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  1. Updates on Thursday, 9 June 2016
  2. Chelmsford murder victim Ladi Benson was to become a father again, police say
  3. Police commissioner to spend £100k on tackling gang crime
  4. Ed Sheeran facing $20m plagiarism claim by songwriters for Essex's Matt Cardle
  5. Updates resume at 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Jodie Smith

All times stated are UK

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So then, that's it for today!

Our live coverage for Essex has reached its day's end. As a quick recap, the main stories of the day have included:

  • A homeless man is guilty of the manslaughter 57-year-old Kathleen Griffin, from Clacton
  • Southend Pier is likely to be out of action for a week because of problems with pile caps
  • A family's call for a law change over the taking of photos in funeral homes
  • A Leigh-on-Sea restaurant will have to pay £60k for health and safety breaches
  • Essex's new police and crime commissioner is to spend £100k on tackling gang crime

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

In the meantime, have a great evening.

Heading into a 'fine, warm and sunny' evening

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

Tonight will be dry with lows of 10C (50F).

The weather forecast for the morning

Friday will be cloudier but still warm with sunny spells. Temperatures inland could reach 21C (70F), but cooler on the coast with an onshore breeze.

Bowler Matt Quinn 'fully focussed on Essex'

Ben Fryer

BBC Essex sport

International ambitions are firmly on the back-burner for Essex bowler Matt Quinn.

Matt Quinn

The New Zealander's made an impressive start to his county cricket career, but is putting all international talk to one side. 

"I’m fully focused on playing for Essex," he said.

Colchester United looking to line up Massey replacement

Ben Fryer

BBC Essex sport

Colchester United are looking to strengthen their squad ahead of the new season, and it appears they are already lining up a replacement for Gavin Massey who was sold to Leyton Orient yesterday. 

The U's are being linked with Jamille Matt (pictured below), a striker who has recently left League One Fleetwood. 

However, they're likely to face stiff competition from Plymouth, who Matt played on-loan for at the end of last season.

Jamille Matt
Getty Images

Family's law change hope over funeral home photos

The family of a man from Grays who died last year are hoping to change the law to stop photographs being taken in funeral homes, after a picture of a friend posing with the body was posted online.

Michael Dene Ray, 21, took his own life last December.

His sister Charlie-Anne Semple says they want it to be against the law to take pictures in a funeral home.

The National Association of Funeral Directors said it was an issue that had never been raised before.

A spokesman said: "Funeral directors will always try to meet every request of each family in their care, to help spare them any additional distress.

"However, it would be very difficult to enforce a formal ban as funeral directors traditionally leave the room quietly, to allow family and friends to grieve in private.

"Almost everyone has a smartphone so it would not be possible to remove the opportunity for someone to take a photo."

Southend Pier could be closed for a week

Robby West

BBC Essex

Southend Pier could be closed for a week after cracks were found in supporting parts.

The cause of the damage isn't known, although it is thought recent bad weather may be to blame.

View more on twitter

Southend boss Brown given touchline ban

Phil Brown Southend United manager
Getty Images

Southend United manager Phil Brown has been given a four-match touchline ban by the Football Association for misconduct.

Brown was charged by the FA following the Shrimpers' 3-2 loss at Bury on 8 May - the last day of the League One season.

He was also fined £3,000 after admitting four breaches, while a fifth was found proven by an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing on Wednesday.

The misconduct charges stated that from the third minute of injury time through until half-an-hour after the match had finished, Brown's language and/or behaviour was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper on five separate occasions.  

Phil Brown Southend United manager

Southend boss Brown given touchline ban

Southend United manager Phil Brown is given a four-match touchline ban by the Football Association for misconduct.

Read more

Full story: Grandmother killer jailed for 16 years

Kathleen Griffin
Essex Police

As we mentioned earlier, a killer who tortured and then stabbed a grandmother to death in her own home has been jailed today for 16 years.

Kathleen Griffin, 57, died at her flat in Clacton in December after being stabbed 14 times in her neck, chest, abdomen and back.

Scott Hilling, 26, who admitted her manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court.

You can read the full story here.

Kathleen Griffin

Grandmother killer jailed for 16 years

A killer who tortured and then stabbed a grandmother to death in her own home is jailed for 16 years.

Read more

Southend Pier closed after structure cracks found

We've just heard Southend Pier has been closed this afternoon after engineers found a number of pile caps in its structure had cracked.

They're the timber or concrete posts driven into the soft ground to provide stable foundations for the pier.

Southend Pier trains

Trains have been stopped as they could "result in further damage" when they pass overhead, Southend councillor Ian Gilbert said.

Repairing the damage, which seems to have "deteriorated relatively quickly since recent surveys", could take up to a week.

Ed Sheeran 'not commenting on litigation'

Richard Haugh

BBC News

We reported earlier how Martin Harrington and American Thomas Leonard are suing Suffolk singer Ed Sheeran for $20m (£13.8m) over his single Photograph, claiming it has a similar structure to their song, Amazing, written for Essex's Matt Cardle.

We've heard back from a representative for Sheeran, and been told no comment will be made on the litigation.

Restaurant owner 'did not take action' to comply with hygiene rules

Southend Council prosecuted the owner of Old Vienna after asking him to address serious issues with hygiene and food preparation, which he failed to do.

Pork roll and party food left out uncovered and unrefrigerated all afternoon to be re-served in the evening
Southend Council
Fly sitting on mince pie left uncovered from lunchtime to the evening
Southend Council

The photos above show some of the things inspectors found, which included a pork roll and party food left out uncovered all afternoon to be re-served in the evening, and a fly sitting on a mince pie which was left out all afternoon.

In December, the restaurant got a food hygiene rating of zero out of five. Owner Walter Haiser and his company were fined £59,951 after admitting offences at Southend Magistrates' Court.

Old Vienna restaurant owner fined almost £60k

Be warned - these might not be the best photos to look at if you're about to tuck into an afternoon snack...

The owner of Leigh-on-Sea restaurant Old Vienna has been ordered to pay almost £60,000 in fines and costs after admitting various health and safety offences.

As first reported in The Echo, health inspectors found collapsed ceilings, filthy floors and food left out uncovered for hours when they visited the Eastwood Road premises.

Owner Walter Haiser, 76, of Woodlands Park in Leigh, pleaded guilty to 13 offences, along with another 13 against his company Friern Leasing Ltd.

Below you can see cooked turkey found inside a dirty oven, and an area of kitchen floor peeling back which was covered in dirt.

Cooked turkey left in dirty unlit oven
Southend Council
Kitchen floor peeling with congealed dirt
Southend Council

Snooker's Stuart Bingham says season was 'disappointing'

Basildon's former Snooker World Champion Stuart Bingham said he wants to bounce back from a disappointing season by winning a tournament in the next 12 months. 

He's already qualified for three tournaments, starting with the Riga Masters later this month.

Stuart Bingham

It was pretty disappointing even though I got to three or four semi-finals and a final... I always try to win a tournament in a season."

Stuart BinghamSnooker player

Hilling to be treated in secure mental health facility

During Wednesday's proceedings, Chelmsford Crown Court judge Charles Gratwicke decided Hilling's original admission of manslaughter by diminished responsibility should be accepted, and his trial for murder stopped.

Scott Hilling
Essex Police

After the sentencing, the Crown Prosecution Service issued a statement saying it respected his decision.

The judge also made an order under the Mental Health Act, which means he will be treated in a specialist unit "before or if" he is transferred to a prison to complete the remainder of his sentence.

Clacton grandmother taken in 'cruel and evil way'

Kathleen Griffin's family said she was a "wonderful mother, grandmother and sister" who had been taken from her family "in the most cruel and evil way imaginable".

Kathleen Griffin
Essex Police

She had taken in Scott Hilling, who had nowhere to live on release from prison for theft last September.

Her family said she was "generous to all she met" and had "a heart like a diamond".

Homeless man sentenced for 'sickening and brutal killing'

During his trial, Chelmsford Crown Court heard Scott Hilling stopped to watch TV in between torturing and stabbing 57-year-old Kathleen Griffin at her home in Clacton.

Scott Hilling
Essex Police

His trial for murder was stopped by the judge on the basis the prosecution had not called psychiatric evidence to counter evidence from two defence experts.

Jailing Hilling for 16 years for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, which Hilling admitted, judge Charles Gratwicke said the stabbing was a "sickening and brutal killing of a defenceless woman".

BreakingScott Hilling jailed over Clacton grandmother killing

A homeless man who stabbed a 57-year-old grandmother to death in her home last December has been jailed for 16 years.

Scott Hilling, 26, had denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

A judge at Chelmsford Crown Court stopped the murder trial and sentenced Hilling for manslaughter.

More to follow.

Weather: Fine, warm and sunny afternoon

BBC Weather

It will be a fine, warm and sunny afternoon with any residual low cloud from the morning soon clearing. 

It will stay cooler in Clacton and other coastal places, though even there you'll get plenty of sunshine later.

Highs of 20C, that's 68F. Check the latest forecast for where you live here.

Headlines: Photos released of Ali Qazimaj's car... Ed Sheeran being sued by Matt Cardle's songwriters

Here's a quick recap of what we've been covering on our live page today:

  • Police investigating the disappearance of Sylvia Stuart and the murder of her husband Peter have released photos of a car used by Ali Qazimaj from Tilbury, who is wanted in connection with the crimes
  • Ladi Benson, who was stabbed to death in Chelmsford last year, would have become a father again within weeks had he lived, police say
  • Ed Sheeran is being sued by the writers of a song released in 2012 by former X Factor winner Matt Cardle, who's from Halstead

Restaurant and 'community space' to be built at Shire Hall in Chelmsford

One of Chelmsford's best-known buildings - which has been empty for more than two years - is to be brought back into use with a new restaurant and "community space".

Shire Hall in Chelmsford

Shire Hall, which is Grade II-listed, will be redeveloped by the company that's been working on the new John Lewis development in the city.

The leader of Essex County Council, David Finch, said the building refurbishment would form part of the "ongoing regeneration of that end of the High Street".

Matt Cardle's agent 'not commenting' on song similarity row

Charlotte Rose

BBC Essex

I've contacted Matt Cardle's agent about two songwriters who penned his song Amazing suing Ed Sheeran over alleged similarities with his hit Photograph.

He declined to talk to us and did not want to comment on the story.

Documents filed by songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard include a musical note comparison and chord breakdowns of the two songs. 

The pair claim the chorus of Photograph shares 39 identical notes with Amazing.

Watch: Matt Cardle's 'Amazing' and Ed Sheeran's 'Photograph'

We mentioned earlier the dispute alleging Ed Sheeran copied the song structure of a Matt Cardle track.

Here are the songs in question. Matt Cardle's Amazing was released in 2012 and Ed Sheeran's Photograph released last year.

View more on youtube
View more on youtube

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Massey decision 'surprising'

Ben Fryer

BBC Essex sport

The decision of Colchester United to sell Gavin Massey to a League Two rival is "surprising", according to BBC Essex's commentator Neil Kelly.

Gavin Massey
Getty Images

The winger has moved to Leyton Orient for an undisclosed fee and signed a three-year contract.

"There's almost 100% disappointment from #ColU fans on Twitter," Kelly said.

Weybread: Photos show car used by suspect Ali Qazimaj

Philippa Taylor

BBC Local Live

Police have released photographs of the Citroen C3 which was used by Ali Qazimaj, the man they want to trace in connection with the disappearance of Sylvia Stuart and the murder of her husband Peter.

Det Ch Supt Simon Parkes said: "We are gradually building a picture as we continue to make inquiries to trace Ali Qazimaj. New information is coming in all the time and this continues to be a fast-moving inquiry.

"Our inquiries continue to learn more about his roots and his links within the UK and overseas."

Mr Qazimaj, who also uses the alias Marco Costa, was living in Tilbury, Essex. He's believed to have travelled to France on Saturday, having left his car in Dover.

Ali Qazimaj's car
Suffolk Police
Ali Qazimaj's car rear view
Suffolk Police

BreakingWeybread: Police release images of Ali Qazimaj's car

Philippa Taylor

BBC Local Live

Police investigating the disappearance of Sylvia Stuart and the murder of her husband Peter have released two images of the car used by Ali Qazimaj, who is wanted in connection with the crimes and is believed to have since travelled to France.

Ali Qazimaj's car
Suffolk Police

Matt Cardle songwriters sue Ed Sheeran

It's all kicking off in the world of Essex-Suffolk music news... 

Suffolk singer Ed Sheeran is being sued for $20m (£13.7m) by the writers of a song released in 2012 by former X Factor winner Matt Cardle, who's from Halstead.

Ed Sheeran and Matt Cardle

The writers of Cardle's single Amazing are alleging Sheeran copied their song for his 2015 single Photograph.

Amazing got to number 84 in the UK but generated 1m plays on YouTube. But Sheeran's Photograph had sold more than 3.5m copies by the beginning of June.

Aiden Webb: Timeline of events

Aiden Webb's family and friends are coming terms with the news that the 22-year-old's body has been found in Vietnam. Here's a recap of events:

  • April: The Norwich backpacker sets off travelling with girlfriend Bluebell Baughan, of White Notley, Essex.
  • 3 June: The Anglia Ruskin University graduate, an experienced climber, starts his solo climb of Vietnam's highest mountain, the 3,100m-high (10,300ft) Fansipan in Vietnam at about 06:00. He falls, cuts his arm open, hurts his leg and loses his bearings.
  • 4 June: He talks on his mobile phone to Miss Baughan and they agree she should call rescue teams for help at 06:00. His phone then stops working.
  • 5 June: His father Trever Webb and uncle Michael fly from the UK to help for the search, arriving early on Tuesday.
  • 6 June: Ms Baughan tells of her concern for her boyfriend, saying it's "cold and wet".
  • 7 June: Rescuers fear he's wandered into a valley with a large waterfall and fallen in.
  • 8 June: His father gets permission to use drones in the search and say he will not leave Vietnam without his son.
  • Today: Mr Webb's body is found by park rangers in Sin Chai village at 12:50 local time (06:50 BST).

British backpacker found dead in northern Vietnam

A backpacker from Norwich has been found dead in northern Vietnam, nearly a week after he was last seen.

Aiden Webb, 22, had been travelling with his girlfriend Bluebell Baughan, 24, who's from White Notley near Braintree. 

Bluebell Baughan and Aiden Webb
Bluebell Baughan

Mr Webb set off to climb the Fanispan mountain on his own on Friday. His body was found by rangers in Sin Chai village at 12:50 local time (06:50 BST), the head of the Hoang Lien National Park told the BBC.

You can get live updates on this story here.

Police commissioner to spend £100k tackling gang crime

Essex's new police and crime commissioner is to spend £100,000 on tackling gang crime.

Roger Hirst says there's "mounting evidence" that gang activity is increasing here as London-based groups expand out of the capital.

Roger Hirst

"We have to be looking at ways in our community of disrupting their activity and distracting the young people they want to prey on," Mr Hirst said. "These gangs are preying on the young and the vulnerable in our society."

Weather: Cloud clearing to leave a warm and sunny day

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

If you're a bit worried about how cloudy it is outside, you won't have to fret for too long - this early cloud and mist is set to clear, leaving another warm and sunny day.

It will be a bit cooler if you're by the coast, but there will still be plenty of sunshine, with highs of 20C (68F).

You can watch our forecast below, or check the latest weather for where you are at BBC Weather.

Eyewitnesses to Ladi Benson murder 'cowardly'

Police investigating the murder of Ladi Benson in Chelmsford last year say three people who know what happened but are refusing to speak to detectives are "cowardly".

The 27-year-old, who would be about to become a father again had he lived, was fatally stabbed on Baddow Road in the city last November.

Scene of murder

They've turned their backs on him and his children by not co-operating. I think their conduct is quite cowardly. They've left Ladi's family, Ladi himself and his children without justice."

Det Insp Danny StotenEssex Police

Chelmsford murder victim Ladi Benson was to become father again

We've heard from Essex Police this morning that a man stabbed to death in Chelmsford last year would have become a father again within weeks had he lived.

Ladi Benson
Essex Police

As we were telling you on the Essex Live page yesterday, two men arrested over the murder of Ladimeji "Ladi" Benson were released without charge.

Det Insp Danny Stoten from Essex Police said Mr Benson's child "would be born without a father", and asked those who were not co-operating with the investigation to "look at the big picture".

Welcome to Essex Live

Jodie Smith

BBC News

Morning! We're going to start today by bringing you more news on the investigation into the murder of Chelmsford man Ladi Benson - he was fatally stabbed last November but no one has yet been charged over his death.

Stay with us for that and the day's other top stories.

You can get in touch with us at any time using #esxlive on Twitter.