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

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  • 01/12/15--03:03: Kevin Bryan's record reviews


  • Patrik Fitzgerald, "Safety Pins, Secret Lives and the Paranoid Ward  (The Best of 1977-1986)" (Cherry Red Records) - This absorbing anthology traces the musical highpoints in the colourful career of London born acoustic balladeer Patrik Fitzgerald, whose distinctive  sound married the rough and ready ethos of punk  with a particularly ironic and sarcastic take on the vagaries of the human condition. This wasn't a formula which was ever going to install  Patrik as  a regular fixture on "Top of the Pops," but he bequeathed a fine body of work to posterity nonetheless, with tracks such as "Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart," "Irrelevant Battles" and "As Ugly As You"  capturing the essence of his uncompromsing approach to music-making.
    Freddie King, "Live & Loud 1968" (Floating World)- Texan born guitarist King was one of the foremost blues musicians of his generation, and his output during the late fifties and early sixties certainly made a profound impact on aspiring young players such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Chicken Shack's Stan Webb. This rather rough and ready recording of King's gig at San Francisco's Fillmore West  in 1968 was obviously never intended for commercial release,  but the distinctly low fidelity contents still provide a compelling showcase for perennial crowd-pleasers such as "Have You Ever Loved A Woman," "Going Down" and "Hideaway."
    "Simply French Cool" (Union Square Music)- French popular music represented the epitome of sophistication and style during its creative heyday half a century or so ago, although this quality was rarely translated into solid record sales on this side of the English Channel. This nicely packaged 3 CD anthology brings together sixty distinctively Gallic offerings from those far off days, drawing on contributions from the likes of Juliette Greco, Francoise Hardy and the charismatic Jacques Brel of "Ne Me Quitte Pas" fame.
    Dave Davies, "Rippin' Up Time" (Red River)- The musician whose punchy and distorted guitar work on early Kinks hits such as "You Really Got Me"  was little less than revolutionary has had a pretty hard time of it since suffering a stroke a decade ago. A few patchily memorable albums have appeared in the interim, and the latest Dave Davies offering  to hit the record stores is this hastily assembled follow-up to 2013's "I Will Be Me." Dave has never been any great shakes as a vocalist and he's in typically erratic form here as he serves up autobiographical ditties such as  "Front Room" and "In The Old Days" for your delectation.

    Kevin Bryan's record reviews


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    TWO suspects arrested after a teenager was stabbed in the back and leg in a residential Chelmsford street last week have been released on bail.

    Last Wednesday (January 7) at around 5.45pm, 17-year-old boy from Braintree was attacked in an alleyway between Waterson Vale and Loftin Way.

    He was left with puncture wounds to his back and leg and rushed to Broomfield Hospital for treatment, where he was released that evening.

    A 35-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy, both from Chelmsford, were arrested shortly after the incident and have now been released on bail.

    No one has been charged with an offence over the attack and police enquiries are continuing.

    Any witnesses or anyone with information about events leading to the incident, should call PC Dan Smith at Chelmsford CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

    Two suspects bailed over stabbing of teenager in Chelmsford


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    POLICE are trying to trace the people in these pictures, that were taken on the phone of an assault victim after his jaw was broken in two places.

    After an altercation inside Faces in Kings Head Walk, Chelmsford,  a 33-year-old man from the city was assaulted outside the nightclub on New Year's Day at around 2.30am.

    The victim did not see the person who attacked him, but during the incident his phone was misplaced and later found. 

    When the victim got his phone back he found a number of pictures of people he does not know. 

    Police are looking to trace these people to establish whether they have any information which could assist the investigation.

    Anyone who can identify any of the people pictured or who witnessed the assault is asked to contact PC Carley Parodi at Chelmsford CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

    Do you know these people? Mystery pictures appear on assault victim's phone


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    WITHAM Town failed to pull away from the Ryman Premier relegation zone after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to fellow strugglers VCD Athletic.

    With Town a point and a place above the bottom four and VCD second from bottom, the match was a must not lose for both teams.

    It was a game of two halves with Witham dominating the first, when they should have built up a winning lead. After the break it was VCD's turn to have the better of play.

    Both Tom Wraight and new signing Lewis Dark hit the woodwork in the first few minutes, yet for all their dominance all they had to show for it was a 1-0 lead at half-time. Ryan Charles had rounded the advancing keeper Nick Blue and shot into the empty net in the 33rd minute.

    The visitors created the better chances after the break, but Witham's Martyn Guest saved shots from Michael Power and Leigh Bremmer but could do nothing to prevent Aaron Jeffery firing into the net for the equaliser with five minutes to go.


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    BRAINTREE Town eased through to the final 16 of the FA Trophy by comfortably beating last year's runners-up Gosport Borough, who finished the game with nine men, 2-0 on Saturday.

    A first-half penalty right on half-time from skipper Kenny Davis and striker Jordan Cox capitalising on a mistake by home keeper Nathan Ashmore 30 seconds after the restart, gave them a comfortably victory over the Conference South side.

    Manager Alan Devonshire said afterwards: "Gosport are a decent side but we knew what we had to do and I think we controlled the whole game and in the latter stages we missed easy chances and should have won by a bigger margin.

    "They got to the final last year and beat a few Conference sides along the way, so I was delighted with the way that we played particularly in the first 45 minutes.

    "I thought we were excellent throughout as we controlled it and maybe the game should have been over by the interval.

    "We got the second just after half-time and to be fair I thought we were comfortable. I don't think Nick Hamann [Braintree's keeper] had a save to make all afternoon.

    "They got the second sending off with about 20 minutes to go for a really bad tackle on Matt Paine that was over the top, so there should be no complaints from them on that one.

    "Both sendings off were correct and these things happen in football but even if they had kept eleven on the field I still feel we would have remained in charge and won the game."

    Devonshire admitted it would nice to progress further and make it through to a Wembley final but his priority remains on reaching 50 points to ensure they stay in the Conference Premier.

    "That's our sole aim and yes it's nice to have a decent cup run in what is a tough competition."

    With the home striking duo of Matt Paterson and Justin Bennett having netted 43 goals between them this season the Iron knew they had to be on their mettle and defensively they were outstanding, led by man-of-the-match central defender Alan Massey.

    "The gaffer had warned us at the start that these pair could cause us problems and they're proven goalscorers so we had to be on our game right from the start," explained Massey. "We did that and all the players did well and it was a good all round performance particularly in the first half when the sides were even."

    On his new found central defensive partner this season, Remi Clerima, who replaced the departed Dean Wells, he said: "We've developed a good understanding between us and now everyone is back from injury we've a strong squad and every player knows that if they are not doing their job we now have replacements ready to come in.

    "That's eight wins in the last eleven games and having a full squad available has reflected this. In the dressing room there's a really good team spirit and while all of us know that the league is our prime job, it's a question of all of us keeping our concentration game by game.

    "We always seem to come on strong in the second half of the season and that's because the new players coming in have finally gelled well and understand their own roles which has created such a good team spirit."

    But for some top stops by keeper Ashmore, Gosport would have been well-beaten by the interval.

    He pulled off a great save from James Mulley on 20 minutes and five minutes later brilliantly denied a Davis spot kick after defender Robbie Matthews had handled a Simeon Akinola low cross from the byline.

    On the half hour he again denied Akinola with a low shot coming off the foot of the post and then Cox wasted a golden opportunity when put through by Mulley only to skew his effort with Ashmore beaten.

    The first half ended dramatically when Akinola jinked his way through the home defence only be brought down from behind in the area by defender Dan Wooden, who received a red card, and this time Davis made no mistake from the spot kick to give the Iron the lead.

    In added on stoppage time the ball was punted up field and Chez Isaac was caught on the wrong side of Paterson as they both raced into the Iron area. Isaac lucky to not concede a penalty when his quick shirt tug on the striker was not spotted by referee Craig Hicks.

    The game was over 30 seconds into the second half when a poor clearance from Ashmore went straight to the feet of Cox who made no mistake by sliding the ball into the net.

    The home side's cause was not helped on 70 minutes when Mike Carter's two-footed lunge on Paine almost on the halfway line saw him given a straight red and from then on it was a case of damage limitation for the home side.

    The now rampant Iron were disappointing in the way they wasted chance after chance in those final 20 minutes with Akinola, Mulley, Isaac and substitutes Dan Walker and Charlie Strutton, twice, guilty of  failing to put some gloss on the performance.

    In the end two goals were sufficient but in reality the Iron should have returned home with a scoreline more like 7-0.

    "I'm not worried at least we created the chances and the key thing is we're in the next round and that's what counts," added Devonshire.

    Braintree Town progress in FA Trophy after beating nine-men Gosport Borough


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    BRAINTREE Town have been handed a home tie against Ebbsfleet United in the FA Trophy third round.

    Big-spending Fleet of the Conference South have just added former Gillingham striker Danny Kedwell and Wycombe midfielder Stuart Lewis, and are rumoured to be bringing in League One Coventry City players Marcus Tudgay and Jordan Willis.

    They made it through to the third round after beating Forest Green Rovers 1-0 at home on Saturday.

    Braintree progressed after winning 2-0 at nine-men Gosport Borough of the Conference South, last year's beaten finalists.

    The winners will take home £7,000 in prize money with the Iron having made £11,000 from victories in the previous two rounds.

    The tie will be played on Saturday January 24.

    Braintree Town drawn at home to big-spending Ebbsfleet United in FA Trophy


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    POLICE investigating a triple fatal crash in Braintree are trying to trace the drivers of two vehicles who may have witnessed the collision.

    The crash on Gosfield Road, happened at around 4.50pm on December 7, and involved a blue Ford Fiesta being driven by David Bradley from Braintree and a blue Volkswagen Polo being driven by Corran Powell from Gosfield. 

    Both drivers died as a result of the collision, as did a passenger in the Polo James Simmons from Braintree.Specialist roads policing officers investigating the collision are looking to trace two drivers who may have witnessed the collision or seen the vehicles involved before the collision took place.

    The first is a man described as being aged in his 50s who was wearing glasses and driving a silver or grey Ford Mondeo on an 09 registration plate. 

    He would have travelled from the High Garret direction on to Braintree Road. 

    He is believed to have come across the collision and spoke to another man who had been driving a Ford Focus CMax.

    The second was a woman who was described as possibly being French. 

    She also came across the collision and spoke to another woman whom she asked to phone the police. 

    She had dark, bobbed hair and wore jeans and a horizontal striped top. She was driving a people carrier and was heading in the Braintree direction.

    Officers are also looking for a small silver car, possibly a Vauxhall Meriva, which was travelling on Broad Road where another vehicle drove parallel with it for some distance.

    These drivers, or anyone who knows who they are, should contact officers at the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 101 or email collisionappeal@essex.pnn.police.uk

    Police look for two drivers who witnessed triple fatal crash in Braintree


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    A BRAINTREE man been arrested after police raided a house in the town and found what is thought to be cannabis.

    Police officers executed a drugs warrant on the property in Spencer Square at 7.45am this morning and discovered plants of what police believe to be cannabis.

    At 8.30am a 46-year-old man from Braintree was arrested in Alverton Close, Great Notley, on suspicion of drug offences.

    He has been released on bail until April 17.

    Police find suspected cannabis haul during drugs raid in Braintree


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    A FORMER police sergeant who has raised an astonishing £150,000 in 34 years of fundraising will cycle from London to Paris for his latest challenge.

    Geoffrey Lee, 71, from the Plovers, St Lawrence Bay, will take on the 296-mile route from London to Paris via Arras and Compiegne over four days from July 22, with a spectacular finish under the Arc de Triomphe planned.

    A former speed-walker, Geoffrey has completed 36 half marathons and 15 marathons for charity, as well as other challenges including a relay race from Lands' End to John O'Groats for Children in Need.

    He spent 30 years as a police sergeant, and then ten years afterwards as a volunteer ambulance car driver operating out of Broomfield Hospital.

    "I have said this is going to be my last one," Geoffrey told the Chronicle. "I can still do a London to Brighton, for instance, but this is a long distance.

    "I love to raise money, but it's all the training that goes into these races which can take its toll."

    Geoffrey has previously raised money for many charities, including Farleigh Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support, but will cycle this time for Action Medical Research for Children, which funds research to help sick and disabled children.

    "I'm very selective about the charities that I raise funds for," said Geoffrey.

    "I know that Action Medical Research for Children do some fantastic work, when I used to work in Broomfield you could see young children with cancer going through treatment and it's something that personally touched me a great deal."

    So far, the Durham-born former police diver has already raised £3,000 towards his target of £5,000, but this is still only a fraction of the estimated £150,000 he has raised for good causes over the past 34 years.

    Yet Geoffrey remains modest about his achievements. He said: "Yes I have raised a lot of money, but I'm very fortunate that I have a lot of generous friends. When you live in a village like St Lawrence you are surprised just how much people are interested in the fundraising that you do and want to donate and support you."

    Geoffrey joined Essex Police at the age of 19, moving south from Durham and spending time at a number of locations across the county.

    He lives with his wife Edna and has one son, David, who lives in Maldon, and one daughter, Helen, who lives in Tillingham.

    His accomplishments include running the first-ever Berlin Marathon, which took place with the Berlin Wall still intact and American and Russian helicopters flying close overhead.

    And in 1988 he received a British Empire Medal (BEM) and an Epping Forest District Council community service award in recognition of his fundraising efforts.

    Last year he completed the Three Cities Challenge, cycling from London to Amsterdam via Brussels, and has completed the London to Brighton cycle ride several times.

    He said: "I've always been fit and I've always done some sort of sport."

    In preparation for his trip, Geoffrey is completing a 30-mile cycle every couple of days, gradually increasing to 80 miles in March, and then completing 70 or 80-mile stretches regularly before he leaves for Paris.

    Geoffrey added: "To be honest I know my own pace and I'm not racing anyone, I would just like to finish, there are no time limits apart from catching the ferry from Dover the first day.

    "I've done the route before, three years ago, and I thought I wouldn't do it again because it is tough, but it's a great feeling to pass under the Arc de Triomphe on the final day – it's one of those moments that you will never forget."

    Call Geoff on 01621 778862 to donate.

    Ex-Broomfield Hospital volunteer plans 'one last' cycle challenge


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    FIREFIGHTERS and 999 control staff in Essex will start three days' industrial action tomorrow (January 14) over staffing conditions.

    Essex branch members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) begin their 96-hour protest after midnight today, in opposition to changes to shift patterns and conditions for control staff.

    Alan Chinn-Shaw, brigade secretary of the FBU in Essex, said: "The service managers and the local politicians need to start listening to the professional firefighters who deliver our service.

    "Essex fire chiefs have rejected all compromise solutions to avoid industrial action. This is our last option."

    Union members were balloted over this week's move of fire operators from the Emergency Operational Fire Control station in Hutton to Kelvedon Park near Witham and their working conditions.

    They will no longer have beds to use when working the night shift and there will be changes to their shift patterns.

    Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) would not comment on the local strikes, which are being called separately to the nationally co-ordinated ones over firefighter working conditions and pensions.

    Speaking on the general situation, Mr Chinn-Shaw said: "We are facing cuts of an unprecedented scale resulting in more than a quarter of all frontline firefighter jobs being cut.

    "The public will have to wait longer for their local fire engines to arrive in the event of an emergency. It will be impossible to maintain the same safe and professional service we currently provide.

    "The planned job losses, reduction in fire cover and attacks to our working conditions are unacceptable. We recognise the fire service is facing a reduced budget; however we believe there are alternatives to making such huge cuts to frontline 999-services."

    From 6pm Friday FBU members will be taking industrial action short of a strike until further notice.

    Strike dates:

    January 14, until 09:00hrs – industrial action short of a strike (all FBU members)

    January 14, 09:00hrs until 18:00hrs – strike action (all FBU members)

    January 14, 18:00hrs until January 15, 06:30hrs – Strike action (Retained Duty System FBU Members), industrial action short of a strike (all other FBU members)

    January 15, 06:30hrs until 07:30hrs – strike action (all FBU members)

    January 15, 07:30hrs until 09:00hrs – strike action (RDS members), industrial action short of a strike (all other FBU members)

    January 15, 09:00hrs until 18:00hrs – Strike action (all FBU members)

    January 15, 18:00hrs until January 16, 06:30hrs – strike action (RDS members), industrial action short of a strike (all other firefighter members)

    January 16, 06:30hrs until 07:30hrs – strike action (all members)

    January 16, 07:30hrs until 09:00hrs – strike action (RDS members), industrial action short of a strike (all other FBU members)

    January 16, 09:00hrs until 18:00hrs – strike action (all FBU members)

    From January 16, 18:00hrs until further notice - industrial action short of a strike (all FBU members)

    Essex fire crews and control staff strike over staff conditions


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    AN accident involving two lorries has left the A12 closed near Chelmsford.

    Delays of around 40 minutes are expected while debris from the crash is being cleared.

    The collision happened at around 5am between junction 19 with the A130 at the Boreham Interchange and junction 18, with the A414 at Sandon.

    Initially both lanes were closed, but now only the London-bound side is shut while Essex Police are at the scene dealing with the incident.

    Queues are stretching to junction 21, with the B1389, Witham South road and also blocking the Boreham Interchange.

    A12 near Chelmsford closed after crash between two lorries


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    ESSEX is bracing itself for an onslaught of wind and rain as stormy weather batters the country.

    A yellow weather warning has been issued by the Met Office for the whole of the county, with gust of up to 50-65mph expected.

    A deepening area of low pressure is expected to track across Essex early on Thursday, with severe gales expected to develop.

    Rain is also likely in the south of the county and the public have been warned of disruption to travel due to standing water and spray as well as localised flooding.

    The Met Office are also warning of the risk of disruption to power supplies.

    The low pressure that is coming off the Atlantic Ocean has been dubbed 'Storm Rachel', with some forecasters predicting it could have a bigger impact than Hurricane Burtha and Jude that hit the UK in 2013.

    However the severity of the weather system could fade as the week progresses.

    The strongest winds are likely to be over Wednesday night, but by Friday the severe weather is likely to have passed.

    Met Office warn Essex is set to be battered by 65mph winds and rain


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    NEARLY 80 per cent of collisions between 2am and 3am are caused by drunk pedestrians, according to Essex County Council.

    The figures come as a new campaign, aimed at reducing adult pedestrian road deaths and injuries, was launched yesterday (January 12) by Essex County Council.

    The campaign, Walk Safely in Essex,is aimed at over-18s and is designed to raise awareness between drivers and pedestrians, particularly vulnerable pedestrians and those involved in the night-time economy.

    Essex County Council say pedestrians impaired by alcohol contributed to nearly 80 per cent of collisions between 2am and 3am and 50 per cent of those between 11pm and midnight.

    Councillor Rodney Bass, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "In Essex, we are proud of our road safety record, but we can always be better.

    "Because of an unseasonably warm autumn, we've seen a slight blip in the numbers of those killed or seriously injured on the county's roads but, overall, the downwards trend in 2014 was encouraging.

    "I am determined that those numbers will continue to fall in 2015."

    The campaign will take the form of leaflets, posters, social media, public engagement events and radio promotion and is supported by the Essex Safer Roads Partnership (SERP).

    The council want pedestrians to:

    - Be Bright, Be Seen, and say pedestrians should take particular care and dress in light-coloured or reflective clothing.

    - Look Out Before You Step Out: Be aware of your surroundings, especially taking care when in a hurry.

    - Look Out For Each Other: If you're out for the night, make sure you plan a safe journey home. 

    Nearly 80% of accidents in early morning caused by


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    The husband and two children of a mother found dead in Wivenhoe Park have paid heartfelt tribute to the woman who they say is now free of the "crippling internal pain that tortured her everyday".

    Aleasha Coan, 36, of Elmstead Road, was reported missing on January 4, and her body found two days later. She is believed to have taken her own life

    Husband Rob, and sons Oliver, 11 and Toby, 10, thanked all of those who took part in the searches to find her.

    Mr Coan said: "The public support from friends, relatives and people who just wanted to help was overwhelming and incredibly humbling. The kindness shown will live with me forever.

    "Most of all I would like to thank my two gorgeous boys who have turned into men in front of my very eyes.

    "Their strength has amazed me and their courage inspired me. They are definitely their mother's children and she will be proud of them.

    "For Aleasha I would like to say: Today the light of my life left me to be in a better place. A place where she can be free of the illness that has imprisoned her in a body and mind that it crippled.

    "She will no longer have the crippling internal pain that tortured her every day. She will no longer have to live in a world where people harm her without conscience or understanding.

    "Her spirit is free to go where she wants, when she wants, and be with her boys all the time."

    Mr Coan also said his wife could now be the person she wanted to be but could no longer do while alive

    "Me and the boys will make you proud Lou Lou. We will have that Ed Sheeran dance when I see you again, but not yet.

    "You were the most amazing person who captured my heart and entwined my soul. Be free my beautiful girl and be proud of what you achieved.

    "Thank you for allowing me to share this world with you for the last 15 years and showing me what love and devotion is all about.

    "I will miss your infectious laugh. My tears may last forever and I miss you so much already but I know you did not leave me to hurt me or the boys and that you loved us with all your heart."

    Oliver added: "My mum was a wonderful person and was a friend to everyone she met.

    "We will miss her greatly but are happy that people will remember her for who she was.

    Toby, 10, added: "To mummy. We are going to miss you. We love you very much and that will never stop. 

    "I know you will be in a better place now and we will all miss you. Mummy was a kind special mummy and we will miss you. Love from TobyP.s. Le La Le Lou Lou."

    Anybody wishing to make a charity donation as a tribute to Aleasha can do so through ovarian cancer action tribute funds in the name of Aleasha Coan.

    Family's heartbreaking tribute to mum Aleasha Coan after Wivenhoe Park death


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    PARENTS have been warned to get their primary school applications in quickly or face missing out on their children's first choice.

    The deadline for primary school place applications for September 2015 is this Thursday (January 15).

    Parents and carers of children born during the period from September 1, 2010 and August 31, 2011 must apply by this deadline primary school places for the September 2015 intake.

    All reception aged children are entitled to start school in the September following their fourth birthday.

    Here's what you need to know with two days to go

    • Check that you live in the administrative area of Essex, and then register on the Essex County Council website
    • Enter your contact details
    • Choose a realistic school as one of your options
    • Make use of the catchment area finder to ensure your school is still one of the options
    • Once the closing date of January 15 has passed, applicants cannot make any changes to your preferences through the online admissions system.
    • The offer date for primary schools is April 16. Parents can log in using their email address and password to view the allocation.

    Essex county councillor Ray Gooding, cabinet member for education and lifelong Learning, said: "Due to increasing pressure on primary school places, schools can become oversubscribed so it is important for parents to carefully consider admissions criteria and give themselves maximum opportunity to be considered for a school they want by using up all their preferences.

    "It is vital to apply on time; we recommend that parents use all their preferences and list their local school as one of their preferences. Parents should also carefully consider the admissions criteria of each school for which they wish to apply."

    Essex primary school place application deadline: What you need to know


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    Drivers have been urged to avoid the southbound A12 near Chelmsford following a crash involving two lorries.

    12pm UPDATE: The stretch is now fully re-opened and delays are expected to ease.

    Delays of up to one hour have been reported on the stretch between the A138/A130 and the A414 after the closure of one lane.

    Police officers were called at about 5am today (January 13) after reports of a collision just south of the Boreham interchange at junction 19.

    There were no injuries, but both vehicles were badly damaged and thousands of towels being carried on one of the lorries were scattered across the carriageways.

    Recovery of the two lorries took around five hours.

    Drivers are advised by Essex Police to avoid the area and seek alternative routes. 

    Thousands of towels scattered across A12 after crash between two lorries


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    A Chelmsford man will stand trial later this year accused of his part in the fatal stabbing of a Brentwood man.

    Wilson Carlos Lourenco, 20, a sales representative, of Cheviot Drive pleaded not guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday (January 12) to murder.

    Francis Ntena Nsiangangu, 31, also known locally as 'Casper' was discovered fatally stabbed in Tower Hill, in Brentwood, on September 27 last year.

    Unemployed Bernard Ampaw, of Wombridge Road in Telford and student Clive Mundoma, 18, of High Street, Brentwood, also denied murder.

    All three defendants also each face one count of robbery.

    All three were remanded in custody to re-appear before Chelmsford Crown Court for trial on June 22.

    Chelmsford man denies murder of Francis 'Casper' Ntena Nsiangangu


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    A SHORTLIST of four politicians to fight it out to be the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Braintree has been drawn up.

    Incumbent MP, Brooks Newmark , announced in October he would withdraw as the Conservative candidate, following revelations of "sexting" and a two-year extramarital affair with an unnamed mother.

    Last month the process to find a successor to the Braintree seat was suspended by Conservative HQ after the local association tried to shortlist an ineligible candidate.

    A selection meeting will take place tonight, when the candidate will be formally announced.

    None of the four finalists to face the selection process are from the district, but the list does include two women and two ethnic minority candidates.

    James Cleverly - He is the London Assembly Member for Bexley and Bromley and chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.

    He has worked in web publishing and served in the Army, rising to the rank of major in the Territorial Army.

    In 2005 he was the Conservative candidate for Lewisham East, finishing second behind Labour. He was shortlisted for selection in Bury St Edmunds in October and for Bexhill and Battle in November.

    Suella Fernandes - She was born in Harrow and works as a barrister, standing against Keith Vaz in Leicester East in 2005.

    She is a co-founder, former chair and now trustee of the Africa Justice Foundation and a co-founder of a free school in Brent called the Michaela Community School. She was also a finalist in Uxbridge, Bexhill and Battle and Croydon South.

    Michael McManus - He served as an executive director of the Press Complaints Commission, which has now became IPSO.

    In the 1990s he wrote speeches for Margaret Thatcher and John Major. He later ran Vote 2004, a campaign for a referendum on the EU Constitution.

    He was a director at a public affairs company and in 2001 he stood for Watford, before getting to the final four in Havant last year.

    He also wrote, Tory Pride and Prejudice: The Conservative Party and Homosexual Law Reform - charting the change in the party's attitudes towards gay marriage.

    Sarah Macken– She is chief executive of ESCO, the industry body for the electronic systems sector and has previously worked at the British Chambers of Commerce.

    She supports grammar schools and in 2005 stood against Stephen Timms in East Ham. Last summer, she made the final four in Louth and Horncastle.

    Conservative candidate for Braintree in May General Election to be announced tonight


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    The Italian daughter of Guglielmo Marconi has spoken of her relief that his legacy will remain engraved on Chelmsford's welcome signs.

    Council bosses last week announced the words "Birthplace of Radio" will stay on the ten brown boards when replaced.

    City council leader Roy Whitehead had previously said the three-word message would be erased because the Highways Agency said the sentence distracted drivers, sparking widespread outrage.

    Princess Elettra Marconi Giovanelli was unaware of the road-sign saga until speaking to the Chronicle from Rome yesterday (January 12).

    The Princess said the final outcome is "wonderful" but lambasted the city council for slowly forgetting her father's legacy.

    "I'm very happy, it's wonderful news," she said.

    "I didn't know anything about it, I didn't know they would take it off, so it's very good news so my father can be remembered in Chelmsford.

    "It would have been terrible, shameful and disgraceful to just destroy the history of the city from the signs."

    Marconi, born in Bologna, opened the world's first wireless factory in Hall Street in 1898 and the sprawling purpose-built 1912 New Street factory.

    'Treated very badly'

    His radio was credited with saving the 702 survivors of the 2,200 Titanic passengers that year by sending the mayday messages after the iceberg collision.

    The Marconi empire, which employed thousands, was broken up into such companies as BAE Systems, which makes aerospace and defence technology, before the Marconi Corporation closed in 2006.

    Princess Elettra, who last visited Chelmsford in 2010 to open Anglia Ruskin University's Marconi building, said the city council do not do enough for Marconi's heritage.

    "I think Chelmsford City Council treat it very badly," she said.

    "There is a beautiful statue of my father which has been made and I have gone to look at it a few times, to inaugurate it, but they didn't want to put it in a place where people can see it and admire it and now it's in the background."

    Princess Elettra was handed renewed faith when Chelmsford Community Radio's co-director, station manager and Marconi ward councillor Jude Deakin visited to tell her they were trying to move the station into the grade-II listed New Street factory water tower.

    Yet the Chronicle also broke news to her that discussions with the owner Bellway, which is converting the site into 418 homes, have stalled because developers are expected to ask the voluntary-run station for a high-priced rent.

    "This was the first sign that they wanted to remember my father, they were very enthusiastic," said Princess Elettra, who thinks Marconi's history should be included in the school curriculum.

    "They have no money, what a shame. This is very bad against my father, it's frightening.

    "They're always thinking about making money but the values, the story of the Marconi, belongs to England and it would not have been if he didn't come to England when he was 21 years old."

    Marconi's daughter Princess Elettra 'very happy' with Chelmsford sign U-turn


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    Arsene Wenger is reportedly ready to offload Wojciech Szczesny after lighting up a cigarette in the changing rooms following the Southampton defeat and has lined up Genoa's shot stopper Mattia Perin.

    Arsenal's number one was fined £20,000 last week for his misconduct and was dropped for the weekend's match against Stoke.

    Despite insisting the choice to drop Szczesny was not a disciplinary measure, Wenger seems ready to go after the services of hot prospect Mattia Perin.

    The 22-year-old has earned rave reviews for his performances at Genoa and gained his first international cap mid-November.

    Perin is in high demand from Europe's elite clubs and Genoa would be reluctant to lose a goalkeeper that has kept  five clean sheets this campaign including against AC Milan and Juventus but Arsenal seem ready to move quickly for his services.


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