Sutton's biggest and most interesting stories of 2012

Roundshaw Paralympic hero David Weir's four golds were a highlight of 2012

The future of St Helier Hospital was a hot topic

Damon Weedon was murdered in June and his killer jailed in December

Yarnbombers struck in Carshalton in June

First published in News

A look back at what happened in Sutton in 2012...

JANUARY

A 99-year-old woman was revealed as Sutton’s oldest drinker.
Grandmother-of-26 Nancy Weston turned 99 on January 16 and admitted she still likes a good sherry.

Mrs Weston donned her heels and matching clothes to go down to her local boozer, the Lord Nelson in North Cheam, with her daughters and granddaughter.


A letter from Sutton’s chief executive asking for support to increase primary class sizes sparked a media storm.

The letter from Niall Bolger to council bosses across the capital asked them to back proposals to increase the limit from 30 pupils to 32.

It prompted a national media debate as neighbouring authorities and unions described any moves to increase class size as a "regrettable initiative" and the "thin end of the wedge".


Secret documents revealed plans to transport household waste out of south London for disposal were rejected in favour of burning thousands of tonnes of rubbish in Sutton.

Papers leaked to the Sutton Guardian revealed the South London Waster Partnership turned down an option for a waste disposal contract from Waste Recycling Group (WRG) that would have prevented a controversial £200m incinerator being built in Beddington Lane.

It claimed the higher cost of WRG’s plan to transport the waste 65 miles to an existing incinerator in Kent made Viridor’s bid to build an incinerator in Sutton "economically advantageous".


FEBRUARY

Figures dressed in corsets, top hats and goggles raced snails and took part in tea duelling.

The first Surrey Steampunk Convivial began with a history walk through Worcester Park and ended at the HG Wells pub in North Cheam where they enjoyed a puppet workshop.


Two prize-winning dog breeders were found guilty of animal cruelty after storing 13 pedigree dogs in the back of a removal lorry in sweltering temperatures.

Airedale terrier breeders Alan Weatherley and his wife Julie were convicted at Croydon Magistrates Court after they were stopped by police with a lorry loaded up with the animals.

The court heard how police officers found the distressed dogs in direct sunlight, without water, and proper ventilation piled up in metal cages in a perspex roofed lorry.


A thug who left an innocent partygoer 10 minutes from death in a brutal cleaver attack was jailed.

Barry Hughes was sentenced for 13 years for the attack in 2008 which caused horrific injuries.

Matthew Jeeves, 19 at the time, was left him with a scar above his right eye, across his nose, and down his cheek.


MARCH

Most brides opt for a Rolls Royce or a horse-drawn carriage to whisk them to church on time.

However, one frugal bride decided to stand in line for a bus on her way to get hitched.

Bride Jenny Klochko Mussett stunned people on the 407 to Sutton when she jumped on in her full bridal gown to go to her ceremony at Sutton Register Office.


Outrage greeted the news that St Helier Hospital was the frontrunner for plans to close an accident and emergency and maternity unit.

Out of the four hospitals in south-west London it could lose both these frontline services as a result of the Better Services Better Value healthcare review.

The month before, St Helier Hospital’s merger with St George’s Hospital in Tooting collapsed.


Four thousand people marched through the streets of Sutton to raise money for The Royal Marsden Hospital.

The march started at the hospital's Chelsea site and a number of celebrities took part including Eastender Larry Lamb and Nathaniel Parker of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries.


APRIL

Health and safety rules prevented 25 fire fighters from saving a stricken bird which had become tangled in a plastic bag.

Farcical scenes at Carshalton Ponds saw five fire crews scramble to save the adult herring gull only to decide it was unsafe for them to wade into the waist-deep water.  So it was left to wildlife centre volunteer to save the stricken bird.


A Sutton councillor resigned from the Liberal Democrats and joined Labour over controversial plans to build an incinerator in his ward of Beddington.

John Keys, long-serving councillor for Beddington North, said support within his party to build the facility prompted the switch.

He also said he could not support a party that supported the Tory NHS bill, and cut to the top rate of income tax on top of the broken promise on tuition fees.


A tight-knit community began their battle with Sutton Council which wants to bulldoze their privately owned homes.

In an attempt to fill a social housing quota Sutton Council planned to knock down 54 homes in the Wrythe ward, near Carshalton and build new houses and a possible block of flats in their place.

More than 20 residents, who bought their former council houses under the Right to Buy scheme in the 1980s, are fighting a move to force them to sell their family homes for up to £40,000 less than the market value.


MAY

A heroic electrician sacrificed his life to rescue a five-year-old child from being swept out to sea.

Plamen Petkov, 32, of Westmoreland Drive, Sutton, drowned while saving a girl who was being carried out to sea on an inflatable at West Wittering beach, East Sussex.

His family called for the Bulgarian-born hero to be awarded a posthumous honour for his actions and planned to start a charity in his names to promote awareness of the dangers at sea.


An NHS review panel recommended the accident and emergency and maternity departments at St Helier Hospital should be axed.

It was feared that hospital staff could lose their jobs while more lives in Sutton would be lost as critically ill residents and expectant mums faced significantly increased journey times to hospital.

The Sutton Guardian launched its campaign to Save St Helier Hospital from losing its front-line departments.


A grieving young widow who lost her parents and husband in less than two years faced eviction from her family home.

Angela Green’s husband Darren, was killed in a car accident in February and a month later she lost her father, Jim Tingley, to heart disease. Her mother Pamela died two years ago after losing her battle with cancer.

Now Sutton Housing Partnership insisted she move out of the home in Wrythe Lane, Carshalton, where she has lived all her life.


JUNE

Union Jack flags, trestle tables and bunting appeared across the borough as diamond jubilee fever took hold.

Yarnbombers, who use the art of knit graffiti, attacked Carshalton Ponds with red white and blue ducks.

Nozzles Cake Craft on Stanley Park Road in Carshalton made a crown cake to celebrate 60 years since the Queen’s accession to the throne.


A father-of-three was murdered in Wallington in an early morning knife attack.

Damon Weedon, 36, of Typhoon Way was stabbed and killed on Friday, June 1, on the Roundshaw Estate where he lived.

He was well known in Sutton as he had distinctive tattoos across the side of his face and used to tattoo his friends at home.


Plans were announced that Sutton Council would pay £59,000 a year to Chelsea FC to try and attract visitors to the Sutton Life Centre.

Chelsea FC, whose owner Roman Abramovich is worth an estimated £11bn, will have a base in the £8m centre.

The £59,000 will also support a borough-wide healthy eating programme for schools, as well as a social inclusion programme, a plan to tackle absenteeism in schools and a high-profile launch.


JULY

It looked like Sutton had a right royal claim to fame when a yoga instructor decided on a change of career in July.

Martine Carol, 32, looked in the mirror and decided she was going to become a Kate Middleton lookalike. The mum-of-one made herself available for all manner of events, from corporate dos to openings and community events.

She told the Sutton Guardian she realised she could make a living from her looks when people started asking her why Prince William was not with her as she walked down the street.


Killer Reece Ludlow was jailed for life for the brutal stabbing of mum-of-three Louisa Brannan in his Sutton flat.

Ludlow, 20, was on trial but the hearing collapsed and he pleaded guilty to murder when psychiatrists withdrew testimony which said he was in a deranged mental state.


The Olympics arrived in Sutton as the torch came through the borough on its way to the games.

People lined the streets to welcome the torch to town and cheer on the community stars chosen to carry it at the end of the month.


AUGUST

Sutton folk including a nurse at St Helier Hospital and a former boxer took part in the spectacular Olympic opening ceremony. Another Sutton man, Marcus Bell, celebrated the sporting extravaganza by writing a song.


As the Olympics got under way Cheam cyclist Joanna Rowsell brought home one of TeamGB's first gold medals in the team pursuit. How did she celebrate?

By queuing for chicken nuggets and chips, of course.


Peppa Pig popped up to surprise shoppers in Sutton.

The star of children's TV and books was at the St Nicholas Centre and greeted youngsters as they went shopping with their families.


SEPTEMBER

With the Olympics over it was the turn of the Paralympics in August and wheelchair racer David "the animal" Weir became the face of the games by winning four gold medals.

Weir, from the Roundshaw estate, won in the 1,500m, the marathon, the 5,000m and the 800m.


Murder detectives examined new leads in the disappearance of missing schoolboy Lee Boxell.

Lee was last seen in Sutton High Street on September 10, 1988, sparking one of the UK's most well-known missing person cases.

In dramatic developments, murder detectives dufg up St Dunstan's Church thinking they might find Lee's body there.


A crack addict was jailed for 20 months for befriending a vulnerable war veteran and swindling almost £2,000 from his life savings.

Michael Angelo Sagnibene took £1,700 that 97-year-old Joseph Bourne was saving for a new mobility scooter.


OCTOBER

The birth of Gemma Slatter and Daniel Timmins' daughter Isla proved a little unusual - with the proud dad helping deliver the 6lb 15oz child on the back seat of the family car.

They only had a mile-long journey from their home in St Helier to hospital but Ms Slatter only took 10 minutes to give birth to Isla.


Mayor of London Boris Johnson revealed that Sutton is a priority for the expansion of the tram network.

TfL representatives proposed a route linking the town centre with St Helier and, potentially, Mitcham or Wimbledon.


The Sutton Guardian launched an appeal to get crime victim war hero Joseph Bourne a mobility scooter.

Help this hero was launched after Michael Angelo Sagnibene stole Mr Bourne's life savings earlier in the year. He was given a scooter by a generous reader the following month.


NOVEMBER 

A gang of thieves admitted exploiting a glitch with Asda's self service checkouts which let them get cash back when their accounts did not have the money.

The four-strong gang stole to the tune of £7,500 over four days but were caught after staff grew suspicious.


The scale of the crisis at St Helier Hospital reached the point where the trust was forced to dip into its reserves to pay its staff.

It compounded fears administrators were poised to step in at the troubled trust.


Footballer Robbie Hughes' four year quest for justice finally saw four men convicted for the brutal attack on him in Greece which left him in a coma.

Curtis Taylor, Sean Branton, Daniel Bell and Joseph Bruckland were all found guilty of GBH for the attack outside a Malia nightclub in 2008.

They immediately appealed their convictions and sentences.


DECEMBER

An unexpected snowfall meant for a slippery start to December and, while the white stuff was fun for some, it caused chaos for commuters as trains were cancelled and roads became treacherous.

About an inch of snow fell in a few hours on the morning of December 4 but it melted by lunchtime.


The Rotary Club of Cheam disappointed festive folk when their health and safety assessment ruled it was too dangerous for Santa to ride on his sleigh. In one of the borough's longest-running traditions, a volunteer dressed as Santa has visited neighbourhoods on top of a sleigh-style float.

But this year it was decided he would have to walk alongside the sleigh as it would be too dangerous for him to ride it, despite it never going faster than walking pace.


A traveller was jailed for life for murdering father-of-three Damon Weedon. 

Frank Smith will serve a minimum of 16 years in jail for stabbing the popular 36-year-old, who lived on the Roundshaw Estate in Wallington, to death.

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