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Summary

  1. Updates on Wednesday, 13 April 2016
  2. An inquest into the death of a seven-year-old girl killed on a bouncy castle opens
  3. Maldon MP and Culture Secretary John Whittingdale says his relationship with an escort did not affected his work
  4. The jury in the trial of a teenager accused of murdering two people in Colchester is due to hear from witnesses who have assessed the boy's behaviour
  5. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume at 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

By Jack Warren

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

That's it from us at Essex Live today - thanks for stopping by.

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 with the latest news for the county. 

Have a great evening. 

Drivers 'deliberately' ignore A13 road closure

More than 40 cases of drivers "deliberately" ignoring road closures on the A13 have been recorded by Highways England.

A13
Google

The interchange between the A13 and the M25 at J30 is currently undergoing works which include lane widening. 

Highways England is urging motorists to "take more care", adding "drivers are putting their safety and the safety of others at risk".

Weather: Showers dying out overnight

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

There may be the odd shower this evening and overnight, but these will mostly die out to leave fairly cloudy skies and light winds. 

Minimum temperature: 7C (45F).

Weather map
BBC

Tomorrow there will be patchy cloud with scattered showers developing. These may be heavy and thundery during the afternoon, but mixed with some pleasant sunny spells. 

You can stay up-to-date with the latest weather forecast here.

Essex man arrested over Sheffield murder probe

A Colchester man has been arrested after a 22-year-old woman was stabbed to death at her home in Sheffield. 

Leigh-Annie Mahachi
South Yorkshire Police

Leigh-Annie Mahachi was discovered at a property in Gleadless Valley yesterday, but died later in hospital. 

The 37-year-old man, arrested on suspicion of murder, remains in police custody.

Headlines: Gang hid before 'paedophile' attack... Teen killer 'was hunting third victim'

Nick Alliker

BBC Essex

Here are the top stories for Essex: 

  • A group of youths was seen hiding in a park moments before a man was killed in the mistaken belief he was a paedophile, a court has heard
  • Jurors have been told that a teenager accused of two murders told police he was hunting a third victim when he was caught
  • c2c says it's introducing 13,000 new seats each week later this year, after hundreds of complaints about overcrowded trains

Bosses fear three attacks on radio station a grudge

Essex Chronicle

Essex Chronicle

Community radio station bosses fear they are being targeted by someone with a grudge after their studio suffered three attacks in less than two weeks.

Your pictures: Harwich sailing barge

BBC Weather Watchers

Thanks to BBC Weather Watcher Telboy for this picture of a sailing barge in Harwich.

Sailing barge in Harwich
BBC Weather Watchers/Telboy

They reported temperatures at about 14C (57.2F).

Feel free to share any great photos you take from the county via email, Twitter, or Facebook

Travel: Large pothole blocks Clacton road

New c2c carriages 'most significant' increase in capacity for over a decade

c2c customers will see the "most significant" increase in capacity for over a decade when 24 extra carriages are brought into action later this year, according to the company's managing director. 

Julian Drury said the extra carriages were "absolutely vital" for the south Essex rail operator to "meet the surge in demand from passengers". 

"This agreement is hugely important, as we will now get new carriages on c2c within six months when they normally take years to be delivered," he said. 

Woman seriously injured after horsebox crash

A woman has been left seriously injured after her Audi collided with a horsebox in Elmstead Market earlier today.

School Road
Google

Essex Police says the woman was removed from her vehicle by the fire service following the crash in School Road. She was taken to Addenbroke's Hospital in Cambridge. 

A nine-year-old girl who was also in the vehicle was unharmed. The lorry driver, who was not transporting any horses at the time, was also uninjured. 

John Whittingdale's credibility 'has been damaged'

The credibility of culture secretary and Maldon MP John Whittingdale "has been damaged", according to a campaign group which wants tougher press regulation.

John Whittingdale
BBC

Four newspapers - the People, the Mail on Sunday, The Sun and the Independent - had investigated claims that Mr Whittingdale had a relationship with an escort, but concluded the story was not in the public interest.

However, Brian Cathcart, co-founder of Hacked Off said: "The public cannot have faith in his judgement, in his independence in making decisions about the media."

Get involved: Your responses to A12 rock throw story

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Lots of you have been getting in touch after Essex Police told us a large rock had been thrown on to a car from a bridge on the A12 in Ingatestone.

If you'd like to get involved in the conversation you can email us, tweet us, or visit our Facebook page.

Weather: Clouding over this afternoon

It will turn cloudier through this afternoon with scattered showers developing, perhaps turning heavy and thundery. 

Feeling pleasantly warm in the light winds and spring sunshine. Maximum temperature: 17C (63F).

Weather chart
BBC

Stay up-to-date with the latest weather forecast here.

Headlines: Colchester double murder accused 'was getting rid of sinners'...Inquest into bouncy castle death opens

Sonia Watson

BBC Essex

Here are the top stories from Essex this afternoon: 

Lorry driver murder trial: Off-duty officer 'saw youths hiding in a park'

A group of youths were seen hiding in a park moments before Basildon lorry driver Darren Kelly was killed in the mistaken belief he was a paedophile, a court has heard. 

Darren Kelly
BBC

The 42-year-old was stabbed to death in Pitsea on 20 October. Four people are on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court after pleading not guilty to murder. 

Off-duty police community support officer Emma Spurr told jurors she was walking home when she saw what appeared to be youths concealing themselves behind trees and bushes. "It made me feel nervous and I wanted to get home as quickly as possible," she said.

c2c announces new fleet of 24 carriages

A new fleet of 24 carriages will be rolled out on to the c2c line this year, the south Essex rail operator has announced.

c2c
BBC

The company has come under pressure since introducing timetable changes at the start of the year, which some commuters said led to overcrowding at peak times. 

As of October an extra 13,000 seats will be available during the commuter rush-hour per week, three years earlier than previously planned. You can read full details here.

Your pictures: Glorious morning in Mayland

BBC Weather Watchers

What a cracking morning it was in Essex today - captured perfectly by BBC Weather Watcher snowflake.

Mayland
BBC Weather Watchers/snowflake

They took this photo from Mayland, reporting sunny spells and a temperature of 5C (41F).

If you've got a picture you want to show off you can email us, tweet us, or visit our Facebook page

Teen told to 'go home' from hospital despite suffering potentially deadly MRSA bug

Daily Gazette

A teenager suffering from the potentially deadly MRSA bug and septicaemia was told by doctors to go home because he had a 48-hour bug, it has been claimed.  

Boy held over Vilson Meshi death released without charge

A 16-year-old boy from Wickford who was arrested in connection with the death of Vilson Meshi (pictured) in Pitsea has now been released from his bail without charge. 

Vilson Meshi
Anthony Chooah

Essex Police launched a murder investigation after the victim's body was found in a fire-damaged Audio in February. 

Three other teenagers remain on police bail.  

Essex Police seizes 47 'dangerous dogs' over three years

Almost 50 dogs suspected of being banned breeds have been seized by police in Essex over the past three years, new figures reveal.

Dangerous dogs figures in Essex
BBC

The RSPCA wants the Dangerous Dogs Act to be changed so dogs are banned on the basis of behaviour not breed. 

Nationally, almost 5,000 dogs suspected of being banned breeds have been seized by police in England and Wales in the same period. 

Essex win first 2016 County Championship match

Essex have won their first County Championship match of the season.

Cricket at the County Ground
Getty Images

They've beaten Gloucestershire by 10 wickets at the County Ground in Chelmsford. 

Nick Browne and Alastair Cook guided Essex to victory with unbeaten scores of 55 and 35 respectively. 

Chelmer Viaduct officially opened

A new £32m road bridge in Chelmsford has been officially opened today.

Chelmer Viaduct
Highways England

The three-lane Chelmer Viaduct replaces the old 1930s bridge, which is now due to be demolished. 

About 1,800 tonnes of UK-sourced steel was used to build the road, which will be fully open to traffic later this week.

Maldon Conservatives: John Whittingdale has our total support

The Conservative party in Maldon is expressing "total support” for local MP John Whittingdale, after news he had a relationship with an escort.

The revelation that divorcee Mr Whittingdale dated a woman, who he broke up with when he found out she was a sex worker, is a "non story" for the chairman of the Maldon Conservatives.

"We’re behind him, we support him, we knew about it before the election. John’s an honest person, it’s not as though he has got secrets from the constituency."

Gary DuceChairman of Maldon Conservatives

Colchester double murder trial: Accused told police he was 'getting rid of the sinners'

Gareth George

BBC Look East

A teenage killer accused of two murders in Colchester told police he was "getting rid of the sinners".

Nahid Almanea and James Attfield
Essex Police

A video of a police interview with the boy, 17, who cannot be named, was played to a jury at Guildford Crown Court. In it he tells officers: "At the time I thought it was a good thing, I thought it was the right thing."

The teenager denies murdering James Attfield, 33, and Nahid Almanea, 31, in 2014 on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The trial continues.

Large rock thrown at car on the A12

A large rock has been thrown at a car on the A12 in Ingatestone, police say. 

A12
Google

The object struck the windscreen of a 52-year-old man's vehicle as he drove under a bridge near the junction with the B1002, at about 14:30 on Saturday. 

The victim, who was unharmed, believes he saw two boys on the crossing. They are thought to be aged in their early teens, wore dark coloured clothes and had bicycles.

Travel: Delays through Ingatestone due to signalling fault

Services travelling through Ingatestone are currently delayed due to a signalling fault. Greater Anglia says engineers are working to fix the problem. 

View more on twitter

Essex close in on first victory of new season

Nick Alliker

BBC Essex Sport

Essex are closing in on victory in their opening County Championship match of the season. 

Jamie Porter celebrating with team mates
Getty Images

They need just another 59 runs to beat Gloucestershire at Chelmsford later today. 

Bowler Jamie Porter, who took seven wickets in the game, said: "There's a really good feeling around the dressing room - it's a very exciting time for the club."

Summer Grant 'died from multiple injuries'

A seven-year-old girl died from multiple injuries when a bouncy castle she was playing on blew away in Harlow, an inquest has heard. 

Summer Grant memorial
BBC

Summer Grant was at a funfair in the Town Park on 26 March when the incident happened. 

Senior Essex Coronor Caroline Beasley Murray expressed sympathy to Summer's family. The inquest has been adjourned until 3 May.

Braintree Town play-off hopes back on track

Nick Alliker

BBC Essex Sport

Braintree Town have reignited their National League play-off hopes. 

Danny Cowley
Getty Images

Last night the Iron won 1-0 at fourth placed Grimbsy Town. 

Danny Cowley's side are now level on points with those chasing an end of season promotion play-off berth, with three games remaining. 

Summer Grant inquest due to open

An inquest into the death of Summer Grant is due to open at Chelmsford Coroner's Court this morning.

Summer Grant
Essex Police

The seven-year-old was fatally injured when the bouncy castle she was playing on blew away at a funfair in Harlow Town Park last month. 

On Saturday about 200 people gathered at the site to remember Summer. Candles were laid in the shape of two hearts and a two-minute silence was held.

Concord Rangers secure historic win in BBC Essex Senior Cup

Concord Rangers are the BBC Essex Senior Cup winners for a third straight season.

Last night's 1-0 win over Heybridge Swifts make them the first club to record a hat-trick of victory's since 1967.

Sam Bantick got the only goal of the game in the first half. 

View more on twitter

John Whittingdale: This is an old story which was a bit embarrassing at the time

Culture secretary and Maldon MP John Whittingdale says there was no indication that a woman he met through a dating website was an escort.

Mr Whittingdale told BBC's Newsnight he only discovered her occupation when he became aware that "someone was trying to sell a story about me to tabloid newspapers".

John Whittingdale
Reuters

This is an old story which was a bit embarrassing at the time. The events occurred long before I took up my present position and it has never had any influence on the decisions I have made as culture secretary."

John WhittingdaleCulture secretary and Maldon MP

Writtle recorded as the hottest place in England

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

It was a glorious day across the country yesterday, and us Essex folk were lucky enough to bask in some of the highest temperatures in the whole of England.

Temperatures
Met Office

Writtle, near Chelmsford, was officially the hottest place in the country, with the mercury reaching 18.1C (64.5F), according to the Met Office.

Yesterday's high temperatures also made it the hottest day of 2016 so far.

John Whittingdale denies escort relationship affected job

Culture secretary and Maldon MP John Whittingdale has denied that a relationship with a woman who turned out to be an escort has affected decisions in his current post.  

John Whittingdale
Getty Images

Four newspapers learned about the relationship, which took place before he joined the cabinet, but decided not to publish the story. Mr Whittingdale said he ended the relationship as soon as he found out in 2014.

Labour called for him to withdraw from any further decisions over press regulation. Downing Street said Mr Whittingdale "is a single man entitled to a private life" and had the full confidence of the prime minister.

Weather: Sunny spells but with showers later

Georgina Burnett

BBC Weather

Any early mist or fog will quickly clear to leave a dry morning with some sunny spells. 

It will turn cloudier through this afternoon with scattered showers developing, perhaps turning heavy and thundery. 

Maximum temperature: 17C (63F).

You can get the latest weather forecast for the county here.

Headlines: John Whittingdale denies relationship harmed...Bouncy castle death inquest to take place

Sonia Watson

BBC Essex

Here are the top stories for Essex this morning:

  • Culture secretary and Maldon MP John Whittingdale has denied that a relationship with a woman who turned out to be an escort has affected decisions in his current post
  • An inquest into the death of Summer Grant, who was fatally injured when a bouncy castle blew away as she played on it, is due to open this morning
  • The jury in the trial of a teenager accused of murdering two people in Colchester in 2014 is due to hear from expert witnesses who have assessed the youngster's behaviour

Welcome to Essex Live

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to Essex Live.

Join us on this sunny Wednesday for the latest news for the county. 

If you'd like to get in touch you can email us, tweet us, or visit our Facebook page.