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  1. John McGreal is named Colchester United's new first-team coach
  2. UKIP councillor suspended by party following allegations he sent offensive emails from his council account
  3. Man admits GBH after hand 'cut off' in Loughton attack
  4. Updates on Wednesday, 4 May 2016
  5. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume on Thursday at 08:00

Live Reporting

By Jack Warren

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

That's all from us today at Essex Live - thanks for joining us.

We'll be back in the morning from 08:00 for the latest news across the country. 

Enjoy the sunshine.

John McGreal on 'great time' to join relegated Colchester United

Glenn Speller

BBC Essex Sport

Colchester's newly-appointed first-team coach John McGreal has told me he feels like now is the right time to step-up.

Glenn with John McGreal

The 43-year-old former Tranmere and Ipswich defender replaces Kevin Keen, who left last week after the club's relegation to League Two was confirmed.  

"I feel like I've done my apprenticeship as I've been here six or seven years coaching. I think with the new process that we have at the top it's a great time to take the club forward", he said.

Five tonnes of straw destroyed in Margaretting fire

More than five tonnes of straw has been destroyed in a fire near Chelmsford. 

Church lane

Essex Fire and Rescue says it was called to Church Lane in Margaretting at about 14:30 this afternoon.

The blaze, which happened inside a building, was extinguished 30 minutes later. There are no reports of any injuries.

Essex draw with Worcestershire

Essex's County Championship match against Worcestershire at New Road has ended in a draw. 

Alastair Cook
Getty Images

Essex finished on 95 for two in their second innings, with Alastair Cook unbeaten on 48.

You can follow reaction to the day's play here

In the news: Colchester United appoint John McGreal as first-team coach... Kitten found taped inside shoebox

Nick Alliker

BBC Essex

Here are the top stories for Essex: 

  • Colchester United have appointed their under-21 boss John McGreal as the club's new first-team coach
  • A six-week-old kitten has been found taped inside a shoebox in South Ockendon, the RSCPA says
  • A Thurrock UKIP councillor has been suspended by his party following allegations that offensive emails were sent to residents from his council account

Murder accused Brett Rogers 'once left father with broken eye'

A father has told jurors how his son, who is accused of murdering his mother, once left him with a broken eye socket.

Murder scene

Brett Rogers, 23, allegedly knifed Gillian Phillips, 54, and David Oakes, 60, dozens of times in a fatal attack at her home in Stansted Mountfitchet in July last year.

Former milkman Mr Rogers, of Stansted Mountfitchet, denies two counts of murder. The trial at Chelmsford Crown Court continues. 

Weather: Fine with sunshine

BBC Weather

This afternoon will continue to be fine with plenty of sunshine and light winds. The sun may turn periodically hazy as some higher level cloud rolls over. 

Maximum temperature: 17C (63F).

Weather map for Essex

Stay up-to-date with the latest forecast here.

Kitten found taped inside a shoebox at bus stop

A six-week-old kitten has been found taped inside a shoebox in South Ockendon, the RSCPA says.


The black and white feline, who has been named Loubi, was discovered by a member of the public at a bus stop in South Road on Thursday.

The animal charity says Loubi is in a "very good condition" and will be rehomed in due course. 

How Twitter reacted to Colchester's new appointment

The news that John McGreal has been appointed the new first-team coach for Colchester United has had a mixed reaction on Twitter.


xdiamondgeezer7 tweeted: "Totally bad move for me shows no ambition".

Kieran wrote: "Very predictable appointment playing it safe with internal appointment we need new direction someone like Teddy Sheringham".

Finally, Samantha said: "Got to say I wish McGreal the best as our manager and hope he can get @ColU_Official back into league one ASAP".

Fan's view: 'We don't have a choice'

Colchester United fan Ian Hipkin told us earlier he was hoping that former Hartlepool manager Ronnie Moore would become the next Colchester United boss. 

Following the announcement this afternoon, he said: "We don't have a choice so there's no point getting angry over things you can't control."

Signing 2

What we know so far about Colchester's new first-team coach

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

If you're just joining us, here's what we know so far about John McGreal's appointment as Colchester United's first-team coach.

  • McGreal has signed an undisclosed-length contract and will be assisted by Steve Ball
  • The 43-year-old will take charge after Colchester's final League One game on Sunday
  • Chairman Robbie Cowling described the appointment as his "first choice"

John McGreal and chairman pose for photo opportunity

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

A signing wouldn't be official without the mandatory "on the pitch holding a shirt" photo opportunity.

John McGreal/Robbie Cowling

Steve Ball named Colchester's new assistant manager

Steve Ball will leave his role as manager at Maldon & Tiptree to assist new first-team coach John McGreal at Colchester, the club has announced. 

View more on twitter

'Not a positive move at all'

Mick is not impressed with Colchester's announcement - what do you think?

View more on twitter

Send us a tweet, email, or message on Facebook

Who is John McGreal?

John McGreal has been announced as Colchester United's new first-team coach, but who is he?

John Mcgreal
Getty Images
  • Currently works as Colchester's under-21s coach
  • Played as a centre half for the likes of Ipswich, Burnley and Tranmere Rovers
  • Ended his professional playing career in 2007

It's not clear who will take charge of Colchester for Sunday's game...

McGreal: A great time to come in and get Colchester moving

John McGreal says he wants to get Colchester United moving in the "right direction".

It's obviously a negative to get relegated, but I think it's a great time to come in and get Colchester United moving in the right direction again."

John McGrealColchester United first-team coach

McGreal was Cowling's 'first choice'

Glenn Speller

BBC Essex Sport

Colchester United chairman Robbie Cowling says John McGreal was his "first choice" to be the club's new first-team coach. 

Cowling added he felt "more comfortable" than with the previous appointment of former manager Kevin Keen. 

McGreal to take charge after Sunday's game

Glenn Speller

BBC Essex Sport

Colchester's new manager John McGreal will take charge of the side after Sunday's game with Rochdale. 

The announcement came at a press conference where McGreal sat alongside chairman Robbie Cowling and director of football Tony Humes.


The moment John McGreal was revelead to the press

John McGreal appointed as new Colchester United first-team coach

Colchester United have appointed John McGreal as their new first-team coach.

John McGreal
Colchester United

The 43-year-old former Ipswich and Tranmere defender replaces Kevin Keen, who left last week following the club's relegation to League Two.

McGreal becomes the third recent boss to step up to the first team having previously worked in the youth set up, following Joe Dunne and Tony Humes.

BreakingColchester United name new boss

John McGreal has been named as the new Colchester United first-team coach.

Fan's view: We need a manager who isn't afraid to make his feelings known

Samantha is hoping Colchester United appoint a manager with some Football League experience.

Going on our past few seasons I think it's clear we need a manager with some Football League experience. Believe we have had managers in who are on a "learning curve" and it has finally cost us League One status. We need a manger who isn't afraid to make it known his feelings with regards to player performances."

Samantha BeniceColchester fan

Colchester United press conference imminent

Glenn Speller

BBC Essex Sport

The scene is set... We're ready for the Colchester United press conference, which is due to start at 14:00.

Colchester United press conference

Fan's view: I'd prefer an external appointment

Who would you like to see appointed as Colchester United's new manager? 

For my husband and I we would prefer an external appointment, someone who can carry on with the good work Keen started. Someone who appreciates the fans and not divides the club and fans like we feel Humes did. The Cowley brothers or Kem Izzet possibly."

Shelley MoulesColchester fan

Get involved with the discussion via email, Twitter, or Facebook

Will Colchester appoint internally or externally?

Ben Fryer

BBC Essex sport

The majority of Colchester United fans got what they wanted when chairman Robbie Cowling appointed an external candidate, with the hiring of Kevin Keen in December.

Colchester United
Getty Images

But with Keen lasting just over four months in the role, and the speed in which the U’s are ready to announce an appointment, the indication this time is that Cowling is hiring from within the club.

It's what he did with the appointments of Joe Dunne and Tony Humes in recent years.

Current under-21’s coach John McGreal is the overwhelming favourite to take on the job, with current caretaker David Wright also a possibility.

Fan's view: Ronnie Moore would be an ideal candidate

Do you agree with Ian that Ronnie Moore is an "ideal candidate" for the Colchester job?

Robbie Cowling wants a cheap "yes man" who will agree to anything he says. We need an old experienced league manager to guide us through a tricky League Two campaign. If you're asking me, Ronnie Moore would be an ideal candidate."

Ian HipkinColchester fan

Colchester United manager: The main contenders

If you go by what the bookies think, it seems as if Colchester under-21s coach John McGreal will be announced the new manager this afternoon.

Betting odds
Getty Images

Although if you were looking to put a pound on, betting on most sites has now been suspended.

Colchester manager announcement expected at 14:00

Glenn Speller

BBC Essex Sport

I'm at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this afternoon, as Colchester are expected to name their new manager within the hour.

Col U ground
Getty Images

We'll have live updates throughout the afternoon, along with analysis and reaction from our sports team.

As ever, we love hearing what you think. You can send us an email, a tweet, or visit our Facebook page.

Your pictures: Essex basks in glorious sunshine

BBC Weather Watchers

No this is not a Mediterranean marina - it's Wivenhoe, and was sent to us by BBC Weather Watcher East Egg

BBC Weather Watchers/East Egg

If you're out enjoying the sunshine you can share your pictures with us via email, Twitter, or Facebook

In the news: Colchester to name new manager... UKIP councillor suspended over offensive email allegations

Nick Alliker

BBC Essex

Here are the top stories from Essex this lunch time:

  • Colchester United will name their new manager at a press conference at 14:00
  • A Thurrock UKIP councillor has been suspended by his party following allegations about offensive emails
  • Essex is forecast to be hotter than Ibiza by the end of the week

Teenage boys robbed by three men in Clacton

Two teenage boys in Clacton have been robbed by three men, one of whom was believed to have been carrying a knife.

Vista Road

Essex Police says the victims, aged 15 and 16, were forced to hand over valuables including a bag and a mobile phone in Vista Road on Monday afternoon. 

All three suspects were described as white, aged in their 20s, and of medium build. They wore dark scarves over their faces.

Get involved: Basildon or Balearics?

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

We love a good chat about the weather don't we? Especially when some forecasters are predicting Essex could be hotter than Ibiza by the end of the week. 

Ibiza Town
Getty Images

Chris wrote on our Facebook page: "Leaving Gran Canaria today so the warm weather will be welcomed. May the holiday continue."

Andy said: "Costa del Canvey - ok on a good day when it's sunny!"

Meanwhile, Martin wasn't having any of it: "It will be hotter for about three days, wow."

Army and Navy warning about flyover

If you're travelling over the Army and Navy one-lane flyover in Chelmsford, you are being warned to check the signs to ensure the carriageway is open.

Army and Navy Flyover

At the moment the direction of traffic is changed at fixed times. However, from Monday Essex County Council says it will trial a system to change the direction depending on the flow of traffic.

It's hoped the new system will "improve the effectiveness of the flyover for drivers".

Who are your Essex police and crime commissioner candidates?

The five candidates for the Essex police and crime commissioner role are canvassing for one final day ahead of tomorrow's election. But who are they? 

The Police and Crime Commissioner candidates
  • Roger Hirst - Conservative
  • Kevin McNamara - Liberal Democrats
  • Bob Spink - UKIP
  • Martin Terry -  Independent 
  • Chris Vince - Labour

Last month the candidates took part in a live debate. You can relive it here.

UKIP councillor suspended over offensive email allegations

Ian Puckey

BBC Essex

A Thurrock UKIP councillor has been suspended by his party following allegations that offensive emails were sent to residents from his council account. 

Councillor James Baker
Thurrock Council

Councillor James Baker, who represents East Tilbury, will now face an internal investigation by his party. Thurrock Council also says it is aware of the allegations and is looking into it.

The matter is not thought to be connected with allegations of malicious communication made about UKIP councillor and MEP Tim Aker.

Essex head for a draw against Worcestershire

Ben Fryer

BBC Essex sport

Essex are heading for a draw on day four of their County Championship match against Worcestershire. 

Essex bowling
Getty Images

The home side are 226 for five - that's still 225 behind, but with just one day's play to go.

You can follow live commentary and updates here.

Will Essex be hotter than Ibiza?

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

You may have read reports that Britain is set to bask in temperatures hotter than Ibiza towards the end of the week - but will we feel the heat here in Essex?

Southend v Ibiza

Temperatures in the county could reach 23C (73F) on Saturday and Sunday, but there will be more cloud, with the chance of the odd thundery showers, says BBC Weather presenter Kate Kinsella.

The mercury on the White Isle is set to reach the low 20s, so if you were planning a trip to the party island you may well be better off postponing for a few weeks.

Man admits GBH after hand 'cut off' in Loughton attack

A 30-year-old man has admitted causing serious injury to another man in Loughton, where it was reported his hand was cut off.


Paul Saunders, from Biggin Lane in Grays, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday. He will be sentenced on 27 May. 

Three other men from Grays, aged 19, 20, and 21, who were arrested at the time of the incident in November have been released without charge.

Travel: One lane blocked on London-bound A12