of Wight Council said it expected the service will resume "by the end of the week".

A replacement launch is operating for foot passengers, while vehicles have to take a 12-mile (19km) detour.

Cowes floating bridge
BBC

Caixia Sun inquest: Boss 'lied' about driving permission

A school head chef told a "sophisticated lie" about events that lead to a pupil's mother being crushed to death by a car, an inquest heard.

Caixia Sun, 50, of Sunningdale, Ascot, was hit by a Ford Galaxy in the grounds of Sunningdale School on 5 November 2015.

Kitchen porter Melvin Owusu Ansah, who held a provisional driving licence, was driving the vehicle.

His boss Darren Appleby said he had not instructed him to drive it.

Caixia Sun
Family handout

He told Reading Coroner's Court: "The van sped away really quickly and I tried to flag him down and say ''oi, come back' but he proceeded to go and park the van".

The inquest heard Mr Appleby initially told police Mr Owusu Ansah, then aged 19, had asked if he could move the people carrier to the car park and he had told him "OK".

But when interviewed by the Health and Safety Executive seven months later, Mr Appleby said he had responded "no, no".

Counsel for Mr Sun's family, Robert Wastell, said to the head chef: "What you just told the coroner is an obvious and sophisticated lie".

Weather: A frosty start then sunshine

Dan Downs has Wednesday's forecast for the south of England.

Good morning

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