Category Archives: England

TOP STORIES, England

Police shoot man and arrest six others in Deptford, London


Armed police shot a man and arrested six others after stopping a car in south-east London.

The Met was called to Lewisham Road in Deptford just before 04:00 GMT over concerns about a woman’s welfare and reports about a man with a gun.

FGM: Mother guilty of genital mutilation of daughter

A man in his 20s was shot when officers stopped a vehicle near Blackheath Road. He was taken to hospital in a non life-threatening condition and arrested.

Six other men remain in police custody, Scotland Yard said.

Five were arrested for false imprisonment while one was held for possession of an offensive weapon.

Police were unable to confirm what the injured man had been arrested on suspicion of.

Roads in the area have been closed while officers carry out their investigation.

Lack of awareness’ around forced marriage law

The police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, sent investigators to the scene after being notified by the Met.

The force’s own Directorate of Professional Standards has also been informed.

FGM: Mother guilty of genital mutilation of daughter



The Old Bailey
The woman and her Ghanaian partner were on trial at the Old Bailey

A woman who mutilated her three-year-old daughter has become the first person in the UK to be found guilty of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The 37-year-old mother from east London wept in the dock as she was convicted after a trial at the Old Bailey.

Spells and curses intended to deter police and social workers from investigating were found at the Ugandan woman’s home, the trial heard.

Her 43-year-old partner was acquitted by the jury.

Prosecutors said the mother “coached” her daughter “to lie to the police so she wouldn’t get caught”.

The defendants, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, denied FGM and an alternative charge of failing to protect a girl from risk of genital mutilation.

Mrs Justice Whipple warned of a “lengthy” jail term as she remanded the woman into custody to be sentenced on 8 March.

The city with no homeless on its streets..

Can the UK learn from Finland’s approach to tackling homelessness?

FGM – intentionally altering or injuring the female external genitalia for non-medical reasons – carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail.

During the trial, the woman claimed her daughter, then aged three, “fell on metal and it’s ripped her private parts” after she had climbed to get a biscuit in August 2017.

Medics alerted police to the girl’s injuries after they treated her at Whipps Cross Hospital, in Leytonstone.

She “lost a significant amount of blood as a result of the injuries they had delivered and inflicted on her”, jurors were told.

‘Sickening offence’

While the parents were on bail, police searched the mother’s home and found evidence of witchcraft.

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC said two cow tongues were “bound in wire with nails and a small blunt knife” embedded in them.

Forty limes and other fruit were found with pieces of paper with names written on them stuffed inside, including those of police officers and a social worker involved in the investigation.

“These people were to ‘shut up’ and ‘freeze their mouths’,” Ms Carberry said.

“There was a jar with a picture of a social worker in pepper found hidden behind the toilet in the bathroom,” she added.

Campaigner Aneeta Prem believes more people will now come forward to report cases
Campaigner Aneeta Prem believes more people will now come forward to report cases

It is only the fourth FGM prosecution brought to court in the UK. The previous cases led to acquittals.

FGM campaigner Aneeta Prem, from Freedom Charity, said convictions were hard to secure because cuttings were “hidden in secrecy”.

“People are scared to come forward, professionals are scared to come forward to report this,” she told the BBC.

“The fact that we have a conviction today is a really historic moment.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said FGM was a “medieval practice”.

“We will not tolerate FGM and not rest until perpetrators of this horrific crime are brought to justice,” he added.

Essex man who ‘taunted’ police from Dubai jailed

Lynette Woodrow, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said the “sickening” offence had been committed against a victim with “no power to resist or fight back”.

“We can only imagine how much pain this vulnerable young girl suffered and how terrified she was,” she said.

“Her mother then coached her to lie to the police so she wouldn’t get caught, but this ultimately failed.”

Ms Woodrow said FGM victims were often affected physically and emotionally for “their entire life”.

line

Female genital mutilation

  • Includes “the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”
  • Practised in 30 countries in Africa and some countries in Asia and the Middle East
  • An estimated three million girls and women worldwide are at risk each year
  • About 125 million victims estimated to be living with the consequences
  • It is commonly carried out on young girls, often between infancy and the age of 15
  • Often motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behaviour, to prepare a girl or woman for adulthood and marriage and to ensure “pure femininity”
  • Dangers include severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths

Source: World Health Organization

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The mother was born in Uganda but has lived in the UK for a number of years. FGM is banned in both countries, the CPS said.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the conviction sent “a clear message to those who practise this barbaric act”.

“Every woman and girl should be safe and feel safe wherever they are in London, and we will continue our fight to end FGM with every power we have,” he added.

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The city with no homeless on its streets..



Can the UK learn from Finland's approach to tackling homelessness?
Can the UK learn from Finland’s approach to tackling homelessness?

The number of people sleeping rough in the UK has multiplied since 2010. But in Finland’s capital Helsinki rough sleeping has been almost eradicated thanks to a groundbreaking scheme. What can cities in the UK learn from the Finns?

Emerging from Helsinki’s grandiose central railway station on a bitterly cold evening, it does not take long before you notice something unusual.

There are no rough sleepers and no-one is begging.

The contrast with the UK’s major towns and cities – where rough sleepers curled up in sleeping bags, blankets or tents are a common sight – is striking.

“In my childhood I remember there were hundreds, or even thousands of people sleeping in the parks and forests,” says Helsinki’s deputy mayor Sanna Vesikansa.

“It was visible, but we don’t have it any more. Street homelessness doesn’t exist in Helsinki.”

For the past 30 years, tackling homelessness has been a focus for successive governments in Finland.

In 1987, there were more than 18,000 homeless people there. The latest figures from the end of 2017 show there were about 6,600 people classified as without a home.

The vast majority are living with friends or family, or are housed in temporary accommodation. Only a very small number are actually sleeping on the streets.

Helsinki in the snow
The average minimum winter temperature in Helsinki is -7C (19F)

So how have the Finns managed it?

Since 2007, their government has built homeless policies on the foundations of the “Housing First” principle.

Put simply, it gives rough sleepers or people who become homeless a stable and permanent home of their own as soon as possible.

It then provides them with the help and support they need. That may be supporting someone trying to tackle an addiction, assisting them to learn new skills, or helping them get into training, education or work.

This is very different to the traditional approach in the UK, where a permanent home is only offered after a homeless person has sought help in a homeless hostel or temporary accommodation.

One person who has benefited is Thomas Salmi, who became homeless when he turned 18 and had to leave his orphanage.

He spent three years on the streets of Helsinki, where the average minimum temperature in February is -7C (19F).

“When you lose everything, it really doesn’t matter,” he says. “You’re thinking about suicide, am I going to die? Is it safe?

“It is cold, especially in the middle of winter. If you’re sleeping outside you might die.”

Thomas Salmi
Thomas Salmi braved three bitterly cold winters on the streets of the Finnish capital

For the past two years, Thomas has had an apartment of his own at a large complex run by the Helsinki Deaconess Institute (HDI), one of several organisations providing accommodation for otherwise homeless Finns.

Now 24, he says living at the HDI has helped him turn his life around. He used to drink heavily while living on the streets but now only touches alcohol at the weekend.

Presentational grey line

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Can the UK learn from Finland’s approach to tackling homelessness?

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Under Housing First, the offer of a home is unconditional. Even if someone is still taking drugs or abusing alcohol they still get to stay in the house or flat, so long as they are interacting with support workers.

They can pay rent through state housing benefit and people can even opt to stay for the rest of their lives.

Helsinki Deaconess Institute
The Helsinki Deaconess Institute has more than 400 apartments for ex-homeless people

“They told me that it’s my house,” says Thomas. “And I asked them – is someone going to tell me, ‘we need this house and you have to go’? But they told me ‘No, it’s your house, you can do whatever you want.’

“When I have a stable home, I can try to build everything else around it like work, studying, family, friends. But when you’re on the streets, you don’t have any of that.”

HDI has a total of 403 apartments in Helsinki and the neighbouring city of Espoo.

Tenants get together in the communal kitchen to make lunch and socialise in the lounge areas. Support workers are always on hand.

Pia Rosenberg
Pia Rosenberg has been off the streets for more the four years

Pia Rosenberg, 64, has lived in the same Housing First project since 2014 after being homeless for two years.

“It suits me good because I’m an alcoholic and I’m allowed to drink in my room,” she says. “And if I need help, then I get it.

“You don’t feel good if you don’t have a home.”

According to official figures, the number of rough sleepers in England has risen from 1,768 in 2010 to 4,677 in 2018.

Charities such as Shelter say the real number of people sleeping rough is much higher. Official figures are based on the number of homeless people counted on the streets on a single autumn evening each year.

Housing First’s success has caught the attention of the UK government, which last year agreed to pay for pilot schemes in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands.

There are already several small scale trials being carried out in Wales, some run by The Salvation Army, others by local authorities. Those behind the schemes say the results so far have been positive.

Trials in England are due to start shortly and will be aimed at helping the most entrenched rough sleepers.

But is it a good idea to essentially hand over the keys to accommodation, without any obligation to give up alcohol or drugs?

“We can see that it works in Finland, so why can’t it work here,” says Neil Cornthwaite, head of operations at the homeless charity Barnabus Manchester.

Homeless people
Several thousand people are sleeping rough in the UK, according to housing charity Shelter

“There are a lot of barriers to people getting into accommodation and certain groups of people are excluded from projects because of their addictions and/or their mental health.

“So if we’ve got another option where we can put people into a home and not just a bed, despite their issues, then I think that’s a really positive step forward.”

Will it work in the UK? While the scheme is regarded as successful in Finland, it does have drawbacks. Homes are not always available immediately and figures show roughly one in five people return to homelessness at some stage.

Housing people in this way does not come cheap. Finland has spent about £262m (300m euros) over the past decade, providing 3,500 new homes for the homeless and more than 300 new support workers.

The UK government is spending £28m on the three Housing First schemes and hopes about 1,000 homes will be provided.

One of the key architects of Housing First in Finland, Juha Kaakinen, believes it will only work if the UK authorities are fully committed.

“In many places, Housing First are small projects with a small number of flats available. You need to make it much bigger to end homelessness and for that reason it should be a national policy otherwise it won’t work.”

Mr Kaakinen suggests the UK’s priority should be tackling the housing crisis.

Rough sleepers in Manchester, 2017
The number of rough sleepers in England has multiplied since 2010

“The main issue seems to be the lack of affordable social housing. To solve homelessness, that’s something that you need otherwise it’s going to be a very difficult task.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is convinced the scheme is the right answer though.

“You cannot have good health or a good life without good housing,” he says.

“I’m confident we will show that Housing First can work. I will be asking the government to make this permanent.”

The Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Heather Wheeler, insists the government is listening and taking action.

“No-one is meant to spend their lives on the streets, or without a home to call their own.

“And evidence shows that Housing First has an incredible rate of success in helping people rebuild their lives.”

Sanna Vesikansa, deputy mayor of Helsinki
Sanna Vesikansa, deputy mayor of Helsinki

Back in Helsinki, deputy mayor Ms Vesikana believes tackling homelessness and ending rough sleeping is not only a moral obligation but may also save money in the long-run.

“We know already that it pays back because we have expenses elsewhere if people are homeless. They have more severe health problems which are then taken to emergency care and hospital.

“Homelessness and rough sleeping is something we just can’t have in our cities, people dying on the streets. It’s not the type of society or city we want to live in.”

Recent Posts

Can the UK learn from Finland’s approach to tackling homelessness?


Can the UK learn from Finland’s approach to tackling homelessness?

The number of people sleeping rough in the UK has multiplied since 2010. But in Finland’s capital Helsinki rough sleeping has been almost eradicated thanks to a groundbreaking scheme. What can cities in the UK learn from the Finns?

Emerging from Helsinki’s grandiose central railway station on a bitterly cold evening, it does not take long before you notice something unusual.

There are no rough sleepers and no-one is begging.

The contrast with the UK’s major towns and cities – where rough sleepers curled up in sleeping bags, blankets or tents are a common sight – is striking.

“In my childhood I remember there were hundreds, or even thousands of people sleeping in the parks and forests,” says Helsinki’s deputy mayor Sanna Vesikansa.

“It was visible, but we don’t have it anymore. Street homelessness doesn’t exist in Helsinki.”

For the past 30 years, tackling homelessness has been a focus for successive governments in Finland.

In 1987, there were more than 18,000 homeless people there. The latest figures from the end of 2017 show there were about 6,600 people classified as without a home.

The vast majority are living with friends or family, or are housed in temporary accommodation. Only a very small number are actually sleeping on the streets.

Helsinki in the snow
The average minimum winter temperature in Helsinki is -7C (19F)

So how have the Finns managed it?

Since 2007, their government has built homeless policies on the foundations of the “Housing First” principle.

Put simply, it gives rough sleepers or people who become homeless a stable and permanent home of their own as soon as possible.

It then provides them with the help and support they need. That may be supporting someone trying to tackle an addiction, assisting them to learn new skills, or helping them get into training, education or work.

This is very different to the traditional approach in the UK, where a permanent home is only offered after a homeless person has sought help in a homeless hostel or temporary accommodation.

One person who has benefited is Thomas Salmi, who became homeless when he turned 18 and had to leave his orphanage.

He spent three years on the streets of Helsinki, where the average minimum temperature in February is -7C (19F).

“When you lose everything, it really doesn’t matter,” he says. “You’re thinking about suicide, am I going to die? Is it safe?

“It is cold, especially in the middle of winter. If you’re sleeping outside you might die.”

Thomas Salmi
Thomas Salmi braved three bitterly cold winters on the streets of the Finnish capital

For the past two years, Thomas has had an apartment of his own at a large complex run by the Helsinki Deaconess Institute (HDI), one of several organisations providing accommodation for otherwise homeless Finns.

Now 24, he says living at the HDI has helped him turn his life around. He used to drink heavily while living on the streets but now only touches alcohol at the weekend.

Under Housing First, the offer of a home is unconditional. Even if someone is still taking drugs or abusing alcohol they still get to stay in the house or flat, so long as they are interacting with support workers.

They are not required to pay any rent and people can even opt to stay for the rest of their lives.

Helsinki Deaconess Institute
The Helsinki Deaconess Institute has more than 400 apartments for ex-homeless people

“They told me that it’s my house,” says Thomas. “And I asked them – is someone going to tell me, ‘we need this house and you have to go’? But they told me ‘No, it’s your house, you can do whatever you want.’

“When I have a stable home, I can try to build everything else around it like work, studying, family, friends. But when you’re on the streets, you don’t have any of that.”

HDI has a total of 403 apartments in Helsinki and the neighbouring city of Espoo.

Tenants get together in the communal kitchen to make lunch and socialise in the lounge areas. Support workers are always on hand.

Pia Rosenberg
Pia Rosenberg has been off the streets for more the four years

Pia Rosenberg, 64, has lived in the same Housing First project since 2014 after being homeless for two years.

“It suits me good because I’m an alcoholic and I’m allowed to drink in my room,” she says. “And if I need help, then I get it.

“You don’t feel good if you don’t have a home.”

According to official figures, the number of rough sleepers in England has risen from 1,768 in 2010 to 4,751 in 2017.

Charities such as Shelter say the real number of people sleeping rough is much higher. Official figures are based on the the number of homeless people counted on the streets on a single autumn evening each year.

Housing First’s success has caught the attention of the UK government, which last year agreed to pay for pilot schemes in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands.

Manchester is learning lessons from the Finnish capital
Manchester is learning lessons from the Finnish capital

Trials are due to start shortly and will be aimed at helping the most entrenched rough sleepers.

But is it a good idea to essentially hand over the keys to accommodation, without any obligation to give up alcohol or drugs?

“We can see that it works in Finland, so why can’t it work here,” says Neil Cornthwaite, head of operations at the homeless charity Barnabus Manchester.

“There are a lot of barriers to people getting into accommodation and certain groups of people are excluded from projects because of their addictions and/or their mental health.

“So if we’ve got another option where we can put people into a home and not just a bed, despite their issues, then I think that’s a really positive step forward.”

Will it work in the UK? While the scheme is regarded as successful in Finland, it does have drawbacks. Homes are not always available immediately and figures show roughly one in five people return to homelessness at some stage.

Housing people in this way does not come cheap. Finland has spent about £262m (300m euros) over the past decade, providing 3,500 new homes for the homeless and more than 300 new support workers.

Queen makes plea for Britons to find ‘common ground’

The UK government is spending £28m on the three Housing First schemes and hopes about 1,000 homes will be provided.

One of the key architects of Housing First in Finland, Juha Kaakinen, believes it will only work if the UK authorities are fully committed.

“In many places, Housing First are small projects with a small number of flats available. You need to make it much bigger to end homelessness and for that reason it should be a national policy otherwise it won’t work.”

Mr Kaakinen suggests the UK’s priority should be tackling the housing crisis.

Rough sleepers in Manchester, 2017
The number of rough sleepers in England has multiplied since 2010

“The main issue seems to be the lack of affordable social housing. To solve homelessness, that’s something that you need otherwise it’s going to be a very difficult task.”

Essex man who ‘taunted’ police from Dubai jailed

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is convinced the scheme is the right answer though.

“You cannot have good health or a good life without good housing,” he says.

“I’m confident we will show that Housing First can work. I will be asking the government to make this permanent.”

The Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Heather Wheeler, insists the government is listening and taking action.

“No-one is meant to spend their lives on the streets, or without a home to call their own.

“And evidence shows that Housing First has an incredible rate of success in helping people rebuild their lives.”

Sanna Vesikansa, deputy mayor of Helsinki
Sanna Vesikansa, deputy mayor of Helsinki

Back in Helsinki, deputy mayor Ms Vesikana believes tackling homelessness and ending rough sleeping is not only a moral obligation but may also save money in the long-run.

“We know already that it pays back because we have expenses elsewhere if people are homeless. They have more severe health problems which are then taken to emergency care and hospital.

“Homelessness and rough sleeping is something we just can’t have in our cities, people dying on the streets. It’s not the type of society or city we want to live in.”

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Recent Topics

Queen makes plea for Britons to find ‘common ground’


The Queen has urged people to find “common ground” and to respect “different points of view”.

Commentators have interpreted the remarks as a comment on the Brexit debate, with Parliament due to vote on the way forward next week and UK due to leave the EU on 29 March.

The Queen visits the Sandringham branch of the WI each year during her winter stay at the nearby Royal estate

She was at an event to mark the 100 years of Sandringham Women’s Institute.

BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said there was little doubt the Queen was “sending a message”.

“It is impossible to imagine that the head of state would use a construction of words such as this without it being appreciated that they would be seen as a reference to the current political debate,” he said.

Her words echoed,

the theme of her Christmas broadcast our correspondent added.

As head of state, the Queen remains neutral on political matters and does not express her views on issues.

Speaking on an annual visit to the Women’s Institute near her estate in Sandringham, the Queen said: “The continued emphasis on patience, friendship, a strong community focus, and considering the needs of others, are as important today as they were when the group was founded all those years ago.

“Of course, every generation faces fresh challenges and opportunities.

“As we look for new answers in the modern age, I for one prefer the tried and tested recipes, like speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture.”

She said these approaches are “timeless, and I commend them to everyone”.

BBC political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg said that it was “not common” for the Queen’s remarks to be released in this way and it seemed “quite feasible” that the palace was trying to send a message to politicians.

Her Christmas message touched on the same issues, with the Queen saying: “Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding.”

More on this story

Essex man who ‘taunted’ police from Dubai jailed


By emmanuel Justices

A dangerous driver who fled to Dubai has been jailed after being extradited back to Britain.

Adam Ali, who left the UK in January 2017, was described as “taunting” police by using his Instagram account to pose with flash cars and watches.

The Met Police issued this photo, which Adam Ali posted on Instagram on his “chrono750” account

Ali, 30, from Essex, was convicted in his absence later in 2017 of ammunition possession and motoring offences.

Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd hands himself in to police

He has been given 10 months for fleeing while on bail, to serve on top of his original three-year jail sentence.

Metropolitan Police officers originally went to Ali’s house to investigate reports of dangerous driving.

Three Sodje brothers jailed for taking charity money

‘Lavish lifestyle’

The force said it found self-filmed video of Ali speeding on roads in south Essex while he had one foot resting on the dashboard.

But after being bailed by a court, Ali fled to the United Arab Emirates.

Adam Ali
Ali was eventually arrested after returning to Dubai from a trip to the US

A police spokesman said Ali, of Thornwood near Harlow, remained abroad and “appeared to lead a very lavish and luxurious lifestyle” in Dubai, from where he “taunted police via social media”.

The Met said he posted pictures of himself on his Instagram account – since deleted – posing with sports cars and expensive watches.

This came to an end after Ali visited the US in 2018 and, on his return to Dubai, he was arrested at the airport by the Emirati authorities.

He was extradited on 16 January and sentenced on Tuesday at Southwark Crown Court, for fleeing while on bail and failing to surrender to the court.

Ian Cruxton, from the UK’s National Crime Agency, said: “Ali fled justice to live a lavish lifestyle somewhere he thought his crimes wouldn’t catch up with him.”

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Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd hands himself in to police


By emmanuel Justices

A man convicted of killing his date in a speedboat crash on the River Thames has handed himself in to police in Georgia after months on the run.

Jack Shepherd was sentenced to six years in July for the manslaughter of 24-year-old Charlotte Brown.

The 31-year-old had been in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi since March and was absent throughout his trial.

Ms Brown’s father Graham Brown said: “I feel very emotional at the fact that my daughter will get some justice.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, he added: “I do think the family will be in a much better position to deal with our loss and heartbreak over the last three years.”

Jack Shepherd gave an interview to a Georgian TV channel before being arrested

Mr Brown,  who earlier on Wednesday gave an interview to the Victoria Derbyshire programme

urging Shepherd to hand himself in, described the fugitive as “a very crass, reckless man who stuck two fingers up to the judiciary system”.

“He’s done the right thing and thank goodness he has handed himself in,” he added.

Charlotte Sophie Brown
Shepherd took Charlotte Brown on a date in December 2015

A spokesman for the Georgian Embassy in London confirmed Shepherd’s arrest, which  Ms Brown’s family met with comes after the Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Tuesday.

Under current diplomatic agreements between Georgia and the UK, Shepherd is eligible for extradition.

Georgian Rustavi TV has shown footage of him before he handed himself in, during an “exclusive interview” in his final minutes as a “free man”.

Speaking in English, which was then voiced over and translated into Georgian, Shepherd described it as “a tragic accident”.

Jack Shepherd
Jack Shepherd let Charlotte Brown drive his speedboat for a “thrill”, the Old Bailey heard

Ms Brown’s sister Katie Brown said her family were “relieved” Shepherd had handed himself in but described him as “arrogant”.

“To just stroll in with a very smug look on his face and to claim innocence is unbelievable. This is a small amount of justice for my sister.”

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, the law enforcement agency in the country, previously told the BBC it was working with the Met Police to track Shepherd.

The Met said it was informed by the National Crime Agency that Shepherd was in the custody of police in Georgia.

A Home Office spokesman added: “It is now for the Crown Prosecution Service to decide on whether to make an extradition request to the Georgian authorities, via the Home Office.”

Graham Brown
Charlotte’s father Graham Brown said Shepherd was “a very crass reckless man”

After meeting on the dating website OkCupid, Shepherd took Ms Brown on a date on 8 December 2015.

Shepherd spent £150 on wine and food at a restaurant in The Shard before taking her on a speedboat he claimed he owned.

Ms Brown and Shepherd were thrown from the boat when it hit branches in the water near Wandsworth Bridge at about midnight.

Shepherd was found clinging to the hull and Ms Brown, from Clacton in Essex, was pulled from the water unconscious and unresponsive.

A post-mortem examination found she died from cold water immersion.

Presentational grey line

At the scene in Tbilisi

By BBC correspondent Rayhan Demytrie

I am outside the police station where Jack Shepherd, who is now officially under arrest, is currently being held.

He will be moved to a temporary detention centre and his lawyer says according to Georgian law the detention period in this kind of case can be up to nine months.

But it will be up to a judge to decide how long Shepherd will be in the custody of the Georgian police.

Shepherd gave an interview to a local television station where he maintains his innocence.

He says he does not agree with the court’s decision and that he is now ready to co-operate with the investigation.

Map: route taken by Jack Shepherd and Charlotte Brown

Presentational white space

Shepherd made his first appearance at the Old Bailey on 26 January, when he entered a not guilty plea to a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.

He was released on unconditional bail by Judge Richard Marks QC, but failed to show up for his trial in July.

After his conviction an international arrest warrant was issued.

Despite being on the run, Shepherd has won the right to appeal against his conviction.

Shepherd’s solicitor Richard Egan said: “In the light of today’s developments I don’t think it would be appropriate to comment further until Mr Shepherd is back in the jurisdiction.”

Speedboat
The speedboat was taken to the Old Bailey car park to be inspected by jurors during the trial

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Three Sodje brothers jailed for taking charity money


By Emmanuel Justices

A sporting family siphoned off cash from their own charity set up to help African children, it can be reported.

Ex-footballers Efe Sodje, 46, and Stephen Sodje, 43, and ex-rugby player Bright Sodje, 52, were found guilty and jailed for the fraud in 2017.

The case can only be reported now following the conclusion of a separate trial involving former Reading and Nigeria footballer Sam Sodje, 39.

Earlier on Monday, he was cleared at the Old Bailey of money laundering.

The fraud trial in 2017 had heard how the family set up the Sodje Sports Foundation (SSF) in 2009, ostensibly to help provide facilities in Nigeria.

However, cash raised at black-tie dinners, auctions, charity football matches and a clay pigeon shoot went into Sodje bank accounts, prosecutor Julian Christopher QC said.

In once instance, in 2011, there was a gala dinner at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester for the SSF and the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

The £150-a-head black-tie event raised almost £11,500, but Mr Christopher said “not a penny” went to the hospital.

Efe Sodje
Retired footballer Efe Sodje was described as “the face of the charity” by the judge

Judge Michael Topolski QC told the defendants: “You have brought shame upon yourselves and your family.”

He said “at least £63,000 can be shown to have been received by the fund”, and added that this did not include cash donations.

The defendants “went out of their way” to ensure that proper records were not kept, he said.

Any good works done in the past would be “forever tainted by their dishonest and disreputable conduct”, he added.

Stephen Sodje, of Bexley, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison for receiving £30,000 in charity funds.

Efe Sodje, of Cheadle in Greater Manchester, who was “the face” of the charity, was given 18 months in jail for receiving £7,500 from the SSF and an unknown amount from a clay pigeon shooting event.

Bright Sodje, of Sale in Greater Manchester, was jailed for 21 months for receiving £3,000 from the charity and signing cheques to other family members totalling £18,000.

‘Misused privileged position’

The Charity Commission worked with the National Crime Agency to secure the prosecution.

Tracy Howarth, the commission’s head of regulatory compliance, said the defendants had “misused their privileged position to exploit donors and supporters, and their financial gain came at the expense of the children and causes the charity was supposed to support”.

She added: “The outcome of this case sends a strong message that the deliberate, wilful and cynical abuse of charity for private financial gain will be investigated and will not go unpunished.”

Reporting restrictions meant the brothers’ convictions could only be reported following the conclusion of the separate money-laundering case.

Sam Sodje
Former Reading and Nigeria defender Sam Sodje was cleared of money-laundering charges

Efe Sodje was cleared of money laundering at the Old Bailey in January 2018 but Emmanuel Ehikhamen, 53, of south-east London, and Andrew Oruma, 50, of Bexley, south London, were convicted.

The case against Sam Sodje collapsed and his retrial began on 7 January 2019.

Mr Sodje, who also played for Charlton Athletic, Brentford and Leeds United during his career, was charged with four counts of taking part in a fraud in which bank accounts were used to channel money from companies around the world.

He was found not guilty of two of the charges on 14 January and cleared of the remaining two counts earlier on Monday.

Another of the brothers, Akpo Sodje, 37, moved to Dubai and refused to return to Britain for questioning.

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Prince Philip crash: Debris for sale on eBay


Debris said to be from a crash involving the Duke of Edinburgh was put up for sale on eBay.

Seller morbius777 said the debris was from the 

collision near King’s Lynn, Norfolk, on Thursday The listing, which has now been removed, said it “may even have Phil’s DNA on it, if you wanted to clone him”.

Debris at the scene where Prince Philip was involved in a traffic accident
Debris at the scene where Prince Philip was involved in a traffic accident

It said all money raised from the online auction would go to Cancer Research UK, with the price reaching £65,900 after 139 bids.

An eBay spokesman said the listing was removed in line with its “policy relating to the sale of any item that seeks to profit from human suffering or tragedy”.

The post from eBay
The debris was listed for £65,900

Prince Philip, 97, was unhurt in the crash on the A149, in which his Land Rover Freelander landed on its side after a collision with a Kia.

A nine-month-old boy in the other car was uninjured. The driver, a 28-year-old woman, had cuts while a 45-year-old female passenger broke her wrist.

The eBay post said the listing was for three plastic parts, not glass.

The seller said: “These items are not stolen, they have been left at the roadside for way too long.

“It amazes me that they weren’t cleaned up on the day. So, as opportunists do, I tidied them up.

“There’s no financial gain in this for me, all proceeds going to charity. It’s a bit of fun, and Cancer Research get to benefit.”

A spokeswoman for Cancer Research UK said the charity did not wish to comment.

The duke's car after it was involved in the crash
Damage to the Land Rover’s left side could be seen after Thursday’s crash

Prince Philip driving near Sandringham Estate on 19 January 2019
Prince Philip was seen driving a replacement Land Rover Freelander without a seatbelt on Saturday

The duke was seen driving near Sandringham without a seatbelt in a replacement Land Rover on Saturday.

Norfolk Police said “suitable words of advice” had been given to the driver.

Thursday’s crash happened a day before Norfolk councillors agreed to cut the speed limit on the A149,

where there have been five deaths in six years.

The speed limit will be dropped from 60mph to 50mph and average speed cameras will be installed.

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Crowd cheers Queen’s arrival at Sandringham church after Prince Philip crash


Well-wishers concerned for the Duke of Edinburgh after his crash were among those who greeted the Queen at a Sunday service on her Sandringham Estate.

Dozens of people greeted the Queen at a church about two miles from where her husband crashed

on Thursday.

Prince Phillip was not hurt in the crash, but a woman fractured her wrist.

GARETH FULLER/PA WIRE The Queen was greeted by dozens of well-wishers for her visit to St Peter’s Church

Jane Watson travelled to St Peter’s Church with a group of friends from Northamptonshire and called the duke “a role model for a lot of people”.

She said: “At his age he should be more careful as he was putting himself and other people at risk.”

Jane Watson
Jane Watson travelled from Northamptonshire with friends out of concern for Prince Philip

The Queen arrived in a chauffeur driven Bentley and was accompanied at St Peter’s Church at Wolferton, Norfolk, by the Duke of York.

Her husband, who had not attended services during the festive season, was not present.

Lack of awareness’ around forced marriage law

Bell family
Jude Bell, five, and his parents were among those gathered at St Peter’s Church

Among those gathered outside to cheer Her Majesty’s arrival was Jude Bell, five, who had brought his parents Gary and Sophie and baby brother in the hope of seeing the Queen.

Gary Bell, 30 from nearby West Winch, said his son had been smitten with the Royal Family ever since watching the Royal Wedding on television.

Wolferton
Dozens of people gathered outside the church on Sunday morning

Matthew Rayner, 16, from Norwich, was at the church with his mother Susan, and said he came to see the Queen at church every weekend possible and was building a collection of photographs of the Royal Family.

David Margerson, 55, and Morgan Toner, 46, said they often came to Wolferton when the Royal Family visited because they could be assured of getting up close to them there.

Mr Margerson said at the road junction where the duke had his accident, he would have been driving in to the sun which was low in the sky that late in the afternoon, at this time of the year.

Margerson and Toner
David Margerson and Morgan Toner had travelled down from Louth in Lincolnshire to Wolferton

Norfolk Police has had cause to speak to Prince Philip again, it has emerged, after he was photographed driving without a seatbelt only 48 hours after the crash.

Emma Fairweather, who was travelling in the Kia involved in the collision with the duke’s Land Rover, told the Mirror he had not apologised.

Prince Philip driving near Sandringham Estate on 19 January 2019
Prince Philip was spotted driving a replacement Land Rover Freelander on Saturday

About 70 well-wishers gathered to greet the Queen earlier at the service.

It is customary for the Queen to visit nearby churches for formal-invite only services when she is at Sandringham.

This visit had been planned for some time and there was a large police and official security presence around St Peter’s Church.

The congregation of more than 50 people of all ages was asked to present invitations for inspection before police allowed them to enter.

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