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British soldier charged with raping six-year-old in Austria

A British soldier arrested on suspicion of raping a six-year-old girl in Austria has been charged, prosecutors have said.

The unnamed soldier, reportedly a bombardier from 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery in Essex, was also charged with sexually abusing the young girl.

Prosecutors said the soldier entered the house in Neustift, in the Stubaital valley, Austria, early one morning Credit: Google Maps

Prosecutors in the country said he had entered the family's unlocked home in the small town of Neustift, in the Stubaital valley in the early hours of one morning and was caught the girl's bedroom by her father, who had been woken by the noise.

He will face trial on March 10 and, if convicted, faces up to 10 years in prison.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman confirmed the Army was aware of the developments.

The Army is aware that a soldier has been charged in Austria following allegations of child sexual offences.

This matter is now subject to criminal proceedings led by the Austrian authorities and it is therefore inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.

– Ministry of Defence spokeswoman

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Local authors win at Costa awards

Authors from our region have won their categories at the prestigious Costa Book Awards for 2014.

The Cambridge writer Helen MacDonald won the biography section with her memoir, 'H is for Hawk'. The book is an account of how she turned to falconry to cope with her father's death.

Cambridge author Helen MacDonald Credit: ITV News Anglia

Another writer from Cambridge, Ali Smith, won the category for novels with her book, 'How to be Both'. Emma Healey, who lives in Norwich, won the first novel category with 'Elizabeth is Missing'.

Emma Healey in Norwich Credit: ITV News Anglia

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Libyan soldiers seek asylum

It's emerged a "handful" of Libyan soldiers who were being trained at the Bassingbourn army base in Cambridgeshire have claimed asylum to remain in the UK.

More than 300 troops were sent home after five cadets were charged in connection with a string of sex attacks in Cambridge last month. The Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has now confirmed that some of the soldiers have refused to return to Libya, despite the Prime Minister insisting that none should be granted asylum.

Watch below to see Michael Fallon make his announcement in the Commons

Families greet Tornado crews following final mission in Afghanistan

Servicemen and women from RAF Marham have returned home following their final operation in Afghanistan.

The force has been there since July 2009 and in that time has played an important role in coalition combat missions.

The final ground troops pulled out of Camp Bastion in Helmand province last month.

As the Tornado jets flew into West Norfolk, family of the 170 ground and air crew were there to meet them.

Tanya Mercer reports

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