Category Archives: Crime

Helping child witnesses: 'One girl gave evidence with a hamster on her lap'

They might be victims of rape, or witnesses to murder. But can they really be relied upon to tell the truth at trial?

In the playroom, perched high above suburban rooftops, it feels as if you’re sailing in a sturdy little boat. Outside, beyond the fields, the sea is a strip of hazy grey-blue that glows silver where it meets the sky. Here on the floor is the scattered residue of a child at play: plastic tractors and fire engines spilling from a big red box, half-done puzzles, doll’s house furniture left awry. On a shelf sit the smiling knitted figures of a policeman and circuit judge, the details meticulously rendered, right down to the judge’s red sash and purple-trimmed robes.

Through a pair of open doors in the adjoining interview room – the green room, they call it, on account of the carpet and the cushions – Ruth Marchant and a police detective sit in a pair of battered mock leather armchairs, reflecting on their afternoon’s work. The boy they have been talking to hasn’t made any allegations, but his reaction when the man it’s feared has abused him is mentioned – his erratic breathing, the way he starts to rock – makes the detective feel sure he has something to tell. Marchant wraps one skinny-jeaned leg over the other. “It’s there, isn’t it?” Beside them is a child’s version of their chairs, startlingly minuscule by comparison.

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Source: gad

Man found guilty of raping and murdering niece in London

Mujahid Arshid, 33, killed Celine Dookhran and also raped another woman who survived

A man who became obsessed with two young women has been found guilty of abducting and raping them and slitting their throats, killing one – his niece – and seriously injuring the other.

Mujahid Arshid, a 33-year-old builder, was jailed for 40 years at the Old Bailey on Wednesday afternoon.

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Source: gad

Oxfam scandal: Penny Mordaunt to meet National Crime Agency

Development secretary’s move comes amid mounting pressure over sexual misconduct revelations

The international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, is to meet investigators from the National Crime Agency to discuss the Oxfam sexual misconduct scandal.

Speaking at a child protection summit in Stockholm, Mordaunt said she would attend an appointment with the NCA after meetings with charity leaders, regulators and experts in recent days.

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Source: gad

UK man jailed for five years after Tinder rape

Kristian Stevenson, 20, raped woman on second encounter after meeting via dating app

A rapist who met his victim through the Tinder dating app has been jailed for five years.

Kristian Stevenson, 20, of Hemlington in Middlesbrough, was convicted of raping the woman after she made it clear she did not want to have sex with him.

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Source: gad

'We're all competing for the same jobs': life in Britain's youngest city

The 30% of Bradfordians under 20 face a perfect storm of problems, from youth unemployment to racial tension. But many of them insist it’s not all doom and gloom

When it comes to grim urban statistics in Britain, the city of Bradford tops many lists. Police statistics name Bradford as having the highest crime rates in West Yorkshire, while a 2014 YouGov poll named it Britain’s “most dangerous city”. Bradford also has one of the highest levels of youth unemployment in the UK: 26% of young people were out of work in 2015, up from 11.3% in 2004.

What makes these statistics particularly troubling, however, is the one that ties them all together. More than 30% of the population here are currently under the age of 20, and the city has the highest number of under-16s in the country, giving Bradford the unusual title of being the UK’s youngest city.

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Source: gad

Trafficked, beaten, enslaved: the life of a Vietnamese cannabis farmer

At 10, ‘Stephen’ was taken from Hanoi to London and then spent four years tending plants for a brutal drug gang. Now awaiting news of an appeal against deportation, he recalls his horrific experience – and his lucky escape

Anyone who thinks the business of cannabis cultivation in the UK is a friendly, hippyish occupation, imbued with wholesome organic principles, needs to reflect on the experience of Stephen, a vulnerable Vietnamese orphan who was 10 when he was trafficked to the UK to work as an enslaved cannabis farmer.

Stephen arrived in Britain in the back of a freezer lorry, after a long journey on foot and in trucks from Hanoi, where he had been destitute and homeless. In Britain, he was locked up alone in a series of terraced houses that had been converted into cannabis farms, and forced over the course of four years to work as a cannabis gardener by the Vietnamese gang that had smuggled him here.

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Source: gad

Murder in Hampstead: did a secret trial put the wrong man in jail?

New evidence shows that an MI6 informant convicted of a notorious murder may be innocent, but due to a gagging order, his case cannot be heard. By Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor

Lacey was not interested in the chaotic debris in the hallway, or the swarm of bluebottle flies on the stairs, as she made her way through the house at No 9 Downshire Hill in Hampstead on a warm June afternoon in 2006. But as she approached a room to her right, which was piled high with an assortment of papers, she let out a bark and started digging at the mess in front of her with her paws. What had caught the interest of Lacey, a black-and-tan German shepherd attached to the Metropolitan police’s dog unit, was a decomposing body.

The body turned out to be that of the householder: a wealthy and reclusive author and photographer called Allan Chappelow, aged 86. His skull had been crushed and many of his ribs broken. There were extensive fractures to his neck, which suggested that he had been strangled, and the top half of his body was covered with congealed wax and burn marks. And so began a murder investigation that remains, in many aspects, unresolved to this day.

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Source: gad

Cybercrime: £130bn stolen from consumers in 2017, report says

Of the 978m global victims of cybercrime last year, 17m were Britons targeted by phishing, ransomware, online fraud and hacking

Hackers stole a total of £130bn from consumers in 2017, including £4.6bn from British internet users, according to a new report from cybersecurity firm Norton.

More than 17 million Brits were hit by cybercrime in the past year, meaning the nation, which accounts for less than 1% of the global population, makes up almost 2% of the 978 million global victims of cybercrime and almost 4% of the global losses.

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Source: gadt

My son, James Bulger: ‘I don't have the energy for anger any more’

Twenty-five years after her son was murdered by two 10-year-old boys, Denise Fergus looks back

Denise Fergus says her son James is still very much part of the family. A large portrait of him hangs on the living room wall, and her three younger boys regard him as their elder brother; they often talk about him. “James is never far from our minds. I brought the lads up knowing him, even though they never met him.”

It is 25 years since James Bulger was murdered, and it has taken Fergus this long to write about it. It’s not that she didn’t want to: it was just too painful. We meet at her publisher’s office, where she admits she has not been looking forward to this interview. Her second husband, Stuart, the father of her two youngest children, is here to support her.

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Source: gad

Judge: collapse of sex crime trials could lead to rapists going free

Series of blunders by police and CPS may see juries doubting evidence, says Lord Judge

The notable collapse of a series of rape trials could endanger future convictions of genuine rapists because of reduced public trust in the justice system, the former head of the judiciary has warned.

Lord Judge, who was lord chief justice in England and Wales from 2008 to 2013, said juries may start doubting the quality of evidence presented to them in court after several high-profile rape cases collapsed owing to blunders by police and the CPS.

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Source: gad