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The Rachael Slack Murder ‘Could Not Be Predicted’

The Rachael Slack Murder ‘Could Not Be Predicted’

The Rachael Slack murder ‘could not be predicted’. A serious case review has found that the murders of a mother and her young son could not have been “reasonably predicted”, even though she told police about threats to kill them days before they were stabbed to death.

Rachael Slack, 38, and her 23-month-old son Auden were found with 48 stab wounds at their home in the picturesque village of Holbrook, Derbyshire, on June 2, 2010.

They were killed by Ms Slack’s former partner and Auden’s father, 44-year-old Andrew Cairns, who had a history of mental illness, and was angry that she was in a new relationship, and pregnant.

He then took his own life.

Police deemed Ms Slack to be at “high risk” of being murdered – but did not tell her.

Ms Slack’s partner at the time said she was frightened – but was not convinced Cairns would hurt her.

“Both Rachael and I were very alert, very wary in the evening,” Robert Barlow said.

“We made sure everything was locked, we had plenty of communication in the day – texts, phone calls, but it still comes down to, if some professional body had told myself or Rachael that she was at high risk of homicide, we would definitely have done things differently.”

The report makes no mention of an inquest finding that officers failed Ms Slack and Auden.

Derbyshire Constabulary say they now deal with domestic abuse differently.

“What we’ve now done is to ensure that every victim assessed by us as high risk, we’re absolutely explicit, so they understand exactly where our risk assessment takes us,” said ACC Karl Smethem.

“Then we can talk through written down protective measures we might suggest and they might be able to agree to in order to protect them better.”

Other recommendations have featured in serious case reviews both locally and nationally for years.

The review found that agencies had focussed on the needs of Cairns, who had depression and possibly a personality disorder, rather than the needs of Auden and Ms Slack.

Christine Cassell, independent chair of the Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board, said: “A strong priority for DSCB is making sure that agencies understand that they must think about the entire family, that regardless of the person they’re working with primarily they must think about the implications for other vulnerable people in the family, whether it’s a vulnerable adult or a child or children.”

It also found that police and health professionals had been acting in isolation, not recording events properly, and not sharing information.

While agencies say they have already put their learning from this case into action, Ms Slack’s family say they will pursue a civil claim.

Domestic violence charity Refuge released a statement responding to the Serious Case Review.

Chief executive Sandra Horley, CBE, said: “I am concerned that the review describes incidents of murder/suicide involving a family with a child as ‘incredibly rare’.”

“The truth is that domestic homicide is alarmingly common. Every week two women are killed by current or former partners in England and Wales.”

“Analysis of serious case reviews has also found that domestic violence was a factor in the lives of 63% children who were seriously harmed or killed between 2009-2011.”

“All too often, victims of domestic violence do not get the support and protection they deserve.”

“That’s why Refuge is calling on the Government to open a public inquiry into the police and state response to victims of domestic violence.”

“We need the Government to take a coordinated approach to understand why so many women and children experiencing domestic violence continue to be badly let down.”
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Suitcase Killer Gyarmati Guilty Of Murder

Suitcase Killer Gyarmati Guilty Of Murder

Suitcase Killer Gyarmati Guilty Of Murder. Neighbours heard screams and a call for help the night before Laszlo Gyarmati was caught on CCTV wheeling his victim’s body away

Alexandra Kovacs

Alexandra Kovacs was working hard to send money back home to her family

A man who strangled a woman and dumped her body in a suitcase has been convicted of murder.

Laszlo Gyarmati, from Hungary, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 17 years for the killing of Alexandra Kovacs.

Laszlo Gyarm

Laszlo Gyarmati will spend at least 17 years in prison

CCTV footage of Gyarmati showed him leaving Miss Kovacs’ property on July 18 last year with a large suitcase containing her body.

He wheeled the suitcase to Dollis Valley Greenwalk footpath, in Barnet, north London, and dumped it near some bushes.

The court heard that the night before, the pair had gone to get some fast food in Hendon, north London.

Neighbours later told police they had heard a woman scream and call for help in the early hours of the morning.

A member of the public found Ms Kovacs’ body on the same day and asked a friend to report it. However a police search of the riverside walk failed to find anything.

It was not until three days later, after a missing person report was filed and blood stains discovered in Miss Kovacs’ property, that police dogs found her body

Gyarmati dumped the body near some bushes

Gyarmati dumped the body near some bushes

The Old Bailey trial was told that Gyarmati and Miss Kovacs had met when they briefly lived together in the same property.

Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall said: “Alexandra was a young woman starting out in life when she was killed by Laszlo Gyarmati.

“She was working very hard sending money back to Hungary to her mum and younger brother.”

DCI Wall added: “Alexandra knew Gyarmati and was happy to be in his company that evening. She obviously had no thoughts that he would hurt her. Sadly he betrayed that trust in the ultimate way.
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Mum Jailed For 14 Years For Murdering Baby

Mum Jailed For 14 Years For Murdering Baby

Mum Jailed For 14 Years For Murdering Baby. Emma Wilson, 25, attacked her own toddler inflicting a catalogue of ‘catastrophic’ injuries then blamed it on her other child.

Emma Wilson inflicted a catalogue of catastrophic injuries on her son

Emma Wilson inflicted a catalogue of catastrophic injuries on her son

A mother has been jailed for life with a minimum of 14 years for murdering her 11-month-old baby son.

Emma Wilson, 25, from Windsor in Berkshire attacked her own toddler inflicting a catalogue of ‘catastrophic’ injuries.

Callum Wilson was born on April 23 2010 and spent the his first months with foster parents.

In November 2010, Callum returned to the care of his mother at her flat in Paddock Close.

In March 2011 neighbours described hearing five or six loud bangs coming from the flat, the following morning Ms Wilson called paramedics to help her son who she said was “lifeless and not doing anything”.

During the trial at the Old Bailey prosecutor Paul Dunkels QC told the jury: “The effect of the injuries would have been immediate and catastrophic.”

In court Ms Wilson tried to blame the injuries on the toddler’s two year old brother who she said was “boisterous”.

The jury though returned a unanimous verdict of guilty to murder.

The jury were also shown a series of ‘selfie’ photograph taken in the days before the fatal attack where Ms Wilson was smiling at the camera with her son behind her – at this stage he could be seen with minor injuries.

Judge Stephen Kramer QC told Wilson: “You are adept at lying and once you have decided to lie you are adept at sustaining that lie.”

As she was taken down to the cells Wilson was in tears, as were members of her family who were watching on from the public gallery.

Speaking after the verdict, Det Ch Insp Ian Hunter from Thames Valley Police said: “This case has been a harrowing and emotional journey for all involved.

“Callum’s life was cruelly cut short and he suffered an abhorrent catalogue of abuse at the hands of his mother.

“This conviction demonstrates the absolute commitment of the prosecution team and witnesses to ensure justice was served. Our thoughts will always be with Callum.”

A neighbour and friend of Ms Wilson, who didn’t want to be identified, told Sky News: “I thought she was a good mum.

“I don’t know why if people saw him going downhill at nursery or whatever they didn’t step in earlier.”
The jury though returned a unanimous verdict of guilty to murder.
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Police Officer Shoots Himself In The Leg

Police Officer Shoots Himself In The Leg

Police Officer Shoots Himself In The Leg. A police officer has accidentally shot himself in the leg at Putney police station while he was “holstering” a firearm.

The male officer was taken to hospital on Monday morning and remains in a stable condition.

No one else was present when the gun was fired.

The Met Police said in a statement that the officer was injured after his police issued firearm was discharged at approximately 9am on Monday, January 20.

The statement said: “The male officer was taken to a south London hospital where he remains in a stable condition.

“Enquiries into the circumstances of the incident are under way; the Directorate of Professional Standards have been informed and the MPS Health and Safety branch are assisting with the enquiry.

“The IPCC has been informed as is normal in these circumstances, but the investigation remains with the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards.”

The officer is part of the Met’s Specialist Crime & Operations directorate (SC&O).

London Ambulance Service sent a responder in a car, one ambulance crew and an air ambulance to the police station.
“Staff treated a man reported to be in his 30s, he taken as a priority to a south London hospital,” it said in a statement.
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150 Car Pile Up Drivers Face Action In Kent

150 Car Pile Up Drivers Face Action In Kent

150 Car Pile Up Drivers Face Action In Kent. Police say they have enough evidence to prosecute 32 motorists involved in a 150-car pile-up on the New Sheppey Crossing Bridge in Kent.

But officers said rather than drag the alleged offenders through the courts, they will send them on driver alertness courses instead.

The huge crash during rush hour on September 5 last year is believed to have been the biggest accident in thick fog in living memory.

It continued for 10 minutes as cars and lorries smashed into each other in visibility of just 25 yards.

Eight people suffered serious injuries and 200 others were treated at the scene.

Inspector Martin Stevens, head of the serious collision investigation unit at Kent Police, said it was “quite simply a miracle” that no-one was killed.

 Isle of Sheppey in kent Bridge crash

A general view of the scene on the London bound carriageway of the Sheppey Bridge Crossing near Sheerness in Kent following a multi vehicle collision earlier this morning.

Some motorists reportedly drove “like idiots” before the crash, which closed the bridge in both directions for more than nine hours.

Officers are sending letters to 32 drivers involved in the crash, offering them the chance to attend a one-day driving awareness course rather than go to court.

Those who decline will automatically be summonsed to court, Kent Police said.

Insp Stevens said: “This has been a thorough investigation of what was the biggest collision in the county and certainly the largest our team has had to deal with.

“Clearly the thick fog that descended on the bridge that day made driving conditions incredibly challenging and was a contributory factor in the resulting collision which stretched from the approach right across the bridge.

“While a significant number of drivers did precisely the right thing by driving to the conditions, our investigation has provided overwhelming evidence that in some cases motorists were not driving with due care and attention and were travelling at speeds which prevented them being able to stop in the distances that they could see ahead.

“Rather than go through the process of taking these people to court, it was felt that offering an educational outcome would prove far more beneficial for the drivers involved.”
Isle of Sheppey in kent map

The incident occurred during rush-hour on the Isle of Sheppey

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Drug Gang Sells Cannabis To School Children

Drug Gang Sells Cannabis To School Children

Drug Gang Sells Cannabis To School Children. The boss of the south London firm claims the cannabis trade in Britain is “the biggest it has ever been” despite continued police efforts to disrupt the illegal trade.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the man in his twenties said he employs more than 30 workers.

He explained how they had at least three factories supplying people in south London and even claims he exports the class B drug to the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.

The boss said: “We have a type of weed over here called ‘English cheese’.”

“It was created over here – in Amsterdam they don’t have that so they try to create that but they just can’t because it is what we make and that’s what they want.”

But it is his claim that dealers are peddling drugs to primary school-aged children in London that will shock many parents.

He said: “You’ve got doctors, police, solicitors, teachers, bus drivers – everyone does it …. young kids, school kids, even primary school kids.”

The gang leader said he personally does not sell to children, but admitted that dealers who work with his organisation do.

He said: “I blame it on the TV, the media, rap, YouTube, like Miley Cyrus on TV it is a common thing – they see it as the cool thing to do.”

“Instead of binge-drinking they’ll go and have a smoke.”

The singer Miley Cyrus recently appeared to light up a joint while on stage at the European MTV awards in Amsterdam.

Miley Cyrus apparently lighting a joint in Amsterdam

Miley Cyrus apparently lighting a joint in Amsterdam

The drugs boss spoke  because he believes the cannabis trade in the UK should be legalised.

He said: “It should be legal so we don’t have to hide what we are doing.”

“If you look at LA and California and how they legalised it for medical reasons and stuff and how the crime rate actually drops.”

“They legalised and it’s a calmer place out there.”

Commander Steve Rodhouse, who heads the Metropolitan Police’s gangs and organised crime division, said the cannabis trade in the UK “fuels crime, fuels violence and anti-social behaviour. This is a real problem on our streets”.

He also said some reports tend to give the impression that gangs can operate without fear of being detected.

“That is just not the case,” he added.

“We do thousands and thousands of search warrants every year in London. We arrest and charge hundreds of people for this crime.”

Cannabis is bagged up and prepared for distribution

Cannabis is bagged up and prepared for distribution

The Home Office said over the last two years police forces have seized more than one million cannabis plants, keeping an estimated £200m worth of the drug off the streets.

The number of offences related to cannabis production rose from 14,982 in 2010/11 to 16,464 in 2011/12, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

An ACPO spokeswoman said: “Police forces and the National Crime Agency (NCA) are finding that these criminals are going to ever greater lengths to conceal their illicit activity because they know that across the country we are shutting down these farms on a daily basis.”

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: “In the UK, cannabis is controlled as a class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and is listed in Schedule 1 to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.”

“Those who grow and supply cannabis face up to 14 years’ imprisonment. Production of cannabis for personal use is also illegal.”

“We are determined to bring the criminal gangs who trade in cannabis to justice. I am also leading a study of drugs policy in other countries, which will build on the commitment in the drug strategy to look at what we can learn from the approach taken abroad.”
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Childcare Costs Stop Parents Going To Work

Childcare Costs Stop Parents Going To Work

Childcare Costs Stop Parents Going To Work. Politicians are accused of failing to tackle childcare costs as a study shows a quarter of parents cannot afford to work.

Politicians are accused of a 'lack of understanding' on childcare costs

Politicians are accused of a ‘lack of understanding’ on childcare costs

The spiralling cost of childcare is preventing parents from returning to work, with one in four saying they would like a job but cannot afford it, according to a study.

The cost of childcare has increased by 19% in the last year and the average hourly rate for hiring a nanny is now £9.80.

One in four unemployed parents say they would like to work but the cost of childcare was too high, according to childcare search website Findababysitter.

This increases to two out of five of 18 to 24-year-olds.

Half of the 1,000 parents questioned for the study said the Government was not doing enough to support families.

The website’s chief executive, Tom Harrow, accused politicians of a “lack of understanding” and said he had met MPs to discuss Government policies a number of times.

He said: “They still think the local nursery is the only option.”

The average hourly rate for a nanny was now £9.80, an increase from £8.10 last year and after-school nannies were charging £10 an hour.

The most unaffordable cities for childcare were Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford, London and Leeds.Anand Shukla, chief executive of the Daycare Trust, said: “Finding affordable, flexible and high quality childcare is still – and will remain – one of the biggest challenges faced by families.”

Sharon Greene, Unison’s women’s officer, said: “It is a sad fact that in 2014 women still face too many barriers in the workplace.

“The high cost of childcare is pricing many women out of their jobs, forcing them to give up work which puts family finances under massive pressure.”

She added: “If the country is to recover from the economic downturn the Government needs to listen to working parents and take account of the needs of the modern workplace.

“That means providing funding for more affordable, flexible and quality childcare.”

The coalition Government scrapped universal child benefit but last year announced that parents earning less than £150,000 would be entitled to claim £1,200 per child to help with childcare costs.

Free early education for three and four year olds has been increased from 12.5 hours to 15 hours a week.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Recent figures show childcare costs are stabilising after more than a decade of constantly rising prices.

“A survey for the National Day Nurseries Association found that 58% of nurseries are freezing their fees.”

The shadow minister for childcare and children said Labour would introduce measures to help parents with before and after-school care and would extend free childcare for three and four-year-olds from 15 to 25 hours.

Lucy Powell, shadow minister for childcare and children, said: “Families facing a cost-of-living crisis are being failed by David Cameron, who is offering no help with the rising cost of childcare for hard-pressed mums and dads.

“Soaring childcare costs are a drag on our economy and lock parents who want to get back to work out of the jobs market.”
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New London Black Cab, Nissan Ditches Diesel

New London Black Cab, Nissan Ditches Diesel

New London Black Cab, Nissan Ditches Diesel. Diesel engines are to be ditched in a new version of the London black cab, which has been launched by Japanese carmaker Nissan.

The company promised that its new 1.6 litre petrol-engine taxi will be cleaner than the current diesel cabs used in the capital and regional areas.

The new taxi comes with round headlamps, a re-modelled grille and new front-bumper panels.

It is a remodelled version of the vehicle first unveiled in August 2012, with modifications made following feedback from the office of London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Nissan designed the cab at its west London design centre

Nissan designed the cab at its west London design centre

The new taxi has been developed by Nissan’s European design centre in Paddington, west London – the same design centre responsible for the Qashqai and Juke car models.

Nissan has ensured the latest version adheres to the strict Transport for London regulations governing the capital’s black cabs, known officially as Hackney Carriages, including the tight 25-foot turning circle.

Equipped with an automatic transmission and a traditional orange taxi sign, the new cab is expected to go on sale in December.

The new Nissan design has been launched less than a year after Chinese carmaker Geely bought Coventry-based cab maker Manganese Bronze in a deal worth £11m.

The purchase was made after Manganese Bronze was placed in administration in 2012.
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Aurora Borealis in the UK

Aurora Borealis in the UK

Scientists say the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, came as low as the M4 corridor last night – and there will be an even better chance to see them tonight.

The natural light display, which usually takes place in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, may have been seen in the early hours by stargazers in southern Britain.

The northern lights appear as shimmering green waves of light when atoms in the Earth’s high-altitude atmosphere collide with energetic charged particles from the sun.

The impact was weaker than expected on Thursday night, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a much stronger display later.

According to reports on Spaceweather.com, NOAA forecasters estimate an 85% chance of activity.

Joe Kunches, of The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Colorado, said: “The geomagnetic storm that drives the aurora structure south is beginning right now.”

“We’re not sure how strong the storm will be but if it follows predictions there’s a good chance of seeing it in southern Britain.”

The SWPC predicted that the displays measured on what is called the KP Index could rise from a reading of one, which makes it visible in northern Scandinavia, to a reading of seven, visible in southern Wales and parts of southern England.

Aurora Borealis over the UK

Aurora Borealis over the UK

An eruption from the sun two days ago caused a cloud of electrically charged gas to move towards Earth, fuelling the rare event.

The phenomenon triggers a geomagnetic storm, increasing the chances of viewing the aurora.

However, Professor Jim Wild, a space scientist at Lancaster University, said the orientation of the magnetic field, which pushes the aurora south is not in the best position at present, although this could change.

He predicts that it is more likely that Scotland will witness the lights. Stargazers saw the aurora from northern Scotland earlier this week.

A key factor in viewing the lights again this evening will be how clear the skies are.

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Riot Victims ‘Failed by PM and Mayor’

Riot Victims ‘Failed by PM and Mayor’

Labour has accused David Cameron and Boris Johnson of breaking promises to more than 130 victims of the London riots who have made compensation claims but are yet to receive a single penny.

The Opposition said of all the claims, less than 16% of the requested cash has been paid out more than two years after violence and looting broke out across the capital.

Shadow home office minister Steve Reed, who uncovered the figures through freedom of information requests to the police, claimed  the riot victims felt “abandoned and ignored by the Government and the Mayor of London”.

“With the eyes of the country on him, David Cameron promised the victims of the riots they would not be forgotten and would not be left out of pocket,” he said.

“It’s disgraceful there are still residents and business owners in London facing financial hardship because they have received either too little compensation or nothing at all.”

But a spokesman for Mr Johnson’s mayoral office for policing and crime said it was “simply untrue to say that people are yet to receive a penny” following the violence.

A carpet showroom torched in Tottenham

A carpet showroom torched in Tottenham

“All of the outstanding claims are either funds owed to insurance companies, or to settle under-insured elements of claims,” he said.

“Everyone who wasn’t insured and made a valid claim has been paid, and over 96% of insured claims have been settled. Only the most complex cases remain.”

“In the last year the number of outstanding claims has reduced by over two thirds. During the summer the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime met with a number of claimants and the insurance industry to hear their concerns and to help resolve the final issues around remaining cases, so that they are moved forward in a timely manner.”

Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims Minister Damian Green said the Met police and the Mayor’s office were “working hard to resolve” the outstanding claims “as quickly as possible”.

He added: “In order to make sure the compensation is as quick and efficient as possible in future, the Home Secretary commissioned an independent review in to the Riot Damages Act, which made several recommendations. We will be launching a public consultation on next steps early this year.”

The figures released by the Met showed 3,447 claims had been made by March 31, 2013, and 3,535 claims by November 6, 2013. By March 31, 2013, £250.1m had been claimed, and by November 6, 2013, claims had reached £299m.

Cash totals paid out by the Met Police were £35.8m(14.3%) on March 31, 2013, and £46.9m (15.7%) on November 6, 2013.

The total number of outstanding claims on November 6, 2013, was 133.

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