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Laura Kenny named Sportswoman of the Year

Olympic champion Laura Kenny has been named Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year Credit: Press Association

Harlow born Olympic gold medallist Laura Kenny has been named the 2016 Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year.

Cyclist Kenny won team pursuit and omnium gold during the summer taking her overall tally of Olympic Golds to four.

The 24-year-old beat fellow cyclist Sarah Storey, and Jade Jones, who successfully defended her Olympic taekwondo title, to the prize.


Essex the worst place in the country to get IVF treatment


Essex has been named as the worst place in the country for getting IVF treatment on the NHS.

Campaign group Fertility Fairness says three of the county's seven NHS clinical commissioning groups have cut funding for IVF altogether, leaving it down to a postcode lottery as to whether you can get the treatment.

Across the rest of the region it's a mixed picture; Ipswich and East Suffolk currently funds two rounds as does West Suffolk.

In Norfolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCGs funds three rounds of IVF. Norwich funds two rounds, that's the same as South Norfolk, but West Norfolk doesn't fund any treatment at all. Hannah Pettifer reports

Two found guilty of shooting millionaire businessman

Timothy Marden and his wife

Two men have been convicted after an aggravated burglary at Sible Hedingham in Essex where a millionaire businessman was shot and suffered life-changing injuries.

A jury unanimously found Charlie Simms, 23, of North Road in Great Yeldham, guilty of attempted murder, aggravated burglary, and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Christopher Bergin, 27, of Hawkwood Road in Halstead, has been found guilty of aggravated burglary, wounding with intent, and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The house at Sible Hedingham

Officers were called to 51-year-old Timothy Mardon's house in Rectory Road at around 4.40am on February 6 this year.

He had been shot through a bedroom door, suffering a serious leg injury and an arterial bleed.

The bedroom door Credit: Essex Police

The men fled from the property after stealing his watch and some foreign currency.

Simms and Bergin had denied the charges but were found guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court today.

Charlie Simms Credit: Essex Police
Christopher Bergin Credit: Essex Police

This was an extremely violent crime which left a man fighting for his life. Charlie Simms and Christopher Bergin are violent, dangerous men and Essex will be a safer place with them off the streets.

This was not a premeditated attack but one conjured up on a whim following a night of heavy drinking and smoking drugs.

It was an attack based on the fictional notion drugs were being grown at the victim’s house. It is galling that they were prepared to use this level of extreme violence with such little thought and paid such little regard for the welfare of the victim.

Mr Mardon was left bleeding to death and if it were not for the quick-thinking of the officers at the scene to use a tourniquet on his injury, doctors say he would have died.

I want to praise the bravery and courage of Mr Mardon throughout this entire process and the work of the investigating officers to help bring these two callous individuals to justice

Simms and Bergin can expect significant jail time – I hope this conviction sends the message Essex Police will not tolerate violent crime and we will bring the perpetrators to justice.

– DCI Leighton Hammett

A third man Kalebh Shreeve, 24 of Gibson Road in Halstead, was found not guilty of all the charges against him.

Simms and Bergin are due to be sentenced at a later date.

Here is a video report by Chloe Keedy:

Dog thrown from car is paralysed

Crumble Credit: RSPCA

A dog was found paralysed after she was thrown from the window of a moving car in Essex, the RSPCA said.

Officers are investigating after the pug, called Crumble, was found collapsed at the roadside in Writtle near Chelmsford.

It is thought the bitch, aged three or four years old, had been used for breeding as vets said there were signs she had had several litters.

RSPCA inspectors said "unscrupulous" puppy farmers may have wanted rid of her as she had come to the end of her puppy-bearing life.


Mother tries to track down daughter's father - but can't remember his name

A mother from Essex is trying to track down a soldier she claims is the father of her five-year-old daughter - despite not even being able to remember his name.

Sarah Hähnel, 33, had a drunken one-night stand with the serviceman while visiting Colchester, Essex, in 2010 on an exchange programme from Germany.

Nine months later, she gave birth to baby Lily, but has since failed to track down the youngster's father, who she describes as tall with blonde hair.

The pair hadn't exchange numbers and all she has of the soldier are the keys to his room at Colchester barracks, which he left at her flat.

Man who lost most of his penis to flesh-eating superbug sues hospital


A man who lost most of his penis to a flesh-eating superbug after routine surgery is taking legal action against Southend hospital.

Cancer patient Andrew Lane, 61, contracted the potentially fatal infection necrotising fasciitis following an operation to remove his prostate gland.

He was left fighting for his life and, although he survived, his genitals were so badly damaged that he lost most of his penis and is no longer able to have sex.

He is now taking legal action against Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust over claims that his bowel was punctured during the original operation, but this was not detected for days afterwards, which led to the infection.

He said:

It has just been a horrendous experience. I thought I was going to die. That night I was taken to theatre three times while the surgeons took more
and more tissue away. I was super-fit before all this. I had a good body, but now I look like I'm nine months pregnant. I can't ever bear to look at myself naked. The most difficult bit is not being able to have sex with my wife anymore. We're a normal couple who enjoyed it as part of a healthy relationship and I do miss that.

– Andrew Lane

Mr Lane married his long-term partner Sue after being discharged from hospital.

A spokesman for Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust confirmed it was aware of the legal case but could not comment as it was an "ongoing matter".

Bird flu: farmers told to keep poultry indoors


The Government has ordered that all poultry farmers across the region keep their birds inside to protect against a dangerous strain of bird flu that's sweeping across Europe.

As yet the strain of the avian flu hasn't been found in the UK, but the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the steps should be followed until the New Year as a precaution.

It's a type of highly pathogenic avian flu, H5N8, that has been found in dead wild birds.

Many of the turkeys, ducks and chickens have already been processed for Christmas so it shouldn't affected the supply of birds for Yuletide meals.

Public Health England said the threat to humans from the bird flu strain remains very low.

Here's a report from Kate Prout:

Couple in car: 'deaths not suspicious'

Nikki Willis and Thomas Putt Credit: Essex Police

Police are not treating the deaths of two people inside a car in Chelmsford as suspicious.

Officers were called by the ambulance service shortly before 11.15am on Monday December 5. The man and woman had died at the scene in Fox Crescent.

Police are now in a position to identify them as Thomas Putt, 20, of Wren Close, Leigh-on-Sea, and Nikki Willis, 23, of Fox Crescent, Chelmsford.

Their families have paid the following tributes:

Nikki’s family said:

Our gorgeous baby girl, daughter, stepdaughter, sister, girlfriend and friend of so many. We are so proud of you even though your time here was too short. You loved life and always had a smile. You will never be forgotten, always and forever in our hearts and memories. Our angel now has her wings. Please can the families and friends have our time to grieve and come to terms with our sudden loss in peace.

– Nikki's family

We are utterly shocked and devastated at the death of our darling son Tom. He was a whirlwind in our lives from day one, always cheeky, always smiling.

He was maturing into a charming, kind and lovely young man. Tom touched many people’s lives and hearts and we are so grateful for all the touching messages and kind words we have received from his friends.

He was an engineering apprentice and was passionate about cars, his hockey and football, especially his team, Manchester United. He had recently achieved a long-time ambition to see them play at old Trafford and he was so thrilled about being able to do this.

He would have turned 21 next month and we can’t believe that we won’t be sharing the rest of his life with him.

We and your sisters love you Tom and will miss you for the rest of our lives.

– Tom's family

Both Tom and Nikki’s families have requested privacy and ask the media not to speculate on the cause of their deaths.

Forensic post mortem examinations have been completed and the cause of their deaths is inconclusive. Further tests will be carried out.

Current investigations do not indicate their deaths were the result of a deliberate act.

One of the lines of enquiry police are investigating is the possibility they may have died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

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