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In brief: Insp Wexford star dead at 80

ACTOR George Baker, who played Chief Inspector Wexford in television series The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, has died at the age of 80.

The TV star, of West Lavington, Wiltshire, died of pneumonia yesterday following a recent stroke, his daughter Ellie Baker said.

She told the BBC: "He absolutely loved Wexford and he loved being Wexford. He loved the whole thing. It was a joy to him."

Over a career spanning six decades, the versatile actor starred in countless TV shows, including Minder, Bergerac, I Claudius and more recently New Tricks and Spooks.

He also featured in around 30 films including The Dam Busters, The Spy Who Loved Me, The Ship That Died Of Shame and The 39 Steps and formed his own theatre company. He was also a talented writer, penning his own cookery book.

He was married three times and leaves five daughters.

Man jailed for child assault

A JUDGE sent a man to jail after he pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a child in the 1970s.

Andrew Power (55), who served in the Defence Forces at the time of the offences, was handed an 18-month prison sentence with 12 months suspended by Kilkenny Circuit Court.

Power, who gave an address of Ringnasillogue, Dungarvan, Co Waterford when he was arrested can be named, Judge Alice Doyle said yesterday, before placing him on the Sex Offenders Register.

The victim, who is now an adult, described how her abuse was "like a cancer" she couldn't kill.

Fighter pilots are grounded

JAPAN has grounded its F-15 fighters for the second time in three months after a fuel tank and parts of a mock missile fell off a jet on a training mission.

Japan Air Self-Defence Force officials said that the flight suspension involves all missions except emergency scrambles and will last until the safety of Japan's 202 F-15 fighters has been confirmed.

No one was injured in Friday's incident near Komatsu base in western Japan and the pilot landed safely.