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An unemployed man appeared in court yesterday charged with the murder of schoolgirl Ashleigh Robinson.

Matthew Howick (29) was remanded in custody for a week by magistrates in Guildford, Surrey.

Ashleigh's naked body was discovered in an alley opposite Guildford Civic Centre on Tuesday morning.

The teenager, from Axbridge, Somerset, a pupil at pounds 1,500-a-year Millfield School, Somerset, was last seen alive on Guildford's town centre surveillance cameras outside Cinderella's nightclub.

Howick, of Dene Road, Guildford, spoke only to confirm his name and address and to confirm he understood the charge against him during the five-minute hearing.

Drug documents left in car

An inquiry was launched yesterday after Merseyside Police documents detailing suspected drug dealers were found by a member of the public in a hire car.

The paperwork relates to an anti-drugs blitz in Liverpool targeting drug pushers and giving details about suspects.

The documents were reportedly in a hire car which had been used in a specialist drugs operation and were handed to a local newspaper by a member of the public.

Attacked 'for being English'

An investigation is under way into claims by an English couple living in Scotland that they are being targeted by anti-English thugs, police said yesterday.

Officers were alerted after a car belonging to Mr Albert Sole and his wife Jean caught fire outside their home in Livingston, West Lothian.

The fire which destroyed the Renault car outside their home was the latest in a line of incidents reported to police by the couple who moved to Scotland from the south of England seven years ago.

Man survives cliffhanger

A man who is believed to have fallen 60 feet from a cliff top into a quarry was recovering in hospital yesterday.

A Portland Coastguard spokesman said the 53-year-old victim is thought to have been in Yeolands Quarry, near Grove Point, on the Dorset coast, for up to ten hours before he was found.

The man, who has not yet been named, was reported missing on Thursday night. A coastguard spokesman said he was finally found at 2.25am yesterday morning suffering from hypothermia, a broken left ankle and head injuries.

Judge halts murder trial

The trial of four men accused of murdering pensioner Mr Thomas Ernest Hall was halted yesterday.

Judge Mr Justice Smedley discharged the jury and said that the trial would be restarted on Monday at Newcastle Crown Court.

Gary Thompson (32), David Clark (29), John Trattles (40), and Paul Dees (28), all from the Newcastle area, are jointly accused of murder, manslaughter, conspiracy to rob and robbery.

Mr Hall, aged 90, a war veteran and holder of the MBE, died on December 11, 1997.

Post Script

Fire crews rushed to the scene of a suspect fire yesterday - and found that a huge plume of "smoke" was nothing more than a rain cloud.

Avon Fire Brigade received calls from the public who had spotted what they took to be smoke from a blaze rising from the Avonmouth area near Bristol.

But when fire crews arrived, all they discovered was a funnel-shaped fluffy cloud extending from ground level upwards.

A spokesman for Avon Fire Brigade said: "It was a strangely shaped cloud - we put it down to the recent odd weather conditions."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Apr 17, 1999
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