26/01/2017 Spotlight


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Tonight - facing jail after a dramatic change of plea -


a prominent former Devon NHS executive admits to swindling


?11,000 to the benefit of her husband.


Also tonight - a community up in arms as it's confirmed four


They knew they had decided to close these hospitals.


All they had to do was convince themselves that was the


right thing to do, without any input from the public whatsoever.


And we're in South Devon tonight to mark the 100th anniversary


of a storm which washed away almost an entire village.


This was a village. It happens to be the side of Paul Sands in Devon. Now


a weird fantasy world of ruins and ghosts.


We'll look back at the events which caused the destruction


And a service of remembrance is being held tonight -


one of those taking part is the internationally renowned


I'll be talking to him about his love of Hallsands.


The former boss of Torbay Hospital is tonight facing a jail sentence,


after admitting fraudulently paying her husband money


After a jury heard a day and a half of evidence


against Paula Vasco-Knight, she dramatically changed her plea


to guilty to siphoning off ?11,000 to her husband,


As Hamish Marshall reports, this is not the first time that


Vasco Knight allowed family gain to interfere with her NHS role.


She earned around ?150,000 a year. She was made a CBE and could


compound 1000 pounds a day as an NHS management consultant. But tonight


her reputation is in tatters. This trial was due to last two weeks but


after just a day and a half of evidence there was a major


development. Early this afternoon she sobbed uncontrollably as she


changed her plea to one of the charges of fraud she faced to


guilty. Her husband also admitted the fraud charge he was facing. As


NHS national diversity lead, she authorised a payment of ?11,000 to


her husband. He was a graphic designer and it was for eight


document called Transform. But it never existed. It wasn't her first


error. The tribunal heard that she ploy to her daughter's boyfriend


without declaring she knew him. I wondered whether he had actually


been briefed by before the interview. I didn't know what the


relationship was. It was only later that it came to light and that is


when I was told keep quiet about it. After the tribunal was critical of


her evidence she left Torbay but still works in the NHS, even taking


the unusual step of calling herself a doctor despite only having an


honorary degree. I think she had got to the pinnacle of her professional


career and I think she was tempted to use the power she had


inappropriately. Two charges against a third defendant were dropped. The


judge described the guilty pleas is a momentous decision. He said he did


not know much about the circumstances of the couple but he


was sure they would appreciate the significance of pleading guilty and


that an immediate custodial sentence was a distinct possibility. He said


she had fallen a long way but it is her responsibility. Sentencing will


take place in March. After more than three years


of planning and consultation, health bosses today confirmed that four


community hospitals There were boos and cries of shame


as the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group


approved proposals to shut Ashburton, Bovey Tracey,


Dartmouth and Paignton It says they will be replaced


with health and well-being centres and clinical hubs, so that more


people can be treated at home. But campaigners say it


just doesn't make sense. The meeting in overlooking


Newton Abbot racecourse, but these campaigners


of South Devon and Torbay


clinical commissioning group's proposals to close four


community hospitals were passed without a single


objection from the board. Outside, by the winner's enclosure,


there was no victory today. It was an attempt to give the public


the impression that they'd have some They had absolutely no


input in the process. All the time they were


talking about the fact that the NHS and our local


services are under increasing pressure from an ageing


population and increasing demand. Cut one and a half


million of expenditures. That doesn't make any


sense to anyone involved. The four hospitals at Ashburton,


Bovey Tracey, Dartmouth and Paignton will close,


but the CCG won't say when. They did say however that nothing


can be done until the system of health and well-being centres


and clinical hubs which will replace Community hospitals


are enormously important to our local communities and I know


there will be huge disappointment. But when what we now


need to do is focus on making sure these


new models of care that have been set


out, and the case for them has been The CCG maintains the


proposals will allow more people to be treated at home


and are the best way of delivering quality care that is


sustainable and affordable. It is facing a ?142


million deficit by 2020. These plans should


save around 1% of that. I've been very open


about that in public meetings, about the spend that we


have to save within our area and And therefore we have to use every


penny wisely and be able to look after the most people


for that amount of money. Three of the hospital


sites will be sold off, with the proceeds being


reinvested in services. It will be evaluated as a possible


health and well-being centre with a GP's


surgery also on site. The Devon and Cornwall Police


force is to get 100 new constables, 50 extra


investigators and a team of 30 online staff in what's being called


a transformation of the service. The Police and Crime Commissioner


says she has found ?24 million to pay for the new officers,


but part of that sum includes asking for more money


from council tax payers. The plan is yet to be approved


by the Police and Crime Panel. The news has been filled


with stories of police cuts but now 180 new recruits


are being drafted in. They tried to kick the restaurant


draw down to get to us so obviously my husband protected me


and they did not get in. I was on a 999 call


and they were outside, trying to attack us,


cos I was asking for help. As a victim of crime,


Gail has been left feeling vulnerable and it has


affected her business. She feels there isn't


the police support. The police station here is closed,


it's boarded-up, but No-one is there at the moment,


but Alison Hernandez, the Police And Crime Commission, wants a lot more


of this sort of office dotted around the region, in order to connect up


the public with the police. The biggest thing coming out of this


plan is that I am able to invest in policing


to help with that cause, so I am looking to secure ?24 million


worth of additional funding for the Chief Constable to deliver


a better police force. ?10 million has been found


from police reserves and there'll be a hike


in the council tax - an extra ?3.40 for every band D


household - to pay for the He's not such good news


for police community 350 officers at present will be


reduced to a minimum of 150 within We're told there will


be no redundancies. If I can get that to


160, 170, 200, I will. Over the four years will be looking


at how else we can use our budget, but we need to have


certainty while we set If we can make it less


impactful we will. PCSOs are the most important


and powerful way by which the police interacts directly


with communities, not responding to incidents but every day, day in, day


out, interacting with communities. They are being cut -


it is as simple as that. The 100 new PCs will be stretched


across the whole of the It's a little bit like a drop


in the ocean, I imagine. Two theatres may have


closed in Devon this week, but that's not stopping


Exeter City Council from going ahead with moves that could lead


to the creation of a big new theatre Our correspondent


Neil Gallacher reports. The timing of Exeter's move,


just as the Queen's Theatre along with The Landmark


in Ilfracombe, is just coincidence, but it underlines that councils


cannot afford to get involved All the same, Exeter is asking


the question - should someone, council or private


sector, create a 1000 seater entertainment venue


or bigger, somewhere in Exeter? The City Council owns


and operates the Corn Exchange - These posters give


a pretty good idea of what the offer is in Exeter as far


as the Corn Exchange goes - somewhat dictated by


the 500 seat capacity. Plymouth, for example,


has a 1300 seat theatre and a concert hall seating


twice as many as that. We have the Northcott Theatre,


we've also got smaller venues like the Bike Shed,


we have Exeter Phoenix. So, in a way, Exeter's offer


is complementary to Plymouth's offer But Plymouth is three


times the size of Exeter. For all that Exeter is getting


consultants in to establish if there is a market for a much bigger venue


here. So what are the region's biggest regularly used entertainment


venues? It is not easy to know how to measure? By ticket sales? By bums


on seats? We decided to go so, there you go, Exeter. That is


the competition. Now to the anniversary of a disaster


in South Devon which washed Welcome to St Michael's Church


in Stokenham near Kingsbridge. A special service of commemoration


is currently underway here tonight to remember the events on this day


100 years ago which all but destroyed the coastal village


of Hallsands just a few miles A violent storm washed away homes


which had been left increasingly vulnerable after years of dredging


off the coast nearby. The event is part of the history of


this area but it has remarkable similarities with the modern day


dilemma about how much money and time to spend protecting our coastal


communities. Tonight we will look at that modern day battle and reflect


on the events of 1917. First, John Henderson has looked at how today's


anniversary has been commemorated. Retracing family footsteps. My


grandmother had to do this in the gale thunderstorms. With all her


family. I felt today I should do it as well on her behalf. And I'm


wearing herring gauge mirroring! The remembrance walk started just above


the ruins of the lost village. There are two cottages left. This was


purchased many years ago over ?20 and is now used as a Fairweather


holiday home. Oh we pay council tax! ?1200 a year, I think. Not much


rubbish collection down here! This plaque was officially unveiled. 100


years ago there was no loss of life and nobody was injured. So please


can we repeat that feat as we walk! The Lord Lieutenant was among those


making the mile and a half track across the rugged coastline. This


place is an example of what happens when nature overtakes what humans


have done. I think that is an interesting lesson and a difficult


one for the people down here. 50 people made the hike for one


historic moment. So how did almost an entire village


vanish into the sea? Well, on this day in 1917 spring


tides and a strong easterly gale combined to overcome defences


which had already been weakened. Many in the area had long argued


that dredging off the coast of Hallsands had left


the village at risk. John Ayres has looking back


at the events of 100 years ago. We're used to the sea and the storms


causing huge damage, but the scale Against the wishes of the villagers,


the beach below was dredged as the Admiralty


was expanding the naval dockyard. This left the village


exposed and the Tim Lynn descends from a well-known


fishing family based here. Just can't imagine what


that must have been... The storms here must


have been horrendous. In this day and age there'd


be a big rescue and everybody would be rushing


here, but then we just Eventually the villagers were


compensated, but many felt it wasn't This gable end here, that belonged


to the Mitchell's house. Four generations of Roger Stone's


family were born at Hallsands. There was a pub,


there was a London In. There was a pub,


there was a London Inn. I think it was first


opened in the late 1700s. There was a shop owned


by two sisters, which And in its heyday there


was a blacksmith's shop Eventually everyone left,


except for one brother and sister. ANNOUNCER: In the only house


in old Hallsands, John and And in his workshop, old John, now


82, still makes models of the three-masted schooners


in which he spent his boyhood. And that model boat


is still around today. That was built by Lisanne's brother


at the end of the garden, in And all carved out of


a pocket knife and bits of Which, when you see it,


it's absolutely fantastic. ANNOUNCER: 60 years ago,


this was this was a village - warm and alive with folk


who had their roots here. Today it is deserted but for one


person, the last inhabitant Today, nearly 80 and


still refusing to give way to the irresistible


advance of the sea, Elizabeth continues


to live her strange but full life. And that lady's granddaughter


is still in the area. Elizabeth Lee lived there with her


grandmother when she was very We just remember playing


among the ruins. You know, you played


among the ruins, probably We played down there


and on the beach and went These days local schoolchildren


are being taught about that eventful storm and what life was like the sum


of their ancestors. It's kind of quite sad thinking


that people lived there and now there's


nothing really there. I find it really interesting,


because I get to know what actually Many descendants of


the original Hallsands families still live locally,


and they are keeping the legend


of the old village very much alive. Well, many feel the village


is still as vulnerable today. The last big storm was in 2014,


when many of the village's There's a campaign to get


the authorities to change the official policy,


which is to let nature take its course and not


invest any more money Sophie Pierce been to take


a look at the challenges These defences are all that protect


Hallsands from the sea. They were repaired by


villagers at their own expense in 2014, and they have


recently paid for more. They are unhappy the village


is being left exposed, unlike Two years ago, the then Government


minister Oliver Letwin visited I think what I need to do is have


conversations with the Environment Agency about that, because I found


in my own constituency there was a time when there were parts


of my constituency which were The residents didn't find that


a very attractive proposition, we changed that, and I think


we probably need to find a A few months later villagers learned


that nothing had changed and The shoreline management


plan says that there's nothing worth saving in this


village - we beg to differ. You can't just say to some


people, your houses are going to fall in the sea


and there's nothing were going to We pay our council tax


and our national taxes the same While the authorities


are sympathetic, they say Do we spend ?1 million


protecting the coast here or do we spend that ?1 million


protecting adult services, special educational needs, youth clubs,


libraries, mending the roads? It's a balance and


unfortunately it is not an infinite pot of money


and we have to make priorities. As it happens there is more shingle


on the beach today than there has been for many years,


and it acts as a natural defence. Some in the village now feel that


keep campaigning is a waste of effort, as the authorities


are unlikely to change their minds. Well, as I mentioned, a service


of remembrance is taking place here tonight in Stokenham,


just a few miles form Hallsands. Descendents of those who lived


in the village have joined today's residents and others


from the surrounding area to remember the events


of 100 years ago. Among them is internationally


renowned musician Damon Albarn, I asked him about his


connections with Hallsands. I think late '94 decided I wanted


to buy something by the sea. And there was this place that looked


kind of interesting side just came down here and fell in love


with it straightaway. And how much of an inspiration


has it been to you as a musician, as a songwriter,


over the years? You've got the hills,


you've got the moors. It's the place I go


to think, and swim. And what about the disaster


itself, 100 years ago? I was always kind of


looking like, what's that Went out in the dinghy


or whatever into the bay I started reading up about it and,


you know, the whole... The drama of it


and the fact that the descendants then moved just a little


bit round the corner to Yeah, it just seemed like it was


such a nightmarish night. How do you feel about


the vulnerability of The whole of this coast


is in a constant state of erosion. Obviously, you have explained


the story of why Hallsands fell Sometimes, if I don't come down


here for, like, six months, I always imagine what life


must have been like for everyone in these


villages, before roads. And, briefly, what


does it mean to be here tonight, to join the community


for this commemoration? I thought about it, it


inspired me so much. I feel like I want to be


part of this, you know? Yeah, I'm connected,


so that's why I'm here. Damon Albarn, thank you very much


indeed for talking to us. course and destruction and weather


conditions. What was it like 100 years ago? It was dry, it was cold


but it was incredibly windy. We had winds today around 30 to 40 mph. On


this night 100 years ago they had winds of 70 to 80 miles an hour. But


also exceptionally high tides. It is the two combined the release smashed


into the village. Most of the year it is well protected from the wind


from the south-west. It's unusual to see an easterly gale and one that


was quite so strong. What about tonight's forecast?


The cold is still with us but that is about to change as we start to


warm up heading to the weekend. Let's start with a summary of


tomorrow's forecast. It's going to be less windy, perhaps feeling less


cold as well. But there is a chance for patchy rain. That slowly


creeping in from the Atlantic. It's the first real change for us to get


less cold. There is the satellite picture. You conceive how the cloud


is building, that will make its way towards us eventually. At the moment


we're still the influence of high pressure. If we run the sequence,


you can see how the web front approaches from the West. By the


morning that could reduce outbreaks of rain across Cornwall. The rest of


us not faring too badly. By Saturday low-pressure is taking charge.


Atlantic air has made its way in and it is a similar setup on Sunday.


Sunday looks like it will be rather cloudy but at least the temperatures


are on the rise. A closer look at that picture shows us the clouds


today which made it feel very cold and grey. There was some late


sunshine and is now a good deal of clear sky. Tonight's forecast is for


it to remain breezy and clear, the exception being the far west of


Cornwall where we will see patchy light rain. Night-time temperatures


probably getting to freezing overnight tonight. Tomorrow we have


a blustery day and patchy rain coming from the West. More rain


coming from the south. By the end of the day it is milder and also cloudy


with patchy rain. Temperatures finally getting up to double


figures. That's the forecast for the Isles of Scilly. Patchy rain and not


as windy. That's the times of high water. Some big waves as well for


the surfers. The winds from the South slowly veering south-westerly.


Patchy rain coming in eventually. Outlook for the weekend is for it to


get a lot less cold, temperatures back into double figures, and patchy


rain around on Saturday and Sunday. Have a good evening.


And that is it for tonight, on the day that the 100th anniversary of


the destruction of Hallsands. Einstein replaced Newton's theory


of universal gravitation with a more accurate theory -


general relativity. So, why's my apple falling?


Well, it's not. It is the ground that accelerates up


to meet the apple. So that's why the chair


that I'm sitting on now that actually feels


as if it's accelerating up It's really changed my relationship


with this chair. Mm-hm. The FA People's Cup -


a free five-a-side tournament


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