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  1. Updates on Thursday, 17 March 2016
  2. News, sport, weather and travel updates resume at 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Katy Prickett

All times stated are UK

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Live coverage through the day

That's it for today. We'll be back tomorrow with the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates for the county between 08:00 and 18:00.

Don't forget, you can contact us any time with your stories and pictures via emailFacebook or Twitter.

Cambridgeshire's papers react to Timothy Allen's sentencing

Katy Prickett

BBC News

The sentencing of Timothy Allen for killing his wife Samantha Ho has been the main story of the day here in Cambridgeshire.

The Cambridge News reported how he'd "brutally beheaded his 'saintly' wife and killed their dog believing he was receiving orders from the dancers on X Factor".

Meanwhile, the Peterborough Telegraph talked about Allen "suffering a paranoid delusion that X Factor dancers were under control of a 'puppet master'".

Details of East Anglian devolution revealed

Deborah McGurran

BBC Political editor, East of England

County, district and borough councils will continue under plans to introduce a devolved East Anglian government.

The devolution agreement

The devolution agreement, published by the Treasury and signed by 22 of the 23 council leaders in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, outlines how the new combined authority will work, and the powers of the new directly-elected mayor.

The agreement stresses there is no intention for the new authority to take existing powers from local authorities.

Patients unlikely to change behaviour even if they're told they could develop an illness, says Cambridge researcher

Kerry Devine

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

A Cambridge researcher has published new evidence that suggests telling patients about their chance of developing a genetic disease has little or no impact on health-related behaviour. 


Prof Theresa Marteau, from the University of Cambridge, says people are unlikely to change their habits even if they're told they could develop serious illness. 

Her work has just been published in the British Medical Journal

Weather: Chance of drizzle tonight, 1C (34F)

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Tonight I'm expecting it to stay cloudy and misty, with the chance of some spots of light rain or drizzle. Minimum temperature 1C (34F).

Weather map

The mist and fog may linger first thing, but tomorrow should stay mainly dry, although there's always the risk of some drizzle. Maximum temperature: 7C (44F).  

For a more detailed forecast where you live, head to BBC Weather.  

Headlines: St Neots man who beheaded his wife is detained indefinitely... Rolf Harris denies sex attack on woman in Cambridge

Emma Maclean

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Here are the stories we're leading with in Cambridgeshire this afternoon:

  • A man who beheaded his wife in St Neots has been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act
  • Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris has denied a charge of indecently assaulting a woman on Jesus Green in Cambridge in 1978
  • A man has been taken to hospital after a crash on the A14 this morning

Rolf Harris denies Cambridge sex attack charge

Emma Maclean

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Rolf Harris has appeared in court charged with seven sex attacks - including one in Cambridge.

Rolf Harris

The veteran entertainer denies all charges, including a charge of indecently assaulting a woman over the age of 16 on Jesus Green in 1978.

The 85-year-old is serving a prison sentence for sex-related offences and appeared via video link for the hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court. 

Lots of spare bicycle parking space at Cambridge Railway Station

It appears the brand new £2.5m bicycle park which opened last month at Cambridge Railway Station is being rather underused...

Simon Mandeville tweeted this image showing how empty the top floor is.

You can send us your stories via Twitter, Facebook or email

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Samantha Ho's family pay tribute to her after her husband is detained

Mousumi Bakshi

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

The family of Samantha Ho have paid tribute to her after her husband was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act.

The bio-scientist was found dead in St Neots on 29 August. Husband Timothy Allen admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. 

Her family flew in from Hong Kong to hear the verdict at Southwark Crown Court and afterwards said she was an "incredible human being who enriched the lives of those she met".

British and American teenagers perform at American Air Museum opening

Katy Prickett

BBC News

Young people from the US and UK also performed together at Duxford's Imperial War Museum as part of the opening ceremony of its extensively revamped American Air Museum.

Performance by British and American teenagers at IWM Duxford

The huge hangar-like space tells the story of Anglo-American collaboration in 20th and 21st Century conflict, through the eyes of the people who were there.

Many of its 850 objects have never been seen before by the public.

Duke formally opens Duxford's revamped American Air Museum

Katy Prickett

BBC News

The Duke of Kent has been to Duxford's Imperial War Museum today to formally reopen its American Air Museum.

HRH the Duke of Kent, William Toombs and Nancy Toombs

The vast space has had a £3m transformation and tells the role of US air power from 1918 to the present day.

The duke, who has been president of the museum group's board of trustees since 1974, met veteran William Toombs (centre-right) and his daughter Nancy Toombs (left).

Court hears how Samantha Ho and Timothy Allen briefly split up

Mousumi Bakshi

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

At Southwark Crown Court today I heard that Timothy Allen and Samantha Ho had met at Nottingham Trent University in 1995 and married in 2010. 

Allen moved out of the couple's St Neots home in May 2014 after "strains appeared" in their marriage. He told colleagues he had gone to live with his parents. 

By early 2015 the couple reconciled. Allen moved back into their St Neots home and they bought a dog, but just a few months later he killed them both.

Demolition work starts on Aqua house in Peterborough

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

It's full steam ahead to knock down the former home of the Environment Agency in Peterborough. 

Demolition work starts at Aqua House
Peterborough city council

Work to strip out the interior of Aqua House has started and it should all be gone by the summer. 

It's making way for the £120m redevelopment of Fletton Quays, which will include a hotel, offices and 280 homes. 

Cambridge woman refused alcohol at the checkout because of old self-harm scars

BBC Newsbeat

A 21-year-old woman from Cambridge says she wasn't allowed to buy a bottle of champagne at Tesco in Fulbourn because the cashier noticed her old self-harm scars. 

Becci Wain says the situation was "embarrassing and horrible". 

Becci Wain
Facebook/Becci Wain

A spokesman for Tesco said it is pleased Becci has accepted its apology and it "recognises an error has been made in this instance", as "all their store colleagues are trained in the responsible selling of alcohol".

New university for Peterborough in devolution plans

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

It's hoped the new planned devolution deal for Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk could mean a new university for Peterborough.

East Anglian flag

The leader of Peterborough City Council, John Holdich, says "there's money in the pot for a university", adding the deal will also provide more money for housing and enterprise zones.

Roads reopen after flood water subsides

The causeways at Welney and Sutton Gault have been reopened after being shut for a number of days due to flooding.

View more on twitter

U's Ryan Ledson called up to England under-19 squad

Nick Fairbairn

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire sport

Cambridge United midfielder Ryan Ledson has been called up to the England under-19 squad for their Euro qualifying tournament in Spain later this month. 

Ryan Ledson
Getty Images

The 18-year-old is currently on loan from Everton. 

He's set to miss the U's Good Friday trip to Bristol Rovers and the home tie with Oxford on Easter Monday.

Ambulance service attends spate of crashes in the fog

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The fog has now lifted in Cambridgeshire, but the East of England Ambulance Service had a busy morning dealing with a number of crashes on our roads.

BBC Travel shows delays following the multi-vehicle accident on the A14 south of Huntingdon earlier have now cleared.

View more on twitter

Weather: Fine and sunny afternoon

BBC Weather

The fog is lifting and it will stay fine this afternoon with prolonged sunshine. 


Winds will ease as well and, in the sunshine, it should feel quite pleasant. 

Maximum temperature: 10C (50F). 

Headlines: Husband detained for beheading wife... Spate of crashes during this morning's fog

Sam Edwards

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

If you're just joining us, here's the latest headlines in Cambridgeshire:

  • Timothy Allen has been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act for beheading his wife Samantha Ho in St Neots
  • The East of England Ambulance Service has issued a warning after several accidents occur during this morning's foggy conditions
  • New evidence published in the BMJ by a Cambridge researcher suggests people are unlikely to change their behaviour even if they are told they could develop a serious illness

Timothy Allen struggled to hold down jobs

David Keller

BBC News

Following his motorbike accident 12 years ago, Timothy Allen found it hard to keep jobs, unsuccessfully applying for 140. 

In the week before the attack he had visited his GP twice and was referred to mental health services before being allowed to return home. 

But he had never tried to harm his wife, whom he met at university in 1995, prior to the beheading.

Samantha Ho called 999 shortly before she was beheaded

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Samantha Ho dialled 999 shortly before 23:00 on 29 August last year, telling police her husband had tried to kill himself. 

But when officers arrived, they found a bare-chested Timothy Allen in the process of killing their pet dog - having already killed Ms Ho.

Allen denied murder and prosecutors accepted his guilty plea to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

'Motorbike crash' caused Allen's mental health issues

Medical reports showed Timothy Allen had suffered a series of psychiatric problems, including paranoid schizophrenia, following a motorbike accident in 2004.

Detaining him under the Mental Health Act, Mrs Justice McGowan, sitting at Southwark Crown Court, said: "This was a happy, loving couple, working well together and successfully until the events of 2004 and the road traffic accident. 

"What happened that night was clearly a product of a severe and chronic mental illness."

Southwark Crown Court
Getty Images

CPS satisfied Timothy Allen suffering from 'mental illness'

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The Crown Prosecution Service says it accepted Timothy Allen's admission of manslaughter in February after considering medical reports that he was suffering from a mental illness. 

Punam Malhan from the CPS said: "This is a tragic case where Mr Allen’s long-term mental health problems deteriorated to such an extent that he killed his wife in an extremely brutal fashion.

Curlew Place

"It is clear from what witnesses have said that Ms Ho was a caring, loving, and supportive partner to Mr Allen. She was aware of his health problems and had done her utmost to support and care for him through a number of difficult times while she continued to work as a successful scientist.

"At the time of the killing we were satisfied Mr Allen was suffering from a mental illness which caused an abnormality of the mind, substantially affecting his ability to behave rationally and keep his self-control."

Timothy Allen diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic

Mousumi Bakshi

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Timothy Allen's diagnosis as a paranoid schizophrenic came after he suffered a delusion during the X Factor, triggering the beheading of his wife. 

Southwark Crown Court heard he saw a figure on the show that he thought was trying to get to him and his wife, so decided he had to take her life and his own. 

He was found with injuries including one to his neck, but he survived.

Timeline in the Samantha Ho manslaughter case

Here's a timeline of the events surrounding the manslaughter of Samantha Ho

  • 29 August 2015: The body of bio-scientist Samantha Ho is found at Curlew Place, St Neots. Timothy Allen is arrested on suspicion of murder and taken to hospital with serious, but not life-threatening injuries.
  • 31 August 2015: Allen is charged with murder.
  • 16 December 2015: Allen appears via video link at the Old Bailey and denies murder.
  • 26 February 2016: Allen admits manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
  • 17 March 2016: Allen detained indefinitely under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

Timothy Allen sentencing explained

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Timothy Allen has been detained indefinitely under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983, with an additional Section 41 order imposed to protect the public.

The Rethink Mental Illness website explains that the 37 order means he'll be kept in a secure hospital facility rather than a prison.  

The Section 41 order means Allen will be held in a secure facility until a mental health panel or the secretary of state deems him to no longer be a risk to the public.

Husband suffered 'delusion' during X Factor that led to wife's death

Mousumi Bakshi

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Southwark Crown Court heard today that Timothy Allen beheaded his wife Samantha Ho after suffering a delusion while watching ITV talent show The X Factor.

Police at scene of crime

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said: "They had been, it seems, watching X Factor together on television - that appears to have been the trigger for what happened." 

Allen then turned the knives on his wife and the couple's pet dog. He later told police he had seen the dancers "as puppets being controlled by a puppet master" which he thought were "speaking" to him through the television.

Police say Samantha Ho's death was a 'tragic case'

Det Supt Richard Wall, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit, said: "This is a tragic case where a woman lost her life and families have been torn apart.

"Nothing will bring Samantha back but I hope today’s sentencing, and the conclusion of legal proceedings, will provide some comfort for Samantha's family.

"Our deepest sympathies are with them and her friends at this difficult time."

Forensic teams at Samantha Ho's house

Samantha Ho was a 'kind-hearted young lady'

The family of Samantha Ho have just released a statement following the sentencing of Timothy Allen.

Flower tributes at Curlew Place

It says: "We have put our faith in the justice system to make amends for this crime and we welcome today's result. However, no sentence can bring Samantha back.

"Samantha was a well-loved, well respected, kind-hearted young lady.

"On that fateful day Samantha was tragically taken away from us. That day was a day where a part of us died."

Timothy Allen held his head in his hands during sentencing

Mousumi Bakshi

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Timothy Allen appeared at Southwark Crown Court via videolink from Cambridge Crown Court. 

During much of the hearing he held his head in his hands. He spoke once when asked to confirm his name.

Three members of the victim's family were in court. Brother and sister were heard sobbing as details of the attack were read out. 

Police originally called to home over concern for Allen

Helen Burchell

BBC News

Police were initially called to Curlew Place last August by the ambulance service after reports of concern for a man at the property.

Armed officers forced entry to the house, where Samantha Ho's body was found.

Allen was arrested on suspicion of murder and taken to hospital with what police described as a serious, but not life-threatening injury. He has since admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Photo released of Timothy Allen

Helen Burchell

BBC News

Cambridgeshire Police have just released a photo of Timothy Allen who has been sectioned for beheading his wife in St Neots last year.

Timothy Allen
Cambridgeshire Police

Bio-scientist Samantha Ho, 39, was found dead in Curlew Place on 29 August.

Her head and torso were discovered separately. A post-mortem examination found she died from cuts to her neck.

Judge says Samantha Ho case 'one of the saddest'

Mousumi Bakshi

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

The judge, the Hon Mrs Justice McGowan, told Southwark Crown Court "this was a terrible case... it is a tragic loss, that is stating the obvious".

In handing down her sentence, she said "this is one of the saddest cases this court has had to deal with". 

Samantha Ho
Cambridgeshire Police

Restriction order imposed on Allen by judge

Mousumi Bakshi

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

The judge at Southwark Crown Court has also imposed a restriction order on Timothy Allen under Section 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 following the death of Samantha Ho.

Judge detains Timothy Allen over wife's death

Mousumi Bakshi

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

A judge at Southwark Crown Court has detained Timothy Allen indefinitely under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983 for beheading his wife Samantha Ho in St Neots last year.

Allen admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility back in February.

BreakingHusband detained indefinitely for beheading wife

Timothy Allen is detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act for beheading his wife Samantha Ho in St Neots last year. 

Travel news: A14 lanes open after earlier accident, delays continue

All lanes on the A14 are now open after an earlier accident eastbound at Junction 28.

But there are severe delays and congestion back to Junction 21, at Brampton Hut and the Alconbury Spur. 

View more on twitter

Drivers being warned to use headlights in misty conditions this morning

There are warnings for drivers to take extra care because of the misty conditions. This was the scene in Barrington this morning.

Mist in Barrington
Shkee/Weather Watcher

Motorists are being asked to use their headlights and make sure their windscreens are clear. 

There have been several accidents this morning, including a multi-vehicle accident at Junction 28 on the A14.