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11-year-old sexually assaulted at picnic site

Police are investigating an alleged sexual assault against an 11-year-old girl yesterday morning on the Isle of Wight.

The incident happened at around 11am when the victim was at Fort Victoria, near Yarmouth, with her family, when she was approached by a man who allegedly sexually assaulted her and then walked away.

The man is described as-

  • White man with pale skin
  • In his 50s
  • Uncut grey hair
  • Clean shaven
  • About six feet tall
  • Average build
  • Deep voice

At the time of the incident the man was wearing a short-sleeved shirt with dark blue and light blue stripes and blue jeans. Police arrested a man earlier today. The man has since been released with no further action to be taken against him.

“This was a rare but very serious incident against a child, during the day in a busy picnic site. We would like to hear from anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious in the area or who recognises the man from the description. Police have increased patrols in the area over the weekend to reassure the local community."

– Detective Sergeant John Stirling

Women raise £1,700 after completing mammoth swim

Four women are celebrating after they swam around the Isle of Wight, raising £1,700 for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

They completed the swim in just over 24 hours, covering 56 miles in strong tides and choppy, cold waters.

From l-r: Pauline, Heather, Chris, Kate and Ann celebrate with a bottle of champagne! Credit: "Ladies Wot Swim"

Pauline McCracken, Heather Lunt, Ann Brimelow and Kate Steels-Fryatt started the swim at St Helens on Saturday and finished Sunday night, after each swimming six hours and a distance just short of an English Channel crossing.

In the run up to the swim, the team had a late change as their original fourth swimmer, Chris Pitman, fell ill and had to undergo heart surgery. They also had to loan a yacht from Port Solent after they lost their boat and support crew 24 hours before starting.

The ladies finished their swim at St Helens on Sunday evening Credit: "Ladies Wot Swim"

“It feels amazing, I can’t believe we’ve done it after 18 months of planning.

“The fifth hour in the water was the toughest thing I have ever done – I came out smiling but very emotional!”

– Pauline McCracken
The women raised £1,700 for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Credit: "Ladies Wot Swim"


Cannon fire marks 100th anniversary of 1st WW1 shot

A cannon has been fired on the Isle of Wight to mark the 100th anniversary of the first shot being fired by the Royal Navy in the First World War.

On August 5, 1914, the destroyer HMS Lance fired the first naval shot in anger in the First World War, sinking the German auxiliary minelayer Königin Luise, which was laying mines off the Suffolk coast.

It came just a day after the United Kingdom entered the Great War.

Today's cannon firing on the Isle of Wight and the sailpast by HMS Mersey Credit: L(Phot) Keith Morgan

One hundred years later and a gun salute has been held at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, with a sail past by the Royal Navy patrol vessel, HMS Mersey.

A single cannon was fired at 10am and was followed by a one minute silence to remember those who served their country.

Today's cannon firing on the Isle of Wight and the sailpast by HMS Mersey Credit: L(Phot) Keith Morgan

"Today’s event marks an important part of UK history and it was a privilege to take part.Just as HMS Lance was protecting our interest in 1914 in a few hours time we will be back at sea protecting our nation’s interest in the waters off the UK.”

– Commanding officer, of HMS Mersey, Lieutenant Commander David Gillett

"People tend to think of the First World War very much as trench war but the Navy was very much involved with ships powering along to protect our land infantry. The Royal Navy was able to secure an asset for us – HMS Mersey – and today’s firing went extremely well.”

– Jane Hodgkins, head of Marketing at the museum
Today's cannon firing on the Isle of Wight Credit: L(Phot) Keith Morgan

One hundred years ago tomorrow (August 6) the Royal Navy suffered its first loss of the Great War – just hours after its first triumph. More than two weeks before the British Expeditionary Force lost its first soldier on the Western Front some 130 souls were killed when HMS Amphion sank in the North Sea with the war barely 30 hours old.

Amphion left Harwich on August 5 to sweep the North Sea with a destroyer flotilla and was in the vicinity when HMS Lance fired on the former North Sea ferry, Königin Luise, as she lay mines to block British shipping lanes. Shortly after 7am on August 6, as Amphion returned to Harwich, she sailed across the line of mines laid by the Königin Luise.

The blast tore apart Amphion’s forward section – every man save one on the forecastle guns was killed. Just before the explosion, 19-year-old stoker 1st break with his fellow stokers, among them a fellow Lyme Regis native, Thomas Gollop. The latter took rather longer to finish his mug of cocoa and this delay saved his life while Herbert Street was killed in the blast.

Also killed was the Royal Navy’s first officer casualty, Staff Paymaster Joseph Gedge, Amphion’s accountant; in his name a medal was subsequently introduced at Oxford University and a science block erected at his former school in Leatherhead – a project backed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet in 1914, Admiral Jellicoe.

More than 130 Britons died in the loss of the cruiser and her wreck, on the bed of the North sea some 30 miles east of Orford Ness, is a protected war grave.

Such casualties would soon be dwarfed by the Empire’s losses in France. But even in the first month of the war, not one day passed without a member of the Naval Service dying – often of illness, some drowned, but most lost their lives in action.

Natasha tackles her biggest ever challenge

Determined 'Sip and Puff’ sailor Natasha 'Miss Isle’ Lambert arrived in Falmouth twith a huge smile on her face after a day of champagne sailing in sunshine and good breeze.

The 17-year-old from the Isle of Wight, who has cerebral palsy and controls her boat by breathing through a straw in a specially-engineered bicycle helmet, is eight legs into her 12-leg sailing challenge and was delighted to be sailing with more power as she completed the 22 miles from Fowey in five hours.

Sea and Summit is Natasha’s biggest challenge yet - a month-long project sailing her specially-designed 21ft yacht, single-handed around the South West coast of England to Wales before she swaps her boat for her special walking aid, called a Hart Walker, to climb Pen y Fan, the highest peak in Southern Britain.


Ryde Pier celebrates 200 year anniversary

Ryde Pier on the Isle of Wight in 1935 Credit: Topham/Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Image

The 200th anniversary of the opening of Britain's first seaside pier is being marked today.

Ryde Pier on the Isle of Wight opened on July 26 1814, and today still stands as a reminder of the feat of Victorian engineering.

It was the original seaside pier and paved the way for dozens of others up and down Britain, from Dunoon in Scotland to Falmouth in Cornwall.

Along with fish and chips and rock, piers became a staple of British seaside life and a magnet for holidaymakers before the boom in international travel.

Royal Thames Yacht Club races in 1935 with Ryde Pier in the foreground Credit: Topham/Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Image

Police name man whose body was found on street

A man whose body was found on the pavement on the Isle of Wight has been named by police. He was 44-year-old Christopher William Parsons, of Arnolds Yard, Brading. Mr Parsons was found lying on the pavement in Cross Street just after 11pm on Friday, July 4th.

Despite attempts to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead at the scene. A post-mortem examination found the cause of death has yet to be determined. Further toxicology tests will now be carried out. However Mr Parsons does not appear to have suffered any visible injuries.

A 50-year-old man from Sandown who was arrested on suspicion of murder has been released without charge. He was also arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply heroin and has been bailed until September 29.

Man quizzed after body found on pavement

Police will today continue to question a man over the murder of a man whose body was found on the pavement at a holiday resort on the Isle of Wight.

Officers were called to Cross Street, Sandown just after 11pm on Friday by the ambulance service.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hampshire Police said they are treating his death as unexplained. A 50-year-old man from Sandown has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody.

The victim is believed to be a 44-year-old local man and his next-of-kin have been informed.

Isle of Wight body find being treated as unexplained

We are still in the very early stages of our investigation and are keeping an open mind about what has happened. At the moment, we are treating the cause of this man’s death as unexplained. We’ve already had a good response from members of the public who were in the Cross Street area last night and I would like to thank them for their assistance.

– Detective Chief Inspector Nick Heelan, Hampshire Police
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