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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Birmingham double murder accused found dead

Posted On 15:01 by stargate 0 comments

 

A man accused of murdering a Birmingham couple in their home has been found hanged in his prison cell, police said Tuesday. Rimvydas Liorancas, 37, from Lithuania, was found dead at Woodhill prison in Milton Keynes on Saturday morning. He had been charged with the murders of Avtar and Carole Kolar earlier this month. The pair were found dead at their home in Handsworth Wood on January 11 having suffered blunt force trauma to the head in an apparent bungled burglary. Their son Jason, a police officer, found the bodies, but police later said they did not believe the killings were linked to his work. A Prison Service spokesman said: "HMP Woodhill prisoner Rimvydas Liorancas was found hanging in his cell at 8.52am on Saturday January 28. "Staff attempted resuscitation and paramedics attended but he was pronounced dead at 9.30am. "As with all deaths in custody, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation." Mr Kolar, 62, and his wife, who was 58, had been married for 40 years and had four children and eight grandchildren. Liorancas was arrested in Birmingham on January 16 and was due to appear at a plea hearing in May followed by a trial in August. It is thought that he was not considered at risk of suicide or self-harm.


Monday, 30 January 2012

UBS trader denies gambling £1.5 billion in Britain's biggest banking fraud

Posted On 16:49 by stargate 0 comments

 

Mr Adoboli, 31, east London, will go on trial accused of losing the cash while working for Swiss banking giant UBS. He spoke only to enter not guilty pleas to two counts of fraud and two counts of false accounting as he appeared in the dock at Southwark Crown Court. Adoboli, wearing a tailored grey suit and dark blue tie, sat forward in his seat and took notes as pre-trial arrangements were made. He said "Thank you, your honour" as Judge Alistair McCreath set a provisional trial date of September 3. "I remand you in custody," the judge told Adoboli. "I or some other judge will hear some application for bail."


Sunday, 29 January 2012

Prostitute in French footballer sex scandal launches own underwear range

Posted On 06:41 by stargate 0 comments

The prostitute at the centre of the French footballer sex scandal has transformed from call girl to cover girl with a new underwear range. Zahia Dehar made headlines last year when she alleged that top France stars Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema and Sidney Govou had paid thousands of pounds for sex with her when she was just 17. Now 19, she has launched a new line of lingerie at Paris couture week with none other than designer Karl Lagerfeld shooting her lookbook. Advertisement >> Following the scandal, which ruined the reputations of the three stars involved, demand for Zahia soared and she became a lingerie model appearing on the covers of top fashion magazines. Now she has enlisted the help of top French designers including François Tamarin, Bruno Legeron, and Jean-Pierre Ollier to create the couture pieces for her collection. On her Twitter page, Zahia said that working with Lagerfeld had been a ‘dream come true’ while the designer was quoted as saying: “It was fun to do her.” He reportedly added: “She is very French courtesan, like Liane de Pougy or the Belle Otéro.” Ribery, 28, Benzema, 23, and Govou, 31, all faced three years in prison and fines of up to £40,000 for having underage sex. All three eventually escaped jail. Speaking after the scandal, the former prostitute said that Ribery, Benzema and Govou had all treated her “with utter respect” and should be left alone.


Protein Rich Diet Good For Losing Weight,

Posted On 06:32 by stargate 0 comments

 

A recent research has revealed that a diet rich in proteins can prove helpful in making a woman to lose weight. The research was conducted by the researchers of the Sydney University. It has further been pointed out by the researchers that a change in the diet plan can lead to improved lifestyle. For the research, a number of women were recruited. The participants of the research were divided into two groups. The first group was provided with the rich carbohydrate diet plan and the other with rich protein diet. Moreover, the participants of the study were advised to meet their dietician regularly and were also asked to go for walk for at least 30 minutes a day. During the study, it was found that the women who relied heavily on a protein diet were successful in losing a significant level of body weight. The participants on protein diet reported of experiencing improved self esteem. Moreover, the iron level of the participants was also good as compared to the women relying upon carbohydrate diet. The researchers are of the view that their findings would bring a revolution in the way the women follow certain diet plans to lose weight. A large number of women are said to rely on carbohydrate diet for losing weight. A diet rich in protein can not only help a woman in losing weight but also helps in improving the immune system as the diet is rich in essential mineral, vitamins and nutrition which are essential for the over al growth of the body. These days, obesity has become a graver issue as many countries are struggling to deal with it. In the previous studies, the obesity has been linked with life threatening diseases like diabetes and heart diseases.


rich Irish still live life with a bang!

Posted On 06:27 by stargate 0 comments

 

Not everybody is going broke in Ireland these days. While the bankruptcy courts continue to clog with casualties of the recession, like the Stokes brothers, there still remains a wealthy sector of society flying well above the financial carnage. Preferring to indulge in luxury jaunts outside the country rather than display any largesse at home, they head to places far beyond Irish shores for treasured moments they'll never boast about in the society columns. One such pair headed first class Down Under for a specially organised New Year's Eve treat for two, high atop the Sydney Opera House to view the biggest fireworks display on the planet. It was the ultimate night to remember for the middle-aged couple, and all organised by their personal concierge service -- where discretion comes as part of the package. Though the ranks of Ireland's rich and famous have been severely thinned out by the economic downturn, there are still plenty of low-profile millionaires out there willing to spend big on the finer things in life. Quintessentially, the international concierge service with an office in Dublin, is one such agency facilitating the whims of a wealthy Irish membership -- but nowadays without the flash and brash. The service, opened in Ireland in 2006, is surviving well, despite the downturn. "Our membership numbers in the hundreds," says managing director Wayne Cronin. "Many are entrepreneurs and business executives who travel across different timezones on a weekly basis and want personal assistance at the end of a phone wherever they are." The age demographic runs from 30 to 55 years old, with a 70-30 male-to-female split. The low-profile pleasures of today's rich are a long way from the excess of a 2004 Quintessentially members survey showing the Irish ranked first in the world for spending on property, private jets, cars and the trappings of a luxury lifestyle -- ahead of even the Middle East, Russia, China and the USA. Wishes granted to affluent Celtic tigers in those halcyon days included having a member's prized Aston Martin shipped to South Africa just for a week's holiday. Another client with romance on his mind requested, and got, a private jet painted lurid pink for a unique marriage proposal on a Caribbean island. Quintessentially, started in 2000, is the brain-child of Ben Elliot, a nephew of Camilla Parker Bowles, and film producer Aaron Simpson. Offering "a golden Rolodex capable of lifting velvet ropes worldwide," the operation, built on the personal touch, now has branches in 64 cities around the globe. General annual membership costs up to €1,600 a couple with access to 'all lifestyle requests', with dedicated membership running from €3,250 for a single to €5,200 for a full-time Lifestyle Manager. Elite Membership, costing up to €30,000, is by invitation only and provides an exclusive team of dedicated personal managers in each Quintessentially territory -- a kind of Jeeves for the jaded. Discretion prevents Wayne Cronin from hinting at who Quintessentially's Irish members might be, but stars like Sophie Dahl and Coldplay have been fulsome in their praise over the years. Elton John, David Bowie, J K Rowling and Kate Moss have also been associated with the company. "I rely on Quintessentially mainly in times of crisis. They help me jump the queue," Jemima Khan once observed. Other unusual demands made by wealthy Irish members recently included: sending an entire circus troupe to a client's home for his child's birthday party. And at another kid's party, the company sourced a dozen live penguins to add to the merriment. In the realm of boys' toys, one thirtysomething received the ultimate in high-testosterone gifts taking the controls of an Air Force fighter-jet at 43,000ft. On the other extreme, one couple wanted to celebrate a significant anniversary with a romantic private dinner on an iceberg in New Zealand -- which they got, with first-class tickets out and back. Cronin cites another recent instance where he organised an assistant to travel to Paris to exchange a dress for a client who didn't have the time to go herself. "Time is money to people at this level, and it's clearly worth it to have somebody else do chores like this for them," he said.


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Alleged biker hitman dies in cell

Posted On 22:12 by stargate 0 comments

 

The man police believe killed the gangster who helped set up the now-defunct Halifax Hells Angels is dead.   The body of Jeffrey Albert Lynds was discovered in a Montreal jail cell, where the 43-year-old was on trial for a 2010 double murder in Quebec.   It is believed that the former member of the elite Hells Angels group the Nomads, committed suicide.   Police would not confirm the identity, but Sgt. Claude Denis of the Surete du Quebec told thechronicleherald.ca that a 43-year old man was found dead in his cell at Riviere des Prairies Detention Centre.   "He was found without life inside the (cell). We do not have any violence mark on the victim."   Sources told the Montreal Gazette the deceased is Lynds.   Denis said  police were called to Riviere des Pariries detention centre just after noon Friday. An autopsy is scheduled on Monday.   A former member of the Halifax Hells Angels, Lynds was named in court documents as the killer of Randy Mersereau whose body was discovered in a wooded lot in North River, outside Truro, in Dec. 2010.   He was never charged in Mersereau's death.   After cofounding the Halifax chapter of the outlaw biker gang, Mersereau left in the 1990s to set up his own drug operation.   He disappeared Oct. 31,1999, not long after a bomb exploded at a used-car dealership in Bible Hill that injured several people. Mersereau is believed to have been the target of that Sept. 23 bombing.   A year later, in Sept. 2000, Randy's brother, Kirk Mersereau, 48, and Kirk's common-law wife Nancy Christensen, 47, were also shot dead in their rural Hants County home.   In their book, The Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs are Conquering Canada, journalists William Marsden and Julian Sher write that Kirk put a $50,000 bounty on the head of anyone connected to his brother's murder.   Police have charged Dean David Whynott of Truro Heights and Gerald MacCabe of Salmon River both with being an accessory after the fact in Randy Mersereau's murder.   Court documents filed in connection with MacCabe's case point to Lynds as Randy's killer. News reports in 2010 said Lynds admitted shooting Randy five times with a handgun provided by the Hells Angels.   Lynd's nephew, 34-year-old Curtis Blair Lynds, was charged with accessory after the fact in Randy Mersereau's death, and first-degree murder in the deaths of Kirk Mersereau and Christensen.   Leslie Douglas Greenwood, 41, is also accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of the couple.   Curtis Lynds and Greenwood are in jail, awaiting court appearances.   Michael John Lawrence, 37, from Windsor has already pleaded guilty - and is serving a life sentence - for shooting the couple, as well as Charles Maddison, a man who offered him a drive and whose truck he stole before committing the double homicide.   Jeffrey Lynds was picked up during a series of raids that targeted the Halifax Hells Angels chapter in 2001 and was eventually sentenced to three years in jail.   In Montreal, Lynds was accused in the shooting deaths of two men, Kirk Murray and Anthony Onesi, as they sat inside a car at a McDonald's parking lot in Jan. 2010. He was also facing charges in the Feb. 2010 shooting of another Quebec man, Mark Stewart.


Four held in police payments probe

Posted On 15:57 by stargate 0 comments

 

Detectives investigating the suspected payment of police for information on Saturday arrested a serving police officer and four staff from Britain's biggest selling daily newspaper, Rupert Murdoch's The Sun. The investigation is linked to the police probe into phone-hacking at The Sun's former stablemate, the News of the World, which Murdoch shut down in July following revelations that hundreds of public figures had been targeted. London's Metropolitan Police said it had arrested five people, including a 29-year-old from the force's Territorial Policing command, and had also searched the offices in Wapping, east London, where The Sun is based. In a separate statement, Murdoch's News Corporation confirmed the other four men arrested either worked or used to work at The Sun, adding that the detentions were prompted by information it had provided to police. Thirteen people have now been arrested under Operation Elveden, the police investigation into allegations that journalists paid officers for information. It was sparked by concerns about the working practices of the British press after the News of the World scandal and runs alongside Operation Weeting, the probe into phone hacking under which 17 arrests have so far been made. The scandal at the News of the World erupted in July when it emerged that journalists had listened to the voicemails not just of celebrities and politicians but also murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Amid public outrage, Murdoch closed down the 168-year-old weekly and set up a committee to review all its British titles for evidence of wrongdoing. "News Corporation made a commitment last summer that unacceptable news gathering practices by individuals in the past would not be repeated," the US-based company said in a statement Saturday. "It commissioned the Management and Standards Committee to undertake a review of all News International titles, regardless of cost, and to proactively cooperate with law enforcement and other authorities if potentially relevant information arose at those titles. "As a result of that review, which is ongoing, the MSC provided information to the Elveden investigation which led to today's arrests." The scandal also prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to order a wide-ranging inquiry into the practices and ethics of the press, which began hearings at the end of last year. Police said two men aged 48 and one aged 56 were arrested at dawn in London and Essex, near the capital, on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to both offences. Another man, aged 42, was arrested at a police station on similar grounds. The News Corporation statement added: "Metropolitan Police Service officers from Operation Elveden today arrested four current and former employees from The Sun newspaper. "Searches have also taken place at the homes and offices of those arrested." Police said the serving officer was held at the central London police station where he worked, accused of corruption, misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to both these offences.


Butler mistaken for terrorist at London airport

Posted On 15:56 by stargate 0 comments

 

Gerard Butler has revealed that he once caused an airport security scare after officials flagged up special shoes he had worn for his ‘Tomb Raider’ audition. The Scottish actor was stopped by security guards who were suspicious of the boots he wore when he tried out for his role alongside Angelina Jolie in the 2003 blockbuster ‘Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life’. “Just after the shoe bomber plot in 2001, I flew to London from Montreal to do a screen test for Lara Croft,” the Daily Express quoted Butler as telling Shortlist Magazine. “They’d built this caged floor for the set but they couldn’t hear my dialogue properly so they put felt on my boots. “Straight after the audition I went back to the airport and as I walked through they went, ‘OK, sir, show us your feet.’ “And then I remembered I had this roughly cut, half inch of felt stuck to the bottom of my soles,” he said. Butler said that he struggled to explain why he had material taped to his shoes. “The guy literally went, ‘What the f**k is that? Security!’ “The next thing I know there are 10 people around me and I’m telling what sounds like the most far-fetched story ever about my audition with Angelina Jolie,” he added.


Bank robbery suspect arrested overnight

Posted On 15:55 by stargate 0 comments

 

Wilmington Police arrested a man overnight for a Friday afternoon bank robbery. Detectives had gotten a warrant Friday for 26-year-old Brenden Paul Kolterjahn, 26, in connection with the armed robbery of the TD Bank at 802 S. College Road. Officers developed information Friday evening that Kolterjahn was at the Travelodge at 4118 Market Street. WPD units converged on the scene and made contact with Kolterjahn. He surrendered without incident around 2 a.m. The arrest came a little more than 12 hours after the bank robbery. Police say the suspect had a note threatening bank tellers with a gun, but he never showed a weapon. Employees handed over cash and the robber left. Kolterjahn was booked into the New Hanover County Jail under $25,000 secured bond. According to Department of Corrections records, Kolterjahn is on five years probation for a May 2009 conviction in Onslow County on a series of crimes, including breaking & entering, forgery and obtaining property by false pretense.


Runaway prisoner Andrew Farndon caught by police after hospital escape

Posted On 15:54 by stargate 0 comments

 

Farndon, 26, has been hunted by police since an armed accomplice sprung him from custody outside the emergency department of West Suffolk Hospital on Wednesday evening. He had suffered a knife wound at Highpoint prison in Stradishall, near Newmarket, before being taken to hospital. The prisoner - who had been serving an indeterminate sentence for grievous bodily harm after a hammer attack that left his victim with a fractured skull - is currently in custody after being detained by officers from another force area. Police would not reveal where he was found.


The girlfriend who could finally endure no more

Posted On 06:31 by stargate 0 comments

 

There is an old proverb which says: "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly." Tammy Kingdon's folly was to return to Troy Mercanti on more than a dozen occasions during their tumultuous 16-year relationship. The final result was that she became, at least as far as the underworld is concerned, a dog - the derogatory term reserved for anyone who gives information to police. It was the prolonged brutality of Mr Mercanti's alleged attack on January 6 which turned the unerringly loyal Ms Kingdon against him. Her lawyers told the Perth District Court last year, after Ms Kingdon was convicted of stealing, that she was a victim of regular physical abuse and had once had her teeth knocked out and an eye socket broken. But she stayed with him anyway. This time it was different. She wasn't beaten because of a drunken quip or because of an argument. Police sources say Mr Mercanti believed Ms Kingdon had been cheating on him with another man. She was allegedly beaten mercilessly and degraded. Mr Mercanti went to Queensland to meet fellow Finks bikies after the incident, while Ms Kingdon stewed about it. Last Friday, she took the two boys she bore to Mr Mercanti and disappeared into police protection. When Mr Mercanti discovered Ms Kingdon and the children were missing, he went on a massive bender which ended when he was arrested on Sunday morning while trying to smash through the sliding glass door of a Duncraig home. He is in custody at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, under armed guard, and requires dialysis after his kidneys shut down. In the long-term, he needs a kidney transplant. But the next move is Ms Kingdon's. She has given police a statement in which she alleges Mr Mercanti bashed her three times in five years, including the attack on January 6. Will she continue with the claim or will she return to him as she has so many times before? The ramifications of her decision are dire. Bikies don't appreciate those who testify against them. And they rarely forgive and forget. Making matters worse for Ms Kingdon is that she has no visible means of support. Her assets consist of two properties - in Jurien Bay and Balga. Both are heavily mortgaged and the Balga property is the headquarters of the Finks. It's difficult to see them paying the rent while she is having their WA leader prosecuted. Just why Ms Kingdon continually returned to an allegedly abusive partner is something that a psychiatrist examined last year as part of the sentencing process after she was convicted of stealing. Dr Sam Febbo's report has been kept private, but the details of Ms Kingdon's life were revealed by her lawyer Stephen Shirrefs in court. Born on July 16, 1976, Tammy Cherie Kingdon grew up in Denmark, but her parents Norman and Faye separated when she was five. Ms Kingdon went to live with her father on a farm about 20km out of town and the District Court was told she was beaten and tormented by her stepmother. She had panic attacks at school because she feared going home. Ms Kingdon finished her schooling to Year 10 in Denmark before completing Year 11 at Albany. She then left to live on the Abrolhos Islands, near Geraldton, where she had a two-year relationship with a crayfisherman. When the relationship ended, Ms Kingdon, aged 18, moved to Perth and worked at the Wanneroo Tavern before moving to Kalgoorlie. There she met Mr Mercanti, then a nominee of the Coffin Cheaters bikie gang. They have been on-and-off ever since she was 19 and now have two children, aged 11 and 10. For a time, Ms Kingdon worked as a stripper, but these days she rarely works. Though she had said during last year's court case that she was leaving him and moving down south to be with family, she did not leave and has since travelled to the Gold Coast and Adelaide to be with Mr Mercanti. Few believe she could now return to Mr Mercanti after making the complaint to police. One said: "He's not the type to let sleeping dogs lie."


FBI's Buffalo Office Announces Capture of Fugitive

Posted On 06:00 by stargate 0 comments

 

The FBI’s Buffalo Office on Friday announced the capture of 25-year-old Esteban Ramos-Cruz, a federally indicted member of the 10th Street Gang, in Springfield, Mass.  Ramos-Cruz has been an FBI fugitive since May 2011.  He was recently profiled on an episode of America’s Most Wanted that aired on Friday, January 6, 2012, on the Lifetime Network. On May 5, 2011, FBI Buffalo’s Safe Streets Task Force arrested multiple members of the 10th Street and 7th Street Gangs.  Soon after, 7th Street Gang member Ramos-Cruz fled and remained an armed and dangerous fugitive until his capture Friday morning.  Ramos-Cruz was indicted on the following federal charges: murder in aid of racketeering in connection with the murder of a 10th Street member/associate Eric Morrow; use, carry and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and narcotics conspiracy. Following the profile of Ramos-Cruz on America’s Most Wanted on January 6th, FBI Buffalo received a tip from an AMW viewer who relayed information that placed Ramos-Cruz in the Springfield area.  Further investigation by FBI Buffalo revealed a specific location for Ramos-Cruz, and this morning members of the FBI’s Western Massachusetts Gang Task Force, which is composed of the Massachusetts State Police, DEA, Hampden County Sheriff, and police from Springfield, Lee, Chicopee, and Pittsfield, along with the U.S. Marshals, arrested Ramos-Cruz.


Friday, 27 January 2012

Decapitated man John Grainger in Stockport 'was shot first' as two men quizzed

Posted On 14:19 by stargate 0 comments

 

Mr Grainger's body was found by Greater Manchester firefighters as they tackled a blaze shortly after 5am in Wellington Street, near the Gala Casino. The 32-year-old's decapitated corpse, which is also thought to have suffered burns injuries, was found in the street - with his head nearby. A post-mortem examination has now concluded that Mr Grainger died from a blunt force head injury and a 'shotgun wound to the head'. John Grainger's decapitated body was discovered on a grass verge (Picture: PA) Two men, aged 29 and 31, are being held at a Greater Manchester police station, where they are still being quizzed on the circumstances surrounding the discovery. Police have said they were initially arrested on suspicion of possessing shotgun cartridges, before the body was found.. Superintendent Pete Matthews, from Greater Manchester Police, said: 'We have a team of dedicated detectives who are working hard to establish the exact circumstances surrounding John's death, so we can provide his family with some much-needed answers. 'We will be continuing with our inquiries and speaking to local residents. 'We also have extra officers in the area to offer reassurance and assist with the investigation.'


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Ex-Navy man detained in U.S. for alleged drug smuggling in Japan

Posted On 23:00 by stargate 0 comments

 

former U.S. Navy serviceman has been detained in the United States after Japanese police issued an arrest warrant for him on suspicion of leading a group that smuggled drugs into Japan in 2004 through the military mail service, Japanese investigative sources said Wednesday. Tokyo has been seeking his extradition, and a U.S. court has been deliberating whether to transfer him based on a bilateral extradition treaty, they said. The former sailor left Japan for the United States on Aug. 6, 2004, one day after police arrested two civilian men who worked at the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, on suspicion of being involved in drug smuggling, according to police. The three are suspected of shipping some 50,000 tablets of synthetic drugs, including ecstasy, from Canada to a post office box at the base using the military mail service in July 2004. The man sought by Japanese police was dishonorably discharged in 2003 for a separate drug offense committed on the base. His whereabouts in the United States were confirmed in 2009, the sources said.


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Probe into use of supergrass in Leigh murder

Posted On 23:13 by stargate 0 comments

 

THE use of a supergrass by Essex Police to secure a murder conviction following a gangland execution has come under scrutiny. In December, 2006, Ricky Percival was convicted of killing Dean Boshell at the Manchester Drive allotments, Leigh, in February 2001. The conviction came after Damon Alvin, who was originally charged with the murder, agreed to testify against Percival to get himself acquitted. Now the Government-funded Criminal Case Review Commission, which investigates potential miscarriages of justice, is investigating the safety of Alvin’s evidence alongside a number of unconnected cases, to see if there are any grounds for appeal. The commission is also examining three convictions of former police officers found guilty of corruption on the basis of supergrass evidence. There are also concerns the whole system of using such witnesses is so discredited it is unworkable after senior officers described it as like “dancing with the devil.” The commission is taking into account the fact Percival passed an official lie detector test at Swaleside Prison on the Isle of Sheppy, Kent, when he denied the murder. The case of Percival’s conviction is believed to be unique in that Alvin, a career criminal, was due to stand trial, but said he wanted to change his account and agreed to turn Queen’s evidence the night before. There are also concerns his evidence, which put Percival away for a minimum of 26 years, was largely uncorroborated. The commission will also look at concerns about police funding of supergrasses. It is alleged in the case of Alvin that Essex Police spent at least £35,000 in five-and-a-half months on the convicted drug dealer, who had a record for violence and burglary and a known involvement with firearms. The Observer newspaper said documents it had obtained showed expenditure included giving him £7,125 to buy a car, £468 for a laptop and £82 on an enclosure for his tortoises while he was being looked after by the police. Alvin was given a new identity as part of the witness protection programme and he and his family were relocated. The newspaper also alleged the force facilitated the sale of his home while he was in prison from which he benefited by more than £190,000. Essex Police refused to comment. Speaking to the Observer, Percival said: “I still cannot really believe what happened to me. When I first came into prison I was in some kind of intense shock: I couldn’t sleep, I was having nightmares, I was turning it all over in my mind – how could this happen in the British justice system?” His mother, Sandy Percival, added. “My son has done wrong, I know that, but he is not a murderer. There is no proof he did any of these things. It is all Alvin’s word against his.”


Prisoner on run after gun threat at West Suffolk Hospital

Posted On 21:39 by stargate 0 comments

 

A prisoner is on the run after two officers were threatened at gunpoint on his arrival at hospital in Suffolk. A man pointed a gun at the officers at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds at 18:50 GMT. They were forced to release the prisoner, believed to be Andrew Farndon, 26. Police said they had begun a manhunt for both men, who ran off. Officers were alerted by hospital staff who could see a man with a gun outside the accident and emergency department. They said the man was pointing the weapon at two prison officers. Run away Moments later, police received a second call from the prison officers, from HMP Highpoint, who said they had a gun pulled on them by a man who had confronted them as they arrived. Both the prisoner and the man with the gun had then run away across the car park. No-one was hurt in the incident. Farndon, a category C prisoner, is described as white with a shaved head, and was wearing a dark blue baseball cap and a light-coloured jumper that was padded on the right side due to an injury to the shoulder. The man with the gun is described as white, in his mid 40s, around 5ft 8in, of stocky build, possibly with a Scottish accent. He was wearing a white top and blue jeans. It is thought they may have escaped in a dark-coloured car.


Underworld bankers Daniel Keenan and Andrew Barnett who laundered £17m of drug money are jailed

Posted On 16:58 by stargate 0 comments

 

Two underworld bankers who laundered more than £17million in drug money have been jailed for a total of 17 years. Daniel Keenan, 41, and Andrew Barnett, 45, used a stolen identity to clean up proceeds from a massive cocaine and heroin dealing operation by making currency exchanges They were caught out when police stopped Barnett with £500,000 in cash stuffed into a satchel. The pair were subsequently linked to Ian Kiernan, who was jailed for 20 years in 2001 for his key role in one of Britain's biggest-ever drug smuggling plots. Andrew Barnett (left) and Daniel Keenan (right) laundered the vast proceeds from a cocaine and heroin ring by making currency exchanges Barnett was stopped on 26 November 2009 near Marble Arch carrying a satchel found to contain 535,000 euros in 200 euro notes. He also had a receipt from a nearby money service bureau called Interchange. Convicted blackmailer Keenan contacted the police station a few days later, claiming he had asked Barnett to carry out the transaction, and was promptly arrested on suspicion of money laundering. Investigations revealed Keenan used a stolen identity to set up his Interchange account. Since opening the account in April 2008, Keenan and Barnett had made more than 300 transactions totaling more £17million. The money was generally brought in for exchange in £20 notes in large bags. The pair admitted money laundering but initially claimed the cash came from illicit gambling on horse racing. But after a two-day hearing at Southwark Crown Court they admitted knowing that that bundles of cash had come from drug deals. This is some of the money recovered by police from the pair, who were caught when officers stopped Barnett with £500,000 worth of currency stuffed into a satchel Jailing Keenan for 11 years and Barnett for six years, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said the offences were 'hugely successful' and committed while Keenan was on license from prison. He told Keenan: 'Interchange was visited more than 400 times as you or others delivered cash amounting to a total of £17.5million. 'I accept that initially you thought you were being used to launder the proceeds of illegal gambling. 'But eventually the amounts of money involved must have made it clear that they could only come from the most serious of crimes - sale of Class A drugs. 'You yourself signed for 58 deliveries amounting to £12million while your assistant Mr Barnett signed for about £5 million. 'When police detained Mr Barnett you came up with a number of explanations and produced quantities of false paperwork to try and justify your business which included the use of other people's identities.' Daniel Keenan is here seen on CCTV counting out huge piles of banknotes. Keenan and Barnett laundered more than £17million in organised crime profits Barnett had claimed he was simply acting on behalf of Keenan and was paid £200 each time he want to the Interchange. Drug baron Ian Kiernan had been jailed for 20 years and banned from racecourses for 10 years after a Jockey Club investigation found he was involved in corruption in horseracing. The head of the syndicate, Brian Wright - dubbed The Milkman because he always delivered - was jailed for 30 years in 2007. The link between Kiernan, described as the drug ring's storeman, and the launderers was only discovered in December when police investigated Keenan's mobile phone records. Prosecutor Mark Fenhalls said: 'When Mr Keenan's phone records were looked at they showed that that most of the calls were made to his partner, then his mum, and then Kiernan, in that order.' He was found to have been in contact with Kiernan - who was on temporary licence from HMP Latchmere - on all but one of the days on which transactions of more than £400,000 were processed. Keenan was serving a five-year sentence for blackmail and consiring to defraud the clothes shop Monsoon when he met Kiernan in jail. The court heard Barnett visited Kiernan in prison in 2003, Mr Fenhalls said it was 'inconceivable that Barnett... did not know that he was assisting Keenan to launder the proceeds of cocaine dealing on a vast scale. 'No other explanation or inference sensibly arises from the available evidence.' Barnett, of Twickenham, Middlesex and Keenan, of Egham, Surrey, admitted converting criminal property. Keenan also admitted fraud by false representation, having a fake passport and possession of articles used in fraud, a fake bank card.


Drug smugglers and dealers to get law thaw in UK

Posted On 16:38 by stargate 0 comments

 

Drug smugglers and street dealers could avoid prison in the UK even if caught with heroin, cocaine or thousands of pounds worth of cannabis, under new guidelines on drug offenses published by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales on Tuesday. The new guidelines, to come into force next month, on February 27, were put out following a three-month public consultation. They cover importation, supply, production, permitting premises to be used for drug-related activities, and possession offences. "Drug offending has to be taken seriously. Drug abuse underlies a huge volume of acquisitive and violent crime, and dealing can blight communities. Offending and offenders vary widely, so we have developed this guideline to ensure there is effective guidance for sentencers and clear information for victims, witnesses and the public on how drug offenders are sentenced,” said Lord Justice Hughes, deputy chairman of the Sentencing Council, as quoted by the British media. According to the official website of the Council, the guidelines intend to distinguish the leading players in drug smuggling from those in subordinate roles such as drug mules, who may be coerced or misled into carrying drugs. It will mean that sentences are based on a court’s assessment of the offender’s role, and on the quantity of drugs involved, or the scale of the operation. Reports suggest offenders who play a “limited” role in gangs, including low-level dealers and so-called drug mules, who bring narcotics into the country, could now face community orders rather than jail sentences. This particular draft received major support during the consultations. Drug barons playing a leading role in large-scale offences such as smuggling and supply will continue to face long prison sentences, as will those who sell directly to the public, especially to children. Police have suggested that gang leaders would be able to escape jail by claiming that they were lesser members. “How can a court be expected to differentiate between the person who says, I am very low in the chain, and those high up?” questioned Peter Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, as quoted by The Telegraph. “No matter how big a role I played, if I was in their shoes and arrested for drugs I would say I was a low-level player or forced into it. If they can see a loophole, then of course they will go through it.” Under the new guidelines, dealers caught with 6kg of cannabis, valued at thousands of US dollars, or 20 ecstasy tablets, could now avoid prison and receive a community sentence. Heroin and cocaine dealers deemed to have played only a “minimal” role and workers in small cannabis “farms” could also escape custody.


London hospitals write off 'over 90%' owed by foreign patients

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London hospitals have written off more than 90% of what they are owed by foreign patients not entitled to free NHS care, BBC London has learned. A Freedom of Information request showed Newham Hospital Trust wrote off 96% of what it had invoiced last year. Meanwhile, Basildon and Thurrock wrote off 97% of what it was owed, having previously recovered £68,061 out of £116,561 of its debt. In total, £7.6m was written off by 33 NHS trusts in the region, since 2009. Across the trusts, a total of £26m is owed by patients, of which £18.4m continues to be actively sought. However, hospital trusts said chasing the money was difficult if patients leave the UK. In a statement, Basildon and Thurrock said: "We scrupulously manage our finances and only write off debt after following the full debt collection process." Continue reading the main story Hospital variations in amount written off Newham Hospital wrote off £345,000 out of £358,000 Basildon and Thurrock wrote off £47,000 out of £48,500 Hillingdon hospital wrote off £335,000 out of £660,000 Luton and Dunstable wrote off 2,000 out of 85,000 South London wrote off £29,000 out of £481,000 All figures relate to 2010-11 All hospitals are required to recover money owed for treating these patients.


Gangster gets four years for drug stash

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A CAREER criminal branded as “extraordinarily dangerous” has been jailed for four years after being caught with heroin worth £50,000 during a police raid. Detectives believe that Ronald Aldred was peddling the Class A drug in Edinburgh and West Lothian after recovering the stash kept at his Kirkliston home. The 44-year-old was jailed for 12 years in 2002 as the ringleader of a gang that took part in a campaign of kidnapping, assault and extortion, which a judge described as being like “something out of a 1930s Hollywood gangster movie”. Aldred had been hired by dealers to recover a kilo of stolen cocaine, and at one point the gang tried to put a loaded gun into a victim’s mouth during a vicious interrogation. In 1992, he was jailed for nine years for two attempted murders after launching an attack with a sword and knife at The Royal Nip pub in Albert Street, Leith. Detective Sergeant Jim Robertson, from the force’s Serious Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), worked on the drug investigation against Aldred, which saw him jailed at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday. DS Robertson said that Aldred was caught with half a kilo of heroin at his home in Marshall Road, Kirkliston. Aldred, who has a total of five previous convictions, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin on October 6 last year, and prosecutors have already begun steps to seize his assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Police raided his home after a tip-off and found five packages of heroin along with phones, scales, sandwich bags and more than £700 in cash. Prosecutors said that if the heroin had been broken down and sold on as “tenner bags” then it had the potential value of £50,000. His defence counsel, Frank Gallagher, told the court that during his last period in prison Aldred had developed a drug problem and built up debts. Mr Gallagher said that his client agreed to the drugs being in his home in return for the debt being reduced. DS Robertson told the Evening News: “This conviction shows our commitment to tackling serious and organised crime. The drugs were being stored at that address and we’re confident Aldred was involved in dealing. “We welcome this four-year sentence, both as a deterrent to Aldred and to anyone else involved in drug dealing.” In early 2002, Aldred’s gang was recruited to hunt down stolen cocaine, abducting one man from outside a Scottish court who was handcuffed and forced to hand over £7000. Sentencing them for that offence, Lord Dawson told Aldred and his two accomplices: “I regard all three of you as extraordinarily dangerous men against whom the public must be protected.” But Aldred’s 12-year sentence was later cut to eight years by appeal judges. In May 1992, Aldred was found guilty after a five-day trial for attempting to murder two men and seriously assaulting two others. Aldred attempted to murder Thomas Brown by stabbing him with a knife and striking him with a sword, and assaulted Thomas Monaghan with the sword in The Royal Nip in September 1991. He also attempted to murder David McKinlay with a knife in Ardshiel Avenue, Drumbrae, on October 19, 1991 and struck Kevin Smith on the head with a knife in Easter Road on August 3, 1991.


Gangster gets four years for drug stash

Posted On 15:25 by stargate 0 comments

 

A CAREER criminal branded as “extraordinarily dangerous” has been jailed for four years after being caught with heroin worth £50,000 during a police raid. Detectives believe that Ronald Aldred was peddling the Class A drug in Edinburgh and West Lothian after recovering the stash kept at his Kirkliston home. The 44-year-old was jailed for 12 years in 2002 as the ringleader of a gang that took part in a campaign of kidnapping, assault and extortion, which a judge described as being like “something out of a 1930s Hollywood gangster movie”. Aldred had been hired by dealers to recover a kilo of stolen cocaine, and at one point the gang tried to put a loaded gun into a victim’s mouth during a vicious interrogation. In 1992, he was jailed for nine years for two attempted murders after launching an attack with a sword and knife at The Royal Nip pub in Albert Street, Leith. Detective Sergeant Jim Robertson, from the force’s Serious Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), worked on the drug investigation against Aldred, which saw him jailed at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday. DS Robertson said that Aldred was caught with half a kilo of heroin at his home in Marshall Road, Kirkliston. Aldred, who has a total of five previous convictions, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin on October 6 last year, and prosecutors have already begun steps to seize his assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Police raided his home after a tip-off and found five packages of heroin along with phones, scales, sandwich bags and more than £700 in cash. Prosecutors said that if the heroin had been broken down and sold on as “tenner bags” then it had the potential value of £50,000. His defence counsel, Frank Gallagher, told the court that during his last period in prison Aldred had developed a drug problem and built up debts. Mr Gallagher said that his client agreed to the drugs being in his home in return for the debt being reduced. DS Robertson told the Evening News: “This conviction shows our commitment to tackling serious and organised crime. The drugs were being stored at that address and we’re confident Aldred was involved in dealing. “We welcome this four-year sentence, both as a deterrent to Aldred and to anyone else involved in drug dealing.” In early 2002, Aldred’s gang was recruited to hunt down stolen cocaine, abducting one man from outside a Scottish court who was handcuffed and forced to hand over £7000. Sentencing them for that offence, Lord Dawson told Aldred and his two accomplices: “I regard all three of you as extraordinarily dangerous men against whom the public must be protected.” But Aldred’s 12-year sentence was later cut to eight years by appeal judges. In May 1992, Aldred was found guilty after a five-day trial for attempting to murder two men and seriously assaulting two others. Aldred attempted to murder Thomas Brown by stabbing him with a knife and striking him with a sword, and assaulted Thomas Monaghan with the sword in The Royal Nip in September 1991. He also attempted to murder David McKinlay with a knife in Ardshiel Avenue, Drumbrae, on October 19, 1991 and struck Kevin Smith on the head with a knife in Easter Road on August 3, 1991.


Fury erupts over bikie 'war' claims

Posted On 15:18 by stargate 0 comments

 

A GOLD Coast nightclub owner says it's time to clear the air on "sensationalised" reports of bikie gang violence in Surfers Paradise. But the club owner blasted police for allowing bikies to parade through the Glitter Strip wearing gang patches. "The police at Surfers Paradise should hang their heads in shame as they are the ones unable to control these sorts of incidents," the club owner said. "They don't see trouble walk past the station at 2.30am on a weekend with gang members wearing full colours?


Troy Mercanti To Have Bedside Hearing

Posted On 15:13 by stargate 0 comments

 

Finks motorcycle gang member Troy Mercanti will have a bedside court hearing this afternoon due to his "significantly deteriorating" mental and physical state, a Perth court was told. Mr Mercanti was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning, charged with aggravated assault and trespassing following a home invasion in Duncraig. He has also been charged with assault charges in relation to another incident earlier this month, and police are yet to lay charges over the alleged discovery of drugs and ammunition in his home. Advertisement: Story continues below Mr Mercanti has been under police guard in a Perth hospital since his arrest in the early hours of Sunday, and was suffering from significant physical trauma which may include amphetamine abuse, the court heard on Monday. His lawyer Laurie Levy said today that Mr Mercanti's condition had deteriorated significantly, and he successfully applied for a bedside hearing this afternoon. Mr Mercanti was arrested and taken to hospital after police were called to the home of a Duncraig couple at 4.15am on Sunday, where they allegedly found Mr Mercanti bashing on the door. Police from the organised crime squad then carried out a raid on his home - less than one kilometre away - where it is alleged drugs and ammunition were found. Mr Mercanti was charged with one count of acts intended to cause bodily harm, three aggravated assaults occasioning bodily harm and one aggravated indecent assault. Those charges related to separate incidents which took place earlier this month. He was also charged with trespassing and damage, relating to the incident on Sunday. Mr Mercanti was due to have a bedside hearing on Monday, but the matter was postponed to this morning due to his ailing health. The court was told on Monday that Mr Mercanti had "significant physical trauma" but there was not any issues regarding his mental capacity at the moment. Mr Levy today argued that Mr Mercanti's current custody condition prevented him access from family and friends who could advise over the types of medical treatment that he needed. Police prosecutor Sergeant Andy Elliott did not oppose holding a bedside hearing so the gang crime detectives could be put back on the street and Serco guards put in their place at the hospital. Mr Mercanti's medical records have not yet been presented before the courts. He was not expected to apply for bail, however he will be read the full list of charges in relation to the incident on Sunday. Mr Mercanti was released from prison in August last year after he was jailed for causing grievous bodily harm in 2007. His defection to the Finks in 2008 sparked a feud between the two outlaw motorcycle gangs who have since engaged in violent clashes, including a brawl at the Kwinana Motorplex in 2010 in which a Finks member lost three fingers.


Suspect held in Spain in killing of Connecticut jeweler

Posted On 15:01 by stargate 0 comments

 

A man wanted in connection with the killing and robbery of a Connecticut jeweler has been arrested in Spain, U.S. authorities said Tuesday. Andrew Robert Levene, also known as Robert Thomas, was arrested Monday, said U.S. Attorney David Fein and local and state law enforcement. The 41-year-old Levene was charged with federal murder, robbery and firearm offenses in the Dec. 8 shooting of Yekutiel Zeevi, the owner of YZ Manufacturers LLC in Westport. Levene contacted Zeevi in early December, asking him for several diamonds that were to two to three karats and valued between $45,000 and $75,000, authorities said. The evening before the shooting, Zeevi met Levene, who examined the diamonds and was noncommittal about buying them, authorities said. Levene met with Zeevi again on Dec. 8 on the ruse that he would buy several large diamonds he had arranged to purchase that month, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Connecticut. Instead, Levene shot and killed Zeevi, authorities said. Levene, who had military training in the use of weapons, stole about $300,000 in diamonds, authorities said. Ronen Konfino, an executive at a New York diamond business, also was shot but survived and helped police with the investigation. It wasn't immediately known if Levene had a lawyer. Levene traveled to Amsterdam from Philadelphia on Dec. 11 after missing a flight to Madrid, law enforcement officials said. Police said in mid-December that Levene had been seen in Philadelphia, possibly casing stores. The Connecticut Post reports that Zeevi was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and served as a commando in the Israeli navy.


Venezuela on Tuesday deported three suspected drug smugglers wanted in the United States, Canada and Colombia

Posted On 12:00 by stargate 0 comments

 

Venezuela on Tuesday deported three suspected drug smugglers wanted in the United States, Canada and Colombia, touting the moves as proof the government of President Hugo Chavez is making strides in fighting trafficking. Those deported include Luc Letourneau, a Canadian wanted in his homeland on drug trafficking charges, Oscar Martinez Hernandez, an American wanted in Puerto Rico on charges including cocaine and heroin smuggling, and Colombian Adalberto Bernal Arboleda.Arboleda, known by his nickname “El Cali,” faces drug smuggling charges in Colombia and the United States. Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami trumpeted the deportations as evidence Venezuela is cracking down on drug trafficking. Venezuela is a major hub for gangs that smuggle Colombian cocaine to the United States and Europe, and U.S. officials have accused Chavez’s government of being lax in anti-drug efforts. Last year, President Barack Obama’s administration classified Venezuela as a country that has “failed demonstrably” to effectively fight drug trafficking. El Aissami dismissed that accusation, accusing U.S. officials of “defaming” Venezuela’s counter-drug efforts. Letourneau, 53, was captured in May on Margarita Island, a popular tourist destination. At the time of his arrest, Letourneau was planning to smuggle 110 pounds (50 kilograms) of cocaine into Canada, El Aissami said. Hernandez, a 44-year-old man who was nabbed by police on Jan. 4 in the western city of Maracaibo, faces numerous criminal charges ranging from drug trafficking to illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Arboleda was captured in the town of Mariara, in central Carabobo state, on Jan. 11. U.S.-Venezuelan counter-drug cooperation has been sharply scaled back since 2005, when Chavez suspended cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and accused it of being a front for espionage.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Arrest made after prison van escape in West Midlands

Posted On 09:14 by stargate 0 comments

 

Detectives hunting an "extremely dangerous" murder suspect, who escaped from a prison van following a "well-orchestrated armed ambush", have arrested a man. Officers from West Midlands Police detained the suspect on Monday just hours after Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke ordered an inquiry into how John Anslow was able to be sprung from custody. The 31-year-old escaped after a gang of three masked men stopped the prison van, smashed its windows with sledgehammers and punched its driver. The van was taking inmates from Hewell Prison in Redditch to Stafford Crown Court on Monday morning. Instead of being transferred in a high-security prison service van with a police escort, Anslow was with other inmates in a van run by a private contractor. His status was only upgraded after he was charged with the murder of businessman Richard Deakin last week.


Monday, 23 January 2012

"Dangerous" inmate charged with murder on the run after prison van ambush

Posted On 15:07 by stargate 0 comments

 

A dangerous prisoner charged with murder is on the run after three masked men ambushed a prison van. Advertisement >> John Anslow, 31, escaped following the attack on the prison van taking three inmates from Hewell prison in Redditch to Stafford Crown Court at about 8.20am. The van was stopped by three men wearing balaclavas who jumped out of a Volkswagen Scirocco. Two of the men were wielding sledgehammers and smashed the windscreen and the driver’s window of the GEO Amey prison escort van. The driver was also punched and reportedly threatened with a blade before the men drove off in the Scriocco. It is believed they switched to a silver Mercedes after stopping in Stoney Lane. The two other prisoners being carried in the van did not escape. West Mercia Police have now warned that Anslow, from Tipton, is considered "dangerous". He was one of five men charged with the murder of Richard Deakin, who was shot dead in Chasetown, Staffordshire, in 2010. The skip-hire boss was gunned down as he slept in his home in Meadway Street while his partner had taken their two daughters to school. CCTV images of the gunman calmly walking through their garden gate were screened on TV show, Crimewatch. Anslow was charged with murder alongside Mr Deakin’s brother-in-law Leigh Astbury. Hewell prison houses more than 1,400 inmates across three blocks holding category B, C and D prisoners. The incident is being investigated by officers from West Mercia Police. Anslow is described as white, 5ft 10ins tall, and of medium build with short brown hair. Police block the roads leading to Hewell Grange Prison in Redditch, after a prisoner escaped when a van taking inmates to court was ambushed A dangerous prisoner charged with murder is on the run after three masked men ambushed a prison van. John Anslow, 31, escaped following the attack on the prison van taking three inmates from Hewell prison in Redditch to Stafford Crown Court at about 8.20am. The van was stopped by three men wearing balaclavas who jumped out of a Volkswagen Scirocco. Two of the men were wielding sledgehammers and smashed the windscreen and the driver’s window of the GEO Amey prison escort van. The driver was also punched and reportedly threatened with a blade before the men drove off in the Scriocco. It is believed they switched to a silver Mercedes after stopping in Stoney Lane. The two other prisoners being carried in the van did not escape. West Mercia Police have now warned that Anslow, from Tipton, is considered "dangerous". He was one of five men charged with the murder of Richard Deakin, who was shot dead in Chasetown, Staffordshire, in 2010. The skip-hire boss was gunned down as he slept in his home in Meadway Street while his partner had taken their two daughters to school. CCTV images of the gunman calmly walking through their garden gate were screened on TV show, Crimewatch. Anslow was charged with murder alongside Mr Deakin’s brother-in-law Leigh Astbury. Hewell prison houses more than 1,400 inmates across three blocks holding category B, C and D prisoners. The incident is being investigated by officers from West Mercia Police. Anslow is described as white, 5ft 10ins tall, and of medium build with short brown hair. Detective Inspector Jon Marsden, of West Mercia Police, said: "Three men wearing balaclavas, two of whom were carrying sledgehammers, got out of a silver Volkswagen Scirocco, and smashed the windscreen and driver's window of the GEO Amey prison escort van. "The van driver was punched but no serious injuries were sustained by escort staff. There were two other prisoners in the van at the time, neither of whom were released." He went on: "Anslow has recently been charged with murder and is considered dangerous. "We are working closely with our colleagues from West Midlands and Staffordshire Police forces and a large number of officers from all three forces are involved in the search for him. "However we would urge any members of the public who sees him not to approach him directly, but to contact police immediately on 999." Last July, the trial of an alleged criminal gang which used guns and grenades to intimidate its rivals collapsed after two defendants escaped from a prison van on the edge of Manchester city centre. The gang made off and an international search was launched for the two men, with ports and airports in the UK monitored. And in September 2006, a "violent and dangerous" criminal escaped from a prison van in Redditch after being helped by two masked men armed with with a gun. Two men wearing balaclavas, or with their faces covered, used a firearm to threaten staff in a security van taking the prisoner back to Blakenhurst prison following an appearance before magistrates in Redditch. Detective Inspector Jon Marsden, of West Mercia Police, said: "Three men wearing balaclavas, two of whom were carrying sledgehammers, got out of a silver Volkswagen Scirocco, and smashed the windscreen and driver's window of the GEO Amey prison escort van. "The van driver was punched but no serious injuries were sustained by escort staff. There were two other prisoners in the van at the time, neither of whom were released." He went on: "Anslow has recently been charged with murder and is considered dangerous. "We are working closely with our colleagues from West Midlands and Staffordshire Police forces and a large number of officers from all three forces are involved in the search for him. "However we would urge any members of the public who sees him not to approach him directly, but to contact police immediately on 999." Last July, the trial of an alleged criminal gang which used guns and grenades to intimidate its rivals collapsed after two defendants escaped from a prison van on the edge of Manchester city centre. The gang made off and an international search was launched for the two men, with ports and airports in the UK monitored. And in September 2006, a "violent and dangerous" criminal escaped from a prison van in Redditch after being helped by two masked men armed with with a gun. Two men wearing balaclavas, or with their faces covered, used a firearm to threaten staff in a security van taking the prisoner back to Blakenhurst prison following an appearance before magistrates in Redditch.


Thursday, 19 January 2012

A grisly event in South East Asia highlights the region's developing meth-driven drug war

Posted On 04:09 by stargate 0 comments

 

The Mekong River in Thailand Photo via By Jed Bickman 10/11/11 | Share Uppers Rock the World New Life for Asia’s Golden Triangle China Unveils Radical New Approach to Drug Treatment Vietnam's Rehab Gulag Revealed Spinning to Cambodia! In one of the grisliest incidents of the drug war in South East Asia in recent memory, the corpses of thirteen Chinese sailors have been found by Thai authorities on the Mekong River. The victims, including two female cooks, were blindfolded, bound, and shot dead. They're believed to be the crew members of two Chinese cargo ships that were hijacked last week by Thai drug gangs—the boats were recaptured in a firefight with Thai police and 950,000 methamphetamine pills were discovered on board. It's unclear whether the meth was loaded onto the boats by the Thai gangs, or whether it was already being shipped from China. Thai military officials blame a drug trafficking ring led by 40-year-old kingpin Nor Kham—who operates out of northeast Burma and is a wanted man in both Burma and Thailand—for the attacks. Authorities speculate that the Chinese ships neglected to hand over protection money and paid the price. The Chinese government has reacted defensively, suspending cargo and passenger trips along the Mekong river. The region along the border of Burma, Laos, and Thailand—known as the “golden triangle”—is the center of methamphetamine production in Asia, although China has also produced vast amounts of meth since the 1990s. Ephedrine, the base of methamphetamine, is derived from a native Chinese herb—“mao,” AKA "yaba"—which has an important role in Chinese medicine. The UN estimates there are between 3.5 million and 20 million methamphetamine users in South East Asia: such a broad range only serves to illustrate how badly understood the problem is. In 2009, countries in South East Asia collectively reported a 250% jump in methamphetamine arrests, as well as an increasing trend of injecting methamphetamine, which leads to a corresponding jump in HIV and other diseases among users.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Pasquale Mazzarella and Clemente Amodio arrested in Marbella

Posted On 15:16 by stargate 0 comments

 

TWO Italians belonging to the Mazzarella mafia family were arrested in Malaga for their alleged involvement in drug trafficking activities, according to Press reports. Pasquale Mazzarella, who had been on the run from the authorities for the past three years, and Clemente Amodio, wanted since last Spring, had European arrest warrants against them and were handed over to the National Court to be extradited to Italy. They were living in a villa in Marbella, and had moved their headquarters to Spain, allegedly bringing drugs from Morocco to sell in Europe.


Monday, 16 January 2012

Tax adviser guilty of fraud scheme

Posted On 06:10 by stargate 0 comments

 

A professional tax adviser from Bedfordshire has been convicted of trying to defraud honest taxpayers of £70 million, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said. David Perrin spent his cut of the stolen cash on expensive second homes, exotic holidays, works of art and luxury cars, a spokeswoman said. The 46-year-old, of Leagrave, Luton, Bedfordshire, was found guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court and will be sentenced next month, she added. Perrin, deputy managing director at Vantis Tax Ltd, devised and operated a tax avoidance scheme which he sold to wealthy taxpayers in order to exploit the law on giving shares to charity, she said. The scheme allowed him to pocket more than £2 million in fees from unsuspecting clients. He used a network of finance professionals to advise more than 600 wealthy clients to buy shares, worth a few pence each, in four new companies he had set up, the spokeswoman said. He then listed the companies on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange and paid people money from an offshore account to buy and sell the shares simply to inflate their price. The share owners then donated 329 million shares to various unsuspecting registered charities and tried to claim £70 million tax relief on a total of £213 million of income and company profits. This was based on the shares being worth up to £1 each, rather than the pennies they were originally bought for. Perrin also used the bogus scheme to claim money back, the spokeswoman said. The scheme proved so popular that Vantis employees performed a smug celebratory song at their annual conference, to the tune of I will Survive, she said. It included the verse: "They should have changed that stupid law, they should have buggered charity, but they have left that lovely tax relief, for folks to pay to me." Jim Graham, HMRC criminal investigator, said: "With his knowledge of the tax system, Perrin thought that he was one step ahead of both HMRC and the law. "This cynical fraud not only stole millions of pounds from taxpayers, but also conned innocent charities into accepting gifts of virtually worthless shares, just so Perrin could inflate his own criminal earnings." Perrin was charged with cheating the revenue by dishonestly submitting and dishonestly facilitating and inducing others to submit claims for tax relief which falsely stated values of shares which were gifted to charities. He will be sentenced on February 9 and confiscation proceedings are under way, the spokeswoman said.


Top former art dealer faces 87 charges after fraud probe

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One of Australia's former leading art dealers, Ronald Coles, faces up to 10 years in jail after being charged today with 87 offences relating to an alleged multimillion-dollar investment art fraud scheme. Mr Coles, 64, was ordered to appear at Gosford police station at 10am today. Fraud Squad detectives formally charged him following an "extremely protracted and legally intricate" two-year investigation into his business affairs. Under the Crimes Act, Mr Coles was charged with 77 counts of "larceny as a bailee" and a further 10 counts of "director/officer cheat or defraud". For more than 30 years, Mr Coles specialised in fine art by some of Australia's most celebrated artists, including Sir Arthur Streeton, Eugene von Guerard, Brett Whiteley and Norman Lyndsay. Advertising on national radio and television, he offered clients an opportunity to boost their life savings through the purchase of investment art, which he bought and sold on their behalf, using their superannuation funds. NSW Police launched Strike Force Glasson in January 2009 after a Fairfax investigation unearthed dozens of investors who were missing millions of dollars in lost art and money, all allegedly retained by Mr Coles. Today's police charges relate to more than $8 million in financial loss to a total of 43 clients nationwide. Mr Coles failed to make conditional bail of $50,000. It is understood he offered a car and paintings as surety but they were refused. He is due to appear at Gosford Local Court shortly.


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Thousands of children are being "needlessly dumped in prison" because of Britain's failing youth justice system

Posted On 16:37 by stargate 0 comments

 

Thousands of children are being "needlessly dumped in prison" because of Britain's failing youth justice system, a think-tank has warned. The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) said courts and prisons were being used to "parent children" and were expected to sweep up problem youngsters inadequately dealt with by other departments, such as social services. In a new report, the group called for a radical overhaul in the way the Government deals with young offenders. It said there needed to be a drastic cut in the 5,000 children a year currently given custodial sentences, arguing the imprisonment of youths between the age of 10 and 17 should be limited to the "critical few" guilty of the most serious or violent crimes. The CSJ said too many children are being taken before the youth courts for trivial reasons. The report cited one example where a child who had thrown a bowl of Sugar Puffs at his care worker, jumped out of the window, then climbed back in, was held in a police cell over a weekend on suspicion of assault and attempted burglary. The independent think-tank, set up in 2004 by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, urged a return to a "common-sense" approach to minor incidents with parents and teachers using their judgment to deal with them at a home or school level. It also criticised the widespread use of short sentences for young offenders, arguing they undermine justice and disrupt attempts to educate and rehabilitate them. Gavin Poole, executive director of the CSJ, said: "Many young people fall into the system unnecessarily and do not receive the help they need to free themselves from it. Custody is sometimes neither a protective nor a productive place for children, and community orders can be equally ineffective. Moreover, despite years of good intentions, many young people leaving custody are still not being provided with the basic support they need for rehabilitation." Among a series of recommendations, the CSJ said there should be no sentences shorter than six months and an emphasis should be placed on non-custodial punishments where underlying behavioural problems can be tackled more effectively. The group also said measures to prevent lawbreaking by young people should be the primary responsibility of child welfare services rather than the youth justice system. It added local services needed to work together to ensure that young people and their families receive the help they need early.


Michael Brown: From £1.6m villa to prison yard, downfall of the Lib Dem fraudster

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The knock at the door did not unduly disturb the man relaxing on the terrace of the £1.6 million villa overlooking the Caribbean. Even when his wife opened it to discover members of the Dominican Republic’s armed police outside, Darren Patrick Nally was unfazed. He was sure his secret was safe: he was not Nally, a man who said he was an Irish singer and had already been detained in prison on charges of failing to pay his debts. In fact he was Michael Brown, a 45-year-old British fraudster whose web of lies and deceit had made him millions – £2.4 million of which he had donated to the Liberal Democrats for their 2005 election campaign, becoming their biggest single donor. As he was arrested for unpaid rent at a former apartment, Brown was nonchalant. At the police station he told the local assistant prosecutor, Elizabeth Rijo, that he would pay the debt and be back home in time for dinner.


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

5 UK men on trial for allegedly distributing leaflets calling for gay people to be killed

Posted On 16:22 by stargate 0 comments

 

Five men are on trial in Britain for allegedly distributing leaflets calling for gay people to be killed, charged under a new law that makes such actions a hate crime. The men allegedly gave out flyers titled “The Death Penalty” that showed a noose and said gay people would be punished. Two other leaflets were used to publicize a protest against a gay pride march in the central English city of Derby in 2010. 0 Comments Weigh InCorrections? inShare The Crown Prosecution Service said Wednesday this was the first prosecution for stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, under the law that took effect in March 2010. It has long been illegal to incite hatred over disability, race or religion. The maximum penalty for the crime is seven years in jail. Prosecutors said Ihjaz Ali, 42, Mehboob Hussain, 45, Umar Javed, 38, Razwan Javed, 27, and Kabir Ahmed, 28, handed out leaflets near a mosque in Derby and also stuffed them into mailboxes. Prosecutor Bobbie Cheema called the leaflets “frightening and nasty.” “These five defendants were part of a small group of men who distributed horrible, threatening literature, with quotations from religious sources and with pictures on them, which were designed to stir up hatred and hostility against homosexual people,” she said.


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Mexico: Reporter Gunned Down In Los Zetas Stronghold

Posted On 23:30 by stargate 0 comments

 

Raúl Régulo Garza Quirino, a reporter for the weekly La Última Palabra in Cadereyta, in the northeastern state of Nuevo León, became the first Mexican journalist to be killed in 2012 when he was gunned down after a car chase on 6 January. Garza was also a Cadereyta municipal employee. “We hope the number of Mexican journalists killed in the space of a decade does not reach the grim total of 100 in 2012, an election year,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Mexico could prevent this from happening by taking measures to combat impunity for those responsible for violent crime against journalists. “That was the message that we and the Centre for Journalism and Public Ethics (CEPET) tried to transmit when we gave the families of slain and disappeared journalists a platform in the capital on 10 December. “The current show of good intentions by the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) and its head, Gustavo Salas Chávez, must be rapidly translated into reinforcement of its personnel and clarification of its jurisdiction. If the senate approves the bill that the lower house adopted on 11 November making attacks on freedom of information a federal crime, the FEADLE must have enough resources to handle all these cases.” Garza was driving his car near his home when he found himself being pursued by gunmen in another car. He was gunned down when he tried to seek refuge in a garage owned by relatives. Sixteen impacts from 16 mm bullets were found at the scene. Investigators have so far not suggested any motive for the murder. Located 37 km from Monterrey, the state capital, Cadereyta is home to one of northern Mexico’s biggest oil refineries and is rife with contraband in stolen petroleum products as well as drug trafficking. It is a stronghold of Los Zetas, a paramilitary group that worked for the Gulf Cartel before becoming an independent criminal organization. A total of 38 employees of the state oil company PEMEX have been reported missing in the region in recent months. It was in this area that radio journalist Marco Aurelio Martínez Tirejina was kidnapped and killed in July 2010 in a still unsolved murder. According to the Reporters Without Borders tally, 80 journalists have been killed in the past decade and 14 others have disappeared. Most of these killings have gone unpunished.


Customs inspector associated with variety of known criminals

Posted On 11:38 by stargate 0 comments

 

If she were to be judged based solely on the company she kept, Marilyn Béliveau would be in deep trouble. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of her ongoing trial is the fact that while she was under investigation, the Canada Border Services Agency inspector associated with a variety of known criminals. While testifying during her trial in December, Béliveau, 32, explained that a few of those men were people she has known since high school. As part of her defence, she also claims most of them manipulated and used her. Much of the evidence presented during the trial has involved wiretapped conversations between the men Béliveau knew. By listening to the hundreds of conversations, she has learned what some of them really thought of her. They referred to her in degrading terms like "booze," a Haitian term for a prostitute, or "that broad." "It was very painful, especially on the part of those I considered my friends," she said. Here is a short list of some of the people Béliveau associated with before her arrest in 2006: Fitzgerald (Fritz) Dorsainvil, 34, of Montreal: He is currently serving a two-year prison term for his role in a theft ring that stole nearly $1 million worth of computer equipment from 27 businesses in and around Montreal. Dorsainvil helped carry out some of the breakins weeks after he and Béliveau shared an apartment. But even before they moved in together, Dorsainvil had a criminal record. Béliveau said she was introduced to Dorsainvil during the spring of 2005 at a club. She testified she made a very hasty decision to move in with him so she could get away from what she described as her overly protective parents. "(I did this) even though I knew he was a bad person, not the best person." she testified. "I knew he sold drugs, that he sold pot." Béliveau said she thought she was in love with Dorsainvil and that she could change him. They moved in together in October 2005 and she left the apartment three months later. She said it took a while for her to realize Dorsainvil had no interest in a relationship and was using her to pay his rent. Béliveau said she refused to accept the truth, even when her best friend pulled her aside one day and told her it was obvious. Jean Philippe Guerette, 31, of Montreal: A cousin of Dorsainvil, he received a sentence of nearly five years for being part of the same computer theft ring. Béliveau said that one day while eating at a Rockaberry's in 2005, when she was still with Dorsainvil, Guerette told her he wanted to make "a big score" by bringing drugs in through a shipping container. She said Guerette expected her to turn a blind eye when the container arrived. "It was out of the question," Béliveau said of her reaction to what Guerette proposed. As part of her defence, Béliveau testified she did not have the power to get a container through customs with a guarantee it wouldn't be searched. Béliveau said she panicked and that, in an effort to get out of the situation, she "invented" a story and told Guerette and Dorsainvil she was already involved in another smuggling project. She said she also made up the story "to seduce" Dorsainvil. During one wiretapped conversation, Dorsainvil was recorded telling Béliveau she should demand $100,000 from the people she was helping. She insisted, during her trial, that this was a reference to the scenario she had fabricated. She testified that she feels the only thing she did wrong while being investigated in Project Colisée was to fabricate a false report that a container had been seized to back up her lies to Guerette and Dorsainvil. "It has always been in my personality. Whenever I feel cornered, I make things up," she said while testifying. The statement could seriously damage the credibility of her entire testimony, and her lawyer Charles Montpetit appeared to realize this immediately. His next question was whether she thought of herself differently today. "It's certain if I were in the same situation today, I would do things differently. I wouldn't make the same mistakes," Béliveau said. Eric Semino, 32, of Montreal: Currently serving a four-year prison term for possessing three loaded firearms seized in his Aylwin St. apartment, including a shotgun he kept under his mattress. Semino was once part of a gang, called the K-Crew, that was involved in a dispute with the Hells Angels over heroin trafficking in Montreal. On April 12, 2007, he fired a shot into the window of a bar on St. Laurent Blvd. while Normand Marvin (Casper) Ouimet, a member of the Hells Angels, was inside. Semino already had several convictions, for assault and weapons offences, long before Béliveau was investigated in Colisée. When they were both in their early teens, Semino's family lived in a house directly behind Béliveau's. Béliveau said Semino and his brother were often left on their own for days while their mother travelled. She said her mother took pity on the boys and fed them whenever they were on their own. "For me, Eric was like my big brother - the big brother I never had, because I was an only child," she said. "Even if he took another path in life, me and my friends at the time did not abandon him. We did not judge him." She said that while she worked for CBSA, she sent Semino letters whenever he was in prison - which was often - and didn't hide the friendship from her colleagues. Ray Kanho, 35, of Laval: One of the principal organizers of the smuggling effort Béliveau is charged with, as well as several others uncovered by Project Colisée. He is currently serving a 14-year sentence for a series of crimes he pleaded guilty to in 2009, including drug trafficking and corrupting Béliveau as well as Nancy Cedeno, another CBSA employee. Béliveau testified she knew Kanho from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry high school in St. Léonard. She knew him through Rony Bardales, 34, a close friend who attended the same school and a co-accused in the current trial. She testified she remained friends with Bardales until their arrests in 2006. She said she was impressed by how Kanho and Bardales flaunted their wealth, and that she assumed it was generated through legitimate businesses they claimed to own. Béliveau said Kanho and Bardales would spoil her and her friends whenever they went out for drinks or dinner. "They were an example of people who had accomplished things. They were people who drove around in luxury cars, who had money. To me, they were successful," Béliveau said. She described Kanho as someone she considered to be a "big teddy bear" before her arrest.


Monday, 2 January 2012

Backpacker held over 'drug fuelled' Costa Rica murder

Posted On 00:43 by stargate 0 comments

 

 

Alfred Alexandros Mill Saunders, 20, was arrested in Costa Rica after allegedly being found emerging from a tent where a Czech woman had been subjected to a knife attack. He is understood to be the son of a leading London psychoanalyst. Local police said Mr Saunders, thought to be from west London, had blood stains on his face and clothes when he was detained by the manager of the isolated eco-farm, who heard screams coming from the victim’s tent late on Wednesday night. Alexandra Drbohlavova, 20, from the Czech Republic, died after receiving up to 15 stab wounds to her face, chest and neck, police said. Police chief Johnny Fernandez Morales said detectives believed the attack may have been sexually motivated. “Mr Mill told us he can’t remember anything about what happened,” said Mr Morales. “He has now been remanded in jail while an investigating judge looks into what’s happened. “The manager of the farm, who is a British man, heard screaming and shouting and as he approached the woman’s tent saw Mr Mill coming out with a torch in his hand.  “He shone his torch at him and saw blood on his clothes and face. He managed to apprehend him and tie him up with the help of his wife.” Mr Saunders is believed to have arrived at the farm, near the town of Colonia la Libertad in Upala region of the country the day before the incident occurred. Local news reports allege that the assailant was under the influence of drugs at the time of the attack. Mr Morales said: “The mystery is what he was doing at the farm. He turned up the day before the incident with no luggage and virtually just the clothes he was wearing. “We believe he came from Nicaragua. We know from his passport he was well travelled and had been in places like Mexico and China before. “The farm manager says he doesn’t know him and he hadn’t arranged to do volunteer work, and it appears him and his wife have taken pity on him and allowed him to borrow a tent and stay.” The organic farm, Finca La Libertad, in the north west of Costa Rica, near the border with Nicaragua and close to the Rincon de La Vieja, a national park which contains a volcano and rainforest and which is popular with visitors to the country. The farm is so remote it has no postal or telephone services. It offers working holidays for tourists. It borders a network of national parks and the farm’s website details its conservation and “sustainable living” programmes. According to its website, “Finca La Libertad strives to support local conservation efforts through sustainable living and farming practices and sustainable forest management and aims to create a replicable model of these practices for local people and international visitors. “Some of the ways we do this is by applying permaculture design, organic farming, natural building and composting.”


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