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  1. Updates for Friday, 28 April 2017
  2. Mother 'feels responsible' for daughter's grooming
  3. Schoolgirl dies after taking lethal drugs cocktail
  4. 30-tonne haystack fire takes nearly four hours to control

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Essex Live signing off

That's it for our live updates for the day - and for the week.

If you're just joining us, scroll down to find out what's been happening across the county.

We'll leave you with this bright and sunny photo taken in Manningtree - let's hope the weather is kind over the bank holiday weekend.

Whatever you're doing, have a great time - we'll be back at 08:00 on Tuesday.


The bank holiday weather forecast

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

Apart from a few isolated showers, tonight will be mostly dry with clear spells.

Temperatures could fall as low as 3C (37F) although they'll rise by the end of the night.

Weather graphic for 05:00 Saturday

A largely fine and dry day tomorrow, with sunny spells and just the chance of an isolated shower.

Temperatures rising to 14C (57F) - although it could be a little bit warmer in the best of the sunshine.

Another dry day on Sunday, although cloud will increase from the south west later... rain isn't expected until the evening.

As for bank holiday Monday... it's still uncertain, but potentially we could have some rain, followed by sunshine and showers, with temperatures hitting 17C (63F).

Guilty verdict 'a warning to other drivers'

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

A detective has warned motorists to rest and take breaks when travelling long distances after a lorry driver was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

As we've reported, a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court found Roger Sharratt, 52, of Bagots Oak in Staffordshire, guilty of two counts of the offence.

Geoffrey Mills, 53, and Eleanor Joy Mills, 45, were killed in the collision which happened on the M11 near Harlow in May 2014.

The court heard Sharratt was driving at 55mph (89kph) using cruise control and failed to react to the slowing traffic as he was likely to have been asleep. 

He had only slept for three to four hours the night before the collision, it was heard.

Det Insp Scott Egerton said: "Although this has been a complex case involving medical experts, Mr Sharratt drove dangerously. 

"He was in charge of a heavy goods vehicle and fell asleep. 

"This case must serve as a warning to all drivers of the need to rest and take breaks when driving long distances. 

"Mr Sharratt failed to do this and caused the most serious of crashes."

Man guilty of double-death M11 pile-up

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

A lorry driver who fell asleep at the wheel has been found guilty of causing a couple's death in a crash on the M11.

The crash scene from 15 May

Roger Sharratt, 52, of Bagots Oak in Staffordshire, had denied two counts of causing death by dangerous driving in May 2014.

Geoffrey Mills, 53, and Eleanor Joy Mills, 45, were killed in the collision which happened near Harlow.

The court heard Sharratt was driving a lorry northbound along the M11 when he went into the back of a black Jaguar XF car.

The Jaguar then collided with a silver Toyota Auris, pushing it under the back of a horsebox containing five horses.

The Toyota, carrying Mr and Mrs Mills, burst into flames and further collided with a white Vauxhall. 

Sharratt, who was found guilty by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court today, will be sentenced on 2 June.

New-look station is officially opened

A multi-million pound upgrade to Ingatestone station has been officially completed.

Ingatestone station
Greater Anglia

The £2.4m scheme has seen the restoration and repairs to station buildings and platform canopies. 

A new waiting room has been installed, the toilets have been improved and both platforms have been resurfaced and repaired, including widening them in places and improving the drainage.

The new-look station was opened by members of the Railway Heritage Trust and Greater Anglia.

Profits boost at Co-op

The region's biggest independent retailer has seen profits rise after investing heavily in its stores.

The East of England Co-op has 120 shops in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.  

However, the group also saw its pay bill rise after the National Living Wage was increased.

Spokesman Doug Field says they estimate it will cost them nearly £4m over four years.

But we're an ethical retailer and we're paying the National Living Wage regardless of age to all our employees, including the under 25s who comprise 25% of our workforce."

Doug FieldEast of England Co-Op
Essex Police badge

A former teacher at an all girls school is acquitted of sexual assault, but admits one charge involving indecent images.

Read more

Car park to make way for new housing

A city car park will close in a month's time to make way for new housing.

Wharf Road car park

Wharf Road car park, near the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford, will close on 28 May. 

The brownfield site had been earmarked by Chelmsford City Council for regeneration for the past 13 years while it was used as a car park. 

Taylor Wimpey is set to build a development of 421 new homes, known as Chelmer Waterside.

The plans were given the go-ahead last month. 

Blues lodge fresh plans for new stadium

Fresh plans for Southend United Football Club's new stadium are to be lodged today.

Fossetts Farm

Blues chairman Ron Martin said it is hoped the move will be completed within two years.

The club was first given permission to build the 22,000-seater facility back in 2008. 

Mr Martin told last night's annual meeting that Sainsbury's - a development partner in the original plans - is no longer involved in the scheme.

The plans are being lodged with Southend Borough Council.

Witness appeal after car damaged and driver punched

A driver has been assaulted and his car damaged in an attack in Billericay.

Officers have just released details of the incident which happened nine days ago.

The victim, a 52-year-old man, was driving in a grey Renault Megane on the High Street shortly after 17:00 on 19 April, when a scooter rider kicked the vehicle several times, causing dents and kicking the wing mirror off.

Further along the street, when the vehicle was in stationary traffic at the Radford Way junction, the scooter rider continued to kick the car, and a second scooter rider then pulled in front of it.

The victim was punched in the face by one of the riders when he got out of the car to speak to them.

The scooters, which had earlier been riding in convoy with a third person, then rode off.

Disruption on the trains has ended

Greater Anglia says its service should be back to normal, after problems on the line at Witham.

Disruption caused by trespassers on the track earlier today between Shenfield and #Witham has now ended. JS

Mother 'feels responsible' for daughter's grooming

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A mother from Essex has said her daughter was manipulated so much by a man who groomed then abused her that she felt responsible for what happened.

Generic abuse

Laura - not her real name - told BBC Essex that with hindsight all the signs were there. 

"My daughter stopped eating so [there were] issues around anorexia, self-harming, which I didn't know until she then came out and was telling me that that was her release," she said.

"[There was] locking herself away a lot, [but] lots of teenagers do that, they go in their bedrooms and shut the doors."

Conservative MP's aide denies rape

An aide for the Conservative MP Craig Mackinley has denied raping a woman at the Palace of Westminster last October. 

Samuel Armstrong, who is 23 and from Danbury in Essex, has been suspended as chief of staff to the South Thanet MP. 

He appeared at Southwark Crown Court this morning - his trial has been set for December.

Saturday's League football round-up

BBC Essex

Southend United defender Adam Thompson (pictured) says no one's more disappointed about their recent form than the players.

Adam Thompson
Getty Images

The Blues go into Sunday's final League One match of the regular season against Bury having lost four of their last five. They need a win - and hope Millwall don't beat Bristol Rovers - in order to reach the play-offs.

Meanwhile, Colchester United coach John McGreal says his players can't get distracted during tomorrow's League Two match at Leyton Orient.

The home fans at Brisbane Road are planning a protest against Orient's owners after their relegation from league football last Saturday.

The Us must win to take their play-off challenge into the final game of the season.

Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be.....


Images from the 2017 FA People's Cup
BBC Sport

....there'll be just under a hundred teams taking part in the FA People's Cup finals this weekend hoping to book their trip to Wembley.

Each of the winners in the 16 categories in the free five-a-side competition will win tickets to the FA Cup final on 27 May, where they will be presented with their trophies.

You can catch up with what's been going on in the competition here - and you'll be able to follow live coverage from the finals in Birmingham on Sunday and Monday.

Clear up of 'worst fly-tipping incident' is under way

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Rubbish which was fly-tipped on a field near a church in Laindon will start to be cleared up today.

Staff from Basildon council are working to clear the land adjoining St Nicholas Church. 

Fly-tipped rubbish
Chris Jackman

It is hoped the work will be completed by the end of the day. Gary Edwards, from the council, said: "The amount of waste left behind in St Nicholas Lane, totalling between 30 and 40 tonnes, is among the worst fly-tipping incidents we have known in the borough."Fly-tipping is an environmental crime and dumping on this scale will take significant time and resources to clear." Mr Edwards says the cost of the clear-up is likely be "between £6,000 and £7,000 of public money".  

Quantity of ecstasy 'could have killed teen' on its own

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

An inquest into the death of 15-year-old Sherie-Lea James, who died after taking a cocktail of drugs, heard the quantity of ecstasy in the cocktail, which also contained cocaine, was such that it could have killed her on its own.

Det Chief Insp Stephen Jennings, from Essex Police, said: "The levels of the MDMA were considerably higher but that, with the combination of the cocaine, was the cause of death."

Essex area coroner, Eleanor McGann, said: "This is very sad. A young girl who just thought she was enjoying herself - but sadly there are many young people who take these drugs thinking it's just a bit of fun." 

She recorded a conclusion that Sherie-Lea's death was drug-related.

Sherie-Lea's mother and one of her brothers attended the inquest but made no comment afterwards. 

Ms McGann told them she hoped they would be able to remember how Sherie-Lea was in life rather than "just thinking about the sad circumstances of her death".

Schoolgirl died after taking lethal drugs cocktail

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

A schoolgirl died after taking a lethal cocktail of ecstasy and cocaine at a party in South Ockendon, an inquest has heard.

Sherie-Lea James, 15, who survived liver cancer as a toddler, went into cardiac arrest after taking the drugs, Essex Coroner's Court in Chelmsford was told.

She was taken to Basildon University Hospital where she died last September.

A post-mortem examination concluded that she died of MDMA intoxication, more commonly known as ecstasy, with cocaine.

Det Chief Insp Stephen Jennings, from Essex Police, said nobody had been charged with any offence leading to Sherie-Lea's death.

Two people were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter but face no further action.

Disruption on trains

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

There are delays on the trains around Witham, with all lines currently blocked.

View more on twitter

Greater Anglia say to expect cancellations, delays of up to 90 minutes or revised services.

Disruption is expected until 16:00. 

Mother of abuse victim welcomes Coronation Street story

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

An Essex mum, who claims her daughter was abused after being groomed, has said it is useful for the situation to be shown in dramas such as Coronation Street.

The soap has been looking at the issue through the character of Bethany Platt and her older boyfriend, Nathan.

Laura - not her real name - said: "You never know how you're going to react to that kind of news and seeing that drama - [it] doesn't always portray how it actually comes out but everybody's different and I suppose the more it's seen the better." 

Essex Fire warns of Brightlingsea training exercise

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Essex Fire Service is reassuring people in Brightlingsea, that they shouldn't worry if they see a lot of fire engines in the town today - or smoke coming from a boat - because it's a planned training exercise.

It's taking place between 11am and midday.

View more on twitter

Carys Hammond death: Police appeal for dashcam footage

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Officers say they're looking for any drivers who may have recorded dashcam footage in the fortnight before a fatal crash near Mistley.

Carys Hammond

Carys Hammond,18, from Bradfield, died on 17 April when her car left the road at Brickman's Hill, between Bradfield and Mistley, and hit a bridge.

Officers want to speak to anyone who drove through the location prior to the collision and has footage, or anyone who has recently been involved in a collision and struck the bridge. 

30-tonne haystack fire takes nearly four hours to control

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Fire crews in Saffron Walden have said it took them nearly four hours to get a fire involving 30 tonnes of hay under control.

Haystack fire
Essex fire

They were called to Nettleditch in Littlebury at about 15:30 on Thursday. The blaze was contained by about 19:00 but Essex Fire said it would continue to monitor the burn until it was safe to leave.

There are no reports of any injuries.

Severe accident: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe accident, after J28 for A1023 Brook Street.

M25 Greater London - Stationary traffic on M25 anticlockwise after J28, A1023 (Brook Street Roundabout), because of a rolling road-block and an accident involving lorry and car.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Laindon fly-tipping: 'We need to prosecute'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Officials say they are determined to catch those responsible after a large amount of rubbish was left at a church by a group of travellers.

Thousands of items have been left in front of St Nicholas Church in Laindon.

Rubbish in front of St Nicholas Church in Laindon.
Chris Jackman

Basildon Council has now confirmed it is footing the bill for the work and officials have said it could take weeks to clear.  

Andrew Barnes, a borough councillor for Laindon, said: "It appears a group of travellers got access to the site on Friday night - at some point during their stay before the eviction notice was served they've dumped a large quantity of rubbish.

"We know who these people are, we've served an eviction notice, we need to use the powers that we have to prosecute."      

Huge flytipping site clean-up under way

A major clean-up has been taking place after a massive amount of rubbish was left in fields in Laindon. Council officers and Essex Police have been at the scene near St Nicholas Church. 

Residents and councillors say the rubbish was left on land by a "convoy of caravans" which have since left the site. 

Car parts, mattresses and bags of building materials were among the items dumped. The bill for the clean-up is expected to be picked up by Basildon Council.  

Major clean-up under way after huge amount of rubbish left in Laindon
A "convoy of caravans" left a large amount of rubbish in Essex.

Severe disruption: M25 Essex anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex anti-clockwise severe disruption, between J26 for A121 and J25 for A10.

M25 Essex - One lane closed and slow traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey) and J25, A10 (Enfield), because of a broken down van.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Weather: A dry, sunny day ahead

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

A bright but chilly start.

Through the day, there will be good spells of sunshine with most places staying dry.

The cloud will tend to increase by the afternoon.

Highs of 13C (55F).  

Weather forecast

Keep up-to-date through the day on the BBC Weather website.

Welcome to BBC Essex Live

Hello and welcome to another day with the Essex Live team.

From now until 18:00, we'll be here with the latest news updates from across the county.

It's a bit chilly but the sun is bright.. the weather forecast follows shortly.

Severe disruption: M25 Essex clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex clockwise severe disruption, between J31 for A1306 and J1A for A206.

M25 Essex - Heavy traffic on M25 QE2 Bridge clockwise between J31, A1306 (West Thurrock) and J1a, A206 (Swanscombe), because of an earlier broken down vehicle. All lanes have been re-opened.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe accident, at J25 for A10 affecting J27 for M11.

M25 Greater London - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M25 anticlockwise at J25, A10 (Enfield), because of an accident involving car. Congestion to J27 M11.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Our live coverage across the day

That's all from our live updates for the day, we'll be back again tomorrow from 08:00.

Here's a brief recap of some of the stories we've been covering:

  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visits Harlow
  • Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh's contract is extended for another four years
  • An appeal is launched after a dog was found tied to a dustbin and dumped

Have a great evening.

Overnight weather: Chance of some showers

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

This evening will be rather cloudy with some rain or drizzle. 

Increased cloud cover will bring the risk of some showers overnight, but as skies clear later, temperatures will drop to 0C (32F), giving the risk of frost and icy patches.

Friday's weather map

Largely dry with sunny spells on Friday after a chilly start. Top temperature: 12C (54F).

Major clean-up after rubbish is left at church site

Victoria Polley

BBC Essex

A major clean-up operation has started after a large amount of rubbish was left at a church after a convoy of travellers' caravans left the area.

Waste outside St Nicholas Church in Laindon
Chris Jackman

Thousands of items have been left in front of St Nicholas Church in Laindon.

Eleven caravans and a number of vans moved onto land on St Nicholas Lane, opposite the junction of Ballards Walk, on Friday morning. They have since moved on.  

Rubbish left includes car parts and bags of building materials.

Andrew Barnes, a borough councillor for Laindon, said: "It is disgusting that it has been left in that state. 

"I understand that travellers have a culture to travel but there is no excuse for leaving it like this. 

"I would say [to the perpetrators] you have done a great deal of damage to our community and undermined the relationship between yourselves and our residents. 

"To leave somewhere in that state is going to upset residents - myself included." 

You can hear more about this story on BBC Look East and BBC Essex tomorrow morning. 

'Bucket list' of things to do in Essex

The county's tourism board has come up with a "bucket list" of 20 things to do in Essex. 

Orsea Island
Visit Essex

Here are the first five suggestions on Visit Essex's list:

  1. Osea Island: Essex has 35 islands in the county and Osea is consider a "gem" and "idyllic get-away".
  2. Mersea and Maldon oysters: Mersea Island is where the county's native Mersea oysters are harvested from – try them with a little vinegar and tabasco. Maldon oysters are just as good too, and served in top restaurants all over the world.
  3. Wilkins & Sons of Tiptree: Essex is home to the famous preserve makers Wilkin & Sons of Tiptree - and you havn’t truly experienced an Afternoon Tea unless it’s been served with their Little Scarlet strawberry jam.
  4. Chelmsford City Racecourse: The only racecourse in the UK with an all-weather track, and plenty of indoor viewing areas if it rains or gets a bit chilly. 
  5. Lee Valley White Water Centre: Ever wanted to know what it feels like to be an Olympian?  Well you can pretend to be one when you ‘ride the rapids’ at the White Water Centre at Lee Valley.

Maldon oysters
Visit Essex

Essex will "support the majority" after a new city-based eight-team Twenty20 tournament was given the go-ahead.

Read more

Boy says thanks to team who helped save his life

A five-year-old boy and his family have thanked those who helped save his life when he had a heart attack. 

Alfie Hustwayte with the ambulance crew
East of England Ambulance Trust

Alfie Hustwayte, of Lucas Avenue in Chelmsford, was at home on 29 December when his health began to deteriorate suddenly, and he was coming in and out of consciousness. 

His mother Sara called an ambulance which arrived within eight minutes.

When emergency medical technician Debbie Quirk and student paramedic Elliot Jones arrived, Alfie had stopped breathing completely.

Alfie was taken to Broomfield Hospital before he was transferred to St Mary’s Hospital in London.

He has since recovered and has now met the people who saved his life.

His mum Sara said: “It means a lot to me to be able to thank them all in person, I couldn’t have asked for a better level of service and care. The affection we were all shown on that day and the weeks after meant the world to me.”

Ms Quirk said: “Alfie’s story is a great example of everyone’s effective teamwork and in his case it saved his life.”