Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Ms Sandiford to be executed for drug trafficking.

A British grandmother has been sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling almost 5kg of cocaine into Bali.

Lindsay Sandiford was arrested in May last year after she tried to enter the Indonesian holiday island with illegal drugs worth £1.6 million hidden in her suitcase.

Local prosecutors had called for the 56-year-old housewife to be jailed for 15 years. But today there were gasps in the Bali courtroom when a panel of judges announced Ms Sandiford would be executed for drug trafficking.

As the shock verdict was announced, Ms Sandiford, from Gloucestershire, slumped back in her chair in tears before hiding her face with a brown sarong as she was led out of the courtroom.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Mother who tortured her baby son is battered with garden hose and wooden plank by fellow women prisoners

A crack addict mother jailed for violently beating her baby son was battered by fellow prisoners carrying out reprisals against her. Inmates at a women-only jail subjected 29-year-old Claire Biggs to a punishment beating after hurling missiles at her, a court heard. Katie Burston, 26, was among the baying mob who surrounded Miss Biggs and another unpopular prisoner as the pair cowered inside a shed being pelted with missiles. Miss Biggs had been jailed in 2009 for eight years for child cruelty after the death of her eight-week-old son who suffered broken ribs, a broken shoulder and a broken wrist. In a case that echoed the failings of the case of Baby P, the drug addict and her violent sex offender boyfriend were allowed to look after baby Rhys Biggs, even though Biggs had had her first child taken away from her because of her drug habit. Biggs was rushed to hospital bleeding from a head wound and bruises on her body after she was attacked with a metal bar in the garden of the HMP Send near Woking, Surrey.

Dale Cregan has been charged with the murders of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes in Greater Manchester.

 PC Bone, 32, and her colleague PC Hughes, 23, suffered fatal injuries in a gun and grenade attack in Mottram, Tameside, on Tuesday. Mr Cregan, 29, has also been charged with the murders of Mark Short in May and his father David in August. A second man, Stephen Garvey, 28, was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder. Mr Cregan has also been charged with the attempted murders of Michael Belcher, Ryan Pridding and John Short on 25 May and Sharon Hark on 10 August. At a news conference Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, said he had authorised Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to bring the charges. "The tragic events this week in which Police Constables Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes lost their lives in the line of duty have shocked and appalled the whole country," he said. Sir Peter Fahy, GMP Chief Constable, described the inquiry as a "complex investigation".

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Friends of Dale Cregan said he was ready to leave the country on a boat bound for his native Ireland before the officers were killed.

Cregan was one of Britain’s most wanted men and was sought by police for the murder of a father and son in separate gun and grenade attacks. On Tuesday he walked into a police station after PC Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, were murdered as they investigated reports of a burglary. Police yesterday rejected accusations that they should not have sent two unarmed female police officers into the Hattersley estate, where officers have conducted raids on at least two addresses in the past month and mounted armed patrols. Friends said Cregan had been in hiding in the local area for weeks and appeared to revel in his notoriety. There were numerous reports of him being seen drinking in pubs and going shopping.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The former editor at the News of the World Scotland has been charged in connection with the defamation action of former MSP Tommy Sheridan.

Bob Bird, 56, was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice over Mr Sheridan's successful action against the newspaper in 2006.

He was detained at his Glasgow home at 07:30 and released four hours later.

Officers are investigating allegations of perjury and phone hacking as part of the Operation Rubicon probe.

Speaking following his release, Mr Bird said: "I just want to say that I'm very sad, very disappointed that things have come to this.

"I have always done my best to do the right thing throughout the 30/40 years of my journalistic career and I will be denying the charge against me.

"On legal advice I can't say any more at the moment."

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

A suspect can be held forcibly in a police station for a maximum of 12 hours to allow him or her to be questioned about their suspected involvement in a crime.”

image of Reevel AldersonReevel AldersonHome affairs correspondent, BBC Scotland
  • Q&A: Detaining suspects in Scotland

Mr Bird edited the now defunct Scottish edition of the News of the World when it ran allegations about Mr Sheridan's private life.

The former MSP successfully sued the newspaper for defamation in 2006 and was awarded £200,000 damages.

A subsequent police investigation saw Mr Sheridan charged, convicted of perjury and jailed for three years. He was released after serving just over one year of his sentence.

Mr Bird gave evidence at the original defamation trial brought by Mr Sheridan in 2006 and his subsequent perjury trial at the end of 2010.

The journalist was detained at his Glasgow home by officers from the Operation Rubicon probe on Wednesday morning and questioned at Govan Police station, at Helen Street.

Data protection

In a statement, the Strathclyde force said: "Officers from Operation Rubicon at Strathclyde Police have arrested and charged a 56-year-old man with attempting to pervert the course of justice in 2006 arising from his conduct at the time of the defamation action of Thomas Sheridan v News Group Newspapers Limited.

"A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal in Glasgow, in due course. It would be inappropriate to comment further."

Tommy SheridanTommy Sheridan was jailed for three years for committing perjury

Mr Bird is the third senior News of the World figure to be questioned by Operation Rubicon officers.

Earlier this month, Douglas Wight, a former news editor at the News of the World Scotland, was arrested and charged in connection with the perjury trial of Mr Sheridan.

The 39-year-old was charged with perjury, conspiracy to hack telephones and multiple charges of conspiracy to obtain personal data.

In May, Prime Minister David Cameron's former director of communications Andy Coulson was arrested and charged over evidence he gave at Mr Sheridan's perjury trial.

The former News of the World editor was charged with committing perjury during the trial in 2010.

Following Mr Bird's arrest, Mr Sheridan's solicitor Gordon Dangerfield said "we look forward to the whole truth coming out in court at last".

Monday, 27 August 2012

Laurence Kilby, 40, of Cheltenham, who built and raced cars, was arrested after police seized cocaine with a street value of £1m.


Laurence Kilby, 40, of Cheltenham, who built and raced cars, was arrested after police seized cocaine with a street value of £1m.

A "privileged" racing driver has been jailed with 11 other drug smugglers. Crown Court heard he was head of a gang moving drugs from Eastern Europe along the M4 corridor to London, western England and south Wales.

Kilby was heavily in debt and turned to crime to maintain his lifestyle of fast cars and high living.

Raids on properties

Kilby was jailed in June but his conviction, and those of the rest of the gang, can now be reported following the conclusion of another trial.

In an undercover operation between Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset Police, officers seized 3kg of cocaine as it was being ferried between London and Cheltenham in October 2010.

Another 1kg of the drug was intercepted in Cheltenham in February 2011 and 2.5kg was discovered in raids on properties in Cheltenham, Staverton, Bristol and London in July 2011.

The gang of 12 drug dealers from Gloucestershire, Bristol and London received sentences of between 18 years and four years seven months.

It can now be reported Kilby, who was jailed in June, and Vladan Vujovic, 43, of Grange Road, London were found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Both were jailed for 18 years.

Laurence Kilby racing in the 2009 Castle Combe Saloon Car ChampionshipKilby built and raced cars with the company he owned, Ajec Racing

Richard Jones, 42, of Bradley Stoke, Bristol, was sentenced to 15 years for the same offence, and Mark Poole, 47, from Portishead, was sentenced to nine years seven months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Police said Kilby sourced the drug in London from an East European criminal gang, which included Vujovic.

Vujovic ran a baggage handling company at Heathrow Airport and was said to receive the cocaine before it was distributed around the South West and Wales.

Kilby is the former husband of Flora Vestey, daughter of Lord Vestey, and was owner of motor racing firm Ajec Racing which was based in Staverton.

He was heavily in debt and turned to crime to maintain his lifestyle of fast cars and high living.

'Well-connected socialite'

In a separate charge, Kilby also pleaded guilty to stealing money from the charity Help for Heroes and was sentenced to 10 months, to run concurrently with his 18-year sentence.

He organised a charity race day at Gloucestershire Airport in July 2010, but failed to pass on between £3,500 and £4,000 in proceeds to the charity Help for Heroes.

Det Insp Steve Bean, from Gloucestershire Police, said Kilby was the main man.

"He portrayed himself as a well-connected socialite and businessman, whilst indulging his ambition as a minor league racing driver.

Drugs wrapped in plastic packagesPolice seized 6.5kg of drugs during the operation

"Despite a privileged background, the reality was that his lifestyle was funded by the ill-gotten gains of drug dealing.

"He continually lied and blamed others in an attempt to distance himself from the conspiracy.

"He displayed an air of arrogance and thought he could get away with it because he didn't get his hands dirty."

The majority of the gang were jailed in June, but reporting restrictions meant it could not be reported until now, after the sentencing of the remaining gang members.

Others members of the gang to be sentenced were:

  • David Chapman, 29, from Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply and was sentenced to nine years.
  • William Garnier, 31, from Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs and was sentenced six years and eight months.
  • Garry Burrell, 46, from Easton, Bristol, and John Tomlin, 28, from Newtown, Gloucestershire both pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and were sentenced to six years and six months and four years and six months respectively.
  • Timothy Taylor, 40, from Bristol was found guilty of supplying Class A drugs and was sentenced to four years and seven months.
  • Brian Barrett, 48, from Keynsham was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 10 years.
  • Scott Everest, 39, from Clevedon was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was jailed for seven years.

Jonathan Tanner, 45, from Warminster was sentenced to 18 months for possession with intent to supply of cannabis, but was cleared of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Darren Weetch, 38, from Bristol, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply. He was sentenced to 16 months.

Officers also worked with Thames Valley Police and the Metropolitan Police during the operation.

Police warn residents to stay indoors as they hunt big cat in Essex

Firearms officers and police helicopters have joined the hunt for a lion that is thought to be roaming loose in Essex. Residents were told to stay indoors as search teams worked throughout the night to track down the large cat, which was spotted in a field by a member of the public last night. Essex Police have enlisted the help of experts from Colchester Zoo who believe the sighting to be genuine after viewing a photograph of the animal taken by a local. Two police helicopters using heat-seeking equipment have been involved in the hunt for the animal, while zoo workers said to be armed with tranquilliser guns have also joined armed officers. The big cat was seen in fields off Earls Hall Drive in St Osyth, near Clacton, Essex, just before 7pm yesterday.

Residents of a village where a lion is believed to be on the loose have today spoken of their fear after police launched a huge search for the beast.

Armed police and helicopters are searching for the big cat after it was spotted in fields near Clacton, Essex.

Two force helicopters and around 30 police officers were scrambled after locals reported the sighting. One witness described onlookers screaming as they came face to face with the predator.

Others sitting in nearby homes told how they heard it roar as it prowled the area. Rich Baker, 39, was walking with his two boys, aged nine and 11 when the drama unfolded.

Beware: Village green at St Osyth (pictured) near to where the beast is believed to have been spotted

Beware: Village green at St Osyth (pictured) near to where the beast is believed to have been spotted

The Lion sightings: The big cat was seen in fields near Clacton-on-Sea (file photo)

The Lion sightings: The big cat was seen in fields near Clacton-on-Sea 

He said: 'A man started running towards us yelling "It’s a f****** lion!" He looked so panicked you knew it was not a joke. The lion you could see it from the side.’

The van driver, from Romford, Essex, continued: 'I grabbed my children’s hands and we ran towards our caravan. My children started to scream, “daddy, is the lion going to get us?”

'It was one million per cent a lion. It was a tan colour with a big mane, it was fully grown, it was definitely a lion. It was just standing there, it seemed to be enjoying itself.

'There were a dozen or so people who saw it. We are staying on the caravan park down the road. It’s very busy – it’s a seaside resort and a bank holiday.’


Che Kevlin, 40, who lives nearby the scene of the drama, described hearing the lion roar.

He said: 'I was sitting with my wife in the front room playing backgammon at around 10pm when I heard this very loud roar.

'I asked my wife if she’d heard something, it was so odd. I went upstairs to check on my 11-year-old son, but he was fast asleep.

'It was incredibly odd to hear something like that at that time of night.

'We had been for a walk earlier in the day and heard a police helicopter but didn’t realise they were looking for a lion.

'We were trying to work out what the roar was. It was not until my brother texted me 20 minutes later and said there’s a lion on the loose in your area that we realised what exactly it was.

'My guess is that it was in the fields or woods behind our house.

'It was very, very loud. I’ve only heard what a lion sounds like on TV wildlife programmes, but it was definitely that.’

 Essex police said they believed the reports to be genuine after a group of people who had been walking close to fields in the village of St Osyth at around 7pm took a photograph of the animal.

Officers were last night working with experts from Colchester Zoo to track down the animal.

They will try to tranquilise the creature if it is found. The animal is not thought to have come from the zoo as all their animals have been accounted for.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

A man caught doing 180mph in a police chase on the M6 in the West Midlands has been jailed for nine years.

Ben Westwood, of Woden Road, Wednesfield, was found guilty of dangerous driving and conspiracy to burgle and steal earlier this month.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how during the 65-mile chase in January Westwood, 33, almost outpaced the police helicopter, in a stolen car.

Westwood is thought to be the fastest driver to be caught in the UK.

He was also banned from driving for four years.

Black AudiWestwood was driving a modified Audi RS5 worth £85,000

The court heard how the modified Audi RS5, worth £85,000, was stolen from Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, in August 2011.

Police said the car was then linked to 16 raids across Staffordshire, Shropshire and the West Midlands, including incidents at a bowling alley and a jewellers.

The raids took place between August 2011 and January 2012, during the course of which the car, originally white, was sprayed silver and then black.

Four other men were also sentenced for their part in the thefts:

  • Ramesh Sharma, 38, from Barrington Close, Oxley, Wolverhampton, was jailed for three years for conspiracy to steal
  • Gregory Simpson, 26, from Wordsworth Road, Wolverhampton, was jailed for four years for conspiracy to steal
  • Luke Watkins, 34, from Whestone Road, Bushbury, Wolverhampton, was jailed for three years for conspiracy to steal plus nine months for dangerous driving
  • Stephen Green, 41, from Castlebridge Road, Wednesfield, was jailed for four-and-a half years for conspiracy to steal

The chase, in the early hours of 13 January, took place after a raid on the Murco petrol station in Warstones Road, Wolverhampton.

Police arrested Sharma, Green and Watkins, who were in a separate van, but Westwood and Simpson headed towards the M6, chased by a police car.

Sparks seen

He joined the motorway, where he headed north up to junction 13 at Stafford before turning around and then heading southbound again.

In footage recorded from the police helicopter, sparks were seen coming from underneath the car.

Ben WestwoodThe court heard how Westwood almost outpaced a police helicopter

The footage from the helicopter shows how Westwood tried to avoid a sting trap set down by police on the sliproad at junction 12.

He can then be seen doing a U-turn, driving the car the wrong way up the sliproad before joining the main carriageway again.

Westwood abandoned the car at a block of flats in Pickering Road, Wednesfield, where police dogs tracked him and Simpson into some flats and arrested them.

On sentencing Westwood, Recorder Nigel Baker said he had an "appalling record for a man of 33".

He added: "You are no stranger to burglaries of this type."

The judge added: "This was an atrocious piece of dangerous driving. You drove through the suburban streets of Wolverhampton at speeds which the police car could not keep up [with].

"You were driving on the wrong side of the road. There was a moment in that pursuit when the helicopter thought that your intention was to out-run the helicopter.

"It was the most appalling piece of driving."

Supt Richard Baker said Westwood had shown "a blatant disregard for other road users".

He added: "Video footage from the helicopter estimates speeds of up to 180mph on the M6 as he attempted to evade capture."

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The extent of police intelligence records about people who have not been charged or convicted of any crime has been revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.

 The disclosures show that around 14m Metropolitan police intelligence reports and 38m from other forces, gathered routinely because they may prove useful, are being made available to all of Britain's police agencies on the Police National Database (PND). Figures obtained by the Guardian show the PND – in 2011 – contains at least 317.2m records. The Met intelligence files includes details about protesters who have attended demonstrations, unconvicted "persons of interest", associates of criminals, including lists of phone numbers stored on perpetrators' phones, allegations of crimes, and victims of sexual or domestic abuse. The database also contains almost 40,000 images. Police argue that sharing intelligence on the database speeds up investigations, helping identify new patterns of crime. But civil liberties groups are concerned that it can criminalise innocent people. The revelation has prompted calls for more police transparency about what kind of information about unconvicted people is being logged and shared. "This has a profound impact on privacy and basic rule of law," said Guy Herbert, general secretary of NO2ID. "If something is 'intelligence' it is by definition composed of guesswork, speculation and hearsay. It has the capacity to criminalise the innocent and affect people's lives in all sorts of ways if they get flagged as 'of interest' to the police." Before being entered on to the PND, Met intelligence records are entered on a Scotland Yard database named Crimint Plus, described as "the largest law enforcement intelligence system in the world" by former Met detective chief inspector Peter Ship. An estimated 2,000 reports are entered every day on Crimint, which was established in 1994 and since 2005 has doubled in size. Most Crimint intelligence records are stored for a minimum of six years in accordance with police data retention policy. They are accessible by around 40,000 Met employees, plus up to 12,000 from 65 forces and agencies across Britain through the PND – though some information deemed sensitive is held more securely and cannot be accessed by all users. Managed by the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA), the PND was introduced following recommendations from the Bichard inquiry into police failings prior to the Soham murders in 2002. The agency, which is expected to hand over control of the PND to the new police ICT company soon, has acknowledged that the system could contain information on up to 15m people – one in four of all Britons. According to the Metropolitan Police Authority website, intelligence gathering "may appear to be only for organised crime or counter-terrorism work, but it is actually often a more routine matter in the MPS. It could be described as simply 'capturing information while carrying out one activity which is likely to prove useful in a future policing activity'." A Met spokesman said the force gathered information lawfully and within strict guidelines, but was "not prepared to discuss specific aspects relating to intelligence". An NPIA spokesman said: "Each individual police force as the data owner will decide what information is stored on the PND. The public has a right to expect the police to share intelligence information to prevent and detect crime and to protect our communities. Under the Data Protection Act, individuals can access information about them that is held on the PND."

G20 pathologist Freddy Patel 'not fit to practise'

The pathologist who conducted the first post-mortem tests on a man who died in the 2009 G20 protests in London is not fit to practise, a tribunal has ruled. Dr Freddy Patel wrongly said Ian Tomlinson died from heart problems. The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service said his work was "deficient" and will now decide upon sanctions. Pc Simon Harwood, who had pushed Mr Tomlinson to the ground but was cleared of manslaughter, now faces Met Police disciplinary proceedings in September.

Boy raped at Manchester Debenhams after Arndale Centre abduction

boy was raped at a department store in Manchester after being taken from a lift by two men, police have said. The 14-year-old had been going to the toilets in the Arndale Centre, near the entrance of Aldi and Subway, when he was approached by the men. After threatening the boy, they led him to a nearby Debenhams, where one of them assaulted him in a toilet. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote This young victim has been absolutely devastated by what happened to him” Det Sgt Liam Boden Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has released CCTV of two men they want to trace after the attack on 2 June. Police said one of the attackers was Asian and one white. The victim was told by one of the men: "Come with us, do what we say and if you try to run we'll get you." GMP said he had been grabbed by the arm, led out of the Arndale Centre and taken to Debenhams at about 17:45 BST

Friday, 17 August 2012

Moors murderer Ian Brady's legal advocate is arrested for allegedly failing to reveal information about where one of his victims is buried, it is claimed.

Ian Brady

It is understood Jackie Powell was detained in south Wales on suspicion of preventing the burial of a body without lawful exercise.

Ms Powell, who was appointed Brady's legal advocate under the mental health act in 1999, has told a Channel 4 documentary that Brady gave her a sealed envelope to pass on to Winnie Johnson, the mother of his 12-year-old victim Keith Bennett, in the event of Brady's death.

Greater Manchester Police said in a statement that Brady had finally disclosed details of the location of the body to one of his "long-term visitors" at Ashworth high-security hospital, where he is being detained.

The force did not name the suspect but said the 49-year-old woman had been arrested in south Wales and remained in police custody for questioning.

Contact with family

A Greater Manchester police spokesman said: "On July 30, 2012, Greater Manchester police received information that led officers to believe that Ian Brady had recently given details of the location of Keith Bennett's body to one of his long-term visitors.

"Officers in the cold case unit made inquiries to verify the accuracy of this report and have since had extensive contact with Ashworth hospital and Keith's close family.

"As a result, warrants obtained under the police and criminal evidence act were executed at Ashworth hospital and a private address in south Wales.

"A 49-year-old woman has been arrested in south Wales on suspicion of preventing the burial of a body without lawful exercise and remains in police custody for questioning. Searches of both locations are ongoing."

A spokeswoman for Ashworth hospital in Merseyside, where Brady has been detained for the last 25 years, declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the police.

While Brady did reveal where some of his victims were buried, he has always refused to disclose any details about the location of the Keith's body, despite pleas from his family.

Appeal for location

His refusal has caused constant heartache for Keith's mother, Winnie Johnson, who has cancer and recently appealed for Brady to break his silence before she died.

Now Jackie Powell has revealed that Brady gave her a sealed envelope to pass on to Mrs Johnson in the event of his death.

She told the Daily Mirror: "I received a letter and a sealed envelope which said on the front 'to be opened in the event of my death'.

"He says he doesn't wish to take his secrets to the grave and within the sealed envelope is a letter to Winnie Johnson.

"Within that is the means of her possibly being able to rest."

Five murders

Brady and his partner, Myra Hindley, who died in jail in 2002 aged 60, were responsible for the murders of five youngsters in the 1960s.

They lured the children and teenagers to their deaths, with victims sexually tortured before being buried on Saddleworth Moor above Manchester.

Pauline Reade, 16, disappeared on her way to a disco on July 12, 1963, and John Kilbride, 12, was snatched in November the same year.

Keith Bennett was taken on June 16, 1964, after he left home to visit his grandmother. Lesley Ann Downey, 10, was lured away from a funfair on Boxing Day, 1964. Edward Evans, 17, was killed in October 1965.

Brady was jailed for life at Chester assizes in 1966 for the murders of John, Lesley Ann and Edward.

Hindley was convicted of killing Lesley Ann and Edward and shielding Brady after John's murder, and jailed for life.

In 1987 the pair finally admitted killing Keith and Pauline.

No remains recovered

Both were taken back to Saddleworth Moor in 1987 to help police find the remains of the missing victims but only Pauline's body was found.

Mrs Johnson has made repeated calls for Brady to reveal the location of his grave.

Last December she said she wanted to hear face-to-face from Brady where her son was buried.

And in July she renewed her plea, saying in a letter to the killer that her dying wish was to know where Keith's body was.

Brady, 74, was due to go before a mental health tribunal in July, but it was delayed after he suffered a seizure.

The tribunal was to consider his application to be transferred to a Scottish prison and be allowed to die. He has been tube-fed since refusing food 12 years ago.

'Too traumatic'

But last month Mrs Johnson's solicitor said she would not be attending the hearing as it would be "too traumatic" for her.

John Ainley, senior partner at North Ainley Halliwell, said that Mrs Johnson was in hospital and not well enough to attend.

He said: "She has only one question to ask Ian Brady, that is 'Where is my son Keith?'

"She is convinced that he could, if he wished, provide this information.

"Her one and only desire is to give her son a proper family burial during her lifetime. Nothing short of that will ever give her peace of mind."

On Wednesday the Sun reported that Mrs Johnson was being cared for in a hospice.

The newspaper quoted her son Alan Bennett as saying: "Winnie is going in to a hospice for about two weeks.

"She can be closely monitored and get the correct form of pain relief that is needed for when she returns home."

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Vintage Ads Most Disturbing Household Products


All of the following ads are real and unaltered, so don't blame us. We weren't there when they were made, and in some cases the entire insane thought process that went into creating them has been lost to history. Maybe they made perfect sense at the time?

Maybe. But it's really hard to see how even our parents and grandparents didn't get nightmares from ...

#13. Three-Legged Dingo Boots

The Message:

Here are some boots that you should buy, because famous people wear them. Three of them.

The Horror:

Wait, what?

Yes, amazingly, the fact that this ad stars a pre-murder O.J. Simpson is the second-creepiest thing about it. And you can squint and try to read the text all you want -- it makes no reference whatsoever to the fact that their spokesperson has three legs. There's no cute slogan like "Boots so comfortable, you'll wish you had another foot!" Nope. It's like some guy in the art department just said, "Eh, I don't like how you can't really see the chair, let's just add another leg to fill that space."

We know what you're thinking: "Cracked, this is obviously a subtle 'big dick' joke. 'Third leg?' Get it?" But, no, it turns out this was a whole campaign they did with various celebrities, some of whom are women:

Like, uh ... this famous lady right here.

But O.J. seems to be the most frequent star of the "Third Leg" campaign, which apparently lasted for years. Note how his afro shrinks as he gets more comfortable with his new appendage:

The picture in that third ad would have been perfect for the cover of his book.

Please don't blame us for the inevitable nightmare in which O.J. is running after you, in the dark, those three boots pounding down the pavement after you with a noise like a wounded horse.

#12. Lord West Suits Will Impress Your 7-Year-Old Date
"I like my women like I like my code names: 007."

The Message:

Women of all ages dig men in tuxedos!

The Horror:

According to the text, this dinner suit is for "sophisticated traditionalists," a euphemism we weren't previously aware of for "child molesters." Because there's no other way to interpret this picture. That's not tenderness on their faces. That's hunger. If you told us that they're a father and daughter, that would only make it creepier.

And it turns out that this is only the worst example in a whole series of ads associating little girls with selling tuxedos.

The style is best described as Godfather meets Lolita.

Can you imagine the pitch meeting that led to this campaign? Picture Don Draper from Mad Men standing before his clients, selling them on this idea:

"Class. Elegance. Making out with little girls. These are the values your company represents."

"Did ... did you say 'making out with little girls,' Don?"

"Yes," replied Don with perfect confidence.

"OK, just making sure."

Sitting at the end of the table, Peggy looks at Don and smiles. He did it again.

#11. Man in Tuxedo Carefully Considers Naked Child
"Told you it was bigger. Now pay up."

The Message:

Regular soap sinks in the bathtub, causing children to take longer in washing themselves and their fathers to get angry and spank them. Prevent child abuse by buying Ivory Soap -- it floats.

The Horror:

OK, they're clearly just fucking with us at this point. Remove the text and the message becomes clear: "In the old days, child predators used to dress way better than they do now." But let's put the pedophilia overtones aside for the moment and examine the text.

Was the elaborate scenario described under the picture (involving childhoods ruined by non-floating soap) really such a common problem in the '20s, or was this based on the painful personal experiences of whoever commissioned this ad? We're betting on the latter option. Note that the father's body language doesn't say "I'm going to spank you" -- he's clearly pondering which part of the kid's body to break first.

"Maybe the 28th trimester isn't too late for an abortion."

#10. "Are You Sure I'll Still Be a Virgin?"
"If you didn't think band camp counted, I don't see why you'd think this would."

The Message:

Don't worry, teens, you can use Tampax tampons without losing your virginity.

The Horror:

Be honest: How many of you looked at this picture and immediately recognized it as a Tampax ad? And how many looked at it and thought it depicted a teenage girl being sexually propositioned? It's not just us, is it?

This ad would have looked 90 percent less sordid if both people involved were clearly visible. Instead, the second teenager is for some reason sitting on the floor of the porch with her back to us, so we can't see how young, or scared, she is. But, of course, all of that is purely from our own depraved imagination. The real ad is simply about two teenagers debating whether or not inserting a tampon counts as sex.

#9. Escaped Convicts Love Revell Authentic Model Kits
"Is this the new plan, boss?"
"I've spent all day plotting against Superman; this is 'Lex Time'."

The Message:

Hey kids! Check out these sweet model kits!

The Horror:

There's only one possible scenario in which this picture could have come to exist: The photographers were getting ready to shoot this ad when they realized that the boy who was supposed to be holding up the models in the picture never showed up for work. Panicking, the man from the ad agency looked around the studio.

"Dmitri, can you come here for a second?" he said to the guy who fixes the lighting. "Stand here and hold this model. Yes, that's great. You'll play the boy in this ad."

"But sir," said the photographer, "Dmitri was just released from jail. In fact, he's still wearing the prison jumpsuit."

"No, no, he's perfect. Look at him. Look at that childlike innocence in his face."

"Could you open the top button maybe, show a little chest hair?"


#8. Our Competitors = Surgical Ass Torture
"Don't worry, sir, the gloves are just to establish atmosphere."

The Message:

Using cheap toilet paper can lead to medical complications.

The Horror:

... which in turn can lead to rubber-gloved hands inserting clamps in your anus. Better play it safe and go with Scott Tissues.

This attempt to traumatize customers into buying their product with threats of anal torture was part of a whole marketing campaign created during the Great Depression in which Scott Tissues' slogan went from "Wipe your butt with us" to "Wipe your butt with us, or die in a world of asshole pain."

Of course, it was all bullshit: There's no such thing as "toilet tissue illness," it was just a thing they made up to convince people to keep buying tissues at a time when they were lucky enough if they had a toilet.

#7. "Before You Scold Me, Mom ... Maybe You'd Better Light Up a Marlboro"

The Message:

Before you beat your baby for stealing your favorite hat, have a cigarette and relax yourself. Then beat the baby.

The Horror:

How many times did this months-old child have to be punched before it learned to pick up the Marlboros and offer them to mommy to calm her down? If that's not the saddest thing you've imagined all week, you're dead inside. This is actually one in a series of ads from the '50s, back when Marlboro was targeting mommies instead of rugged cowboys. Sometimes the babies actually seem to be guilting their moms into smoking more.
"You turned me into an addict when I was a fetus, now deal with it."

Oddly enough, the version of this ad aimed at fathers doesn't involve scolding, but a pompous baby in a basket defending daddy's rather feminine cigarette tastes (note the reference to "beauty tips" at the bottom).
This is the kind of debate babies have all the time.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Jessica Harper admits £2.4m Lloyds Bank fraud

A former Lloyds Bank worker in charge of online security has admitted carrying out a fraud worth more than £2.4m. Jessica Harper, 50, had been accused of submitting false invoices to claim payments between 2007 and 2011. At the time she was working as head of fraud and security for digital banking and made false claims totalling £2,463,750. Harper, of South Croydon, south London, will be sentenced on 21 September. At Southwark Crown Court, Harper admitted a single charge of fraud by abuse of position by submitting false invoices to claim payments. 'A very simple fraud' She also admitted a single charge of transferring criminal property, the money, which she had defrauded from her employers. Harper was arrested on 21 December before being charged in May. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote Jessica Harper has today been convicted of the type of crime the bank employed her to combat” Sue Patten Crown Prosecution Service Antony Swift, prosecuting, did not open the facts of the case but said it was a "a very simple fraud". He added Harper had already repaid £300,000 and was in the process of selling her house for about £700,000. "That will be some £1m out of £2.5m that's gone missing," he told the judge. Carol Hawley, defending, said: "She appreciates the seriousness and has made full admissions in interview. "She understands perfectly well on the next occasion she will be facing imprisonment of some length." Breach of trust Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith granted Harper bail on the condition she stays at her current address, obeys a 21:00 to 07:00 curfew and hands in her passport. Sue Patten, head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Central Fraud Division, said: "Jessica Harper has today been convicted of the type of crime the bank employed her to combat. "The evidence in the case was clear and left Harper with little choice but to plead guilty. "In doing so, she has admitted to a huge breach of trust against her former employer." Lloyds is now 39.7% state-owned after being bailed out by the government during the financial crisis.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Prediction repeat of riots

Vandalism; Den Haag, NederlandVandalism; Den Haag, Nederland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More than one in four young people believe that the riots seen last summer could be repeated this year, a survey has found.
It reveals that many youngsters say boredom, copycat behaviour, peer pressure, jealousy and fears about the future caused last year's scenes of disorder and violence, and that little has changed.
About three in ten of those questioned also said that the sentences and punishments handed out to those who took part in the riots were too soft.
The poll, commissioned by StreetChance and Barclays Spaces for Sports, asked just over 1,000 12 to 18-year-olds for their views of the riots which overshadowed the summer of 2011. The findings, which come exactly a year after the violence broke out, show that more than a quarter (27.8%) believe that it could happen again this summer. Just over two-fifths (43%) were not sure and the rest did not think that there will be further outbreaks of unrest.
More than half of those surveyed said that the riots happened because young people were simply copying what they saw others doing and more than a third (37.5%) said youngsters got involved so that they could boast to their friends. A similar proportion (36.6%) thought that boredom among young people was a cause, with a fifth (20.4%) saying there was concern about the future and jealousy of other people's money and possessions.
A total of 13.8% thought that the actions of the police had led to young people rioting. Of those that said the police were a cause, two-fifths (40.3%) said it was because the police are seen as racist by young people. Similar proportions said that there is widespread distrust and dislike of the police by young people, and that they over-reacted to an incident.
Among those that predicted that there could be a repeat of last year's violence, the main reason given was that the chances of young people getting a job have either not improved or worsened. About two-fifths (43.2%) said that the riots could happen again because young people are as bored, or more so, than they were last year. On a positive note, half (51.4%) of the young people questioned said that an increase in free sporting facilities would help to prevent a repeat of the riots.
Wasim Khan, chief executive at the Cricket Foundation, said: "The fear among a quarter of young people of a repeat of the riots this summer is a cause for concern. Free sporting activities are just one measure that can help keep children out of trouble and thousands of children are now playing cricket, rather than playing up, as a result of StreetChance."
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: "We are determined to see our young people given the best start in life. We have embarked on a billion-pound apprenticeship scheme, which includes wage incentives for 'youthunemployment hotspots' - and are going into the homes of 120,000 of the nation's most troubled families to address root causes.
"At this time we must also remember the acts of selfless kindness shown by the many people who stood up and joined the 'broom brigade', which were in stark contrast to the reckless criminal minority that perpetrated this disorder."

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Body found in London lock-up garage Carole Waugh case

Carole WaughCarole Waugh has not been seen alive since 16 April

The body of a woman has been found in a lock-up garage in London by police investigating the case of missing oil executive Carole Waugh.

The body was found in Lime Court in New Malden, south-west London, on Thursday at 19:00 BST, the Metropolitan Police said.

Miss Waugh, 50, of Harrowby Street, Marylebone, was last seen on 16 April.

Police began a murder inquiry on Wednesday and a 47-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder.

He was detained at Luton airport on Tuesday on suspicion of kidnap and conspiracy to defraud, but subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder.

A warrant to detain him further was granted at Croydon Magistrates' Court on Thursday, police said.

Missing jewellery

In total 10 people have been arrested over Miss Waugh's disappearance.

The body is yet to be formally identified and a post-mortem examination will take place later.

The lock-up, where the body was found, is in a row of garages behind two detached 1930s-built houses in Kingston.

A jewellery similar to what Carole Waugh ownedCartier jewellery has gone missing from Miss Waugh's home in London

There is a police cordon in place on the driveway leading to the garages and a tent has been put up close to one of the garages.

Matt Elcox, 17, who lives in nearby Lime Grove, said: "I was woken by the sound of police cars coming and going late last night.

"It is surprising because you don't see much activity around the garages and certainly nothing suspicious."

A number of personal possessions, including Cartier jewellery, have gone missing from Miss Waugh's flat in central London and "significant plundering of her estate has taken place", police said.

A 40-year-old man has been charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation arising from transactions associated with Miss Waugh's identity.

The executive was reported missing by her family on 4 May.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Radical Islamists with “British accents” are among the coalition forces looking to topple Bashar Assad

Armed members of the Free Syrian Army are seen in the western border town of Zabadani in this undated still image taken from amateur video obtained by Reuters (Reuters / Reuters TV)

Armed members of the Free Syrian Army are seen in the western border town of Zabadani in this undated still image taken from amateur video obtained by Reuters .Radical Islamists with “British accents” are among the coalition forces looking to topple Bashar Assad, says Jeroen Oerlemans, a photographer who was held hostage in Syria for a week. The UK Foreign Office has launched an investigation.

Oerlemans, a famous Dutch photo journalist, and John Cantlie, another photographer from the UK, were captured by a group of between 30 and 100 anti-Assad fighters when crossing the Syrian border from Turkey last week. They were then blindfolded.

"One of the black jihadists freaked out and shouted: 'These are journalists and now they will see we are preparing an international jihad in this place.'" Oerlemans told NRC Handelsblatt newspaper. He said that none of the fighters was Syrian.

"They all claimed they came from countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh and Chechnya and they said there was some vague 'emir' at the head of the group."

About 40 per cent of the militants spoke English. In fact, several apparently talked with recognizable regional British accents, from Birmingham and London.

The two photographers suspected that a ransom would be demanded for their release and tried to escape. Oerlemans was shot twice in the leg during the failed attempt and Cantlie, who has so far not spoken to any media, was wounded in the arm.

The pair’s ordeal ended when the Free Syrian Army, the main anti-Assad force, demanded that their nominal allies hand them over.

"They took us with them like a bunch of gangsters," Oerlemans said, "Shooting in the air as we rode out of there.”

The Free Syrian Army released the men and the two are now resting in Turkey. They expect to travel home in the coming days.

If it is confirmed, Oerleman’s story will add to reports that Syria has become a magnet for radical Islamists, who are there either as mercenaries or because of ideology.

"As soon as Assad has fallen, these fighters want to introduce Islamic law, Sharia, in Syria," said Oerlemans.

UK prison library offering collection of rape, jailbreak films for inmates

Prisoners, mainly sex offenders, at a jail in the UK have a library of 550 films, mainly showing sexual violence and gangland crime. According to The Telegraph, the DVD collection is available to inmates at HMP Usk in Monmouthshire, South Wales, where some prisoners are on life sentence. Inmates can watch Deliverance, which features a notorious male rape scene and Thelma and Louise, which shows an attempted rape. The DVD library was condemned as 'completely and utterly inappropriate' by a prisons expert and leading politicians. "These films clearly shouldn't be freely available to prisoners to watch at any establishment," Glyn Travis, assistant secretary of the Prison Officers' Association, said. "We've got adults who are locked up - some for serious sexual offences, some for violent or drugs offences - and the majority of films that will keep them entertained are completely and utterly inappropriate," Travis added. Graphic 18-rated Menace II Society, which includes strong bloody violence and more than 300 uses of explicit terms, is also there for the prisoners to watch, along with gang war movie Last Man Standing. Other films on the list include Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and Brokeback Mountain. "It's wrong for any governor to allow such material in to his establishment for prisoners to watch when there's alternative entertainment available which doesn't gratify criminal activity, Travis added. Monmouth MP David Davies said he was shocked by the selection of DVDs available at the jail. "I would be extremely concerned to learn that videos, including violent sex scenes, are being put in to the library there. I'm really quite amazed," he said. A Prison Service spokesman, however, said: "For prisoners over the age of 18, access to DVD players is linked to good behaviour and the earned privileges scheme. (ANI)

Monday, 30 July 2012

Wembley security keys go missing

Police checking security at Wembley Stadium for the Olympic Games lost a set of keys, it has emerged. Officers searching the venue ahead of the start of events misplaced the keys, prompting an investigation by Scotland Yard. Games organisers insisted that security had not been compromised by the incident. They stressed that the keys were internal and that the relevant locks have now been changed. Scotland Yard is not treating the incident as criminal. A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police said: "On the morning of Tuesday 24 July officers on Olympic police operations at Wembley Stadium reported that internal security keys, being used by them as part of searches, were missing." She said fellow officers attended the scene to help look for the keys but nothing was found. "Detectives also attended to ascertain if there was any evidence of criminal offences," the spokeswoman added. "There's none at this time." The spokeswoman said that Wembley officials were made aware of the incident and added: "There is absolutely no security concern in relation to the stadium as measures were taken immediately to secure all key areas of the venue." A spokesman for London 2012 moved to quell any fears that there had been a security breach. "Keys being used by police officers on searches at Wembley Stadium were reported missing on 24 July," he said. "These were internal keys, locks have been changed and the security of the venue has not been compromised in any way."

Sunday, 29 July 2012

NYPD detective suspended after kidnapping victim found in his garage

17-year veteran of the New York Police Department has been suspended without pay after a kidnapping victim was found tied up in his garage. The New York Post reports Ondre Johnson, a detective with the Brooklyn north gang unit, was being questioned in connection with the incident and was forced to surrender his gun and badge. A source tells the Post the 25-year-old victim was snatched off the street on July 26. The victim's friends then got calls demanding $75,000 for the victim's release. The call was traced to Johnson's home, reports. When authorities arrived Friday afternoon, Johnson answered the door and identified himself as a detective with the NYPD. Investigators then found the victim tied up in the garage. Four men have been charged in the apparent kidnapping scheme, reports. 30-year-old Hakeem Clark, who lives in the same building as Johnson, was charged with kidnapping and weapons possession along with 27-year-old Jason Hutson and 27-year-old James Gayle. 24-year-old Alfredo Haughton was charged with kidnapping.

Jamie “Iceman” Stevenson is back on the streets

Jamie “Iceman” Stevenson is back on the streets – less than halfway through his prison sentence for laundering £1million of drugs cash. Scotland’s most powerful mobster has been enjoying meals at expensive restaurants and socialising with pals after being allowed home for a week each month. Stevenson – who was also accused of shooting dead his best friend in an underworld hit – was put behind bars in September 2006 when he was arrested after a four-year surveillance operation by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. He was later sentenced to 12 years and nine months for money laundering. But, we can reveal, he is now allowed out of Castle Huntly open prison near Dundee – just five years and 10 months later. A source said: “He seems determined to show his face all around town to deliver the message that he’s back and, as far as he’s concerned, nothing has changed. “A lot of people are surprised that he’s being allowed out so early. Some are not too pleased about it for a number of reasons.” Stevenson, 47, has been spotted at Bothwell Bar & Brasserie, which is run by his friend Stewart Gilmore. He and his cronies have also dined at upmarket Italian restaurant Il Pavone in Glasgow’s Princes Square shopping centre. And Stevenson has joined friends at various other restaurants and hotels, including Glasgow’s Hilton Garden Inn. A Sunday Mail investigation can today reveal that the Parole Board for Scotland could recommend Stevenson’s total freedom as early as February next year. However, the final decision on his release will rest with Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. Yesterday, Labour justice spokesman Lewis Macdonald said: “I’m surprised to hear this and that anyone in these circumstances should get out of jail before the halfway point of their sentence – far less so when the conviction is of someone involved in organised crime. “The only circumstances where that would be conceivable would be if someone completely changed their lifestyle. But even then that should not be before they’ve served half their sentence. “I’m sure the victims of these crimes – and with drugs there are direct and indirect victims – will also be surprised at this.” To prepare Stevenson for his release, prison bosses have allowed him to stay a full week each month at his modest flat in Burnside, near Glasgow. On Friday, we watched him leaving the property with his wife Caroline and driving off in a silver Audi. A prison service insider said: “The Parole Board expect the prison authorities to have allowed home visits to test suitability for release ahead of the first eligible parole date. In Stevenson’s case, that’s next February. “There are conditions attached which vary but usually include the obvious ones like not mixing with other criminals and staying only at the designated address. “For prisoners sentenced to more than 10 years, the Parole Board make their recommendations to the Justice Secretary, who then decides whether to release on licence. “Stevenson is trying to keep his nose clean to convince the Parole Board that he poses no threat to society. “But, given his high profile and significance, it’s inevitable that the authorities will be careful before making any final decision.” Stevenson headed a global smuggling gang with a multi-million-pound turnover when he was brought down by the SCDEA’s Operation Folklore, which seized £61million of drugs. He faced drug and money laundering charges along with eight other suspects, including his 53-year-old wife. But his lawyers struck a deal with the Crown Office to admit money laundering in exchange for his wife’s freedom and the drugs charges being dropped. Stevenson’s stepson Gerry Carbin Jr, 32, was also jailed – for five years and six months – but was freed in 2010. Stevenson was previously arrested for the murder of Tony McGovern, 35, who was gunned down in Glasgow’s Springburn in 2000. But prosecutors dropped the case through lack of evidence. A gangland source said: “He does not fear any kind of reprisal from Tony’s brothers, nor does he regard any other criminals in Scotland as a threat or even as rivals. He did not fear any other operation in Scotland before he was jailed. Why would he now?” Two years ago, the Sunday Mail exposed a backdoor deal when the Crown handed back Stevenson’s £300,000 watch collection, which had been seized under proceeds of crime of legislation. Last June, he was sent back to high-security Shotts jail in Lanarkshire from an open prison after a major SCDEA drugs probe, Operation Chilon. Detectives believed that the gang they investigated was controlled by Stevenson. Haulage firm boss Charles McAughey’s home was one of 11 targeted in raids. In 2009, we revealed that French police had found 684kg of pure cocaine worth £31million in a lorry owned by McAughey. Chilon resulted in the SCDEA seizing 242kg of cannabis worth £1.21million and the jailing of three men for a combined 15 years.

Four Dead in Gang Related Shooting

Police in Alice are investigating a shooting that occurred near Reynolds Street. According to investigators, it all started on South Nayer Street where police say Isaac Vela was standing on the side of the road waiting for a ride. A vehicle -- with four people inside passed by. One of the passengers, police say, shot Vela in the face. The vehicle fled the scene, but the driver only made it a few blocks before he lost control of the vehicle. It smashed into a nearby school. Three of the four people inside the car died. The other is in the hospital...where investigators will interview him tomorrow. Police say all of the men involved are known gang members.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Tulisa's Friend, 21, Shot Dead In Gangland Hit

Reece James, 21, a close friend of Tulisa Contostavlos has been shot dead in a reported gangland attack. The 21-year-old, who appeared with Tulisa in a video for rapper Nines, was shot in the head in a "pre-planned and targeted" hit, 100 miles from his home in London, reports the UK's Sun newspaper. Police found James' body in Boscombe, Bournemouth, at around 2.30am near where Somali drug gangs are said operate. A 22-year-old man was arrested. Reece was said to have been in the area with some friends for "a couple of months", though had filmed the video earlier this month with Tulisa and rapper Nines on the Church End Estate in Harlesden, North West London. The former N Dubz star caused controversy at the time, making a "C" symbol to the camera - the same sign that is used by Harlesden's notorious Church Road Soldiers gang. Tulisa claimed it was a reference to Camden, where she was born. Twitter tributes began flooding in last night, with one user writing, "RIP Reece James. Thoughts are with him and his family and friends". Local MP Tobias Ellwood described the killing as "a spill over from the drugs turf war in the capital", adding, "This was one London gang chasing down another, carrying out a professional hit and then going back".

Friday, 27 July 2012

Gangs of highway robbers are targeting British tourists on holiday in Spain.

Hundreds of visitors in British-registered vehicles or hire cars have had their possessions, passports and money taken in ‘quick and slick’ distraction muggings.

The thieves typically trick their victims with loud noises, apparent accidents, supposed vehicle problems or pleas for help – before stealing bags and belongings from their vehicles. 

Thieves: Hundreds of visitors in British-registered vehicles or hire cars have had their possessions, passports and money taken in 'quick and slick' distraction muggings

Thieves: Hundreds of visitors in British-registered vehicles or hire cars have had their possessions, passports and money taken in 'quick and slick' distraction muggings

As millions of families begin their summer breaks, the Foreign Office has warned British-registered cars are ‘an easy target’ for motorway thieves. 

The number of British tourists ambushed on Spanish roads has soared as the euro crisis has deepened, with the British Embassy in Madrid reporting a 10 per cent rise in the first quarter of this year.

 This is likely to increase further as the peak holiday season begins. 

A spokesman for the embassy said:  ‘Motorists may be driving along the motorway and not notice there’s a car close up behind. 

‘Someone in the other car throws a stone at their vehicle which creates a loud bang. The British drivers pull over to see what has happened and the gang is behind them. 

‘They cause a distraction to steal from them or simply mug them. It’s a growing problem.’

Warning: As millions of families begin their summer breaks, the Foreign Office has warned British-registered cars are ¿an easy target¿ for motorway thieves

Warning: As millions of families begin their summer breaks, the Foreign Office has warned British-registered cars are ¿an easy target¿ for motorway thieves

A hotspot for the gangs is the AP7 motorway between the French border and the Alicante region in southern Spain. 

More than 140 cases of theft on this route were reported to British Consulates last year. 

However, a spokesman said there were likely to be ‘hundreds more’ attacks going unreported across Spain because victims usually contact a British consulate only if they have lost their passport. 

Dave Thomas, consular regional director for Spain, said: ‘Be on your guard against anyone who attempts to stop you or ask you for help.

‘They may well be part of a  gang operating a scam in which an unseen accomplice will rob you of your things.’ 

Stephen and Helen Robinson, from Desford, Leicestershire, had their bags stolen from their Audi Q5 as they stopped to walk their labrador retriever Polly at a service station between Barcelona and Valencia. 

The couple, who are in their 50s, were standing at the boot of their car when a man on a mobile phone asked them how to say something in English. 

While he distracted them, their belongings were taken from the front of the car, despite Polly being inside. 

Mrs Robinson said: ‘It was quick and slick. You may be more tired and therefore more vulnerable when you’ve been travelling, so separate your valuables into different places in the car, and when you stop be aware you may be being watched. You won’t see the accomplice of the person who is distracting you.’ 

In a separate incident, Joy and Alan Horton, from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, were driving a Ford Focus hatchback through Spain when they heard a loud bang and pulled over.

A car that had been travelling close behind them also stopped, and while the driver talked to them, his accomplice stole their possessions without them noticing.

Mr Horton said: ‘If you think your car may have been in a collision and you pull over, lock the car as soon as you get out and mount a guard on both sides of the vehicle. Keep all bags and valuables in a locked boot.’ 

Professor Stephen Glaister, of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘Drivers need to remember to stay alert and be ready for unwelcome surprises just as they would be at home.’

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Crime victims who suffer broken bones lose compensation

Peers approved the move, which will save around £50 million a year from the £200 million annual budget of the Criminal Injury Compensation Board, after hearing that it was necessary to help reduce the deficit. As a result, around 17,000 victims who suffer "temporary" injuries each year, such as fractured ribs or a dislocated jaw, will lose out on compensation altogether. Another 13,000 with more serious injuries, including minor brain damage, a fractured skull or damage to the retina, will see their compensation cut. Overall, an estimated 83 per cent of crime victims will lose out. Labour accused the Government of putting its deficit reduction plan before the needs of the victims of crime. Speaking in the debate before the vote, Baroness Royall, Labour's leader in the Lords, said: "Victims do not chose to be victims, they have suffered through no fault of their own. The Government is putting deficit reduction before humanity."

The biggest fines in British maritime history were handed down to a group of Spanish fishermen on Thursday, for illegal fishing in UK waters.

Leo blog : Romanian fishermen are cleaning up their net from small dead fish
 Photograph: Robert Ghement/EPA
Some of the biggest fines in British maritime history were handed down to a group of Spanish fishermen on Thursday, for illegal fishing in UK waters.
Two companies owned by the Vidal family were fined £1.62m in total in a Truro court, after a two-day hearing, in which details emerged of falsified log books, failing to register the transfer of fish between vessels, false readings given for weighing fish at sea, and fiddling of fishing quotas.
Judge Graham Cottle said the family were guilty of "wholesale falsification of official documentation" that amounted to a "systematic, repeated and cynical abuse of the EU fishing quota system over a period of 18 months".
He said: "[This was a] flagrant, repeated and long term abuse of regulations. The fish targeted [hake] was at that time a species of fish on the verge if collapse and adherence to quotas was seen as crucial to the survival of the species."
The Spanish fishing vessels had been sailing under UK flags and were landing fish based on quotas given to British fishermen under the EU's common fisheries policy. Two vessels were involved, but the companies own several other large vessels, capable of industrial-scale fishing.
The offending fishermen, who admitted their guilt earlier this year, were not in court to hear him, having been given leave to return to Spain last night. The offences, dating from 2009 and 2010, relate to two companies, Hijos De Vidal Bandin SA and Sealskill Limited, both owned by the Vidal family. They were fined £925,000 on a confiscation order, plus £195,000 in costs, and an additional fine of £250,000 levied on each of the two companies. Two skippers who were acting under the family's instructions were fined £5,000 each.
Ariana Densham, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace, who was present for the trial and judgement, said that the fines, while welcome, did not go far enough. "This group of people should never be allowed near UK fishing quota again," she said. "The Vidal's right to fish should be removed completely."
She said the offences showed the vulnerability of the EU's fishing quota system to fraud. "The system that allowed this to happen needs to be fixed," she said. "This case is not a one off. It's a symptom of Europe's farcical fishing rules. The Vidals were permitted to fish under UK flags, using UK quota, and receive huge EU subsidies, with none of the proceeds ever feeding back into the UK economy. The system is skewed in favour of rich, powerful, industrial-scale fishing companies, when really it should be supporting low-impact, sustainable fishermen."
There are currently moves under way in Brussels by the fisheries commissioner, Maria Damanaki, to reform the EU's common fisheries policy. The proposed reforms – which include the ending of the wasteful practice of discarding healthy and edible fish at sea – have met stiff opposition, particularly from the French and Spanish fishing industries. Spain has the biggest fishing fleet in Europe and receives the lion's share of the subsidies available for fishing within the EU. A historic agreement was reached among member states last month on the proposals, but they must now pass the European parliament, which is expected to consider the proposals later this year.

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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The fugitive of actor Ronnie Barker was remanded in custody today after appearing in court charged with making indecent images of children, after eight years on the run.

Adam Barker, 44,  appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates Court, west London, charged with five counts of making indecent images - two in the highest category of seriousness.

Barker, the youngest son of comedian Ronnie Barker, was remanded in custody until August 21, when he will be committed to crown court.

He jumped bail in June 2004 after being arrested for allegedly possessing child pornography.

But this morning, he handed himself in at a West London police station and was charged with making indecent images of children.

The fugitive, who was a struggling actor at the time of his disappearance, was left more than £2 million in his mother’s will – but it remains unclear whether he will collect his inheritance.

Police allegedly found 1,200 indecent images of children on a computer after raiding his West London home as part of an international investigation into the use of child pornography websites in 2003.

Barker, who appeared in the ITV detective series Wycliffe, was arrested as part of Operation Ore, the UK’s largest-ever police hunt for paedophiles who used their credit cards to pay for child porn on the internet.

He was allegedly one of 7,000 British men identified as subscribers to an American internet portal that allowed access to child porn sites across Europe and Asia.

He was first arrested on 3 June 2003 and bailed to a west London police station until 24 June 2004, but he went missing.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: ‘Adam Barker, 44, an actor of no fixed abode has today, Tuesday 24 July, been charged with five counts of making indecent images of children.

‘He will appear in custody at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court this afternoon, Tuesday 24 July.’ 

Family: Adam Barker is pictured, left, with his father Ronnie, right

Family: Adam Barker is pictured, left, with his father Ronnie, right, and mother Joy, centre

Actor: Adam Barker appeared in the ITV detective series Wycliffe. He is pictured far right as DS Ian Potter with the rest of the cast in the crime drama

Actor: Adam Barker appeared in the ITV detective series Wycliffe. He is pictured far right as DS Ian Potter with the rest of the cast in the crime drama

Ronnie Barker, who entertained millions in shows such as The Two Ronnies, Porridge and Open All Hours, never spoke about his son’s disappearance but was said to have been devastated.

He stayed away from his mother Joy’s funeral in January 2011 after she died aged 78 after a short illness.

He also missed his father’s funeral six-and-a-half years ago, which was monitored by detectives. 

Family: Ronnie Barker, who died in October 2005, is pictured with Adam on his first day at school in 1972

Close: Ronnie Barker, who died in October 2005, is pictured with Adam on his first day at school in 1972


Missing: Joy Barker is pictured with son Larry attending Ronnie Barker's funeral. Adam did not attend his father's funeral or his mother's

Missing: Joy Barker is pictured with son Larry attending Ronnie Barker's funeral. Adam did not attend his parents' funerals

His mother, who lived in the Cotswolds, left £6,520,426 in her will to be split equally between their three children.

Adam, his brother Larry, 51, and sister Charlotte, 48, were due to receive about £1,340,000 each after inheritance tax and other expenses.

Experts said there appeared to be no legal reason why Adam should be denied his share of the money, although there could be ethical objections.

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson are to be charged over the alleged phone hacking of murder victim Milly Dowler, the Crown Prosecution Service said today.

Brooks, a former News International chief executive, and Coulson, David Cameron's former spin doctor and former editor of News of the World, are among eight ex Murdoch employees who will be prosecuted. 

Brooks will face three charges including one relating to the alleged accessing of Milly's voicemails and another relating to former trade union boss Andrew Gilchrist. 

Coulson will face four additional charges linked to accusations of accessing phone messages, including those belonging to Milly, David Blunkett, Charles Clarke and George Best's son Calum Best.


Facing charges: Andy Coulson (right), walks to make a statement to the press outside his home in Dulwich, south east London today after it was announced he will be prosecuted

Facing charges: Andy Coulson (right), walks to make a statement to the press outside his home in Dulwich, south east London today after it was announced he will be prosecuted

Rebekah Brooks
Andy Coulson

Investigation: Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, left, and NOTW's former editor Andy Coulson, pictured today, will be charged over the alleged hacking of murder victim Milly Dowler's voicemails


Rebekah Brooks was editor of the News of the World from 2000 to 2003, when she became editor of the Sun, before rising to become News International chief executive. 

She resigned from her position in July 2011 after Rupert Murdoch closed down the News of the World after 168 years of publication following allegations that Milly Dowler's voicemails had been hacked after she went missing in Surrey in 2002.

She is charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority, from 3rd October 2000 to 9th August 2006.

She also faces two additional charges, relating to allegedly accessing the voicemails of Milly Dowler and former trade union boss Andrew Gilchrist.


Andy Coulson was editor of the News of the World between 2003 and 2007. He became Downing Street's head of communications and was at the heart of David Cameron's communications operation in opposition and when the Tory leader entered No 10. He quit the role in January last year. 

Coulson was notoriously given a 'second chance' by Mr Cameron after his resignation from the newspaper.

He is charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority, from 3rd October 2000 to 9th August 2006.

He will face four further charges linked to accusations of accessing the phone messages of Milly Dowler, David Blunkett, Charles Clarke and George Best's son Calum Best.


The others facing charges include private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, and a series of former staff members from the now defunct paper.

These are ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmondson, former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former reporter James Weatherup.

The announcement was made this morning by the Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) legal adviser Alison Levitt QC, who said a total of 19 charges would be brought.

Today Ms Brooks said today she was not guilty of phone hacking, saying in a statement: 'I am not guilty of these charges. I did not authorise, nor was I aware of, phone hacking under my editorship.

'I am distressed and angry that the CPS have reached this decision when they knew all the facts and were in a position to stop the case at this stage.'


Ian Edmondson
Former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck

Allegations: Former assistant editor of the News of the World Ian Edmonson, left, faces eleven further charges and former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, right, face seven further charges relating to alleged phone hacking

The former Sun editor said the accusations over Milly Dowler were especially upsetting.

'The charge concerning Milly Dowler is particularly upsetting, not only as it is untrue but also because I have spent my journalistic career campaigning for victims of crime. 

'I will vigorously defend these allegations.'

Meanwhile, Coulson today said that he never had done anything to harm the Milly Dowler investigation and would 'fight these allegations'.

Speaking outside his home in south-east London, he said that the now-defunct newspaper had worked on behalf of victims of crime.

He said that he did nothing to damage the investigation into Milly Dowler’s murder.

Thurlbeck said he was 'most surprised and disappointed' that he will face charges over phone hacking and vowed to 'vigorously fight to clear my reputation'.

Glenn Mulcaire
Stuart Kuttner

Charges: Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, left, will face four charges and ex-managing editor of News of the World Stuart Kuttner, right, faces two further charges relating to Milly Dowler and The Rt Hon David Blunkett MP

Edmondson, who was first arrested in April last year, said he only learned he would be charged when he saw news reports this morning.

He said: 'For the past 18 months my family and I have suffered in silence. I have not given interviews or spoken out in order to get my points across or to correct reported lies or inaccuracies.

'I have much to say on this subject and I now look forward to saying it. I will clear my name at trial when the truth finally emerges.'

Ms Levitt said that 13 files were passed to the CPS by the police and she had decided that there was a 'realistic prospect of conviction' in relation to eight of them.

Greg Miskiw, former News of the World journalist
James Weatherup

Accusations: Former news editor of the News of the World Greg Miskiw, left, faces nine further charges and former reporter at the News of the World James Weatherup, right, faces seven further charges

All of them apart from Mulcaire will be charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority between October 3, 2000 and August 9, 2006.

All will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on August 16, the CPS said.

Prosecutors will claim that more than 600 people, including Hollywood superstars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, were victims of the alleged offences.

Milly Dowler
Actress Angelina Jolie

Victims: Some of the charges relate to the alleged accessing of voicemails belonging to murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, left, and actress Angelina Jolie, right. Prosecutors say more than 600 people were victims

Ms Levitt told the media that Brooks will face two additional charges, relating to allegedly accessing the voicemails of Milly Dowler and former trade union boss Andrew Gilchrist.


Murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler 

Former trade union boss Andrew Gilchrist

The Rt Hon David Blunkett MP

The Rt Hon Charles Clarke 

Calum Best, son of late footballer George Best

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson

Abigail Titmuss and John Leslie

Celebrity chef Delia Smith 

Actors Jude Law, Sadie Frost and Sienna Miller

Footballer Wayne Rooney

Former Lib Dem MP Mark Oaten

The Rt Hon Dame Tessa Jowell MP and David Mills

The Rt Hon Lord Prescott 

7/7 survivor Professor John Tulloch

Lord Frederick Windsor, the son of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent

Sir Paul McCartney and his former wife Heather Mills

Actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Coulson will face four charges linked to accusations of accessing the phone messages of Milly Dowler, David Blunkett, Charles Clarke and George Best's son Calum Best.

Kuttner is accused in relation to Milly Dowler and David Blunkett, and Miskiw faces charges linked to Milly Dowler, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Abi Titmuss and John Leslie, Andrew Gilchrist, David Blunkett, Delia Smith, Charles Clarke, Jude Law, Sadie Frost and Sienna Miller, and Wayne Rooney.

Edmondson faces charges in relation to David Blunkett, Charles Clarke, Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Sienna Miller, Mark Oaten, Wayne Rooney, Calum Best, Tessa Jowell and David Mills, John Prescott, Professor John Tulloch, Lord Frederick Windsor and Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.

Mulcaire faces charges over Milly Dowler, Gilchrist, Smith and Clarke.

It is understood that former News of the World journalist Ross Hall, who wrote under the name Ross Hindley, freelance journalist Terenia Taras and former Evening Standard sports reporter Raoul Simons have all been told that no further action will be taken against them.

Police also asked Ms Levitt to defer making a decision over two remaining suspects while they make further inquiries.

Eleven journalists and one non-journalist were due to answer police bail today. When the eight who are facing prosecution do so they will be charged.

Once police have contacted all the alleged victims, a list will be made available, she said.

This morning, Labour leader Ed Miliband, speaking during a visit to Paris, said: 'Everybody was very shocked at the revelations of the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone.

'I said at the time we needed to get to the bottom of what had happened.

'It is now right that justice takes its course. This is now a matter for the courts.'

six people including former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie, have been charged.

Spotlight: A series of former News of the World staff are to be charged today after prosecutors decided it was in the public interest. It follows an investigation by the Metropolitan Police lasting several months

A general view of New Scotland Yard

All the people named today - with the exception of Glenn Mulcaire - will be charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority, from 3rd October 2000 to 9th August 2006


All, with the exception of Glenn Mulcaire, will be charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority, from 3rd October 2000 to 9th August 2006.

In addition, each will face a number of further charges of conspiracy unlawfully to intercept communications, as follows:

Rebekah Brooks will face two additional charges, relating to 

1.   Milly Dowler

2.   Andrew Gilchrist

Andrew Coulson will face four additional charges, relating to

1.   Milly Dowler

2.   The Rt Hon David Blunkett MP

3.   The Rt Hon Charles Clarke

4.   Calum Best

Stuart Kuttner will face two additional charges, relating to

1.   Milly Dowler

2.   The Rt Hon David Blunkett MP

Greg Miskiw will face nine further charges, relating to

1.    Milly Dowler

2.    Sven-Goran Eriksson

3.    Abigail Titmuss and John Leslie

4.    Andrew Gilchrist

5.    The Rt Hon David Blunkett MP

6.    Delia Smith

7.    The Rt Hon Charles Clarke

8.    Jude Law, Sadie Frost and Sienna Miller, and

9.    Wayne Rooney

Ian Edmondson will face a further eleven charges, relating to

1.    The Rt Hon David Blunkett MP

2.    The Rt Hon Charles Clarke

3.    Jude Law, Sadie Frost and Sienna Miller

4.    Mark Oaten

5.    Wayne Rooney

6.    Calum Best

7.    The Rt Hon Dame Tessa Jowell MP and David Mills

8.    The Rt Hon Lord Prescott

9.    Professor John Tulloch

10.  Lord Frederick Windsor

11.  Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills

Neville Thurlbeck will face a further seven charges in relation to

1.    Milly Dowler

2.    Sven-Goran Eriksson

3.    The Rt Hon David Blunkett MP

4.    The Rt Hon Charles Clarke

5.    Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

6.    Mark Oaten

7.    The Rt Hon Dame Tessa Jowell MP and David Mills

James Weatherup will face a further seven charges in relation to 

1.    The Rt Hon David Blunkett MP 

2.    The Rt Hon Charles Clarke 

3.    Jude Law, Sadie Frost and Sienna Miller

4.    Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt 

5.    Wayne Rooney

6.    The Rt Hon Lord Prescott

7.    Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills

For legal reasons Glenn Mulcaire does not face the first of these charges. However, he will face four charges, relating to

1.    Milly Dowler 

2.    Andrew Gilchrist

3.    Delia Smith

4.    The Rt Hon Charles Clarke

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