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

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    A MOTORIST who died after his imported car burst into flames in a head-on crash was overtaking a van at the time, which itself was overtaking a broken-down vehicle.

    Essex Coroner's Court heard Terence Harrington was driving a left-hand-drive red Chevrolet Corvette on Essex Regiment Way by Channels Golf Club, Little Waltham, when he attempted the fatal manoeuvre last April.

    The 67-year-old's vehicle struck a car carrying a family-of-four coming the other way.

    At his inquest on Wednesday last week at County Hall, Chelmsford, area coroner Eleanor McGann said Mr Harrington, of Springfield Green, Chelmsford, was attempting to overtake a grey Ford Transit van, which was also overtaking a red Austin Healey Sprite, that had broken down at the side of the road.

    A red triangular warning sign was placed behind the Austin as it was slightly obstructing traffic flowing from behind it.

    The stretch of road is notorious for overtaking, but as Mr Harrington's car is left-hand-drive, he had to move farther across the road to see past the van than a car made for British roads.

    His Corvette was sent spinning into the opposite carriageway, coming to a stop facing the same direction as Braintree-bound traffic, while the grey Vauxhall Astra carrying the family from Great Dunmow also span and finished in a hedgerow.

    Mr Harrington's car burst into flames before by-passers, who had stopped to help, could attempt to pull him unconscious from the vehicle.

    The parents in the Astra, both 30, and their 18-month-old daughter suffered serious injuries and were airlifted to hospital.

    PC Katherine Burke, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit that investigated the crash, said there was nothing to suggest any defects were present in either car involved in the collision.

    She said: "Despite having been extensively damaged by the fire, Mr Harrington's disc brakes hadn't locked; they looked as if they had been used properly.

    "There was nothing wrong with the car which contributed to the accident. The same can be said for the Vauxhall Astra."

    Speaking about road and weather conditions at about 3pm Sunday, April 13, she continued: "It was a nice, dry day and it was bright. The road was in a good state and traffic was light."

    She added everyone involved in the collision was wearing a seatbelt. The fire officer investigating the incident said the fire, which started in the engine, was either caused by an electric spark from a damaged wire, or the ignition of flammable liquid.

    There was no suggestion of any sabotage to the vehicle.

    Toxicology reports revealed Mr Harrington had Tramadol and Diazepam, both central nervous system depressants which may affect driving ability, in his system.

    But Mrs McGann said there was no alcohol in Mr Harrington's system, nor did he suffer a medical episode.

    She said: "Mr Harrington's prescribed medication was legal; it simply warned that his driving may be affected, not that he mustn't drive at all.

    "We can't tell what part medication played in the incident, if any at all. The driver of the Vauxhall Astra did everything she could and did not do anything wrong.

    "It is also legal to drive a left-hand-drive car. There is nothing wrong with driving a car with the steering wheel on, what would be for us, the wrong side."

    Recording a verdict of road traffic collision by extensive thermal and traumatic injuries, Mrs McGann said: "Unfortunate accidents happen, and Mr Harrington's was a very sad death."

    Members of Mr Harrington's family, who were at the inquest, did not want to talk to the Chronicle after the hearing, but his son Marc has previously said the stretch of road, between Wheelers Hill and Braintree Road, "is poorly designed".

    Motorist was killed on Essex Regiment Way during double overtake


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    People across Essex woke up to sub-zero conditions this morning as temperatures plummeted to well below freezing overnight.

    Thursday evening was the coldest night Essex had experienced since March 2013, with freezing conditions felt around large parts the county.

    Temperatures dropped to as low as -6C in some areas, with many people starting Friday morning in conditions as low as -2 to -4C as the cold snap continued to take its toll on the county.

    Forecasters predict cloud will soon clear to the far east to leave a dry day with plenty of sunshine on Saturday. Although winds will be light and conditions will remain on the cold side.

    As we enter Sunday, Essex can expect a bright, but cold day, before patchy rain sets in. Winds will remain relatively low, with temperatures peaking at 6C. Milder weather is expected next week.

    If you're affected by the weather conditions, get in touch with us via newsdesk@essexchronicle.co.uk, our Facebook page, or on Twitter @EssexChronicle.

    Essex weather: coldest night in almost a year but NO snow expected for the rest of January


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    A bonfire caused momentary panic among people in Springfield who thought a fire had broken out in The Boswells School.

    Smoke was seen billowing from behind the secondary school premises in Burnham Road yesterday afternoon (January 22).

    However, people were able to breathe a collective sigh of relief after it emerged crews had been called to a "controlled garden bonfire" in a garden in neighbouring Totnes Walk.

    No action was required by the emergency crew and nobody was hurt. Firefighters were at the scene for 15 minutes.

    The school also tweeted to dampen any concerns, and it is open as normal today (January 22).

    Smoke in Springfield sparked fear of fire at The Boswells School


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    Police in Chelmsford are appealing for information about a burglary in First Avenue, Broomfield yesterday (January 22).

    Thieves stole three watches, a green iPod Nano and a Ralph Lauren leopard print case, with police keen to hear from people who may have seen these belongings on sale recently.

    Investigating officer, Pc Ray Hull, said: "I would like to speak to anyone who may have seen people acting suspiciously, or suspicious vehicles in the area around the time of the burglary.

    "I would also ask anyone who has been offered these items for sale to get in contact."

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Pc Hull at Chelmsford CID on 101.

    People can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

    iPod Nano and Ralph Lauren case stolen in burglary in First Avenue in Chelmsford


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    Essex County Council has been slammed by a high-court judge for its "reprehensible" treatment of a "defenceless" 91-year-old, who was forced into a retirement home against his will.

    The churchgoing pensioner, a gunner with the RAF during the war, was awarded £60,000 in damages by the High Court after it heard that he was removed from the home he shared with his beloved cat Fluffy and locked up in a care home for 17 months.

    District Judge Paul Mort, sitting in the Court of Protection in London, said the conduct of the council, which unlawfully removed the former civil servant, known as "P", from his home without authorisation in May 2013, "has been totally inadequate and their failings significant."

    In his ruling, the judge said: "There is no doubt that P has been failed by ECC."

    He added: "It is hard to imagine a more depressing and inexcusable state of affairs.

    "A defenceless 91-year-old gentleman in the final years of his life was removed from his home of 50 years and detained in a locked dementia unit against his wishes."

    'Condemned'

    P, who has dementia, was eventually removed from the Essex care home he was locked in, and returned to his home, where he had lived for around 50 years before being forcibly removed.

    The judge added: "Had it not been for the alarm raised by his friend RF, he may have been condemned to remain there for the remainder of his days."

    The judge described how the friend raised the alarm and that the council finally agreed after 17 months to let him go home and put a care programme in place.

    He added: "I was gratified to learn that P had returned home with his cat Fluffy. He is being looked after by carers and has accepted the care provided. RF reports that she has visited him and finds him to be happy and contented."

    The council admitted to breaches of P's Article 5 rights to liberty and security and Article 8 rights to respect for private and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights, and agreed to pay the £60,000 damages, wave fees of around £25,000 for P's stay in the care home and pay his legal costs, which could exceed £64,000.

    The court heard that prior to last October the council had maintained, backed by P's niece and nephew, that the care home was the best place for him.

    'Reprehensible'

    "There can be no doubt that ECC's practice was substandard. They failed to recognise the weakness of their own case and the strength of the case against them. They appeared unprepared to countenance any view contrary to their own," the judge said.

    "They maintained their resolute opposition to P returning to his home until the last possible moment. In my judgment the conduct of EEC has been reprehensible.

    "The very sad and disturbing consequences for P cannot be ignored. The significant wrong done must be adequately compensated. 

    "This case involves a substantive breach of P's rights . Had it not been for the unlawful actions of ECC, P would have continued to live at home with the type of support that has now been put in place."

    In approving the amount of compensation awarded to P, the judge said he was satisfied it was "a fair and reasonable award in so far as a monetary award can compensate him for the loss of his liberty in the circumstances I have described."

    "In view of P's advanced years and health it is in his best interest that an award is secured quickly so that he may derive enjoyment and benefit from it during his remaining years," he added.

    Essex  County Council's 'reprehensible' treatment of pensioner, 91, forced into retirement home 'against his wishes'


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    A man from Chelmsford has been arrested by police on suspicion of breaching a restraining order.

    Luke Ratcliffe, 24, formerly of the Westlands Estate in Chelmsford, was arrested by police in Barking on Thursday, January 22.

    He has been taken to Chelmsford Police station in New Street for questioning.

    Wanted Chelmsford man Luke Ratcliffe, 24, arrested in Barking


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    Fewer couples are tying the knot in Essex than in recent years, according to statistics from the Essex County Council Registration Service.

    A total of 6,571 couples exchanged vows in the 2013/14 financial year compared to 7,434 in the previous period.

    There was a 17 per cent decrease in church weddings in 2013/14 than in 2012/13, as well as a 13 per cent decline in ceremonies at registration offices, while seven per cent fewer couples were getting hitched at approved premises.

    But while love may not have been in the air for everyone in the wedding business during 2014, some more exclusive venues bucked the trend and saw a significant rise in business over the same period.

    Councillor Ray Ride, from Chelmsford City Council, has been behind the commercial development of Hylands Estate in Chelmsford, which has seen sales and enquiries boom over the past 12 months.

    He says: "We've invested in a spectacular Grand Pavilion at Hylands Estate which can accommodate 300 people in great style and comfort, demand for large weddings has shot up over the last year.

    Is Essex becoming less romantic? Fewer of the county's couples get married


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    Road users are advised that there are long delays on the M11 in Essex following two incidents. The road is closed northbound between junctions 4 and 6.

    The first incident happened just after 7.30am today (January 22) and a second happened just before 10am

    This has now caused a full closure of the M11 northbound between junctions 4 and 6.

    Police and highways officers are currently at the scene dealing with the incidents. Motorists are advised to avoid the area and allow extra time for their journey as there are delays.

    The motorway will fully reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.

    M11 crash: Long delays in Essex after serious collision between junctions 4 and 6


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    Police are trying to identify two men (pictured) after urinals were pulled off the toilet walls in McDonald's in Chelmsford.

    Essex Police would like to talk to them in connection with the suspected criminal damage incident which took place in the High Street restaurant between 4am and 4.30am on Thursday, December 4.

    The incident followed the weekly Wednesday student themed club night in Chelmsford.

    Officers believe the suspects involved came from the Colchester area.

    Anyone who recognises these men is asked to contact Pc Richard Mallett at Chelmsford police station on 101.

    People can also give information to the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via an anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

    Police probe after urinals pulled off Chelmsford McDonald's toilet walls


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    A SIX-YEAR-OLD girl has been inspired to raise money for the charity that helped her brother after reading the Chronicle.

    Gracie Payne, of Dorset Avenue, in Great Baddow, will get her hair cut for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's charity.

    Her long locks will get the chop next month as her brother Oliver, eight, goes back to the hospital for treatment.

    Gracie's mother Caroline, 32, said: "Oliver was born deaf in his right ear and he has been going backwards and forwards to Great Ormond Street for treatment since he was little.

    "Gracie originally wanted to raise £100, but she surpassed that overnight. It was really sweet because when she checked her JustGiving page the morning after we set it up, and she saw her first donation, she went running upstairs to tell Oliver the good news."

    Gracie, who goes to Larkrise School, was inspired by Lily Beadel, of Hill View Road, Chelmsford, who raised more than £1,100 for the Little Princess Trust and featured in the Chronicle.

    Her hair will be used in wigs for children who have lost their hair through illness.

    Caroline continued: "She read about the young girl cutting and donating her hair for sick children and she's had her mind set on doing the same ever since."

    Self-employed Caroline said that Gracie also wants to donate her hair to the Little Princess Trust, as Lily did, as well as raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

    Caroline said: "There is absolutely no stopping her – she is completely in control of it all.

    "At first my husband Billy wasn't so sure it was a good idea, but when Gracie said she wanted to raise money for charity and that she was certain she wanted to do it, he agreed to the idea.

    "Even though Gracie is Oliver's little sister, she looks after him. She understands what is going on, which is really nice. But they still have their moments, like any brother and sister do."

    Sponsor Gracie at www.justgiving.com/GraciePayne

    Gracie Payne's hair shave promise for Great Ormond Street Hospital


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    A HOLIDAY-MAKER died after vomiting underwater while scuba diving in Spain, an inquest heard.

    Stephen Salisbury's lungs expanded to three times their normal size after he tried to surface after falling ill 20 metres underwater in the Balearic Sea in May.

    An inquest into his death, held at Essex Coroner's Court in Chelmsford on Wednesday (January 13), was told how the 57-year-old would have "blacked out" as his lungs expanded from five litres of gas to 15 due to the sudden pressure change.

    Initial reports written in Catalan suggested Mr Salisbury, of Rayleigh Close, Braintree, died off the coast of Mar Menuda beach from a cerebral embolism, a blockage of the blood flow to his brain.

    But at the inquest, pathologist Dr Martin Goddard, who is himself a recreational scuba diver, could not confirm this.

    He said Mr Salisbury had food debris in his airwaves, thought to be a consequence of being ill under water.

    Mr Salisbury also had air forced into his lung tissue.

    He said: "Mr Salisbury suffered a barotrauma – where the pressure of gas in the lungs gets too high.

    "At sea level, we are in one atmosphere, at 20 metres under water we are at three atmospheres. It was safe for him to dive to that limit, but not to ascend to the surface holding his breath.

    "Compressed gas is denser, so its volume will expand nearer the top. The gas that went into his lung tissue essentially stopped his lungs from working."

    Dr Goddard continued that it was inconclusive whether Mr Salisbury died as a result of the lung damage, cerebral embolism or coronary heart disease.

    There was nothing wrong with his diving kit or his dive computer, and there was no blame attributed to Mr Salisbury's actions or those of his instructors.

    When asked by family members whether or not he would have died in pain, Dr Goddard replied: "He would have been unconscious, he experienced blacking out. He was unaware of what was going on."

    Area Coroner Eleanor McGann ruled his death as an accident from aspiration of gastric content, with the cause and effect unascertained.

    She said: "This was a tragic accident. It could not have been predicted or stopped. Remember the happy parts of family life you had together."

    Scuba diver Stephen Salisbury's underwater death 'was an accident'


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    AWAY from the professional tennis calendar Essex LTA have been rewarding local tennis coaches for their work in the county and Mark Crick is beaming with pride following his award.

    The tennis coach was awarded with the 'Outstanding work in development/ club coaching' prize by the Essex LTA for the work he has done at Writtle Tennis Club.

    The LTA-qualified coach has been a part of the set-up at Writtle for six years and couldn't hide his pride in the recognition handed his way.

    "I'm very delighted to be rewarded for all my hard work at Writtle Tennis Club and I'm just really pleased to be receive this from Essex LTA," said Crick.

    "It's definitely one of my best achievements and it just makes you really proud, to have recognition for my coaching and all the work that I've done is great."

    Despite the personal achievement Crick is quick to point out that the award is just as much down to the players he coaches and admits it is rewarding to watch them grow.

    "When I first came in it was quite quiet, there wasn't much of a junior section going on there so I redeveloped that section from scratch and have gone into a couple of the local schools to do a few classes there to try to get kids to join in," he said.

    "We run college camps which have been very successful this year and try to do lots of tournaments and match plays.

    "At Writtle we offer sessions from three and up and we do mini tennis lessons throughout the week but mainly on the Saturday mornings.

    "We run cardio tennis which is like fitness sessions for juniors and our squad sessions where we have teams competing in the local Essex leagues.

    "Our U10s won their Essex division and our U18s won their division as well, so that's great.

    "The rewarding part is just seeing the improvement the children make because we have them from a young age and to see them grow and develop their skills is a great feeling."

    Writtle Tennis Club's Crick happy to be recognised for coaching role by LTA


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    CASES heard by Chelmsford and Colchester magistrates between Monday, December 29 and Tuesday, January 6.

    Sent to prison

    JOHN GOLDEN, 53, of no fixed address, was sent to prison for three months. 

    He was given one month concurrent for stealing a bottle of wine valued at £4 from Morrisons in Chelmsford on January 1 and one month concurrent for stealing food items of an unknown value. 

    He was given another month concurrent for stealing sandwiches to the value of £2 from Morrisons in Chelmsford on January 3.

    He was also given three months for failing to comply with a notification order by not signing on within seven days as directed at Chelmsford Police Station, being a relevant offender within the terms of the Sexual Offences Act. He must pay a £20 victim surcharge.

    STACEY TANYA REYNOLDS, 23, of Peel Crescent, Braintree, was sent to prison for 16 weeks. 

    She was given four weeks for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or disorderly behaviour towards a vulnerable victim in her 70s. 

    She committed the offence while subject to two suspended sentence orders imposed on October 3 and 22 for assaulting other people which were implemented to run concurrently. She must pay an £80 victim surcharge.

    DARREN HOLFORD, 25, of Broomfield, Silver End, was given a 38 week prison sentence. 

    He was disqualified from driving for two years and given 24 weeks for driving along Halstead Road at Gosfield on July 17 while disqualified, without insurance and was driving without due care and attention. 

    The defendant was subject to a suspended sentence order and a conditional discharge for similar offences. 

    He was given two three week consecutive sentences for the original offences of breaching an ASBO and two three week consecutive sentences and a further two weeks consecutive for driving while disqualified.

    JUSTIN MARK BAKER, 30, of Teeside, Harlow, was sent to prison for four months. 

    He was given one month concurrent for stealing electronic games of an unknown value from Tesco at Dunmow on January 2, and one month for being in possession of a foil lined bag. 

    He was subject to a suspended sentence order imposed on December 17 for four offences of shoplifting in Harlow and Stansted Airport. 

    The three month suspended sentence was implemented to run concurrently.

    KURTISS JOHN BAXTER, 40, of Akenfield Close, South Woodham Ferrers, was sent to prison for 18 weeks. 

    He was given six weeks for stealing cider to the value of £4.99 from Spar at Rochford on January 1; and two six week concurrent sentences for stealing lager to the value of £8 and £1.50 from the Co-op and Jet Garage at Rochford on January 1. 

    He was subject to a suspended sentence order imposed on December 22 for five offences of shoplifting. 

    The original suspended sentences were imposed for 12 weeks to run concurrently. He must also pay a £80 victim surcharge.

    Suspended sentences

    TREVOR EDWARD RILEY, 32, of no fixed address, was given a 12 week prison sentence, suspended for six months for stealing two cans of whiskey and coke worth £4.74 from Morrisons on December 12. 

    He was subject to a 12 month conditional discharge order imposed on October 20 for shoplifting. 

    The defendant was given three 12 week concurrent sentences for the original offences of theft, using threatening behaviour and failing to comply with a community order. 

    He must participate in Education, Training and Employment activity for 15 days, attend appointments with a responsible officer and pay an £80 victim surcharge.

    DEAN MARTIN GERHARTZ, 18, of Colchester Road, Maldon, was given a 12 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, for assaulting two people at Maldon on November 15 by beating them, and for stealing groceries to the value of £32.82 from Tesco.

    It was a serious attack on his victims, influenced by alcohol and head butting by the defendant. 

    He was ordered to pay compensation of £1,000 and £100 to each of the men and an £80 victim surcharge. 

    He must participate in an accredited programme for 12 days, and attend appointments with a responsible officer.

    Bail offences

    SHAUN PERRY MUSSON, 23, of Caxton Close, Tiptree, was fined £133 for failing to surrender to Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on December 30, having been released on bail in criminal proceedings on August 27. 

    He must pay a £20 victim surcharge.

    SHANE RICHARD HAWKES, 27, of Station Road, Southminster, was given an eight week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, for assaulting a Police Constable in the execution of his duty at South Woodham Ferrers on October 17. 

    He also pleaded guilty to using threatening or abusive words or disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, that was racially aggravated. 

    The defendant was ordered to participate in medium alcohol intervention programme, and attend appointments with a responsible officer. He must pay £120 compensation, an £80 victim surcharge and pay £85 costs to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS.)

    Criminal damage

    IAN MILLER, 18, of St Nicholas Road, Tillingham, was given a six month conditional discharge for causing £1,500 of damage to a front door belonging to another person at Tillingham on December 5. He must pay a £10 victim surcharge.

    Criminal justice – assault

    GARY CORDELL, 48, of Orion Way, Braintree, was given a community order for two counts of assaulting another person by beating her at Chelmsford on December 7 and 9. 

    He was placed under a curfew for three months with electronic monitoring and was given a restraining order not to contact his victim or go to Cheviot Drive in Chelmsford. 

    He must pay a £60 victim surcharge.

    NICHOLAS ADAM GOSLING, 28, of Elm Grove, Hullbridge, was given a community order for three counts of assaulting another person by beating her at Burnham on October 26, between October 17 and 20, and between September 1 and 14 last year. 

    He was ordered to participate in Medium Alcohol Requirement Intervention (MARI) for 12 days, participate in an accredited programme for 19 days, attend appointments with a responsible officer and carry out 80 hours of unpaid, supervised work within the next 12 months. He must pay a £60 victim surcharge and £115 costs to the CPS.

    DENNIS OZDEMIR, 36, of Brightwell Avenue, Westcliff, was given a community order for assaulting another person by beating him at Chelmsford on June 15. 

    He must carry out 100 hours of unpaid, supervised work within the next 12 months, pay £100 compensation, a £60 victim surcharge and £300 costs to the CPS.

    DAVID MARK ALGER, 25, of Tattersalls Chase, Southminster, was given a community order for assaulting another person by beating him at Southminster on December 13 while a community order imposed on February 24 was in force for using threatening behaviour. 

    The defendant must participate in Medium Alcohol Requirement Intervention (MARI) for 12 days, attend appointments with a responsible officer, carry out 50 hours of unpaid, supervised work within the next 12 months, and pay a £60 victim surcharge.

    BILLY SHINNERS, 24, of Albany Road, Bexley in Kent, was fined £135 for assaulting another person in Chelmsford by beating her on December 14. He must pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    JESUS GOJIT, 45, of Kings Road, Chelmsford, was given a 12 month conditional discharge for assaulting another person by beating her at Chelmsford on December 9. 

    He was given a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting his victim or going to Kings Road in Chelmsford. He must pay a £15 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    PAUL ADRIAN PANTEA, 25, of Peter Taylor Avenue, Braintree, was given a community order for assaulting another person by beating her at Braintree on December 12. 

    The defendant must participate in the Building Better Relationships programme for 29 days, attend appointments with a responsible officer, and carry out 60 hours of supervised, unpaid work within the next 12 months. 

    He was also given a restraining order not to contact the victim or go to Bartrum Avenue in Braintree. He must pay £100 compensation, a £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    DAVID BRIAN RADLEY, 36, of Nelson Place, South Woodham Ferrers, was fined £100 for assaulting another person by beating him at Chelmsford on December 19. 

    He had committed the offence while subject to a suspended sentence order imposed on November 18 for theft and going equipped for theft.

    ROBERT SIDNEY FULLER, 72, of New Road, Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, was given a community order for assaulting another person by beating her at Chelmsford on November 30. 

    He was ordered to participate in building better relationships programme for 29 days and attend appointments with a responsible officer. He must pay £50 compensation, a £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    Criminal justice – breach

    SAMUEL JOSEPH CAVANAGH, 29, of Oak Close, Maldon, was fined £100 for failing to comply with a community order made on July 29 by not complying with the residence requirement. He must also pay £75 costs.

    Drugs – possession

    ASADOLLAH ZARE, 38, of Sycamore Field, Harlow, was fined £100 for possessing seven small bags containing 14.11g of Methylmethcathinone, a controlled class B drug, at Chelmsford on August 13. 

    He must pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS in addition to forfeiting the drugs and having them destroyed.

    VINCENT THOMAS O'BRIEN, 19, of Sandiacres Caravan Site, Long Green, Cressing, was fined £75 for possessing two grams of cannabis, a controlled class B drug, at Braintree on October 3. 

    He was also fined £50 for failing to attend Colchester Magistrates' Court on December 29, having been released on bail in criminal proceedings on December 8. 

    He must also pay a £20 victim surcharge, £85 costs to the CPS, and forfeit the drugs and have them destroyed.

    Drunk and disorderly

    CHARLOTTE LUCY GRAVES, 23, of Widford Chase, Chelmsford, was given a 12 month conditional discharge for being drunk and disorderly in Duke Street, Chelmsford, on December 17. 

    She must pay a £15 victim surcharge and £35 costs to the CPS.

    Family law

    SCOTT ADAM HINE, 35, of Swan Close, Hatfield Peverel, was fined £110 for breaching a non molestation order imposed on February 5. 

    He had followed another person in a car, causing her to feel harassed and scared, when prohibited from doing so. He must pay a £20 victim surcharge and £300 costs to the CPS.

    Public order offences

    TONY NASH, 60, of Bois Hall Gardens, Halstead, was fined £110 for using threatening, abusive or insulting words likely to provoke unlawful violence being used at Southminster on October 16, and for assaulting another person. 

    He must pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    ARMANDS KOKINS, 42, of no known address, was fined £50 for using threatening, abusive words or disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress at Stansted on January 4. 

    He must pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    Theft – shoplifting

    ROBERT GIBBS, 62, of The Lintons, Sandon, was fined £110 for stealing various food items to the value of £152.62 from Asda at South Woodham Ferrers on December 12. 

    He must pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    COLIN MCKELLA, 43, of Edgeley Road, Lambeth, London, was given a community order for stealing £639.74 worth of clothing from H&M and £281 worth of clothing belonging to JD Sports in Chelmsford on October 2.

    The defendant was ordered to participate in Thinking Skills for 19 days and attend appointments with a responsible officer. He was fined £100 plus a £60 victim surcharge and must pay £85 costs to the CPS.

    KWABENA AMPONSAH, 34, of Fladbury Road, London, N15, was also given a community order for stealing various items of clothing to the value of £639.74 from H&M and £281 from DJ Sports in Chelmsford on October 2. 

    He was ordered to have treatment for drug dependency for six months, and attend appointments with a responsible officer. 

    He was also fined £100 and must pay a £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    JEMMA RANK, 34, of Poplars Close, Colchester, was given a community order for stealing a bottle of orange juice to the value of £1.10 from Marks & Spencer and 28 DVDs and two handbags to the value of £303 from Primark in Chelmsford on January 2. 

    The defendant must have treatment for drug dependency for six months, and must not enter Chelmsford town centre for six months. 

    She must attend supervised appointments with a responsible officer, pay a £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    IRINEL IONUT CHIRIAC, 40, of Plashet Grove, Newham, London, was fined £50 for stealing a pair of sunglasses worth £191 from Sunglass Hut at Braintree on January 3 while subject to a conditional discharge order imposed on July 11, 2013 for two years. 

    He must pay £191 compensation, a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    Theft – other

    KEITH DERRICK, 64, of Stort Tower, Harlow, was given a 12 month conditional discharge for stealing a mobile phone to the value of £200 belonging to another person at Stansted on May 16.

    He must pay a £15 victim surcharge and £640 costs to the CPS.

    Drink driving

    JADE FRANCES JOHNSON, 24, of Greenland Gardens, Great Baddow, was banned for 20 months for driving along Parkway on December 13 after drinking alcohol. 

    Her breath contained 72 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than double the limit. She was fined £110 and must pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    PETER JOHN REYNOLDS, 66, of Highfield Road, Chelmsford, was given a 12 month driving ban for driving along Rainsford Road in Chelmsford on October 17 after he had been drinking. 

    The alcohol measured 90 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, in excess of the limit. He was fined £245 plus a £24 victim surcharge and must pay £85 costs to the CPS.

    ROSEMARY DEBORAH BRISTER, 54, of The Street, Little Totham, was disqualified for 30 months for driving along Church Road, Tiptree, on December 10 after she had been drinking. 

    Her breath contained 127 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than three and a half times the limit. She must pay a £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    ALEXANDER BRANT JONES, 22, of Halcyon Close, Witham, was disqualified for two years and given a community order for driving along Runwell Road in Chelmsford on December 16 after he had been drinking.

    His breath contained 96 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than two and a half times the limit. The defendant must carry out 80 hours of unpaid, supervised work within the next 12 months and pay a £60 victim surcharge.

    ROWLAND ARNOLD BACKER, 67, of Brook Lane, Galleywood, was banned for 14 months for driving along Watchouse Road in Galleywood on December 19 after he had been drinking. The alcohol measured 49 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, just under one and a half times the limit. He must pay a fine of £110, a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs to the CPS.

    KASIF OZUER, 48, of Duke Street, Chelmsford, was disqualified for 16 months for driving along Victoria Road, Chelmsford on December 21 after he had been drinking. His breath contained 58 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than one and a half times the limit. He also admitted driving without a valid licence. He was fined £110 plus a £20 victim surcharge and must pay £85 costs to the CPS.

    Driving offences – unfit through drugs

    SARAH AMY PARKER, 19, of Wife of Bath Hill, Canterbury in Kent, was given 90 days detention: 48 days for driving along Brownings Avenue in Chelmsford on October 14 while unfit through drugs, and 42 days consecutive for committing the offence while subject to a suspended sentence order. She was banned for three years and must pay a £20 victim surcharge.

    Named and shamed in court: See who's been sentenced by Essex magistrates


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    A woman claims she was dragged into bushes and raped in an alleyway near Tesco in Maldon.

    The victim, who is in her 20s and from the area, was walking away from the Fullbridge supermarket in the underpass at Mill Lane, when she was approached by two men between 5.45 and 6.15pm yesterday evening (January 24).

    Police, who are appealing for information, set up a cordon at the scene and investigations by detectives are ongoing.

    DCI Simon Werrett, of Essex Police, said: "Initial investigations have established the same men may have been seen acting suspiciously in the area earlier in the day. I need to speak with anyone who may have seen or spoken to the men.

    "I would also like to speak to anyone who was in the area between 5.30 and 7pm who may have seen anything. 

    "I have a team of detectives obtaining information about the suspects to enable us to arrest them as soon as possible. 

    "Maldon is a safe town to live in and I appreciate how shocking an incident like this will be to the community.

    "I am working with the local policing commander to ensure patrols in the area are increased to both reassure residents but also to gather information about those responsible."

    The woman is being supported by specially trained officers.

    Christine Walker, who lives in Creasen Butt Close, which is close to the underpass that runs alongside a canal, was 'frightened' by the news, especially as there was a rape in a similar area around a year ago.

    "I didn't hear anything and i was in all night - it was the same it happened in the same place around this time last year," said the 45-year-old.

    "It's not very nice, especially considering i have a 17-year-old daughter as well - it's frightening that it happened like that.

    "It's really dark along there - there needs to be more lights."

    The first suspect is described as of Asian or Indian appearance, around 30 years old, 5ft 9ins to 5ft 10ins tall with stubble on his face and was wearing a Superdry jacket which has a green logo. He is the one suspected of the rape.

    The second man with him was slightly taller than the first and wore a black coat and a hooded top with the hood up.

    Anyone with any information is asked to contact detectives at Chelmsford on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

    Woman dragged into bushes and raped by near Tesco in Maldon


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    A man in his 20s has died after a collision in Rayleigh in the early hours of this morning (January 25).

    He was killed when a silver BMW coupe car travelling along Hockley Road towards Hockley from Rayleigh was in collision with a telegraph pole at around 3.15am.

    Two girls, aged 17 and 18 from the Hockley area, were taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries.

    Police said a 31-year-old man from Rochford has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and is currently in custody.

    Anyone who saw the vehicle before the collision or the incident itself should contact officers at the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 101 or email collisionappeal@essex.pnn.police.uk

    Man dies and teenage girls injured after BMW slams into telegraph pole in Rayleigh


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    A GIRLS' school is celebrating after getting the go-ahead to start work on a new £3 million two-storey sports hall.

    Chelmsford County High School for Girls is now awaiting Government funding after its design was rubber-stamped by Chelmsford City Council.

    Head teacher Nicola Chapman said: "A new sports hall would be superb for the school and the community and we want it to be national standard for netball facilities, which we understand is needed in the area."

    The 1,296sq m complex, which would house four badminton courts, a netball court, changing rooms, a dance studio and a classroom, will replace the school's outdated gym.

    Mrs Chapman continued: "It's very exciting. This school has suffered because the only indoor sport facility it has is a gym built in the early 1900s."

    The plans, which have been discussed with architects, Sport England and project managers over the past 18 months, have now been submitted to the Government's education funding agency.

    The school is expected to hear if it is granted the funding by April.

    Work on the 10-metre tall building will start this summer, with a scheduled completion timed for summer 2016, if approved.

    It would be built at the back of the school, where the current outdoor netball courts sit beside the artificial football and hockey pitches.

    Mrs Chapman added: "It's one of the few schools in the country that has never been funded for a sports hall.

    "It will be a facility for the community to be used outside of school hours, at weekends and in the evenings, whenever and by anyone who wants to have a sports hall."

    School business manager Susan Hoefling said: "It's extremely challenging for our PE staff to teach in the current facilities, so the new facilities with a sports hall is just amazing and significantly better.

    "We won't have to travel to alternative venues for events, which is extremely inefficient for staff and girls."

    Chelmsford County High School in line for £3m sports hall


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    When is the FA fifth round draw? The likes of Chelsea and Manchester won't be making time in their diaries for the event this time round.

    It has already been dubbed one of the greatest days in the competition's history after Chelsea were overcome at Stamford Bridge by League One Bradford, and Championship high fliers Middlesbrough made smart work of Manchester City.

    Meanwhile, Manchester United were held by League Two side Cambridge United, and Champions League contenders Southampton were knocked out by Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace (although Alan Pardew's side are in fine form).

    Liverpool also failed to get past Bolton at Anfield.

    The shocks mean the race is wide open for the remaining sides entering the fifth round draw.

    Draw numbers:

    1. Crystal Palace
    2. Cambridge United or Manchester United
    3. Blackburn Rovers
    4. Bradford City
    5. Derby County
    6. Preston North End or Sheffield United
    7. West Bromwich Albion
    8. Aston Villa or Bournemouth
    9. Reading
    10. Liverpool or Bolton Wanderers
    11. Leicester City
    12. Brighton & Hove Albion or Arsenal
    13. Rochdale or Stoke City
    14. Sunderland or Fulham
    15. West Ham United
    16. Middlesbrough
    The BBC have decided against scheduling a stand alone show, and instead the draw will take place during the One Show, with Gary Lineker and Alex Jones drawing the balls.

    The One Show is on BBC One on Monday, January 26 from 7pm.

    FA Cup 5th Round Draw: Gary Lineker and Alex Jones to pick teams on The One Show


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    The 2015 Debretts list of the most influential people in Britain has been released with Essex-born Russell Brand and Grayson Perry makiing the cut.

    For almost 250 years Debrett's has been recognising people of influence and achievement in British society, beginning in 1769. 

    The list is compiled as a positive endorsement and recognition of Britain's 500 most influential people and is carefully compiled by independent panels of specialists in each field who provided nominations for selection to Debrett's.

    There are 25 sections in total. Chelmsford-born artist Grayson Perry CBE falls under the artists section and Brand, who was born in Grays, comes under the books section, although he is described as an author, activist and comedian. 

    Brand caused all sorts of controversy last year but it will be of little surprise that he was included in the list. Here's what the Debretts panel had to say about him:

    "Those who deplore the histrionic celebrity's woolly-minded populism and woeful grasp of economics are deceiving themselves if they think he lacks influence. Russell Brand's anti-establishment book Revolution was one of the big bestsellers of 2014, and few people have done more to foster the current climate of hostility to established political elites. Kicked out of drama school for his destructive behaviour and saddled with a drug addiction soon after, the loud-mouthed Brand has nevertheless landed a successful career as a comedian turned film and TV personality turned author. Whether he is considered a revolutionary or just an irritation, Brand's influence over the masses is a force that cannot be denied."

    It has been another great year for Grayson Perry, who had a six-month exhibition at the Turner Contemporary gallery. 

    "The eccentric Grayson Perry is as well-known for his love of female clothing as his brightly-coloured ceramic works. An instantly recognisable face of British art, this 2003 Turner Prize winner has been the subject of various documentaries and was awarded a CBE in 2013 for his services to contemporary art. Born in Essex, Perry struggled through a childhood overshadowed by divorce and a violent stepfather. He discovered early on that he liked to dress in women's clothes, a facet of his character that has become familiar from his alter-ego, Claire. After graduating from a degree in Fine Art at Portsmouth Polytechnic, he lived in squats, joined the Neo Naturists to revive the true soul of the sixties and took up pottery lessons. Today his ceramics are famed for their strong autobiographical elements and for their direct interrogation of ideas about gender and society."

    Russell Brand and Grayson Perry named in list of 500 most influential people in Britain


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    Work on improving the A138 Chelmer Viaduct will finally get under way today (January 26).

    The £28million scheme, estimated to last for 18 months, will involve the demolition of the existing viaduct and the construction of a new one

    The programme will involve building three lanes of carriageway, a shared footway and cycleway, and a new footpath.

    Highways Agency bosses say the existing bridge is deteriorating. If no action was taken it was feared the A138 could become subject to weight restrictions and eventual closures.

    It is hoped these improvements will increase the capacity along the Chelmer Viaduct, reduce congestion, increase safety and improve journey times.

    The main access site is to be constructed off Chelmer Village Way.

    The work will take place over 10 days from 8am until 6pm and lane one, westbound, will be closed from Beeleigh Link roundabout to Chelmer Way roundabout.

    Highways Agency contract performance team leader Rob Barron said: "The A138 Chelmer Road is a vital transport link and heavily used by local residents and businesses within Chelmsford.

    "The majority of the advanced works will be carried out offline with minimal disruption to local residents and businesses. It will allow the contractors to prepare the site for when the main works begin."

    It is anticipated the main works will start in February, subject to weather conditions. More details will be announced closer to the time.

    Motorists braced for disruption as work gets under way on A138 Chelmer Road


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    Energy company SSE will cut its domestic gas prices by 4.1 per cent from April 30, a move that will save the average household £28 a year. 

    The move means that SSE is now the fifth of the 'big six' energy firms to have reduced gas prices, following cuts from E.On, British Gas, Scottish Power and Npower.

    EDF is the only one of the big six yet to announce price cuts.

    The moves follow a fall in wholesale gas prices of about 20% since the end of November.

    SSE also promised to extend its guarantee not to increase its gas and electricity prices until July 2016.

    Energy giant SSE to cut gas prices by 4.1 per cent


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