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Journalist and disaster predictor dies aged 84

Dennis ElwellA former regional journalist and astrologer who claimed to have predicted a ferry disaster which killed nearly 200 people has died aged 84.

Dennis Elwell spent 30 years at the Stourbridge News, originally known as the County Express, in Worcestershire.

However, it was his interest in astrology for which he was best known, and he wrote several books on the subject.

He first began to study it while researching the subject for an article on reincarnation, which he wrote and had published in Prediction magazine at the age of 19.

In 1987 Dennis, pictured left, hit the headlines himself when he made predictions about dangers facing shipping companies and underground transport.

Shortly afterwards, there was a devastating fire in London’s King’s Cross station – something he had warned of in an interview with Wolverhampton’s Express & Star.

P&O Ferries also suffered a tragedy when their ship the Herald of Free Enterprise capsized off the coast of Zeebrugge, Belgium, with the loss of 193 lives, two weeks after Dennis had received a reply from them dismissing his warning that safety procedures were not adequate.

Sceptics criticised the basis for the predictions but he ended up appearing on the BBC’s Kilroy programme that year and featuring in a Channel 4 documentary, Witness, in 2000 which examined the rising influence of astrology.

Sarah Smith, one of Mr Elwell’s four children, said: “My father was an original thinker who was widely respected in his field.

“In spite of his illness his sharp mind and intellect were in evidence until very nearly the end of his life.”

Mr Elwell had suffered from vascular dementia and passed away in a care home in Stourbridge, the town he lived in his entire life, last month.