As south Bucks residents prepare to welcome in the New Year tomorrow, we take a look back at some of the biggest news stories from the county which made the headlines in 2017...


Police launched a probe after cyclist David Pickup was sadly killed in High Wycombe in an alleged hit-and-run.

His death sparked an outpouring of tributes for the “genuine and kind-hearted soul”.

In the same week, Wycombe District Council scrapped its ANPR system in council-run car parks – a year after the Bucks Free Press exposed that ticket-dodgers were getting away scot-free and that the system had cost the taxpayer at least £1.3 million.

An Indian restaurant owner spoke out about his terrifying ordeal after two armed robbers broke into his restaurant, tied him up and ransacked the property. He said he “feared for his life”, while health bosses were forced to defend A&E services after admitting they were struggling to cope with growing pressures.

A council worker was investigated after reportedly refusing to move from a disabled parking space for a cancer patient, and Wycombe Wanderers took on the Spurs in a historic FA Cup fourth-round clash.


A body was found in a shock discovery at the side of the A404 near Handy Cross roundabout this month, with mystery surrounding the identity and circumstances of the find.

Wycombe District Council announced plans for a £9.5 million revamp to transform the Baker Street area in High Wycombe, and, in the same month, it was accused of playing loud, repetitive music into town centre car parks in a bid to drive out vulnerable rough sleepers onto the streets.

In other news, three police officers faced the sack for leaving a dangerously icy road moments before two drivers were killed in a horror crash at the same spot.


The Bucks Free Press called for change as yet another grave was desecrated in High Wycombe Cemetery’s Snowdrop Garden – this time, a devastated mother spoke out after she found her stillborn son’s grave was vandalised for the third time in eight months. It led to the council eventually agreeing to install CCTV in two spots at the cemetery.

In other news, a jury heard that a young mother was probably murdered with cling film and masking tape inside a High Wycombe kebab shop by her jealous ex-boyfriend, while another young mum revealed she feared for her unborn baby’s life as she was “viciously” attacked in the street, as her attacker was spared jail.

And it was claimed that a new 239-home town centre development could pave the way for High Wycombe’s controversial flyover to be demolished, while James Corden told the Bucks Free Press that he would “love” to bring his his hit TV show, Carpool Karaoke, to High Wycombe, and plans were revealed to replace a community centre, which was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales 25 years ago, with a Cuban nightclub.


A triple tragedy struck south Bucks in April, with a man’s body being discovered in the rive at The Rye in High Wycombe, an elderly couple were sadly killed in a house blaze in Holmer Green and a man died after falling into the River Thames in Bourne End.

Mystery surrounded the death of a cleaning lady, Marlyn Gillian Knock, whose body was found alight in woodland at Hughenden Manor, while High Wycombe’s mayor-elect sparked outrage after he joked that a cull should be carried out on travellers.

A kebab shop worker who murdered his ex-girlfriend, a young mother, in a jealous rage, was jailed for life, and travellers left a mountain of rubbish at the old sports centre site in High Wycombe after an eight-day stand-off, while a callous thief was caught on CCTV stealing a charity box containing hundreds of pounds for children with cancer. High Wycombe’s mayor-elect also apologised for his comments about the nomadic community.


Three people were seriously injured in a horror helicopter crash at Wycombe Air Park, while High Wycombe’s mayor-elect found himself on the front page again after it emerged he recently lost a court battle on TV’s Judge Rinder, facing calls to stand down from the prestigious post.

Two young children were attacked by teenagers who threatened to hurt them if they did not go with them, while more human remains were found, this time in a house in Princes Risborough where a horrific fire tore through – despite brave attempts by a heroic neighbour to rescue the man inside.

The family of a teenager, who was killed by a drunk driver as he was celebrating the end of his A-Levels on holiday in Greece, spoke about their relief at having justice after the driver was found guilty almost three years after his death.


Radical plans to re-open a historic river through High Wycombe in a bid to boost tourism were revealed, while an investigation was launched following a double-stabbing in High Wycombe town centre that left two men hospitalised.

In other news, “dearly loved” police officer PC Simon Caddy was killed in a horror motorbike crash, an Asian child sex gang was finally jailed after the three men preyed on a schoolgirl they had drugged with cannabis and heroin years previously, and a murder probe was launched following the death of carer Joanne Rand, a mother-of-two who died after being sprayed with a chemical in High Wycombe.

In the same month, Joanne Rand’s family launched an appeal to help fund her funeral.


Another Bucks Free Press investigation revealed the true cost of having the controversial ANPR system in Wycombe District Council-run car parks, as it was found that there were 86 per cent fewer fines under the system and that the disastrous scheme cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds every year.

Dozens of police officers raided two houses in High Wycombe as part of a modern slavery and money laundering operation, with four people later being arrested. In other news, a sea of pink hit High Wycombe as hundreds of runners joined the battle to beat cancer in the 2017 Race for Life at The Rye.

Scared residents in a block of flats said they feared their homes could be a “Grenfell waiting to happen” after engineers allegedly repeatedly failed to fix their only fire exit. Dozens of travellers set up camp on a common in Chalfont St Peter, with taxpayers paying for the clear-up costs, while an ex-firefighters’ charity worker claimed “cost-cutting” by Bucks Fire and Rescue was crippling the fire service across the county.


A 24-year-old man, Tautrydas Narbutas, from Lithuania, admitted to killing Marlow Bottom pensioner Albertina Choules before setting her body alight at her woodland home.

He denied murdering the 81-year-old, but the prosecution accepted a guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter. At the time of going to print, he had not yet been sentenced.

The Bucks Free Press revealed that Wycombe District Council chiefs forked out almost £30,000 feeding councillors during evening meetings in five years, while High Wycombe-based taxi driver Muhammad Iftikhar lost his sight after being sprayed in the eyes with an unknown chemical.

Another triple tragedy hit south Bucks after High Wycombe sixth-former Matthew Hitchman died in a water rafting accident, a woman in her 90s died after a car hit a house in Chesham and a devastated family paid tribute to Clare Smith, who passed away just days after she was involved in a crash on the A408 near Bisham roundabout.

In the same month, a massive sinkhole appeared outside a row of shops in Flackwell Heath and 35 children’s centres faced the axe as Bucks County Council proposed to introduce nine new “hubs” around the county to replace them, while thousands of students around the county opened their GCSE and A-Level results.


As thousands celebrated High Wycombe’s first ever LGBT Pride parade, the family of transgender teen Leo Etherington mourned his loss, after he took his own life, struggling with gender identity issues and feeling he “should have been born a boy”.

An inquest into his death came in the same week that hundreds of people flocked to Frogmoor to raise awareness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Eagle-eyed residents spotted a number of celebrities across south Bucks this month, with Ricky Gervais, Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley and Declan Donnelly were snapped attending different events across the county, while a High Wycombe Catholic school announced plans to expand into Buckinghamshire’s first £23million satellite school.

In other news, a whistleblower claimed driver shortages, delays and cancellations had pushed Wycombe-based Carousel buses to the brink of a “crisis”, Bayonle Kayode avoided jail after admitting to causing the death of much-loved High Wycombe woman Janice Swain, carjacking victim Matt Spooner spoke to the Bucks Free Press about his terrifying ordeal and disgraced Wycombe Abbey School drama teacher Matthew McGowan was banned from teaching after he was found to have engaged in sexual activity with a former pupil.


It was revealed that the taxpayer forked out £43,000 to clean up a staggering 210 tonnes of rubbish left by travellers at the old sports centre site in High Wycombe, after they spent a week there in April.

A £3.7 million plan to convert two one-way streets in High Wycombe – Queen Victoria Road and Easton Street – into two-way roads were revealed as part of the town centre masterplan, while five men from High Wycombe were jailed following a police operation to crack down on drug dealing across Bucks, and a stranger tried to snatch a schoolboy in broad daylight in Gerrards Cross, where the council had taken away CCTV in a bid to cut costs.


Four men were tragically killed in a horror air crash involving a light aircraft and helicopter near the Waddesdon Estate. They were named by police as Bucks New University student Saavan Mundae, 18, his instructor Jaspal Bahra, 27, helicopter pilot Thanh Nguyen, 32, and veteran helicopter instructor Captain Michael Green, 74, who was on a training flight with Thanh Nguyen at the time.

It was revealed that investigations into their deaths could take more than a year, and the victims’ devastated families paid tribute to them.

In the same month a former High Wycombe grammar school pupil, Shabazz Suleman, expressed his regret at joining ISIS, saying he made the “wrong choice” in joining the organisation, while a major road leak in West Wycombe Road caused traffic chaos in High Wycombe for days.

Dozens of firefighters tackled a blaze at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, a pensioner was killed in a horror crash involving a council-owned bin lorry in Chalfont St Peter and campaigners joined forced to protest against plans to close 35 children’s centres – just 24 hours later Cllr Wendy Mallen slammed “hysterical” parents for “wasting money”.


The future of Chilterns Shopping Centre in High Wycombe was thrown into doubt after it was revealed at a council meeting that a housing developer was close to buying it.

While details of the deal have yet to be revealed, the move was welcomed by Cllr Tony Green, who said any changes to the “disused” shopping centre would help to “animate” that part of Frogmoor.

Radicalised High Wycombe teenager Iftikhar Ali was found guilty of sharing Islamic State propaganda on social media, while Holmers House care home in High Wycombe was found to have made “life-threatening errors” after a resident was found lying on a urine-soaked mattress at the dementia care home, and was put in special measures.

In other news, the funeral of air crash victim Thanh Nguyen was held in Amersham, while roads ground to a halt and more than 250 schools closed their doors for several days as heavy snow hit Bucks.

Young mother Sameha Mahmood was tragically killed after she was crushed under own car while waiting for her mother, and a man was left in hospital with severe shoulder injuries after allegedly being shot at in Loudwater.