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First result of the night in as Kerry Smith keeps his seat

Kerry Smith has kept his seat. Credit: Essex County Council

Independent candidate Kerry Smith has been re-elected in Basildon Westley Heights in the first result of the night in this year's Local Elections.

Smith won the same seat as a Ukip councillor in 2013, but left the party a year later.

He was the clear winner in this year's count, registering 3,341 votes compared to his nearest challenger Andrew Schrader from the Conservatives who earned 1,329 votes.

Turnout in Westley Heights was 33.62%.


Athlete to be honoured at Buckingham Palace

Essex gymnast and Olympic gold medallist Max Whitlock receives MBE. Credit: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

Olympic gold medalist Max Whitlock is to receive his MBE at Buckingham Palace later today.

The athlete from Pitsea near Basildon in Essex made history when he won gold in Rio on the floor, doubling his tally less than two hours later with victory on the pommel horse.


Family pay tribute to 'beautiful' grandmother killed in crash

Jean Childs died on the scene on the A120 at Colchester Road. Credit: Essex Police

The family of an 80-year-old grandmother killed in a car crash in Essex have paid tribute to her.

Jean Childs was driving on the A120 at Colchester Road when she was in collision with another car on 27 January. She died at the scene.

Her family say she "enjoyed life to the full" and "loved spending time with her grandsons".

"Mum was a very young and beautiful 80-year-old who enjoyed life to the full.

"She loved spending time with her grandsons, playing cards games, needle work, knitting and anything that was creative.

"She will be remembered for her beehive blonde hair style and for a being a dinner lady at Chapel Hill School for over 20 years."

– Tribute from Jean's son Gavin

Puppy farmers who kept sick dogs in cages to be sentenced

The dogs were kept in cages in dark sheds at a travellers' site. Credit: RSPCA

A puppy farm gang from Essex is due to be sentenced over the fraudulent sale of dogs bred in poor conditions.

The dogs were advertised online as being home-reared, but were actually kept in cages in dark sheds at an Essex travellers' site, with some dying and others suffering serious health problems.

Three women and a man admitted fraud at an earlier hearing at Basildon Crown Court.

Teresa Wade, 57, Roxanne Montgomery, 33, Tony Hammond, 35, and Victoria Montgomery, 55, are due to be sentenced at Basildon Crown Court on Wednesday.

Some of the dogs were dying and others were suffering serious health problems. Credit: RSPCA
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