Friday, 22 February 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Third teenager is charged after Tim Chilcott killing

A THIRD teenager has been charged with involvement in the killing of Minehead gardener Tim Chilcott.
The 18-year-old had been arrested at the time but was allowed bail while police continued to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr Chilcott's death.
He was charged today (Friday, February 22) with the offence of affray and was named as David Hayes, who lives in Winsford.
Hayes is due to appear before magistrates sitting in Minehead on Friday, March 7.
Two other teenagers arrested with Hayes were subsequently charged with the more serious offence of manslaughter.
They are 19-year-old Sean Wylds, of Alcombe, Minehead, and a 16-year-old Porlock youth whose identity is protected by the law because of his age.
They are both due to make a second appearance in Exeter Crown Court on March 18.
Wylds has been remanded in custody, but the 16-year-old was given bail by the judge on condition he lived in the meantime with relatives in London and observed a nighttime curfew.
Mr Chilcott, aged 36, was found unconcious in Minehead town centre in the early hours of Sunday, January 20.
He died 36 hours later in Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, where he had been put on a life support machine.
Mr Chilcott, who lived with his elderly parents in Hillview Close, Minehead, had suffered severe head injuries. The results of a post mortem to determine the cause of death have not been released, because of the forthcoming trial.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Breast cancer hot spot fears are allayed

FEARS that Minehead was becoming a hot spot for breast cancer cases among women have been allayed.
Figures given to The Post showed there had been 18 cases diagnosed in a 14-week period from October, 2007, to the end of the year.
Compared with a national figures which indicated for a town the size of Minehead there should be just 8.7 per year, it seemed there had been a dramatic rise.
The figures were collected from a mobile screening unit which visited the town from October to January of this year, and a local GP surgery.
But Dr Julia Verne, director of the South West Public Health Observatory, said: “This recent increase in the detection of breast cancer for women living in and around Minehead is entirely expected and due to the effectiveness of the mobile breast screening service.
“However, I do appreciate how people may mistakenly jump to the conclusion that there has been a sudden increase in breast cancer when they hear of increased numbers of cases.
“It does not indicate an unusual or higher than expected rise in the disease.
“The same effect occurs whenever the mobile breast screening service visits an area and occurred back in 2004 when the mobile screening service last visited Minehead.
“Breast screening has been shown to save lives. The mobile breast screening service is able to detect breast cancers which women may not be able to detect themselves.
“Early detection and treatment results in the best outcome for the small number of women who may be affected by the disease and I would therefore strongly recommend that all women take up the invitation to be screened when they receive an invitation letter.
“Women who identify a lump in their breast or be concerned about any breast abnormality should make an appointment with their GP to discuss their concerns.”
Dr Verne said given that the population was considerably older in Minehead than in other parts of the country a meaningful comparison of average figures could only be made between age-standardised rates of cancer.
Over the last 10 years of available data (1996 to 2005) there were 129 cases of malignant breast cancer in Minehead, which equates to a age-standardised rate of 125 cases per 100 000.
Dr Verne said it was not significantly different (statistically speaking) either from the English age standardised rate - 120.6 cases per 100,000, or from the age standardised rate for Somerset - 136 cases per 100,000, or from the South West of England - 137 cases per 100,000.
The Somerset Breast Cancer Unit is responsible for providing three-yearly breast cancer screening in the area.
In Minehead, this is provided by a mobile screening unit which visits the town for approximately three months every three years.
The last visit happened between October, 2007, and January, 2008, and the previous one in late 2004.
Dr Verne said: “At this point not all women picked up by the latest breast screening visit have undergone all their testing and treatment.
“Therefore, it is not possible to provide a confirmed number of cases.
“Some of these abnormal breast screenings might also prove not to be cancer.
“In 2004 a similar number was detected compared to the recent mobile breast screening service visit.
“In conclusion, we believe that the number of cases of cancer picked up by this screening round is typical for Minehead, and the overall rate of breast cancer is normal for a town with Minehead’s population and demographic composition.”

Dulverton tenant hailed as hero for fatal blaze rescue attempt

A MAN who died in a fire which ripped through a block of four flats in Dulverton in the early hours of Tuesday has been named locally as Bob Short, who was in his 50s.
Mr Short lived in an upstairs flat in Herbert House, Dulverton, and was found dead inside it by firefighters who tackled the blaze.
Herbert House, on the corner of Amory Road and Barns Close West, provides temporary sheltered accommodation for homeless people and those with drugs and/or alcohol dependency.
It is run by Worcester-based Sanctuary Housing Association, which manages more than 70,000 properties across England and Scotland.
Mr Short had today still not been formally identified due to difficulty in locating his next of kin.
Fire service and police forensic investigators were continuing to examine the scene to try to work out what caused the fire.
Meanwhile, a second Herbert House tenant, Les Dale, aged 53, has been hailed as a hero for helping to rescue a woman and her dog, Shadow, from a ground floor flat, and for trying to save Mr Short.
Mr Dale saw flames coming through the ceiling of his downstairs flat shortly before 3 am and he rushed to a nearby relative’s house to call for the fire brigade before going back to help the woman.
A fourth occupant, a man in another upstairs flat, was rescued by Dulverton firefighters.
More than 30 firefighters were called to the incident from Dulverton, Wiveliscombe, Bampton, Tiverton, Taunton, and Bridgwater.
A spokewoman for Sanctuary Housing said alternative accommodation would be found for residents while Herbert House was repaired.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Man dies in Dulverton flats blaze

A MAN in his 50s has died in a ferocious fire which ripped through a block of flats in Dulverton during the night.
Fire and rescue crews found the man in a top floor flat at Herbert House, on the corner of Amory Road and Barns Close West after being alerted shortly before 3 am today (Tuesday, February 19).
Dulverton firefighters, who were first on the scene, managed to save a second man who was trapped in another top floor flat.
Two other people, a man and a woman with a 12-year-old dog named Shadow, were able to escape by themselves from ground floor flats.
Up to 35 fire and rescue personnel were involved in battling the blaze at its height, with crews attending from Dulverton, Wiveliscombe, Bampton, and Tiverton, together with two hydraulic platforms from Taunton and Bridgwater, a command support unit from Wiveliscombe, and an incident support unit from Taunton.
The fire quickly took hold of the 40 feet by 65 feet building and was so severe that firemen had to strip the roof of tiles in order to use a hose reel jet to reach hotspots inside.
Herbert House was converted from a former shop premises about 11 years ago, and was named after Auberon Herbert, who had owned the Pixton estate on which the housing estate was built.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue group manager Paul Godwin confirmed ‘one person has died’ in what he described as ‘a severe fire’.
Fire investigations officers were working with police forensic teams and scenes of crime officers who began examining the site when it became daylight.
A post mortem is due to be held to determine a cause of death of the man who died, whose name has not yet been released.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Child injured in two-car A39 accident

A FOUR-year-old child was among three casualties injured when two cars were in collision on the A39 at lunchtime today, Monday, February 18.
Fire and rescue crews from Minehead and Williton were called to the incident, which happened at Washford Cross just after 12.30 pm.
They used First Responder medical training to assist the casualties and worked with paramedics who also attended.
One person was initially trapped in one of the cars, but they were helped free by the firefighters without having to be cut out of the wreckage.
The other two casualties, including the child, who suffered neck injuries, were already out of their vehicle.
Paramedics then took the casualties to Musgrove Park Hospital, in Taunton.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Micro-energy ideas for Exmoor businesses and residents

A SEMINAR is being organised for people and businesses on Exmoor to examine opportunities for producing local energy.
The Exmoor Trust is holding its E4Exmoor - Energy for Exmoor - event at the Ralegh's Cross Hotel, on Friday, May 2.
The trust hopes it will help people to save on their escalating fuel bills and contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions.
The event will bring together independent experts on micro-energy systems as well as the producers of such systems.
There will be also panel sessions to cover issues such as planning, cost benefits, and affected utility providers, as well as an opportunity to learn about opportunities for grant aid support.
Trust chairman Edwin Beckett said: “We need to capitalise on the ready availability of land, light, water, and wind in order provide a better economic base for an area which is experiencing rocketing cost rises in all forms of energy.
“The fact that this could be achieved in a sensitive rural environment means that we are hoping to draw upon external funds in order to pilot some schemes.
"E4Exmoor follows our highly successful Broadband for Exmoor event which provided the impetus to getting most of Greater Exmoor onto broadband.”
The E4Exmoor event is being managed by business trustee Archie McIntyre.
Mr McIntyre said: "The trust has acted in order to raise this challenge to the forefront of rural action plans now being considered by the Rural Development Agency.
“We especially want businesses and communities, as well as individuals, to recognise opportunities for shared energy production.
“Our focus is on micro-energy production but we recognise that this is only one aspect of reducing energy dependence which has been well led by Forum 21 and other groups."
The trust is expecting considerable interest in its unique opportunity to learn more about locally produced energy, and hopes such enthusiasm will reinforce the case for pilot and demonstrator schemes to be supported by external grants.
The E4Exmoor symposium will run two identical programmes on the day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, to cater for the anticipated large attendance.
More information is available from Mr McIntyre by calling 01884243568.