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In Points West tonight:
Welcome to BBC Points West,
with Liz Beacon and David Garmston.
An acid attack murder trial.
This woman is accused of throwing
acid at her former boyfriend -
to stop him seeing anyone else.
We heard how the victim ended up
asking a doctor to take his life.
Our other headlines tonight:
No place of their own -
new figures suggest 8,000 people
in the west are homeless.
The old soldier who won't give up -
Stan Tooze is still
selling poppies aged 94.
I don't feel the cold.
Too young for that!
And from Salisbury Plain
to the South Pole.
We catch up with the Ice Maidens
chilling before their
record breaking attempt.
A court heard today how a man
was left "grotesquely scarred"
after his ex-girlfriend threw acid
over him as he slept.
Mark van Dongen ended his life
in a clinic in Belgium,
15 months after the alleged
attack in Bristol.
His former lover is accused
of murder and throwing a corrosive
substance with intent to harm -
charges she denies.
Our Home Affairs Correspondent
Charlotte Callen is in
Westbury Park tonight.
For the first time today we heard
what is alleged to have happened
here on Ladysmith Road in Bristol on
the 22nd of September 2015. The
victim had moved here a few years
before they attacked and that they
were a couple, they lived together
in this flat. That relationship was
turbulent and competent catered --
complicated. The couple had
separated, and Mark had got a new
girlfriend. We also heard that big
-- the ex-girlfriend had threatened
the couple. He wanted the police to
do something about it. At that time,
we also heard evidence from the
prosecution claiming that she had
bought sulphuric acid online from
Amazon, and also had been looking up
on the Internet acid attacks. In
what was described as a shocking
video, the victim in his hospital
bed outlined what he says happened
here that night. He says he had come
here to stay and gone to sleep, and
that Ms Wallace had told him she was
going to stay at a hotel. He woke
up, she was standing at the end of
his bed, he claims that she laughed
and shouted, if I can't have you, no
one will! She then threw acid over
him. He then left the flat and
randomness Road shouting, I'm
burning, and asked for help. -- ran
down this road.
What did the defence have to say
In what was described as an unusual
case, the defence outlined their
side of things today. They claim it
was the victim who put the acid in
the glass that night, and that he
was going to try and poison Ms
Wallace. And that in a fit of rage,
she had picked up the glass,
thinking it contained water, and
threw it over him.
What is unusual about this case is
that the alleged victim did not die
straightaway, what happened?
That's right, what we heard today
was about Mark's catastrophic
industries -- injuries as they were
described. He had lost one of his
eyes, he was paralysed from the neck
down. He has claimed to have said
his life was just not worth living,
he had phoned his father and said
please can you send a private
ambulance to bring me back to
Belgium, where euthanasia is legal?
When he got back there, three
doctors assessed and said he was
suitable for euthanasia. And on the
2nd of January, this year, his life
was ended. Ms Wallace denies both
those charges, and the case is due
to last for three weeks.
Thanks very much.
Over 200 people attended
the funeral of the former
Bristol Rovers chairman
Geoff Dunford this lunchtime.
Mr Dunford passed away last month
after a long-term illness.
Former players and managers joined
family and friends in Keynsham
to pay their respects.
He'd been involved with Rovers
for 30 years, saving the club
from going out of business
in the mid 1980s.
As a true Gashead,
I know what he means to me,
and he's the first fellow
who believed in me enough to see
someone bigger than just a lad
who worked hard,
and I will be forever grateful.
Geoff was a driving force behind
saving Rovers and doing
what they needed to do at the time,
and I don't know if the fans
know how bad it was.
I feel very humble,
very privileged, and also
I want to say to the family,
from the Bristol Rovers family,
thank you for what you did for us.
A very full life he led.
More than 20 people are believed
to have been injured and one man
is in a life threatening condition
after a collision involving a double
decker bus in Bristol.
Emergency services were at the scene
in Blackberry Hill after
The FirstGroup bus collided
with a car yesterday afternoon.
The 52-year-old car driver was taken
to Southmead Hospital.
A public consultation is under way
which could see that sector me
operations only carried out in
There are around 150 men in Bath
and North East Somerset who have
vasectomies each year,
and about six women who go
Now the NHS wants to save £200,000
a year by cutting the funding
for these operations,
apart from exceptional cases.
They also want to reduce the age
women can get IVF from 40-35.
The GP in charge of making this
decision says the NHS isn't getting
enough money to carry on providing
all services for free.
This is a really tough discussion to
have, but this is the reality where
we find ourselves.
of where we find ourselves,
with the budget that we have
not meeting the needs
that our population has.
So, again, get on there,
complete the questionnaire,
let us hear your views.
So what would be
an exceptional case?
Well, the NHS has not
yet made up its mind -
it could mean they're free for women
with cancer, or who are obese
and smoke who cannot take the pill.
As you heard, they want your views.
I visited a parent and toddler group
today in Bath, who had mixed
I think the risk to people's health
of being on the contraceptive pill,
and in terms of, you know,
risk of clotting, all sorts of other
health risks of being on that,
that actually people might decide
to go for sterilisation
because they are concerned
of the risk to their own health,
and I feel really they
should have that choice.
They have got to make cuts
somewhere, and wherever
they are going to make cuts it's
going to be tricky for whoever
is going to be affected.
So what could be the
implications of all of this?
It could mean men having to pay £500
for a vasectomy for example.
The GP in charge of the existing
service has told me he thinks this
is yet another sign of the NHS only
being able to provide
He also thinks it could lead
to a rise in unwanted pregnancies.
The vasectomy is a very effective
form of contraception.
Some couples who are not able
to have a vasectomy in the future
may use other forms of contraception
such as the pill or the coil,
which are unfortunately less
effective at preventing pregnancies.
People in the area have
until the end of December
to make their views known to the NHS
either by phone, online or email.
It's a chilly Wednesday evening,
so stay warm with us
watching BBC Points West.
And we've much more
still to bring you,
honour for the young
soldier from World War One
who was incredibly brave.
And the famous Bewick swans begin
to fly in to Slimbridge -
is this the real start to winter?
Ian's here very shortly.
Last night was the coldest
of the autumn so far,
which was pretty grim for anyone
without a roof over their head.
Today a new report has said
the number of homeless
in the South West has
now reached over 8,000.
It's not just rough
sleeping that's rising -
there are also many more people
in temporary accommodation.
Paul Barltrop's been taking
a look at the figures
and is at a shelter in Bristol.
Good evening, there are 18 beds in
here, 17 shelters across Bristol,
they will all be filled this evening
because more and more people are
ending up on the streets. Many, many
more have been accommodated in
places like bed and breakfast and
hostels. Let's look at some of the
figures the charity Shelter say that
homelessness has risen up to 11% in
the past year. The worst place as
Bristol, 2600 in temporary
accommodation. 74 people sleeping
rough. It is followed by Swindon.
And in Gloucester, the figure is 423
rough sleepers -- 400, with 23 rough
sleepers. Let talk to Ben
Richardson. How much have you
noticed this big increase over the
past few years?
It has been hugely significant
recently. After a child -- arrow --
fellow charities, we have
traditionally been at the Christmas
shelter with thousands of
volunteers, at since March we have
been running a shelter in the centre
of town with 15 beds. Money is
tight, we are very reliant on money
to keep our doors open.
There are ten or 15 times as many
people being accommodated
unsatisfactorily. How much of an
issue is that?
It is very significant, and it gets
much worse the longer people are
hidden. Either time they are
visible, they have more issues and
they are more difficult to help.
Charities have to step up and
innovate. Caring in Bristol is
running very exciting projects,
using rooms in the community with
volunteers. We are very interested
in finding ways of getting people in
the community to help us.
Thank you very much. One of the
striking things about this is it is
not just in the cities, even in
rural areas there has been a big
increase in homelessness. Have a
look at this report from Dan who has
been to the relatively affluent town
This homeless charity
is serving up hope -
as well as a meal.
And it's much-needed.
I think, in the mornings,
I just think, what's
the point of getting up for?
Now the weather is getting colder,
I don't know what I'm going to do.
The arrival of bacon butties,
one of the ways the Open Doors
charity provides welcome relief
from life on the streets.
Right now I'm staying in a wooden
shed, and it's just,
it's absolutely freezing.
It's really, it's
A lot of...
What, just like a garden shed?
Just like a garden shed, yeah.
Across the West, the number of rough
sleepers counted by our councils has
more than doubled since 2010.
The next count takes place
in the coming weeks.
Before people even end up needing
the help of homeless
charities like this one,
next year the law will change,
forcing councils like Wiltshire
to provide more help for more people
more quickly than they do now.
The change is already putting
pressure on council bosses.
The homeless reductions act will
give us the requirement to actually
look after people earlier.
Up to now it has been
28 days, now it is 56.
Now, just by the sheer numbers
involved, that is going to double
the caseload we have every year.
For Jen in Devizes, help
can't come soon enough.
And where would you be
without facilities like this
and charities like this?
Well, to be fair, I'd probably end
up being dead, to be fair.
I would have just gone over the top.
But they have opened
their doors to everybody,
and they don't judge anybody,
and they are just fantastic.
Charities like this
one rely on donations.
As winter draws in,
they also need coats,
socks and sleeping bags.
Help from the community
as well as the government.
What amazing work those shelters do.
A man from Wiltshire -
who's losing his voice due
to motor neurone disease -
says new technology is helping him
preserve his own voice.
Jon Stephens has recorded hundreds
of words and phrases which he can
then turn into messages to play
to people via a tablet.
He's the first patient
at Swindon's Great Western Hospital
to use the software.
Here's Laura Jones.
Back at hospital, a chance
for John to catch up
with speech therapist Lucy.
Hi, how are you?
I'm all right.
Good to see you again.
The pair have been working closely
together for more than a year
since John received his devastating
diagnosis of motor neurone disease.
My speech had become
a little slurred, so I just
went to the doctors,
who then referred me to the hospital
where I was told I had
motor neurone disease.
That must have been a huge shock.
Yeah, it was, yeah.
Motor neurone disease affects
the nerves in the brain
and spinal-cord that
tell your muscles what to do.
It can affect the way you walk,
talk, eat a drink and breathe.
In John's case, at the moment,
it is affecting his speech.
But thanks to some clever
new software, and a lot of hard work
here at the Great Western Hospital
in Swindon, he is not
losing his voice just yet.
This piece of software
is called Model Talker,
and John has spent more than 14
hours over two months recording over
1600 phrases onto it so that he can
continue to communicate with people
even if his speech
Our voice is our being,
isn't it, it's our identity,
so to be able to give John
a replacement, albeit not
exactly like his own voice,
but quite a close approximation
to how he sounded, I think it's
fantastic and I'm so thrilled
we are able to do this
here in Swindon for people, yes.
Out of the hundreds of phrases John
has recorded so far, he reckons this
will be his most used.
A cup of tea, please.
So you get them running
Yeah, off they go.
Make me a cup of tea.
At the moment Jon is doing well,
and whilst there are no clues
as to how his disease will develop,
at least he will be able
to have a say about his future
using his own voice.
For those of you watching last night
you'll remember the dad from South
Gloucestershire who made a plea
for burglars to return his
Kellin, who is 13 years
old and severely disabled, relies
on the device to communicate.
Thankfully for the family,
after our programme last night
a member of the public found
the stolen computer so police
are able to return it.
It is not yet known if it still
One man's been arrested and released
as part of the investigation.
A blue plaque was unveiled
in Bristol today at the home
of a 21-year-old soldier,
awarded the Victoria Cross
for his outstanding bravery
during World War One.
Hardy Falconer Parsons was a medical
student at Bristol University
when he volunteered to fight
and was enlisted.
To tell us more about his gallantry,
we're joined by historians
Jeremy Banning and Clive Burton.
Thank you for coming into night.
First of all, Jeremy, tell us about
this amazing man and his bravery in
World War I.
He was a young junior officer who
went out in March 1917 with the
Gloucestershire Regiment, and was on
the Somme in August 19 17. It was a
critical position, really important
for the observation. The British had
captured the Hindenburg line and the
Germans wanted it back. In the
middle of the night, just after
3:15am, everyone else eat a retreat,
but he stayed on and managed to hold
the Germans at bay by throwing hand
grenades at them. A 20-year-old lad,
burned so badly in that moment that
he later died of his wounds. But for
his bravery in saving the situation,
he has been awarded the Victoria
He was a medical student, wasn't he?
Yes, and the Sun of a minister. A
really interesting family. When you
look at his family history, you can
see how much that sense of duty and
caring for others was passed down to
not only him but his other brothers
And Clive, today he was awarded this
blue plaque which went up in his
honour. Why is that significant?
There were about eight Victoria
Cross holders associated with
Bristol. Only about four were
actually born here. The government
has funded blue plaque stood go to
the homes of where these people were
born. His commemorative stone went
up to like Byrne in Lancashire. He
felt strongly that his blue plaque,
there ought to be a service here in
Bristol to recognise where he lives,
and people in the Redland area did
not know this Victoria Cross holder
was living in our midst. The people
who came today to the unveiling were
He was so brave and so young, you
can imagine the burns he would have
received from that flame. And then
his items were returned to his dad.
Yes, in a way you don't really want
to think about the state he would
have been in afterwards. All that
was returned to his father was an
identity bracelet and a couple of
wristwatches. And then the family
have said goodbye to him and never
seen him again.
But there was an engraving, wasn't
Yes, on the back of his cap adage.
Irene. We don't know who she was, or
what the connection was, we just
don't know. But it gives you an
indication of how sad that would
have been for her and the Parsons
Thank you very much.
Now in Somerset another veteran,
this time of World War Two,
is doing what he can to make sure
the sacrifices of his generation
are never forgotten.
At 94, Stan Tooze braves
all weathers to sell poppies
in the run up to Remembrance Day.
And he has no intention
of stopping any time soon.
Our Somerset Correspondent, Clinton
Rogers, has been to meet him.
According to Stan, a hat's
all you need even if it did drop
below freezing last night.
Nothing deters this 94-year-old war
veteran from his outdoor day shift.
Thank you, Madam.
And so, on duty, as he is most days,
in a Taunton supermarket.
No, I don't feel the cold.
Too young for that!
I'd like to know
what your medals is.
Just the Second World War.
Modest as well - but always
the main attraction here.
Somebody asked for his
autograph the other day.
He gives us 100% support,
he is there for everything,
and come rain, wind,
sunshine, you know,
he is always there.
Stan Tooze was part
of the 6th Airborne Division
of the Parachute Regiment.
He saw active service
in Belgium towards the end
of the Second World War.
We went out to the Ardennes,
Inevitably the memories
are still vivid.
One day, my mate was there,
one second, the next thing
he was knocked right down dead,
and I was still there.
It is why he feels a duty
to help raise money
for the Royal British Legion,
to honour the memory
of his fallen colleagues.
How long do you think
you will carry on selling poppies?
Give it another six years!
At the very least, I'd say!
You are a trooper, and I'm sure
everyone is very grateful for the
work that you do. Our previous
guests put their poppy in this, an
ex-World War one shell.
After two years of getting ready
the Ice Maidens are in Antarctica
waiting for a snow storm to pass
to then start their bid for a place
in the history books.
The group of six women
soldiers have swapped
training on Salisbury Plain,
for the South Pole, to race
against the clock to try to complete
the journey in the fastest possible
time while finding out how women's
bodies handle conditions
on the challenge which so far has
only ever been done by men.
Lee Madan reports.
The Ice Maidens have hit
the ice in Antarctica.
And when the weather clears -
their mission will begin.
Our determination is unquestionable,
everybody wants to make sure
that we successfully complete
the expedition but also do it safely
so that the team finish in a good
state and we're all fit and well
at the end.
These pictures are from a recent
training expedition in Switzerland -
making sure they know how to get out
of crevasses and can last the 75
days it's expected to take to trek
coast-to-coast across the continent
via the South Pole.
After leaving Heathrow airport
and their loved ones 11 days ago -
the Ice Maidens headed south.
First to Chile - where they told
me on Skype just how
they're going to cope.
It's definitely going to be
repetitive and that's one
of the harder elements
of the expedition, is, you know,
day in day out your body aches,
you've still got to get up the next
day, whether you want to or not,
noone's coming to get you, you've
got to carry on with the journey.
Everyone's got different
ways of coping.
I like to break things down
into little sections.
You know, when I'm having a bad day
it might be hour by hour,
if I'm having a good day it might
just be the next day.
And we've got each
other to help as well.
The six soldiers are the first
all-woman team to take
on this challenge -
and will be monitoring
how their bodies change compared
to men's in conditions of up
to minus 40.
There's a really good
medical research element
towards Ice Maidens,
so we're going to be looking
at how our body consumes energy now
and then what it does at the end
of the expedition,
if that changes at all.
We've also got these sensors that
are detecting our heart rate,
our breathing rate, how hydrated
we are and that sort of thing.
So there's a lot of medical data
being captured and then there'll be
a lot of analysis done
when we're back.
250 soldiers applied
to become an Ice Maiden.
Gradually, they got whittled
down to the final six,
who have now spent two years
training for this moment.
The race to the finish line
is about to get under way.
Now, the much awaited first Bewick
swan of the season flew
into Gloucestershire earlier today.
It arrived in the Wildfowl
and Wetland Centre in Slimbridge
just before midday, making it
the second one in of
the winter season.
The mild weather across Eastern
Europe is thought to be the reason
for their delayed mass migration.
Beautiful birds, aren't they?
Well, Ian is up on the roof,
and Ian, is that cold weather
the swans are leaving behind set
to follow them here?
Thanks very much. Turning colder
over the migration route for those
swans out of parts of the tundra of
Russia over the next few days,
across Scandinavia your going to see
some unsettled in snowy conditions
as well. It was certainly a chilly
start this morning for us. A number
of you probably trying to find where
the icy scraper was. We would have
found a lot of cloud invading
overnight from the North West, weak
front bringing that, drizzly rain
for some of us to rain the first
part of tomorrow. Slowly conditions
will start to brighten up through
the course of the afternoon.
Comparatively mild. Here is a wider
look at how things are shaping up at
the moment. Those weak fronts moving
in from the North West during the
course of tonight. Some of the
drizzly rain, but then gradually the
cloud will break up as the afternoon
wears on, that process continuing
into the first-half of the following
night as well. For the rest of this
evening, clear skies remaining for
longest, the further south East you
are. Arts of Wiltshire and down into
Dorset. Conversely out into the
Northwest, cloud will thicken and
will lower through the course of the
night and reducing catchy outbreaks
of light rain -- introducing.
Temperatures will reach their
coldest weather clear skies remain.
It could be very chilly down in
parts of south Wiltshire, for
example. But by tomorrow morning
that process will be firmly arrested
fangs to the cloud cover and
generally milder conditions
prevailing over the course of
tomorrow. A few breaks in the cloud
during the first-half of the day
which will become more substantial
past lunchtime. So, temperatures
tomorrow ultimately as high as 14
Celsius in urban areas such as
Bristol. Any of you in the range of
11-13 Celsius. It will turn chilly
under clear skies for a while
overnight towards Friday, showery
rain to contend with first light on
Friday. Looking decent thereafter
until the night-time, with heavy
rain from the West.
until the night-time, with heavy
rain from the West.
Thanks, Ian. Don't mind it being
chilly if the skies are lovely and
That is just about where we have to
leave. There is an update at 10pm,
otherwise the whole team returns
tomorrow. See you then. Goodbye.