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

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    A MOTHER hopes to finally find out the truth behind her son's death, more than two years ago, in two separate hearings this week.

    Today (January 26) will see a jury inquest into the death of 20-year-old Heybridge man Matthew Leahy, who died at the Linden Centre, in Chelmsford.

    The day will also see mental health nurses Nojeeb Naushad and Amy Constable go before the Nursing and Midwifery Council on a charge of falsifying Mr Leahy's care plan at the centre.

    Matthew's mum, Melanie, from Maldon, said: "All I want is the truth about my son's death.

    "I feel that if they would have been in direct care of my son, they should be there to answer questions.

    "When a parent hands over the care of their child to the state they expect the role to be fulfilled. A lot of mysteries surround the death of my son and I want the questions answered.

    "It has been a long battle."

    Matthew was suffering from a psychotic episode and had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act for his own safety in November 2012. eight days later he was found hanging.

    Naushad and Constable are accused of agreeing a comprehensive care plan after Matthew had died.

    Nurses face grilling over Linden Centre death of Matthew Leahy

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    Marmite - you either love it or you hate it. That phrase will definitely ring true this Easter with the launch of a Marmite chocolate egg. 

    The egg is being launched alongside an equally unlikely and not particularly yummy-sounding Pot Noodle version. 

    Food giant Unilever has teamed up with confectionary firm Kinnerton to deliver the chocolate egg which will carry hints of Marmite and will be promoted under the familiar slogan 'love it or hate it'.

    The firm's UK head of licensing Julie McCleave told the Mail Online: "Building on the success of our first ever Easter egg launch last year with iconic ice cream brands Magnum, Cornetto and Mini Milk, we wanted to bring something new to the Easter egg market once again for 2015.

    "By broadening the appeal of the Easter egg fixture, we anticipate that the new additions will drive sales for retailers by offering an exciting new product from brands that consumers know and love."

    Marmite, which was first produced in 1902, is still going strong as the nation's second best-selling spread, just behind Rowse honey, which took the top spot in 2013. 

    Unilever is hoping to tap into the growing Easter egg market that is now worth £365 million in the UK every year. 

    Marmite and Pot Noodle set to launch Easter eggs

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    A Witham food outlet which received a zero star Food Standards Agency rating after it was severely affected by floods says inspectors should have held off.

    Hold The Anchovies, on Newland Street, says vital paper work that recorded food hygiene information was swept away after heavy rainfall in September last year.

    The absence of such documents automatically took the restaurant from a "three star" rating down to zero.

    The co-owner of Hold The Anchovies, Dax Whitnell, said: "We were the victims of horrendous flooding, that meant we lost all our paperwork and fridges on our busiest day of the year."

    The floods coincided with the Witham International Puppet Festival, and a routine inspection from the agency around two weeks later gave the restaurant very little time to react.

    Mr Whitnell believes the FSA should have shown more understanding with the restaurant being subject to a "freak of nature".

    "We understand that the ratings have to be done," he said.

    "But given with what we had to deal with, it would have been nice to have not been given a rating pending the changes we had to make."

    The FSA has recently re-visited the restaurant and are said to be very happy with their recovery, a rating is pending.

    Other outlets, initially handed zero star ratings included Suncrust Bakery, Feed Me Clacton, Dickens Restaurant, Yings and Muppets. They have since been re-inspected.

    However, the Food Standards Agency website does not update until the end of each month.

    Flood-hit Hold the Anchovies wanted 'more understanding' food inspectors

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    CHELMSFORD City have secured the extension of Jaanai Gordon from West Ham as keeper Bradley Watkins returns to Aston Villa.

    Gordon has been a fantastic signing for the Clarets, having scored four goals in six games.

    Watkins returns to the premier league side with the Clarets bringing in Sutton United goalkeeper Tom Lovelock.

    The 21-year-old has made almost 100 appearances for the U's in a three year spell.

    Niklas Freund has been sent out on loan to Ryman Premier side Witham Town, as Nicky Nicolau has been released.

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  • 01/26/15--01:54: Kevin Bryan's record reviews

  • The Primitives,"Galore" (Cherry Red CDBRED 651)-This attractive re-issue shines a welcome and long overdue spotlight on the final RCA  album from  Coventry indie band The Primitives. "Galore" was co-produced by Lightning Seeds stalwart Ian Broudie and first saw the light of day in 1991, showcasing the insidiously memorable blend of guitar based rock  and tuneful Blondie influenced pop which had brought the band worldwide chart success a few years earlier with "Crash." The 2 CD set also features all The Primitives' B-sides  and a selection of rarities from the early nineties, including the highly sought after "Re-Ravishing Mix" of "You Are The Way."
    "The Guitar Mastery of Tommy Emmanuel" (Favoured Nations)- Award winning  Australian guitar virtuoso Tommy  Emmanuel is the subject of this absorbing new anthology from Favoured Nations.  Tommy's complex finger picking style draws on elements of blues, jazz, country and bluegrass  as he immerses himself in the subtle delights of such diverse musical creations as  "Lady Madonna,"  Carole King's "Tapestry" and his 1997 duet with the late great  Chet Atkins, "Smokey Mountain Lullaby."
    "Latest & Greatest Country Love" (Union Square Music)- This easy on the ear three record set spans the decades as it serves up a nicely varied menu of tuneful country classics for your listening pleasure. The sixty tracks on offer here run the gamut from The Everly Brothers' fifties hits "Bye Bye Love" and "All That I Have To Do Is Dream"  to the much more contemporary sounds  of  Lonestar, Alison Krauss and Sugarland,  and Union Square's  astute compilers have also found space for  well worn and presumably still highly commercial  singalongs such as Lynn Anderson's "Rose Garden" and Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man."
    Charles Mingus, "Live in Europe 1975" (Salvo Sound & Vision)- Inventive and frequently intimidating bass player Charles Mingus is captured in typically commanding form  in this impressive audio-visual package, which couples a selection of his ground-breaking studio recordings with a live DVD  chronicling this formidable character's  first appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival.  Much loved old favourites such as  his elegy for Lester Young ,"Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," are given a welcome airing in the process, with saxist Gerry Mulligan and trumpeter Benny Bailey guesting on a fine version of the  Duke Ellington band's   theme tune, "Take the "A" Train."

    Kevin Bryan's record reviews

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    A pervert who admitted downloading and possessing nearly 2,000 indecent images and films of children, was suffering from depression at the time, a court heard.

    Andrew Winch, 56, of Beardsley Drive, Chelmsford, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday (January 22) to four months in prison after an 18 month spell of downloading without his family's knowledge.

    Winch, who the court heard worked in the care industry, was rumbled when an internet provider told Essex Police someone at his address was downloading indecent images.

    Officers then raided Winch's home and arrested him in front of his wife on June 26, 2014.

    In interview he swiftly confessed to downloading indecent images and pointed police to images he had on hard drive discs.

    He pleaded guilty at a preliminary court hearing to nine charges of making indecent images and films of children, collating to a total 308 at level A – the most extreme – 219 at level B and 1,283 at level C. He also admitted to one count of possessing indecent images of children.

    "He has accepted that he watched these images for sexual pleasure," said prosecutor Mark Lakin.

    "He accepts and said that he was viewing adult porn, but that this deadened him and he began to look and view images of children as young as eight years old.

    "He thought he had a problem but he said that he was essentially too embarrassed to know where to turn."

    Defence barrister Victoria Burgess said Winch had now approached child protection charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation for help and said that the depression he had suffered for the last two years since a marital breakdown "underpins" his offending.

    She said: "There is also an element of unsophistication.

    "The only effort to cover his tracks was to delete his internet history and use his own account rather than his family's account which was to avoid only his wife finding out."

    Judge Patrick O'Brien also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the laptop and hard drives, an £80 surcharge and for Winch to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for seven years.

    Jail for ex-care worker for hefty haul of almost 2k indecent images of children

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    BRAINTREE Town have been drawn away to Conference North side North Ferriby United for the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy if they are able to overcome Ebbsfleet United tomorrow evening.

    Town have seen off AFC Sudbury and last year's FA Trophy finalists Gosport Borough to get this far and will face Ebbsfleet tomorrow night in the third round knowing who they'll be up against if they progress.

    Braintree last played North Ferriby in the FA trophy more than a decade ago in a pulsating fixture that saw 12 goals over two legs with Braintree progressing on penalties.

    The fourth round ties are set to be played on 7th February, with the winners of each tie pocketing £8,000.

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    A BUILDER from Chelmsford will embark on the journey of a lifetime when he attempts to raise £10,000 for Prostate Cancer UK in a battered Toyota sports car.

    Former St Peter's High School student Adam Clark will take on a 3,000-mile rally across Europe in a car that cost him just £350 from internet trading site Gumtree.

    The self-employed amateur ice-hockey player will leave for the continent on July 11, sharing driving duties with Robert Lamden, a 47-year-old friend from Berkshire, who Adam met on holiday in Turkey last year.

    Adam, 32, decided to challenge himself last year when playing in the UK Forums All-Star tournament – an ice hockey contest in Sheffield raising money for eight nationwide charities.

    He said: "I was invited to play in the tournament last year and I really enjoyed it. I raised over £3,500 for my team, Prostate Cancer UK, but I wanted to do more.

    "A good friend of mine on the team then told me his father-in-law had lost his battle with the disease and I thought I would come back and do something to raise even more money.

    "I've also had a cancer scare of my own and when I was 28 I had a double blood clot in my throat. But I'm one of the lucky ones, so I feel it's time to repay the faith."

    The daring duo have entered into the Rusty Rex Banger Rally, a four-day road-trip traversing the Alps, from Reims to Nice via Switzerland, Italy and Monaco.

    The pair will see sights from The Italian Job as they travel through the St Bernard passes, as well driving the highest road in Europe, the Gorges du Verdon, en route to Monaco.

    Adam and father-of-four Robert will then extend their European tour by a couple of days to explore more of Italy and France.

    But when boarding a ferry at Calais on July 23, for the final leg home, they will be heading for Sheffield, not Chelmsford.

    Chelmsford resident Adam continued: "We will conclude our trip in Sheffield as I am returning to play for Prostate Cancer UK again this year in the ice hockey tournament.

    "It feels like I will be coming full circle and I can't wait to get started with the fundraising. We've been helped out by so many people on our journey already, that it restores your faith in humanity.

    "The Toyota was originally going to cost £550, but when we told the owner what we were doing, he slashed the price by £200 – it got us off to such a great start.

    "Dengie Hundred Motor Co in Southminster then restored the car to working order and sponsored all the repairs. Jersey 53 will provide us with clothing and A Sure Sign are providing the graphics for the car."

    To find out more about the banger rally adventure, visit or to sponsor Adam and Robert, visit

    10,000 reasons why Chelmsford builder Adam will be trekking over the Alps

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    Firefighters have cut a trapped driver free from their car after a two-vehicle crash in Braintree.

    The accident happened at around 3.44pm this afternoon in Glebe Avenue.

    Two fire crews from Braintree rushed to the scene and the casualty was cut from the wreckage 4.49pm.

    It is not known how serious the injuries were.

    Driver cut from car after two vehicle crash in Braintree

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    Essex motorists made the second highest amount of claims in the country for damage to their vehicles from potholes.

    Figures from the RAC reveal that 2,548 claims were made against Essex County Council in 2013/14.

    But most were rejected, with only 3.8 per cent of Essex motorists successfully receiving payouts.

    The 98 successful compensation claims made in Essex amounted to slightly more than £156,000 in total.

    Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation who made Freedom of Information requests to 153 local authorities across the country, said: "These figures are likely to be the tip of the iceberg.

    "Many drivers will be put off by the time involved in claiming against a council, and many councils do their best to deter claimants coming forward.

    "But the fundamental problem lies not at the doors of our town halls but with central government.

    In 2012/13 there were 2,578 claims made, with 195 successful meaning a total pay-out for the financial year of £120,896.

    The highest amount of claims made in the UK was in Surrey, with 3,912 made in the same period.

    Mr Glaister added: "Despite occasional one-off grants related to periods of harsh weather, they are simply not giving councils enough money to keep their road networks up to scratch.

    "In England, local authorities themselves estimate the maintenance backlog to be about £12 billion yet over the past five years spending on roads in real terms has dropped 22 per cent across England and Wales.

    "Worn out road surfaces do not simply cause damage to vehicles they are also potentially lethal, particularly for two-wheeled road users."

    'Making headway'

    Earlier this month Essex County Council says it repaired nearly 7,000 potholes and defects in the last three months.

    In the last three months, 6,813 defects have been repaired across Essex.

    Cllr Eddie Johnson, Essex County Council's cabinet member for maintenance and small schemes, said: "It is good to be making headway into repairing the county's roads.

    "At this time of year wintry weather conditions take their toll, but we are constantly monitoring conditions, as well as taking into account reports from the public via our online reporting tool."

    The council said the main roads in Essex have improved for the third year in a row.

    Second highest number of pothole claims made in Essex - but how many receive payouts?

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    TWO bouncers have denied beating up a pair of young clubbers after they had thrown them out of a Chelmsford nightclub.

    Paul Dixon, 45, of Harwich Road, Colchester, and Edward West, 34, of Perryfields, Braintree, are accused of assaulting two people they ejected from Chicago's in Moulsham Street at around 11.30pm, on March 20 last year.

    A Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday (January 26), both doormen pleaded not guilty to one count of causing grievous bodily harm by unlawfully wounding Tyrell Braithwaite, 20, and causing actual bodily harm by assaulting Ben Venables, who was celebrating his 18th birthday that night.

    Mr Venables was left unconscious and Mr Braithwaite with a dislocated ankle and broken leg.

    Bespectacled West, wearing a black coat and Dixon wearing a black leather jacket, spoke only to confirm their names and to deny the charges during the 11-minute hearing.

    The duo last appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on December 22, when a delay in their legal aid paperwork meant the case had to be put back to this week.

    Despite this problem still not being resolved, both men were released on conditional to re-appear for trial on May 26.

    Judge Charles Gratwicke was still frustrated by the lack of progress the case had made.

    "This is a complete nonsense, the defendants are here and everyone wants to get the trial under way," he said.

    Chicago's bouncers to stand trial over alleged attack on clubbers in Chelmsford

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    The progressive four-year-old Pretend, who's won three of his six races and lines up on a hat-trick, can overcome an unfavourable draw in the feature race at Chelmsford City Racecourse on Wednesday afternoon (January 28), the Class 2 ROA Owners Jackpot Handicap over six furlongs at 3:10.

    He won easily at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day and, with a horse drawn two winning over this distance last Thursday night, his stall one-berth perhaps isn't the disadvantage it seemed after the outside drawn-horses won the sprints on the January 11th-card.

    This is a strong contest, though, and he'll have to deal with another horse seeking a third win in a row in likely pace-setter Trojan Rocket, who's also near the inside rail in stall two, and last Thursday night's winner Guishan, who held on well from Diamond Lady and has earned a step up in grade from the Class 4 race she won.

    Takahiro is interesting in the opening five-furlong maiden stakes at 1:40. He raced over a mile and half a furlong on his debut and then over seven furlongs on his second run, and failed to stay both times after racing up with the pace, so going down in distance to the minimum trip might be the answer.

    Luke Morris was the jockey to follow last Thursday night – he rode in each of the seven races and came away with four winners. He has a good chance on Forceful Appeal in the one mile-handicap at 2:10.

    Flighty Clarets, drawn in stall five,is a tentative choice in what looks a tricky handicap over six furlongs at 2:40. Seemingly better on grass, she unexpectedly produced her best form to date on an artificial surface at Wolverhampton on January 15th when a running-on second. Rather easier to work out, though, is the five-runner, one-mile six-furlong handicap at 3:40, in which easy last time out-winner Stonecutter rather tips himself.

    A horse even less experienced than Pretend lines up in the last race at 4:10, a one-mile two-furlong handicap, yet Trimoulet can be given a chance on what is this six-year-old's fourth run of his life. He's not yet had a chance to race over this sort of trip, but if breeding is anything to go by he'll have no problem lasting home – four half-brothers to this one have won over further than a mile, one even winning twice in two-mile hurdle races.


    1.40 Takahiro (next best)

    2.10 Forceful Appeal

    2.40 Flighty Clarets

    3.10 Pretend (nap)

    3.40 Stonecutter

    4:10 Trimoulet

    Progress is clear for Pretend to realise his potential

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    Students were greeted by a police dog at Braintree College - and demonstrations of how officers trace drugs and cash on criminals.

    As part of the annual Essex Police Careers Day around 70 teenagers saw presentations from the Force Support Unit (FSU), Police Search Advisors (POLSA), CID and the Dog Unit last Wednesday (January 21).

    Students were treated to a demonstration by PC Gary Lambert with police dog Shifty in tracing and finding some cash, showing first-hand the relationship between a handler and a police dog.

    Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Lorraine Keating, of the Braintree Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT), who founded and co-ordinates the careers day, has established close links with Braintree College.

    "As part of Braintree NPT, we regularly work with Braintree College. This is the fourth year that we have delivered this presentation day to students on the public services course who are considering a police career, which is always extremely well-received," said PCSO Keating.

    "It highlights the relationship we have with the college and the good work we do within the local community, as well as promoting the work of our specialist departments within Essex Police."

    The event is now in its fourth year at the college in Church Lane Braintree, which is part of Colchester Institute.

    Dave Tasker, of the Public Services Department at Braintree College, said: "We are very grateful to Essex Police for giving up their valuable time and showing potential new recruits the varied and often difficult work that policing the county entails.

    "This was a very successful careers event for Uniformed Public Service Learners at the college.

    "It was also important to show the human side of police work that you don't often get to see, which is really important for community cohesion and liaison.

    "PCSO Keating has done a wonderful job in co-ordinating the visit and we value the effort she has put in into making this a successful and valuable event."

    Presentations were held throughout the day, where officers from various different, sometimes more obscure, roles gave students a real-life perspective into the work that goes on behind the scenes of Essex Police.

    Braintree College students shown how police sniffer dogs find drugs and cash

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    Two people have been arrested in connection with the reported rape of a woman close to Tesco in Maldon.

    The pair, a 26-year-old man from Maldon and a 23-year-old man from London, were detained yesterday evening (January 26) on suspicion of rape.

    They are currently in police custody and will be questioned today (January 27).

    Essex Police said the victim, in her 20s, was set upon while walking away from the Fullbridge supermarket and raped in the underpass on Saturday (January 24).

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

    Two men arrested over alleged rape of woman in Maldon

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    An inquest has opened into the death of a 20-year-old man found hanged at the Linden Centre in Chelmsford.

    Jurors at Essex Coroner's Court heard yesterday (January 26) how three nurses have been disciplined following the death of Matthew Leahy - with one dismissed by the healthcare trust.

    It emerged that two nurses had colluded to create the care plan for the Heybridge man and had pre-dated it as November 8, while a third signed it off as their own when it was not.

    The court heard Matthew was suffering from a psychotic episode and had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act for his own safety.

    Eight days later, on November 15, he was found hanging in his room on the Galleywood ward.

    He had a history of psychosis brought on by cannabis use and had claimed to have been raped by police officers and nurses at the Linden Centre, jurors were told.

    'A long battle'

    The inquest heard yesterday that he had used a baseball bat to smash up his dad's caravan in Bradwell Marina, threatened to kill himself, and self-harmed before being subsequently sectioned on November 7.

    A number of witnesses including DCI Stuart Hooper, PC Anthony Crick from Essex police, forensic pathologist Dr Ben Swift, paramedic Gail Little, and Dr Hashad Gopisetty gave evidence at the hearing.

    Nurses Nojeeb Naushad and Amy Constable received written warnings and were referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, with a hearing also starting this week

    Matthew's mother, Melanie, from Maldon, said: "All I want is the truth about my son's death.

    "I feel that if they would have been in direct care of my son, they should be there to answer questions.

    "When a parent hands over the care of their child to the state they expect the role to be fulfilled. A lot of mysteries surround the death of my son and I want the questions answered.

    "It has been a long battle."

    The hearing, expected to last five days, continues. 

    Inquest into death of Matthew Leahy hears Linden Centre nurses disciplined after death

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    Chuba Akpom has many of the top European clubs chasing his signature and looks likely snub a contract extension at Arsenal.

    Liverpool, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund are just a few clubs after the 19-year-old and with chances at Arsenal limited to cups then he may look elsewhere.

    Akpom has most recently represented England at under-20 level scoring three in his last five matches.

    With a free transfer on the horizon Arsenal may be hoping the interest sparks a bidding war between the interested clubs to take in some funds.

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    Police have asked for the public's help to find a man missing from a care home in Southend.

    Patrick Murrin 64, who lives at a unit in Southbourne Grove, was last seen catching a Number 28 bus towards the town centre at about 10.30am today (January 27).

    Officers are growing increasing concerned about Mr Murrin's welfare as he has an illness that affects his perception of where he is and his ability to communicate.

    He is described as 6ft tall and of average build.

    He was wearing a dark brown/black leather jacket with a zip up front, a cream patterned jumper, light grey trousers and black shoes.

    Anyone who has seen him should contact officers at Southend on 101

    Concern grows for missing Southend man Patrick Murrin

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    BRAINTREE Town will have to travel down to Ebbsfleet in another weeks time after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw in their third round FA Trophy tie.

    An early goal from Adam Cunnginton inside four minutes had caught Braintree napping from a corner but a Kenny Davis penalty minutes from half time meant the two sides will play out another 90 minutes at the least.

    James Mulley was out with a groin strain so Alan Devonshire gave a starting birth to Dan Sparkes on the wing and Charlie Strutton was unavailable with flu in an otherwise unchanged side from their 2-1 loss to Forest Green Rovers.

    Braintree were facing an uphill battle from the off when Ebbsfleet took the lead inside four minutes when Stuart Lewis' corner was met at the front post by a determined Adam Cunnington to head it past the post.

    The goal failed to deter Braintree and just ten minutes later Simeon Akinola maneuvered himself a yard of space to shoot 18 yards out only for Kelvin Langmead to block his goal bound effort.

    On 20 minutes Matt Johnson pulled back a cross in the box to find Theo Lewis who let loose a fierce volley goal wards only to be met by a diving Nick Hamann.

    A lull in the game followed until seven minutes from time when the aerial threat of Cunnington caused problems again when his nod down found Johnson in the box but his touch took him away from goal.

    Braintree started to build up pressure again minutes before the half time whistle and almost found an equalizer when Dan Sparkes' cross caused trouble in the box and Langmead was fortunate his miss-kick didn't end up in the back of the net.

    That wasn't the end of the danger for the away side though as Sparkes whipped in the resulting corner and the referee spotted an infringement between Kenny Clark and Alan Massey resulting in him awarding a penalty to the home side.

    Captain Kenny Davis stepped up to take the resulting penalty and dispatched it confidently past Preston Edwards to bring his side back into the game just minutes before the half-time whistle.

    As the second half started Jamie Day was seen making his way to the stands as he was sent off for abusive language towards the fourth official.

    As the hour approached the game was still just as even on the pitch as it was on the score-line but Ebbsfleet had a chance to regain the lead from another Lewis corner.

    His delivery found Clark and Kedwell both in space but they both got in each other's way to result in the ball looping over the bar.

    Minutes later and the Ebbsfleet players were up in arms as they felt they had deserved a penalty of their own when a Braintree defender was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area but no penalty was given.

    The final quarter of an hour saw the game stretch with both sides looking for the winner to prevent the replay but they failed to break each other down and the game ended level.

    Braintree Town line-up: Hamann, Peters, Clerima, Massey, Habergham, Paine, Isaac, Davis, Sparkes (Walker 70), Akinola, Cox (Marks 61).

    Unused subs: Brundle, Maybanks, Pentney.

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    AN INDEPENDENT clothes store will shut after 22 years in business due to a lack of customers.

    Bucciali, in Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, has been suffering from low custom for seven years and struggled to compete with shopping centres, according to owner Jeremy Waskett.

    He said: "There are a few reasons we think we're seeing less people come through the door. One is the internet, which keeps people out of town, and if they're not in town they're not coming into the shop.

    "The other is that seven years ago, Bluewater and Westfield weren't there, and that's changed things. In 2014, we saw a heavy decline, and I attribute that to all of the infrastructure work that the council is doing. I've spoken to customers who say they're not coming into Chelmsford anymore."

    Other independent shops in the area are also suffering, added the 51-year-old, who has been running the clothing store since he was in his late 20s.

    "As there aren't many independent shops left, people will travel to other towns and places where they do have higher-quality offerings," he said.

    "I've spoken to a few other independent retailers and certainly a lot of people are not happy with trade at the moment."

    The closure of Bucciali marks a difficult time for shops in the city, according to Tami Frankel, the owner of Baddow Road designer dress agency and vintage boutique Now and Then.

    "The day that Bucciali closes will be a sad day," she said. "Not just for the owners, and the staff who are made redundant and customers, but also for the character of our High Street, which is bad news for everyone.

    "Mary Portas has predicted that only one in three of our High Streets will survive.

    "She says that the third that make it will do so because of individual character from local independent boutiques. A plethora of High Street shops is not enough, especially for Chelmsford.

    "We cannot compete with Lakeside, Stratford Westfield, Bluewater or London in that arena.

    "We need to offer something more if we want people to choose Chelmsford, which is why the closing of Bucciali brings Chelmsford one step closer to closure."

    Although it is too late for his shop, Mr Waskett thinks the arrival of John Lewis will help independents in the city.

    "If John Lewis was about to open now, I would do another year as I think it will attract people from faraway, and they are more our sort of customers," he said.

    "I won't stay in retail after this. I've done 30 years in the industry, and it's changed enormously in that time. It's a very difficult profession to be in."

    Soon to be shut store Bucciali says Bluewater and Westfield driving people away from Chelmsford

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    Patrick Murrin, who was missing from a care home in Southend since 10.30am yesterday, was found safe and well last night at Southend Airport.

    The 64-year-old, who lives at a unit in Southbourne Grove, was last seen catching a Number 28 bus towards the town centre yesterday morning before being reported as missing. 

    Essex Police thanked users of social media who assisted during the search for Mr Murrin.

    Missing man Patrick Murrin found safe and well

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