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Essex Chronicle stories feed from registered users of the site and Northcliffe Media editorial

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    Environment experts have warned vulnerable children to stay away from the River Can in Chelmsford this evening because of the risks presented by water polluted by an ongoing woodchip pile fire in Mountnessing.

    The blaze, which started in Thoby Lane on Monday (August 18) is expected to take several days to burn itself out. Six fire engines are currently stationed at the 5,000 tonne pile fire to ensure it doesn't spread too much further.

    Nearby householders have already been warned to stay inside and Environment Agency manager Matt Butcher has tweeted advice this evening (August 21).

    Fish in the Can and River Wid are also expected to be at risk.

    Assistant Chief Fire Officer Paul Hill said: "Initially the fire was deep within the pile of wood and now it has broken through and more of the pile is alight so there is a larger smoke plume.

    "The smoke is not particularly toxic, but it is still best to avoid it and we are advising residents to keep doors and windows closed.

    "The environmental impact of the fire is a key concern for us and we are working with the Environment Agency to ensure that the impact is kept to a minimum."

    Fish, dogs and children in Chelmsford 'at risk' from pollution caused by massive woodchip fire in Mountnessing


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    BORDER Force officers at Stansted Airport have seized £10,000 of counterfeit Disney Frozen-branded children's clothes and accessories.

    Officers discovered 490 dresses and three bags carrying images of the popular Disney Frozen film, which were destined for the UK black market after arriving from China earlier this month.

    An investigation was launched by Border Force's International Trade Team which specialises in recognising counterfeit products and works with the owners of big brands to establish whether or not goods are genuine.

    Disney have confirmed that all of the goods are counterfeit and they will now be destroyed.

    As the rights holders, Disney can now decide whether or not they wish to prosecute the importer privately.

    James Morgan, Assistant Director in charge of Border Force at Stansted, said: "Everyone loves a bargain, but if the price appears too good to be true – either at a car boot sale, a market stall or online – it probably is.

    "The international trade in counterfeit goods is linked to serious and organised crime and undercuts honest traders, damaging our economy.

    "We are determined to crack down on this crime and we have officers working 24 hours a day at ports, airports and mail sorting centres identifying counterfeit goods before they reach the streets.

    "Members of the public can also help to disrupt this trade by ensuring they only buy from genuine retailers."

    Anyone who has been sold counterfeit goods or knows someone who is selling them should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

    Stansted airport border force officers seize £10,000 of fake Disney Frozen dresses and bags


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    THE daughter of an Italian expatriate who accidentally set herself on fire while cooking pasta has paid tribute to her "loving" and selfless mother.

    Grandmother Valeria Bohannan, 81, of Skerry Rise, Broomfield, died five days after running out of her home engulfed in flames.

    A long-delayed inquest at Essex Coroner's Court in Chelmsford on Tuesday ruled the widow died as a result of an accident.

    "She was a fantastic mum, just the best, she put her whole heart and soul into the family. We all miss her very deeply," said proud daughter Gabriella Bass of Wethersfield. "It was a horrible way to go."

    Just one hour after Gabriella's son left Valeria following a visit on Saturday, May 25, last year, she started cooking.

    The inquest heard, however, that she began to feel dizzy, collapsed on to the hob and immediately set her clothes alight. While she managed to rip away her fleece, she ran into the road in her nylon nightdress screaming for help.

    The Chronicle reported last year how Julian Norrington and other neighbours heroically doused the flames with towels and water.

    The flames had burnt her nightdress to ashes however, and while she was conscious enough to explain events to firefighters, she suffered 70 per cent burns.

    "I got a call from a neighbour who said that there had been a fire," said Gabriella. "I just assumed that she had burnt herself a bit and she would be all right, but when we got there her skin looked like a blackened sausage on the barbecue."

    She died in Broomfield Hospital's burns unit.

    "My brother and I had started to get a little bit worried about her," said Gabriella, 57, from Wethersfield.

    "She had just started to fray around the edges and she would get a little bit forgetful, but what happened was so uncharacteristic of my mum.

    "She could still get about and cook for herself and do her washing. She didn't need care coming in. We just kept an eye on her."

    Valeria moved from Friuli, in the north-east of Italy, to England as a teenager. She met her husband Terry when she was working as an auxiliary nurse in Chelmsford, he visited to mend the hospital's scales.

    "They fell in love and they had a fantastic relationship, always dancing and joking," said Gabriella, who said the couple moved into Skerry Rise about 50 years ago.

    The two both went on to work at English Electric and Valeria in ball bearings at the Hoffmann factory.

    In the 1980s they started their own fish and chip firm, pitching a stall in Danbury and Ongar.

    Keen golfer Terry, however, developed Alzheimer's disease and over the next four years up until his death Valeria nursed her husband tirelessly, just as she did for her eldest son John in Italy before his death about nine years ago.

    Legally an inquest must be held within six months of a death, but the coroner's office said the hearing was late due to a delay in the fire service sending a report.

    Assistant deputy coroner for Essex Eleanor McGann said on Tuesday: "What an incredibly tragic accident for quite an elderly lady who nevertheless was leading an independent life."


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    ESSEX will have revenge on their mind when they face Warwickshire in the quarter-finals of the Royal London One-Day Cup on Thursday next week.

    The Bears knocked the Eagles out of the NatWest T20 Blast at the same stage earlier this month. Once again the teams will meet at the Essex Cricket Ground.

    Essex won their final match of the group stages tonight as they beat Northamptonshire by four wickets at Wantage Road.

    The Steelbacks were bowled out for 311 leaving Essex a challenging total. Richard Levy and Rob Keogh got the home side off to a good start as they reached 100 before the latter was out for 50.

    Kyle Coetzer (0) and Adam Rossington fell cheaply before Levy (84) put on 114 runs with David Willey.

    He reached his century before eventually falling for 113, with the score 298-6.

    The next four wickets fell for 13 runs with Tom Westley taking three wickets in the final over.

    Westley finished with 4-60 from his ten over with Reece Topley taking 2-52 from eight overs, David Masters finished with 2-54 also from eight.

    In reply Essex also made a good start with Westley making 62 before falling with the score on 94.

    Opening partner and captain for the night Mark Pettini then pushed the score on with Ravi Bopara as the pair put on 106 for the second wicket. Pettini out for 84.

    Jaik Mickleburgh, recalled to the side, made seven, before Bopara and Kishen Velani made 50 for the fourth wicket, the latter out on 27.

    Bopara followed six balls later  having made 61 with the score on 270-5 with five overs remaining.

    James Foster made a brisk 16 but it was Greg Smith (22no) and Tim Phillips (11no) who got Essex over the line, with Phillips scoring a four to win the game with three balls the spare.

    Next Thursday's game starts at 2pm.

    Essex will be out for revenge after drawing Warwickshire in One-Day Cup quarter-finals


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    CHIPPING Hill School will double in size after Essex County Council approved plans to build a new school - just a few years after it opened.

    The new school, in Owers Road, will be built on the current site and will include six classrooms, covered walkways, as well as an extension to the existing kitchen and school.

    The school will double in capacity, going from its current 210 pupils to 420, to meet the demand for school places from the nearby Maltings Lane development.

    The new building will have modern sloping roofs, aluminum window frames and timber clad external walls.

    The scheme also includes plans for trees and shrubs to be planted in flower beds around the school and playing fields.

    Parking arrangements will remain the same and cars will continue to use the west parking spaces.

    Work will start in December and finish in the summer of 2015.

    Chipping Hill School to double size to meet high demand


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    THE long-awaited arrival of Waitrose in Chelmsford is fast becoming a reality, after Royal Mail announced its imminent departure from the supermarket's future site in Victoria Road.

    The Royal Mail delivery office is to move to Montrose Road, in Chelmsford, in the coming weeks, while construction of the supermarket is likely to begin in autumn.

    "I knew the post office move was happening some time this month, and as the developer has been waiting almost 18 months for this, so I would think they will be on site almost immediately," said Cllr Neil Gulliver, the city council's cabinet member for planning and economic development.

    "I think the build is expected to take about 15 months, and I'm just looking forward to there being a Waitrose here."

    The proposed relocation of Chelmsford delivery office was first announced in February 2012, while the Waitrose development got planning permission in October, 2012.

    The arrival of the upmarket food store has been eagerly awaited by residents, who voted overwhelmingly in favour of the plans during a consultation meeting attended by 450 people, with Waitrose bosses recording a 99 per cent vote of support in principle from 265 comment forms.

    The new supermarket is expected to create about 180 jobs, and will donate a reported £12,000 per year to local charities and projects through its Community Matters scheme, which has already made £30,000 of contributions to 800 causes via its existing nine stores in Essex.

    As well as the new supermarket, the site will also be home to an Islamic centre, four retail and business units and 37 residential properties, proposed to be mainly two-bedroom apartments, a third of them one-bed apartments.

    Waitrose previously had a store in the Meadows shopping centre, which closed in 1998 after six years due to low customer numbers, but there is optimism for the opening of the new Victoria Road supermarket, which will include a 240-space ground floor car park and a travelator to get shoppers to the first floor store.

    Royal Mail announced that it would be in its new premises from September 8, and the old site would shut on September 6, stating that it would write to customers in the area over the coming weeks to let them know about the closure of the Victoria Road site, where people go to collect undelivered packages.

    Royal Mail's delivery director for Chelmsford, Michael Devanny, said: "We are delighted that we will soon be serving our customers in Chelmsford from a new location. This new office provides better facilities for our people who work there. It also offers an improved customer service point from which to serve our customers.

    "There will be no impact on deliveries as a result of the move and we aim to continue to provide a consistent and high quality service to our customers in Chelmsford."

    Work on Chelmsford's Waitrose to start soon as Royal Mail confirms Victoria Road exit


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    A burnt out HGV has caused delays for motorists using the anti-clockwise M25 in Essex this morning (August 22).

    UPDATE: The road has now re-opened but long delays remain on the M25 and M11:

    Repair work has been carried out after the incident, which took place between junction 27 for the M11 and junction 26 (at Waltham Abbey).

    No-one was injured.

    Police said the lorry was carrying waste including paint, tyres and paper, with firefighters called to put out the blaze and repair the damage to the road.

    The remains of the vehicle were cut into sections and taken away. Repair work is now taking place on the carriageway.

    A fully signed diversion route is in place, directing traffic between the two junctions via the M11, -A406 and the A10, re-joining the M25 at junction 25.

    Delays are expected to be severe and drivers are strongly encouraged to avoid the area or postpone their journey if they can. 

    Delays on M25 in Essex after overnight lorry fire


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    NEW Chelmsford City chairman Trevor Smith says the club has cleared last season's debt and is working on chipping away at what the company owes in a bid to attract new investment.

    Smith admitted there were money problems towards the end of last season but an excellent summer has left the club in a much better position.

    Asked if the club was in a better place financially now than at the end of the last campaign, Smith replied: "To be honest yes it is. We had a lot of bills that weren't paid towards the end of last season, the increase commerically over the summer has allowed us to clear all of that debt from last season," said Smith.

    "What the big aim this season is working with the debt the company has absolved with move back to Melbourne in 2006. One of the sole objectives this year is reduce that deficit so we can attract investment and get people to come in and help us support the club on a financial side."

    Smith also revealed that any prize money won in cup runs hadn't been budgeted for and that would be extra cash to spend on bringing the club closer to his ultimate goal.

    "We don't budget for a run in the cup, so they're a bonus and we'll use that to develop the infrastructure, enhance the team and use that money to help the club," he said. "We're not just going to squander that money, we're going to make sure it goes to the sporting development and the health of the club and towards the ultimate goal of knocking on the league door."

    Chelmsford City have cleared last season's debt and are hoping to attract new investors


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    HEYBRIDGE Swifts will have two new faces in their squad for Saturday's trip to Brightlingsea Regent.

    Swifts are without a win in their first four games and sit second bottom of the Ryman League Division One North with just two points.

    Manager Keith Wilson who took over at Scraley Road in the summer says his side is a work and progress and that all though he has a core to his squad he will continue to do some fine tuning.

    "There will be two new faces for the weekend," he said. "One's a defender and one's a wide midfield player.

    "We're still a work in progress, there are still tweaks the need to be made.

    "We're not the finished article. We're got a core of a side and there will be some fine tuning."

    Meanwhile, Wilson's assistant at former club Burnham Ramblers, Dave Patient, has finally made the switch to Scraley Road.

    Wilson said after he got the Swifts job that he was hoping Patient would come with him, but he's had to bide his time.

    "David had things to sort out at Burnham," said Wilson. "I think he regrets not coming at that time as we're still in the process of him getting to know everyone and them getting to know him.

    "With him coming in as assistant and Ricky Clarke and Lee Boylan as coaches I think the backroom staff is in place.

    "David will do a lot of stuff. He won't be on the training ground, he will do stuff behind the scenes and take the pressure off me. With the other jobs we had at Burnham, it means now that for the first time we can both concentrate on the football side of things.

    "I'm glad he's on board and I'm sure the four of us as a team will get it right on and off the pitch." 

    Wilson says two will sign for Heybridge Swifts before Saturday


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    MALDON & Tiptree manager Terry Spillane says he is hoping his team's will luck will change after seeing a few decisions go against them in their first four matches.

    On Tuesday night the Jammers were pegged back a minute after going ahead against Ware, when the visitors scored a goal Spillane says was offside. Maldon drew that match 2-2.

    That came 72 hours after the Jammers picked up their first win of the campaign at newly promoted Great Wakering Rovers, where Spillane says two goals were questionably chalked off, which would have made the 2-1 scoreline a little more emphatic.

    It means the Jammers have five points on the board, but Spillane feels that total should be greater.

    "I think we should have another four points but we just don't seem to have that little bit of luck that you need," said Spillane. "It's not been a terrible start, we've played quite well but we haven't had the rub of the green.

    "There's been a few times where we've been a little unfortunate with the officials' decisions. Ware's first goal looked well offside and, coming so soon after we'd scored, it knocked us back a bit.

    "We had a couple of goals ruled out on Saturday that were questionable decisions but it'll even itself out."

    Maldon are still waiting for their first home win of the season. On Saturday they welcome Romford, who ended the club's 18-month unbeaten home run last season, a result that knocked the Jammers off their promotion-pushing course.

    "We'll be looking to set that right," revealed Spillane. "It'll be mentioned to the players before the game. The result at our place last season put us on a bit of bad run and we missed out on the play-offs.

    "Romford are always a difficult side to play against. They seem to raise their game against the so-called bigger teams.

    "We've then got Burnham Ramblers on Monday and I don't know what to expect from them. They've had a lot of players come in and out and got a new manager, but it's a derby game so we know it'll be tough."

    Spillane should have a new signing in place for the two games, with Chelmsford City Academy product Sam Gregory set to join on loan. The 18-year-old is highly rated at Melbourne Park and the Maldon boss wants to add to his attacking options.

    "I've spoken to Mark [Hawkes, City manager] and he feels he's got what it takes and wants him to get some games," said Spillane.

    Maldon & Tiptree manager hopes his side's luck will change


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    A company chief executive from Chelmsford has become one of the latest brave souls to attempt the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

    Ben Austin, of New Street-based Absolute Digital Media, reeled in shock as his colleagues poured water over him in The Wheatsheaf pub garden.

    Familiar faces, including David Beckham, José Mourinho, George Bush and Simon Cowell, have tried the challenge and posted their efforts on social media online, after which they are seen nominating a friend to do the same.

    Ben, 33, said the water was absolutely freezing.

    "Naturally my employees were more than happy to throw buckets of ice and water over me but it's for a good cause and it's great to see that this campaign is raising awareness," said Ben, who can be seen in the video withstanding bucket upon bucket of water.

    Like others before him, Ben has completed the challenge to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as motor neurone disease.

    For more on the subject, visit here.

    Chelmsford media boss joins David Beckham and José Mourinho in braving Ice Bucket Challenge


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    Police in Chelmsford have released CCTV footage of a man they are looking for in connection to a burglary at a hairdresser.

    Mimosa Salon, on Broomfield Road, was broken into Sunday (August 3) at around 12.30pm, although nothing was stolen.

    The bottom panel of the door was smashed and it is believed someone entered the premises.

    Anyone who recognises the man (pictured) should contact Pc Rob Bentley at Chelmsford Neighbourhood Crime Team on Essex Police 101, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

    Burglary at Mimosa Salon in Chelmsford: Do you recognise this man?


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    A man has been remanded in custody after allegedly staring at a woman for a total of seven hours. 

    Cumani Turhan, 35, of Linnet Drive, Tile Kiln, is charged with breaking a non-molestation order by staring at Hazel Wood for three hours on Thursday, July 31, and for four hours on Friday, August 8. 

    At Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Monday (August 18) he was told to reappear on Monday, September 15.

    Chelmsford man remanded in custody after staring at woman for 7 hours


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    People in Essex have now jumped on the bandwagon by braving the Ice Bucket Challenge, but some more familiar faces tried it first.

    Here we take a look at 10 big names who have taken the plunge to raise awareness for motor neurone disease.

    1. David Beckham

    2. George Bush

    3. Charlie Sheen

    4. Bill Gates

    5. José Mourinho

    6. Robert Pattinson

    7. Jamie Oliver

    8. Shakira and Pique

    9. Novak Djokovic

    10. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods

    10 other celebrity ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dares


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    PLUME and Ormiston Rivers school pupils were celebrating after yesterday's GCSE results were released. 

    Almost every student at the Plume school, 97%, gained at least one GCSE with A* to G grades with 51% of students gaining five A* to C's including English and maths.

    David Stephenson, headteacher, at the school, based in Fambridge Road, said: "I am particularly pleased with the top grade GCSE results this year that equaled last year's record.

    "Many students have achieved better than would have been expected and have met or exceeded their target grades based on national expectations.

    "The results reflect the huge amount of work by our students and mean the great majority can progress to further study at our very successful Plume Sixth Form College."

    Plume's BTEC courses achieved impressive results, with health and social care, art and design both achieving 100% passes.

    The school also achieved excellent top grade exam results, equaling last year's record, with 20% of all results A* or A grades.

    Ten plume students achieved 10 A*s or As or better with 70% of all grades awarded were A*-C.

    Ellise Howlett, 16, from Maldon, was awarded nine A*s, two As and a B grade, she said: "I was very happy, I wasn't expecting to do quite as well as that – it was a nice surprise."

    And Ellise, who works part-time at the Subway take out in the High Street, wants to stay on at the Plume to study biology, chemistry, history and maths.

    She added: "I worked very hard and stayed up late a lot of nights revising. I would like to study a science at university – possibly biology or maybe medicine."

    Ormiston Rivers academy achieved their best ever GCSE results this year with 73% of their pupils achieving five A*-C's.

    Including English and maths, 54% of Ormiston pupils achieved five A*-Cs and the academy, based in Southminster Road, saw a significant number of students achieving the highest grades with almost 20% of students achieving at least three A*or A grades.

    Georgia Burch, 16, from St Lawrence bay, achieved 11 GCSE's including seven A*s or As, three Bs and one C grade plus a Distinction in BTEC health and social Care.

    She told the Chronicle: "I was quite shocked because I know I had worked really hard for my exams, but at the same time was also quite nervous to see whether it paid off.

    "The results mean a lot to me, not only for the qualifications side to it, but also on a personal level because I do always strive for success, and hate not to be the best.

    Georgia will go on to study English, psychology, law and philosophy and ethics, and plans to go onto university to study a degree in law, politics and international relations.

    She added: "My family were obviously pleased with the results, and are very proud of me for achieving it. I think they were relieved that I finally had them, mainly because of how stressed I have been for the past six weeks."

    Individual subjects – significant improvements at A*-C in English, Geography, History, Modern Foreign Languages, ICT.

    Ormiston Academies Trust has congratulated the Academy on its best ever results and has stated that they are delighted with the progress which continues to be made.

    ​GCSE results 2014: Plume and Ormiston Rivers pupils celebrate after successful year


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    A lorry has overturned on the A12 in Margaretting south of Chelmsford.

    At about 2.45pm a lorry was reported to have flipped over on the southbound carriageway near junction 14 of the road, also just south of Hylands Park.

    Queues are stretching back to junction 16 on the Baddow bypass to Galleywood.

    Two lanes of the three lanes are currently closed as of 5.30pm.

    A police spokesman said the Highways Agency were leading a clean-up operation after the lorry spilled construction material over the carriageway.

    Essex Police were called to assist however at 2.50pm.

    He said: "A lorry carrying a load of scaffolding poles and planks has rolled on to its side.

    "Two lanes of the three lanes have been closed."

    Lorry overturns on A12 in Margaretting


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    The highly-anticipated eighth series of Doctor Who starts on Saturday, cinemas around Essex – including Chelmsford – will screen the feature length premiere episode, Deep Breath.

    Tickets were released for the event on August 1, and lucky Whovians will aim to get there at 7.35pm for the doors to be opened 10 minutes later. The screening will take place at 7.50pm, before a behind-the-scenes footage video. 

    Also exclusive to the cinema is a live-streamed question and answer session with the new doctor, Peter Capaldi, his companion, played by Jenna Coleman, and the show's executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffat, hosted by presenter Zoe Ball.

    And if you can't wait for tomorrow's show, and don't have a tardis to send you forward in time, here are a few snippets ahead of the episode. Sonic screwdrivers at the ready…

    • Deep Breath will be set in Victorian London, a favourite setting of Dr Who writers (think 2012 Christmas special The Snowmen).
    • The newly-regenerated Doctor will reunite with companion Clara, although the trailer suggests their relationship may not run smoothly this series.
    • Old favourites The Paternoster Gang will return in the episode.
    • As well as appearances from Madame Vastra, Strax and Jenny Flint, it appears that fans will be treated to a dinosaur tearing through central London, an opportunity to don fancy dress for the show (dalek costumes at the ready), and a whole host of special effects.

    Doctor Who is back on BBC One at 7.50pm on Saturday August 23

    Doctor Who returns on BBC One with Peter Capaldi: Cinemas in Chelmsford and Essex to stream show


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    TWO friends will walk 48 miles three-legged from Trafalgar Square to Chelmsford High Street tomorrow (Saturday, August 23).

    Andy Poole and Christian Kay, both from Broomfield, will start hopping out of London at 8am.

    Armed with cameras to document their ordeal, they aim to struggle to the foot of the city centre sign by 9pm – and all for the sake of charity.

    "I'm slightly nervous but it will be fine," said 34-year-old Andy, a part-time comedian.

    "It's beginning to sound like my catch phrase – that it'll be fine."

    The pair originally planned to tackle the challenge over two days, camping, and still tied to one another, somewhere between Romford and Shenfield.

    "We realised we could do it in one day and power through rather than boring people for two days," he said.

    Andy and 27-year-old Christian have already raised about £2,000 for The J's Hospice.

    To donate visit: www.just giving.com/paniconthreelegs.

    Keep an eye on the Chronicle website to see how they faired.

    Three-legged Broomfield pair ready for 48-mile Trafalgar to Chelmsford walk


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    A CAREER burglar who targeted 58 homes in the Braintree area to fund a £200-a-day drug habit and nearly ran over a police officer while trying to escape has been jailed for more than six years.

    Whilst free on licence from a four-year prison stretch, David Howard, 48, who has 130 previous convictions, quit his probation halfway house in Brighton for Braintree in December last year, launching a one-man crimewave of break-ins over a two-month period.

    On March 10 a police constable saw Howard and a man he was staying with in Braintree smoking drugs in a car parked in Godlings Way, where they were waiting after buying heroin and crack.

    But when the officer tapped on the window, Howard sped away in reverse, almost running over the PC who had to jump out of the way.

    The car was then driven backwards down Godlings Way to London Road, where Howard sped off the wrong way round a roundabout and collided with another car, damaging the rear wheel, in Queenborough Lane.

    Both men fled the vehicle. Police said Howard injured his hand in the crash and tried to conceal it with a football he found on the ground.

    When officers searched the car they discovered a treasure trove of stolen items from recent burglaries, which linked Howard to unsolved investigations.

    Howard was apprehended at the scene of a burglary four days later in Kenworthy Road, after a police helicopter searched the area following reports of suspicious activity.

    The goods stolen had an estimated value of £70,000 and included cash, jewellery, watches, XBox games and naval medals, and Howard had caused £16,000 of damage to property during the raids too.

    He admitted five counts of burglary, one count of attempted burglary and charges of dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance.

    "All these burglaries were conducted with messy searches of the houses, breaking or climbing through windows, one victim has said she no longer feels she can leave her home unattended after what happened," said Margia Mustafa, prosecuting.

    "He wanted to get away from police and didn't want to be arrested. The defendant needed to fund his £200-a-day drug habit and that is why he committed these offences."

    Howard asked for a further 53 offences to be taken into consideration by Judge Anthony Goldstaub, including 40 dwelling burglaries, 12 attempted burglaries and one criminal damage.

    "It's a sad picture, but when detained he immediately told officers he wanted to be rid of this terrible habit, clear up his past and start a new life and assisted police with outstanding crimes," said Frank O'Toole, mitigating.

    "If he hadn't voluntarily helped police victims would never have recovered their stolen items."

    Chelmsford Crown Court heard on Friday that Howard had 130 previous convictions dating back to 1980 for burglary, theft, criminal damage and grievous bodily harm, plus 80 motoring offences.

    Sentencing him Judge Goldstaub said: "You have the record of a career burglar stretching back many years and you committed them as the result of some addictions.

    "Remorseful persons such as yourself whilst in prison should avail yourself of the facilities to assist drug addicts, and when released you will make use of the treatment facilities available."

    Howard was sentenced to 76 months in prison for the burglaries and two months consecutively for the driving offences, plus he was ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.

    Six years jail for 58 home burglar and heroin addict David Howard


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    FOUR school friends walked 27 miles and climbed 9,800ft up Britain's three tallest mountains in memory of their close friend and brother who died aged 23.

    Carlton Brailey, Nikki Earl, Lisa Williamson and Peter Whyton, all aged 41, scaled the tallest mountain in England, Scotland and Wales in just 27 hours to raise £8,650 for The J's Hospice, as well as £3,500 for cancer charity Clic Sargent.

    They flew to Glasgow on August 15, then headed to Fort William to stay overnight in a hostel, before travelling to Ben Nevis at 4am and then going on to Scafell Pike in Cumbria, and Snowdon in North Wales.

    "It was so much harder than we expected it to be, the weather was extreme, the physical side of it was massive," said Mr Brailey, an IT consultant from Chelmsford, who climbed in memory of his brother Chris, who died suddenly in 1999.

    "I wore a heart monitor and burned 11,564 calories in 27 hours, which shows how physically draining it was."

    All four went to John Bramston School, in Witham, now New Rickstones Academy.

    But in 1989, when they were 17, Carlton's older brother, Chris, who was born with cystic fibrosis, died suddenly at the age of 23.

    "We all looked up to my brother Chris, we were all affected by his death," said Carlton, who now lives in Springfield.

    "He'd just had a heart and lung transplant and had gone from being in a wheelchair to being able to go jogging with me two-and-a-half weeks later, so it was devastating for my family when he died.

    "His death had such a big impact on my life, so I felt I had to do something."

    Carlton became involved with The J's Hospice in 2009 when he discovered it cares for young adults, an age bracket that was not catered for at the time of his brother's illness.

    "Chris was too old to be on a children's hospice, but was too young to go into a traditional adult's hospice, so my family had to do everything for him," he added.

    "Now there's so much more support than we got and as The J's Hospice look after people with cystic fibrosis I wanted to help out.

    "I sponsor some of the J's events, including their Christmas ball, and at the last one the four of us got together and decided to do something challenging to raise money."

    Tragedy drives friends to take on Three Peaks Challenge for the J's Hospice


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