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Summary

  1. 10 men charged over sex exploitation
  2. Oxford United manager 'understands' fans' Wembley boycott
  3. Teacher died driving into bus stop while three times over limit
  4. University unveils portraits of women
  5. Live from Oxford Literary Festival

Live Reporting

By Alex Regan and Anna Browning

All times stated are UK

Thanks for joining

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 BST.

Judicial review applied for after Horton hospital downgrade

A legal challenge has been launched by Cherwell District Council following what is described as a “confusing and flawed” consultation process regarding plans to downgrade services at Banbury’s Horton General Hospital.

The hospital
OUH

Today the council filed an application for a judicial review into how Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) has consulted with the public over changes to services including maternity, critical care and hospital bed use.

The challenge has been led by Cherwell with South Northamptonshire Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Banbury Town Council acting as co-claimants and with support from the Keep the Horton General campaign group.

Oxfordshire youngsters perform anniversary concert

More than 500 young musicians from Oxfordshire descended on Birmingham’s prestigious Symphony Hall to perform in a concert celebrating 75 years of the County Music Service.

The concert
OCC

A wide range of instrumental and vocal performances took place in front of a packed audience on Saturday, as various bands, orchestras and choirs took to the stage.

At one point a massed choir made up of children from Oxfordshire primary and secondary schools performed alongside singers from established Music Service vocal groups.

Men changed with rape and sex abuse appear in court

Ten men have been charged with 56 offences following police raids related to child sexual exploitation claims.

The pre-raid briefing
TVP

Eight of the men - seven from Banbury and one from Birmingham - appeared before Oxford magistrates earlier. 

They are Leon Cole, 19; Atiq Hussain, 23; Qamran Hafiz, 24; Abdul Sarfraz, 31; Nasser Younis, 37; Tafail Mohammed, 23, and Marcelo Suarez, 20, all from Banbury, and Ahsan Raza, aged 19, from Birmingham. 

They were remanded in custody and are now due to appear at Oxford Crown Court on 25 April.

Good luck from Canada

Are you an Oxford United fan trapped abroad? Send us your good luck message for this Sunday's Wembley final to oxfordshire@bbc.co.uk . Here's one from Tim Andrews in Canada:  

Oxford United fan's good luck message from Canada

Travel update: A424 closed in both directions after crash

BBC News Travel

The A424 is currently closed in both directions due to accident involving a single vehicle that went into a tree between the A361 for Burford and Merrymouth Road, near Idbury.

Rap for the Yellow Army

And just days away from the U's Wembley clash with Coventry, rap superstar DJ Kevlar has released another composition, Yellow Army, to spur the team on to yet more glory.

DJ Kevlar, who in his day job as an Abingdon taxi driver goes by the name Kevin Broe, told us he'd always been passionate about singing.  

Oxford United fan DJ Kevlar raps ahead of Wembley bid

Severe accident: A424 Oxfordshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A424 Oxfordshire both ways severe accident, between A361 and Merrymouth Road.

A424 Oxfordshire - A424 closed and very slow traffic in both directions between the A361 junction in Burford and the Merrymouth Road junction in Idbury, because of an accident involving single vehicle.

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

Wanna Wembley?

Teacher fell asleep driving while over limit - inquest

A 28-year-old dance and drama teacher died after falling asleep at the wheel of his car intoxicated, an inquest has heard.

Stephen Piper was nearly three times over the limit when he got into his white Suzuki Swift at Seacourt Park and Ride on 22 October 2016.

The City of Oxford College faculty member had been celebrating a promotion at a colleagues' leaving do on a Friday night, before he got on to a night bus to Carterton at 12:30 GMT.

He then got off the bus near Osney, and more than two hours later appeared on CCTV getting into his car.

Collision investigator David Watson said that onboard computer data showed the Winchester University graduate gradually accelerated to between 52.5-60mph before hitting a bus shelter on the right-hand side of the road at 03:23 GMT.

He said: "The data suggests that Stephen was asleep at the time.

"There was no evidence of breaking.

"The collision happened one mile into a 15-mile journey back to [his home in] Carterton."

Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter recorded the death as a road traffic collision, and said: "This is a very sad case; the loss of Stephen in these circumstances at such a young age."

In a written statement, Mr Piper'a brother Michael said: "I think his life ended badly but he gave so much to everybody."

Stephen Piper
Piper family

BreakingMen charged after sex exploitation raids

Ten men have been charged by police investigating sexual exploitation in Oxfordshire.

Raids were carried out in Banbury on Tuesday and Thursday as part of Operation Nautical – an investigation into non-recent child sexual exploitation in the county. 

A total of 56 charges have been brought.

Leon Cole, 19; Ateeq Hussain, 23; Qamran Hafiz, 24; Abdul Safraz, 31; Nasser Younis, 37; Tafail Mohammed, 24 and Marcelo Suarez, 20, all from Banbury, are due to appear today before Oxford magistrates along with Ahsan Raza, aged 19, from Birmingham.

Two men were also charged in connection with the investigation and will appear at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 2 May. They are Amir Arfi, aged 23, of no fixed abode and Atique Akhtar, aged 23, of no fixed abode.

Oxford Literary Festival

We’ve been live this morning from the Green Room at the Oxford Literary Festival with writers Vanessa Nicolson, Richard Beard and John de St Jorre.  

So just how to do go about writing your life story?

View more on facebook

Didcot crowned most normal

Yesterday we brought you the stunning news Didcot has been crowned the most normal town in the country.

Ten of its streets were a particularly close match to the national average lifestyle, opinions and experiences, according to statisticians.

Mayor Steve Connel called the findings "tremendous".

Similarly, these Didcot residents were also left stunned by their unexpected achievement.

'Most normal town' residents react to news

Your snaps from across the county

Time is running out to get involved in this week's Oxfordshire's Big Picture . Throughout the week readers have sent in their pictures from across the county, here's a taste of some of our favourites. 

Hare at West Ilsley
Mike Weir
Woods in Dry Sandford
Rebecca Allen
Magnolia
Tim Turan

You can send us your snaps by email

Travel latest: Traffic building steadily across Oxford

Al Ryan

BBC Oxford travel presenter

Good morning, here's today's latest from the Oxfordshire Traffic Control Centre:

  • Expect delays in Henley through the temporary traffic lights on Hart Street between Henley Bridge and Bell Street. 
  • In Oxford city centre, traffic is moving slowly between the A40 northern bypass and the Cherwell Drive and Headley Way junction.
  • On the Oxford ring road, traffic is building steadily on the A4142 between the Cowley junction and the Littlemore roundabout.

Today's weather: Dry with sunny spells

After a cloudy and grey today for most yesterday, we might see the warmest day of the year so far. 

It should be a bright and fine day, but with the possibility of showers later on. 

Oxford University puts up more portraits of women

Sean Coughlan

BBC News, education correspondent

Marie Tidball and Patricia Daley
Oxford University

Oxford University is revealing the identities of more than 20 people whose portraits will be put on display to try to promote greater "diversity".

It wants to redress the balance from the university's walls being lined with pictures of "dead white males" by adding more women and ethnic minorities.

Reeta Chakrabarti
BBC
BBC News presenter Reeta Chakrabarti is one of the alumnus being celebrated with a portrait

The portraits include broadcasters Dame Esther Rantzen and Reeta Chakrabarti.

Oxford's head of equality Trudy Coe said it was "sending a signal".

This commissioning of portraits is one of the biggest projects by the university to create a more diverse range of people portrayed in its public places - including more women, people from ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians and people with disabilities.

Let's do that Thursday shuffle

Alex Regan

BBC South

Hello one and all and welcome to Thursday's live page. 

April is swiftly approaching, and to welcome it in we might have the hottest day of the year so far. 

Snake head fritillary
Suzanne Briggs

As always send us your snaps from across the county to be in with a chance on being featured in this week's Oxfordshire's Big Picture. 

Suzanne Briggs has sent us a photo of the county's flower, the snake head fritillary. 

Send us your horticultural snaps by email