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

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    A crash involving two cars and two lorries on the A12 yesterday left four people inured, one seriously, and caused a diesel spill.

    Emergency services were called out to the incident on the southbound road near Kelveden at around 3.45pm, where a stretch of road was closed for around five hours in order to remove the vehicles and clean up the oil spill.

    Any witnesses who have not yet contacted police should call the investigating officer Pc John Holmes at Stanway roads policing office on 101.

    Police appeal for witnesses after A12 crash leaves one person seriously injured

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    Nancy Birtwhistle was the surprise but deserved winner of Great British Bake Off, overcoming stiff competition from favourite Richard Burr and fellow finalist Luis Troyano.

    And now you're in with a chance of doing the same too - do you fancy your chances of impressing judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood?

    Well, if you're 16 years of age and over on February 1 2015 and are a resident of the UK (including the Isle of Man and Channel Islands), you could too.

    The rules are: as an amateur baker your main source of income cannot come from commercial baking in a professional environment and you cannot have ever worked full-time as a baker or chef.

    You cannot have acquired any formal NVQ or other professional catering qualifications in the past 10 years.

    Applications close at midnight on Sunday 11 January 2015. Download the form here

    Good luck!

    How do I apply for Great British Bake Off 2015?

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    A MAN is due to appear in court today (October 9) as part of a month-long operation targeting human trafficking and modern slavery in Essex.

    Unemployed Gheorge Negreanu, 24, of Wycke Hill, Maldon was arrested on Tuesday when police were called to the address.

    He has since been charged with intentionally facilitating travel of a person with view to their sexual exploitation, managing a brothel used for prostitution and controlling prostitution for gain.

    Negreanu is due before Chelmsford Magistrates' Court this morning.

    The charges come as part of an nationwide crackdown running throughout October on crime linked to trafficking including prostitution, forced labour, abuse and exploitation.

    Two people have also been arrested in as part of the operation.

    On Wednesday last week (October 1) two men, a 21-year-old and a 38-year-old, were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences and referred to the UK Border Agency after being found picking oysters on Southend beach.

    Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Hooper said: "Essex has a number of ports of entry into the country. As well as Tilbury we also have Harwich Port, Stansted Airport, Southend Airport, and London Gateway which all provide means of entry into Essex and the UK which could be exploited by traffickers.

    "Modern slavery goes beyond just the trafficking of people, it is also about their exploitation. Prostitution, forced labour, servitude and even the removal of vital organs for sale on the black-market are all forms of abuse that make up modern slavery."

    Maldon man Gheorge Negreanu charged in human trafficking and modern slavery operation

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    A POLICE sergeant based at Braintree was sacked for gross misconduct yesterday (October 8) after an Essex Police panel heard he breached expected standards of professional behaviour. Panel chairman Mark Gilmartin, of Essex Police's director of support services, found the officer had breached standards particularly in relation to following orders and instructions, and carrying out his duties and responsibilities.

    The allegations involved the officer refusing or failing to attend duty on 13 occasions without justification and also leaving his duties during a shift when he did not have permission to do so.

    In dismissing the officer from the force, Mr Gilmartin said: "The panel determined that dismissal without notice was the appropriate sanction, particularly bearing in mind the need to protect the public confidence in, and reputation of, Essex Police.

    "The panel also believed it was important to signal to officers and the public alike that this behaviour was unacceptable."

    Sacked Essex Police officer 'refused or failed to show up for duty 13 times'

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    TOWIE stars celebrated at Chelmsford bar CTZN last night (October 8) as millions enjoyed the first episode of the reality series to be aired on ITVBe. 

    Tommy Mallett, and Lewis Bloor, joined Jack Tweed at the city centre bar and nightclub, as fans of The Only Way is Essex switched onto the latest episode aired on ITV's newest channel, ITVBe. 

    The celebs joined the club's 'Midweek Mash-up' event aimed at students, with the new bar fast becoming the place to be seen on a night out in Chelmsford for the reality crew. 

    Lewis Bloor, who viewers saw unapologetic during the episode after past allegations of cheating on girlfriend Lauren Pope, tweeted:

    TOWIE stars Lewis Bloor and Tommy Mallett visit CTZN bar in Chelmsford

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    The site of the derelict St Peter's College was revealed by photographers, raising questions as to why the building remained empty after so long.

    In 2011, when the school's doors closed for the last time, Essex County Council said it planned to build a state-of-the-art vocational centre on the Fox Crescent site, with 300 places for students from mid-Essex aged from 14 to 19, but those plans have not yet come to fruition.

    But several groups are making use of some of the buildings on site - with the all-weather football pitch being used by Future Soccer, the whole of the south block leased to the Thiftwood special needs school, and charity Kids Inspire also on site.

    But the main building remains woefully empty, with lesson plans still written on whiteboards and books scattered around the school's former library.

    Even more concerning is that the urban explorers, from forum 28dayslater, found that the electricity in the building was still connected, and some of the lights had been left on.

    One member of the forum commented: "Seems like a waste of electricity to me but I guess somebody is still putting money in the meter somewhere!"

    The school has been closed since 2011, when declining pupil numbers meant it was no longer viable to keep the school open, and pupils were transferred to Chelmer Valley High School or Hylands School.

    What is the derelict St Peter's College site in Chelmsford being used for now?

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    A 24-year-old Maldon man has appeared in court accused of trafficking and prostitution charges.

    Unemployed Gheorge Negreanu, of Wycke Hill, pleaded not guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court today (October 9) to intentionally facilitating travel of a person with view to their sexual exploitation, managing a brothel used for prostitution and controlling prostitution for gain.

    Police were called to an address as part of a nationwide crackdown running throughout October on crime linked to trafficking including prostitution, forced labour, abuse and exploitation.

    Negreanu was remanded in custody at the end of the hearing to re-appear before Chelmsford Crown Court on December 15.

    Maldon man Gheorge Negreanu denies trafficking and prostitution charges

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    Police would like to identify this man (pictured) in connection with the theft of letters and a parcel from a home in Chelmsford.

    The packages were taken from the property in Tabors Avenue at about  2.50pm on Wednesday, September 17. Police say the man shown in CCTV images was driving a pale blue or lilac Nissan Micra.

    Anybody who recognises the man or has any information is asked to contact PC Bright at Chelmsford police station via 101. 

    They can also leave information anonymously via independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

    Police tracing man over Chelmsford letters and parcel theft

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    Detectives investigating the fatal stabbing of Hassan Mohammed in Southend earlier this year have charged three more men with murder.

    The 24-year-old of Camberwell in south London, died in Southend Hospital from stab wounds one day after an incident in York Road on July 7.

    Danzel Bhebhe, 21, of Inverness Avenue, Westcliff, unemployed, Simbarashe Zemura, 18, of Kursaal Way, Southend, also unemployed, appeared before magistrates in Chelmsford today (Thursday, October 9) charged with murder.

    Vasile Iftinca, 40, from Southend, with murder. He was charged earlier this month with attempting to pervert the course of justice and is currently on remand in prison. He also appeared in court today.

    All three have been remanded in custody until their next appearance at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on October 13.

    Further trio charged over Hassan Mohammed murder in Southend

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    For many of us growing up, autumn and conkers went together like fish and chips.

    But the art of playing with conkers seems to be a bit of a dying game, now youngsters only have to reach for the latest tablet or smartphone to occupy 

    So what else should we do with them?

    Keep spiders away

    Conkers release a chemical that spiders seem to hate so a few strategically placed bowls should do the trick this autumn

    ...and moths too

    Keep some conkers in your wardrobe to stop moths from nibbling away at them their brown skins contains a substance called triterpenoid saponin that wards off the pests

    Some experimentation

    If you throw conkers into a bonfire, they'll explode due to a build-up of steam. If you pierce them, the steam is released more easily.

    Make a friendship bracelet

    You can decorate and string them together to offer to friends, although they may need some chopping up first

    Make a good luck charm

    Wearing a conker on a necklace is said to bring good luck to the wearer.

    Make them a feature to brighten up the home

    You can fill a tall glass with them and leave them on a windowsill or dinner table for an instant autumn feel.

    Use them to paint

    Place a piece of paper inside a tray, dip the conker in paint and roll it around the tray for an interesting paint effect.

    Conker and spoon race

    An autumn take on the good old egg and spoon race will get children outside even as the weather starts to get a bit colder!

    Play boules

    Mark your boules with acrylic paint, go outside and set up some boundary lines and get bowling. They don't roll straight, which adds to the fun

    9 things to do with conkers now autumn is here in Essex

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    Model Kelly Brook has reportedly become the latest victim of the celebrity photo hack scandal crudely dubbed The Fappening.

    Candid pictures of the former TV presenter and Britain's Got Talent judge, have reportedly emerged online and distributed to users of 4chan and Reddit message boards. She recently split from fiance David McIntosh.

    It was thought a previous tranche of pictures, featuring lower profile US celebrities, including Nina Dobrev and Nick Hogan, would have be the last to be published.

    It comes as the most high profile victim of the scandal, Jennifer Lawrence, revealed her torment, after the hackers reportedly targeted her pictures, which are said to have been taken from her iCloud account.

    A video of model Amber Heard has also reportedly surfaced online

    Previous victims, including US actress Gabrielle Union, have described the hackers as 'vultures'. Lawyer Marty Singer has threatened legal action against Google after they were not removed. 

    The Fappening: Kelly Brook 'now targeted' as naked pictures of model and TV presenter surface online

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    Private pictures of Doctor Who star Matt Smith and his former girlfriend Daisy Lowe have reportedly been leaked online as part of the celebrity photo hacking saga known as 'The Fappening'.

    The 31-year-old actor is the second male victim, after US reality star Nick Hogan, to be targeted by hackers, who allegedly exploit a security loophole in Apple's iCloud system to release the snaps, which are then disseminated on the Reddit and 4chan message boards.

    The picture reportedly shows the pair posing in a hotel bathroom before they split.

    It comes only days after Jennifer Lawrence, widely believed to be the first victim of The Fappening, spoke out for the first time about the invasion of her privacy.

    Yesterday, it emerged model Kelly Brook has reportedly become the latest victim of the celebrity photo hack scandal crudely dubbed The Fappening.

    It was thought a previous tranche of pictures, featuring lower profile US celebrities, including Nina Dobrev and Nick Hogan, would be among the last to be published.

    Previous victims, including US actress Gabrielle Union, have described the hackers as 'vultures'. Lawyer Marty Singer has threatened legal action against Google after they were not removed.

    Apple has denied a security breach but has confirmed it carried out checks on its iCloud system.

    The Fappening: Matt Smith and Daisy Lowe have private photos leaked

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    NINE out of ten crimes committed against Chelmsford taxi drivers are going unsolved, new figures reveal.

    Robbery, assaults and fare evasion are among 154 of 171 offences reported in the past three years not dealt with by the police.

    Two of the city's 186 licensed cabbies branded the numbers "disgraceful" and "unsurprising".

    "That's one offence for every Hackney carriage vehicle on the road in Chelmsford," said Broomfield-based Your Cabbie taxi service owner Russell Brigden.

    "You go to work and every single one of you runs the risk of a criminal offence being committed against you in the space of three years – who wants to run that risk?

    "It's absurd and disgraceful, and it's disgraceful the number that go unsolved. It's like saying you can commit these offences and get away with it."

    In the response to a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Chronicle, figures released last week showed in 12 of the 171 reports the offence led to a charge, including sexual assault on a male driver.

    Just one person was charged with making off without payment, termed 'bilking' in the job, out of a total of 47 bilking reports over the three years.

    Mr Brigden, 43, said police dismiss bilking as a civil offence if the passenger showed an effort to at least try paying.

    Section Three of the Theft Act 1978 states it's a crime to dishonestly make off with intent to avoid payment.

    But the figures also show the number of reported offences has decreased year on year by about 25 per cent.

    "It might be a decline in the number of people using taxis," added Mr Brigden.

    Ian Vernon, chairman of the 116-member Chelmsford Taxi Association, has suggested to the city council, but to no avail, using money raised from the council's late night levy to fund CCTV cameras in each cab at about £300 a piece.

    The levy will charge venues serving alcohol beyond 1am as much as £1,493 per year from Saturday, November 1.

    "We are public facing, but people who are public facing deserve the same protection as any individual," said Mr Vernon.

    "Why should any individual have to expect bad behaviour? We know it happens but it doesn't mean it's acceptable.

    "More can be done. Police should act quicker for members of the taxi trade to treat incidents seriously, even those relating to non-paying of taxi fares. The figures state clearly there seems to be a problem in getting an outcome out of this."

    Former Chelmsford taxi driver Mehdi Masoudi was last month found guilty of causing actual bodily harm by stabbing Tesco worker Isaac Carter at the Viaduct Road rank with a car tool, but only after the victim kicked his cab and punched him.

    Chelmsford and Maldon district commander for Essex Police, Alan Cook, said he was surprised by the numbers but said the prospect of funding CCTV cameras sounded like "an excellent idea".

    "I do think taxi drivers deserve the right to go around their business uninterrupted and should get a good response from us," said Mr Cook.

    "If there is a problem with this going on we will take it further with our partners."

    In reference to slow response times, he said: "All incidents that are reported to us are taken seriously and like with everything, the volume of demand is compared against the level of the crime."

    Chelmsford cabbies far from happy over unsolved crimes

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    UKIP has its first elected MP after Douglas Carswell took the seat of Clacton by 12,404 votes.

    Ex-Tory Mr Carswell, who switched party allegiance in August and resigned as MP to trigger the by-election, polled 21,113 votes.

    In his acceptance speech at Clacton Town Hall, he said: "I resigned from parliament to face this election because I answer first, foremost and last to you. You are my boss. I will not let you down.

    "To my new party I offer these thoughts: humility when we win, modesty when we are proved right. If we speak with passion, let it always be tempered by compassion.

    "We must be a party for all Britain and all Britons: first and second generation as much as every other. Our strength must lie in our breadth.

    "If we stay true to that there is nothing that we cannot achieve. Nothing we cannot achieve in Essex and East Anglia, in England and the whole country beyond."

    Ukip prospective parliamentary candidate for Rochford and Southend East, Floyd Waterworth, said:

    "People like what we are saying. The other parties keep rubbishing us but people have had enough. The other parties are telling people what they should think, they are not listening.

    "The dam is about to burst."

    The night's other by-election saw Labour hold on to Heywood and Middleton but UKIP slashed its majority from 5,971 to 617.

    UKIP gains first MP after Douglas Carswell wins Clacton seat

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    Four colleagues embarked on a unique team building exercise by riding 25 miles around Chelmsford on a twin-tandem bike in aid of the Macmillan Cancer Support charity.

    Tom Kelham, 27, Tom MacDonald, 21, James Lyttle, 21 and Gui Greco, 20, set off on their challenging feat from Central Park last month, aiming to raise £400 for their company's Wish Fund charity initiative.

    The Wish Fund was founded in 2000 by Visteon, based in Springfield Lyons Approach, and has raised more than £30,000 for national and local charities.

    Visteon engineer John Gray, 52, and former post office worker Edwin Knight, 61, restored the apparatus, made from vintage postal bikes and built by Mr Knight 30 years ago.

    The four shared steering duties and battled with inter-connected pedals.

    Mr Gray said: "It's been a few months in the making, and we've had a few technical hitches along the way.

    "The bikes had been left to gather dust until we rekindled the idea of using them for our Macmillan cancer initiative at work.

    "Controlling the bike was the biggest challenge and with so many riders, it sometimes had a mind of its own."

    Twins in tandem: Cyclists' Chelmsford pedal challenge for Macmillan

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    TORY Matthew Flack has won the Bicknacre, East and West Hanningfield seat on Chelmsford City Council, beating Ukip into second place.

    Mr Flack had a majority of 290 over Ukip candidate David Kirkwood.

    He replaces Tory Councillor Mike Harris, whodied of cancer earlier this year.

    Councillor Roy Whitehead, Leader of Chelmsford City Council, said: "Matt has worked very hard and has seen a large number of local residents on the doorstep.

    "I am delighted that we have some new young blood in the group so that we are better able to reflect the views of the younger residents in Chelmsford."


    Matthew Flack Conservative 649

    Reza Hossain Green Party 35

    David Kirkwood Ukip 359

    Tony Lees Labour 80

    Andy Robson Liberal Democrats 34

    Turnout:  28.1 per cent

    Conservative Matthew Flack wins Bicknacre, East and West Hanningfield by-election

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    A Chelmsford man who died after he was hit by a train at Shenfield railway station left a moving note to his parents, an inquest has heard. Gordon Morrison, who lived in Chelmsford, was struck by a train that was approaching the platform on the evening of July 22 this year.

    An inquest at Chelmsford Coroner's Court yesterday (October 8) heard how Mr Morrison had suffered from depression and alcoholism "for some time."

    Coroner Eleanor McGann said he had previously attempted to take his own life by jumping from a cliff.

    Coroner's officer Alan Clemence said: "On July 21 a voicemail message was left to Mr Morrison by Avon and Somerset Police."

    This was in relation to an unsubstantiated allegation of "non-violent harassment," the inquest heard.

    Mr Clemence continued: "On July 22 at 9.25pm a train was approaching platform three at 30mph with the intention of stopping.

    "He was pronounced dead at the scene. He was known to the mental health team."

    A medical cause of death ruled Mr Morrison died as a result of multiple injuries.

    Mrs McGann said: "He left notes. He left a very moving note to mum and dad saying he was 'so sorry for everything. My childhood was perfect and very happy. I love you all. Gordon.'

    "He also made arrangements for his key to the property."

    Mrs McGann recorded a verdict of suicide.

    Addressing members of Mr Morrison's family, she said: "I know it's hard to sit and listen to what happened and these are particularly sad circumstances and I do hope that by coming today you will be able to put behind you the very sad circumstances of his death.

    "I'm not suggesting for a moment that you are ever going to forget him. He thanked you for his life. Take that with you."

    If there's something troubling you, or you feel you need support, contact The Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90

    Chelmsford man fatally struck by train was suffering from depression

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    AN INVESTIGATION is under way after a woman's body was found dead in Burnham-on-Crouch.

    Police and ambulance crews were called to a home in Glendale Close about 8.35pm on Wednesday (October 8).

    An Essex Police spokeswoman said: "A woman in her fifties was found deceased.

    "Police are investigating the circumstances that leading up to her death and are liaising with Her Majesty's coroner.

    "The woman's next of kin have been informed."

    The death is not being treated as suspicious.

    Woman found dead in Burnham-on-Crouch

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    A MAN has died following a head-on collision on the A414 in Maldon last night (October 9).

    The crash happened at about 7.45pm between a blue Renault Clio and a blue BMW 320.

    The 17-year-old male driver of the Clio, and a man and woman in their 60s in the BMW, were taken to Broomfield Hospital by ambulance with serious injuries. 

    All three are thought to be from the Maldon area, but the male BMW driver later died of his injuries. 

    The other casualties remain in hospital.

    The road was closed to secure and preserve evidence whilst officers investigated the crash. 

    Police are asking anyone who was in the area at the time or has any information to contact the Serious Collision Investigation unit on 101 or email via

    BMW driver dies in two-car A414 collision in Maldon

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    ALEX Lynn has described the race for the empty Formula One seat at Toro Rosso as a "massive motivation" for the rest of his GP3 season.

    The 21-year-old is one of a few drivers being tipped to make the step up into the spotlight following Daniil Kvyat's promotion to replace Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull Racing team.

    And even though the decision is out of the Great Dunmow driver's hands, Lynn believes he has done all he can to put his name forward for the seat.

    Lynn said: "It is a possibility, we have to just see what occurs.

    "We are in talks at the moment but I just have to wait and see what will be decided, it is out of my hands.

    "It's not been playing on my mind but I see it as a massive motivation. You want to prove yourself every single time you go round the track but if you know there is a chance for something to happen then it is a motivation.

    "I just have to do my job and, at the moment, I am doing my job well. I am ahead in the championship by 50 points and it is hard to do much more than I can, bar finishing it off this weekend."

    The GP3 series moves to Sochi this weekend, after a month's break, with Lynn currently 50 points ahead in the title race with just two rounds remaining.

    He added: "It should be a pretty positive weekend. We have done our homework and we should be in really good shape for Sochi and hopefully wrap it up.

    "I have been pretty busy with the Red Bull situation so that has been keeping me pretty busy over the month."

    Driver Alex Lynn in the race for Toro Rosso Formula One place

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