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The West Country at Westminster: Lib Dem leadership debate special edition

Credit: ITV News

See Ian Axton grill the two Lib Dems battling to replace Nick Clegg in the wake of the party's spectacular collapse in the general election - Tim Farron and Norman Lamb.

Questions come in from Lib Dems around our region, but surely the main one is, where does the party go from here?

Manhunt for conwoman on the run from jail sentence

Julie Whitehead (left) and Ian Cotton (right) have both been sentenced to prison. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

A convicted fraudster branded "scum" by the family of an elderly woman she conned out of her life savings is on the run from jail, along with the man convicted of lying for her.

53-year-old Julie Whitehead was due to be jailed for eight-and-a-half years for a string of frauds. This included telling pensioner Rose Walker that she worked at a rehabilitation centre which could help her grandson recover from drug addiction, and convincing her to hand over thousands to pay for his 'care'.

The court heard that another victim, an 83-year-old man, was so traumatised by what happened that he stopped eating. Whitehead's co-defendant, Ian Cotton, 36, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years for perverting the course of justice. A jury convicted him of lying to the police to try and take the blame for one of Whitehead's crimes.

The pair, who had denied the charges against them, were supposed to appear at Plymouth Crown Court for sentencing yesterday - but have since disappeared.

Sentencing them to prison in their absence, Recorder John Williams said it was important to protect elderly and vulnerable people.

A warrant is out for their arrest and the police are appealing for help to track them down. The two have links to both Plymouth and Bristol.

WATCH: The last West Country at Westminster before the election

Ian Axton was back with the last of our political shows - the West Country at Westminster - before the election was on last night.

Guests included Queen legend Brian May - who launched his Common Decency campaign this week.

Joining the Brian May was retiring MP and Labour legend Dawn Primarolo, as well as Martin Horwood, the Lib Dem MP for Cheltenham. Unfortunately just before the programme our Conservative guest told us she was unable to make it due to last minute hold up.

If you missed the programme, or just want to watch it again, then click below!


Afghanistan veterans honoured

Servicemen and women who died during the Afghanistan campaign and veterans have been remembered at a service of commemoration today.

The royal family, civil dignitaries and government leaders all attended the ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral, along with serving personnel, veterans and families.

Warrant Officer Matt Tomlinson is a Royal Marine from Torpoint in Cornwall. He was awarded the Military Cross for saving the lives of colleagues during a fierce firefight in Afghanistan .

The lead vehicle was blown up by an IED and Matt braved incoming rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire to help rescue the seriously injured driver.

Appeal for witnesses after rock concert assault

Police are appealing for witnesses after an altercation at a rock concert at the Plymouth Pavilions.

Officers are investigating after a man, aged in his late 50’s, was pushed to the floor and then kicked to the face and head several times during a 'Royal Blood' show on Friday 27th February.

As a result, the man's eye socket was fractured.

The concert attracted fans from across the South West and Officers are appealing for witnesses, and in particular are keen to speak with two women guests who approached a security guard to report the incident.

Watch the latest West Country at Westminster

Join Ian Axton for this month's "The Westcountry at Westminster". His guests are : Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristol East, Neil Parish, Conservative MP for Tiverton & Honiton, and Molly Scott Cato - the South West's Green Euro MP.

We're talking leader debates, the future of Somerset's Hinkley C, and the history of women in politics. Did you know there have been fewer female MPs in the last 100 years than the number of male MPs currently sitting in the Commons?

After the studio chat about the government's 'golden share' EDF, who are due to build Hinkley Point C, say the government's share is not a financial stake.

Instead they say it is a voting share which gives it a power of veto over issues deemed to be of national importance. The European Commission knew of it when assessing the deal.

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