Woman Suffered Brain Damage in Collision Which Killed Passenger

A young woman accused of death by careless driving was not called as a witness in Lewes Crown Court today after suffering brain damage in the collision.

Amie Gatland, 21, was driving her BMW along the A281 past Cowfold when she swerved into the path of a Volkswagen Polo, killing her own passenger Charles Andrews, 21.

Forensic scientist Peter Davey showed the jury photographs of the collision site which involved Harriet Burrage, 22.

Miss Burrage was left with a broken wrist, bruising and whiplash while Amie contracted memory loss.

A series of possible reasons for the accident was given by Mr Davey, who has a PhD in Forensic Road Collisions.

He said that water damage may have caused the areas of fretting on the road, which he described to mean erosion or sinking of the road surface.

Analysis carried out in 2012 and 2013 by Alexandra Luck, an expert in construction and speed resistance, found that the road should have been treated for poor resistance levels.

The jury heard that the accident site had been the location of 15 driving incidents since 2006, with seven of those being since 2013.

Both women had been driving within the speed limit, and were tested on the scene for alcohol or substances, with clean results according to Mr Davey.

A statement from Miss Burrage confirmed that Miss Gatland, who gave a not guilty plea, was not distracted and did not deliberately cause the accident.

Although both cars were in too much of a wreck to test, neither cars were found to be defective.

The trial continues.


Protesters Win Battle to Block Proposed Housing in Ovingdean

Protesters have won their battle today at Hove Town Hall to block proposed introduction of housing to Ovingdean’s last green space.

Around 30 ecology enthusiasts were present before the Planning Committee for Brighton and Hove where the City Council voted six to five to reject 45 previously refused homes.

Outside the Town Hall, protester Camilla Tildon-Smith said: “I couldn’t see this beautiful meadow just being concreted over. Once it’s gone it’s gone forever.

A key factor in the decision was the fate of the rare red star thistle which grows on the site proposed for development.

Tracey Parker, a leading protester, outside said: “Think of the ecosystem as a jumbo jet. Somebody takes a screw out here, takes a rivet out here, and eventually the whole thing will collapse.”

Other rare species and 400 invertebrates would be in danger if the plans went ahead, she said.

Councillors also heard from ecology expert Jackie Thompson, from Deans Preservation Society, who said results from a survey of the land carried out by the applicants were incorrect.

She said the land had not been designated as a wildlife site only because inspectors were unable to gain access.

Councillor Lynda Hyde read a list of objectors, including more than 600 residents and Ovingdean’s MP Simon Kirby.

Voting against, she asked: “Can all these people be incorrect?”

Committee Councillor Julie Catell, voting in favour pf plans, said: “We have a housing crisis.”

The applicants argued that the plans were a valuable contribution to the City’s affordable housing target.

Ovingdean Parish Council was among those against the plans, along with Bug Life and Sussex Wildlife Trust.


fullsizeoutput_89Credit to Vogue Magazine (interview) and Josh Olins (photographs)

Hundreds Rally to End Brighton and Hove School Funding Crisis

Campaigners gathered today in a bid to save Brighton and Hove schools from more than £14million of cuts.

The protest, held at The Level, was set up like a school assembly with parents, children and teachers sat before a stage to watch short speeches, announcements and performances.

Theresa Kirkbride, a PTA member at Garden Primary School, said: “The children are our future – we need to supply what they need to grow and learn.”

Children made banners, wrote letters to the government and sang Message in a Bottle by the Police.

Dan Chapman, Labour candidate for Lewes, said: “I have been going around schools here in Brighton and Hove and in some they have been taking up the carpets to put down Lino because it is cheaper to maintain.

“They are making as many savings as they possibly can but now we are getting down to the real frontline services.”

Children from more than 40 schools came together to hold coloured cards spelling out “SOS” for an aerial photograph.

Invited to speak was Len Goldman, a 100-year-old ex-teacher, who said the government cuts were ‘an attack on the country’s future’ and destroyed ‘the basis of what parents want for their children’.

Interactive Google Map here shows the cuts imposed on each school: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1UbJjUDrVYhcxWWGaffwsVQa1CJQ&usp=sharing

Backstage with…Brighton Fringe’s Dutch Season

This year, Brighton Fringe has been lucky enough to reach its connections across borders, inviting a selection of award-winning performers from Amsterdam Fringe to join in the mayhem and madness.

The Brighton Fringe Dutch Season features a collection of diverse performances, including both shows and workshops, and runs from May 18 to June 4.

Every performance featuring the spoken word is in English, and those that aren’t manage to create a dialogue between the performers and the audience without any form of verbal communication.

Air guitar with a difference

Falk Hübner describes his work as “kind of air guitar, but different.”

His performance, I Will Carry You Over Hard Times focuses on a solo by a percussion player, who does not make any sound live. Instead he mimes playing the various instruments with sounds being played from loudspeakers.

Nerves don’t seem to cross Falk’s mind, despite never having been to Brighton before. Rather, he’s excited to meet the audience and make new friends.

“I guess the common ground is that everywhere there are interesting, interested and inspiring people, with whom one can have truly engaging conversations,” he says.

Falk hopes people will enjoy the show and become wrapped up in the hilarity of it all. However, he also strives to stir up society’s view of a percussionist: “I hope that it will kind of disrupt their idea of what percussion playing, and even playing music in general, can be.”

By not actually playing the piece, he aims to show the precision and training of a percussionist and how much effort it takes for a musician to commit to this kind of experimental practice.

His show promises to throw the audience into a shambles of disruption and joy, ending in an enormous tour de force in which he experiments with the boundaries of what is possible.

“I feel very strongly that different locations, countries and people that connect to the work also enrich it very much, and let it grow over time,” he adds.

Falk will be performing I Will Carry You Over Hard Times from May 18 to 21 at Sweet St Andrew’s, Hove.

Concept of manliness

Igor Vrebac is energised at the thought of bringing his show Macho Macho to the city.

The Bosnian-Dutch artist uses his performance to examine the struggles of men in a modern society, deconstructing the concept of manliness.

Asked whether he was nervous about the upcoming show, Igor said: “Of course not, machos are never nervous! Well, a little bit.”

The show focuses on two men trying to achieve the perfect physique but who are never satisfied. They become caught up in a world of gym selfies, Instagram and wrestling matches. It is this endless vying for attention that pushes the men to realise manliness is not about having muscles, but about having a close relationship with themselves and others.

“I’d like to confront people by making men objectified on stage and bring the audience, via what seems a never-ending journey, to a conclusion that is about being ‘man’ instead of ‘masculine’.”

Igor predicts the audience will find the show strange at first, but will soon surrender to the hilarity of it all, embracing the antics of the machos and joining in with the jokes.

What he’s most looking forward to is the atmosphere Brighton Fringe promises.

“I just love festivals where you’re drawn into the energy of the people coming there with the same reason: showing art.

“Brighton Fringe gives you this overwhelming energetic feeling and it’s up to you to receive it.”

Igor will be performing Macho Macho from May 31 to June 1 at The Old Market, Hove.

For full ticket prices and information, and to meet more of the Dutch Season performers, visit seasons.brighton.fringe.org

All photo credits to Brighton Fringe

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