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Eastbourne gets underway but No.1 seed forced out

Petra Kvitova forced to pull out of the tournament with a bug

The women's number one seed and reigning Wimbledon Champion had to pull out of Eastbourne today after suffering from a bug. Petra Kvitova said she couldn't jeopardise her chances at Wimbledon by playing at this week's tournament. But the British number two, Johanna Konta, who has won a wild card at Wimbledon, said the tournament was vital preparation and couldn't wait to play in the town she now calls home.

"I wanted to play some matches here but it doesn't really make sense to play and not be ready for Wimbledon."

– Petra Kvitova, No 1 seed
Ground workers clear the rain to allow play to start

Johanna had to wait for the rain to clear but after a damp start, play did get underway - much to the delight of the crowd. The ground staff at Devonshire Park did their best to dry out the courts as quickly as possible so that the club could host five of the world's top ten women.

British no. 2 Johanna Konta calls Eastbourne 'home'

"We're fortunate enough to get one extra week in the preparation for Wimbledon so I'm very happy people are out here despite the rain and hopefully I can give them some good tennis."

– Johanna Konta, British No.2


Man jailed for breaking female police officer's leg

Ryan Smart has been sentenced to 22 months in prison Credit: Sussex Police

A man has been given almost two years in prison for breaking a police officers leg in Eastbourne.

Ryan Smart, 34, of Elgar Way, Eastbourne was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on June 4. He pleaded guilty to GBH, caused when he was resisting arrest, and was sent to prison for 22 months. He was also given a three year driving ban for failing to provide a sample of blood.

The officer, PC Katie Price, was called to a violent man attacking a woman and found a car, being driven by Smart, driving erratically in the Langney area on September 14 last year. The car was stopped and Smart was suspected of drink driving and assault. When PC Price was trying to arrest him, he viciously kicked her breaking her leg. He then kicked her again when she was on the floor.

"I think this case highlights the risks police officers face everyday as this was a routine job this officer was attending. It also shows that the courts are willing to punish those that injure officers in the line of their duties, which is totally unacceptable. The police are here to protect the public, which was what this officer was trying to do in stopping someone suspected of drink driving and assault. She should be able to carry out her job of protecting the public and not expect to be attacked, thankfully the judge agreed and Smart has been sent to prison."

– DC Steve Shimmons

Fox cub released after plastic pot cut from its head

A fox cub that was found running around with a plastic pot stuck on its head has been released back into the wild by its rescuers after the object was cut free from its face.

Volunteers from the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) took care of the cub after it was spotted in Eastbourne on Wednesday 27th May. People living near its home kept a watch to make sure the cub's family were still in the area when it was time for the fox to be released. The cub was set free after a few days of treatment and care.

WRAS is calling on the public to make sure they pick up their rubbish and take it home rather than leaving the litter somewhere where wildlife could become caught or entangled in it.

"This is one of the key reason for doing wildlife rescue work, to see a recovered animal return back to where it belongs. Brilliant to see and so worth all our hard work"

– Trevor Weeks MBE, WRAS


Fresh appeal after woman dies

Detectives investigating the death of an Eastbourne woman have made a fresh appeal for information, four weeks after she was discovered injured.

Emma Crowhurst, 36, of Albion Road was found on the pavement in Chawbrook Road, Eastbourne at the junction with Dudley Road and Havelock Road, near her home address, just before midnight on Sunday 26 April. She'd suffered head injuries.

She was taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital and was transferred to Hurstwood Park Hospital. She died on May 11 and a post mortem examination found she died from the head injury.

Uniform officers PCSOs have been in Seaside, Firle Road, Havelock Road and Chawbrook Road. They have talking to passers-by to ask if they were in the area at a similar time exactly four weeks previously, and if they saw anything suspicious.

Near disaster for lone yachtsman

The fishing vessel 'Beachy Head' Credit: Jeff Morgan

A lone yachtsman in his German registered yacht got into difficulties whilst leaving Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne yesterday morning when he struck the sunken wreck of the Barn Hill and holed his vessel.

The yacht began taking on water at such a rate that the bilge pumps were unable to cope with the ingress.

Hull damage to yacht Credit: Eastbourne Lifeboat

The yachtsman called for help, first to the marina and then by a ‘Pan Pan’ distress call on VHF radio. Fortunately local fishing vessel Beachy Head was close by and went to the assistance of the stricken yacht. One of the fishermen transferred to the yacht to assist with bailing out the water whilst the vessel was taken under tow back the short distance to harbour.

Meanwhile Eastbourne all-weather lifeboat was preparing to launch. The lifeboat’s powerful salvage pump was put aboard the yacht and was able to remove sufficient water to keep the yacht afloat whilst it was taken to the hoist bay for an emergency lift out.

Tribute paid to woman found attacked in the street

The mother of a woman who died after being attacked in the street in Eastbourne has paid tribute to her.

Emma Crowhurst who was 36, of Albion Road was found on the pavement in Chawbrook Road, Eastbourne at the junction with Dudley Road and Havelock Road, near her home address, just before midnight on Sunday 26 April, having sustained a head injury.

She was taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital and was transferred to Hurstwood Park Hospital. She died on May 11 and a post mortem examination found she died from a head injury.

Emma Crowhurst was found on a pavement in Chawbrook Road Credit: ITV Meridian

"Emma was a lovely girl, loved by her family and friends who had a heart of gold. This is a massive, irreplaceable loss and we want the person responsible for this brought to justice. We have every faith in Sussex Police and fully support their investigation."

– Marina Crowhurst, Emma's mother

"We have had a good response from members of the community who have contacted the investigation team already, but are hoping to hear from more people who could help. It is vitally important to establish Emma's movements before she was assaulted and I'm appealing to anyone that has any information, however small they may think it is, to get in contact with us. Several people have described an argument between a man and a woman just before midnight. This argument may have lead to Emma being found in the road with the, ultimately, fatal injuries. I am making a specific appeal to anyone who went to Emma's assistance before the police and ambulance teams arrived in Chawbrook Road. Anyone who was in the area of Chawbrook Road, Whitley Road, Dudley Road, Havelock Road who may have seen or heard an argument, please contact us. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting Operation Shortgate. Alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

– Detective Chief Inspector Mike Ashcroft

Ousted MP Stephen Lloyd says he can't accept money from supporters to pay his mortgage

Supporters of former MP Stephen Lloyd have offered to pay off his mortgage to keep him in the running for the next general election.

The Lib Dem was defeated by the Tories in last week's battle for Eastbourne and says he now needs to find a job to keep his home. He's declined the money, saying it would be better to donate it to the local hospital campaign.

Stephen Lloyd, ex MP, who says he's got a massive mortgage Credit: PA Images
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