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Coroner's safety call after death of Luton man who fell down hole in street

A coroner has called for safety improvements after the death of a football fan who fell head first into a hole in the pavement.

Father-of-two Matthew Wilmot was just yards from his Luton home when it happened, as he walked back from watching the FA Cup final at a pub last year.

The inquest heard he was drunk but concerns about unsecured barriers and that the hole wasn't covered will be passed on to the contractors.

"They were never secured properly. I'm happy that they've mentioned that. It's what we've always said from day one. It could have been a totally different outcome."

– Tania Banks, Matthew's partner
Matthew Wilmot died just yards from his Luton home. Credit: .

The inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death, saying Mr Wilmot fell into an open excavation with unsecured barriers.

Coroner Ian Pears said he will expressing his concerns to the contractors working on behalf of water company Affinity Water, which was carrying out the work.

“Mr Wilmot’s death was a sad and tragic accident and our thoughts are with his family and friends.

“Each year, Affinity Water and our contractors undertake thousands of excavations to maintain the network of water pipes supplying water to 1.4 million homes and businesses in the south east of England.

“We are committed to ensuring, and expect those working on our behalf to ensure, that the public are protected at all times by following national standards for the fencing and signage of utility works.”

– Affinity Water spokesperson

Final Toys R Us stores to close by April 24th

Toys R Us has announced that all its remaining 75 stores will close by April 24th

Final Toys R Us stores to close by April 24th Credit: PA Wire

Here is list of the final store closures in our region:

  • Basildon - Sat 21st
  • Bedford - Sat 21st
  • Harlow - Sun 22nd
  • Ipswich - Mon 23rd
  • Luton - Mon 23rd
  • Milton Keynes - Sun 22nd
  • Northampton - Mon 23rd
  • Northampton Weston Favell - Sat 21st
  • Norwich - Tue 24th
  • Peterborough - Sun 22nd
  • Stevenage - Thu 19th
  • Thurrock - Fri 20th

The closures will mean the loss of more than 2,000 jobs.

The toy chain collapsed in February and insolvency specialist Moorfields has been selling off the retailer's stock at knockdown prices.

"We are grateful for the hard work of everybody at Toys R Us during this extremely difficult and challenging time. We are working closely with the 2,000 employees affected by the closures to ensure they receive the support they need for redundancy and other compensatory payments."

– Simon Thomas, joint administrator at Moorfields

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Driver in hospital following Luton double bus crash

Luton bus crash Credit: ITV News

A driver of one of the buses involved in yesterday's double bus crash is receiving treatment in hospital.

Two buses were involved in a head-on collision on New Bedford Road, Luton yesterday afternoon (April 10).

Eight people were brought to hospital and bus company Grant Palmer Ltd said one of their drivers is still receiving treatment in hospital.

They also said they will fully support the investigation into the crash "with the information and technology we have available."

Centrebus, the other bus company involved, said: "We send our best wishes to those injured in the incident along with a speedy recovery."

"The thoughts of all the staff at GPL, and many of our customers, are with him (the driver).

"We are also mindful that some passengers on the buses required treatment at hospital, and wish them well."

– Dave Shelley, Director Grant Palmer Ltd

Thirteen injured after Luton bus crash

Luton bus crash Credit: ITV News

Thirteen people have been taken to hospital after a head-on crash between two buses in Luton. One man is in a critical condition.

Emergency services also freed two people who were trapped.

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital have asked people to avoid using A&E in for non life-threatening illness while they "assist those who need urgent help."

The section of road will stay closed while the two busses involved are removed.

It happened on at the Mill Street area of New Bedford Road in Luton at around 4 pm this afternoon (April 10).

New Bedford Road has been closed and police have asked people to avoid the area.

Emergency services, including the air ambulance, are on the scene.

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Romanian men jailed for Luton airport pick-pocketing spree

Niculae Ion ( left) and Niculae Avram have been jailed Credit: Bedfordshire police

Two men from Romania who stole £40,000 by pick-pocketing businessmen travelling through Luton and Heathrow airports have been jailed.

21 year old Niculae Ion and 46 year old Niculae Avram were sentenced to three years and four months each for stealing cash and credit cards.

The men admitted six high-value thefts, following an investigation led by Bedfordshire Police’s Airport Policing Unit.

Two offences were committed at London Luton Airport and four at terminals four and five at London Heathrow Airport with the stolen goods totalling over £40,000 in cash.

The investigation started in October 2017 when a businessman travelling the through the airport reported that his travel wallet containing over £3,000 in cash had been taken. Officers received reports that another victim had had a credit card stolen, which had then been used a number of times.

"We are obviously glad that both have been given custodial sentences for their offences: this is the most substantial sentence either man has received in any country and it reiterates our commitment to bringing such offenders to justice. These men are highly skilled pickpockets, with none of the victims having any idea where or when they had been targeted. They had deliberately targeted transport hubs where their victims were vulnerable to their skills."

– PC Niall Hamshere

Imam speaks out after being shot in Luton

Imam shot in Bury Park Credit: ITV Anglia
Police cordon after Portland Road shooting Credit: ITV Anglia

An Imam in Luton has been talking about the moment he chased after a car armed with just a brick, after a gunman sitting on the back seat of the vehicle turned a shotgun on him.

It happened moments after he left the Masjid al Madani Mosque in Bury Park following Thursday night prayers last week.

The 47 year old married father of a young son said he was on his way home just before 10pm when the black BMW pulled up in Portland Road, he thought to let him cross over.

But moments later a gunman on the back seat of the car fired a shotgun from out of the window. Two shots missed but then a third hit him.

After the shooting the Imam tried to chase the car as it made its getaway and a second man was then shot by the gunman in the same road.

Two men from Luton aged 30 and 32 have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and remain in custody.

The Imam who has asked not to be identified has been speaking about the attack.

I had been at the mosque on Thursday night and had just finished taking prayers. I had just left and was making my way along Portland Road going home. It had been a long day and I was looking forward to getting home and relaxing. I thought the driver had stopped to let me cross. I had stepped into the road, but then the driver started reviving the engine. I stopped in front of the car turned to say what are you doing. He got a bit vexed by that and that’s when I saw the passenger on the back seat pull out a shotgun to show me. Words were exchanged and that’s when a shot was fired at me which missed. So did a second shot and it was a third shot that hit me although at that moment I didn’t know it.

– Imam

The Imam said it was only when passers by and local residents came to his aid that he realised his arm was bleeding and he had been shot.

People came up to me and said you are bleeding and that’s when I saw my arm and the blood

– Imam

He was taken to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital for treatment and says it was only when he was there that he found out a second man had been shot and wounded by the gunman.

He says he thought five shots had rung out on Thursday evening from the car and said the occupants could have been armed with more than weapon.

There is a lot of concern in the community, people are infuriated by what happened as you would expect and I had to present myself to Friday Prayers at the Mosque to reassure everyone and calm everyone and to tell them the police were dealing with the situation. Who goes round shooting at people like this? They are cowards. I wasn't targeted, it was just random, it’s madness

– Imam

Police say the second man who was shot remains in hospital with serious injuries.

The two men arrested are from Luton and were arrested on Friday at Blundell Road in the town, on suspicion of attempted murder.

We are treating this as an isolated incident, but are continuing to appeal for information that could help our ongoing investigation. Anyone with information is asked to use our online reporting tool or call 101 quoting Operation Flemish. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

– Detective Inspector Craig Laws, Bedfordshire Police
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