Tagged: afrolondon-news

Adam Johnson trial: Girl met footballer for 'kiss and more …

A girl has described how she met footballer Adam Johnson for a thank you kiss and more after he signed football shirts for her. The girl s account was given to police and the video recording of the interview was shown at the player s trial at Bradford Crown Court. Mr Johnson, 28, who has 12 England caps, is accused of two counts of sexual activity with a child.

The former Sunderland and Middlesbrough footballer denies the charges. The girl, who was aged 15 at the time of the alleged incident, described how the winger was her favourite player. I got a message from Sunderland player Adam Johnson who I d idolised for quite a while, she said.

Well up for it The girl said that after exchanging messages, she first met up with him on 17 January 2015 when he signed two Sunderland shirts for her. She said the player continued to message her, requesting a thank you kiss . I was well up for it.

It was a surreal type of thing, she told the police officer. I met up with him again. I gave him his thank you kiss and more, she said.

Mr Johnson sat in the dock watching the recording of the girl give her account on two large video screens. The court heard her describe how Mr Johnson exchanged WhatsApp messages with her after their first meeting, saying you owe me for this . At the second meeting, in the player s Range Rover, she claimed he said to her: I ve come for my thank you kiss.

The girl said: I was kissing him for quite a while. He undid the button on my trousers. It took him a while to do that.

Knew it was wrong The girl then described sexual activity between the pair. Later in the interview, the police officer asked the girl what the player knew about her. She replied he knew her age, her school year and where she sat at Sunderland home matches.

He asked me when I was 16, she said. Asked how she felt, the girl said: As much as I expected it to happen, I was a bit shocked it had. I sort of knew I had done something wrong.

It wasn t that I didn t want it or anything. I just knew it was wrong. The jury of eight women and four men was played a second police interview during which the girl described more serious alleged sexual contact.

She said a sex act happened for three or four seconds during the pair s second meeting in his car, on 30 January last year. The woman police officer asked her how she felt. She said: Not very good.

I was disappointed in myself. Tried to forget about it When the officer asked her why she did not mention the more serious sexual contact in the first interview, she said that there was evidence on text messages to back up everything else she said, but not this sex act. The girl broke down in tears and asked for a break when she was questioned over a video link by Mr Johnson s barrister Orlando Pownall QC about why she had asked friends to lie about what happened.

After a short break granted by Judge Jonathan Rose, she said: I wanted to keep him (Johnson) out of trouble. I didn t want to get him in more trouble than he was. I was scared that people wouldn t believe me.

I didn t want to believe that it had happened. I tried to forget about it. I was trying to live normally.

At the time I didn t realise it was wrong. I didn t realise what had gone on was wrong. Born in Sunderland, Mr Johnson began his career at Middlesbrough before moving to Manchester City and then on to Sunderland for 10m in 2012.

The trial continues. The footballer has previously pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a child and one charge of grooming. He was sacked by Sunderland as a result.

Source By: BBC

Learner driver mum killed son Liam Turner, 3, in Watton

A woman accidentally struck and killed her three-year-old son while being shown how to drive by her husband, an inquest has heard. Lyndsay Turner was pulling into a parking area near their home in Watton, Norfolk, when she hit her son Liam as he played nearby on 7 June last year. Liam s father Stephen drove the boy towards hospital before flagging down an ambulance, the court was told.

The coroner concluded it was an accidental death. Jolted suddenly Norwich Coroner s Court heard Ms Turner had not driven the Citroen C4 hatchback before, did not have a provisional licence and was not insured. More on this and other stories from Norfolk 1 In a statement, she said she had asked her husband to teach her to drive and decided to move the car a short way to its parking space.

My foot slipped and it jolted suddenly forward, she told police. Mr Turner had supervised her moving the car from outside the vehicle. No charges Neighbour Amy Jones said she saw Mrs Turner pulling into the space in a stuttering manner and heard Mr Turner shouting stop , followed by a loud crunch.

Liam was bleeding really badly and I told Stephen to put him in the car and take him to hospital, she added. PC Forbes Scott told the court Mrs Turner was on a public road and should not have been driving but the Crown Prosecution Service had decided it was not in the public interest to bring charges. He said there were no faults with the car.

The inquest heard Liam was flown to hospital after his father flagged down the ambulance but he had suffered a serious head injury and irreversible brain damage and died in the hospital s accident and emergency department. Appalling tragedy Deputy Coroner Nicholas Holroyd recorded a conclusion of accidental death. He told the couple: This was an appalling tragedy and you both have my profound sympathy for this loss.

There are very few parents who when looking back haven t said to themselves that was a near thing . Tragically this ended as disastrously as it did. In a statement issued shortly after their son s death, the Turners said: We are devastated by the loss of our darling little man.

Liam was a happy, content little boy who was always smiling and laughing. He had a wonderful sense of humour and brought joy to the lives of everyone who knew him. He was deeply loved.

Life will not be the same without him.

Source By: BBC References ^ More on this and other stories from Norfolk (www.bbc.co.uk)

Deadline extended for talks on Scots fiscal framework

The deadline for a deal underpinning Scotland s future finances has been pushed back as negotiations continue on the so-called fiscal framework. A deal was meant to be agreed by Friday, but MSPs have now pushed the deadline back to 23 February. The prime minister has said the Scottish government must be prepared to give ground 1 in the talks.

But some key opposition politicians have told BBC Scotland they back the Scottish government s stance. Talks over the fiscal framework have been going on for several months, but have stalled over differences of opinion on the Smith Commission s no detriment principle the idea that any deal should not impact adversely on the budgets of Scotland or the rest of the UK. The Scotland Bill on new powers for the Scottish Parliament, which is currently going through Westminster, cannot proceed until an agreement is reached.

The two sides will now have extra time to thrash out a deal after the devolution committee demanded a full explanation of their positions by a meeting on 23 February. Convener Bruce Crawford said there would be very substantial impacts on the Scottish Parliament s ability to scrutinse the deal if matters were delayed beyond 19 February. He said the Holyrood and Westminster teams would have to give a full explanation of their position on a fiscal framework at the committee s meeting on 23 February, whatever the circumstances .

Population growth Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said Scotland stood to lose about 3bn over 10 years under proposals put forward by the UK Treasury. This would be because Scotland s population is expected to grow more slowly than the UK s. Scottish ministers have argued that they cannot effectively tackle slower population growth without immigration powers.

Six of the 10 members of the cross-party Smith Commission 2 which drew up the blueprint for the devolution settlement, including senior Labour, Liberal Democrat and Scottish Green members, have said they broadly support the Scottish government over the issue. They include Labour s Iain Gray, Liberal Democrat Tavish Scott and Green co-convenor Maggie Chapman, who explicitly back calls for budget protection from the population effect. Mr Gray said: To a degree I think I largely agree with John Swinney on this position.

What has been talked about is a population trend which is in place and would be nothing to do with decisions that had been taken in Scotland. In my view it does have to be factored into the discussions. Mr Scott agreed it was logical that the new fiscal framework should take Scotland s slower population growth into account.

Terrible shame And Ms Chapman said: We heard time and time again during the referendum campaign that if Scotland voted No it would be better for everybody because we were all in this together. Under that principle, the UK government has a responsibility to ensure that Scotland does not face detriment. Lord Smith himself said he would not comment on the details while talks were ongoing, but said it was vital the two governments resolve their differences.

He said: The new powers set out in the Scotland Bill will lead to a transformation of the powers held by Holyrood and it would be a terrible shame if they were to fall away at this late stage. But Adam Tomkins, a Conservative member of the Smith Commission, said: The no detriment principle is a principle that must be applied equally to taxpayers in Scotland and to taxpayers in the rest of the United Kingdom, it is not a one-way insurance policy. Meanwhile, a House of Commons committee has called on the two governments to explore an adjusted version of the method favoured by the Scottish government in order to find a solution to the apparent deadlock.

The method known as per capita indexed deduction would take Scotland s slower population growth into account. More attractive The Scottish Affairs Committee said an additional adjustment could be applied to secure the principle of taxpayer fairness for both Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. It has also suggested that the operation of the new fiscal framework should be reviewed after four years.

During Prime Minister s Questions on Wednesday, David Cameron said no-one is keener on agreement than he was. But in a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Mr Cameron said the Scottish government need to be prepared to move towards us . He said any deal must to be fair for taxpayers across the UK as well as in Scotland, and claimed the Scottish government seemed to lack confidence in its ability to make Scotland an even more attractive place for people to live.

Mr Swinney responded: Any mechanism that would systematically reduce the Scottish government budget simply as a result of devolution and before the Scottish government makes any policy choices is unacceptable and will not be agreed by the Scottish government .

Source By: BBC References ^ must be prepared to give ground (www.bbc.co.uk) ^ members of the cross-party Smith Commission (www.bbc.co.uk)

Police 'should be neutral' in sex abuse inquiries, says Met head …

Police should change their approach to allegations of sex abuse and not automatically believe the complainant, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has suggested. Speaking at a BBC event, the Met Police commissioner said it was time to reformulate the policy, so police showed empathy towards victims but kept an open mind as they tested claims. The policy is expected to be considered in a review of the Met s procedures.

The NSPCC said it was deeply disturbed by the proposed change. The review, which will be led by an ex-judge, follows criticism of the Met s handling of high-profile investigations into claims of historical sex abuse. It will scrutinise the force s handling of investigations including Operation Midland which is looking at claims that boys were abused by powerful men from politics, the military and law enforcement agencies in the 1970s and 80s.

Anonymity for suspects In 2014, Her Majesty s Inspector of Constabulary said the presumption that a victim should always be believed should be institutionalised . However, Sir Bernard told BBC Radio 4 s Today programme police had become hung up on the word belief and it had confused officers . He said: My point would be of course we ve got to be empathetic.

We want people to believe we re going to listen to them, we want to be open minded, what they tell us and then what the suspects tell us, and then we ve got to test all that evidence. I think there is a grave danger at the moment with the advice that is around that perhaps there is a tendency to think that we will always believe any complaint that is made and that s not wise for any good investigator, nor as it would be for any journalist. Much of the criticism of Operation Midland has revolved around comments made by one senior detective.

At the beginning of the investigation, the officer described allegations made by a man known as Nick as credible and true . Sir Bernard said the officer had misspoken after becoming confused by the need to follow guidance about complainants being believed. Asked whether the Met risked dissuading victims from coming forward, Sir Bernard said police had been criticised for carrying out a witch hunt after previously being accused of not properly investigating abuse claims.

We are now being accused of being witch hunters and doing it in a very inappropriate way and I m prepared to look at that and that s why I ve set up this review. If we get this wrong, not just police, but society, lawyers, etcetera, people won t come forward, and surely what we we all want to happen, particularly a child today, wants to feel confident that someone is not going to hang them out to dry, Sir Bernard said. Analysis The police should immediately institutionalise the presumption that the victim is to be believed .

Those were the words of Sir Tom Winsor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, speaking in November 2014 the month, coincidentally, that Scotland Yard launched Operation Midland. Sir Tom was commenting after an inspection found that one in four sexual offences and one in five of all crimes reported to police in England and Wales weren t being recorded. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe s suggestion that police now adopt a more open-minded approach to victims allegations is perhaps more of a change of gear than a handbrake turn.

He s not saying allegations shouldn t be taken seriously, logged properly and investigated thoroughly. It s more about the need for detectives to remain objective throughout the process, and not to give the impression, least of all to suspects, that they re siding with victims. Pressure on the Met The review into the Met s procedures comes as the former head of the Army Lord Bramall, 92 who last month found out he would not face any further action in connection with Operation Midland called for a review into the case.

The peer strongly denied claims, and said detectives had taken 10 months before speaking to witnesses who cast doubt on the allegations. There has also been scrutiny of the Met Police s handling of an investigation into a rape allegation against the late Lord Brittan, a former home secretary. He died in January 2015 without being told that the case against him had been dropped.

Sir Bernard has come under mounting pressure to apologise to Lord Bramall, with critics questioning whether his contract should be renewed. But Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed on Thursday that Sir Bernard s contract would be extended by a year from September. Sir Bernard insisted he had not set up the inquiry to divert attention away from himself.

Clear mistake However, he defended his decision not to apologise to Lord Bramall. Sir Bernard told the Today programme: I can t really apologise for investigating a serious allegation and that s what we ve done. I have expressed regret and it s a genuine regret, if he, Lord Bramall, or his family has been damaged in this process, this investigation.

The commissioner said if the inquiry found the force could have done it better he would acknowledge the criticism. Sir Peter Fahy, a former chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, told BBC Newsnight he felt some of the criticism Sir Bernard was receiving was unfair and that he was a remarkable police leader . However, he said that in the same position he would apologise to Lord Brittan s wife for the delay in informing him his case had been dropped.

There is clearly a particular issue about a delay that is a clear mistake, an error. It is not how the procedure should work, he said. But I certainly think that no chief constable would apologise for investigating anybody.

The NSPCC said it was deeply disturbed by the suggested change of police approach to sexual abuse victims.

At a time when people have at long last found the confidence and courage to report these crimes it would be a tragedy to bring this progress to a juddering halt.

Telling those who have been sexually abused they will no longer be automatically believed seems to be a panic measure which could have an adverse effect on a crime the government has classified as a national threat.’ Source By: BBC

North Korea rocket launch: UN Security Council holds urgent talks …

The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting following North Korea s launch of a long-range rocket. The meeting was requested by South Korea, Japan and the US to agree on a collective response to the launch. Pyongyang said it fired the rocket to place a satellite in orbit, but critics believe the real purpose was to test a ballistic missile.

Sunday s launch comes weeks after North Korea held a fourth nuclear test both acts violate UN resolutions. We have consensus to condemn this kind of violation of sanctions, Venezuela s UN envoy Rafael Ramirez, who holds the Council presidency, said ahead of the closed-door meeting in New York. French ambassador Francois Delattre described Pyongyang s move as an outrageous provocation.

That s why weakness is not an option, he added. The launch of the rocket was hailed by North Korean media as a fascinating vapour trailing in the clear and blue sky in spring of February on the threshold of the Day of the Shining Star . A statement said a new Earth observation satellite, Kwangmyongsong-4, had successfully been put into orbit less than 10 minutes after lift-off from the Sohae space centre in North Phyongan province.

Hailing it as part of the country s peaceful space programme, a state TV newsreader said the launch had been ordered by North Korea s leader Kim Jon-un and more satellite launches were planned for the future. South Korean MPs were told by the country s spy agency later on Sunday that the launch should be treated as a ballistic missile test as the satellite it put into orbit would be useless. The payload was presumed to weigh 200kg (440lbs), double the size of the one launched in 2012, but much lighter than the 800-1,500kg usual for a satellite.

The MPs were also reportedly told that North Korea had the technology for intercontinental ballistic missiles and was preparing a fifth nuclear test. Analysis: BBC s John Sudworth in Beijing Sunday s launch does not significantly alter the strategic balance of power in North East Asia. It is not the first time North Korea has attempted to put an object into space using a long-range rocket.

But it is nonetheless a highly-provocative act, hence the reaction from Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, calling it unforgivable and intolerable . The significance is in the timing, with the launch coming just a month after the North s fourth nuclear test and with the UN Security Council in the middle of weighing its sanctions response. Beijing too is unlikely to be under any illusion that the real purpose here is the test of the missile itself.

After all, if Pyongyang wanted to put up satellites it could pay its old ally to do so at a fraction of the price. But China is, as always, treading a careful line, issuing a nuanced statement of regret . Its biggest fear is pushing an already isolated and heavily sanctioned neighbour towards economic and political collapse.

And so while each such rocket launch takes North Korea one more step towards its stated goal of a deliverable nuclear weapons system (although probably still years away) the international impasse over what to do about it is likely to continue. North Korea satellite launch world reaction 1 Why did Kim fire a rocket now? 2 Nato said the launch was in direct violation of five UN Security Council resolutions. China a key ally of Pyongyang s said it regrets North Korea s actions but urged the relevant parties to refrain from taking actions that may further escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula .

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned of significant measures to hold the DPRK North Korea to account. North Korea last fired a long-range rocket in 2012 to put, what it said was, a communications satellite into orbit. But experts say no signal has ever been detected.

UN Security Council resolutions ban the state from carrying out any nuclear or ballistic missile tests.

The North insists its space programme is purely scientific in nature but the US, South Korea and even China say the rocket launches are aimed at developing inter-continental ballistic missiles.

North Korea s rocket launches February 2016: Launch of rocket reportedly carrying satellite May 2015: North Korea announces it has successfully tested a submarine-launched missile 3 for the first time, but scepticism is then poured on the claim Dec 2012: North Korea launches three-stage rocket, says it successfully put a satellite into orbit; US defence officials confirm object in orbit Apr 2012: Three-stage rocket explodes just after take-off, falls into sea Apr 2009: Three-stage rocket launched; North Korea says it was a success, US says it failed and fell into the sea Jul 2006: North Korea test-fires a long-range Taepodong-2 missile; US said it failed shortly after take-off Source By: BBC References ^ North Korea satellite launch world reaction (www.bbc.com) ^ Why did Kim fire a rocket now? (www.bbc.com) ^ successfully tested a submarine-launched missile (www.bbc.co.uk)

Kids Company: MPs say 'catalogue of failures' led to collapse …

The collapse of the Kids Company charity was a result of an extraordinary catalogue of failures , a committee of MPs has said. The Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) also criticised the charity s trustees and the Charity Commission. Kids Company closed in August after questions over management and finances.

Camila Batmanghelidjh, who founded the charity in 1996, said the report was a product of bias and rumour . The only place we got a rigorous fact-based investigation was with the police, she said, while former trustees condemned the report as inaccurate, unbalanced and irresponsible. However, Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, who chairs the committee, told the BBC the committee had been very careful with this report because we knew it was so controversial .

The inquiry had heard an extraordinary catalogue of failures of governance and control at every level trustees, auditors, inspectors, regulators and government , he said. Tragic failure The committee had heard positive accounts of valuable work by Kids Company, and of inspired and motivated employees , which made the trustee board s failure to ensure the charity s sustainability all the more tragic , he said. But he added that there had been a litany of allegations of inappropriate therapies , lavish spending and abuse of power within the organisation .

The charity supported deprived and vulnerable inner-city children and young people in London, Liverpool and Bristol. Analysis By Lucy Manning, BBC News special correspondent The report spares no one: Camila Batmanghelidjh, the trustees, government ministers, the auditors and regulators are all criticised. The heaviest criticism is for the trustees led by the BBC s Alan Yentob.

He s described as someone who condoned excessive spending and lacked proper attention to his duties. The BBC is also accused of poor leadership for failing to take action against him when he tried to make suggestions about the BBC s reporting of Kids Company. The report also makes clear that even without the police investigation that triggered the charity s collapse, it would have been unlikely to survive due to the trustees financial negligence and Ms Batmanghelidjh s reluctance to restructure the organisation she founded.

Overall it makes for very sorry reading about a charity doing some good work let down by those who ran it, those who were supposed to oversee it and those who kept funding it without making proper checks. Mr Yentob and Ms Batmanghelidjh kept insisting there had been no financial mismanagement. This report makes clear there certainly was.

Newsnight s Chris Cook pores over MPs verdict 1 While the committee s report 2 said ultimate responsibility for the charity s closure was on its negligent trustees, the government and regulators must also learn lessons from its failure. It was unacceptable that successive ministers appeared to release funds to the charity on the basis of little more than their relationship with a charismatic leader, small-scale studies and anecdotes , it said. The committee says such an approach was an unjustifiable way to conduct government business and to handle public money.

Ms Batmanghelidjh and Kids Company appeared to captivate some of the most senior political figures in the land, by the force of the chief executive s personality as much as by the spin and profile she generated for the charity , the report added. The committee also highlighted extraordinary accounts of luxury items and holidays or spa days being lavished on Camila s kids , a favoured group of clients . Conservative minister Oliver Letwin appeared before the committee in November 3 to explain why he overruled civil service objections to pay a 3m grant to Kids Company just days before it collapsed.

Speaking after the committee s report was issued, he said he believed it was the right thing to do to give this charity one last chance to restructure . Grants review He said the government would be reviewing its grant-giving process in light of what we now know about Kids Company . By updating the process by which grants are awarded we will make sure the most stable, most effective charities receive taxpayer funds, he said.

Kids Company timeline of events June 2015: Concerns raised 4 by the Cabinet Office about Kids Company s request for a 3m government grant, but ministers approve the funding July 2015: Ms Batmanghelidjh 5 steps down, denying the charity has been mismanaged. The Met Police launches an investigation 6 into allegations of failings and abuse linked to the charity. August 2015: Ministers say they want to recover the government grant.

The charity closes. Ms Batmanghelidjh tells the BBC that Kids Company was subjected to a trial by media 7 October 2015: Ms Batmanghelidjh and Kids Company chairman Alan Yentob (at the time also a BBC executive) appear before the Commons Public Administration Committee and again deny the charity was badly run. The National Audit Office says the charity received at least 46m of public money 8 despite repeated concerns over its management January 2016: The Met Police says it has concluded its investigation into allegations against the charity, and concluded there is no evidence of criminality What went wrong? 9 The report also said the charity s board of trustees ignored repeated warnings about the charity s financial health throughout its 19-year existence.

It also failed to provide robust evidence of the charity s outcomes, or address increasing concerns about its programmes and behaviour of staff, it said. The trustees negligent financial management was ultimately responsible for the charity s inability to survive, and its closure left many vulnerable beneficiaries without support, it concluded. Profile too limited The Metropolitan Police last week announced they had found no evidence of criminality after investigating allegations of physical and sexual abuse at the charity.

Kids Company had always denied the claims. And the PACAC also called on the Charity Commission to raise its profile so as to provide a more visible outlet for people to raise concerns with. The commission projects too limited a public profile to provide much reassurance about charities and their regulation, and to attract complaints, the report said.

Source By: BBC References ^ Newsnight s Chris Cook pores over MPs verdict (www.bbc.co.uk) ^ the committee s report (www.publications.parliament.uk) ^ appeared before the committee in November (www.bbc.co.uk) ^ Concerns raised (www.gov.uk) ^ Ms Batmanghelidjh (www.bbc.co.uk) ^ Met Police launches an investigation (www.bbc.co.uk) ^ trial by media (www.bbc.co.uk) ^ 46m of public money (www.bbc.co.uk) ^ What went wrong? (www.bbc.co.uk)

Doncaster taxi crash: Two women die and 10 hurt in taxi crash …

Two women died and 10 people were injured in a crash involving two taxis in South Yorkshire. The accident happened shortly after midnight on the A638 at Rossington, Doncaster, leaving the Great North Road closed. The two women, aged 59 and 52, were passengers in a black cab heading towards Bawtry, said police.

The other taxi carried six passengers and a driver. It was travelling in the opposite direction to Doncaster. Two men, both aged 58, also travelling in the black cab, sustained minor injuries.

The six passengers in the other taxi were three men aged 22, 25 and 29, and three women, aged 21, 25 and 26. The drivers of the taxis were men aged 40 and 58. All 10 were taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries, South Yorkshire Police said.

The road was closed for a time but has since reopened.

Source By: BBC