27/11/2017 London News


27/11/2017

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Whatever we have to tackle together,

it will always be us

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together as a team.

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Welcome to BBC London News

with me, Victoria Hollins.

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First tonight, a woman

from North West London who married

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the American leader of so-called

Islamic State has spoken to the BBC

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about turning her back on extremism.

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Tania Georgelas, who grew up

in Harrow, travelled

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to Syria with her children,

but fled the country before her now

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ex-husband went on to fight for IS.

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She's now dedicated her life

to countering extremism,

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and wants to warn other women

about how an ill-judged mistake

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cost her, her family

and ten years of her life.

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She's been speaking

to Rickin Majithia from

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the BBC's Asian Network.

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My name is Tania Georgelas.

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For a decade I was

an Islamic extremist.

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My ex-husband became a leading

member of the Islamic State and now

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I'm hoping to counter his ideology.

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In the late 1990s, Tania went

to high school here in Harrow.

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It's a middle-class,

diverse London suburb.

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I grew up here myself,

and went to school just three

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miles down the road.

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I didn't know her at the time,

but know many people who did.

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They have all described her

as a pretty normal teenager.

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They say that she sometimes had

boyfriends and played

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truant from school.

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She wasn't known to be

especially religious or even

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politically engaged.

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So when did it all change?

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I turned to religion

in my life when I was 17.

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I just wanted to change my identity.

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I didn't want to be Tania

from Harrow any more.

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I wanted to be someone pious,

someone that people

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didn't call a "tart".

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So it gave me structure in my life

that I needed and helped me feel

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like I belonged somewhere.

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In her late teens and early 20s,

Tania mixed with various

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radical groups in London.

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They changed the way

she looked at the world.

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Our minds were just being

filled with these images,

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terrible, disturbing images.

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They would give examples of what

happened in Srebrenica and Bosnia.

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We were made to feel this

shared sense of guilt

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because we're a community,

and it was our duty to do something.

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And that something was jihad.

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In 2003, she married

John Georgelas, an American

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convert she had met online.

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Over the next eight years,

they lived across the UK,

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the US and the Middle East.

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By the time they reached Syria

in 2013, Tania was pregnant

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with their fourth child.

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I stayed in abandoned

homes by ex-military.

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The windows had been blown out

and every single night,

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I had become accustomed

to hearing gunfire.

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By this point, Tania

said she had started

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to question the life of Jihad.

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She wanted to take

the children back to America.

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After three weeks in Syria,

she pleaded with John

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to let them escape.

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He agreed.

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There were bullets,

like snipers, on these towers,

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shooting, and we could see

the bullets flying everywhere.

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I remember putting my kids

through the barbed wire

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and the Syrian refugees,

they were just guys,

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they were helping us

as much as they could.

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I put the stroller in, and then John

passed me another baby.

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It was so scary.

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John remained in Syria

and went on to join

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the so-called Islamic

State.

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GUNFIRE.

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Until earlier this year,

the group controlled vast

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areas of Syria and Iraq,

where it implemented brutal rule

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and killed thousands.

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Tania says she hasn't heard

from John in over a year,

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and doesn't know if he's

alive or dead.

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The last thing he told me, the last

message, was that he apologises

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for the wrong that he's done to me

and the children, and that

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if I don't hear from him in six

months, it's most likely

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because he's dead.

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Tania now lives

in the United States.

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John's parents have custody

of the children, and they seem

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well-adjusted to American life.

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Tania sees them at the weekend.

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Why should America give

you a second chance,

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given all that you did to propagate

extremism against this country?

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I think they should give me a second

chance because I realised

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I was wrong, and I made a mistake.

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I really want to make

up for my mistakes.

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She says she's turned her back

on extremism and wants

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to use her experiences to deter

others from making

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the same mistakes.

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If you were to meet a woman

who was thinking about going down

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the same path that you once took,

what would you say to her?

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I would say, I lost my family,

I lost my home, I lost ten years

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of my life that I should have been,

you know, working towards my

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education and a career.

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I have four children

who don't have a dad now.

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Is this the situation

you want to be in?

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Rickin Majithia with that report.

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Surrey Police say a large

and complex investigation

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is being carried out into historical

allegations of sexual abuse

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at a children's home near Woking.

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17 people have been arrested

or questioned about allegations

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from former boarders

at Kinton Approved School,

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also known as the Oaks Centre.

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Marc Ashdown is at

Guildford Police Station.

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Surrey police launched this

investigation in May 2013 after they

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received a large number of

allegations of child sex abuse from

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the 70s to the early to thousands.

We don't know much about it. The

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children's home has long since

closed. We believe it was for boys

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between 13 and 18 who had been in

trouble with the law were struggling

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at home. They stayed there and

studied there. The figures are quite

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staggering. Surrey police have

already spoken to about 200 people

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as this search for potential victims

and witnesses. 17 people have been

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arrested two were spoken to under

caution. They believe they have

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about 1500 separate lines of

enquiry. Kenton house and the Oaks

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Centre was run by Surrey County

Council. We have asked them a bunch

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of questions today. Only pupils

would have studied there? How any

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members of staff, when it closed? So

far they have not got back with any

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answers. It is a vast investigation.

There has already been a case about

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this school before?

Yes, back in

2006, Keith Hamilton, 69 at the

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time, he was a housemaster at the

school. He was convicted of a string

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of sex offences against two young

boys under the age of 16. He was

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convicted for six years. There is

nothing to suggest this is anything

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to do with him. But it is striking,

alarming even, but police have

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launched this large complex

investigation in 2013, but seven

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years earlier a prominent figure at

the school was convicted of child

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sex offences. Surrey County Council

are cooperating fully with the

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investigation. But police say many

more victims, witnesses, potential

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suspects have come to light as they

have started their enquiries. They

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want anybody who had anything to do

with this home in the 70s, 80s or

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90s to get in touch with them

urgently and confidentially.

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Thank you.

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A man who seriously injured a model

and her cousin when he threw acid

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at them has admitted intentionally

causing the pair

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grievous bodily harm.

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The attack happened in Beckton last

June and left both victims

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with scars, as Ayshea Buksh reports.

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They were two relatives travelling

through East London on their way

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to celebrate a birthday.

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Resham Khan had just turned 21

and returned to England

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after living abroad.

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Her cousin Jameel Muhktar

was driving the car and had

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an argument with a passer-by.

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When they stopped at traffic lights

in Beckton, they became victims

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of a terrible acid attack.

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I met Jameel shortly after it

happened, and he described

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that horrific moment.

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He had some sort of liquid bottle,

but it looked like water to me.

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It looked clear.

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He just started squeezing it in our

faces and all over me, basically.

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A lot of it went on her.

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Within seconds, my cousin

started screaming.

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Our eyes were blistered,

have they started melting,

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my face started melting.

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My clothes started to burn,

my shorts started sticking to me,

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there was smoke coming out

of the seats.

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Their attacker was John Tomlin

from nearby Canning Town.

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Immediately afterwards he went

on the run and slept

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rough in Epping Forest,

before eventually handing

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himself into the police.

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Both Resham and Jameel

suffered extensive burns

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to their faces and bodies.

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Jameel told me how his injuries

were so bad he was put

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in an induced coma.

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I can't hear from this ear.

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Around this neck, this arm

is a mess, this part of my wrist,

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my front chest, my belly,

my back, my legs.

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Today at Snaresbrook Crown Court,

John Tomlin pleaded guilty to two

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counts of grievous bodily

harm with intent.

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Judge Sheila Kavanagh asked in court

for psychiatric reports on Tomlin

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to be prepared in order

for her to ascertain his

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dangerousness to the public.

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Resham Khan has recently

posted on social media

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pictures of her recovery.

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Jameel Mukhtar is still in terrible

pain, both physically and mentally.

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My face here, can you see,

it's a different colour.

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My ear speaks for itself.

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Tomlin will be sentenced

early next year.

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That's it for now.

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Here's the weather

with Elizabeth Rizzini.

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Here's the weather

with Elizabeth Rizzini.

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It has got a bit chilly.

It is certainly cold out there now

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but it was a mild start to the

morning. Temperatures between eight

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and 10 degrees. We started off on a

wet note. Then we got the cold,

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sunniest off into the afternoon. The

general theme through the rest of

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the week is and will be turning

colder. Turning progressively colder

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as we had through the week. There

will be a chilly northerly wind.

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Turning briefly milder again into

the weekend. It will turn cold once

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more for next week. This is tonight.

There will be a patchy frost as we

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head into tomorrow morning. Bits and

pieces of cloud. A brisk,

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north-westerly wind. A frost in more

sheltered spot as we move into

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tomorrow morning. A cold start to

the day. Cloud around in the

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morning. That should break and we

will get some sunshine. Quite a nice

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afternoon but it will feel cold. A

bracing wind. These are the

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temperatures. Quite a lot of wind

chill as well. Wednesday looking

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similar. The best of brightness

towards the West. More cloud in the

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east. The northerly wind will turn

north-easterly as we head into

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Thursday and Friday. That could

drive a? Showers toward eastern

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areas. For the weekend it will turn

briefly milder. There will be plenty

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of cloud.

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