St Albans Review of the Year: October

First published in St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

At the start of the month, the Review reported about a remorseless cannabis grower involved in high-level organised crime who was jailed for 21 years for the murder of a St Albans man whose body has never been discovered.

James Evans killed Murray Thompson, 34, in a Watford flat on the afternoon of April 20, 2010, before disposing of his body and attempting to cover up his tracks, with the help of two accomplices.

Despite no known motive or even a weapon, the 24-year-old from Watford was convicted of murder and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Meanwhile tributes were paid to a “warm, affable, intelligent, and witty” Oxford University student and talented sportsman who was found dead at his home in Harpenden.

Matthew Beggs, 21, known to friends as Matt, died at his home in Otterton Close on Sunday, September 23. The initial cause of death was recorded as suspension and police are not treating it as suspicious.

The former Roundwood Park student was a keen member of Harpenden Hockey Club where he played in goal.

It was then reported bereaved families had been left fuming after an “insensitive” letter was sent by St Albans District Council warning them about new restrictions on where they can plant flowers around their loved ones' graves.

Letters stating that a limit was being imposed on the size of flowerbeds allowed in front of headstones were sent to people who own plots in part of London Road Cemetery.

Launcelot Gribbin buried his wife Joanna at the cemetery when she passed away two years ago.

St Albans politicians then gave the go-ahead to building two large hotels in the city centre. It was decided a £7.5 million Premier Inn would be built along with a Hilton hotel on Green Belt land in Chiswell Green.

Both developers have had previous proposals for the sites rejected by the council.

To coincide with this story, a week later a group opposing development on Green Belt land hit out at the plans to build the 150-bedroom hotel in Chiswell Green.

Members of Campaign to Protect Rural England were left stunned when politicians at the district council snubbed the planning officer’s recommendation and granted planning permission for the hotel in Copsewood at the A405 junction of North Orbital Road. The 4.14 hectare site is Green Belt land.

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