Firefighters have been put on standby to deliver school meals in Oxfordshire, following the collapse of service provider Carillion.

The firm is to go into liquidation after losing money on big contracts and running up huge debts.

Oxfordshire County Council is to take over services provided by Carillion, including meal provision in 90 schools.

The authority said the fire service had been ready to deliver meals on Monday, but had not needed to.

Property director Alexandra Bailey earlier said 250 school catering and cleaning staff employed by Carillion should come to work as normal.

 She said the council would ensure the staff were paid.

Oxfordshire County Council signed a 10-year contract with Carillion in 2012 to provide a range of services including property management and building new schools.

All of the contracts were due to have transferred back to the council by the end of March because of the authority's "changing property and estate needs", the council said.
 

A former friend of Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, who harassed her for two decades, has been jailed for contacting her from prison.

Edward Vines, 47, breached a restraining order by writing to the BBC journalist while he was behind bars and later out on licence, a court heard.

Judge Peter Ross, who sentenced Vines to 45 months, said the repeated contact amounted to "psychological torture".

Ms Maitlis said she had been left "jumpy around strangers".

The presenter first met Vines, of Clarkes Row, Oxford, when they were students at Cambridge University.

He was first convicted of harassment in 2002.

'Scared and let down'
He was issued with an indefinite restraining order in 2009, which he was convicted of twice breaching last year.

As well as contacting her while in prison for those offences, Vines wrote again while living in a bail hostel and subject of licence conditions.

Judge Ross described this as "wholly unsatisfactory" and gave the Probation Service and the governor at HMP Bullingdon 10 days for a written explanation.

In a statement read to Oxford Crown Court, Ms Maitlis said she had felt "scared and let down" after she heard Vines had breached the restraining order "even from within the prison system".

She said it had affected her relationship with her husband, and scared her children, "who thought the threats had gone away... while he was behind bars".

'Constant threat'
"It has affected my ability to do my work, what time I feel able to come home at night (I work late nights often). It also makes me jumpy around strangers for no reason as I fear any advance might be him," she wrote.

"Altogether the breach has been a reminder for me that this man remains a constant threat in my life and my family's life and that my ability to do my work, hang out with my children and lead a normal family life without constant sense of suspicion and fear has been badly damaged."

Ms Maitlis said her husband had been left "frustrated that we cannot get to the bottom of this problem even though we have been tackling it through the CPS and the court for over 20 years".

Vines's sentencing was delayed after his application to alter his plea was refused by the court.

At the time, his lawyer, Michael Gould, told the court he could no longer represent his client as he had been "professionally embarrassed".

 

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