Teenager dies after Wandsworth double stabbing

A teenager has died after suffering knife injuries in a fight involving a number of people in south London.

The boy, believed to be aged 15, and another thought to be the same age, was found near Garratt Lane Burial Ground, Wandsworth, just before 17:00 GMT.

Police said the first victim died in hospital while the second also sustained knife injuries, not thought to be life-threatening.

Two males were arrested following the fight, the Met said.

Officers said one of the suspects was detained on suspicion of grievous bodily harm. He had suffered a head injury that did not require hospital treatment.

The other was arrested on suspicion of affray.

Road closures and an extensive crime scene remain in place.

A Section 60 order, which allows police officers to stop and search anyone in a specific area without needing to have reasonable grounds, has also been authorised for the whole of Wandsworth.

The incident is not being treated as terror-related.

Cookham drownings: Man died trying to save friend

A man drowned trying in vain to save his friend who had got into trouble in the River Thames, an inquest heard.

Eyad Al Ryabi, 31, and father-of-five Mohammad Al Safadi, 37, had both been swimming in the river at Cookham, Berkshire, on 23 June.

Reading Coroner’s Court heard Mr Al Ryabi disappeared while trying to save Mr Al Safadi. Mr Al Safadi was pulled from the water but died in hospital.

Assistant coroner Katy Thorne QC recorded their deaths as accidental.

The inquest heard the men, of Syrian background, had travelled with a group of friends to Odney Weir in Mill Lane, where they had a picnic and went swimming.

At about 18:45 BST Mr Al Safedi got into difficulties near the weir. Mr Al Ryabi, from Uxbridge, west London, went back into the water to save his friend but disappeared, prompting a search of the river.

Mr Al Safedi, from Hounslow, west London, was eventually dragged out by members of the public and taken unconscious to hospital.

He died from multiple organ failure on 25 June. Mr Al Ryabi’s body was located by a dive team using sonar equipment the day before.

Giving evidence, police staff investigator Collette Gray told the court a language barrier between police and the men’s friends had made it difficult to establish Mr Al Ryabi was missing.

A cousin of Mr Al Ryabi previously said he was a refugee from south-west Syria who had come to the UK towards the end of 2019 and had hoped his wife and children could join him for a better life in Britain.

Paying tribute, Khald Al Ryabi said: “That’s why he came here. He came here to save his life and his family’s life.”

Ms Thorne concluded the inquest by expressing her “deepest condolences” to the men’s friends and families.

What does the Labour anti-Semitism report say?

Labour has been plagued with allegations of anti-Semitism since 2016, leading to fractious rows within the party.

In May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced it would be investigating the party over its handling of the claims.

On Thursday, the long-awaited report was published.

But what did the report say?

The watchdog said its analysis “points to a culture within the party which, at best, did not do enough to prevent anti-Semitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it”.

The interim chair of the EHRC, Caroline Waters, released a statement alongside the report, saying the investigation had “highlighted multiple areas” where the party’s “approach and leadership to tackling anti-Semitism was insufficient”.

“This is inexcusable,” she added, “and appeared to be a result of a lack of willingness to tackle anti-Semitism rather than an inability to do so.”

But what about the law?

Here, the EHRC found Labour responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act: political interference in anti-Semitism complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism complaints and harassment, including the use of anti-Semitic tropes and suggesting that complaints of anti-Semitism were fake or smears.

The first breach was of political interference by the leader’s office – led, at the time, by Jeremy Corbyn – when dealing with complaints of anti-Semitism.

The investigation found evidence of 23 instances of “inappropriate involvement” by Mr Corbyn’s office out of the 70 files it looked at.

This included staff influencing decisions on suspensions or whether to investigate a claim.

One incident reportedly saw the party leader’s staff advising a complaint against Mr Corbyn himself – for allegedly supporting an anti-Semitic mural – should be dismissed.

Some decisions, said the watchdog, were also made because of “likely press interest rather than any formal criteria”, and the party “adopted a practice of political interference”, making the EHRC believe it occurred more regularly in anti-Semitism cases.

This, it said, was “indirectly discriminatory and unlawful” and put the person making the complaint at a disadvantage.

The next breach the EHRC found was around the party’s complaints process and training in handling complaints.

The investigation found the system to be “inconsistent and lacking in transparency”.

One example was the email inbox for complaints, which had been “largely left unmonitored for a number of years”, with “no action taken on the majority of complaints forwarded to it”.

And of those 70 files the watchdog looked at, 62 of them had records missing.

The report did say there had been recent improvements to the procedures, but the system was still “under-resourced and those responsible for it are not trained to the necessary standard” – contributing to “a lack of trust and confidence”.

The EHRC added: “We find that this failure indirectly discriminated against Jewish Labour Party members up until August 2020.

“The Labour Party has now formally committed to provide proper training for those handling anti-Semitism complaints and we recommend that this should be mandatory and fully implemented within the next six months.”

The final breach of the law concerned harassment.

The report said Labour was responsible for two cases of unlawful harassment, where anti-Semitic tropes were used and complaints about them were branded as fake or smears.

The EHRC named former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and a local councillor, Pam Bromley, but said these two cases were “only the tip of the iceberg”, and a further 18 borderline cases were found.

Mr Livingstone later released a statement, he was “deeply hurt” by the accusations and “fully rejects” them, calling himself a “life-long anti-racist”.

The report called the party to “instil a culture that encourages members to challenge inappropriate behaviour and to report anti-Semitism complaints”.

The watchdog concluded its report with a list of recommendations for the party.

They including setting up an independent complaints process, and ensuring it was audited.

It also said Labour needed to acknowledge the political interference that had already taken place and set out clear guidance to stop it happening again.

The EHRC served the party with an unlawful act notice, which gives them until 10 December to draft an action plan to implement the recommendations.

If Labour fails to do so, it is legally enforceable by a court.

Ms Waters said the new leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, had committed to implementing the recommendations in full, which was “encouraging”.

But, she added: “If the party truly wants to rebuild trust with its members and the Jewish community, it must acknowledge the impact that numerous investigations and years of failure to tackle anti-Semitism has had on Jewish people, and take swift, sincere action to improve.”

And the chair of the EHRC gave one final warning to all political parties.

“Politicians on all sides have a responsibility to set standards for our public life and to lead the way in challenging racism in all its forms,” she said.

“There have been recent examples of behaviour from politicians of various parties that fall well below the standards we would expect.

“While freedom of expression is essential to proper political debate, politicians must recognise the power of their language to sow division.

“Our recommendations provide a foundation for leaders to make sure that they adhere to equality law and demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion through their words and actions.”

Bereaved mum in birth certificate law change bid

A woman wants the law to change to make it easier to name unmarried, dead fathers on their child’s birth certificate.

Kyle Averis died in July 2015, six months before his son Harley was born. His partner Jasmine Hill could only get his name added via a court order.

She said some people “just aren’t ready to go through the emotional side to fight to have the father’s name on it”.

The Ministry of Justice has been asked for comment.

Unmarried fathers need to be present to sign the paperwork but if the couple are married, the husband’s name can be added in his absence.

Ms Hill, from Huntley in the Forest of Dean, wants the law change made in cases where there is no dispute over the newborn’s parentage.

She would like the deceased’s parents to represent the father in the registration process.

“What I want is to do is get a change in the law so people don’t have to go through what I’ve gone through and what other people have gone through,” she said.

“When I got the news that I could have him on, I was literally in tears for about half an hour after, I was literally sobbing.”

Ms Hill had to apply for a declaration of parentage court order for Harley, at a cost of £250.

This application was granted by a judge on 13 October after the hearing on 6 August.

Prior this, Ms Hill believed she needed to pay £4,000 for DNA tests as proof of paternity as part of the requirements of the court order.

Due to the costs she delayed the court application, but she later discovered it could be done without these tests as there was no doubt over Harley’s paternity.

Ms Hill has begun a House of Commons petition calling for a debate on the matter.

“I’ve had people where there’s been suicide, their partner’s been murdered or been in a car accident. It’s everyday things, so anyone pregnant and who’s not married, they could be affected,” she said.

Driver jailed for speeding at 137mph in Hatfield

A driver caught speeding out of a tunnel at 137mph (220km/h) told police he was late for the cinema.

Azzedin Khan, 33, from London Colney, in Hertfordshire, was caught exiting the Hatfield Tunnel on the A1(M) on 9 November last year.

St Albans Crown Court heard he was driving so aggressively police thought the vehicle must be stolen, but Khan said he was about to miss a film.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was jailed for six months.

Prosecutor Stefan Weidmann told the court that Khan’s dangerous driving had been “egregious”.

“He drove at astonishing speed, undertaking other cars and committed a blatant transgression of a red light,” he said.

Mr Weidmann said an officer in an unmarked car saw Khan’s Range Rover driving so aggressively along the A414 at about 20:45 GMT that he thought the driver had stolen it or had been involved in a burglary.

The officer followed the car northbound up the A1, recording Khan’s speed at 137mph, in wet conditions, as he exited the Hatfield Tunnel.

Being late for the cinema was a “staggering explanation”, the prosecutor added.

Khan had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, and his defence solicitor told the court her client was “extremely remorseful”.

Jailing him for six months, Judge Richard Foster said: “You were driving your expensive leased Range Rover in a most dangerous manner.

“The risk of someone being harmed was extremely high. A custodial sentence is inevitable.”

Khan was also banned from driving for two years and three months, and ordered to take an extended retest.

Hay Festival: UAE minister will face no charges after sex assault claim

The Crown Prosecution Service has said it cannot prosecute a UAE government minister over claims he sexually assaulted a Hay Festival organiser in Abu Dhabi.

Festival employee Caitlin McNamara alleged she was attacked by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan on a private island in February.

The CPS said it could not bring charges because the alleged offence happened abroad.

Sheikh Nahyan denies the allegations.

Ms McNamara, 32, who has waived her right to anonymity, had been visiting the United Arab Emirates for discussions about holding Hay’s first event in the Middle East.

She claims she was attacked by the Minister of Tolerance, who is a member of the ruling family in Abu Dhabi, during a meeting to discuss human rights concerns ahead of the festival.

Ms McNamara had been seeking a prosecution in the UK, but CPS senior prosecutor Jenny Hopkins said no charges could be pursued.

She said this was because the alleged offence happened outside the UK and the circumstances did not allow a prosecution in the UK.

“I understand this is not the outcome the complainant wanted, but the CPS must ensure that the law is properly applied, and make fair, objective and independent decisions in every case,” she said.

The CPS considered whether it could prosecute in the UK under laws allowing foreign nationals to be charged with torture.

However the service concluded that under law it would have to show the defendant was a public official who inflicted “severe pain and suffering” while carrying out official duties.

The CPS said: “We took into account the complainant’s belief that she was attending a meeting about work when she agreed to meet with the suspect.

“However, her understanding of the nature of the meeting is not sufficient by itself to prove that the suspect was purporting to act in the performance of his official duties.

“From the evidence, the suspect’s conduct in arranging the meeting and during the meeting, suggest the contrary, that he considered this to be a social meeting and did not want to discuss work.

“In those circumstances we cannot prove an essential legal element, namely that the assault was committed in the purported performance of the suspect’s public duties and consequently amounts to torture.”

Ms McNamara has the right to challenge the decision by asking for a review.

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