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Former Ukip candidate cleared on first four counts of electoral fraud

Former Ukip candidate Matthew Smith Credit: ITV News Anglia

A former Ukip candidate has been cleared of four counts of electoral fraud in Norfolk, while two other party members have also been cleared over any involvement relating to council elections in 2013.

Matthew Smith was suspended from Ukip after allegations of forged signatures on nomination forms. Yesterday 60 year old Michael Monk from Hopton and Daniel Thistletwaithe who's 19 and from Belton were found not guilty at Norwich Crown Court. The jury is still considering a total of five charges against Mr Smith. He pleads not guilty.

100th anniversary of first Zeppelin raid over Norfolk

Memorial to two of the victims Credit: ITV News Anglia

A memorial service will take place today marking the 100th anniversary of the first aerial bombardments of World War One, which took place over Norfolk on 19th January 1915.

Because of bad weather the German zeppelins were diverted to our coastline for the start of their bombing campaign.

Two airships dropped bombs on King's Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Sheringham, with the loss of four lives.

Sheringham Museum holds in its collection, one of the first bombs dropped on Britain during the raid.

One of the shells from the raid is held in Sheringham Museum Credit: ITV News Anglia
Jean Tuck, Granddaughter of eyewitness Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Nobody really knew what it was, there probably were some people who did know what it was. But nobody ran away or thought they would be in any danger, they just stood there looking up at it."

– Jean Tuck, Granddaughter of eyewitness

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Great Yarmouth: Former UKIP candidate Matthew Smith insists he didn't forge signatures

Matthew Smith.

A former UKIP parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth has insisted he didn't forge signatures on nomination papers for the county council elections in Norfolk in 2013.

Matthew Smith, the party's election agent at the time, told a jury at Norwich Crown there was no motive for him to do it and he had no idea who was responsible.

27-year-old Mr Smith from Gorleston, pleads not guilty to six counts of making a false statement in the papers.

He also denies three charges of making false nomination papers.

He said the prosecution appeared to be suggesting that he had a magical team of forgers hiding in his back pocket.

He insisted this wasn't the case and said it couldn't be ruled out that others had forged signatures to try and discredit him.

Because of the court case, Matthew Smith has stood down as a parliamentary candidate.

Two other men, 60-year-old Michael Monk from Hopton and 19-year-old Daniel Thistlethwaite from Belton, each deny one charge of making a false statement in nomination papers.

The trial continues.

  1. National

Ukip councillor denies forging grandmother's signature

Former Ukip councillor Matthew Smith arrives at Norwich Crown Court on the first day of his trial on January 5 Credit: PA

A former Ukip councillor on trial accused of electoral fraud has denied forging signatures on nomination forms - including those of his own grandmother, father and stepmother.

Matthew Smith, an ex-parliamentary hopeful for Great Yarmouth, is standing trial at Norwich Crown Court accused of six counts of making a false statement in nomination papers in May 2013.

Seven out of eight forms submitted by UKIP in that campaign were alleged to contain forged signatures and all 10 signatures on the nomination form for Magdalen ward candidate Matt Swann - including the three members of Smith's family - were found to be fake.

Smith, 27, of Gorleston, Norfolk, was asked in court to describe some of the people he is supposed to have collected signatures from.

He replied: "If you're going round an estate of mostly elderly people, one looks very similar to another - I know that sounds cruel but it's true."

In many of the cases, he was not personally responsible for collecting the signatures so could not say why they did not match records like passports and driving licenses.

Smith also denies three charges of making false nominations papers.

Two other men - UKIP member Michael Monk and Daniel Thistlethwaite are also on trial. Each deny one charge of making a false statement in nomination papers.

The trial continues.

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