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Mum named slimmer of the year after losing 14 stone

A mother-of-two from Essex is Slimming World's woman of the year after shedding 14 stone. Doctors told Cheryl Blythe - from Basildon - she faced dying in her forties or being confined to a wheelchair unless she took action. She rejected surgery, and replaced junk food with home-cooking and healthy eating. Fred and Stacey talked to her to discover the secret of her success.

Family of girl, 15, wept in court as she faced murder charge

Darren Kelly died from multiple stab wounds on Tuesday 20th October

A 15-year-old girl accused of murdering a man with three other people after a row in a street in Essex has appeared before magistrates today, in front of her weeping family.

The four defendants - three teenagers and a man - are charged with the murder of 42-year-old Darren Kelly, a lorry driver from Basildon. He was found in the street with serious injuries on Caister Drive on the evening of Tuesday 20th October. A post mortem examination revealed that he had been stabbed multiple times.

Chris Carroll, 20, of Pevensey Close in Pitsea appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates Court today alongside three teenagers - two from Pitsea, a girl aged 15 and a boy aged 17; and a boy from Basildon aged 16. The youths can not be named for legal reasons because of their ages.

The small courtroom was full of relatives of the accused, who broke down in tears during the brief hearing. The defendants all wore red tracksuits. The girl flashed the peace sign at her family and mouthed "I love you" as she was led out of the dock. The teenagers only spoke to confirm their names, ages and addresses.

Chris Carroll appeared in a separate hearing before the three youths. He smiled and yawned as he was led in to the dock. Members of his family shouted "love you Chris" at the end of the hearing and he replied "love you" back.

All four defendants were remanded in custody to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday the 27th October. The teenagers were remanded in youth detention accommodation.

A 13-year-old girl from Basildon who was arrested on suspicion of murder has been released on police bail until the 16th December.


Man threatened with knife in broad daylight

Police are appealing for witnesses to a robbery in Basildon in which a 25-year-old man was punched, threatened with a knife and forced to hand over his wallet.

It happened in an underpass in St Nicholas Lane, near the Pipps Hill retail park, at 1.15pm on Friday September 25.

The victim did not suffer any injuries.

The man with the knife was described as white, more than 6ft tall and of stocky build. He was aged in his late 20s, had black hair and wore a black hooded top and dark tracksuit bottoms.

His accomplice was white and aged in his late 20s.

Investigation launched after woman raped in car

An investigation has been launched after a woman was reportedly raped in Essex.

The woman, in her 20s, told police she was assaulted in Basildon at the weekend after leaving the Barge pub.

She was approached by a man in a dark vehicle, believed to be a BMW at around 9:30pm on Friday evening.

She got into the vehicle and was driven along Crockerford Road before being raped.

The man is believed to have been in the pub earlier that night. He's described as white and in his 20s, with short mousey hair, a large build and wearing a navy hooded jumper.

MP welcomes new business landscape

Stephen Metcalfe Credit: Stephen Metcalfe

The Essex Conservative MP Stephen Metcalfe has welcomed figures that show the Government’s Start-Up Loans Scheme has helped 30 people in his constituency South Basildon and East Thurrock set up their own business.

The Start-Up Loans scheme provides loans and mentoring support to people who want to start their own businesses. He said

“Today’s figures show not only the huge impact these measures are having on our local community in Basildon and Thurrock, but also the entire country. In the East of England region alone, the number of loans awarded has reached 1,689; with a total value of £7,853,207. This is an incredible achievement.”

– Stephen Metcalfe MP


Supreme Court success for former Basildon schoolgirl

A woman who nearly drowned during a school swimming lesson in Essex 13 years ago has won a landmark ruling from the UK's highest court, which paves the way for her to pursue compensation from a local education authority.

Annie Woodland was a pupil at Whitmore Junior School in Basildon when she had to be pulled from the water and resuscitated at Gloucester Park pool in July 2000.

Ms Woodland, now in her 20s, suffered severe brain damage.

In October 2011 a High Court judge threw out Ms Woodland's claim against Essex County Council on the basis that it was bound to fail, a view backed in a majority ruling by Court of Appeal judges.

Supreme Court justices in London have today allowed her appeal against those findings.

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