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  1. A man who murdered a Luton shopkeeper, and a man who attempted to murder his wife years later in the same shop, were both visitors to a homeless day centre
  2. An inquest into the death of man at Luton Police Station last year continues this morning at Ampthill Coroner's Court
  3. A man is still being held by Milton Keynes police on suspicion of murdering a woman who's gone missing
  4. Plans have been announced for a landmark high-rise building in Central Milton Keynes
  5. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume on Thursday at 08:00

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's all from us today for Local Live in Beds, Herts and Bucks - thanks for joining us.

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 to bring you the latest news, including the election results, across the three counties.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Homes damaged by fire and goats rescued

Three homes were damaged, and goats and chickens rescued in Luton last night after a fire in a garden spread.

Pembroke Avenue, Luton

Firefighters were called to Pembroke Avenue just after 17:00 where they found the fire quickly spreading to terraced houses.

Two goats were saved and chickens released by officers. Two outhouses were destroyed and three properties seriously damaged.

Luton pensioner finds pet cat decapitated

Bedfordshire on Sunday

A Luton pensioner found her beloved pet cat decapitated in her garden - sparking claims from an animal rights charity that the Croydon cat killer has started operating in Bedfordshire.

Further investment into Royston based Hotel Chocolat on the way

The Royston businessman and founder of Hotel Chocolat is to invest further in the company after the firm was valued at £167m.

Angus Thirlwell

In an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange, the valuation has netted company founder, Angus Thirlwell, more than £20m.

Mr Thirwell said he plans to invest further in its British chocolate manufacturing operations, new stores and digital offering.

Natalie Hemming investigation: Police have car in their possession

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

Police investigating the disappearance of a mother-of-three from Milton Keynes, want people who saw a specific car to come forward.

The car police would like to know the whereabouts of
Thames Valley Police

Officers have the Black Ford S-Max Sport in their possession, but would like to know where it "was between 21:45 on Sunday and the early hours of the Bank Holiday Monday." 

Det Supt Chris Ward said: "We believe that vehicle travelled along the A413 from Milton Keynes into Aylesbury, has travelled on the Aylesbury side of the A41 and it's also used the A418."

A 42-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering Natalie Hemming, 31, who hasn't been seen since Sunday.   

Afternoon headlines: Car appeal in missing case... CCTV examined in inquest

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

The latest headlines:

  • Police investigating the disappearance of a mother-of-three from Milton Keynes have found a car they were looking for in connection with the case
  • An expert who studied CCTV footage of a Luton man who died in police custody says it looked like Istiak Yusuf was having a seizure 
  • A group of seven masked men have forced their way into a flat in Borehamwood and tied up the woman and two men inside

Weather: Fine and dry with lots of sunshine

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Tonight: Staying fine and dry with long spells of sunshine and light easterly winds. Lows of 6C (43F). Pollen levels will stay high.

Weather graphic shows sunshine tomorrow

Tomorrow: Another fine and dry day with high temperatures. High level cloud in the afternoon will turn the sunshine hazy later, but it will be a very pleasant afternoon. Highs of 20C (68F).

Istiak Yusuf 'may have survived' with quicker treatment

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

A man who died in police custody in Luton after taking a concoction of drugs "may have survived" if medical help had been summoned earlier, a consultant has told the inquest.

Ampthill Coroners Court

Dr Nigel Langford, a consultant in emergency medicine, talked about seizures brought on by cocaine use, and examining CCTV of Istiak Yusuf in his cell said he was in seizure, which could be seen by movement in his arm.

Dr Langford said if patients who've ingested cocaine "receive immediate medical treatment" prospects can be good. In this case, Mr Yusuf was taken to hospital while in cardiac arrest.

Businessman threatened with arrest by bogus officer

A Hertfordshire businessman who was the victim of a blackmail attempt was told he and his wife would be sent to prison and their children put into care.

St Albans Crown Court

St Albans Crown Court heard the man was contacted by a bogus policeman to say he may be arrested for money laundering from heroin dealing. The man feared the threats came from a genuine officer so contacted someone he knew to involve the police internal investigations department.

Chris Middleton, 27, of Stevenage has been jailed for two years for his part in the scam.

Blackmail scam man 'wanted to make easy money'

A man jailed for his part in blackmailing a Hertfordshire businessman after he ran up gambling debts of £30,000 had wanted to make "easy money".

The judge at St Albans Crown Court jailed Chris Middleton, 27, of Stevenage, for two years but acknowledged he was a "junior partner" and the person who instigated the scam had not been brought to justice

"His father is a retired police officer and his mother a retired teacher. He is very ashamed at what he has done," Claire Dowse, defending, said.

Travel: A507 closed in Clophill

BBC Travel

The A507 is closed in Clophill between the A6 and Warren Lane due to a vehicle fire. 

Police are directing traffic.

Custody death man had 'highest ever seen' cocaine in body

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

The amount of cocaine in the body of Luton man Istiak Tusuf was the "one of the highest ever seen," according to a forensic specialist giving evidence at the third day of an inquest into his death in police custody.

Istiak Yusuf
Family photo

The jury at Ampthill Coroners Court heard Kerry Taylor, a senior forensic toxicologist, describe how any concentration of cocaine found in a blood sample above four would be classed as high. She said Mr Yusuf's blood had a level of 11.3.

Ms Taylor said the level of ecstacy was not considered to be high. Neither was the level of alcohol in the blood, but the reaction of alcohol mixed with cocaine would have created the metabolite cocaethylene that killed him.

Bedfordshire elephant has tooth removed

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Lucha, a 33-year-old Asian elephant, had an infected tooth which was causing her discomfort, so keepers called in a specialist zoo dentist.

Whipsnade Zoo said Lucha had been off her food. They had a closer look and found the problem. Her whole tooth was removed and she's now back on her feet...

Mother swan found dead on her nest in Milton Keynes

One MK

A mother swan has been found dead on her nest in Milton Keynes following an animal attack.

Man jailed for blackmailing Hertfordshire businessman

The son of a retired police officer has been jailed for two years for his part in the blackmail of a Hertfordshire businessman.

St Albans Crown Court

Chris Middleton, 27, of Webb Rise, Stevenage, was looking for money to pay off gambling debts when he got involved in the scam. St Albans Crown Court heard he was offered £5,000.

The victim was contacted by a bogus policeman who threatened arrest for money laundering from drug dealing. Middleton was caught when he delivered a package involved in the scam at a post office.

Road reopens after fire in Standon

Dowsetts Lane in Standon, Hertfordshire has reopened after firefighters dealt with a refuse fire in a builders yard.

View more on twitter

Nursery raise money for children's A&E in Watford

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

I just had to share this photograph of the nursery staff who took part in an extreme obstacle course to raise money for Watford Hospital.

This was their team photograph before the race. I wonder if they realised at this point what they'd let themselves in for?

Nursery staff pre-race
Boys & Girls Nursery

Hertfordshire nursery's Tough Mudder challenge for Watford Hospital

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

A nursery based in Hertfordshire has raised almost £4,000 for the Children's Emergency Department at Watford Hospital.

Nursery staff taking part in Tough Mudder
Boys & Girls Nursery

The Boys & Girls Nursery team took part in Tough Mudder, a "hardcore obstacle race", to raise money for an infusion pump for the department, which is used for children who cannot take on fluids and risk dehydration.

About 40 members of staff took part and completed the course in five hours and 40 minutes.

I am so proud of the team who participated. We had a great day."

Natasha KirbyDirector of Boys & Girls Nursery

Good news from forecaster Dan Holley for the weekend

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

It's one of those days where we're going to talk about the weather a fair bit on here...

One, because it's sunny.

Two, because we're British!

View more on twitter

Natalie Hemming: Police search for car after murder arrest

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Police searching for a missing mother-of-three have released a picture of a car they say "may be connected" with her disappearance.

Natalie Hemming, left, Black Ford S-Max Titan, right
Thames Valley Police

Natalie Hemming, 31, of Alderney Avenue, Newton Leys, was reported missing on Tuesday and police arrested a 42-year-old man from Milton Keynes on suspicion of murder yesterday.

The Black Ford S-Max Titan X Sport is believed to have travelled on the A413, A418 and A41 around Aylesbury between 21:45 on Sunday and 00:45 on Bank Holiday Monday.

Weather Watchers: Sunshine in Bedford

BBC Weather Watchers

We're not sure about you, but we wish we were outside today. This scene in Bedford looks very inviting.

We're getting more and more photographs of sunny, blue skies dropping in from our Weather Watchers...

Bedford sunshine

Garden sheds broken into in Hertfordshire village

Four garden sheds have been targeted by thieves in the Hertfordshire village of Northaw.


Police say offenders entered the back gardens of four properties in The Ridgway between 17:00 on 28 April and 10:00 on 29 April.

Gardening equipment and tools were stolen, so officers are asking anyone who may have seen such items being loaded into a vehicle to come forward.

Hazlemere resident turns 100

Bucks Free Press

A “feisty” Hazlemere resident marked her 100th birthday with a family celebration last week.

Lunchtime headlines: Missing woman murder arrest... Custody death inquest continues

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

The headlines this lunchtime:

  • A 42-year-old man from Milton Keynes remains in custody after being arrested on suspicion of murder following the disappearance of a woman
  • Police are investigating the discovery of a body in the lake at Fairlands Valley Park in Stevenage
  • The inquest into the death of a man at Luton Police Station last summer has been told he had high levels of cocaine and ecstasy in his body

Fire at builders yard in Hertfordshire

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Firefighters are at the scene of a fire in a builders yard in Standon, Hertfordshire.

They were called at 12:25, where they found "refuse well alight". Four pumps are in attendance.

View more on twitter
Istiak Yusuf

A man who died in a cell at Luton Police Station suffered a fit or seizure after taking a concoction of cocaine and ecstasy, an inquest has heard.

Read more

Homeless centre defends link to crimes

Tony Fisher

BBC Three Counties Radio

The chief executive of a homeless day centre in Luton has defended its role after it was linked to a murder and attempted murder in the town.

NOAH day centre in Luton

Yesterday, Tomasz Jaworski, 30, pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Nirupa Patel, who was stabbed at Moon's Newsagents in Park Street on Christmas Eve. Her husband was murdered at the shop in 2009. BBC Three Counties Radio has learnt that both the attackers were visitors to NOAH Enterprise. 

"I think you can never do enough, but within the constraints of the resources available, we have not only done enough, we've gone the extra mile and many extra miles," said NOAH Enterprise's chief executive Jim O'Connor.

Guide to the May 2016 elections

People in the East of England are going to the polls today, in the UK's biggest set of elections outside of a general election for some years.

Take a look at this BBC guide to find out what you can vote for and how. 

Polling station
Cambridge City Council

Hertfordshire boy to travel to Invictus Games

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Bushey's Rio Woolf, seven, is travelling to the Invictus Games in Florida this week to meet his heroes.

Rio was born without a shinbone, knee or ankle, and had his lower right leg amputated at just 14 months old. About three years ago he had a special carbon fibre blade fitted.

This morning, he appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain to tell them all about it.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Body found in Stevenage lake

Police are investigating the discovery of a body in the lake at Fairlands Valley Park in Stevenage. 

The man was found near the boat house at 09:30. They're not treating his death as suspicious.

Weather: Dry, warm and sunny

BBC Weather

This afternoon will be dry, warm and sunny with light winds. There will be some very high cloud overhead which will make the sunshine look a bit hazy at times.

Maximum temperature: 19C (66F).

Weather graphic shows highs of 18C

Gang tied up three people in Borehamwood robbery

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

A group of seven men forced their way into a Borehamwood flat and tied the occupants up before stealing phones and jewellery.

Shenley Road, Borehamwood

The robbers entered the flat in Shenley Road on 28 April between 00:00 and 01:45 wearing dark clothing with hoods and balaclavas.

The victims, two men and one woman, were assaulted during the incident, sustaining bruising, and one man suffered a cut to his head.

Stevenage Under-11 goes to Arsenal

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Stevenage have agreed a fee with Arsenal for Under-11 goalkeeper Jamie Telfer.

Stevenage's Lamex stadium

Stevenage say there will be considerable further payments if the youngster ever plays for the Arsenal first team.

Telfer has been with the Stevenage Academy for the past 18 months, attracting the attention of a number of clubs.

Custody drugs death man Istiak Yusuf 'fit and well'

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

Today marks the third day of an inquest into the death of Luton man Istiak Yusuf in police custody last June.

Istiak Yusuf
Family picture

Ampthill Coroner's Court has this morning heard from Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl, a forensic pathologist who carried out the post mortem. He said Mr Yusuf was a "fit and well, well-nourished young man with no signs of disease".

He said samples taken from Mr Yusuf "showed a high level of cocaine" as well as MDMA and alcohol. He added levels of such drugs  "would explain this gentleman's sudden death", and it was likely he suffered a seizure.

Mr Fegan-Earl said he could not tell when or how Mr Yusuf took the drugs.

MK Dons training facility at Cosgrove is 'good news,' says chairman Pete Winkelman

James Burridge

BBC Look East

I've been speaking to the chairman of MK Dons Pete Winkelman, following the clubs relegation to League One.

He told me a proposed training facility is "good news" for the area of south Northamptonshire at Cosgrove where it would be built...

Milton Keynes high-rise plan will remove 'hundreds of parking spaces'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Plans have been announced for a landmark high-rise building in Central Milton Keynes which would be double the height of the tallest existing building. It would feature a restaurant, apartments and offices.

John Silver, director at Doone Silver Architects, said it would be a "distinctive addition to the skyline" which will "signal a new era of development for the city", but Theo Chalmers from Urban Eden, which promotes the original Milton Keynes master plan, said the proposals would mean the removal of "hundreds of parking spaces".

Mr Chalmers said there are already empty office buildings on the north side of Midsummer Boulevard that aren't used due to a lack of spaces.

Weather Watchers: Sunny day with blue skies

BBC Weather Watchers

It's looking like a sunny day out there with some wonderful blue skies, according to our Weather Watchers inbox.

This is what Leavesden Country Park in Abbots Langley is looking like this morning.

Leavesden Country Park in Abbots Langley

Travel: A413 in Bucks and M1 in Beds slow

BBC Travel

One lane is blocked on the A413 in both directions at New Road in Aylesbury. Traffic is slow and affecting the High Street.

On the M1 northbound, there is one lane closed due to an obstruction in the road between J11-J12. Traffic is very slow.

Stay up-to-date here.

James McCartney refuses to talk about his dad in BBC interview

The Sun

Sir Paul McCartney's son refused to talk about his legendary dad live on the radio while promoting his latest album, telling the BBC Three Counties presenter: "I'm not asking you about YOUR father."

Watch: Milton Keynes high rise plans announced

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

There's a rumbling today about the high rise plans announced for Milton Keynes.

Here's a little visualisation of what they might look like...