Review of the year: March

IN March, we reported on two eye-witness accounts of earthquakes, a life sentence for murder and a village bakery’s controversial name.

•A HITCHIN man was given a life sentence after being found guilty of murdering 25-year-old Michael Chalkley.

Sean Flattery, of Seebohm Close, was told he will serve a minimum of 21 years and six months for stabbing Mr Chalkley, also from Hitchin, to death.

“(Michael Chalkley) was a son, a brother and a father and today those close to him have seen justice,” said Detective Inspector Sharn Basra after the sentencing.

•TWO Comet country residents who survived earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan told their stories.

Hitchin resident Sandra Bohme described her “lucky escape” after she and her husband Jurgen had planned to visit the Christchurch Cathedral - near the epicentre of the 6.3 magnitude quake in Christchurch which claimed more than 180 lives - but changed their plans the day before.

A few weeks later the road manager of metal band Bullet For My Valentine was in Tokyo when the 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck, causing devastation across Japan.

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Calvin Roffey, from Shefford, was touring with the multi-million selling group who were due to perform in the capital.

“There was a rumbling sound and people started running out of the subway screaming,” he said.

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service were called in to help in a disaster that left thousands dead.

•A FIRE ripped through two historic cottages in Aston End.

Firefighters battled flames at Long Lane for five hours after the timber and thatched buildings caught alight. No-one was hurt in the incident.

•AN appeal was launched to find the parents of a new-born baby girl who was abandoned on a doorstep.

The infant was found by a resident in Fairfield Park, Stotfold, when he was locking up for the night.

•THE name of a new bakery got a rise out of villagers and sparked national headlines.

Nice Baps opened in Henlow High Street, with some residents and a teacher complaining about the shop’s “trashy” name.