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  1. Updates on Friday, 17 February 2017
  2. Murder probe launches after woman dies days after MK home attack
  3. Dog dies after eating mould
  4. Urgent talks taking place over Vauxhall takeover bid
  5. Statue of Graham Taylor to be erected in Watford

Live Reporting

By Alex Pope

All times stated are UK

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Denny Solomona

A hat-trick from Denny Solomona helps push Sale to victory in a high-scoring affair against leaders Wasps.

Read more


Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

As the sun begins to set over Beds, Herts and Bucks, it also marks the end of our regular updates on Local Live today. 

But never fear, we'll be back with more news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Monday. 

Sun setting in Toddington

Scroll back through the feed to read today's stories from across the region.

Whatever you're doing tonight and over the weekend, we hope you have fun - and we'll see you again next week!

Fancy looking after some puppies?

And finally... cute dog alert!

Assistance dog charity needs volunteers to help with puppies

A charity that trains assistance dogs to support people with disabilities is appealing for volunteers to help look after puppies. 

Dogs for Good puppy socialisers have been speaking to people in Milton Keynes this week about what they do to encourage others to get involved. 

Puppy socialisers give pups basic obedience training and introduce them to a variety of different environments to build their confidence. 

A dog is placed with their socialiser from seven weeks old until 16 months, when they go on to assistance dog training. 

"Watching them work and watching the bonds grow between [assistance dogs and their client] is brilliant," says Yasmin Smyth, from Woburn Sands, who has been a puppy socialiser for 11 years.

Newport Pagnell gets ready for FA Vase game

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

It's a massive weekend for Newport Pagnell Town. 

The non-league club, who play in the United Counties League – step five in the non-league pyramid - play their FA Vase Quarter Final on Saturday away to north-east side South Shields. 

It's the furthest Newport Pagnell have ever got in the competition, having beat Sunderland RCA in extra time in the last 16. 

The Swans, based at Willen Road, are taking a coach-load of supporters up to Tyneside.

Overnight weather: Generally dry and cloudy

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

A few spots of drizzle around this evening and overnight but generally it will be dry and cloudy across the BBC East region.

Where we get any breaks in the cloud we could see some mist and fog developing. 

Light south to south-westerly winds and temperatures down to about 5C (41F).

Overnight weather map

A mild and cloudy start to Saturday and it could take a little while for any mist and fog to clear, although we're likely to see some sunny intervals developing eventually.

Highs of 12C (54F) and a light southerly breeze.

Get a full forecast where you live, from BBC Weather.

Severe accident: M1 Bedfordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Bedfordshire northbound severe accident, at J11 for A505 Dunstable Road.

M1 Bedfordshire - One lane blocked and heavy traffic on M1 northbound at J11 A505 Dunstable Road, because of an accident involving a car and a lorry.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Helen Bailey murder trial: Defence finishes summing up

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The defence team in the case of Ian Stewart, accused of killing Royston author Helen Bailey, have finished summing up at St Albans Crown Court.

Today the jury was told Mr Stewart, 56, was trapped in a "terrible nightmare" after being accused of a murder he did not commit. 

His defence argued "others are guilty, not him", and it was two kidnappers called Nick and Joe who killed Ms Bailey.

Jurors heard the cesspit under the garage of their home on Baldock Road was the last place Mr Stewart would want to hide his bride-to-be.

Helen Bailey

Mr Stewart's team said "crucial" witness evidence demonstrated the Hertfordshire author was still alive beyond the date of the alleged murder.

Judge Andrew Bright has now started his summing up.

Mr Stewart denies murder, preventing a lawful burial, fraud, and three counts of perverting the course of justice. 

Court resumes on Monday.

FA Cup: Mark Wright on West Ham's 1994 heartbreak for No Guts, No Glory campaign
TV personality Mark Wright remembers his beloved West Ham suffering FA Cup heartbreak in the 1993-94 campaign when they lost 3-2 against Luton in a sixth-round replay, as part of BBC Sport's No Guts, No Glory campaign.

Man, 86, killed in Stevenage crash

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

An 86-year-old man has died after the car he was in hit a wall in Stevenage. 

The victim, who lived in the town, died from his injuries after the black Vauxhall Vectra he was in struck the wall on Swingate, by the Ibis Hotel, at 08:40. 

Ibis Hotel in Stevenage

Severe accident: M25 Hertfordshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire clockwise severe accident, between J23 for A1M and J24 for A111 affecting J21 for M1.

M25 Hertfordshire - Delays on M25 clockwise between J23, A1M (South Mimms) and J24, A111 (Potters Bar), because of an accident involving two cars earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J21 M1.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Dog dies after eating mould

Nic Rigby

BBC News

A mother has warned dog owners of the dangers of mould from food waste after her cockapoo died from licking a recycling bin that had fallen over.

Mother-of-three Sarah Dent, of Bovingdon, near Hemel Hempstead, put a warning on Facebook after the death of her dog Dexter, who died from Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

Sarah Dent and Dexter
Sarah Dent

Ms Dent said: "He was shaking and having a fit. We took him to the vets and they worked on him. 

"He had to be put into a coma. He had multiple organ failure."

Eventually it was decided Dexter had to be put down.

Bread shop kneads new home

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A community interest company that helps train ex-offenders from Bedford Prison to become bakers is hoping to find a more permanent home. 


Companions Real Bread opened its shop on Mill Street in January, but on a short-term rental agreement.


Nigel Spencer, one of the managers, said since it opened things had gone "better than they ever thought" and it's been getting "loads of passing trade". 

Nigel Spencer

He's hoping to get another shop in the centre of town so it can continue working with the community. Today it held its first ever children's workshop.   

Vauxhall takeover bid: Feeling 'not good' inside the plant, say workers

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

Workers at Vauxhall Motors in Luton say they're still waiting to hear anything official about a possible takeover by Peugeot

Business Secretary Greg Clark says he's been given "assurances" by the French car giant, though he hasn't elaborated on what those assurances might be.

Workers at Vauxhall in Luton

Staff at the plant today have told me they've faced similar uncertainty before, they feel a bit down, they don't know what's going on and generally the feeling inside is "not good".   

It's feared many British jobs could go if the takeover goes ahead.

Butlers' school to keep on butling

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

A butlers' school at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire has proved so popular it's being extended. 

Butler and children

It was first planned to run from Monday to Friday, but will go on over this weekend.

Children learning to be butlers

English Heritage says 2,000 visitors have "enjoyed" the event this week.

Children and butler

Severe disruption: M4 Berkshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Berkshire eastbound severe disruption, between J6 for A355 Slough and J5 for A4.

M4 Berkshire - Lane blocked and queuing traffic on M4 London-bound between J6, A355 (Slough) and J5, A4 (Langley), because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: A1(M) Hertfordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) Hertfordshire northbound severe accident, between J6 for A1000 and J7 for A602.

A1(M) Hertfordshire - One lane closed and queuing traffic on A1(M) northbound between J6, A1000 (Welwyn) and J7, A602 (Stevenage), because of a multi-vehicle accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Embarrassing FA Cup moments

BBC Three

The FA Cup returns this weekend with the fifth round, giving us eight more games that could throw up some brand new "magic of the cup" moments.

Sadly no teams are left from Beds, Herts and Bucks, but to get you in the mood for a potential humbling of epic proportions, we are revisiting some embarrassing FA Cup moments

Here's that moment when Steven Gerrard fell over during a live TV interview, after helping Liverpool beat Luton in 2006.

Steven Gerrard falls over

Drugs and imitation gun found in Letchworth police raid

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Drugs, an imitation handgun and cash have been recovered from a property in Letchworth.

Officers raided the property in Spencer Way at about 06:30. 

A 30-year-old man from the town has been arrested on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug and possession with intent to supply.  

He's currently in police custody.

Spencer Way

Statue stolen from graveyard

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

A bronze statue has been stolen from a graveyard in Cheshunt.

Hertfordshire Police has only just released the information and believes the "Our Lady Virgin Mary statue" was taken between 22 and 29 January from a memorial in Bury Green Road cemetery. 

It's about 2ft tall (61cm) and has the supplier's name "Vezzani" engraved on the back.

Hertfordshire police

Severe accident: A505 Cambridgeshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A505 Cambridgeshire both ways severe accident, between B1368 and M11 J10.

A505 Cambridgeshire - A505 closed and queuing traffic in both directions between the B1368 junction in Flint Cross and Duxford, because of an accident involving two cars.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Wanted: Cute architect with red shoes

Justin Dealey

BBC Three Counties Radio

I turned into cupid this morning to try and reunite Emma with a man she met on a train last week.

On her way home from London, she started talking to a young man, but didn't take his number.

She now regrets it and is trying to track down a "cute architect" who wore red shoes and was possibly getting off at St Albans. 

To find him she's put up posters at the railway station.

Poster notice

So far she's not had any luck finding him, so I decided to help...

View more on twitter

Watch: Luton Airport rail link will shorten journey times

London Luton Airport have submitted plans for a rail link between the airport and Luton Airport Parkway rail station. 

At an estimated cost of £200 million, it would mean passengers could get from central London to the airport in half an hour. 

The airport in Bedfordshire is the fifth biggest and fastest-growing in the UK and is already in the middle of a £110 million investment programme.

Orne Gardens, Bolbeck Park

A woman's home was invaded by six men and she died after becoming ill the day after she was attacked.

Read more

Police searching for six men after woman dies in MK attack

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The men who attacked the woman in her home in Orne Gardens are described as white, had their faces covered and they were wearing dark tops, jogging bottoms or jeans.

One man who came to the door was described as 6ft 2in tall and of large build with a wide face. He also wore a baby blue sweater with a high neck, and had jeans and fingerless gloves. 

It's thought the group of six left the property after 18:00 by running down Orne Gardens towards Lacy Drive. 

A post-mortem examination took place yesterday and following the results a murder investigation was launched. However, Thames Valley Police has yet to state how the victim died.

Orne Gardens area

Police are appealing for witnesses as they think the men might have been "cold calling" on doors in the area. 

Anyone with any information is asked to call Thames Valley Police on 101.

Murder probe after woman dies days after MK home attack

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A murder investigation has been launched after a woman in her 60s died 11 days after being attacked in her Milton Keynes home. 

Police say the woman was taken ill the day after six men pushed their way into her home on Orne Gardens, Bolbeck Park, at about 18:00 on 31 January.

She was knocked to the floor and one man held her down with a hand over her mouth. 

While this happened the other men searched her home and stole cash and jewellery. 

Orne Gardens

When the woman was giving a witness statement the next day, she was taken ill and admitted to Milton Keynes hospital. 

She died on 11 February. 

More to follow.

Vauxhall takeover bid: 'Plant closures inevitable', says business expert

Urgent talks have been taking place over the future of thousands of jobs in the British car industry - including Luton.

It follows confirmation that the owner of Vauxhall, GM, may sell its European operations to French giant PSA

Prof David Bailey from Aston Business School says it will be "inevitable that if this deal goes ahead there will be plant closures in Europe in years to come". 

He says it won't be known for a while where those jobs will go, but as it's "easy to fire workers in the UK" and Brexit has created "uncertainty", it could make Britain an easy target for redundancies.

Vauxhall plant in Luton
Getty Images

He added assurances given now are "just not nearly enough" and the big decisions will be made in 2018, when the location to build the next Astra is made.   

Vauxhall says it has "no definitive news to report at this time".

Vauxhall takeover bid: Brexit vote has made UK 'less attractive', says Vince Cable

BBC Three Counties Radio

"The risks are serious." 

Those are the words of Sir Vince Cable, the former Lib Dem business secretary, who helped rescue Vauxhall in 2012 when part of the coalition government.

He told BBC Three Counties Radio we should "hope for the best, prepare for the worst" if a takeover of GM's loss-making European Opel business by Peugeot's owner goes ahead.

It's feared a number of jobs in Luton could be affected.

Vauxhall Luton plant
Getty Images

He said unlike a few years ago Britain was in a "weaker position" and that since the vote to leave the EU the balance had "shifted against the UK because of the uncertainty about Brexit".

He added that "GMs' operations are heavily linked to the European market, but any disruption makes the British operation less attractive".

GM said it is in talks with PSA, which owns Peugeot, "to build on the success" of Opel Vauxhall and put it in "the strongest possible position".  

Bird man helps control pigeons

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

Meet Mark and his hawk, Faith.

He's part of a pest control firm that uses the birds of prey to disperse other birds.

The pair are often hired by councils and other organisations, such as Cambridge University, to control pigeons and gulls.  

What is it like to work as a falconer?

A Freedom of Information request by the BBC revealed the amount spent by councils on pest control across the country rose from £452,000 in 2013-2014 to £830,000 in 2015-2016, with some interesting figures across the East of England.

Falconer Mark White, of Suffolk-based Step Pest Control, said councils were increasingly using non-lethal methods of bird control.

He uses a combination of methods ranging from netting and spikes, special gels which look like fire, hawks and even a high-powered laser beam.

Mr White, who's lives in Norfolk but grew up in Essex, said a lot of people think pest controllers "use hawks for killing".

"It is in fact the complete opposite.

"We use the birds for disruption and discourage killing as much as possible."

The British Pest Control Association said the increase in spending might reflect a growing awareness of public health risks posed by some birds.

Severe accident: A1198 Cambridgeshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A1198 Cambridgeshire both ways severe accident, between A603 and Whaddon Gap.

A1198 Cambridgeshire - A1198 Old North Road in Bassingbourn closed and slow traffic in both directions between the A603 junction and the Whaddon Gap junction, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: M25 Hertfordshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire clockwise severe accident, between J24 for A111 and J25 for A10.

M25 Hertfordshire - Heavy traffic on M25 clockwise between J24, A111 (Potters Bar) and J25, A10 (Enfield), because of an accident earlier on.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Good news - the deer on the M25 has been removed

Family of Graham Taylor thank people of Watford for their support

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Meanwhile, Graham Taylor's family have released an open letter via Watford's website sending their "heartfelt thanks" to the fans.

Hundreds of people turned up to the late manager and chairman's funeral at the start of the month after he died in January.

Watford tributes to Graham Taylor
Getty Images

The letter from his wife, Rita Taylor, daughters Joanne and Karen and the wider family says: "We would be grateful if you could publish this letter and thus allow us to thank the many, many people of Watford for their kind words, support and condolences at this sad time. 

"The love for Graham and the realisation of the positive impact that he had on so many has been overwhelming; the fact people have been so willing to share this with us is a great comfort to us all. 

"We are supporting each other through this very emotional time and will continue to somehow keep smiling as we know, for sure, that this is what Graham would have wanted."

Watford FC to have statue built for Graham Taylor

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Watford have just confirmed a statue of the late, great Graham Taylor is to be commissioned and erected at Vicarage Road

We don't know the exact location yet, but it will be agreed between the former manager and chairman's family and Watford Borough Council. 

They're also planning a pre-season tribute fixture, which they hope will become an annual event. 

Graham Taylor
Getty Images

The club say they "will engage with fans' representatives to ensure that supporters play a lead role alongside the club in bringing the statue to life". 

They add that "Graham's family are very supportive of these actions".

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London both ways

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London both ways severe disruption, between J25 for A10 and J26 for A121.

M25 Greater London - One lane closed on M25 in both directions between J25, A10 (Enfield) and J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey), because of a deer on the road.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Vauxhall talks: Business secretary to report back

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

Business Secretary Greg Clark is expected to report back to the government today after holding talks in Paris on the future of thousands of jobs in the car industry.

It comes after Vauxhall's parent company, General Motors, revealed it was in talks about being bought out by Peugeot

GM plans to sell its European operation, which includes Vauxhall in Luton, to the French rival.

Vauxhall cars on the assembly line.

Vauxhall employs about 4,500 people at its manufacturing plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton.  

It's understood some jobs at Vauxhall could be at risk, although it's believed Mr Clark was given some assurances from Peugeot and the French government. 

The business secretary also met with Unite's Len McCluskey and the president of General Motors in London yesterday.

Friday's weather: Mild start with sunshine later

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

There's a spring-like feel in the air today with a dry start and brighter spells developing, perhaps with some sunshine in places.

There will also be light winds everywhere and it'll feel very mild with highs today of 11C, 52F.

Check the latest forecast for where you live at BBC Weather.

Welcome back to live updates for Beds, Herts and Bucks

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

Good morning and welcome back to live updates of news, weather, travel and sport for Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

We'll again be keeping across the murder trial of the man accused of killing Hertfordshire author Helen Bailey as the defence continues to sum up its case today.

Looking at the weather, it's going to be cloudier than yesterday, as captured here by one of our BBC Weather Watchers

A full weekend weather forecast is coming up shortly.

Cloudy skies over Kings Langley

As always, if you want to get in touch you can emailFacebook or Twitter.

Severe disruption: M1 Bedfordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Bedfordshire southbound severe disruption, between J11 for A505 Dunstable Road and M1 J10.

M1 Bedfordshire - One lane closed on M1 southbound between J11 A505 Dunstable Road and M1 J10, Luton Airport Spur Road, because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time