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Helen Bailey murder trial - police officer tells how he discovered her body

Helen Bailey and Ian Stewart

A police sergeant told a jury the body of murdered children's author Helen Bailey came to the surface of a cesspit at Royston inHertfordshire after he prodded the contents with a garden hoe.

Sergeant Stephen Oliphant was given the hoe by a contractor who had been asked to empty the pit beneath her garage following the arrest of her partner Ian Stewart.

The well at Helen Bailey's House Credit: Hertfordshire Police

I pushed the object into the water and realised it was an arm of a body.

The body was beneath the crust initially. Solid matter was moved away and the body came to the surface.

– Sergeant Stephen Oliphant

The body of the 51 year old author and her dog Boris were recovered in July from the garage at the large detached house she shared with her fiancé Ian Stewart in Royston, Herts. Three months earlier he had reported her missing.

Mr Stewart, 56, denies murder, preventing a lawful burial, fraud and three counts of perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues

Watch a video report by Chloe Keedy:

Cardiff City midfielder O'Sullivan joins Colchester

The 22-year-old progressed through the Academy ranks at City and made his debut for the Bluebirds back in the 2012/13 season. Credit: PA

League Two Colchester United have signed Cardiff City midfielder Tommy O'Sullivan for an undisclosed fee.

The 22-year-old has signed a contract with the U's until June 2018.

He made three appearances for Cardiff's first team after coming through the club's academy system and has also spent time on loan at Port Vale and Newport County.

O'Sullivan is the second Cardiff player to join John McGreal's side this month, following the arrival of Eli Phipps earlier this week.

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Man dies in suspected gas explosion

The bungalow after the explosion

One man has died in a suspected gas explosion at a bungalow in Eye near Peterborough.

It happened yesterday evening in Back Lane. Five five crews were called to the scene.

The bungalow after the explosion

An investigation is already underway to find the cause and a structural engineer has been called in to help make the building safe before the body can be removed.

Watch Russell Hookey's report below

Fire crew rescue cat

The cat rescue Credit: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue

A crew from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue's Wisbech station have rescued a cat which was stuck on a roof. They've been tweeting about it:

The rescued cat Credit: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue

Trial dropped against three extremists over sticker campaign

The trial of three convicted extremists from Luton over an alleged sticker campaign urging Muslims not to vote has been dropped.

Ibrahim Anderson, 39, Zaiur Rahman, 39, and Mohammed Istiak Alamgir, 37, were due to face trial next month along with a fourth man, Anees Farooq, 29, on a charge of criminal damage around east London.<

None of the defendants, were at the Old Bailey when prosecutor Guy Bowden offered no evidence as it was "not in the public interest" for the Crown to proceed.

Alamgir and Rahman are already facing jail over their involvement in a series of meetings encouraging support for Islamic State.

They were caught after a covert officer infiltrated the Luton chapter of the banned group Al-Muhajiroun (ALM) and secretly recorded speeches over 20 months.

The two men and others will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.<

Meanwhile, Muslim convert Anderson is serving a three-year sentence for trying to drum up support for IS.

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Tributes paid to man who died in fire engine accident

Mitchell Bailey Credit: Facebook

Tributes have been paid to a grandfather who was crushed to death by a fire engine which rolled on top of him while racing to a 999 call at Royston in Hertfordshire.

Mitchell Bailey, 58, was walking home from the supermarket when he was pinned to the pavement by the 12-tonne vehicle as it tipped on its side.

The father-of-three died instantly at the scene of the collision - just metres from the family home he shared with his wife Carol, 51.

A second person suffered minor injuries in the collision on Wednesday night, and was taken to hospital for treatment.

The scene of the accident in Royston

Today friends took to Facebook to pay tribute to Mr Bailey, who is believed to have worked for a chemical manufacturing firm.

Ricky Williams said: "What a man thoughts are with you Carol , Charlotte, Alyce and George.

Michael Weibel wrote: "Top bloke, will be missed a hell of alot. R.I.P mate. Thoughts with your family."

Sarah Rowe said: "Totally gobsmacked….. such a lovely man and such a lovely family."

Simon Jefferies added: "He was a top man, family oriented, will be badly missed by all."

An eyewitness, who watched the collision unfold, saw the driver of the fire engine break down in tears moments later.

The fire engine was on its way to reports of a house fire in the town when it was left on its side following the collision with the pedestrian.

Two firefighters were taken to hospital following the incident for precautionary checks.

Dons sign Barnes from Premier League champions

Harvey Barnes has become the second player to sign for MK Dons during this transfer window Credit: PA

MK Dons manager Robbie Nielson has made his second signing since joining the League One club last month.

He's brought in 19-year-old Harvey Barnes from Premier League champions Leicester on loan until the end of the season.

Barnes made his senior debut for the Foxes this season in their UEFA Champions League tie away at Porto. He's scored five times for the Under-23s this season.

He told MK Dons website: "MK Dons has got a good reputation and everyone has been very welcoming – I’m happy to be here.

It’s a big step from Under-23s football but it’s what I feel I need – I just can’t wait to get out there and start playing."

Hospital evicts man from hospital bed after two years

Credit: PA

A man has been evicted from a hospital bed after "unnecessarily" refusing to leave for more than two years.

The patient arrived at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, Norfolk, by court order in August 2014 and remained there until this year despite being deemed "fit for discharge", BBC News reports.

The hospital said it launched legal action against the man, who has not been named due to patient confidentiality, as a last resort.

A court of possession granted the order on December 1 and he was removed on January 10 and placed in accommodation in the community.

The gentleman had been occupying a bed unnecessarily at the James Paget University Hospital for more than two years – and every effort had been made to try to remedy this situation.

He repeatedly refused all offers of appropriate accommodation organised by our local authority and social care partners, despite being fit for discharge.

As a last resort, the Trust had to apply to the court to allow us to remove the gentleman from the hospital.

The decision to go to court was not taken lightly but our priority has to be considering the needs of all our patients and ensuring that our limited resources, which are under increasing pressure, are available to those who genuinely need hospital care.

We have worked with our partners in this case to ensure the gentleman continues to receive the appropriate level of care and support in the community, having left hospital.

– Director of Governance Anna Hills, James Paget University Hospitals

Cambridge United sign Blackburn defender on loan

The 19-year-old has played four times for Rovers' first team Credit: PA

League Two Cambridge United have signed defender Scott Wharton on loan from Blackburn Rovers until the end of the season.

The 19-year old made his debut in August with the Rovers against Burton and went on to score his first goal for the club in their 4-3 win over Crewe Alexandra in the EFL Cup three days later.

With the loss of Tom Dallison and Josh Coulson injured, U's manager Shaun Derry told the club website his new appointment adds defensive options.

We knew that we needed to add someone in this position because we want to have competition for places across the squad.

Scott certainly adds that competition for the centre back positions, and would allow Harry to go out on loan, whilst also bringing his own qualities to the squad. He is an up and coming defender, who is keen to learn and will provide a strong challenge to both Leon Legge and Mark Roberts.

He’s had experience of senior football this season and has developed well at Blackburn, but this is a great opportunity to pull on the shirt for Cambridge United and show his credentials.

– Shaun Derry, Cambridge United manager
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