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Bexley Times lookback 2009

PUBLISHED: 09:14 31 December 2009 | UPDATED: 17:28 25 August 2010

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January THE new year was marred by road carnage, with tragedy striking on the very first day of 2009. Filiz Ozkan, 21, who was eight months pregnant, was killed when the people carrier she was travelling in crashed into a tree in Well Hall Road, Eltham.

January

THE new year was marred by road carnage, with tragedy striking on the very first day of 2009.

Filiz Ozkan, 21, who was eight months pregnant, was killed when the people carrier she was travelling in crashed into a tree in Well Hall Road, Eltham.

At exactly the same time, a Ford Fiesta carrying art student Sophia Edwards, 17, of Dean Road, Meopham, crashed into a bus shelter and a wall in Glenesk Road, Eltham.

On January 12, a couple survived a head-on collision with a juggernaut in a five car pile up on the A2.

Crook Log Guest House owners, Stuart Nichol and Ann Hattley, were returning from Mexico to celebrate Miss Hattley's 40th birthday.

Mr Nichol said: "If it had been a split second later we could have been crushed to death."

February

KARL Bishop went on trial for the murder of 18-year-old actor Rob Knox, from Swanley, who was knifed to death outside Metro Bar, Sidcup, in May 2008.

Habitual knife-carrier Bishop was convicted of the Harry Potter actor's murder and of stabbing his friends in a tense trial lasting just under a month at the Old Bailey. He was given a life sentence.

Pal Tom Hopkins, then 19, who was with Mr Knox the night he was killed, said: "For us it's never going to be enough no matter how long he gets because it will never bring Rob back."

The following month Jake Fahri, the killer of Jimmy Mizen, 16, from Lee, was also jailed after a high profile Old Bailey trial. Fahri went 'beserk' and fatally threw a glass dish at Mr Mizen's neck when his 6ft 2ins victim refused to be pushed aside by the thug. He was jailed for at least 14 years.

Parents of both victims have since backed the campaign Street Violence Ruins Lives in a bid to reduce knife and gun crime.

EVEN in the depths of winter war veterans showed that while the roads lacked grit, they still held the Dunkirk spirit, walking miles through the snow to play snooker with their pals.

Members of Bexley Veterans Club, Welling - Bernie Heinink, Terry Brett, Ken Taylor - we salute you!

March

LONDON Mayor Boris Johnson praised the Bexley Times for exposing for a second time that a health committee failed to prove that A&E cuts at Queen Marys Hospital were supported by clinicians. A Picture of Health (APOH), the outfit behind plans to remove emergency services at the Sidcup hospital, claimed in 2007 its plans were given a thumbs up at a meeting of some 100 local clinicians. Relentless pressure from the Bexley Times forced APOH to admit it could only show that 63 unnamed clinicians accepted the invite.

Mr Johnson said: "I applaud the grit and determination shown by the Kentish Times in its campaign to keep Queen Mary's Hospital's

A&E open.

"It is vital that all of the facts are made available for everyone to see and understand, particularly on an issue as important to local people as this."

April

A FRIEND of Stephen's mother, Doreen Lawrence, said he was 'baffled' by claims by a former police commissioner that the investigation into her son's murder was not racist. Reverend David Cruise, 73, a former minister at Trinity Methodist Church, Plumstead, where the family used to worship, criticised Sir Ian Blair's claims that the family were treated like 'any working class family'.

He said Mrs Lawrence had suffered a 'terrible' time with the investigating officers at Plumstead police station.

On April 15 the events of the Hillsborough football tragedy were marked 20 years on with a minute's silence at Charlton's Valley stadium.

May

JOURNALISTS swarmed into Blackfen when it emerged that Daulat Irani had hidden her mother's dead body in her freezer for 29 years.

Months later, the Bexley Times was first to interview the 83-year-old about the bizarre scandal, in which she explained that the family feared their mother had been an illegal immigrant when she died in 1980.

A more familiar scandal, MPs' expenses, boiled over in May with the historic resignation of the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Old Bexley and Sidcup MP Derek Conway claimed the £64,766 per annum salary is not enough and says members should be handed a civil service pay scale.

June

AN in-depth Times report revealed that hospital clinicians, allegedly invited to a meeting discussing proposals to cut A&E services, had been gagged by their bosses.

Following information obtained in March, reporters discovered that clinicians had been told not to speak to the Times about claims they supported the cutbacks.

The Times' health campaign was shortlisted for EDF's regional community campaign award.

Susan Boyle, aka Subo (pictured right), hit the headlines for her singing talent, but a dance teacher criticised the show's organisers for not taking better care of the acts.

Louise Carlier taught Sidcup and Eltham dance group Sugar Free, which made it to the semi-final of Britain's Got Talent. She said organisers should have heeded the early warnings when Subo apparently asked to "phone her cat" in the qualifiers.

Racial tension in Woolwich took an ugly turn as Greenwich Islamic Centre was targeted by arsonists, the latest in a long line of attacks.

Mosque caretaker Mohamed Koheeallee, pictured left holding charred copies of the Koran, was burnt in the firebombing.

July

Nearly 100,000 homes were plunged into darkness when an EDF substation was set fire to in an allegedly random arson attack. Controversy followed as the company offered limited 'goodwill' payments to the worst affected, but no compensation.

Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman, a former welder on Woolwich Docks, led the tributes for Michael Jackson, who died late in June. He said: "Along with Elvis Presley and The Beatles, he was the biggest star of the century."

Residents were saddened by the King of Pop's death days before he was set to move to Foxbury Manor, Chislehurst, ahead of a 50-date O² tour.

Another Times investigation found that Bexley council spends £345 a day on food and drink.

August

JUSTICE campaigner Bobby Cummines criticised sentencing guidelines for keeping high profile criminals behind bars while Baby P's killers were given minimum terms.

The chief executive of Kent charity for ex-offenders, UNLOCK, called for a government review of sentencing guidelines.

Hospital bosses announced a unexpected 'temporary' closure of the A&E unit at Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, ahead of plans to increase its elective surgery capacity.

A few months later, Trust chiefs also closed Orpington Treatment Centre but sent its surgery patients to the Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough.

Millwall suffered a black day when a match against West Ham United was marred by a stabbing outside the stadium and large clashes with police.

Pitch invasions led to players including Frank Nouble (left) being bothered by topless fans.

Millwall supporters called for the Hammers club to be fined and claimed that a lack of police and stewards led to the night of violence.

The Football Association said it is investigating the cause of the clashes between hundreds of fans at the Carling Cup Match. West Ham United won 3-1, scoring two goals in extra time.

September

IN a year that saw the deaths of Britain's last two World War One veterans, Henry Allingham and Harry Patch, another hero left off a memorial finally had his name etched on the monument - 92 years after his death.

Rifleman Alfred Thomas Turrell, formerly of Maxim Road, Crayford, of 10 battalion, the Rifle Brigade, died on June 22, 1917 but his name never made it on the Crayford memorial alongside his two brothers-in-law.

Bexley council agreed to rectify the omission so his only living child, Maude Day, 93, of Moat Lane, Slade Green, could see his sacrifice finally remembered.

The Times exclusively revealed that cinema hardman Ray Winstone is to appear in a film about knife crime, produced by the father of Rob Knox and featuring his brother, Jamie.

The Sexy Beast actor and Nil By Mouth agreed to waive his fees having already appeared alongside the 18-year-old and his brother in the 2004 film King Arthur.

October

SHAMED former Bexley council leader Ian Clement avoided jail after admitting fraud charges.

Clement, a London deputy mayor, was given community service for claiming for two meals with his alleged lover on his Greater London Authority credit card.

Hundreds of jubilant fans from south-east London and Kent greeted new F1 World Champion Jenson Button with a hero's welcome at Bluewater Shopping Centre, two days after he clinched the title.

November

POLICE finally swooped on a man they suspect of committing a string of sinister sex attacks on the elderly - the Night Stalker.

The director of a charity who helped counsel victims of the 'Night Stalker' spoke exclusively to the Times about the criminal's "reign of terror."

Maureen Falloon, 60, of Age Concern, is now appealing to other possible victims of one of Britain's worst serial sex attackers to come forward.

It is thought potential victims could run in to the hundreds.

December

PRANKSTERS stole a sheep from a Gravesend farm and wheeled it round Bexleyheath ASDA in a trolley during the night.

Stephen Jones, of Harvel House Farm, in Meopham, said: "We had one end up in McDonalds in Gravesend about 15 years ago."

Kentish Times' Toy Appeal was a big success. Despite tough economic conditions, readers and businesses gave lots of generous presents to put a smile on children's faces who were in hospital over Christmas. Players from Charlton FC helped deliver the gifts.

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