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Gloucestershire police officer a "controlling sexual predator"

A Gloucestershire police officer has been jailed for three years and nine months for having sex with three vulnerable women while on duty.

Darren Heath took advantage of his victims over an 11 year period, having sexual relations with three women and harassing another.

Heath had previously pleaded guilty to five counts of misconduct in public office.

On sentencing the judge said his actions had damaged the women and damaged the reputation of Gloucestershire Constabulary.

Detective Inspector Giulia Marogna gave a statement outside court.

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Alex's Weather Blog: Pack for all occasions this Easter

Alex Beresford has some advice if you're in the South West this Easter.

If you're lucky enough to be jetting off to a sunnier climate then you can skip to the next article, however if you're on a stay-cation or holidaying in the South West of England over the next few days get ready to pack for all occasions as strong winds, rain, showers and sunshine are all in the forecast.

The main feature in the weather this week will be the wind which is set to peak this evening through to tomorrow blowing a gale, especially along western coastal areas where single gust speeds could hit 70 mph. Today's rain won't be lingering for long with winds this strong coming in from the west, although a splattering of showers will follow overnight.

Tuesday

Tomorrow a few showers are likely, but many areas will largely escape with a dry and fairly bright day, and if you can find a sheltered area out of the wind it won't be too bad a day when the sun comes out. On the coast however it'll feel much colder and the seas will be choppy.

Wednesday

If you're up early on Wednesday it'll be much like today. Dry and mostly sunny, however the same pattern will emerge. Cloud piling up and in off the Atlantic followed by rain spreading eastwards during the afternoon.

End of the week

Thursday and Friday will be largely cloudy with further outbreaks of rain or showers at times. The winds will ease, but it'll still be breezy, which in turn will make it feel fresher.

The Easter holiday weekend is still looking changeable, although this could change later in the week - so watch this space for the latest developments.

Woman in court charged with killing her newborn baby

Claudia Martins is accused of killing her baby immediately after giving birth.

A friend of a woman accused of killing her newborn baby has told a jury at Bristol Crown Court how she found the 33-year-old in a bath of blood.

The prosecution allege Claudia Martins secretly gave birth at her home in Knowle, Bristol, and immediately killed her baby before hiding it in a suitcase.

The court heard how the friend called paramedics soon after finding her in the bathroom. Martins claims the baby was stillborn. The trial continues.

Live World War Two bomb found in Bath garden

The live Second World War bomb was found by a member of the public. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

A live Second World War German bomb has been found in a garden in Rush Hill, Bath.

Police set up a 100-metre cordon around the area and advised local residents to stay inside.

Bomb squad experts from Tidworth were called in. They took the one-pound incendiary device to a nearby field and disposed of it safely in a controlled explosion.

Prolific sex offender jailed for historic offences

David Mace, 59, from Bristol, admitted a series of serious sexual offences against multiple victims between 1996 – 2013 at Bristol Crown Court today.

Offences include rape, sexual activity with a child, sexual assault, voyeurism and indecent assault.

Mace’s friend, Kenneth Gavens, 62, has also admitted sexual activity with a child and the possession of extreme pornographic image.

Mace has been jailed for 17 years and Gavens has been jailed for 29 months.

It is testament to the victims in this case who have bravely relived some of their most painful memories that we have been able to bring these men to justice today. They’re continuing to receive all the support and help they need.

There is no escaping the fact that these were appalling and abhorrent crimes committed against vulnerable women and children.

A number of these offences were carried out under the guise of Pagan initiations and rituals – preying on the victim’s vulnerability.

Some of the victims were unconscious during these sustained attacks.

These offenders took advantage of vulnerable young girls and exploited them for their own sexual gratification.

In addition to the attacks themselves, Mace filmed a number of the incidents – adding further anguish for the victims.

We are determined to work with our partner agencies to make sure we are consistently tackling sexual abuse in all its forms. We’re committed to ensuring all our officers and staff are able to spot the tell-tale signs of exploitation and abuse to safeguard children across the Force area. I would urge anyone who has any suspicions about children or young people being exploited to please tell us. Every piece of information is important and we all have a role to play in keeping our children and young people safe from harm.

– Detective Inspector Larisa Hunt, Avon and Somerset Police

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Gloucestershire police officer jailed for misconduct

Darren Heath took advantage of vulnerable women. Credit: Gloucestershire Police

A Gloucestershire police officer has been jailed for three years and nine months for having sex with three vulnerable women while on duty.

Darren Heath took advantage of his victims over an 11-year period, having sexual relations with three and harassing another. Heath had previously pleaded guilty to five counts of misconduct in public office.

On sentencing the judge said his actions had damaged the women and damaged the reputation of Gloucestershire Constabulary.

Struggling community group's £2000 surprise from famous artist

The Willow Tree Group could not believe what they received in the post. Credit: Grayson Perry

A Dorset mental health support group that had its funding cut has had a nice surprise in the post from Grayson Perry - worth several thousand pounds.

Barrie Smith from the Blandford-based Willow Tree Group wrote to the famous artist, whose works are exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, and was astonished when he sent back a specially drawn sketch they could auction.

The ink-and-pencil drawing on A4 paper appears to represent a troubled mind, and came via special delivery with a post-it from the artist.

This Grayson Perry original was drawn specially for the group. Credit: Grayson Perry

Mr Smith said the group, which has been meeting for 25 years, had to raise £7,000 a year to keep going. He had written 120 letters to people and businesses and reached Perry through the Saatchi Gallery.

I had seen Grayson Perry on the news and on the TV and he seemed a sympathetic and caring person who might help ... It is a hugely generous donation.

– Barrie Smith, the Willow Tree Group

The sketch will be auctioned at Duke's of Dorchester on April 16th, together with the original jiffy bag it arrived in and the post-it note.

The sketch is extremely powerful and typifies Grayson’s use of contemporary and controversial themes, often with an autobiographical theme ... We are delighted to be able to sell this work and have waived our usual premiums so the group gets as much as possible.

– Amy Brenan, Duke's
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