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  1. Updates from Tuesday 24 March 2015
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

That's it for Local Live for today.

The service will resume at 08:00 on Wednesday. In the meantime you can get in touch with the team

via email.

Tonight's television

Sinead Carroll

Reporter, BBC South Today

On tonight's

BBC South Today from 18:30 on BBC One:

Springhill Prison
  • Freeing a double killer from Springhill Prison, who went on to murder a Good Samaritan, was "indefensible" according to an official report
  • Ten men have been sent to prison for a total of 87 years for running a drugs operation in Oxfordshire
  • And a court's been hearing from the manager of a designer store in Bicester Village, where a four-year-old boy died after being crushed by a mirror

Freezing temperatures

Alexis Green

Weather presenter, BBC South Today

Any lingering showers tonight will fade and under clear skies temperatures will fall to freezing (0C/32F).

There's a risk of ice and there will be a widespread frost.

Wild side

Oxford Mail

Pupils from Larkmead School took a walk on the wild side when they

volunteered at an animal sanctuary.

Brian's odyssey

Nick Piercey

Afternoon presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

Brian Chandrabose

dropped by the studio today to talk about being an actor with 16|22.

The theatre group is performing The Odyssey at the Oxford Playhouse.

Nick Piercey and Brian Chandrabose

Its members are all aged between 16 and 22 years old, and

their retelling of Homer's work will be performed on Friday and Saturday.

Easter kitty

Dave Gilyeat

BBC News

Behold Mr Claus, who is clearly excited about the coming of Easter.

Cat on windowsill
Anthony Morris

Here he is posing on a windowsill in Farmoor, as snapped by Anthony Morris.

We hope you have a Happy Easter Mr Claus. Or, judging by your name, a very merry one?

Play's crowdfunding bid

Banbury Guardian

A theatre production team's crowdfunding bid was launched earlier this week, in the hopes of sending their show

Our Friends the Enemy across the pond.

War stories

BBC Radio Oxford

Earlier we told you how 24 March is the 70th anniversary of the Crossing of the Rhine.

Sam Langford

It was to be the last major battle that the 2nd Battalion The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry took part in during World War Two.

Sam Langford, 92, from Didcot, was there in one of the hundreds of gliders that set off from Essex as part of Operation Varsity - bound for occupied Germany.

You can listen back to his full story by clicking


Mirror 'should have been mounted'

Stephen Stafford

BBC News Online

Jurors at Oxford Coroner's Court have heard that the free-standing mirror at the Bicester Village Hugo Boss shop that fell on Austen Harrison

should have been wall-mounted.

Manager Andrew Morgan said the mirror had been installed by a team of professional shop-fitters rather than staff.

"We were working on the basis that the mirror was attached to the wall, that it was done on a professional basis and that there was no reason to doubt it," he said.

He said there had been no reports of any concerns from customers.

News on the hour

Lucy Bickerton

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

A bid for special government funding to pay for major drainage improvements at a flooding troublespot in South Oxfordshire has failed.

I'll have more on this at 17:00.

Hugo Boss manager: 'no comment'

Adina Campbell

Reporter, BBC South Today

A big part of today's hearing

into the death of Austen Harrison, who died after a mirror fell onto him, has focused on evidence from the manager of Hugo Boss.

Austen Harrison

Andrew Morgan told the court he believed the mirror had been fixed to the wall and had no defects, but when asked if he checked to see if the mirror had been properly fitted he answered "no comment".

Austen had been out shopping with his parents when the mirror toppled onto him. The four-year-old died at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford a few days later in June 2014.

The inquest continues.

'Weighty patches'

Sara Dumbell

Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

There are residual weighty patches on the M40 southbound from Banbury at junctions 11 to 10 at Brackley after an earlier broken down lorry.

It's slow on the A34 southbound from between the Marcham Interchange and the Milton Interchange in the roadworks area.

There's the usual very busy traffic out of Oxford on the A40 eastbound from the Wolvercote Roundabout to the Eynsham Roundabout.

'Very welcome news'

Dave Gilyeat

BBC News

David Nimmo Smith, Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet member for environment and transport, described the money provided by the government to improve street lighting, road drainage and carriageways in the county as "very welcome news".

He added: "We have until 2018 to spend the money awarded. Investment in these areas has the potential to save us money in the longer term both on energy via more modern and efficient street lighting and highway maintenance as a result of roads that are more resilient to the impacts of bad weather."

Playhatch Road

However, the council failed in its bid to fund improvements to Playhatch Road, Sonning (pictured),

which has been regularly affected by flooding.

The council said it was now considering other options.

Phone box's 'happy end'

Roz Tappenden

BBC South

BT operations general manager Gareth McWilliams has been speaking about the company's decision to install a new phone box in Banbury so it can be used as a library.

Interior of phone box library

About 40 books and shelves were installed in a working red phone box in South Bar, Banbury, but BT had ordered their removal.

It has now offered a new box for the books to be stored inside.

Mr Williams said: "From the very start, BT has been extremely keen to find the right solution for everyone involved and to ensure this tale has a happy ending. We're only too aware of the fondness with which people hold the traditional red phone boxes."

News on the hour

Lucy Bickerton

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

A coroner's court has been hearing from the manager of a designer store in Bicester Village, where a four-year-old boy died after being crushed by a mirror.

I'll have more at 16:00.

'Behind bars for a long time'

The men sentenced at Oxford Crown Court today were connected to the seizure of £24m worth of class A drugs last year.

Police seized 14kg of cocaine and 7kg of heroin as part of the investigation.

Men sentenced for drugs offences

Investigating officer, Det Insp Rachel Wheatman of the serious organised crime unit at Thames Valley Police, said: "We are pleased that we have been able to disrupt the supply of drugs in the Oxford area, bring these men to justice and ensure they are behind bars for a very long time."

'Cynical exploitation'

The EDL has been criticised for planning a demonstration in Oxford against "Muslim grooming gangs" by Oxford Unite Against Fascism in an open letter signed by councillors, trade union activists, residents and students.

Spokesperson Tracy Walsh said: "The EDL is a racist organisation that is always seeking to demonise Muslims.

"Now it wants to cynically exploit the terrible suffering of abused children in Oxfordshire to mount yet another attack on all Muslims, stating it wants to 'keep a blowtorch on the Oxford Muslim community'.

"This is an attempt to demonise all the followers of Islam for the actions of a few."

Money-saving move 'reversed'

Roz Tappenden

BBC South

Joanna Simons has previously

attracted criticism because of her salary.

She has been chief executive since 2005 and resisted pressure to resign following the conviction of a

sadistic sex ring in Oxford in 2013.

Joanna Simons

Ian Hudspeth said he had taken legal advice after concerns were raised by fellow councillors after he initially decided to let her go.

Following a meeting of the full council today, the Conservative-led county council

voted to reverse the money-saving move.

News on the hour

Lucy Bickerton

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

Oxfordshire County Council has reversed its decision to get rid of its chief executive post.

Council leader, Ian Hudspeth, admitted last month he may have "acted hastily" when deciding to make Joanna Simons redundant this summer.

More at 15:00.

Broken down bus

One lane is blocked on the A34 southbound between the Marcham Interchange and the Milton Interchange

because of a broken down bus.

Climate change photo competition

An Oxford photographer's image of Indian children studying on a street in Chandigarh has a won a runner up prize in a major competition.


Department of Energy & Climate Change contest aims to show the range of impacts that climate change is having on people and their lives in the UK and across the world.

Children in Chandigarh, India
Aman Kapoor

Aman Kapoor's image was said to illustrate the "need for education as an essential element of the global response to climate change".

Ed Davey, one of the competition judges, said: "These images bring home the very personal impact that climate change will have on all parts of our lives, threatening our way of life as well as livelihoods, communities and economies."

'Significant scale'

Victoria Cook

Reporter, BBC South Today

The sentencing today, as well as a previous sentencing 44 months ago, brings the total number of men sent to prison as part of this police operation to 10.

The court heard that the processing and supply of heroin and crack cocaine by the gang was of a significant scale. They even used hydraulic presses to make blocks of drugs.

News on the hour

Lucy Bickerton

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

Ten men have been sent to prison for a total of 87 years for running a multi-million pound drugs operation in Oxfordshire.

The sentences come after a covert police operation to catch the gang.

More at 14:00.

Lunchtime television

Laura Trant

Reporter, BBC South Today

The decision to give a convicted killer day release from his open prison in Buckinghamshire has been criticised.

Ian McLoughlin (pictured) murdered Graham Buck a few hours after being allowed out of Springhill Prison in Aylesbury.

Ian Mcloughlin

In a report today, the chief inspector of prisons highlighted a catalogue of failings.

Watch BBC South Today on

BBC One from 13:40 to see our report.

A40 congestion

There's currently congestion around

Merewood Avenue in Oxford.

Atkinson to stay MEP

Helen Catt

Political reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

Janice Atkinson MEP says she'll carry on as a MEP for the South East of England (which includes Oxfordshire) despite her expulsion from UKIP.

News on the hour

Lucy Bickerton

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

A man from Didcot has been arrested after a cyclist was pushed from his bike before being punched and kicked.

The 24-year-old suspect has been detained on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.

More at 13:00.

UKIP expels Janice Atkinson

Tom Moseley

Political reporter

MEP and general election candidate Janice Atkinson

has been expelled by UKIP for "bringing the party into disrepute".

Ms Atkinson's chief of staff Christine Hewitt has also been expelled, a party spokesman said.

Janice Atkinson

It follows a newspaper investigation into an apparent expenses claim.

The South East MEP, who is standing in Folkestone and Hythe on 7 May, said she was "deeply disappointed" by the decision and would appeal.

BreakingNine men jailed

Victoria Cook

Reporter, BBC South Today

Nine men have been jailed for a total of 84 years at Oxford Crown Court.

They were convicted following a Thames Valley Police operation to disrupt the supply of drugs in Oxford.

Solar farms: Your feedback

via Facebook


Howard Bentham asked how you felt about the increasing number of solar panels transforming our landscape.

Pedro Almeida

says: Better that than empty fields that aren't of any use. We have to think about a new way to get energy.

Solar panels on farm

Darren Grant

says: It is stupid that valuable farming land is being covered in solar panels. It should be made a requirement that new buildings have them on the roof as that doesn't take up any more space.

Allan Jordan

agrees: It should be a new building code, that all new built buildings, whether residential or business, have some form of solar energy built in... it has to be a win-win for everybody and the planet.

News on the hour

Clare Woodling

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

Market towns in the Vale of White Horse could lose out on £11,000 a day if there isn't free parking.

That's according to the district council which carried out a survey in Abingdon, Faringdon and Wantage, which found that 60% of people visit the towns in their cars.

I'll have more headlines at 12:00.

Road funding

Dave Gilyeat

BBC News

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced a fund for maintaining major roads across England.

Oxfordshire will get about £12.9m to sort out drainage on its roads and upgrade street lighting.

Traffic cones

Mr McLoughlin said: "Good quality local roads are essential for people to get on with their daily business and today's announcement will provide extra capacity where it is needed most."

Founding headmaster dies

Henley Standard

Bert Gonnella, the founding headmaster of Badgemore Primary School,

has died after a long illness at 85.

Cricket in the Parks

Robyn Cowen

Sports reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

Cricket is back in the Parks.

First class county Leicestershire are in Oxford for a friendly against the combined Oxford Universities in a match that has just started.

Cricket balls
Getty Images

Elsewhere, in the

Oxfordshire Senior Cup tonight Thame's ASM Stadium stages the first semi-final.

It's Ardley who are the holders against Banbury United. Ardley boss Kevin Brock comes up against a team he managed for many years.

News on the hour

Clare Woodling

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

A cyclist has been set upon in Didcot by two attackers who stamped on his bike.

He was also punched and kicked in the assault on Station Road.

More headlines at 11:00.

Today's prospects

Dave Gilyeat

BBC News

A quick planning meeting has just taken place as we look ahead at the day's news prospects.

Charlotte Westgate, Cristina Parry and Phil Mercer

Present were (l-r) Charlotte Westgate (TV producer), Cristina Parry (Afternoons producer) and Phil Mercer (Radio news editor).

Words overheard included "Magna Carta", "toothbrush", "wrangle", "heels", "grill", "catastrophe", "Liz Hurley", and "fudge".

Relegation fears

Wallingford Herald

Midfielder Michael Collins says head coach Michael Appleton's calm persona will help banish

Oxford United's relegation fears.

Maybe baby?

Dave Gilyeat

BBC News

Did you know there are more than 100 different charts in use in the world to assess a baby's size at birth?

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust this week become the first to use new international standards which were developed by the University of Oxford.

A newborn baby in Brazil has its head circumference measured
INTERGROWTH-21st project

The aim is that every newborn baby across the world is evaluated in the same way.

Professor José Villar, who is leading the project at the university, said: "Being able to identify millions of additional undernourished babies at birth provides an opportunity for them to receive nutritional support and targeted treatment, without which close to 5% are likely to die in their first year or develop severe, long-term health problems."

News on the hour

Clare Woodling

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

Poor people are being "pushed out" of Oxfordshire by high living costs.

Danny Dorling, a professor of Human Geography at Oxford University, claims those on benefits and low wages are moving to cities like Birmingham to escape Oxfordshire's high prices.

I'll have more at 10:00.

Electric buses for 2016?

Oxford Mail

Electric buses that can be charged wirelessly through pads in the road

could be used in Oxford by next year.