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Welcome to BBC Points West with Alex Lovell and David Garmston.
Our main story tonight - the spy who didn't love her.
This woman was conned out of almost ?1 million by a man who claimed
The man that I had fallen in love with -
who was a very noble, honourable person -
of course, was just a creation of Mark Acklom.
The person I fell in love with never existed.
Making the Dam Buster Johnny Johnson a Knight -
Carol Vorderman joins us to explain why she's joined the
a Carol Vorderman joins us to explain why she's joined
My New Year's resolution is to survive - a woman with cancer
campaigns for a ?90,000 a year drug for all who need it.
And throw one up soldier - the scrap metal fighter constructed
in honour of the heroes of World War I.
He told her he was a millionaire Swiss banker.
He also told her he was an intelligence agent working
for MI6, before he disappeared saying he'd been injured in Syria.
Carolyn Woods from Gloucestershire says she can't believe that the man
who conned her out of nearly ?1 million still
Mark Acklom is believed to be on the run in Spain
and is being described as one of Britain's Most Wanted.
Carolyn Woods believed Mark Acklom loved her.
But the relationship was a confidence trick -
I think unfortunately I had sort of fallen under a spell.
It was as though I was mesmerised, to an extent.
My daughters felt I had been brainwashed, I wasn't
behaving quite normally, it was as though he had
This is the day they met - footage taken at the shop
But, amazingly, these are the only pictures of them together.
Mark Acklom spun her a web of extraordinary lies -
saying his role in the secret service meant he couldn't be
Initially, when I met him, to told me that he was a Swiss banker.
Then, subsequently, before I moved in with him,
he confided in me that he actually worked for MI6, and this
gave him carte blanche to appear at any time
absent for very long periods without having to explain anything.
Having won her trust, he demanded money.
At that time I believed Mark was in a military hospital
in Athens, having been wounded in action in Syria.
Or working undercover in Syria, I should say.
So I didn't know when I was going to see him again.
Mark and Carolyn lived in this impressive house in Bath
Mark told Carolyn he owned it, to persuade her of his
And, according to several people I've spoken to,
that kind of elaborate lie is typical of him.
Mark Acklom commissioned more than ?50,000 worth
of work from these web developers in Bristol.
In terms of the lies he tells, he can tell them so well
If an ordinary person tries to tell a lie,
It's an awkward thing for a normal person to tell a lie,
even if they're quite good at it or they're devious.
Whereas a sociopath, there is no problem with
lying whatsoever and, in fact, manipulating people is just fun.
Mark Acklom is believed to have been on the run in Spain
He's one of the UK's most wanted fugitives.
But Avon and Somerset Police have never sent officers there,
instead relying on Spanish police to hunt for him.
in anything. They do not seem to have any communication with the
Spanish police. I don't get the impression that anything is followed
through all that they even tried to find out.
but they say they're "working with the National Crime Agency
and the Spanish authorities, in order to locate and arrest him
And they add they've been "successful in obtaining
a European Arrest Warrant for Acklom, who is believed
But for now he remains at large while Carolyn
continues her own hunt for him, and for her money.
Two men have appeared in court charged with the murder
of a 31-year-old man whose body was found on Christmas Eve.
Mohammed Abdurezek had been stabbed several times.
His body was found by the side of a road in Syston.
22-year-old Abdiwahab Mohamed Sheik Abdulahee
and 42-year-old Karl Cullen - both of no fixed address -
will next appear at Bristol Crown Court on Monday.
A man's pleaded guilty to arson and criminal damage,
after a fire at a Wiltshire Primary School.
Two classrooms at The Avenue in Warminster were completely
Edward Beavis, who's 34, will be sentenced at a later date.
A terminally ill mum from Portishead - who says her New Year's resolution
is to live through 2017 - is calling for a life-extending
drug to continue to be available on the NHS.
Heidi Loughlin, has breast cancer and says she's reliant on the drug
But the body that decides which drugs the NHS will
pay for says the price is currently too high.
Heidi has been speaking to our Social Affairs
The most precious of moments - Heidi with her four-year-old son Noah.
Made possible by the breast cancer drug Kadcyla -
without it Heidi says she'd already be in a hospice.
I absolutely think it's keeping me alive I can see it visibly on me.
When I looked in September, I could see it moving and growing and as
soon as I started taking the drug it has gone. That would not have
happened without taking the drug. When they gave it to you and said
this is going to cost ?9,000, what you think? It's really expensive but
you can't put a price on someone's life. I have a two-year-old and a
four-year-old and every year or even month it buys me.... It allegedly
puts is nine months extra on someone's life. Nine months is
massive to two small children. Everyday I am here is vitally
important to them. You cannot a price on that. The price of this
drug is claimed to be too high in relation to the benefits it brings.
As a doctor you want the best for As a doctor you want the best for
your individual patients. But for the NHS as a whole, we have to buy
the most for the most people. If we buy expensive drugs for cancer we
have less per heart disease and lung disease. It's very difficult, and it
has found Heidi's drug at the moment to be potentially not a foldable. It
is asked a period of appraisal to see if we can make it more
cost-effective. But if they can't, it is likely that women in Heidi's
shoes will not have the same choice. She has no idea how long she has
left. But for this year, she is concentrating on living. Everyone is
talking about their New Year 's resolutions. Lose a bit of weight,
learn to speak a language. Mine is so simple, don't die. That is it for
me. The row about the failure
of the New Year's Honours List to recognise one of the Second
World War's great heroes Johnny Johnson, who lives
in Bristol, is the last surviving British Dambuster -
part of a bombing crew which destroyed some of Germany's
strategically important dams. He'd been nominated
for a knighthood, but wasn't recognised despite his
ongoing charity work. Now his case has been taken up
by the TV presenter Carol Vorderman, who's not only started a petition,
but is also preparing She joins us now from
Gloucestershire airport, Thank you for joining us. You have
met Johnny haven't you? Yes. I met him last summer because I am the
ambassador for Air Cadets. Tahiti to see him working with those young
people was amazing and he is such a supporter of young people. He works
tirelessly to inspire the young and after the war he was a teacher, he
was a councillor. He has raised lots of money for various charities. The
man is not only a legend but he is an absolute gentleman, the most
charming person you could come across, and modest. He is fantastic
and I cannot believe he was snubbed in the New Year 's Honours list. It
is disgraceful. When did you launch the petition? I launched it 36 hours
ago. It is an change. Awk. It is going to go along with an official
nomination I am putting together now, with lots of formal letters of
support, to make it as strong as possible, for an award, hopefully a
knighthood, this summer. Do you know what the current total is on the
petition? No. Do you want me to tell you? It is currently, just topped
110 in 36 hours. 110,000. 110,000 people? I know you want to get a
130,000. As many as possible because it shows the respect we all have the
Johnny. And I know he has also said if it were to happen he would accept
it on behalf of not only the dambusters squadron but on behalf of
all of Bomber Command. That is very important because in Bomber Command,
so many young men lost their lives. There was more of a chance of
surviving the Battle of the Somme and of surviving Bomber Command.
They were all volunteers. And disgracefully it took a number of
people, I was one of that number, to make a big fuss, to raise a lot of
money, for a memorial to be unveiled in 2012. These men still haven't
received medals for being part of Bomber Command. It's disgraceful.
Whatever the controversy at the end of the war, they were young men and
they deserve to be recognised, as Johnny would tell you. And a lot of
people same feel the same as you. Thank you so much for joining us.
Vote for Johnny! Thank you for joining us
this Thursday evening. It is 12th night tomorrow so our
tree is about to come down. We visit the Bristol Primary
school which is now one And is this the most relaxed
pantomime performance Find out why, later
in the programme. Experts are urging poultry owners
to keep their birds under cover to stop an outbreak
of avian influenza. If it's found in a domestic flock
then it could lead to thousands It means nervous times for poultry
farmers here in the Westcountry. But as Andrew Plant reports,
the rules apply to so-called backyard farmers too -
people who may only keep Wild birds flying in from
the continent, but their droppings can contain avian influenza,
H5N8 - a strain so far But infected birds die off
and outbreaks in domestic flocks can Now it is culling
thousands of birds. Chickens that lay eggs, obviously,
for the free range egg market. Poultry producers here
are watching very closely. Martin Ford has more
than 20,000 chickens. You would have 4000 birds
in here, is that right? An outbreak would be so serious it
could mean the end of his business. All the birds would be taken
off-site - killed first, on site. Then you have a very,
very rigorous clean down procedure. That can take weeks if not months,
and can cost tens if not hundreds A farm in Lincolnshire
with a confirmed case in a turkey. A three kilometre exclusion
zone now in place. Only vets and other
professionals allowed inside. Now all poultry keepers are under
what is called a housing order, meaning birds
must be kept inside, away from the droppings
ofthe wild birds overhead. And that's everyone,
says the Government, We do encourage everybody, no matter
how big or small their holding is, to actually look carefully
at the advice and to H5N8 has spread across Europe
from its origins in Asia. Four birds at Slimbridge tested
positive recently, possibly brought In wild birds it's more
or less business as Birds do die at this
time of year anyway. But for people who
are bird and owners, farmers, poultry smallholders, it
could be very serious indeed if it So, harmless to humans,
deadly to birds, and devastating if it's
found on a farm. The latest bird flu outbreak
is being watched very closely, and everyone urged to keep their flocks
away from wild birds. It's been revealed today
that the husband of a woman who died in a house fire in Swindon
in November has also since died. Blaise Alvares had been
in a critical condition in hospital since the fire,
which claimed the life Today in a statement,
their families thanked the staff who have cared for him,
and have asked people to pray for their 17-month old daughter
who is still recovering There have been long queues
near the M4 in Swindon all day A 100 metre cordon was put in place
around the junction for West Swindon after contractors hit
the pipe this morning. Junction 16 was closed to traffic
coming on or off the motorway The emergency services were called
to a gas leak here at junction 16 of the M4 motorway. That is the
junction for Swindon and royal Wootton Bassett. Police and fire
crews quickly established a 100 metre cordon around the area by
closing the surrounding roads and the roundabout and the slip roads
onto the motorway in both directions. The motorway itself
remained open throughout the day. This junction is currently being
improved. There roadworks going on to widen the slip roads and to alter
the roundabout. It was the contractors working on those road
improvements that breached the gas main and caused the emergency. The
road within the last hour or so has just reopened. That gas leak has
clearly been repaired. Around five and a half thousand vehicles per
hour use this junction at peak times. They all had to find
alternative routes. It has been a huge headaches throughout the day
for the people of Swindon and the surrounding area.
A primary school in one of the most deprived areas of Bristol is now
among the most successful in the whole country,
after an excellent set of exams results.
Ilminster Avenue, in Knowle West, has failed Ofsted inspections
Most of the children at the school receive free school meals,
meaning the school is paid more than one thousand pounds per pupil.
Andy Howard went to find out how that money helps,
Hi, I'm Rebecca. And I'm Archie. We live here and we would like to show
you around our school. This is our classroom. We are learning about
crime and punishment. Some people might say that a school in Knowle
West might not be very good. What you think? If they don't live round
here then they don't know what we can do. But we are a good school. It
gives you more in what you do. This is Mr Lucas's office. We work just
as hard on enjoyment and engagement as we do on getting reading writing
and maths to the correct standard. We make sure children do lots of
sport, they all learn in is a good instrument. The trips they go on.
You need money to do it. And you need more in certain areas of the
city then you will in others. You talk about children coming into
school and being 18 months behind in terms of development, and last year
on average if you looked at children here and where they ended their
experience with us, they ended up about 18 months ahead. In seven
years you've made ten years progress. We think our school is
great. We have the numbers to prove it. Thank you. Eight out of ten
children here get free school meals. It is often why the area is called
deprived. But 84% of them have passed their stats in the three RS.
That puts the school in the top 4% of the country. Better than that,
the progress a child makes here puts a woman stepped Avenue in the top 40
schools in the UK. We have to go back to class now. This is
Rebecca... And Archie. Reporting for BBC points West.
That is how all correspondence should finish. Congratulations to
all the staff, pupils, parents involved in that great success
story. Triple Olympic Rowing Champion Pete
Reed has decided he's going to try for a fourth Gold medal
in Tokyo in 2020. The 35-year-old, who's
from Nailsworth in Gloucestershire, took time out following his success
in Rio last summer to consider his You can hear more from Pete
on tomorrow's on Points West. Our sports editor Alistair Durden
has been to meet him An 18 foot high soldier has been
turning heads in Dorset. He's made entirely from scrap metal
and has been welded together in honour of the men who served
in the First World War. He is a monument to bravery,
but also recycling. At the Dorset forge
where he was created. They pieced together pretty much
everything they could find, from car parts to spanners,
from chains to garden forks. Only when you stand next to the
sculptured you get a true sense of its scale. It towers above me to 5.8
metres. It weighs one and a half tonnes. It took three and a half
months to build. It's
called The Haunting. It's been made for a local man wants
to remain anonymous. It's a commission for a local author
who came to us and asked if we could build the ghostly figure of a First
World War soldier. So this is what we've ended up with and I think it
fits the bill spot on. It is going to be featured in a book. At the
moment that is as much as I can say. Well, as it stands proudly
waiting for delivery, the sculpture is certainly
attracting admiring I think it's just incredible. The
more you look at it you see so many little bits that you missed and it
is absolutely wonderful tribute. I think it is beautiful.
Though younger admirers aren't really sure who he is.
What do you call him? The BFG. I think he might be.
Well, he is a giant - and friendly well I guess that would
The Haunting will eventually go on public show -
but where and when that will be, for now, remains a mystery.
A version of Jack and the Beanstalk was performed today for audiences
who find a conventional show difficult to sit through.
Some changes were made but none of the magic of panto was lost.
Steve Knibbs, was at the Everyman in Cheltenham.
Curtain up on a very special performance
Everything was as you'd expect - the songs, the dancing,
the dame and Tweedy the clown's usual silliness.
Sorry about that - but there were more subtle changes.
This relaxed performance was for those with maybe autism,
We make sure the sound is adapted. The light is left on but lowered. A
lot of people get anxious if it is too dark. This relaxed performance
was the people with maybe autism, Pyrotechnics and loud noises
were cut and there was a chill out zone in the foyer so audiences go
out when they wanted. And inside they could be as fidgety
and noisy as they liked. it's awful going to see something
and being told to sit still be quiet. If they want to shout out
they can, it's lovely. Jimmy, is autistic,
and his best mate Charlie, has global speech delay,
and they loved it. Did you shout out a lot? Yes. What
did you shout? We said blue at the bad guy.
explain the story and show what was coming up next.
The whole experience taking the pressure off all invovled.
So everyone is happy, we're not disturbing everybody. That is or was
I worry. But today was great. They could make noise, they had a great
time. It was about having space for children to walk around and feel
relaxed which is really important for parents and carers and children
alike. Importantly, nothing was lost from the show for the audience.
It's rather cold, I don't need to tell you that.
Indeed. A pretty chilly story as we head into this evening. The forecast
for tomorrow, temperatures will be climbing up the scale. It won't feel
particularly mild. Chilly start, an increased of folk impaired to today.
As we head into the afternoon as well as cloud increasing there will
be outbreaks of rain. Through the evening that will turn heavier. Here
is a wider look at how things turn up. The Blues show the risk of
frost. Into the second half of the night it is complicated by cloud
pushing in from the West. You can see the front coming in. Towards
tomorrow evening it will start to get its act together. But it will
clear away southwards before Saturday gets underway. The rest of
this evening there is a lot of clear sky around. The risk of seeing some
fog patches forming will be much more prevalent across eastern areas.
Conversely, as the cloud becomes a complicating factor from the West,
that in turn will make forecasting the temperatures by the end of the
night tricky. There is every likelihood we will get down to at
least -2, minus three. That, before the cloud gets in on the act. By
tomorrow morning there will be brighter swells around. Keep an eye
out for the fog if you have journeys eastwards. Towards the West the
cloud increases as the day wears on and it will bring patchy light rain
into the Forest of Dean, Exmoor, and spreading south eastwards. By the
evening there will be hell fog around and some rain will be heavier
as well. Temperatures tomorrow will be climbing up the scale. They will
eventually get up to about seven Celsius fairly wild widely. Saturday
will be mild for us all, no further risk of frost. An odd spot of rain
but broadly dry, mostly cloudy. A similar pattern as we had through to
Sunday. And then we go into next week, initially, on a similar vein.
You may be interested to know nearly 4000 people have signed Carol's
petition since we have been on air. See you tomorrow. Bye-bye.
We're looking for someone who can sing, someone who can move.
Someone who can keep an audience on the edge of their seat.
Something like this could change my life.
When you're born to perform, Let It Shine...
Magical new drama... The Worst Witch.
Shall we? Absolutely. ..DI Goodman...
It's been lovely, our little holiday romance. ..is back on the case.