A former police officer accused of being one of California’s most feared serial killers and rapists in the 1970s and 80s has been charged with eight counts of murder.Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested at his home on Tuesday after DNA linked him to crimes attributed to the so-called Golden State Killer.Authorities say he could face dozens more charges.The culprit also known as the East Area Rapist, among other names, is suspected of at least 12 killings and 50 rapes in 10 counties from Northern to Southern California. The armed and masked prowler sneaked in through windows at night and surprised sleeping victims who ranged in age from 13 to 41.When encountering a couple, he was known to tie up the man and pile dishes on his back. He threatened to kill both victims if he heard plates crash to the floor while he raped the woman. He then ransacked the house, taking souvenirs, notably coins and jewellery before fleeing on foot or bicycle.Despite an outpouring of thousands of tips over the years, DeAngelo’s name had not been on the radar of law enforcement before last week, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.“We knew we were looking for a needle in a haystack, but we also knew that needle was there,” she said. “It was right here in Sacramento.”A break in the case and the arrest came together in “light speed” during the past six days, Ms Schubert said, though authorities refused to reveal what led to DeAngelo.Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones said detectives with “dogged determination” were able to get a sample of DNA from something DeAngelo discarded, though he would not say what the item was. The genetic material was not a match, but there were enough similarities for investigators to return for more and they said they were able to get a conclusive match.After watching DeAngelo for several days, deputies took him by surprise on Tuesday.“It looked as though he might have been searching his mind to execute a particular plan he may have had,” but never had time to act, Mr Jones said.DeAngelo was arrested on suspicion of committing double-killings in Sacramento and Ventura counties and later charged with four counts of murder in Orange County, officials said.Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten said that before prosecutors decide whether to seek the death penalty, there will be a “solemn and formal death review process that typically takes many months before a decision is made”.DeAngelo, who served in the Navy, was a police officer in Exeter, in the San Joaquin Valley, from 1973 to 1976, at a time a burglar known as the Visalia Ransacker was active, Mr Jones said.He transferred to the force in Auburn in the Sierra foothills near where he grew up outside Sacramento. About 50 crimes, including two killings, were attributed to the East Area Rapist during the three years DeAngelo worked in Auburn, but Mr Jones said it was not clear if any were committed while on duty.DeAngelo was fired from the Auburn department in 1979 after being arrested for stealing a can of dog repellent and a hammer from a drug store, according to Auburn Journal articles from the time. He was convicted of the theft and fined 100 US dollars.Ten killings occurred after he was fired and all took place in Southern California.
The case against two Canadian pilots accused of preparing to fly a passenger plane while under the influence of alcohol has collapsed after their blood samples were destroyed at a prison.It came after the Appeal Court ruled the Crown had not met its duty to supply Jean-Francois Perreault and Imran Syed with their part of the blood sample used to test for alcohol levels.Prosecutors said that after “full and careful consideration” of the facts and circumstances there would be no further proceedings in the case. Mr Perreault, 41, and Mr Syed, 39, were arrested on July 18 2016 before they were due to take off on the Air Transat flight from Glasgow to Toronto.Syed, from Toronto, was accused of performing “an activity ancillary to an aviation function” when he allegedly had 49 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, more than double the legal limit of 20.Perreault, from the province of Ontario, faced the same charge with an alleged 32 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.They had denied the charge.The delayed Airbus flight eventually set off with a different crew the next morning, with about 250 passengers having spent the night at hotels close to Glasgow Airport.At a previous hearing, which could not be reported until now, Paisley Sheriff Court heard that both men requested part of their blood samples when they were taken in July 2016 so that they could have them independently analysed.The samples were among their belongings when they arrived at HMP Low Moss on July 19 2016, however prison staff did not know what to do with them.Paul Scoular, security manager at the prison, working for the Scottish Prison Service, said he was concerned the blood samples might no longer be of any worth because they had not been in cold storage.He discussed his concerns with the pilots and said both men gave him their consent for the samples, known as B, to be destroyed.Mr Scoular passed the samples to the prison nurse who put them in a locked drawer and later destroyed them when she heard the two pilots had been released from the prison.Giving evidence himself, Mr Perreault said he did not give permission for his blood sample to be destroyed.He told the court: “I wanted to have my blood sample analysed.”Following a hearing at Paisley Sheriff Court in September, Sheriff James Spy ruled that the samples were available for independent analysis at the time and that police and the Crown were not responsible for what happened to them later, and that the case could proceed.However the defence appealed against his decision, arguing that the blood samples should be inadmissible as evidence.In February the Sheriff rejected the appeal, however the case then went to the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh where the defence won their appeal, with judges saying the Sheriff ought to have ruled that sample B was not admissible.On Thursday it was confirmed that the case has fallen.A Crown Office spokesman said: “It is the duty of the Crown to keep cases under review. After full and careful consideration of the facts and circumstances, including the recent decision of the Court of Appeal, Crown Counsel instructed there should be no further proceedings at this time.“We are working with Police Scotland to ensure there are proper processes and guidance in place covering the retention and storage of samples when an accused person is remanded in custody.”Both men were suspended by Air Transat after their arrests.A spokesman for the airline said: “We note that all charges against our pilots have been dropped. The pilots were indeed suspended pending the outcome of the court proceedings. They have now been declared innocent.“The safety of our passengers and flight crews is our number one priority. We have always taken, and will continue to take, all necessary measures to ensure that applicable regulations, as well as our internal rules are followed to the letter. We can count on the unfailing co-operation of our personnel in that respect.“We will be meeting with them in the next few days to plan their reinstatement since there is no charge against them and we have no evidence that they have broken any law nor our internal rules.“They will need to undergo retraining and requalification as per applicable legislation, and we will put in place measures to ensure that their behaviour is exemplary.”
Former Castleford full-back Zak Hardaker has been banned for 14 months by UK Anti-Doping for failing a drugs test.The 26-year-old will not appeal against the punishment, which has been backdated to September 2017, when he tested positive for cocaine. The decision means Hardaker will be free to join a new club in November.Hardaker’s representatives Chadwick Lawrence Solicitors said in a statement: “Following a one-day hearing in front of the National Anti-Doping Panel, Zak Hardaker has been charged by UKAD with committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADVR) under Article 2.1 of the UK Anti-Doping Rules, namely that a metabolite of cocaine was found in a urine sample.“It was held that the period of Zak’s ineligibility to play rugby league should be limited to 14 months. Zak was suspended on September 8 2017, which means he will be eligible to return to play rugby league on November 7 2018.“Zak’s legal team successfully argued that, as a result of a number of exceptional circumstances, the 26-year-old, former England player, bore no significant fault in committing an ADVR.”The legal team added: “We believe the correct verdict has been returned and we would like to thank the tribunal for their professionalism. This was a truly exceptional case, where the drug use was never linked to performance enhancement.“In this regard Zak would never take any substance to achieve an unfair advantage and we are pleased that the decision of the tribunal has recognised this fact.“He was commended by the tribunal for his impressive comprehensive evidence and the fact that he made no attempt to downplay his conduct and was utterly frank with them.“The last two years have been an extremely difficult period for Zak who, away from the public eye, has bravely battled a number of personal traumas.“Zak has asked for privacy at this time but thanked his family and close friends for helping him through this difficult period.”Castleford announced in February that Hardaker had been sacked with four years left on his contract.The Tigers initially suspended Hardaker last October after dropping the England international for the Super League Grand Final against Leeds, the club he left for Castleford in a loan deal in 2016.He joined the club on a permanent contract for a fee of £150,000 in June with Daryl Powell’s side cruising to League Leaders’ Shield success. But his chequered career took another dark turn when it was revealed he failed a drugs test after a Super 8s game against the Rhinos in September.In 2014, while at Leeds he was banned for five games after being found guilty of homophobic abuse in a match against Warrington and a year later he agreed to take an anger management course after admitting assaulting a student.Hardaker was shortlisted for the Man of Steel award he had won in 2015 after recapturing his form in 2017 but he was dropped for the Grand Final and left out of England’s World Cup squad following the failed drugs test.With the help of Castleford, he took a job outside rugby league as he awaited his fate.Hardaker will now hope to find another club in time for the 2019 Super League season, with Wigan his likely destination.
A lawyer has questioned whether an unmarried mother at the centre of a legal battle to access widowed parent’s allowance is being made an example of.Special needs classroom assistant Siobhan McLaughlin, 46, from Armoy in Co Antrim, was with her partner John Adams, a groundsman, for 23 years. The couple had four children – Rebecca, 15, Billy, 16, Lisa, 21, and Stuart, 23.Following Mr Adams’s death from cancer in January 2014, Ms McLaughlin was refused widowed parent’s allowance because they were not married or in a civil partnership.She applied for a judicial review of the decision, claiming unlawful discrimination based on her marital status and won her original court case, later overturned by the Court of Appeal.Ms McLaughlin has now applied to the Supreme Court, sitting in Northern Ireland for the first time, for judicial review and hopes her legal challenge will help other families.Her lawyer, Frank O’Donoghue QC, asked the court: “Is there a defensive aspect to this legislation, holding up Ms McLaughlin as an example to what might happen to you if you don’t get married?”Mr O’Donoghue said Ms McLaughlin should be treated in the same way as a married couple with children after the death of the main earner. “The court should require the state, as we prepare to enter the third decade of the 21st century, to justify this obvious difference in treatment, beyond the rather simplistic and rigid explanation that one widow was married and the other was not,” he said.“A more inclusive measure could have and should have been used. As a bare minimum, entitlement to widowed parent’s allowance on the part of cohabiting unmarried parents and children is required.”Mr O’Donoghue said the benefit is not for the married couple but for the survivor and children and claimed there is no evidence proving current restrictions promote marriage.He argued changing the regulations would not create a significant additional administrative social security burden.The court also heard from Helen Mountfield QC on behalf of the Child Poverty Action Group, who argued the ruling is incompatible with international law and “penalises” children whose parents are not married, treating them as “less worthy”.Earlier, Ms McLaughlin said: “It is wrong that a child born out of wedlock is not seen as deserving as one born to a married couple.”She had to supplement her income by taking on additional evening cleaning work after her partner’s death and said thinking about the difference the benefit would have made is “heartbreaking”. Ms McLaughlin said: “It might have meant that I could have been at home every night to prepare the supper, as I had been when John was here.“But because I had to go back to work, I am no longer there – so not only did they (the children) lose their dad, they also lost me and that stability.”She added: “It was a family unit. The children have John’s surname, his name is on their birth certificates.”The case, at the Royal Courts of Justice, continues.
Edinburgh will focus on getting what they need from the 1872 Cup third leg against Glasgow Warriors on the assumption their play-off rivals do the same and let the cards fall where they may, says Richard Cockerill. Edinburgh are in the fortunate position of playing after Scarlets and Ulster – “I’d be complaining about it if it were the other way around,” he admitted - so they will know exactly what they have to do when they take the field at BT Murrayfield. But that won’t change their approach in any way in the moments leading up to the game, he said. “Our mindset is just around winning the game, because of the bizarre set-up that we play last, it’s an unfair advantage in so many ways,” he said. “It may change because if Ulster won’t get what they need (a b onus point win against Munster) we’re qualified. “If Scarlets win but don’t get a bonus point, a bonus point win would give us a home quarter-final. “At the moment we’re just concerned that we’ve got our destiny in our own hands, let’s work on the assumption that Ulster will get what they need, and so we have to go and get whatever we need. I think that’s a good mindset for us.” Playing for the sole bonus point they need to book European Champions Cup qualification and a play-off berth is not a wise option, he believes. “I’m not sure that Glasgow area a team that you go and defend and hope you don’t lose by more than seven,” he said. “They’re a good side with a huge threat across the team, the setpiece, the breakdown and defence are going to be huge decider factors in the game. “They’ve probably got more X Factor than us, but as I said earlier in the week some of our parts are strong. “We play how we play, they play how they play. We’re not entering the jamboree of let’s all go and run around, chuck the ball about. The way we play has got us to a good spot this year, and let’s hope that continues.” Winning the local trophy means very little to the head coach, “My only concern is to qualify. The 1872 cup is what it is, I am not fussed about that whatsoever. We have got to get out of that small-mindedness. We are here to qualify for Europe and be in the play-offs and that should be our mindset.” Cockerill has stuck mainly with the team that defeated Scarlets so handsomely two weeks ago, with the return of Fijian Bill Mata to the back row the only major change. “Mata’s played well, he’s a threat with ball in hand and he frightens people when he carries the ball so Cornell (du Preez) goes to the bench and Mata starts," he went on. "It’s good firepower for us. “Glasgow are genuine contenders to win the title, so the expectation is more on them. They have the better players and bigger budget. It is as simple as that. The pressure is on them to get back on form. “Their form has not been great lately. However in a couple of big games, Cardiff and Ulster, we have lost our bottle a little bit as well. Now we are genuinely in a position to compete with the good sides, when we get it right, so we need to see we can do it again.” Edinburgh team (vs Glasgow, 1872 Cup and Guinness PRO14, BT Murrayfield tomorrow, kick-off 7.45, live on Sky Sports): Blair Kinghorn; Dougie Fife, James Johnstone, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe; Jaco van der Walt, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Jordan Lay, Stuart McInally (capt), Simon Berghan; Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist; Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie, Bill Mata. Repl;acements: Neil Cochrane, Allan Dell, WP Nel, Lewis Carmichael, Cornell du Preez, Nathan Fowles, Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett.
Skidding back Into the Valley: Richard Jobson on the ‘personal triumph’ of a hometown Dunfermline exhibition
As The Skids launch a major hometown exhibition in Dunfermline on April 28, Michael Alexander speaks to the band’s front man Richard Jobson who explains why the homecoming feels like a “personal triumph”. Sheltering from the wind and rain near his Berlin apartment on Wednesday lunchtime, Fife-raised punk legend Richard Jobson is reflecting on the “physicality” of The Skids 40th anniversary tour last summer. We are talking about how, at 56, he had to get himself in peak physical condition to perform the tracks he wrote and performed as a teenager and how the band “proved the sceptics wrong” with fans turning out in their thousands - despite the absence of the late Stuart Adamson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p01Ies7pkXE “The music is so physical – it’s never been shoegazing music,” says Richard, who retains the enthusiasm of a 16-year-old when he talks about The Skids tracks. “My whole thing really was to make people feel that we hadn’t cheated them so it felt like a genuine experience of a bunch of guys playing music they care about. “That really worked – and it worked because we have I think a healthy dose of humility and integrity.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMSb3ktXhLc Richard said his favourite part of the shows was “hanging out with people afterwards” to hear their stories. He gets annoyed when cultural historians seemingly omit the band from the annals of punk history. “Often there’s these straw polls where they look at the top 50 bands in Scotland and stuff and sometimes we are not even in it!” he says. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YAyHi9CtF0 “There was a documentary recently about how punk came to Scotland and it started with Orange Juice, and you are thinking 'what the heck? It’s almost like we didn’t exist'.” Richard puts this “wrong idea of the history of the band” down to them “not being cool” and because they disbanded after three albums. He adds:“The Skids were raw. We were a working class band. We came from quite austere backgrounds. We weren’t an art school band. We never pretended to be. We never hid behind our music or guitars.” But he hopes the stars are about to be “realigned” with the launch of an exhibition this weekend back home in Dunfermline, which celebrates the work and music of Richard Jobson and The Skids. From 1977, the year that the influential group formed in Dunfermline, right up to 2018 with the release of their first album in 35 years, the exhibition which runs until August 26, includes some incredible and unusual pieces of memorabilia, artwork and photographs from fan and band collections. It's apt that the exhibition is being held at Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries. That's because in the building’s former guise, a then teenage Jobson would seek heat and respite to pen lyrics to some of The Skids’ earliest hits under the roof of the world’s first Carnegie Library. Some of these original lyric sheets will be on display in the upcoming exhibition, alongside information about Richard’s later movies and books. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kyH9yoa4WM “Life was tough growing up,” says Richard. “My mother worked at Rosyth dockyard and my dad was a miner. We lived in a small house. Five boys in the family - sharing a room and all that. There was a lot of social disruption in our lives, and the only place I found any solace was in Dunfermline Carnegie Library. “I would go straight there from St Columba’s High School. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT9eQ2smjUM “The first thing I ever wrote there believe it or not was The Saints are Coming when I was 16. “Things like Into the Valley came from there – it was originally called Depersonalised which was not the catchiest of titles! “Working for the Yankee Dollar was written there, Masquerade was written there – all of the lyrics for Scared to Dance were definitely written there. Probably the only album that wasn’t written there I would say was The Absolute Game. “It was a place that gave me great solace and made me feel like anything was possible surrounded by all these great books.” The books Richard was reading at the time were influenced by listening to the likes of David Bowie and Lou Reed. Sometimes the library would be full of homeless people who spent their nights in hostels. So to be back there for the exhibition is something he regards as a “personal triumph”. “It’s made me feel like I’ve gone full circle and I’m really overjoyed," he says, "especially with The Skids convention coming up in May which is going to be tied into that and the release of my book Into the Valley, which will also tie in with that. “The publishers wanted to do the book launch in London in some fancy club and I’m like ‘nah nah – the Carnegie Library Dunfermline.’ And they are like ‘where’s that?’ I’m like ‘read the book mate!’ “They were a bit miffed about it but it was that or nothing!” Richard won’t be in Dunfermline for the unofficial opening of the exhibition this weekend but he will be back for The Skids convention on May 19 – and is keen to be part of Dunfermline's renaissance as the “coolest town in Scotland.” He adds: “I’m deeply proud to come from Dunfermline even although I live in Berlin now. “I’m still a Fifer. I try to explain that to people from Berlin and they haven’t a clue what I’m talking about!” Of course, Stuart Adamson, who went on to create Big Country and who committed suicide in 2001, won’t be there for the official launch. But Richard said he’ll be there in spirit. “He’s an amazing part of Scottish and British culture,” adds Richard. “What he represented was unique. What he did was unique. What he created was unique. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbhtJh1LXHQ "A lot of these other bands we were talking about which were regarded as cool were very derivative of their influences. “Stuart created his own unique sound. The Stuart Adamson sound. He was an amazing guy. “But he had a dark side obviously which we are all aware of because of what happened to him, and I’ve dealt with that in the book. “I talk a lot about my relationship with Stuart and how I was aware he had a dark side – but so did I. We both had dark sides!” *The Richard Jobson and The Skids exhibition runs at Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries from Saturday April 28 to Sunday August 26. In addition to the exhibition, a series of talks and celebratory events will also be held in celebration of the band’s history. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4LZ_DQwXLA Local music venue PJ Molloys are promoting a Skids convention which invites fans to participate in Q&A sessions taking place at Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries and social events, acoustic sessions and film screenings around the town. The convention takes place at the end of Festival of Museums week on Saturday May 19 and Sunday May 20.
The sister of a woman who was tortured and murdered by two convicted killers told a court she could not understand how they were freed on licence.Stephen Unwin, 40, and William McFall, 51, murdered Vietnamese nail technician Quyen Ngoc Nguyen after a four-hour ordeal and dumped her body in her car before torching it last August.She had been lured to Unwin’s home in Shiney Row near Sunderland, where McFall lay in wait, Newcastle Crown Court has heard.Unwin went on to rape the 28-year-old, who was just 5ft and weighed seven stone.The victim’s sister, Quynh Ngoc Nguyen, 35, read a Victim Statement, saying: “We cannot comprehend how men like this can live freely in this country.“My sister believed, as I did, that you came to this country for a safer life, with better opportunities for herself and her children.”She said their parents and her sister’s two children had been left heartbroken by the actions of the murderers.“They did not act like human beings, they are evil,” she said.Mr Justice Morris must decide whether Unwin and McFall, who is originally from Northern Ireland, will ever be freed.Unwin had a history of setting fires to destroy evidence at the scenes of his crimes.He battered a pensioner to death during a break-in at his home on Christmas Day 1998 and the fire he started to cover his tracks meant the victim could only be identified by his medical records.Unwin admitted murder, was sentenced to life and was released on licence in December 2012. He met McFall in the prison system, where he was also serving life for murdering a pensioner. McFall attacked his victim with a hammer after she disturbed him breaking into her home in Carrickfergus in May 1996. He was jailed for life and released on licence in October 2010.Jamie Hill QC told the court: “In cases where a defendant has been convicted or murder for a second time normally the starting point for sentencewould be a whole life order.“In the common parlance, life without parole.”The judge was asked to consider whether the murder was racially aggravated, as the killers swapped text messages including a reference to “raping the chink”.They ate curry as she lay lifeless on the floor before they dumped her in the burning car by allotments.The killers took £1,000 from her bank accounts, having tortured her to obtain the PINs.Dapinder Singh QC, for Unwin, urged the judge not to impose a whole life tariff.Nicholas Lumley QC, for McFall, said his client continued to deny the murder and regretted coming into contact with Unwin after his release, as his life was “on track” in Blackpool.The pair worked together in the North East maintaining properties for landlords and also stealing cannabis from drugs farms.Mr Lumley said: “He attributes his involvement in this terrible incident to his weakening to Mr Unwin’s charms.”The judge will sentence the pair at 1.45pm.
Celtic celebrated winning their seventh straight Ladbrokes Premiership crown with a merciless 5-0 drubbing of Rangers at Parkhead.Odsonne Edouard, the 20-year-old French striker on loan from Paris St Germain, scored a first-half double with James Forrest adding a third before the break to send Hoops fans into a half-time frenzy.Celtic’s current dominance over their city rivals was underlined after the break as midfielders Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor added further goals to spark off the familiar celebrations with three fixtures remaining.Tweet of the matchStar man – Odsonne EdouardWith Moussa Dembele out, Brendan Rodgers faced a dilemma over who to start up front – Edouard or Leigh Griffiths. He went with the on-loan Paris St Germain striker and got his reward as the 20-year-old put on a stunning display. His close-range finish for the opener may have been simple, but his next for goal number two was clinical perfection. Capped off a fine display by laying on the fifth for Callum McGregor.Moment of the matchThe Celtic support did not need to wait for the goals to start raining in for them to enjoy themselves but the party really got under way when James Forrest slammed home the third goal after a great solo run.Second thoughts for Steven Gerrard?Sources close to Rangers say that the former Liverpool and England skipper is close to agreeing to become the next Ibrox boss but based on this latest pasting at Parkhead, he could be forgiven for having second thoughts. The gap separating them from Brendan Rodgers’ treble-chasers is wider than ever and there appears no quick fix that could allow Gerrard to enjoy success any time soon.Data pointRodgers has enjoyed four-goal winning margins three times since taking over last season but this five-goal pasting is the Hoops’ biggest derby triumph over Gers since 1895 and takes the manager’s Old Firm record to 11 games without defeat.Player ratingsCeltic: Craig Gordon 6, Mikael Lustig 6, Dedryck Boyata 7, Kristoffer Ajer 6, Kieran Tierney 8, Olivier Ntcham 8, Scott Brown 7, James Forrest 8, Tom Rogic 8, Callum McGregor 8, Odsonne Edouard 9. Subs: Scott Sinclair (for Rogic, 70) 5, Jack Hendry (for Lustig, 71) 4, Leigh Griffiths (for Edouard, 75) 5.Rangers: Jak Alnwick 4, James Tavernier 4, Ross McCrorie 4, Russell Martin 4, Andy Halliday 5, Jason Holt 6, Graham Dorrans 4, Daniel Candeias 5, Josh Windass 4, Jamie Murphy 6, Jason Cummings 4. Subs: Alfredo Morelos (for Windass, 60) 5, Greg Docherty (for Dorrans, 71) 4.Who’s up next?Hearts v Celtic (Ladbrokes Premiership, Sunday, May 6)Rangers v Kilmarnock (Ladbrokes Premiership, Saturday, May 5)
The director of a yachting management company has been acquitted of the manslaughter of four sailors who died when the Cheeki Rafiki yacht sank mid-Atlantic.Douglas Innes, 43, of Southampton, Hampshire, briefly closed his eyes snd mouthed the words “thank you” as the jury, sitting at Winchester Crown Court, announced the not guilty verdicts.The jury had been deliberating at the retrial for 23 hours and 25 minutes.The yacht lost its keel as the crew were returning the 40ft yacht from Antigua to the UK in May 2014 when it got into trouble 1,000 miles from the United States.Lost at sea were all four crew members – skipper Andrew Bridge, 22, from Farnham in Surrey; James Male, 22, from Southampton; Steve Warren, 52, and Paul Goslin, 56, both from Somerset.The US Coastguard was criticised for calling off its search after two days but after protests from family and friends and intervention by the British government, the search was re-started and the boat found but without any sign of the four men.Innes, and his company Stormforce Coaching Limited, is to be sentenced on May 11 after being convicted at the first trial of failing to operate the yacht in a safe manner contrary to section 100 Merchant Shipping Act.Judge Douglas Field said “all options must remain open” with regard to sentencing.The jury told the judge it was “deeply concerned” about a maritime regulation guidance note and hoped it would be reviewed and tightened to help improve safety.Prosecutor Nigel Lickley QC told the court the yacht, named after a character in the Lion King, had an undetected fault with bolts holding the three tonne keel to the hull which then failed causing it to fall off during the bad weather during the voyage.Mr Lickley said the yacht, which had grounded on two earlier occasions, had been “unsafe and unsound” because Innes had “neglected it” by not maintaining it or having it inspected for several years.In contrast Innes told the court the Cheeki Rafiki had been regularly maintained and inspected with no evidence of damage to the keel.He said the yacht was taken out of the water for nearly five months in early 2013 for the hull to be stripped back and repainted as part of its maintenance programme.Innes said no fault with the keel or hull had been found and the yacht was scrubbed thoroughly prior to the its final journey.No problems with the keel or hull were spotted and he had not been informed by the yacht’s owners of damage caused during two groundings on two occasions, he added.
An unmarried mother behind a legal battle to access widowed parent’s allowance has accused the Government of treating her grieving children as “insignificant”.Siobhan McLaughlin, 46, said her case, being heard at the Supreme Court sitting in Northern Ireland for the first time, was never about her but about justice for her children.The special needs classroom assistant from Armoy, Co Antrim, was with her partner John Adams, a groundsman, for 23 years and they had four children – Rebecca, 15, Billy, 16, Lisa, 21, and Stuart, 23.Following Mr Adams’s death from cancer in January 2014, Ms McLaughlin had to take on an evening job after being refused widowed parent’s allowance because the couple were not married nor in a civil partnership.She sought a judicial review of the decision, claiming unlawful discrimination based on her marital status and won her original court case, later overturned by the Court of Appeal.The Supreme Court heard her latest application for judicial review on Monday.Her lawyer, Frank O’Donoghue QC, asked the court: “Is there a defensive aspect to this legislation, holding up Ms McLaughlin as an example to what might happen to you if you don’t get married?”Mr O’Donoghue said Ms McLaughlin should be treated equally to a married couple with children after the death of the breadwinner. “The court should require the state, as we prepare to enter the third decade of the 21st century, to justify this obvious difference in treatment, beyond the rather simplistic and rigid explanation that one widow was married and the other was not,” he said.“As a bare minimum, entitlement to widowed parent’s allowance on the part of cohabiting unmarried parents and children is required.”Mr O’Donoghue said the benefit is not for the married couple but for the survivor and children and claimed there is no evidence proving current restrictions promote marriage.The court also heard from Helen Mountfield QC, for the Child Poverty Action Group, who argued the ruling is incompatible with international law and “penalises” children whose parents are not married, treating them as “less worthy”.Tony McGleenan QC, for the Department for Communities, argued against this.He said the eligibility stems from having children but the benefit is not for them, as it is described as a benefit for the survivor.He said marital status is a “non-suspect ground of discrimination” as it is not an inherent characteristic and can be changed, adding that benefits of this type “should make marriage more attractive” to some cohabiting couples.Lady Hale said a judgment will be made at a later date but warned the ruling sought does not oblige the Government to act.Speaking outside court, Ms McLaughlin, who was accompanied by her two youngest children, thanked supporters.She said: “This case was never about me. I would love to be recognised as a widow but I accept in the eyes of the law and the Government that I am not.“What I wasn’t prepared to accept was how the Government viewed my children – how they could treat my grieving, bereaved children as insignificant.“I am such a private person but to sit and accept that this is how it is made me say, ‘No, this is wrong’. “I want to look my children in the eye and say it is the Government at fault here, not you, and because of this I have tried to rectify this for you.”