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  1. Updates on Thursday 19 May 2016

Live Reporting

By Chris Brown and Stephen Stafford

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our news coverage through the day

That's all from BBC Local Live for today.

We'll be back from 08:00 on Friday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Oxfordshire. Join us then.

Sport headlines: Oxford ice hockey star agrees new deal

Ross Heaton

BBC Oxford Sport

Oxford City Stars ice hockey team have followed up on extending the contract of head coach Simon Anderson by agreeing a new deal with international star Ondrej Pekarik.

The Czech scored 19 times for Oxford in his first season at Oxpens and says he's delighted to be staying at the club.

Halfway point for fire fighters' charity bike epic

A team of Oxfordshire firefighters are about halfway through a John O'Groats to Land's End charity cycle challenge.

The 18 riders are currently in Cumbria, having clocked up more than 500 miles since they set off on 13 May. They are aiming to be in Oxfordshire on Sunday.

Oxfordshire Fire and rescue
Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue

We have three aims which are to promote health and wellbeing, to raise a fantastic £100,000 for the Fire Fighters Charity and, obviously, to make it to Land's End safe and sound."

Dave EtheridgeChief of Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Evening TV: Giving thanks to the Holocaust hero

South Today

On South Today at 18:30:

A special service has been held in London later in memory of Sir Nicholas Winton who rescued more than 600 children from Czechoslovakia after the Nazis invaded the country in 1939.

Sir Nicholas Winton
Sir Nicholas Winton

We meet John Fieldsend from Thame, who converted from Judaism as a young man and became an Anglican vicar.

Join us for that and all the day's top stories on BBC One.

Weather: Patchy rain and drizzle to clear

Thicker cloud and some patchy rain and drizzle will arrive during this evening.

The cloudy and damp conditions will then clear away to the east after midnight, leaving a dry end to the night with clear spells.

Lows of 11C (52F).

Oxford weather 19 May 2016

Rise in contactless payments in Oxford

Press Association

Oxford is among the top 10 cities in the UK which have seen the biggest increase in the use of contactless payments.

Contactless payment

Research published by Barclaycard showed a 186% rise in contactless payments in Oxford over the past 12 months. Manchester had the biggest rise of 247%.

The credit card company said discount stores, gift card and novelty shops and service stations had seen particularly large jumps in people paying by contactless card over the past year. 

Latest headlines: Local government devolution plan shelved

Chris Brown

BBC News

Your top stories this evening:

In pictures: Fire fighters at Oxford garage fire

This picture shows Oxford fire fighters in action in the early hours of this morning, tackling a fire at a garage on Walton Street.

Fire at garage in Walton Street, Oxford
Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue

The blaze was reported at just after 04:00 and three engines with 15 fire fighters were at the scene.

Analysis: Oxfordshire district councils give up on cross-border mergers

Bethan Phillips

Political reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

A shake-up of local government in Oxfordshire that was backed by the prime minister has been shelved.

District councils in Oxfordshire wanted to join up with Cotswolds and South Northamptonshire councils to create four authorities with control of all services.

David Cameron previously said the idea had "a lot of merit".

But experts have now said the "cross-boundary" idea would be "too complicated" - the councils say they're still looking at various options for a restructure in the county.

Travel latest: Delays in Oxford, Banbury and Swinford

BBC Travel

  • There's slow traffic on the A34 northbound in Oxford at Hinksey Hill Interchange
  • It's also slow on the A361 South Bar Street in both directions in Banbury at Banbury Cross
  • And there are delays on the B4044 Oxford Road westbound in Swinford at the B4449 junction

You can get more details on the BBC Travel site.

Young homeless charity appeals for financial help

An Oxfordshire charity which supports hundreds of young people every year is appealing for funding to help it stay afloat. 

BYHP helps homeless youngsters at its base in Banbury
BYHP helps homeless youngsters at its base in Banbury

The Banbury Young Homelessness Project (BYHP) is in need of a cash injection to balance the books.

Its head of business Tim Tarby-Donald says it takes £20,000 a month to operate the charity.

Your pictures: Last night's double rainbow over Oxford

You've been sending us your double rainbow pictures. Check these stunners...

Double rainbow at the Roger Bannister Running Track on Iffley Road
David Gain
Double rainbow at the Roger Bannister Running Track on Iffley Road
The end of the rainbow appears to be at the end of Cornmarket Street
Luke Brunning
The end of the rainbow appears to be at the end of Cornmarket Street
The rainbow appears down High Street away from the centre
Kate Eveleigh
The rainbow appears down High Street away from the centre
Rainbow over Port Meadow
Chris Timmins
Rainbow over Port Meadow

Police hope guilty plea will give family 'some small comfort'

Police say they hope the guilty plea of a man accused of killing Justin Skrebowski in Abingdon's Poundland store will give "some small comfort" to his grieving family.

Justin Skrebowski's widow Gulsen Alkan
Justin Skrebowski's widow Gulsen Alkan

Trevor Joyce pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He stabbed Mr Skrebowski to death on 7 December, using a knife he took from a display in the shop.

This was a completely random and unprovoked attack on an innocent member of the public, which is all the more difficult to comprehend. Joyce has pleaded guilty to manslaughter today on the grounds of diminished responsibility. This will not bring Justin back or make up for the loss that his heartbroken family have suffered, but I hope that the conviction will give them some small comfort.

Det Insp Stuart BlaikThames Valley Police Major Crime Unit

District councils to focus on Oxfordshire-only devolution plans

Oxfordshire's district councils will no longer try to merge with neighbouring districts, such as Cotswold and South Northamptonshire.

Cllr Matthew Barber, leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, with county council leader Ian Hudspeth
Cllr Matthew Barber, leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, with county council leader Ian Hudspeth

Following Cotswold District Council's decision to give up on a merger with West Oxfordshire, dubbed 'Coxit', the county's district councils will now look to each other.

The districts have brought in analysts PWC to look at ways to replace Oxfordshire's county council and get its powers devolved to them as new "district unitary authorities".

Eliminating cross-boundary options now enables PWC’s independent study to focus solely on Oxfordshire’s residents and engaging with stakeholders in the county. Oxfordshire deserves a model of government that will give power to local people, not a one-size-fits-all model for all of Oxfordshire that will deprive people of the power to shape their local area.

Councillor Matthew BarberLeader of Vale of White Horse District Council

Latest headlines: Trevor Joyce admits Abingdon Poundland killing

Chris Brown

BBC News

The top stories so far this afternoon:

Cotswold council gives up on 'Coxit' idea

Cotswold District Council has withdrawn plans, dubbed "Coxit", to break away from Gloucestershire and form a unitary authority with West Oxfordshire District Council.

The council says a report from analysts PWC shows changes would need new legislation to be passed - and "widespread support" would be required.

It said it accepted there was too much opposition within Gloucestershire.

Although our proposals have been seen as innovative, we are some way from achieving the support we need within Gloucestershire. As a result, we have therefore reluctantly decided to withdraw the proposal.

Councillor Lynden StoweCotswold District Council

Royal arrival at Cogges Manor Farm

Here's Sophie, Countess of Wessex at Cogges Manor Farm - helping celebrate its five years of being run as a heritage trust.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex at Cogges Manor Farm
Sophie, Countess of Wessex at Cogges Manor Farm

In pictures: East Hagbourne housing development campaigners out in force

Campaigners against a housing development between Didcot and the village of East Hagbourne were out in force last night for the crucial planning decision.

Campaigners gather before the meeting
Mind the Green Gap
Campaigners gather before the meeting
Residents gathered at Didcot Civic Hall to listen to the debate
Residents gathered at Didcot Civic Hall to listen to the debate

More than 100 people turned up for the meeting, during which South Oxfordshire district councillors rejected the plan to build 170 homes.

There was "shouting and applause" from opponents of the scheme as the decision was made, the Mind the Green Gap campaign group said.

Oxford student insists he has no regrets about making waitress cry

The Daily Mail

An Oxford student who bragged online about having upset a white waitress by demanding the return of land to black people has insisted he has no regrets because he was helping to "disrupt whiteness".

John Morgan

A Conservative ex-councillor who funded a Las Vegas gambling spree with cash stolen from a 92-year-old Alzheimer's sufferer dies in prison.

Read more

Trevor Joyce pleads guilty to manslaughter at Abingdon Poundland

A 36-year-old man accused of murdering a man in the Poundland store in Abingdon last December has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Trevor Joyce
Trevor Joyce

Trevor Joyce today denied murder but pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 61-year-old Justin Skrebowski on the grounds of diminished responsibility. 

  • He also pleaded guilty to two counts of making threats to kill
  • Pleaded guilty to one count of ABH
  • And pleaded guilty one count of threatening others with offensive weapons (a carving knife and fork)

The prosecution has accepted the manslaughter plea, and Mr Skrebowski's wife and family were in court when Joyce made his plea.

He's been remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.

BreakingMan pleads guilty to manslaughter at Abingdon Poundland

A 36-year-old man accused of murdering a man in the Poundland store in Abingdon last December has pleaded guilty to manslaughter through diminished responsibility. More to follow.

Sex abuse help centre gets £700k from Big Lottery Fund

More than £700,000 has been awarded to an Oxfordshire project to help girls abused in childhood. 

The money from the Big Lottery Fund is being given to Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre. 

It says more than a third of its users under 18 have experienced abuse. 

The cash will be used to give teenagers a range of support, including mentoring and therapy. 

Museum appeal for John Piper gallery

A crowdfunding appeal has been launched to showcase the work of one of Oxfordshire's most prolific artists.

Television Centre
Artwork at Television Centre by John Piper

The River and Rowing Museum wants to raise £22,000 in 35 days for a new gallery space dedicated to John Piper, who lived in a farmhouse near Henley before his death in 1992.

Piper was a painter and printmaker, and designed stained-glass windows, theatre sets and even fireworks.

John Piper has always been a big part of the community here - people really take him to their hearts as a local artist. He was so important in the 20th Century so I think the appeal is absolutely achievable."

Eloise ChapmanRiver and Rowing Museum

More than 800 sign petition to save Oxford Road sports ground in Bicester

Oxford Mail

More than 850 people have pledged their support to "Save Bicester's Communal Sports Ground" in an online petition.

Weather: Fine afternoon with sunny spells

BBC Weather

We can expect a largely fine afternoon with sunny spells. It will feel fairly warm in the sunshine with light winds. However the cloud will thicken from the west by late afternoon. Highs of 18C (64F).

Oxford weather 19 May 2016

Latest headlines: Jailed councillor dies in hospital

Chris Brown

BBC News

The top stories this lunchtime:

Celebrating Sir Nicholas Winton: Haunting letter of child's lost family

John Fieldsend, who was rescued from the Holocaust as a child and now lives in Oxfordshire, reads us a letter sent from his parents after he had been transported to the UK as a child...

John Fieldsend from Oxfordshire reads a letter from his parents after he was transported

Mr Fieldsend is among those attending a memorial service being held for Sir Nicholas Winton, who brought hundreds of children from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia to Britain in the months before World War Two.  

In pictures: Double rainbow over Oxford

Oxford was treated to the sight of this stunning double rainbow yesterday evening. 

We'll be bringing you our round-up of the best photos from around the county tomorrow, so if you have any stunning shots like this one then send them to us now.

Double rainbow over Oxford

Memorial service for 'Kindertransport' hero Sir Nicholas Winton

An Oxfordshire man is among those celebrating the memory of Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved their lives from certain death at the hands of the Nazis. 

Sir Nicholas Winton organised the "Kindertransport" of children from Czechoslovakia
Sir Nicholas Winton organised the "Kindertransport" of children from Czechoslovakia

John Fieldsend from Thame left Czechoslovakia and came to Britain as a child in 1939 on one of the trains organised by Winton. He was one of 669. 

He will attend a memorial in London later on what would have been Sir Nicholas's 107th birthday.

David Cameron flying visit to Witney for launch of Armed Forces Day

Witney Gazette

Prime minister David Cameron made a flying visit to his Oxfordshire constituency to show support for this year’s Armed Forces Day.  

Latest headlines: Aspirin benefits 'hugely underestimated'

Chris Brown

BBC News

The top stories so far this morning:

Lilley's dressed to impress royal visitor?

BBC Radio Oxford

BBC Radio Oxford reporter Lilley Mitchell is at Cogges Manor Farm, as it prepares for the visit of Sophie, Countess of Wessex. 

Has anyone met a royal visitor dressed in a bovine onesie?

View more on twitter

East Hagbourne housing development plan rejected

A plan to build homes between Didcot and East Hagbourne has been turned down by South Oxfordshire District Council.

East Hagbourne
Mind the Green Gap

Developers want to build 170 new houses, but campaigners were worried that it would lead to further development filling in the green gap between the village and the town.

They had the support of the likes of Ed Vaizey MP, but developers Grainger said they were simply fulfilling a need for housing.

Jailed councillor John Morgan dies in hospital

A former Conservative Vale of White Horse district councillor, found guilty of stealing more than £150,000 from a 92-year-old woman, has died.

John Morgan
Thames Valley Police
John Morgan

John Morgan died in hospital on Thursday 12 May, a Ministry of Justice spokesman confirmed.

The 77-year-old of Highclere Gardens, Wantage, was jailed for five years in January 2014 and told to pay £5 in compensation to the family of Beryl Gittens, from Berkshire, who died before he was convicted.

Royal visitor to celebrate Cogges Manor Farm

A 1,000-year-old farm near Witney is getting a royal visitor later. 

Sophie, Countess of Wessex
Getty Images
Sophie, Countess of Wessex

Sophie, Countess of Wessex is going to Cogges Manor Farm to help it celebrate five years run as a heritage trust. 

The museum had been closed by the county council but has since been transformed into a popular visitor attraction.