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  1. Updates on Thursday 17 March 2016
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Thursday's live coverage

Live updates for Devon and Cornwall have finished for the day, but we'll be back at 08:00 on Friday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Man had 250,000 child abuse images, with almost 2,000 classed as 'most serious'

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

A man has pleaded guilty to downloading more than 250,000 images of child abuse, including almost 2,000 which were classed as the most serious.

Colin Marquardt, 57, admitted four counts of making indecent images of children and one of possessing extreme pornography when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court

The court heard Marquardt had 4,518 images at category B, which showed children abusing each other, and 280,167 at category C, which showed child nudity.

Plymouth man 'pregnant with twins' finally has life-saving operation and he looks much better

Plymouth Herald

An emergency operation helped save a father-of-three after an expanding hernia slowly suffocated him. In December, Russell Mills told The Herald an operation to fix his hugely distended stomach had been cancelled three times meaning he looked "nine months pregnant with twins".

Hit-and-run appeal after two-vehicle crash leaves man injured

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

Police are appealing for witnesses to a hit-and-run near Exeter which left a man injured.  

The head on crash between two cars happened at 19:00 on 14 March on the A377.

Two men in one of the cars fled the scene in a dark-coloured VW Golf heading towards Exeter. The driver of the other car had minor injuries and was treated at the scene. Police are appealing for witnesses.

Controlled fires started on Dartmoor

Weather latest: Tomorrow staying dry but cloudier and cooler in the east

David Braine, Weather Forecaster

It will stay dry tonight and skies will be largely clear which will allow patches of frost or fog to form away from built up areas. However by dawn, thick cloud will begin to push into the east. Minimum Temperature: 0 Deg C (32 Deg F).

Weather graphic

Friday will be a cloudier and colder-feeling day in the east but largely dry and during the afternoon we are likely to see some brighter intervals and some sunshine at times. Maximum Temperature: 10 Deg C (50 Deg F).  

Diving World Series: Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow win silver in Dubai

BBC Sport

Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow won 10m syncro silver in the Dubai leg of the Diving World Series.

Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow booked their place at Rio 2016 in February

The British pair came second with a score of 428.91, behind Chen Aisen and Lin Yue of China.  

Thomas Orchard manslaughter trial: Jury sent home for third night

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

The jury in the case of three Devon and Cornwall Police staff accused of two counts of manslaughter of a man with mental health problems have been sent home for a third night. 

Thomas Orchard, who had paranoid schizophrenia, died after his heart stopped at Heavitree Road Police Station in Exeter in October 2012. 

Thomas Orchard
Family handout

Custody Sergeant Jan Kingshott and civilian detention officers Simon Tansley and Michael Marsden each deny two counts of manslaughter. The jury have been deliberating for 18 hours and will continue their deliberations tomorrow morning.  

Latest news headlines across Devon and Cornwall

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

- A man pleads guilty to downloading more than 250,000 images of child abuse from the internet.

- A man who was sexually assaulted by a Church of England priest has criticised police accusing them of failing to investigate his complaint.

- The first step in a plan to stop new second homes being built in St Ives looks likely to be approved.

- The Eden Project celebrates its 15th birthday today.

Lego figures help promote coastal safety message

'Thriving' St Ives 'benefits' from second homes

Tamsin Melville

Political Reporter, BBC Radio Cornwall

A holiday home owner believes the positives of having second homes in St Ives outweighs the negatives.

The first step in the plan to stop new second homes being built in the town looks likely to be approved later with Cornwall Council poised to give the go-ahead for a referendum on the plan.

Derek Tempest

But, Derek Tempest said St Ives was thriving and there is a lot of employment, compared to Hayle, Camborne or Redruth "where there's a lot of unemployment and they look quite rundown". The number of second homes in the resort currently stands at one in four.

Thousands more litres of fuel on board capsized boat

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

There is thought to be more than 8,000 litres of fuel still on board the capsized French fishing boat saint Christophe which remains in Dartmouth harbour.

About 2,000 litres of fuel have already been removed and disposed of, and the situation "remains stable", the harbour master says.

Darren Douthwaite

Captain Rob Giles from the Dart Harbour and Navigation Authority said a pollution control plan had been put in place quickly after the boat began sinking on 10 March but its presence might start to affect other users of the river in coming weeks.

"We cant go much more towards Easter without there being some sort of implication for other mariners," he said.

Dairy farmers anger after government recommends people cut milk intake

BBC Radio Cornwall

Dairy farmers in Cornwall have accused the government of being unhelpful to their industry after producing a new healthy eating guide which recommends cutting down on dairy products. 

The Eatwell Guide suggests switching from dairy to more fruit and vegetables, and says dairy should make up just eight per cent of our daily intake - down from 15%.

David George from the National Farmers Union in the South West said the reasons for the government advice was unclear, adding: "We’ve just had another round of price cuts announced by many of the major dairy processors, so things are still very tough in that sector - and sadly there's no sign it's going to change any time soon."

Warning that Devon's 'oldest building' could disappear unless urgent action is taken

BBC Radio Devon

What's thought to be Devon's oldest standing building is facing a crumbling future unless swift action is taken, a new report says.

St Nicholas Prioty

St Nicholas Priory was part of Exeter's first medieval monastery, founded in 1087. Exeter City Council will now decide whether to fund the £100,000 that experts say is needed to keep it standing.

Cornish Pirates captain Chris Morgan and three others sign new deals

BBC Sport

Cornish Pirates captain Chris Morgan is among four more players to commit to new deals at the Championship club.

Chris Morgan
Brian Tempest

The 34-year-old back-row has agreed terms for next season, as well as prop Paul Andrew, fellow forward Marlen Walker and centre Alex Dancer.

Morgan has not played since dislocating his shoulder in a 17-15 defeat by Jersey in September.

Police have no record of priest sex assault on Devon man

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Devon and Cornwall Police has said it had no record of any local investigation relating to a man who was sexually assaulted by a Church of England priest.

The victim, from Devon, says he told Devon and Cornwall Police about Vickery House's abuse in 2001 - 11 years before an investigation was launched.  

Vickery House

The force said: "Back in 2001 the way in which police dealt with complaints of historic sexual abuse was very different and not at all reflective of today's policing. [However] we do not doubt he spoke to a police officer." The victim has now asked a lawyer to help him make a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Fire crews practise car rescue from harbour

Rare moment meteor lights up night sky


An incredibly rare phenomenon has been caught on camera in Devon. The Norman Lockyer Observatory recorded the moment a meteor flew across the UK and lit up the night sky with a bright white light.

Happy Birthday Eden: Your thoughts on the attraction as it celebrates 15 years


We've been asking for your views on the Eden Project as it celebrates its 15th birthday and you've been letting us know via the BBC Radio Cornwall Facebook page.

- Audrey Ryan: Too expensive for family day out.

- Cheryll Hammett: The sessions I've been to and my five year old who has Downs Syndrome nose to nose with a rampaging dinosaur!  

- Anthony Glynn: It's a rip's been bailed out twice with public money ,made redundancies, it's costs to the public are a joke,and Tim smit needs to learn some respect.

- Kate Howard: We love our locals pass. Visit every season & when special events are on. Loved Stickman, Christmas & Halloweden.

Trading standards warns car buyers of online scam

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

Devon and Somerset Trading Standards is warning car buyers to be cautious when buying vehicles online. It follows an investigation into online car sales where several consumers did not receive the vehicles they had paid for, which is now being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.

Councillor David Hall, the deputy leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Scams of this kind are becoming increasingly common and increasingly sophisticated. Many websites and adverts look very professional and it can be difficult to tell these apart from the genuine article." 

Female animals less colourful to avoid sexual harassment, experts suggest

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

Female animals could be less colourful and decorated than their male counterparts to avoid sexual harassment, scientists from the University of Exeter have suggested.

Experts said it was known that females go to great lengths to avoid male sexual harassment.

Red Breasted Mergansers

"We are not suggesting that male harassment of attractive females is the only explanation for lack of sexual colour in females but want to alert researchers to the idea that this could be a contributing factor," added Prof Suzanne Hosken.  

Man guilty of downloading more than 250,000 child abuse images

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

A man has pleaded guilty to downloading more than 250,000 images of child abuse from the internet. 

Colin Marquardt, 57, admitted four counts of making indecent images of children and one of possessing extreme pornography when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court

Marquardt, of Barbican Terrace, Barnstaple, Devon, made the images between 2007 and 2015.

Greater understanding of brownfield sites could boost coastal regeneration, study shows

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

A greater understanding of brownfield or derelict sites could boost the regeneration of coastal towns and cities, a study suggests.

Researchers from Plymouth University believe a more joined-up approach would result in more successful waterfront developments, like those in Baltimore, Gothenburg, Hamburg and Liverpool.

Plymouth University

Dr Stephen Essex, Associate Professor in Geography, said: "Brownfield sites are strategically valuable, but can be constrained, and identifying a way to overcome those restrictions could have an overwhelmingly positive impact for coastal communities globally.”

Swaling underway on Dartmoor

View more on twitter

Swaling is a chance for land owners to get together to burn areas of the moor to get rid of old undergrowth and encourage new growth.

Eden Project founder hits back at critics as the tourist attraction turns 15

Neil Gallacher, Business & Industry Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Sir Tim Smit has told the BBC that people who measure the value of the Eden Project in terms of how much it cost to build are talking "rubbish". 

Eden Project

He admits the attraction, which opened 15 years ago today, cost £144m, but he says that Eden is "pound for pound the best investment of the last 30 years in the UK." 

That's a huge claim - but can anyone say he's wrong when, even after 15 years, the attraction is still pulling in so many more visitors than Sir Tim himself had the audacity to put into the original business plan?  He said it could attract 750,000 a year, which at the time some experts warned would be "extraordinarily high"; it's currently on about 900,000. Happy birthday, Eden.

Weather latest: Staying dry with plenty of sunshine and a chance of frost again overnight

BBC Weather

fine spring afternoon with plenty of sunshine and just a little patchy cloud, mainly in the south and along the coast. Maximum Temperature: 11 Deg C (52 Deg F). 

Weather map

Skies will remain largely clear tonight allowing for some mist and frost to form in some inland areas. Minimum Temperature: 0 Deg C (32 Deg F).

Court hears vulnerable care home residents were put in 'cell'

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

The boss of two care homes in Devon where vulnerable residents were allegedly sent to so-called 'punishment rooms' has been described as having “outdated and old fashioned” views on caring.

Paul Hewitt whose company, Atlas, owned Vielstone in Bideford and Gatooma at Holsworthy, and four staff are accused of a string of offences against seven residents, which they deny.

Leo Trimming, who oversaw the care of one resident from Devon, told the court that Mr Hewitt said “Why are you so interested all of a sudden? You used to just pay us the money and let us get on with it.” On a subsequent visit he demanded to see a quiet room which is at the centre of the trial. He said: ““It was a cell - a place to seclude people. It was not a room to sooth someone with complex behavioural problems.”

Fuel leaking from capsized fishing boat

BBC Radio Devon

Fuel has been leaking from a fishing boat which capsized in Dartmouth Harbour last week. 


The Harbour Authority says around 2,000 litres of diesel has been contained by booms, collected and disposed of. The Saint Christophe took refuge in Dartmouth during last week's gales.  

Sugaring the pill... but will the Chancellor's big budget surprise actually work?

Bill Buckley

BBC Radio Devon

George Osborne's rabbit from the hat in the budget was that a tax on sugary drinks is to be introduced in the UK.


It took everyone by surprise - especially as ministers had spent months suggesting they were against the idea. So why tax sugar? Well, all age groups consume at least twice as much as they should. Teenagers have three times as much, with sugary drinks their biggest source of the sweet stuff. 

Have you managed to cut out sugar? And have you ever given something up because of the way it's taxed? Let me know on today's lunchtime phone-in by calling 0345 3011034. 

£20m investment for families to buy their own homes welcomed by MP

Martin Bailie

BBC Radio Cornwall

A £20m investment to help families to buy their own homes in the South West has been welcomed by the Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth.

On Wednesday, George Osborne said: "We're going to use receipts (from stamp duty) to support community housing trusts, including £20m to help young families onto the housing ladder."

Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton told BBC Radio Cornwall the scheme had already helped hundreds of people and she hoped that with "the extra investment, many more people will have the opportunity."

Exeter City's St James's Park doubts could be "devastating" to the club, chairman warns

Exeter Express & Echo

Major doubts hang over a multi-million pound development for Exeter's St James Park after the Government put the scheme on hold.

'Amazing' new second homes ban could be introduced in St Ives

James Churchfield

BBC Radio Cornwall

A bid to put the brakes on new second homes being built in St Ives is likely to take a step forward today.

Cornwall Council could give the go-ahead for a referendum on a ban on building any open market housing, other than properties for people's main home. In Exmoor, the scheme was given the go ahead in 2013 and a local councillor claims it has had an "amazing" response.

St Ives

Andrea Davis, a Conservative district councillor in Lynton and Lynmouth, said: "People get it. We need new housing, but those houses must be for people to live in permanently." 

Bishop of Exeter apologises on behalf of church for priest sex assault

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

The Right Reverend Robert Atwell

The Bishop of Exeter has apologised in person on behalf of the church to a man who was sexually assaulted by a priest.

The victim, from Devon, says he told Devon and Cornwall Police about Vickery House's abuse in 2001 - 11 years before an investigation was launched. Last year the clergyman was jailed for six and a half years for sex offences against boys and young men.

The Right Reverend Robert Atwell said: "I wanted to extend to him (the victim) an unreserved apology for what had happened to him."

Should the building of second homes in popular Cornish beauty spots be banned?

Julie Skentelbery

BBC Radio Cornwall

Are second homes a menace to our communities or an important generator of much needed money in cash-strapped Cornwall? 

Today we're debating the pros and cons as Cornwall Council decides whether to allow a referendum which could result in a ban on any home being built that isn't used all year round.

Let me know what you think on today's lunchtime phone-in by calling 01872 222222.

Mum to walk 5,000 miles around Britain's coastline in memory of her 5-year-old child

View more on twitter

Natalia Spencer has embarked on a 5,000 mile walk around the coast of Britain after her five-year-old daughter died of a rare disorder of the immune system.

People across the country are opening their homes to Natalia, who is raising money for a children's hospital. 

Musicians pay tribute to popular rock Plymouth guitarist Alex May after his shock death

Plymouth Herald

A gig will be dedicated to a popular young musician who died at the weekend. Friends, fellow musicians and fans have taken to social media to pay tribute to Alexander May who was a well-known guitarist with rock band Elithia.

Decision not to book The Red Arrows 'not taken lightly', organisers claim

Martin Bailie

BBC Radio Cornwall

The organisers of Fowey Royal Regatta say a decision not to book The Red Arrows was "not taken lightly".

An inspection of the site by the Military Aviation Authority found that it was not safe for a display. It could have gone ahead off the coast, but organisers felt it would have been difficult to protect people watching on the cliffs and there would have been a drop in money raised in the town.

Red Arrows in Fowey

Malcolm Palin, chair of the committee, said: "We need to think about the economic benefits and the safety requirements." He added the display team might return in future years.

Latest tide times for Devon and Cornwall

Dan Downs, Weather Forecaster

If you're heading to the coast today, here are the times of high water.

Tide Times

I'll have a full weather forecast on Spotlight's lunchtime news at 13:30 on BBC One.