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Coroner calls for improvement of stairlift safety

The family of a woman from Cambridgeshire who died after being thrown from a stairlift have called for improvements to thousands of devices to protect the public.

Ann Veal, 68, from Petersborough, died 11 months after being left paralysed from the chest down when she fell down a flight of stairs after her stairlift broke in April 2011.

Ann Veal, 68, died 11 months after being left paralysed from the chest down when she fell down the stairs because her stairlift broke. Credit: PA

After an inquest opened last week, coroner David Hemming said he would write a report calling for action to improve safety of the devices.

Mrs Veal's daughter, Sharon Veal-Gray, said: "We were devastated at my mum's death, she was always so caring and kind and did not deserve such pain and suffering."

"We never thought that a device fitted to help her around the home would cause such serious injuries and ultimately her death," she added.


Four police forces 'failing domestic abuse victims'

Just eight of 43 police forces responded well to domestic abuse and the most vulnerable victims faced a "lottery" in the way their complaints were handled, inspectors said.

The forces singled out by inspectors as being of particularly serious concern were:

  • Greater Manchester
  • Bedfordshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Gloucestershire

Lancashire Police was hailed as having the best response to domestic abuse.

Read more: Police 'failing' domestic violence victims

Among the forces found to be of serious concern, Bedfordshire had one officer working in its domestic violence unit, and in a case in Greater Manchester, the 13-year-old daughter of a victim was asked to act as a language interpreter for officers investigating allegations against her father.

Pheasant terrorising a community

A furious pheasant has been terrorising a local community by attacking vehicles and chasing cats and dogs at a farm.

The male bird arrived at Wood Farm in Hail Weston, Cambridgeshire three weeks ago and has been attacking the family and visitors.

A delivery driver was trapped for 20 minutes after the bird blocked his way, flew at the bonnet then chased his van.

Anne-Marie Hamilton told the BBC that the male bird is "a complete lunatic".

She said the bird had chased her Jack Russell and a driving lesson had to be abandoned after the pheasant blocked the car in.

Council reverses street sign apostrophe ban

A local authority has lifted its controversial ban on apostrophes in street signs following criticism from grammar campaigners.

A street sign on Scholars' Walk in Cambridge which has been corrected using marker pens by grammar campaigners Credit: PA

Cambridge City Council previously said it was removing punctuation from new road signs to prevent "confusing" emergency services.

However, today it said an "executive decision" had been taken to reverse the ban, adding: "For future new street names we will not be obliged to avoid proper punctuation."

Tim Bick, leader of Cambridge City Council, said: "We rue the day we allowed ourselves to be influenced by a bureaucratic guideline which nobody has been able to defend to us now that it has come under the spotlight."

A street sign in Cambridge reading "Scholars Way leading to Pepys Court and Fitzgerald Place" was among those to be altered in marker pen by grammar campaigners.

"This is a commonsense victory for good grammar," a Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said. "The apostrophe was first introduced in the 16th century. Cambridge's attempted coup d'etat of the Queen's English has failed.

Man charged with murder over death of girl aged 2

A man has been charged with murder after the death of a two-year-old girl.

Dean Harris, 19, of Scott Drive, Yaxley, Cambridgeshire, will appear before Peterborough Magistrates' Court tomorrow morning.

The toddler, who has now been named as Amina Agboola, died yesterday after being taken to Peterborough City Hospital with serious injuries.

A 28-year-old woman, believed to be the girl's mother, was also arrested and has been released on police bail. Harris is understood to be the mother's partner. The couple were arrested after taking the girl to hospital themselves.


UKIP candidate charged with 'forging election papers'

A UKIP County Council candidate has been charged with making false statements in his nomination papers during a local election last year.

A CPS spokesperson said: “It is alleged that Hugh Mennie falsified details on a nomination paper in order to stand for election to Cambridgeshire County Council.

"The nomination paper requires a proposer, a seconder and eight other signatures from “assenters” - people who live in the election catchment area. It is alleged that three of these assenter nomination signatures were forged."

Mr Mennie will appear before Cambridge Magistrates’ Court on 5th September.

Fire services respond to blazes caused by lightning

Fire services have been dealing with emergency calls relating to blazes caused by lightning strikes:

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