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Reading University rises up in the league table

According to the latest national university league table the University of Reading is once again ranked in the Top 30 UK universities.

Reading is ranked joint 26th in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2018, up one place from last year and up 11 places in the last three.

The University is number one in the country for the study of Land & Property Management for the third consecutive year.

A total of eight subjects are in the Top Ten, including: Building (4th), Aural & Oral Sciences (5th), Food Science (5th), Agriculture & Forestry (6th), Art & Design (8th), Education (10th) and Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design (10th).

In addition, Reading is ranked as the 6th best university in the South East, and 3rd in the region for Good Honours and Degree Completion.

“It is encouraging to see that we have scored highly for Research Intensity and Quality, Student-Staff Ratio and Student Satisfaction. We have listened carefully to our students over the last few years and the positive feedback shows we are meeting their expectations."

– Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading

Earlier this year, Reading was ranked 18th in the UK in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2017.

The University is currently ranked 175th in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings 2016, placing it firmly within the top 1% of higher education institutions globally.

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CCTV shows teen committed two hit and run crimes

Michael Johnson knocked down Trevor Hadlow Credit: Kent Police

A teenager who ran an elderly Medway man over after being disturbed by him at the scene of a crime has admitted to causing his death.

Michael Johnson, 18, of Warden Road, Sheppey, knocked 70-year-old Trevor Hadlow down as he attempted to stop him leaving the farm where he lived in Capstone Road, Gillingham, on Sunday 20 November 2016.

Mr Hadlow walked back to his caravan minutes after the incident, where he later collapsed and died from his injuries. He was discovered two days later by the owner of the farm.

Through an extensive analysis of CCTV footage, automatic number plate recognition and mobile telephone data, officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate were able to prove it was Johnson who had driven the vehicle in question.

He was arrested and charged with Mr Hadlow’s death, and later pleaded guilty to causing his manslaughter whilst committing the theft of a trailer.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how Johnson drove a white Peugeot Expert van onto the farm shortly after 7.30pm before attempting to leave about a minute later with a trailer attached.

Trevor Hadlow died of injuries sustained two days previous Credit: Kent Police

Mr Hadlow, who lived and worked on the site as a handyman, had noticed the vehicle and closed the gate in an attempt to stop it from leaving. Instead the van was driven straight into him, knocking him down before it exited the farm.

Coincidentally the vehicle driven by Johnson had been seized by local patrols on Lower Road, Eastchurch, about an hour after Mr Hadlow had been knocked down.

The investigation team were then able to track the movements of the vehicle and gather CCTV evidence of Johnson getting in or out of the driver’s side door on a number of occasions, including on the afternoon of the incident that led to Mr Hadlow’s death.

While in custody, officers established that Johnson matched the description of a man who had run a traffic warden over in High Street, Eastchurch, on Friday 8 July 2016.

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A witness appeal had been issued for that particular offence just two days before Johnson’s arrest, which included a CCTV still and video footage captured on the victim’s body worn camera.

On 26 April 2017 Johnson was found guilty of dangerous driving and not guilty of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm, in relation to the incident involving the traffic warden.

This trial followed his earlier guilty plea for the manslaughter of Mr Hadlow, which could not be reported until the conclusion of the second case.

He will be sentenced on 16 June 2017.

"I am very proud of all the officers who worked on this case, who built an exceptionally strong collection of evidence against Johnson and left him with little choice but to admit he was responsible for causing Mr Hadlow’s death. I would also like to pay tribute to the officers who seized the vehicle in question without knowing anything about the incident, instead relying on their intuition and good old-fashioned police work to know the person driving it had been up to no good."

– Detective Sergeant Adam Marshall of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate

Hurst castle conservation project begins

Hurst Castle will get a £1 million pound upgrade starting from today, to ensure it is conserved for years to come.

The project will centre on the wartime look-out tower, gun emplacements and searchlight position on top of the castle's enormous 19th century wing batteries.

Extensive repairs will also be carried out to the roofs of the wing batteries, which extend into the sea over 200m to the west and 120 m to the east.

Originally built by Henry VIII between 1541 and 1544 to guard the Needles Passage, the narrow western entrance between the Isle of Wight and the mainland.

In the 1860s two huge wing batteries were added as part of a programme of defence that made this part of the south coast one of the most heavily fortified in the world. I

n the First and Second World Wars the castle was fully garrisoned and its searchlights and guns guarded the western entrance to the Solent.

Isle of Wight NHS Trust appoints an interim chief exec

Maggie Oldham has been appointed interim chief exec

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust has appointed Maggie Oldham, an experienced NHS leader, as its interim chief executive.

Her appointment follows the recent departure of the Trust’s previous chief executive Karen Baker and the publication of a Care Quality Commission report on the ‘inadequate’ and ‘unsafe’ care provided by the Trust.

Ms Oldham will take up her interim role on Tuesday 2nd May 2017.

“It is clear from the recent CQC report that much needs to be done to improve the quality of care, improve performance against key targets, recruit staff to vacant posts and address outdated and bureaucratic practices. I will be working closely with the Trust board to develop a robust and achievable plan for major and rapid improvement.”

– Maggie Oldham

With experience in the acute, ambulance, community and mental health sectors, Maggie has previously supported NHS Trusts that face significant challenges.

She joined the leadership team at Mid Staffordshire Hospital in 2010, after the care failures of 2007-9 came to light and became the Chief Executive of the Trust in 2013 having made significant improvements, and helped the hospital merge with a neighbouring Trust to develop sustainable services.

More recently Maggie has been an Improvement Director within the NHS and she is currently working with the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management set up by the UK Medical Royal Colleges. Until recently she was also supporting South East Coast Ambulance Service to ensure delivery of their Unified Recovery Plan. She has a Master’s degree in Healthcare Law and Ethics, a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education.

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Cat found trapped in illegal gin trap will have leg amputated

Illegal traps have been left around Witney Credit: RSPCA

The RSPCA is trying to trace the owner of a cat who was found with horrific injuries after he got caught in the metal teeth of a trap in Witney.

His injuries were so severe that he will have to have the trapped leg amputated.

The black and white male cat was discovered by a resident on Lancut Road shortly before 8am on Monday.

He was not microchipped so it has not been possible to contact his owner.

This kind of trap has been outlawed since 1958

The cat was caught in a gin trap - designed to catch an animal by their leg, using spring-operated jaws with teeth or a serrated edge - which have been outlawed in the UK since 1958.

Some still being illegally used to catch animals such as rabbits and foxes.

Although the sale or possession of such traps is not illegal, people can face prosecution by setting them.

“This poor cat was understandably in agony when he was found. One of his front legs was still caught between the metal teeth of the trap, but his other front leg was also hurt as well. The injuries he suffered were so severe that he will have to have the leg amputated. He is lucky to still be alive though."

– RSPCA inspector Andy Eddy

Inadequate school could face closure by council

Oxfordshire County Council is considering whether to close Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common after it was rated inadequate by Ofsted inspectors after an inspection in early March.

The report detailed serious concerns about the quality of education provided at the secondary school.

A consultation on its potential closure will begin on Friday. Oxfordshire County Council said the consultation - which will run until 16 June - will look into the potential impact of closure and whether alternative solutions can be found.

"This will be a very concerning situation and a time of great uncertainty for everyone associated with Chiltern Edge. We are working closely with the school to keep families fully informed of the situation."

– The council's Director for Children's Services Lucy Butler
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