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Model lifeboats take to the Thames in rival boat race

A fleet of 250 model lifeboats have made waves in the River Thames as the RNLI held a charity Alternative Boat Race to boost the rescue institution's funds.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution's mini boats took to the water before Oxford and Cambridge's controversy filled men's boat race. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The miniature vessels raced along the tideway just upriver from the official Boat Race with supporters sponsoring the 250 boats. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The novelty effort hoped to raise awareness and funds for the RNLI, which make more than 700 launches along the Thames each year. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Read: Oar controversy helps Oxford race clear to win Boat Race

Oxford win by biggest margin since 1973

Oxford's crew celebrate after their victory.
Oxford's crew celebrate after their victory. Credit: Reuters

Oxford's 11-stroke victory over Cambridge in today's BNY Mellon Boat Race was the biggest margin of victory by either side since 1973.

Cambridge's Luke Juckett lost at least five strokes when the two crews clashed near the Harrods Depositary, in the race's decisive moment.

Cambridge protested against the result, but umpire Richard Phelps threw out the complaint from cox Ian Middleton.

Read: Oxford ease to boat race amid oar controversy

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Flooding continues to affect parts of western England

Heavy rainfall is forecast for large parts of Britain from tonight, with parts of the country facing the prospect of further flooding.

Wellies come in handy for a shopper in a flooded Wytham Street in Oxford today. Credit: PA

Around 100 flood warnings, and more than 150 flood alerts were put in place by the Environment Agency this evening, as people in western England continued to battle the aftermath of flooding in their area.

Walkers wade through a flooded Abingdon Road in Oxford today. Credit: PA

A cyclist died after falling off his bike and into floodwater in Oxfordshire and locals have been warned by Thames Valley Police to stay away from floodwater.

A car struggles to drive through Abingdon Road in Oxford today. Credit: PA

Water levels over the railway in Hixckley, near Gloucester, caused major disruption to travel today.

A property surrounded by floodwater near Apperley outside Gloucester today as heavy rain continues to batter the country. Credit: PA

Watch: Flooding problems continue in Oxford

Man dies after his mobility scooter falls into river

Water levels at Osney Lock have risen to record levels in recent years during periods of heavy flooding. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive

A man has died after falling into a river while driving his mobility scooter at Osney Lock in Oxford.

The 47-year-old man was apparently driving along a flooded pathway when the accident happened shortly before 6:30pm yesterday.

He was recovered from the lock but died at the scene.

Thames Valley Police said his death was being treated as unexplained but was not believed to be suspicious and his family had been informed.

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Ex-BBC chief 'wants to answer MPs' questions first'

Former BBC director general Mark Thompson has said tonight: "The first questions I want to answer are ones from the MPs and to put Parliament first".

Mr Thompson said he had "made a submission" to the Public Accounts Committee and did not want to make any public statements ahead of his appearance before MPs on Monday.

He has accused BBC Trust boss Lord Patten and trustee Anthony Fry of "fundamentally misleading" the committee in July when they gave evidence on senior staff payouts at the corporation.

Charities want tougher powers to police sex offenders

Sex offenders could face orders similar to an ASBO which restrict their movements in order to prevent them visiting parks and schools, if campaigners are successful.

An amendment to a bill to create Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Orders, similar to anti-social behaviour orders, is being tabled by Conservative MP Nicola Blackwood, the BBC is reporting.

vulnerable child
Charities and Ms Blackwood want to see greater police powers used to tackle sexual abuse of children. Credit: PA

Ms Blackwood decided to act after Oxford, an area she partly represents, was rocked by the trial of a sex grooming ring preying on young girls.

The motion is part of the Childhood Lost campaign, which would give police powers to place restrictions on suspects who have not been convicted and backed by children's charities like Barnados.

The Home Office said it would consider the campaign's proposals.

Police tell abusers: 'We know how you work, we are coming for you'

Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Simon Morton, who was praised by the judge for his work on the abuse ring case in Oxford, has reassured victims of abuse that they will be helped by police and warned offenders:

" We know how you think, we know how you work, be under no doubt, no doubt, we are coming for you."

Outside court he said:

Today is a great day for the victims. At last they have seen justice.Tonight, when the girls go home, they can go home in confidence, knowing that these men that have caused them so much pain are behind bars.

But, more than that, this shows every victim in the country that justice can work and it can work for them.

And I put a plea out to them - if you have suffered in the same way that our girls have suffered, please come forward and tell your story, we can help.

There is another message here and the message is this - if you even think about carrying out or committing the sort of sexual atrocities that we have seen in this case then think again.

Look over your shoulder and keep looking over your shoulder.

We know how you think, we know how you work, be under no doubt, no doubt, we are coming for you.

CPS promises support to abuse victims

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has promised that victims of abuse will be supported by the agency and police in future after seven men were sentenced for the abuse of girls as young as 11 in Oxford.

The abuse these girls were subjected to was truly appalling. Today’s sentences reflect the seriousness of the offences, and the young age and vulnerability of the victims when the offences were committed.

This is an important point for other victims out there, who may think that they won’t be believed because they too seemingly ‘agreed’ to sexual activity. The background and context of such sexual activity is of crucial importance and victims who are forced to succumb to it by the use of such tactics do not, in the eyes of the law, consent to it. Their freedom to make a choice has been cruelly taken away from them.

This case shows our approach is working, and I urge any victims of sexual offences to come forward and report their abuse to the appropriate authorities. We and the police will listen and support you.

– Baljit Ubhey, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Thames and Chiltern
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