AS 2017 draws to a close the Journal is looking back at the stories that were most popular with website readers over the past 12 months.


1.  Salisbury District Hospital was placed on high-alert after experiencing the highest and most serious level of demands on resources. Routine operations were postponed and the hospital urged people to avoid A&E, saying it was only to be used for "life threatening emergencies".

2. A man was arrested after a woman's body was found at an address in Adelphi Court, in Wilton. He was later released.

3. And the same man, Lukasz Jarosz, appeared in court for the first time charged with the attempted murder of a teenage girl in a car crash, after the unexplained death of his wife. Jarosz was later jailed, for eight years, in October.


1. A man's body was found in Queen Elizabeth Gardens. Police received a call to the death of a man in the park's public toilets, and said the incident was being treated as "unexplained".

2. The Journal exclusively reported that up to 1,500 high-quality engineering jobs would be created at Boscombe Down when Boeing Defence UK told staff it would be building a new "centre of excellence" at the Ministry of Defence airbase eight miles north of Salisbury.

3. An aspiring boxer broke down in court after being jailed for a string of fly-tipping offences in villages across South Wiltshire. Jamie Kerley, 27, was jailed for three months after it emerged he had dumped items including blinds, paint rollers, cardboard and bottles in LaverstockDownton, Petersfinger, and Barford St Martin between November 25, 2015, and January 26, 2016.


1. Masked robbers raided a corner shop and escaped with cash, cigarettes, scratch cards, alcohol and a piece of cheese, sparking a search by police helicopter. Two men entered Bargain Stop in Wilton Road at 10pm and marched manager Ebru Ozturk to the till before escaping with the items.

2. Police were called to a clash between Whites fans and Hereford FC fans before the match in question had even started. Officers were called to an argument between fans at The Five Bells pub in Salt Lane an hour before kick-off.

3. The air ambulance landed on The Greencroft after a man was injured in a serious assault. After being assaulted the man made his way to Bourne Hill Police Station where he received medical attention before being taken to hospital.


1. Two Guinea pigs were abandoned in woodland in Alderbury. The pair, later named Olivia and Ellie, had matted fur and were covered in ticks when they were found dumped in a dirty cage by a man out walking.

2. An inquest heard that a loner who signed a suicide pact with his ex-lover died in woodland three days after a failed overdose attempt. Coroner Ian Singleton could not ascertain a cause of death for Brendan Hughes, 37.

3. A murder investigation was launched after Guy Hedger was shot at his Ringwood home during a botched burglary. A trial into his murder is still ongoing at Winchester Crown Court.


1. An 'armed and dangerous' prisoner escaped from Salisbury District Hospital after threatening guards with a razor blade. An extensive manhunt was launched for Michael Kisiel who was found 24 hours later in a nearby village. Read by more than 44,000 people, this was the most popular story of the year.

2. A court heard that nine naked men and one woman were found inside a sex-party house when police burst in to raid the property amid fears of prostitution. Number 22 Avon Terrace had been shut down by police after numerous complaints of antisocial behaviour, and a court ruled its owner Ricardo Harwood must not host any more parties there for three months.

3. The Journal ran a live blog of Wiltshire Council and Salisbury City Council election results as they were announced. Conservatives won majorities on both councils.


1. A couple who own a fish and chip shop in Bemerton Heath said they could not afford the council's rent increases of £2,000. Derek and Mona Mitchell, who have run Mitchell's Chippy for 20 years, said it would be "almost impossible" to pay the increase.

2. A round-up of cases from Salisbury magistrates' court included racial abuse, driving offences, assault, possession of drugs and theft.

3. City centre traders demanded action over "intolerable" street drinking and antisocial behaviour in the city. Inspector Pete Sparrow vowed to do everything he could to tackle the problem but said a lack of police in the city posed "significant issues".


1. Tributes were paid to a "fearless" motocross rider who died during a tragic accident. Salisbury man Tom Robertson, aged 25, was "doing what he loved" when he came off his bike and broke his neck at Cheddar Motopark in Somerset.

2. A woman died suddenly while walking her dog in a field near Sarum Academy. Students found the woman and police officer gave her CPR but she died at the scene.

3. A union called for the headmaster of Christ the King primary school in Amesbury to be suspended after a teaching assistant was blasted in the face with a fire extinguisher. Jerome McCormack appeared in Salisbury magistrates' court on Friday where he denied one charge of assault relating to the incident which took place in May.


1. Three children under nine were removed from a Firsdown car wash and one 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking. Wiltshire Police attended the Shiny Car Hand Wash on the A30 after concerns for the welfare of people at the site.

2. A paedophile who was caught with "sickening" child abuse videos was spared jail. Davey Woodruff of Tidworth received an eight month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after being caught with 11 images and four videos of category A child abuse, 22 category B images and 27 category C images.

3. A pedestrian in his 50s was involved in a collision with a livestock lorry on Harnham Road. The man was taken to Southampton General Hopital with serious head injuries, where he died 11 days later.


1. A list of Salisbury restaurants where food hygiene standards were rated one or two was published by the Journal. The figures from the Food Standards Agency were published after it emerged that 162 establisments in Wiltshire had been told they "must improve".

2. A man's body was found in a field in Chilmark. A police investigation was launched to identify the man, as he did not match missing persons descriptions and nobody responded to appeals for information on his identity.

3. Plans were submitted to convert Pizza Hut in Blue Boar Row into a Revolution bar. The proposals included plans for a dance floor and a complete renovation of the building.


1. A man who had been walking along the A338 after a night out died following a serious accident near Nunton. He was later identified as Jonathan Langford, who had been out celebrating his birthday, and it emerged that a car crashed into him as he lay in the road.

2.  Sean Scard, who was left with two black eyes after being violently attacked in the city centre told the Journal he thought he was going to die as witnesses "stood by and watched".

3. A woman was arrested on suspicion of murder after three-year-old Bethan Colebourn died at her home in Fordingbridge. She has since been released under investigation.


1. Fireworks shot into the crowd at a bonfire night event at The Antrobus Hotel in Amesbury. The hotel said it was "a malfunctioning firework", and 14 people were treated for minor injuries at the scene.

2. Jonathan Langford was identified after being hit by a car in October.

3. A benefits cheat who was claiming to be a single mum fraudulently claimed more than £8,500. Kirsty Harding was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work at Salisbury magistrates' court.

December (the figures so far...):

1. Eleven illegal immigrants, including four children, were cut from a lorry in a lay-by near West Knoyle. The group, from Iraq and Afghanistan, were cut free from the lorry, which had been super glued shut.

2. Four people were arrested after an incident where drugs paraphernalia and a blood-soaked towel were found in a city hotel room. Police were called to The Cathedral Hotel in Milford Street after staff raised concerns that drugs were being taken in one of the rooms.

3. A Salisbury pub was given a new lease of life after a £100,000 refurbishment. The Horse and Groom, on Wilton Road, was re-opened by the national pub chain, Punch.