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Review of the year 2017, July to December Dover's, Kelly Turner dies and Deal-based TV drama Liar

By Sam Lennon

JULY

Two men were killed in their car in a smash with a lorry on Jubilee Way, Dover, on July 2.

Artem Larionov, 29, and his passenger and friend, Nikita Tsirelson, 38, both from Love Lane, Canterbury, were struck in their Nissan by an oncoming Volvo HGV when it crossed double white lines.

Romanian trucker Traian Soare, 51, later said in court that he had been distracted by a sat nav.

Soare, who had been heading towards the Port of Dover, was jailed for two years at Canterbury Crown Court in November.

He admitted two charges of causing death by driving dangerously.

The arson attack at Buckland Hospital. Picture courtesy of Alex Sartain

The arson attack at Buckland Hospital. Picture courtesy of Alex Sartain

Arsonists were thought to have torched the empty Buckland Hospital building.

The blaze at the former Dover hospital site on July 3 had to be tackled by firefighters for six hours.

 

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay pleaded not guilty to charges relating to his 2015 general election expenses.

Mackinlay, 50, his election agent at the time Nathan Gray, 28, and campaign specialist Marion Little, 62, were all charged under the Representation of the People Act 1983.

The charges relate to allegations that the party’s election expenses during the 2015 campaign in the constituency were not properly reported to the Electoral Commission.

They all appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on July 4, then Southwark Crown Court in August and are due to stand trial next May 14.

 

A hated snail’s pace speed limit came to an end on July 18 after two years.

It was for Dover TAP (Traffic Assessment Project), a system controlling the flow of lorries coming into Dover along the A20.

But the 40mph speed limit, from the Round Hill Tunnels at Folkestone to Aycliffe, had been permanently in place since April 2015 whether the system was in use or not.

Drivers complained that they were fined for not obeying the artificially slow limit, which would usually be 70mph, or tailgated by other drivers, including those in lorries, if they did.

Highways England finally agreed to lift the 40mph limit when TAP was not being used.

AUGUST

A swimmer died while trying to cross the English Channel.

Douglas Waymark, who was in his 40s, got into difficulty around 12 miles off the coast of Dover on August 7.

He was flown by coastguard helicopter to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford but could not be saved.

Mr Waymark, thought to be from Cheltenham, was attempting the Enduroman Arch 2 Arc Triathlon, a continuous triathlon from Marble Arch in London to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

 

A grandfather was killed and his body found near a harbour wall.

Steve Holton, 54, of Dover, was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics near the Royal George pub at Folkestone in the early hours of August 19.

Gerald Philpott, 28, from Dallas Brett Crescent, Folkestone, was charged with manslaughter and was bailed and due to appear before magistrates on December 20.

SEPTEMBER

Stars of new ITV drama Liar, Joanne Froggatt and Ioan Gruffudd by Deal Pier. Picture courtesy of ITV

Stars of new ITV drama Liar, Joanne Froggatt and Ioan Gruffudd by Deal Pier. Picture courtesy of ITV

A harrowing drama series filmed in Deal began on ITV on September 11.

Liar told of a rape case and the taut drama was so-titled because for weeks it left the audience wondering who was lying – the accused man or the alleged woman victim.

Filming locations included Deal Pier, the promenade, the Deal Beach Parlour cafe and houses in Kingsdown and North Deal.

The series was so successful that a sequel series was announced after the last episode.

 

A suspect in the fifth terror attack in Britain in 2017 was arrested in Dover.

A fanatic set off a home-made bomb on a tube train at Parsons Green, West London, injuring 30 people.

An 18-year-old man was arrested at the Port of Dover next day and the passenger terminal building was evacuated.

Ahmed Hassan Mohammed Ali, of Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, later appeared at the Old Bailey via video-link.

He was remanded in custody and his trial is expected to start on March 5.

It was the only terror outrage in Britain this year where nobody was killed but the amount of attacks was unprecedented since the days of the IRA.

 

The car on the railway track at Deal in September. Picture courtesy of Network Rail

The car on the railway track at Deal in September. Picture courtesy of Network Rail

A car ended up on railway tracks at Deal station on September 26.

Horrified workers had to turn off the power after the vehicle ended up straddling the live conductor rail.

The car had got into the station via the level crossing at Western Road and Albert Road.
The driver, a man in his 80s, was unhurt.

British Transport Police were called in to investigate the cause of the incident.

 

An unprecedented third public consultation into dredging part of the Goodwin Sands came to an end on September 28.

The issue caused a bitter confrontation through the year between the Port of Dover, which wanted aggregate for its Dover Western Docks Revival, and the pressure group Goodwin Sands SOS (Save Our Sands).

The port authority stressed that this was Dover’s biggest investment since the Second World War, costing £250 million, and was needed for the area’s future prosperity and prospective jobs.

It launched a major campaign on August 7 for this, called Deliver for Dover. One key argument is that only 0.22% of the sands are wanted.

GSSOS countered that the work threatened war graves in the area and the environment.
Both Dover and Deal Town Councils agreed and voted against the dredging in the consultation.

This is on whether the government’s Marine Management Organisation should give a licence for dredging.

North Thanet MP Roger Gale accused Dover Harbour Board of giving a British Rail-style explanation for not using an alternative site in Ramsgate – “wrong kind of mud.”

Sir Mark Rylance, star of 2017’s hit war movie Dunkirk, said the dredging would be disrespectful to the war dead buried there.

Others such as former port workers Mick Tedder and John Gerrard supported the dredging, Mr Gerrard saying the digging would be too shallow to affect war graves.


OCTOBER

 

The opening of Goodwin Academy in Deal in October

The opening of Goodwin Academy in Deal in October

Deal’s new £25 million secondary school was officially opened by the highest ranking officer of the Royal Navy.

Admiral The Lord Boyce carried out the ceremony for Goodwin Academy in Hamilton Road on October 6.

It had first opened for staff and pupils on September 11.

The building has about 70 classrooms over three floors and can take 1,300 pupils.

The weeds on the disused building in Biggin Street, Dover, crept inside the window.

The weeds on the disused building in Biggin Street, Dover, crept inside the window.

Weeds were found growing inside the window of a derelict building, illustrating the decline of Dover’s town centre precinct.

The vines, photographed on October 19, were on the middle building of a row of three disused shops in Biggin Street.

These were among 12 empty ones between Market Square and the Town Hall in the autumn.

One premises did re-open but then McDonald’s moved out of Biggin Street on November 4.

Worries about the precinct losing out in the face of the £53 million St James’ development were consistently raised by local traders and councillors.

 

The ashes of young drugs victim Robert Fraser were scattered by fireworks on Deal beach on October 22, just before what would have been his 19th birthday.

Robert, of St Francis Close, Deal, was 18 when he died on November 19, 2016, after an unintentional overdose of fentanyl, an extremely powerful painkiller usually used in hospitals.

As the first anniversary of his death approached his mother Michelle Fraser called for manslaughter charges for dealers when those taking their substances die.

 

A heartbroken Dover mum spoke out after her son was killed fighting Islamic State.

Jac Holmes, 28, on the side of Kurdish militia, died while clearing landmines in Raqqa, Syria, it was reported on October 24.

Angela Blannin, from Dover, said in an interview with the BBC that he had the courage of his convictions and was a hero in her eyes.

Comrades said it was a bitter irony that Mr Holmes had died just after Islamic  State had lost control of Raqqa.

NOVEMBER

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke was dramatically suspended by the Conservative Party on November 3.

The party said he had been suspended following “serious allegations,” which had been reported to police.

In a tweet that night Mr Elphicke denied any wrongdoing and was unaware of the claims being made against him.

Details of the allegations have not been confirmed to date.

He continues as a Conservative, with the whip suspended, and remains the constituency MP.

The funeral of Kelly Turner in November

The funeral of Kelly Turner in November

The 17-year-old Dovorian Kelly Turner died on Monday, November 6 after a two-year battle with the rare teenage cancer desmoplastic small round cell tumours.

Fundraising events had taken place all through the year to raise the £1 million needed for her to have specialist treatment in New York.

More than £600,000 was raised in her lifetime and the money is now going for research into chemotherapy for others with her condition.

The Kelly Turner Foundation formally begins on New Year’s Day to continue that cause.

Hundreds of people attended Kelly’s funeral at St Mary’s Church in Dover on November 24.

A cavalcade of 35 motorcycles and scooters escorted her hearse to Barham Crematorium.

 

A murder investigation was launched after a former Dover man was found shot dead in his pub.

The body of publican Joe Daniels, 58, was found at his business, the Red Cow in Foord Road, Folkestone, on November 22.

A firearm was recovered at the scene.

DECEMBER

A woman was killed after being struck by a car.

Heather Couchman, 32, a mother-of-two from Dover, was knocked down by a Toyota Avensis in London Road, Dover, on December 4.

She was airlifted to hospital but died the next day.

An inquest was opened and adjourned until March.

 

The PO ship run aground in Calais in December. Picture courtesy of Dean Carguillo

The P&O ship run aground in Calais in December. Picture courtesy of Dean Carguillo

A cross-Channel ferry with more than 300 passengers on board ran aground near Calais.

The P&O vessel Pride of Kent was heading to Dover when it happened on December 10.

Nobody was hurt and an investigation was launched.

It happened during two days of high winds, which led to the Port of Calais being closed.

The winds knocked down trees on dry land the next day, including in Liverpool Road and Kingsdown Road in Deal.

 

A fraudster spent Christmas in jail, missing the birth of his second child, after being jailed for ripping off an 88-year-old woman.

The Mercury reported on December 20 that Andrew Martin’s lawyer had urged the judge to delay sentence until next year so he could be at the birth and repay his victim.

But Judge James O’ Mahony said Martin had already had time to think about his family and instead kept coming back to “fill his boots”.

The fraud, involving both a bank card and paid guttering work not being done, was valued at £3,400.

Martin, 31, of Curzon Close, Walmer, was jailed for 31 months at Canterbury Crown Court.

 

A Tory aide was cleared of raping a woman of his MP boss’s office.

Samuel Armstrong, 24, the chief of staff to South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay, had been accused of carrying out the attack on October 14 , 2016.

Mr Armstrong was cleared at Southwark Crown Court on December 21.

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