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Woman jailed for killing elderly man in a fire

Lisa Connelly, 42, has been jailed for 12 years for manslaughter and arson after an elderly man died in Colchester. Credit: Essex Police

A woman has been jailed for manslaughter and arson after setting fire to the home of the man she claimed was her grandfather.

Fred Payne, 78, died in the fire in Colchester in September 2016.

Lisa Connelly, 42, who was not a relative, was living in his house and taking money from him to buy crack cocaine.

Police found the fire has started in a bedroom where furniture had been stacked.

Connelly admitted the offences at Chelmsford Crown Court and was sentenced to 12 years for manslaughter and eight years for arson with the terms to run concurrently.

"Fred Payne was an elderly, vulnerable man. Lisa Connelly exploited of him, inserting herself in his life, taking over his house, and stealing money on a daily basis to feed her drug addiction.

"She left Mr Payne unwell and took no action which may have saved his life. If it were not for her actions and her negligence Mr Payne would still be alive."

– Detective Chief Inspector Steve Jennings, Essex Police

Two members of the public, Anton Cook and Dale Coppin, were commended by the judge for their courage, heroism and bravery.

They tried to rescue Mr Payne and successfully rescued an elderly occupant of the flat upstairs at the address.


Man dies after Suffolk holiday camp arrest: The latest

An investigation is underway after a man from Colchester died shortly after being arrested at a Suffolk holiday park.

38-year-old Paul Gladwell was taken into police custody after an alleged fight at the Pontins holiday park in Lowestoft.

He became ill and was transferred to hospital where he later died.

Man dies following arrest at Suffolk holiday park

The incident happened at the Pontins Holiday Park. Credit: ITV News Anglia

An investigation is underway after a man from Colchester died shortly after being arrested in at a Suffolk holiday park.

38-year-old Paul Gladwell was initially held by staff at the Pontins Holiday Park in Lowestoft on Tuesday 14 February following an incident, and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of assault when police arrived.

While he was being taken to the police station, officers in the van started to become concerned for his wellbeing and called an ambulance.

He was was treated at the scene before being taken to hospital in a critical condition. He passed away today.

An investigation into what happened is now in the hands of the IPCC, who are currently speaking to witnesses and gathering CCTV footage.

Our thoughts are with the man’s relatives and friends at this difficult time.

Our investigators will be conducting a thorough enquiry into all the circumstances surrounding his interaction with the police.

– IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts

Police hunt robbers who struck twice at Colchester shop

Police are investigating two robberies at the same shop Credit: ITV Anglia

Detectives are hunting two robbers who've struck at a shop in Colchester.

A man armed with a knife entered Jan and Phil’s in Barrack Street sometime between 11.50pm on Monday January 30 and midnight.

He demanded money from staff, who contacted police, and he left empty handed.

He was described as a white man who was about 6ft 2ins tall and wore a black coat with ‘Superdry’ written in green, a light grey hooded top, grey jogging bottoms and a black scarf covering his face. He was carrying a large black holdall.

A man also entered the shop at 11.20pm on Thursday, February 2 and again took out a knife and demanded cash. But he ran off empty handed after the victim called out for assistance.

The suspect was described as a white man, between 5ft 11ins and 6ft tall, and wore grey jogging bottoms, a light grey tracksuit hooded top, a black balaclava, and black gloves. He was also carrying a large black holdall.

Police say the incidents are linked and anyone with information is asked to contact Dc Lucy Percival at Colchester CID on 101.


Driver arrested after cyclist is killed

Police have confirmed a cyclist has died following a road traffic collision in Clingoe Hill, Colchester.

Officers were called shortly before 12.05pm today, Saturday February 4, to a collision involving a car and a cyclist, a 15-year-old boy.

The teenager died at the scene. His family have been informed.

A 54-year-old man Clacton has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving and is currently in custody for questioning.

The road is currently closed between St Andrew’s Avenue and Colchester Road while emergency services are on the scene and investigations are carried out.

Drivers are asked to please avoid the area.

Family pay tribute to 'beautiful' grandmother killed in crash

Jean Childs died on the scene on the A120 at Colchester Road. Credit: Essex Police

The family of an 80-year-old grandmother killed in a car crash in Essex have paid tribute to her.

Jean Childs was driving on the A120 at Colchester Road when she was in collision with another car on 27 January. She died at the scene.

Her family say she "enjoyed life to the full" and "loved spending time with her grandsons".

"Mum was a very young and beautiful 80-year-old who enjoyed life to the full.

"She loved spending time with her grandsons, playing cards games, needle work, knitting and anything that was creative.

"She will be remembered for her beehive blonde hair style and for a being a dinner lady at Chapel Hill School for over 20 years."

– Tribute from Jean's son Gavin

Swan rescued by lifeboat team after getting stuck in river

The animal was discovered covered in mud. Credit: RSPCA

A swan had to be rescued by a lifeboat rescue team after getting stuck a river bank in Essex.

It was spotted covered in mud and looking unwell at the bank of the River Colne in Colchester.

A RSCA officer tried to free the swan, but had difficulty getting to the animal, it was on the other side of the river.

By coincidence, a lifeboat lifeboat rescue team was passing by and was able to reach it.

The RSPCA say the would not have been able to survive had it not been rescued.

“I don’t know exactly what happened to this swan but she was clearly in trouble and completely exhausted. She could barely hold her head up, she was so tired.

“She was so caked in mud she wasn’t a white swan anymore, and her feathers were so saturated with water that she could not swim.

“I was amazed at the luck of these RNLI boatman coming by just at the right moment. I flagged them down and they were fantastic - very happy to help."

“It made all the difference that we could get a boat ride out to a spot where they could wade in and rescue her - she was in a difficult spot to access otherwise.”

– Lucy Fackerell, RSPCA Animal Collections Officer

The swan was taken to a local wildlife centre to recover. She is expected to be released back to the wild.

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