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Summary

  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates from across the West of England on Thursday 18 May, 2017.

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Goodnight from the BBC West Live team

Thank you for being with us today. Here's Ian Fergusson with the weather outlook for the next few days.

Tomorrow we are going on the road to the University of Bath, bringing you special videos from students there and what is important to them ahead of the general election.

Join us from 7am!

Watch: Ian Fergusson has your weather outlook

Cloud watching on the Blackdown Hills

Idyllic, isn't it?

There's no denying we are blessed with some beautiful countryside here in the West Country.

Here is the view from Blagdon Hill, Somerset.

Watch: A timelapse video of the view from Blagdon Hill

Knife attack victim relieved attacker's trial is over

Eric Harrison was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In 2015, he was slashed across the face with a blade by Darren Cohen.

The 35-year-old Cohen, of no fixed address, had meant to attack Eric's brother, but missed and Eric was attacked in the confusion.

Cohen was handed a sentence for 14 years and six months earlier today: nine years and six months in jail, with the remaining five years on an extended licence.

Eric says he is grateful the trial has come to an end.

Watch: Eric Harrison was left with a 16cm scar on his face after being slashed with a knife.

Points West on tour: Cheltenham voters discuss Tory social care plans

David Garmston and the BBC Points West sofa have been out in Cheltenham today, setting up shop at Imperial Gardens.

He asked passers-by about Theresa May's manifesto announcement about controversial changes to how the elderly will pay for social care.

Watch: We asked for voters' thoughts on a key part of the Conservative manifesto

Shrouds of the Somme artist to create thousands of new figurines

Watch: Rob Heard from Washford was behind the Shrouds of the Somme exhibition

Rob Heard's exhibition Shrouds of the Somme drew thousands of visitors to Bristol when it went on display outside Bristol Cathedral last year.

Now he is taking on a new challenge, to make a shrouded figure to represent each of the 72,396 soldiers whose bodies were never recovered.

From obesity to champion bodybuilder: Wayne's story

Wayne Martin from Minehead weighed 22 stone at his heaviest. He was told by doctors that he wouldn't make it past the age of 40.

After suffering a suspected heart attack, he embarked on a journey to turn his life around, and he's now a champion bodybuilder.

Watch: Wayne Martin had a suspected heart attack, but turned his life around in the gym.

What matters to voters in Cheltenham?

Tonight, Points West took its red sofa to Cheltenham.

At the last election, the town was won by the Conservatives who say they will deliver Brexit.

The Lib Dems, who've also held this seat, are still fighting for Remain.

But what matters to the voters themselves? Here's what will be influencing their votes at the upcoming general election.

Watch: we asked these voters what will be on their minds for the 2017 general election

The politer side of protest

This is one of the more refined protest chants you'll see today.

Bath residents were protesting council cuts outside the Guildhall earlier this evening.

View more on twitter

BBC Rochdale grooming drama filmed in Bristol

The cast of Three Girls
BBC

Hard-hitting three-part TV drama Three Girls, based on the true stories of victims of grooming and sexual abuse in Rochdale, reaches its conclusion tonight.

But did you know it was filmed in and around Bristol last year?

Council offices on Temple Street doubled as Liverpool Crown Court, while Bristol Register Office was used for interior community meeting scenes.

Filming also took place in Victoria Park, Eastville Park and streets in Hartcliffe, Knowle, Easton, Bedminster and Redcliffe.

Other BBC dramas filmed in Bristol recently include The Living and the Dead, Poldark, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride and Wolf Hall.

Three Girls concludes tonight at 9pm on BBC One.

Council offices on Temple Street
Geograph/Stephen Richards
Council offices on Temple Street doubled as Liverpool Crown Court
Interior of Bristol Register Office
Bristol City Council
Bristol Register Office was used for interior community meeting scenes

Army officer 'plied victim with wine'

MOD Abbey Wood
Google

A British Army officer accused of rape encouraged waiters to keep filling the wine glass of his alleged victim in the lead up to the attack, a US court martial has heard.

Lt Col Benedict Tomkins, 49, based at Abbey Wood, near Bristol, denies rape, saying it was consensual sex.

The court heard he had stopped drinking but encouraged the server to keep filling her glass.

The alleged attack happened at a United Nations event in Uganda in 2015.

Lt Col Tomkins is said to have attacked the woman after a dinner and free bar at the Sheraton Hotel under the pretences of working on a presentation.

The trial continues. Read more about the story here.

Injured horse rider making progress after Badminton fall

Emily Gilruth
BBC

A rider who suffered severe head injuries at Badminton Horse Trials has shown enough progress to be transferred to a hospital closer to home.

Emily Gilruth, 40, was being cared for at Bristol's Southmead Hospital following the fall, but is now being treated on a neurology ward in Stoke-on-Trent.

Her family said she's now able to complete some tasks by herself and is progressing more each day.

Man to appear in court after sexual assaults in Bristol

A 21-year-old man has been charged over a series of sexual assaults on buses in Bristol.

Tomas Petcu, a 21-year-old of no fixed abode has been remanded in custody and will appear at Bristol Magistrates' Court tomorrow.

The alleged incidents took place between February and April this year.

Severe accident: A370 Somerset eastbound

BBC News Travel

A370 Somerset eastbound severe accident, between Station Approach and A3033 Drove Road.

A370 Somerset - A370 Francis Fox Road in Weston-Super-Mare closed and slow traffic eastbound between the Station Approach junction and the A3033 Drove Road junction, because of an accident.

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

Student wifi ban for Chicken Run download

A scene from Chicken Run
Getty Images

A Bristol University student has been banned from using the university's wifi system after downloading an illegal copy of the film Chicken Run.

Gianna Mulville-Zanetta used BitTorrent to download the 2000 animated classic but she was caught out by the university's IT department.

The film was made by Bristol-based animation company Aardman.

She was blocked from using the university's wifi for 20 days.

You can read more about the story here

Forest Green sign Mansfield's Collins

Lee Collins
Getty Images

Football League-bound club Forest Green Rovers have signed Mansfield defender Lee Collins on a two-year deal.

The 28-year-old becomes the Gloucestershire club's first signing since winning promotion at Wembley on Sunday.

A former Wolves trainee, he previously played for Port Vale and Northampton.

You can read more about the story here

Food development for Brunel shopping centre to go on after setback

The owners of Swindon's Brunel Shopping Centre say plans for a new food development there will go ahead despite a setback.

CPL Food Group, a company which runs some of the planned new restaurants, has gone into administration.

Planned development
Brunel Shopping Centre

The shopping centre's owners say building work is continuing as planned on the 16,000 sq ft development, called 'The Crossing'.

Although this is disappointing, other businesses unaffected by this situation will be opening as planned and we will shortly be announcing further names that we expect to open in June. Building works at The Crossing are continuing as planned, including the installation of a new escalator from Canal Walk.

Bernard FerrisHead of retail property, FI Real Estate Management

BBC Points West sofa hits the road

Watch: Are you sitting comfortably? BBC West's politics team wants to hear your views

BBC Points West has taken the sofa out of the studio to find out what you are talking about in advance of next month's general election.

Sit back but don't relax... tell us what you think.

Enterprising blue tit makes traffic cone nest

Exercise programme can 'reduce rugby concussions'

Teenagers exercising
University of Bath

A study from the University of Bath says just 20 minutes of an exercise programme could help to reduce injuries from concussion in rugby players.

In a study of 14- to 18-year-olds in 40 schools, those completing the exercises three times a week saw 59% fewer concussions than other schools.

The exercises focus on increasing neck muscle strength, balance and movement.

You can read more about the story here.

Judge to knife attacker: Victim's injury is 'life affecting and potentially life changing'

Eric Harrison
BBC
Eric Harrison was slashed across his face in 2015

The judge who sentenced knife attacker Darren Cohen has said his attack was definitely "premeditated".

Cohen's attack left Eric Harrison with a 16cm scar across his face.

You are now nearly 36. You have a serious record of carrying knives and have been convicted on three occasions of carrying or using a knife. That is the background for you a father of three. It's bound to be a huge sadness to your family to return to prison. The injury to Eric is life affecting and potentially life changing. The effect on him is bound to be significant.

Judge Michael Cullum

Sick otter found lying in puddle released back into the wild

otter
RSPCA

An otter has been returned to the wild in Carmarthenshire after being found curled up in a puddle of water.

The female was found near Llandovery last month, struggling with a fever and dehydration.

She was rehabilitated by RSPCA staff at a specialist wildlife facility in Taunton.

Her weight also increased from 2.8kg to 4.8kg by the time she was released near to where she was found.

Picture of Gloucester bar knife attacker

Gloucestershire Police have issued a photo of 35-year-old Darren Cohen, who was found guilty today of attacking Eric Harrison with a knife in a Gloucester bar.

Cohen was sentenced for a total of 14 years and six months: nine years and six months in jail, with a further five years on an extended licence.

Eric Harrison was left with serious injuries to his face after Cohen attacked him in 2015.

Darren Cohen
Gloucestershire Police

Woman adopted as a child says her job for Barnardo's is 'meant to be'

Jo Ridler from Bristol was just six weeks old when she was adopted. She found out when she was aged 12, but always felt that her adoptive parents were her true parents.

When Jo's father passed away last year, she decided to go through his documents and was surprised to discover that it was Barnardo's which had helped to adopt her - the same charity she now works for.

She felt it was meant to be for her take a job at the Chipping Sodbury shop, which she now runs with a team of 19 volunteers.

Jo Ridler wants to give something back to Barnardo's, who helped her adoption.

BreakingMan found guilty of Gloucester bar knife attack

A man from Gloucester has been found guilty this afternoon of a knife attack in a bar in the city in 2015.

Darren Cohen, aged 35 and of no fixed address, attacked Eric Harrison with a knife in the former Zest bar. Eric was slashed across the face, leaving him with serious injuries.

Cohen, a father of three, was sentenced to a total of 14 years and six months at Gloucester Crown Court.

He will spend five years on extended licence as the judge deemed Cohen a danger to the public.

Fishy McFishface takes a bow

Watch: Fishy McFace blowing bubbles on the hour

The newly restored Wishing Fish Clock has been renamed Fishy McFishface by shoppers at Cheltenham's Regent Arcade.

Shopping centre manager Scott Lahive said: "It’s just a bit of fun. People in Cheltenham have a good sense of humour and the name fits well with the whole quirkiness of the clock."

BBC local radio headlines across the West

Microphone
BBC
  • BBC Radio Bristol: Despite strong opposition from local environmental groups, Bristol Zoo's been given permission to carry on using part of the Downs for an overflow car park.
  • BBC Gloucestershire: Five of our local councils are part of the county's Joint Waste Committee where they share initiatives and best practices.
  • BBC Somerset: A couple from Burnham-on-Sea say they didn't get enough support or direction when they became dementia carers.
  • BBC Wiltshire: BBC Wiltshire hosted a live pre-election debate about education this morning - live from Christ Church School in Bradford on Avon.
Jamie Grimes (left)

Dover defender Jamie Grimes is to join League Two Cheltenham Town on a one-year deal as his contract expires on 1 July.

Read more

Meet Ted, the dog who visits the Great Western Hospital every fortnight.

Ted visits the children's ward every fortnight
The Great Western Hospital in Swindon had a very special visitor today: Ted the golden retriever. 

He visits with his owner Gill every other Wednesday to bring smiles to the patients, the parents and even the staff on the children's ward.

Pets as Therapy dogs are carefully vetted to ensure they have the right temperament for visiting the patients.

To volunteer to see if your dog would qualify as a pet therapy dog, go to www.petsastherapy.org

Severe disruption: M32 Bristol southbound

BBC News Travel

M32 Bristol southbound severe disruption, between J2 for A432 and J3 for A4320 Easton Way.

M32 Bristol - One lane closed and heavy traffic on M32 southbound between J2, A432 (Eastville) and J3, A4320 (St Pauls), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Collision between car and cyclist in Avonmouth under investigation

Police are appealing for witnesses following a collision between a car and a cyclist in Avonmouth which caused serious congestion earlier this morning.

It happened in Crowley Way at just before 7am.

The car, a silver Alfa Romeo, was travelling from the M5 towards St Andrew’s Road at the time.

The cyclist suffered head injuries and she was taken to Southmead Hospital for treatment.

If you saw the collision or have any information please call the Roads Policing Unit at Almondsbury on 101 and give the call handler the log number 156.

Crowley Way
Google
The collision took place on the Crowley Way.

Wells constituents turn to Google to find out who to vote for

Graph showing Google election searches
Google/BBC

Voters in Highbridge have been turning to Google for help in deciding who to back in the general election.

Data released to BBC News reveals the area came number four in a chart of where in the UK "who should I vote for" was the most popular search request.

Read the full story here.

Roman Baths get a deep clean

Coastal walk raising money to build hospital garden

Team of walkers at Baggy Point in Devon
ICU Coastal Challenge

Staff and supporters of Southmead Hospital in Bristol are walking along the south west coast to raise money for a safe garden area for intensive care patients and their relatives.

The ICU Coastal Challenge team set off from Minehead on Saturday. Over the next two months various relay groups will walk the entire South West Coast Path around Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset - a total of 630 miles.

The last day is Saturday 8 July when the final team is expected to arrive at Poole and Sandbanks in Dorset.

More than £4,000 has already been raised towards the £10,000 target. To keep up to date on progress, visit the ICU Coastal Challenge Facebook page.

ICU team in Woolacombe
ICU Coastal Challenge
A team reached Woolacombe in Devon on Tuesday

BMW strike on hold after new pension offer

Unite members strike at BMW Swindon
BBC

Strike action due to take place at Swindon's BMW Mini plant today has been put on hold while workers consider a new pension offer.

Members of the Unite union have staged a series of walkouts in a campaign against the closure of their final salary pension scheme.

Workers at the Swindon plant will now be balloted on the offer.

Elizabethan painting returns to Sudeley Castle

The Allegory of the Tudor Succession
Sudeley Castle

A painting of Henry VIII, his three children and Queen Mary’s husband, Phillip of Spain, which dates back to the 16th century is returning to Gloucestershire.

The Allegory of the Tudor Succession will go on display in Sudeley Castle next week.

It was purchased by a former owner of the castle in 1842, but has been in the National Museum of Wales since 1991.

We are delighted the Allegory of the Tudor Succession is making its long awaited return back to the castle this month. It is an important piece of Sudeley history, with all of the Tudor monarchs depicted in the painting having a direct link to the castle.

Sian JocelynSudeley Castle services manager

Long delays in Avonmouth on the A4, M5, M49 around Junction 18.

Traffic congestion between J17-18 on the M5.
Highways England.
Traffic congestion between J17-18 on the M5.

Police say there has been a collision between a car and a cyclist and traffic is very congested.

Bristol Zoo can use Downs for parking until 2019

Bristol Downs
BBC

Despite strong opposition from local environmental groups, Bristol Zoo's been given permission to carry on using part of the Downs for an overflow car park.

Opponents say the temporary car park is an eyesore and creates unnecessary traffic congestion, noise and pollution on the Downs.

The zoo says it's been trying to encourage visitors not to bring cars and it hopes it won't need to apply to use the Downs for parking at all after the year 2020.

BBC Wiltshire: School funding election special

Dan O'Brien

Political reporter, BBC Wiltshire

Children during a lesson in a primary school
PA

This morning BBC Wiltshire is broadcasting its entire Breakfast programme from the Christ Church School in Bradford on Avon, asking what the future holds for schools in this election.

The warnings from local schools in recent months have been bleak, with increased class sizes, job cuts, and poorer maintenance all on the horizon unless things improve.

For years, across Wiltshire and Swindon, our schools have been getting less money per pupil than most. It's then made even worse by the fact the amount of cash they have to spend per pupil in real terms continues to fall while costs are going up.

Today we'll be asking all the candidates standing to become the next MP for the Chippenham constituency what their parties plan to do about the problem.

Click to listen Live on the iPlayer

Watch on Facebook Live from 08:20

Local newspaper headlines across the West

Printing press
Getty Images