A Kansas man was struck by lightning hours after buying three Mega Millions lottery tickets on Thursday, proving in real life the old saying that a gambler is more likely to be struck down from the sky than win the jackpot. Bill Isles, 48, bought three tickets in the record $656 million lottery Thursday at a Wichita, Kansas grocery store. On the way to his car, Isles said he commented to a friend: "I've got a better chance of getting struck by lightning" than winning the lottery. Later at about 9:30 p.m., Isles was standing in the back yard of his Wichita duplex, when he saw a flash and heard a boom -- lightning. "It threw me to the ground quivering," Isles said in a telephone interview on Saturday. "It kind of scrambled my brain and gave me an irregular heartbeat." Isles, a volunteer weather spotter for the National Weather Service, had his portable ham radio with him because he was checking the skies for storm activity. He crawled on the ground to get the radio, which had been thrown from his hand. Isles had been talking to other spotters on the radio and called in about the lightning strike. One of the spotters, a local television station intern, called 911. Isles was taken by ambulance to a hospital and kept overnight for observation. Isles said doctors wanted to make sure his heartbeat was back to normal. He suffered no burns or other physical effects from the strike, which he said could have been worse because his yard has a power line pole and wires overhead. "But for the grace of God, I would have been dead," Isles said. "It was not a direct strike." Isles said he had someone buy him ten more tickets to the Mega Millions lottery on Friday night. While one of the three winning tickets was sold in Kansas, Isles was not a winner. Officials of the Mega Millions lottery, which had the largest prize in U.S. history, said that the odds of winning lottery were about 176 million to one. Americans have a much higher chance of being struck by lightning, at 775,000 to one over the course of a year, depending on the part of the country and the season, according to the National Weather Service. Isles, who is out of work after being laid off last June by a furniture store, said he did once win $2,000 in the lottery and will keep playing. "The next time I will use the radio while sitting in the car," he said
Saturday, 31 March 2012
PHOTOGRAPHS of the spot where gangland figure Kevin “Gerbil” Carroll was shot dead were shown to a murder trial jury yesterday. The pictures – shown on day one of the trial – included an image of an Audi with smashed windows. The court was told the car was “subject to a significant degree of examination”. Carroll, 29, was shot in the car park of Asda in Robroyston, Glasgow, in January 2010. Ross Monaghan, 30, has been accused of Carroll’s murder. It is alleged that, while masked and acting with others, Monaghan repeatedly discharged loaded handguns at him, shooting him on the head and body. Monaghan is accused of – while acting with others – attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of a revolver, pistol and ammunition in undergrowth in Coatbridge and Airdrie. It is also claimed a car bearing false number plates was set on fire. Monaghan also faces a number of firearms charges. He denies all the charges against him at the High Court in Glasgow and has incriminated Mr X, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and seven others. The trial, before Lord Brailsford, continues.
Friday, 30 March 2012
popular Caribbean dancing style used by adults, known as 'daggering', is sexualising the dance floors of a much younger generation.
Teenagers as young as 11 are modelling sex acts and rape, in the form of daggering, on the dance floor with their peers. Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz said: "there's not a lot separating that kind of behaviour from actual violent, coercive sex." Footage seen by Channel 4 News [see above] shows an under-18s club night in East London. As with all 'under-18s' club nights, everyone is between 11 and 16. Some of the children look much younger. The club is packed. The music: Caribbean dancehall. The dancing style: daggering. It is a style of dancing that any carnival regular will be used to. Aficionados will no doubt, have a more technical description of the style but it mainly involves women bending over and rubbing their backsides up against the men's crotches. During that August weekend in Notting Hill every adult gives it a go. But what's different about this night club is that every child is giving it a go. Spurred on by the DJ, the 'daggering' becomes more enthusiastic, some of it verging on violent. Boys and girls end up on top of each other on the floor simulating sex. Throughout the night someone employed by the club promoter (presumably an adult) is filming it all and uploading it on the club's website via YouTube.
Robbers stole thousands of pounds of gold in a daylight raid on a London jewellery shop before fire-bombing a car to cover their escape. Staff cowered in terror as the black-clad gang of 10 used hammers to ransack the Wembley store. The raiders, wearing balaclavas and carrying rucksacks, struck just before noon yesterday. They were dropped off at Raj Jewels by car and threatened staff after smashing their way in. It is not yet known how much of the 22-carat Asian gold jewellery was stolen from display cases, but the robbers are thought to have been partly foiled by an emergency alarm, which pumped the shop full of smoke. The gang grabbed valuables then ran out, fire-bombed a second car parked outside after dousing it in petrol and fled on foot along side streets, possibly to a getaway car. No one gave chase. It is unclear who owns the torched car, which detectives believe may have been set ablaze as a diversion. The flames combined with the shop smoke brought chaos to Ealing Road. Raj Jewels manager Kalpreh Lakha said: “It was a smash-and-grab. Ten people came in and our staff were very scared but luckily no one got hurt.” Witness Greg Warren, of Central Heating Systems opposite the jewellers, said: “I heard the car crash up the pavement into the front of the building and saw people run into the store. “The smoke went off and after about a minute they ran out again. Then they set the car alight before running off. It exploded before police got there and before the area was cordoned off.” Khimdas Bapu, who runs Naklank Sweet Mart, said: “A well-dressed man and several accomplices ran into the shop. Each aimed for a separate counter, smashed the glass, and grabbed what they could.” The store is one of the biggest jewellers in Ealing Road and is opposite a mosque. Traders say jewellers there, many Sri Lankan or Indian, have previously been targeted by Tamil gangs. Councillor Krupa Sheth said: “The gang couldn’t ram-raid because of bollards but a lot of damage was done. This is the fourth jewellery raid here in six months.” The Flying Squad is investigating and a man has been arrested on suspicion of robbery. inShare 1
The Leveson inquiry heard Kit Malthouse, the deputy mayor, contrast the £40m anticipated cost of Operation Weeting with the £36m annual spend on child abuse investigations. Features The cost of the Metropolitan police investigations into phone hacking and other alleged illegal activity by journalists is set to rise to £40m and tie up 200 police officers – about seven times the number investigating paedophiles in London, the Leveson inquiry has heard. Kit Malthouse, Boris Johnson's deputy mayor for policing and crime in London, disclosed the figures to the inquiry on Thursday as he issued a robust defence of his review of the level of police resources tied up in the investigations, amid concern that this would be to the detriment of the detection of "serious and heinous crimes" such as murder, rape and paedophilia. Malthouse told the inquiry that the Scotland Yard resources dedicated to unearthing alleged wrongdoing by journalists had grown "very significantly" as he contrasted the £40m anticipated cost of Operation Weeting, the inquiry into phone hacking at the News of the World, and related investigations, with the £36m annual spend for detecting child abuse cases. He told the inquiry that 150 Met officers were currently engaged in the various investigations related to alleged phone hacking, computer hacking (Operation Tuleta) and illegal payments to police and other public officials (Operation Elveden). Malthouse said this number was forecast to rise to 200 – the equivalent of "eight murder squads" – at a time when just 27 police officers were engaged in "tracking down paedophiles". He conceded that the investigation "does need to happen" but said it was his job to ask legitimate questions of top officers about the level of resources being deployed across all the various types of crime. Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick told the inquiry that Malthouse, whom Johnson made chairman of the now defunct Metropolitan Police Authority in January 2010, lobbied her three times over the resources Scotland Yard was devoting to the investigations and in the end said she had "put down a marker" with him. Former Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson also told the inquiry earlier this month that Malthouse had complained about the level of resources allocated to the investigation because of a "political and media-driven 'level of hysteria"'. Malthouse, who subsequently took on the new city hall role of police and crime commissioner, told Lord Justice Leveson on Thursday that at the time he made that comment Scotland Yard was facing a backlog of 400 rape cases following botched police investigations involving two serial rapists. He said he was also concerned about the Met's approach to dealing with gang crime at the time. "As we moved into early 2011 and the investigation launched, it became apparent there was going to be a large drain on resources from what is a valuable and finite resource, which is our detective capability," he said. "I was keen to ensure that they were not undertaking this investigation to the detriment of, for instance, rape victims. Having sat and watched the tears roll down the faces of rape victims as they recounted what had happened to them I was particularly acutely aware of that problem," Malthouse added. "So putting it into that context and given that my job is to ensure that the Met fairly balances resources across the priorities and indeed assesses what the priorities are and what is most in the public interest, I was keen to ensure they weren't overplaying it." When asked if he supported the level of resources allocated to Operation Weeting and other investigations related to phone hacking, Malthouse replied: "Yes. I think as Sir Paul Stephenson has said this is an investigation that has to happen. It is a question really of balancing resources across the various crime types that the Met had to deal with ... Two hundred people is eight murder squads and I have to make sure that is balanced appropriately against the Met's ability to deal with some of the very serious and heinous crime types which my life sadly has been populated with over the last four years." He also told the Leveson inquiry that he had questioned on "more than one occasion" the "modus operandi" of senior police officers and News International. Malthouse said it was "fairly plain" that for people whose job requires them to exercise their professional judgment every single day, such as arresting people or whether to use rubber bullets, handling an invitation to lunch with a journalist "should be relatively simple". He said if a senior officer is invited out to lunch or dinner, it is possible to offer an alternative to avoid causing offence to the journalist, such as a cup of coffee at Scotland Yard to discuss policing for half an hour. He said, however, that had he been aware of the level of hospitality offered by the media to the police that has emerged at the Leveson inquiry, he would have probably reacted differently.
Police intelligence reports and details of operations were deleted by corrupt serving and former police officers, according to a secret report that has been passed to the Leveson Inquiry. The eight-page report by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) was written in 2008 and detailed how private investigators with links to crime gangs tried to discover the identities of informants and witnesses under police protection. Corrupt officers and former officers were used by the private detectives, who the SOCA report warned "threaten to undermine the criminal justice system". The report, which was seen by Channel 4, analysed five police operations and stated: "Four of the operations provided examples of corrupt individuals including serving and former police officers, a bank employee, employees in a communications service provider, a public service employee, and a HM Prison Service Employee. All of these were used by private investigators to facilitate access to information." Bob Quick, the former head of anti-corruption at the Metropolitan Police, told Channel 4 News: "There were occasions where cases involved officers removing evidence, destroying evidence. This was infrequent but when it occurred it was serious. There were indications that that relationships existed with private investigators and ex-police officers who were suspected of corruption." In two operations analysed by SOCA it was found that activities by private investigators, or people acting for them, included accessing the Police National Computer, making unauthorised checks on vehicles, accessing details of criminal investigations, and attempting to track down witnesses. Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, told the programme he hoped to call Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary in 2008, to ask if she was aware of what was going on. He also wants to call SOCA and said: "If they knew that there was this widespread deletion of information, and the connection between private investigators and police officers who were involved in inappropriate action, it's very important that they come before the committee and explain themselves." The uncovering of the report, which was excluded from Freedom of Information requests, raises the question of whether the private investigation industry should be regulated. In 2001 the government gave itself the power to license the industry but has not acted on it, although the Home Office said last night that it was under consideration.
Thursday, 29 March 2012
Baggage handlers at Stansted Airport are to strike over Easter in a row over pay, the GMB union announced today. The move follows an overwhelming vote in favour of industrial action by 150 GMB members employed by Swissport after the union claimed that shift changes would lead to wage cuts of up to £1,000. The GMB said strikes will be held on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday, threatening disruption to passengers flying on holiday for the holiday break. GMB official Gary Pearce said: "GMB members have voted overwhelmingly for strike action and for action short of a strike. "Up to now the company has been intent on imposing these changes without agreement and this is completely unacceptable, as this vote shows. "GMB has offered several alternative shift patterns and working arrangements but the company refuses to listen so far. "I have notified Swissport of the ballot result and I have asked them for more talks to try to avert action over these pay cuts. "GMB members consider that Swissport is attempting to make savings at their expense and they are not willing to agree to this. "Unless there is urgent talks and a settlement, this vote for action this will result in disruption over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. "The travelling public need to be aware that it has been this aggressive move by Swissport to cut our members pay at a time of high inflation that has led to this strike vote. "If the strike goes ahead, Swissport is entirely to blame for the disruption."
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
Sue Berelowitz, deputy children's commissioner, is leading a two year inquiry into the problem, which is trying to establish the number of girls being exploited by key gang members - or gang nominals as they are known. "Of all of the gang nominals our expectation from the evidence we’ve received to date, is that the girls associated with them would all either be at extremely high risk or actually be being sexually exploited in some shape or form," she told Channel 4 News. "From the conversations we’ve had with individual girls, some of the stories we get are quite heart-rending really in terms of girls being kidnapped, held at gun point, threatened with being, what the public would understand as gang raped." There is at least one girl being sexually exploited by each gang nomina or key gang member, and an estimated 6000 gang nominals, at least, in the UK, she told Channel 4 News. Former gang member Isha Nembhard now works with girls in gangs. She has come across some of the most harrowing examples of sexual exploitation of girls by gangs and says it is commonplace. One of the worst cases she worked on involved a group of gang members sexually abusing a young disabled girl.
An American teenager has been found guilty of the first degree murder of two British tourists in Florida. James Cooper, 25, from Warwickshire, and James Kouzaris, 24, from Northampton, were shot dead on a public housing estate in Newtown, Sarasota. The pair, who met at Sheffield University, were killed after drunkenly wandering into the estate in the early hours of 16 April 2011. The court heard Shawn Tyson, 17, killed them after trying to rob them. Tyson, who was tried as an adult despite being 16 at the time of the shooting, faces life in prison with no chance of parole. 'Shattered soul' The families of Mr Cooper and Mr Kouzaris were not in court but said in a statement they were satisfied with the verdict. They added: "It is a fact that we were given a life sentence when our sons were so brutally and needlessly taken from us. "Ours is a life sentence, with no chance of parole from a broken heart, and a shattered soul." Mr Kouzaris and Mr Cooper had been out drinking in downtown Sarasota before they were shot The families also criticised the Sarasota court system that freed Tyson after a judge warned he was a danger to the public. Hours before he shot the two Britons, Tyson was arrested for a separate shooting incident in which no-one was hurt. In the statement the families said: "The evil of the killer is one thing, but the fact is, he would not have been on the streets had instructions to keep him incarcerated been passed from one judge to another." Killer's boast When the mistake came to light the Mayor of Sarasota, Kelly Kirschener, vowed the city's prosecutors would never let anything similar happen again. During the trial jurors heard how Mr Kouzaris and Mr Cooper had been out drinking in downtown Sarasota before getting lost and wandering into the Newtown area in the early hours. The prosecution said they were confronted by Tyson who tried to rob them and then shot them when he realised they had very little money. The court heard Tyson had boasted to his friend Latrece Washington, who testified against him, that one of the men had begged for his life but he shot him anyway.
legal high known as "mexxy" is to be outlawed, the Government has announced. It follows concerns that two people whose bodies were found in Leicestershire in February may have taken some form of the drug after buying it over the internet. Methoxetamine, or mexxy, will initially be made illegal for 12 months while Government advisers decide whether to ban it completely. Crime Prevention Minister Lord Henley said: "Making this drug illegal sends a clear message to users and those making and supplying it that we are stepping up our fight against substances which are dangerous and ruin the lives of victims and their families. "But making drugs illegal is only part of the solution. "It is important for users of these harmful substances to understand that just because they are described as legal highs, it does not mean they are safe or should be seen as a 'safer' alternative to illegal substances." Anyone caught making, supplying or importing the drug faces up to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine. Under the change in law, police and border officials will also have new powers to search or detain anyone they suspect of having the drug and seize, keep or dispose of a substance they suspect is methoxetamine. After its growing use as a party drug, the Home Office referred mexxy to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) for its views on controlling it earlier this month. The drug, used as an alternative to ketamine, is widely available on the internet. Its effects include a faster heart rate, hallucinations, hypertension, loss of balance, higher blood pressure, agitation and cardiovascular conditions. Tests by the ACMD also found evidence that use of methoxetamine can lead to "significant additional toxicity". Professor Les Iversen, chairman of the ACMD, said: "The evidence shows that the use of methoxetamine can cause harm to users."
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
A full inquest into the police shooting of a man whose death sparked the London riots last summer may never take place after a police watchdog suggested evidence should be kept secret.
The family of Mark Duggan reacted with anger yesterday after a pre-inquest review into his death in Tottenham in August heard that sensitive material relating to police ‘decision making’ may not be disclosed – even to the coroner.
The move has alarmed campaigners, who warn of a ‘pandemic of secrecy’ coming at a time of controversial plans to extend private court hearings.
Shot by the police: Mark Duggan, whose death led to rioting
The Daily Mail has led the way in revealing growing unease at Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke’s proposals for an extension of ‘closed material procedures’, in which cases are held in secret.
North London Coroners’ Court was told the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) may have material about 29-year-old Duggan’s death ‘that it could not properly disclose to a coroner’.
Instead a judge could hold a special inquiry where the crucial details about why firearms officers shot the suspected gangster would be held behind closed doors.
Yesterday the Duggan family accused the IPCC of ‘delay tactics’.
If an inquest was blocked, there would still be a legal obligation to hold an alternative inquiry.
There has been growing unease at Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke¿s proposals for an extension of 'closed material procedures' in which cases are held in secret
But the family fear that the case may echo that of Azelle Rodney who was shot dead by police in 2005, yet his family are still waiting for a public inquiry seven years later.
Duggan’s aunt Carole said: ‘We believe the IPCC are withholding information from us.
‘Maybe they think we will go away, come to terms with what has happened, but we are a grieving family and we will always grieve for Mark.’
Duggan was being followed in a covert operation when armed officers stopped the taxi he was travelling in and shot him dead on August 4 last year. The shooting sparked the riots that swept across Tottenham before engulfing many parts of the capital and spreading to other parts of the country.
Yesterday Coroner Andrew Walker said: ‘We anticipate that the IPCC may be in possession of material that would be relevant to the issue of police decision making but could not be disclosed even to the coroner.
‘That raises a likelihood and I want the family to understand that that may mean that an inquest cannot proceed.’
He added: ‘Underneath this we must not forget is a grieving family who need to understand what’s happened.
Mark Duggan's shooting sparked the riots that swept across Tottenham before engulfing many parts of the capital and spreading to other parts of the country
The sooner we can identify whether the inquest is the means by which the state discharge their obligations the sooner an alternative if one is necessary can be put into place.’
Even if an inquest does take place it will now be pushed back to January next year to allow for a separate criminal trial to take place into the circumstances in which Duggan got the gun.
Yesterday the IPCC refused to explain why evidence could not be disclosed, but it is thought to relate to surveillance Scotland Yard had been carrying out.
Helen Shaw, co-director of Inquest, a charity providing support for bereaved people facing cases in a coroner’s court, said: ‘We share the coroner’s concern about undue delay.
The IPCC needs to move much more quickly – it shouldn’t have taken this long for them to tell the family and the coroner about their concerns about sensitive evidence.
‘While there are legal complexities surrounding sensitive material, it is absolutely vital a solution is found so that the family can get answers. Failure to do so will only lead to more distrust of the investigation process.’
Shami Chakrabarti, of civil liberties campaign group Liberty, said: ‘The least Mark Duggan’s family and Londoners deserve is a full and open hearing into how and why he was killed.
Given Government attempts to lock down our open civil courts, public confidence is hardly boosted by the IPCC falling victim to this new pandemic of secrecy.
Mark Ley-Morgan QC, representing the IPCC, said its report into the killing would be released to the parties by early autumn.
A further pre-inquest review has been scheduled for October, with a provisional date for a hearing set in January next year if the disclosure issue is resolved.
RIFKIND ATTACKS HIDDEN JUSTICE
Sir Malcolm Rifkind has criticised secret justice proposals to protect sensitive government material as ‘too broad by far’.
The former Tory Defence and Foreign Secretary concedes that in certain cases secret trials are necessary to avoid putting Britons in harm’s way.
But he declared that justice behind closed doors must not be used to avoid ‘difficult or embarrassing situations’ and must be ‘the exception, not the rule’.
Sir Malcolm chairs Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, which is due to publish its report into the controversial measures in the Justice and Security Green Paper this week.
He warns that closed trials are only justified in two ‘narrow categories’: Information that threatens the security of intelligence officers, their sources and methods; and intelligence provided by another country on a confidential basis.
Sir Malcolm wrote in The Times: ‘The current uncertainty on the scope of the proposals has been damaging and threatens to undermine those parts that are justified and essential.’
Monday, 26 March 2012
Moments after CCTV vision caught her dancing down the aisle of a corner store, a five-year-old London girl was left paralysed by a stray bullet. Security vision shows Thusha Kamaleswaran falling to the ground after a bullet intended for a gang member struck her in the chest, the Daily Mail reported. Nathaniel Grant, 21, Kazeem Kolawole, 19, and Anthony McCalla, 20, had gone into the grocery store owned by Thusha's uncle to target a rival gangster. The CCTV vision shows the intended target walking past Thusha seconds before the shooting takes place about 9pm, March 2011. Sitting on a bicycle in the doorway of the shop, Grant fired a handgun twice with the intent of hitting the rival before pedalling away. The girl's heart stopped twice as paramedics rushed her to hospital. Now more than a year after the shooting, Thusha is still in hospital and is likely to rely on a wheelchair for the rest of her life. "She was a playful child, always happy and smiling and was a good student at school," her father told the court in a statement. "It's hard for all at home to see an innocent child [who had been] hopping around like a rabbit, now paralysed." Grant, Kolawole and McCalla have been convicted of grievous bodily harm with intent. Three months before the shooting, Grant had been acquitted of the murder of another innocent bystander, a student buying milk at a nearby supermarket.
Laura Johnson, 20, said Emmanuel Okubote, known as T-Man, had been a “pillar of strength” to her when she was suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts after the rape, which she never reported to police, and after breaking up with her boyfriend. She told the court she had subsequently tried to kill herself six times. Their relationship had been so close that she “fancied” him and became “affectionate towards” him despite knowing his criminal past. But he turned from understanding to threatening on the night of the riots when he forced her to drive him and three friends around London so they could loot and rob, she said. Giving evidence at Inner London Crown Court, Miss Johnson said she had met T-Man through her friend Charlie Fryett, whom she met while being treated for mental health problems. Miss Johnson, who said she had a “breakdown” after her boyfriend ended their relationship and she was raped, said that she became closer to T-Man as Miss Fryett’s condition deteriorated.
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Break-in at Simon Cowell's house: Pop svengali left 'shaken up' after coming face-to-face with 'over-zealous fan'
A woman has been charged following a break-in at Simon Cowell’s multi-million-pound London house - while the star was at home. Leanne Zaloumis, 29, is being held on suspicion of aggravated burglary and will appear at West London Magistrates' Court tomorrow. Police are investigating the break-in, which took place while Mr Cowell was watching television downstairs. The astonishing security lapse came after the home, which is estimated to be worth £9million, was said to have security akin to ‘Fort Knox’. The intruder is believed to have come face-to-face with the pop svengali at the property in Holland Park, west London, on Saturday evening. The incident took place just after 10pm while Mr Cowell, whose return to the judging panel of Britain’s Got Talent had been screened on ITV earlier that evening, was in the house. It was initially believed by those close to Mr Cowell that the intruder was likely to have been an ‘over-zealous fan’. The woman is said to have entered the house via a downstairs window. A source claimed that at one point the intruder was 'lying on Simon's bed in his bedroom.' The intruder was eventually detained by some of the pop mogul’s staff and security. Nothing is believed to have been taken from the property. Following the arrest, police continued to search the grounds of the house, which is in one of the capital’s most desirable areas. Mr Cowell - whose entertainment empire includes Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor as well as pop stars Susan Boyle, Leona Lewis and current boy band sensations One Direction - is estimated to be worth as much as £300million. One friend said: ‘It was a frightening experience. Simon’s fine but shaken up - because he didn’t expect something like that to happen.’
German Gorbuntsov, a Russian banker with a lot of enemies, had come to London for his own safety. He had repeatedly told his lawyer he could never return to his homeland. “If I go back to Russia, they will kill me,” he had said. In the end, London wasn’t far enough away. They — whoever they are — got him anyway. On Tuesday evening, Mr Gorbuntsov was shot at least four, and as many as six, times as he entered the lobby of a modern apartment building in the shadow of Canary Wharf. Moscow’s gangland violence had spread to one of London’s quieter streets. Mr Gorbuntsov collapsed to the floor, blood pouring from wounds to his stomach and chest. A young blonde woman, at first reported to be his wife but now thought to be a very close friend, was at his side as first police and then paramedics battled to save his life. “There was a lot of blood. The window had been shot out in the door and you could see blood on the walls and on the floor tiles,” said Tony Smith, 26, an estate agent who lives in the same block.
Hugh Bingham, 72, claimed he was confident Lucan escaped the UK to begin a new life on the African continent following the killing of Sandra Rivett 38 years ago. But added that he was unsure if his missing sibling, who would now be 76, was alive or dead. The clue to Lucan’s location emerged when a watch believed to belong to Lord Lucan emerged from south Africa. Asked by the Mirror if he thought his brother had fled to Africa, he declared: “I am sure he did, yes. But what connection there is I don’t know. “There are all sorts of possibilities and lots of things puzzle me.” He added: “I wouldn’t like to form an opinion as to his whereabouts today or whether he is alive or dead. “The last time I had contact with my brother was a long, long time ago before the incident, lost in the mists of time.” Mr Bingham, who set up a new home in South Africa shortly after the killing, said Scotland Yard detectives have never travelled to his home in Johannesburg to interview him. He added: “I know very little about the case at all. I’ve often been asked to speak about my brother but have chosen not to, except to one or two retired detectives who have looked into what happened.” Earlier this week a documentary claimed that the peer’s children were secretly flown to Africa so he could “view them from a distance”. A number of detectives who have worked on the case hold the view he fled to the continent. A secretary working for Lucan’s friend John Aspinall told the BBC South East Inside Out programme that she was involved in helping to set up his new life after Ms Rivett was found dead at the home of his estranged wife, in Belgravia, London, in 1974. The nanny’s attacker turned on Lady Lucan, beating her severely before she managed to escape and raise the alarm at a nearby pub. Lucan’s car was later found abandoned and soaked in blood in Newhaven, East Sussex, and he was officially declared dead by the High Court in 1999. The secretary, who has not been identified and uses the pseudonym Jill Findlay, said she was invited into meetings where the earl, born Richard John Bingham, was discussed by her boss and Sir James Goldsmith, the multimillionaire businessman. She told the BBC: “Instructions were to make arrangements for John Bingham, also known as Lord Lucan, to see his children and to do that I had to book his two eldest children on flights to Africa. “I don’t know the exact dates, it was between 1979 and 1981 and it was on two occasions I booked the flights.” She said she believed Lucan had died in Africa when his death was announced in a statement to the press by Mr Aspinall in 2000. Following his disappearance, there were reported sightings of Lucan in Australia, Ireland and South Africa, although in an interview in 2000, Mr Aspinall claimed his friend had probably killed himself by deliberately sinking his boat in the English Channel. Police said today they would consider any new evidence that emerges in the case. A Met Police spokesman said: “The inquiry into the death of Sandra Rivett is the subject of regular reviews, as is the case with all unsolved murders. It has never been closed.”
The cabbie took German Gorbuntsov to his home shortly before he was shot and it is thought he may still have been in the area when the crime took place. Mr Gorbuntsov remains "critical but stable" under armed guard in hospital after he was shot several times as he entered his multimillion-pound executive apartment near Canary Wharf, east London. Scotland Yard has said it is "too early to speculate" on Russian reports the attack could be a gangland hit linked to a murder attempt on another banker, Alexander Antonov, in Moscow. The force's Trident command - which investigates gang shootings - is understood to have liaised with overseas counterparts in the hunt for the gunman behind the attack on Tuesday evening. A Yard spokesman said today that detectives were seeking the driver of a taxi which took Mr Gorbuntsov to Byng Street shortly before the attack.
RESPECTED British physics professor is languishing in a notorious Argentine jail as he tries to convince investigators that 2kg of cocaine found in his suitcase were planted on him in a honeytrap plot. Paul Frampton, 68, who teaches at the University of North Carolina, was arrested at a Buenos Aires airport on January 23, US State Department officials said last week. He claims he was set up after travelling to South America to meet “a well-known model” he met on the internet. Professor Frampton, who has three degrees from Oxford and is Luis D. Rubin Jr. Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UNC, insists that he is confident he will be exonerated. The drugs, he says, were built into a piece of luggage without his knowledge. “I am innocent,” he told US media. “I will not be convicted. It is just that the Argentine justice system is very slow. There is easily enough evidence that I didn’t know there were drugs in the bag, and that will come out, I hope sooner rather than later.” Professor Frampton said he had fallen victim to a set-up involving a supposed representative of the model, with whom he had been conversing for several months on the internet and hoped to marry. “My reason for travelling to South America was to meet a friend, who is a very well-known model, but I was unable to meet her,” he said. “I think that the representative of my friend, who gave me the tickets, is probably who is behind the drugs that were found in the suitcase.” He said in a declaration to Argentine judges that the representative had given him the suitcase to carry, claiming that it belonged to the model and that she had forgotten it. The scientist had arrived in Argentina two days earlier from Bolivia and was scheduled to take an 8.45am Lan Chile flight from Ezeiza international airport to Lima before continuing on to the United States. But after boarding the plane he was escorted off again by Argentine officials and taken to a luggage area. His bag was cut open in front of him to reveal a packet of white powder, which was found to be cocaine. After his arrest, Professor Frampton said, he was held incommunicado for three days before being allowed to telephone his department chairman at the American university and tell him what had happened. Though he has taught at the University of North Carolina for over three decades, he said the institution had cut off his $106,835-a year salary and had done nothing to help him, leaving him struggling to fund his defence. The scholar exploring some of humanity’s major questions, such as the origins and fate of the universe, now finds himself in the Villa Devoto prison, which is known for the incarceration of political prisoners in the 1960s and 1970s. He said conditions were the worst he had ever experienced. But he has continued to work from the jail, having already written four scholarly papers this year and continuing to advise two students assigned to him. One of them, David Eby, a doctoral candidate, said he had been in continuous phone contact with Professor Frampton, but that he had only just learned the reason for his absence. The scientist had said only that he was out of the country. Professor Frampton’s disappearance had been the subject of much speculation at the university, Mr Eby said. He could not believe that the professor was guilty. “He is human, but this is so far out of his character that I think I actually laughed when I heard about it,” he told the US media. Argentine judges evaluating the case said they did not find his story credible. “It’s improbable and it wouldn’t be likely that a person of 68 years, with a solid university education, travelled to the country with the objective of meeting a friend, and despite not being able to have contact with her, agreed without hesitation to take with him a suitcase supposedly belonging to her,” the judges said in confirming the charges against him last week. Professor Frampton is nevertheless convinced that he will soon walk free. “I told my chairman that the chances I will be back by August 15 are 99.995 per cent, so I told him to put me on the teaching schedule for fall,” he said.
HOLIDAYMAKERS can pay for the cost of a break in the sun by buying their prescription drugs while abroad. Legally they can purchase their prescribed drugs -- at a fraction of the cost here over the counter -- in Malaga, Marbella , Faro or Lisbon. Those on long term medication and covered by the Drug Payment Scheme, who cough up €132 a month, can particularly benefit. For example, a patient on holiday in Marbella recently bought the three main elements of her prescription. Prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and to reduce risk of cardiovascular problems they cost her almost four times as much in Dublin as in Spain. The products -- Lipitor, Cozaar Comp and Tritace -- in their generic form came to €108.13 in Dublin for a month's supply. In Marbella the same medicines are sold under a different name for €63.72 for two months' supply. That is a saving of €152.54 for two months. On that basis a six month prescription for the three tablets would cost €648.78 in Dublin as against €191.16 in Spain -- a staggering saving of €457.62. The Irish Medicines Board and the Revenue Commissioners both confirmed that medication, prescription and non prescription, bought for personal use within the EU or outside may be brought back in to the State legally. imported They agreed that travellers are permitted to import on their person or in their baggage "a reasonable amount of such medicines for personal use". "Anyone entering the State may bring their personal medication with them and that personal medication should be no more than any amount that may be obtained on a prescription, for example up to a three months supply. "Any amount being imported above a level that would be considered to be normal personal use, could be considered to be a commercial quantity and for business purposes." This "personal use" exemption does not apply to products imported by other means, ie. in the post, by express couriers or in merchandise. Revenue said that the law of the country where you are visiting will dictate whether your Irish prescription will be accepted or whether you will require a doctor's prescription from that country. They advised it is always a good idea to have a copy of your prescription in your possession so that customs officers can verify it by contacting the dispensing pharmacy and the doctor who issued it.
Saturday, 24 March 2012
The banker was left for dead by a lone gunman as he returned to his home in Canary Wharf on Tuesday evening. Scotland Yard detectives are investigating the attempted assassination, which Mr Gorbuntsov’s lawyer believes was a retaliation attack after the banker gave evidence in a 2009 attempted murder case. Mr Gorbuntsov, who fled to London because of his fear of reprisals, had recently submitted new evidence to Russian police about the attempted murder of Alexander Antonov, another Russian banker. The case was closed three years ago when three Chechen men were jailed for attempted murder. But police have never discovered who organised the attempted hit. Officers re-opened the case on March 2 this year after Mr Gorbuntsov submitted his new testimony.
Friday, 23 March 2012
A former Russian banker is in a critical condition in hospital after he was shot several times in east London. German Gorbuntsov was shot by a man armed with a sub-machine gun as he entered a block of flats in Byng Street, Isle of Dogs, on Tuesday. Aleksander Nekrassov, a former Kremlin advisor, told the BBC that Mr Gorbuntsov was a "key witness" in the case of a murder attempt on another Russian banker, Alexander Antonov, in Moscow in 2009. He said: "It looks like a contract hit to be honest because a sub-machine gun is not really a weapon that would be used by some amateur"
Brian Regan found fame playing loveable rogue Terry Sullivan in the Liverpool soap opera Brookside. In the show's 1980s heyday, his character's antics were regularly watched by up to seven million viewers a week. But when Regan left the soap in 1997, his acting career petered out and he plunged into a life of drug dealing and addiction. Now he is behind bars, serving a five-year jail sentence for lying to police over his role in the murder of Iranian doorman Bahman Faraji and selling drugs. Regan's jail sentence can now be reported following the conviction of Jason Gabbana, 29, for ordering Faraji's murder. Details emerged in court of the actor's descent into drugs and supplying members of Liverpool's criminal underworld. During the trial, Regan told Liverpool Crown Court how he started taking cocaine at weekends at the end of his Brookside career. It was through his use of cocaine he became involved with Edward Heffey, convicted of murdering Mr Faraji with a sawn-off shotgun in a quiet Liverpool street. Simon O'Brien, who played Damon Grant in Brookside, said Regan's involvement with drugs was a "slow burn". Snorting cocaine "It is a very difficult place when you're acting, particularly on something as high-profile as a soap, because fame and infamy attract each other," he said. "Actors and gangsters, for some reason, almost get off on each other. It's a really strange mutual attraction because I think the hard man gives the actor a kind of security out in public and the actor gives the gangster kudos. "The two worlds often get intertwined and when that happens, inevitably drugs become involved. So it was kind of a slow thing from what I remember, it was a slow burn." Regan was charged with Mr Faraji's murder and was cleared - but he was convicted of giving a false alibi to police about where he was on the night in February 2011. Actor and presenter Simon O'Brien said actors and gangsters get off on each other" During the trial, he told Liverpool Crown Court he supplied Heffey with cocaine "about three or four times a day". When Heffey asked him for a lift on the night of the killing, he said he thought he was taking him to collect a debt so he could pay for the drugs. In fact, once they arrived in Aigburth in Regan's Ford Escort, Heffey got out, walked round the corner and shot Mr Faraji in the face with a sawn-off shotgun. Regan told the court he knew nothing about the incident - because he was waiting in the car, snorting a line of cocaine. He said he then "drove away normally" from the scene and took Heffey home. Regan was cleared of murder at his trial which ended in January. 'Lose control' However, when he was first interviewed by police he lied about driving Heffey to the pub, but CCTV evidence put him at the scene and he was found guilty of perverting the course of justice. Mr O'Brien, 46, who was friends with Regan in their Brookside days, said getting involved in drugs was a tragedy that is "not uncommon" in the entertainment industry. "Brian is just one example of what happens when you're in the limelight and everything is flying and you lose control," he said. "You feel you're invincible when you're at the top of the game and you're not. "Sadly, if anyone wants to know what happens if you get involved in taking cocaine, this is an example of someone who was at the top of the tree and because of cocaine, he ends up behind bars."
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Ex-Brookside actor Brian Regan has been jailed for lying about his part in a gangland killing. Regan's sentence can be revealed following the conviction of Jason Gabbana, 29, for ordering the murder of a nightclub doorman in Liverpool. Bahman Faraji, 44, was shot dead at close range outside the Belgrave public house in Aigburth in February 2011. Regan, 54, who played Terry Sullivan in the soap, was jailed on 25 January for four years and 10 months. Gabbana, of Score Lane in Childwall, was found guilty of murder at Liverpool Crown Court. Mr Faraji was accused by Gabbana's defence of drug dealing and running an illegal protection racket. Snorting cocaine Regan, St Marys Road, Garston, Liverpool, was cleared of murder but convicted of perverting the course of justice after it emerged he lied to police when he was first arrested, telling them he was with his partner Christine Lines at the time of the murder. Bahman Faraji was shot as he left a pub In fact he was snorting cocaine in a car as father-of-one Mr Faraji was shot dead yards away at close range on the evening of 24 February 2011. Regan admitted driving gunman Edward Heffey to and from the hit but told the jury he did not know his passenger was carrying a sawn-off shotgun and was planning to kill Mr Faraji. Regan also disposed of a pair of gloves he wore on the night. The sentence, following a trial which ended in January, could not be reported until the conclusion of the Gabbana case. Gabbana was convicted of murder by an 11 to one majority. Heffey, 40, of Beloe Street, Dingle, Liverpool, and Simon Smart, 32, of Kylemore Way, Halewood, Liverpool, who police said set up the killing, were also convicted of murder at Liverpool Crown Court. Regan's best friend Lee Dodson, 42, of Logfield Drive, Garston, Liverpool was cleared of murder. The trial heard Regan was hooked on cocaine and began dealing it to fund his habit as his showbiz career declined. Courtroom fracas After he admitted driving the gunman, the court ordered security to be stepped up around Regan and security guards sat between him and the rest of the defendants. He was also designated a "vulnerable prisoner" and held in an isolation wing in jail. When Heffey's guilty verdict was delivered, a woman and a young man in the public gallery angrily interrupted proceedings and had to be bundled out by police. Heffey appeared to lunge towards Regan in the dock and was swiftly taken down to the cells by security officers. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on Regan's girlfriend Christine Lines, 48, also of St Mary's Road, Liverpool, who was accused of perverting the course of justice by helping the ex-actor dispose of the gloves. The matter was ordered to lie on file and she will not face a retrial. Mother-of-one Lines admitted permitting or suffering her premises to be used in the supply of cocaine and was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, with a 12-month supervision requirement. Gabbana, Smart and Heffey will be sentenced either Friday or Monday, Mrs Justice Davies said.
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Two police officers were injured in a shoot-out in Toulouse on Wednesday with a gunman claiming links to al Qaeda
Two police officers were injured in a shoot-out in Toulouse on Wednesday with a gunman claiming links to al Qaeda and who is believed to responsible for the killing of four people at a Jewish school and three soldiers in southwest France. Interior Minister Claude Gueant said that the 24-year-old man had made several visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan and had said that he was acting out of revenge for France’s military involvement overseas. “He claims to be a mujahideen and to belong to al Qaeda,” Gueant told journalists at the scene of the siege. “He wanted revenge for the Palestinian children and he also wanted to take revenge on the French army because of its foreign interventions,” Gueant said. Heavily armed police in bullet-proof vests and helmets cordoned off the residential area where the raid was taking place, in a suburb a few kilometres from the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school where Monday’s shootings took place. Reuters witnesses at the scene heard several shots at about 04:40 a.m. British time. Gueant said that police were also talking to the brother of the gunman, who is a French citizen from Toulouse. Police sources told Reuters that a man had been arrested earlier on Wednesday at a separate location in connection with the killings. The gunman’s mother had also been brought to the scene of the siege in a northern suburb of Toulouse to help with negotiations, Gueant said. “Negotiations with the suspect are ongoing, gunfire has been exchanged,” the minister said. He said that France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy had been informed of the situation at 03:00 a.m. (02:00 a.m. British time), when the raid began. Authorities believe that the gunman in Monday’s school shooting is the same person responsible for killing three soldiers of North African origin in two shootings last week in Toulouse and the nearby town of Montauban. The same Colt 45 handgun was used in all three attacks and in each case the gunman arrived on a Yamaha scooter with his face hidden by a motorcycle helmet. The killings come just five weeks before the first round of France’s presidential elections in which immigration and Islam have been major themes as Sarkozy seeks to win over voters from far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
56-year-old man suspected of stealing about $1.5 million worth of British currency in England in 1993 has pleaded not guilty to unrelated U.S. firearms and fraud charges. Edward J. Maher entered not guilty pleas Tuesday in federal court in Springfield, Mo., to aggravated identity theft, document fraud and firearms violations. Online court records show Maher appeared at the 10-minute hearing and waived a formal reading of the charges. 0 Comments Weigh InCorrections? Personal Post Maher’s federal public defender David Mercer declined to comment. British authorities have been seeking Maher for questioning about a robbery in which an armored van carrying the equivalent of about $1.57 million was taken. He was arrested Feb. 8 in Ozark, where authorities said he had been living under his brother’s name and working as a cable technician.
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
former Kwik Fit mechanic who killed an eight-year-old boy while driving a customer's Porsche 911 has been jailed for six and a half years. Ryan Fleming died in hospital after being hit by the sports car as he crossed a road in Maldon, Essex, in January last year. Tyre-fitter Gary Reader, 32, was jailed at Chelmsford crown court after last month admitting causing death by dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking. Ex-Kwik Fit apprentice Timothy Smith, 19, who was the passenger in the Porsche, was jailed for 12 months after pleading guilty to aggravated vehicle-taking. Passing sentence on Tuesday, judge Charles Gratwicke told Reader the consequences of his dangerous driving were "horrifying". "This was not your vehicle, it was not a vehicle that you drove frequently or were experienced with. "Therefore there followed, as this court has heard, a course of persistent dangerous driving, with you flagrantly disregarding the rules of the road and having a complete disregard of the danger to other road users that you posed as you drove that vehicle at speed along the highway." Reader, of Tiptree, Essex, shook his head slightly as he was led away to begin his sentence. Gratwicke told Smith he "encouraged and egged on" Reader, adding: "You were part of the tragic chain of events which led to such tragic and awful consequences." As Smith was led down to the cells, one of his relatives shouted after him, "Love you, Tim". From the other side of the courtroom a member of Ryan's family called back: "We love our Ryan more. We won't see Ryan again, but you'll get to see him again." The owner of the silver Porsche 911 Carrera took it to the Kwik Fit garage in Maldon on the morning of Saturday 15 January 2011 to have the rear tyres replaced, the court heard. Just before 2.30pm Reader said he was going to take the sports car for a drive, and set off with Smith in the passenger seat. Witnesses described seeing the Porsche being driven "aggressively" and "at a stupid speed", accelerating and then braking hard. Some estimated it was travelling at over 80mph. A woman filling up her car at a Tesco petrol station saw Smith "laughing and jumping up and down" in the passenger seat and told police she was in no doubt that the two men were "larking around". Another witness told officers she said to herself: "They're driving like idiots, they're going to kill someone." Prosecutor Andrew Jackson told the court: "It was no more and no less than a joyride." Moments before the collision, motorist Richard Waylen heard a loud roar from the Porsche as though the driver of the sportscar had "floored the accelerator". "Mr Waylen immediately saw what he thought was a bag flying in the air. It wasn't – it was Ryan," Jackson said. The young boy, who was only 4ft 8ins, hit the Porsche's windscreen and was thrown an estimated 49m by the force of the collision, the court heard. An expert estimated that the high-performance car was travelling at between 50 and 76mph when it hit Ryan, who would have died almost instantly. The speed limit on that stretch of the road was 50mph.
A second person has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a man at the Norwich home of former boxing world heavyweight champion Herbie Hide. Tafadzwa Kahn, 25, of St Giles Street, Norwich, died from a stab wound at the house in Long Lane, Bawburgh, on Sunday morning. An 18-year-old man from the Norwich area was arrested on Tuesday. The first person arrested, a 16-year-old boy, remains in custody in Wymondham Police Investigation Centre. Detectives said the stabbing followed an argument at a party in the house. 'High visibility patrols' The property remains sealed while a forensic examination is carried out. Police said they would continue to provide high visibility reassurance patrols in the area. More than 100 people were at the party at the time of the stabbing. Police said earlier they were "fairly certain" Mr Hide was not on the premises at the time of the stabbing. Mr Hide told the BBC on Monday: "The reality of this right now is a man is dead. Imagine this - a lady was told her son has gone. Imagine that." A spokesman said a post-mortem examination found the cause of death was a stab wound to the body. Mr Hide and his family have relocated while investigations at the house continue. Mr Hide won the WBO (World Boxing Organisation) heavyweight title for the first time in 1994, beating American Michael Bentt, but lost it to another American, Riddick Bowe, the following year. He regained the title in 1997 and made two successful defences before losing to Vitali Klitschko in 1999.
Azhar Ahmed, 19, appeared at Dewsbury magistrates' court charged under the Communications Act 2003 with sending a message that was grossly offensive on March 8. In court a racially-aggravated public order charge was withdrawn, but Mr Ahmed, from Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, denied the new charge. Police and demonstrators outside Dewsbury Magistrates Court (Picture: PA) He has been bailed and is due to stand trial at Huddersfield magistrates' court on July 3. There was a large police presence outside court as 50 far-right protesters staged noisy demonstrations when he arrived and left. Mr Ahmed's court appearance came as the bodies of the six soldiers killed in Afghanistan on March 6 were repatriated to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. Demonstrators shouted when Azhar Ahmed arrived and left court (Picture: PA) They died when their Warrior vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Lashkar Gah in the deadliest single attack on British forces since 2001. Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment was killed alongside Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment.
Actor Jamie Waylett, who starred in the Harry Potter films, has been jailed for two years for being part of a violent mob during last summer's London riots. The 22-year-old, who played Hogwarts bully Vincent Crabbe in six of the films, was found guilty of violent disorder by a jury at London's Wood Green Crown Court. The actor, who had already admitted swigging from a stolen bottle of Champagne during the rioting, was cleared of intending to destroy or damage property with a petrol bomb he was pictured holding. He already has a previous conviction for cannabis possession. Waylett of Hillfield Road, northwest London, was with a gang of at least four people who went into Chalk Farm on August 8, the third night of violence in the capital. He was captured on CCTV at various points during the evening, often with his hood over his head. Buildings on fire in Tottenham during the riots Judge Simon Carr sentenced the actor to two years for violent disorder and 12 months for handling stolen goods, to run concurrently. Jailing him, the judge said: "A considerable amount has been said about what happened over those few days. Anyone watching the footage in this case can only imagine the mayhem that took place on the streets. "You chose to go out on to the streets on what was the third day of the violence. "You were pictured on a number of occasions with a bottle full of petrol with a rag as a wick. "I accept entirely the jury's verdict that you did not throw or have any intention of throwing it, but merely being in possession of it would have been terrifying to anyone who saw you." Waylett will be eligible for parole after serving a year in jail. The star, who had a shaved head and a goatee beard, wore a white shirt with an open collar and a dark suit to hear the sentencing. He nodded to the public gallery as he was led down to the cells.
A GANG of “guns for hire” who spread lawless violence in a spate of gun and grenade attacks across Merseyside were today starting life behind bars.
Monday, 19 March 2012
man is from the Norwich area and has been detained for questioning, Norfolk police said. Herbie Hide was world heavyweight champion twice The stabbing victim has been identified as Tafadzwa Kahn, from St Giles Street in Norwich. The attack happened shortly after midnight at a private party in Long Lane on March 18. Mr Kahn was stabbed following an argument, and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics shortly after they arrived. Post mortem results showed that the 25-year-old died as a result of a single stab wound, although he had received multiple stab wounds to the body. The house in the village of Bawburgh remains sealed by police as they carry out a forensic examination of the property. Norfolk Police have said that while they continue their investigations at the large house, Herbie Hide and his family are staying elsewhere. Hide, known as the Dancing Destroyer, has been WBO world heavyweight champion twice but in 2006 stepped down to the cruiserweight division. The following year he won the WBC International cruiserweight title. He has not fought since beating Welshman Wayne Brooks in the Crusierweight Prizefighter tournament in April 2010.
Sunday, 18 March 2012
A murder inquiry has been launched after a man was stabbed to death at the home of former boxing world champion Herbie Hide. Norfolk Police said a man in his 20s was killed during a private party at the house in Norwich. Det Supt Julian Gregory of the Major Investigation Team said: "We are in the early stages of our investigation and working to establish the sequence of events which led to this man's death. Herbie Hide was world heavyweight champion twice "We are also in the process of confirming the victim's identity and police Family Liaison Officers have been assigned to work with next of kin. "A large number of people are known to have been present at the property at the time and while we continue our efforts to identify and speak to all party goers, I would urge anyone who left the scene before speaking to police to contact Norfolk Constabulary as soon as possible on 101 (the emergency services' number for non-urgent calls)." Forensic officers were examining the house on Sunday after the death in the early hours. A police spokesman said: "Mr Hide and his family have relocated as police carry out investigations at the scene." Hide, known as the Dancing Destroyer, has been WBO world heavyweight champion twice but in 2006 stepped down to the cruiserweight division. The following year he won the WBC International cruiserweight title. He has not fought since beating Welshman Wayne Brooks in the Crusierweight Prizefighter tournament in April 2010.
Saturday, 17 March 2012
Scotland Yard authorised the deployment of rubber bullets ready for use on the streets of London 22 times in the past two years, The Independent can reveal. The figure suggests the Metropolitan Police had considered ordering its officers to open fire during public disorder incidents far more frequently than previously thought. The Yard yesterday refused to say on what dates and during which situations it ordered some of the nearly 3,000 baton rounds it possesses to be distributed to firearms teams. It said the release of such information could endanger future policing operations. The revelation that the Met authorised the distribution of the non-lethal rounds on average almost once a month in 2010 and 2011 follows the disclosure earlier this week that senior officers wanted to fire rubber bullets at rioters in south London last summer – but firearms specialists could not reach the trouble spots in time. The Met has now promised to make "more agile use" of the weapons. Although they have been used in Northern Ireland for many years, baton rounds have never been fired on the British mainland. Even in the extreme circumstances of last August's riots their use would have been seen as a significant escalation in police tactics and a move away from Britain's consensual policing model. The figures, obtained by the Liberal Democrat peer Dee Doocey, are an indication of an increasingly muscular response to what police believe is the increased threat to officers and the public from gangs or individuals bent on violent disorder. But campaigners argue that the use of non-lethal firearms in crowd control has no place in policing on the British mainland. The Yard was criticised last year when it released a statement saying that baton rounds – referred to by police as attenuating energy projectiles (AEPs) – might be deployed if extreme disorder occurred during a protest in London against tuition fees. In a written answer to a question last month from Baroness Doocey, the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, confirmed on behalf of the Met Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, that the force had "authorised the movement" of rubber bullets 22 times in 2010 and 2011. But he said details of the incidents would only be given under conditions of secrecy because, if made public, they could compromise future operations. Lady Doocey, a member of the Greater London Authority and the Metropolitan Police Authority until it was replaced with a new body in January, said the disclosure of the precise dates was in the public interest. She told The Independent: "I have long believed rubber bullets have no role in policing demonstrations in London. This secrecy over their potential use merely confirms that view. It is simply wrong for the Met to be silent when on so many occasions the use of rubber bullets was being considered." Rubber bullets are designed to offer a non-lethal alternative to conventional firearms and police argue modern AEPs pose less threat of serious injury. Between 2006 and October 2011, the Met Police bought 2,700 AEP rounds. It said it could not produce figures for baton round deployments in previous years, adding that it followed strict guidelines designed to protect life and prevent serious injury. Opinion about rubber bullets remains divided within police ranks. A Met Police review of last summer's riots revealed officers dealing with violence in Enfield and Brixton decided against deploying the weapons because they believed it would escalate the confrontation. During the rioting, Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said he did not consider the deployment of rubber bullets in London to be sensible in "any way, shape or form".
Friday, 16 March 2012
Police are investigating after reports that a gun was fired in a city suburb. Officers from Grampian Police were called to Pitmedden Road in the Dyce area of Aberdeen at around 3pm on Thursday. The force said no-one was injured in the incident but the road, which is close to Aberdeen Airport, remains closed while the area is searched. A spokesman said: "Incidents of this nature are particularly rare in Grampian. "Additional patrols are being carried out within the area to reassure members of the public; however, we would like to reassure the local community that this appears to be an isolated incident." Officers want to speak to two men who were seen in the area at the time of the incident. Any witnesses are also asked to contact the police.
Thursday, 15 March 2012
A Midlands woman who was given PIP breast implants that ruptured has recouped the full cost of the surgery from her credit card company. She said Lloyds TSB refunded her £3,700 on the grounds that she was sold faulty goods. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) said the move should offer a "ray of hope" to other patients with PIP implants. The woman, a hairdresser in her 40s from the Midlands who does not want to be identified, underwent a breast enlargement operation in 2008. She discovered she had been given PIP implants last September when she found a lump and went to a breast cancer clinic. "I was quite worried, but I was told it was just a rupture of my implants. It was only later I realised there was a health risk. I was really quite poorly with it," she said. The woman had the implants removed on the NHS in October, and contacted a firm of solicitors to see if she could get her money back. Because the company that performed the surgery had gone into administration, she was advised to check if she paid by credit card. Having discovered that she did use plastic to pay for the procedure, she applied to Lloyds TSB for a refund and received the money in full three months later. The woman said the credit card company were "wonderful" and stressed that she only had to fill in one form to get the reimbursement. "If I had gone through the solicitors they would have taken a sizeable part of it. Women need to be aware they can easily do it themselves," she said. Fazel Fatah, a consultant plastic surgeon and president of BAAPS, said: "We're delighted that at least a proportion of women who chose this method of payment should now have recourse to securing reimbursement for what are clearly defective, substandard goods." Around 40,000 women in the UK received implants manufactured by the now-closed French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP), mostly in private UK clinics. The implants were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for use in mattresses. Lloyds TSB said it could not comment on the woman's individual case. But a spokeswoman for the bank said: "One of the advantages of using a credit card to pay for goods and services is that consumers can make a Section 75 claim if there has been a misrepresentation or breach of contract, providing the cost is above £100 and less than £30,000. Every Section 75 claim is different and each one will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis."
Fighting eviction for failing to pay the mortgage on his home in Spain's capital, Nelson Castillo is now grappling not only with his own debts but also those of a family he does not know. The 39-year-old and his wife acted as guarantors of another Ecuadoran family's loan under a programme run by an agency that negotiated loans for immigrants. In return, that family acted as the guarantor for Castillo's loan. Now, both families are in arrears. And each of them is legally responsible for its own loan and for the loan it guaranteed. "We were two families and we did not know each other. Ecuadorans are like that. We had to sign the papers and that's it. Goodbye, and each side went its own way," said Castillo. Dozens of anti-eviction activists had gathered outside his Madrid apartment building on Tuesday to prevent court clerks and bank officials from ejecting Castillo and his family from their home. Inside the apartment a volunteer psychologist tried to comfort Castillo's wife, 40-year-old Kelly Herrera, who sat in distress on the couch while the couple talked to police. The couple were given until March 30 to pay their debt of 222,000 euros ($291,000) claimed by the bank. And they are still liable for the loan given to the other family. "Today they are demanding my loan. But later on they will demand the second," said Castillo. The couple's lawyer Rafael Mayoral had requested that the eviction be blocked for "humanitarian reasons" because their two children are minors and a knee injury prevents Herrera from working at the moment. But above all the lawyer argued that the couple are "victims of a swindle". The couple and nine other families are suing an agency, Central Hipotecaria del Inmigrante, which ran a system of "cross guarantors" for loans among people that did not always know each other. "It was a pyramid scheme of financial risk management," said Mayoral. Despite the investigation under way into the agency, the courts have refused to issue a moratorium on evictions. Last week the government approved a voluntary "code of conduct" for banks that aims to help poor homeowners settle their debts and reduce a wave of evictions brought on by Spain's economic crisis. For families whose members are all out of work and have no other source of income, the code obliges signatory banks to restructure their mortgage debt by for example lengthening the term of the loan or reducing its interest rate. The goal is to reduce the number of evictions in Spain, which amount to about 300,000 since the collapse of a property bubble in 2008. But the new code will not help Castillo and his family. "The bank did not give me any option, I wanted to give them the apartment in exchange for clearing my debt but they were not interested," he said. Castillo, a waiter, said with pride that he "only spent a few months out of work" since he moved to Spain in 1996. In 2006 he and his wife decided to buy an apartment while Spain was still in the midst of a property boom. The couple took out a mortgage with a variable rate that started out with a monthly payment of 900 euros. But as Euribor interest rates rose, their monthly mortgage payment shot up to 1,420 euros. "It became impossible to pay. I earned 1,000 euros a month and my wife also did not earn much. Things became complicated. I tried to reach an agreement with the bank but it was not possible. I stopped paying," said Castillo. Castillo said he did not know if the family which signed as the guarantor of his loan has suffered any consequences because he stopped making his mortgage payments. "I only met them the day we signed the papers," he said.
Fernando Luna, a burly Spanish farmer, yanks a barley sprout from a field as dry as powder. He examines its roots, which are mostly dead, then tosses the stunted shoot away in disgust. "Worthless! This is worthless!" Luna shouts. Spain is facing its driest winter in more than 70 years and bailed-out Portugal next door is in similar straits. Thousands of jobs and many millions in agricultural output are in jeopardy. Both nations are desperately short of so much: tax revenues, bank credit, jobs, hope for the future. Now, it won't even rain. The landscape in northern Spain is now a palette in shades of ugly. Pale brown fields without crops or pasture stretch off into the distance. A pond for watering sheep has shriveled into a dustbowl. An irrigation canal down the road holds only stagnant water, murky from so much sediment and so little flow. Luna waves this way and that, distraught over fields he says are doomed to yield zero harvest. He has given up his winter crop for lost. "Imagine, the color of vinegar! They should be green, green, green," he says of the barley fields that lack shoots. Stalks should be reaching halfway up the shin at this point. Spain got less than 30 percent of its normal precipitation from December through February. There is a slim window of 10 days or so for it to rain and help farmers like Luna salvage at least part of their winter crops of wheat, barley and oats. And not all regions are as bad off as Huesca, a northern province where the Pyrenees lie and where Luna is president of a chapter of the ASAJA farmers association. But the March weather forecast is not good for farmers — just more blue skies, says Fermin Elizaga of the national weather service. "Out in the countryside, the situation is probably going to get worse," he says. A key concern is how full Spain's reservoirs will be for watering the lucrative fruit and vegetable crops that are the pride and joy of the country's euro40 billion ($52 billion) agriculture and livestock industry. Nationwide, reservoirs are at an average 62 percent of capacity — not that bad — but in Huesca they are just 20 percent. That means farmers get only 20 percent of the water they are normally allotted for irrigation and will have to leave much of their land idle. ASAJA estimates this will cost Huesca province around euro1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) in lost revenue from drastically smaller harvests of peaches, cherries, almonds and grapes. In a good year, 6,000 people work in the Huesca harvest and another 2,000 in canning, packaging and related services. It could be a lean year for them, as it will be for much of Spain, with its nearly 23 percent jobless rate — the highest in the 17-nation eurozone — and an economy expected to slip into its second recession in three years. In Galicia, Spain's lushly green northwestern corner where it usually rains all the time, pastures have no grass this year. Farmers there and elsewhere are being forced to ship in fodder for sheep and cattle at a cost of euro2 million ($2.6 million) a day, according to ASAJA national spokesman Gregorio Juarez. "They're all burned up," says Juarez. Being so used to plentiful rain, Galicia and other parts of northern Spain have fewer reservoirs, so they are less prepared than the often blazingly hot south, where places like Andalusia and Extremadura on the border with Portugal catch every drop of precious rain. In Huesca, one reservoir built in the 1950s is now so low you can see the ruins of a submerged village, Mediano. At the best of times, the tip of its 16th-century church belltower peeks out of the water and boaters row up and touch it. These days, the water is so low you could walk into the church itself if the front door were not sealed up. In Portugal, Joao Dinis, a spokesman for Portugal's National Farms Confederation, said the drought has added to hardships caused by the country's acute financial crisis, which forced it to ask for a euro78 billion ($102 billion) bailout last year, making credit scarce. Farmers are enduring "a very, very difficult" period, with cereal crops badly hit and grazing land in short supply. "It's the worst situation in living memory," Dinis said. He says Portuguese farmers need emergency aid of euro25 million ($33 million). The Farm Ministry is calculating the damages and negotiating exceptional grants for farmers with the European Union. In Robres, a speck of a village in Huesca, barley farmer Jose Manuel Allue is taking the rare step of watering his crop, grains like wheat and barley that are normally fed by rain alone. And he is blowing his entire irrigation quota in just two days, using 6-foot-high (2-meter) sprinklers to soak a piece of land as big as 40 football fields. The pole-like devices shower water with a pleasant, rhythmic spritzing sound. "After that is gone, it is just a matter of looking to the sky and hoping," Allue said, taking long drags on a strong, thick Spanish cigarette as the earthy smell of a pig farm wafts by. Seconds later, something does appear in the sky, but it's not clouds: three water-dumping fire planes returning from a mission further north. Forest fires — a staple of Spanish summers — have broken out in recent weeks because of the dry conditions, awfully early in the year for such blazes. Ditto for Portugal. Allue checks the weather forecast on the Internet or TV first thing each morning and hears talk of little else at the town tavern, but he has a herd of 1,100 pigs to tide him over if his barley crop proves worthless. Juarez, of ASAJA's Madrid office, says a drought is the last thing Spain needs now on top of its economic distress. He used a Spanish adage that when a stray dog is emaciated and mangy, it probably has other problems too. "For a skinny dog, it's all fleas," he says. Translation: When it rains, it pours.
Spanish house prices tumbled at their fastest pace on record in the fourth quarter, a sign that a long-running property bust will continue to weigh on Spanish households and banks. House prices fall over 11.2% in the fourth-quarter of 2011-the fastest contraction on record. WSJ's Sara Schaefer Munoz has been looking at the data and analyzes how this affects its efforts to deal with its debt crisis. House prices fell on average by 11.2% in the fourth quarter from the same period a year earlier, well below the 7.4% decline in the third quarter, while prices of used homes was down 13.7% in the period, the country's statistics agency INE said Thursday. Both readings are by far the worst since INE started recording countrywide prices in 2007, the peak year for Spain's decade-long property boom. Previously, annual price declines had bottomed out at 7.7% in 2009, and analysts say house prices have only rarely fallen year-to-year since at least the 1970s. The drop indicates Spanish property prices are now correcting at a similar pace to that seen in the U.S. soon after the 2008 financial crisis, and may fall further at least this year. In previous quarters, price drops were somewhat contained, the result of support efforts by the government and banks, fearful of the effect of a housing collapse. Spanish banks hold more than €400 billion ($521.32 billion) worth of loans to the construction and real-estate sector, backed by collateral that loses value as property prices slide further. The amount is equivalent to around 40% of Spain's gross domestic product. TK Raj Badiani, an economist at IHS Global Insight, said government data indicates Spanish house prices are down more than 20% from the 2007-2008 peak, even though other evidence points to a possible drop of more than 30%. "The continued imbalance between the supply and demand of housing suggests that house prices will continue to fall throughout 2012," Mr. Badiani said. "The outlook remains bleak, with the demand for housing expected to shrink throughout 2012 with debt-laden households struggling to cope with a devastated labor market and limited access to credit." Last month, Spain's Finance Minister Luis de Guindos presented a clean-up plan that will force banks to set aside an additional €50 billion this year to cover losses from souring loans, mostly property-related. The plan also seeks to allow a faster correction of the property market this year, so that lower prices trigger some demand in the moribund sector. Earlier this week, INE data showed Spain's property sales continued their recent slide in January, with a 26% annual decline. Last year, just over 361,000 homes were sold in Spain, less than half the number sold in 2007. The clean-up plan and other reforms may only have a delayed effect on the euro zone's fourth-largest economy, the Ernst & Young consultancy said in a report. A lack of demand amid an economic contraction that may stretch until 2014 should keep house prices falling for the next three years, Ernst & Young added. Meanwhile, Spain's bond auction was a mixed bag Thursday, with the Treasury selling slightly less than the maximum targeted amount but paying mostly lower yields to investors. The infusion of cheap cash from the European Central Bank has buttressed bond markets across the 17-nation euro zone, but not always equally. Spain's government bond market hasn't kept pace, while Italy, which at the end of last year had been lumped together with Spain as possibly becoming the "next domino," has swapped places with Spain as the country having to pay less of a premium on its debt. The contrasting fortunes also reflects the market's confidence in Italy's ability to make progress on the fiscal front while Spain falters. Italy's economy is likely to record a primary surplus in 2012. Spain unilaterally revised its budget deficit targets and analysts are skeptical if even those targets will be met.
The former chief reporter of the News of the World was arrested yesterday by police investigating the phone hacking scandal, on suspicion of intimidating a witness.
Neville Thurlbeck, 50, who was also news editor on the defunct Sunday tabloid, was detained by appointment at a central London police station by officers from Operation Weeting a day after his former editor, Rebekah Brooks, was arrested with five others on suspicion of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. He was later released on bail. Yesterday's arrest came as James Murdoch used a letter to the House of Commons media select committee to distance himself once more from any wrongdoing inside News International (NI). He blamed two former trusted lieutenants, Colin Myler and Tom Crone, claiming there were "inconsistencies" in their evidence to MPs. Mr Thurlbeck has been a central figure in the unfolding phone-hacking saga since being named in the so-called "for Neville" email. This showed voicemail interception went beyond a single "rogue" reporter at the NOTW. He was arrested last year on suspicion of conspiring to hack phones and eavesdropping voicemail messages. During recent months, he has adopted a higher media profile, with broadcast appearances and the launch of a blog commenting on developments in the crisis enveloping NI. In a blog entry last week, Mr Thurlbeck revealed how Will Lewis, a key member of News Corp's Management and Standards Committee, which has been marshalling millions of internal NI emails to Scotland Yard, had hired a private security company to provide security at his home. Mr Thurlbeck published the name of the security company, noting that it had spent several hours at Mr Lewis's home, and gave the name of the street where the NI executive lives. In a subsequent blog, Mr Thurlbeck, who is suing his former employer for unfair dismissal, said his story had prompted approaches from lawyers and a public relations company representing Mr Lewis, asking for the removal of his posting. He claimed it was suggested to him that the details he had provided about the security company "somehow implied I had put [Mr Lewis's] home under surveillance. Bonkers!". He added: "I accepted their point that printing the name of his street was distressing to his family and took this down immediately as I have absolutely no wish to do this. Although I have not been asked to do so, I would like to apologise to Mrs Lewis for any distress." A spokesman for the Management and Standards Committee declined to comment last night on Mr Thurlbeck's arrest. Meanwhile Mr Murdoch has sought to influence the parliamentary report into phone hacking, which is expected to be published before the Easter recess, by telling the committee that he did not mislead them, that he never tried to hide wrongdoing at the NOTW, and that when he did ask questions about what was going on, he was given "false assurances" by senior executives at Wapping. In a personal letter to John Whittingdale, chair of the media select committee, the former executive chairman of NI initially takes responsibility "for not uncovering wrongdoing earlier". However, the limited apologetic tone of his seven page letter, in which he accepts that it "would have been better if I had asked more questions", also contains evidence of anger directed at former trusted lieutenants inside NI. He says he relied too much on people who assured him that investigations had been carried out and who claimed that further inquiries were unnecessary. The former NOTW editor, Colin Myler, and News Group Newspaper's former legal manager, Tom Crone, are named repeatedly and described as offering "inconsistencies" to Parliament, while Mr Murdoch says his own evidence "has always been consistent". The letter states: "The truth is that incomplete answers and what now appears to be false assurances were given to the questions that I asked." In summaries of earlier evidence to the committee, he says he was "never intimately involved with the workings of the NOTW"; and on key meetings that discussed how senior executives were dealing with the emerging hacking culture, he says: "I was given a narrower set of facts than I should have been given..." He also says that if "Messrs Crone and Myler" had given him the highly critical private opinion offered in 2008 by NI's leading counsel, Michael Silverleaf QC, which described "widespread wrongdoing", then he would have "acted differently". He ends his letter by repeating that he neither knew about, nor attempted to hide, wrongdoing, and tells MPs: "The evidence does not support any other conclusion." James Murdoch: What he wrote "I take my share of responsibility for not uncovering wrongdoing earlier. However, I have not misled Parliament. I did not know about, nor did I try to hide, wrongdoing. I do not believe the evidence before you supports any other conclusion..." "It has been said I did not ask enough questions. However, the truth is that incomplete answers and what now appears to be false assurances were given to the questions that I asked."
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
James Murdoch has written to an influential parliamentary committee, investigating a phone hacking scandal at his company, to apologise and restate his innocence ahead of a potentially damaging report that could determine his future in Britain. The 39-year-old son of Rupert wrote to the committee to accept responsibility for failing to uncover the criminal behaviour, which has damaged the reputation of the News Corp media empire, British politicians and police. At stake is his role as chairman of British pay-TV group BSkyB and potentially his future at News Corp, where he had for years been marked out as the heir apparent to his father Rupert as chief executive. "I did not know about, nor did I try to hide, wrongdoing," he said in the letter published by the committee on Wednesday. "Whilst I accept my share of responsibility for not uncovering wrongdoing sooner, I did not mislead parliament and the evidence does not support any other conclusion." Analysts and some shareholders believe Murdoch would struggle to remain at BSkyB if he is singled out for particular criticism as it could impact his ability to negotiate with the government and regulators on behalf of one of Britain's most powerful media firms. The all-party committee summoned James and his father Rupert to a hearing at the height of the scandal last July, for a three-hour often testy grilling that was watched live by millions on television in both Britain and the United States. Just four months later, the younger Murdoch had to return to answer further detailed questions over what he knew and when after two former colleagues publicly contradicted his evidence. News Corp's British newspaper arm News International had long argued that the hacking of voicemails to generate stories was the work of a single rogue reporter and private investigator who had already gone to jail for the crime. But as more people came forward to accuse the company of hacking their phones, that defence crumbled and attention turned to those at the top of the company and it was asked why they had not pushed further to discover the truth. "Clearly, with the benefit of hindsight, I acknowledge that wrongdoing should have been uncovered earlier," Murdoch said in his letter. The parliamentary committee had originally planned to publish its report before Christmas but due to the sensitivity of the material it is having to write the document by committee and is now aiming for the Easter holiday in April.
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
REBEKAH Brooks and her racehorse trainer husband are among six suspects arrested today by detectives investigating allegations of phone hacking at News International. The former News International chief executive and Charlie Brooks were arrested at their Oxfordshire home on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, sources said. Police are searching several addresses after dawn raids also took place in London, Hampshire and Hertfordshire, Scotland Yard said. Ms Brooks, a former editor of The Sun, had been on bail after being questioned by detectives last summer on suspicion of phone hacking and corruption. Today’s arrest comes after her lawyer, Stephen Parkinson, said evidence given by Sue Akers at the Leveson Inquiry had brought “much prejudicial material” into the public domain.