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Dark web drug supermarket duo from Huddersfield jailed

Ross Brennan and Aarron GledhillImage copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Ross Brennan and Aarron Gledhill were jailed by a judge at York Crown Court

Two university friends who bought and sold the deadly drug fentanyl via the dark web have been jailed.

Ross Brennan, 28, and Aarron Gledhill, 30, made hundreds of thousands of pounds mixing and selling the high-strength painkiller and other drugs.

At least 70 people have died in the UK in the last nine months after taking fentanyl, often when mixed with heroin.

Brennan and Gledhill, both from Huddersfield, pleaded guilty to drug and money laundering offences.

Brennan was jailed for 13 years and eight months while Gledhill was sentenced to three years and nine months by Judge Andrew Stubbs, at York Crown Court.

More stories from across Yorkshire

Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption The two men ran a “sophisticated online drug dealing business” from Brennan’s flat in York
Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption North Yorkshire Police uncovered the drugs operation after making a routine welfare check

North Yorkshire Police uncovered the operation when a neighbour raised concerns for the welfare of Brennan, who has autism.

Det Supt Steve Thomas said: “What we found was a production laboratory for synthetic drugs and more traditional drugs.

“[We also found] computer equipment that over the weeks and months revealed a sophisticated drug dealing business operating on the dark web under the guise of a business called ‘Savage Henry’.”

Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Brennan and Gledhill sold drugs via the dark web site AlphaBay

Brennan and Gledhill made up to £1,000 a day operating the illegal online supermarket for two years on a site called AlphaBay.

The duo bought, mixed and sold the drugs, including fentanyl crystal meth and cocaine, using a copy of Chemistry for Dummies before posting them on to people across the UK.

The force said it could only estimate the number of transactions that took place as they used data-shredding software, but the site had received more than 4,000 reviews.

Their operation was said to be worth between £275,000 and as £1.5m, depending on the fluctuating value of the virtual currency Bitcoin they traded in.


Image caption Fentanyl is considered to be 50 times more potent than heroin

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl – which hit the headlines after it was linked to the death of US singer Prince – is an extremely strong painkiller, prescribed for severe chronic pain, or breakthrough pain which does not respond to regular painkillers.

It is an opioid painkiller, which means it works by mimicking the body‘s natural painkillers, endorphins, that block pain messages to the brain.

According to America’s Drug Enforcement Agency, it is considered to be 50 times more potent than heroin.

The risk of harm is higher if the wrong dose or strength is used.

Typical symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include slow and difficult breathing, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and increased blood pressure.


Det Supt Thomas said: “These are two individuals who clearly didn’t give any consideration to the welfare of their customers. They were only interested in the profit.

“These are people who had downloaded a ‘Chemistry for Dummies’ guide and then sent out potentially dangerous substances, that on any occasion could have resulted in a serious impact on someone’s health or even death.”

Image caption Det Supt Steve Thomas said Brennan and Gledhill showed no concern for the people they supplied

He said Brennan would exaggerate his autism and present himself as someone who “struggled to cope with normal life and society” but was really a “sophisticated criminal who was trying to pull the wool over a number of agencies’ eyes”.

Officers had discovered encrypted messages from Brennan in which he “pretended to be more ill than he was”.

“They also knew that what they were selling was potentially dangerous, that’s the thing that really put a chill through the investigation team.

“They knew that they were harming people and yet they continued to sell. They put money and profit above the welfare of their customers.”

Four people who bought drugs from Brennan and Gledhill have died, though police said they cannot prove if their deaths were directly linked to the Savage Henry website.

Brennan, of Great Northern Street, and Gledhill, of Almondbury Bank, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import class A drugs, conspiracy to sell class A drugs and concealing criminal property.

Brennan also admitted three charges of making indecent images and one of distributing indecent images. He has been put on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

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British woman dies ‘in attack by dogs in Greece’

Celia HollingworthImage copyright Wiltshire Times
Image caption Celia Hollingworth was reported missing on Thursday

A British woman died in Greece when she was apparently attacked by a pack of stray dogs.

Celia Hollingworth, from Wiltshire, was reported missing on Thursday after visiting an archaeological site.

Reports say the 64-year-old, of Bradford-on-Avon, used her phone to try to contact relatives in the UK while she was being attacked.

Wiltshire Police said it was in contact with Greek police regarding formal identification of the body.

The force is providing Ms Hollingworth’s family with assistance, a spokesman added.

Police search for body of Tyron Charles continues

THE search for the body of a Bradford father continued today as part of a murder probe.

Tyron Charles (pictured), 29, was last seen in Denholme on September 6, and a search for his body is ongoing.

An underwater search team was still at a large lake at the outdoor activity centre at Doe Park today, a West Yorkshire Police spokesman confirmed.

A large cordon was put in place over the weekend at the centre and a nearby allotment.

James Sutcliffe, 28, of Hillcrest Road, Denholme, appeared at Bradford Crown Court yesterday charged with the murder of Mr Charles. He did not enter a plea.

A full plea and trial preparation hearing has been arranged for October 19, and Sutcliffe was told by Judge David Hatton QC that he must remain in custody until then.

On Tuesday night, a police forensics team could be seen at work at a rented house in Unity Street South, Bingley, where Mr Charles had lived.

Man appears at Crown Court accused of Tyron Charles murder

A MAN accused of killing a Bradford father has made his first appearance in front of a Crown Court judge.

James Sutcliffe, 28, appeared at Bradford Crown Court today charged with the murder of 29 year-old Tyron Charles.

Mr Charles was last seen earlier this month and a search for his body remains ongoing.

Members of his family packed into the court’s public gallery before Sutcliffe was led into the dock for the brief hearing.

Sutcliffe, slimly-built with brown hair and a beard, spoke only to confirm his name to the court clerk.

Prosecutor Anthony Moore said that given the case had only been sent by magistrates on Wednesday, the court was in no position to conduct a plea hearing at such an early stage.

Mr Moore said that the Crown Prosecution Service would oppose any application for bail, and Sutcliffe’s barrister, Richard Wright QC, confirmed that no such application was to be made.

Judge David Hatton QC said a trial date of March 12 next year was available, which he said fell within Sutcliffe’s custody time limits of March 21.

A full plea and trial preparation hearing was arranged for October 19, and Judge Hatton told Sutcliffe, of Hillcrest Road, Denholme, he must remain in custody until then.

He said: “The next hearing in this case will be in this building on October 19. You will be brought to court for that event.

“Your trial, if there is to be a trial, will take place on March 12.

“You must, certainly for the present, remain in custody.”

Mr Charles was last seen in Denholme on September 6.

As part of the police investigation, extensive searches have been carried out at the outdoor activity centre at Doe Park, Denholme, and a nearby allotment.

A large cordon was put in place over the weekend at the centre and police divers have been scouring the large lake at the sailing centre.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said today: “Underwater searches at the reservoir are continuing.”

On Tuesday night, a police forensics team could be seen at work at a rented house in Unity Street South, Bingley, where Mr Charles had lived.

Neighbours spoke of their shock at the sequence of events, with one saying the incident had “shaken everyone.”

Mr Charles’ family had initially appealed for information on his whereabouts via an appeal on the Missing People website.

Police resume searches for body of Tyron Charles as man, 28, appears in court charged with murder

POLICE were today resuming the search for the body of Tyron Charles after a 28-year-old man made his first appearance in court charged with his murder.

Mr Charles, 29, was last seen earlier this month.

James Sutcliffe, 28, appeared before Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court yesterday to face the murder allegation.

Sutcliffe, of Hillcrest Road, Denholme, was remanded in custody and was due to appear at Bradford Crown Court today for his next hearing.

He appeared in the dock wearing a grey jumper and a tracksuit top.

No plea was entered and there was no application for bail.

Members of Mr Charles’s family were in court, with some in tears.

A 60-year-old man arrested on Monday on suspicion of murder has since been released from police custody without charge, said a West Yorkshire Police spokesman.

Mr Charles was last seen in Denholme on September 6.

As part of the police investigation, extensive searches have been carried out at the outdoor activity centre at Doe Park, Denholme, and a nearby allotment.

A large cordon was put in place over the weekend at the centre and police divers have been scouring the large lake at the sailing centre.

On Tuesday night, a police forensics team could be seen at work at a rented house in Unity Street South, Bingley, where Mr Charles had lived.

Neighbours spoke of their shock at the sequence of events.

One man, who did not want to be named, said he regularly spoke to Mr Charles when they met in the street.

“He seemed a pleasant sort of a man; perfectly normal,” he said.

“I didn’t know him well, just in passing. He always seemed to be driving nice cars. One was an Audi TT.

“The first I knew about it was when his father knocked on the door asking if we had seen Tyron and that he had been missing since Wednesday the 6th.

“I understand he worked at a pub in Denholme and had not been seen since 9pm that night.

“There were aways a lot of people coming and going from the house and there was always a strong smell of weed coming from the back garden.”

Another neighbour, who also did not want to be named, said: “There were so many people of all ages going to the house that it was difficult to make out who lived there,” she said.

“It is usually quiet around here. This has shaken everyone.”

Northampton cat deaths police probe link with ‘UK animal killer’

Rusty, the ginger catImage copyright Submitted
Image caption Rusty, a one-year-old cat, was deliberately mutilated and left on the doorstep of its owner’s home

Police forces are working together to see whether the mutilation of cats in different regions are linked to a so-called “UK animal killer”.

In the latest attacks the bodies of two dismembered cats were dumped in bags on their owners’ doorsteps in Northampton.

Northamptonshire Police is in contact with the Metropolitan force, which is investigating a series of cat deaths.

Animal charity Snarl believes what it calls the “UK animal killer” could be involved in many attacks.

The most recent cat death being investigated by Northamptonshire Police happened on 7 September.

The dismembered body of 15-year-old Topsy was found in a carrier bag left outside her owner’s front door in Brookfield Road, Kingsley.

On 28 August a teenage girl opened a carrier bag on her doorstep in Betjeman Court in Northampton to find the mutilated body of her pet cat Rusty.

The head, limbs and ears of the ginger cat had been cut off.

A few days earlier the family’s other cat had been set on fire, but survived.

Image caption A number of cat killings in the Croydon area were linked in late 2015/early 2016

A number of cat and other animal deaths around the country have been linked by the charity Snarl – South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty – which said the two Northampton mutilations “bore wounds indicative of the UK animal killer”.

After the charity raised concerns with police about a series of “gruesome” killings which initially began in the Croydon area in 2015, the Met launched Operation Takahe to investigate animal deaths.

The suspect initially became known as the “Croydon cat killer”.

Image copyright David Emmerson
Image caption Missy went missing on 4 December 2015 from her home near Croydon and was found dead days later with her head and tail chopped off

Northamptonshire Police confirmed they “have been in contact with the Met as part of their on-going investigation into cat deaths, to see if these are in any way linked”.

A Met spokesman said its officers would “assess the latest [Northampton] report to see if it is linked to the cases already established as part of the ongoing investigation led by police in Croydon”.

Tony Jenkins, head of charity Snarl said about 250 cats had been killed in similar circumstances since October 2015 and 50 foxes were found with “identical injuries to the cats”.

He is also investigating the deaths of five rabbits and two decapitated swans to see whether they might be linked.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor buried at Westminster Cathedral

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor lying in state at Westminster CathedralImage copyright Reuters
Image caption People pay their respects as Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor lies in state at Westminster Cathedral

The funeral of the former Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, has been held at Westminster Cathedral.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor died on 1 September at the age of 85.

Among those attending the funeral were the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and his predecessor Lord Rowan Williams, along with 47 bishops and more than 250 priests.

The cardinal’s body has been lying in state at the cathedral since Tuesday.

The former archbishop, who had cancer, helped plan his funeral and chose his burial place – in a vault at the heart of the cathedral.

The funeral mass was taken by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the current Archbishop of Westminster.

‘Unwavering devotion’

It had been his wish to be laid to rest close to where people will regularly pass him and pray for him.

He became the 10th Archbishop of Westminster – and therefore the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales – in March 2000, and was appointed as a cardinal by Pope John Paul II the following year.

He retired from his role as archbishop in 2009.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor performs mass in 2002

Pope Francis paid tribute to the cardinal’s “unwavering devotion” and “distinguished service to the Church in England and Wales” following his death.

Senior national and political figures, including former Irish president Mary McAleese, also attended the funeral. They were among the 1,200 mourners in the cathedral.

The Cardinal’s nephew, Patrick Murphy-O’Connor, paid tribute to his uncle’s devotion to his family, for whom “he would do anything”.

‘A huge lesson’

George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff, gave the homily. The cardinal was “a priest to his fingertips” and “supremely confident in his calling,” he said.

Yet the archbishop also acknowledged that the cardinal had learned “a huge lesson” when he faced controversy over how he handled claims of child sex abuse by the clergy.

In his role as Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, Mr Murphy-O’Connor decided in 1985 to move Father Michael Hill – who he was told was a threat to children – to the chaplaincy at Gatwick Airport.

Mr Hill was later jailed in 2002, having pleaded guilty to indecent assault.

Explaining his decision, the cardinal said he had received “conflicting psychiatric reports” and believed Hill would not have access to children. He also apologised to Mr Hill‘s victims.

At the funeral, Archbishop Stack said : “He acknowledged his mistakes. He made no excuses. He said the most difficult words of all, ‘I’m sorry’.”

Nick Clegg reveals son’s cancer diagnosis

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez and Nick CleggImage copyright ITV Lorraine

Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, have spoken for the first time about their son’s treatment for cancer.

Antonio, now 15, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma last September.

After treatment at University College Hospital in London, including chemotherapy, he is now in remission.

His parents told ITV‘s Lorraine programme how telling their eldest son he had blood cancer was one of the “toughest things” the family had faced.

“It is like a word bomb – certainly if you are not familiar with it, as we were not,” said Mr Clegg.

“Your initial reaction, as we found, was like any mum or dad, it is irrational but you almost have this physical wish to take it off your kid and take it yourself.”

Ms Gonzalez Durantez said Antonio had gone to his GP after finding a small lump on his neck, which had not been particularly painful.

“We were very lucky that he [the GP] spotted that it could be something more serious,” she told host Lorraine Kelly.

“We dealt with it by carrying on and trying to keep things as close to the routine that we had beforehand and also being very open.

“The day that he was told, and I think that probably us telling him is one of the toughest things that we have ever done, the following day he went to school, he stood up and he told everybody, ‘I have cancer.’

“That’s the way he dealt with it, but other children and other families deal with it in a different way, you have to find your way.”

Side-effects

Mr Clegg said: “His lymphoma was all over his chest and his neck and he gets tested every three months, I think for a couple of years, so there is always a slight spike of anxiety with us every three months, but basically he is on the road to recovery.

“Interestingly, the thing he was most concerned about was sort of falling behind his classmates. His anxiety was more about keeping up with his classmates, keeping up at school. So, it was very impressive actually.”

He added the couple’s other children, Alberto and Miguel, had taken the news well.

“Once they heard from us that he will be OK, again they are just so, so practical – just, ‘OK then,'” he said.

Mr Clegg praised the way Antonio had handled the diagnosis and treatment, which resulted in severe side-effects including hair loss, vomiting and fatigue.

‘Common type’

The Cleggs are trying to raise awareness of the charity Bloodwise, which will launch a report on Wednesday urging more research into less toxic treatments for children with cancer.

Ms Gonzalez Durantez said: “[With] chemotherapy, they poison your body so that you can get cured and it’s a shock to see it happen.

“We do realise how incredibly lucky we are both with the fact that the treatment has worked and how well he seems.”

Bloodwise said blood cancer was the most common cancer among children and young people, with more than 1,100 people under the age of 24 being diagnosed in the UK every year.

Dr Alasdair Rankin, the charity’s director of research, said: “The reality is that one in five children diagnosed with the most common type of leukaemia still do not survive, and that those who do often experience devastating side-effects both during and after treatment.

“This is simply not good enough. We need to save every child’s life, make the treatment process much kinder and give them the life they would have had without cancer.”

Celtic charged by Uefa as fan runs on to pitch and ‘aims kick at Kylian Mbappe’

A fan runs towards PSG star Kylian Mbappe during the match at Celtic Park

Celtic have been charged by Uefa after a fan ran on to the pitch and appeared to aim a kick at Paris St-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe.

The incident happened late in the first half of Tuesday’s Champions League match at Celtic Park, shortly after the visitors’ third goal in a 5-0 win.

PSG also face a charge after seats were damaged in the away section.

The cases will be dealt with by Uefa’s control, ethics and disciplinary body on 19 October.

Police Scotland reported seven arrests at the match, including a 21-year-old man charged with alleged pitch incursion and assault.

He was taken into custody, along with three other men who were accused of assault, breach of the peace and violating the offensive behaviour at football act 2012.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said he was pleased the rest of the sell-out crowd booed the intruder.

“I think their reaction said it all,” he said. “It was disappointing at any ground, at any club, a supporter getting on the pitch like that.

“It was bitterly disappointing and I am sure the club will deal with whoever that supporter was. It shouldn’t be anything that we should see.

“I think the stewards dealt with it at the time and I am sure the club will deal with it.”

In July, Celtic were fined £20,600 after an “illicit banner” was displayed during their qualifying win over Linfield.

It was the club’s 11th punishment in six years relating to misconduct from supporters during European ties.

Following the initial charge, they announced a two-game closure of the area of the stadium occupied by the Green Brigade fans’ group.

Celtic and Paris St-Germain are in Champions League Group B, along with Bayern Munich and Anderlecht

Spider-bite bride in honeymoon horror tells of earlier brush with venomous snake

A BRIDE who almost died after a wound from a spider bite in Jamaica went septic has revealed she had a previous run-in with a venomous snake on a student night out in less-exotic Liverpool.

Victoria Ross, from Bingley, is now recovering at home from the Violin Spider’s bite that ate away at her flesh and muscle covering her left leg with pus-filled boils.

And she has revealed she was also hospitalised as a fresher student in 2004 after a dumped pet snake crawled out of Liverpool Docks and bit her.

“You couldn’t make it up if you tried. It was even the same leg,” said newly-wed Mrs Ross who spoke to the Telegraph & Argus to back today’s World Sepsis Day.

The 32-year-old account executive said her previous bite encounter – which bizarrely exposed a severe allergy to chilli she had eaten in a hot curry the night before – was nothing compared to the nightmare she has just been through and she wanted to raise awareness of how terrifyingly fast sepsis can take a grip.

Mrs Ross is facing six months of wearing a special compression bandage while her leg rebuilds itself, although she will be left with scarring and the prospect of physiotherapy.

“It was hit and miss for a time,” she said. “At first doctors wanted to amputate. The sepsis was just eating my leg away. It was sheer panic. I had 120 anti-biotic drips in just seven days.

“The staff of Ward 6 at Airedale Hospital worked their backsides off to save my leg and me. I can’t thank them enough. They did everything possible.”

Mrs Ross was at work back off her honeymoon when she “went downhill” in less than an hour, starting with a shooting headache then uncontrollable shivers, feeling freezing cold apart from the burning hot sensation around the bite on her leg.

She said: “I managed to drive home but was so ill my dad had to meet me on the drive and piggy-back me out of the car. I left it too long. We rang 111 and they said it was sepsis.

“I’m so lucky to still be here and have my leg. I hope what happened to me can help alert others to what sepsis is and how fast it can take you over. If you suspect it, get help straightaway. It could save a life.”

Dr Dominic Hewitt, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are glad to hear that Mrs Ross is recovering from her sepsis which was quickly identified and treated. Sepsis is the result of the body’s reaction to infection in some patients and can result in organ failure and death, even when treated. Mrs Ross’s symptoms of chills and headaches were typical.”

Symptoms are slurred speech or confusion, extreme shivering or muscle pain, passing no urine in a day, severe breathlessness, mottled or discoloured skin.

Sepsis kills 44,000 people in the UK, more than breast, bowel, cervical and prostate cancer combined.

Recognising the symptoms and early treatment can save lives. To find out more, go to sepsistrust.org.

This week Bradford Teaching Hospitals Trust was identified by BBC Panorama as the lowest scoring NHS England trust for treating sepsis with antibiotics, covering the 12 months to March 2017. According to those figures only 25 per cent of patients who needed them were treated within one hour.