Abdul Deghayes death: Drug dealer jailed for murder

A drug dealer convicted of murdering a customer has been jailed for a minimum of 19 years.

Abdul Deghayes, 22, was stabbed eight times by 37-year-old Daniel Macleod in Brighton on 16 February 2019.

He was the third of his parents’ four sons to be killed after two of his brothers died fighting in Syria.

Mr Deghayes father said he accepted Macleod’s “sorrow” on the condition he would jointly form a “trust” in his son’s name to help drug addicts.

Abubaker Deghayes said his son had been a “joyful” character, but added he was not an “innocent angel”.

Addressing Macleod directly in court, Mr Deghayes said in his victim impact statement: “You looked me in the eyes many times and I remember you said you are sorry. I want to take that at face value.”

On the night of the stabbing, Mr Deghayes and his friend had arranged to meet Macleod, from Lambeth, south London, to buy cocaine outside a block of flats called Hanover Court.

But when the victim left his car to conduct the deal, Macleod, of Gypsy Road, attacked him.

He denied murder, claiming he was acting in self-defence, and said he was “ashamed” at his involvement in the drug trade.

Det Ch Insp Colin Pirie thanked the court for rejecting Macleod’s defence, adding that he had carried out a “brutal” and “sustained” attack that Mr Deghayes had “desperately tried to avoid, as was evidenced by the defensive wounds that he suffered to his hands”.

Mr Deghayes twin Abdullah was killed in 2016 aged 18 while their brother Jaffar, 17, was killed in 2014 while trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s government.

They are survived by a fourth brother, Amer, a former finance student, who had also travelled to Syria.

No faction gets a clean sweep in Labour NEC poll

Sir Keir Starmer won the leadership of his party by a wide margin in April but his grip on Labour’s ruling national executive (NEC) has been more tenuous.

He has won the body’s backing for his reforms so far – but sometimes by very tight margins.

In today’s elections of nine constituency representatives, the “Grassroots Voice” candidates – who represent the Left and are closer to the former leader Jeremy Corbyn – won five places.

Their leading candidate was former MP Laura Pidcock.

Had she retained her North West Durham seat at the 2019 election, some on the left saw her as a future leader.

Some insiders say their chances were bolstered by a campaign to reinstate Mr Corbyn, who was suspended from membership when he said opponents had overstated the scale of anti-Semitism.

A panel of NEC members that could decide whether or not Mr Corbyn will be readmitted to the party.

The ‘Labour to Win’ ticket consisted of candidates who pledged loyalty to Sir Keir Starmer, and who want to see the party move further from the Corbyn era.

They won three seats in the NEC election.

Their most prominent candidate, Luke Akehurst, topped the NEC poll overall.

He runs Labour First, a group of “moderate” Labour members whose aim is to ensure “the party is kept safe from the organised hard left”.

A further seat was taken by Ann Black, who was backed by the “soft-left” Open Labour group.

She had previously fallen foul of some on the Left who felt she hadn’t been sufficiently loyal to Jeremy Corbyn, though she disputes this.

No one faction gained a clean sweep of seats because the voting system changed from the traditional ‘first past the post’ winner-takes-all method to a more proportional system.

Starmer ally Carwyn Jones – the former first minister of Wales – won election as the Welsh representative.

A Left candidate – Ellen Morrison – won the seat elected by members with a disability by a very narrow majority.

The two representatives of Labour councillors – who are largely supportive of Starmer – retained their seats.

So after Friday’s results Keir Starmer seems set to retain a working majority on the executive – but an opportunity to “copper-bottom” it has been missed.

Trade unions which pay to affiliate to Labour are also represented on the body – but are appointed by their own organisations, so they did not take part in Friday’s elections.

But challenges still lie ahead for Keir Starmer on this front.

Members of the country’s biggest union, Unison, are voting in a leadership contest this month.

If a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn – Roger Mackenzie – wins, then in due course the union’s representatives on Labour’s NEC are likely, in due course, to change,

And be less amenable to the current leadership.

The make up of the NEC is important.

It is the body which will draw up rule changes to implement the recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission on anti-Semitism in Labour’s ranks.

And it will respond to a forthcoming report on the party’s internal culture.

The results took longer than expected to appear.

The proportional voting system meant that there were 37 vote counts.

But candidates had been told that some former members who had resigned from the party had still voted electronically,

so a time-consuming process had to be put in place through independent scrutineers to eliminate those votes.

Some on the Left felt this was an attempt to suppress their vote.

Those who resigned recently are most likely to would have done so in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension.

But the party has said anyone who voted while a member then subsequently resigned would not be disqualified.

But those who had voted while no longer being party members needed to have their ballots struck out.

A source said: “It’s a matter of contract law.”

Marie Antoinettes mirror hung in toilet fetches £10k

A mirror that once belonged to the last queen of France and had been hanging in a family bathroom for 40 years has sold at auction for £10,000.

Auctioneer Andy Stowe said although it bore a plaque referencing Marie Antoinette, the owners “thought it was a bit of fun, and probably not true”.

As a consequence, it had been nailed to the wall of a downstairs toilet.

It was passed down to the seller, from North Ferriby near Hull, from a relative in the 1980s.

Its provenance was proven after it was discovered in a Christie’s auction catalogue of Napoleon III’s possessions from 1889.

Napoleon’s wife, Empress Eugénie, had a keen interest in Antoinette and bought up many items belonging to the former queen, which were later sold off.

The mirror, measuring 50cm by 40cm, is thought to have been part of a larger display in one of the queen’s palaces.

“To imagine Marie Antoinette herself staring into this mirror is just wonderful,” said Mr Stowe, from East Bristol Auctions.

“And it just goes to show that items we have in our everyday lives can very often hold a secret that makes them worth a small fortune.”

It was sold to an anonymous UK-based collector for £8,500 hammer price, or £10,000 including buyer’s premium.

Nurse Lucy Letby denied bail in baby murders case

A nurse accused of murdering eight babies and attempting to murder another 10 has been denied bail.

Lucy Letby, 30, of Arran Avenue, Hereford, is charged with murdering five boys and three girls at the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016.

She is also accused of the attempted murder of another five boys and five girls.

Ms Letby was remanded into custody after a hearing at Chester Crown Court.

She attended in person, speaking only to confirm her name, after appearing before Warrington magistrates via video-link on Thursday.

A further hearing is expected to take place at Liverpool Crown Court on 18 November.

A Cheshire Police investigation launched in May 2017 looked into the deaths of 17 babies and 16 non-fatal collapses at the Countess of Chester between March 2015 and July 2016.

Ms Letby had previously been arrested in 2018 and 2019.

She was rearrested on Tuesday and charged on Wednesday.

Police said parents of all the babies involved were being kept fully updated on developments and were supported by officers.

M4 partially shut at Swansea after four vehicle crash

A four-vehicle crash on the M4 is causing major Friday evening rush-hour congestion on the motorway at Swansea.

The incident near the M4’s Ynysforgan turn-off – junction 45 – has shut the westbound carriageway and caused an eight mile traffic jam.

The crash happened about 17:30 GMT and congestion is backed up to the Llandarcy turn-off, junction 43.

Some motorists are caught in the jam while police are diverting other drivers up and over junction 45.

Students: Places to be awarded using actual grades

Universities in England are to switch to offering degree places on the basis of actual grades rather than predicted ones, the government has announced.

In an interview with BBC Education Editor Branwen Jeffreys, Gavin Williamson said the present system held bright but disadvantaged pupils back.

He said he wanted all students to be able to choose the best university they can go to once they know their grades.

Universities have just backed such a change following a review.

Currently, pupils are offered places from universities ahead of their results, so decisions are based on predictions made by their teachers.

Once A-level, BTEC and other exam results are issued in August, candidates then accept or refuse offers they have received.

A consultation will be carried out but it is expected the change to what is known as a post-qualification admissions system will take place before the next general election.

The current system relies heavily on predicted grades which puts academically high achieving pupils from poorer areas at a disadvantage.

Research this year from University College London found 23% of pupils from comprehensives were under-predicted by two or more grades, compared to just 11% of grammar and private school pupils.

But there are still big questions about how this would work, with universities favouring a system in which students would still apply before exams but receive offers afterwards.

Others may push for the more radical option of both applications and offers being made after results, pushing the start of term back to January for first year students.

Mr Williamson told the BBC: “I want all students to look at the grades they’ve got and then see what is the best university that they can get to, what is the best course they can do.

“I want to smash through these ceilings that are preventing them from meeting their full potential.”

He said pupils from less-affluent, non-traditional backgrounds often did not have to the confidence to aim for a highly selective university, and also often lacked advice about how to reach such goals.

The move comes after years of debate over post-qualification admissions.

Numerous academic studies suggest pupils from working class backgrounds, and some ethnic groups, tend to be predicted lower grades by their teachers.

The university admissions system was brought into sharp focus in the summer, when exam results were cancelled, leading to thousands of students losing the places they thought they had not qualified for.

Universities promised to offer as many places as they could if candidates received the grades they needed after results were re-issued.

Mr Williamson said the use of predicted grades limited “the aspirations of students before they know what they can achieve”.

“We need to radically change a system which breeds low aspiration and unfairness,” he added.

“We’re going to deliver this before next election, we’re going to do an extensive consultation.

“But there’s a real determination what we’ve seen in this pandemic, we’ve seen great challenges that society has had to deal with and as we move out of this pandemic we need to build back better.”

Mr Williamson also criticised universities which offer inducements or conditional unconditional offers to some students to lure them on to their courses.

“What we’ve seen over the last few years is what I describe as a little bit of sharp practice where universities have been offering unconditional offers, more and more and creating incentives, in terms of offering laptops or cash back to those students, and that means those students aren’t choosing the course and the university that is best to meet their future potential.

“We want to move away from that.”

The plan has received a warm welcome from vice-chancellors’ organisation, Universities UK, who had resolved to move to post qualification admissions following an 18-months review.

Jo Grady, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), said: “The current system is based on inaccurately predicted results and leads to those from less-affluent backgrounds losing out.

“Allowing students to apply after they receive their results will help level the playing field and put a stop to the chaotic clearing scramble.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “Teachers work hard and diligently to provide accurate predicted grades, but it is not an exact science and never can be.

He agreed: “Post-qualification admissions would be better and fairer.”

Cardiff cousins guilty of daylight high street gangland hit

Two cousins have been convicted of attempting a “gangland-style hit” in broad daylight outside a convenience store on a high street.

Keiron Hassan and Kamal Legall have been convicted of attempting to murder Taylor Patterson in Cardiff by shooting him and attacking him with a machete.

Surgeons saved Mr Patterson, 22, in hospital after he was shot and stabbed in the neck, Newport Crown Court heard.

Hassan, 32, of Ely, and Legall, 26, of Fairwater will be sentenced later.

The pair were convicted of attempted murder and possession of a shortened shotgun after the attack on Mr Harris in front of terrified shoppers outside a Lifestyle Express store in the Rumney area of Cardiff, the court heard.

Jurors were told Mr Patterson was heard to say “not here, not now” before he was slashed in the neck and shot at point blank range with a sawn-off shot gun on Harris Avenue at about 15:30 BST on Easter Monday.

“This was a murderous attack, it was professionally planned and executed in a gangland-style hit where the clear intention was to the kill the victim Taylor Patterson,” prosecutor Christopher Rees QC told the five-week trial.

“The attackers took advantage of the pandemic in that they wore masks to hide their identity.”

Mr Patterson asked one bystander “Am I going to die?” after he heard a bang and felt his legs collapse, jurors heard.

“The way it occurred in a Cardiff street in broad daylight in front of a number of terrified members of the public, it may well be that such a brazen attack was to send a message to others and to strike fear into a local community,” added Mr Rees.

The court heard Hassan shouted at his victim: “Where’s my watch?”

After fleeing the scene the defendants were traced through Cardiff after detectives viewed “thousands of hours of CCTV”.

The court heard Hassan and Legall had hidden a loaded shotgun near a children’s playground in Cardiff Bay and had “cloned” the number plates on a Nissan Pathfinder in order to hide its identity.

The court heard Mr Patterson was saved by paramedics and surgeons after losing blood from a five inch cut in his neck and a wound on his body.

“Keiron Hassan and Kamal Legall are cousins, they had a feud with their victim,” Det Ch Insp Mark O’Shea of South Wales Police said.

“Criminals who do decide to take firearms to settle any score or grievances they may have with others, it won’t be tolerated by the police and it won’t be tolerated by the communities we serve either.”

Croydon police shooting: Man arrested over Sgt Matiu Ratana murder

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a police officer who was shot dead at Croydon custody centre.

New Zealand-born Sgt Matiu Ratana, 54, known as Matt, was shot in the chest as a handcuffed suspect was being taken into custody on 25 September.

Louis De Zoysa, 23, also suffered a gunshot wound and was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

The Met Police said he had since “stabilised” and was considered fit to be arrested on Friday.

Mr De Zoysa remains in hospital with “life-changing injuries” and detectives will consult with doctors and legal advisers before they begin interviewing him.

The Met Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, said of the arrest: “It’s an important milestone and hopefully it brings some tiny comfort to Matt’s partner Su, Matt’s wider family and everyone who has been affected.

“The investigation is moving on into a dreadful, dreadful homicide.”

An inquest at South London Coroner’s Court in October heard Sgt Ratana died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

No police firearms were discharged in the shooting.

Earlier this month, a funeral for the long-serving officer was held at Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, and live streamed on the internet so his family, friends and colleagues around the world could attend.

Specialist family liaison officers are supporting Sgt Ratana’s family, who have been informed of the arrest.

Wells Fargo former boss charged with misleading investors

US financial regulators have accused the former boss of Wells Fargo bank and another former executive with misleading investors in the latest charges to arise from the bank’s fake account scandal.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said the bank leaders endorsed and disclosed sales metrics they should have known were false.

Ex-chief John Stumpf agreed to pay $2.5m (£1.9m) to settle the charges.

He did not admit or deny the claims.

Carrie Tolstedt, the former head of Wells Fargo’s community banking operation, is fighting the fraud claims in court.

Wells Fargo has been under the scrutiny of regulators since 2016, when it was revealed the firm had boosted its sales by opening millions of accounts without authorisation.

This year it paid $3bn to settle an investigation by the US Department of Justice and SEC. It remains under government monitoring and is also subject to an order by the Federal Reserve that limits its growth.

The scandal has led to the departure of two Wells Fargo leaders, including Mr Stumpf, who stepped down in 2016.

Earlier this year, he agreed to pay $17.5m to settle charges tied to the scandal, marking a rare example of a bank executive being personally punished for failing to stop misconduct. The Office of the Comptroller of Currency, a US banking regulator, also barred him for life from the banking industry

Ms Tolstedt is facing a $25m fine in a related case, which she is also fighting in court.

“If executives speak about a key performance metric to promote their business, they must do so fully and accurately,” said the SEC’s director of enforcement Stephanie Avakian, when speaking about the latest charges.

“The Commission will continue to hold responsible not only the senior executives who make false and misleading statements but also those who certify to the accuracy of misleading statements despite warnings to the contrary.”

British Museum to help dig for Nigerian treasures

The British museum has announced its plans to help “investigate the history of the Kingdom of Benin”, with a grand archaeology mission and new museum.

The organisation will work with Nigerian teams on the creation of a new Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) and accompanying archaeology project.

The plan represents one of largest physical projects the British Museum has ever undertaken outside the UK.

It comes after calls for it to return stolen artefacts to the ancient city.

Broadcaster and author Stephen Fry last week shared a petition encouraging the museum to give back its Benin Bronzes; as well as returning the famous Elgin Marbles to the city of Athens.

The British Museum, which has some 950 Benin Bronzes, has come under particular criticism for its refusal to give them back, but is only one of many museums struggling to justify the legitimacy of its collection.

The newly-announced $4m (£3.04m) archaeological excavation will be the most extensive ever undertaken in Benin City.

Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum said they were “honoured” to be working with colleagues from Edo State, the Benin Royal Palace, the Legacy Restoration Trust, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments of Nigeria, and Adjaye Associates on “this exciting project”.

“The British Museum’s main mission is to work in partnership with colleagues from around the world to develop our shared understanding of cultural heritage,” said Fischer.

“The archaeology project also provides the groundwork for the EMOWAA which will surely become one of the most significant museum initiatives in the coming decades,” he added.

The Benin bronzes are a group of more than 1,000 heirlooms, metal plaques and sculptures, which decorated the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin in what is now modern-day Nigeria.

They were looted by the British army during an invasion in 1897, and pieces can be found in museums in the UK, USA, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

They are a key example of artefacts that the British took by military force and have not given back, despite requests from the Benin Royal Court.

Many of the bronzes, which carried religious significance to the Edo people, were taken from altars. Some of them are portrait representations of the dead Oba or king, who was treated as a god.

The newly-announced partnership project will be viewed by many as a positive way for the British Museum to work with all interested parties to increase knowledge about the kingdom from which the Benin Bronzes were taken; and potentially create a situation which could lead to some or all of them being returned.

The archaeology project commences in 2021 and will continue for five years, to look for further royal treasures, and to enable the construction of the museum.

Architect Sir David Adjaye said he was “humbled and deeply inspired” to have been asked to come up with the design.

“From an initial glance at the preliminary design concept, one might believe this is a traditional museum but, really, what we are proposing is an undoing of the objectification that has happened in the West through full reconstruction,” he said.

Prof Abba Isa Tijani, director general of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria added that they hoped the prior archaeological work “will lead to a greater understanding of the ancient kingdom of Benin”.

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