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Teenager from Wells cleared of murder at re-trial

Stacey Hyde outside Winchester Crown Court with her mother after she was cleared by a jury of murder Credit: Ben Mitchell/PA Wire

A young woman from Somerset has been cleared by a jury of murdering her friend's violent boyfriend after a re-trial ordered by the Court of Appeal.

Stacey Hyde was originally convicted at Bristol Crown Court in 2010 of killing 34-year-old Vincent Francis when she was aged 17 at the flat he shared with her friend, Holly Banwell.

Miss Hyde, now 23, from Wells, had denied murder, saying she was in fear for her life but the original jury disagreed and she was sentenced to a minimum of nine years in prison by Mr Justice Field.

However, in November last year, the court of appeal overturned her murder conviction and Lord Justice Laws ordered a retrial which has been held at Winchester Crown Court lasting four weeks.

Miss Hyde sobbed and wiped away tears as the judge, Mr Justice Teare, discharged her and told her she was free to leave the court.

The original trial heard that Miss Hyde, a waitress, armed herself with a 10-inch knife and stabbed Mr Francis up to 17 times.

The trial heard that Miss Hyde, who had been drinking heavily that night, had gone back to Ms Banwell's flat in Wells on September 4, 2009, after a night out.

Ms Banwell had called 999 after Mr Francis had attacked her and then Miss Hyde before the defendant then hit him back.

The jury was played the 999 call made by Ms Banwell in which she asks for help to stop Mr Francis from attacking Miss Hyde as the defendant then stabs him.

The retrial has heard about Miss Hyde's mental health with expert witnesses for the defence and prosecution disagreeing to the extent she may have suffered from a personality disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which can lead to a failure of impulse control.

The Winchester court was also told that the defendant had difficulty coping with stressful situations and in 2009 had been sent for urgent assessment for problematic use of alcohol, depression, self-harm and suicidal tendencies.

Cygnets at the Bishop's Palace named

Results of a competition to name these cute cygnets has been announced Credit: The Bishop’s Palace

The results of a competition to name the cygnets at The Bishop's Palace in Wells has been announced.

Staff received more than 100 entries from viewers of the Swan Cam from all over the world.

One of the youngsters had already been named Charlotte in honour of the new Royal Princess, who was born just before them.

The seven names chosen were: Harry, Ruby, Monica, Kenna, Precious, Cydney and Ben.

There were originally 9 cygnets, but one died last week.

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Mixed reaction to Chancellor's visit

The Chancellor has announced more money for Cathedral repairs and visited Wells Cathedral today.

George Osborne also toured a cider factory to see how a drop in cider duty will impact business.

But leading names in the tourism industry here in the West have criticised the government for not doing more to help them.

Our political reporter Robert Murphy has the story.

Wells MP quits job as aide to Vince Cable over fracking

Tessa Munt has quit her job as aide to Vince Cable after voting against the Government on fracking Credit: PA

The MP for Wells has quit her job as parliamentary aide to Business Secretary Vince Cable after voting against the Government on fracking.

Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt had said she intended to stay on, despite backing calls to suspend the controversial technique but a spokesperson for the Cabinet minister says her resignation has been accepted.

Tessa Munt has resigned from her position as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Vince Cable.

Both the Secretary of State for Business and the Deputy Prime Minister thank Tessa for the work she has done in government but understand her strength of feeling on this issue and have, therefore, accepted her resignation.

– Spokesperson for Vince Cable

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Post mortem to take place on body found near Wells

The man's body was found on land near Dulcote Quarry on Sunday morning Credit: ITV News

A post mortem examination is due to take place on a body of a man found on farmland in Somerset.

The body was discovered by a member of the public on farmland at Dulcote Quarry near Wells on Sunday morning. His death is being treated as unexplained.

Police believe they have identified the man and are trying to trace his next of kin.

Clothing and jewellery details released in unexplained death inquiry

Avon and Somerset Constabulary have released details of the clothing and jewellery worn by a man whose body was found on farmland near Wells.

A member of the public found the man’s body on land near Dulcote Quarry, off the Wells bypass, on Sunday morning.

His death is being treated as unexplained and a post-mortem examination is due to be held tomorrow.

Police have released the following description.

He was white, in his mid-twenties, with short dark hair and a short goatee beard.

He was wearing a black Judas Priest t-shirt, a blue hooded top and jeans. He was also wearing bangles and bead bracelets and had a leather choker around his neck. In one of his pockets we found a key fob, which could be used to open a till.

We have a team of officers working on this inquiry and our primary aim is to identify the man and find his next of kin.

– Det Ch Insp Marie Wright, nvestigating officer
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