Man Bailed in Rainhill Monteith Murder Case

A man arrested on suspicion of murdering Rainhill dad-of-three Kevin Monteith has been released on police bail.

The 46-year-old, from Huyton, was questioned by detectives last Friday before being released on police bail.Mr Monteith's body was discovered by his eldest son, Robert, 21, at about 10.30pm on Saturday, November 22.
The 42-year-old electrician had been battered to death with a weapon on the driveway outside the family home on Holt Lane, Rainhill.Earlier this month, in an emotional appeal for witnesses, Mr Monteith's widow Anne said her family 'will not rest' until her husband's killer is brought to justice.

Free Buses on Christmas Day to St Helens & Whiston Hospitals

Buses will be free for hospital staff and visitors on Christmas Day.

Merseytravel is offering the seasonal gift on a number of routes. Hospitals served include the Royal Liverpool, Liverpool Women’s, Whiston, Walton, Alder Hey, St Helens, Broadgreen, Fazakerley, Clatterbridge and Arrowe Park.

Free buses will operate a limited service on routes including 10A, 20A, 92A, 102, 201 and 212 in Liverpool, 110 and 118 in Wirral and the 10A, 24X and 194/195 St Helens Circulars. First buses go from around noon and run until around 6pm.

A limited network of bus services will also run throughout the region on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, with most services operating from around 10am.

St Helens Well Placed to Beat Economic Downturn

St Helens is one of the best equipped towns in the country to survive the looming recession, according to new research.

The town - along with Tewkesbury, Dover and Corby - is well placed to ride out the current economic storm.

Figures complied by the Oxford Economics give councils across the country a vulnerability score depending on how well placed they are to cope with the downturn.

St Helens has the best score on Merseyside and, at 282 out of 408, one of the better scores in the country.

The figures are based on local factors such as types of industry in any one area. Types are scored for vulnerability in the current economic climate and an overall score is achieved.

The report highlights that Central London, other London Boroughs and the wealthy areas of Macclesfield, Chester and Bournemouth among others, which have high concentrations of jobs in banking and auxiliary services are those most at threat.

However, the findings of the report, released last week, will make stark reading for many in the town. Eighty jobs were lost last week when Pimblett's collapsed, and earlier this month figures showed 1,700 repossession orders had been issued by courts in St Helens so far this year - an increase of 20 per cent from 2007.

Councillor Richard Ferry, executive member for Urban Regeneration, said: " Everyone is worried about the economy being hit by the twin pressures of the credit crunch which is restricting the supply of finance particularly for house buying, and a squeeze on disposable incomes due to the high rises in energy and food prices.

"A key part of our economic strategy has been to attract a wide range on business and industry making us well placed to ride out economic downturns and it does seem that this is making us well placed to ride out economic downturns.

"While recognising that the credit crunch is adversely affecting many families in St.Helens we can take come comfort from this report that we might not be as badly affected as many part of the country."

To view the full report log on to

Christmas Food Safety Tips From St Helens Environmental Health Depertment

Follow these safety tips when preparing festive fare over Christmas

Make sure your Christmas is not only happy but safe too by following these food safety tips when preparing your festive fare.

This simple to follow advice has been issued by St.Helens Council’s Environmental Health officers in a bid to ensure good health over Christmas.

If you are catering for family and friends storage can be a problem, so always ensure there is enough fridge and freezer space to keep perishable food cool and safe. If you are short of space you should take drinks out to make more room for cooked foods. Drinks can be stored in another cooler place in the house or in a cool box with ice.

Keep raw meats and defrosting food at the bottom of the fridge to prevent any drips from falling onto other food. Always store cooked foods and left overs away from raw food. Keep the

temperature of your fridge at about 5C by monitoring it with a fridge thermometer

Frozen turkeys and other poultry have to be thoroughly thawed in a cool room before cooking. To check the bird is completely thawed, make sure there are no ice crystals in the body cavity and that the legs are flexible. Once defrosted, store in the bottom of the refrigerator until required.

It is strongly recommended that stuffing is cooked separately. If the bird is stuffed, this should be placed in the neck cavity only and additional cooking time must be added.

The table below is a cooking guide. Cook at a temperature of 190 deg centigrade, (375f) or Gas Mark 5 and baste regularly. To test the bird is cooked, insert a skewer into a thigh and ensure that the juices run clear. It should finish cooking approximately 30 minutes before serving, then left to stand/rest. This also makes carving easier. Any meat remaining should be cooled quickly, placed in the refrigerator and used within three days.

Oven ready weight Thawing time Cooking time (foilwrapped) Approxserving

550-1.4kg 4-10hrs 1-1.5 hrs 2-4

1.4-2.3kg (3-5lb) 10-15hrs 1.5-2 hrs 4-6

2.3-3.6kg (5-8lb) 15-18hrs 2-3 hrs 6-10

3.6-5kg (8-11lb) 18-20hrs 3-3.5 hrs 10-15

5-6.8kg (11-15lb) 20-24hrs 3.5-4.5 hrs 15-20

6.8-9kg (15-20lb) 24-30hrs 4.5-5 hrs 20-30

You should remember that oven temperatures may vary - this is just a guide.

If you have a meat thermometer ensure the deepest muscle temperature is 75 deg C or above.

Twelve tips for a safe Christmas

1. Do not prepare food too far in advance

2. Take chilled/frozen food home in cool bags

3. Check the 'use by' dates

4. Keep your kitchen clean

5. Keep your fridge between 0 and 5 degrees centigrade

6. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food

7. Keep cooked and raw food separate

8. Plan the menu and defrost food thoroughly before use

9. Keep pets away from food

10. Store cooked food above raw food in a refrigerator

11. Follow the cooking instructions on packets

12. Cook food thoroughly and "have a safe meal"

To avoid cross contamination, prepare raw and cooked food separately and clean and disinfect all utensils and surfaces thoroughly before preparing different foods. Use a food sanitiser such as antibacterial spray on work surfaces, especially after preparing raw meats. Wash dishes, utensils and work surfaces with clean hot water and detergent and keep your hands clean at all times by washing them frequently in hot soapy water, particularly before handling foods. Cover any cuts or grazes with waterproof dressings, keep dishcloths clean and change hand and tea towels often.

It is easy to know when food is "off" by amongst other things the smell. But if the food is pre-packed, how can you tell whether the food is fit to be eaten?

One way is by looking at the date mark on the packaging. There are two types of date mark - "Use By" and "Best Before".

A "Use By" date is the date by which a food should be used. This type of date mark is only applied to highly perishable foods, where to use the food past the date shown may pose a health risk e.g. food poisoning.

A "Best Before" date is a date by which a food should be used if it is to be enjoyed at its best. In other words this type of date mark relates to food quality rather than food safety. This type of date mark is only applied to those foods with a long shelf life including frozen and tinned foods.

For further advice and information contact: Environmental Health, 3rd Floor Wesley House, St.Helens, WA10 1HE, Tell: 01744 456338

Christmas Lantern Procession Through St Helens - Official Route

A sparkling procession of hundreds of lanterns is set to bring the spirit of Christmas to St Helens town centre.

As part of the town's Winter events programme, children from four local primary schools have been busy designing handmade Christmas lanterns which they will be displaying in style on December 11th.

Starting from the Parish Church at 6pm, the procession, accompanied by Valley Brass Band, will pass along Hardshaw Street, Cotham Street and Church Street before returning to the church for a short service of carols and prayers.

North West artist Wendy Meadley has been working with youngsters from Allanson Street, Ashurst, Holy Cross and Parish primary schools together with older residents from Helena Partnerships to make the lanterns that will light up St.Helens during this festive event.

Councillor Richard Ferry, executive member for Urban Regeneration, said: "This is the third year that the Christmas lantern procession has been held and it is a magical event, both for those taking part and also for the many people who get so much enjoyment from seeing the town light up in this way. This is the perfect opportunity to visit the town centre and enjoy a really unique Christmas experience at the same time."

Obese Man Hurt Falling Off Sofa

An obese man had to be helped into an ambulance by firefighters after he hurt himself falling off the couch.

Fire crews in the leafy suburb of Newton-le-Willows, described how they helped paramedics load the patient into an ambulance shortly after 10am on Thursday (December 4).

Members of the Fire Service's special rescue team helped to lift the 'bariatric' patient - a term which indicates he had a Body Mass Index (BMI) rating of more than 40 - into the ambulance before he could be taken to hospital.

The extent of the man's injuries are unclear and a spokeswoman for the Ambulance Service declined to comment.

Sixty Jobs Lost as Pimblett's Goes Under

Sixty jobs have been lost at St Helens-based baker and confectioner John Pimblett & Sons after the firm was placed into administration.

Advisors KPMG Restructuring sold 10 shops around the town to Waterfield’s Bakery, saving 80 of the 140-strong workforce.

But the bakery was closed and the remaining jobs lost.

KPMG Restructuring director Paul Flint said: “The tough trading conditions experienced by retailers up and down the country have unfortunately led to John Pimblett & Sons being placed into administration.”

The company was founded in 1921 by John and Mary Pimblett.

Unruly Rainhill High Pupils Disciplined for Unruly Behaviour

A number of pupils from Rainhill High have been disciplined after they were caught lobbing chips at the village's civic Christmas tree.

A local resident, who asked not to be named, claimed up to 30 teenagers in Rainhill High uniforms were throwing chips and wrappers at the tree last Wednesday lunchtime (November 26).

He said: "These kids are representing their school when they're ADVERTISEMENTout and about, but this was an absolute disgrace.

"It's a lovely tree and people a lot younger than me were delighted to see it go up last weekend. Why do a minority of people always come along and ruin nice things?"

He added: "I rang the school straight away to complain about their conduct. It was totally disrespectful to all the people who like this tree. I hope the headteacher has a word with these pupils to set them straight."

A spokesperson for Rainhill High said: "As soon as we were informed that the incident had taken place, we acted immediately and have found the culprit and punished them.

"This incident took place during the Year 11 examinations period. Normally only ten students are allowed out at lunchtime - and that is to go home. We will be reviewing future examination and lunchtime arrangements to ensure this sort of incident does not occur again.

"It is a shame that the mindless conduct of a tiny minority deflects from the exemplorary behaviour of 1,400 plus students."

St Helens Growth Strategy Presentation Alienates Audience

The launch of the St Helens City Growth Strategy last week was designed to show a wider audience what the town has to offer.

And the strategy document was full of surprises. The first was when it used the word complementarity, which we are reliably informed is a local colloquialism for “goes together” and is a phrase that is often uttered in local hostelries.

St Helens is world-famous for its homegrown rugby league talent, which left everyone attending at a loss to explain why the four stars shown in the strategy document were Matt Gidley, Chris Flannery, Willie Talau and Francis Meli, who are well-known in . . . er . . . Australia and Samoa.

So there you go, another chance to show what the town has to offer and all it manages to do is generate negative press, like this!

Police make Progress in Rainhill Murder Case

Kevin Monteith rainhillDetectives leading the Kevin Monteith murder investigation say they are keeping an open mind as they seek to establish a motive for the 'ferocious attack'.

The married father-of-three was found dead outside his home on Holt Lane, Rainhill, at about 10.30pm on Saturday, November 22.

A Home Office post mortem recorded 'head injuries' as the cause of death.

Police say they now believe the 42-year-old electrician may have met his death as early as 7.15pm that evening.

Detective Chief Inspector Karen Cummings, who is leading the investigation, said: "This investigation is a completely open book.

"Mr Monteith had spent the afternoon watching his sons play football before going to the Holt Hotel pub on Warrington Road in the evening. He then returned home and changed into his slippers before something has taken him back outside.

"We've identified a witness who saw the front door of Mr Monteith's property open as early as 7.15pm. It is possible the attack could have happened around that time."

DCI Cummings added: "What I do know is that Kevin Monteith was popular in the area and had lived there for many years. He had lots of friends and was a close family man. At this stage we have not established a motive for what was a ferocious attack. Mr Monteith doesn't seem to have been in dispute with anybody.

"I've got a number of lines of inquiry open to me at the moment, but I'm keeping a completely open mind. If you think you saw something untoward in the area that evening, or saw anyone acting suspiciously either on foot or in a vehicle, please come forward."

Police are still keen to speak to anyone who was in the Holt Lane area between 7pm and 11pm that evening.

If you think you might be able to help police with their investigation, call 0151 777 8603 or 0151 777 8652.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.

Farewell to LollyIce Man Badgi

It was a funeral procession to do veteran ice cream man “Badgi” Majitha proud.

For 45 years, he plied his trade on the streets of Liverpool, selling 99s, sweets, groceries and cigarettes.

As a fitting final tribute to the veteran trader, his cortege included four ice cream vans – with their distinctive bells silent as a mark of respect.

The unusual procession was the brainchild of Mr Majitha’s family, including his wife Saroj, who was known as Rose, and children Kusum, Shirley and Lalit.

Lalit said: “My dad would have been made up with this. He really found his niche with the ice cream van and he would be chuffed they were in the procession.

“In the 1950s and 1960s, there was still a lot of poverty in Liverpool and he would give people things on the ‘tick’, knowing they had no money.

“I remember him driving around on Christmas Day giving out selection boxes to the kids who he knew would not be getting presents.

“A lot of people in Liverpool will remember my dad for things like that.”

Aged 23, Mr Majitha, whose first names were Baij Nath but was known as Badgi, came to England from India in 1954 and got a pedlar licence to sell clothes in Liverpool.

He saved enough to buy his first ice cream van for £750 in 1957 and started his round in Huyton, Page Moss and Dovecot.

Mr Majitha died aged 77 on October 24.

The funeral procession, with a hearse, three limousines, four ice cream vans and 30 cars, left his Rainhill home before winding its way around St Helens and on to the crematorium.

One of the vehicles was Mr Majitha’s state-of-the-art ice cream van with tinted windows and Mercedes engine.

It was the vehicle Lalit inherited from his father.

He said: “I took over at 16 and I remember that van was wicked.

“I started work on the ice cream vans at the age of seven – I was never paid any wages but I could eat as much ice cream as I liked.”