Wandsworth review of the year 2012

Former Battersea Dogs' Home resident Larry the Cat caught his first mouse at No.10 Downing Street in September

Former Battersea Dogs' Home resident Larry the Cat caught his first mouse at No.10 Downing Street in September

First published in News

As 2012 is drawn to a close, we look back on what has been an eventful year for Wandsworth.


JANUARY


Wandsworth Guardian: WAND Campaigners celebrate fleet of clean buses

The year began with a stark pollution warning after air quality in Putney was described as a "national disgrace".

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in the town exceeded EU regulations 18 times in the first three days of 2012 - more than is permitted for the whole year.

A fleet of environmentally-friendly buses were delivered in October.


Wandsworth Guardian: Black hole ragout

Health managers were told to keep their hands off Wandsworth NHS's surplus after it was revealed that it could be used to fill a £26.8m funding hole in Croydon.

Wandsworth NHS had prudently managed to accumulate a surplus of £16.7m but the spectre of it being handed over to its spendthrift neighbour was raised at a high-profile meeting.

Wandsworth is linked in a partnership with Croydon, Merton, Sutton, Kingston and Richmond but only the Brighter Borough had any money saved.


Friday January 13 proved to be a troublesome day for one pensioner after he perilously stuck in deep mud near Battersea Bridge.

Dozens of firefighters were scrambled to the scene to rescue the stricken 79-year-old who was rapidly sinking as the tides came in.

The man, who suffered hypothermia as a result, was rescued after 40 nervous minutes by inflatable "mud paths" attached to a Fire Boat.


FEBRUARY


Wandsworth Guardian: Devastated mother of murdered 26-year-old pays tribute to son

Popular MC Anthony Thompson was killed in Tooting following a street fight on February 5.

Mr Thompson, 26, of Derinton Road, Tooting, died in hospital two days later after being found in nearby Holmbury Court suffering head injuries.

Thomas Evans, of Bordesley Road, Morden, is set to face trial at the Old Bailey in 2013.


Wandsworth Guardian: Explorer rescued from Icelandic glacier after calling dad

An explorer was rescued from an Icelandic glacier after calling his father in the UK for help.

Alex Hibbert, 25, was trekking across the Vatnajokull ice cap with friend Finn McCann when they became trapped in 80mph storms on the ice, with higher wind speeds predicted for the next day.

Mr Hibbert, a professional expedition leader, raised the alarm using his satellite phone to call his father in Portsmouth.


Shop workers and pedestrians told of their horror after a 90-year-old elderly man was decapitated by a lorry on February 18.

Dozens of people, including children, witnessed the horrific accident which happened at the junction of Upper Tooting Road and Dafforne Road in Tooting.

The lorry driver was so traumatised that he suffered a suspected heartattack after the incident.


MARCH


A gang of "untouchable" teenage armed robbers who rode on super bikes to rob banks, hospitals and newsagents were jailed for more than 50 years in March.

In a six-month crime spree starting in September 2010, they robbed 29 premises armed with handguns, knives and hammers.

The nine-strong gang operated out of the Surrey Lane estate, Battersea, and were jailed for a total of 56 years at Kingston Crown Court.


Wandsworth Guardian: Trout of order: War of words breaks out over dead fish

A war of words broke out in March between a Sky Sports' fishing expert and two Kiwi brothers who claimed they caught a huge trout in Putney.

In February brothers Dave and Ivan Shannon said they hauled in the 10.2lb "monster" on Putney Embankment.

News of the catch reached Sky Sports' fishing expert Keith Arthurs claimed it had come straight out of a freezer.


Wandsworth Guardian: crash scene

More than 20 firefighters battled for an hour to free a woman who was trapped in her 4x4 after it ploughed into a house in Battersea.

The impact was so severe it shook several of the surrounding houses, convincing some residents it was an earthquake.

The photograph was taken Greg Chojnacki who was living in the Duke of Cambridge pub, opposite the crash scene.


APRIL


Wandsworth Guardian: WAND New refuse system causes rubbish chaos

New rubbish collection rules came into place causing anger throughout the borough.

Contractor Serco took over the service with weekend collections axed and many people given a new collection day.

The changes sparked fury from residents who claimed they were not given sufficient warning, rubbish was not collected, and people were having to store rubbish inside their homes for fear of being fined.


Wandsworth Guardian: WAND RICH Anti-elitist protester jailed for six months for scuppering Boat Race

The annual Oxford-Cambridge boat race was brought to a standstill after an anti-elitist protester swam into the path of the oncoming rowers.

Trenton Oldfield, 36, from Whitechapel, "risked his life" on April 7 when he paddled in front of the two boats as they pulled neck and neck as the race approached Chiswick.

The race was stopped after four-time Olympic gold-medalist Matthew Pinsent, acting as an official, spotted Oldfield's head bobbing in in the water just feet from the oars.


A "scandalous" shortage of police in Tooting was revealed by the Wandsworth Guardian in April which deeply concerned shopkeepers, residents and councillors.

Just two officers were left in the Tooting ward safer neighbourhood team (SNT)and just one and a PCSO in Furzedown - which had the highest number of business robberies in the borough in February.


MAY


Wandsworth Guardian: Jeffrey and Felicia Boots

Neighbours of a family in Wandsworth told how they heard the father's heart-rending screams after he found his two babies dead.

Jeff Boots, 34, returned home from work on May 9 to find the bodies of his two children Lily Skye, 14-months, and his 10-week old son Mason, in the family home.

His wife Felicia admitted manslaughter and she is currently being held in a mental institution.


Wandsworth Guardian: WAND Bailiffs execute dawn raid on temple outraging Hindu community

Bailiffs executed a dawn raid on a Hindu temple, evicting priests and seizing its sacred contents outraging the Hindu community.

Backed up by the police, they moved in on the Sivayogam temple, in Hebdon Road, Tooting, at 5am on May 22, following a legal dispute with owner Barrowfen Properties Ltd which has plans to turn it into a Travelodge.


Chelsea Football Club submitted an audacious bid in May to buy the 39-acre Battersea Power Station site.

The club, owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, said the site had the potential to become "one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world".

If it had been successful, the club promised to create a 60,000 seat stadium while retaining the unique backdrop of the power station.


JUNE


Wandsworth Guardian: Thousands flock to watch Diamond Jubilee River Pageant pass through Wandsworth

Wandsworth caught Diamond Jubilee fever and celebrated 60 years of the Queen's reign with hundreds of street parties.

The Diamond Jubilee River Pageant started in the borough, with the Queen boarding the Spirit of Chatwell at Battersea Bridge.

Hordes of people queued for hours outside Battersea Park for the Diamond Jubilee festival, despite rainy weather.


Wandsworth Guardian: Justice: Sean with his sisters Samantha and Marci

The sister of a man who died in police custody gave an emotional statement during his inquest.

Sean Rigg, 40, was arrested for attacking a police officer in Weir Road, Balham, on August 21 in 2008.

Shortly afterwards the musician, who suffered from schizophrenia, died while in the custody suite of Brixton Police Station.

Marcia Rigg-Samuel, 48, of Tooting, said: "Sean was doing great things in his life and it was devastating his life was cut short in this way."


Two boys hit by a falling tree at a cricket club made a miraculous recovery.

Lewis Gaston and George Roberts, aged nine, were crushed by a tree at the Spencer Cricket Club, Fairview, Earlsfield.

The boys were waiting to use practice nets before their first match as Surrey Inner London's under 9s, when the tree came down.

Former England and Surrey cricketer, Alex Tudor visited the pair in hospital.


JULY


Wandsworth Guardian: Henmania 2

A 160,000 strong crowd filled the streets of Wandsworth to celebrate the Olympic torch travelling through the borough.

England football start Michael Owen made a surprise appearance with the torch in Battersea Dogs Home.

A host of local heroes carried it through the borough, with the cauldron lit by Tim Henman in Tooting Bec Common.


A coroner ruled a patient died of thirst due to neglect by hospital staff.

Kane Gorny, 22, of Weir Road, Balham, died of dehydration in St George’s Hospital.

Mr Gorny needed regular medication to keep hydrated after undergoing surgery for a brain tumour.

He was sent to St George's Hospital, Tooting, for a hip replacement after steroids affected the bone, but died three days after the routine operation on May 28.


Wandsworth Guardian: Road race Putney

Olympics fever continued as thousands turned out to see the men's and women's road race cyclists whiz through Putney.

Lizzie Armistead secured a silver medal for Team GB, but was beaten to gold by Dutch favourite Marianne Vos while the men's team criticised other nations' negative tactics for failing to secure a medal.

Putney High Street was jam-packed with people hoping to catch a glimpse of the cyclists.


AUGUST


Wandsworth Guardian: WAND Ian Thorpe gives swimming lessons in Tooting Bec Lido

Olympic legend Ian Thorpe took time out from his BBC presenting on London 2012 to give swimming lessons to the borough's children.

The Australian swim star paid a visit to Tooting Bec Lido to deliver his words of wisdom to a group of youngsters.

Six time gold medalist Thorpe also signed swim caps and other memorabilia for members of a 400 strong crowd who turned out to see the 'Thorpedo'


A teenager was found guilty of murdering a rival with a steel afro comb.

The 16-year-old girl plunged the weapon into the head of Julie Sheriff, in Falcon Road, Battersea, last year.

The girls fell out about boys on social network sites before their meeting.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Scola said: "The reckless actions of a girl, 15 years old at the time, has devastated a family and taken a young life."


Wandsworth Guardian: WAND Community mural created in burnt-out fancy dress shop

A community mural was created in the a burnt-out fancy dress shop window left gutted in the riots.

Hundreds of people gathered to add their own brush strokes to the mural painted outside the gutted Party Superstore, in Lavender Hill, Battersea.

The mural was created by art director Roopa Basu, who was commissioned to design it by Wandsworth Council to mark the anniversary of the riots.


SEPTEMBER


In September a beggar was handed a life sentence for the sadistic killing of a man by dropping a fridge on his head.

Cameron McFly, 38, from Tooting, was found guilty of murdering Richard Ward in a Waitrose loading bay in Battersea on November 7 last year.

He was given a life imprisonment of 24 years at the Old Bailey after pleading guilty to manslaughter claiming diminished responsibility.


Wandsworth Guardian: WAND Estate's task force creator says: "We're not vigilantes"

A "residents’ task force" was formed in a troubled estate in an attempt to stamp-out myriad antisocial behaviour problems.

The initiative in Roehampton’s Alton estate is being led by Ben Perl who started a similar project in the Townsmead estate in Fulham where he claims a team of up to eight volunteers successfully dealt with a number of anti-social obstacles.


Wandsworth Guardian: Larry the cat

A former Battersea Dogs' Home resident caught his first mouse at No.10 Downing Street in September.

Larry the Cat was hired by David Cameron to solve the growing mouse problem at the Prime Minister's HQ.

Later in September Larry was photographed fighting with Chancellor George Osborn's moggy - a tussle the Battersea feline lost.


OCTOBER


Wandsworth Guardian: One Direction star viciously attack by Battersea Park squirrel

One Direction star Niall Horan was forced to undergo knee surgery after being attacked in Battersea Park - by a squirrel.

It appeared the rodent pounced on the singer who tore knee ligaments as he tried to escape.

The 19-year-old was on crutches as a result of the attack.


Wandsworth Guardian: WAND Battersea's Bouchon Bar masonry inquest to begin tomorrow

The death of a surveyor killed by a piece of falling masonry was ruled as an accident at an inquest.

Peter Westropp, 27, was struck on the head by rubble after an awning collapsed as he drank with friends outside Le Bouchon Bordelais in Battersea Rise, on August 10 last year.

The inquest jury said the specific cause of the falling masonry could not be determined.


Campaigners lobbied the Mayor of London to build Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations at Clapham Junction Station.

MP for Battersea Jane Ellison, Councillor Russell King and campaigner Jon Irwin posed on the bikes outside the station.

There are 60 docking stations coming to the borough in 2014.


NOVEMBER


Wandsworth Guardian: Fireworks Wandsworth

A spectacular fireworks display lit up Battersea Park for fireworks night.

About 43,000 people attended the annual display on Saturday based on the theme of London Celebrates.


Investigations into the death of a frail pensioner have launched just hours after an out-of-hours doctor was allegedly "too drunk" to operate her oxygen supply.

Agnes Seecoomar claims the doctor arrived at her mother Dorothy's flat, in Dover House Road, Putney, "incoherent and slurring his words" on August 15 this year.

She appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and failed to understand a St George's Hospital registrar's simple instructions.


A paedophile hacked to death in a suspected vigilante attack was entertaining girls in his caravan the evening before, an inquest heard.

Andrew Cunningham, 52, was found surrounded by a pool of blood, his genatalia mutilated, in his caravan parked in Riverside Road, Earlsfield, on December 9, 2008.

Westminster Coroner's Court heard police have been unable to find his killers, despite interviewing 800 people and offering a reward of £20,000.


DECEMBER


Wandsworth Guardian: Charity fundraiser inspires Andy Murray after appearing on Surprise Surprise

A charity fundraiser formed a special friendship with US Open winner Andy Murray after appearing on ITV show Surprise Surprise.

Jason Arday, 27, from Clapham, was flown to New York earlier this month where he met up with Britain's number one.

Mr Arday met with an extra surprise when he was back in the UK and found his name in national press after Murray quoted him as his inspiration.


Wandsworth Guardian: WAND Tributes to murdered Kiwi punk rocker flood in

The man killed after a fight outside a Putney pub was named as Steve Andrews, the lead singer of a New Zealand punk rock band.

Mr Andrews, from Wellington, New Zealand, died on Sunday afternoon following an assault outside the Duke's Head pub, in Lower Richmond Road.

The 46-year-old was treated by paramedics at the scene but was critically injured with "serious head injuries".


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