24 November 2011
Last updated at 04:01 ET
Justin Mellersh said not being able to see the bodies of his children was “absolutely crushing”
The father of two children from Hampshire who were found dead in Turkey says he has been refused access to their bodies.
Yaanis and Mira Mellersh, aged eight and six, were found dead with their Turkish-born mother Elke Mellersh, 45, in Soke in western Turkey on Friday.
Justin Mellersh had legal custody of the children, but they had been missing with their mother since early 2010.
Mr Mellersh travelled to Turkey hoping to bring the bodies back to the UK.
“I cannot even say goodbye to my children,” he said.
A court in Turkey has ruled that the bodies should be transferred to the custody of their mother’s relatives in Turkey, he said.
Speaking to the BBC from Turkey Mr Mellersh said: “There seems to be something very underhand going on with the decision and with the actions that have been taken.
“We are very saddened by this. I still have not seen my children since they were abducted.”
He has called on the UK Government to put pressure on the Turkish authorities and prevent the children’s burial in Turkey.
“It’s absolutely crushing for me. My children were absolutely everything to me and they were very beautiful children,” said Mr Mellersh.
“What’s most crushing is that I’ve lost them but this is just a further blow that I cannot even say goodbye to my children.”
Mr Mellersh, whose parents live in the New Forest village of Minstead, near Lyndhurst said he wanted to bury his children there.
The children grew up in the area before the family moved to Germany. Their mother was a German citizen.
The children disappeared at Hepstedt, near Bremen, Germany, in February 2010.
Mrs Mellersh was wanted by Interpol on suspicion of child abduction.
The bodies of the children and their mother were found in a farmhouse in Soke near the Aegean coast on Friday.
24 November 2011
Last updated at 06:08 ET
Up to 1,500 jobs are to be created with production of a new Toyota car at the firm’s Derbyshire factory.
Toyota said it would be investing more than £100m at Burnaston to make it the sole European centre for making the next hatchback.
The first 500 workers are to be recruited in the middle of next year.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who was visiting the factory, said it was “fantastic news and a massive vote of confidence for UK manufacturing”.
Production of the hatchback will lead to as many as 1,500 additional jobs being created in the next two years, the company said.
Mr Cameron said: “This investment and the jobs it will create provide a terrific boost not just to the local economy but to the whole country, and is a tribute to the great skill, hard work and sheer professionalism shown by the Toyota workforce.
“Toyota’s commitment to the UK shows the growing strength of the UK car industry – it is our great British success story.”
Didier Leroy, Toyota’s motor Europe president and chief executive, said: “Toyota has a long and successful record of building vehicles and engines in the UK and our facilities here are among the finest in the world in terms of efficiency and environmental performance.
“The investment we are making will secure a dynamic future for Toyota Manufacturing UK as a leading manufacturing centre for our core models in Europe.”
The new hatchback will be a classed as small family vehicle similar in size to Toyota’s Auris model and cars such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ chief executive Paul Everitt said: “Toyota’s announcement is excellent news for its employees and UK-based suppliers.
“This year’s wave of high-profile UK investment announcements is great news for the future of the industry, creating and protecting thousands of jobs and helping to secure economic recovery.”
The car-making giant has seen global production recover after being hit by the economic downturn, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and more recently, floods in Thailand.
The factory currently produces the Auris and Avensis models and employs more than 3,100 people.
23 November 2011
Last updated at 20:50 ET
A girl whose arm was severed when a train hit her at a level crossing on Tyneside has had the limb reattached.
Rebecca Huitson, 12, underwent surgery at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary after she was dealt a “glancing blow” by an Edinburgh-to-London train.
Rebecca’s arm was retrieved from the track after she was hit at Killingworth at 18:30 GMT on Monday, police said.
Michael Schenker, a consultant plastic surgeon, said there was a “small risk” the “replant” of her arm could fail.
He said Rebecca’s arm had sustained considerable damage.
“I don’t know how they found it but was told it was found quite far away from the patient,” Mr Schenker said.
“It has a number of fractures so we have to deal with that at a later stage.
“The main thing was to get the blood supply into the arm as quickly as possible, and so far that is working.”
Rebecca is expected to have a further operation.
“It is impossible to say at present what the final outcome will be, but we are working hard for her to have an arm with useful function in the end,” Mr Schenker added.
Rebecca, who studies at Seaton Burn College, has now been returned to a normal ward from the ICU.
Principal Alison Shaw said everyone was hoping Rebecca would make a good recovery.
“A number of our young people were very distressed, when they heard what had happened,” she said.
“Some of them had witnessed it, so we are trying to help them get back to their learning with appropriate support to deal with the trauma they have suffered.”
A British Transport Police spokesman said that investigations were continuing but the incident appeared to be an “accident”.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch of the Department for Transport has been informed.
24 November 2011
Last updated at 06:02 ET
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has announced 200 new jobs at its base in Filton, near Bristol.
The company says the new engineering jobs are due to demand for its A350 passenger plane and government investment in the plant.
The lightweight composite aircraft was due to come into service in 2013 but will now enter service in the first half of 2014.
Airbus has more than 550 orders for the A350 – which can carry 340 passengers.
Business Secretary Vince Cable was visiting Airbus on Thursday morning. The firm has received a conditional offer of funding from the government’s £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund.
Announcing the jobs, Neil Scott, head of engineering at Airbus Filton, said the company “probably” made the best wings in the world so it needed the best engineers.
“They’ll work on the next generation of the A350, on further refining the world’s latest passenger plane – the A380 – and on creating the aircraft of the future, the A320neo,” Mr Scott said.
BBC West’s business correspondent Dave Harvey said: “These are skilled engineering jobs, and so will be especially welcome in Filton, after the recent job losses announced by BAE systems and the Ministry of Defence.
“They reflect the fact that while military spending is being cut, civilian aerospace is doing well at the moment, with huge orders from India, China and the Middle East.”
In September, defence giant BAE Systems said it was cutting almost 3,000 jobs, including 206 in Bristol and Somerset.
24 November 2011
Last updated at 06:24 ET
Vandals blowing up parking meters with explosives are putting people’s lives at risk, East Sussex County Council has said.
Fifteen attacks have been carried out on 14 meters in Lewes in three months with the most recent attack on Monday.
Councillor Carl Maynard said such acts could seriously injure a passer-by.
Police are investigating whether the attacks are linked to a previous spate of attacks between 2004 and 2006 in which some 200 meters were damaged.
Fireworks were used in many of the explosions. The authorities have said in the past that the attacks were thought to be by someone with “a gripe” against parking rules.
The vandalism started after Lewes council introduced on-street parking charges following complaints of congestion in the narrow streets of the market town.
Lewes is famous for its Bonfire Night parades on 5 November.
East Sussex council, Lewes council and Sussex Police have offered a £1,250 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction over the latest incidents.
Ch Insp Natalie Moloney, Lewes district police commander, said: “I can’t believe anyone would be so reckless as to carry out such potentially dangerous acts.
Continue reading the main story
This vandalism is dangerous and we do not want to see anyone hurt as a result of thoughtless action”
Councillor Tony Nicholson
Lewes District Council leader
“I’m amazed someone hasn’t been injured.”
Ch Insp Moloney added: “This is a serious spree of costly vandalism and we are determined to find out who is responsible.”
Mr Maynard said repairs would cost at least £20,000 and added: “Whoever committed this mindless crime should know they risk jail.”
Lewes District Council leader Tony Nicholson said: “We fully support the police in their call for information.
“This vandalism is dangerous and we do not want to see anyone hurt as a result of thoughtless action.”
Each of the meters is worth about £3,000. Five were in car parks run by Lewes District Council – Phoenix Causeway West, Phoenix Causeway East, Cliffe High Street and Friars Walk.
Six machines were blown up during one weekend in November.
The first new attack came on 16 September when explosives were placed inside a machine in Grange Road. The latest incident was at White Hill.
One machine in Southover High Street was nearly destroyed and will be replaced, but the others have been repaired.
The other incidents were in Castle Precincts, Southover Road, Court Road, Nevill Road and Malling Street.
24 November 2011
Last updated at 04:20 ET
Investigators have begun work to discover what caused an explosion which partially destroyed a house in Berkshire.
Two people were airlifted to hospital with burn injuries following the blast on Sutherland Chase, Ascot early on Wednesday afternoon.
Olaf Baars, from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said reports it was caused by gas were “speculation”.
A police cordon remains in place around the house and neighbouring properties.
Mr Baars said: “It was clearly a serious explosion and fire, causing structural damage.
“It will be the subject of a multi-agency investigation.”
‘Cloud of dust’
Neighbours said the front of the house was demolished, leaving the top of the stairs exposed and a large amount of rubble in front of it.
Simon Ross described the moment his own house, 100 yards (90m) away “shook to the ground”.
“We went outside to see a cloud of dust clear to see half the [other] house gone with the right side partially collapsed,” he said.
Along with other neighbours, he helped an elderly couple from the wreckage of the house.
“There is a good community around here and people rallied around and did what they could,” he said.
Structural engineers are set to examine the house and neighbouring properties.
Thames Valley Police were called to the “badly damaged” detached house at 12:23 GMT on Wednesday.
Engineers from National Grid, which is responsible for gas supplies in the area, attended the incident alongside the fire service.
A number of properties in Sutherland Chase and nearby Nash Gardens were sealed off by police, but most residents were allowed back to their homes by 18:00 GMT.
The injured man and woman were taken to hospital in Southampton where they are being treated. There are not believed to be any other casualties.
A spokesman for National Grid said engineers had cut off the gas supply to the property.
But he added it was “too early to speculate on the cause of the explosion at this time”.
24 November 2011
Last updated at 05:52 ET
A teenager is taking Essex County Council to court to challenge its decision to close seven of its children’s care homes.
The boy, who cannot be named, currently lives in one of the homes the authority is proposing to shut.
Earlier this year the Conservative-led council approved plans to place 29 children into privately-run homes.
At that time it said this would cater for their specific needs, rather than putting them in beds that were free.
On Thursday, lawyers for the National Youth Advocacy Service, acting on behalf of the teenager, will ask a judge at the High Court to review the decision.
They are expected to argue the authority had not given enough consideration to the individual needs of the children and the disruption it would cause them.
They will also say the council is failing in its legal duty under the Children Act to provide a suitable amount and range of accommodation for children going into care.
Essex County Council said it was not appropriate to comment on the case until it had been decided.
When the decision was made in June, 29 children were in the homes in Chelmsford, Tendring, Uttlesford, Harlow, Epping and two in Basildon.
When it announced the decision, the authority said the children would be moved to alternative accommodation, either private or charity-run, based on their individual needs.
At the time, Sarah Candy, cabinet member for children’s services, said finances were not the driving factor for the move and it had been a “child led” decision.
The closures are expected to save the council more than £1m per year.
The case is expected to last two days.
24 November 2011
Last updated at 05:33 ET
A hostel for homeless men has been shut temporarily after a resident admitted raping a 16-year-old girl in Carlisle.
Charity Impact Housing, which runs the centre in St James Road, said it was closing out of respect for the victim’s family and “public hostility”.
Mark Jackson, 50, was living at the hostel when he carried out the attack in Denton Holme on 15 October.
The charity said it did not believe it could have prevented the attack, but was shutting for the family’s sake.
The hostel, which opened four years ago, has eight self-contained flats for men who have “fallen on hard times”.
It currently has three residents and they have been found alternative accommodation until after Christmas.
The charity’s chief executive, Mike Muir, said he was disgusted by the attack, but that all residents were vetted and Jackson did not have previous convictions for sexual offences.
He said: “We have closed temporarily after discussions with the family of the victim, out of respect for them, and to let the dust settle.
“Also, the residents felt stressed and that they were being stared at, and that it would be better to close temporarily because of public hostility.
“We bar anyone with convictions for sexual offences because of the risk to the community and our reputation.
“We don’t think there is anything we could have done to prevent the attack, but will be holding more discussions with the victim’s family.”
He said the centre was for men with “low support needs”, such as those going through a divorce or losing their job.
He added: “We take them for a year and try to build their social skills and help them find a job.”
Jackson carried out the attack in Empire Road, Denton Holme on 15 October. He will be sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court on 2 December.
24 November 2011
Last updated at 04:10 ET
A Canadian energy company is proposing to drill for oil reserves below rural villages in East Yorkshire.
Rathlin Energy is planning to sink a one-and-a-half mile deep borehole in the ground between Bishop Burton and Walkington.
It has submitted plans to East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
A report to the council’s planning committee recommends that a decision is deferred while highways officers look at the plans.
If the officers raise no concerns about the impact on local roads the report recommends the plans are approved at a later meeting.
The drilling, on agricultural land, would take place 24 hours a day and continue for five weeks.
The council report says if commercial quantities of petroleum are found, Rathlin Energy would suspend the operation and submit a further planning application for the production of the fuel.
Tom Selkirk, a spokesman for Rathlin Energy, said: “We’ve evaluated the existing oil control. We’ve combined that with the existing seismic data that’s available.
“We like the looks of what we see in terms of the nature of the rocks that’s present in the sub-surface and the nature of the structure that’s present there. We feel that there may be potential to have some conventional hydro-carbon resources there.”
The company said it has no plans to extract reserves using the hydraulic fracturing or fracking method, which involves the high-pressure fracturing of rocks with a mixture of water, sand and chemicals.
Fracking is believed to have caused two minor earthquakes in Blackpool earlier this year.
Professor Ernest Rutter, a geologist at Manchester University, thinks “Britain needs to become more self-sufficient in gas and oil” and expects more planning applications to submitted in the future.
He said: “The potential for securing UK energy supplies on home ground is so great that we really can’t turn our backs on it.”
24 November 2011
Last updated at 06:15 ET
Nestle is to invest £110m in its Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee manufacturing facility.
The extension to the plant, in Hatton, south Derbyshire, will treble production and create 300 new jobs.
Twelve new high-speed production lines will be introduced to make coffee pods, for sale in the UK and 38 other countries.
The number of employees at the plant has grown from 160 to 500 since 2006 and will rise to 800 by 2013.
Prime Minister David Cameron described the announcement as “brilliant news for UK manufacturing and for the local community”.
‘Focused on quality’
“The jobs created by this new investment will benefit both skilled workers and those leaving school who will be able to train in the workplace to become the skilled workers of the future,” Mr Cameron added.
Nestle opened a factory in Tutbury, Staffordshire, in 1901 and the plant has grown and now straddles the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border. The latest investment will be made in part of the site which is in Hatton, south Derbyshire.
Paul Grimwood, chairman and chief executive officer of Nestle UK and Ireland, said: “The team there have really focused on quality output, efficiency and really making the best plant that we have for this type of product worldwide.
“That’s actually meant that when we’ve come to spend extra money and put extra investment in, it’s been a bit of a no-brainer to actually say the money should go to Tutbury.”
Nestle said some of the new employees would become part of the first intake into the new Nestle Academy which aims to increase the number of graduates, apprentices and interns in the company.
‘Key to success’
Mr Grimwood said the company was committed to modernising its UK operation.
“Recruiting the best people for our business is the key to our continued success,” he said.
“Through the Nestle Academy we will double our number of apprentices, graduates and internships, supporting the economy through the training of skilled workers.
“We will also provide on-the-job training which will open academic study to those who otherwise might not feel this is a route open to them.”
Recruitment for the new jobs has already begun.