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Summary

  1. Fifty firefighters continue to damp down the historic Royal Clarence Hotel following a major blaze
  2. The fire started on Friday in a nearby gallery and spread to the hotel
  3. Demolition equipment is expected to arrive today
  4. In other news, Firefighters tackle large barn fire in United Downs
  5. Two dead in car and van crash on A303
  6. Patients who've had a stroke could now get medication in the ambulance on the way to hospital
  7. Updates on Monday 31 October 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

That's all from BBC Local Live in Devon & Cornwall for today, we'll be back at 08:00 to bring you all the day's news, sport, travel and weather updates.

Don't miss BBC Spotlight at 18:30 and the late bulletin at 22:30 tonight.

Exeter fire: Hotel demolition due to start on Tuesday

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Demolition work on the remains of Royal Clarence Hotel is expected to begin tomorrow, engineers have told the BBC.

Engineers from demolition contractor Wring group have begun to put up a cordon around the site after examining the remains of the building.

Demolition contractors look at burnt out hotel
BBC

Death of a man from Devon part of Welsh drug investigation

BBC Wales News

A man died and two people were arrested on suspicion of drug offences following an illegal rave on the weekend, South Wales Police have said. 

About 2,000 people attended the event at a disused warehouse on Hayes Road, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, with officers called early on Sunday.

The death of a 45-year-old man from Torbay in Devon is being investigated, but police said it is not being treated as suspicious.

Slavery gang jailed for offences

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Members of a slavery gang responsible for "the crushing of the human spirit" have all been jailed.

All five defendants were found guilty last week and were given the following sentences in Plymouth's Crown Court:

  • Ruzena Tancosova - six-and-a-half years
  • Petr Tancos - six-and-a-half years
  • Martin Tancos - three years
  • Nela Dzurkova - two-and-a-half years
  • Katerina Kurejova - two years

What seems to have escaped all five of you is this, these offences centre around the crushing of the human spirit and the stripping away of a person's freedom of choice."

Judge Ian Lawrie QC

Allergic beekeeper dies from bee sting

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

An amateur beekeeper died when a bee stung him on the neck inside his protective suit.

Mark Turner tried to use an EpiPen to counter the severe allergic reaction but spilled the contents, an inquest at Exeter's County Hall heard.

Mark Turner
Nick Irving

His wife then successfully injected into his leg but he died from the reaction to the sting at his home on Dartmoor, Devon.

The coroner recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

Cornish pasty museum appeals for help

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

The team behind Cornwall's 'pasty museum', set to open next year, has appealed for help to tell the story of the world-famous pastry snack.

Pasty
Getty Images

The Cornish Pasty Heritage Centre, which will open on the outskirts of St Austell as part of new attraction Cornucopia, has asked for pasty lovers to lend or donate any artefacts that show the development of the pasty and how the Cornish copper and tin miners introduced to them to far-flung corners of the globe as they sought work in overseas mines.

Sam Healy, from WMC Retail Partners Plc, said there was a "fascinating and rich story to tell".

Girl passenger, 15, seriously hurt as car overturns

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

A 15-year-old girl was seriously injured after a car she was in careered off the road into a hedge.

The teenager from Whitstone in Cornwall was being driven by a 17-year-old boy when the car flipped over and landed on its roof.

The girl suffered a "significant head injury", said police. She's being treated at Bristol Children's Hospital.

The driver, from Bideford was checked over and released. Police want to speak to anyone who saw the crash at 18:40 on Saturday on the B3254 near to Willsworthy Cross.

Weather: Fog overnight will slowly clear, but expect light rain

BBC Weather

Staying mild for many overnight. Light winds will lead to mist and fog forming in some spots, with low cloud and hill fog over Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor and other higher ground. Minimum Temperature: 8C (46F).

Weather map
BBC

Fog slowly clearing during the morning, but then becoming cloudier, perhaps with a little light rain or drizzle in the afternoon, and feeling cooler than today, Maximum Temperature: 15C (59F).

Exeter fire: Twenty businesses reopen, but many remain closed

BBC Radio Devon

Twenty businesses affected by the Royal Clarence Hotel fire in Exeter have now reopened. 

Others including House of Fraser remain closed while firefighters continue to pour water on the remains of the 300-year-old building.

Demolition crews are on site assessing the damage. This morning the hotel's owner said he has every intention of rebuilding the Royal Clarence.

Hotel fire
Devon and Cornwall Police

Puppies abandoned by side of road

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

Terrier puppies were dumped by the side of the road in a cardboard box.

Cornwall Council said three puppies were abandoned by the road in Camelford on Thursday.

Puppies
Cornwall Council

The puppies are thought to have mange and are being cared for by an animal rehoming charity.

Anyone with any information regarding the possible owners of the puppies is asked to contact the council.

Exeter fire: Police 'constantly reviewing cordons'

BBC Spotlight

Exeter fire: 'Despite loss of buildings, it could have been much worse'

Press Association

Fire crews remain at the scene of a huge blaze in Exeter.

On Friday the Royal Clarence Hotel was among the buildings destroyed in the blaze.

Hotel
BBC

Councillor Mark Healey, chairman of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority, said: "Despite the loss of a number of buildings, it could have been so much worse." 

Chief fire officer Lee Howell said: "This was an intense fire affecting several historically important buildings in the heart of the city. 

"We will continue to dampen down hotspots, check for potential re-ignition and support the demolition process for as long as necessary."

Two dead in car and van crash on A303

Ben Chapple

BBC News Online

Two people have died following a crash on the A303 near Buckland St Michael in Somerset.

The collision involved a car and a van and happened just after 13:00.

Police say a stretch of the road has been closed while an investigation into the cause of the crash takes place.

A303 closed after serious van and car crash

BBC Radio Devon

One of the main roads into Devon is closed after a serious crash between a van and a car. 

It happened just after 13:00 on the A303 at Buckland St Mary east of Honiton. 

The road is closed in both directions while the fire and ambulance services deal with the incident. Police say motorists should avoid the area and use the M5 and A358 instead.

Exeter fire: Exclusion zone in place

Clare Woodling

BBC Spotlight

Traders hope blaze cordons will be removed today

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

"I’m hopeful by the end of the day cordons will be taken away," said Derek Phillips, Vice President of the Exeter Chamber of Commerce on the road closures put in place after the fire at the Royal Clarence Hotel.

Fire
bbc

"They have been moved during the day, but this has been in yards, not hundreds of yards," he said.

"But it is moving. We want to get the message across, that Exeter is open for business. It's been four days, so four trading days which is considerable."

New takeover offers for Torquay United

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Struggling National League club Torquay United are considering at least two takeover offers.

The Gulls have been in financial difficulty since lottery-winning former owner Thea Bristow left in the summer of 2015 and a new consortium took over.

Plainmoor
Getty Images

The club had an agreement with Swindon-based Gaming International, but they pulled out of a takeover deal in July.

"There are two definite offers, and possibilities for others," chairman David Phillips told BBC Sport.

Exeter fire: More streets open

Police appeal to find missing woman who might be in Cornwall

Police are trying to find Tina Gibbons, 53, who is from Taunton, but is believed to be in the Carrick area of Cornwall.

Tina was last seen in Zelah, Cornwall, at around 17:00 on Sunday. She was seen walking on the A30 at Carminow in Cornwall.

Tina also has her car with her - a silver Ford KA and is described as 5’ 6” tall, of a medium build, with dark brown hair. She was last seen she was wearing a dark waterproof coat and black trousers.

Tina Gibbons
Devon and Cornwall Police

Exeter fire: Every floor of hotel destroyed

Bid to quash Tanis murder conviction suffers major setback

Plymouth Herald

Moves to overturn the conviction of Donald Pemberton – who was jailed for life following the murder of Tanis Bhandari – were dealt a blow in the Court of Appeal today.

Exeter fire: Engineers examine remains

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Engineers from demolition contractor Wring Group arrive at Cathedral Green to examine the remains of the Royal Clarence Hotel.

Cathedral Green
BBC
Cathedral Green
BBC

Home win 'is coming' says Exeter boss

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale is confident his side will replicate their away form at St James Park very soon.

Paul Tisdale
Rex Features

Exeter impressed in a 3-0 win at Morecambe, their fifth away victory of the season, but have not won at home in League Two since April.

"There are a lot of people that want that kind of performance at home, me included, and the players are ready for it, it's coming," Tisdale said.

Barn fire: Teen 'distressed to lose family livelihood'

Johnny O'Shea

BBC Radio Cornwall

The 18-year-old owner of a fire wood business near Redruth that burnt down overnight says he's very distressed to lose the family livelihood that his dad left to him and his brother only last month.

Firefighters spent several hours tackling the blaze in the barn in United Downs which contained more than £20,000 worth of stock.

Fire crews say they had to deal with intense heat in the blaze because of the amount of firewood involved. 

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Royal Clarence Hotel guest 'woken by raging sound of fire'

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

"What woke me was the raging sound of the fire," said hotel guest Nick Groom describing his escape with wife Annie from the inferno which engulfed the Royal Clarence Hotel.

"We ran down through the hotel shouting 'fire!'

"The fire was on the roof right outside our bedroom window."

Exeter fire-destroyed art gallery thanks emergency services

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

The art gallery, where the fire which destroyed the Royal Clarence Hotel started, has thanked emergency services "for their incredible work over the past few days".

Fire
BBC

Castle Fine Art Exeter was destroyed in the blaze which started on Friday.

"We will continue working with the authorities during the investigation, as well as our artists, employees, clients and partners, who have been deeply affected by this," said managing director Tara Tomes.

Severe accident: A303 Devon both ways

BBC Travel

A303 Devon both ways severe accident, between B3170 and Stooper's Hill.

A303 Devon - A303 closed and queuing traffic in both directions between Stopgate Cross in Newcott and The Eagle Tavern in Buckland St Mary, because of a serious accident involving two vehicles. Diversion in operation - eastbound to follow the Solid Circle signs and westbound to follow the Hollow Square.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Exeter Chiefs face 'test of character'

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter says his side's character faces a major test after Sunday's late defeat by Bath.

The Chiefs lost after a stoppage-time try from Semesa Rokoduguni, their fifth game without a win and the third time they have lost to a late score, leaving last season's runners-up in seventh place in the Premiership.

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter
Getty Images

"When you look a the table now and the results we've had you can start to set yourselves some new challenges," Baxter told BBC Sport.

"I don't mean we're going to give up on having a good season, but the challenges now are more a test of character."

Exeter fire: More than 30 businesses remain closed

Referee out of hospital after neck injury

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Referee Kevin Johnson has been let out of hospital after being stretchered off with a neck injury during Plymouth's League Two victory over Colchester.

He was kept in hospital overnight in Plymouth suffering from neck ligament damage and blurred vision.

Kevin Johnson
Rex Features

The game was suspended for 15 minutes following an accidental collision with Argyle striker Jimmy Spencer, and Johnson was replaced by Simon Knapp.

"He won't be refereeing for the next few weeks," an English Football League spokesman told BBC Sport. "His progress will be monitored and we wish him a speedy recovery."

Royal Clarence Hotel fire fails to dampen wedding day

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

A couple saved their wedding day after Exeter's Royal Clarence Hotel was destroyed by fire.

Wedding
Amy Sampson Photography

Their wedding venue, Exeter City Council's Guildhall, was cordoned off after the fire on Friday but Nikki and Fraser Burling-Hobbs, both 31, went ahead after staff "were kind enough" to liaise with police for clearance.

Carer Nikki was escorted to the site by officers and walked down the aisle the wrong way as the main entrance was blocked.

Royal Clarence Hotel guests 'very lucky to be alive'

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

A guest at the Royal Clarence Hotel, which was destroyed by fire said he and his wife were "very lucky" to escape alive.

Fire
BBC

Nick Groom, who lives in France, was visiting Exeter with his wife Annie when he was "woken to the sound of an inferno and breaking glass".

"I dived out of bed grabbed my wife Annie from bed and said we've gotta get out of here," he said.

"We tried to open the door and it was blocked."

Nick Groom
BBC
Fire
bbc

He said he ran upstairs to find the key.

"I grabbed a pair of boots and two dressing gowns and my wife had managed to get the door open. 

"Inside the room it was terrifying with the orange of the flames.

"We found the corridor in peace with the lights on. The juxtaposition was incredibly strange.

"We ran through the hotel shouting 'fire'. Reception were calling fire services.

"We got onto the green and realised we were very lucky."

Exeter fire: Cordons to 'remain until Tuesday at least'

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Cordons on part of Exeter High Street and all of Cathedral Green will remain in place until at least tomorrow,  the fire service has told the BBC.

Exeter fire
BBC

Redruth's Fuca has 300th game to forget

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Redruth forward Chris Fuca had a 300th game for the club to forget as the Reds lost 43-25 at National Two South high-fliers Old Elthamians.

Chris Fuca
Dan Barbary/redruth RFC

The Cornish side were three tries behind at half time as they suffered their second defeat of the season.

"It's probably not one he would want to remember, but he was outstanding throughout the game," head coach Marek Churcher said of the veteran back-row. "It's important people look at him and his honesty and loyalty to the club."

Iconic landmark Brown Willy is under offer just weeks after going on the market for £2.8 million

West Briton

One of the most iconic and rugged parts of Cornwall could soon have a new owner.

Royal Clarence Hotel blaze: Fire service says it was there within six minutes

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said it was at the scene of a blaze in a gallery next to the Royal Clarence Hotel within six minutes of receiving the first call.

Fire
Nick Groom

A spokeswoman said the first fire engine from the Danes Castle station was at the scene at 05:18 following the call at 05:12.

That is well within the fire services average response time of about 10 minutes.

Nick Groom
BBC

It followed claims from a hotel guest that it took 25 minutes for the first fire engine to arrive. Nick Groom, who was standing on the Cathedral Green after fleeing the fire, told BBC Radio Devon: "We were on the green for 25 minutes before one engine arrived. 

"No-one could believe we were witnessing the total destruction of a building and no-one could do anything about it at all."

Royal Clarence Hotel fire: Owner 'extremely proud' of staff

"Amidst the tragedy, I have been reminded of the commitment, professionalism and dedication of so many people, and I would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support.  

"Hotel general manager John Badley and his team not only fulfilled the most important function they could have done by ensuring all guests and staff were evacuated safely, but have since continued to offer help and support to all guests in a positive and extraordinarily professional manner. I am extremely proud of all the team."

Hotel
BBC

Paranormal or just normal?

Mark Rablin is the resident medium at Bodmin Jail in Cornwall.

That means he takes visitors on overnight tours of the old prison, searching for signs of paranormal activity.

More than 50 executions took place at the former jail, which was in operation between 1779 and 1927.

The man who runs spooky 'ghost walks' at an old jail