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Summary

  1. Man, charged with Taunton murder, to appear in court.
  2. A361 between Devizes and Avebury closed from 09:30am
  3. An icy start to the day, ahead of a cold snap for the weekend.
  4. News, sport, travel and weather updates for the West of England (12-16 Feb)

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Leeds v Bristol City

Brendon Mitchell

BBC Sport

Leeds United come from 2-0 down to draw against Bristol City in Paul Heckingbottom's first home game as manager.

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The weather for the weekend

It's been quite difficult to judge the weather this week, hasn't it?

So here's Ian Fergusson with everything you need to know about the weather in the West this weekend:

'A cold start to Saturday'
Michael Young

Newcastle Falcons give their Premiership play-off hopes a boost with a bonus-point victory over Bath.

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Skeleton medal in the cupboard: more to be revealed?

Britain's Lizzy Yarnold - who trains at Bath University - today recorded the fastest time in the first heat of the women's skeleton at the #WinterOlympics.

The defending champion's hoping to repeat her success at Sochi in 2014.

It's the final tomorrow, on what has been dubbed 'Super Saturday'. Coverage begins at 11:20 BST.

Meanwhile, Bath's Dom Parsons has been reflecting on becoming a bronze-medal-winner: he gained Great Britain's first gong of the Winter Olympics in the early hours of this morning:

Winter Olympics: Skeleton bronze caps a 10-year journey - Parsons reflects
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Worker walkout could cause train disruption this weekend

South Western Railway
PA

Rail passengers in the West are likely to face face disruption today as workers walk out in the ongoing dispute over the use of guards.

Members of the RMT union at South Western Railway will stage the protest until Tuesday.

The action follows failed talks with management to resolve their concerns over the use of driver only trains.

Wiltshire 10-year-old running her own 'buzzness'

Charlotte Hill makes candles using beeswax from her granddad's hives.

10-year-old Charlotte Hill from Bradford-on-Avon puts the buzz into family business.

Her granddad keeps bees in his garden and Charlotte now makes and sells candles out of the wax he collects.

In fact she has now become the youngest member of Made in Bradford on Avon, a shop showcasing all the talent of the town.

Rees-Mogg protests amid tight security

There have been protests before a speech in Bristol by Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The North East Somerset MP was jostled two weeks ago at the University of the West of England.

This evening there was tight security outside the event, which was organised by the University Conservative Association.

Forty protestors chanted outside, watched by police, as the audience went inside.

Two hundred students attended, but the media were not allowed in.

Rees-Mogg
Getty Images

French serial killer 'confessed' to murder after police investigation

Joanna Parrish
PA

A convicted French serial killer, who is understood to have confessed to the 1990 murder of a woman from Gloucestershire, did so after police identified new information.

Joanna Parrish, 20, from Newnham-on-Severn was found dead in a river in Auxerre, having been abducted, raped and strangled.

Her family's lawyer, Didier Seban, said Michel Fourniret has now admitted to her murder.

He added that an enquiry was re-opened two years ago, and an investigation by the Dijon police identified information that linked him to the crime.

Tap here to read more.

M5 Junction 15 closed until 6am

The M5 northbound carriageway, at Junction 15 - north of the Almondsbury Interchange - is closed overnight (from 8pm) until 6 am tomorrow (Saturday 17 February).

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The seven decade trombonist

Meet the 95-year-old trombone player from Marshfield in South Gloucestershire.

Derrick Ruddell has played as second trombonist in the same band for 70 years and he still has air to spare!

To mark his seven decades in the band, they're putting on a special concert in his honour next Saturday.

Derrick has played in the same band for 70 years.

Annual snowdrop festival in Somerset today

Hundreds of people gathered in Shepton Mallet today for the town's annual snowdrop festival.

It celebrates James Allen, a Victorian amateur horticulturalist and snowdrop enthusiast who was the first person in the world to hybridise snowdrops.

The Shepton Mallet Horticultural society has planted more than 200,000 bulbs around the town to bloom during the festival.

Hundreds enjoyed the annual snowdrop festival in Somerset today

Cheltenham crematorium closure continues

Cheltenham cemetery
Google

Cremations at Cheltenham crematorium will not resume for another two weeks, the borough council has said.

Problems with the cremators, including the emission of smoke into the crematory area, forced it to close earlier this week.

A spokesman said engineers have been making repairs, but a piece of equipment needs to be sent from France, and it was "unlikely" cremations will resume until the week beginning 5 March.

Families have been able to hold services at the site, but the actual cremations have been taking place about 50 miles away in Newport.

Some cremations may have to take place in Taunton over the next two weeks, the council added.

In light of the risks to staff and the public, we have had to suspend the cremation service for a further two weeks. We are doing everything we can to ensure that our cremator equipment is repaired as quickly as possible and we are regularly updating funeral directors of the situation, so that they can keep families fully informed.

Mike RedmanCheltenham Borough Council

Severe disruption: M5 Devon northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon northbound severe disruption, between J27 for A38 and J26 for A38.

M5 Devon - Two lanes closed and slow traffic on M5 northbound between J27, A38 (Tiverton) and J26, A38 (Wellington), because of medical emergency.

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

Glastonbury Festival's Emily Eavis pledges continued support for Oxfam

Archive footage of a soon-to-be-demolished landmark

The disused sorting office now
Bristol City Council

The derelict former Royal Mail sorting office next to Bristol's Temple Meads station is finally set to be demolished.

The eyesore was famously described by former Prime Minster David Cameron as looking like an "entrance to a war zone".

The 1930s sorting office and adjoining 1970s office building has stood empty for nearly two decades.

Now the site will become a new £300m campus for the University of Bristol, expected to open at the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

The new Temple Quarter Campus will house a digital innovation centre, a business school and student residential village.

WATCH: We found this vintage BBC footage of the sorting office

Severe disruption: M5 Devon both ways

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon both ways severe disruption, at J27 for A38.

M5 Devon - Queuing traffic on M5 in both directions at J27, A38 (Tiverton), because of all traffic being temporarily held and a police incident.

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

Bovine TB strategy reviewed by government

Badger
Getty Images

The government has announced it is to review its strategy to tackle bovine TB in cattle.

The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said he believes it is a "good time to review progress".

The 25 year strategy outlined a number of measures to fight the disease, including the culling of badgers - which has been taking place in areas including parts of Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Last year almost 20,000 badgers were killed nationally as part of the government's plan to control the spread of bovine TB.

While the badger culls are a necessary part of the strategy, no one wants to be culling badgers forever.

George EusticeFarming Minister

Lydiard Park future uncertain after talks collapse

The future of Lydiard Park in Wiltshire is again facing uncertainty after talks to recruit new owners and organisers for the much-loved site collapsed.

Swindon Borough Council has spent two years trying to secure the site's future.

The Heritage Trust were until today in the running to take over Lydiard Park as a community-run concern.

The BBC understands there was a disagreement over an upfront cash amount needed for urgent maintenance.

This afternoon the Trust reacted angrily to the council decision and released a statement stating that "the Council’s decision to continue to manage Lydiard puts its future in real jeopardy."

Swindon's main opposition Labour party leader Jim Grant, meanwhile, has said: "it's an absolute disaster for Swindon, it's a shambles that the council have come to this conclusion over a two year period, and it shows the extent of the rank incompetence of the people running this administration. My big worry though is that this administration is still seeking to let Lydiard Park go out to the private sector"

Lydiard Park house
BBC

After a 2.5 year outsourcing process Swindon Borough Council have unilaterally decided to abandon plans to transfer operational and management control of Lydiard Park to the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust and bring the process to an end. Their decision leaves Lydiard without an effective management team and at grave risk. Despite publically acknowledging they do not have the skills and experience to run such an important heritage asset, the Council has rejected the sustainable future offered by the charitable Trust.

The Lydiard Park Heritage Trust

Tributes to be paid to M5 crash victim tonight

Elaina Beard
BBC

Balloons will be released this evening in memory of a woman who died in a serious crash on the M5 in Somerset last week.

Friends of 29-year-old Elaina Beard have organised the event outside her home in Bridgwater.

Hundreds of people have paid tribute to the careworker whose employers described her as a hugely valued and liked member of staff.

Searches for 'armed man' ongoing say Gloucestershire police

Gloucestershire police have confirmed that they were called to a report of a man carrying a firearm in Lambsquay Road in Coleford shortly before midday today.

Officers and the police helicopter conducted a search for the man, who was described as white, around 18- years-old, with shaved blonde hair. He was wearing black jeans, a hoodie and a backpack.

"The man hasn’t been located despite a thorough search of the area but officers are continuing to pursue several lines of enquiries to identify and trace him" say the force.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police.

Severe disruption: M4 Gloucestershire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Gloucestershire westbound severe disruption, between J18 for A46 Bath and J19 for M32.

M4 Gloucestershire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M4 westbound between J18, A46 (Bath) and J19, M32 (Bristol), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

M5 reopen southbound after two crashes block motorway

The southbound carriageway of the M5 in Gloucestershire has been cleared after two separate crashes blocked both sides of the motorway between junctions 11A and 12.

Police said two lanes were now open on the northbound carriageway.

View more on twitter
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Millions given to boost West home-building by councils

New homes
PA

More than £7.8m government funding has been announced for the West, aimed at boosting the building of thousands of new homes.

The money comes from the Land Relief Fund, which councils had to bid for. It is additional to the Housing Infrastructure Fund money announced in the last fortnight.

"As part of Government’s drive to get Britain building homes again, a total of 31 projects from Bristol to Plymouth will receive funding to support building up to 2,446 homes on council owned land" the government said.

It is hoped the "money will combat barriers which would otherwise make land unusable for development" they said.

List of funding awards
Crown
More than £7.8m has been awarded to 'unlock' west council sites for building homes

M5 blocked by crash - starting to move now

Highways maps
Highways England
Traffic affected on both carriageways

Disruption is expected, on the M5, for at least the next hour, according the Highways England.

Currently, traffic is affected in both directions following a multi-vehicle collision between junctions 11A and Junction 12.

More as we have it.

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M5 'blocked both ways' says Highways England

A multi-car accident, at Junctions 11 and 12, Gloucester, is causing major disruption on the M5 currently.

More as we have it.

View more on twitter
Traffic camera footage
Highways England

Severe accident: M5 Gloucestershire northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire northbound severe accident, between J12 for B4008 Quedgeley and J11A for A417 Gloucester.

M5 Gloucestershire - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M5 northbound between J12, B4008 (Quedgeley) and J11a, A417 (Gloucester), because of a multi-vehicle accident.

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

Travel: Problems on the M5 near J11a for Gloucester/Cirencester

Several cars involved on both carriageways with traffic stopped southbound and down to one lane northbound.

M5
Highways England

Severe accident: M5 Gloucestershire southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire southbound severe accident, between J11A for A417 Gloucester and J12 for B4008 Quedgeley affecting J11 for A40 Golden Valley Bypass Gloucester.

M5 Gloucestershire - Queuing traffic on M5 southbound between J11a, A417 (Gloucester) and J12, B4008 (Quedgeley), because of an accident, which is now on the hard shoulder. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J11, A40 (Gloucester).

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

Bus routes decline: Council's 'big responsibility to bear'

A Nippy bus
GEOGRAPH/MAIGHEACH-GHEAL

Parish councillor Dave Amor has seen his village of Ilton, home to about 500 people, cut off from public transport since the loss of the Nippy bus last year.

Only recently, Ilton's local shop closed down leaving even basic services a car journey away.

A dial-a-ride service does exist, but users must give two days notice before they can book it.

"It does work if you just want to go shopping on a certain day," said Mr Amor.

“But where it falls down is doctors appointments, stuff where you don't know where you are going to be going two days in advance. You can't just find a bus on that day if you need it."

The father-of-two and BT engineer believes the county council should re-tender the contract held by Nippy Bus. "Somerset County has a big responsibility to bear here,” he added.

"We sympathise with the fact they need to cut costs, but they need to look after the people who are vulnerable.They are still supporting the profitable routes."

The BBC today released analysis of the decline in bus routes, across the country, over the last decade.

Reduced bus service more 'cost effective' says Gloucestershire County Council

Stagecoach bus in Gloucestershire
BBC

Britain's bus network has shrunk to levels last seen in the 1990s, new analysis by the BBC has revealed.

Gloucestershire has seen one of the biggest reductions in in the size of its network.

Over the past four years the distance covered by buses in the county has dropped by almost a quarter.

They now travel around two and a half million fewer miles each year.

Rising car use and public funding cuts have been blamed for the national trend.

Gloucestershire County Council say their services are now more cost effective - with buses running with less empty seats.

Devon & Somerset firefighters

Concerns are raised after a review said most incidents only required two firefighters.

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Bus routes decline 'leaves you feeling isolated'

A bus stop
BBC

Across Britain, 134 million miles of bus coverage has been lost over the past decade.

The network of bus routes has shrunk to levels akin to the late 1980s, according to new BBC analysis.

Melissa Whittaker, who launched a petition to improve public transport in Somerset, says cuts have left people stranded in the county.

Her son Issac, aged three, has autism and often attends South Petherton Community Hospital.

But the 10-mile journey from Chard to South Petherton, where the nearest community hospital is, can take more than three hours because there's no direct route and large distances to travel on foot at either end.

A driver could make the same journey in 20 minutes, while the whole trip could be walked in just over three hours.

For me I can’t consider adult training sessions at Yeovil College for instance. Things like socialising are just impossible. It leaves you feeling isolated because you just can’t access these destinations. There are bus routes, but because the transfer times do not link up it is difficult to get anywhere you need to go.

Melissa Whittaker
A map displaying routes between Chard and South Petherton
Google

A spokesperson for Somerset County Council said there hadn't ever been a direct bus service between Chard and South Petherton "due to the lack of demand".

"There would be too few passengers wanting to travel between the towns and on to the hospital to make even a supported bus service viable," they added.

Kieran Robinson (L), Sacha Nicholls (C) and his brother Ashley Nicholls-Perry (R)

Kieran Robinson ran a lucrative drugs network via thousands of calls from prison on smuggled phones.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg to give another talk in Bristol tonight

Jacob Rees-Mogg
PA

Just a fortnight after protestors stormed into his last talk at the University of the West of England, the Conservative MP for North East Somerset is at another local campus tonight, at the University of Bristol.

Rees-Mogg himself played down the incident last time - when scuffles broke out after members of the Bristol Anti-Fascist group entered the building.

Tonight's talk has been organised by the University of Bristol's Conservative Association, with extra security measures in place.

Travel: Problems on M4/A419 starting to clear

Travel: More problems on the M4 near Swindon

Bath Uni athletes in strong skeleton showing

Laura Deas
Getty Images

Defending champion Lizzy Yarnold has lost her lead at the halfway point of the women's skeleton competition but remains in third place just 0.1 seconds behind the leader in a time of 1m 43.96 seconds.

Melksham athlete Laura Deas managed to climb up the leaderboard from sixth place to fourth in a total time of one minute 44.03 seconds after her two heats.

They'll ride twice more tomorrow with both in strong medal contention.

Family pay tribute to A30 crash victim from Somerset

Robert Duval
Family Photo

A man who died after the car he was travelling in was involved in a collision on the A30 at Upottery near Honiton has been named.

60-year-old Robert Duval from Hinton St George, Somerset, died at the scene.

His family paid the following tribute:

Robert was a much loved husband, father, brother and son, who burned so very brightly, and in so many ways touched the lives and hearts of those around him. We are very grateful for the time we were able to have with him, and are devastated that this has been cruelly cut short. We would like to thank everyone for their warm words and wishes and to thank the police and emergency services for their help and support.

Robert Duval's family