Looking back at 2010 in Havering
PUBLISHED: 10:20 31 December 2010 | UPDATED: 12:56 31 December 2010
If you are scratching your head wondering what happened to 2010, here’s your chance to glance back over the previous months and see if you remember some the borough’s biggest headlines.
From the tragic and heart-warming to the downright infuriating, our reporters have covered it all this year and the news team has picked our favourite 12 front pages and reprinted them here to remind you of the stories that made it another fascinating year to be living in Havering.
Alby Tebbutt, the former chairman of the Romford Conservative Association, got the ball rolling in January after being dumped by the Tory party following his conviction for common assault after spitting in a man’s face during a parking dispute.
Other major stories during the month included a “ludicrous” post code lottery which saw Havering pensioners frozen out of the government’s cold weather payments because the station for measuring the temperature was miles away in Kent.
Time was called permanently at The Squirrels Pub in Romford because of its unruly record and benefits cheat Devi Luckhee, who illegally claimed thousands of pounds while living in France, was jailed.
Espionage hit the headlines in February when Paul John Keeley, a 42-year-old Havering builder who had moved to Israel, was unwittingly caught up in the assassination of a Hamas chief in Dubai. Mossad agents entered the country using the real passport identities of six Brits - including Mr Kelley - and caused national consternation.
Two Tories were alleged to have been involved in a love triangle, while a judge said he would put on full robes and sentence terminally ill Hornchurch paedophile Keith Inwood on his deathbed after he failed to show up in court. In other news, London Mayor Boris Johnson stumbled into a protest by firefighters while opening a new fire station.
Shocking figures obtained by the Recorder in March showed the proportion of drug users in the borough being treated for cocaine addiction was higher than anywhere else in the country.
Although addiction was said to be relatively low in Havering, one in three of those seeking help are addicted to cocaine with hundreds of new cases reported .
Tragic former St Edwards School pupil Olukorede Fajinmi was stabbed to death aged 17 in Barking and campaigners called for action at an accident blackspot in St Mary’s Lane, Upminster, where taxi driver David Fairbairn was killed. Another man was stabbed four times as shoppers in Upminster watched in horror.
A 15-year-old Marshalls Park pupil was given a lunchtime detention after saving a suicidal woman’s life. Oliver Adams spotted the woman who was about to throw herself off a bridge over the A12 near Pettits Lane and persuaded her not to do it - but had left the school premises without permission.
In April a tense two-hour siege involving armed police and a man waving a gun ended peacefully in a normally quiet cul-de-sac in Cardinal Way, Rainham.
Abbs Cross School pupils had a shock when three illegal immigrants were found under their bus in France and a man died after innocently drinking liquid cocaine from a bottle he thought contained rum, a court was told.
May saw another terrifying gun related incident. Scrap-yard workers in Ferry Lane, Rainham, were forced to flee for their lives when three armed raiders burst into their premises, fired off two shots and demanded cash. Multiple rapist Brian Weaver sobbed after being jailed for 16 years.
In June the desperate loneliness felt by some pensioners was laid bare when the decomposed body of George Lake was discovered months after he was thought to have died. Post lady Denise Bartlett raised the alarm after a build up of mail at his Acacia Avenue address.
Murderer Mark McFadden, who brutally killed car dealer Gary Campbell, was jailed for 17 years but died a short while later from a heart attack. While uninsured motorist Sam Hall who lsmashed into a tree, killing three of his passengers, walked free from court.
In July Havering Council revealed it had to save £94 million and would slash more than 300 jobs over five years as the devastating impact of the UK’s national debt crisis hit home in a big way in the summer.
More bizarrely Lisa Witchalls had not only been told she would never conceive but did not even know she was pregnant when she was taken to the Queen’s Hospital to give birth to baby Reece.
In August, the Recorder hailed two Havering heroes - cousins Tony Thornton and Christopher Neverdon - after they dashed into a burning home to save 91-year-old Beatty Blake.
In August Romford MP Andrew Rosindell called for an investigation after it was revealed that Havering’s police force was the sick man of the Met after figures showed one in every seven of its officers was on sick leave or restricted duties .
That same month Peter Wells was ordered to hand over more than £700,000 in cash to police despite being acquitted of money laundering.
The Queen’s Hospital was criticised a month later in September when it was found to be negligent in the death of six-year-old Timi Owojori, of Romford, after doctors failed to treat his headaches properly and he later died from a giant aneurysm.
Fraudsters Emily Morris and Kevin Wraith were prosecuted after being caught in a benefits scam worth around £125,000 while living at addresses in Hornchurch but escaped with suspended sentences.
In October police launched a manhunt for robbers who left 15-year-old Harold Hill boy Bobby Bedwell with horrific injuries
Tributes poured in for a Hall Mead teacher, Dave Smith, who died of a heart attack while working out in the Upminster school’s gym. Labour politician and trade unionist Bob Kilbey was found dead in his house in Harold Hill and a 53-year-old woman was attacked with acid by hoodies.
Last month, the moving story of Cliff Burnett, who has Motor Neurone Disease, and his bride Kym and their wedding ceremony at St Francis Hospice raised our spirits in the month before Christmas.
But in December, Christmas spirit was found to be in short supply after heartless robbers made off with the expensive bespoke van and wheelchair belonging to disabled couple, Eric and Susan Murdoch, from Romford.
The thef leavin left them housebound.
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