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Croydon in 2012: Headlines in April

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THIS is the fourth of our 12-part series looking back at the news stories that shaped Croydon in 2012. We'll be looking back at ten of the most popular articles for each month of the year, as well as looking at 2012 in pictures via our most popular photo galleries, and seeing which items attracted the most comments. The stories that follow are not necessarily listed in order of most-read.
  1. In April we covered the story of a man secretly recorded by neighbours beating a dog with a plank of wood in New Addington. Lee Dyer attacked three-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier Bullet in King Henry's Drive, as well as throwing faeces over the fence. Dyer said he had done nothing wrong and that the dog liked 'playing rough'. The 28-year-old admitted failing to ensure the welfare of an animal and causing unnecessary suffering, and was given 200 hours' community service and ordered to pay £300 costs.
  2. Also in April was the story of Surrey Heights, a reality show said to be Croydon's answer to TOWIE. Amelody Productions held auditions in town centre nightclub Shooshh, but said 'chavs' were banned from the cast. More than 5,000 people applied to be part of the show, but views were mixed over whether 'Surrey Heights' would be good or bad for Croydon. A poll on our website showed 51% of respondents thought the show would have a negative impact on our borough, while 28% thought it could be beneficial. Others raised concerns over the name, because Croydon is in London, not Surrey. There is no word from the production company over when and if the show will be broadcast.
  3. Labour's Ken Livingstone was the third in our series profiling the candidates to become London Mayor. Mr Livingstone talked about overseas investment, the Crystal Palace tramlink extension and his ideas about reducing crime, but then stormed out of the interview after refusing to take part in a quick-fire quiz on Croydon. He scored zero out of five, compared to Boris Johnson's 2.5 and Brian Paddick's one out of five
  4. In April the Croydon Advertiser also covered the story of a man sentenced after admitting possession of indecent images of children. Vernon Quaintance, who was then aged 68 and living in Upper Norwood, was sentenced to a 40-week jail term suspended for two years. He was also ordered to attend a sexual offenders rehabilitation course and to pay £300 in costs.
  5. Croydon Advertiser reporter Gareth Davies revealed never-seen-before video footage of House of Reeves arsonist Gordon Thompson stealing from Iceland during the riots. The footage, recorded by Gareth and freelance photographer Greg Mack, shows 34-year-old Thompson in a distinctive red hooded top. The picture was used on the front page of the Croydon Advertiser following the riots, and he was arrested after a reader spotted him in Surrey Street. Thompson was later jailed for 11 and a half years.
  6. In April Hollywood hardman Jason Statham was filming new movie Hummingbird in Old Palace of John Whitgift School. The film, said to star Statham as a former Special Forces soldier who becomes homeless, is due for release in the UK in early May 2013.
  7. News editor Gabriel Shepard also interviewed Boris Johnson before the London Mayor elections. Mr Johnson, who was re-elected the following month, promised to extend the bike hire scheme to Croydon, and said the borough has 'absolutely everything going for it'.
  8. Ross Lidbetter asked whether the Croydon cruise scene was getting out of control. Ross described the scene that greeted him on Purley Way one Thurday night, with motorbikers riding on one wheel and cars speeding at more than 70mph, while enthusiast John Carlos defended the events.
  9. The digital switchover happened in South London in April. Our story about the Crystal Palace transmitter being lit up like a Christmas tree was widely read. You can also see our three picture galleries of the event here, here and here.
  10. Our final two most-read pieces of the month were this story about some kittens getting stuck in a wall at a house in Purley, and the accompanying picture gallery. The day-old kittens had fallen through a tiny hole in the loft, where they were born, and become trapped in the cavity walls. Fire crews used special equipment to pinpoint the tiny animals' exact locations and to rescue them.
  11. Croydon in 2012: Headlines in April


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