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Bullying victim's dad calls for safer school buses

It's almost ten years since Ben Vodden took his own life after being repeatedly bullied on the school bus. He was just 11 years old.

He'd told his parents about the bullying - and they'd spoken to his school in Sussex. But it didn't stop. His father has spent the last ten years campaigning to make school buses a safer place for children.

Abigail Bracken's been to Horsham to hear about his hopes for new research that could see all school bus bullies captured on camera.

Father of boy who took his own life campaigns for better safety on school buses

Ben Vodden took his own life after being bullied on the school bus Credit: ITV Meridian

A father whose son took his own life after being bullied - has spent the last ten years campaigning to make school buses a safer environment for children.

Paul Vodden is trying to ensure that no other child dies under the circumstances that his eleven year old son Ben did.

He says children need more supervision on school buses.

For anti-bullying week, he's launching a study on using security cameras on buses.


UPDATE: Horsham water main fixed

Southern Water says a burst water main in the Horsham area has now been fixed.

They say it might take some time for ALL properties to get running water.

They've apologised for the inconvenience.

Triplets Mum named 'top fundraiser'

Essie Cobbett

A mother of triplets who had to fight for extra support for her disabled baby daughter has been named 'top fundraiser' by a children's hospice.

Lorna Cobbett and her husband Steve, both from Horsham, joined the annual 10k run for Chestnut Tree House to say thank you for the support its given nine-month-old Essie.

Together the pair raised more than £1,600 and are now planning on taking part in the marathon every year as part of their daughter's legacy.

Lorna said: "Essie has stayed at the hospice quite a lot, where she's known as Princess Essie, and we also have a lot of support from them as a family.

"They come out and do babysitting for us, we get counselling from the chaplain, who is amazing, and they're really good at letting us use their hydrotherapy pool - we can't say thank you enough."

MP holds public meeting about Southern trains row

A Southern train in the tracks

The MP for Horsham, Jeremy Quin, has been holding a public meeting this morning about rail services in his constituency.

The Conservative politician raised the issue in the House of Commons at Prime Minister's Question Time on 29th June. His constituency is served by Southern trains, the firm at the centre of a row with the RMT union over planned changes to the role of guards. There have been a number of strikes by workers, and on Monday the rail operator is due to introduce an emergency timetable which includes cancelling 341 trains a day.

Ahead of today's meeting, the MP said:

For non-train users I cannot adequately convey the sheer frustration of those that are (and pay so much for the privilege). Southern’s new Emergency Timetable may be a reflection of reality but announcing the cancellation of hundreds of services – services which were advertised when commuters bought their season tickets - will not win “hearts and minds”, nor will the inevitable over-crowding.

– Jeremy Quin, MP for Horsham

Mystery man critical after stabbing in Sussex

Police are trying to establish the identity of a man left in a critical condition after being found with a head injury and stab wounds in Horsham.

The alarm was raised when the victim, who has not been identified, knocked on the door of a flat in Park Terrace East at around 1.30am on Wednesday (June 8).

He was covered in blood and bleeding from his head.

The man was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

Sussex Police said they'd not been able speak to him or establish who he is. He is a white man, slim and wearing a black fur-hooded jacket.

Four people have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and bailed until August 12.


Twin sister could hold clue to tracing rapist

Detectives investigating the rape of a 21-year-old in Sussex believe the attacker could have a twin sister.

The attack took place in Horsham in August but it's now emerged that the woman's attacker indicated he was staying in the North Heath area and had a sister who was possibly his twin.

We are looking to identify a man who may be able to assist with the investigation. He was in the area that night and spoke to the woman shortly before the attack.

It is possible that he lives in that area or may have been visiting. We would like to hear from him or anyone who knows who he is."

– Detective Inspector Paddy Mayers, Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team

Anyone with information is asked to email or call 101 quoting Operation Akela.

Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 (

Driver jailed for knocking down and killing cyclist in Sussex

Zisi Lushi Credit: Sussex Police

A man who knocked down and killed a cyclist in Horsham has been jailed after admitting he had never had a driving licence. Zisi Lushi struck cyclist Michael Dixon in Kerves Lane, Horsham, after taking his brother's silver Citroen C2 despite having no licence or insurance.

65-year-old Mr Dixon, of Trundle Mead, Horsham, died at the scene. The victim was cycling south in Kerves Lane shortly before 11am on 8 December when Lushi, who was heading north, lost control of the Citroen and swerved across the carriageway, hitting Mr Dixon and crashing the car into a hedge.

Lushi, who is originally from Albania, was carrying fake ID that claimed his name was Luigi Dannile. The 27-year-old had bought the ID after entering the country illegally on the back of a lorry.

He pleaded guilty to causing death while driving without a licence and without insurance. He was found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving but was convicted of causing death by careless driving. He's been jailed for 14 months and told he would be deported to Albania after he had served his sentence.

Sergeant Alan Spicer, of Sussex and Surrey roads policing unit, said: "Lushi had no good reason to be behind the wheel. It is not clear why he lost control of the Citroen but the combination of the vehicles' tyres being in a dangerous condition and Lushi being an unqualified driver contributed to what happened. Lushi's decision to drive that day cost Mr Dixon his life. His disregard for the law means that he is now in prison. Driving without a licence is a serious offence that puts not just unqualified drivers but other road users in danger. If you see someone driving who you know does not have a licence please contact us so we can take action before someone else is seriously hurt or even killed."

After the sentencing Mr Dixon's family released a statement.

They said: "There are no winners in this case and Mr Lushi will have to live with the knowledge that his actions on the morning of 8 December 2014 ultimately took away the innocent life of a much loved husband, father, grandfather and friend to so many. Dad lived life to the full and he had achieved so much but we all know he had so much more to give. As a family we would like to thank the police for all their ongoing support and assistance since the incident happened. We will now have to come to terms with our loss and the sentence given, before moving forward in the knowledge that Dad's life, achievements and exceptional spirit will live strong in our memories forever."

Have you seen teen Celso Dias? Missing from Horsham

Teenager Celso Dias has been missing from Sussex since Thursday 28th May Credit: Sussex Police

Sussex Police are appealing for help to find a 16-year-old boy who has gone missing from Horsham. Celso Dias had been staying in the Sussex town, and was on his way to Brighton when he was last seen on the morning of Thursday 28th May. He was travelling by train and told the person he was with that he was going to use the toilet, but failed to return.

The teenager is originally from London. Police say he may have got off the train at Haywards Heath and travelled to the Capital.

"Celso has connections on the South London area and we believe he might have returned there. He is 16 but acts much younger and we need to check he is safe.

"He was last seen around 9.30am on a train from Three Bridges to Brighton. He is described as black with a shaved head and is 5' 6". He was wearing a black Nike tracksuit and carrying an Adidas bag."

– PC Heather MacKay, Sussex Police

Sussex Police are appealing for anyone who has seen a teenager matching Celso's description or with information about Celso's whereabouts to get on touch. The police can be contacted via email on or telephone by calling 101 quoting serial 369 of 28/5.

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