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Suicide verdict on Fairground tragedy father....7 October 2002

Contributed by localrags on Nov 11, 2002 - 10:51 AM

Coroner Ian Goldup recorded a verdict of suicide at the inquest on a man who hanged himself following the death of his daughter in a fairground accident at the Rotunda in Folkestone.

David Griffin, 42, "suffered deeply" following the tragedy when his 8-year-old daughter Erin fell 20ft from the Mini Dragon rollercoaster at the amusement park in Folkestone,in December 1999.

The inquest on Thursday at Canterbury Magistrates Court heard that Mr Griffin had separated from his wife Michelle in February this year.

Mr Griffin's body was found after a police search, hanging in woodland on 3 July.


Police appeal after nine attacks....7 October 2002

Contributed by localrags on Nov 11, 2002 - 10:50 AM

Four police forces, including Kent, have made a fresh appeal today for information about a man believed to be responsible for nine attacks on women and girls.

A new description of the attacker has also been released as police revealed that the man may have been bitten by a dog as he attacked a woman in Ripley Green, Surrey on Monday September 16.

The first of the linked attacks took place on the Stanhope estate in Ashford, Kent, on Thursday, 15 November 2001 when the man snatched a ten-year-old girl from outside the Ray Allen Community Centre. He took her to nearby woodland where he assaulted and raped her.

The second rape was on July 1 this year in Bracknell and was followed by attacks in Surrey and London.

The new details of the offender are that he is a white man, aged between 30 and 50. He has short, dark hair which is going grey in places. He is medium-to-stocky build and is between 5'5'' and 5'10'' tall and has been described as having tanned , leathery skin.

A number of the victims describe the offender as having a deep/gruff voice and there is a suggestion of a north-east accent. Several witness described smelling cigarette smoke and others that he smelled of drink. One of the witnesses believes he may have scars or noticeable blemishes on his forehead or under one eye.

The similarities between the offences are that in the first eight the offender attacked from behind and forced the woman or girl into undergrowth where she was raped. Each offence has occurred in urban areas and on a weekday. The offender has made threats and used phrases that are similar. In most cases clothing or property has been taken from the victim. The offender has told the victims not to look at him.


£4000 raised at golf day....3 October 2002

Contributed by localrags on Nov 11, 2002 - 10:47 AM

The annual Round Table Golf Day held at Sene Valley on the 29th September raised over £4000 for local and national charities. Everything went without a hitch despite a delay on the first tee caused by the “Treasure Hunt� helicopter landing and taking off in the morning.

In the afternoon the main competition was played and the winning teams were:

1st – Baker Tilly winners of the Nick Taylor Golf Trophy

2nd – South Bank University

3rd – Clive Emson Auctioneers

The Rt. Hon. Michael Howard QC presented the trophies and other prizes during the evening dinner held after the competition in the clubhouse.

Folkestone and District Round Table would like to thank all those who took part and parted with their cash either via the raffle or through “on the spot� fines. Anther event is being planned for the same time next year and it is hoped that some more local teams and businesses might consider taking part. If anyone is interested they should pass their details onto Brian Fennelly, the Chairman.

Charities that will benefit include the “Children’s Wish� charity run by Round Table Britain and Ireland and also the local Kent Battle of Britain Museum Hanger Appeal.

For more information please contact the following:

Matt Nixon (Media and PR rep) on 01303 893300

Brian Fennelly (Chairman) on 01303 891357

Military Canal restoration to begin final stage....1 October 2002

Contributed by localrags on Nov 11, 2002 - 10:44 AM

The final stage of the Royal Military Canal’s restoration scheme is to start this month.

Thousands of tonnes of silt will be dredged from the canal and, subject to agreement between Hythe Town Council and Shepway District Council, used as enriching topsoil for Hythe Green and Princes Parade.

Dredging is the final stage of the Heritage Lottery-funded £3.35 million canal scheme. It will help to preserve the Scheduled Ancient Monument, improve the habitat for fish, wildlife and flora and enhance the canal generally for the enjoyment of local people and visitors.

And it will give Hythe Green a boost too. “This is a scheme that takes a natural product, converts it into rich and beneficial topsoil and reuses it to the benefit of the local community – rather than simply paying for it to be dumped,� said Cllr George Bunting, Shepway Council’s Environment Secretary.

Savings made through the use of Hythe Green will enable more dredging to be carried out, thus safeguarding the future of the canal for a longer period.

Don Prebble, the Council’s Senior Engineer, said dredging would be carried out using a floating excavator – or pontoon.

“This will load sediment directly onto hopper barges which will be pushed by a tugboat along the canal to an unloading point created in the car park next to the canal in Portland Road. From here the sediment will be transferred into sealed trucks and taken to The Green.

“The sediment from the canal will be spread in stages over The Green . Drying out is expected to take six months.�

Once the sediment has dried out the final restoration of The Green will start.


Council "Keen to see Market stay"....1 October 2002

Contributed by localrags on Nov 11, 2002 - 10:43 AM

Shepway Council says it will do all it can to keep a market in the town following the decision of Market Initiatives Ltd to terminate its contract.

The company has given stall holders a month’s notice, citing lack of commitment by the council to granting it a long term contract to operate the Thursday and Saturday market.

But the Council has said it is keen to see the market stay in the town and will be meeting with MIL on Tuesday. (1 October)

Cllr Joe Sullivan, vice-chairman of the Council’s General Purposes committee said: “Obviously, we are disappointed by Marketing Initiatives’ decision to terminate its contract to operate the Thursday and Saturday markets but feel there is plenty of room for negotiation and the potential to overcome problems. We look forward to continued talks with the company.

“The market has been an intrinsic part of the town for many years and we appreciate that it adds value to the shopping experience in Folkestone.

“We are also confident that other ways could be explored to ensure a market remains a feature of the town centre scene.

“We appreciate that the redevelopment of Sandgate Road and the relocation of the market has been unsettling for stall holders but can only reiterate that we wish to see a market continue.�

For Town Centre Management, Rob Woods says “The Town Centre Management Board is disappointed that MIL has indicated its intention to withdraw from Folkestone. It is particularly sorry for those traders who have supported the town over the past few years.�

“The TCM Board feels that Folkestone town centre needs a quality market that emulates and complements the success of the Sunday market, has a lively feel and becomes an attraction in its own right.�


Council prosecutes dog owners....1 October 2002

Contributed by localrags on Nov 11, 2002 - 10:43 AM

Another dog owner is due to be prosecuted by Shepway District Council for taking her pet onto a local beach while the summer beach ban was in force.

Seven other owners who defied the ban have already been prosecuted and were faced with fines of up to £250.

As well as the summer beach ban fines, Council dog wardens have issued 24 fixed penalties of £50 each to owners who have allowed their dogs to foul in controlled areas and made no attempt to clear up.

Cllr George Bunting, the Council’s Environment Secretary said: "The Council has nothing against dog owners but these prosecutions send a clear message that dog owners must act responsibly, and respect other users of beaches and public spaces. If your dog fouls the highway or public spaces, please clean it up!�

The seasonal ban on dogs, which applies to some of the beaches along the district’s 42 kilometre coastline, runs from 1 May to 30 September every year. Beaches where the bans apply are clearly signed.


Cannabis plants seized in Folkestone....28 September 2002

Contributed by localrags on Nov 11, 2002 - 10:40 AM

Following an investigation by the South East Kent police teams, a search was carried out at an address in Folkestone, where officers discovered a hydroponics factory.

Two van loads of cannabis, and associated paraphernalia were seized in the operation. The picture, at right, shows a number of cannabis plants seized in the early stages of growth.

Sgt Sean Pryor of the Tactical Team said: "There is a misconception that cannabis is legal now, but this is not the case. SE Kent Police is taking positive action to reduce the supply of controlled drugs, of whatever class, in this area."

A 34-year-old local man was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a class B controlled drug and cultivating cannabis.

After being questioned at Folkestone Police Station, he was released on police bail, pending further enquiries. He is due to return to the police station in November.