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Inquest opens into death of former Police Detective

Peter Foster was found dead in his cell in Lewes in July 2012 Credit: ITV Meridian

An inquest is due to be held into the death of a former detective who was serving time in prison after killing his partner. Peter Foster was found dead in his cell in Lewes in July 2012. He'd been sentenced to a minimum of 17 years after stabbing Heather Cooper in the throat.

Heather Cooper died after she was stabbed in the throat in October 2011 Credit: ITV Meridian

Fire at theatre believed to have been started accidentally

The Phoenix Theatre in Lewes was destroyed by a fire last night

The fire that destroyed the Phoenix Theatre & Studios in Lewes is believed to have been started accidentally by a wood burning stove on one of the upper floors, according to East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

Up to seventy firefighters tackled the blaze last night. Crews were called to the scene shortly after 6pm. They managed to stop the fire spreading to other neighbouring buildings. The fire was out by 9.30pm, but crews remained at the site until 6am this morning damping down the embers.

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15-year-old threatened in an unprovoked attack

British Transport Police are appealing for information after a 15-year-old boy was threatened and grabbed in an unprovoked attack. Officers have released CCTV images of a man they want to speak to in connection with the incident, which took place on 29th December on a train at Lewes station.

Police want to speak to this man following an attack at Lewes Station Credit: British Transport Police

PC Vicky Payne, the investigating officer, said: “The victim, a 15-year-old from Lewes, was onboard a train around 10pm when, completely unprovoked, a man shouted at the boy. He then grabbed the victim by his throat, leaving red marks to his face.

“Another man was seen to cover the CCTV cameras onboard the train whilst the incident took place.”

Police want to speak to this man following an attack at Lewes Station Credit: British Transport Police

Now, CCTV images of two men, who police are keen to speak to, have been released.

Family tribute to "loyal and loving" man killed in crash

James Hunt died in a crash last week Credit: Sussex Police

A driver who died in a crash near Forest Row in Sussex has been named as 39-year-old James Hunt.

Mr Hunt, of Hilman Close, Lewes, died after his car left the road and hit a tree on 10th January.

James's family say: "As a family we would like to pay tribute to our loving son, brother and uncle, James Hunt. Nothing can ever replace the emptiness we feel as a result of his sudden and tragic death. One of his great pleasures was fishing."

"James was very laid back and easy going, he was not always punctual but was loyal and loving. James was an integral part of our family and his love, generosity and humour will be missed by us all. He touched many people's lives in such a positive way and we now hope he is at peace."

PC Shirley Ross, Road Policing, said: "I would like to appeal to anyone who saw his blue BMW 316 on the A22 just south of Forest Row between 11.30pm and midnight on 10 January to contact us. They should contact police on 101 or email collision.appeal@sussex.pnn.police.uk."

Sussex police welcome sex offender sentence

We welcome this sentence, which sends a clear message that such offences, no matter when they occurred, will be investigated and the offenders brought to justice. Sussex Police will always take accusations of this nature very seriously, no matter how long ago they occurred, and anyone who comes forward can be confident that they will be dealt with sensitively, compassionately and confidentially. I would urge anyone who has been the victim of any form of sexual assault to contact Sussex Police on 101.

– Detective Inspector Lee Horner

Former police officer jailed for sex offences with child

Michael Defries, 58, from Barnham, appeared at Lewes Crown Court yesterday afternoon for sentencing after pleading guilty to two counts of historical sexual touching against a 12-year-old girl.

Defries, formally a police sergeant with British Transport Police, was sentenced to two years in prison and was made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for 12 years.

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A Taste Of History

They were once a familiar sight in our towns and cities. Most breweries used dray horses to deliver barrels of beer to pubs and ale houses, but sadly they were made redundant by mechanised horse power.

Now, though, a brewery in Sussex is turning back the clock and its horses are becoming a firm favourite with people with in and around Lewes. Charlotte Wilkins has been to see them at work.

Lewes train fight police appeal

British Transport Police are appealing for information after a fight between two groups of people on a train at Lewes train station.

The police have released an image of the man they want to speak to in connection with the incident that happened on a Brighton to Ashford train on Saturday 31st August.

Police would like to speak to this man in connection with the fight Credit: Sussex Police

Detective Constable Nigel Craig is renewing the appeal for witnesses. He said: “After the service had pulled into Lewes station, a group of men and women on the train became involved in an altercation between another group of people who were waiting to board.

“One of the women, who was part of the group, began banging on the window close to the gap between the train and the platform.

"As a concerned member of rail staff intervened, one of the men in the group rugby tackled him to the floor, causing him to fall – with the woman – close to the platform edge. The member of rail staff was left with a graze to his knee and hand.”

Woman missing from Lewes days before Christmas

Cathleen Spencer was last seen on Sunday Credit: Sussex Police

A woman from Lewes, who is suffering from the early stages of dementia, has gone missing from her home in Newton Road.

Cathleen Spencer, 59, was last seen at 10.30pm on Sunday evening (December 22).

She said she was going shopping and took a rucksack filled with carrier bags. She is known to shop at Waitrose and Tesco in Lewes. She is described as white, 5' 6", of slim build with long straight shoulder-length dark blonde hair. She has an American accent.

Anyone who sees her or knows of her whereabouts is asked to call Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 1210 of 23/12. If she is in danger or requires medical attention, please dial 999 immediately.

Elderly woman dies after fatal fire at farm

A map of the area Credit: ITV Meridiian

An investigation has been launched after an 89-year-old woman died in a fire at a farm in East Sussex. Emergency services were called at 6.15am on Saturday to Mill Farm at Barcombe Mills near Lewes. Firefighters forced their way into the building and rescued an 89-year-old woman but she died later.

The cause of the fire is not yet known. Police know who the victim is but she has not yet been formally identified. Detective Inspector Mark O'Brien from Sussex Police said: 'This is a tragic incident and the victim's family are being supported by police and the coroner's officer.

'At this stage we are treating the cause of the fire as unexplained and we remain open minded as to how it may have started. We expect to be at the property for the next couple of days while we assess the scene and establish any causes.'

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