As 2023 comes to a close, we are looking back on some of the biggest news stories which have taken place this year.

Here, we are looking at what happened in the second quarter of the year between April and June in the next part of this four-part review. 


The closure of Botley Road, a major route into Oxford, began in April.

Network Rail closed the key route into the city centre near the city railway station as the multi-million overhaul started.

The works include the replacement of the Botley Road rail bridge.

Oxford Mail: Picture of Botley Road works

The original plan was to reopen the road at the end of October when work was due to be completed, and then close it again in 2024 to through traffic from March to October for highway work and the replacement of the Botley railway bridge.

However, the rail authority said it no longer planned to reopen the major route at the rail bridge from October 29 until March 2024 due to a number of "unique challenges".

This came as work on the station and railway upgrade had to be paused after contractors unearthed an inverted brick arch, thought to be part of the original Victorian drainage system.

Oxford Mail:

Works have also been paused as a nearby area was evacuated following the discovery of a Second World War-era hand grenade within the site.

Rail passengers also faced weeks of misery in April after the line between Oxford and Didcot was closed because of a sinking bridge on April 3. It did not reopen for 10 weeks.

On April 2, a county councillor was knocked off her bike and suffered a bloody facial wound as she cycled to a meeting to discuss road safety.

Trish Elphinstone, 59, was taken to hospital after a collision in Cowley on Friday, left her head 'matted with blood'.

Oxford Mail: Trish Elphinstone suffered two facial abrasions and a cut in her eyebrow from the hit and run

Mrs Elphinstone, who represents Rose Hill and Littlemore on Oxfordshire County Council, said it was 'ironic' the incident occurred as she cycled to meet officers to discuss road safety improvements.

There would be further serious crashes involving cyclists later in the year including chairwoman of the Cyclox campaign group Alison Hill being hit just off Banbury Road.

The day after Mrs Elphinstone's nasty accident, the city centre had a bomb scare as Broad Street was closed off for hours as police searched for a device.

The force's specialist dog unit was deployed while hundreds were evacuated from the area.

Businesses were also forced to close but Thames Valley Police confirmed that no devised were found as the city centre cordon was lifted.

Oxford Mail:

The body of a missing man was found in the river near Osney Lock, just off Botley Road on April 8.

Emergency services rushed to the scene and several vehicles with blue flashing lights were parked on Osney Bridge.

John Keith Jones, aged 81, from Oxford, went missing on March 14, when he was last seen at The Trout Inn in Wolvercote. 

Oxford Mail:


The largest crowd in six years packed the streets of Oxford on May 3 for one of the city’s oldest and most treasured traditions that stretches back more than 500 years.

Around 16,000 people stood side by side below Magdalen College’s Great Tower to mark May Morning with the largest gathering the event has seen since 2017.

There were an estimated 3,500 more people on the High Street and surrounding roads than for last year’s event, according to Oxford City Council.

Oxford Mail: The crowd stood cheek by jowl across Magdalene Bridge and the High Street for the 6am choral

The bumper turnout coincided with the May Bank Holiday and crowds enjoyed a peaceful and colourful event, held just the second time since the Covid pandemic.

Thousands also gathered to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III across the county for the historic day on May 8 at Westminster Abbey.

Oxford Mail: The party in Binswood Avenue, Headington

A family were left devastated after being involved in a crash on the M40 on May 20.

A woman in her 60s died at the scene and a one-year-old boy was left fighting for his life at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington.

Another woman in her 30s was seriously injured while the two other occupants of the vehicle, a two-year-old girl and a man in his 30s received less serious injuries.

On May 15, a motorcyclist was taken to hospital where he later died after a crash with a Vauxhall Zafira on the A4074 between Nuneham Courtenay and Berinsfield.

Matthew Marriage, 24, was described as a "happy-go lucky boy" and a "brilliant older brother".

Towards the end of May, a teenage boy was been taken to hospital after reports of a stabbing in Oxford.

At around 6pm on May 24 on Leon Close, a 16-year-old boy was taken to hospital with suspected stab wounds to the leg.

And on the same day was the beginning a series of bomb threats were made to several schools towards the end of May.

Police launched an investigation after a man sent a message to the Oxford Mail claiming he was going to bomb The Marlborough School in Woodstock on May 24.

The following day the man then made a new threat to bomb Gosford Hill School in Kidlington and renewed his threat to bomb The Marlborough School.

He continued to list schools that were allegedly targeted as he next named Cherwell School.

Thames Valley Police confirmed the investigations found there was "no credible threat". 

On May 27, police put a cordon in place after a woman in her 20s was believed to have been raped by a man in South Park in Oxford.

Oxford Mail:

The month also saw dog owners being warned about a deadly pet disease as cases rose to nearly 600 in the region.

There were  593 reported cases of lungworm across the southeast and at least 10 in Oxfordshire.

In the showbiz world, Emma Watson revealed she will be studying at the University of Oxford next academic year.

The Harry Potter star started her MA in creative writing this September.

Ms Watson has already spent a year abroad in Oxford, at Worcester College, when she was studying English Literature at Brown University in the USA where she graduated in 2014.

The actress spent most of her childhood in Oxfordshire, having moved to the county at the age of five. 

Oxford Mail: Emma Watson

She attended the Dragon School in Oxford and also Headington School, where she studied for her GCSEs and A Levels.

On the final day of the month, LGBT+ activists storm a talk with feminist Kathleen Stock at the Oxford Union before one of them glued themselves to the floor.

Hundreds of chanting protesters marched towards the 200-year-old debating society on May 31 where they blared music including Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made For Walking as Prof Stock arrived

Oxford Mail: Students at the protest outside the Oxford Union on Tuesday night Picture: Oxford Mail

Prof Stock spoke for around 10 minutes before three protesters emerged from the audience of the packed hall, shouting: 'No more dead trans kids'.

Activist Riz Possnett dramatically glued their hands to the floor during the contentious talk /

Four officers were required to arrest and remove them from the private property.

The activist from Bury St Edmunds was later de-arrested as 'the event organisers did not support prosecution'.

Oxford Mail: Professor Kathleen Stock speaking at the Oxford Union (Oxford Union Society)


Three teenagers were tragically killed in a crash on a village road in June.

Elliot Pullen, 17, Daniel Hancock, 18 and Ethan Goddard, 18, were passengers in a BMW that crashed into a tree in Marcham in the early hours of June 20.

All three died at the scene.

Oxford Mail: From left, Daniel Hancock, 18, Elliot Pullen, 17, and  Ethan Goddard, 18, who died in the crash in

The driver, named locally as Tom, remains in hospital in critical condition.

The crash prompted Richard Webber, who represents Sutton Courtenay and Marcham on Oxfordshire County Council, to join a task and finish group of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Scrutiny Committee.

Oxford Mail: Flowers left at scene of crash that killed three teenagers

In the role, he will be able to raise certain issues with the PCC Matthew Barber.

A "kind and courteous" schoolboy died in the John Radcliffe Hospital after choking on cherry tomatoes on the school field on June 23.

Oscar Roome was rushed to the hospital from Kidmore End CE Primary School, near Caversham but despite efforts from the school, paramedics and hospital staff, he died the following day.

Oxford Mail: Oscar Roome

June saw the Odeon cinema on Magdalen Street show its final film after the closing of its Oxford branches saying it was 'no longer viable'.

The building was first opened as a cinema in 1924 and has changed hands multiple times with Odeon being the latest owners.

Venue bosses said they were forced to make the 'very difficult decision'.

On June 26, a murder investigation was opened into the death of the mum of Old Bank Hotel owner Jeremy Mogford.

Pamela Mogford died in February 2022 aged 100, with Thames Valley Police’s major crime team opening an investigation more than a year later into her death amid suspicions that the woman may have been murdered.