10:43 BST Thursday 5th July 2018
Today the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) have announced a new investigation into how Dorset Police handled the rape case brought by Gaia Pope two years before her death in November 2017. This will run parallel with the IOPC investigation into how Dorset Police handled the teenager’s disappearance.
Gaia was reported missing on 7 November 2017 in Swanage, Dorset by a family member. Her family communicated their concern for the missing teenager, who had Post Traumatic Stress disorder, following a serious sexual assault when she was 17. Gaia had epilepsy and did not have her medication when she went missing.
Following a police investigation and a public search for Gaia in which thousands of people participated, her body was found 11 days after her disappearance within a mile of where she was last seen.
In the months before her death she was increasingly afraid that the man who raped her and threatened her family would soon be eligible for early release. In addition to concerns about the conduct of the police, the family have questions about whether a lack of support from underfunded mental health and social services contributed to Gaia’s death.
Gaia’s family welcome the decision, highlighting the profound impact that the rape and failed investigation had on Gaia, who developed symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after she became aware that a number of other women and girls had made similar allegations against the same perpetrator.
When the police made a decision to take no further action in respect of her allegations she became disturbed by the fear that these allegations suggested a pattern of young or vulnerable women being targeted and groomed.
Gaia believed a more effective investigation may have secured a longer prison sentence, identifying other perpetrators and protecting potential victims.
Natasha Pope, Gaia’s mother : “There is no doubt in my mind: this is what drove Gaia up the hill that night. I am relieved that at last, it will be properly investigated and I am resolved to see positive change. It was not her intention but in a way, my daughter gave her life to shine a light on all this.”
Maya Pope-Sutherland, Gaia’s sister : “It feels like we’ve been screaming in a vacuum for a long time but now we will break the silence. I hope our search for answers can open the door to positive change and help other survivors be heard and get justice. It’s what Gaia would have wanted.”
Clara Pope-Sutherland, Gaia’s sister : “Survivors of sexual violence deserve to be heard, supported and protected. Gaia will be more than another statistic to show that’s not the case. Hand in hand, she leads the way with all survivors. We are grateful to the IOPC for recognising the need to investigate. We hope it will begin to give Gaia the voice she so deserved when she was alive.”
Marienna Pope-Weidemann, Gaia’s cousin : “Access to justice and to recovery has become a privilege reserved for those who can afford it. Gaia fell through the cracks in that system and she died there. Some nights I can’t sleep, can’t breathe, I miss her so much. We all do. But then the sun comes up and it feels like fighting for her rights is all that matters, even now. Especially now.”
Richard Sutherland, Gaia’s father : “We need to know if more could have been done to make Gaia feel safe and protect the public. Nothing can bring her back to us but a thorough, transparent and unbiased investigation will help us move forwards. We need to know the truth.”
Harriet Wistrich, of Birnberg Peirce, who is representing the family : “Gaia’s death illustrates the severe mental health impact, not only of sexual violence but also of investigative failures by the police. Representing victims in the Worboys’ case informs me that where victims are aware they may have been one of many targeted by their perpetrator, a sense of responsibility for preventing further harm can weigh heavily. But ultimately, it is the responsibility of the police, not victims, to protect women from dangerous sex offenders.”
Deborah Coles, executive director of INQUEST : ”There is a clear link between the trauma of rape and mental ill-health. Despite this, too many victims of sexual violence are failed by statutory agencies. It is tragic that it took Gaia’s death for the response of the police to be scrutinised. We hope this investigation will deliver truth for this family, and help to bring about changes that are so urgently needed.”
0605 BST Monday 11th June 2018
After campaigning for four years, the Friends of Castle Cove Beach Charity have announced a major breakthrough.
They have signed a lease which will enable the public to get access to the beach.
Contracts were exchanged on Friday and completion is immediate. The Friends are now lease-holders of a beach access route for 99 years, and will be able to build steps down to the beach – once they have raised £30,000.
Steve Elsworth, Chair of Trustees of the charity explained “This is a major breakthrough for the campaign, and fantastic news for the local community,”. “Now all we have to do is raise £30,000. We will raise the money this year, and build the steps as soon as we can.”
“The Friends obtained planning permission for the steps in April, and have signed the lease today. Now we have to raise £30,000. “We are going to crowdfund, we are asking local businesses for cash, and we are asking our supporters to reach deep into their pockets. Any donations would be extremely welcome – go to our justgiving page.”
“You can’t believe how delighted we are”, said Steve. “I kissed our lawyer when we heard the news.”
The steps to Castle Cove Beach were removed in 2013, after being in place for 80 years. The campaign to restore them began in 2014, and has continued since then. “We have had support from councillors of all parties, from churches, community groups, schools, local landowners, the Coop, national organisations such as the Open Spaces Society, the Ramblers, the Prince’s Trust and the South West Coast Path Association,” said Steve. “We have 850 followers on Facebook and 200 people receive our monthly newsletter. This is a very popular community campaign.”
Since the campaign was launched on Monday 11th of June over £1500 has already been raised.
Access to Castle Cove beach is on Old Castle Road in Weymouth and its also only yards from Sandsfoot Castle.
Want to help? – donate to justgiving.com – name of donation is “Castle Cove Beach.” The link below takes you to the page.
Lee Dolbear – 9th May 2018 – 1911 BST
The Drum & Bass Warriors to host a day and night long celebration of Gaia’s life. All proceeds to go to charities chosen by her family and tickets are still available. Please help us get the word out!
The festival aims to bring the local community together in loving memory of Gaia. The fundraiser will be a two-part event: a family-oriented fun-filled day from 12-5pm, followed by an evening of music and celebration. All proceeds will be equally donated to four charities: Rape Crisis Dorset, Missing People, The Epilepsy Society and Sisters Uncut.
Clara Pope-Sutherland, Gaia’s sister, said:“Gaia would love this event: colour, music, fire, people coming together and dancing in aid of fantastic charities close to her hearts and ours. Our deepest thanks to the Drum & Bass Warriors for building a beautiful day for her.”
Marienna Pope-Weidemann, Gaia’s cousin, said: “Thanks to everyone who’s helped organise this fundraiser and spread the word. It feels like the beginning of something. It’s incredible to me how even now, amidst all the grief and loss, beautiful things keep springing up. People who were strangers to us before are sharing their stories, still showing such love and support, doing good in her name. I see Gaia in everyone one of them.”
The daytime will feature attractions such as dancers, face painting, various stalls, hairdressers offering haircuts for whatever you are happy to donate, an auction of Drum & Bass memorabilia and much more.
Following this will be an evening of Drum & Bass featuring a huge line-up of DJs and MCs including heavyweights such as Annix, Mollie Collins, Natty Dub Recordings: T>I, Saxxon, Cabin Fever , Jaxx ft Regina & Mikey Blitz, Hannibal, Whitey, Judda, De-tox, Vital, Skydro, Fluid and Hustle. All performers have kindly offered their services free of charge in memory of a beautiful soul. Advance tickets for the evening event (18+, valid photo ID required) are available online via Eventbrite.
Event organiser Heidi Romero said: “We have a huge, amazing and close Drum and Bass scene. What better way to show Gaia’s Family how much we care: than to come together as a community, to raise not just money but, also awareness. I really hope this event will help them through this terrible tragedy and unite people through their love and compassion. Gaia’s smile is our symbol of hope”.
The Drum & Bass Warriors are a cross-section of the community, united by their love for music, who are working closely with Gaia’s family to put together a worthy celebration of her life and to raise money and awareness for four deserving causes.
Tickets are available via Eventbrite.
‘Gaia’s smile is our symbol of hope’
Pic Andrew Latcham – Pic Credit Dorset Police
Lee Dolbear Thursday 26-4-2018 at 1001 BST
Dorset Police received a report of a body found in the River Stour at Charlton Marshall on Thursday 19th April.
The body has now been identified as missing Blandford man Andrew Latcham.
His family has been informed and the coroner has been notified.
Mr Latcham, aged 70, had been reported missing on Saturday 30 December 2017.
His death is not being treated as suspicious.
Dorset Police added “Our thoughts are with Andrew’s family at this difficult time and they are continuing to be supported by specially-trained officers.”
0040 BST Friday 30 March 2018
Dorset Police are appealing for witnesses after a three-year-old boy tragically died in Wareham on Thursday morning.
The incident happened at around 08:43 when an articulated lorry collided with a child, who was crossing the road with his family.
The boy sustained very serious injuries and was taken to Dorset County Hospital for treatment. Very tragically, he was pronounced dead a short time later. The coroner has been notified.
A 43-year-old man from Basingstoke was arrested on suspicion of driving offences but he has since been released under investigation as police enquiries continue.
Inspector Matt Butler, of the traffic unit, said: “Very sadly I can confirm that a three-year-old boy has died today following a collision. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very traumatic time. They have requested privacy.
“A full investigation is underway into the circumstances of the collision and I would ask anyone who witnessed the incident or saw the manner of driving of the lorry immediately before to please come forward.
“I am also keen to hear from any motorists who were travelling along North Street at the relevant time and have dashcam fitted in their vehicles.”
Flowers, notes and toys were left on a bench near the scene.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at http://www.dorset.police.uk, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 101, quoting incident number 29:65. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
Friday 16th March at 2044
Final Update Monday 19th March 2106
A yellow warning for ice is now valid until 9am Tuesday morning.
Check to see if your school in Dorset is OPEN OR CLOSED HERE
The LATEST IRN RADIO NEWS (2 minutes audio)
Snow has been falling across Dorset overnight, however it will gradually keep moving away further towards Cornwall leaving everywhere clear behind it. Whatever has been thrown down with freezing temperatures it will turn to ice.
Train information and journey checker – South Western Railway
Bus information – First Bus Wessex, Dorset and South Somerset
The A37 between Dorchester and Yeovil has now been reopened following recovery of an overturned lorry.
Dorset Police were dealing with two road traffic accidents into Monday. Purbeck traffic officer Roan Doyle urges caution if you need to travel.
Only a couple of weeks ago the south-west seen it’s worst snow for 10 years but although the weather warnings have been ever changing in the last few days, there won’t be anywhere near the snow levels of a fortnight ago.
Travel was majorly disrupted and even the local taxis and buses were not venturing to the public who needed to be somewhere in trying conditions.
The threat of ice is thrown into the mix on Monday and caution is required as the previous snowfall then combined with the relentless bitter easterly winds seen everywhere turned to clear sheet glass ice.
As we progress through Monday it’s supposed to change for the better certainly wind direction and temperature wise, but alas we will wait for the experts from the Met Office over in Exeter who by enlarge did a great job of trying to be as accurate as possible through updates seemingly by the hour.
THIS ARTICLE WAS HIT OVER 1500 TIMES. Many thanks to the public at large.
Monday 5th March 2018 0522 GMT by Lee Dolbear
It was a great night for Christopher Nolan as Dunkirk movie scooped three Oscars at the 90th Academy Awards. The war drama which was part filmed on location at Weymouth and Swanage, Dorset in the summer of 2016 was written, produced and directed by Nolan. It featured Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy and Harry Styles (to name a few) helping it to rake in over $500 million at the global box office.
Dunkirk won best film editing, sound editing and sound mixing of the eight it was nominated for.
WINNER – DUNKIRK
• Baby Driver
• Blade Runner 2049
• The Shape of Water
• Star Wars: The Last Jedi
WINNER – DUNKIRK
• Baby Driver
• Blade Runner 2049
• The Shape of Water
• Star Wars: The Last Jedi
WINNER – DUNKIRK
• Baby Driver
• I, Tonya
• The Shape of Water
• Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
It was also a great night for Gary Oldman who won the best actor Oscar for Darkest Hour.
Guillermo del Toro who won the best director Oscar for ‘The Shape of Water’ said on collecting the award, “I am an immigrant…The greatest thing our art does and our industry does is to erase the lines in the sand. We should continue doing that when the world tells us to make them deeper.”
The Shape of Water also won best picture.
Roger Deakins finally won his first Oscar for Best Cinematography sci-fi thriller Blade Runner 2049 after being nominated 14 times over 23 years.
A full list of winners can be found here via ABC News.