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Teenager jailed for Weston-super-Mare murder

Mark Roberts died following an assault on the Bournville Estate Credit: Family photo

A teenager who beat an engineer to death in an unprovoked attack in North Somerset filmed on his friend's mobile phone has been jailed for life. 18 year old Ryan Sheppard will serve a minimum of 12 years and three months' imprisonment after admitting the murder of 35 year old Mark Roberts in Weston-super-Mare on October 12 last year.

Mr Roberts had been walking home alone following a night out with friends in the Somerset town when he was approached by four teenagers, then aged between 15 and 17. Sheppard began pestering Mr Roberts for a cigarette and to take him to a pub - requests the stepfather-of-two declined, instead suggesting the group "go home". The teenager responded by hitting Mr Roberts to the floor before a girl, then aged 15 and who cannot be named for legal reasons, took out her iPhone and started filming.

Sheppard and his friends then walked away, leaving Mr Roberts, who suffered a cardiac arrest, lying unconscious. Residents called paramedics and Mr Roberts was taken to Weston General Hospital, where he died 36 hours later.

"He will always be my one and only," she said. "As well as my children, Mark was my whole life. In the short time we had together we achieved a lot. He made me so happy."

– Zara Powell, Mark's fiancee

"There was no reason for Ryan Sheppard to suddenly turn on Mark and beat him to death but that is what happened. Now, as he begins a lengthy prison sentence, he must face up to the consequences of his actions.

“This murder sent shockwaves through the community and left people feeling stunned, angry and upset. I would like to thank the community for their support as we investigated Mark’s death and I hope the result today demonstrates our determination to investigate violent crime and put offenders before the courts.”

– Detective Inspector Lorna Dallimore

Pier owners offer support to Sussex counterparts

Weston pier burned down six years ago this week Credit: ITV News Westcountry

The owners of the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare have told their opposite numbers in Eastbourne to "stay positive" despite the fire there two days ago.

It was six years ago this week that Weston suffered a similar disaster, when the pavilion at the end of pier went up in flames. However a larger and stronger building was opened just over two years later - and could provide an inspiration for its counterpart in Eastbourne.

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Warnings over dangerous mudflats

Emergency services say they fear a tragedy could happen if people don't follow warning signs about the dangerous North Somerset mudflats.

Avon Fire and Rescue's Hovercraft was called into action yesterday afternoon after reports that 8 bathers had got stuck on the beach at Weston-super-Mare during low tide.

Amongst them was a heavily pregnant woman and a young girl.

Avon Fire and Rescue's Hovercraft was called into action yesterday afternoon after reports that 8 bathers had got stuck on the beach at Weston-super-Mare during low tide. Credit: ITV

4 jailed for dealing £1.55m worth of drugs

£1.55m drugs seized from four men Credit: Avon & Somerset Police

4 men from Weston-super-Mare have been jailed for a total of 33 years after admitting producing and dealing drugs.

Stephen Bailey, 45; Garry Parkinson, 49; Shaun Smith, 49 and Simon Kellaway, 38 were jailed for conspiracy to supply 56kgs of class A and B drugs which had an estimated street value of £1.55m.

They were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court yesterday.

Controlled drugs have always been something that we take seriously in North Somerset. Many residents have seen the negative impact drugs can have on the community such as anti-social behaviour, violence and criminal damage caused by people under the influence of drugs, or crimes carried out to fund their drug use.

Our commitment and the court result will reassure people – especially those living in Weston-super-Mare that we will pursue those intent on following a life of illegal drug activity and bring them before the courts.

The court decision and hefty jail sentence should have a positive impact but we refuse to be complacent and will remain focused and committed to working with Zephyr and other multi agency partners to disrupt, dismantle and destroy organised drug groups in North Somerset, which can have such a negative impact on our communities

– DI Saunders, Weston-super-Mare CID

Eight, including pregnant woman, rescued from mud at Weston super Mare

People walking with their dogs underneath the Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

Avon Fire & Rescue are warning people not to venture too far out and remember to check the tide times after a heavily pregnant woman got stuck to her waist in mud and had to be rescued in Weston Super Mare.

A woman, thought to be eight months pregnant, her partner and a young girl aged around seven, were...assisted to safety. The woman was stuck up to her waist in the mud.

– Avon Fire & Rescue

They were among eight people who had to be rescued by Avon Fire and Rescue Service's hovercraft at the popular tourist resort.

A teenage boy was suffering from exhaustion and unable to get to safety and an older male who was with him was trapped up to his knees.

– Avon Fire & Rescue

ITV tackles a tonne of water to see the power of the sea

The RNLI has begun a "Respect the Water" campaign in the West Country. 32 lives were lost on the south west coast last year and it wants beach-goers and surfers to take more care.

The RNLI shows the sheer power of the sea by challenging the ITV team (and friends) to move a tonne of water Credit: ITV News/James Chapman

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Tropicana plans look likely to fail

The derelict facade of the Tropicana in Weston-super-Mare Credit: ITV News West Country

The future of the Tropicana in Weston-super-Mare is once again in doubt after North Somerset Council reported that the latest proposals to fund a restoration project appear to have failed.

In a statement the Council said:

Following the failure of Trop WsM Ltd to come forward with any funding agreement for their project, and an independent assessment of the current proposals, North Somerset Council members will now be asked to consider the next steps for the Tropicana site at Weston-super-Mare.

The Tropicana seen from the beach Credit: ITV News West Country

According to the Council, The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership has concluded that: 'the business plan as currently presented together with the clarification provided is most likely to fail in terms of securing funding for the development'.

As a result the council is now reconvening the Tropicana Working Party to consider the next steps for development of the site. It is expected to report to the next meeting of the Council on 15th July

Jessie J and McBusted in Weston-super-Mare

Crowds gather for performers in Weston-super-Mare Credit: ITV News West Country

It's a big weekend for music in Somerset. Not only is Glastonbury taking place but there's 'Summer Weekender' at Weston-super-Mare. 14 big pop acts including Jessie J and McBusted will be performing over the next two days.

McBusted to perform in Weston-super-Mare Credit: Suzan/Suzan/EMPICS Entertainment
Jessie J to perform in Weston-super-Mare Credit: Matt Crossick/Matt Crossick/Empics Entertainment
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