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Runaway rhea shot dead and 'to be made into sausages'

A runaway rhea named Rita who escaped from her enclosure in Hertfordshire almost two months ago has been shot dead by a gamekeeper - and will reportedly be turned into gourmet sausages.

Rheas are flightless birds native to South America. Credit: PA

The six-foot bird, which is native to South America, was killed by a single shot to the head by Stuart Howe, who told the The Daily Telegraph he understood that the police wanted the bird "out of the way" because they were worried that it could cause a car crash

Mr Howe, who is a deer manager, said it was better a professional marksman brought down the bird, and said the meat would be made into gourmet sausages.

"I suppose some people might say it is a shame the rhea is dead but it would be terrible if it caused someone to die in a car crash," the 65-year-old told the newspaper.

A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said that the bird's owner had previously given permission for the bird to be "dispatched if the situation deemed it necessary, which was the case" and was aware of its death.


Two teenage girls die after car hits deer

Two teenage girls have died in a road crash after their vehicle hit a deer.

The Citroen C1 car in which the girls, who were 17 and 18, were travelling hit a deer and then a Volvo V40 collided with the vehicle, which caught fire.

The incident happened on the northbound carriageway of the A10 between Ware and the A120 Puckeridge exit at around 7.45am, Hertfordshire Police said.

The girls died at the scene while the driver of the Volvo, who is believed to be in his 50s, was taken to hospital for treatment for what are thought to be leg injuries.

Father charged with girl's murder to appear in court

The father of an 11-year-old girl found strangled at her home has been charged with her murder, police have said.

Rebecca Thompson. Credit: Hertfordshire Police/PA Wire

Rebecca Thompson was discovered at the house in Holmefield Road, Bushey in Hertfordshire, on June 22.

Her father Simon Thompson, 52, was taken to hospital after being involved in car crash in the early hours of the same day.

He has now been charged with murder and will appear at Hatfield Magistrates Court today.

  1. London

Teens die on railway line

Two teenagers have died in an apparent suicide pact after being hit by a train in Borehamwood in Hertfordshire. Their headteacher tonight described them as talented, hard-working and respected members of Hertswood Academy.

A friend said "Instead of dwelling on what just happened, we should be happy we were blessed enough to have known [either of] them." This report is from Tom Barton.


Police: No suspicious circumstances in teens' deaths

The identity of the 18-year-old man, who was died after being hit by a train in Hertfordshire, has not been released at the request of his family. Police earlier named 15-year-old Charleigh Disbrey as the other person who died in the incident. Both were from the Borehamwood area.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the two teenagers involved in last night’s tragic and acutely sad incident. Although my officers are continuing their investigations, as part of our work to prepare a file for the local Coroner, there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances and no one else is believed to have been involved.

Colleagues from Hertfordshire Constabulary are also in a local secondary school to provide comfort and support to students and staff at this very difficult time.

– Superintendent Phil Wilkinson from British Transport Police

Pupils offered counselling after teens killed by train

Two teenagers killed after being hit by a train at a Hertfordshire train station are believed to have been pupils at the Hertswood Academy in Borehamwood.

A statement on the academy's website today said: "At the start of the school day today we were contacted by the British Transport Police to inform us of an incident that had occurred overnight involving two of our students.

"From the details that we have been given we believe that two of our students, one in Year 10 and one in Year 13, have tragically died."

The statement went on: "Students and staff have been informed this morning and we are offering counselling to those affected by this tragedy. We will be closely monitoring the well-being of all students in the coming days and offering any necessary support.

"Our thoughts are obviously with the parents and families of those who have died and we would ask all to respect their privacy at this most difficult time."

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