Epsom review of the year 2012
5:00am Tuesday 1st January 2013 in News
Singer and dancer Phoebe Jones, 20, made headlines around the world after escaping from a magician’s box as the Costa Concordia capsized
It’s been a year of ups and Downs in Epsom, here we take a look back at the events of 2012.
The racing community and residents of Epsom Downs were stunned when a gale ripped off part of a huge roof at the racecourse, home to the world-famous Epsom Derby.
At 9.40am on January 3 gusts, believed to be in excess if 60mph, peeled back a large part of the roof of the £23.5m Duchess Stand.
Singer and dancer Phoebe Jones, 20, made headlines around the world after escaping from a magician’s box as the Costa Concordia capsized off the Italian coast on January 13.
Miss Jones, from Walton, who graduated from the Laine Theatre in East Street in Epsom, last July, was performing on stage to 4,000 passengers when the ship began to sink. Stagehands rushed to free her from the box.
A disabled pensioner was burned to death in his home, in Stoneleigh Park Road, on January 8, to the horror of his neighbours who witnessed the inferno.
A neighbour woken by sirens said: "Flames were licking out from the downstairs. Windows were popping. We are all shocked and sad."
A taxi ride home on Valentine’s Day turned into a nightmare when the Martin family were spotted a terrifying apparition on the Ewell bypass that looked and moved like the legendary Spring-heeled Jack - a mysterious figure reported to be responsible for a string of attacks in the 1800s and known for his ability to leap great heights.
Proposals to move the fire and ambulance stations from Epsom and replace them with a food store sparked strong opposition from residents.
Epsom and Ewell Council consulted on its proposals to allow a food store, housing, retail units and parking on land at Upper High Street, Depot Road and Church Street, where the fire and ambulance services are based.
An animal lover who turned half her home into an aviary to house 12 "disabled birds" with "special needs" was left devastated after an allergic reaction rendered her unable to look after them.
Aptly-named Pat Avery, 57, from Highfield Drive in Ewell, had been taking in cockatiels, budgies and love birds for the past 15 years, but after contracting pneumonia last year, she developed the allergy.
A retired nursing manager who was doing charity work in Kenya had his throat slit for the £60 in his wallet.
Titus Musee, 66, of Chesterfield Road, West Ewell, was in the Athi River area 18 miles from the capital Nairobi when he was mugged and murdered for this phone and wallet.
A keen cyclist died in a collision with a lorry on Mother’s Day as he took part in a time trial in Nottinghamshire.
Andrew Ridsdale, 43, who was a member of Epsom Cycling Club, died on March 18, taking part in the Trent Valley 10-mile time trial.
The mayor of Epsom and Ewell conquered her fear of heights for charity by abseiling off the racecourse's roof.
Mayor Sheila Carlson took the 90ft plunge from the top of the Queen's Stand at Epsom Downs Racecourse along with her son Andy.
The surfacing of bones at the privately-owned Horton Cemetery, off Hook Road in Epsom, sparked fresh calls for action to protect the 8,000 bodies abandoned there, and led to the launch of the Epsom Guardian’s Dignity for Horton’s Dead campaign.
The then mayor of Epsom and Ewell, Sheila Carlson, said: "The owner does not just have rights, it has responsibilities. There is a moral obligation to act."
Helen Harrington called for the compulsory re-testing of elderly drivers after being hit and injured by 87-year-old Richard Bradley in the Old Cottage Hospital car park, in Alexandra Road.
The MS sufferer said six points on his licence and a £550 fine was not a harsh enough penalty for Bradley, who she described as a "time bomb" on the roads.
A traumatised, animal-loving family had CCTV installed in their garden after their two-year-old rabbit, Tony, was stolen and then returned headless four days later.
Chloe Baldwin, of Waterfields in Leatherhead, was devastated to find Tony’s decapitated body and was convinced the killer was not another animal because its body had been returned.
The Epsom Guardian launched its Zone 6 for Epsom campaign in May. Backed by MP Chris Grayling, thousands of residents signed this newspaper’s online petition for the change arguing that stations further out from London, including Epsom Downs and Tattenham Corner, are already in a travel zone, and use of an Oyster card would make travel to and from Epsom cheaper and easier.
Brenda Massey said her 14-year-old daughter was "being made an example of" after Transport for London said it would suspend the teenager’s ‘defaced’ discount Oyster card if she did not complete voluntary service.
The schoolgirl had Tippexed-out her photo on the Oyster card because she disliked it.
A 71-year-old driver was finally taken off the roads after driving without a licence for more than half a century.
George Walker, of Carshalton Road in Banstead, had caught the eye of a policeman, who was on patrol as part of Operation Ferrous - an anti-metal theft initiative - because his truck was crammed with £2,000 of scrap metal.
The Queen started her weekend of Diamond Jubilee celebrations by attending the 233rd Epsom Derby, accompanied by Prince Philip and other members of the royal family including Prince Edward, the Duke of York, and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
History was made when the first ever father and son team won the Derby. Camelot was trained by Aidan O’Brien and raced by his 19-year-old son Joseph.
Severely dyslexic A-Level student Dan Anahory, who has launched 10 businesses around the world, claimed he has so far made £500,000 from his ventures.
The 18-year-old, a student at St John’s School in Leatherhead, has set up a stable of online companies by spotting a "gap in the market" - ranging from a global conference call service, and juices in Thailand, to water purification in Russia, and a mattress comparison website in Slovenia.
Dr Karolina Miller, from Kingsway in Ewell, played a key role in saving the life of a boy crushed by a falling tree during a cricket match.
The 44-year-old pathologist at Dorset Hospital rushed to help and use first aid skills on nine-year-old Lewis Gaston, who had been practising by the side of the cricket pitch in Wandsworth, and whom she described as "the real hero".
Anger at the Epsom Station development sparked a demonstration by a coalition of groups determined to oppose further ‘carbuncles’ in the historic market town.
The campaign was conceived by residents concerned inappropriate developments could permanently scar the historic town.
Binayak Dey, 22, was left fighting for his life after being stabbed five times during a mugging while travelling home from his restaurant in Ewell.
He was stabbed once in both sides and three times in the back before his four attackers stole his mobile phone near his family home in Strathyre Avenue, Norbury.
Thunder, rainstorms and lightning were not enough to stop Team GB’s Lizzie Armitstead bagging a silver medal in the women’s road race even if the men’s hopes were punctured.
But the real stars of the Olympic cycle road race were the thousands of supporters who took to the streets in parts of south-west London and Surrey including Leatherhead.
Kelly Baker appeared at Guildford Crown Court after a drunken fling which involved schoolboys - one of them just 14 years old.
Baker, of Bidhans Crescent, Tadworth, pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual activity with a child and was given a community order in September.
A campaign was launced to block the much-loved Organ and Dragon, a Thai restaurant and pub, in London Road, being converted into a fast food restaurant.
The pub which has been serving the Ewell community since the 18th century was closed down in on July after its owner sold the freehold.
Ricardo McPherson, of Waterloo Road, Epsom, who kidnapped and terrorised a man who ‘grassed up’ his associates is facing up to six years behind bars.
McPherson put his petrified victim Karl Irving through a horrifying five-hour ordeal before he viciously assaulted him.
A 10-year-old girl needed hospital treatment for back injuries after a rope snapped at a new adventure park.
The child, who was not seriously injured, fell from the high ropes area of Hobbledown adventure park in Horton Lane, Epsom. The owners immediately closed the area and institued a full and thorough safety investigation of the whole park to ensure visitors safety.
The area has since been given a clean bill of health by inspectors.
An inspirational one-handed pianist wowed the world by performing with Coldplay at the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games.
Born without a right hand, Nicholas McCarthy, 23, of Whitegate Way in Tadworth,
performed in the ceremony, watched by hundreds of millions of people, as part of the British Paraorchestra.
Three men in a flying car that crashed through the wall of a couple's first-floor bedroom on Sunday morning walked away with only minor injuries.
The extraordinary incident, described by one of the occupants of the silver Lexus as being "like something out of a disaster movie" happened in Bridge Road, Epsom, after the driver missed his turning off of Alexandra Road into Upper High Street.
Russian prostitute Natalia Woolley, 38, from West Kensington, was sentenced to just three years behind bars after being acquitted of the murder of 69-year-old retired accountant Winston Fernandez who she left dying after breaking 17 of his ribs during the attack at his home in February in Longdown Lane North, Ewell.
Police launched a manhunt after a man attempted to pull a girl walking home alone towards his silver car in Stoneleigh.
Despite extensive enquiries and reassurance patrols in the area over many weeks police were unable to find the culprit.
The shock decision to stop Epsom Hospital's proposed merger with Ashford and St Peter’s left residents shocked, outraged and deeply worried about the future of their hospital.
NHS London decided to pull the plug on the proposed acquisition of Epsom by Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust because the parties involved were "unable to develop a financially viable plan."
Two of the three councillors consulted about the controversial faces installation on Epsom station have now condemned it as "hideous" and not what they approved or wanted.
Seventy per cent of those who took part in an online poll on epsomguardian.co.uk said they hated the design with some questioning why there was no public consultation and others demanding the 'permanent' artwork it is taken down.
An ex-police chief and army officer vowed to take a "zero tolerance" approach to crime as he started work as Surrey’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.
Independent candidate Kevin Hurley won the election on November 15, after getting 52,793 votes out of an electorate of 856,968 - just 6 per cent of the vote.
Overall turnout for the county was a meagre 15.7 per cent.
A leaked staff bulletin revealed the UK’s largest hip and knee replacement centre based in Epsom Hospital looks set to be handed over to another trust to run.
News that the hospital looks likely to lose control of the unit next April has sparked fears that the three other London trusts who are partners in the centre, Kingston, Croydon and St George’s Hospitals could then move the centre, or part of it, to another hospital.
Burglars had broke into a home in Worcester Park, unwrapped the presents under the Christmas tree, and then stole the family's pride and joy, a Mini Cooper, so they could take away the presents they selected, including 24 bottles of wine.
A stranded police car got stuck in deep water as heavy rain caused widespread flooding on Christmas Day.
Firefighters had to pump water out of the police car stuck in a pool over three-feet deep on Outwood Lane, in Kingswood, at about 10am on Christmas morning.
An elderly woman died in a traffic accident on Christmas Eve.
The pensioner in her late 70s was driving a car that collided with a van while travelling along Christ Church Road in the West Park area of Epsom at 1.15pm.