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  1. The chief constable of Devon and Cornwall has been placed under police investigation over his conduct, the BBC can reveal
  2. Water erosion 'creates Braunton coast path sinkhole'
  3. Family of murdered schoolgirl is shown police dossier
  4. Lights go out on Torquay Christmas display
  5. Camping, fire and excessive fishing at Hopes Nose banned under council order
  6. A Devon fabric manufacturer is helping America's space agency Nasa with its trip to Mars
  7. Seeds gathered to help genetic research branch out
  8. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

By Andrew Segal

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

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

Don't forget Spotlight on BBC One later. There will also be news through the night on your BBC Local Radio station.

Latest weather: Dry overnight, bright spells on Wednesday

David Braine

Weather Forecaster

Dry overnight and winds will remain light, allowing some mist and fog to form in places. Minimum temperature: 8C (46F).


Wednesday will be a generally misty and grey start but with occasional bright spells, particularly during the afternoon when we should get some sunshine. With winds staying light, it will feel milder than of late. Maximum temperature: 16C (59F).

Genette Tate murder: Enquiry 'can't go further without new information'

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Police have told the family of missing schoolgirl Genette Tate that an enquiry into her suspected murder cannot be taken any further unless someone comes forward with specific information, such as where she is buried.

The 13-year-old disappeared from a village near Exeter in 1978 while riding her bike. Notorious child killer Robert Black is believed to have murdered her, but no body has ever been found. 

Genette Tate missing poster

Black died in prison in January, days before he was due to be charged with her murder. An evidence file was still submitted in April, but the Crown Prosecution Service said it did not charge dead suspects. 

Genette's father, John Tate, said he still felt "very emotional about it." He said: "I would like to find her body after 38 years of searching for answers and put it to rest." 

Police said officers had kept the family "informed throughout this long and complex case".

Heathrow expansion 'right decision for Cornwall'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

The government's decision to build a third runway at Heathrow "is the right decision for Cornwall", Newquay Airport says.

Newquay Airport

Ministers approved the long-awaited decision at a cabinet committee meeting on Tuesday, saying the expansion would support trade and jobs. The decision has been criticised.

But the Cornish airport (pictured) said: "If business and tourism are going to thrive in Cornwall, then we need access to the rest of the world - a quality connection to a hub airport like Heathrow is how we get it". 

Managers added that they were to work "to deliver a Newquay-Heathrow route as soon as capacity becomes available".

M5 blocked due to crash

BBC Travel

Latest headlines in Devon and Cornwall

Andrew Segal

Local Live

  • The father of missing schoolgirl Genette Tate, who is believed to have been murdered 38 years ago said he is "convinced" the culprit was notorious child killer Robert Black
  • "Skeletal remains" are found by police investigating the discovery of a foot in a walking boot in woods near Truro
  • A gas leak causes the evacuation of three properties in Brixham
  • Torquay town centre won't have any Christmas lights this year after the local Chamber of Commerce fails to raise enough money to provide a new display
  • Airports and airlines in the South West welcome the decision to build a third runway at Heathrow
  • Water erosion is believed to be the cause of a sink-hole on the coast path at Braunton Devon County Council says

Baby freed from locked car

BBC Radio Devon

Firefighters have freed a baby after it was accidentally locked in a car in Torquay.

One fire crew was called to Barton Hill Way at about 14:40, where they opened the car with small tools and reunited the infant with its mother.

Genette Tate murder: Robert Black 'made prison confession'

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

The suspected murderer of schoolgirl Genette Tate made a "jail confession" to a member of prison staff about her death, it is understood.

The 13-year-old disappeared from the Devon village of Aylesbeare, near Exeter, in 1978 while riding her bike when she was delivering newspapers. 

Robert Black

Notorious child killer Robert Black (pictured) was described by police as the "only suspect" in the case, but he died in prison in Northern Ireland earlier this year, days before he was due to be charged with her murder.

It is understood that Black told the prison staff member he had visited Alyesbeare, where the Tates lived. The member of staff told Black they had not heard of it and replied: "Alyesbury?". But Black stressed it was "Alyesbeare".

'Skeletal remains' found by police investigating foot discovery in woods

David George

BBC Spotlight

Further "skeletal remains" have been found by police investigating the discovery of a foot in a walking boot in woods on the outskirts of Truro, officers have confirmed.

Police search

The boot was found by a dog walker in Nansavallan Woods last Thursday evening. 

Officers added that a police dive team was searching a stream bed in the area.

Torbay point order issued because 'problems getting worse'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A Public Spaces Protection Order put in place Hopes Nose in Torbay has been issued because the local council "could not allow" problems in the area to carry on, a senior councillor says.

Hopes Nose. Pic: Thinkstock

Under the order issued by Torbay Council, people visiting the area no longer allowed to camp, light fires, litter or fish for mackerel too much. Anyone ordered to leave the area cannot return for 48 hours. It is due to remain in force until December 2017

Cllr Robert Excell, community services lead for the authority, said: "The problems at Hopes Nose have been getting worse over a period of time and this made the area unpleasant for many residents, walkers and visitors. We could not allow this to carry on."

Brixham gas leak isolated

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A gas leak which caused the evacuation of three properties in Brixham has been isolated, firefighters say.

Emergency services and gas engineers were called to the King Street area at about 12:05 after reports of gas smells.

Devon and Somerset Fire said "high levels of gas" were found in one of the residential properties and crews ventilated it after engineers from Wales & West Utilities isolated the leak. A building inspector was due to examine the scene, it added.

What do you know about the old train police?

Three residential properties evacuated after suspected gas leak

BBC Radio Devon

Three residential properties have been evacuated by emergency services after a suspected gas leak in Brixham, utilities engineers say.

Wales & West Utilities said engineers were "immediately sent" to King Street after emergency services were "alerted to reports of a smell of gas outside a property".

It added: "We are currently working with the emergency services to manage the area and investigate the cause of the smell."

Genette Tate murder: Family shown 500-page dossier

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

The family of schoolgirl Genette Tate, who was murdered 38 years ago, have been shown a 500-page dossier of evidence against suspect Robert Black.

Notorious child killer Black (pictured), who was jailed for killing four girls, was the "only suspect" in the case after the 13-year-old disappeared from a Devon village in 1978 while riding her bike. 

Robert Black. Pic: PSNI

Her body has never been found and Black died in prison in January, days before he could be charged. 

Genette's father, 74-year-old John Tate, said the dossier contained information gathered by experienced former officers from Devon and Cornwall Police and he was "convinced" that Black was the culprit.

Exeter Chiefs' prop to play for Scotland

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Picture via Exeter Chiefs

Hospital investigates financial allegations regarding new boss

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E) says it is trying to get more details on allegations of financial problems at the hospital where its new boss worked in Australia. 

Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital

Julie Hartley-Jones is due to start as chief executive in January. But reports from Australia have said she left her previous hospital in Cairns in deep financial trouble. 

Julie Hartley-Jones. Pic: Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital
Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital

The RD&E said she left the job in May and it was in the process of establishing the facts.

Buildings evacuated after suspected gas leak in Brixham

Torquay Herald Express

Three residential buildings have been evacuated in Brixham, and two businesses are reported to be closed, due to a suspected gas leak.

Heathrow third runway 'needs to create hub for all the UK'

BBC Radio Devon

Exeter-based airline Flybe says it wants assurances that the expansion of Heathrow Airport will create "a hub for the whole of the UK".

Flybe plane

Ministers approved a long-awaited decision to build a third runway at Heathrow, saying the expansion would support trade and jobs. The decision has been criticised.  

Flybe said that the government needed to "ensure that some of the new capacity is reserved for operators of regional aircraft at affordable prices".

It added: "Without such flights, the UK regions will miss out on much-needed connectivity to the capital and to long-haul destinations via Heathrow."

BreakingA3079 blocked after lorry comes off road

BBC Travel

There are reports that the A3079 is blocked due to a road collision at Tanners Hill, between Okehampton and Holsworthy. 

A lorry is believed to have come off the road, affecting traffic heading towards Holsworthy.

Walkers told to take alternative routes after Braunton sinkhole opens

BBC Radio Devon

People have been told to take alternative routes to the part of the north Devon coast path after a sinkhole appeared.

Sink-hole. Pic: Matt Fryer
Matt Fryer

Devon County Council said water erosion was believed to be the cause of the large hole at Braunton.

The path has been closed to the public while investigations are carried out.

Genette Tate

The father of a schoolgirl who was murdered 38 years ago says he is "convinced" the culprit was notorious child killer Robert Black.

Read more

Mentally-ill sex offender left off jail watch list found hanged in cell

Exeter Express & Echo

A paedophile with a history of mental illness who hanged himself on his second night in jail was not considered a suicide risk by warders, an inquest heard.

Fog hits Isles of Scilly flights

BBC Travel

Bad weather conditions have disrupted Skybus flights between the Isles of Scilly and the mainland. 

Services to and from Land's End, Exeter Airport and St Mary's Airport have been affected by fog.

Lights go out on Torquay Christmas display

John Ayres

BBC Spotlight

Torquay town centre won't have any Christmas lights this year.

The town's Chamber of Commerce took over the running of the lights from Torbay Council earlier this year, but doesn't have enough money to do it. 

Torquay Christmas lights

The lights had been previously operated by Torbay Displays, but the chamber felt the display should be put out to tender and awarded it to another company. 

Torbay Displays owned the infrastructure for the existing lights, such as supporting wires, and has removed it. The chamber wasn't expecting this and doesn't have enough to replace it.

Chief constable complaint: Shaun Sawyer 'welcomes investigation'

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

The chief constable of Devon and Cornwall says he welcomes an independent investigation into a complaint made against him.

The investigation over the conduct of Shaun Sawyer is in relation to comments he made about the inquiry into the declaration of general election expenses by his commissioner, Alison Hernandez. Both he and Ms Hernandez both deny any wrongdoing in connection with their respective investigations. 

Shaun Sawyer

Mr Sawyer said: "I am aware that the OPCC [Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner] has received a complaint from a member of the public concerning comments I made in the course of a BBC interview regarding a police investigation into the Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez.   

"I welcome an independent investigation into this complaint and look forward to hearing the outcome in due course."

Teenager excluded from school for inviting 'killer clown' to class

West Briton

A St Austell dad has criticised Penrice Academy for "overreacting" after his son was excluded from school for five days for inviting a 'killer clown' from another country to his school - in the hope that the school would close for a day.

South West airports and airlines respond to Heathrow expansion decision

BBC Spotlight


Airports and airlines in the South West have welcomed the government's decision to build a third runway at Heathrow. 

Ministers approved the long-awaited decision at a cabinet committee meeting on Tuesday, saying the expansion would support trade and jobs. The decision has been criticised.

Exeter-based Flybe says it wants assurances that some of the new capacity will be reserved for regional operators at affordable prices. 

Newquay Airport bosses said it would increase business and lead to the return of direct flights from Cornwall into Heathrow.

Heathrow expansion best option for all of UK says Grayling

Latest weather: Variable cloud during the day, thickening overnight

BBC Weather

It will be a day of variable amounts of cloud with some bright or sunny spells, the best of which will be this afternoon. More mist may plague the south coast at times. Winds will be light and mainly southerly. Maximum temperature: 16C (61F).


Cloud will thicken up again overnight and winds will remain light and from a southerly direction, allowing some mist and fog to reform in places. Minimum temperature: 10C (50F).

Householders threaten legal action against housing association over £45k repair letters

BBC Radio Devon

A group of householders in Paignton is threatening legal action against a housing association over a huge repair bill. 

They live in four leasehold flats in the town and freehold owner Sanctuary Housing is doing extensive repairs on the building. 

In January, the householders were told they'd each have to contribute £25,000 towards the repairs. Now they've had a letter saying the figure is more likely to be £45,000. 

Sanctuary Housing told the BBC the letters were not a demand for payment and it wanted to keep residents informed. It said water had caused extensive damage in the building "which may be the result of defective roofing work undertaken by the previous landlord". It added: "We can reassure homeowners that they will not be charged for any repairs required as a result of poor quality work."

Widow feels 'let down' by mental health services over husband's death

Denis Nightingale

BBC Radio Cornwall

A widow says she feels "completely let down" by mental health services in Cornwall after her husband jumped to his death from a cliff in Newquay last year, she has told an inquest. 

Maureen Charlton said doctors and nurses did their best but it was not good enough for Chris Charlton, who died in October 2015. 

At a hearing in Truro, coroner Barry Van Den Berg concluded that the 58-year-old took his own life. The Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said it was not commenting until it had fully examined the findings of the inquest.

Don't forget: 'Fall back' this weekend

Water erosion 'creates Braunton coast path sink-hole'

BBC Spotlight

Water erosion is to blame for a large sink-hole which has opened up on a section of the coast path at Braunton in north Devon, Devon County Council says.

Braunton sink-hole. Pic: Matt Fryer
Matt Fryer

It added that the path had been closed to the public while further investigations took place.

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Drones 'could disturb estuaries' wildlife'

BBC Spotlight

Visitors to estuaries in the South West are being urged not to disturb wildlife by using drones.

Drone. Pic: PA

The RSPB said it was particularly concerned about the Exe Estary, where thousands of geese, ducks and waders stay for the winter, some after flying for thousands of miles. It said birds could waste energy by having to fly around.

As well as drones, the charity added it was also concerned about dogs not being kept on leads, and microlight aircraft being flown at low altitudes. 

Teignmouth-Shaldon bridge closed all day for repairs

Fire crews put out a lorry engine blaze

BBC Radio Devon

Fire crews have put out a small blaze in a lorry after it caught fire on a main route in Exeter.

The crews were called to the A379 Matford roundabout at about 10:25.

Devon and Somerset Fire said firefighters "confirmed that there was a small fire in the engine compartment". The fire caused some traffic problems in the area.

Lemur tries to drum up a bit of trade

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Lemur. Pic: Paignton Zoo
Paignton Zoo

One ring-tailed lemur at Paignton Zoo is keen to drum up a bit of trade for talks being held during half-term, it appears.

Broadband target 'will be missed'

Martyn Oates

BBC South West Political Editor

The government promised rural residents across the country 90% superfast broadband coverage this year and 95% by 2017.

Broadband socket. Pic: PA

In Devon and Somerset, it's emerged the target for 2016 won't be met - and BT is being blamed for its slow commercial roll-out.

BT said any earlier estimates of expected commercial coverage, made several years ago, were part of an outline plan subject to detailed planning and survey.

Latest travel in Devon and Cornwall

BBC Travel

  • In Devon, the A380 King's Ash Road in Paignton is partially blocked due to an incident near Marldon Road
  • In Exeter, Honiton Road partially blocked at Wilton Way due to an incident
  • In Cornwall, on the A39 near Wadebridge, there are temporary traffic lights close to the A389 for telecoms work. Traffic is slow

South West was wettest yesterday

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

After torrential rain and heavy storms yesterday, the stats are in, and the South West had some of the wettest places in the UK...

  • Plymouth - 39mm
  • RNAS Culdrose - 15.4mm
  • Exeter 11mm