Black cab rapist John Worboys jailed for at least eight years

A taxi driver convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting women passengers was jailed indefinitely today and told that he would have to serve a minimum of eight years behind bars.

John Worboys, a 51-year-old black cab driver was found guilty last month of assaulting 12 women during an 18-month reign of terror in London. Many of his victims were young women who had been drinking at bars and clubs in the capital.

The cabbie offered the women champagne secretly spiked with powerful sedatives to celebrate a fictional lottery win that left them unable to defend themselves.

Detectives said they have since been contacted by other women who claim the former stripper and adult film star targeted them with his distinctive ruse. Officer said he is the prime suspect in at least 85 attacks in the London and Dorset areas dating back to 2002, which could make him one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.

April 21, 2009. news. Leave a comment.

Edlington boys held for ‘torture’ of children

Two young brothers were in the care of social services and may already have been reported to the police when they allegedly attacked and tortured two children with knives, bricks and burning cigarettes, leaving one for dead.

The boys, aged 11 and 10, had been placed with foster carers by Doncaster Council, whose child protection services were accused recently of a litany of failings. Serious case reviews have been ordered into the deaths of seven children in the area since 2004.

The brothers were held in custody for a third night as police continued to question them about the incident in Edlington, South Yorkshire, in which two boys aged 11 and 9 were subjected to a vicious assault.

Yesterday it was claimed that there had been a series of incidents in recent weeks in which local children had been terrorised by two young boys.

Complaints were made to social services and police about the behaviour of two boys, yet they continued to roam Edlington with apparent impunity, swearing at adults, allegedly throwing bricks at cars, and threatening and robbing children.

In the most serious incident before the weekend’s attack, police were told that an 11-year-old choirboy had been attacked by two young boys after being lured to an isolated spot.

Kerry Reynolds said that the pair punched, kicked and stamped on her son, Callam. “I was terrified,” Callam said. “They were shouting they were going to kill me.”

Ms Reynolds said that police officers visited her twice but showed no urgency over the case. She added that the two boys suspected of assaulting Callam failed to attend an interview at a police station on Saturday.

On the afternoon of that day, a nine-year-old boy was found, barefoot and soaked in blood, walking along a street in the town. His 11-year-old friend was later found, wearing only his boxer shorts and socks, unconscious at the edge of a pond a mile away. The man who found him thought that he was dead.

The 11-year-old boy’s scalp had been slashed. The blade of a Stanley knife was found nearby. He was airlifted to hospital and has now been taken off the critical list.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, described it as a “very serious and tragic case”. Gordon Brown was also reported to be shocked.

Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, said that the attacks were barbaric. “We were all deeply shocked by what we read.” he said. “It’s really very important that we don’t jump on a bandwagon and allow all groups of children to be demonised. The vast majority of young people should not be smeared by politicians trying to peddle rhetoric about a broken society.”

Doncaster social services confirmed last night that the brothers being held by police had recently been placed in foster care.

Paul Hart, the council’s managing director, said: “This is a truly shocking and upsetting incident and we are working closely with our partners to assist the investigation.”

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police refused to discuss any of the incidents preceding Saturday’s attack “due to the constraints of the law relating to such matters”.

Mr Balls sent a new management team to take over Doncaster Council’s children’s services last month after it emerged that reports had warned of social workers being overwhelmed by their caseloads. One worker said that details of vulnerable children were “buried quite literally in a pile of other referrals”.

The independent Mayor of Doncaster, Martin Winter, announced that he would not stand for reelection in June.

April 7, 2009. news. 1 comment.


Rescue workers continued to search for the missing in the Abruzzo earthquake after a night of powerful aftershocks and torrential rain, with the death toll reaching 179. Two girls were pulled alive from the rubble overnight, rescue workers said. But 34 people have been listed as still unaccounted for by distraught relatives. Thousands of residents have been evacuated to tent cities set up in sports fields, and 800 farm bed and breakfast establishments have offered refuge to the homeless. Outlying villages such as Onna and Castelnuovo have also been devastated, and hospitals in the area have appealed for help from doctors and nurses throughout Italy. The earthquake struck shortly after 330 am on Monday night and registered 6.3 on the Richter scale. It was the worst earthquake to hit Italy since 2002, when 30 people, most of them children, were killed in a school collapse in the South. Some 10,000 to 15,000 buildings were either damaged or destroyed, officials said. The mayor of L’Aquila, Massimo Cialente, said about 100,000 people were homeless.

Local people said that seismic activity had increased recently. The first tremors were felt in mid-January and continued at regular intervals, creating mounting alarm in the area. One woman whose home collapsed said that there was a severe jolt a week ago. Another woman described the quake as “the apocalypse — our house collapsed”. She added: “For three months there have been regular tremors and they’ve been getting stronger.”

April 7, 2009. Tags: , . news. Leave a comment.

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