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Prince Andrew's lawyers claim court papers in Virginia Roberts rape case were NOT properly served: Royal lawyers plan to boycott court hearing and hope to get case thrown out on a technicality

    Andrew's lawyers hope to get the rape case thrown out on a technicality
    The Duke was finally served legal papers over a civil case for rape and sex assault
    His team say the papers were not properly served and they will boycott hearing

By Rebecca English and Daniel Bates In New York For The Daily Mail

Published: 22:02, 10 September 2021 | Updated: 10:33, 11 September 2021

Prince Andrew has finally been served legal papers over a civil case for rape and sexual assault.  They were accepted by the security chief at his Windsor home after weeks of 'avoiding' officials, court documents dramatically revealed.  The clock is now ticking on the Duke of York, who has 21 days to respond or he will face a default judgment.  But last night Andrew's lawyers claimed the papers were not properly served and they plan to boycott Monday's court hearing into the accusations lodged by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts.  The prince's team also hopes to get the case thrown out on a technicality. In a legal filing, his solicitor Gary Bloxsome said the document Miss Roberts signed in 2009 may make her action invalid. It is the first indication of how the prince and his lawyers intend to fight the case after weeks of silence.  Yesterday a new affidavit was also lodged in New York from a London-based 'corporate investigator and process server', Cesar Augusto Sepulveda, who was employed to personally serve Andrew with court papers relating to the US action.  He records how he first went to Royal Lodge, Andrew's Windsor mansion, on August 12 and was met by Metropolitan Police officers guarding the gate who told him they 'could not raise anyone in charge'. They said they had been 'instructed not to allow anyone attending there for the purpose of serving court process on the grounds of the property'. And they added that no documentation would be forwarded on, leaving the server with the strong impression they had been 'primed'.

But Mr Sepulveda returned on August 27 and was told he could now leave his papers and they would be forwarded.  In other court documents,  Roberts' lawyer David Boies detailed the extensive efforts they went to in order to serve Andrew.  They said that on August 12, four days after filing the lawsuit, he sent copies of the summons and the complaint to five different lawyers from three law firms who they had 'reason to believe' represented the Duke.  On the same day Boies' team emailed the same documents, the Duke of York's public email, and got a response acknowledging the email.  On August 18, a copy of the complaint and summons was sent to Blair Berk, the Los Angeles lawyer who reportedly represents Andrew. The next day Clare Montgomery of Matrix Chambers in London replied that she was 'not authorized' to accept service on behalf of the Duke.  On August 26, Boies said that his lawyers sent Andrew a copy of the summons and the complaint at Royal Lodge via a same-day courier service. They also sent a copy by regular post in the UK and via FedEx, which was sent on August 16 and was delivered on August 20.  According to Boies these measures ensure they have 'properly served' the summons according to the rules of the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial Documents, to which the US and UK are parties.  The serving has now been ratified under civil procedure rules as required by the Supreme Court of England and Wales. There was no comment from the Duke of York's legal team last night.  They are now trying to access the sealed document Miss Roberts signed via the US courts because they believe it may prevent the case from progressing. The initial hearing is at 9pm UK time on Monday in a conference call before a Manhattan judge.  Miss Roberts' representatives have indicated they will fight the move by the prince's team, saying there is 'no evidence' he was ever intended to be covered by the previous legal agreement.  The 38-year-old, who is arguably Epstein's most high-profile victim, has repeatedly accused the Queen's son of having sex with her three times when she was aged 17 in London, New York and the British Virgin Islands.  Last month she launched a surprise legal move lodging a civil claim against the prince for rape, sexual assault and battery. Andrew, 61, has refused to comment on the case but has previously strongly denied her claims.  Miss Roberts alleges she was scouted and groomed as a schoolgirl by Epstein and his then-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, before being used by the billionaire financier as an underage 'sex slave'.  In 2009 she reached a confidential settlement in Florida with the financier that may contain clauses which prevent her from taking action against individuals she has accused of being co-conspirators of the tycoon.  One of those was high-profile US lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who previously represented Epstein. He was accused of sexual assault by Miss Roberts in 2019.  But last month she reportedly dropped the claim because of the Epstein settlement, which released him from liability.  Her withdrawal was described in a joint court filing last month as 'a compromise' that should not be viewed as an admission by either party of the validity or invalidity of the claims about the settlement agreement. Mr Dershowitz has lodged a request with the Manhattan court dealing with the action against Andrew to have the original agreement unsealed, as he believes it may help to get the case against the prince thrown out.  The Harvard law professor said yesterday: 'We strongly suspect that Virginia and her lawyers may have committed fraud on the court by filing a lawsuit against Prince Andrew after dismissing the battery case against me.  The same reasons for dismissing the case against me seem to apply to Prince Andrew. These documents should get the charges against Prince Andrew thrown out. It's an airtight defence for Prince Andrew and a potential fraud on the court.'

But Miss Roberts' lawyer, David Boies, has said there was 'no evidence Prince Andrew was intended to be covered by the release'.

Mr Boies said he was unable to comment on the details of her settlement with Epstein, citing its confidentiality, but added: 'What I can say is that there is no evidence that Prince Andrew was intended to be covered by the release.  And, indeed, Prince Andrew has never himself asserted that he was intended to be covered by the release.'

In a letter obtained by ABC News in the US, Mr Bloxsome described the methods used by Miss Roberts' legal team as 'objectionable'.  In correspondence with a judge, he said: 'They have made several public, indeed well-publicised, attempts at irregular service of these proceedings in this jurisdiction, in at least one case accompanied by a media representative.'

Mr Bloxsome maintained that under British law, a valid request for assistance from UK court officials must come from a judicial or diplomatic officer in the US.  US district judge Lewis Kaplan, who will oversee Monday's proceedings, must now decide whether Andrew has been officially served. If he does, the prince will be given a deadline to respond.

After the farce, how the key document was finally handed over to Duke's team

The documents reveal how lawyers eventually managed to serve the papers, after encountering obstacles from Andrew's team at Royal Lodge.

The documents state that Cesar Sepulveda, a 'corporate investigator' with London-based company GCW Intelligence who had been charged with serving the papers, was forced to return to Andrew's Windsor home after initially being told if he left the papers at the gate they would not be accepted.

They claim Mr Sepulveda first went to Andrew's home on August 26 at 9.30am, when he met with security staff at the gate, handed over a business card and was asked to wait.

'After some time' Mr Sepulveda met with a Metropolitan Police officer who tried to call to see whether he could be allowed up, according to the documents. After more time passed, Andrew's head of security arrived and had 'apparently experienced the same difficulties and could not raise anyone in charge there'.

The document states: 'The Metropolitan Police Officer/head of security could not locate the defendant's private secretary, or anyone senior and the dependent was told that the security there had been instructed not to allow anyone attending there for the purpose of serving court papers onto the grounds of the property and at the time they had been told not to accept service of any court process.'

Mr Sepulveda said that the officers said that anything he left with them 'would not be forwarded to the defendant and it appeared from the attendance that the security staff had already been primed not to allow anyone access onto the property to serve court process and had been instructed not to accept any service'.

The following day at 9.15am, Mr Sepulveda returned to Royal Lodge and a police officer at the entrance called a different supervisor, who said that the documents could be left with the police at the gate. The material would then be 'forwarded on to the legal team'.

The document states that Mr Sepulveda 'did enquire whether it was possible to meet personally with the defendant, but he was told the was not possible and although (Mr Sepulveda) did ask the whereabouts of the defendant, the Metropolitan Police officer said that he could not answer any questions'.

The complaint and summons, enclosed in a plastic sleeve and A4 envelope, addressed to Andrew was therefore deemed to be officially served, according to the documents.

Timeline of another dramatic month in the Prince Andrew case

    August 9: Virginia Giuffre files a civil case in New York claiming Prince Andrew sexually abused her aged 17
    August 10: Andrew arrives at Balmoral with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, and is joined by Eugenie the next day
    August 10: US lawyers were allegedly trying to hold him up on his horse to serve him papers before he left.
    August 12: Dame Cressida Dick says she has told Met Police detectives to review the claims against Andrew
    August 13: Ms Giuffre's lawyer says Andrew will be served papers in person under the Hague Convention
    August 14: Epstein's telecoms specialist says he will swear on oath that he saw Andrew groping Ms Giuffre
    August 15: Andrew's friends say he is 'cheerful and relaxed' over the case in and will remain silent
    August 16: A source close to the US probe into Jeffrey Epstein says they view Andrew as a 'person of interest'
    September 7: Andrew leaves Royal Lodge in Windsor and travels nearly 500 miles to Balmoral in Scotland
    September 10: A court document filed by Virginia Roberts' legal team says Andrew was served with the paperwork on August 27.
    September 13: First telephone conference in the case is scheduled at Manhattan Federal Court in New York
    December 8: Deadline for Andrew to be served with court papers in person under the Hague Convention


Exclusive: 'I begged Andy Fordham to quit booze and when he did, it gave us 14 more years together'

Andy Fordham's grieving widow Jenny, 58, tells movingly how she begged the gentle giant to give up drink. The woman said the darts ace always made her 'laugh like a teenager'

By Halina Watts

21:00, 4 Sep 2021Updated22:14, 4 Sep 2021

With his 32-stone frame, long mane and bushy beard, it is no surprise Andy Fordham was known as The Viking to darts fans.  And he was equally known for has amazing ability to down incredible quantities of booze once sinking 77 bottles of beer in day while still winning vital matches.  But today his grieving widow Jenny, 58, tells movingly how she begged the gentle giant to give up drink and how it bought them 14 more precious years together.  Jenny who has faced two cancer battles laid it on the line, telling Andy: “You’ve got a choice. Go and have a drink, but go and find somewhere else to drink it because I’m not going to watch you die.  I told him, ‘When I had cancer I got up every day, I put my make-up on, I went behind the bar and I worked. I didn’t know if I was going to survive. They told you, stop drinking and you will be all right, you will live’.  There were tears and a few words were said and then in the morning he woke a completely different person.  It was amazing when he stopped drinking. He turned everything around after that. Everyone was like ‘It’s like having a new man’.”

Jenny’s revelation comes as she tells of a wonderful 42 years with Andy and how he always made her “laugh like a teenager”.  He was, she says, even cracking jokes in his final days.  Speaking for the first time since Andy’s death from liver failure on July 15, Jenny says: “He was the love of my life and I can’t believe he’s gone.”

She says Andy broke down the day doctors warned him he could die.  Holding his hand as he lay ill in hospital, she told him: “You can’t die yet because I’m the wrong age to be a widow. I should have been an old widow or a young widow, so you can’t go’. He said, ‘Well if I go then you’re coming with me’. I said, ‘No, I’m not, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my life if that happens!’”

The mood changed as the end drew near. Jenny adds: “He said he didn’t feel right and they sent him for chest X-rays. I sat with him until 3am, then went home. Then they called me at 6am and said, ‘You’d better come back’.  He was on oxygen. He looked at me and I said ‘You’re all right, love’. I gave him a kiss and said, ‘I love you.’ And he said, ‘I love you’.  And that was it. He never spoke after that. He was dead by 12.45pm. It was awful.”

Andy, who was 59, was admitted to hospital on June 15 with an infection. Jenny explains: “They drained 12 litres of liquid, he was on intravenous antibiotics, his kidneys were trying to take over from his liver, so they gave him medication to get his kidneys working properly. But over a couple of weeks he was starting to improve.  The doctor kept saying, ‘Are you sure you’re not diabetic?’, and he went ‘No, I’m just fat’. It was typical Andy.” The star’s humour was one of the great bonds between the couple, even in bleak times. Jenny continues: “We light-heartedly discussed what he wanted at the funeral. He said for his last song he wanted A Thousand Green Bottles and nobody was allowed to go until they’d gone down to number one.  I remember when I had chemo and all my hair fell out and he said, ‘I’ll shave mine as well’. I said, ‘Please don’t do that’.”

She says when he went on tour she drew red love hearts around a picture of her shaved head, put it in his suitcase and joked: “While you are away and you get all those offers from the 10 Gilda Hildas, look at this photo and think, ‘f***ing hell, yeah why not?’.  But he wasn’t big enough or brave enough or stupid enough and he knew it would kill him.”

The one thing that wasn’t a laughing matter, however, was Andy’s boozing. Jenny recalls 2004, when he beat Mervyn King 6-3 to win the BDO world title. Andy’s binges blurred his memory of the event.  Jenny says: “When he woke up he had a Pot Noodle, downed 12 bottles of lager and half a bottle of brandy. Went out. Played. Came off. Downed another load of booze.  He has no memory of throwing the winning dart double eight and had to watch the final on DVD to remember what happened.”

Jenny and Andy ran The Rose pub in Dartford, Kent, so booze was literally on tap. He was regularly sinking 24 bottles of beer a day.  Andy went on Celebrity Fit Club on TV in 2004 and gained a new army of fans. It was a health crisis in 2007 when he was rushed to hospital during a match that finally halted him in his tracks. Doctors told him his liver could fail. And when he returned home, Jenny delivered her ultimatum shape up or ship out.  Andy rose to the challenge. A mega diet led him to shed 16st though he would put some of that back on.  He drifted off the darts circuit but was looking forward to the World Seniors Championship next year.  Jenny says the 12 months leading up to his death had been a nightmare.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer a second time and required an op, while daughter Emily had open-heart surgery to fix a faulty valve.  Then Andy lost his mum Maureen, 75, to cancer. At his lowest point he admitted to having suicidal thoughts.  Jenny reveals: “He did suffer from depression. He said he wouldn’t go to any support groups because he would feel sorry for the other people and would want to take them for a drink. I would come back from work and he would be sitting there and tell me, ‘I’ve had a really bad day, everyone would be better off without me’.”

Andy had been in hospital in 2020 for treatment for a blockage in his bowel before contracting Covid-19 early this year.  Although he was terrified of dying from the virus, it was liver damage which led to his death.  Despite his drinking, Andy was always a devoted father and husband and Jenny says he cried for days when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. She recalls: “That was really scary. They told me on New Year’s Eve and I got back to the pub at 4pm and told him and he cried until about January 3.  He was meant to be playing in the world championships and I think he went out the first round. He couldn’t concentrate. We weren’t married so they said they were going to put our kids into care if one of us died. So we got married in May 2000. When anyone says, ‘Why did it take so long?’, he always said, ‘I wanted to wait for the kids to come along to see if they liked her first’.”

Jenny is on medication for the next five years and hopes to keep her cancer at bay.  She says: “Touch wood it all seems OK.”

As well as Emily, 34, she and Andy had son Raymond, 35, and eight grandchildren.  Jenny tells of the first time she met Andy at their local pub The Bugle Horn in Charlton. She recalls: “He offered to buy me a drink. He had a full beard, big leather jacket and hair down to his waist. I was 16 and he was only 17.  Then we were inseparable. That was 1979 and the rest is history.”

Outside of darts, Andy loved football and followed Rangers and Millwall. He also liked cooking cupcakes and quiches were his forté, says Jenny. While she misses him every day, Jenny treasures their time together and the constant laughing.  And she reckons says Andy would have been in stitches about something that happened days after his death.  She says: “Even after it was in the papers that Andy had passed away people were texting his phone asking him to ring. In the end, one afternoon, I replied to one of the messages saying,: ‘Really sorry. Can’t talk. I’m dead’.  After I sent that I could picture Andy laughing his head off and it made me feel closer to him. I’d give anything to hear him laugh one final time.”

I would have been shocked if it had actually happened.


'My doomed marriage, my secret abortion, and the lesbian lover who tried to blackmail me': The off-court dramas of Wimbledon legend Billie Jean King are told for the first time in her courageous new memoir, writes TOM LEONARD

By Tom Leonard for the Daily Mail

Published: 22:02, 20 August 2021 | Updated: 00:32, 21 August 2021

Beverly Hills ‘hairdresser to the stars’ Marilyn Barnett knew the form when she became Billie Jean King’s lover. Acting as the tennis legend’s ‘secretary and road manager’, she was told to stay in the background and not attract too much attention.  Thanks to this neat arrangement, the two women got away with sharing ‘twin-bed’ hotel rooms while travelling on the circuit. After all, America in the early 1970s certainly wasn’t ready for one of its greatest female sporting stars to admit that she preferred women to men.  The slim, blonde Barnett, however, wasn’t content with her backroom role. So she made herself conspicuous whenever the TV cameras were on King, at tournaments and Press conferences, and the player started to get suspicious.  When Barnett then interrupted an important interview to try to feed King an avocado, there seemed little doubt that something was up as King would later discover to her cost.  That surreptitious affair was so different to how King, who won 20 Wimbledon singles and doubles titles between 1961 and 1979, had imagined her life. She had vowed to herself to be the ‘conventional “good wife”’ when she married her teenage sweetheart Larry King in 1965, only losing her virginity on their wedding night. That promise lasted just three years, after which she realised she couldn’t deny her sexuality at least in private.  But even living a double life happily married as far as the public were concerned, while conducting a lesbian relationship King little expected that her hairdresser lover would be the one to ‘out’ her in fury when Billie Jean and Larry asked her to leave their home.  In a candid new memoir, All In, King, now 77, also discloses how she was sexually assaulted as a teenager, suffered a debilitating eating disorder and blames, in part, her own homophobia for the decades in which she denied her true sexuality.  During a 27-year career, the American player won 39 Grand Slam titles but became arguably more famous for her off-court life her campaigning feminism and the long-rumoured lesbianism which she only finally acknowledged in 1987 when she divorced Larry to be with her former doubles partner Ilana Kloss.  In her autobiography which is due out in the UK next month but was published in the U.S. this week King also discusses the abuse she endured over her looks and the humiliating ordeal she suffered when she had an abortion in 1971.  The famously bespectacled King was the leading light of a new breed of female player: fiercely ambitious, hard-hitting on court and determined not to put up with the sexism of a sport that paid them far less in money and respect than the men.  Born Billie Jean Moffitt in Long Beach, California, her parents Betty and Bill, a fireman were members of the First Church Of The Brethren, a devout Protestant denomination. She admits their intolerance of homosexuality, which she partly inherited, was a key factor in concealing her sexuality for so long. In the book, King says it was a ‘gradual awakening’ that didn’t start to develop until she went to university. ‘For the longest time I felt different,’ she writes. ‘But I didn’t know why. I didn’t have the words.’

Her early experience of men can’t have helped. King reveals that when she was 16, she was sexually assaulted by the husband of one of her teachers, as they sat in the backseat of a car during a road trip through Nevada.  With his young son sleeping next to them, the man ignored her protests which his wife, who was driving, didn’t hear and ‘touched my breasts with one hand as he moved his other hand to grope between my legs’.

She goes on: ‘That’s when I gritted my teeth and punched him so hard in the chest it stunned him. He stared at me, and I kept my left fist clenched as I told him in a cold, hushed voice, “If you touch me again I will tell my dad. And he will kill you. I mean it. He will kill you”. That stopped him.’

She never told anyone about her ordeal. For a while afterwards, she ‘flinched’ if she ran into older men in certain situations. ‘I sometimes would sit in our living room looking at my father and thinking, he has no idea what happened.’

She met future husband Larry, a trainee lawyer, when she was 17 and they married at 21 and 20 respectively. They were ‘so much in love’, she says, that ‘I thought we’d be together the rest of our lives, have two to four kids, the whole nine yards’.

She had admitted to Larry, a progressive young man she credits with introducing her to feminism, from the start that she felt attracted to women and she had once kissed a female student at college. Society at the time regarded it as ‘deviant’ behaviour, she says, so she was relieved when he replied that he would always love her if she loved him.  However, in 1969 by which time she had won all four Grand Slam singles titles she admitted to Larry that she’d had an affair with a woman while ‘on the road’ in the tennis circuit. She warned him she feared it might ‘ruin’ him as a lawyer if the truth emerged.  He insisted his career wouldn’t suffer but the revelation ‘stung and angered’ him. Larry decided it gave him licence to see other women ‘discreetly at first’ and King felt she had no right to complain. They still loved each other, she says, but she suggested, half-heartedly, a divorce. They decided to stick it out and Billie Jean would occasionally take time out from tennis to play the dutiful wife with the other wives in his law firm, a role she found alien.  Throughout her early career, she had to put up with a barrage of remarks about her ‘mannish’ appearance from the tennis fraternity. At 15, a coach told her she’d go far because she was ‘ugly’. It hurt but she put her feelings to one side to concentrate on her game and going into battle to correct the huge disparity between male and female tennis earnings.  The 1970 Italian Open, for instance, offered $3,500 (about $25,000 today) to the men’s champion and $600 ($4,000) to the women’s. Fed up with the feeble opportunities and prizes, King and eight other women players, later dubbed the ‘Original 9’, risked suspension by setting up their own professional tour, winning the financial backing of cigarette giant Philip Morris.  In 1971, King became the first female athlete to earn more than $100,000 in a single season and President Nixon even rang to congratulate her.  Two years later, after King threatened to boycott the event, the U.S. Open became the first major tournament to pay men and women the same. In the same year, 1973, King accepted a challenge to play former tennis champion and self-proclaimed ‘chauvinist pig’ Bobby Riggs in the famous ‘Battle of the Sexes’.  Riggs, who had won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open as a young man, was 55 by the time he took on King in front of an estimated audience of 90 million TV viewers.  His comments about a woman’s place being in the kitchen and bedroom ‘made me wince’, King writes in her new book, but she got her revenge on the court, trouncing Riggs in three straight sets.

Off-court, she had also faced challenges. In 1971, she became pregnant during a ‘rare’ night spent with her husband. Abortions were still illegal in much of the U.S. but permitted in California, where she lived, as long as she explained why she deserved to have one.  ‘Explaining to a panel of 10 or 15 strangers why I qualified for an abortion was probably the most degrading thing I’ve ever experienced,’ she writes.

She also had to get written consent from Larry.  King says she had always wanted to have children but that their marriage was ‘too shaky’. She also ‘now realised that my attraction to women wasn’t going away’.

When news of her abortion became public, she was swamped by hate mail and accused of putting her career before a family. Her mother told her she had cried for three days when she heard.  It was soon after this trauma that King fell in love with Marilyn, after visiting her Beverly Hills salon in 1972. King was soon ‘living a double life, right out in the open’ and Marilyn started travelling with her the following spring.  Sharing a suite or a room with two beds wasn’t unusual for women on the tennis circuit and, to make it even less suspicious, she paid Marilyn a $600-a-month salary to be on her staff.  While they didn’t shy away from being seen together in public, King told Marilyn not to talk about their relationship as it was ‘too risky’.  She later discovered that even the rumour that she was gay had almost cost her the coveted Sports Illustrated Sportswoman Of The Year Award, which she shared in 1972. She also later learned that many tennis journalists were aware of her sexuality and colluded in keeping it a secret.  She admits that living a lie put her in a ‘delicate position’ as she had a reputation for ‘calling out hypocrisy’. ‘The fact that I felt I was lying out of necessity didn’t lessen my shame or dissonance about it. I didn’t even feel that I could go to therapy to sort it out,’ she writes. ‘The psychiatry manuals still said gays were “deviants”. There was this taint.’

She consulted friends who advised her not to ‘come out’. When she tried to discuss her sexuality with her mother, the latter walked out of the room, telling her: ‘We don’t talk about these kinds of things in our family.’

To cope with her turmoil, she turned to food, often bingeing on Big Macs. ‘I was constantly on one diet or another because my weight fluctuated with my emotions,’ she writes.

Against this backdrop, King was now developing serious ‘doubts’ about her relationship with Marilyn, who had shown ‘possessive and extremely controlling’ behaviour within the first months they were together. Friends and business associates confided she was blocking their calls or messages.  By the summer of 1973, they no longer had a physical relationship although, wanting to avoid emotional confrontations, King kept Marilyn on the payroll. She doesn’t say if she was also scared that Marilyn might reveal her secret but, in 1975, in an interview with Playboy magazine, she emphatically denied she was a lesbian.  As she was still seeing her husband ‘on and off’, she felt her statement was technically true, even if the interview ‘drove me deeper into my closet’.  ‘It has taken a lot of therapy for me to understand the role that my own homophobia played in my reasoning,’ she writes.

Even now, after 40 years with Ilana, she sometimes gets a ‘churning in my gut when I talk about being a lesbian’.

She says it’s a generational issue and that her good friend Elton John, who is about the same age, is ‘wrestling with the same dilemma’ about discussing his own sexuality.  Marilyn continued to live in the Kings’ house in Malibu rent-free until given notice to leave in 1978. Soon after, Marilyn waved some of King’s love letters she’d been keeping them in a safe in her face and threatened to sell them.  When King said she and Larry were putting the house on the market and offered Marilyn half of the proceeds if she returned the letters, she refused and instead following a night of drinking threw herself off the balcony after leaving a suicide note. She was left a paraplegic from her injuries.  The bitter rowing continued but then, just before Marilyn was about to agree a pay-off deal, she found more love letters and demanded far more money.  Finally, in April 1981, Barnett filed a lawsuit demanding the Malibu house, lifetime financial support and half of King’s earnings during the seven years she claimed they had been together and lifetime support. Her case was inspired by a famous ‘palimony’ decision against actor Lee Marvin which entitled his live-in girlfriend to sue him for a portion of his earnings while they were together.  Unfortunately, Barnett’s lawsuit had an even more serious consequence for King. ‘I had been outed,’ she writes. ‘My worst nightmare had come true.’

The Press jokily dubbed it ‘galimony’ but for King it was ‘a soul-destroying violation and trauma’.  She held a Press conference at an LA hotel and confessed she’d had an affair with Marilyn. But she was still not being totally honest, telling journalists that her marriage ‘was stronger’, a lie she repeated in interview after interview.   There had only been one lesbian affair and it was over, she insisted, adding that she hated being described as homosexual as she didn’t feel that way. ‘The charade was excruciating’, she says, admitting she regrets implying that being a lesbian was ‘just a phase’ and being called one was a slur.

By then, she had another reason to limit scrutiny of her private life she had started an affair with her doubles partner, South African Ilana, two years earlier in 1979. Kloss, 12 years younger, was ‘scared to death’ of being outed in South Africa where homosexuality was a crime.  In the first two months after Marilyn filed her suit, King lost $500,000 in endorsements and deals. The head of a hosiery company called her a ‘slut’ in his letter ending their $45,000 contract.  ‘In the long run, I lost millions,’ King says.

Barnett lost her lawsuit and was later diagnosed with cancer, her treatment being paid for by actor friends Robert Wagner and Jill St. John. She committed suicide aged 49 in 1997.  King divorced Larry whose refusal to do it himself spawned rumours he was also gay in 1987, after Ilana gave her an ultimatum to choose between them.  It wasn’t until 1994 that King, then 51, could finally pluck up the courage to tell her parents she was gay. She and Ilana married in 2018, and even then the ceremony in New York was kept secret.  ‘All my life I wanted to be the “good girl”,’ says King. ‘Then one day I realised that always trying to be the good girl was making my life unbearable.’

There is no doubt that Billie Jean King was an inspiration to many women but how few could have known the obstacles she had faced on her own path to happiness.

It is another sad story to come out of the sinking of the Titanic, it's well over 100 years since the tragedy happened yet people still know about it.


Baby P's mother could be freed from prison 'within WEEKS' if she agrees to take lie detector tests to prove she is not reoffending once on the outside

    Tracey Connelly, 40, could be released if she agrees to take lie detector tests
    She will have to prove she is not taking drugs or alcohol to shorten her sentence
    Connelly jailed in 2009 for causing or allowing 17-month-old son Peter's death

By Bhvishya Patel For Mailonline

Published: 13:04, 15 August 2021 | Updated: 17:29, 15 August 2021

Baby P's mother could be released from prison within weeks if she agrees to undergo frequent lie detector tests to prove she is not reoffending, it has been reported.  Tracey Connelly, 40, who was jailed indefinitely with a minimum term of five years in 2009 for causing or allowing her 17-month-old son Peter's death, could be cleared for release at her fourth parole hearing if she agrees to a series of terms.  Connelly will have to take frequent lie detector tests to prove she is not reoffending and stay away from drugs or alcohol.  She will also have to agree to give details of any relationships she forms in order to shorten her sentence.  If she is not successful at her next parole hearing Connelly will remain in prison until 2023.  A source told The Daily Star: 'Connelly has said she'll do anything asked of her to win freedom.  She's been undergoing psychological courses in prison to address her offending and believes she will be successful this time.  Tracey's prepared to wear a tag 24/7, stay sober and submit to giving details of any relationships she forms. She'll also be happy to take lie detector tests.'

Peter, who was publicly known as Baby P, died in north London on August 3 2007 at the hands of his mother, her lover Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen.  He suffered more than 50 injuries, which included a snapped spine and eight broken ribs, despite being on the at-risk register and receiving 60 visits from social workers, police and health professionals over the final eight months of his life.  Steven Barker was jailed in 2009 for a minimum of 32 years for torturing the 17-month-old to death and Owen received a six year jail sentence for allowing the toddler to die.  Peter and three other children were sharing the four-bedroom house with their mother, her boyfriend and his brother when he died.  Three of the children, including Peter, were on Haringey's Child Protection Register because of fears they were being neglected by the mother.  Connolly, who covered up the abuse of her son, was jailed in 2009 for a minimum of five years after admitting causing or allowing the death of her son Peter.  She was then freed on licence in 2013 but later recalled to prison in 2015 after it was found she had sent indecent images of herself to people obsessed with her notoriety.  The Parole Board considered her case for a third time in November 2019, following previous reviews in 2015 and 2017, and refused to either release her or move her to an open prison.  In 2019, the convict launched a bid to be freed from prison so she could try to spend Christmas with her lover.  She became besotted with a 37-year-old insurance salesman named Paul and told fellow prisoners she want to move in with him in Reading.  The abuser said she believed she was ready to leave prison a 'changed woman'.  Connelly insisted her relationship was genuine because she had known him for many years.  In this letter written from jail in 2017, Connelly dismisses her involvement in her son's death and details friendship with mass murderer Rose West.  'I trusted Barker so much we got together (he is five years older than me) then bang, him and Owen did what they did and now I'm here!!  I'm a good person who got stuck in a f***d up situation.  I don't hear from the c***s (Barker and Owen). I hate them so much. I hope they never contact me again. They can rot in hell.  I've been single since I came to prison. I'm still married by law but my solicitor told me the other week that my husband has asked for a divorce. I was so happy I baked a cake. I'm in no need to have another relationship because I think I need to find out who I am.  It is good that my friends have stood by me. These people choose to be at my side in my darkest of hours. After all that has been said about me yet they're still there. With their support, I hope to come out of this situation a lot stronger.  Me and Rose live on the same wing, she is teaching me how to cook (better food instead of junk) and we play Scrabble. People said we were in a relationship but where they got the idea I'm a lesbian is beyond me! It's a shame people believe that rubbish.  I'm not sure I will get married again. I can't see me trusting anyone enough for a long while. It would be nice to put my past behind me and have a fresh start.'


Tragedy as three-year-old girl dies after choking inside Asda supermarket

The toddler died after choking at a branch of the supermarket in Aintree, Merseyside, on Tuesday evening. She was taken to Alder Hey Children's Hospital where she later died

By Sam Elliott-Gibbs

15:02, 11 Aug 2021Updated22:17, 11 Aug 2021

A young girl aged three has died after choking at an Asda supermarket.  Emergency services including two ambulances and a Hazardous Area Response Team were called to the branch at Aintree, Merseyside.  The three-year-old girl was taken to Alder Hey Children's Hospital but police have since confirmed the child died a short time later.  The tragic incident, which took place in the store on Tuesday evening, is not being treated as suspicious and enquiries are ongoing.  The family are being supported by police as they try to come to terms with the devastating news.  The toddler has not yet be identified.  A North West Ambulance Service spokesperson told the Liverpool Echo: "Two emergency ambulances and a member of our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) responded to a 999 call that a child was suffering a medical emergency at ASDA on Ormskirk Road, Aintree.  "The call was made at 20.48 yesterday evening. The patient was transported to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital."

A Merseyside police spokesperson confirmed the tragic loss of the child and said the death is not being treated as suspicious.  A statement read: "We can confirm that emergency services were in Aintree following an incident last night, Tuesday 10 August.  "At around 9.50pm, the ambulance service attended reports of a three year-old girl choking inside Asda on Ormskirk Road.  The child was taken to hospital but sadly pronounced dead a short time later. The family are being supported by officers at this sad time.  The incident is not currently being treated as suspicious and enquiries are ongoing.  A file is in the process of being prepared for the coroner."

It's sad these stories are still being reported when there is enough proof that covid is a dangerous illness to get and the jabs are working.  I don't like the anti-vaxxers tactics to persuade people to not have the jab.


Teen mother, 19, bursts into tears as she is jailed for nine years for leaving her baby to starve to death while she went partying for SIX DAYS to celebrate her 18th birthday

    Verphy Kudi's daughter Asiah Kudi died at home in Brighton in December 2019
    Mother seen on CCTV leaving flat on her birthday and returning six days later
    Kudi broke down as she was jailed for nine years and taken away by court staff

By Raven Saunt and Rory Tingle For Mailonline

Published: 13:38, 6 August 2021 | Updated: 15:56, 6 August 2021

A teen mother broke down in tears today as she was jailed for nine years after leaving her baby to starve to death while she went partying for six days to celebrate her 18th birthday.  Verphy Kudi went to a 1990s music concert in Elephant and Castle and even had a DJ announce her birthday during her days-long jaunt away from home, a court heard.  All the while her 20-month-old daughter, Asiah, was alone in her flat in a 'supported housing' block in Brighton more than 50 miles away.

Asiah tragically died from influenza and starvation after having been left unattended for five days, 21 hours and 58 minutes, prosecutors said.  When paramedics were finally called to the flat on December 11, 2019 after Kudi had returned, they found her 'incoherent, distressed and distraught' and her daughter lying on the floor.  Kudi, now 19, today appeared in the dock at Lewes Crown Court on Friday for sentencing after pleading guilty to manslaughter.  She broke down in tears as she was jailed for nine years and taken away by court staff.  Judge Laing said the baby had gone through 'almost unimaginable suffering' before dying alone in the flat.  She added: 'She was a helpless young child and relied completely on you as her mother to proved for her needs.'

She told her Kudi 'grossly abused her trust' and had prioritised her desire to 'celebrate your birthday and the birthday of friends' rather than the needs of her child. Wearing a black jacket and a face mask, Kudi bowed her head as details of the final days of her daughter's life were read out in the courtroom.   Prosecutor Sally Howes QC said CCTV covering Kudi's home showed that she had left Asiah alone in the flat for five days, 21 hours and 58 minutes.  Kudi left Brighton on December 5 and went to London where she spent her birthday with her boyfriend.  On December 7 she attended a concert in Elephant and Castle and stayed out until 4am.  On December 9 she moved on to a birthday party in Coventry 150 miles from Brighton before returning to London the next day and then home to East Sussex on December 11.  Kudi returned to the flat at 3.38pm on December 11 but did not call emergency services for more than two hours.  In that time she was seen emptying bags into a communal bin area before going back to her flat.  She eventually dialled 999 and told the call handler after her daughter was 'not waking up'.  She told paramedics Asiah had been sleeping all day she had given her milk and Calpol and let her sleep.  Ambulance staff arrived at Kudi's Brighton flat and Asiah was taken to the city's Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital but was confirmed dead on arrival.  Peter Wilcock QC, defending Kudi, said it is 'truly a tragic and devastating case'.  He added: 'She herself, the defendant, is both very young and we would submit very vulnerable.'

Mr Wilcock cited her young age at the time of the offence and her history of vulnerability, as well as the effects any sentence will have on her going forward.  Sentencing Kudi, Judge Christine Laing QC said: 'Asiah was alone in that flat for six days less two hours unable to do anything to draw attention to her plight.  She was a helpless child and relied completely on you as her mother to provide for her needs.  It is almost unbearable to contemplate her suffering in the final days of her life, suffering that she endured so that you could celebrate your birthday and the birthdays of your friends as a carefree teenager.  It goes without saying that this is a particularly tragic case and it no doubt raises strong emotions in all who hear of it, but everyone should bear in mind that the charge I sentence you for is one of manslaughter, it being accepted that you did not intend to cause Asiah death nor to cause her really serious harm.'

Judge Laing QC branded Kudi 'deceitful and manipulative' and added: 'You knew full well you should not be doing what you were doing.  It is a particularly distressing aspect of this case that it is unlikely she would have cried for any time because she had learned on may occasions there would have ben no response.'

It had been previously been revealed Kudi tried to sell concert tickets on Twitter on the day the baby's body was found.  Another tweet showed her attempting to become a Pretty Little Thing model months after Asiah's death.  The court heard that Kudi had been a happy girl growing up and whose laughter would light up the whole house.'  But from the age of 14 she became withdrawn and began truanting from school and going missing from home.  Social services stepped in and she was assigned a social worker and moved to a placement at a safe house in Norfolk.  But there were concerns she had become involved in child sexual exploitation and she fell pregnant and moved back to Brighton.  She was moved in with foster carers and Asiah was born on March 22, 2018 and was immediately placed on a child protection plan though there was no social worker assigned to her when she died.  They went to live with Kudi's mother Asiah Batrane but three months before the tragedy in September 2019 - Kudi and Asiah were moved by the council to a flat in a sheltered residential block for vulnerable families.  She was one of eight young people living in a flat in the complex run by charity YMCA DownsLink on behalf of Brighton City Council.  The flats are independent units and staff do not enter the living areas or carry out regular inspections, but there are members of staff located in a reception entrance to the block 24 hours a day.  YMCA Downslink offers a 'medium to low' level of support for families, with all flats self-contained with their own kitchen, space for staff on duty, and a communal area for group activities.  Kudi settled in well in the flat but the court heard she began to abandon her daughter alone in the flat to meet up with friends and go out to parties.  In the three months leading up to her death there were at least six other occasions she left Asiah alone in the flat once for two whole days.  In a statement, Asiah and Verphy's family have said: 'We are saddened by the current situation and as a family we have many unanswered questions. Verphy has experienced so much at such a young age and we have always done what we can to support her.  As a family we are in the midst of an unbearable tragedy.  Not only are we coming to terms with what has happened today but we are also still grieving for our beloved Asiah. We would be grateful if our privacy can be respected at this moment.'

The Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership (BHSCP) is carrying out a Child Safeguarding Practice Review (CSPR) of this case, which they aim to publish later this year. Sussex Police like all agencies concerned, are fully participating in that Review.  Libby Clark of the CPS said: 'This has been a deeply harrowing case involving the death of a 20-month-old baby.  Asiah's mother Verphy Kudi had a duty to keep her safe from harm, but instead selfishly chose to put her own need to party and be with her friends above all else.  The consequences of her decision meant that Asiah must have suffered dreadfully during the days and nights that she was alone in the flat.  This follows a history of multiple earlier occasions of abandonment and neglect.'

A spokesman for YMCA Downslink said: 'The conclusion of the court hearing and sentencing of Verphy Kudi for the death of her daughter, Asiah, brings an element of closure to this tragic event. Verphy Kudi's actions shocked us all.  Verphy Kudi misled staff into believing Asiah was with her whilst she was away celebrating her 18th birthday. Tragically, neither our staff, nor other residents, heard anything to alert them to the fact that Asiah had been left in the flat alone and this continues to impact them deeply.  In court it was stated that it is unlikely that Asiah would have called out due to a combination of learnt behaviour, and, her underlying influenza. Today, our thoughts and sympathies lie with Asiah, her wider family, and everyone affected by this awful event.  We are working with the other agencies involved in the ongoing Child Safeguarding Practice Review to fully understand the circumstances that led to this tragic incident. We will not be making any further comment until we have the outcome of that review.'

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Wolstenholme, said; 'This was a particularly distressing case for my team and me to investigate, and has caused great sorrow amongst Verphy's family and the many agencies that have supported Verphy and Asiah.  In pleading guilty, Ms Kudi accepted the terrible judgements she made in leaving her child alone and unprotected for such a protracted period, and accepts the lies she told to friends, family and professionals to cover up her neglect of her daughter and in order to avoid being caught.  I hope Verphy's acceptance will help the rest of her family to grieve the terrible loss of Asiah. Sussex Police will always go the extra mile to investigate offending against children and all vulnerable people, as well as supporting their families and friends.  I would always urge anyone who has concerns for the wellbeing of a child, or vulnerable adult, to contact the relevant authorities as early as possible, so that supportive interventions can be made.'

Fun, Games And Silliness / Re: Keep A Word, Drop A Word, Add A Word
« on: August 01, 2021, 05:46:10 PM »
cheese omelette

Fun, Games And Silliness / Re: Word Association
« on: August 01, 2021, 05:44:52 PM »


Fun, Games And Silliness / Re: Movies and Actors
« on: August 01, 2021, 05:43:17 PM »
The Forgotten Battle


Social worker 'attended wedding of terrified girl, 15, to her abuser': Carers turned a blind eye when teenage grooming victim was forced into Islamic marriage, damning report reveals

    Independent review on child sexual exploitation was published on Tuesday
    The review was commissioned in the wake of the sentencing of nine men in 2019
    It found social workers in Bradford had turned a blind eye to grooming victim

By James Tozer for Daily Mail

Published: 19:47, 27 July 2021 | Updated: 01:39, 28 July 2021

Social workers in Bradford turned a blind eye when a 15-year-old grooming victim took part in an Islamic marriage to one of her abusers, a damning report revealed yesterday.  Despite the teenager not coming from a Muslim background, professionals meant to protect her then allowed the parents of her 'husband' to foster her after she became pregnant, it revealed.  One of her social workers allegedly even attended the wedding ceremony.  The terrified girl referred to as 'Anna' was left in a state of 'domestic slavery', too scared to leave the controlling relationship for fear she would be the victim of an honour killing, she told the report's authors.  Details emerged yesterday in an independent report into the treatment of five abuse victims in the West Yorkshire city over the past two decades, which found that 'children suffered abuse no child should have to experience'.

Alarmingly, it concluded that some youngsters in Bradford 'remain unprotected' from sex exploitation.  The report described by the body which commissioned it as making 'difficult and, at times, distressing reading' began two years ago after nine men of Pakistani heritage were jailed for more than 57 years over the sexual exploitation of girls who had been in Bradford Council's care.  Anna was placed in residential care as a teenager in 2002 but went missing more than 70 times, according to the report. She disclosed details of sexual abuse including rapes to a confidential support service for girls involved in prostitution, but nothing was passed on to police or social workers.  The following year, aged 15, she told the project worker she had converted to Islam and married her older Asian 'boyfriend' in a Sharia law ceremony.  The report said it appeared there had been 'collusion' with this by her social worker 'who allegedly attended the ceremony and assessed that her marriage was likely to reduce the risks incurred when Anna was missing'.

Staggeringly, despite becoming pregnant, after a review Anna was formally placed with her abuser's parents as a foster child, with the family even paid a fostering allowance.  Anna told the report's author: 'At 14 years old I was engaged to be married, taking on the role of an Islamic wife fulfilling the needs of my husband and the extended family somewhat like a maid.  We had no similarities in race, religion or culture and I continued to be subject to domestic violence and was subject to a coercive, controlling sexual relationship with a known perpetrator. I was frightened to leave, in fear of an honour-based killing.'

The report concluded: 'It is hard to understand how this decision can have been made and it resulted in Anna being entirely reliant on her abuser and his family.'

Instead of protecting her from harm, the placement left her 'at greater risk and made her entirely dependent on them', it added.  While there, she was subjected to 'domestic slavery' and 'sexually abused and exploited by dozens of adult males', it went on.

The Bradford Partnership which includes Bradford Council children's services and Bradford Police has since apologised to young abuse victims who had been failed.  It said a large number of defendants have been found guilty and given substantial prison sentences. The joint statement said: 'We believe that practice across all agencies is improving but there is much more to do.' 


Girl, 16, charged with attempted murder after Cardiff park attack after man, 54, is left with life-threatening injuries and police appeal for witnesses

    A 16-year-old girl was charged with attempted murder after attack in Cardiff
    Teenager is one of three people being held by police after assault in Bute Park
    A 54-year-old man was rushed to University Hospital of Wales following incident

By Bhvishya Patel For Mailonline

Published: 11:28, 28 July 2021 | Updated: 11:33, 28 July 2021

A 16-year-old girl has been charged with attempted murder following an attack in Cardiff which left a man with life-threatening injuries.  The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is one of three people being held by police after a 54-year-old man was rushed to hospital following a serious assault in Bute Park, in the Creigiau area of Cardiff, at around 1am on July 20.  The girl is due to appear at Cardiff Youth Court later today over the attack which took place just yards from Cardiff Castle.  A police investigation is now under way and officers are appealing for witnesses who may have been walking near the park in the early hours of July 20.  Following the attack, the 54-year-old man was rushed to University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, where he remains in a life-threatening condition.  His family have been updated and are being supported by specially-trained family liaison officers.  Jason Edwards, 25, and Lee William Strickland, 36, appeared at Cardiff Magistrates' Court on Monday charged with attempted murder.  Following the attack, the 54-year-old man was rushed to University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, where he remains in a life-threatening condition.  His family have been updated and are being supported by specially-trained family liaison officers.  Jason Edwards, 25, and Lee William Strickland, 36, appeared at Cardiff Magistrates' Court on Monday charged with attempted murder.  'While this latest arrest is another positive development, we are still appealing for information. No matter how minor the information might seem, it could be crucial to our investigation.  In particular, we'd like to hear from anyone who was in Bute Park during the very early hours of Tuesday, July 20.  Specifically we want to speak to anyone who was near the Millennium footbridge, which links Bute Park to Sophia Gardens, between midnight and 1.20am.'

Anyone with information is asked to contact police quoting the reference 254215.

Information can also be given to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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