Blackpool man feared he would be ‘kidnapped and murdered’ before being found dead at home

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“This case is an illustration of the difficulties faced in relation to mental health issues.”

The inquest was opened at Blackpool Town Hall.

The inquest was opened at Blackpool Town Hall. (Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

A Lancashire man had paranoid thoughts which led him to believe that he was going to be kidnapped and murdered in the weeks before his death.

Mark Matthew Bogan, who had a history of diagnosed depression, anxiety, and paranoia, was found dead by his mother at their shared home in Blackpool, on January 31 this year.

The 34-year-old expressed fears that someone was going to harm him, telling a crisis team in January 2021 that he believed someone was going to kidnap him.

Mr Bogan had a history of threatening to harm himself and, when appearing in court in December 2020 for breaching the peace, appeared to mime hanging himself with an invisible rope.

At an inquest hearing, held today (June 15), at Blackpool Coroner’s Court, it was concluded that Mr Bogan had died by misadventure after taking a large dose of medication.

Mr Bogan’s mother Amanda Bogan attended the inquest hearing.

“We have here a clearly incredibly supportive mother who has explained clearly in court that we are dealing with a pattern of events that are along these lines; that during the later stages of last year, this man had issues with his mental health.”

“Considering the evidence I don’t believe it would be appropriate to return a conclusion of suicide.

“I’m going to return a misadventure conclusion, Mark has deliberately taken the tablets but I don’t believe he intended to die as a result of doing that.”

Mr Bogan was born November 13, 1986, in Blackpool and was later diagnosed with several mental health issues which appeared to intensify as 2020 drew to a close.

He lived with his mother in Stoke Lane, Blackpool, and had previously shared his paranoid thoughts with Mrs Bogan.

Mr Bogan believed that someone could communicate with him through the walls of the house and feared that they were going to “kill him, rape him, and get him.”

In October, he was admitted to hospital having attempted to take his own life and, on December 28, he was arrested for a breach of the peace in which he threatened to harm himself.

The following day he attended Blackpool Magistrates Court via video link where he was said to have mimed hanging himself with an invisible noose.

He later told NHS workers who were assessing him for mental health issues following his arrest, that he was just being “silly.”

Mr Bogan later contacted the crisis team at North Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS trust and appointments were made for him to speak with mental health workers January.

Although Mr Bogan had a history of mental health issues and self harm, he was said to be stable during January, having undergone assessments with mental health workers.

Mrs Bogan told the court that her son seemed to be doing well until the latter stages of January when lockdown, and his inability to exercise at the gym, caused his mood to dip once again.

He contacted the mental health services again saying that his mood was low, his thoughts were racing and his sleep was disturbed.

Mr Bogan also expressed concerns that someone was going to kidnap him; a fear that was put down to paranoid thinking.

On January 30, Mr Bogan drove to his girlfriend’s work place in Chorley, picked her up, and then returned to his home in Blackpool.

The couple had an argument which resulted in Mr Bogan’s partner returning home.

Mr Bogan then entered his house alone at 11.30pm, in an agitated state. Toxicology reports later showed that he had been drinking.

According to police reports, based on Mrs Bogan’s testimony; her son had been “ranting and raving” and “saying he was going to cut himself.”

He also threatened to take his own life and sent pictures of medicine blister packs to his girlfriend and mother.

Mrs Bogan told the court the threats were nothing new, her son often made such threats when he was intoxicated.

Mr Wilson said: “Mrs Bogan had then gone to bed, not expecting events to unfold in the way that they did.”

The next morning, January 31, at 11.45am, Mrs Bogan found her son unresponsive in bed.

Paramedics and police were called to the scene, and Mr Bogan was pronounced dead.

Mr Wilson returned a death by misadventure conclusion, saying that, despite Mr Bogan’s threats and actions, he had not intended to kill himself, he had made similar threats before and not taken action.

Three kittens need new homes after spending seven days under freshly-laid floorboards

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Three wily kittens had to be rescued by a Blackpool pet charity after getting trapped under some freshly-laid floorboards.

 

Eddie, Elf and Erin spent seven days hiding under the floor of a house in Daggers Hall Lane after squeezing their way in while building work went on there.

They were retreived by volunteers from local rescue group Homeward Bound and now, two weeks later, they are looking for their ‘forever homes’.

Homeward Bound founder Wendy Mulela said: “The cats were bred accidentally, and had been taken into foster care by another woman. It just happened she had her floor re-done and the builders left a small hole, and because (the cats) haven’t been socialised very well, they ran into the hole, under the floor, and there they stayed.

EddieEddie

“They were coming out for food at night time. Two of them we managed to catch, and we had to set a trap for the third one.

“The woman was very worried about having to dig the floor up because she had just had it laid out. It was a big job, so it would have caused quite a bit of damage.”

The three kittens were treated for fleas and worms, but were otherwise found to be in good health, and will be neutered by Homeward Bound before going to their new homes.

ElfElf

“They will make pet cat – they’re not feral, you can handle them, but they are very shy and they do like to go and hide in places. But with a bit of work with an understanding owner they will make nice pets.”

She added that Eddie, Elf and Erin cannot be rehomed into families with young children, as it cannot be guaranteed that they won’t scratch when they feel nervous or threatened.

Anyone who wants to adopt one of the cats is asked to fill in the application form on the Homeward Bound cat rescue Facebook page.

Blackpool wildlife centre rescues ‘vandalised’ pigeon with feathers and claws painted with pink nail varnish

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A resort wildlife rescuer was shocked to discover an unwell pigeon unable to fly had been branded with the word “love” on its body in pink nail varnish.

 

The pigeon, which was found in a road in Layton and affectionately named “Jazz” after being taken in by Brambles Wildlife Rescue in South Shore, also had its claws painted pink.

Mel Greenhalgh, who runs Brambles, is now caring for the afflicted bird and giving him treatment for coccidiosis, a disease of the intestinal tract in animals.

Mel said: “He was found by a couple in Layton lying in the middle of the road on his back, unable to fly. They said he was in a collapsed state, and quite lethargic.

Jazz the pigeon had been painted in pink nail varnish. Picture: Brambles Wildlife Rescue

Jazz the pigeon had been painted in pink nail varnish. Picture: Brambles Wildlife Rescue

“He had the word “love” painted on his front in pink nail varnish and his claws were painted pink as well.

“I’ve never come across a bird vandalised in this way before, at first I couldn’t believe my eyes – I thought, has he actually got painted nails?

“I’ve had to give him a little trim to get all of the nail varnish out of his feathers.”

Mel takes in as many injured, orphaned or unwell birds as possible at Brambles, but recently appealed for more people to volunteer to help raise orphaned baby birds.

The birds claws had also been painted pink. Picture: Brambles Wildlife RescueThe birds claws had also been painted pink. Picture: Brambles Wildlife Rescue

Throughout the coming summer months, dozens of chicks are expected to need hand-rearing – and the rescue centre is happy to help volunteers, but lacks the resources to take on each case.

Volunteers wanted to help raise orphaned baby birds – who demand feeding every 1…

Fortunately, Jazz the pigeon is now in Mel’s safe hands and will be cared for at Brambles until he is able to fly again.

“I just don’t understand why anyone would do this, especially as he was probably already unwell and unable to fly,” she continued.

"Love" had been painted on the pigeon's breast feathers in pink nail varnish. Picture: Brambles Wildlife Rescue“Love” had been painted on the pigeon’s breast feathers in pink nail varnish. Picture: Brambles Wildlife Rescue

“Luckily he was quite perky this morning, so I’m hoping he’ll make a full recovery and will be able to fly again soon.”

Huge tree falls onto busy Blackpool road blocking traffic

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Police and a tractor have been called to deal with the tree on Whitegate Drive

 

Whitegate Drive is closed
Whitegate Drive is closed

A huge tree has fallen onto a busy road in Blackpool tonight, completely blocking traffic.

Whitegate Drive is shut between Knowsley Avenue and Beechfield Avenue with police and a tractor at the scene.

Pictures sent to LancsLive show the giant elm tree split in half with eyewitnesses saying it sounded like an ‘explosion’.

Half of the tree fell onto the busy road, near the medical centre, with machinery being used to chop it into smaller pieces for removal.

The tree is understood to be rooted in the grounds of a former school which is now a private housing development.

The tree collapse left leaves and branches also strewn across the road and pavement leaving it impassible to motorists and pedestrians.

Police and a tractor are at the scene to deal with the tree
Police and a tractor are at the scene to deal with the tree

Police are reportedly at the scene to redirect traffic and no injuries have been reported.

No estimate has been given for when he road will reopen.

Blackpool man banned from driving after racking up 30 speeding offences as a delivery driver

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool man has been banned from driving after he racked up nearly 30 speeding fines in the space of three months whilst working as a delivery driver in the resort.

 

Ionut Iosup, 19, has been banned from getting behind the wheel after pleading guilty to the speeding offences between July 2020 and September 2020.

Police say the teenager fraudulently filled in documentation relating to the identity of the driver, claiming he had sold the offending vehicle months earlier.

His web of lies began to unravel when he was stopped in Watson Road, South Shore on September 24 last year, in the car he had claimed to have sold.

Ionut Iosup, 19, from Montrose Avenue, Blackpool, has been banned from driving after pleading guilty to the speeding offences between July 2020 and September 2020Ionut Iosup, 19, from Montrose Avenue, Blackpool, has been banned from driving after pleading guilty to the speeding offences between July 2020 and September 2020

Despite the mounting evidence against him, Iosup, of Montrose Avenue, off Central Drive, continued to deny any wrongdoing when he was arrested.

However, he pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice when he appeared before a Judge at Preston Crown Court last week.

As well as being disqualified from driving for 18 months, Iosup was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and has been ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work. He was also handed a four-month curfew and told to complete 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Driver crashes into house and parked cars in Blackpool

PC Sean Erett, of Lancashire Police’s Safer Roads Unit, said: “Iosup thought he was above the law and could lie his way out of trouble. His driving was dangerous and reckless, as can be demonstrated by the amount of speeding offences he committed in such a short space of time.

“I am pleased that Iosup has been disqualified from driving as he consistently showed a disregard for the law.

“The fact the Judge has reserved any breaches of the suspended sentence to them will hopefully make Iosup think twice before committing any further offences.”

Ambitious plans for 131 new houses on one of the biggest council estates in Blackpool

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The application follows a public consultation exercise held this spring which attracted 130 comments

 

The plans for Grange Park
The plans for Grange Park

Ambitious plans to build 131 new houses on what is already one of the biggest council estates in Lancashire have now been submitted for approval by Blackpool Council.

Land at Grange Park in the town has been earmarked for the homes which would include a mix of family dwellings, bungalows and sheltered apartments.The scheme also includes a community orchard and a school green for use by pupils at Boundary Primary School.

There are already around 1,800 homes on the estate which has a population of more than 6,000 people making it one of the largest council estates in Lancashire.

The application, made by Blackpool Council, follows a public consultation exercise held this spring which attracted 130 comments.

Architects Cassidy and Ashton have now lodged plans which show 53 two and three storey houses on land accessed from Chepstow Road and Gateside Drive, along with public open space.

The land was previously occupied by Christ the King Church and the Chepstow Road shops which were bulldozed in 2018.

A second site, accessed from Dinmore Avenue, is earmarked for 78 homes including two and three storey houses, bungalows and sheltered housing.

The proposed housing will be developed by Blackpool Council, managed by Blackpool Coastal Housing and funded from the England European Regional Development Fund.

A design statement accompanying the application says: “The aspiration is to create more sustainable homes through the inclusion of improved energy efficiency of the buildings and the introduction of sustainable technologies, such as a mechanical ventilation system.

“The proposals include provision of both high quality formal and informal communal and public open spaces including pocket parks and communal green spaces for all residents, and a new children’s play area, encouraging neighbourly activity and social interaction.

“An area of green space will be gifted to Boundary Primary School to supplement their outdoor space for pupils to use.”

The Dinmore Avenue site will also include a community orchard while existing walking routes across the site will be retained.

Full impact of Covid 19 on Blackpool Council coffers revealed

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The financial impact of Covid 19 on Blackpool Council services added up to just over £3m for the 2020/21 financial year – with an additional £3.5m lost from the budgets of the council’s wholly owned companies.

 

Initially it had been feared the companies – including the Winter Gardens, Blackpool Transport and the Sandcastle Waterpark – would lose between £12m and £18m.

Loans plan for council-owned Blackpool attractions hit by Covid

But government grants and revenue generated between lockdowns has lessened the blow.

Town hall finances have suffered less then forecast from the impact of Covid 19Town hall finances have suffered less then forecast from the impact of Covid 19

The council has provided loans to its companies and devised a five-year recovery plan to ensure they survive the effects of the pandemic.

The council’s director of resources Steve Thompson who presented the report for the financial year ending March 31, told a meeting of the executive despite a ‘challenging and uncertain year’ the authority had kept Covid 19 financial losses below earlier forecasts.

This was helped by receiving £166m of Covid 19 government grants, as well as specific grants to support Blackpool Transport and the Winter Gardens.

Spending on services during 2020/21 was £4m below budget with an overspend in Children’s Services offset by savings in Adult Services.

Working balances ended the year at £6.3m, just above the £6m target, while earmarked reserves increased by £21m to £71m due to £15m of business rates not due to be released until this financial year, and a further £4m of external funding towards the Blackpool museum project.

Capital outturn was £50m which Mr Thompson said was “a huge figure for an authority of our size.”

He added this was “principally in the areas of regeneration, transport and housing.”

He said: “You only have to look around Blackpool to see steel emerging from the ground around the central business district phase two, the conference centre which is due to open in November this year and the Troutbeck housing development on Preston New Road – the gateway to Blackpool.

“And of that £50m, nearly 50 per cent came from external grant funding which didn’t happen by chance. We have had to compete and bid to achieve that.

“In the context it has been a remarkably successful year finance wise.”

The meeting heard at the end of the financial year, council debt was £339m with 75 per cent through temporary borrowing taking advantage of interest rates of less than 0.1 per cent.

But Mr Thompson said if interest rates go up, the council would “look to lock in our debt” rather than continue with temporary borrowing.

Blackpool mum-to-be dealt drugs to undercover officers

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The arrest of a Blackpool drug dealer had to be delayed because she was in labour, a court has heard.

 

Mum-of-three Jade Wilkes, 30, who is now expecting a fourth child, was caught red handed dealing heroin and cocaine to undercover police officers during Operation Spalding – a police operation to thwart the sale of class A drugs in the resort.

Wilkes, who was codenamed ‘Alabama,’ was under observation with her then partner, codenamed ‘Lovage’, who has since been jailed for four years and 10 months.

Prosecuting, Kimberley Obrusik said: “Undercover officers were deployed to obtain information and phone numbers.

Crown CourtCrown Court

“Each subject who formed part of the investigation was given a codename.”

Police carry out two raids in Blackpool targeting County Lines drugs gangs

The court heard on January 3, an undercover officer called Robbie spoke to ‘Lovage’ on a drug phone line known as the ‘Scouse Jimmy’ line and was directed to Cherry Tree Road.

The man said “his bird” would be coming out to meet him.

Wilkes, of Central Drive, Blackpool, approached the officer who requested ‘two dark and one white’.

Ms Obrusik added: ” She had four wraps in her hand. She handed over what they required for £20.”

Five days later the same undercover officer contacted the ‘Scouse Jimmy’ line and was directed to Penrose Avenue where Wilkes dealt further drugs.

She was arrested on November 21 due to her having given birth at the time her arrest was planned for.

Wilkes, who has eight convictions for 13 offences, answered no comment to all questions but later admitted four counts of supplying class A drugs.

Defending, Anthony Parkinson said: “The upshot of it is she’s a lady who has a life that is a complete mess at this moment in time.”

He alleged he had been the victim of an abusive relationship in which her teeth had been knocked out and her hair had been pulled out.

Imposing 20 months, suspended for two years, Judge Richard Gioserano remarked her partner had “kept himself off the street while she did the risky bit”.

He said he would give Wilkes the benefit of the doubt that it was only on these two occasions and only under her partner’s direction, adding: ” There is other information to suggest that might actually be right – the operation continued after this and you never came to the attention of the police again after this.”

She must do 120 hours of unpaid work and a drug rehabilitation requirement.

What ‘area of enhanced response’ actually means for Blackpool

Leaders have stressed Blackpool remains ‘open for business and there is no need for people to cancel their travel plans’

 

Blackpool once again finds itself struggling to contain coronavirus and the subject of new guidance from government.

Less than one week after avoiding the measures introduced across all 13 other Lancashire boroughs, the seaside resort is now included as an “area of enhanced response”.

This brings new guidance for residents regarding travel and a government package of support to local leaders to help tackle the spread of the Delta variant.

However council leaders have stressed that there is no ‘travel ban’ and Blackpool remains ‘open for business and there is no need for people to cancel their travel plans’.

Blackpool has now recorded a total of 9,861 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, including a further 66 today. It’s infection rate currently stands at 181 – more than two and a half times the national average.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock this afternoon (June 14) confirmed Blackpool will join the rest of Lancashire, Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington and Birmingham in the new measures.

The announcement came just hours before Boris Johnson confirmed a four-week delay to remaining Covid-19 restrictions in England.

As well as a range of support including surge testing, tracing, isolation support and maximising vaccine uptake, there is also new guidance for people living in these affected areas.

The government says people in areas where the Delta variant is spreading quickly should try to “minimise travel” in and out of these areas.

People should try to meet outside where possible and keep 2m apart from people they don’t live with.

There is guidance to try and get tested twice a week and isolate if you are positive, get vaccinated as soon as you are offered it – and continue to work from home if you can.

The package for enhanced area status for Blackpool will provide:

– additional resources to help local authorities with testing, logistics, planning and workforce to assist with testing, door-to-door visits to engage with residents and other activities – these may come from the Surge Rapid Response Teams, from military aid or other sources depending on requirements

– wastewater testing samples being prioritised for sequencing

– specialist communications support to increase awareness and focus engagement with disadvantaged groups

– maximising vaccine uptake by expanding existing channels, developing new capacity and increasing local and targeted communications to reach different communities

– supervised in-school testing and discretion to reintroduce face coverings in indoor communal areas and classrooms in schools if they and directors of public health decide it is appropriate

– surge testing and enhanced contact tracing

– enhanced monitoring (genomic sequencing, genotype assay testing).

Dr Arif Rajpura, director of Public Health for Blackpool Council, said: “We welcome any interventions by Government that are aimed at supporting our existing testing and vaccination programmes.

“As it stands, most of the offers of practical support are already being delivered on the ground as we have a robust and proactive programme of community testing and vaccination in place.

“Infection rates in Blackpool have been consistently below the North West average throughout the pandemic.

“However, in line with many other areas across England, Blackpool has recently experienced an uptick in cases mainly related to outbreaks in a small number of community settings, particularly amongst our young adults who have not yet had their vaccinations.

“This is to be expected as society opens up, and this is why we all need to continue to follow all the COVID guidelines including hands, face, space and fresh air.

“The important point is that this is not currently translating into increases in the number of people who are seriously ill or hospitalised.

“What I would urge is that when offered a vaccination people should readily accept it as that is the best way of restoring normal life.”

Cllr Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, added: “Blackpool is open for business and there is no need for people to cancel their travel plans. This is not a travel ban, it is simply about asking people to be vigilant and take extra care in going about their daily lives.

“Our tourism industry is operating to COVID-safe standards, supported by enforcement activity and COVID marshals on the streets.

“We have mechanisms in place for people to be able to report potential breaches of compliance and we will act on those as appropriate to protect residents and visitors alike.

“To ensure they have a safe and enjoyable experience, people should plan ahead, take a cautious and sensible approach to social contact with others and follow all rules around social distancing and wearing face coverings where required.”

Covid’s financial impact on Blackpool Winter Gardens and Sandcastle set out

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Capital outturn was £50m which Mr Thompson said was “a huge figure for an authority of our size.”

Blackpool Tower in the sunshine at the weekend

Blackpool Tower in the sunshine at the weekend (Image: LancsLive / BPL Bible)

The financial impact of Covid 19 on Blackpool Council services added up to just over £3m for the 2020/21 financial year – with an additional £3.5m lost from the budgets of the council’s wholly owned companies.

Initially it had been feared the companies – including the Winter Gardens, Blackpool Transport and the Sandcastle Waterpark – would lose between £12m and £18m.

But government grants and revenue generated between lockdowns has lessened the blow.

The council has provided loans to its companies and devised a five-year recovery plan to ensure they survive the effects of the pandemic.

The council’s director of resources Steve Thompson, who presented the report for the financial year ending March 31, told a meeting of the executive despite a ‘challenging and uncertain year’ the authority had kept Covid 19 financial losses below earlier forecasts.

This was helped by receiving £166m of Covid 19 government grants, as well as specific grants to support Blackpool Transport and the Winter Gardens.

Spending on services during 2020/21 was £4m below budget with an overspend in Children’s Services offset by savings in Adult Services.

Working balances ended the year at £6.3m, just above the £6m target, while earmarked reserves increased by £21m to £71m due to £15m of business rates not due to be released until this financial year, and a further £4m of external funding towards the Blackpool museum project.

Capital outturn was £50m which Mr Thompson said was “a huge figure for an authority of our size.”

He added this was “principally in the areas of regeneration, transport and housing.”

He said: “You only have to look around Blackpool to see steel emerging from the ground around the central business district phase two, the conference centre which is due to open in November this year and the Troutbeck housing development on Preston New Road – the gateway to Blackpool.

“And of that £50m, nearly 50 per cent came from external grant funding which didn’t happen by chance. We have had to compete and bid to achieve that.

“In the context it has been a remarkably successful year finance wise.”

The meeting heard at the end of the financial year, council debt was £339m with 75 per cent through temporary borrowing taking advantage of interest rates of less than 0.1 per cent.

But Mr Thompson said if interest rates go up, the council would “look to lock in our debt” rather than continue with temporary borrowing.