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Summary

  1. A Bedford taxi driver who planned to leave his wife for a new life in Syria has been jailed for eight years
  2. A man who killed a fellow clubber with a single punch has been sentenced to four years in jail
  3. Olympic champion Greg Rutherford is set to hold a long jump competition in his garden
  4. More news, sport, travel and weather updates from 08:00 on Monday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

That's it from all the team here at the local live page for Beds, Herts and Bucks. We'll be back on Monday from 08:00 with all your news, sport, travel and weather. 

We'll leave you with a timelapse video of how giant 100 tonne beams were lifted into place over the M1 in Bedfordshire.

It's been released by Highways England and was taken between March and April. The authority is currently building junction 11a, which will link the A5 to the M1.

View more on youtube

Hertfordshire's Shuttleworth set to make a splash

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

Hertfordshire swimmer Tim Shuttleworth is in tonight's 800 metres freestyle final at the European Championships in London.

Tim Shuttleworth
Getty Images

The former Hatfield swimmer, now based at Loughborough, won his heat yesterday and qualified 4th fastest overall.

Shuttleworth will be competing at this year’s Rio Olympics. The race starts at 18:00.

Whitlock to miss European Championships with viral illness

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

Hemel Hempstead's world champion Max Whitlock has been withdrawn from Great Britain's artistic gymnastics European Championships squad because of a virus.

After being ill over the past week, he has been replaced by Courtney Tulloch.

Max Whitlock
Getty Images

Whitlock, 23, became the first British man to win World Championship gold, on the pommel horse, in 2015.

View more on twitter

Brothel raided in Borehamwood

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A maisonette in Shenley Road, Borehamwood has been raided by police with four people arrested on suspicion of managing a brothel.

Officers forced their way into the property yesterday afternoon.

Police raiding brothel
Hertfordshire police

A 22 year old man, a 21 and a 19 year old woman, all from Harrow, along with a 19-year-old woman from Borehamwood have all been arrested on suspicion of managing a brothel. 

They're currently in police custody.

Bedford taxi driver jailed: Naseer Taj was 'active supporter of Daesh'

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Det Insp Ryan Brammer, from the Eastern Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit, has been speaking about the sentencing of Naseer Taj to eight years and three months for terror offences.

He said: "Naseer Mirza Taj was a very active supporter of Daesh, who had clear plans to travel to Syria to join so-called Islamic State."

Travel box
Bedfordshire police

“The sad reality is that his intentions meant he has now missed out on the birth of his child and will not be there to see them growing up.

"Those who choose to plan, carry out, or encourage others to carry out, acts of terrorism have no place in our communities and we will work hard to identify, arrest and bring to justice those who do."

Bedford taxi driver jailed: Twitter account discovered

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Detectives from the Eastern Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit linked Naseer Taj to a Twitteraccount in the name of Abu Bakr Al Kashmiri, which had the background profile picture of ‘Jihadi John’ and a main profile picture of Ilyas Kasmiri – reportedly the leader of Al Qaeda in Kashmir.

Officers recovered communication between Taj and another man talking about what clothes and materials to pack for Syria, advice given by Taj to other people wanting to travel and conversations between Taj and his would-be Jihadi bride.

Twitter picture
Bedfordshire police

Detectives believe Taj wanted to travel to Syria, marry a jihadi bride and attend an IS training camp.

Bedford taxi driver jailed: 'Selfie' taken on Eurostar found on phone

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Naseer Taj plotted to join ISIS by travelling to Syria via Istanbul in Turkey on 31 December 2014, but was arrested two days before he was set to leave.

He was arrested again by Bedfordshire Police in May 2015 after he tried to obtain fraudulent travel documents in an attempt to flee the country after his passport had been seized following his initial arrest.

Train selfie
Bedfordshire police

A 'selfie' Taj had taken on his phone while on the Eurostar on a previous trip was also recovered.

Bedford taxi driver jailed: Judge says jury weren't 'fooled' by him

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Handing down the sentence at the Old Bailey, Judge Stephen Kramer told Naseer Taj the jury had not been "fooled" into believing his story.

The Bedford taxi driver had claimed he had simply been boasting to friends about going to Syria, as well as claiming he had decided at the last minute that living in the caliphate was not for him. 

When the police raided his home on 29 December 2014 they found he'd booked a Eurostar ticket to Brussels and a flight on to Turkey.

Grooming kit
Bedfordshire police

They also seized travel documents and kit for his trip, including factor 50 sun cream, cash, a mosquito net and combat clothes.

Bedford taxi driver jailed: Planned to leave pregnant wife to go to Syria

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Taxi driver Naseer Taj, from Bedford, planned to abandon his heavily pregnant wife and young son to marry a jihadi bride in Syria - but was caught just a few days before he intended to leave.

Police raided his house at Victoria Road, Bedford where they found a ticket to Turkey, a rucksack full of equipment, and military style clothing. He also had a huge amount of extremist material, including a magazine published by Al Qaeda, and had been in contact with several known radicals.

Following a trial in February, he was found guilty of preparation of terrorists acts and having copies of the al Qaida magazine, Inspire.

Bedford taxi driver jailed for terror offences

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Naseer Taj, from Bedford, has today been sentenced to a total of eight years and three months in prison after being found guilty of terror offences.

Naseer Taj
Bedfordshire Police

The judge at the Old Bailey jailed him for:

  • Five and a half years for preparation of terrorist acts by making preparations to travel to Syria
  • Two years for two counts of possessing information useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism
  • Nine months for possession of a false driving licence

BreakingBedford taxi driver jailed for over eight years

Bedford Taxi driver Naseer Taj - who planned to leave his heavily pregnant wife and young son in Britain to start a new life in Syria with a jihadi bride - has been jailed for eight years and three months at the Old Bailey after being found guilty of terror offences.

Cortney Batchelor sentencing: Batchelor 'deeply sorry'

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

A man who killed a fellow clubber with a single punch has apologised for his actions.

Cortney Batchelor was today jailed at Luton Crown Court for four years for the manslaughter of Tomas Juska.

Robert English, defending Batchelor, had told the court: "This is a very tragic case indeed for all concerned. But for what happened on that fateful evening Tomas Juska would be with us and Cortney Batchelor would not be facing a prison sentence.

"This was out of character, and the consequences were not intended and not expected. He is deeply sorry and will be for the rest of his life."

He revealed Batchelor's girlfriend had stood by him and is now expecting his child.

Luton Crown Court
South Beds News Agency

Cortney Batchelor sentencing: What happened that night?

Tomas Juska died the day after he was punched by Cortney Batchelor outside a Dunstable nightclub on 23 August 2015.An argument happened after an earlier dispute in Club Cookies in the town.

Cookie's nightclub
Dani Bailey

During the trial at Luton Crown Court the jury heard how Batchelor approached Mr Juska outside of the club and punched him in the head, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on the pavement, making a noise witnesses described as ‘sickening’. Mr Juska was given CPR by police officers, but died in hospital the next day.

Cortney Batchelor sentencing: Brother wishes he went out with tragic sibling

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

In an impact statement, the brother of Tomas Juska has explained how much he misses him and the effect that night has had on his whole family. 

Vaidas Juska said: "I sometimes think about whether I should have gone out with him that night and that if I did then this wouldn't have happened and Tomas would still have been with us. But I know this is a silly thing to think as this could have happened at any time."

"I miss him coming round for a beer or playing sport together."

Cortney Batchelor sentencing: 'What happened wasn't fair"

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

 "I don't think my life will ever go back to being normal."

The words of Vaidas Juska, whose brother Tomas was killed by a single punch from Cortney Batchelor on a night out in Dunstable last summer.

In a victim impact statement read out at Luton Crown Court, he said: "I feel a mix of upset and anger. I do not blame the person who punched him... but what happened wasn't fair.

"It hurts. I don't think myself or my family will ever get over what happened."

Tomas Juska
Bedfordshire Police

Cortney Batchelor sentencing: Police pleased 'justice has been done'

It only takes a second and one punch to change lives.

That is the message from Det Insp Fraser Wylie, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, after Cortney Batchelor - who killed fellow clubber Tomas Juska with a single punch - was sentenced to four years in jail.

Det Insp Fraser Wylie
Bedfordshire police

“Batchelor attempted to hide behind the claim of self-defence which has not stood up to examination through this trial, so I am glad that he was found guilty and will face time behind bars.

“I hope this will act as a lesson to other young people - it only takes one second and one punch to change the lives of so many people for the worse.”  

Cortney Batchelor sentencing: Judge says victim was 'no threat'

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

Judge Richard Foster has today sentenced Cortney Batchelor to four years in prison for the manslaughter of Tomas Juska.

He told Luton Crown Court Batchelor knew Mr Juska didn't pose a threat "and yet you punched him with such force, that some witnesses describe how he must have lost consciousness even before hitting the ground".

Cortney Batchelor
Bedfordshire Police

The judge said: "His head then hit the ground with a sickening thud resulting in the catastrophic injuries which caused his death.

"Despite that sickening thud... you and your group ran off laughing."

Breaking'One punch killer' jailed for four years

Cortney Batchelor, 22, a civil engineer from Luton, has today been sentenced to four years for the manslaughter of Tomas Juska.

Batchelor killed Mr Juska with a single punch on a night out in Dunstable last summer.

Walk planned to raise awareness of missing Royston author Helen Bailey

Carol Abercrombie

BBC Three Counties Radio

Friends of missing Royston author Helen Bailey will be holding a meeting and walk at 11:00 on Royston Heath on Sunday.

It's almost six weeks since the 51-year-old was last seen leaving her home with Boris, her pet sausage dog.

Helen Bailey on BBC TV in December 2015
BBC

One of them, Jay Nolan-Latchford, said it's important the author's disappearance is kept in the news.

Business plan launched to make Bedford to MK waterway park a reality

It's an ambitious project that's been in the planning stages for years and years.

Now, a charity set on creating a waterway park between Bedford and Milton Keynes have put forward a three year business plan to push the idea forward.

Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park leaflet
B&MK Waterway Trust

The Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park Trust hopes to build a series of waterway parks from the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes to the River Great Ouse in Bedford along a 24 mile stretch.

Cortney Batchelor investigation officer says 'walk away'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The man in charge of the investigation into the death of Tomas Juska, who was killed after a single punch from fellow clubber Cortney Batchelor, has advised others to "walk away" from confrontation.

The pair had argued after Mr Juska gave his number to Batchelor's girlfriend, a barmaid at the club.

Det Insp Fraser Wylie
The Garden

Det Insp Fraser Wylie, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said: "These days it seems so hard to turn the other cheek, but that's what needs to happen, you need to walk away.

"I hear too much about 'he disrespected me' - you know what - be the bigger man, walk away."

Severed head search continues in Sharnbrook, but ends at Mepal

Mark Williamson

BBC Local Live

Police are still searching a construction site in Sharnbrook after a severed head was found in a quarry at Mepal in Cambridgeshire on Monday.

But officers have confirmed that a separate search at the quarry has finished and Cambridgeshire Police have left the area.

The scene from the search at Mepal after a human head was found
PA

Portable toilets theft: Do police have anything to go on?

So police are investigating the theft of a number of portable toilets in Hertfordshire. 

This is one tweet on the subject...

View more on twitter

Travel: Congestion on northbound M1 by Milton Keynes

BBC Travel

One lane is closed and there's queuing traffic on M1 northbound between J15 and J15a, because of an accident.

Congestion goes back to J14 at Milton Keynes. 

View more on twitter

Knickers Model's Own: Frugal fashionista launches book

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Caroline Jones, the Harpenden woman who wore charity clothes every day for a year to raise money for Cancer Research, launched her book – Knickers Model’s Own - A Year of Frugal Fashion - last night at the National Gallery in London.

Caroline Jones with her father John Benson
Cancer Research UK

Ms Jones (pictured with her father John Benson) started Knickers Model’s Own in memory of her mother Mary, who died of breast cancer in October 2014. We followed her story throughout last year as she scoured Cancer Research shops for bargains and raised more than £57,000.

She said: “It touches on the reasons for doing my year, but I also hope people see it as a style journal and follow it through the year... I really [it] raises a huge amount for the charity, in the fight against cancer."

Knickers Model's Own: Caroline Jones 'still wearing pre-loved clothes'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Remember Caroline Jones, the Harpenden woman who wore charity clothes every day for a year to raise money for Cancer Research - well, she's “still wearing pre-loved clothes”.

Caroline Jones
Knickers Model's Own

Ms Jones, 47, who launched her book – Knickers Model’s Own - A Year of Frugal Fashion – at the National Gallery last night said she's changed her "whole outlook on shopping" following the experiment.

I haven’t bought anything new... well, I bought some new shoes but they are still sitting in my wardrobe as I’m not ready to wear them yet, I’d feel I’d let the side down."

Caroline JonesKnickers Model's Own

Portable toilets being stolen in St Albans

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Robbers in St Albans have been quite literally taking the pee.

Portable toilets
Thinkstock

The thieves have been stealing portable toilets, with police saying eight have been taken from a number of streets in St Albans and Harpenden - the majority coming from building sites and property where renovations are being carried out.

They're also linking it to another theft in Northwood. They believe they've been loaded into white vans.

Cortney Batchelor case: Tomas Juska's family 'devastated'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The brother of a man who died after being punched outside a nightclub said the whole family were devastated by the death of Lithuanian Tomas Juska.

Tomas Juska
South Beds News Agency

Cortney Batchelor is due to be sentenced this afternoon for manslaughter. The case recently featured on Channel 4's 24 Hours in Police Custody.

Mr Juska's brother, Viadas, said: "Every day I think about him... sometimes you forget, sometimes you think maybe he's gone somewhere abroad, sometimes you realise you will never see him again and your head is blown."

Bedford Hospital responds to closure of acute stroke services

Sophie Sulehria

BBC Three Counties Radio

A comprehensive networked model of stroke services across Bedford and Luton hospitals.

That's the plan to replace the hyper-acute stroke service at Bedford Hospital, which will close in July.

According to the hospital's divisional medical director, Dr Rory Harvey, the move is part of a redesign of stroke services.

In practice, it means they will be based at Luton & Dunstable Hospital instead.

Bedfordshire police speak out ahead of Cortney Batchelor sentencing

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Detective Inspector Fraser Wylie from Bedfordshire Police has been speaking ahead of the sentencing of Cortney Batchelor, who killed another man with one punch outside a Dunstable nightclub.

He said it's the judges decision to sentence him accordingly today - and it was the police's job was to make sure the right evidence was provided in court.

He added incidents like this can happen most nights and have a "devastating effect on lives".

Bedford taxi terror plotter to be sentenced today

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

A taxi driver from Bedford who planned to fight for ISIS in Syria, will be sentenced for terror offences later.

Naseer Taj was caught just days before he intended to leave.

Naseer Taj
Bedfordshire Police

A Jury at the Old Bailey heard the 26-year-old was preparing to leave his heavily pregnant wife, and head off for a new life with a jihadi bride. 

The sentencing is expected at 15:00.

Woman in hospital after two-car crash

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

A woman was airflifted to hospital with serious leg injuries after a head-on collision involving two cars in London Colney on Thursday evening.

Numerous road closures were put in place after the crash on Ridge Hill near to the De Havilland Mosquito Museum at about 17:30.

Hertfordshire Police are appealing for witnesses.

Rutherford plans garden long jump competition

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

It's the summer and people are planning lots of things for their gardens - parties, barbecues, weeding... and, of course, sporting events.

Olympic champion Greg Rutherford has revealed he's planning to hold a long jump competition in the back garden of his home in Woburn Sands near Milton Keynes, which contains an officially-certified long jump runway.

Greg Rutherford's long jump pit
BBC

He said Olympic and world triple jump champion Christian Taylor, world silver medallist Fabrice Lapierre and London 2012 silver medallist Mitchell Watt have already expressed interest.

I don't have any (neighbours), that's the beauty of it. I've got one over the road, Barry, he'll be having a whale of a time."

Greg RutherfordOlympic long jump champion

24 Hours in Police Custody: When the buzzer goes

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Last night's 24 Hours in Police Custody on Channel 4 featured the case of two men who were eventually jailed for a combined total of 19 years after admitting three knife-point robberies.

Andrew Sinclair
The Garden

Investigating officer Gary Hales has written a blog about what it's like to keep violent criminals off the streets he calls home.

He said: "I raise my children here, so I’ll do anything I can to make the streets safer. The longer I can put a dangerous person in prison, the fewer victims there’ll be in the county."

Acute stroke services to close at Bedford Hospital

Sophie Sulehria

BBC Three Counties Radio

The hyper-acute stroke services provided at Bedford Hospital are to close from July following the resignation of a lead consultant on the ward and a review of joint health services. 

Bedford Hospital
BBC

Hyper-acute stroke services help stroke patients in the first 72 hours after admission to hospital. Those who need the treatment will be taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital instead.

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group says it wants to reassure residents they will continue to have access to hospital-based stroke care  

Work begins on M25 bridge

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Three weeks of maintenance work has begun on the bridge at J23 of the M25 near South Mimms.

M25 J23 bridge
Google

Joints, which allow it to expand and contract in different temperatures, are being replaced.

The work will involve three weeks of overnight closures on the roundabout which the bridge carries over the A1M.

One-punch killer Cortney Batchelor due to be sentenced

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A young man from Luton will be sentenced today for killing another man with just one punch outside a nightclub in Dunstable last summer.

Cortney Batchelor
South Beds News Agency

Cortney Batchelor, 21, hit Tomas Juska for flirting with his girlfriend, and the 24-year-old from Lithuania died from a head injury. Batchelor was found guilty of manslaughter last month.

The case was featured on last week's episode of the Channel 4 documentary 24 Hours in Police Custody.

Today's weather: Mostly dry with sunny spells

Aisling Creevey

BBC Look East weather

It will be rather cloudy to start today but it should brighten up generally to a largely dry day with sunny intervals.

Maximum temperature: 17C (62F).

Get the detailed forecast for where you live at BBC Weather.    

One-punch killer due to be sentenced today

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to today's live page.

Coming up: today will see the culmination of a case that featured in Channel 4's 24 Hours in Police Custody last week, in which a young man from Luton killed another man with just one punch outside a nightclub in Dunstable last summer.

He's due to be sentenced today so we'll bring you the news on that story as it happens, plus all the other news, sport, weather and travel from across the three counties.

Cortney Batchelor
The Garden