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Summary

  1. Updates from Thursday 15 February
  2. Thousands of crimes in the Thames Valley go unrecorded
  3. Hampshire man who tried to kill children to be sentenced
  4. Ageas Bowl misses on 2023 Ashes venue status

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

That's all for today

Thank you for joining us today.

We will be back at 08:00 tomorrow with all of the region's latest news, travel, sport and weather.

Family rescued from arson attack on home

A mother, father and two children have been rescued from a fire in Southampton, which the police are treating as arson.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said the family was asleep in the first floor flat in High Road, Swaythling, when a bin was set on fire, blocking their escape.

Crews broke into the shop below at about 04:00 GMT to reach the flat and and lead them to safety.

The group was taken to hospital for checks but was no-one was injured.

Police said the arson attack was being linked to two recent fires in Langham Road on Sunday and Monday.

Masked burglars threaten elderly couple

Two pensioners in their 70s were threatened by three masked men who broke into their home in Hursley, Hampshire Constabulary said.

They knocked on the door of a home on Main Road between 22:00 and 22:15 on 7 February.

When the door was answered the men pushed their way into the house and threatened the occupants, a 75-year-old woman and a 73-year-old man.

They stole a purse containing bank cards and a small amount of cash.

The suspects are in their late teens or early 20s and were all dressed all in dark clothing with their faces obscured.

Local residents reported seeing motorcycles in the area acting suspiciously prior to the incident.

Ageas Bowl: Venue looks forward to new T20 franchise despite Test match omission
Hampshire focus on securing a T20 franchise from 2020 after missing out on any Test matches between 2020 and 2024.

Warning from Hampshire police over iTunes fraud

iTunes
Getty Images

Hampshire Constabulary has received reports of fraudsters asking people in the county to pay them in iTunes vouchers.

A spokesman said victims have been persuaded to buy iTunes vouchers at shops and relay the serial numbers to the fraudsters, which are then sold on.

Such frauds have been reported in Andover, Bordon, Chandlers Ford, Fleet and New Milton.

In one case, a 78-year-old woman from Fordingbridge, was called by a man claiming to be from HMRC.

Sarah Cohen, force crime prevention adviser, said: “No reputable organisation will ask for payment in iTunes in this way."

Witness appeal after serious assault in Theale

A 45-year-old man is in hospital with serious leg and head injuries after being attacked by a group of men in Theale High Street on Sunday evening.

Police have arrested two men in relation with the assault which happened outside the Flavour of India restaurant.

Both have been released while the investigation continues.

Officers are appealing for witnesses to the incident.

Theale High Street
Google

Second man arrested following Bournemouth stabbing

As we reported earlier, a 23-year-old Bournemouth man has been arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent after a man was stabbed in the town.

Dorset Police said the victim's condition is serious but not life-threatening.

Also, a 26-year-old man from Bournemouth has been arrested on suspicion of assault. Both men are known to the victim.

Det Insp Wayne Seymour, of Bournemouth CID, said: "Investigations are currently underway into this incident which took place inside an address.

"The premises is currently cordoned off, along with a small section of pavement in Old Christchurch Road, to allow crime scene investigators to carry out their examinations.

"Officers will be carrying out house-to-house enquiries and I would ask anyone with information in relation to this incident to please contact Dorset Police."

Old Christchurch Road

A man is in a serious condition in hospital following a stabbing at a property in Bournemouth.

Read more

Family tribute to Westgate fall teenager

Max
BRASENOSE COLLEGE
Max Mian was found dead on 2 October last year

The parents of a teenager who fell to his death last year at the Westgate shopping centre have paid tribute to their "extraordinary" son.

In a statement they said: “Max was wonderfully extraordinary in so many ways - we loved him so much - he will be forever in our hearts and those of so many.”

Max Mian was 'popular and excellent student'

John Bowers, principal of Brasenose College, said: "We are all still shocked and saddened by this tragic accident.

"Max was a popular member of the college community and an excellent student."

Manish Binukrishnan, president of the Brasenose Junior Common Room (JCR), said: "Max quickly established himself among the students as a friend to many, standing out with his humour, friendliness and compassion.

"His death was truly saddening and the Brasenose JCR community has come together to mourn his loss and give our thoughts to his family and friends."

Record amount of visitors to Monkey World cause delays

Bournemouth Daily Echo

People are reportedly abandoning their vehicles and causing chaos on the roads near Monkey World, following a record amount of visitors.

More Boomtown artists revealed

The Boomtown Festival has released more of the artists at this year's event at Matterley Bowl near Winchester

Described as "a festival within a festival", Whistlers Green has jazz, folk, funk and soul acoustic offerings including Maribou State, Bilal,Jah Wobble and The Invaders of the Hear.

Main headliners, aleady announced last week, include Gorillaz, Die Antwoord, Limp Bizkit, Ben Harper, Jimmy Cliff and Morcheeba.

The event is due to take place in August.

Boomtown
Jody Hartley
Hampshire town is first in world to be 'Makaton Friendly'
Makaton is a simple form of sign language that can help people communicate.

The exotic plant causing a stink in Reading

Amorphophallus is currently being studied by botany students at the University.
Paul Coia found out more about Amorphophallus, one of the world's smelliest plants, and why it is already kicking up quite a stink in Reading.

He was joined by Dr Jonathan Mitchley, Associate Professor of Field Botany at the University of Reading.


Dr Jonathan Mitchley:

"I run our Masters in Botany courses and we like to show our students not just some plants from Britain but also from around the world - and they've been getting really excited about this stinky plant.

"It's called the Devil's tongue, and it's about five foot tall.

"This stinky plant is all about being pollinated. It produces the smell of rotting flesh, and it attracts flies of course... they home in on the plant thinking it's a corpse, and in doing so they'll pollinate all the tiny flowers."

Plans for new bridge over M27

M27 bridge
Highways England
A visualisation of how the new bridge over the M27 at Romsey will look

A 1970s motorway bridge between Romsey and Southampton is set to be replaced

Highways England says the existing structure, formed of two bridges side by side, is nearing the end of its life.

It plans to demolish the west bridge in July leaving the east bridge to carry the A3057 in both directions while the new bridge is built alongside it.

The east bridge will then be demolished in July 2019 before the new bridge opens to two way traffic in August 2019.

The M27 and A3057 will remain open except for three weekends when demolition or lifting work is happening, Highways England said.

It is holding public events on Friday and on Saturday at Nursling and Rownhams Village Hall where further information will be available.

Severe disruption: M27 Hampshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M27 Hampshire eastbound severe disruption, at J3 for M271.

M27 Hampshire - M27 lane closed on entry slip road and very slow traffic eastbound at J3, M271 (Romsey), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Ex-Portsmouth owner jailed for stealing £5m to buy club

Sulaiman Al Fahim (right)
BBC

The man who owned Portsmouth for six weeks during an ill-fated spell in 2009 has been sentenced to five years in a United Arab Emirates jail for stealing £5m from his wife to fund the purchase.

Sulaiman Al Fahim, who also fronted the Abu Dhabi United Group's deal to buy Manchester City in 2008, was found guilty of forgery, using forged documents and aiding and abetting.

He and an accomplice were found to have stolen the money used to buy Pompey from Sacha Gaydamak, with Al Fahim soon selling the club to Ali Al Faraj.

Prosecutors said that Al Fahim's wife discovered the money was missing after the returns she had expected from a high interest rate account she opened in 2009 did not come in.

Oxfam scandal: Ex-director hits out at 'lies and exaggerations'

Roland Van Hauwermeiren
VRT

The former Oxfam director at the centre of a sex scandal that has engulfed the UK charity says allegations that he hosted parties with prostitutes are lies and exaggerations.

But 68-year-old Roland Van Hauwermeiren has acknowledged that some of the details are "correctly described".

He has been accused of hiring prostitutes while delivering aid in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

A UK charity watchdog is investigating claims that the Oxford-based charity covered up the case.

Mr Van Hauwermeiren has been accused by The Times of using prostitutes at a villa rented for him by the charity.

"A lot of people - even in the international media - will be blushing when they hear my version of the facts," Mr Van Hauwermeiren told Belgian newspaper Standaard (in Dutch) from his apartment on the Belgian coast.

"Not that I deny everything. There are things that are correctly described. But I also read a lot of lies and exaggerations. Party every week? Chic villas? Women paid with money from the organisation?"

Max Mian inquest: Student 'wanted adventure'

Joe Nimmo

BBC South

Westgate
BBC

Max Mian, the Oxford student who fell to his death at the Westgate Oxford in October, had previously told a friend it would be "an adventure" to enter the construction site, the inquest into his death heard.

The centre was in the final weeks of a £440m redevelopment.

Mr Mian left his accommodation at Frewin Annex in St Michael's Street in the early hours and was last seen on CCTV near the building site at 03:37 BST.

A police report read out at Oxford Coroner's Court said with "skill and effort" it would have been possible to access the roof of John Lewis from the outside.

Mr Salter said he fell "from a considerable height" but ruled out suicide, saying there was no evidence the second year classics student had meant to take his own life.

BreakingOxford student found dead at building site 'was risk-taker'

Joe Nimmo

BBC South

An Oxford University student who fell to his death at a shopping centre construction site enjoyed climbing buildings, an inquest has heard.

Max Mian, who was found dead at Westgate Oxford on 2 October last year, was described as a "risk-taker".

The 19-year-old from Norwich took ketamine during the previous evening, Oxfordshire Coroner Darren Salter said.

He said it had increased the teenager's risk-taking behaviour and led to "a really sad and tragic accident".

Hammer attack: Man jailed for attempted murder

A man who attempted to kill four young children by hitting them with a hammer and then crashing a car into a wall has been jailed.

Owen Scott, 29, of Fawley, Hampshire, admitted four counts of attempted murder and dangerous driving at Sheffield Crown Court, following the crash near Penistone, South Yorkshire.

Two girls, aged seven and eight, and two boys, aged 21 months and nine months, were seriously injured.

Scott was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum term of 14 years.

The court heard Scott had attacked the children in the car with a hammer.

He then drove the car at 92mph into the wall of the Travellers Inn, at Oxspring, on the A629.

Oxbridge outreach programme to grow

Radcliffe Camera
BBC
Oxford and Cambridge are increasing their support for Target Oxbridge

A programme to help more black students win places at Oxford and Cambridge is to almost treble in size.

Oxford and Cambridge have increased support for Target Oxbridge which helps black students with university visits, mentoring and advice.

It follows criticism of both universities over the low number of offers made to working class and non-white applicants.

Target Oxbridge said the backing meant 160 funded places can run next year.

Sulaiman Al Fahim

Sulaiman Al Fahim is sentenced to five years in a United Arab Emirates jail for stealing £5m from his wife to buy Portsmouth.

Read more

Arrests after Indian restaurant assault

Flavour of India
Google
The attack happened outside the Flavour of India restaurant in Theale

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm after a man was assaulted in Theale.

The 45-year-old victim remains in hospital with serious head and leg injuries after the attack by a group of men outside the Flavour of India restaurant.

Thames Valley Police said it happened at about 21:40 GMT on Sunday night and is appealing for witnesses.

The arrested men aged 23 and 32, who are both from Reading, have been released under investigation.

Thames Valley officers to wear helmets again

Michael Race

BBC South

The "iconic" British police helmet is set to be reintroduced by a police force amid concerns about the cost.

Thames Valley Police ditched so-called custodian helmets in 2009, but commissioner Anthony Stansfeld wants frontline officers to wear them again.

A trial is taking place in Reading which could see the headgear become standard issue for neighbourhood officers once more.

Critics have said the move would be a poor use of "scarce" resources.

Dorset County Council to vote on rate rise

Dorset County Hall
Chris Talbot
Dorset County Hall

Dorset County Council will be voting on whether to approve a 5.99% council tax rise today.

It's the maximum amount the authority can increase rates by without triggering a local referendum.

Of the increase, 3% would go towards providing extra funding for adult social care in Dorset.

Additional funding is also needed due to inflation and to deal with a reduction in the education services grant, a report for councillors said.

They're currently discussing the budget plan at a meeting at County Hall in Dorchester which got under way at 10:00 GMT.

Crime went unrecorded by Thames Valley Police

BBC Radio Oxford

Thames Valley Police
BBC

Earlier we told you the quality of crime recording by Thames Valley Police has been criticised following an inspection.

About one in five crimes in the force area are not being recorded properly according to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

Inspector Zoë Billingham told BBC Radio Oxford: "If a crime is reported it needs to be properly recorded.

"We're very clear in this report, it isn't good enough, the force has immediately recognised that it's let itself down, it's taken its eye off the ball, has put in numerous steps to ensure its accuracy is corrected and I'll continue to monitor the force".

Man arrested after Bournemouth town centre stabbing

A man has been taken to hospital with serious injuries after being stabbed in Bournemouth town centre earlier this morning.

Police we called shortly after 06:30 GMT to reports of a disturbance in Old Christchurch Road.

A local man in his 30s was found with stab wounds to his back. He was taken to hospital with serious injuries, Dorset Police said.

A 23-year-old Bournemouth man was arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent.

Bournemouth
Google

Save 'vital' hospice help says Kempston mother

A Bedfordshire mother, whose daughter receives "vital" help from a hospice which is closing, wants the decision reversed.

Hayley Brown uses Douglas House in Oxford for respite care for her 22-year-old daughter, Charlotte, and has to travel 50 miles from their home in Kempston.

She said if it shuts in August the family will be left with "nothing" locally.

Nigel, Charlotte and Hayley Brown
Nigel Brown
Nigel, Charlotte and Hayley Brown

Hazel Bedford, from the hospice said the "difficult" decision to close the house was not "taken lightly" and was a "last resort", as they need millions of pounds every year to run the service, which is for 18 to 25-year- olds.

She said they will "work closely with the family to help them", but it all comes down to needing "more money".

Council's outsourcing causes concern

Bethan Phillips

Political reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

VOWH + SODC HQ
Google
Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Councils are based at Milton Park, near Didcot

There's concern over the financial stability of a company holding big contracts with two Oxfordshire councils after it issued a profits warning.

Capita manages things like council tax, HR, IT, procurement and customer services for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Council.

It is paid about £50m to run the services by both authorities as part of the partnership agreed in 2016.

But last month the company - which employs about 50,000 people in the UK - issued the warning following the collapse of outsourcing rival Carillion.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group on Vale of White Horse council, Debby Hallett, said any failure of service would be a "huge thing" and contingencies should be put in place.

Ageas Bowl

Hampshire will have to wait to discover why the Ageas Bowl was overlooked to host any Test matches between 2020 and 2024.

Read more

Banbury F1 team releases 2018 car pictures

Haas 2018 Formula One car
True Speed PR
Haas 2018 Formula One car

Haas has become the first team to release images of their 2018 Formula 1 car.

The BBC's F1 writer Andrew Benson says the team's colour scheme is an attempt to minimise the visual impact of the controversial 'halo' head-protection device, the biggest technical change this year.

Aside from the head protection system, among other obvious changes from last year is the absence of a large vertical fin on the engine cover and the so-called 'T-wing' attached to the rear tip - both these have been banned for 2018.

Later today Williams, who are also based in Oxfordshire, will unveil their 2018 car at a launch event in London.

Search for missing 28-year-old

Sebastian Nowak
Hampshire Police
Sebastian Nowak, 28, has been missing since 1 February

Police say a missing man from Southampton has not contacted anyone for more than two weeks.

It is said to be "out of character" for Sebastian Nowak, 28, who was last seen on 1 February in Lodge Road, Southampton.

Severe accident: A303 Hampshire westbound

BBC News Travel

A303 Hampshire westbound severe accident, at The Avenue affecting A34.

A303 Hampshire - A303 in Barton Stacey blocked westbound at The Avenue junction, because of an accident. Congestion to Bullington Cross.

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

Sentencing for man who tried kill children

Site of crash
Bob Martin/Geograph
The crash happened at the junction of Bower Hill, Coates Lane and the A629

A man from Hampshire is due to be sentenced for attempting to murder four children by hitting them with a hammer before crashing a car.

Owen Scott, 29, of Fawley, Hampshire, admitted to four counts of attempted murder and dangerous driving at Sheffield Crown Court last month.

He was arrested on August 23 2017 after the car he was driving crashed into a pub near Penistone in South Yorkshire with the four children on board.

Elections in west Oxfordshire

Ballot Box
BBC

Two elections are taking place in west Oxfordshire today.

Residents in Carterton South are voting to elect their representative on West Oxfordshire District Council.

Meanwhile people in Woodstock are going to the polls to elect their town council.

The polling stations have opened and will close at 22:00 GMT tonight.