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Fire engulfs 400-year-old hotel housing Ukrainian refugees

A 400-year-old hotel in West Sussex that was housing Ukrainian refugees has been engulfed by a fire. The blaze was first reported at 1.08am early yesterday, with 10 fire engines, an aerial ladder platform, water carrier and off-road vehicle initially working on the scene in Midhurst. Originatin­g in the hotel’s roof space, a “significan­t” fire had spread to the adjoining properties, West Sussex Fire and Rescue service said.

More than 30 people were safely evacuated, with a relief centre set up for those displaced. As the flames worsened, assistance

was later provided by Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, Hampshire and Isle of White Fire and Rescue Service, Sussex Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service, amounting to 15 fire engines. The local community is rallying together to provide emergency aid for the Ukrainian refugees who were evacuated from the hotel. Having dipped into its existing fundraisin­g pot to help, local charity Petworth Ukraine Relief has been raising money since the war began, gathering aid locally and shipping the contents from West Sussex to Ukraine.

Andrew Ashton-Smith, a sales engineer from the nearby town of Petworth, volunteers with the charity. He described the fire as “harrowing” but said the local community is doing everything it can to help those in need. “I feel shocked but more keen to try and make sure that we can do all we can to help the Ukrainian families here as some of them have children,” he said, noting that his daughter goes to school with some of the Ukrainian children affected by the blaze.

The cause of the fire remains under investigat­ion by fire investigat­ion officers, supported by Sussex Police.

Man ‘tried to kill woman in car park as he thought she was a spy’

A man tried to stab a woman to death in a leisure centre car park because he believed she was a spy working for GCHQ, a court has heard. Joshua Bowles, 29, has been charged with attempted murder over the incident in Cheltenham on 9 March. He was not asked to enter a plea during a brief appearance at Westminste­r Magistrate­s’ Court yesterday.

The court heard that Mr Bowles researched his victim and her whereabout­s “believing her to work for GCHQ”, Britain’s signals intelligen­ce and cybersecur­ity agency. He allegedly attacked her as she left the leisure centre, punching and stabbing her several times. She required emergency surgery and remains in hospital.

Prosecutor Kathryn Selby said Mr Bowles “holds views on the work” he believes GCHQ to conduct, and that in his mind his victim “represents the state”. Mr Bowles is also charged with

actual bodily harm after allegedly punching a man who tried to intervene. The defendant, of the Up Hatherley suburb of Cheltenham, was remanded in custody ahead of a hearing at the Old Bailey on 31 March.

Murder probe after man stabbed to death near Tube station

A man was stabbed to death in a fight outside a home in northwest London. Police were called to the residentia­l street Chester Drive, Harrow, shortly after 2am early yesterday. Officers responded with London Ambulance Service, whose medics treated the victim in his late fifties. However, despite their efforts, paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene, a short walk from North Harrow Tube station.

Another man, in his thirties, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and has been taken into police custody. A Metropolit­an Police spokespers­on said: “A crime scene is in place and enquiries are ongoing, led by the Specialist Crime Command.” Detectives said the man’s family had been informed.

MPs will vote on Sunak’s Brexit deal within days

A key part of Rishi Sunak’s new post-Brexit deal for Northern Ireland will be voted on by MPs in parliament next week. They will be asked to approve a statutory instrument relating to the “Stormont brake” section of the deal on Wednesday, Commons leader Penny Mordaunt announced. It represents the first Commons test for the PM’s Windsor Framework deal with the EU.

But No 10 said more votes would be held on different aspects of the deal – raising the prospect of a return to showdown Brexit battles seen under Theresa May and Boris Johnson. Asked if other statutory instrument­s would be voted on, Mr Sunak’s spokespers­on said: “I believe they will be. I think there are a series that will be agreed through the House.”

Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair told MPs that the Sunak deal was “the most practical way forward” and “the best I think you can do with this”.

Woman jailed for manslaught­er after filming stepson’s death

A woman who filmed her three-year-old stepson as he lay dying from a brain injury has been jailed for manslaught­er. Leila Borrington, 23, killed Harvey Borrington by slapping him “multiple times” around the head, following two earlier attacks in the four months before, which left him with a broken arm and marks on his face.

Nottingham Crown Court was told Borrington lied about what had happened to Harvey, who had severe non-verbal autism, when paramedics arrived at her home in Main Road, Jacksdale, near Kirkby-in-Ashfield, in August 2021. She also delayed calling emergency services after inflicting “unsurvivab­le” injuries, including a skull fracture – instead sending a text message to the boy’s father reading: “Why does this happen to me?”

Sentencing Borrington to 15 years in prison on Wednesday, High Court judge Mr Justice Nicklin said the unlawful killing had had a profound effect on his loved ones.

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 ?? (PA) ?? More than 30 people were rescued from the building
(PA) More than 30 people were rescued from the building

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