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Summary

  1. Updates on Wednesday 4 May 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume at 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

By Sue Paz

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our news coverage through the day

That's all from BBC Local Live for today.

We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Oxfordshire.

Latest headlines: Oxfordshire vulnerable children safeguarding hub 'concerns'

Sue Paz

BBC News Online

The top stories this evening in Oxfordshire:

Weather: Clear with light winds

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

Skies will remain clear tonight and the wind will be light so temperatures will drop again.

Bee Tucker with the BBC Weather chart for Oxforshire for Wednesday 4 May 2016
BBC

This could lead to a touch of frost in one or two rural spots overnight. Lows of 4C (39F).

For a full 10-day forecast visit the BBC Weather site.

Sport headlines: U's keeper Buchel ready for crucial final match

Marie Indge

Radio Oxford Sport

  • Oxford United goalkeeper Benji Buchel says he'll be ready for whatever Wycombe have to offer in this Saturday's crucial final League 2 clash at the Kassam - a win will secure the U's promotion
  • Saturday's match is a sell-out so if you've not got a ticket you can hear exclusive full match commentary on BBC Radio Oxford from 14:00

Tonight's TV: Abusive voicemail to mother of dead boy investigated

South Today

Coming up on BBC South Today at 18:30: 

The full story on the investigation into an abusive answerphone message left for the mother of Connor Sparrowhawk.

And a new online bike service has started in Oxford - thought to be the first of its kind in the UK. It allows people to hire a spare bike, with rates as low as £1 a day.

Children's services hub to be revamped

A hub that works to protect vulnerable children in Oxfordshire is to be redesigned, amid concerns about the time it takes to deal with cases. 

The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, or MASH, brings together social workers, the police and health workers, and opened just 16 months ago. 

An official inspection, due to be published next week, is expected to be critical of how the hub is currently run. 

Oxfordshire County Council says it's now planning for workers in the community to deal with 'lower level concerns' to reduce the number of inquiries MASH deals with.

Nearly 200 new homes set for Wolvercote Paper Mill

The site of the former Wolvercote Paper Mill in Oxford has gone up for sale.

Wolvercote Paper Mill site
Savills

Oxford City Council has resolved to grant outline planning permission for up to 190 new homes at the 16-acre (six-hectare) site.

Development will be limited to the site of the former mill, which closed in the late 1990s and is owned by Oxford University, with the woodland and open fields earmarked to provide public amenity land.

Mother's 'shock' over alleged abusive Southern Health voicemail

The mother of an 18-year-old who died while in the care of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has described her "shock" after allegedly receiving an abusive call from a woman claiming to be a staff member at the mental health care provider.

Sara Ryan
BBC

Thames Valley Police and the trust are now investigating the malicious call to Sara Ryan, whose son Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in a bath at one of the trust's units in Headington.

She said the call had left her feeling "sick, upset and angry".

"Nobody should have to listen to a call like that, nobody should get a call like that," she added.

Travel latest: Collision on the A34

Bernie Sanders 'will continue fight to be US president candidate'

Bernie Sanders will continue to fight to be the Democratic candidate for US president, according to his Oxford-based brother.

Bernie Sanders
AP
Bernie Sanders

He defeated Hillary Clinton in Indiana but trails her in the full race for the nomination.

However, his brother Larry Sanders says he will "stick at it to the end". 

The issues that he's standing up for - creating an NHS for America, for instance - are very big issues. The fact that he can get them out there and make people aware of what could be done... that's his goal and that's why he'll stick at it to the end.

Larry Sanders

Komodo dragon top of the reptile pops

Scientists from Oxford University and Tel Aviv University have ranked the world’s most "popular" reptiles.

Komodo dragon
Thinkstock
The Komodo dragon was the most searched-for reptile on the English-language version of Wikipedia in 2014

Using data from Wikipedia, the team – comprising zoologists, geographers and computer scientists – found species such as the Komodo dragon, saltwater crocodile and king cobra were of greatest interest to website users.

Top 10 reptiles accessed on the English-language version of Wikipedia in 2014:

  1. Komodo dragon
  2. Black mamba
  3. Saltwater crocodile
  4. King cobra
  5. Gila monster
  6. Cottonmouth (viper)
  7. American alligator
  8. Leatherback sea turtle
  9. Nile crocodile
  10. Boa constrictor

Winnie the Pooh birthday cards to mark 95th anniversary

Organisers of the World Poohsticks Championships in Oxford are asking children to take a birthday card to the June event to mark 95 years since Christopher Robin’s mother purchased the now famous Winnie the Pooh toy bear.

The original Winnie the Pooh bear bought from Harrods in London
AP
The original Winnie the Pooh bear bought from Harrods in London

Inspired by AA Milne's classic Winnie the Pooh books, the world-famous event involves racing sticks under a bridge.

This year it will be held on 5 June and all donated birthday cards will be sent to the New York Public Library where the cuddly bear is now exhibited, along with Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, and Tigger.

Latest headlines: Rolling Stones' founder members reunite for Henley Festival

Sue Paz

BBC News Online

This afternoon's top stories in Oxfordshire:

Police investigating claims of malicious call to mother of Connor Sparrowhawk

Police are investigating claims that a malicious call was made by a woman claiming to be a staff member at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust to a mother whose son died in one of its units.

Connor Sparrowhawk
Sara Ryan
Connor Sparrowhawk

The woman allegedly phoned Sara Ryan, whose son Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in a bath at one of its units in Headington, and called her a "vindictive cow" on the day the Care Quality Commission issued a report criticising the trust.  

As a result of a pre-planned meeting with Dr Ryan, Thames Valley Police was made aware of a malicious telephone message made to her on 29 April. This has now been recorded as a report of a malicious communication and is currently under investigation.

Thames Valley Police spokeswoman

Travel latest: Lane closure on A34 in Didcot

BBC Travel

  • One lane closed and traffic is slow on the A34 northbound in Didcot at Milton Interchange, because of a broken-down lorry
  • There are also delays on A4074 Henley Road in Shillingford at the A329 New Road junction, due to roadworks

For all the latest on the county's roads visit the BBC Travel site.

Cheetah numbers 'lower than previously thought'

Current estimates of the number of cheetahs in the wild are 'guesswork', according to the authors of a new study.

A cheetah
Thinkstock

A team of scientists from University of Oxford, Kenya Wildlife Trust’s Mara Cheetah Project and the Indian Statistical Institute found the population in the cheetah-stronghold of Maasai Mara, Kenya, is lower than previously thought.   

In the early 1900s it was believed there were about 100,000 cheetahs worldwide.

The most recent estimate, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, puts the figure at 6,600.

However, the scientists believe this number is a "best guess", given the difficulty of counting the animals accurately.

Appeal after 'upsetting and unsettling' burglaries

Police are appealing for information after a series of "upsetting and unsettling" burglaries in South Oxfordshire.  

Officers are currently linking two burglaries and one attempted burglary which took place between 22:15 and 23:15 on Sunday.

They happened at homes on Wantage Road in Wallingford, The Green in Middle Assendon and Couching Street, Watlington.

Burglaries are often upsetting for the victims and unsettling for neighbours and the local community. We’re supporting these victims and would like to reassure the public, particularly the elderly living on their own and their families and friends, that we are here to help.

Det Sgt Francesca JarvisThames Valley Police

Weather: Sunshine and light winds

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

This afternoon will be fine with plenty of sunshine and light winds. 

BBC Weather chart for Oxford on Wednesday 5 May 2016
BBC

The sun may turn periodically hazy later. Highs of 16C (61F).

For a full 10-day forecast visit the BBC Weather site.

Sport headlines: United's promotion bid match 'sold out'

Ross Heaton

BBC Oxford Sport

The top sport's stories for Oxfordshire this morning:

  • Top scorer Kemar Roofe and Oxford United team-mate Johnny Mullins are both hoping to train tomorrow, despite recent ankle injuries, with a view to being available for Saturday's final decisive game of the season - a win against Wycombe would assure automatic promotion
  • United's Scottish international Chris Maguire has hit form at just the right time, scoring three goals in the last five games, and said promotion was "still in the hands" of the team
  • The game is sold out and it appears United's attempts to erect a temporary stand in time for Saturday have failed

Latest headlines: South Oxfordshire burglaries 'linked'

Sue Paz

BBC News Online

The top stories in Oxfordshire this lunchtime:

Government 'anxiety' over scandal-hit NHS trust

The government has said it is not ruling out a public inquiry into the deaths of vulnerable adults in units run by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. 

The Care Quality Commission said the trust failed to protect patients after the death of 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk following an epileptic seizure at one of its units in Oxford. 

An urgent question was tabled in Parliament. 

Speaker John Bercow said he hoped the mental health provider would read the exchange and take note.

Council elections: Five ways to get more people to vote

Daniel Wainwright

BBC News

Why are people turning their back on local elections and how can they be persuaded to vote?

A polling station
Getty Images

A day before the polls open, BBC News reporter Daniel Wainwright looks at five ways to try to tempt people back to the ballot box.  

Video: Oxford museum's hands-on tour for visually impaired visitors

Adina Campbell

BBC South Today

Museum visitors have been getting hands on with dinosaurs in Oxford. 

Blind or partially-sighted people are being allowed to touch exhibits at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History as a way of discovering more about the past. 

Oxford's Natural History Museum introducing specific tours for the blind

Founder Stones members reunite for Henley Festival

Former Rolling Stones founder members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor are to perform together for the first time since 2012 at Henley Festival, organisers have announced.

The Rolling Stones (from left to right) Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman
Getty
The Rolling Stones (from left to right) Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman

Other acts announced today for the festival, which runs from 6-10 July, are jazz singer Natalie Williams, singer and songwriter Jose Feliciano, blues legend Ben Walters and The Ben Walters Big Band and 80s jazz-funk band Shakatak.  

Oxford rail works approved despite flood risk to nearby homes

Joe Nimmo

BBC News

A plan to raise part of a railway line in Oxford has been approved despite an increased flooding risk to 19 homes.

Hinksey Stream
Mat Fascione

Network Rail is set to install two culverts to allow water to flow under the line at Abingdon Bridge Road.

The £18m scheme was approved by Oxford City Council because it will reduce rail disruptions caused by flooding.

Tim Sadler, community services director, admitted it was a "difficult situation" adding: "We understand people's concerns."

Travel latest: Problems continue on the A34

Al Ryan

BBC Oxford travel presenter

  • One lane remains partially blocked on the A34 northbound for ongoing recovery work at Milton following an earlier crash - motorists have been warned to expect delays
  • There are also delays on the A34 Western Bypass Road southbound between the Peartree Interchange and Hinksey Hill Interchange
  • Traffic is slow on the A40 eastbound between Cassington traffic lights and Cutteslowe Roundabout, due to ongoing roadworks

For all the latest on the roads near you, visit the BBC Travel site.

Latest headlines: Southern Health public inquiry 'not ruled out'

Sue Paz

BBC News Online

The top stories this morning in Oxfordshire:

Reported Oxfordshire rape cases 'double in past two years'

There's been a huge increase in the number of reported rapes in Oxfordshire. 

Figures from Thames Valley Police show that in the past two years the figure has more than doubled.

Thames Valley Police said it welcomed the increase in reports as it showed victims felt more confident about coming forward. 

Lisa Ward, from the Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre, said not everyone feels able to contact the police.

For some survivors the right thing for them will be going through criminal justice processes and reporting their experiences to the police. For other people that won't feel like the right thing to do, and I think it's really important that we recognise that survivors have choices, and they should feel empowered and make whatever decisions feel right for them.

Lisa WardOxfordshire Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre

Travel latest: Long delays on A34 due to crash

Woman in 'life-threatening condition' after Wheatley two-car crash

A motorist is in a "life-threatening condition" in hospital after a two-car crash in Wheatley.

The woman, in her 40s, was driving a blue Vauxhall Zafira on Ladder Hill when the vehicle was involved in a crash with a black Peugeot at about 14:45 on Tuesday.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of driving while above the legal alcohol limit and on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and remains in police custody.  

Officers are appealing for witnesses.

Southern Health 'deeply concerned' over abusive phone call claims

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust says it is "deeply concerned" over claims a member of its staff left an abusive message on the answerphone of a mother whose son died while in its care.

Southern Health trust sign
BBC

A woman, who said she worked for the trust, allegedly phoned Sara Ryan - the mother of Connor Sparrowhawk who drowned in a bath at one of its units in Headington - and called her a "vindictive cow".

We have been made aware of the phone message through social media, and the content is deeply concerning. The trust cannot condone such behaviour and we take matters like this extremely seriously.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust spokesman

Oxford United one win from promotion

Ross Heaton

BBC Oxford Sport

Oxford United's top scorer Kemar Roofe and team-mate Johnny Mullins are hoping to train tomorrow, and aim to play in Saturday's final game of the season against Wycombe.

Kemar Roofe, Johnny Mullins and Chris McGuire
Rex Features/AFP
From left, Kemar Roofe, Johnny Mullins and Chris McGuire

The players believe they have a chance of recovering from ankle injuries in time.

Meanwhile, United's Scottish international Chris Maguire has hit form at just the right time, scoring three goals in the last five games.

The 27-year-old forward is thrilled to be playing his part as the U's target a win that would secure automatic promotion.

It's still in our hands. We're down to one game and if we win that then that's what we're all looking for.

Chris Maguire

Southern Health probe into abusive call claims

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust is investigating claims an abusive answerphone message was left, by someone saying they were a member of its staff, for a mother whose son died while in its care. 

Sara Ryan
BBC
Sara Ryan

Sara Ryan has been campaigning for changes at the trust since her son Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in a bath at one of its units in Headington. 

A woman, who said she worked for the mental health provider, allegedly called Ms Ryan's office on the day the Care Quality Commission issued a report criticising the trust, and called her a "vindictive cow".

Sport headlines: U's Roofe and Mullins hope to train tomorrow

Ross Heaton

BBC Oxford Sport

The top sport's stories for Oxfordshire this morning:

  • Top scorer Kemar Roofe and Oxford United team-mate Johnny Mullins are both hoping to train tomorrow with a view to being available for Saturday's final decisive game of the season - a win against Wycombe would assure automatic promotion
  • The game is sold out and it appears United's attempts to erect a temporary stand in time for Saturday have failed