Breaking News


VIDEO AND PICTURES: As the year draws to an close we take a look back through the Island Echo archives and review the past 12 months in pictures.

2016 has certainly flown by, so here is a reminder of some of the 500+ breaking news stories that made the headlines this year. You can also see our video highlights above.


The big story of the month was the sad loss of buildings at Medina Yard in Cowes, which went up in flames following an industrial accident.

Article continues below this advertisement

Headlines were made at the start of the month when a teenager robbed a jewellers in Sandown, sending shock waves through the local community.

The discovery of a possible explosive device caused fears near the Island’s prisons, a section of cliff fell away at Shanklin and a car left the road at Dunnose. In addition, an inferno was created when a car caught fire in Binstead, a man was tasered by Police on a busy Newport road, firefighters tackled a house fire in St Helens and Island Echo revealed Lidl’s plans for a new store in Ryde.

As in both 2014 and 2015, January saw some very wet and windy weather battering the Island – the start of a very mixed year.

The first breaking news story of the year was on New Year’s Day itself when a boat ran aground in Bembridge Harbour.


Article continues below this advertisement


Things didn’t quieten down in February and the residents of Sandown were once again shocked at the news of another robbery in the town, this time at a Welcome store on Avenue Road. Later in the month the Welcome store in Shanklin was also targeted.

Meanwhile those living in Cowes were also alarmed when a man was arrested just yards from a primary school in possession of a crossbow.

On Valentine’s Day, Islanders woke to the news of a serious incident in Newport in which 46-year-old Gary ‘Jeff’ Stacey died. An Island teen is now facing a charge of manslaughter.

A series of road traffic collisions featured in the breaking news headlines, alongside the exclusive news of KFC’s plans to open a new store in Lake. More unusually, a plane ended upside down at Bembridge Airport.

In more positive news, Postcode Lottery players living in the PO30 1 postcode bagged themselves a share of £3million.



Unfortunately, March got off to a sad start with a death on the Island’s roads. 46-year-old Jonathan Legge from East Cowes died as a result of a head-on incident at Whippingham. The month also saw a number of other serious crashes, including a lorry causing damage to a thatch cottage in Arreton.

An arson attack resulted in a blaze ripping through a derelict building in Shanklin on the night of 12th March. Amazingly, no one was injured and the damage to nearby buildings was minimal. The fire came just a day after crews were called to Melville Hall Hotel.

It was a busy month for the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, who also went on to tackle a roof fire in Shorwell. The rural village was also thrusted into the spotlight after an attempted robbery on the post office.

Yet another convenience store was robbed, this time in Ryde.

In East Cowes, an unexploded bomb prompted the closure of the Isle of Wight Fuel Depot and other nearby businesses at Kingston Road. The piece of ordnance was later detonated at Yaverland.



The big news of April was the mysterious death of a man in his 20s following a ‘chemical incident’ in Cowes. The full details of the incident are still not known. April also saw the discovery of a 26-year-old man’s body in Sandown Bay.

In Ryde, emergency services including the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance came together to treat several people following a serious road traffic collision at Smallbrook Lane.

A run of incidents involving commercial premises on the Island continued when stores in Brading and and Wootton were broken into. Police were also kept busy with a pursuit around the Newport and Cowes area which concluded with the vehicle being abandoned at Parkhurst Forest.

Public outage ensued after an elderly man in his 80s was mugged in Ventnor during broad daylight.

A 3-vehicle crash closed the road to Ventnor, a car was set on fire at Firestone Copse and Red Funnel’s redevelopment plans for East Cowes were refused.



A large cliff fall at Yaverland brought thousands of tonnes of earth crashing down onto the beach below, attracting locals to the area. It was initially feared that people may have be trapped underneath the pile, but those fears were later alleviated. HM Coastguard monitored the situation.

As was the case in May 2015, fire played a large part of the breaking news headlines when a car burst into flames in Brading. Not only was the car damaged, but the nearby church building too. The local fire service also extinguished a caravan blaze in Bembridge, a manure heap fire near Ryde, a fire at the derelict Harcourt Sands and another caravan blaze at Ventnor.

A standoff at St John’s Railway Station in Ryde forced the suspension of train services. A male was detained after climbing a signal post and threatening Police officers.

It was a busy month for the Island’s volunteer Coastguard teams, especially after a fishing vessel broke its anchor and washed up between Sandown and Shanklin. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

Earlier in the month a 14-year-old boy was rescued by HM Coastguard and the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service after becoming stuck in woodland in East Cowes. He suffered a minor break and was carried to safety on a stretcher. The rescue came just days after Ventnor Coastguard Rescue Team led a man and his dog to safety near St Catherine’s.



1st June marked the start of a terrible month for the Isle of Wight when innocent 6-year-old Keziah Flux-Edmonds was killed by her own father, Darren. The tragic incident brought the community of East Cowes together with flowers and cards left for the popular school girl on the doorstep of her Cromwell Avenue home. It was concluded on 13th December that Darren committed suicide after unlawfully killing Keziah.

Less than 2 weeks later, 46-year-old Jolyon Wray was murdered at his home on East Hill Road in Ryde. His partner, Deborah Napier, stabbed him in the back with a 5-inch knife. She has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

On 20th June another murder-suicide took place, this time in Shanklin. 77-year-old John Irwin killed his 83-year-old wife before taking his own life. An inquest on 16th December found that Mr Irwin committed suicide and unlawfully killed his wife, Jean, by hitting her with a hammer and then strangling her with a scarf.

The driver of a Mercedes had a lucky escape after his car left the road and crashed into trees near Whippingham. It wasn’t the only road traffic collision in June, with a pick-up overturning on Forest Road, a rear-end shunt on Horsebridge Hill and a car ploughed into a garden wall in Ventnor. A cyclist was seriously injured on Avenue Road, Sandown.

Thankfully, a house fire in Oakfield, Ryde didn’t result in tragedy when firefighters rescued a number of dogs from the property. Thanks to Island Echo’s quick reporting, the homeowner’s family were alerted to the incident and were able to make their way to the property. Unfortunately, the fire service also tackled a house fire on Cross Lane, Newport in which a family lost everything.

One of the biggest stories of the month was the shock result of the EU Referendum. The Isle of Wight voted to leave the European Union with 49,173 votes against 30,207.



A large blaze broke out in Wroxall on the afternoon of 27th July, destroying buildings and resulting in the evacuation of nearby homes and businesses. Police launched an investigation into the circumstances behind the fire, which was deemed as arson. Fire crews from across the Island worked to extinguish the fire throughout the night.

Police issued a warning to Islanders about a ‘rogue batch’ of ecstasy tablets circulating in the community after 4 people were hospitalised. The incident led to the cancellation of surgery at St Mary’s as the individuals were so poorly they needed extra, specialist care. Later in the month, officers searched a house boat in Bembridge as part of an unconnected drugs investigation.

HM Coastguard were alerted to a man stuck on a cliff at Yaverland by Southern Vectis. In what was a rather unusual situation, a tourist contacted the bus company to say he was stuck half way up a cliff face. He didn’t know how to contact the emergency services but had a bus timetable to hand.

Firefighters had to cut the roof off a Honda Civic after the driver lost control and crashed into the entrance of Wight Salads at Arreton. Another extrication took place when a transit van and a car crashed near Bembridge Airport.

The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service rushed to a property fire on John Street, Ryde during the early hours of 13th July. Just a few days later and another property fire broke out, this time at Station Road, Sandown. A fire in the back garden of a property just metres away from Ryde Fire Station damaged 2 properties.

Britain’s oldest person, Gladys Hooper, died at a care home in Ryde at the grand age of 113. The great-grandmother was born Gladys Nash in Dulwich on 18th January 1903 and died on 9th July 2016.

Also in July, the body of a man was discovered in a caravan at Sandhills Holiday Park, Bembridge.



4 adults, a child and a pet dog escaped injury after a fire broke out at their home on Victoria Avenue in Shanklin. Fire crews arrived to find flames escaping from a 1st floor rear bedroom, but thankfully they managed to quickly bring the blaze under control.

It was another busy month for the Island’s firefighters – a campervan blaze broke out in the quiet garden village of Alverstone, a barn was destroyed in Carisbrooke when a number of hay bales caught fire and a roof caught alight at a hotel in Shanklin.

A planning application to transform the Carlton Hotel in Sandown into a brand new Premier Inn was submitted to the Isle of Wight Council in August. The application has since been approved and demolition work is anticipated to begin in early 2017.

August proved to be a difficult month for the vessel ‘Twin Wakes’ which not only sunk once, but twice.

A suspicious package outside St Mary’s Hospital sparked concern on 7th August, but the incident was quickly brought to an end when specialist officers deemed the mystery item as safe – it was a takeaway carrier bag.

The Isle of Wight was named a ‘Ghetto Island’ by Ofsted chair David Hoare, who later resigned after causing outrage.



Police used an alternative method of transport to help catch a wanted man when they requested the assistance of a hovercraft. The man ran away from Police and continued out to sea in a bid to evade arrest.

Another life was taken on the Island’s roads in September when popular Ryde man Lee Daniel collided with a car on Coach Lane, Brading. Sadly, Mr Daniel died as a result of his injuries at Southampton General Hospital.

A Henry Hoover sparked a fire service response to Sandown when smoke filled the iFixLocal shop on the High Street. Later in September, firefighters tackled a house fire in Wootton and a BMW was torched in Gunville.

A fatal rabbit disease was confirmed to be killing pets on the Island and an unexploded torpedo brought Wightlink ferries to a standstill.

Priory Bay Hotel near St Helens was put on the market.



Ryde Arena closed its doors for the very last time when bailiffs repossessed the property on the morning of 6th October, marking the end of an era. The ice has since been melted and the chillers removed. The future of the rink remains unclear.

Tragedy once again hit when a construction worker sadly died as a result of an incident on site at Atkinson Drive in Newport. Despite the best efforts of emergency services, Mr David Shayler’s life could not be saved.

Another busy month for the Island’s fire service was marked with the rescue a woman from the balcony of her flat in School Street, Ryde just days after suffering fairly serious injuries as a result of a road traffic collision. Fire crews also tackled a fire at a farm in Ashey, a campervan fireball in Newport and carried out a horse rescue in Whitwell.

The local community was left in shock when East Cowes man Kevin Finch was charged with rape, kidnap and GBH following an alleged sexual assault on a 18-year-old woman in a remote location in Niton.

The Coastguard Helicopter from Lee-on-Solent was called in to help Police when a car left the road in Ventnor, coming to rest upside down at the bottom of a large drop. Amazingly, no one was seriously injured.

Another helicopter was present in the skies above the Island when the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance was called in to airlift a woman from Culver Down. Local Coastguard units assisted with the rescue operation.

Island Echo launched a brand new website in October.



The Royal Navy Bomb Disposal team visited a number of schools on the Island at the start of November. A series of controlled explosions of a substance called Dinitrophenyl Hydrazine took place following a change in guidance on its safe storage.

Attention was put on HMP Isle of Wight following the news that an inmate had attempted to cut a prison officer’s throat, as exclusively reported by Island Echo.

Crime was a reoccurring theme throughout November when a 54-year-old man was arrested for an alleged sexual assault outside Newport Police Station and a 10-year-old boy was approached outside a school in Ryde. A 50-year-old man from Ryde was charged with threatening another man with a machete.

The elderly driver of a Skoda in Bembridge had a lucky escape when he collided with the rear of a parked scaffold lorry on Foreland Road. It was another lucky escape for a jet skier who avoided serious injury when he collided into the side of the Red Jet.

Firefighters tackled an outbuilding fire in East Cowes, a malicious fire in the grounds of the Isle of Wight College and crews attended a 2-car collision in Shanklin. The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service also worked with HM Coastguard to rescue a man from mud at Fort Victoria near Yarmouth.

It was revealed in November that Lloyds bank are to close 3 branches on the Island.

The Island’s emergency services took part in an exercise with the Royal Air Force and the Isle of Wight Council.



Organisers of Bestival announced that the September event would no longer be held on the Isle of Wight. The announcement was made unexpectedly on 15th December and revealed that the festival would move from Robin Hill to Lulworth Castle in Dorset.

The year of tragedy continued following the killing of 57-year-old prison officer Nick Medlin in Ventnor on Christmas Day. A 32-year-old man has since been charged with manslaughter. On Christmas Eve a Shanklin man was stabbed – he survived.

A 3-vehicle collision brought traffic to a standstill in Newport, firefighters tackled a large barn fire in Ashey, a pedestrian was injured on Wootton High Street and the driver of a Mini was extricated by fire crews following a minor shunt in Ryde. Fire crews also tackled a flat fire in Lake.

Councillor Phil Jordan stood down from his role on the Isle of Wight Council’s Executive in December after being charged with drink-driving. Cllr Jordan appeared in court and was disqualified after pleading guilty to being twice the drink-drive limit.

Emergency services were also called to a car vs bus collision in Godshill, a man and woman were rescued from mud in Brading and Police investigated an alleged rape in Cowes. A car overturned in Havenstreet, a motorcycle collided with a car in Ryde and another car overturned on Boxing Day.

The Long Lane Christmas Lights switched on for the 17th year running and Islanders enjoyed Island Echo’s ‘Light up the Wight’ guide.

With just days left of 2016, the breaking news continued with armed police called to Middle Road, the death of a 25-year-old in Ventnor and a human arm washing ashore in Freshwater.


See you in 2017!

Comment on this story

News, Traffic & Travel Tweets