Review of the Year part one: Diamond rings, schools and snow
PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 December 2018
As we prepare to welcome 2019, The Times takes a look at the first six months of the past year, and the biggest stories we have reported on. Tomorrow we'll take a look at the second half of 2018.
The year started well for PC Neill Tully who was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for his work with troubled children. And teenager Theodore Gough was on his way to Nepal helping the many in the mountainous nation living in poverty.
Commuters got their first look at a completed London Bridge station, and hundreds of parents were concerned about the off-on planning wrangle for the proposed Bullers Wood School for Boys.
But it was good news for the victims of scammer Alan Cooper. After conviction, a court orders his posh £3 million home be sold to hep relay his victims.
And more good news for Royal fans – council fees for Harry and Meghan wedding streets parties are waived.
Still at the council, contract staff threaten to strike hitting libraries and care services – it’s over worries whether the contractors were up to the job in delivering the promised services.
A spate of unusual sexual assaults sees a 51-year-old man arrested following more than 20 incidents around the borough. And still with crime, a crackdown on drivers abusing the disabled blue badge scheme sees 14 more fined bringing the total to almost 70 in two years.
The Lib Dems demand safer roads with schemes for traffic calming and better crossings in spite of a fall of 61 per cent in serious injuries since 2001. They said they want more measures to continue driving the stats down.
Businesses in Beckenham welcome their new Business Improvement District status hoping it will help reinvigorate the high street.
Anh Nhu Nguyen is jailed for 21 months for claiming he lost family in the Grenfell Tower fire – he is just one of many to face justice this year for defrauding the funds set up to help victims.
Bromley Council is opposed to a police merger with Croydon and Sutton.
Work set to begin on Eden Park High School in Beckenham, soon to be home to 1,600 students.
But workmen were busy elsewhere dealing with a sudden snow fall. The ploughs were out and over 1,000 tonnes of salt distributed on main routes.
A bizarre warning was issued by trading standards – be on the lookout for fake fur clothes being made from real fur as costs for the fakes soared.
There was a posthumous bravery award for PC Keith Palmer, killed in the line of duty during the Westminster terror attack while protecting others from Dartford-born Khalid Masood, who ran down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. Crashing his car, he then stabbed PC Palmer to death.
Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding from Britain First are jailed for religiously aggravated harassment where they filmed inflammatory videos during the trial of men accused of rape.
Langley Court to be home to 280 new houses.
While 2018 saw a sickening acid attack craze, a Sydenham teenager was jailed for six months for having a bottle of ammonia at a train station.
The top of the bottle Aaron Edwards, 19, had was rigged to spray.
And a gang of phone thieves operating on trains was being hunted by police.
Suffering two strokes didn’t stop Gravesend mum Evelyn Dalton prepare for the London marathon. The 36-year-old even had to learn how to walk again first.
Crime dominated April with a gang of helicopter drug smugglers was jailed for a combined total of 25 years, including local men John Bolter and Dean Francis.
And the hunt was on for an alleged burglar involved in an incident which saw Henry Vincent killed after a break-in at the home of Richard Osborn-Brooks. The man was killed during a struggle with the home owner, eventually resulting in him having to move.
There was some good fortune for one anonymous gem lover this month. Browsing through a charity shop collection, a sparkle caught her eye – a ring worth £700. She told us: “I didn’t think it could be possibly real.”
Youth violence took another hit when police organised a football tournament to break down barriers.
And in crime, three men behind a spate of explosive attacks on cash machines were jailed for a total of 53 years.
Police also released CCTV of five men wanted in connection to the murder of 17-year-old Michael Jonas.
Local elections saw the back of UKIP as Tories took two seats and Elsa Perez showed being 83 is no barrier to dancing as her workshop raises cash for African children.
The Doggy Bakery launched a system of new bag dispensers to help rid the area of dog mess.
Diggers finally break ground at the new Eden Park High School.
Crystal Palace captain Jason Puncheon was fined £1,000 for snapping a mobile phone shot of a friend at Staines Magistrates.
In a bid to plug a £38 million budget gap, the council agrees to £13 million in extra cash to be put into savings and investment.
Rahul Kumar is one of Britain’s first to try a new diabetes procedure. Known as Revita, it aims to restore the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. He told us: “I was curious when I read about the Revita-2 trial.”
The council took key action in tackling new findings that some 2,636 homes sit empty. With housing lists growing, it was worrying that 575 were classed as long-term vacancies. The council said 475 new homes had been built. Rents went up 16 per cent in four years - a one-bedroom home to £1,000 a month.
Proposals are revealed for the Churchill Quarter to include a new promenade and cultural hub.