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  1. Updates on Wednesday 18 May 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Updates for London have now ended for the day but we'll be back tomorrow at 08:00 with the latest videos, news, sport, travel and weather. Have a great evening.

Tonight's weather: Showers dying out, low cloud forming

BBC Weather

A few heavy showers will continue to drift slowly southeastwards through this evening, before dying out around midnight. 

This will leave a largely dry night with clear spells developing. 

These clear spells, coupled with light winds, will allow some patches of mist and low cloud to form. 

Minimum temperature: 9C (48F).

Robot takes up residence at V&A

A robot has taken up residence at the V&A to construct a new installation in the museum's gardens.

Elytra Filament Pavilion at the V&A

Serious disruption caused by Southern strike action

The strike by hundreds of rail conductors has caused travel chaos for passengers, with the threat of further industrial action to come. 

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Southern Railway staged a 24-hour walkout in a bitter row over the role of conductors.

There was no service on some routes and a limited number of trains between 07:30 and 18:00 on others, with around a third of Southern's 2,100 services cancelled.

Get the latest from BBC Sussex.

Latest travel: Big delays on the roads during rush hour due to earlier accidents

BBC Travel

The A1 is partially blocked with severe delays due to an accident at A5109 Selvage Lane / A41 Edgware Way (Apex Corner).

There is queuing traffic and severe delays due to an earlier accident, between two cars, on the A406 North Circular Road Westbound at A10 Great Cambridge Road (Great Cambridge Interchange).

And there are long delays at Trafalgar Square at Pall Mall with congestion on A3212 Whitehall to Horse Guards Avenue.

It's also busy on the Strand to Aldwych / Waterloo Bridge, on A400 Northumberland Avenue to A3211 Victoria Embankment, on A400 Charing Cross Road to Leicester Square, on Haymarket to Piccadilly Circus and on Pall Mall to St James'. All lanes have been re-opened.

Camden and Westminster want to relax requirements for affordable housing in Fitzrovia

Fitzrovia News

The prospects for securing any further affordable housing in Fitzrovia appear to be narrowing as both Camden and Westminster want to change their statutory planning guidance in favour of major developers.

Security to be stepped up at Chelsea Flower Show

The Queen at a past Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show will see beefed-up security in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels. 

More police officers and dogs will patrol next week's internationally renowned event, and there will be an increased number of searches of visitors' bags, organisers said. 

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are due to attend the show, where they will walk through a floral arch built to celebrate the monarch's 90th birthday. 

Several other royals are also planning to visit, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. 

A Royal Horticultural Society spokesman said: "Due to the high profile nature of the event we always have a strong security presence at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, but unsurprisingly like many major events we are enhancing security measures through the duration of the show.

"Working with the Metropolitan Police we have agreed additional activity to what we believe is already a robust security system with an increased police presence, more dogs and increased bag searches throughout show week." 

Animal activists raging over Hereford bull parade at Wembley

Jennifer Meierhans

BBC News Online

Animal rights activists are calling to stop a "cruel" plan to parade a bull at Wembley ahead of the FA Vase final. 

The FA granted permission for Hereford FC's mascot, Ronaldo the bull, to walk the stadium before the Morpeth Town game on 22 May.

Ronaldo the bull

But campaign group Peta wrote to the FA's boss "to stop Ronaldo from having to endure the stress and misery of being paraded in front of thousands of screaming fans." 

The FA tweeted: "Ronaldo is coming Wembley."

Scrap Garden Bridge 'vanity project' - Green AM

More reaction to London Mayor Sadiq Khan's support of the controversial Garden Bridge project.

London Assembly Member for the Greens, Caroline Russell, said it should be scrapped.

“The Mayor is talking about cutting back on TfL waste to fund his fares freeze and yet is missing this obvious opportunity to scrap a vanity project and focus funding on things that would deliver genuine benefit to Londoners.  

"There’s no case for the Garden Bridge on transport, horticulture or tourism grounds. Asking for fewer closures for private events is just not good enough.  

"The Garden Bridge should be scrapped and the Mayor should focus on delivering bridges in East London where people need routes for walking and cycling across the river.”

Mayor Khan to extend one-hour Hopper fares to tram network

Inside Croydon

The Croydon tram network is preparing itself to be included in the one-hour Hopper fare scheme when it is introduced by Transport for London in September.  

Sentence cut for 'Silent Bomber' plotter

A woman who plotted a terror attack in London had her minimum jail term reduced from 25 to 23 years on appeal.

Mohammed Rehman and Sana Ahmed Khan

Sana Ahmed Khan, from Wokingham, was found guilty of preparing terrorist acts with her husband Mohammed Rehman.

On social media he discussed targeting the London Underground and the Westfield shopping centre under the name "Silent Bomber".

Judges at the Court of Appeal said Khan's "previous law abiding life" was the only reason to reduce her sentence.

Fire spreads to nearby flats

A huge fire at a builders' yard in Wapping has spread to nearby flats where a man was rescued from the fifth floor. 

He was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation  

Wapping fire

London Fire Brigade was called to Brodlove Lane just before 12:00 and fifteen engines were dispatched.

Flames engulfed the whole of the yard including a van, building materials and two shipping containers containing furniture.

The brigade said the main fire is out but crews will be working to extinguish hotspots into the evening.

Brits in the medals at European Swimming Championships

Great Britain's Adam Peaty won gold in the men's 100m breaststroke final at the European Championships in London.

Adam Peaty
BBC Sport

The 21-year-old English swimmer was joined on the podium by Scotland's Ross Murdoch, 22, who claimed silver.

Peaty, Chris Walker-Hebborn, Siobhan-Marie O'Connor and Fran Halsall then won mixed 4x100m medley relay gold.

Halsall, 26, also took a bronze medal in women's 50m butterfly final, with 21-year-old Ben Proud finishing third in the men's event.

Marcel Addai: Four jailed over gang stabbing murder

Sheku Jalloh, 23, Rikell Rogers, 21, and Sodiq Adebayo, 23, and Momar Faye, 19,
Met Police

Four men who murdered an 18-year-old by repeatedly stabbing him in a "ferocious" gang killing have been jailed for life.

Marcel Addai, 18, from Hoxton, east London, was attacked last September on the St John's Estate in Pitfield Street.

Sheku Jalloh, 23, Rikell Rogers, 21, and Sodiq Adebayo, 23, were ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years.

At the Old Bailey, Momar Faye, 19, was ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years.

Wapping fire: Gas cylinders being cooled down

The fire in Wapping has seen fire crews cool down gas cylinders as some could explode when exposed to heat. 

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Firefighters in Wapping

Mother's anger after inquest legal aid funding denied

Alexia Walenkaki
Family photo

A woman whose five-year-old daughter died while playing in an east London park says it is "disgraceful" she has been denied legal aid for the inquest.

Alexia Walenkaki was playing on a rope swing in Mile End Park when a tree trunk holding the swing fell on her. 

Her mother Vida Kwotuah said the "complex" case was "unmanageable without representation". 

She has been denied aid because her case is not considered to be in the public interest.

Mother of Alexia Walenkaki fights for legal aid

Heavy rain hits central London

Heavy rain hits the Mall as people wait for The Queen to return to Buckingham Palace from the Houses of Parliament.

Rain on the Mall
AFP/Getty Images

The Queen's Speech is the centrepiece of the State Opening of Parliament, a tradition that can be traced back to 1536.

Murder accused's 'impressive performance' on 999 call

Ben Butler was accused of concocting "a sophisticated charade" to cover up the murder of his daughter Ellie.

The prosecutor at his trial at the Old Bailey said a 999 call where the 36-year-old could be heard trying to save her life was a "truly impressive performance".

The emergency call, (below) was made two hours after she died, jurors have been told.

999 call

Mr Butler denies murder and child cruelty. 

Wapping blaze tackled by 100 firefighters

Nearly 100 firefighters are tackling the blaze at a builders' yard in Wapping. 

Plumes of smoke can be seen across the city from the fire on Brodlove Lane in Wapping. 

Smoke from fire in Wapping

The cause of the fire is not yet known.  

Aaron Morris

Harlequins agree to sign full-back Aaron Morris from Premiership rivals Saracens ahead of the 2016-17 season.

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Upton Park

Frank Keogh

BBC Sport

A West Ham Ladies' match is called off so that the men's win over Manchester United can remain as the last game at Upton Park.

Read more

Father accused of Ellie Butler's murder compares case to Hillsborough

Ben Butler with daughter Ellie
Rex Features

The father accused of murdering six-year-old Ellie Butler has likened his case to the fight for justice for victims of the Hillsborough disaster. 

Ben Butler, 36, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of battering the little girl in a fit of rage 11 months after winning a battle for her custody. He denies murder and child cruelty.

He had been convicted of violently shaking Ellie when she was a baby in 2007 but that conviction was later quashed on appeal. 

Under cross-examination, the Everton football fan ranted about a documentary on the Hillsborough tragedy he had watched. He said: "The families there were fighting for justice like we were. 

"Lady come on and said the problem you don't see is the ripple effect the one action has on everyone's life.

"That 2007 (conviction) had a ripple effect on everyone's life." 

But prosecutor Ed Brown said Butler was "determined to deflect the case from the evidence". 

Afternoon weather: Slow-moving heavy showers in the west

BBC Weather

It will be a rather cloudy start to the afternoon with outbreaks of rain gradually clearing eastwards. 

Some brighter spells may well then develop, but also some slow-moving heavy showers with the risk of thunder, these mainly in the west. 

Highs of 15C (59F).

'No meaningful discussion..."

BBC London's transport correspondent Tom Edwards says commuters will be concerned by the Southern strike.

Tom Edwards from BBC London

On air: BBC London lunchtime news

Sonja Jessup

BBC London News

I'll have the lunchtime news at 13:30 on BBC One: the new London Mayor Sadiq Khan now says he will back the controversial Garden Bridge - but with certain conditions attached. 

We'll have the details live from our Political Editor Tim Donovan. 

Plus, the Southern rail strike - how's the walkout affecting commuters?

Fifty-eight firefighters tackle builders' yard fire in east London

Should 'Generation Rent' try co-living?
A new building complex in north London is offering a new kind of accommodation, mixing small private space with generous communal areas.

Wapping fire prompts 30-plus 999 calls

Watch: Designer Ralph Lauren opens cancer unit at Royal Marsden

American fashion designer Ralph Lauren opened a new cancer unit at the Royal Marsden in London yesterday which he helped pay for - and lent his name to.

Joined by the Duke of Cambridge, he described what impact Princess Diana had on him.

Professor Mitch Dowsett, head of the Ralph Lauren Centre for Cancer Research, also spoke to BBC London's Alice Bhandhukravi about what work the centre will be doing. 

Ralph Lauren opens cancer unit

Rail strike protest outside London Victoria

BBC London's transport correspondent Tom Edwards is covering the strike from Victoria station.

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John Terry

Veteran Chelsea defender John Terry signs a new one-year deal with the Premier League club.

Read more

Dame Barbara makes final Queen Vic departure

Dame Barbara Windsor with Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden

Dame Barbara Windsor has said her final farewell to EastEnders with her character Peggy Mitchell seen apparently taking an overdose of pills.

The 78-year-old recently returned for the former landlady's final episodes.

Her character, who had been suffering from cancer, was seen talking to the ghost of her friend, Pat Butcher, before talking some unidentified pills.

Pidgeon 'disappointed' by Khan Garden Bridge support

Garden Bridge plan
Heatherwick Studio

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member, has expressed disappointment at the news Sadiq Khan is supporting the Garden Bridge plan.

“Instead of tinkering with minor changes from the Garden Bridge Trust the Mayor should be seeking to recoup every penny of Transport for London funding that has been allocated to this highly controversial project.

“The Mayor should also be refusing to underwrite the annual maintenance costs of this project.

“There are numerous transport projects in London that desperately need public funding and are a far higher priority than this vanity project from the previous Mayor.”

Paddington problems after fire

Train services to London Paddington were disrupted after an engine fire near Twyford.

The fire has since been put out and no-one was hurt but services were affected after the line between Reading and Maidenhead was closed.  

It reopened an hour ago and train services are now returning to normal.

Cookery writer Elizabeth David to be honoured with blue plaque later


A cookery writer who introduced post-war England to the delights of Mediterranean food is the first to be honoured with a blue plaque, English Heritage said. 

A plaque is being unveiled marking the London home of Elizabeth David, where she lived, wrote, cooked and entertained for 45 years until her death in 1992. 

David is the first cookery writer and first chef to be awarded with a blue plaque, as the scheme celebrates its 150th anniversary. 

The writer moved to the house on Halsey Street, Chelsea, with her husband, after the Second World War, having spent time abroad including in France, Greece and Egypt.  

Khan gives Garden Bridge the go-ahead

Tom Edwards

Transport Correspondent, BBC London

New London Mayor Sadiq Khan has given the go-ahead to the controversial Garden Bridge - but he's demanding more accessibility to all Londoners and transparency.

The bridge would connect Temple to the South Bank.

The Mayor described the Garden Bridge as a project that could rival New York’s High Line, a public park that was built on a disused railway line 30 feet above street level in Manhattan, but warned the Bridge “must be a genuinely public and open space for all Londoners, rather than a closed and private space”.