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Category Archives: BBC News

Randox forensics inquiry: Drug-drivers to challenge convictions

Matthew Bravender and Anderson WardImage copyright GMP/Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Matthew Bravender, left, and Anderson Ward were both jailed for driving offences resulting in fatalities

Two road death drug-drivers are trying to get their convictions quashed amid concerns forensic evidence in their cases had been manipulated.

The pair, from Greater Manchester and Powys, Wales, want to launch Court of Appeal proceedings.

It follows an investigation at Randox Testing Services in Manchester, where two scientists were arrested on suspicion of tampering with data.

The inquiry prompted a review of more than 10,000 criminal investigations.

About 50 prosecutions have so far been dropped in what BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw described as “the biggest forensic science scandal in the UK for decades”.

Matthew Bravender is appealing against his conviction after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving while over the legal limit for a prescribed drug.

Image copyright Getty Creative
Image caption Most of the 10,000 cases that could be affected involved traffic offences

The 38-year-old, of Agecroft, Greater Manchester, was jailed for five years and four months at Manchester Crown Court after 52-year-old pedestrian Alan Strong was struck and killed in April 2016.

Also challenging his conviction is Anderson Ward, 39, who was jailed for causing the death of his girlfriend in a crash while he was high on drugs.

Marie Hardes, 56, was killed after Ward lost control of a car on the M3 in Winchester in November 2014.

He was sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty of causing death by driving without due care while unfit through drugs, causing death by driving a vehicle unlicensed and possession of Class B and Class C drugs.

Two arrests

More appeals could soon follow as thousands of toxicology tests are re-analysed.

Three-quarters of the cases were traffic offences such as drug-driving, with the rest including violent crime, sexual offences and unexplained deaths, dating back to 2013.

Two men have been arrested and five interviewed under caution by Greater Manchester Police over the alleged manipulation by individuals working at the Randox site.

Retests have so far found no impact on cases of sexual offences, violence or murder, the National Police Chiefs’ Council said.

Potential data manipulation at a separate facility, Trimega Laboratories, is also being investigated.

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Intruder fell asleep eating Doritos

corn chipsImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police said the man had apparently paused for a “pit stop”

A man has been discovered asleep and covered in Doritos after allegedly breaking into a house in North Lanarkshire.

Police said the man had also eaten half a pie before deciding “on a pit stop”.

The alleged break-in happened at a house in Corsewall Street, Coatbridge, at about 23:45 on Monday.

Monklands Police tweeted about the incident, saying the man was no different to anyone who felt tired starting a late shift at work.

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“He woke up in cuffs,” the tweet added.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said a 46-year-old man would be the subject of a report to the procurator fiscal in connection with the incident.

Head Huw Jones’ suicide over indecent images inquiry

Albert Primary SchoolImage copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Huw Jones was head teacher at Albert Primary School in Penarth

A head teacher killed himself after he learned police were investigating him over allegations of possessing indecent images of children, an inquest heard.

Huw Jones, 51, from Cardiff, was found hanged in a churchyard in Lavernock, Vale of Glamorgan, in February.

A Cardiff inquest heard Mr Jones, who was headmaster at Albert Primary School in Penarth had been struggling with his sexuality.

South Wales coroner Philip Spinney concluded he took his own life.

Image caption Mr Jones was on medication for depression at the time of his death

Det Sgt Emma Hampton told the hearing South Wales Police had received information from South Yorkshire Police about Mr Jones allegedly being implicated in the possession of indecent images.

She visited his house and when she explained officers were there to conduct a search, he said: “I like young chaps.”

She said she cautioned him and he seemed nervous, asking her “if it is illegal to talk”.

Police seized electronic equipment but he was not arrested.

Assistant head teacher Gaynor Haldenby told the inquest Mr Jones was moody at work and his workload was getting too much for him.

She said he was struggling to cope with being gay, was having relationships with younger men and had started attending Tabernacle Baptist Church, saying he wanted to be accepted.

The hearing heard evidence from school governors who said they were told Mr Jones had not committed a crime, but should be suspended because an allegation of a safeguarding nature had been made.

Mr Jones was on medication for depression at the time of his death and the coroner said police found a note from him which said he was sorry for what he had done.

Paddington train derailed due to decayed timbers

GWR trainImage copyright RAIB
Image caption The train derailed as it was leaving Paddington station

A Paddington train derailed due to decayed timbers under the tracks, the Rail Accident Investigation Brach (RAIB) has ruled.

The train derailed at low speed on its way out of the station on 20 August.

The RAIB said the longitudinal timbers that run parallel to the rail had decayed, allowing the rail to move outwards.

This allowed the wheels of the train’s rear power car to fall into the space in between.

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption The timber failed as the train passed over it

The RAIB said that the failed timbers had been identified as needing replacement during the previous annual inspection.

The inspection report said they were being damaged by water and toilet waste leaking from trains.

But the work was postponed until September so that a project linked to the electrification of the Great Western Main Line could be carried out.

The RAIB said appropriate priority needed to be given to repairing the timbers.

It added that the risk of infrastructure failure must be taken into account when delaying such remedial work for other projects.

UK regulator has ‘huge concerns’ over Uber breach

Uber appImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption It is unclear whether UK citizens‘ data was breached as Uber has not said.

The UK‘s information commissioner has “huge concerns about Uber’s data policies and ethics” following a breach that exposed the details of 57 million customers and drivers.

Uber did not tell anyone about the breach and paid a ransom to hackers to delete the data.

Deputy commissioner James Dipple-Johnson said these actions were unacceptable.

The ride-sharing company has a resource page for those who may be affected.

“It’s always the company’s responsibility to identify when UK citizens have been affected as part of a data breach and take steps to reduce any harm to consumers. Deliberately concealing breaches from regulators and citizens could attract higher fines for companies,” Mr Dipple-Johnson said.

“If UK citizens were affected, then we should have been notified so that we could assess and verify the impact on people whose data was exposed.”

He said the Information Commissioner’s Officer (ICO) would work with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to determine the scale of the breach and how it affected people in the UK, as well considering the next steps that Uber needed to take to comply “with its data protection obligations”.

Next year, EU countries will radically alter data protection laws to offer consumers greater control over the data they share with companies.

Ransom ‘astonishing’

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aims to impose huge fines on companies that conceal data breaches.

Under the new rules, companies have to notify data regulators about a breach within 72 hours of becoming aware of a hack.

They face fines of 4% of their global annual turnover or 20 million euros (£18m), whichever is higher, if they are found to be in breach of the regulations.

Dean Armstrong, a cyber-law barrister at Setfords Solicitors, said: “As Uber hasn’t released its figures, we can’t speculate as to the potential final cost of the fine, but it is fair to say the regulator would come down hard and under the regulations it would likely be in the tens of millions.

“The greater cost to Uber however would and will be in terms of reputation, which although harder to quantify than a fine could far outstrip any penalty handed to them by a regulator.”

David Kennerly, director of threat research at security company Webroot, criticised Uber for paying a ransom to the hackers.

“Given the current climate around data security and breaches, it is astonishing that Uber paid off the hackers and kept this breach under wraps for a year.

“The fact is there is absolutely no guarantee the hackers didn’t create multiple copies of the stolen data for future extortion or to sell on further down the line.”

Raj Samani, chief scientist at security company McAfee said, as a regular Uber user, the news made him “incredibly angry”.

“Uber has treated its customers with a complete lack of respect,” he said.

“Millions of people will now be worrying over what has happened to their personal data over the past 12 months, and Uber is directly responsible for this.”

“In opting to not only cover up the breach, but actually pay the hackers, Uber has directly contributed to the growth of cybercrime and the company needs to be held accountable for this.”

Trevor Sinclair in drink-drive and police assault charges

Trevor Sinclair
Image caption Trevor Sinclair played 12 times for England

Former England footballer Trevor Sinclair is due to appear in court on charges including assaulting a police officer.

Sinclair, of Victory Boulevard, Lytham, also faces drink-driving and racially aggravated public order charges.

And the BBC TV pundit is accused of failing to provide a specimen for analysis, criminal damage and disorderly conduct in a police station.

The 44-year-old is due before Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on December 19.

Mr Sinclair was arrested on 12 November after police were called to a disturbance at a house at Lytham at about 20:45 GMT.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said he would not be charged over a minor collision with a woman pedestrian on nearby Clifton Drive, which happened on the same evening.

“Mr Sinclair was also arrested on suspicion of assault and a separate criminal damage matter but will face no further action in respect of those matters,” he added.

The London-born winger, who grew up in Manchester, played 12 times for England, winning four caps in the 2002 World Cup.

His clubs included Blackpool, QPR, West Ham, Cardiff and Manchester City.

Hunt for murderer who has absconded from HMP Spring Hill

Nicholas Redding, James Vaughan and Barry AndersonImage copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Nicholas Redding (left), James Vaughan (centre) and Barry Anderson (right) escaped from HMP Spring Hill in Buckinghamshire

Police are hunting a convicted murderer among three prisoners who have absconded from a jail.

Nicholas Redding, 45, has been on the run from HMP Spring Hill in Buckinghamshire since 19 November.

He was sentenced to life for cutting the throat of a neighbour in 1994.

Convicted class A drug dealer James Vaughan and aggravated burglar Barry Anderson have also absconded from the Category D open prison, between Aylesbury and Bicester.

Redding is described as white, 6ft tall, with a slim build and dark brown hair. He is blind in his right eye which appears opaque.

He has a West country accent and links to Dorset, Wiltshire, Avon and Somerset.

Vaughan, 37, who escaped on 20 November, has links to Sussex, Birmingham and Kent.

Anderson, 41, went on the run on 15 November. Police say he has connections to Milton Keynes, Sheffield and Gateshead.

Police have advised people not to approach any of the men but to contact 999 instead.

‘I ripped up the rulebook’

Piers Morgan and Susanna ReidImage copyright ITV
Image caption Morgan joined Good Morning Britain in November 2015

Few of us are at our best at 08:30 on a Monday morning. Piers Morgan, however, is firing on all cylinders.

The live TV show he’s been presenting for the last two-and-a-half hours has already involved interviewing former Attorney General Dominic Grieve about Brexit and hosting a debate about whether Jediism is a real religion.

As I arrive at ITV’s studios, bleary-eyed and clutching a strong coffee, he and co-host Susanna Reid are wrapping up their final interview of the morning – with singer (and former Black Eyed Pea) Fergie.

“This Good Morning Britain is quite funny, quite quirky, I like it,” she says, just before the credits roll. She’s not the first to have picked up GMB’s unconventional formula.

The number of viewers to ITV’s breakfast show have been slowly but steadily increasing since it launched in 2014, and in particular since Morgan joined two years ago this month.

“We are a very different proposition in the morning,” says the presenter as we sit down on the familiar GMB sofa seconds after he comes off air.

Image copyright Shutterstock
Image caption Fergie (not the Man United manager or the Duchess of York) appeared on Monday’s show

“The BBC obviously has a very strong brand, and a very popular breakfast show that’s done very well for a long time.

“And I just took a view that the way to make us truly competitive was to shake things up a bit. Make us unpredictable, provocative, lots of opinions, very lively, all the things that wouldn’t traditionally be the BBC way of doing things.”

It’s arguably not even ITV’s traditional way of doing things. The chemistry between Morgan and Reid is unusual to say the least (more on that in a sec), and Morgan himself isn’t quite the cuddly, warm figure that would’ve been associated with some of the network’s previous breakfast shows like GMTV.

But Good Morning Britain is proving to be considerably more successful than its immediate predecessor, Daybreak.

“Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley are good friends of mine, they’re very talented, but there was something that didn’t quite work about Daybreak in the way it was produced, the way it appeared on air,” Morgan says.

“And I don’t think they enjoyed it more than anybody else. They were fantastic on The One Show, they’re two brilliant broadcasters, but sometimes, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t click.”

GMB, on the other hand, seems to have hit its stride.

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Ben Shepherd and Kate Garraway also co-present Good Morning Britain

“I think Good Morning Britain found its feet in that first year, settled down, and then I came in – like a tornado, as Susanna put it – and basically changed everything irrevocably,” he says.

“There’s always been a conventional view [about breakfast TV] – you can’t be too loud, too provocative, too noisy because people are waking up, they just want a bit of background noise. And I took a view that that’s fine, but that’s not me.”

He refers to a recent discussion with Eamonn Holmes, who Morgan describes as “a fantastic journalist and brilliant breakfast presenter”, and who recently topped a poll of the UK’s favourite breakfast TV hosts.

“I think what Eamonn would say, because we’ve had this conversation, is that he likes the fact that I’ve basically ripped up the rulebook of breakfast TV,” Morgan says.

However, GMB still has some way to go if it wants to catch up with BBC Breakfast.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption “Just enjoying this moment… I’ve finally gagged Piers Morgan,” Reid told the National Television Awards this year

The BBC One morning show has a daily average audience of 1.5 million people, while Good Morning Britain has 640,000.

The BBC said: “BBC Breakfast is the most watched breakfast show in the UK with more than double the audience of Good Morning Britain. This is why we continue to attract top name guests.”

But Morgan thinks one particular advantage GMB has is that it’s based in London (BBC Breakfast moved to Salford in 2012).

“I think it’s key,” he says. “I thought it was a big mistake of the BBC to take their morning show up to Salford. No disrespect to Salford, which is a great place. But obviously, physically a lot of the guests reside in London, or come to London.

“If there’s big stars around, like Fergie today, would Fergie have gone all the way to Salford to do a five-minute hit? I doubt it. She’s a big American star.

“But she’ll come in here, sit on the sofa and have fun with us, and it’s great to have stars of that magnitude. All of the politicians are down here, and so on.”

BBC Breakfast has, however, attracted guests such as John Legend, Ed Sheeran, Paloma Faith and will.i.am. to its Salford sofa.

Image copyright Mike Coppola
Image caption Ewan McGregor refused to be interviewed by Piers Morgan

Earlier this month, Reid told The Guardian the move to Salford was one of the factors that led her to swap from BBC Breakfast to ITV.

Morgan says: “Susanna worked at the BBC for a very long time, very successfully, and had to be detrained – by me – from her very PC, very non-opinionated stance.

“Now I’ve got her basically where I’d like her to be, which is highly opinionated and giving me grief all day long.” He laughs (and he used a slightly stronger word than grief).

“We really like and respect each other, but we also find each other very annoying.

“Most days there’s a viral video that goes round of the Susanna Reid eye-roll or the zinger at the end of one of my monologues, and she of course, by saying less, often has more impact. But I think the relationship we have is really interesting to people.”

(And that’s only when Piers isn’t busy going viral himself – he was in the headlines again on Wednesday morning after getting into a tussle with a dating guru live on air.)

The flipside of having a polarising figure fronting a breakfast show, however, is the impact it can have on guests – who in some cases have refused to appear on the show.

Image caption Piers and Susanna appeared on Pointless Celebrities last year

Earlier this year, Ewan McGregor dropped out at the last minute, and there have been rumours that PR teams often try to book their celebrity guests onto the show on a Thursday or Friday, when the somewhat-less-controversial Ben Shepherd and Kate Garraway are presenting.

“Of course that goes on, yeah,” Morgan says. How does he feel about it? “Absolutely fine. If they want to bottle it, like Ewan McGregor, and they haven’t got the guts to come and debate with me live on air, that says more about them than me.”

He continues: “Liberals have become the most intolerant people in the world, which is such an irony given that they’re supposed to stand for fairness, debate, tolerance and democracy, but they’re none of those things.

“Ewan McGregor should’ve come on here, sat on the sofa and told me to my face what he put on Twitter. Then I would’ve respected him. To storm off, quite deliberately to promote his movie by the way, I thought was an act of rank cowardice.”

Looking back at the number of interviews he’s done in the last two years, Morgan says: “My favourite guests are strong, opinionated people, prepared to take me on, and not afraid of having a debate.

John Prescott‘s a great example, Lord Sugar‘s a great example. Michael Gove comes on, we give him a hard time, he comes back, I respect people like that.”

He adds: “I doubt that people watching the programme would even know with politicians what I’m really thinking, I like to just play devil’s advocate with them.”

Image copyright Getty / Reuters
Image caption Morgan says Lord Prescott and Michael Gove are among his favourite guests

While the early morning starts may have taken some getting used to, Piers isn’t going anywhere soon.

For one thing, he wouldn’t want to give his BBC Breakfast rival Dan Walker – who he regularly engages in Twitter spats with – the satisfaction.

“We’re very competitive, but we’re good friends,” he laughs. “We like poking each other, and actually, don’t tell him, but I think he’s a very good broadcaster.

“But rather like his golf, he’s good, but not quite as good as me.”

Good Morning Britain is on weekdays on ITV from 06:00-08.30 GMT.

Wigan’s Ryan Colclough scores twice then subbed to make son’s birth

A footballer who scored twice before being subbed to see his son’s birth, has spoken of his relief at getting there “just in the nick of time”.

Wigan Athletic’s Ryan Colclough made a double strike against Doncaster before a nod from his watching father in the stands indicated his partner’s waters had broken.

He said he raced down the tunnel and made it to the birth – in full kit – with 30 minutes to spare.

He said: “It was a great feeling.”

BBC Radio Manchester: Ryan Colclough on his great hat-trick

Both mother and his second son, who he said weighed in at 8lbs 6ozs, are “doing very well”.

The winger said he was “overwhelmed” with a great night “both on and off the pitch”.

Wigan beat Doncaster 3-0 in Tuesday’s League One game.

Stalybridge Aldi car park find could be human bones

Aldi, StalybridgeImage copyright Google
Image caption The bones were dug up on Tuesday afternoon in the car park at Aldi in Leech Street, Stalybridge

Suspected human remains have been dug up in a supermarket car park in Greater Manchester, police have said.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the bones were dug up on Tuesday afternoon in the car park at Aldi in Leech Street, Stalybridge.

A GMP spokesman said: “Initial inquiries have suggested that the location is a former burial ground on the site of an old chapel.”

Police are now carrying out tests to confirm if the remains are human.