NFL Teams Increasingly Hang on to Their Star Draftees

Where will the players drafted by the NFL over the past few days do the bulk of their professional work? If trends in the past two decades continue, the answer is with the team that drafted them.For the piece I wrote last week on comparing consecutive years of the NFL draft, I downloaded year-by-year draft data from Pro-Football-Reference. The site includes, for each player in each year, his weighted career Approximate Value, a modified form of the site’s Approximate Value metric. It also includes the amount of the player’s weighted career value accrued for the team that drafted him.For each draft from 1970 to 2013, I summed the career value accrued for drafting teams by the first 222 players selected — 222, because that’s the lowest number of draft picks during the period, in 1994. Then I divided that by the overall career value of the year’s drafted players.From the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to 1981, drafting teams’ share of value kept climbing, to a high of 88 percent in 1981. Then the share started to fall, precipitously as the effects of free agency in 1993 started to kick in in players’ later years. Teams’ share of their drafted players’ career value was just 56 percent for those picked in the first offseason of free agency.At the dawn of free agency, some analysts feared this trend would continue unabated. “Say goodbye to dynasties and continuity,” Alan Greenberg wrote in the Hartford Courant 20 years ago this month. “Now everyone’s a raider. If the salary cap won’t let you pay ’em, you’ll lose ’em. If they’re no good, dump ’em and steal somebody else’s guys. What uniforms should players wear on their trading cards? How about blank?”And some have perceived that the trend has continued unabated. “Fans are increasingly rooting for the decals on their team’s helmets and against the decals on the other teams’ helmets,” Elliot Harrison wrote on NFL.com last year. “The truest loyalty in the player-fan relationship is of the fantasy football variety. You can thank free agency for that.”But the reality has been different. Right after that nadir in 1993, teams’ share of their drafted players’ career value rose sharply, to 64 percent the next year and 69 percent in 1995. It remained in the high 60s nearly every year afterward. The results are similar when looking at all of a draft’s picks, not just its first 222.The downside to this approach is it can’t be updated all the way to the present. Drafted players are more likely to play for their drafting team in their first seasons in the league, before becoming eligible for free agency. So while teams’ share climbed to 86 percent in 2009 and 98 percent last year, those percentages are sure to fall.To approximate the trend in recent years, I isolated the analysis only to players who were no longer active last season. And among that group, teams kept getting a higher share of their drafted players’ value — above 70 percent every year until 2005, when retired players’ share of drafts’ value starts getting so low that the results aren’t meaningful. Here’s one piece of anecdotal evidence: Many of the most valuable players drafted since then remain with their drafting team, such as Aaron Rodgers, Frank Gore, Jahri Evans, Haloti Ngata, Patrick Willis and Adrian Peterson.What this all means is up for further analysis and debate. Maybe teams have gotten better at identifying their drafted talent before rookie contracts are up. Maybe they’ve come to value continuity in their rosters, for on-field benefits and for fan support. Perhaps players value continuity for the same reasons. Maybe the 2011 collective-bargaining agreement has changed things for some of the more-recent draft classes.Whatever the explanation, it’s clear that free agency has had a far bigger impact on players’ freedom to change teams than it has on the uniforms shown on trading cards. read more

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RGIII Falling Out of Good Graces of Many Redskins

Want to learn how tough Robert Griffin III is? How he handles the next week, amid criticism and mounting calls for backup Kirk Cousins, will go a long way to determining that critical question for the Washington Redskins’ quarterback.In just two weeks, Griffin–the darling of D.C., if not the NFL after a thrilling rookie season–has learned how quickly fans can turn on you when you do not produce. Following a second straight sorry start to games, both losses, the message boards and sports talk shows in D.C. are flooded with calls for Griffin to sit down until healthy in place of his backup, Cousins.Comments like, “Cousins gives us the best chance to win,” and “Robert Griffin is not the same guy. . . yet. He’s not that guy.”The case against Griffin is tangible. The Redskins fell behind significantly in the season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and trailed the Green Bay Packers 24-0 in Sunday’s 38-20 loss on the road. In each case, Griffin looked timid in his throwing motion, favoring his surgically repaired knee that kept him sidelined all of the preseason.“If I’ve got to do a little bit more to clean up that sloppiness,” he said Sunday, “then I’ll do it. . . I don’t point the finger at anybody else. Whatever goes on on that field, I’m responsible for that.”He added: “I’m not afraid to sit here and say, ‘Put that on my shoulders,’ ” Griffin said. “I’ll take that. We didn’t start fast because of me.”What made Griffin RGIII was his ability to escape the pocket with his mobility and gain yards as a runner, making him a double threat that crossed up defenses last season. By design or by choice, Griffin hardly uses his legs as an asset, making him predictable and easier to defend. The results have been the Redskins falling behind to insurmountable deficits.Hence, many are left to wonder if Griffin truly is healthy enough to lead the team at this point. He can point to the second half numbers as proof of his effectiveness. But most of the respectable final number he posted came when the opponents went into the so-called prevent defense, backing off and allowing receivers to catch the ball in front of them.The consensus is that Griffin is not healthy enough to run and is scared to run because of his knee, and it has stifled the offense. To wit: he rushed 8 1/2 times a game last season. In the two games this year, he has run the ball just four times a game.In 2012, Griffin averaged 8½ rushes in games he started and finished. He has averaged four runs a game. And his absence as a running possibility minimizes the team’s offensive creativity.“I’m not just going to run just to show people that I’m back,” Griffin said Sunday. “I think that’s stupid.”It’s not viable that he is the same player when he passes 49 times as he did Sunday and 40 the opening week.For sure, not playing in the preseason has hurt; Griffin looks more rusty than anything else. But the health concerns are legitimate. His passing motion is muted–he does not step through the throwing motion to get the proper velocity on the ball.Still, the cries for Cousins are pointless; Griffin is the man and will be, barring injury. It’s just a matter of when he gets more confidence in his ability to run and plant on the knee as he passes that will determine when his legion of fans return en masse. read more

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Can The Minnesota Wild Recover From Their LateSeason Swoon

The NHL playoffs begin today, but the Minnesota Wild and their fan base probably wish it were still February. Back then, the Wild had the second-most points in the NHL, they’d scored the fourth-most goals in the NHL, goalie Devan Dubnyk was the clear favorite for the Vezina trophy (given to the league’s top goaltender), and they were generally considered to be among the favorites to emerge out of the perennially competitive Western Conference. But once the calendar flipped to March, Minnesota headed in a decidedly different direction.In their 16 games last month, the Wild earned just 10 out of a possible 32 points. Only three teams collected fewer points than the Wild during March — two of those being the New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche, each of whom owns the worst record in its respective conference. Although the Wild partially righted the ship with four straight victories to close the regular season, Minnesotans still have to be wondering what the heck went wrong for the team down the stretch — and whether it means the Wild are headed for a second-consecutive first-round playoff exit.One of the biggest factors behind the Wild’s March struggles was that they stopped scoring. Before their horrid stretch of play, the Wild were averaging 3.3 goals per game, second only to the Penguins (who on Feb. 28 were scoring 3.5 goals per game for the season). By contrast, the Wild scored just 2.5 goals per game during March.Scoring downturns like that don’t happen without a good reason, and for the Wild that reason involves shooting the puck. Through February, the Wild were scoring on 11 percent of the shots they took. During March, they scored on just 7.7 percent of the shots they took. Shooting percentage tends to regress to the mean, and so fluctuations can be expected, but Minnesota’s shooting percentage tanked precipitously last month.The Wild also got poor production from their power play in March: In 48 opportunities, they scored just five goals (12.5 percent), tying them for the fifth-worst scoring rate in the league with the man advantage for the month. On Feb. 28, the Wild had the third-best power play in the NHL, scoring on 22.6 percent of their opportunities. By the end of March, they’d fallen all the way to 10th.Minnesota’s suddenly anemic attack wouldn’t be as big a deal if they were still getting dominant play between the pipes, but like the skaters in front of him, Dubnyk’s numbers also regressed badly last month. In 14 appearances during March, he gave up 36 goals on 325 shots, good for a save percentage of .889 and a goals against average of 2.94. That’s pretty awful: If a qualified goalie had produced those numbers for the entire 2016-17 season, he’d rank 60th in save percentage and 51st in goals against average out of 62 netminders. (For reference’s sake, Dubnyk had a save percentage of .931 and a goals against average of 2.05 entering March, numbers that ranked first and second in the league, respectively, among goalies who’d played in 20 or more games.)Not all of Minnesota’s goaltending woes can be blamed on Dubnyk; he hasn’t gotten much help from backup Darcy Kuemper. Among goalies with at least 10 games played, Kuemper’s .902 save percentage and 3.13 goals against average rank 55th and 58th in the league. In his three appearances this March, Kuemper has a .870 save percentage and a 3.50 goals against average. Even for a No. 2 goalie, these are not numbers that inspire confidence, and Dubnyk has been forced to play more games than he might have if the Wild had a decent backup.Before last season, Dubnyk had never started more than 42 games. This season will mark the second-consecutive season he’s played in more than 60 games. Goaltender fatigue is hard to prove or disprove, but anecdotally speaking, it seems it may have hit Dubnyk hard this March — and a tired goalie is the last thing any team wants heading into the postseason. Last year, the Wild were bounced by the Dallas Stars in the first round in six games, giving up 3.5 goals a game over the course of the series. If Dubnyk is unable to recover from his current streak of poor play, it could mean more of the same for Minnesota come playoff time.In truth, Minnesota’s hot early-season play was also probably a mirage, to some degree or another. The Wild’s stellar shooting (11.1) and save (.925) percentages through the end of February added up to a ludicrous PDO of 103.6, which was tracking to be the second-highest single-season mark since PDO was first recorded in 2008 (trailing only this year’s Washington Capitals). That wasn’t sustainable, and their March skid just reinforces the maxim that PDO is unstable. Last month, the Wild posted a 7.7 shooting percentage and an .882 save percentage, good for a PDO of 95.9. (This is a very, very bad PDO; for reference, the worst PDO in the NHL this year belongs to Colorado, at 96.6.) Minnesota’s puck luck has morphed into some serious puck misfortune.Despite their very bad stretch run, the Wild still managed to finish second overall in the West. But in the post-lockout NHL, no Stanley Cup-winning team has collected less than 53 percent of available points over their final 20 regular-season games. By contrast, the Wild went just 8-10-2 in their final 20 games, collecting just 45 percent of the possible points on the table.A couple good analogues for this year’s Wild team are the 2013-14 St. Louis Blues and the 2014-15 Nashville Predators, both of whom finished third in the Western Conference, but also suffered disastrous stretch runs much like the Wild had this season. In the playoffs, each was bounced in the first round by the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.Unlike those teams, the Wild won’t have to face Chicago in the first round. (They play St. Louis starting on Wednesday.) But if the fates of those Blues and Predators teams tell us anything, it’s that the Wild might not be able to escape the first round. To avoid that fate, they’re going to need Dubnyk to return to his spectacular midseason form. But he will also need some help: The other players most responsible for Minnesota’s March slump (Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, Nino Niederreiter and Chris Stewart) must take some of the scoring burden from the few who didn’t decline (Eric Staal, Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund). Otherwise, the Wild’s great early-season play will have all been for naught. read more

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Seth Bearjar aims for a collegiate championship sweep with Ohio State pistol

OSU junior Seth Bearjar lines up a shot at the team’s shooting range in Converse Hall. Credit: Courtesy of OSUSeth Bearjar was 10 years old when he fired a BB gun that his father had given him for the first time. At that moment, he had no idea that it would spark what would one day become his passion. Jump ahead a decade, and Bearjar has now won multiple national titles with the Ohio State pistol team. The Buckeyes have been crowned champions at the Pistol Intercollegiate National Championships for the third straight year, giving them eight titles in program history. Bearjar, a junior, has been a member of the team throughout the current streak.  “I’m sure it is the same with all teams that have won more than one (championship). At a certain point it becomes expected to win,” Bearjar said. “However, it is still one of the most exciting feelings you will get.”Bearjar began shooting competitively with the pistol and rifle team at Patuxent High School in Lusby, Maryland, about an hour south of the United States Naval Academy. It was here that he picked up rifle, following in the footsteps of his older brother who also shot rifle for the team. He picked up pistol shooting his freshman year, as well, which he discovered he was much better at. Navy’s coach had wanted Bearjar to come shoot for them, but in his junior season, he decided that a military academy was not for him. Bearjar then began pursuing other options, and amid that search, he found OSU.“When I came and visited, I liked Ohio State,” Bearjar said. “I knew that the only way for me to continue shooting every day would be to be on a team, and Ohio State was the most supportive of having a team.” When he joined the team after arriving in Columbus, Bearjar said he experienced a bit of a transitional period moving from high school to college. “Coming here, there are some of the best shooters in the country,” Bearjar said. “I didn’t quite know how to respond. It was pretty intimidating at first.” Despite any expectations of first-year turbulence, Bearjar excelled during competition. The team won the national championship, and he earned second-team All-American honors in both free and air pistol.It was an important season for the team, as the seniors in their previous season were expected to win but fell short. In their final chance at a title, they did not disappoint. “When we won, it was crazy,” Bearjar said. “It was really exciting. It felt really good to know that I was part of the team that helped the seniors recover after their previous year.”Bearjar has now been on the team for three years, amassing a new championship at the end of each year. In that time, he has improved both as a shooter and a competitor. In his sophomore season, Bearjar earned first-team All-American honors in free pistol and was a second-team All-American in air pistol. This past season, he achieved honor roll mentions for air and free pistol. “He has become stronger physically,” said OSU coach Donna Knisley. “He has become very strong mentally, as well. He is probably one of my top mental shooters.”Looking forward to the coming season, Bearjar and his team have their sights aimed at another national title.“We really want to make it a fourth,” Bearjar said. “I think next year, as long as we win, and I think we have a really good chance, it will be one of the biggest celebrations. It will really be an achievement to win four years in a row.”Even after shooting competitively for over eight years now, Bearjar said there is definitely still room for improvement.“My personal goal is to make finals for all the events I shoot, but hopefully top three for air pistol,” he said. “It would be a nice way to end my shooting career.” read more

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Jackets remain confident despite fivegame skid

December has not been kind to the Columbus Blue Jackets. “December is the big month in the NHL schedule for everybody,” Jackets coach Scott Arniel said. “This is an important month. Not off to a very good start.” The Blue Jackets have lost five consecutive games, including all three games in December. Last December, the Blue Jackets went 2-9-5. “I don’t care what happened last season,” Blue Jackets defenseman Mike Commodore said. “Honestly, I don’t give a s—. It’s a new season, we’ve lost a couple games in a row — big deal.” Forward R.J. Umberger said he thinks the team is frustrated but not dead. “I think any team would be a little frustrated when you lose five in a row, when you lose a couple big games,” Umberger said. “How do you respond to it? We still control our own destiny — it’s December.” Commodore and Umberger’s frustrations came after Saturday’s 7-2 home loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, which was preceded by a 5-0 loss against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday in Buffalo. Arniel managed to find some positives in the game against the Penguins. The team has allowed six goals while on the penalty kill in the last two games. Commodore could not explain the weekend’s penalty-killing woes. “Every once in a while, the pucks are going to go in,” Commodore said. “That’s just how it is, and they’ve gone in the last two nights.” Commodore said he thinks the team might be mentally fragile amid the string of losses, but it is not an excuse to keep losing. “There’s no point in sitting around and sulking about it,” he said. “We have to keep working, and I think we’ll come together.” Arniel said he and the staff need to work with the players to get their minds set on winning. “It’s part of what coaching is,” Arniel said. “I have to try to change the psyche of players and (not) think that just because they gave up a goal the game’s over, or if you lose a game, it’s the end of the year.” Arniel said the losing streak stems from poor play in many facets of the game. “The power play obviously at home (has) been a big one,” Arniel said. “We were one of the best goals-against teams in the league. When you’re losing, you can nitpick like crazy.” But Arniel said he wants to put the poor play behind him and focus on the Dallas Stars, who play in Columbus tonight. “I just want to win Monday night. That’s all I care about,” Arniel said. “I don’t care what’s already happened. I care about Monday night.” read more

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Womens Big Ten Tournament title up for grabs

The Ohio State women’s basketball team, the two-time defending Big Ten Tournament champion, is the No. 5 seed in this year’s conference tournament. No. 1-seed Michigan State, which earned the top spot for the first time in program history, has three losses in conference play.Two of those losses came against the Buckeyes.In other words, the 2011 Big Ten Tournament is up for grabs.First-round games are set to begin on Thursday at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. When the tournament kicks off, the field will feature six Big Ten programs that had schedules among the top-50 strongest in the country, according to NCAA.org.After Purdue’s 90-67 loss to OSU on Feb. 10 at Nationwide Arena, Boilermaker coach Sharon Versyp said even more teams could be selected for the NCAA Tournament.“I think there’s at least seven teams that should go to the NCAA,” Versyp said. “It’s a very tough conference. Any given day, anything can happen.”With its 80-47 win against Wisconsin on Sunday, OSU (19-9, 10-6 Big Ten) earned a first-round bye and a date with No. 4-seed Iowa (22-7, 10-6 Big Ten).After the game, OSU coach Jim Foster said that despite OSU’s occasional struggles during the regular season, including two three-game losing streaks, it was always capable of finishing the season strongly.“When everybody was in a panic, I thought we were still redeemable,” Foster said. “I’ve seen teams figure it out at different stages of the season.”Should Foster’s Buckeyes beat Iowa to advance to the semifinals, they could face Michigan State (25-4, 13-3 Big Ten). OSU managed to sweep the season series against the Spartans with a 67-53 victory on Jan. 16 at home and a 54-53 win Thursday in East Lansing, Mich.After Sunday’s win, senior center Jantel Lavender said it does not matter whom the Buckeyes play.“We’re starting to show who we are,” she said. “We have a really strong team. We don’t want (the season) to be over.”Besides strong performances against the Spartans, the Buckeyes beat three of four squads seeded above them in the conference tournament. Foster said he is comfortable with his team ahead of what he hopes will be a “months”-long postseason.“I think we’re in a very good place and we understand how we got here, which is more important,” Foster said. “We had to earn it.”The subject of parity in this year’s Big Ten Tournament was discussed during the postgame press conference on Sunday.Foster smiled and said, “It’s certainly going to be more interesting than it looked a few weeks ago.” read more

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Ohio State mens soccer preparing for first ever matchup with Rutgers

OSU senior midfielder Max Moller (11) attempts to dribble past Bowling Green junior defender Jake Genrich during an Oct. 22 game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU won, 3-0.Credit: Patrick Kalista / Lantern photographerIn the final stretch of the season, the Ohio State men’s soccer team seems to be getting hot at the right time — or at least taking advantage of a more manageable schedule.After 11 of the Buckeyes’ (6-5-3, 3-2-0) first 12 opponents ranked in the top 60 of the RPI, OSU took care of business against No. 138 Wisconsin and No. 99 Bowling Green in its last two.“This could be one of the most important parts of the season,” senior midfielder Max Moller said. “We want to show for this university and really represent this university really well. This could be the difference for the NCAA Tournament and for the Big Ten. We need to take advantage of these weaker teams.”That trend could continue on Saturday, when OSU is scheduled to take on Rutgers (5-8-1, 1-4-1) — which is ranked No. 80 in the RPI.OSU coach John Bluem said he doesn’t know much about Rutgers, as the schools have never met because Rutgers is a first-year addition to the Big Ten. Bluem said he had a chance to scout the Scarlet Knights earlier in the week, however, and was impressed with what he saw.“From what I’ve seen on the videotape, they have some really talented attacking players,” Bluem said. “So defensively, we’re going to have to be spot on.”The game is the second of a three-game homestand that will represent the final home games of the regular season for the Buckeyes. However, players — such as freshman forward Marcus McCrary — plan to make at least one more appearance in Columbus this season to host a quarterfinal matchup in the Big Ten Tournament, McCrary said.“We need to win out to play at home again and hopefully go to the NCAA Tournament,” he said.Bluem explained that the goal for the Buckeyes is to finish in the top four of the Big Ten in order to host a quarterfinal game. Currently, the Buckeyes sit fourth in the conference with nine points, three points behind leader Penn State and a point behind Michigan State and Maryland, who are tied for second.“The key is to finish the regular season somewhere in the top four,” Bluem said. “Everyone is so tightly packed together, and I think it’s going to stay that way, so it’s all going to come down to taking care of business here at home.”The Buckeyes are set to have an opportunity to control their own destiny in their final two games, when they take on one of the two teams currently a point ahead of them on the road. For now, however, the focus is on beating one of the weaker teams in the conference, Bluem said. The Scarlet Knights are currently second to last in the Big Ten.“Rutgers at home, that’s an important one to win that one,” Bluem said. “That’s what I think it’s going to come down to. I think 13 points will probably keep you in the top four.”In addition to the two full days of rest leading up to the game against Rutgers, Bluem also gave his team an additional breather in the second half against Bowling Green. Only redshirt-senior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov and sophomore defender Tyler Kidwell were not pulled out of the game by the end on Wednesday.“Obviously we got to rest some people tonight, we came out of the game without injuries, so that was an important thing,” Bluem said after the game. “To get some of the guys, the substitute players, a chance to get out on the field a little bit and run around, that was great, good for them, and they did a very, very good job.”Bluem said while the team has been fortunate to stay healthy this late in the season, he was still glad to have the opportunity to manage his players’ workloads.“I think we’re pretty lucky right now,” Bluem said. “Knock on wood that we don’t suffer any injuries, hopefully that will be the case and we can make it through the rest of our games without any serious problems.”Ivanov, who has not allowed a goal in his past two starts, might have a chance to see that streak continue against a Scarlet Knights team that has been shut out in five of its past nine games. Ivanov’s longest career shutout streak was four, set late last season.OSU’s matchup against Rutgers is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. read more

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Football LChristian Blue Smith commits to Ohio State

Ohio State’s top-ranked recruiting class of 2018 received a boost as four-star wide receiver recruit L’Christian “Blue” Smith committed to the Buckeyes Sunday. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound receiver is regarded as the 119th-best prospect in the nation by 247Sports Composite and is considered the fourth-best in both the state and at his listed position of athlete.Smith chose the Buckeyes’ offer over other scholarship offers from Michigan, Penn State, Alabama and more. The Wayne High School product from Dayton was first offered a scholarship from the Buckeyes on March 21, 2016 and unofficially visited the school five times, while attending three camps.The commitment of Smith adds to what is already regarded by 247Sports as the best 2018 recruiting class in the nation. Smith becomes the 11th four-star recruit to join the class and the 17th overall prospect to commit to the Buckeyes. The rest of the class is comprised of four five-star recruits and two three-star recruits. read more

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Girl two dies in hospital after father killed in Newquay sea tragedy

first_imgThe family, who are from Croydon in south London, were holidaying in the Newquay area when the incident happened.Detective Constable Jarrod Yewen, who is investigating the incident, said: “This is a tragic case for all those involved and our thoughts remain with the family at what is a deeply traumatic time for them.”The deaths are not being investigated as suspicious, therefore the police will now prepare a file for HM Coroner and an inquest will be held in due course.”A fundraising page, set up to support the family, has seen more than £30,000 donated. A two-year-old girl who was swept into the sea during an incident in which her father was killed has died in hospital, police said.Mckayla Bruynius died at Bristol Children’s Hospital on Tuesday night, having been caught by a large wave at Fistral beach in Newquay, Cornwall, last Friday.Her father, Rudy Bruynius, also died in the incident, during a weekend in which a total of six people were killed in tragedies around the coast.The little girl’s mother, Lisinda, paid tribute to her daughter and husband in a statement released by Devon and Cornwall Police. “Rudy was a loving, caring and supportive husband, father and friend,” she said.”He had a great sense of humour and was an active person. He always put other people first. Mckayla was a busy bee and always happy.”I am in disbelief at what has happened. I am so shocked at how quickly the sea condition changed on that day whilst we were enjoying a family time together in Cornwall.”I pray that others can learn from our tragedy as I do not wish for anybody to go through our grief.”I would like to thank the RNLI, the staff at Royal Cornwall Hospital, the staff from Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, the emergency services and all the members of public for their generous support and prayers they have given towards my family.”I would especially like to thank the people of Cornwall for their messages of love and offers of help.”I will never forget the close community spirit displayed towards us. Please respect our privacy at this really difficult time and allow my sons and I to try to come to terms with what has happened.” I pray that others can learn from our tragedy as I do not wish for anybody to go through our griefLisinda Bruynius Rudy and Bruynius Bruynius with their childrenCredit:Apexcenter_img Rudy and Bruynius Bruynius with their children The family of five were on rocks at Fistral beach at around 5.20pm last Friday when Mr and Mrs Bruynius and Mckayla were washed into the sea by a large wave.The RNLI lifeboat, Coastguard helicopter, beach lifeguards, police, air ambulance and ambulance crews attended the scene.Mr and Mrs Bruynius were rescued from the water by RNLI lifeguards.They carried out CPR on Mr Bruynius before he was taken by air ambulance to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. The gardener, who was originally from South Africa, died later that evening.Mckayla was recovered from the sea by an RNLI lifeboat before being flown to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and later transferred to Bristol Children’s Hospital.Mr and Mrs Bruynius’s two sons managed to stay on the rocks and were located by the Coastguard. They suffered minor injuries before being taken by ambulance to hospital. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Questions over Parliament security as motorcyclist rides through gate shortly after terrorist

first_imgMembers of public and police officers pay their respects to the victims of Westminster terror attack in Parliament Square, London Credit: Tolga Akmen/LNP Members of public and police officers pay their respects to the victims of Westminster terror attack in Parliament Square, London  The gates to Westminster were left open minutes after Pc Palmer was stabbed, it has emerged.Security footage shows a motorcyclist driving through the open gates.The footage, which was filmed by a Times journalist, shows the unidentified man riding through the Carriage Gates where attacker Khalid Masood had struck minutes earlier.In the film, the heroic policeman Pc Palmer can be seen lying on the ground, wounded, as the motorcyclist makes his way into Westminster.Carriage Gates have been repeatedly identified as a weak spot in Parliamentary security, as the gates are often open for ministerial cars and parliamentary staff to pass through.Armed police reportedly stood at the gates until two years ago when a decision was taken to replace them with a mobile patrol. One source was quoted by the Times as saying: “This was a fixed point but that changed following political pressure.”They wanted a traditional British bobby on the gate; they wanted that image – but this is a sensitive security area. If there had been two armed officers on the gates then they would have taken the shot. Thank God there was only one nutter in that car.”Nigel Evans MP, the former deputy Speaker of the Commons, told Sky News: “I was horrified to see the footage, the bodies on the floor. And the vehicle is the weapon of choice now, which means we need to look again at basic security.”I think there’s about eight or nine points of entry for members of Parliament and they all need to be looked at afresh.center_img “We have unarmed officers at the front, they are the first point of contact with the public and people like to take selfies with them and it’s almost a tradition.”But there have to be armed guards where there are areas of weakness. A terrorist isn’t going to use the public entrance with security scanners”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Violin left unfinished by WW1 soldier played at his grave 100 years

first_imgWhen Private Richard Howard began making his violin, he envisaged the day he would return from the battlefield to play it. It was a dream cruelly shattered when the soldier met his death on the first day of the Battle of Messines in  1917.Now, 100 years later, the violin – carefully completed after being found – has been played at his graveside.  But age and death took those you left behind.And whether sorrow, or just life’s hard struggle Mr Sweeney, 28, a violinist with the award-winning 11-piece folk band Bellowhead until it broke up in 2016 after 12 years, said through research “we found out where his grave was and found out exactly when he died and which battle”. Pte Howard was married with a daughter, Mrs Sterry’s mother Rose, before his early death, but his relatives were unaware his story before Mr Sweeney brought it to light.Mrs Sterry said: “I was very interested to learn about him because I had heard nothing except ‘your grandfather died in the war’. “People in those days didn’t talk about it for fear of upsetting someone. My mother [Rose] was 11 when he died. I have to say the news when it got to me just blew me away, I was so excited. “The consequences from it have been so great… It feels as if I have more validation; I was more secure knowing more about who I was”.  “Your Grandfather died in World War One” was all I heard;No questions invited; no stories told; No memories passed down.We didn’t even know your name.   Pte Howard's violin Pte Howard Richard Spencer Howard,We will remember you.Mary Sterry Pte Howard Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Newly carved, left in pieces the day you went to war  Leaving your wife and daughter; never to return.Sent to Belgium, the Messines battle took your life.Buried there; your name on a white stone slab.   You were surely mourned and remembered long, When Mr Sweeney acquired the violin it had the appearance of a new instrument, but the label inside dated 1915 alongside the name ‘Richard S Howard’ prompted the musician and his father to trace its origin.center_img Mr Sweeney said it had been an “incredibly special” day, adding “what’s amazing is people who have nothing to do with Pte Howard have come up to me and Mary and said I will leave flowers for this man”.He said: “His granddaughter did a reading of a poem she wrote about him. It was very moving.”It’s amazing – his family has been reunited because of this violin.”Mr Sweeney has been telling the instrument’s story in his show, Made in the Great War, which he is touring across the UK until 11 June.”If you read the visitor book in the Ypres cemetery there are lots of people who have come to see his grave because they have seen the show,” he added.Violin Number 6. This violin has done what you could not.   Pte Howard’s violinCredit:Elly Lucas  What is more, the recovery of the instrument has even reunited members of his distant family who never even knew he existed. Among those present at the ceremony was his granddaughter Mary Sterry, who wrote a poem in tribute to the grandfather she has only recently discovered.Pte Howard, a luthier and music hall performer in Leeds, started making the instrument in 1915, before he was conscripted into the 10th battalion, the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding), that year at the age of 35.Much of the violin’s history, before it was bought by folk musician Sam Sweeney in 2009 remains a mystery.It was in pieces when Oxford luthier Roger Claridge bought it at auction and completed it in his workshop.  Pte Howard's violin, by his grave Sam Sweeney playing Pte Howard’s violin, by his graveCredit:Elly Lucas  The violin remained untouched, unfinished. Where, we’ll never know.Sad years passed when no-one living knew or spoke of you,  Remembrance Day observed; respect for those who died; But no family commemoration or sense of personal loss.   But your violin has bridged the almost century gap And helped by Roger, Sam and Chris, has connected you With your family, the generations you did not live to meet.    And all because you signed your name inside.    Made them unwilling or unable to share their pain,   Around 100 people, including some of Pte Howard’s relatives, gathered at his graveside in Ypres to hear Mr Sweeney play his violin this week on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the soldier’s death.Mrs Sterry said it was “completely fantastic”, saying it had changed her “in lots of small ways”, including meeting new relatives.last_img read more

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Loch Lomond hotel fire Two people killed after blaze hits luxury resort

first_img“Around 0650 hours, police were called to a report of a fire at the hotel. More than 200 guests were evacuated from the building which has been extensively damaged. A spokesman added: “Officers remain at the scene and are working with other emergency services to establish the exact circumstances of the incident.”One person was pronounced dead at the scene. Four people were taken to hospital, one to the RAH who later died. A further three people were taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for treatment.”A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.” “The fire has caused extensive damage to the central section of the hotel.  Our crews have been working tirelessly since 7am. We have 14 fire appliances at its height tackling this fire and more than 70 firefighters. “As you can imagine, as well as being an absolutely tragic incident where people have lost their lives, it is an extremely complicated incident and fire to contain and will continue to do so. “We will continue to work with partners to bring this incident to a conclusion.  But again, I reiterate that our thoughts and condolences very much are with the two people who have lost their lives this morning as a result of this fire.” Andy Roger, the hotel’s resort director, said: “The safety and well-being of our guests, employees and neighbours is our first priority, and our deepest condolences are with the families of those affected.”We are working closely with the authorities to determine the cause of the fire, and to provide support to our guests and the families of those affected.” Jim Slight, from Dalkeith in Midlothian, was staying at the hotel with his wife to celebrate his 57th birthday. He left the building by a fire door after the alarm sounded then walked along the front of the building, past the main entrance.He said: “Smoke was billowing from the building. We could see two of the rooms were filled with smoke.  And just as we were passing the corner of the building we heard glass smashing above. “That’s when three people came out on the balcony above. You could only see their heads because there was a stone balustrade around it.” Cameron House Hotel is one of Scotland’s most luxurious hotelsCredit:Chris Watt for The Telegraph Cameron House Hotel  Two people have died after fire tore through a five-star hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond. Police Scotland confirmed the deaths after the blaze broke out at the luxury Cameron House hotel in the early hours of Monday.Three others were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, but were later discharged.More than 200 guests were evacuated from the hotel  – which was “extensively damaged” – while emergency services took control of the area.Firefighters searched the building and tackled flames in the roof of the hotel from an aerial unit.Police and fire officers are now investigating the cause of the fire. Cameron House Hotel Cameron House is one of Scotland’s most luxurious hotels with views across Loch Lomond. On its Facebook page, the hotel said the fire was within the main building.An 18th century Baronial mansion, it was converted into a luxury hotel and resort in 1986 after it was sold by the Smollett family, who held the property for three centuries.The venue offers a romantic location for weddings, a championship standard course for golfers and five-star facilities for guests.Chef Martin Wishart has a Michelin-starred restaurant at the hotel. On its website, Cameron House said the fire was within the main building.A message read: “We would ask all guests and customers to remain patient as we work with the emergency services to establish the extent of the damage and ascertain when we will be able to re-open.” Cameron House Hotel Smoke pours from the luxury hotel on Monday morningCredit:Andrew Milligan /PA Emergency services standing by to treat hotel staff and guestsCredit:Andrew Milligan /PAcenter_img Flames and smoke billow from the Cameron House Hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond Cameron House Hotel is a landmark on the banks of Loch LomondCredit:Andrew Milligan /PA He said a fire engine arrived with a ladder and firefighters rescued two adults and a baby from the balcony, which he said had “started to get really thick smoke up there.”The majority of evacuated guests were wearing their hotel bathrobes and were given blankets to keep warm. Mr Slight said the “consensus” among those watching the blaze was that it started around the reception area and he paid tribute to the “excellent” hotel staff.Guest Ainsley Huxham told BBC Scotland: “As soon as we left our room – I just thought it was a fire alarm, just like a practise go. But when we left – five stairs down from our room – we saw a whole room full of smoke and flames.”So we had to run back down the hall, chapped on everyone’s doors and shouted ‘fire!’. And by the time we had got outside, the whole field was full of people.”Much of the interior of the main central section of the hotel, thought to be the oldest part, was visibly blackened, with upper floor windows smashed to allow the firefighters’ water jets access to the flames.A police spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland can now confirm two people have died following a fire at the Cameron House Hotel earlier today, Monday 18 December 2017. Cameron House Hotel Flames lick the skyline above the Cameron House Hotel on the banks of Loch LomondCredit:Phil Dye /Daily Record David McGown, the assistant chief officer of Scottish Fire and Rescue, confirmed that two hotel guests passed away as a result of the blaze. He said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service received a call this morning at around 6.40am to a fire within Cameron House Hotel on the shores of Loch Lomond. “Unfortunately, and tragically, this has resulted in two people losing their life as a result of the fire. “The fire and rescue service’s condolences go out to the people involved in this tragic incident and our thoughts are very much with the family and friends of the two people who lost their lives this morning.  This is absolutely dreadful news. My heart goes out to the loved ones of those who have died, and to all those affected. My thanks also to our brave firefighters and emergency services. https://t.co/JnIbVs6vHr— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 18, 2017 Local MP Martin Docherty described the blaze as “dreadful news”, while Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie said: “Devastating news about the fire at Cameron House. So terrible to hear of casualties at this time of year.”Thanks to the emergency services who have been working all morning to get the fire under control.”Speaking on behalf of West Dunbartonshire Council, Provost William Hendrie said: “It is heart-breaking to hear that people have died as a result of the fire at Cameron House today. “The families of those who have sadly died in such tragic circumstances will need all of our support and I know that the thoughts of the people of West Dunbartonshire will be with them. For something like this to happen so close to Christmas is just too painful to comprehend.” The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said officers carried out a search of the building, which has more than 130 bedrooms.A spokesman said: “Operations Control has mobilised a total of 12 appliances to the scene.”Firefighters are currently in the process of searching the building while fighting the fire using powerful water jets. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service remains in attendance.” A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We received a call at 6.44am today to attend an incident at the Cameron House Hotel.”We dispatched four ambulances, our special operations response team and the trauma team to the scene.”Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, described the fire as “dreadful news” on Twitter: Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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2500 cancer diagnosis could be avoided each week if Britons made lifestyle

first_imgDr Katrina Brown, Cancer Research UK’s statistical information and risk manager, and the study’s lead author, said the public did not understand the risks of smoking until relatively recently, and it is hoped that increased information and awareness will mean the same will eventually become of obesity.Asked about accusations of fat shaming following a recent obesity-related campaign by the charity, she said: “We definitely need to change attitudes towards obesity.”As a charity we have a responsibility to communicate evidence about risk.”Highlighting studies that show public perceptions of what is a normal weight have gone up,Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, said: “Obesity is a huge health threat right now, and it will only get worse if nothing is done.”People regard being large as increasingly normal – that is a shift in cultural norms and acceptability.”So we need to not only convey the message about the health risks, but also that our population is getting larger.”Sir Harpal added: “Leading a healthy life doesn’t guarantee that a person won’t get cancer, but it can stack the odds in your favour. These figures show that we each can take positive steps to help reduce our individual risk of the disease.”This research clearly demonstrates the impact of smoking and obesity on cancer risk.Prevention is the most cost-effective way of beating cancer and the UK Government could do much more to help people by making a healthy choice the easy choice.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. He said the landmark study demonstrates that prevention is the best way of beating the killer disease, adding that the Government could be doing “much more” to help people make healthier choices.The latest figures, calculated from 2015 cancer data, show more than 135,500 cases of cancer a year could be prevented – equating to 37.7 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in the UK every year and rising to 41.5 per cent in Scotland.Smoking remains the biggest preventable cause of cancer – responsible for around 32,200 cases of cancer in men and around 22,000 in women.Excess weight is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer, with around 22,800 (6.3%) cases down to being overweight or obese.The research published in the British Journal of Cancer shows that obesity causes 13 different types of cancer, including bowel, breast, womb and kidney, and more than one in 20 cases could be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight. Smoking rates are falling, and obesity will soon take over as the leading modifiable risk factor for cancer center_img More than 2,500 people a week would avoid being diagnosed with cancer if they made lifestyle changes, such as exercising and lowering their weight,  research suggests.Nearly 40 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in the UK every year could be avoided, a new report by Cancer Research UK has found.Smoking is the biggest avoidable cause of cancer, followed by excess weight, overexposure to UV radiation from the sun and sunbeds, drinking alcohol, eating too little fibre, and outdoor air pollution.Experts presenting the data warned that with smoking rates continuing to go down and rates of obesity on the increase, obesity could overtake smoking as the biggest killer.Cancer Research UK chief executive Sir Harpal Kumar said: “Obesity is potentially the new smoking, if we’re not careful.”My sense would be it’ll be some time in next couple of decades that we’ll see those two switch around.” Smoking rates are falling, and obesity will soon take over as the leading modifiable risk factor for cancer Credit:Jonathan Brady PAlast_img read more

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Rapist on the run after arrest because EU freedom of movement allowed

The judge called for an inquiry at the Royal Northern College of Music, condemning staff for failing to intervene as his unconscious victim was subjected to a horrific ordeal.He criticised the supervision of student functions after the court heard that Serafin sexually assaulted the woman in a practise room having earlier spiked her drink with a date rape drug at a fresher’s party.Serafin from Hulme, Manchester, was spotted by a guard forcing himself on his victim as she lay helpless on the floor but Serafin urged him not to call the police. Jacek Serafin, who is understood to be in his native Poland “That remark should have triggered alarm and should have caused him to take action. For what he saw was a young woman unconscious. Not asleep – unconscious.”The judge added: “Once awake he tried to avoid detection by weeping. But she had the courage to complain to the police. These offences are grave matters irrespective of his previous good character.” EEA citizens can travel on the Eurostar with either a passport or a national identity card. Jacek Serafin, who is understood to be in his native Poland Afterwards, he was seen dressing the woman then carrying her “like a dead weight” to a taxi before he took her back at his flat.Mr Cross said: “In my judgement there ought to be an inquiry by the Royal Northern College of Music into the staff supervising events such as these.”The defendant was observed by witnesses acting strangely. One described him observing what was going on, staring as though he was recounting events.”He isolated his target and waited for her outside a toilet and when they were in a practice room she was unconscious and she was brutally raped. I am satisfied a drug was used by the defendant to incapacitate the victim. A concert pianist who raped a student was able to flee the UK after his arrest because EU freedom of movement rules allowed him to board the Eurostar without a passport, a court has heard.Jacek Serafin, 30, who studied piano performance at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, had his passport confiscated by police after he was arrested for the sexual assault of his 22-year old victim, whose drink had been spiked.But on April 26, just days before he was due to face a retrial for rape, Serafin used an ID card to board a Eurostar train bound for France and vanished.It is thought he is now in his native Poland but police have not been able to make contact with him despite efforts to track him down.Serafin, a former graduate of Music Academy in Kracow, was yesterday (FRI), jailed for 14 years in his absence, having been found guilty of rape and assault by penetration.Judge Anthony Cross QC, told the jury at Manchester Crown Court: “He was due to attend on the first day of the trial but didn’t turn up. Following his failure to attend police made enquiries and discovered a person holding the defendant’s identity left England for France by Eurostar.’’ The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester (stock image) The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester (stock image)Credit:Anthony Moss/Cavendish Press Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “By 2am he was disturbed by a security guard and it was quite plain that he feared discovery and asked the guard not to report the matter to the police. Sadly he did not. read more

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Duchess of Sussex chooses songbird and sunshine to represent Californian roots in

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Prince Harry's coat of arms A coronet has also been assigned, composed of two crosses patée, four fleurs-de-lys and two strawberry leaves.The design of the Duchess’ arms was agreed and approved by the Queen and Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England, who is based at the College of Arms in London. The Duchess of Sussex has been granted her own coat of arms by the Queen, as she chooses the blue skies of California and a songbird emblem of communication to represent her in married life.The Duchess, who helped to design the image, holds the coat of arms in her own right with no input from her father, who as an American does not have his own coat of arms.Instead, she has chosen her own symbols, with a white songbird as her “supporter” to stand opposite the lion representing her husband and his family.Just as her presence brought American emblems to the vellum of the Instrument of Consent before her marriage, the coat of arms is infused with transatlantic symbols.The Duke is represented with his own coat of arms on the left-hand side, granted on his 18th birthday, which includes both his Royal family lineage and the small, red escallops of his mother’s family.  The decision to grant the Duchess a coat of arms in her own right follows a model set by the Duchess of Gloucester when she married into the Royal Family in 1972 after being born in Denmark.More usually, the coat of arms belonging to a Royal bride impale the emblem of her own family with that of her husband to form a new image. A spokesman for Kensington Palace said the Duchess of Sussex’s coat of arms was “both personal and representative”, and had involved the newlywed working closely with experts at the College of Arms over its design.The choice of symbols suggests both the Duchess’s pride in her American roots and her hope to continue to speak freely within the parameters of her new royal life. ​“The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast, while the two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess’s home state,” the spokesman said.“The three quills represent communication and the power of words. “Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California’s state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace.”While most royal brides have two “supporters of the shield” represented on their coats of arms, one from their husband and one relating to themselves, the Duchess has a “songbird with wings elevated as if flying and an open beak, which with the quill represents the power of communication”. Mr Woodcock said: “The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design. Good heraldic design is nearly always simple and the Arms of The Duchess of Sussex stand well beside the historic beauty of the quartered British Royal Arms.“Heraldry as a means of identification has flourished in Europe for almost nine hundred years and is associated with both individual people and great corporate bodies such as Cities, Universities and for instance the Livery Companies in the City of London. ” Prince Harry’s coat of armsCredit:Kensington Palace In 2011, the Middleton family was granted its own coat of arms before Catherine Middleton married Prince William, incorporating the three acorns of the Middleton children with a golden chevron representing her mother’s maiden name of Goldsmith. The Markle family has previously complained bitterly of a “snub” after Thomas Markle, the Duchess’s father who was unable to attend her wedding, was not given his own coat of arms. Samantha Grant, the Duchess’s estranged half sister, declared it “really stripping him of an honor”, delivering a “huge insult”.In fact, Mr Markle’s American citizenship meant that he could only be granted an honorary coat of arms, had he applied for one and been able to prove descent from a subject of the British Crown.Even then, a source suggested, it could not have been used by the Duchess by virtue of being honorary.  read more

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Viagogo suing Ed Sheerans promoter over fake booths forcing fans to pay

“Kilimanjaro will defend against this action vigorously and look forward to doing so in court.” A spokesman said: “All tickets on Viagogo are authentic. Stuart Galbraith set up fake Viagogo booths at venues and conned our customers into believing that their tickets wouldn’t work. Show more Ed Sheeran’s promoter is being sued by Viagogo, the secondary ticketing website, for allegedly defrauding thousands of fans by confiscating their tickets at concert venues and forcing them to buy new ones.Sheeran has criticised reselling sites and warned before his 2017 tour that tickets bought from “unauthorised” sites such as Viagogo would not be valid.In court papers filed yesterday, Viagogo claim that Stuart Galbraith, founder of music promoters Kilimanjaro Live Ltd, pocketed millions in a “scam”.Kilimanjaro said the claims were “ludicrous”, “laughable” and “totally false”.Viagogo alleges that Mr Galbraith set up customer service booths branded with the Viagogo name, luring fans into declaring that they had bought their tickets via the site, then confiscated the legally-purchased tickets and forced the fans to buy new ones for £80 each. Both Mr Galbraith and an executive from Viagogo are scheduled to appear today [WEDS] before a Commons select committee on reforms to secondary ticketing.In a statement, Kilimanjaro said: “The claims made today by Viagogo are ludicrous, laughable and most importantly totally false. This is a transparent attempt to deflect attention away from their upcoming appearance at the DCMS inquiry and the wide-ranging criticisms, multiple legal prosecutions in many territories (including by the Competitions and Markets Authority in the UK) and condemnation of their business practices. “He confiscated their legitimate tickets and pocketed millions of pounds by forcing fans to buy new ones.There is no suggestion that Ed Sheeran would have been aware of the alleged malpractice, however he has spoken out against secondary ticket websites, saying fans should not have to pay more than face value and touts should not be allowed to profit.“People just need to start taking a stance and within two or three years companies like Viagogo are going to be kaput,” he has said. A statement issued by Viagogo claims Mr Galbraith was “paid twice by each of these customers, fraudulently pocketing millions of pounds in double revenue for the same seat”.It also stated that around 95 per cent of customers “avoided this scam” and gained entry into the venues, and that customers who paid twice have been refunded by Viagogo at its own cost.The company’s press release claims a “comprehensive file of incontrovertible photographic and filmed evidence” will be presented to the court supported by hundreds of witness statements. Stuart Galbraith of promoters Kilimanjaro  Stuart Galbraith of promoters Kilimanjaro  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Duchess of Sussex will prepare for Commonwealth tour with first solo outing

Lisa Reihana, In Pursuit of Venus Lisa Reihana, In Pursuit of VenusCredit:Auckland Art Gallery On display will be around 200 works from public collections worldwide, spanning more than 500 years.The exhibition marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy, which was founded in 1768: the year Captain James Cook set out on his first Endeavour expedition. Canoe prow figure from the Solomon IslandsCredit:Derek Li Wan Po The Duchess of Sussex, who married on May 19, will take part in her first royal event by herself four months after becoming a member of the monarchy.The exhibition will celebrate the art of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, encompassing the vast Pacific region including New Guinea, Easter Island, Hawaii and New Zealand. The Duchess of Sussex is to carry out her first solo royal engagement next week, as she attends the opening of a major art exhibition celebrating the Pacific cultures she will soon visit on tour. The event will be a milestone in the Duchess’s life as a member of the monarchy, seeing her at work without the support of her husband or other senior members of the Royal family.On Monday she launched her first charity project, a fundraising cookbook created by women from the Grenfell Tower community, and will host a launch for it on Thursday with the Duke by her side.The 37-year-old former actress has now been confirmed as joining guests on September 25 at the opening of an exhibition of works from the Oceania region, at the Royal Academy of Arts in central London.The Duchess of Cambridge carried out her first solo engagement, standing in for the Prince of Wales at a private fundraising dinner, in October 2011, almost six months after her wedding day. The Duke and Duchess are due to tour part of the region next month, visiting Australia, Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand. The Duchess will be shown art from the four countries during her exhibition viewing.She will meet the exhibition’s curators, artists and descendants linked to the works on display, and view a short performance by Ngati Ranana, a Maori cultural group.The exhibition will be organised around three main themes: Voyaging will look at life on the water as revealed through the stories of indigenous navigation; Place-making will explore the settlement of communities; and Encounter will focus on trade and exchange in Pacific cultures.Oceania at the Royal Academy will open to the public from September 29 to December 10. Canoe prow figure from the Solomon Islands Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Uber driver vomit fraud sees customers wrongly charged £110 cleaning

Customers have claimed the photographs are staged by drivers attempting to claim the cash. Uber has refunded those… The costs can range from £15 for vacuuming, all the way to £115 for “significant quantities of body fluids (urine, blood or vomit) in the interior of the vehicle”. Victims of ‘vomit fraud’ are sent a mobile phone notification saying that an “adjustment” has been made to their bill for ‘cleaning’. Uber drivers have been accused of spraying liquid over the back seats of their cars in order to charge customers unwarranted cleaning fees. When the customers complained to Uber, the company sent them photographs taken by the driver of what they said was liquid or vomit on their seats.  read more

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Police officer who rammed suspected moped thief off his bike with car acted

A police officer who rammed a suspected moped thief off his bike can keep his job because his actions were “reasonable”, a tribunal has ruled, as rank and file officers have attacked how he was treated.Pc Edwin Sutton faced a disciplinary hearing this week for allegedly breaching professional standards by using a “dangerous” method to stop a teenage driver escaping after a suspected handbag theft.However a panel yesterday concluded that Pc Sutton, who could be seen wiping away tears as the decision was read out, acted “reasonably” and that his action was “necessary for the apprehension of a suspected criminal”.The incident occurred on May 21, 2017 when the moped driver – a 17-year-old boy known only as Mr G – was allegedly seriously injured after Pc Sutton moved his marked vehicle into the rider’s path to stop him speeding off.Colleagues of Pc Sutton, who will retire from the Met Police in four weeks time after 30 years of service, criticised the “absurd” misconduct procedure being brought against him by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in the first place. Last year the Met Police announced it would target moped thieves “at every opportunity” with the new tacticCredit:Metropolitan Police Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, told the Telegraph: “My colleague has been through just over two years of complete hell. His family life has suffered from it. He is four weeks from the end of 30 years of service which has been exemplary and he has had to face this.”What do the public want? Do they want us to protect them and the streets of London. Then we will go out and do what we are doing and take bad people off the streets. But at times there will be a cost. There will be injuries. Sorry about that but we want to look after the goodies and go after the baddies.”Mr Marsh suggested that hearing was a complete waste of taxpayer money, adding: “What this has cost is two years of a police officer’s salary and thousand and thousands of pounds in terms of investigation. For what?“We have no issue about the transparency of colleagues being investigated but come on. This was so straightforward, he was so evidently in the clear.”The outcome of the hearing comes days after the Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced plans to change the law to give police greater protection when choosing to engage in the tactic known as a “boxing manoeuvre”. Figures showed that it had slashed moped crime by 50 per cent.Under Mr Javid’s proposed reforms, a new legal test will require prosecutors to recognise the skills and training of police drivers which enable them safely to carry out manoeuvres at high speed that would be regarded as dangerous or reckless if attempted by an ordinary driver. Last year the Met Police announced it would target moped thieves "at every opportunity" with the new tactic Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Bookworm who stole 7000 books from university libraries earned £40000 from their

“Had it not been for the staff at Edinburgh Napier University raising their concerns about missing stock, we may never have uncovered what Barr was up to and even larger quantities of books may have ended up being taken from the institutions.”We conducted a thorough investigation that identified the scale of Darren Barr’s offending and ensured he was brought to justice.”All reports of acquisitive crime are treated with the utmost seriousness and a professional and robust inquiry will always be carried out to identify those responsible.” Barr stole thousands of books from the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot Watt University.Credit:Getty Images A bookworm who stole titles from the University of Edinburgh and other institutions raked in £40,000 from flogging them online – but was jailed on Wednesday.Darren Barr, 28, who also used the name Alexander Van De Kamp, was sentenced to more than two years after the ‘brazen’ thefts.Barr stole thousands of books from the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot Watt University.In less than a year, between October 2017 and August 2018, he took around 7,000 books and resold them online.The lucrative thefts netted him about £40,000 – and 1,300 books have so far been recovered from across Britain.Some 260 of the recovered books belonged to the University of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt, while the majority had been nicked from Edinburgh Napier University – which called in police after discovering the scale of missing books. Barr was arrested and charged in connection with the theft and illegal resale of the books in September last year.He was sentenced to 25 months when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to four counts of theft.Detective Sergeant Dougal Begg from Corstorphine CID said: “This is one of the most brazen and high-value thefts from our universities that I can ever recall and the amount of money Darren Barr was able to make by resetting stolen books is staggering. Barr stole thousands of books from the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot Watt University. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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