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Whitehaven man jailed for child sexual offences

Rodney Kennedy Credit: Cumbria Constabulary

A 46-year-old man has been jailed for 14 years for sexually abusing three young boys, and possessing more than 34,000 indecent images of children.

Rodney Kennedy, from Whitehaven, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 14 child sexual offences, and six charges of making and possessing indecent images.

“Rodney Kennedy has today been sentenced to 14 year imprisonment for abusing three vulnerable young boys over a period of almost a decade.

“The sexual abuse of young people strips away their innocence and their trust in adults who they should be able to look up to as future role models. It has long lasting impacts on their lives, not only at the time but well into their adult lives and could have significant effects on all their future relationships.

“The three victims have shown immense bravery in coming forward and taking a stand against their abuser, which resulted in Kennedy pleading guilty to the offences he faced. I sincerely hope that following today’s sentence, they can begin to move on with their lives in the knowledge that justice has been served.

“The CPS and police urge anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse, no matter how long ago the offences took place, to come forward and report it to the police. We are committed to bringing those who have committed such offences before the courts and will support victims in every possible way throughout the process.”

– Katie Nicolson, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West

“I am pleased that Kennedy has been sentenced today for his horrific crimes. His offences were against young children, and I hope that today’s sentence highlights to potential offenders that this inexcusable behaviour will not be tolerated in Cumbria.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the bravery of his victims during what has been an extremely difficult time for them and their families. I would urge anyone who has been victim of abuse to get in touch so we can investigate. All reports are dealt with sensitively and professionally.”

– DC Andrea Davidson

Dog killed in Whitehaven hit and run

Credit: Press Association

Police are appealing for information after a dog was killed in a hit and run collision.

The black lurcher was hit by an unknown vehicle on Meadow Road in Whitehaven at some time between 7pm and 7:30pm yesterday (16 March).

After hitting the dog, the vehicle failed to stop.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Cumbria police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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West Cumberland Hospital fire 'most likely' accidental

Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing Credit: ITV Border

Investigators say that the cause of the fire in the energy centre of the new West Cumberland Hospital was "most likely" accidental.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and independent investigators have been working to ascertain what started the blaze on 23 January 2015.

They say the investigation is going well.

“It is a complex, technically demanding investigation involving large amounts of physical and data evidence. The investigation team is working exceptionally well together utilising experts from a wide field of specialities.

“I can confirm that the current evidence we have indicates that the most likely cause is an accidental fire within the Energy Centre. The investigation will continue as we methodically attempt to pinpoint the exact cause.”

– Adrian Holme, station manager for Workington Locality of Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service

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Careers day with a difference

The pupils each have ten minutes to grill the professionals Credit: ITV Border

A local school has held a careers day with a bit of a difference in an effort to make it more fun for those involved.

St.Benedict's School in Whitehaven has set up a classroom full of professionals and given each of its Year 9 pupils ten minutes to grill them on their job.

The structure is similar to that of speed dating.

The school hopes that it will open up the pupils to the possibility of careers that they may never have considered.

The Beacon renovation gets funding

The existing Beacon Museum Credit: ITV Border

A major revamp of The Beacon museum in Whitehaven will go ahead after confirmation of a £1.3million funding package.

The museum will receive more than £900,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund.

The remaining £400,000 was awarded by the Copeland Community Fund last year.

The new design will include a conference and learning centre, and work is due to begin this year.

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