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  1. Updates on Wednesday 4 May 2016
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Wednesday's live coverage

Live updates for Devon and Cornwall have finished for the day, but we'll be back at 08:00 on Thursday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Footballer wishes Truro City luck for play-off

Former Truro City striker Barry Hayles - who also played for Fulham and Plymouth Argyle - is wishing his old team good luck for tonight's semi-final play-off match against Maidstone United.

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Pervert boasted of link with child sex monsters Fred and Rose West

BBC Spotlight

Child sex pervert David Williams (pictured below), whose former Cullompton home is being excavated by police, had boasted of his connections with Fred and Rose West, who drank at the Prince Albert pub he ran in Gloucester.

David Williams

Williams and wife Pauline, who are both in their 50s, started abusing children in the late 1980s when they were running the pub. The garden of their former home in Bradninch is now being dug up by police, who have told the BBC they are searching for a baby.

The couple also ran the Victoria Inn in Exeter after moving to the city in the 1990s, where they went on to abuse a string of teenagers.

Police and Crime Commissioner candidate may be investigated over election expenses

Martyn Oates

BBC South West Political Editor

On the eve of the Crime Commissioner elections, its emerged the police have been asked to investigate a Conservative candidate’s handling of election campaign expenses. 

As agent for the Conservative MP for Torbay, Alison Hernandez was responsible for submitting his election expenses, which only include one mention of the Tory Battlebus - something the former MP for Torbay has now asked police to investigate. 

Torbay was just one of many marginal constituencies visited by Conservative battle buses during last May's General Election campaign.  Most of the costs associated with it were officially recorded as national party expenditure. There's only one mention of it in the documentation which Alison Hernandez - then agent for Torbay MP Kevin Foster - was legally obliged to sign off after the election. 

Plan approved to improve town's air quality

BBC Radio Devon

An action plan to improve the air quality in Braunton has been approved by North Devon Council after nitrogen dioxide levels were found to be higher than current air quality standards.


The council said assessments showed 90% of the nitrogen oxide in the air was attributed to traffic and a 22% reduction was needed to meet objectives set by the Air Quality Regulations 2000.

It said measures being considered included cutting traffic pollution by changing and improving traffic flow, possibly pedestrianising some streets and improving parking management.

NHS Kernow damning report: Analysis

Tamsin Melville

Political Reporter, BBC Radio Cornwall

NHS Kernow, which is in charge of commissioning health services in Cornwall, has been strongly criticised for a failure of governance and a culture of bullying and harassment in a new report. It is grappling with a deficit it predicts could reach around £50m by the end of this financial year.

It points to particular issues such as overspend on individual packages of care for patients with complex needs, and insists its work to integrate services with partners will start to ease budget pressures. 

The organisation's already being scrutinised by NHS England, but this highly critical report can only add to its woes, with campaigners warning that, unless there's rapid improvement, it could lead to regulators stepping in and taking over, as seen in North, East and West Devon last year.

Latest weather: A dry night and another sunny day

David Braine, Weather Forecaster

A dry night to come, with lengthy clear skies and light winds throughout, allowing temperatures to fall. This will result in a patchy frost forming in some rural spots, particularly over moors by dawn. Minimum temperature: 4C (39F).


Thursday will be another sunny day, although the sunshine will turn hazy at times, especially during the afternoon. It will feel warmer than Wednesday and will once again be pleasant, with light winds across the region. Maximum temperature: 18C (64F).

Cullompton police dig: Couple found guilty of rapes on children

BBC Spotlight

A perverted couple whose former home is being dug up by police were found guilty of a series of sexual and physical assaults between 1989 and 2004.

Rose and Fred West

David Williams was found guilty of 10 rapes, 13 indecent assaults, five counts of gross indecency, two of cruelty and one of sexual activity with a child. His wife Pauline was found guilty of two rapes and five indecent assaults.

David Williams had boasted of his connection with child sex monsters Fred and Rose West.


Latest headlines in Devon and Cornwall

Andrew Segal

Local Live

- Police digging in the garden of a house which used to be the home of child sexual abusers in Devon are looking for a baby, senior officers tell the BBC

- The boss of NHS Kernow says he is confident patient care will improve after a report reveals a culture of bullying and failing governance

- Members of a fraud gang are jailed for between 16 months and seven years for a "heartless" £1m phone scam across the south and south west of England

- Two people cut off by tides at Tolcarne Beach in Newquay are brought back to shore

Fraudsters jailed over £1m phone scam

John Danks, BBC Spotlight

A gang of tricksters who conned pensioners out of £1m in a mass fraud have been jailed for a total of 30 years.

About 140 pensioners were targeted across the south of England, including some in Devon and Cornwall. They were phoned by someone claiming to be from the police or a bank saying they needed to move their money for safekeeping. 

One victim from Cornwall alone was duped into handing over life savings of £130,000. During sentencing at the Old Bailey, the judge described it as a "heartless plan" with a devastating and lasting impact on elderly victims.

Lifeboat crews 'the bravest of the brave' says Prime Minister

The Prime Minister has paid tribute to the work of the RNLI after a question in the Commons by a Cornish MP. 

Looe lifeboats

Sherryll Murray, the MP for South East Cornwall, asked David Cameron to join her in congratulating and thanking not just the Looe lifeboatmen on their 150th anniversary, but all RNLI crews.

The Prime Minister said: "They're incredibly brave people, having met some of them, particularly during the flood episodes that we've had in recent years, I know the immense professionalism and dedication that they bring to the task and they put their lives at risk all the time to help others, they really are the bravest of the brave." 

Navy chef to feel the heat in forces' 'Culinary Olympics'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

View more on twitter

A Royal Navy Chef is going to feel the heat of the kitchen more noticeably while competing in the 'Culinary Olympics' for armed forces personnel from around the world.

Leading Chef Andy Durham, based at HMS Raleigh, is the only British navy representative in the Combined Services Culinary Arts Team for the Culinary Olympics in Erfut, Germany in October 2016, the navy said.

The 30-year-old is one of just 10 from the UK's Combined Services team who have been chosen to take part in Germany.

Rugby star's celebratory hug chosen as picture of the week

Exeter Chiefs' Jack Nowell's celebrations after scoring against Wasps at the weekend has been chosen as Premiership Rugby's picture of the week.

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Fall in numbers of mentally ill people detained in Devon and Cornwall police cells

BBC Radio Cornwall

Police in Cornwall say there has been a massive drop in the number of people who have mental health problems ending up in cells. 

Last year 260 people detained with mental health issues in the region were put in custody. This year it's gone down to just 12. 

Police say all front line officers now receive mental health awareness training and have access to professionals to help with risk assessments. 

Police in search of paedophiles' garden 'looking for baby'

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Police search teams digging in the garden of a house in a quiet Devon village are looking for a baby, senior officers have told the BBC.

Bradninch house

David and Pauline Williams lived in Bradninch, near Cullompton, for up to two years, neighbours said. The couple were convicted of a series of child rapes and sexual assaults, and given long jail terms.

The BBC has been told the search follows a tip off from one of the Williams' victims. Commanders are keen to emphasise they are not looking for multiple bodies, but one child.

Bradninch villagers in 'shock' at child abusers' home police excavations

Jon Kay

BBC News

A neighbour of child sex abusers David and Pauline Williams says the village is in "shock" at police excavations.


Suzanne said: "I think it's awful what could be under the tarpaulin there.

"Hopefully they will find nothing. It would be unthinkable if they did."

David and Pauline Williams
Devon and Cornwall Police

She said the couple had kept "themselves to themselves" for the short time time they lived there. "They didn't smile and wouldn't make eye contact," she said. 

"We are a sleepy town and to have this investigation is terrible," she said. "Our town wants to on the map for being a beautiful place in Devon, not for these terrible crimes."

Report claims Falmouth dredging 'will not damage conservation areas'

BBC Radio Cornwall

A new report into proposals to dredge the channel in Falmouth Harbour claims such work will not affect local conservation areas. 

Falmouth Port

Harbour Commisioners say the project is vital for the port's future. Environmentalists object, saying the Fal and Helford special areas of conservation would be adversely affected. 

Commisioners have submitted a report from an environmental consultant which has been almost four years in the making. They said they were confident it would help to overturn previous government decisions which have forbidden dredging.

White tigers on the promotion prowl

Ross Ellis

BBC Radio Cornwall

Truro City football club play in the first leg of the National League South play off semi-final this evening. 

They're taking on Maidstone United and are looking to become the first Cornish team in history to reach the National League. They've lost to Maidstone twice in the league this season, but manager Steve Tully says his players are ready.

The match kicks off at 19:45 and there will be live commentary on BBC Radio Cornwall in a special programme from 19:00.

North Devon car park charges to rise

BBC Radio Devon

Charges in North Devon Council-owned car parks are to increase from 16 May, the authority says. 

The main changes, from 08:00-18:00, will see a 10p per hour increase in short stay car parks, rising to a 20p per hour increase after four hours, and long stay permits no longer being valid in some car parks.

Long stay car parks would see charges increased by 10p per day, but would be free on Sundays, the council added. It said putting up charges "was not a decision we've taken lightly", and that it was the first such rise in six years as running costs had been "steadily increasing year-on-year".

Air Ambulance April rescue figures

Boss says NHS Kernow 'will improve'

Tamsin Melville

Political Reporter, BBC Radio Cornwall

The chairman of Cornwall's clinical commissioning group (CCG), says he is "confident" patient care will improve.

Dr Iain Chorlton's comments come after a report slammed bosses at NHS Kernow over "evidence of a culture of bullying and harassment" and "an overall failure of governance". The CCG has been under legal directions from NHS England since December last year. 

Dr Chorlton said the report acknowledged "that we had already recognised many of the issues raised and were taking steps to address them before the review".

Police 'won't speculate' on garden search at paedophiles' former home

BBC Radio Devon

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Officers said excavation work at the bungalow in Bradninch, which used to be the home of David and Pauline Williams, would take two more days.

Kings gear up for Badminton Horse Trials

BBC Spotlight

Devon's six times Olympic event rider, Mary King, is gearing up for a very emotional week as the 25th Badminton Horse Trials start today in Gloucestershire.

Mary King

Twenty-four years after she first won the top event, her daughter, Emily (pictured below), will be competing for the very first time. 

Emily King

The 20-year-old will be looking for a good result as she's also the youngest rider on the Long List for the Rio Olympics.

Plans move on retail development that could 'have negative impact on Exeter'

Exeter Express & Echo

Plans for a huge shops and leisure development less than 20 miles from Exeter that could have serious consequences for city's retail centres, are moving forward.

Weather latest: Staying dry and clear

Dry this afternoon with good sunny spells, light or moderate south easterly winds and highs of 16 Deg C (61 Deg F).

Weather graphic

Dry and clear overnight, with light winds and lows of 4 Deg C (39 Deg F).

Truro park-and-ride 'expected to overrun by £2.1m'

Police continue to dig at former home of friends of Fred and Rose West

What's the best type of care for older people?

Janet Kipling

BBC Radio Devon

I'm here with Devon Debates today.

Which is best? Care at home? Or being in a care home? 

Call me on 0345 3011034.

Three yachts quit Transat in 24 hours

BBC Radio Devon

Three competitors in the Transat yacht race have had to retire within 24 hours, organisers say. 

The latest casualty in the Plymouth to New York competiton is the Edmond de Rothschild. French skipper Sébastien Josse said he had to quit after damaging his mainsail battens shortly after midnight as vessels raced around the north-west tip of Spain, off Cape Finisterre.

The Erwan Le Roux was forced to retire after damaging its port float. The VandB had to quit after it was in a collision with a container ship.

Latest headlines for Devon and Cornwall

Claire Hawke

BBC Local Live

- Digging continues under plastic sheeting in the Devon garden of a home once owned by paedophiles David and Pauline Williams 

- A part of the NHS in Cornwall - NHS Kernow - has been severely criticised for a failure of governance and a culture of bullying and harrassment

- A Devon company which provides care for people living at home has been rated as giving an outstanding service and could teach other providers

- One of the biggest games in Truro City Football Club's history takes place tonight when they take on Maidstone United in the semi-final of the National League South play-offs

Local elections: Where will turnout be a challenge?

Fewer than one in five eligible voters in some parts of England previously chose anyone to represent them in local elections, raising fears of a democratic deficit.

BBC News analysis of voting patterns in 2,500 council wards since 2012 shows wide disparities.

Campaigners are concerned there will be a low turnout again on Thursday 5 May if voters continue to see local authority elections as "less important" than a General Election.  

Voter apathy graphic

Plastic sheeting surrounds search area at paedophiles' former home

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

About a dozen officers are believed to be working in the garden of the house.

Neighbours told the BBC's Jon Kay that David and Pauline Williams only lived in the bungalow for a year before being convicted of child sex abuse offences.

Mental health issues and violence

Donna Birrell

BBC Radio Cornwall

It's our mental health phone-in today and we're examining the risk of violence posed by people with mental health issues. 

We'll be joined in the studio by two forensic psychiatry experts. If you'd like to take part, call the show on 01872 222222.

Truro boss Tully says team will reach play-off final

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Truro City boss Steve Tully believes his side will overcome Maidstone in their National League South play-off semi-final, despite losing twice to them in the regular-season.

The Cornish side stage the first leg at Treyew Road tonight as they bid for a second successive promotion.

Truro City
Truro City FC

"We haven't played our strongest team against them yet and the team will be ready," Tully told BBC Radio Cornwall. "We're looking hungry again and, when it comes to it, when the big games really matter, we're at it."

MPs urge backing for the 'cultural jewel' of the Cornish language

West Briton

More than 30 MPs have tabled a Parliamentary motion calling on the government to restore its £150,000 funding for the Cornish Language.

Excavations at former home of paedophiles David and Pauline Williams

NHS Kernow reports a 'really worrying development'

BBC Radio Cornwall

Health campaigners in Cornwall say a highly critical report on the organisation in charge of buying health services in the county, is a "really worrying development".

NHS Kernow, which controls a budget of £700m, has been under special measures since December. A new independent review has flagged up a failure of governance and a culture of bullying and harassment.

Campaigner Graham Webster said: "This is the first time that I and many other people, and the general public, have got to realise how bad things have been at NHS Kernow since its inception." NHS Kernow said an "action plan is in place to address any issues".

Police dig at paedophiles' former bungalow

Latest travel in Devon and Cornwall

BBC Travel

- In Cornwall, the A390 in Trelowth is partially blocked due to an accident

- In Lostwithiel, there are reports that South Street is blocked, also because of an incident near Summers Street

- In St Austell, we have reports of a collision on the A390 Holmbush Road