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Revealed: How police officers looked the other way while 1,400 girls were abused, trafficked and groomed by Asian gangs in Rotherham but still kept their jobs

    South Yorkshire Police 'failed to protect vulnerable children' from 1997 to 2013
    47 officers investigated by watchdog but all kept their jobs despite complaints
    Teens were seen as 'consenting to abuse' by police, according to investigation
    Officers were instead told to prioritise other crimes, the report out today found

By Tom Pyman For Mailonline

Published: 12:08, 22 June 2022 | Updated: 13:47, 22 June 2022

Almost 50 police officers all kept their jobs despite looking the other way while 1,400 girls were abused, trafficked and groomed in Rotherham, a damning report has found.  The long-awaited document by the police watchdog found South Yorkshire Police 'failed to protect vulnerable children' following a series of offences carried out between 1997 and 2013.  :( :(A total of 47 current and former officers were investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) but none were fired, despite 265 separate allegations being made by more than 50 complainants.   The IOPC's investigation catalogued how children as young as 12 were seen as 'consenting' to their abuse by officers, who were told to prioritise other crimes.  It detailed how one parent concerned about a missing daughter said they were told by an officer 'it was a 'fashion accessory' for girls in Rotherham to have an 'older Asian boyfriend' and that she would grow out of it'.  The watchdog upheld 43 complaints made against the force. These blunders included:

    Failing to investigate an older man who was found undressed in a bedroom with one of the victims;
    Not acting when a criminal handed over a missing girl to them as part of a 'deal' not to arrest him;
    Doing nothing after approaching a parked car which a victim and her sister were in even though the abuser told them one of the girls had just performed a sex act on him;
    Telling one girl's father nothing could be done because of 'racial tensions' surrounding the investigation;
    Failing to safeguard a victim who was driven 180 miles to Bristol by two men.

IOPC director-general Michael Lockwood said in the report: 'We found that officers were not fully aware, or able to deal with, Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation (CSE) offences and showed insufficient empathy towards survivors who were vulnerable children and young people.  We saw examples of SYP seeing children, and young people, as 'consenting' to their exploitation, and a police culture that did not always recognise survivors as victims, or understand that, often, neither did those being groomed or abused.'

The IOPC identified systemic problems within South Yorkshire Police at the time, detailing how CSE in Rotherham was dealt with by a small 'overwhelmed' unit, which had a number of other responsibilities.  The report criticised the force for prioritising other crimes, such as burglary and vehicle crime, at the expense of CSE and it found 'little evidence that SYP's leadership identified, and acted on, emerging concerns about (CSE)'.  IOPC director of major investigations Steve Noonan said: 'Our report shows how SYP failed to protect vulnerable children and young people.  'Like other agencies in Rotherham at that time, it was simply not equipped to deal with the abuse and organised grooming of young girls on the scale we encountered.'

Mr Noonan praised the survivors of CSE in Rotherham who came forward to help his investigators conduct the biggest inquiry the watchdog has undertaken apart from the Hillsborough disaster probe.  He said 51 people made complaints, including 44 survivors, involving 265 separate allegations.  Of the 47 officers investigated, eight were found to have a case to answer for misconduct and six had a case to answer for gross misconduct.  Five of these officers received sanctions ranging from management action up to a final written warning. Another faced a South Yorkshire Police misconduct hearing earlier this year, and the case was found not proven by an independent panel.  In many cases, officers had retired and could not face disciplinary proceedings, the IOPC said. Only two cases reached the point of a public adjudication hearing.  South Yorkshire's PCC Alan Billings said: 'I am disappointed that after eight years of very costly investigations, this report fails to make any significant recommendations over and above what South Yorkshire Police have already accepted and implemented from previous investigations some years ago.  It repeats what past reports and reviews have shown that there was unacceptable practice between 1997 and 2013 but fails to identify any individual accountability.  As a result, it lets down victims and survivors.'

Dr Billings said: 'A great deal of time and money has been spent for few new findings or accountability.'

He said it was unfair officers have had allegations of misconduct 'hanging over them for so long', but said the force was now 'on a path of continuous improvement'.

South Yorkshire's deputy chief constable Tim Forber said: 'We fully accept the findings of the IOPC report which closely reflects those highlighted by Professor Alexis Jay in 2014.  The Jay Report brought a stark reality of our failings in handling CSE. We let victims of CSE down. We failed to recognise their vulnerability and failed to see them as victims, for that I am deeply sorry. They deserved better from us  The brave accounts of these girls caused a seismic change in policing crimes of this nature for South Yorkshire Police and the wider police service.'

Mr Forber said: 'Whilst I am confident we are a very different force today, I will not lose sight of the fact that we got it wrong and we let victims down.'

The town's Labour MP Sarah Champion said the report 'lays bare the appalling systemic failures at South Yorkshire Police'.  'It has taken eight long years, but the truth is now out for all to see,' she said.

'I know from conversations with survivors of abuse that their main motivation for engaging with this process was to ensure that no other children will be put through the hell they endured. We owe it to them now to make certain that that is the case.'

She added: 'South Yorkshire Police has improved, but there is still a long way to go before trust is rebuilt, ensuring the people of South Yorkshire have confidence in their police force again.'

David Greenwood, a solicitor representing 80 Rotherham CSE survivors said: 'It shows the British public the level of disregard shown by South Yorkshire Police to female victims of sexual exploitation, it explains that even by the pathetically low standards of the police service it was 'okay' to not investigate these crimes properly or at all, and it will demonstrate how the system of police complaints has provided zero accountability and needs reform.'

South Yorkshire Police's 43 blunders upheld as complaints by the IOPC

SYP did not deal properly with information that could have led to a CSA/E perpetrator being prosecuted earlier for their crimes.  SYP did not take safeguarding action despite officers regularly stopping a car the survivor was a passenger in, and that was owned and occupied by a perpetrator.  SYP did not investigate an older man after they were found undressed in a bedroom with the survivor.  SYP did not respond appropriately in a child abduction case which ended with the survivor being handed over to officers by the CSA/E perpetrator as part of a 'deal' not to arrest him.  SYP's dealings with the survivor were not in line with appropriate policy and guidelines.  Officers did not follow the right procedures when removing the survivor from a CSA/E perpetrator's house. Officers did not act appropriately after questioning a man after the survivor's return trip with him. The force did not do enough to secure a prosecution for men who exploited the survivor, or to obtain a disclosure from them about sexual abuse. That officers who responded to an assault the survivor reported did not take appropriate action, or follow the right procedures, when they told them their assailant had had a firearm.  Police did nothing after approaching a parked car which the survivor and their sister were sat in with a CSA/E perpetrator, and this was despite the perpetrator mentioning that they had just had a sexual act performed on them by a survivor.  The police missed safeguarding opportunities including when a traffic officer stopped a CSA/E perpetrator's car, when the survivor was alone with them.  A survivor's father spoke to the police about their daughter and sexual abuse and told us that the officer said to him nothing could be done because of racial tensions and this had been happening for a considerable time.  SYP was aware of suspects involved in CSA/E from the mid-1990's and, despite this, failed to adequately deal with perpetrators, leaving the survivor exposed to abuse.  The survivor felt they had not been given the opportunity to raise their concerns safely with police after they said they had been befriended by an older woman who introduced them to older men who sexually abused them.  The police took insufficient action to safeguard the survivor after a specific incident.  The police did not safeguard the survivor after an incident involving them being driven to Bristol by two men.  There was police inaction following concerns, in 2008, that the survivor was being sexually exploited, had been raped, and police did not record concerns relating to the exploiters.  The survivor tried to report a rape again in 2011, this time to a specialist sexual offences support officer at SYP's Apollo Unit, but the survivor said the unit was unhelpful.  That the police did not do enough when the survivor, and another survivor, ran away from two men who were being aggressive and followed them by car.  The police actively recorded concerns the survivor was at risk of CSA/E but did not investigate a number of incidents they were aware of.  The police disclosed personal information about the survivor during a 2010 investigation into abuse of another survivor by the same man. When the survivor formally complained about the above, they were assured the officer responsible would be reprimanded but that the survivor was not advised this had happened.  On three separate occasions, the survivor was in a CSA/E perpetrator's car when he was approached by the police, and officers failed to safeguard them or investigate the incidents further.  The survivor complained that SYP knew the perpetrator was involved in CSA/E but failed to stop them. The survivor who had been found after going missing, was taken to a police station but was, unacceptably, transported and locked in a small room. The survivor also complained that police officers regularly saw them in older men's cars, but usually left them with them, sometimes in remote locations, unless the survivor had been reported missing from home. Police did nothing after approaching a parked car they were in, with another survivor, and a CSA/E perpetrator.  The survivor was groomed and sexually exploited by a network of men and that SYP did nothing to protect them despite the force knowing of some of the perpetrators' links to CSA/E.  The survivor complained that police allowed the man to make a phone call from the police station and that he rang them, although their mother answered, and made further violent threats.  A survivor's mother heard about their daughter's risk via social services as opposed to the police, despite the survivor being involved in SYP operations. A formal referral was not made to social services, after a survivor was discovered by police at a house after they had responded to reports of a gunshot. Officers failing to recognise a survivor's vulnerability and did not submit 'concern for child' forms, to PPU, following incidents.   The force should have done more to protect the survivor earlier than they did, when they became a witness in Operation Central.  Police did not conduct an effective investigation into the survivor's suspected rape. An unidentified officer told the survivor's father that they might 'learn her lesson' after a suspected rape had happened. SYP did not do enough to find the survivor after they went missing from home. The survivor felt 'blamed' by officers they came into contact with.   While some efforts had been taken to respond to instances of abuse, there was an overall failure by SYP to understand CSA/E and take action to address it more strategically and consistently.

How child sex abuse scandal plagued Rotherham for more than 15 years: More than 1,400 girls were groomed, trafficked and abused by Asian sex gangs between 1997 and 2013 - as victim tells how from aged 14 she was treated like 'dead body on slab'

A Rotherham grooming gang survivor says her abuser treated her like a 'dead body on a slab in a morgue' and branded him an 'absolute monster'.  Sammy Woodhouse, 35, was sexually abused as a 14-year-old by ringleader Arshid 'Ash' Hussain and bravely waived her anonymity as a rape victim to expose the paedophile gang.   She was subjected to horrendous abuse including rape, assaults and coercion with threats to kill her family at the hands of Hussain, and in 1999 at the age of 15, Sammy fell pregnant with the 25-year-old's baby.  Opening up about her experience on Crime+Investigation programme Survivors, she told how she was 'completely out of her depth' as a teenager and had no idea how 'dangerous' Hussain would be.  'I was pretty much his sex doll; he was an absolute monster. I just felt like a dead body on a slab in a morgue', Sammy said. 

Hussain was part of a gang in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, who along with many other groups abused over 1,000 children between 1997 and 2013. He was jailed for 35 years in 2016 for 23 offences involving nine women, including Sammy.    'I grew up in Rotherham, about two and a half miles from the town centre', said Sammy. 'I was your average, everyday little girl I suppose.' 

From the age of four Sammy's dream was to be a dancer, and at 11-years-old she joined a national aerobics squad and began dancing all over the country

'It was great. We would get a minibus and go to my coach and manager's house in the morning and get your hair and make-up done and we'd all chant songs,' she recalled.

However when her grades at school began to slip, her parents pulled her from the dance team, with Sammy admitting: 'I started to develop a little bit of a lip, so my parents thought by doing that as a punishment would be the best thing.  I think for me when I stopped dancing it had a massive effect, it was something I focused my whole life around. So for that to be stopped and taken away, it did affect things.'

Without dancing to pass the time, Sammy began spending more time with her friends, spending evenings in the park drinking and smoking.  'There was a particular area where my dad grew up and he hated me being there', said Sammy. 'He always said if you go out you are not allowed to be in that area.  It was known for people going out smoking cannabis, drinking, my dad didn't want me involved in that and my life had gone from being a dancer to going up to the park with a packet of fags and litre of White Lightning with my mates. That was what my life was, that was cool for us to do.'

Sammy first met Hussain through a friend and she quickly became besotted as he groomed the teen by taking her out, buying her presents, and paying her compliments.  'I was on my local shop with a friend and he started to drive up the street in a silver Astra and I will never forget the first moment I saw him,' said Sammy.

'He was good looking, he was well dressed, he had a big gold chain on I was just instantly mesmerised by him.'

She added: 'I just thought, 'Wow who's he?'. He made me feel like an adult and I remember as a kid I always wanted to be an adult, I always wanted to be further on in my years than I was and he made me feel that way.'

While she was just 14, Sammy says she appeared even younger when the pair met  and that she quickly started spending more and more time with her abuser.  'Things between him and me escalated really quickly,' she said.

'I had a curfew and I was constantly breaking curfew and that's how my parents started to suspect things, because I was being late and sometimes not even coming home at all.'

Sammy was grounded when her parents found out about the relationship, telling how Hussain isolated her from her family by solely blaming Sammy's father for the family's concerns.  'What he did was actual very clever,' she said. 'He worked out the dynamics in my family, he knew my dad was more strict and my mum was more of a best friend. So what he did was started to turn me more against my dad rather than my mum.  So he would say 'Actually your dad doesn't like me, but your mum likes me, but she'll never admit it because she's scared of your dad'.'

She went on: 'I started to go missing quite a lot, not just for days but for months and weeks at a time.'   

Hussain was a drug dealer who Sammy says was feared in the area, but as a young and impressionable teen, she had no idea of the potential consequences.  'A lot of people feared him and for me where I live and grew up that wasn't necessarily something I had never heard of', she said, 'It didn't really bother me, it is what it is. You don't as a kid think about consequences, I just went with the flow.'

As well as sexual abuse, Hussain forced Sammy to participate in criminal acts, including driving a stolen car after a post office raid, a burglary, and 20 counts of criminal damage.  'I was completely out of my depth', she said, 'I didn't recognise it was dangerous and wrong I thought I'm a teenager having a bit of fun, how bad can things get.' 

Sammy escaped her abuser when he was sent to prison in 2001 for a violent offence, but was instrumental in exposing the gang after she approached The Times anonymously with her claims, leading to the Jay Inquiry.   

Survivors with Denise Welch premiered on CRIME+INVESTIGATION, with the first episode airing on Monday 19th April at 9pm

How Sammy Woodhouse has fought to protect others from enduring abuse 

Sammy Woodhouse grew up in Rotherham and was groomed by child sex gang leader Arshid Hussain when she was 14 years old.  She was subjected to horrendous abuse including rape and assaults and Hussain also coerced her by threatening to kill her family.  He also forced her to rob a post office aged 15 and when police raided Hussain's home later that year they found her in bed with him but failed to arrest him and charged her with possessing a baton.  Hussain also forced her to fight another girl a few months later, for which Ms Woodhouse was later charged with assault.  She missed much of her education and worked as a stripper and model. She eventually had a child by Hussain but fled to keep him away from his family.  After years of abuse she approached The Times anonymously with her claims, leading to the Jay Inquiry which exposed the Rotherham gang and led to the discovery of more than 1,400 victims between 1997 and 2013. Hussain was eventually jailed for 35 years.  Ms Woodhouse waived her anonymity on the BBC in 2017.  She has been leading campaigns to change the laws around child sex abuse victims, particularly supporting a bill named after her, Sammy's Law, that would pardon child sex abuse victims who are coerced into committing crimes.   The bill was supported by Vera Baird, the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, by Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, by Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England, and by Simon Bailey, the Chief Constable of the Norfolk Constabulary, among several other chief constables and crime commissioners.  Last year she slammed Rotherham Council for trying to help Hussain get in contact with the son he fathered by rape.  She said the council should have opposed taking the step to give Hussain access as she fights for a change in the law to deny rapists access to children they have fathered in sickening attacks.  'They should've fought for that child,' she said. 'What they've done is hand my son over on a plate to a rapist.'

Ms Woodhouse conducts speaking events at schools and elsewhere, explaining to teenagers, the police and social workers how to recognise that someone is being groomed.  She also wrote a book, Just a Child: Britain's Biggest Child Abuse Scandal Exposed, which was released in April 2018.  In November 2018, over the first three days, more than three hundred thousand people signed a petition by Woodhouse and Labour MP Louise Haigh, which called for the amendment of the Children Act 1989 to 'ban any male with a child conceived by rape from applying for access/rights'.

Oldham Council leader apologises for 'failing' to protect children from sexual exploitation and grooming gangs after report exposes how one 12-year-old victim was sent away by police only to be repeatedly raped by five men

The leader of Oldham Council has apologised to victims of child sexual exploitation in the town - after a report said some had not been protected from grooming.

Cllr Amanda Chadderton said she would be writing to all the victims in the review and would be happy to meet them personally.

The report looked into the alleged grooming of children in council homes, shisha bars and by taxi drivers in the town and concluded there was no evidence of a cover up or 'widespread' child sex abuse in those settings.

Despite 'legitimate concerns' of police and the council in Oldham of the far right capitalising on the issue of grooming by predominantly Pakistani men, the authorities in the town, which suffered race riots in 2001, did not shy away from tackling the issue, the report said.

But the authorities did fail some children, notably citing the case of one girl identified only as 'Sophie', who was abused aged just 12, after 'significant opportunities missed' to protect her.  She went to Oldham police station to report being raped by an Asian man in October 2006.  She was told to come back when she was 'not drunk' and was instead taken from the police station in a car and she was then raped in the vehicle, then taken to a house and raped multiple times by five different men.  Both Oldham Council and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) should apologise for their failings, the report concluded, after being 'more concerned about covering up their failures' than acknowledging they failed to take action.  Cllr Chadderton said of Sophie: 'I will never pretend to be able to understand fully what she went through, but it's clear that the council and the police failed in our duty of care towards her both as a child, and the subsequent responses to her as an adult. For that, I am truly sorry.  It is clear that at the time, the police and the local authority did not understand enough about this horrendous crime and how best to support and protect its victims.  Much has changed since then. We've learned from similar reports and reviews from around the country. From changes to national guidelines and from best practice and the way we deal with victims of this terrible abuse is now completely different.'

The 202-page report is authored by Malcolm Newsam, a renowned child care expert, and Gary Ridgeway, a former detective superintendent with Cambridgeshire Police.  The report also details how Shabir Ahmed, the ring-leader of a notorious grooming gang in Rochdale, was employed by Oldham Council as a welfare rights officer and seconded to the Oldham Pakistani Community Centre.  Despite multiple concerns being raised about him and his arrest for the sexual assault of children, police failed to tell his employers.  'If this had happened, it may have potentially avoided the tragic abuse of other children…' the report states, citing 'serious multiple failures' by both GMP and the local authority.

Ahmed, identified only as 'Offender A' in the report, is now serving a 22 year jail sentence.  The report on Oldham follows an earlier damning report, centred on grooming gangs in Manchester, which said victims had been failed by police and local authorities in the city.  Maggie Oliver, the former GMP detective who turned whistleblower, said: 'Another day, yet another report about the failures of a police force to protect the most vulnerable in our society, even when there is irrefutable evidence to prosecute offenders and safeguard children.  This report yet again clearly evidences catastrophic failings by the force and their repeated attempts to cover up and hide these failings both from the victims and from the public they serve, and that is extremely worrying.'

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: 'This report continues the process of shining a spotlight on past failures in Greater Manchester.  There were serious failings and victims were let down, particularly Sophie.  Whilst there was no evidence of a cover-up, we must not flinch from acknowledging shortcomings.'

A criminal investigation has been reopened in Manchester and police watchdogs called in to investigate former senior GMP officers following the grooming report on the city published in January 2020. Both probes are still ongoing.  'Victims and survivors let down': South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner lays into force as he claims report 'fails to identify any individual responsibility' over Rotherham grooming

The long-awaited report into more than 200 allegations of police failures in relation to child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham 'fails to identify any individual accountability' and 'lets down victims and survivors', a police and crime commissioner has said.  Of the 47 officers investigated, eight were found to have a case to answer for misconduct and six had a case to answer for gross misconduct.  Five of these officers received sanctions ranging from management action up to a final written warning.  Another faced a South Yorkshire Police misconduct hearing earlier this year, and the case was found not proven by an independent panel.  In many cases, officers had retired and could not face disciplinary proceedings, the IOPC said.  Only two cases reached the point of a public adjudication hearing.  South Yorkshire's PCC, Alan Billings, said: 'I am disappointed that, after eight years of very costly investigations, this report fails to make any significant recommendations over and above what South Yorkshire Police have already accepted and implemented from previous investigations some years ago.  It repeats what past reports and reviews have shown that there was unacceptable practice between 1997 and 2013 but fails to identify any individual accountability.  As a result, it lets down victims and survivors.'

Dr Billings added: 'A great deal of time and money has been spent for few new findings or accountability.'

He said it is unfair that officers have had allegations of misconduct 'hanging over them for so long', but said the force is now 'on a path of continuous improvement'.

Rotherham MP says report 'lays bare the appalling systemic failures'

The town's Labour MP Sarah Champion said the report 'lays bare the appalling systemic failures at South Yorkshire Police'.  'It has taken eight long years, but the truth is now out for all to see,' she said.

'I know from conversations with survivors of abuse that their main motivation for engaging with this process was to ensure that no other children will be put through the hell they endured. We owe it to them now to make certain that that is the case.'

She added: 'South Yorkshire Police has improved, but there is still a long way to go before trust is rebuilt, ensuring the people of South Yorkshire have confidence in their police force again.'


Harry and Meghan are reunited with the Royal Family as they arrive at St Paul's for Platinum Jubilee thanksgiving service - but the Queen is forced to watch at home on TV

    Prince Charles will officially represent the 96-year-old monarch at the service in London this morning
    It will also be attended by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for first joint royal engagement in two years
    Queen will miss the event following after she experienced 'discomfort' at Trooping The Colour yesterday
    * Follow MailOnline's liveblog covering the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations today by clicking here *

By Mark Duell and Harry Howard For Mailonline and Rebecca English, Royal Editor For The Daily Mail

Published: 10:42, 3 June 2022 | Updated: 11:24, 3 June 2022

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrived at St Paul's Cathedral today for the Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen, who is watching on television from Windsor Castle after she was forced to pull out last night.  Prince Charles is officially representing the 96-year-old monarch at the service in London this morning, which is also being attended by Harry and Meghan for their first joint royal engagement in more than two years.  But the Queen will miss the event following a last-minute decision announced by Buckingham Palace at 7.30pm yesterday after she experienced 'discomfort' during Trooping The Colour events earlier in the day.  There will also be no appearance at St Paul's from Prince Andrew after he tested positive for coronavirus. The Queen will be watching the service from her Berkshire residence, and it will be broadcast nationally on BBC One.  Political guests arrived ahead of the royals, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie, former prime minister Sir Tony Blair and his wife Cherie, Sir John Major and other ex-prime ministers Gordon Brown, Theresa May and David Cameron, and their spouses. Cabinet ministers Sajid Javid and Liz Truss were also there.  Soon after, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrived with her husband, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Members of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force lined up on either side of the Great West Door.  The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had seats in the second row of the congregation, with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and their husbands, and Lady Sarah Chatto, the daughter of Princess Margaret, and her family.  Harry and Meghan were seated behind the Earl and Countess of Wessex who are in the front row with their children, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and Viscount Severn, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.  Across the aisle, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, who have ornate chairs, had seats alongside them for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Princess Royal and her husband, Vice Admiral Tim Laurence.  Earlier, a member of the Royal Air Force in the military guard of honour lining the steps to St Paul's collapsed, but was able to get to his feet and was helped away. Then, a second member of the military personnel also collapsed, but was also able to get to his feet and was helped away on foot, despite a stretcher being brought out.   The Queen is understood to have had episodic mobility issues yesterday and, in a statement, Buckingham Palace revealed the Queen 'greatly enjoyed' her birthday parade and flypast but 'did experience some discomfort'.  It said: 'Taking into account the journey and activity required to participate in tomorrow's National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, Her Majesty, with great reluctance, has concluded that she will not attend.'

It is understood the decision ahead of the service, which begins at 11.30am today, was considered regrettable but sensible due to the length of the journey and time involved and the physical demands the service would require.  Senior members of the monarchy attending this morning also include the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who will be joined by the extended royal family.  Tributes will be paid to the Queen's '70 years of faithful and dedicated service' in front of 2,000 people including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Cabinet ministers, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and former prime ministers.  Public service is the theme at the heart of the religious event, with 400 people who are recipients of honours, including NHS and key workers who were recognised for their work during the pandemic, invited.  The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, will deliver the sermon to the congregation after stepping in at the 11th hour after the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, contracted Covid-19.  Hundreds of people gathered outside St Paul's, some wearing Union flag hats and others hanging flags and bunting over the railings on the approach to the cathedral and many guests had their photographs taken outside the Great West Door, where members of the Royal family are also due to enter the cathedral for the event.  Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was cheered as he passed by the crowds already amassing outside, although the numbers appeared to be smaller than those seen at the Trooping the Colour festivities yesterday.  Today will be a first joint engagement with senior royals for Meghan and Harry since the frosty Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in March 2020 shortly before they officially stepped down as senior royals.  And while the couple are set to remain below radar in public, the Queen had lunch with them and other senior royals behind closed doors yesterday and also met her great-granddaughter Lilibet for the first time.  The Sussexes introduced their little girl to the Queen nicknamed Lilibet as a child - yesterday at Windsor after attending a private Royal Family lunch at Buckingham Palace following Trooping the Colour.  Harry and Meghan are expected to remain mostly low-profile over the four-day Jubilee weekend, with no sign of the Netflix cameras that followed them around at the Invictus Games in the Netherlands in April.  The Sussexes, who are staying at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor while visiting from California, were not allowed on the Buckingham Palace balcony yesterday and instead watched proceedings from Horse Guards Parade.  Meanwhile key workers, charity volunteers and members of the armed forces have been invited to the Queen's service of thanksgiving at St Paul's today in recognition of their contribution to public life.  More than 400 people, who have been making a difference either nationally or locally, are among the guests and many have been working tirelessly during the pandemic.  They will join members of the royal family at St Paul's Cathedral to celebrate the monarch's 70-year reign, although the Queen herself will not attend after experiencing 'some discomfort' during Thursday's events following previous mobility issues.  The Bishop of London said today that she is 'excited' ahead of the thanksgiving service. Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally, who will be leading the blessing at St Paul's, told BBC Breakfast: 'I'm excited, I think.'

She added that she was nervous about the ceremonial regalia she needs to wear. 'It's a coat called the George V coat.  'It's quite an old coat, which is a cape and it sits on me, but of course it was designed for men because I'm the first woman who happens to be the Bishop of London,' she said. 'So, it doesn't sit quite as well on me, so I'm slightly nervous.'

She said that Her Majesty's Christian faith has 'always shaped her' and she feels privileged to play a part in the service and 'give thanks' to The Queen for her service to the country.  And the Dean of St Paul's said today's thanksgiving service represents the nation 'picking up the baton' from The Queen as a thank you for her years of service.

The Very Revd Dr David Ison told BBC Breakfast: 'I think, for me, what this service is about, is saying not only thank you, but also we are picking up the baton of what The Queen has done. We ourselves are committing to how we can make the world a better place.'

He said of the service: 'I always get nervous. You can't help it because you want it to go well and therefore you're nervous to make sure it does goes well and worried about what might go wrong.'

He also spoke about an incident during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee when his cape ripped.  'I put on my cape and I was bounding down the stairs of the vestry and I caught the cape on the door latch and ripped it and this is in the afternoon, before the service.  So, they had an emergency embroiderer who came in early in the morning to stitch it back up again.'

Later, Dr David will say in The Bidding: 'We come together in this Cathedral Church today to offer to God our thanks and praise for the reign of Her Majesty the Queen and especially for her 70 years of faithful and dedicated service.  As we gather from communities across her realm and the Commonwealth of Nations, we rejoice in the diverse and varied lives of all those whom she serves, and in the beauty and abundance of the world in which we live.  Inspired by words and music, we pray that God will continue to bless and guide Her Majesty, and that we may all receive grace to honour life and to live in harmony with one another; and we continue to pray for those whose lives are marred by conflict, suffering and tragedy.  And mindful of the call of God to look to the needs of others, we commit ourselves afresh to caring for our world and all for whom it is home, striving always to seek out and nurture that which is good in people and in all creation.'

Those invited in recognition of their service have all been recipients of honours in the New Year or Birthday Honours lists and their number also includes public servants and representatives from social enterprises and voluntary groups.  Boris Johnson, who will give a New Testament reading, and members of his Cabinet are among the guests along with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, first ministers of the devolved governments and former prime ministers.  The diplomatic world will be represented by high commissioners and ambassadors from across the world and also attending are governors general and clergy from world faiths.  The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell will give the sermon after the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby tested positive for Covid-19.  The Dean of the Chapel Royal, Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, will give the Collect and the Blessing, and the Dean of St Paul's will conduct the service.  Young people representing countries where the Queen is head of state will lead the 'Act of Commitment' celebrating the life and reign of the monarch, led by the Reverend Robert Kozak.  During the day, one of the country's largest bells, the Great Paul, will be rung before and after the service, the first time it will have been heard at a royal occasion.  The event will feature a new anthem by Judith Weir, Master of the Queen's Music, that sets to music words from the third Chapter of the Book of Proverbs.  Bible readings, hymns and prayers to express thankfulness for the Queen's reign, faith and service will also be heard by the congregation as the nation marks the monarch's 70 years on the throne.  Before the service begins, the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Portsmouth (Royal Band), will play as the congregation arrives and the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry will perform to mark royal arrivals, while the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force will accompany later in the service.  The choirs of St Paul's Cathedral and Her Majesty's Chapel Royal will join together to sing the Vivats, I Was Glad by Sir Hubert Parry, performed at every coronation and now for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.  News of the Queen's meeting with Lilibet yesterday which comes ahead of her first birthday tomorrow was revealed on BBC Breakfast this morning by royal commentator Omid Scobie, who is friendly with the Sussexes.   He said: 'I think people are expecting some sort of big birthday extravagant event, that we're going to see photographs from. From what I'm told, we shouldn't expect anything.  Those moments with Lilibet are very much private between them and the Queen and of course we know how much she's been looking forward to it.  They've been held back by a pandemic. Of course the times that Harry has been here it's just been by himself for quite sombre occasions. And so this really was the first time.  Of course we know the Queen went back to Windsor Castle yesterday, the couple went back to Windsor as well where they're staying at Frogmore Cottage. So that would have been the first moment or the first chance for her to meet her namesake.'

Yesterday, Harry and Meghan made a concerted effort not to be seen by prying eyes as they watched Trooping the Colour yesterday, arriving incognito at Horse Guards Parade and studiously keeping away from most although not all of the waiting photographers.  The couple arrived in the UK on Wednesday afternoon, flying in by private jet from Los Angeles to Farnborough Airport in Hampshire, where they were picked up by royal bodyguards and taken to Frogmore Cottage.  Yesterday a Range Rover with a modest escort swept them into Central London and onto Whitehall, where they took up position in the Major General's Office overlooking the parade ground ready for the other royals to arrive.  Among the first to greet them were Princess Beatrice and her husband, Edo, as well as the Queen's grandson Peter Phillips.  Meghan was seen kissing his elder daughter, Savannah, 11, as his younger daughter, Isla, 10, held Zara and Mike Tindall's younger daughter Lena, almost four.  As Princess Beatrice's husband, Edo Mapelli-Mozzi, looked on, Meghan, 40, appeared to be sharing a secret with the youngsters, who were joined by the Tindalls' eldest daughter Mia, eight.  Meghan, wearing a large wide-brimmed navy and white hat, put her finger mysteriously to her lips as the girls mimicked her, laughing.  Her husband, Harry, 37, who looked tanned in a lounge suit rather than military uniform, was also seen later entering into the spirit of things, apparently urging Lena to 'shush'.  The couple were later seen chatting to the Queen's cousin, the Duke of Kent, 86, before he left the family gathering to join the monarch at Buckingham Palace, where they took the returning military salute together.  Last month Buckingham Palace revealed that the Queen had personally decided to only invite working members of the Royal Family and some of their children onto the Buckingham Palace balcony with her.  This neatly sidestepped the tricky issue about what to do with Harry, Meghan and Andrew who have all quit royal duties.  But while Andrew wasn't invited to join the family following his shaming over his links to billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, she did extend an olive branch to the Sussexes to join other family members at Horse Guards to watch the parade from the windows of the Duke of Wellington's old office.  Those on the Buckingham Palace balcony also included the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge and her three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis after they had arrived by carriage along with the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their two children, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Anne's husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.  Princess Alexandra, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent were also present as well as the children of Princess Margaret, Lord Snowden and Lady Sarah Chatto, and their families.  As for Harry and Meghan, Mr Scobie told BBC Breakfast today that he 'spoke to people close to the couple' who said that the couple 'wanted to be as low profile as possible during this trip'.

He continued: 'It is almost hard to believe, but I think that yesterday at Trooping the Colour was a great example. We didn't really catch sight of them on TV cameras. There were a few grainy photos of them in existence online but that is about as far as it goes.  And for them being here is all about honouring and really celebrating the life and legacy of the Queen. Someone that they have continued a very warm and close relationship with.   Of course we know that is not the same with the other family members and today will be very interesting to see them alongside some of them.  I was with the couple on their last day in the UK, on Meghan's last engagement, and of course we remember they also went on to that Westminster Abbey Commonwealth service.   Very awkward moments between the Sussexes and the Cambridges. It was almost sort of at the peak of the tensions between them and the institutions of the monarchy.  A lot of that has softened since then. It doesn't mean that the relationships have necessarily gotten back on track to how they once were. I think all eyes will be on them today just to see how they all are with the other members of the family.  But of course everyone is here to celebrate the faith, the reign and the lifetime of service of the Queen.  And I think for them, despite the fact that they broke away from the firm, they always said that they had carried out their work. Holding, upholding the same principles and values as Her Majesty.'

However, royal expert Angela Levin told Talk TV: 'I felt when I saw them 'what are you doing here, you are irrelevant, why are you here? I was very angry when they wound the window down of their car.’

She added: 'My instinct was that 'what are you doing here'. I don't think you can trash someone and then turn up with smiles.'


Boy, 10, who was diagnosed with nerve condition so painful that its called 'suicide disease' begs his mother to get his leg AMPUTATED to ease his suffering

    10-year-old boy has begged his mother to get his leg amputated due to pain
    Dillon Wilford was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in January
    Youngster suffers with horrific pain that has left him sensitive to slightest touch
    Mother Melanie set up £100k GoFundMe to raise money for surgery in the US

By Kaya Terry For Mailonline

Published: 16:11, 22 May 2022 | Updated: 16:14, 22 May 2022

A schoolboy who was diagnosed with a debilitating nerve condition has begged his mother to get his leg amputated to ease his suffering and told her he 'wanted to die'.  Dillon Wilford, 10, was a 'happy and healthy child' until he woke up in November 2021 with a limp and 'severe pain' in his right leg. ter three months of waiting for a diagnosis, doctors said the youngster was suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a condition that causes extreme discomfort that does not ease.  The condition is often referred to as 'the suicide disease' because there is no cure and limited effective treatments even the slightest touch to the affected area causes severe pain.  Dillon, of Sharples, Greater Manchester, has subsequently had to stop going to school because of the extreme pain and even begged his mother, Melanie, 47, to have his leg 'amputated'.  The single mother-of-four is now trying to raise £100,000 to take Dillon to America to get specialised treatment that's not available in the UK.  Ms Wilford said: 'One day he was eating a strawberry one tiny seed fell off and hit his leg and he screamed. If he gets a cat hair on his leg, he screams.'

She added: 'It's 12cm above his knee all the way down to his feet, his right leg.  This is hell, absolute hell. It's like a life sentence for a child. In America they do cut price amputations in the US for people with CRPS.  I'm speaking to one woman who had to have her arm removed as the pain was that bad.  He's begged me to have his leg removed. He told me he wanted to die. It's horrific to watch my cheeky boy end up like this. People need to know how bad it is. For a little boy who has this, he hasn't been to school in three months.'

The NHS offers patients who are suffering with the condition education and management, physical rehabilitation, pain relief and psychological support.  Ms Wilford, a student nurse, and her daughter Maddison, 24, have been helping to care for the in-pain schoolboy.  She said: 'We're raising 100k for him to send him to America, a clinic in Arkansas.  It includes light therapy, oxygen treatment, they do things that they don't in this country look at it his condition.  It's a 16-week treatment and it's every single day. They do over a 120-blood tests - they haven't even tested his blood test over here. In the UK they don't do anything like that.  There's no known cure for CRPS but they can get people into remission. Once you've got CRPS you've got it for life. Once you go to America, they get you walking again.  The people I've been speaking to in other countries don't seem to get it back after they've had the treatment in the US.  It was four weeks between physio appointments and that isn't on.  I want to raise awareness for it. There was no trigger for it. It was completely random, he woke up one morning and he was limping. That night he screamed all night horrifically. The next day I took him to A&E and they said there was nothing wrong with him.  My kids call me paper towel mum but the screams were horrific. It's only by luck that we saw a different doctor who asked me to tell the whole story and said I know what it was.  We asked for referrals to Manchester Children's Hospital but it was refused as they didn't do anything about it.  They thought he might lose his leg as there was no blood flow to his leg. He was put on morphine and he had a really bad reaction to it.  It is known as the suicide disease. It affects their mental that badly. He couldn't use his crutches anymore as he was in hospital bed bound a lot. I was worried he'd waste away to nothing.  He screams every night. The first sound I hear when I wake up is my son screaming. He screams all the time. He has to wear shorts.'

To donate to the fundraiser, please click here. 

How is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome caused?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a condition that causes extreme discomfort that does not ease.  It usually affects just one arm or leg following an earlier injury, such as a fracture or sprain with no nerve damage, or nerve damage to a limb.  CRPS' exact prevalence is unclear, however, a study claimed up to one in 3,800 people in the UK develop the condition each year.

What are the symptoms?

Pain is the main symptom, which may be burning, stabbing, stinging or throbbing.  The affected limb is usually sensitive to touch, with even clothing causing agony.  CRPS also causes swelling that can lead to stiffness, limb weakness and jerky movements. Joints may also appear redder or warmer than usual.

What causes CRPS?

CRPS' cause is unclear but is thought to be due to the nerves in the affected area becoming more sensitive, which may change the pain pathways between the limb and the brain.

What are patients' treatment options?

There is no one treatment. Therapies aim to maintain movement through rehabilitation and pain relief.

Source: Versus Arthritis


Chilling moment Ted Bundy-obsessed Indie guitarist, 24, calmly handed himself in three days after he bludgeoned Bobbi-Anne McLeod, 18, to death and acted out his secret 'fantasy' murder as he's jailed for a minimum of 31 years

    Judge Robert Lindford told Ackland that 'there is a strong possibility you may never be released from prison'
    Ackland had been driving around Plymouth looking for victim when he randomly chanced upon Bobbi-Anne
    After parking, he crept up on the teenager along path behind the bus stop before hitting her with a hammer
    Twisted Ackland said attack was meant to 'be it' but he kidnapped Bobbi-Anne after noticing she was still alive
    Drove her 19 miles to car park at Bellever Forest, on the fringes of Dartmoor, where he killed her with hammer
    Fiend then drove further 25 miles towards the coast of Plymouth Sound where he dumped her body in woods

By Rory Tingle, Home Affairs Correspondent and Nick Constable for MailOnline

Published: 13:30, 19 May 2022 | Updated: 15:02, 19 May 2022

This is the chilling moment Ted Bundy obsessed killer Cody Ackland calmly walked into a Plymouth police station three days after he bludgeoned 18-year-old Bobbi-Anne McLeod to death to enact his twisted 'fantasy' as he was jailed to life with a minimum of 31 years.   The Indie band guitarist, 24, was unknown to police when he murdered Bobbi-Anne with a claw hammer after kidnapping her as she waited for a bus in Plymouth on November 20 last year.  Ackland spent the next 48 hours after the savage murder socialising with friends, and even attended a pub lock-in. Friends said the only time they had seen the killer so happy was at one of his band's gigs.  Three days after killing he eventually turned himself in and confessed, with a video showing him walking into Charles Cross at 1.30pm with his arms behind his back. He was wearing a facemask and a high-vis jacket he used for his work as a garage car valet.  After confessing to Bobbi-Anne's murder, Ackland asked for a map and directed detectives to Bovisand where police found her body hours later. Bobbi-Anne's battered body was identified using dental records, while phone data corroborated the killer's story.  Today, Ackland looked at the judge throughout his sentencing remarks and nodded as his sentence was passed. As he left the dock, Bobbi-Anne's brother Lee shouted: 'You're a dead man, you dirty c***'.

Judge Robert Linford, sitting in Plymouth Crown Court, told Ackland: 'You subjected Bobbi-Anne McLeod to a prolonged, savage and merciless attack.  She was a young, popular and much-loved person, you caused outrage and fear in this part of the country and with good reason, it was utterly motiveless.'

Judge Lindford, who sentenced Ackland to 30 years and 190 days, told Ackland that he would remain indefinitely a 'highly dangerous person', adding: 'There is a strong possibility you may never be released from prison.'

Ackland had been 'acting out his dark fantasy' when he kidnapped and murdered the teenager on the evening of November 20 last year, the court heard today.  He drove around Plymouth looking for a victim when he randomly chanced upon Bobbi-Anne, who reminded him of one of his past girlfriends. After parking his car, he crept up on the teenager along a path behind the bus stop before striking her over the back of the head with a claw hammer.   The 4ft 11in college student fell to the ground and as 'their eyes met' he hit her over the head again, he later told police. Ackland said this initial attack was meant to 'be it', but as he walked back to his Ford Fiesta he saw Bobbi-Anne moving, so drove back and kidnapped the bleeding teenager by violently bundling her in the footwell.  Ackland then drove her around 19 miles to a car park at Bellever Forest, on the fringes of Dartmoor, where he repeatedly hit her with a hammer, causing 'multiple catastrophic injuries to her head and face' during a 'prolonged, frenzied, sadistic attack'. He recalled Bobbi-Anne say 'I'm scared' shortly before the savage assault.

Describing the moments after he battered the teenager in a police interview, Ackland said: 'It's not funny but she started to make a noise and I thought ''f****** hell, wow, I mean hats off to her''.'   

After finally stomping on her neck, Ackland put her body into the boot of his red car and drove more than 25 miles to Bovisand, on the eastern side of Plymouth Sound, where he stripped her of her clothes and some jewellery and dumped her body in undergrowth down a slope.  Prosecutor Richard Posner said: 'She had been dumped face down in the dirt and foliage. Her body was completely naked. Tragically, Bobbi was dead. The scene was closed off while her body was recovered. There were 14 lacerations to her head and face. Her body was identified through dental records.'   

After the attack in November 2021, callous Ackland threw away her clothes in an allotment before going out partying with friends.  Witnesses told how he was laughing, joking and hugging people and went to a pub-lock-in before later ordering pizza. He also attended a practice session with his rock band. Friends said the only time they had seen the killer so happy was at one of the band's gigs.  Meanwhile, Bobbi-Anne's worried family tried to find her after she failed to meet her boyfriend, Louie Leach, in Plymouth.  Three days later, Ackland a car valet turned himself in and confessed, telling detectives where he had dumped her body. At a previous hearing, Ackland, of Southway, Plymouth pleaded guilty to murder.  Richard Posner, prosecuting, told the court Ackland was leading 'a double life' and harboured a fascination with serial killers in the UK, Australia, US and Russia.  Mr Posner said Ackland had conducted extensive searches about 'their crimes, the aftermath of such crimes, and the bodies left behind in days leading up to Bobbi-Anne (McLeod's) death'.

He said he had also been searching the web pages of DIY stores for 'hammers, crowbars and cutting tools'.  'Cody Ackland led a double life. When he left home on November 20 and drove through Leigham in Plymouth towards the bus stop where Bobbi-Anne was,' the prosecutor said.

'He held such an unhealthy fascination and desire to imitate serial killers. His fascination was to become an unimaginable wicked reality for Bobbi-Anne.'

In disturbing police interviews, Ackland told how he had 'panicked' at seeing Bobbi-Anne was still alive after the initial attack at the bus stop.   'I did it again, I hit her again with the hammer and went to get back in the car and was going to drive away,' he said.

Ackland described his reasoning as 'an industrial way of thinking' adding 'I just thought, right, get rid of the problem.'

He said Bobbi-Anne was still able to walk when they arrived at Bellever Forest car park.  The killer said he had lifted Bobbi-Anne McLeod and supported her as they walked towards woodland.  He said she had said something like 'I am scared'.

Ackland told police: 'I said (to Bobbi-Anne) so am I, I never done this, I've never seen this', but I meant to say 'I've never done this'.

He described striking her 12 times to the head with a hammer to the head and face, but she was still breathing.  The twisted murderer said in interview: 'It's not funny but she started to make a noise and I thought 'f****** hell, wow, I mean hats off to her'.'

He added that he had also trodden on her neck to suffocate her.  At 5.45pm on November 20, Bobbi-Anne left her home in Leigham to meet her boyfriend and walked to the nearby bus stop on Bampton Road, where she was last seen alive at 6.15pm.  By 7.15pm, the teenager's family were starting to worry and a member of the public found her abandoned mobile phone and Apple AirPod case in the bus stop.  The teenager's boyfriend contacted her family at 9pm asking where she was, and they immediately went out looking for her and appealing on social media.  Devon and Cornwall Police launched a missing person inquiry.  On Tuesday at lunchtime, he left work to walk to a police station to confess to murdering Bobbi-Anne.  He asked for a map and directed detectives to Bovisand where police found her body hours later in woodland near a disused military fort.  Forensic evidence and phone data corroborated Ackland's story, the court heard.  Crime scene investigators located the clothes at the allotments and his blood-stained trainers were found in his wardrobe. Bobbi-Anne's blood was found in and around his car.  Rakuda, who released their first EP in August last year, announced in November they would disband 'with immediate effect', but weeks later said they would be taking a 'short hiatus from the music scene' with a view to reforming in the spring of 2022.   Ian Wilkinson, senior crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in the south-west of England, said: 'Bobbi-Anne was just 18 years old when her life was taken away in the most cruel and shocking manner.  As this case reaches its end, our thoughts are very much with Bobbi-Anne's family as they continue to live with what Cody Ackland did.  The CPS were involved with the case from the start of the investigation following the discovery of Bobbi-Anne's body.  We worked closely alongside our partners in the police to build the strongest possible case to ensure that Ackland was held responsible for what he did.  Violence against women and girls has a devastating effect on victims and their families.  The CPS is dedicated to working with our partners in the criminal justice system to bring offenders to justice and make the public safer.'

Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Stephanie Blundell, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said of Ackland's sentence: 'I welcome today's sentence, however today does not bring cause for celebration.  This was a shocking and brutal crime which led to a young life being tragically cut short and changed the lives of Bobbi's family forever. The details of the case heard today were harrowing, particularly for Bobbi's family.  I would like to thank the investigators who worked on this case, including the detectives, uniformed officers, forensic investigators and all of the support teams who conducted themselves professionally and sensitively in a case of such distressing nature.  I would like to commend Bobbi-Anne's family Donna, Adrian and Lee for the strength, courage and resilience they have demonstrated throughout the investigation process and in particular, today's hearing.  'The senseless and evil acts of one man have devastated their lives and I hope that today's outcome brings them a sense of justice.  'The impact of this case has been felt far and wide across the communities of Plymouth, particularly in Leigham.  It has been heartening to see the community come together in support of Bobbi's family. I hope the community can now focus on healing and recovery, knowing that Ackland will be in prison for a substantial length of time.'
Indie band guitarist who idolised US monster Ted Bundy: Bobbi-Anne McLeod killer Cody Ackland was obsessed with serial killers and researched human mutilation online before he bludgeoned petite 24-year-old to death and dumped her body in woodland

By Nick Constable for MailOnline

The Indie band guitarist who snatched teenager Bobbi-Anne McLeod from a bus stop before murdering her and dumping her body on a beach was obsessed with serial killers, researched human mutilation online and idolised US monster Ted Bundy, MailOnline can reveal.  Detectives found almost 3,000 graphic, grisly images of dead and dismembered people on Cody Ackland's phone a horrific window into his grotesque double life.  Ackland, 24, was morbidly fascinated by Bundy, who was executed in 1989 after kidnapping, raping and murdering at least 30 women and girls during the 1970s.  Investigators found from August to November last year, Ackland had looked for information about several murderers, including Ted Bundy, Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo Jr, Andrei Chikatilo, Ivan Milat, Fred West and Tommy Sells.  In the week before killing Bobbi-Anne McLeod, Ackland carried out further searches for Ted Bundy, Fred West and 'Fred West's house'.  Two days the murder, he also looked up Richard Chase, the Vampire of Sacramento, and 'Richard Chase bodies'. The day before handing himself into police, Ackland also searched for serial killer Ed Kemper.  Richard Posner, prosecuting, said: 'His interest in the macabre presents as deep-rooted; a fascination with death, murder and murderers and the means to commit murder.'

Despite this, Ackland successfully managed to hide his dark obsession from all who knew him. Speaking at Devon and Cornwall Police headquarters in Exeter, Detective Superintendent Mike West said investigators had been through Ackland's past 'with a fine toothcomb' and found nothing to link him to previous crimes.  Ray Tully QC, defending Ackland, told Plymouth Crown Court his client's obsession with images of murder victims had to be viewed through the 'prism' of his troubled childhood and mental health struggles.  'Psychiatrists characterise it as a kind of self-harm, someone who has developed an addiction to seeking out material, going back to it again and again,' he said.

'(Ackland) describes it as self-medicating, if he can shock himself he might shock himself out of what he felt he had become capable of doing.  He felt the storm clouds gathering and felt incapable of addressing them.'

He said Ackland had been diagnosed with special educational needs by aged seven, and at the age of nine was already contemplating suicide.  Ackland was diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, depression and anxiety and by the age of 19 'had a seven-year depressive history', Mr Tully said.  Mr Tully said Ackland had not received 'much comfort' from either his home or his school life and that the his father and other male role models had not provided much 'in the way of succour or support'.  He said Ackland viewed Bobbi-Anne's murder as 'the culmination of everything that has gone on his life, stemming from childhood'.  Mr Tully added: '(Psychiatrists) describe him as leading a sad and isolated life from a young age, someone who is self absorbed but not in a narcissistic way, it is not self-loving we are dealing with here, it is self-loathing.  He grew up to hate himself, angry with the world, angry with everything, and he did at time seek assistance and help about that, but it wasn't particularly forthcoming.'

Ackland was so unmoved by his brutal claw-hammer attack on 18-year-old Bobbi-Anne that in the hours immediately after stripping and dumping her body he was out partying with friends.  Witnesses told how he was laughing, joking and hugging people and went to a pub-lock-in before later ordering pizza. He also attended a practice session with his rock band.  Friends said the only time they had seen the killer so happy was at one of the band's gigs.  After Ackland was sentenced today, Bobbi-Anne's mother Donna, father Adrian and brother Lee released a joint family statement in which they described her as 'the best daughter, the best sister, the best friend to so many people.'  'Everybody who knew Bobbi loved her,' they added.

'We have been robbed of our beautiful girl in the worst possible way and our lives will never be the same without her.'

They went on: 'Our lives have changed forever. We have not been able to say goodbye to Bobbi-Anne and we can only imagine the things he did to her - the thoughts are continually going around in our minds.  Why Bobbi-Anne? Why make her suffer? To know her final hours were spent being tortured destroys us inside.  Bobbi-Anne was so loved and had so many life plans. He cruelly ripped that life away from her and us.  We can't even contemplate a future without her in it. There will never be anything the justice system can impose that will ever come close to what he deserves.'

Ackland didn't know Bobbi-Anne and randomly chose her as his victim as she stood at a bus-stop near her family's home in Leigham, Plymouth, at 6.05pm on Saturday November 20th last year, heading for a night-out with her boyfriend.  He attacked her and walked backed to his car nearby, later telling police: 'That was meant to be it.'

But when he saw her move he returned, bundled her into the footwell of his red Ford Fiesta and drove 19 miles to Bellever Forest on Dartmoor where he repeatedly battered her around the head with the hammer, causing 'catastrophic' injuries.  Her naked body was later found in woods near a disused military fort at Bovisand, Plymouth. Her clothes were found tossed into an allotment.  Outside court Det Supt Mike West, head of major crime for Devon and Cornwall Police, said analysis of Ackland's phone revealed how he scrupulously planned the murder, modelling it on Bundy's sickening techniques.  'Ackland was leading a double life and had a secret a morbid interest in a significant number of serial killers from around the world, particularly US killer Ted Bundy whose kidnap and murder of young women bore similarities to Ackland's crime.  There were pictures of Bundy and the weapons he used on the phone.  In the days and weeks leading up to Bobbi-Anne's death, Ackland searched the internet for information about serial killers' crimes, their aftermath and the bodies left behind.  He kept a huge supply of grisly images on his phone, depicting dismembered or dead bodies, post mortem examinations and murder scenes.  Over the days and hours before the murder Ackland browsed for remote locations on Dartmoor and for potential weapons such as helmets, hammers, crowbars and cutting tools.  Ackland also searched sportswear websites for items such as ski masks, waterproof clothing and balaclavas, actively trying to replicate the actions of the serial killers he was so fascinated by.'

By 7.15pm on the evening she went missing, Bobbi-Anne's family were already starting to worry that they hadn't heard from her.  When her boyfriend called at 9pm saying she hadn't arrived, they began to search and make appeals on social media.  By 10pm Police had launched a missing persons enquiry and made a public appeal for anyone who had seen her to come forward.  Three days later Ackland left his job as a garage car valet, sent 'strange' messages to friends and family saying he had 'done something' and walked into a Plymouth police station to confess.  He told detectives: 'I did it. I was responsible for it'.

He then revealed where he had left the teenager's body, claimed he wanted to help police and Bobbi-Anne's family and said he had a 'tendency to overthink things.'

He said he'd gone out on the night of the murder because he was 'feeling low' and 'wound up' and needed to get out of the house.  Moments later he attacked Bobbi-Anne at the bus stop with frenzied blows from his hammer.  Det Supt West went on: 'He intended to go out socialising for the night and cut through Leigham to save time.  It was then that he spotted Bobbi-Anne, who he didn't know but who resembled girls he'd dated in the past.  Ackland will claim that he wasn't looking for somebody anybody in particular it was just a coincidence. He described his actions as 'an industrial way of thinking' to get rid of a problem.  He thought about taking her to hospital but instead, to use his expression, decided to dispose of her body so he drove 19 miles to Bellever Forest, arriving at 7.45pm.  It was here he attacked her repeatedly with the hammer, outside the car, before burning her handbag nearby along with other items from the vehicle.'

Ackland told police he 'went into problem-solving mode', headed for the wooded lane at Bovisand, dumped Bobbi-Anne's body in undergrowth, drove to his Plymouth family home and went to bed.  The following morning he claimed he asked himself 'what had actually happened' before going for pizza with a friend.  He was, according to the friend, 'chatty and having a laugh and 'hugging people', said Det Supt. West.  'Friends recalled him being happier than usual and said the only time they had seen him so happy was before one of his gigs.  He told detectives that the killing was not on his mind because it was 'so out there' and extreme that it was almost like a film or fantasy, something that hadn't really happened.  He told police he did not know how he felt about the murder, that it felt like someone else had committed the crime but he knew deep down it was him.  He blamed childhood issues and a failure to be given help when he was younger. In fact, Ackland blamed everybody apart from himself.  Bobbi did not stand a chance on being attacked by a man using a claw hammer, who was intent on delivering a callous and sustained assault in Leigham, and then in a secluded forest on Dartmoor.  Ackland's sentencing will deliver a degree of justice to Bobbi-Anne's family. But we know only too well that their loss will be suffered for a long time.'

Det Supt West said that, even if Ackland had not handed himself in, he would have been tracked through mobile phone signals placing him near to Bobbi-Anne, CCTV footage and 'covert' techniques which he declined to specify.  'I am certain he would have been located and caught and we would have identified where Bobbi-Anne's body had been deposited,' he said.

However Ackland had no file on the Police National Computer and had not engaged with police either as a victim or a suspect prior to the murder.  He appeared to have led a 'secret life operated clandestinely' and his offending had 'come as a really significant shock' to those who knew him best.  The attack had happened without warning 'no one could have recognised the level of risk that Ackland presented.'

Forensic teams found no evidence of a sexual motivation and Ackland claimed the reason he stripped Bobbi-Anne was to try and prevent her being identified if she was found at some stage in the future.  'He wanted to make it clear that there was no sexual motivation,' said Det Supt West.

'He was calm, he was measured and there was no requirement for any mental health support.  I have yet to see any remorse on Ackland's part despite numerous opportunities for him to convey that.'

He added that while there was no indication that Ackland had ever been involved in any form of offending, women or girls who believed they might have been targeted by him should contact the police.  Attacks on lone girls were 'exceptionally rare' and there had been 'no trigger' to suggest Ackland was likely to launch one.

Check following prosecutor quotes at Plymouth Crown court hearing tomorrow quotes from Crown prosecutor Richard Posner

Prosecutor Richard Posner told Plymouth Crown Court that Ackland's interest in death was 'sinister and relevant to his motivation.'

Mr Posner added: 'His interest in the macabre presents as deep-rooted; a fascination with death, murder and murderers and the means to commit murder.  He had viewed and kept extreme and graphic images of dead and dismembered people, bodies of purported murder victims, post-mortem, deposition sites and artefacts linked to murders such as weapons and soiled and tainted items.  Ackland possessed images linked to serial killers and historic missing persons appeals by US police.'

He went on: 'There are numerous images of the American serial killer Ted Buddy in his telephone and images of weapons he used to kill his victims.  Bundy approached his victims in public places and knocked them unconscious before killing them.  It is not a coincidence that Bobbi-Anne McLeod met her fate the same way.'

In their statement Bobbi-Anne's family thanked both police and the public for their help in trying to find her and, later, to bring Ackland to justice.  'The help and support from everyone, not just friends and family but everyone, everywhere, who helped with all of the posters, posts and messages to bring our baby, our Bobbi, home thank you.  To everyone in the police, the investigation team and all of the services, we thank you for everything you have done and for finally getting justice for Bobbi-Anne.'

Ted Bundy: 'Shy and attractive' psychology student who could be responsible for as many as 100 murders across multiple US states

The name Ted Bundy is synonymous with serial killer after the shy and attractive psychology major embarked on a killing spree in the 1970s that left more than two dozen women dead. There is speculation he could be responsible for up to 100 murders.  In 1974, witnesses saw a young man, who introduced himself as Ted, approach two young women at Seattle State Park and ask for help with his sailboat. They were never seen alive again and became his first known victims.  It was in the same year that several young women disappeared from college campuses in Washington and Oregon - including a 21-year-old radio announcer called Lynda Ann Healy.  Later that year, Bundy relocated to Utah to attend law school in Salt Lake City. In November, Carol DaRonch was attacked by a man she described dressed as a police officer but escaped.  She gave the first clear description and a blood sample from her jacket. Miss DaRonch also told police that he was driving a tan VW Beetle. As Miss DaRonch was giving her statement, 17-year-old Debbie Kent disappeared.  A short time later, hikers found the bones of missing women in a Washington forest. A rough sketch was drawn a tall, thin attractive man who approached young, white women looking for help and called himself 'Ted'.  Police also noted common factors among the victims they were all thin and had long hair parted in the middle. All the women were targeted in the evening and bludgeoned with blunt objects. The victims had also been raped.   At the beginning of January 1975, Caryn Campbell vanished from a Colorado ski resort. Her naked body was found a month later in a ditch by the side of the road. Five more women were founded murdered in a similar manner in the following months.  In August, police pulled Bundy over for a driving offence. When Miss DaRonch picked him out of a line-up, he was charged with attempted kidnapping.  He was sentenced in 1976 to 15 years in prison and later police connected him to the murder of Caryn Campbell.  On December 30, Bundy escaped from prison and turned up in Tallahassee, Florida renting an apartment near Florida State University under a false name.  On January 14, 1978, Bundy struck again. He broken into the Chi Omega sorority house and bludgeoned and strangled to death two women, raping one of them and viciously biting her body.  He almost murdered two others by beating them over the head with a log before a roommate interrupted his spree.  Almost a month later on February 9, Kimberly Leach, who was 12, was kidnapped and mutilated by Bundy. The serial killer was picked up a week later while driving a stolen car before witnesses placed him at both the sorority house and outside Kimberly's school.  Charged with three murders killing the two sorority women and another Kimberly LaFouche Bundy believed he could beat a guilty verdict and turned down a plea bargain of three life sentences. He went on trial in Florida on June 25, 1979, found guilty and sentenced to death.  Prior to his execution, Bundy gave the details of the murder sites of more than 50 women. He also said that he kept the heads of some women at his home to engage in necrophilia.  Bundy was electrocuted on January 24, 1989 at 7.13am.

Defence lawyer: Ackland 'grew up to hate himself' and was 'angry with everything' during troubled childhood 

Ray Tully QC, defending Ackland, told Plymouth Crown Court his client's obsession with images of murder victims had to be viewed through the 'prism' of his mental health struggles.  'Psychiatrists characterise it as a kind of self-harm, someone who has developed an addiction to seeking out material, going back to it again and again.'

'(Ackland) describes it as self-medicating, if he can shock himself he might shock himself out of what he felt he had become capable of doing.  He felt the storm clouds gathering and felt incapable of addressing them.'

He said Ackland had been diagnosed with special educational needs by aged seven, and at the age of nine was already contemplating suicide.  Ackland was diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, depression and anxiety and by the age of 19 'had a seven-year depressive history', Mr Tully said.

Mr Tully said Ackland had not received 'much comfort' from either his home or his school life and that the his father and other male role models had not provided much 'in the way of succour or support.  He said Ackland viewed Bobbi-Anne's murder as 'the culmination of everything that has gone on his life, stemming from childhood'.

Mr Tully added: '(Psychiatrists) describe him as leading a sad and isolated life from a young age, someone who is self absorbed but not in a narcissistic way, it is not self-loving we are dealing with here, it is self-loathing.  He grew up to hate himself, angry with the world, angry with everything, and he did at time seek assistance and help about that, but it wasn't particularly forthcoming.'

'Why Bobbi-Anne? Why make her suffer': Family question brutal killer 

In a statement released by Devon and Cornwall Police after the sentencing, the family of Bobbi-Anne McLeod said: 'Bobbi was a beautiful girl who lit up our lives and the lives of everyone she ever met. She was kind, funny, and loyal. She was the best daughter, the best sister, and the best friend to so many people. Everybody who knew Bobbi loved her.  We have been robbed of our beautiful girl in the worst possible way and our lives will never be the same without her. I want Cody Ackland to know that he has taken away our world. We will never see her beautiful face or hear her laugh, see her get married or have the children she so wanted. So many everyday things have been taken away. Her not being here is still unimaginable.  Our lives have changed forever. We have not been able to say goodbye to Bobbi-Anne and we can only imagine the things he did to her the thoughts are continually going around in our minds. Why Bobbi-Anne? Why make her suffer? To know her final hours were spent being tortured destroys us inside.  Bobbi-Anne was so loved and had so many life plans; he cruelly ripped that life away from her and us. We can't even contemplate a future without her in it. There will never be anything the justice system can impose that will ever come close to what he deserves.  We do want to say thank you to everyone. There is no piece of paper, bulletin board, flyer, or anything big enough out there on which we can say thank you. The help and support from everyone, not just friends and family but everyone, everywhere, who helped with all of the posters, posts and messages to bring our baby, our Bobbi, home thank you.  To everyone in the police, the investigation team and all of the services, we thank you for everything you have done and for finally getting justice for Bobbi-Anne.' 

Fun, Games And Silliness / The test
« on: May 04, 2022, 10:03:57 PM »
I was out walking with my then 4-year-old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I asked her not to do that.  "Why?"

"Because it's been laying outside and is dirty and probably has germs."

At this point, she looked at me with total admiration and asked, "Wow! How do you know all this stuff?"

"Uh," I was thinking quickly, everyone knows this stuff, "Um, it's on the Mommy test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Mommy."


We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information.  "I get it!" she beamed. "Then if you flunk, you have to be the Daddy."

Fun, Games And Silliness / Keeping up with traffic
« on: May 04, 2022, 10:01:10 PM »
Cop: You know how fast you were going?

Guy: Sorry officer, I was just trying to catch up with traffic.

Cop: What traffic? The road is empty.

Guy: Yeah, that's how far behind I am.


'Prince Harry's deluded Queen comment proves he has staggering Messiah complex'

Prince Harry shared private details from his secret meeting with the Queen during his latest TV interview, saying he was ensuring the Queen was "protected" and that she has the right people around her

By Polly Hudson

16:39, 20 Apr 2022 Updated 09:10, 21 Apr 2022

Prince Harry told NBC’s Today Show that The Queen has “always got a great sense of humour with me” which is lucky. Because when it comes to his next comments, he must be joking.

“I’m just making sure that she’s protected and got the right people around her,” he explained.

And with those 14 words, he surely lost the last remaining British people wanting to defend his recent behaviour.  Even if you sympathise with him, admire him putting personal happiness above stuffy tradition, largely accept while wondering if there might have been more sensitive ways of going about it his decisions, this is too much.  Whatever projects Harry has busying himself with for the last few years, making sure the Queen is protected and has the right people around her hasn’t been any of them.  Even his biggest fan can’t deny he has literally been doing the opposite of that.  Announcing this in such a self-important manner goes beyond hypocrisy, it displays a complete lack of self-awareness.  Utter delusion. A staggering Messiah complex.  Someone cut off from all reality, living in a glass mansion, lobbing a live publicity grenade.  It’s also incredibly patronising to the Queen who has somehow managed to get by without his ‘protection’ for 96 years now.  Can he really, seriously believe this to be true? Or is it just a dig at Charles and William? And which of those options is the most upsetting?

Royal watchers were aghast at the comments, and former MP David Mellor opined, “His life is totally distorted now by becoming a Kardashian-type figure, where he’s surrounded by people who want to photograph him because they’re paying him lots of money for the privilege of filming him, and the Queen becomes important to him only because he has to see the Queen for his credibility on Netflix.”

This is not what any of us want for Harry, a shallow, meaningless celebrity lifestyle in an ivory tower, surrounded by yes people.  It’s also sad that he’s so blind to how bruised the British people are feeling, what we need from him now. Humility. A bit of gentleness, and care.  Bowling in grandly, taking full credit for being the lynch pin holding the whole shebang together after clearly causing his grandmother such strife leaves a very bitter taste indeed.  Maybe the naysayers were right. He isn’t the Messiah, he’s just a very naughty boy.


Bermondsey bloodbath suspect enters no plea as he faces four murder counts in court: Boyfriend, 28, is charged with killing lover, 29, her mother, 45, grandmother, 64 and her partner, 58, in knife attack south London home

    Joshua Jacques, 28, boyfriend of Samantha Drummonds, in court this morning
    Dolet Hill one of four people killed at a house in Bermondsey on Monday
    Retired nurse who was fighting cancer died alongside her partner Denton Burke
    Dolet's daughter Tanysha and granddaughter Samantha Drummonds also died
    Jacques remanded in custody. He will next appear at the Old Bailey on May 3

By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter

Published: 07:31, 28 April 2022 | Updated: 14:40, 28 April 2022

The suspect accused of stabbing to death three generations of the same family was in the dock today after being charged with four counts of murder.  Joshua Jacques, 28, of Hither Green, south-east London, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court this afternoon and was swept in in a white prison van at around 10am after arriving from Brixton jail.  As he was led away to the cells after being remanded in custody following a five-minute hearing where no pleas were entered, the defendant tapped his heart and made a salute with his finger to his aunt who was sitting in the public gallery.  Dolet Hill, 64, her husband, daughter and granddaughter were all stabbed to death at her home close to the Millwall football stadium.  Jacques, who was the boyfriend of Mrs Hill's murdered granddaughter Samantha Drummonds, 29, was arrested at the scene in the early hours of Monday.  Mrs Hill's husband Denton Burke, 58, and her daughter Tanysha Drummonds, a 45-year-old nurse, were also found dead at the address in Bermondsey.  Today the murder suspect appeared in the dock wearing a grey prison-issue tracksuit and did not give any plea to the four murder charges during the five-minute hearing. He spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.  When asked to confirm his address of Minard Road, Lewisham, he said: 'It was ....'

Jacques was charged on Thursday morning following an investigation by homicide detectives from the Met's Specialist Crime Command.  District Judge Daniel Sternberg said: 'Your case will next be heard at the Central Criminal Court on May 3 this year. I am required to remand you in custody.' 

Tracey Henry, 47, who is Mrs Hill's surviving daughter, said: 'We are in pieces. We are too upset to say any more and we're having a family meeting.'

Mrs Drummonds's grief-stricken husband, Danny Ofori-Akuffo, said the suspected knifeman was Tasered by officers after neighbours were alerted by screams and raised the alarm.  He said that his wife was there to care for her mother following surgery and that Miss Drummonds, 29, brought Jacques to the family home on Saturday to meet them all.  Mr Ofori-Akuffo phoned his wife at 11.30pm on Sunday and she told him she had dozed off on the sofa. 'Those were the last words I had with her. I still cannot believe it. It hasn't sunk in,' he added.

Pastor Lloyd Henry, of the family's New Testament Church of God in Dulwich, said Mrs Hill, a retired assistant in the pharmacy at St Guy's Hospital, had joined a mission to Ghana in 2017. 'They were a lovely, hard-working family who were really close and all supported each other,' he added. 'They were always together, it was a joy to see such a tight family. All of them were regular churchgoers and very active in the community.  Dolet would always cook for members of the congregation who needed it, she always cooked fish for us at Easter and she was so generous. She joined us on a mission to Ghana in 2017 to build a clinic in the village of Tarkwa Banso, which was so far away from any hospital and in desperate need of a medical facility.  Her granddaughter, Samantha, sang in the church choir with my daughter, who was the same age.'

Mr Burke's sister, Juleth Hutchinson, said the family 'did not deserve to die like this'.

The 62-year-old added: 'My brother was a nice, quiet and innocent man. He was always joking and smiling.'

Neighbours of Miss Drummonds, a former worker at NatWest, described her as a 'beautiful, sociable young girl who would bend over backwards to help anybody'.

Leanca Levy, 36, said: 'I am waiting for surgery and every time I was waiting for deliveries or shopping Samantha would carry my stuff up for me. She was just a delight.'


Four dead in south London stabbing: Three women and a man are knifed to death in £600,000 house as man is arrested on suspicion of murder

    Police called at 1.40am to disturbance in Bermondsey, South East London
    Officers forced entry and found four people suffering apparent stab injuries
    All four people three women and a man were pronounced dead at the scene

By Mark Duell for MailOnline

Published: 08:47, 25 April 2022 | Updated: 11:32, 25 April 2022

Four people have been stabbed to death at a house in London and police have arrested a man on suspicion of murder.  Scotland Yard detectives were called at about 1.40am this morning to reports of a disturbance at a property in Bermondsey, South East London, which is valued at around £600,000.  Officers arrived on Delaford Road and forced entry inside, where they found four people three women and a man suffering apparent stab injuries.  Post-mortem examinations will be arranged in due course. A man was arrested and taken to a police station in South London where he remains in custody.  Bermondsey resident Anne Birkett, 60, whose back bedroom looks onto the property where four people were found with fatal stab wounds in the early hours of Monday, said she was woken by police sirens and a circling helicopter just before 2am.  She said the street was filled with flashing lights, but she and her husband did not go outside their house or see anything further.  Ms Birkett said: 'It's devastating, you hear all of this but you never assume it's going to be right on your own doorstep.'

She said there are several primary schools in the residential area near the scene on Delaford Road.  Metropolitan Police detectives from the specialist crime unit are investigating, and officers said that it is thought all five people were known to each other.  Delaford Road is located in the SE16 postcode area next to South Bermondsey train station and is also close to Millwall FC's ground The New Den.  London Mayor Sadiq Khan today tweeted: 'I am heartbroken that three women and a man were killed last night in a devastating incident at an address in Southwark. My thoughts are with the family and friends who have lost loved ones in this awful crime.  I am in contact with the leadership of the Metropolitan Police. An investigation is underway and one man has been arrested. I urge anyone who has information that could be relevant to contact the police immediately.'

Michael Situ, a Labour councillor on Southwark Council, said: 'Thoughts with family of victims of murder on Delaford Road, SE16.   If anyone has any information about incident, do contact @MPSSouthwark urgently.'

Several forensics officers were seen entering the fenced-off section of Delaford Road.  A resident of the adjacent road, Bramcote Grove, who did not want to be named, said he was woken at around 2am by police sirens and a helicopter and was kept up until 6am by the commotion.  'When I saw four ambulances not one, not two, but four I knew it was serious,' he said.


Mum's agony as son, 21, who was violently assaulted on night out is found hanged

In the aftermath of the assault in Pwllheli, Gwynedd, Twm Bryn Jones had become anxious, tearful and was struggling to sleep, his grieving mother said


22:47, 16 Jan 2022Updated22:50, 16 Jan 2022

A grieving mother whose son was found hanged two months after he was assaulted is calling for the mental health impact of violent crimes to be incorporated into the criminal justice system.  Twm Bryn Jones, 21, was found dead in Chwilog on October 4. It was two months after he was assaulted during a night out in Pwllheli, Gwynedd.  An inquest was opened with a provisional cause of death given as hanging but the inquest has yet to be heard.  In the aftermath of the assault, Twm's mother Bethan Llwyd told North Wales Live her son had become anxious, tearful and was struggling to sleep.  She told how he lost weight and was afraid of returning to Pwllheli, locking himself in his car when he had to.  The family’s distress was further compounded when Twm’s death was not mentioned in court as two men were convicted for his assault.  Two days before Christmas, the pair both pleaded guilty to charges of causing actual bodily harm at Caernarfon magistrates court.  They were given a community order for 12 months, rehabilitation sessions for 20 days, told to undergo unpaid community service for 200 hours and ordered to pay £180 court fees.  Bethan spoke out because she wants people to understand that such attacks can have consequences that go beyond physical injury.  “The mental health impacts of these types of incidents are not measured by law,” she said.

“This needs to change. As well as actual bodily harm, victims can suffer actual mental harm, as we saw with Twm.  These days there is a huge focus on mental health as we become more aware of the effect it can have on society.  So it’s only right that the mental health impacts of assaults are given equal weighting to their physical impacts.  If people can be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress which is what Twm suffered it should be possible to incorporate this into the criminal charges that people face.”

Twm was attacked in the early hours of Sunday, July 25, 2021, as he waited for a taxi outside the newly reopened Venu hotspot in Pwllheli.  He had been enjoying a night out with his cousin Alun Williams, who was inside the Venu arranging the taxi.  Two men pulled up in their car and attacked Twm, kicking and punching him to the ground.  Bethan, who was awoken from her bed to take Twm to hospital, said the effect on her son was immediate.  Despite bravely agreeing to testify against the two men, his previously positive approach to life withered in the aftermath of the attack.  “He didn’t return to work for a week because of the concussion he suffered,” said Bethan.

“But when he did, his nerves were on edge.  He was reluctant to go back into Pwllheli. When he went to collect his girlfriend from her job at the end of her shift, he would lock himself in his car.”

Struggling to sleep, Twm began to lose weight and interest.  He even turned his back on cycling: as a member of Caernarfon Energy Cycling Club (Clwb Beicio Egni Caernarfon), he had been in training with high hopes for the 2022 race season.  “One night he did go back into Pwllheli with his friends but he called me, crying, saying he could not go on,” said Bethan.

“He disappeared and we had to involve the police, and check CCTV, before we were able to find him.  A few weeks later he had another breakdown in Pwllheli. He called his dad and was inconsolable, banging his head against a wall and saying, “when will it all end?””

Worried about his state of mind, family members gently encouraged him to seek counselling.  yThey were relieved when he self-referred to his GP and contact was made with mental health services.  He was prescribed medication and was due to start a course of counselling.  When Twm announced he was buying his own sheep, for the family’s impending move to a new farm near Criccieth, the family dared to believe the worst was over.  The sheep arrived at Ty’n Rhos farm a couple of weeks before his death.  He fought hard to self-cope,” said Bethan. “But underneath he was still struggling.”

On October 4 he met his brother and sister and all appeared well. That night, however, he was tearful again, telling his mother he was in turmoil.  “I sat with him and we talked,” said Bethan. 

“After a while he went up to his bedroom. I took him a cup of tea and offered to stay with him.  He said, “no, it’s fine Mum, I’m OK now”. So I went back downstairs.  Half an hour later he came down and said he was going out. He seemed better.”

Twm’s body was found by his father the next morning.  The family’s distress is mixed with anger over what they regard as the leniency the two offenders received.  “Twm lost everything, we lost our son and they both are walking around the area,” said Bethan.

In a close-knit community, there is also concern that the “full story” isn’t known by everyone: that Twm was a bright and happy lad until one isolated attack pushed his mental health into a downwards spiral.  Bethan hopes that, one day, the judicial system will evolve to include the mental health fall-out on victims of violent crime.  She’d like to play a part, but for now she needs to recover her own strength.  “I’m a nurse and I’ve done some counselling in the past,” she said.

“When I feel strong enough, I’d also like to get involved with the DPJ Foundation and help people who need it.”

The DPJ Foundation is a rural mental health charity set up by farmer’s wife Emma Picton-Jones following the death of her husband.  It was one of the beneficiaries of a regional fundraiser organised partly in memory of Twm just five days after his death.  Some 200 cyclists took part in an 18-mile “tour of Gwynedd”, collecting an incredible £40,000 for three good causes.

* If you're struggling and need to talk, the Samaritans operate a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively, you can email or visit their site to find your local branch


Kate Middleton's role as royal peacemaker olive branch, photoshoot and failed attempt

new peacemaker after making several interventions to try to smooth tricky relationships within the Firm, including the one between Prince William and Prince Harry

By Jennifer Newton Royal Features Writer

15:40, 11 Jan 2022

Ever since she married Prince William more than 10 years ago, the Duchess of Cambridge has firmly established herself as a royal.  As she turned 40 on Sunday, experts have noted how she has transformed from a shy duchess into a confident Queen-in-waiting.  But appears Kate has carved out another role within the Firm and it's not always an easy one.  There have been several occasions where she has seemed to act as a peacemaker in a bid to ease family tensions.  And it appears that sometimes her subtle interventions have paid off, while other times, they haven't.  One of the most tense relationships within the Royal Family is that of William's with his younger brother Prince Harry.  The brother's frosty relationship was reportedly sparked by William's concerns over Harry's fast-developing romance with Meghan Markle ahead of their royal wedding in 2018.  The tense row quickly boiled over with Harry claiming his brother was "trapped" within the royal system during a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.  Since leaving the UK in early 2020 and stepping down as a senior royal, Harry has only seen his brother twice and one of these times was at the funeral of Prince Philip.  On that day, all eyes were on feuding brothers, who were reunited for the first time in more than a year after the younger brother's interview.  After the service at St George's Chapel in Windsor, the royals walked back to Windsor Castle on foot.  Kate, William and Harry were seen chatting as they left St George's Chapel before Kate quietly dropped behind allowing the brothers to talk.  Speaking at the time, Brian Hoey, who has written a biography of Prince William, told The Sun: “They say cometh the hour, cometh the man. But in the Royal Family's case, it’s a woman.  Thank God for Kate she is the rock the monarchy will depend on. On Saturday, she behaved absolutely impeccably.”

Statue unveiling

Despite Kate's best efforts at Philip's funeral, it appears that William and Harry's rift was still ongoing last July.  Then the brothers came together and put on a united front for a poignant ceremony to unveil a beautiful statue of their late mother Princess Diana.  According to friends, after the Oprah interview, William was left feeling "very upset" and "reeling" over the claims made in it by Harry, with his head "all over the place".  And a source told the Sunday Times that he was still "furious" several months later and didn't want to attend the Diana statue unveiling with his brother, who jetted in from California for the event.  The close friend said: "William was still furious. He had taken the view that he’d only give so much. He just didn’t want to go there [with Harry].”

However, the newspaper credits Kate, who did not appear at the event, as "working her magic out of sight" as a peacekeeper.  And in the end, the unveiling did go ahead smoothly and without a hitch with both brothers present.  An aide said: "[Catherine] was amazing behind the scenes when Harry came.”

Olive branch

 Meanwhile, before Harry and Meghan's departure from the UK, Kate is said to have advised Harry to offer William an “olive branch” meeting in a bid to repair their fractured relationship.  At Easter 2019, Kate tried to repair “a complete and utter breakdown of communication” between the brothers.  Her advice led to Harry and Meghan inviting them to their then new home at Windsor after they attended church on Easter Sunday.  They had tea and chatted for around 30 minutes at Frogmore Cottage.  At the time, a palace source told the Mirror: “The Duchess and Harry have developed a very close bond over the years.  Kate is acutely aware of the importance of William and Harry getting along, not just because of perception but their collective responsibility to the monarchy as a whole."

Charles' 70th birthday

Despite her best efforts, Kate might not have had much success in healing the gulf between William and Harry.  But one relationship that seems to have bloomed after her intervention is that of William with his father Prince Charles.  In 2017, both William and Harry appeared in a documentary to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, where no mention was made of Charles.  And according to the Daily Mail, Charles was upset by this, with an insider telling royal expert Robert Jobson: "It would have been nice if they had acknowledged his contribution to their upbringing. He was, and tries to be, a jolly good father after all."

According to reports, it was William's wife Kate herself who helped to smooth things over between her husband and father-in-law.  And she did this by reportedly helping to organise a family portrait for Charles for his 70th birthday in 2018.  According to the Daily Mail, Kate was instrumental in making the portrait happen, which sees Prince George and Princess Charlotte beaming and cosying up to both Charles and his wife Camilla.

Grandfather Charles

Charles is a grandfather to Kate and William's three children George, Charlotte and Louis.  But in 2015, it was reported by the Daily Mail that Charles had become "increasingly perplexed" about the peripheral role he felt he played in the life of eldest grandson Prince George.  And several years later, William spoke in a documentary to mark his father's 70th birthday, where he revealed his wish for his children to spend more time with their granddad.  He said: “I would like him to have more time with the children to, you know, play around with the grandchildren.  When he's there, he's brilliant, but we need him there as much as possible.”

But Kate helped smooth relations when she is said to have persuaded Charles to visit their home Amner Hall in the summer of 2020 and took on the logistical challenge of getting her family back home from a holiday on the Isles of Scilly to coincide with his visit.  In doing so, it was reported that the heir to the throne was able to give his grandson George a seventh birthday present in person.


EastEnders' Max Bowden 'isn't doing great' as he's supported by BBC crew after tragedy

EastEnders star Max Bowden, who plays Ben Mitchell in the soap, has admitted he 'isn't doing great' after losing three friends in the last year as well as his grandfather in October, 2020

By Zara Woodcock Showbiz Reporter

09:31, 2 Dec 2021Updated10:05, 2 Dec 2021

EastEnders star Max Bowden has been supported by the crew at BBC after three of his friends tragically died.

The Ben Mitchell star admitted he 'isn't doing great' after going through a heartbreaking year so the team behind the scenes at the soap have been trying to help in any way they can.  He took to his Instagram Stories to share a picture of a card he received from the costume department.  The message read: "Hey Max, just wanted to say we know you're not great at the moment, but we are always here if you need a rant or a cry.  "Keep doing your best because we think you're great."

He captioned the sweet post: "I work with some amazing people."

The message was signed by the women at the EastEnders ' costume department, including Annie, Inca, Becky and Meg.  The star had gone on to explain how lost he feels and thanked his friend for always being by his side.  His friend Luke Goodings passed away several months before in June.  Alongside a picture of his friend Luke, Max wrote: "Heart’s in bits right now. Lukey, will always love you, my bro. Rest easy now. Freestyle the s*** out of it up there."

In February, his agent friend Terry Mills died after losing his battle to Covid in a hospital in Cancun, Mexico.  Terry fell into a coma while away from the UK and died from pneumonia.  In October 2020, Max revealed the tragic news that his grandfather had died from cancer.


Now Whitehall's woke 'blob' tries to ban Christmas: Ministers are warned using the word in festive jab drive will offend minorities

    Civil servants have blocked word 'Christmas' as it may offend minority religions
    Ministers planned use slogan for students: 'Don't take Covid home for Christmas'
    Saqib Bhatti, the Conservative MP for Meriden, branded the ban as 'ridiculous'
    It comes as Boris Johnson revealed new rules to limit spread of Omicron variant

By Glen Owen Political Editor For The Mail On Sunday

Published: 22:37, 27 November 2021 | Updated: 09:26, 28 November 2021

Civil servants have blocked the word 'Christmas' from efforts to avert a winter Covid crisis, as they fear it would offend minority religions.  The ban, detailed in emails leaked to The Mail on Sunday, was revealed as Boris Johnson announced tighter travel restrictions and new rules on masks in a bid to limit the spread of the new Omicron variant.  Ministers had also planned a publicity blitz telling students to get tested before returning to their families using the slogan: 'Don't take Covid home for Christmas' but it was vetoed by Cabinet Office officials.  The move sparked a row over 'wokeism' in the Civil Service which has been disparagingly nicknamed 'The Blob' by critics with one Muslim Tory MP branding the ban 'ridiculous'.  Last night, the Prime Minister threw winter travel plans into chaos by announcing that every traveller arriving in the country must self-isolate until they can produce a negative PCR test, and that anybody who came in contact with someone infected with the mutation must stay at home for ten days.  Masks will be compulsory on public transport and in shops, while experts will now consider whether to extend the booster vaccine to all over-18s.  Mr Johnson said: 'I very much hope that we will find that we continue to be in a strong position and we can lift these measures again, but right now this is the responsible course of action to slow down the seeding and the spread of this new variant and to maximise our defences so that we protect the gains we've worked for so hard.'

The Downing Street announcement came after two people in the UK were found to be infected with the new variant one in Brentwood, Essex, and the other in Nottingham. Both cases are linked and connected to travel in southern Africa.  It is understood that one of those infected was double vaccinated: their swabs are being studied at the Government's research laboratory in Porton Down, Wiltshire, and by the vaccine manufacturers AstraZenica and Pfizer.  As part of the attempt to suppress a winter spike, Ministers drew up plans for the 'Don't take Covid home for Christmas' advertising campaign targeting students, to run from December 3 to 17.  But it is being held up by the Cabinet Office on the grounds that it is not 'inclusive' enough.  The Government plans to use social media 'influencers' on sites such as TikTok, to urge the 1.2 million students who will be travelling home at the end of the term to take a Covid test before they do.  But in an email sent on Thursday, an official said: 'We have been advised by Cabinet Office that we should not use the word Christmas as the Government campaign needs to be inclusive and some religions don't celebrate Christmas.  The other option was 'festive season' which keeps the emotional motivation. We have gone with 'Don't take Covid-19 home for the holidays' as it links to school and university Christmas holidays. The alliteration with 'home' and 'holidays' scans well and is memorable'.

Another official then objects: 'We don't refer to Christmas as the holidays (that's an Americanism). Please can we say, 'Don't take Covid-19 home'.'

Last night, Saqib Bhatti, the Conservative MP for Meriden, said: 'As a Muslim, I find it ridiculous we can't enjoy this special time of year. I look forward to showing my new son his first Christmas tree. The idea you can't mention Christmas is completely ridiculous.  It's a time to celebrate, whatever your background. It's part of the British culture I love. It's the celebration of all cultures that makes this the most welcoming country in the world.  I'm proud of that and proud to celebrate Christmas. The Blob needs to stop waging war on Christmas and get on with delivering for the British people.'

In other developments:

*  Health Secretary Sajid Javid used an interview with this newspaper to announce a new 'NHS Reserves' programme, modelled on Army reserves, comprising retired medics and logistic experts who can swing into action if the NHS comes under strain in the winter and help deliver vaccines;
*  The number of Covid hospital admissions fell 11.2 per cent over the previous seven days to 768 and the number of deaths dropped by 16.8 per cent to 131 but the number of positive tests rose 8.6 per cent to 39,567;
*  The total number of booster doses administered surpassed 17 million, amounting to almost 30 per cent of the over-12s;
*  More than ten per cent of the 600 passengers arriving in the Netherlands from South Africa yesterday tested positive for Covid on PCR tests despite having to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within 24 hours of departure.

Mr Johnson said that the measures will be reviewed in three weeks. The new mask rules are expected to become mandatory within days.  He said: 'We're not going to stop people travelling, I want to stress that, but we will require anyone who enters the UK to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival and to self-isolate until they have a negative result.  We will require all contacts of those who test positive with a suspected case of Omicron to self-isolate for ten days regardless of your vaccination status.  We will also go further in asking all of you to help contain the spread of this variant by tightening up the rules on face coverings in shops and on public transport.'


Brit dad, 57, killed by shark while swimming as horrified wife watched from shore

The couple were together with their adult children at the time of the attack, watching on as Mr Millachip swam at the popular beach as the shark struck

By Tom Ambrose

15:01, 7 Nov 2021 Updated 15:39, 7 Nov 2021

A British dad was killed by a great white shark as he swam in the sea off Western Australia, as his wife and kids tragically watched on from the shore.  Paul Millachip, 57, was attacked by the shark, with witnesses claiming it was around 14ft long, at around 10am local time on Saturday.  A large shark was reported to have been seen in the water before Mr Millachip was killed, according to 9News.  His wife, who asked not to be named, paid tribute to her husband and described him as a "wonderful man" and a "wonderful father" to the couple's two adult children, The Sun reported.  Mrs Millachip added that the attack off Port Beach in Fremantle “came out of the blue”, according to a report by  The family were together at the time of the attack, watching on as Mr Millachip swam at the popular beach as he often liked to do.  Mrs Millachip said a group of teenage boys witnessed the attack and rushed into the sea to warn other swimmers to move away from the danger.  It must have been an absolutely terrifying experience for them, so my heart goes out to them,” Mrs Millachip said.

“I thank them for what they did. Amazing. They could potentially have saved other lives.  Rest in peace Paul,” she added. “He died doing what he enjoyed doing the most, which was exercising.”

Emergency services were called to Port Beach at North Fremantle just after 10am on Saturday after reports of the attack on Mr Millachip.  The couple were originally from the UK and had been together for 35 years, she said. Mr Millachip was "super fit" and regularly took part in triathlons and marathons, she added.  “We had been going down to the beach two or three times a week we would go running first and then go swimming,” she said.

“He was due to swim for 1km on Saturday I just went into the water and out again because it was cold and I’m not a huge fan of the cold water.  He was a wonderful man, a wonderful father, and he loved his exercise.”

Police Inspector Troy Douglas said the search had been thorough and would only resume if there was “reason”.  “Inquiries will continue based on anything washed up or anything found,” he said.


Selfless best friends become surrogates at the same time to help strangers become parents

Rena Miras-Pye and Jemma Black from Birmingham, West Mids, met online before becoming best friends in real life, as they embarked on a very special journey together

By Rosaleen Fenton Audience Writer & Lucy Notarantonio

11:41 17 Sep 2021

It's common for best mates to do all sorts together such as shopping trips, meals out and holidays abroad.  But one duo has taken it a step further after they decided to help four strangers become parents at the same time.  Selfless Rena Miras-Pye and Jemma Black embarked on the special journey together, and say they're so grateful they had each other to lean on during pregnancy.  They first met online when teacher Rena received an egg donor query from Jemma, after writing an account of her experience so far.  Teacher Rena, now 40, had written a sparkling review that caught sales assistant Jemma’s eye.  The pair from Birmingham, West Mids, then went on to meet up and eventually started their surrogacy journey together.  However, it wasn’t plain sailing for Rena as she had two unsuccessful transfers whilst Jemma fell pregnant on the first attempt.  But thankfully, they had each other to lean on for support during the tough times.  Rena, who is a mum-of-three, said: “Jemma and I both had easy pregnancies with our own children.  We both felt lucky as we had close ones in our lives who were struggling to have babies which made us want to help.  I donated my eggs when I was 35 and they went on to have twin girls and a daughter. I don’t know anything else about the family but it is amazing to know I have helped make a couple of parents!”

Jemma and Rena hit it off online in 2016 and eventually met up after discovering they had a passion for helping others fulfil their dreams of becoming parents.  After donating her eggs, Jemma couldn’t help but feel like ‘something was missing’, prompting the friends to join Surrogacy UK in 2018 and the rest is history.  Jemma said: “After donating my eggs, I went on to be a surrogate.  Rena was in two minds so initially joined as known egg donor but then found a couple she wanted to help.  Sometimes I felt guilty as the first round of IVF worked for me but it didn’t for Rena. I was always at the other end of the phone for her.  Rena actually knew I was pregnant before I knew she said she could tell by my face then two days later, the test was positive!  It is an amazing experience sharing the baby joy with the intended parents, my best friend and my family.”

The second transfer was unsuccessful but Rena never gave up and fell pregnant in October 2019.  Three months later, Jemma was pregnant again with another couple’s child and the friends enjoyed being surrogates together.  Rena said: “We were pregnant for five months together. I can’t even put it into words, it was the biggest support I could have ever asked for.  It was amazing to go through it with a friend and my children Nathaniel, ten, Scarlett, nine, Iris, five were able to relate to Madison Cadby, eight, Melody, six, Carter, five - as their mum is a surrogate too.  I was there to hold Jemma’s hand when she had terrible sickness with the first baby. And Jemma was there to help when I had a few losses before falling pregnant.”

Rena donated her egg as well as carry the baby who was born in June 2020, while Jemma gave birth in October 2020.  Rena adds: “I felt like giving my eggs gave an opportunity for someone to have a family. Genetics has never played a part in what makes a parent it is all about love.  Being a surrogate is a privilege and an honour. Watching the couple become parents is the best thing I have ever done.  To know you are helping make grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts is an amazing feeling.”

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