Review of the Year: February

GUNMEN halted trains, a grizzly murder trial concluded, a rat man and famous birds in February.

? A FARMER was suddenly made famous by a flock of birds that descended on his land.

Steve Burnstead, 50, of New Manor Farm, Stotfold, had to deal with his farm being the focus of attention with what has been said is the largest ever roosting of corn buntings in the UK.

? TRAINS were brought to a halt for more than an hour after a man was spotted pointing a rifle at a train travelling between Royston and Baldock.

The incident caused a major alert with local police being supported by British Transport Police going into the field where the gunman was spotted by at least three train drivers on Saturday afternoon near Odsey, south of Ashwell and Morden station. Police officers eventually discovered a number of men attending a legal shooting party hunting rabbits and other game on nearby farmland at the side of the railway line.

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? THE body parts murder case came to a dramatic conclusion when Stephen Marshall, 38, was jailed for a minimum of 36 years.

Marshall, of Borehamwood, had already admitted dismembering kitchen salesman Jeffery Howe and scattering his body parts across two counties. The first piece, a leg, was found near Baldock.

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He had first denied murdering the 49-year-old but changed his plea to guilty.

? AN ANIMAL rights group struck out at what it calls council “hypocrisy” after members allowed circuses that use wild animals to continue to come to North Herts while calling for a government ban.

District councillors voted on Thursday to allow circus shows that use non-domesticated animals in their acts to rent land owned or controlled by North Herts.

? A RAIL passenger, known as the Rat Man, because he travels with a rodent on his shoulder, subjected a Scottish ticket inspector to a torrent of racist abuse.

Allan Page, 39, of Cox’s Way, Arlesey, repeatedly swore at Richard McGaffin and told him he should not be allowed to work in England, Luton Crown Court heard.

The judge adjourned sentence and granted Page bail on the condition that he did not travel on trains or go to stations in Herts, Beds or Cambs.

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