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Monday, 28 July 2014

Lightning and hail storms described by locals as like walking through a 'zombie apocalypse' have caused flooding and travel chaos in Brighton.

Reportage - 12:24

Lightning and hail storms described by locals as like walking through a 'zombie apocalypse' have caused flooding and travel chaos in Brighton.

The storms hit the Hove, Brighton and Worthing areas of Sussex at the start of the morning rush-hour, causing disruption to trains along the south coast.

Heavy rain hammers Brighton and Hove.
Heavy rain hammers Brighton and Hove. Credit: Luke Wyeth

Lightning which struck an electricity sub-station caused power cuts to the coastal rail route, although the main line to London was running normally, Network Rail said.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Ms Sandiford to be executed for drug trafficking.

Reportage - 10:22

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Jamie “Iceman” Stevenson is back on the streets

Reportage - 14:16

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

Thursday, 26 July 2012

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

Reportage - 14:47

Leo blog : Romanian fishermen are cleaning up their net from small dead fish
 Photograph: Robert Ghement/EPA

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

Two companies owned by the Vidal family were fined £1.62m in total in a Truro court, after a two-day hearing, in which details emerged of falsified log books, failing to register the transfer of fish between vessels, false readings given for weighing fish at sea, and fiddling of fishing quotas.

Judge Graham Cottle said the family were guilty of "wholesale falsification of official documentation" that amounted to a "systematic, repeated and cynical abuse of the EU fishing quota system over a period of 18 months".

He said: "[This was a] flagrant, repeated and long term abuse of regulations. The fish targeted [hake] was at that time a species of fish on the verge if collapse and adherence to quotas was seen as crucial to the survival of the species."

The Spanish fishing vessels had been sailing under UK flags and were landing fish based on quotas given to British fishermen under the EU's common fisheries policy. Two vessels were involved, but the companies own several other large vessels, capable of industrial-scale fishing.

The offending fishermen, who admitted their guilt earlier this year, were not in court to hear him, having been given leave to return to Spain last night. The offences, dating from 2009 and 2010, relate to two companies, Hijos De Vidal Bandin SA and Sealskill Limited, both owned by the Vidal family. They were fined £925,000 on a confiscation order, plus £195,000 in costs, and an additional fine of £250,000 levied on each of the two companies. Two skippers who were acting under the family's instructions were fined £5,000 each.

Ariana Densham, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace, who was present for the trial and judgement, said that the fines, while welcome, did not go far enough. "This group of people should never be allowed near UK fishing quota again," she said. "The Vidal's right to fish should be removed completely."

She said the offences showed the vulnerability of the EU's fishing quota system to fraud. "The system that allowed this to happen needs to be fixed," she said. "This case is not a one off. It's a symptom of Europe's farcical fishing rules. The Vidals were permitted to fish under UK flags, using UK quota, and receive huge EU subsidies, with none of the proceeds ever feeding back into the UK economy. The system is skewed in favour of rich, powerful, industrial-scale fishing companies, when really it should be supporting low-impact, sustainable fishermen."

There are currently moves under way in Brussels by the fisheries commissioner, Maria Damanaki, to reform the EU's common fisheries policy. The proposed reforms – which include the ending of the wasteful practice of discarding healthy and edible fish at sea – have met stiff opposition, particularly from the French and Spanish fishing industries. Spain has the biggest fishing fleet in Europe and receives the lion's share of the subsidies available for fishing within the EU. A historic agreement was reached among member states last month on the proposals, but they must now pass the European parliament, which is expected to consider the proposals later this year.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Beware of missed call to check SIM cloning

Reportage - 08:04

Next time if you get a missed call starting with +92; #90 or #09, don't show the courtesy of calling back because chances are it would lead to your SIM card being cloned. The telecom service providers are now issuing alerts to subscribers —particularly about the series mentioned above as the moment one press the call button after dialing the above number, someone at the other end will get your phone and SIM card cloned. According to reports, more than one lakh subscribers have fallen prey to this new telecom terror attack as the frequency of such calls continues to grow. Intelligence agencies have reportedly confirmed to the service providers particularly in UP West telecom division that such a racket is not only under way but the menace is growing fast. "We are sure there must be some more similar combinations that the miscreants are using to clone the handsets and all the information stored in them," an intelligence officer told TOI. General Manager (GM) BSNL, RV Verma, said the department had already issued alerts to all the broadband subscribers and now alert SMSes were being issued to other subscribers as well. As per Rakshit Tandon, an IT expert who also teaches at the police academy (UP), the crooks can use other combination of numbers as well while making a call. "It is better not to respond to calls received from unusual calling numbers," says Tandon. "At the same time one should avoid storing specifics of their bank account, ATM/ Credit/Debit card numbers and passwords in their phone memory because if one falls a prey to such crooks then the moment your cell phone or sim are cloned, the data will be available to the crooks who can withdraw amount from your bank accounts as well," warns Punit Misra; an IT expert who also owns a consultancy in Lucknow. The menace that threatens to steal the subscriber's information stored in the phone or external memory (sim, memory & data cards) has a very scary side as well. Once cloned, the culprits can well use the cloned copy to make calls to any number they wish to. This exposes the subscribers to the threat of their connection being used for terror calls. Though it will be established during the course of investigations that the cellphone has been cloned and misused elsewhere, it is sure to land the subscriber under quite some pressure till the time the fact about his or her phone being cloned and misused is established, intelligence sources said. "It usually starts with a miss call from a number starting with + 92. The moment the subscriber calls back on the miss call, his or her cell phone is cloned. In case the subscribers takes the call before it is dropped as a miss call then the caller on the other end poses as a call center executive checking the connectivity and call flow of the particular service provider. The caller then asks the subscriber to press # 09 or # 90 call back on his number to establish that the connectivity to the subscriber was seamless," says a victim who reported the matter to the BSNL office at Moradabad last week. "The moment I redialed the caller number, my account balance lost a sum of money. Thereafter, in the three days that followed every time I got my cell phone recharged, the balance would be reduced to single digits within the next few minutes," she told the BSNL officials.

France brings in breathalyser law

Reportage - 01:25

New motoring laws have come into force in France making it compulsory for drivers to carry breathalyser kits in their vehicles. As of July 1, motorists and motorcyclists will face an on-the-spot fine unless they travel with two single-use devices as part of a government drive to reduce the number of drink-drive related deaths. The new regulations, which excludes mopeds, will be fully enforced and include foreigner drivers from November 1 following a four-month grace period. Anyone failing to produce a breathalyser after that date will receive an 11 euro fine. French police have warned they will be carrying out random checks on drivers crossing into France via ferries and through the Channel Tunnel to enforce the new rules. Retailers in the UK have reported a massive rise in breathalyser sales as British drivers travelling across the Channel ensure they do not fall foul of the new legislation. Car accessory retailer Halfords said it is selling one kit every minute of the day and has rushed extra stock into stores to cope with the unprecedented demand. Six out of 10 Britons travelling to France are not aware they have to carry two NF approved breathalysers at all times, according to the company. The French government hopes to save around 500 lives a year by introducing the new laws, which will encourage drivers who suspect they may be over the limit to test themselves with the kits. The French drink-driving limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - substantially less than the UK limit of 80mg.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The number of Britons arrested overseas is on the rise, official figures have shown.

Reportage - 14:42

 The Foreign Office (FO) handled 6,015 arrest cases involving British nationals abroad between April 2011 and March 2012. This was 6% more than in the previous 12 months and included a 2% rise in drug arrests. The figures, which include holidaymakers and Britons resident overseas, showed the highest number of arrests and detentions was in Spain (1,909) followed by the USA (1,305). Spanish arrests rose 9% in 2011/12, while the United States was up 3%. The most arrests of Britons for drugs was in the US (147), followed by Spain (141). The highest percentage of arrests for drugs in 2011/12 was in Peru where there were only 17 arrests in total, although 15 were for drugs. The FO said anecdotal evidence from embassies and consulates overseas suggested many incidents were alcohol-fuelled, particularly in popular holiday destinations such as the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, the Balearics (which include Majorca and Ibiza), Malta and Cyprus. Consular Affairs Minister Jeremy Browne said: "It is important that people understand that taking risks abroad can land them on the wrong side of the law. "The punishments can be very severe, with tougher prison conditions than in the UK. While we will work hard to try and ensure the safety of British nationals abroad, we cannot interfere in another country's legal system. "We find that many people are shocked to discover that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office cannot get them out of jail. We always provide consular support to British nationals in difficulty overseas. However, having a British passport does not make you immune to foreign laws and will not get you special treatment in prison."

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Metropolitan police anti-corruption unit investigated over payments

Reportage - 01:04

Scotland Yard is investigating allegations that detectives working for its anti-corruption unit have been paid thousands of pounds by a firm of private investigators. A parliamentary inquiry was told today that invoices, also seen by the Guardian, purport to show how a firm of private investigators made payments in return for information about the Metropolitan police investigation into James Ibori, a notorious Nigerian fraudster. On Tuesday, the Commons home affairs select committee was told by a lawyer involved in the case that invoices showed about £20,000 of potential payments to police officers in what amounted to an undetected case of "apparent corruption right at the heart of Scotland Yard". In recent weeks, as the Guardian investigated the allegations, the Met has sought to discourage the paper from publishing details about the case. But , after MPs heard the evidence, the Met dropped its previous insistence that there was "evidence that casts doubt on the credibility" of the allegations. A police source with knowledge of the investigation, which has been ongoing since October, said developments over the last 24 hours had now led police to take the allegations more seriously. The case revolves around a private investigation firm called RISC Management. Five years ago the firm was hired to work for Ibori, a former Nigerian state governor, after he discovered he was being investigated by the Met for serious fraud. Ibori recently pleaded guilty to money laundering and was jailed in the UK, after the conclusion of a major investigation into his financial affairs. The allegation now being investigated by police is that some detectives on the Met's Proceeds of Corruption Unit, which investigated Ibori, were receiving payments in exchange for information about the ongoing investigation. Invoices and other documents appearing to support the allegations have been anonymously posted to the Met and Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The documents have also been seen by the Guardian and separately sent to the home affairs committee, which is conducting an inquiry in whether private investigators should be subject to statutory regulation. Keith Vaz, the chair of the committee, has said there is growing concern in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that some private investigators are operating in "the shadows" of the law. The Commons inquiry has been scrutinising the nexus between private investigators - many of whom are retired police officers - and their former colleagues who are still serving. On Tuesday morning, Mike Schwarz, a lawyer who represents one of Ibori's co-accused, told the inquiry about what he understood to be the significance of the material. He said it indicated possible corruption at the heart of the police investigation into the Nigerian politician's money laundering activities. The invoices are alleged to be from RISC Management to Speechly Bircham, a top firm of lawyers hired by Ibori to prepare his defence. Schwarz told MPs the invoices "perhaps" documented "payments made by RISC Management to sources, presumably police officers or those close to the investigation". He added: "The records, which I think the committee have, show about half-a-dozen payments totalling about £20,000 over a period of eight or nine months [...] it appears to be inappropriate if not corrupt." Schwarz told the committee that he believed RISC Management had been hired to "extract" information from the police investigation into Ibori. He said he had also seen emails - which he believed had also been forwarded to the committee - which confirmed "contact" between detectives investigating Ibori and the private investigators. Schwarz, from Bindmans solicitors, represents Bhadresh Gohil, a London-based solicitor jailed along with Ibori for orchestrating his money laundering scam. Gohil is now considering an appeal. Gohil is understood to have been sent the invoices, anonymously, while in Wandsworth Prison last summer. In a statement, the Met said: "The [force] is investigating an allegation that illegal payments were made to police officers for information by a private investigation agency. The Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in October 2011 which agreed to supervise a DPS investigation into the allegations." Following Schwarz's evidence to parliament, the Met said it had dropped its previous claim to have recently "uncovered evidence" casting doubt on the allegations. Previously, the force had suggested an active line of inquiry was the theory that Gohil or his associates had fabricated the allegations to undermine the prosecution. In a previous statement, provided on Friday, the force said: "As a result of inquiries police have uncovered evidence that casts doubt on the credibility of these allegations. Warrants have been executed at two addresses in London and a quantity of paperwork and computer equipment recovered." Two weeks ago, following raids on properties, one of which was the Gohil's family home in Kent, the force said: "Officers believe that they have identified the originator of the information and a line of enquiry suggests that there may have been an attempt to pervert the course of justice." However, sources at the Yard said previous statements no longer fully represented their position. A source with knowledge of the Met inquiry said the change of stance was unrelated to Schwarz's parliamentary evidence. The source said that, instead, there had been developments in the investigation over the last 24 hours. Schwarz named three serving Met police officers in his testimony to parliament as being potential "culprits": detective inspector Gary Walters, detective constables named as John MacDonald and "Clark". All three officers declined an opportunity to respond to the allegations when contacted by the Guardian last week. However, RISC Management indicated Walters would deny "any and all allegations". RISC Management denied all the allegations about the company, saying it was not aware of the Scotland Yard investigation and had no knowledge of the alleged financial records. The firm confirmed it had been hired by Ibori's lawyers but denied making corrupt payments, saying it "has never paid a serving police officer for information and would never approve such payments". Keith Hunter, chief executive of the company, said: "RISC management does not need to pay serving police officers for confidential information as we pride ourselves on our ability to provide positive solutions and accurate information legitimately. RISC Management has a highly respected reputation for conducting professional investigations". He added that his company was "proud to have a network of highly professional consultants, contacts and resources. These individuals are hired precisely because of their unique skill set and expertise". He accused Schwarz of "grandstanding" in front of the Commons committee, instead of taking the "correct course of reporting the matter to the police". He said Schwarz had not produced any evidence to support his claims and acted for a convicted solicitor, Gohil, who was jailed for seven years for money laundering. Speechly Bircham denied any knowledge of wrongdoing and said it would be willing to assist with any police inquiries. The law firm stressed Schwarz did not suggest in his evidence to parliament that Speechly Bircham was "party to illegal or corrupt payments" and said any such allegation would be false and defamatory. Ian Timlin, the former Speechly Bircham lawyer who was at the time representing Ibori, said neither he nor the firm had "any knowledge of any payments to police officers for information." He added: "At no time, did RISC ever inform me who or what was the source/s they were paying."

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Sam Ibrahim headed to jail

Reportage - 00:10

Former Sydney bikie boss Sam Ibrahim has been sent back to jail for allegedly breaching his parole. The 46-year-old was arrested yesterday at his home in Sydney's north-west at Bella Vista by a police strike force targeting the city's bikie gun war. The New South Wales Parole Authority revoked parole for the former Nomads boss after receiving a report from parole officers alleging he had been taking prohibited drugs and failing to obey directions. The arrest followed a police raid of his house last Friday, which was part of an operation targeting 18 homes and businesses linked to feuding Hells Angels and Nomads bikies. The house had been sprayed with bullets only a week earlier, in one of nine tit-for-tat shootings between the gangs in just over a week. Ibrahim is being held at Silverwater jail, ahead of a public hearing by the NSW Parole Board later this month. The board will decide whether to keep the former Nomads boss in prison until his sentence expires on October 7, or whether to extend his jail time. Ibrahim spent five months in jail as part of the 15-month sentence over the violent kidnapping of a 15-year-old boy in 2009. His arrest was part of a crackdown by the Gangs Squad's Strike Force Kinnara, which was set up to combat an escalation in bikie gun crime. The strike force also arrested convicted Sydney drug boss Bill Bayeh a fortnight ago for an alleged breach of parole.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Merseyside Police anti-gang detectives plan new tactics to tackle gun thugs

Reportage - 00:01

ANTI-GANG detectives today outlined new tactics to encourage the public to expose gun thugs in their community. Police are now acutely aware of the reluctance of Merseyside residents to speak out, give evidence, or go to court to catch criminals using weapons. In a bid to break down the frequent “walls of silence”, detectives indicated they would no longer insist on those with information giving official statements, appearing at a trial, or pointing out suspects in an identity parade. Chief Supt Tony Doherty said: “We know what it means for decent people to come forward to help us, as they think, ‘There by the Grace of God . . . ’. I understand they won’t be witnesses, but people can still help us in lots of other ways. Just tell us where the drugs are, we’ll do the rest. We have police officers in these areas and they will welcome any information. “From the Chief Constable to the community support officers, we are all dedicated to stopping this as we share the outrage of those blighted by gun crime. If communities don’t take part in combating this problem, young boys and girls will find themselves in the middle of this gang fight.”

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Rupert Murdoch was branded “not a fit person” to run a major company

Reportage - 14:57

 Rupert Murdoch was branded “not a fit person” to run a major company in a bombshell report by MPs today. His son and business heir James was accused of “wilful ignorance” towards phone hacking, while Murdoch executives were accused of lying to cover it up. The verdicts leave the 81-year-old tycoon fighting to justify his leadership of a worldwide empire including the broadcaster BSkyB. He faces being dragged before Parliament to apologise. The force of the report was partly diminished by a row between members of the culture select committee. Four Conservatives voted against the final draft because they felt the attack on Rupert Murdoch’s fitness  to run a company was over the top. However, the final 100-page report backed by the Labour and Lib-Dem MPs on the committee amounted to one of the most scathing parliamentary verdicts on an international business. The MPs said Rebekah Brooks, former News of the World editor and chief executive of News International, “should accept responsibility” for the culture that led to Milly Dowler’s phone being hacked, along with hundreds of others. The report also found editors, lawyers, the police and prosecutors guilty of a catalogue of failings. Several former Murdoch lieutenants were singled out for misleading Parliament, including former News International executive chairman Les Hinton, former News Group  lawyer Tom Crone, and former News of the World editor Colin Myler. It criticised the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, and the former Metropolitan Police acting deputy commissioner John Yates, saying “they both bear culpability for failing to ensure that the evidence ... was properly investigated.” Rupert Murdoch was accused of “wilful blindness” about the mounting evidence of phone hacking. The verdict will add muscle to shareholders seeking to topple Mr Murdoch and to critics demanding that media regulator Ofcom strip him of his broadcasting licence. The report accused the Murdoch companies of trying to “buy the silence” of victims by awarding huge payouts to victims of hacking such as football players’ union boss Gordon Taylor. Verdicts on some figures who have been arrested by the police were held back in case they hampered fair trials. Among these was Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who was hired by David Cameron as his spin chief at No 10. The ferocious conclusion, which divided the committee in a series of votes on the final wording, was that Mr Murdoch was ultimately to blame and therefore not fit to hold his position. It said: “On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. “This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” The committee branded it “simply astonishing” that Rupert and James said it was not until December 2010 that they realised that News International’s claim that hacking involved a single “rogue reporter” was untrue. It poured scorn on James Murdoch’s “lack of curiosity” that raised “questions of competence”. Mr Hinton was “complicit in the cover-up at News International” that included paying inflated compensation to victims. Mr Crone and Mr Myler misled the committee by answering questions “falsely”. The final devastating verdict on Mr Murdoch was a triumph for Labour MP Tom Watson who drafted the conclusions. But the 11-member committee divided along party lines, with the full denunciation being passed by the vote of a single Liberal Democrat member. Mr Watson said of Rupert Murdoch: “More than any individual alive, he is to blame. Morally, the deeds are his. He paid the piper and he called the tune.” Conservative MPs Louise Mensch and Philip Davies insisted the MPs had no right to make such a ruling and hit out at “partisan” voting by Labour members led by Mr Watson and Paul Farrelly. Mrs Mensch said Tory members could not back the declaration, describing it as “wildly outside the scope” of the committee and “improper attempt to influence” watchdog Ofcom.” Mr Davies said Mr Murdoch was “very clearly” a fit and proper person to run a major firm, pointing to the jobs he had created. He added: “Many people may conclude that some people’s conclusions were written before any of the evidence was heard, and that is very sad.” Mr Watson said he was disappointed there had been splits, but insisted Mr Murdoch must be held to account for crimes at News Corporation. Committee chair John Whittingdale said he did not vote on any of the amendments in the report, but hinted at his opinion on whether it should have branded Mr Murdoch unfit, saying: “I would merely observe that as well as being the chairman of the committee, I am a Conservative MP.” Lib-Dem member Adrian Sanders who was effectively left with the casting vote, sided with the Labour view. He said he would have faced accusations of party bias whichever way he had decided. After the report was published Mr Watson said he had “reason to believe” that even more the material in the form of hard drives was in the hands of the Serious Organised Crime Agency. He sought to extend the probe into new areas — including claims News Corp could be in contempt of Parliament over claims they sought to use private investigators to dig dirt on committee members. He also said politicians — including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as well as David Cameron and George Osborne — should reveal their email and text message contacts with News Corp executives.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Drugs gang jailed for 30 years over £1.7m cannabis smuggling plot

Reportage - 14:11

All pleaded guilty to their part in an international drug smuggling operation and were sentenced today at Newport Crown Court. Today’s sentences follows the sentencing of the gang leader, Keith Dobson, who was given a six year sentence at Newport Crown Court on February 1st, for arranging the importation of the drugs into the UK. Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Hurley, said: “We’ve dismantled a sophisticated and organised group who tried to flood Valleys communities with illegal drugs. “They were organised, but fell prey to some excellent investigative work which included the latest techniques and spanned a number of different agencies from as far away as Spain, where the drugs were initially discovered. "I hope this sends a message out to other would-be drug importers and dealers that South Wales is not an easy target," he added. Ryan Davies, known locally as 'Mamsy', received the most significant sentence of six years for his part as key co-ordinator of the operation in South Wales. A detailed and complex investigation by a team of detectives led by Detective Sergeant Joe Sweeney identified Davies at the centre of the operation. He was implicated through some excellent police work following the arrest of his friend Christian O’Reilly, who on March 12th was apprehended by officers as a covert surveillance operation came to an end. Officers pounced on O'Reilly as he was putting petrol in his car. This was only moments after O’Reilly first realised something had gone horribly wrong with their plan. The story actually begins eight days earlier on March 4th 2011 in Barcelona, where Spanish customs officials seized 413kg of cannabis resin hidden in sandstone pillars destined for the UK. The dugs were taken out and authorities allowed the consignment onwards to its destination. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) worked with the police to track the consignment as it headed to an unlikely barn, on a farm off Cefn Pennar Road, Mountain Ash. This was where members of the group first realised the pillars used to smuggle the drugs were empty. Moments later, the first arrests were made. Three people - including Christian O'Reilly - were arrested as they left the farm. All their mobile phones were seized which proved important for the investigation. An investigation by South Wales Police was then launched. What followed was a complex hi-tech 12 month inquiry which, bit by bit, pieced together the whole criminal network from the drug runners and local dealers in Rhondda, to the organised London-based gang leaders. Keith Dobson even went so far as to use a fake building company - complete with virtual office - in an attempt to fool authorities. DCI Paul Hurley said: “Community intelligence tells us that the impact the arrests had on drug supply to the community was profound. The community now have an important part to play in providing intelligence about others who may view this as an opportunity to muscle in on the area. “We have a team now who will be working hard to chase any assets owned by members of the group which are believed to be funded by the proceeds of their crimes. This’ll ensure crime doesn’t pay,” he added. All those charged with offences pleaded guilty to their involvement in the operation. The following men pleaded guilty to their parts in arranging the importation of large quantities of cannabis resin into the UK: - Keith Dobson arranged the importation of the drugs and paid for their release from the shipping agents in London;-  - Barry Roy Butler collected the drugs and drove them, hidden in the cargo, to South Wales in a hired lorry; - Mark Joseph Waugh was entrusted to meet Mr. Butler and stay with the drugs overnight;-  - Christian O’Reilly was a large scale dealer who also organised a safe destination for the cargo to be unloaded; These individuals all pleaded guilty to their part in the south Wales side of the scheme: - Ryan Davies was the controller of the operation in South Wales. He arranged the delivery of the consignment, met the lorry himself and arranged local men to provide a safe place for delivery. He was the “wholesale” supplier in the case, and made the arrangements using a mobile phone that he kept for the purpose-

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Lock your doors alert as Whitby double murder suspect spotted on run

Reportage - 08:10

Detectives hunting double murder suspect James Allen have urged Yorkshire residents to lock their doors and windows after reported sightings of him on the East Coast raised fears the killer could strike again. Allen, a 35-year-old drug user with previous convictions for violence, is believed to have killed his former next-door neighbour in Middlesbrough and murdered a Whitby housewife while on bail for other offences. Police called on him to hand himself in yesterday as they revealed sightings of the suspect had been reported in Whitby, Scarborough and Middlesbrough. More than 100 officers from the Cleveland and North Yorkshire forces are investigating the murders of Colin Dunford, 81, and Julie Davison, 50. Both victims suffered head injuries. The detective leading the inquiry, Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang of Cleveland Police, said it was a “24/7 operation” that would not stop until Allen is found.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Gas canister man storms office

Reportage - 15:05

One of the country's busiest shopping streets has been closed as a man wearing gas canisters stormed into an office and threatened to blow himself up, it was reported. Tottenham Court Road in central London was closed after police received emergency calls at midday. Scotland Yard sent a hostage negotiator to the scene amid reports the man had held people hostage inside the building several floors up. Pictures emerged of computer and office equipment being thrown through one of the office windows. A police spokesman said it was "too early to say if the suspect was armed or indeed had taken any hostages" but businesses and nearby buildings were evacuated. Joaqam Ramus, who works at nearby Cafe Fresco, said before being evacuated: "There was talk of a bomb and somebody having a hostage in a building. "All Tottenham Court Road is closed and so are we - the police told us to shut. "We don't know what it is but it seems someone has a hostage."

Busy London street evacuated over ‘hostage situation’

Reportage - 15:02

POLICE have been called to a potential hostage situation after Tottenham Court Road in London, one of the country’s busiest shopping streets, was closed. Businesses and shoppers were evacuated from the area at midday. Scotland Yard said it had sent a negotiator to the scene after reports of a man throwing furniture out of a window several floors up. A spokesman said it was “too early to say if the suspect was armed or indeed had taken any hostages”. Joaqam Ramus, who works at nearby Cafe Fresco, said before being evacuated: “There was talk of a bomb and somebody having a hostage in a building. “All Tottenham Court Road is closed and so are we - the police told us to shut. “We don’t know what it is but it seems someone has a hostage.” A spokesman for Transport for London could not confirm details of the ongoing operation but confirmed they were “aware of an incident”. Staff from news website The Huffington Post UK were evacuated from their building after a man reportedly wearing a gas canister threatened to blow himself up in the adjoining building, they said. People near the scene reported shots being fired and said computers and equipment had been thrown out of the windows of the office block housing the Huffington Post. Huffington Post UK executive editor Stephen Hull posted a video on Twitter of an office worker who saw the man enter the building. Abby Baafi, 27, the head of training and operations at Advantage, a company which offers HGV courses, told Mr Hull the man had targeted her offices and was currently holding four men hostage. In a video posted on YouTube, she said: “What happened is, we were in the office and someone came in. He asked him what his name was and he said it was Michael Green. “I recognised him because he was one of our previous customers but he is not quite stable - mentally stable. “He turned up, strapped up with gasoline cylinders, and threatened to blow up the office. “He said he doesn’t care about his life. He doesn’t care about anything, he is going to blow up everybody. “He was specifically looking for me but I said ‘My name’s not Abby’ and he let me go.” Ms Baafi said the man failed the HGV training course and wanted his money back.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Credit card fraud websites shut down on three continents

Reportage - 16:40

Three men have been arrested and 36 criminal websites selling credit card information and other personal data shut down as part of a two-year international anti-fraud operation, police have confirmed. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), working with the FBI and US Department of Justice, as well as authorities in Germany; the Netherlands; Ukraine; Australia and Romania, swooped after identifying the sites as specialising in selling card and bank details in bulk. The move comes as a blow to what is a growing black market for stolen financial data. Detectives estimated that the card information seized could have been used to extract more than £500m in total by fraudsters. SOCA claimed it has recovered more than two and a half million items of compromised personal and financial information over the past two years. “The authorities have shut down 36 websites but it is difficult to know how many other people had access to that data. They could spring back up somewhere else if a gang is not eradicated completely,” said Graham Cluley of internet security firm Sophos. He added: “This is big business and, just as in any legitimate company there are people who specialise in different things, so there are those who actually get their hands on the personal data and those who sell it on; they are not often the same person.” An investigation by The Independent last summer found that scammers were making a “comfortable living” getting their hands on sensitive information and selling it online. Card details were being offered for sale for between 4p and £60 per card – depending on the quality – according to one source in the business. Some cards would be sold with incomplete or unreliable information; others ready to use. Some of the card details for sale on the websites shut down by SOCA were being sold for as little as £2 each. Investigators said that the alleged fraudsters were using Automated Vending Carts, which allowed them to sell large quantities of stolen data. They are said to be a driver of the growth in banking fraud over the last 18 months because of the speed with which stolen data can be sold. Lee Miles, Head of Cyber Operations for SOCA said: “This operation is an excellent example of the level of international cooperation being focused on tackling online fraud. Our activities have saved business, online retailers and financial institutions potential fraud losses estimated at more than half a billion pounds, and at the same time protected thousands of individuals from the distress caused by being a victim of fraud or identity crime.” An alleged operator in Macedonia was one of those arrested, while two British men accused of buying the information were also detained. Britain’s Dedicated Cheque & Plastic Crime Unit also seized computers suspected of being used to commit fraud.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Romanian gangs flooding London with pickpockets and prostitutes

Reportage - 18:10

Romanian crime syndicates are flooding London with hundreds of pickpockets, prostitutes and beggars ahead of the Olympics. Coachloads of penniless migrants are arriving in the capital every day, many already armed with maps directing them to the best patches, which they have been ordered to defend from rivals. Council workers are already having to clear around 60 Romanian nationals sleeping rough on the streets around Marble Arch and Oxford Street every night and they fear the situation is getting worse.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Gang leader Domenyk Noonan’s arrest sheet lists guns, drugs, robbery and witness intimidation.

Reportage - 17:53

At 46, he has already spent more than half his life in jail. However, there are those who look up to him as a successful criminal.

But has it brought him wealth or happiness?

There’s not much evidence of either. What it brings him mostly is grief, aggravation and trouble with the police. 

Investigative reporter Donal MacIntyre has had unprecedented access to Noonan and his family for the past 10 years and his hard-hitting new series on Crime & Investigation Network – At Home with the Noonans – gives a fascinating insight into what makes this Manchester gangster tick.

The lives of two of his brothers were violently snuffed out and his teenage son has already served time. Most of his hangers-on have been in jail for dishonesty or violence.

But when Noonan’s out of jail, what has he got? Home is either a small flat above a shop or a council house owned by his ex-girlfriend.      

His ride is usually a clapped-out old ambulance or a knackered ex cop car. 

Donal MacIntyre’s riveting series is sometimes hair-raising, always compelling... and often very funny. But does crime pay for the Noonans? Not on this evidence...




To some he is a ruthless gangster who controls a vast criminal network of thieves and hard men.

To others, Domenyk Noonan is a 21st Century Robin Hood, a lovable rogue and jovial pub entertainer whose idea of a good time is to dress as Santa Claus at Christmas, touring his Manchester neighbourhood giving toys to poor children.


The CrewHard men: Noonan and his cronies


As with so many criminal characters throughout history, the truth is more complicated than you might imagine, and definitely stranger than fiction.

Now a new documentary series At Home with the Noonans by the award-winning investigative reporter Donal MacIntyre, to be screened on Crime & Investigation Network, reveals the lifestyle of one of the most famous crime bosses in Britain.

The road leading to the new series began with MacIntyre’s hit documentary A Very British Gangster screened in 2007.

When he began that programme, the gang’s enforcer was the feared contract killer Desmond “Dessie” Noonan, who had been implicated in a string of murders.

Dessie often boasted that their crime network had “more guns than the police”.

But Dessie Noonan was not untouchable. It wasn’t a police bullet that did for him, but the knife of a fellow gangster. More than 3,000 people attended Dessie Noonan’s funeral.


With Dessie gone the mantle was inherited by his younger brother Domenyk, who was already forging a personal relationship with Donal MacIntyre and gave his blessing to the new series.

A convicted armed robber, Domenyk’s life seems to be made up entirely of contradictions.

Noonan revels in his notoriety as a feared gang boss. But every Sunday Noonan, a Catholic, goes to church where he reads scriptures to the pews of devout worshippers.

And when the service is over, he goes for a pint with his parish priest. No doubt the local police would love to eavesdrop when Noonan goes to Confession.

Then there’s his sexual orientation. He used to live with girlfriend Mandy, but he is happy to admit to being gay. He enjoys being known in criminal circles as The Gay Gangster.

He even says one of the benefits of being locked up is the free sex.

Despite that assertion, while the series was being made Noonan was arrested over the alleged rape of a young woman.

The charges were soon dropped but, with Noonan happily agreeing that one of his ‘favourite’ offences is witness intimidation, the police thought it wise to give the girl a new identity and move her to a secret safe house a very long way from Manchester.

Then there’s his juxtaposing views on law, order and security.

It goes without saying Domenyk Noonan hates the police. Yet during the series he is seen setting up his own security company.

He owns a fleet of retired ambulances and police cars and says with a straight face he plans to convert some of the ambulances into armoured security trucks to try to get a slice of the “cash in transit” business.

Let’s hope the banks don’t insist on taking up references before they give him a contract. He still owes them in the region of £4.5million he stole from them at gunpoint in the past.


At Home with the Noonans 


Noonan’s personality is somewhat of a contradiction too. He recently changed his name by deed poll to Lattlay Fottfoy – an acronym of his motto: Look after those that look after you... **** off those that **** off you.

This reflects his outlook on life and the importance of his “honour code”.

Then there is his beloved teenage son. Noonan insists he doesn’t want him to follow him down the road he took to criminal notoriety.

But he insisted on christening the lad Bugsy, a monicker favoured by Al Capone’s gun-toting mates in 1920s Chicago.

Domenyk says he wants his son to have a better life, to go straight and stay out of prison.

But surrounded by young hoodlums, it’s a tough ask for Bugsy. At 17 he has already served a lengthy stretch in a young offenders institute after a burglary and car crime rampage committed when he was just 15.

Domenyk himself has spent over 28 of his 46 years in jail. He has been implicated – but never convicted – in six murders.


Dom and the boys in the pubBoss: Domenyk Noonan 


He has more than 40 criminal convictions. As an armed robber he stole millions in van and bank robberies. In 1993, while serving time for robbery and possessing a loaded gun, he escaped from jail.

He was one of the ring leaders of the notorious prisoner’s riot at Manchester’s Strangeways jail in 1990, an event which he describes as “one of the best days of my life”.

He’s been arrested in possession of £1million worth of heroin, but got off at trial. He’s also been involved in handling stolen goods, fraud and protection racketeering.

Police ambush

He has had many acquittals. It’s a matter of record that at least eight key witnesses against him have refused to give evidence, and in some cases fled abroad rather than testify.

But things don’t always go Noonan’s way. In 2005, when police ambushed him in a Jaguar in Darlington they found a revolver and ammo hidden in the engine compartment.

Noonan was promptly nicked. There were no prosecution witnesses to threaten, buy off, or bump off.

This time the shaven-headed hard man took a big fall. Nine-and-a-half years.

Out on parole with just half his sentence served, Noonan’s licence to be back on the streets was an opportunity for Donal MacIntyre to really get to grips making the series.

But trouble dogs the Noonan family wherever they go. First the rape complaint put Domenyk back in custody. He was released again after the allegation was dropped.

But then came the 2011 summer riots, sparked off when London police shot Mark Duggan – by coincidence a distant cousin of Domenyk Noonan.

When looting and mayhem spilled on to the streets of Manchester, Noonan’s distinctive bald head stood out like a beacon on seven hours of CCTV as hundreds of youths trashed and looted the heart of the city.

The police said Domenyk had been orchestrating the night of criminal chaos. Noonan said he had been acting as a good citizen, trying to persuade wayward youths to go home quietly.

After three months the police agreed there was no evidence to charge him. But by then Noonan’s parole licence had been revoked.

He was back in jail – where he remains now, with little hope of release before 2014.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Alaska coast guards found dead at Kodiak Island

Reportage - 01:10


Two members of the US Coast Guard in Alaska have been found dead, prompting concerns that a killer could have struck at a remote island outpost. A captain at the Kodiak Island Station said they were unsure what happened and a suspect could still be at large. The base and schools in the area were put on lockdown and residents of the island were told to remain vigilant. The names of the victims will be released after their families have been notified, the coast guard said. "It is possible that the suspect remains at large," Commanding Officer Captain Jesse Moore said. "Since we don't have all the details, we strongly advise all Kodiak residents to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement officials." The captain also said the unit was "deeply saddened" to have lost two shipmates. Officials were unable to determine whether the deaths were a double murder or a murder-suicide. "This is a rare occurrence and we are going to do everything possible to ensure we find out exactly what happened," he said. Agents from the FBI have been sent to Kodiak from the town of Anchorage, about 250 miles (402km) away. Kodiak has a population of about 6,300 people.

An Albanian fugitive accused of multiple murders in his home country has been arrested in north London after 15 years on the run.

Reportage - 00:36

Ndrieim Sadushi, 41, was last night picked up on an international warrant by police outside his home in Southgate.

An Albanian court found him guilty in his absence of three killings and an attempted murder in the eastern European country in 1997.

At an extradition hearing in Westminster Magistrates' Court today, Sadushi claimed he had been the victim of mistaken identity and was in fact 31-year-old Arjan Kasa.


But district Judge Michael Snow ruled police had got the right man after being told his fingerprints matched those of the convicted killer.

Sadushi, who is said to have used at least six aliases while evading the authorities, will face a life sentence if he is sent back to his homeland.

 His barrister Richard Hallam stands by the claim that his client is Arjan Kasa.

Prosecutor James Stansfeld said that, in addition to being wanted by the Albanian police, authorities in Italy accuse Sadushi of drug trafficking, passport fraud and controlling prostitutes.

Italian courts sentenced him to 13 years and four months in his absence.

He has been linked to the notorious Kadeshi armed gang, of which all the other leaders have been arrested.

Sadushi is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court today

Sadushi is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court today

Hannah Pye, representing the Albanian authorities, said: 'The request for extradition comes from Albania, after he was handed a custodial sentence, following a conviction for five offences.'

‘Those were, the creation and participation in an armed gang, three counts of murder and one attempted murder.

‘For that he was sentenced to life imprisonment, and an appeal against the sentence was upheld by the Albanian appeal court in 2000.’

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s extradition unit arrested Sadushi outside a property in High Road, Southgate.

The UK Border Agency holds no record of him claiming asylum and he is thought to have entered Britain on the back of a truck in 2000. 

Last year he was one of 14 suspects to have their mugshots released as part of Operation Sunfire, a coordinated effort to bring some of the UK's most wanted fugitives before extradition courts.

Twelve of the suspected murderers, rapists and robbers pictured were from eastern Europe, while the other two were wanted in connection with crimes in Italy and Australia.

Sadushi will return to court on April 25.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

NOTORIOUS gangster Ian ‘Blink’ MacDonald has seen the very sharp end of Scotland’s bloody knife culture.

Reportage - 10:31


Gangster: Carrying a knife leads to only two places... jail or the grave Scarred ... Ian MacDonald needed 42 stitches in face after knife thugs cut him up  He was a brutal blade-wielding enforcer for feared Glasgow crime godfather Arthur Thompson. The scar-faced former hood carved, slashed and stabbed his way through rivals during his career as one of the country’s most terrifying villains. But last night the reformed hardman BACKED Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland crackdown on Scotland’s blade scourge and told youngsters to ditch their lethal weapons. And the 50-year-old confessed to being left “stunned” by knife attackers who battered him and ripped open his face two years ago as he walked his dog, Lucky. The gravel-voiced Glaswegian said: “In this day and age, carrying a knife leads to only two things — prison or the grave. “And it is always the families that are left suffering.” For decades MacDonald was one of the most feared crooks in Glasgow and beyond. Arthur Thompson ... crime king used thug MacDonald as a brutal enforcer in his empire In 1993, he was sentenced to 16 years behind bars for his part in a foiled £6million bank raid. The verdict at London’s Old Bailey was delivered amid a ring of steel. An earlier trial was aborted because of fears an escape plot had been hatched. This came after sinister death threats were delivered to barristers and the trial judge. Then just three years ago he survived a car bomb plot and a slashing. MacDonald carved out his reputation for violence from the age of 20 when he was a small-time thief who targeted jewellers’ shops. His talents as a brutal thug were quickly spotted by Glasgow crime kingpin Thompson — a close associate of fearsome London gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray. MacDonald said: “My main career at that time was robbing jewellery shops but Arthur came to me because he knew I was building a reputation for violence. “To me, it was really just another sideline. “But I did eventually start turning Thompson down — because I did not want to be running around carving people up while he sat in his armchair with his feet up, drinking brandy and watching Minder on the telly.” 'Blink' MacDonald ... bank robber enjoyed high life as a young man thanks to his heists MacDonald was making a mint as a prolific robber but he was so in love with blades he carried on dishing out horrifying knife attacks — purely for thrills and revenge. He admitted: “Back in 1981, there was a guy who broke into the home of my pal’s dad in Blantyre and doused it in petrol while the family were sleeping. It was all to do with a feud. “Not long after, my pal and I were in a nightclub and we spotted this guy. “I waited for him outside the toilet and then followed him on to the dancefloor. “I took the face clean off him. I did not stop to wait around and see the damage. I ran. I was really young at the time, just 20. To tell you the truth, it was quite exciting.” And he kept up his reign of knife terror even while banged up. The following year, MacDonald was serving a prison term at tough Barlinnie nick in Glasgow when he was asked to “sort out” a fellow lag who was hassling a pal. He said: “My preferred weapon of choice was a razor blade soldered on to a toothbrush. “I just grabbed him and slashed him across the face. The Kray Twins ... Thompson and MacDonald had links to the terrifying brothers “I never went for the neck as I did not want to kill anyone — just mark them for life. “My pal later said he was very grateful — but that he had only meant for me to punch the guy.” But two years ago the tables were turned as MacDonald — who’s penning a book about his life of crime — was targeted by a gang of blade-wielding thugs who went for his THROAT. He was walking his pet dog in the East End of Glasgow when he was jumped from behind by three tooled-up attackers. They battered MacDonald on the back of the head as he lay helpless on the ground — then used a blade to open up his left cheek. MacDonald needed 42 stitches to heal the gaping facial wound. Speaking of the horror attack he said: “They got me on the face but they were going for my throat. But I am not a hypocrite. I had given it out and I got it back. “At the age of 48, after carrying a blade around for 30 years, I was slashed — and I am still stunned.” MacDonald no longer carries a weapon — and last night he called on the country’s youths to do the same and put down their blades for good as the horror toll of Scots knife crime mounts. The dad-of-one said: “The younger ones today are far more mental with knives than I ever was. “But they should realise that if you are prepared to use a knife on someone, then you should be prepared to get it back — and no one is invincible. “I mean, if you are carrying a knife it is not a bloody ornament — you are going to use it. “The best course of action is just not to carry one at all.”

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Kansas man struck by lightning hours after buying lottery tickets

Reportage - 23:27

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

Kevin 'Gerbil' Carroll murder trial

Reportage - 05:03

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.

Reportage - 08:40


 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.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Mexican tourists fund British holiday with six-day burglary spree

Reportage - 05:28


Six Mexican holidaymakers went on a burglary spree across the UK after they ran out of money on a tour of Premier League football stadiums, a court heard yesterday. They targeted homes in West Lancashire and were also linked to break-ins in Strathclyde in Scotland and Cumbria over a six-day period. The group had initially visited the country on tourist visas last October as part of their dream to watch their footballing heroes, including Manchester United's Mexican striker, Javier Hernandez, at Old Trafford. Apart from one married couple, none of the offenders was known to each other before they met in a London nightclub. Several of them spent too much on alcohol during their stay and their British tour of sporting arenas evolved into an organised-crime operation, Preston Crown Court heard. They smashed open the front doors of properties and then ransacked bedrooms for jewellery, cash and electrical equipment. Addresses in Carlisle, Lancaster, Morecambe, Bolton-le-Sands and Strathclyde were targeted while the owners were out between 16 and 21 November last year. The gang was caught travelling south through Staffordshire after their getaway-vehicle details were flagged up by a member of the public who witnessed one of the raids. Their haul was recovered, as were papers with lists of addresses and a satellite-navigation system which mapped out their travel route. A "significant number" of properties in the Strathclyde area were programmed into the equipment. Police inquiries were ongoing but it was likely that unclaimed stolen goods had come from the Scottish addresses. Juan Castillo Fernandez, 28, Cuauhtemoc Fernandez Gomez, 30, and Manuel Garcia, 44, were all jailed for two years after admitting conspiracy to commit burglary. Jose Vargas Gomez, 51, Juan Molina, 24, and Cristina Obregon, 22, were each imprisoned for 14 months after they pleaded guilty to possessing criminal property. All six, who were living in Lewisham, south London, will be automatically deported after serving their sentences. The Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell, QC, said he would have urged their removal regardless. He told them: "I would have recommended deportation because in my view your continued presence in this country – whose hospitality you have abused – is contrary to the public interest."

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Sex is a multibillion-dollar industry in Spain, with colorfully lit brothels staffed mainly by poor immigrant women from Latin America, Africa and eastern Europe lining highways throughout the country

Reportage - 21:32

Pimps Arrested in Spain for 'Barcoding' Women

Police in Spain arrested 22 alleged pimps who purportedly tattooed women with bar codes as a sign of ownership and used violence to force them into prostitution.  Police are calling the gang the "bar code pimps." Officers freed one 19-year-old woman who had been beaten, held against her will and tattooed with a bar code and an amount of money — €2,000 ($2,650) — which investigators believe was the debt the gang wished to extort before releasing her. The woman had also been whipped, chained to a radiator and had her hair and eyebrows shaved off, according to an Interior Ministry statement.All those arrested were of Romanian nationality and had forced the women to hand over part of their earnings, the statement said. The women were tattooed on their wrists if they tried to escape, the statement said. Police also seized guns and ammunition. It was not immediately clear when the raids took place. Police seized €140,000 ($185,388) in cash, which had been hidden in a false ceiling, a large amount of gold jewelry and five vehicles, three of which were described as luxury cars. The gang was made up of two separate groups, referred to as "clans" in the statement, each dedicated to controlling prostitution along fixed stretches of a street in downtown Madrid. One of the alleged ringleaders who was identified only by the initials "I.T." is wanted by authorities in Romania for crimes linked to prostitution, the statement said. The women were controlled at all times to ensure "money was taken off them immediately," the statement said.   Sex is a multibillion-dollar industry in Spain, with colorfully lit brothels staffed mainly by poor immigrant women from Latin America, Africa and eastern Europe lining highways throughout the country. Prostitution falls in legal limbo: it is not regulated, although pimping is a crime. The northeastern city of Barcelona plans to introduce regional legislation in coming weeks banning prostitution on urban streets.

Russian banker shot six times had testified over murder plot

Reportage - 07:35

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.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Laura Johnson 'was going out with convicted crack dealer'

Reportage - 15:12


A millionaire’s daughter accused of going on a two-hour crime spree on the worst night of last summer's riots was having a fling with an convicted crack dealer in the weeks before the trouble flared, a court heard today. The jury was told that it was this man - known as 'Sylar' - who jumped into Laura Johnson's car, with two of his friends, and forced her into driving them as they stole a haul of electrical goods, cigarettes and alcohol. Johnson's friend Charlie Fryett today told the court that she had 'come across as quite easy' and had been meeting up intimately with Sylar, whose real name is Emmanuel. The jury heard he was a robber who had recently been released for dealing crack cocaine.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Herbie Hide: Man Arrested Over Stabbing At World Champion Boxer's Home

Reportage - 16:44


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

Life terms for gang who left hand grenade outside Kenny Dalglish's house

Reportage - 21:43

Five members of a gang who left a hand grenade outside Kenny Dalglish’s home were jailed for life yesterday. The two leaders of the criminal network were sentenced to a minimum of 22 years each. Kirk Bradley and Anthony Downes, both 26, were convicted in their absence of conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to cause damage with intent to endanger life. The two men escaped from a prison van while on their way to stand trial last July. Bradley, of Formby, Lancashire, is still on the run but Downes, of no fixed address, was arrested in the Netherlands last Friday. He will be flown to the UK soon to begin serving his time. Three other men were sentenced at London’s Woolwich Crown Court yesterday after they admitted possessing firearms and causing criminal damage with intent to endanger life. Gary Wilson, 27, of Southport, Lancashire, will serve a minimum of 16 years. Joseph Farrell, 23, and Craig Riley, both of Stockbridge Village, Lancashire, will serve a minimum of 12 and 14 years respectively. The thugs carried out shootings and grenade attacks on behalf of others in the Liverpool underworld. The grenade was left on football legend Dalglish’s front wall in Southport in July 2009 – but was not intended for him. Instead, it was thought to be aimed at one of his neighbours, businessman John Ball, who was also the target of two shootings. Bradley and Downes ran their network between 2009 and 2010, ordering numerous shootings and bombings. Downes was serving a seven-year sentence at the time but the judge, Mr Justice Henriques, said he was the “chief executive controlling and organising events from his prison cell”.

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