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Summary

  1. Inquest into death of Viola Beach band, including Cornwall-raised guitarist, River Reeves
  2. --- River's father told the inquest that music was his son's world, he was "doing something he loved" and was "the happiest he's ever been"
  3. --- The four band members and their manager were killed in February when their car plunged into a canal outside Stockholm after a gig
  4. --- River died as a result of head injuries
  5. In other news, a petition has been launched to raise concerns "about the culture, leadership, and management" at Falmouth University
  6. Royal Cornwall Hospital on top alert for pressure on services
  7. Call for more organ donors on anniversary of Lily Partridge's rugby death
  8. Decorations banned from communal areas by council
  9. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

By Andrew Segal

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. 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 Thursday 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.

  2. Devon gears up for more potholed road prepares

    BBC Radio Devon

    Some 75 miles of potholed roads across Devon are to be repaired before April, the county council says.

    Potholes

    The authority has announced 200 repair schemes, from Bideford to Broadclyst, and Stoke Gabriel to Sidmouth. The list also includes the road at Stroxworthy near Woolsery - a particular black spot that we've featured before. 

    The repairs are being paid for by the government's £1.95m Pothole Action Fund for the county.

  3. The Choir: 'Logical approach' to understanding emotional music

    Johnny O'Shea

    BBC News Online

    A student who wowed TV audiences with performances during Gareth Malone's The Choir says his Asperger's syndrome made him seek a more logical approach so he could make a personal connection with the material he was singing.

    Michael Luya. Pic: BBC/Twenty Twenty

    Michael Luya, a member of Exeter Univeristy winner Semi-Toned, was praised for singing an emotional solo of Candle in the Wind in the BBC Two competiton's semi-final. However, his condition means he finds it difficult to understand what people are feeling. 

    The 22-year-old said: "I tend to get very socially anxious. I also have difficulties recognising how other people are feeling and reading other people's emotions. I couldn't grasp the emotional weight of the piece, so my approach was a lot more logical. I would say because of the challenges to connect, it gave me a drive to find something even deeper and even more personal."

    You can watch the final here.

  4. Lily Partridge: Rugby player's father says organ donation is 'greatest gift ever'

    BBC Spotlight

    The father of a young woman who died playing rugby says anyone who registers as an organ donor because they were inspired by her would be giving the "greatest gift ever".

    Jeff Partridge

    Twenty-two-year-old zookeeper Lily Partridge suffered a fatal head injury in a rugby tackle during a training session at North Tawton, Devon, a year ago today. Her organs have meant four people have been saved directly and dozens of others have been helped. 

    Her dad, Jeff Partridge (pictured), said: "I know that last Christmas whoever got her organs were very lucky people."

  5. Health service pressures: 'We can't always keep people out of hospital'

    BBC Radio Cornwall

    A Cornish GP says doctors can't always keep people out of hospital despite requests from local authorities to ease pressure on services.

    Health workers in Cornwall are being asked to provide extra services to try to deal with a system under extreme pressure, and also prevent hospital admissions, according to a Cornwall Council memo.

    Newquay GP Dr Tamsyn Anderson said: "We do get memos asking that, if we can manage people in the community, can we do so. Unfortunately, we can't predict when people are going to get ill, or prevent them from having an emergency event because the hospital is on black alert." 

  6. Viola Beach inquest: Crash victims 'doing what they were enjoying'

    Andrew Segal

    Local Live

    The families of the band Viola Beach and their manager, who died when their car plunged into a canal in Sweden, have thanked people for their "kind support at this heartbreaking time and support shown "over the last 10 months".

    The five men died in February when their car went into a canal outside Stockholm after a gig. Guitarist River Reeves grew up in Cornwall. 

    Following an inquest, Supt Martin Cleworth, of Cheshire Police, speaking on behalf of the families, said the people of Warrington and the wider community had been "truly amazing, especially in taking Viola Beach to Number One [in the charts]". 

    The familes added that the five who "tragically lost their lives" were "doing what they were enjoying".

  7. Weather: Dry overnight, rain on Thursday

    David Braine

    Weather Forecaster

    It will remain dry at first tonight, although cloud will slowly feed in from the west overnight. Minimum temperature: 11C (52F).

    Weather

    Rain, sometimes heavy, will spread across the region Thursday morning, clearing to the east to leave cloudy skies and patchy drizzle for the rest of the day. Maximum temperature: 14C (57F).

  8. 'Toxic management culture' at Falmouth University

    Miles Davis

    BBC News Online

    A scathing attack has been launched on the management of Falmouth University in a petition calling for questions to be answered regarding the organisation's "rapid expansion", the "massive salaries" of executives and staff morale.

    The petition has been set up on www.change.org to call into question what it claims is "a toxic management culture that seriously damages the reputation of the university, Falmouth and Penryn, Cornwall, and the history and legacy of 114 years of leading creative education".

    A spokesman for Falmouth University declined to comment.

    Falmouth University
  9. Latest headlines in Devon and Cornwall

    Andrew Segal

    Local Live

    • The cause of what made a car containing a Cornwall-raised musician and his band, Viola Beach, and their manager plunge into a canal in Sweden, killing all inside, may never be known, a coroner says
    • A student accused of raping a drunken undergraduate laughed as he held her down "like a ragdoll" and attacked her, a court hears
    • A scathing attack is launched on the management of Falmouth University in a petition calling for questions to be answered regarding its running
    • Plymouth Albion boss Dan Parkes has quit after five months, saying he is unable to balance his role as head coach with non-rugby commitments
  10. Rape-accused student 'held victim down like ragdoll'

    BBC News England

    A student accused of raping a drunken undergraduate laughed as he held her down "like a ragdoll" and attacked her, a court has heard

    Alistair Cooke, 22, who studied geography at Durham University, is alleged to have followed the woman home from a house party in June last year. 

    The third year student, from Perranarworthal, Truro, Cornwall, denies three counts of rape. Durham Crown Court was told his accuser consented to sex.

  11. Health minister 'spoke to health inspectors after Panorama care home programme'

    BBC Politics

    The government says a health minister has spoken to the Care Quality Commission about the shocking incidents in nursing homes in Cornwall exposed by the BBC's Panorama programme.

    Care home nurse

    Undercover filming showed one nurse saying she'd give morphine to a resident "to shut her up" - an event described by an independent expert as "horrifying". The Morleigh Group, which runs the homes, including the now closed Clinton House, said it had always acted quickly to improve care when asked to do so.

    St Austell and Newquay Tory MP Steve Double raised the matter in Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, asing if it was "now time to urgently review of the role of the CQC?".

    Commons Leader David Lidington, standing in for Theresa May, said that older and vulnerable people deserved the highest quality of care possible, and the government was "looking at ways to improve the processes" of the commission.

  12. Viola Beach inquest: 'Not for coroner to speculate on crash cause'

    Andrew Segal

    Local Live

    A coroner says he won't speculate on what made a car containing the band Viola Beach and their manager plunge into a canal in Sweden, killing all inside.

    The five men died in February when their car went into a canal outside Stockholm after a gig. Guitarist River Reeves grew up in Cornwall. 

    Viola Beach and Craig Tarry

    At the hearing in Warrington, Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg concluded they died as a result of head injuries or drowning "as a result of a road traffic collision".

    The day-long inquest, which was attended by more than 20 family members of the deceased men. Addressing them, the coroner said: "The events we have been hearing about reveal the most awful tragedy for all of you. I'm very sorry you have suffered this terrible loss."

  13. Marine A murder trial appeal: Supporters 'want him back in the military'

    Victoria Derbyshire

    View more on twitter

    Former Royal Marine Alexander Blackman, jailed for murdering an insurgent in Afghanistan, is having his case heard by the Courts Martial Appeal Court for a second time.

    Blackman - known as Marine A - from Taunton, Somerset, was given a life sentence in 2013 by a court martial over the 2011 incident, which happened when he was serving as a Royal Marine sergeant with Plymouth-based 42 Commando. 

  14. Parkes unable to commit to Albion

    Brent Pilnick

    BBC Sport

    Dan Parkes says he was unable to balance his role as head coach of Plymouth Albion with his non-rugby commitments. 

    Parkes has quit as Albion boss after just five months in charge at the Brickfields. 

    Dan Parkes

    "I've realised that the job requires more time and commitment than I am able to give as I have also got a business to run," Parkes told BBC South West. 

     "I've loved my time as coach at the club and I'm happy that I've been able to assemble a good squad of local lads who have performed well this season. I wish the players and the club the best of luck for the rest of the season and look forward to hopefully seeing the Albion back in the Championship in the near future." 

  15. The Choir: Asperger's syndrome man 'an example to others'

    Johnny O'Shea

    BBC News Online

    An autism support charity says a man with Asperger's syndrome who is part of a television competition-winning choir is an example to others with similar conditions.

    Michael Luya. Pic: BBC/Twenty Twenty

    Twenty-two-year-old Michael Luya, a member of Exeter Univeristy's Semi-Toned, who won Gareth Malone's latest series of The Choir, was praised for singing an emotional solo of Candle in the Wind in the BBC Two competiton's semi-final.

    Clare Cox, from the National Autistic Society, said: "Many autistic performers tell us that they are happiest and most confident when they are on stage entertaining an audience.

    "By demonstrating his musical and performance skills in such a high-profile competition, Michael will undoubtedly inspire more young autistic people to have the confidence to follow his example."

    You can watch the the final here.

  16. Christmas decoration ban: 'Over-interpretation of rules'

    BBC Radio Devon

    A resident in a council-run property which has been banned from putting up Christmas decorations up in communal areas thinks it's an "over-interpretation of the rules".

    Christmas wreath

    East Devon Council has banned putting wreaths and other decorations in communal areas. The authority said festive decorations were a fire hazard and it wanted to keep residents safe. 

    David Barter, who lives in Dray Court in Exmouth, said: "I feel that using fire resistant decorations, I don't see that there is any problem at all."

  17. Health workers asked to prevent hospital admissions

    BBC Radio Cornwall

    Health workers in Cornwall are being asked to provide extra services to try and deal with a system under extreme pressure. 

    A letter from Cornwall Council to a health professional - leaked to the BBC - explains that many people currently do not have a care package to allow them to be discharged from hospital, causing bed blocking.

    Workers have been asked for additional help to provide care and support to prevent hospital admissions.

  18. Hospital alerts changed from colours to numbers

    Andrew Segal

    Local Live

    The Royal Cornwall Hospital has been put on a Level Four alert - formerly known as Black Alert - as a result of winter pressure on services. 

    A hospital spokesman said the ratings of alert nationally had been changed from colours to letters, but added that the hospital was "at the highest level of pressure and demand on services right now".

    Royal Cornwall Hospital sign

    The newly designated levels are now:

    • One - formerly Green
    • Two - formerly Amber
    • Three - formerly Red
    • Four - formerly Black