The Los Angeles Kings were the top team in the NHL this season, according to the most predictive team statistic hockey’s analytics movement has to offer. Now they’re down two games to none against the San Jose Sharks in the playoffs, and in real danger of being eliminated in the first round. How rare is it to see a “fancystats” darling like the Kings fail this early in the chase for the Stanley Cup?First, a bit of background is in order. One of the major breakthroughs in hockey analytics came within the last five years, when analysts realized that instead of relying on conventional indicators like winning percentage or even goal differential, a team’s future performance could be more effectively predicted by its rate of puck-possession. One proxy measurement for this comes under the silly-sounding name “Fenwick close,” which measures the percentage of all even-strength shots taken by a team in its games, after adjusting for score effects. (Overall Fenwick looks at a team’s shots directed at the goal — including missed shots but excluding blocked shots — expressed as a percentage of the total shots in the game.)Since Fenwick became widely available in the 2007-08 season, the close measure has had an impressive résumé in the NHL postseason. From 2008 to 2010, two of the league’s top regular-season Fenwick close teams have won the Stanley Cup (Detroit in 2008 and Chicago in 2010) and a third came within a game of winning the trophy (Detroit in 2009). The track record for Fenwick close leaders after that is more spotty, with zero league finals berths among them, but those teams still advanced to the conference finals twice in three seasons. So in recent years, it’s pretty unheard of for a team like the Kings — this season’s Fenwick close No. 1 — to fall in the first round.But that’s only a six-season sample. What about similar teams before that? Unfortunately, we don’t have the data to compute Fenwick prior to 2007-08, but we can estimate it for older teams using regression analysis. As I and others have shown before with historical plus/minus in the NBA and historical QBR for NFL quarterbacks, if you want to estimate a newer metric for years before it was tracked, you have to find statistics that were tracked at the time and are correlated with the advanced metric in question (assuming the data meets the requirements for regression).After performing such an analysis on hockey stats website BehindTheNet’s Fenwick close sample from the 2007-08 through 2012-13 seasons, I found three conventional metrics that together explain roughly 88 percent of the variance in team Fenwick close:Shots-per-game differential: This one’s pretty obvious: Fenwick is, at its most basic level, a measure of how much a team outshoots opponents.Point percentage: This variable works as a proxy for score effects, which cause a team in the lead to go into a defensive shell, artificially suppressing its shot differential.Power-play goals-per-game differential: This factor essentially measures whether teams are getting more power plays than their opponents, in addition to the quality of a team’s power-play unit — both of which will affect SPG differential without affecting Fenwick.*(* Note: I didn’t use actual PP goals allowed when calculating the differential — the model works best when it uses the team’s real number of PP goals scored on the offensive side, but on the defensive side multiplies the league’s average PP percentage by the number of PP chances allowed by the team per game.)Here’s a plot of our estimated Fenwick close versus actual Fenwick close for the years in which Fenwick was recorded (the NHL average is always exactly 50 percent):As you can see, the results of the model track very closely with reality. That means the model can also give us a “most likely” Fenwick close for teams in seasons before BehindTheNet’s data was available (going back to 1987-88, which is as far back as NHL.com lists shots per game by team). We can also compute the probability that any given team would have been the NHL’s Fenwick close leader if the statistic had been kept during the season in question.Here’s a table summarizing the yearly league leader in Fenwick close each season going back to 1987-88, along with that team’s number of playoff wins. For years before 2007-08, I list the three teams most likely to have led the league in Fenwick close, as well as the probabilities that each in fact did. For pre-2008 seasons, the playoff win totals are weighted by the likelihood that a team was the NHL’s actual leader in Fenwick close.If the Kings do fall to the Sharks after only picking up a win or two, it would be a historically low performance for a Fenwick close leader. In just seven postseasons was it likely that the league’s Fenwick close leader won fewer than four playoff games, which would be indicative of a first-round series loss. And only one playoff year (1993) saw the weighted mean of likely Fenwick close leaders drop below 2.4 playoff wins. (If we assume the Kings and Sharks are evenly matched and the home team has the NHL’s standard 55 percent home-ice advantage in each remaining game, Los Angeles should only expect to win 1.8 games over the rest of the series.)Meanwhile, the median and mean number of playoff wins for Fenwick close leaders going back to 1988 is eight, enough to win a couple series.While leading the league in Fenwick close isn’t necessarily a guaranteed path to the Cup, Fenwick close leaders usually go relatively deep into the NHL playoffs. The Kings are hoping to keep that trend alive, but the odds are pointing to LA becoming one of the most disappointing advanced-stats favorites in a long time.
The Los Angeles Lakers had less than 24 hours of the NBA attention in town. The Clippers got into the mix by re-signing guard Chaucey Billups and free-agent guard Jamal Crawford.Billups, who played 20 games with the Clippers last season before injuring his Achilles heal, signed a one-year deal for $4.3 million the Los Angeles Times reported the moves, and Crawford will receive a three-year deal for $15.7 million.The Clippers have been seeking a shooting guard to pair with point guard Chris Paul. They were interested in Boston’s Ray Allen, but cancelled the meeting that was set up for Friday when these signings came through. Paul had been recruiting Allen, who is scheduled to visit the Heat today and who is also a candidate to return to Boston.Crawford, who has come off the bench for much of his career, provides that traditional shooting guard for the Clippers, while Billups gives the team options at both backcourt spots.
Don’t look now, but the NBA has instituted another new rule. This one minimizes the time players put on their little performance during pre-game introductions, exhibitions that the league feel is slowing down the start of games. Seriously.Starting this season, as soon as player introductions are finished, there will be 90 seconds put on the game clock, and teams will be expected to be ready for tipoff after that time. Two delay of game warnings will result in a technical foul.The guideline will eliminate or severely cut down on the routines that players from most teams go through before games, which often include a series of handshakes with their own teammates before greeting opponents. It also could legislate out individual rituals like LeBron James’ famous chalk toss, which he abandoned last season during the playoffs, though James said he’ll try to get it done in the limited time.“I won’t change it. I’ll be able to work it in,” James said. “We’ll figure it out.”Over the years, as the elaborate handshakes and other routines have become extended — for example, Shaquille O’Neal famously created team-wide skits acted out before Phoenix Suns games three seasons ago — games have routinely taken five minutes or longer to begin after the starting lineups were announced. The NBA is attempting to speed up the start of games.Players have been advised of the initiative during the annual meetings with referees in the preseason as part of the league’s “points of emphasis.”“There’s a 90-second countdown, it is placed on the clock,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank said. “At 30 seconds, there’s a warning horn and alert by the refs. At the end, teams need to be ready to tip off or face a delay-of-game warning.”Two delay-of-game warnings would result in a technical foul.Players around the league are already reacting negatively to the new policy.“I personally don’t like it,” Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder said to The Oklahoman. “Every player in this league has routines they do with their teammates, rituals they do before the game and before they walk on the floor. The fans enjoy it. You see the fans mimicking the guys who do their stuff before the game. To cut that down really don’t make no sense.”Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat is one of the league’s most active players before tipoff, usually greeting fans on all four sides of the arena, doing pull-ups on the rim and having a series of handshake routines. He said he’ll have to adjust to the new rules.“I’ll have to take something away for sure. I’m always going to make sure I show love to the fans,” Wade said Wednesday in Miami. “There’s so many rules, I can’t keep up. There’s no reason to make a big stink. It’s their league, it’s their rules.”
In the latest installment in our documentary podcast series Ahead Of Their Time, we look at Charles Reep, the father of soccer analytics — and a guy who made one big, glaring mistake that changed the course of English soccer for the worse. But in order to arrive at his very wrong conclusion, he first had to radically transform the way people thought about consuming a soccer match.There was no Opta back in 1950, no Total Shots Ratio, no Expected Goals. But there was Reep, who took it upon himself to attend every Swindon Town F.C. match that season — sometimes with a miner’s helmet on his head to better illuminate his notes — and meticulously scribble down play-by-play diagrams of how everything went down. More than 60 years before player-tracking cameras became all the rage in pro sports, Reep was mapping out primitive spatial data the old-fashioned way, by hand.Poring over all the scraps of data he’d collected, Reep eventually came to a realization: Most goals in soccer come off of plays that were preceded by three passes or fewer. And in Reep’s mind, this basic truth of the game should dictate how teams play. The key to winning more matches seemed to be as simple as cutting down on your passing and possession time, and getting the ball downfield as quickly as possible instead. The long ball was Reep’s secret weapon.“Not more than three passes,” Reep admonished during a 1993 interview with the BBC. “If a team tries to play football and keeps it down to not more than three passes, it will have a much higher chance of winning matches. Passing for the sake of passing can be disastrous.”This was it: Maybe the first case in history of an actionable sports strategy derived from next-level data collection, such as it was. And Reep got more than a few important folks to listen to his ideas, too. It took him a few decades of preaching, but Reep’s recommended playing style was adopted to instant success by Wimbledon F.C. in the 1980s, and then reached the highest echelons of English soccer — channeled as it was through the combination of England manager Graham Taylor and Football Association coaching director Charles Hughes, each of whom believed in hoofing the ball up the pitch and chasing it down (and now seemed to have the data to back up their intuition). The long ball was suddenly England’s official footballing policy.The trouble was, Reep’s theory was based on a fatally flawed premise. As I wrote two years ago, when discussing Reep’s influence on soccer analytics:Reep’s mistake was to fixate on the percentage of goals generated by passing sequences of various lengths. Instead, he should have flipped things around, focusing on the probability that a given sequence would produce a goal. Yes, a large proportion of goals are generated on short possessions, but soccer is also fundamentally a game of short possessions and frequent turnovers. If you account for how often each sequence length occurs during the flow of play, of course more goals are going to come off of smaller sequences — after all, they’re easily the most common type of sequence. But that doesn’t mean a small sequence has a higher probability of leading to a goal.To the contrary, a team’s probability of scoring goes up as it strings together more successful passes. The implication of this statistical about-face is that maintaining possession is important in soccer. There’s a good relationship between a team’s time spent in control of the ball and its ability to generate shots on target, which in turn is hugely predictive of a team’s scoring rate and, consequently, its placement in the league table. While there’s less rhyme or reason to the rate at which teams convert those scoring chances into goals, modern analysis has ascertained that possession plays a big role in creating offensive opportunities, and that effective short passing — fueled largely by having pass targets move to soft spots in the defense before ever receiving the ball — is strongly associated with building and maintaining possession. It probably wasn’t entirely Reep’s fault when England flamed out at Euro 1992, or when they failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. But it couldn’t have helped that they were playing a misguided style, informed by well-meaning but faulty statistical principles.Ultimately, Reep was a cautionary tale of the damage that can be done when stats go wrong. But he was also light-years ahead of his time for tracking stats in the first place. Even though his conclusions were wrong, his instincts were right. Now, national and club teams across the globe pay for massive amounts of data that, in one way or another, come out of the tradition of soccer analytics that Charles Reep helped start. As far as legacies in the game go, you could do worse.This is part of our new podcast series “Ahead Of Their Time,” profiling players and managers in various sports who were underappreciated in their era. By Joe Sykes and Neil Paine More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS Here at FiveThirtyEight, we tend to think statistics can add to our understanding of sports. (What a surprise!) From the more mature sabermetric movements of baseball and basketball to growing ones in soccer and hockey, evidence-based examination has led to new thoughts and ideas about the games we love.But there can also be a dark side to analytics. Among other potential pitfalls, interpreting the numbers incorrectly can lead to terrible decisions or encourage habits that are hard to break, particularly given the added weight that conclusions carry if they appear to emerge from hard data. For an example, look no further than the state of English soccer after it began using what appeared to be a scientific strategy.
Ohio State junior guard Kelsey Mitchell (3) facilitates the offense against Purdue during the Boilermakers’ 71-60 win against the Buckeyes at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on March 4. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports DirectorINDIANAPOLIS — As Ohio State junior guard Kelsey Mitchell goes, so goes the Buckeyes’ women’s basketball team. And the only place Mitchell and her team are going after Saturday afternoon’s game is home.On Friday, against Northwestern in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals, Mitchell led both teams with 27 points en route to a dominant 99-68 OSU victory. But in the following day’s game against Purdue, nothing went right for the Big Ten player of the year. Mitchell scored just nine points as she made 3 of 22 shots and just a single of her 12 3-point attempts, and OSU lost 71-60.“She didn’t have a good game,” said OSU coach Kevin McGuff. “She’s a spectacular player, one of the very best in college basketball, and tonight wasn’t her night.”The Buckeyes could not overcome their star’s struggles, as Purdue pulled off the 71-60 upset win, which knocked OSU out of the tournament and sent the Boilermakers to the final.The season low for the guard who averages 23.5 points per game picked up her second-lowest scoring total as a Buckeye, coming within a point of tying her career low of eight, set in 2015.The Boilermakers keyed in on the left-handed OSU guard’s proclivity to dribble to her dominant hand side.“We wanted to make her play on the right side of the floor,” said Purdue senior guard Ashley Morrissette. “They ran a couple plays where she got looks on the left side of the floor. But I thought, as a team, we did a great job of defending her.”This isn’t the first time the Boilermakers’ defense shut down Mitchell. In January, Purdue used a 1-2-2 zone defense to smother Mitchell, holding her to 14 points and making just 3-of-17 shots. But on Saturday, Purdue implemented a 2-3 zone defense. Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said the change was made due to OSU more frequently utilizing a two-guard lineup.“They executed and they trusted it and said, ‘Hey, let everybody else shoot the outside shot and just corrall her,” said Purdue coach Sharon Versyp.Versyp and Morrissette each noted the importance Purdue placed on surrounding Mitchell with two players at all times to keep her off balance.As a team, the Buckeyes shot just 34 percent from the field and made just 3 of 23 3-point attempts. OSU even struggled at the free throw line, with the Buckeyes making 7 of 15 from the charity stripe. “Once they got a lead, we seemed to get out of doing the things that we’ve done all year and (it) allowed us to be very efficient on offense,” McGuff said. “We were rushing shots and taking quick, contested shots instead of showing a little more patience and a little more trust in the execution.”In her six previous Big Ten tournament games, Mitchell averaged 29.8 points per game on 49 percent shooting.McGuff assuredly stated after Mitchell’s disappointing performance that no one is more likely to bounce back with authority than the OSU guard.“No one’s going to work harder, no one’s going to be in the gym more than she will,” McGuff said. “She’s going to make sure that her having an off night doesn’t happen again this year. I can assure you of that.”
Former OSU cornerback Gareon Conley speaks with the media on March 5 at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports DirectorINDIANAPOLIS — If you ask Gareon Conley, he could be the 2017 NFL Draft’s top cornerback. Although the hype around OSU’s secondary has been centered around Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker, Conley’s combine numbers just might show why teams should not forget how good he is.Conley came into the 2016-17 season as the top cornerback for Ohio State after Eli Apple left the Buckeyes and was selected in the first round by the New York Giants. While Conley might have been listed as the No. 1 corner, his teammate Marshon Lattimore stole the show, and is now considered to be the best cornerback in this draft.While Conley is pleased with seeing his teammates receive recognition for his ability, he could easily be considered as the top player at the position himself. He said he feels the wide range of skills he brings — from press-man coverage to playing nickel — separate him from the group.“I feel like all the corners here obviously have talent, or we wouldn’t be here,” Conley said. “So I set myself apart mentally, with my mental toughness and being able to handle adversity on the field and snapping clear. I feel like that sets me apart.”Conley’s athleticism has put him on numerous team’s radars, but hasn’t quite put him ahead of his teammates. Sometimes the secondary player’s fans forget from OSU in 2016-17, Conley still feels he is right up there with both Lattimore and Hooker.“I don’t feel forgotten about,” Conley said. “I embrace everything that I get, and I take advantage of everything that I’ve been given. And I congratulate them for everything they’re getting too.”Finishing his college career with 91 total tackles, 15 passes defended and six interceptions, Conley has the stats to show he can be productive. However, the biggest questions moving ahead are whether Conley can play tight with NFL-level receivers.Even with that question mark, Conley possesses the kind of speed that can close gaps quickly.“I plan on running a 4.4,” he said. “I’m trying to get a 4.3.”Former Buckeyes Curtis Samuel busted off a 4.31 40-yard dash in his two attempts at the combine, and while Conley might not be that fast, he could potentially get under a 4.4.The secondary class for this year’s NFL Draft is especially deep, and could cause Conley to slip slightly. After being projected as a potential first-rounder early this season, he has since slipped down draft boards, and could find himself picked in the second round.Regardless, Conley said he is going to continue to fight.“I think about it, but I use it as motivation,” he said.Conley will be hearing his name called early in the draft, but will likely see multiple cornerbacks — including Lattimore — selected before him. And as always, Conley will stand by his fellow Buckeyes, and accept what is placed before him, which might be a product of his time in Columbus.“All the experiences on and off the field at Ohio State have made me a better man.”
The Metropolitan Police could struggle to mobilise officers during a terrorist incident because so many live outside the capital – with some based as far afield as Cornwall and the South of France, a new report has warned.Less than half of the Met’s 18,000 borough officers now live in London, with soaring house prices giving rise to a phenomenon known as commuter cops”.According to a report by the Policy Exchange think tank, the trend could make it harder to deploy officers in a major emergency such as a terrorist attack or riot. Many officers insist they cannot afford to live in the capital We have tried and tested plans to allow us to respond at pace and effectively to a range of critical incidents and do not believe that these are in anyway jeopardised by the places officers currently live.Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey There is concern Scotland Yard will not be able to mobilise enough officers if there is a riot or terror attackCredit:Getty Images Having a police force that lives outside London affects the ability of the Met to mobilise sufficient numbers of officers to deal with terrorist incidents or civil disturbancesGlyn Gaskarth of the Policy Exchange But Met Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey insisted contingency plans meant the force was well placed to deal with major emergencies.He said: “We have tried and tested plans to allow us to respond at pace and effectively to a range of critical incidents and do not believe that these are in anyway jeopardised by the places officers currently live.” House prices emerged as the main reason officers said they chose to live outside the capital, with most saying they would happily live in London if they could afford it.The report suggested that the Met should work with housing associations to convert underused police properties into housing and make it available to officers at discounted prices.Another suggestion was that Scotland Yard should provide low-interest loans and top-ups to help officers get in the capital’s extremely competitive housing ladder. Researchers also found that living outside the community they policed meant officers were not as connected as those who were based in the capital.The report stated that even when off-duty, police officers stabilised communities and deterred criminals, adding: “Londoners would benefit from having more police officers as neighbours.”The commuting cops phenomenon was also said to be against the interests of policemen and women given the anti-social hours and the unpredictability of their work.Officers interviewed spoke of having to sleep on the floor after they missed their last trains, according to the research by Policy Exchange’s Capital City Foundation unit. Researchers found that while a large number of officers preferred to live in the leafier Home Counties, such as Surrey and Hertfordshire, some were based hundreds of miles away with some in Cornwall and others in the South of France.Shift patterns which allow officers to work a set number of days and then have longer periods off, mean they are able to base themselves long distances from London. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Such has been the Met’s concern over the problem of commuter cops that in 2014 it introduced a policy stating that all new recruits should have lived in London for at least three of the past six years.But the policy does not prevent them moving out once they have joined the force.Mr Mackey acknowledged that housing costs were a problem for many officers, but said having faced swingeing budget cuts in recent years the force was not in a position to support staff financially.He added: “We also recognise that for those connections to be maintained, officers need to have access to affordable housing, but equally we do not believe we are best-placed, as a police service, to be a housing provider – this should be left to specialists in the field of affordable and key-worker housing whilst we concentrate on keeping our capital safe.” The report found that in September last year, just 8,896 of the Met’s 18,179 officers lived in the capital full time.One officer interviewed for the report said: “Eleven years ago we sold and moved to Cornwall, which is where I live at the moment. I do not commute daily”.The officer explained that she kept a small London flat where she stayed while on shift.Another explained that some officers even “live in the South of France because they work 14 days on in a row, so they work 14 days in a row and then they go home for the remaining two weeks of the month”.The report’s author, Glyn Gaskarth, said: “Having a police force that lives outside London affects the ability of the Met to mobilise sufficient numbers of officers to deal with terrorist incidents or civil disturbances.”
The reason why stress causes heart attacks and strokes may finally have been discovered by scientists, leading to hopes that it could prevented.For years experts have puzzled as to how chronic anxiety leads to heart problems.But now scientists have found that people who have heightened activity in a part of the brain linked to stress – the amygdala – are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.The amygdala is responsible for telling the bone marrow to temporarily produce more white blood cells which fight infection and repair damage. It essentially prepares the body for a harmful experience, such as being punched and would have been vital to survival in our evolutionary past. The scans on the right show how people with high activity in the amygdala also had high bone marrow and artery activity Credit:Harvard Medical School However in the modern world, chronic stress can lead to the over-production of white blood cells, which can form plaques in the arteries and lead to heart disease, scientists believe.“Our results provide a unique insight into how stress may lead to cardiovascular disease,” said lead author Dr Ahmed Tawakol of Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts General Hospital.“This raises the possibility that reducing stress could produce benefits that extend beyond an improved sense of psychological well-being.“Eventually, chronic stress could be treated as an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is routinely screened for and effectively managed like other major cardiovascular disease risk factors.” Chronic stress as a true risk factor for acute cardiovascular syndromesDr Ilze Bot, Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research, Leiden University Smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes are already well-known risk factors for cardiovascular disease but researchers say that chronic social stress should also now be considered a major danger.In this study, 293 patients were given scans to record the activity of their brain, bone marrow, spleen and inflammation of their arteries.They were then tracked for an average of 3.7 years to see if they developed cardiovascular disease. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. In this time 22 patients had cardiovascular events including heart attack, angina, heart failure, stroke and peripheral arterial disease.Those with higher amygdala activity had a greater risk of subsequent cardiovascular disease and developed problems sooner than those with lower activity. The researchers also found that the heightened activity in the amygdala was linked to increased bone marrow activity and inflammation in the arteries, and suggest that this may cause the increased cardiovascular risk.Dr Ilze Bot, Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research, Leiden University, The Netherlands, said: “In the past decade, more and more individuals experience psychosocial stress on a daily basis.“Heavy workloads, job insecurity, or living in poverty are circumstances that can result in chronically increased stress, which in turn can lead to chronic psychological disorders such as depression.“These clinical data establish a connection between stress and cardiovascular disease, thus identifying chronic stress as a true risk factor for acute cardiovascular syndromes, which could, given the increasing number of individuals with chronic stress, be included in risk assessments of cardiovascular disease in daily clinical practice.”The research was published in The Lancet. White blood cells help fight infection and repair damage but too many can be deadly
Ajibola Daudu said ‘I deserve to lose everything for what I did’ to his victimCredit:Cascade She said that they were the actions of “evil people” and that she was “totally embarrassed, humiliated and ashamed”.She “met” a man on the day she joined Plenty of Fish in February 2015, the court heard. The man claimed to be an intelligence agent and said his father had died in Dubai.But there were complications with the paperwork needed to release his inheritance, he told her. Mrs Hawes agreed to pay £2,700 to allow John to travel to Dubai.She then travelled there herself and was told she would need to pay another £10,000 for an anti-money laundering certificate, which she did. Show more I can’t believe this has happened to me. It all sounds so unbelievableLynn Hawes During that time, Mrs Hawes fell in love with one of the conmen, who then disappeared, and had an intimate relationship with another, Ajibola Daudu, a court heard.After accepting that she was being conned, Mrs Hawes strung Daudu along and arranged a meeting at which he was arrested.Daudu, 43, of Purfleet, Essex, who was facing trial on one count of fraud, pleaded guilty at Chester Crown Court and was sentenced to 45 months in jail.Judge Nicolas Woodward told Daudu that he had carried out a “deliberate and shameless betrayal”. Two other men involved in the scam remain at large, the court heard.Mrs Hawes, who had been flown to Dubai and shown a suitcase said to contain the £7m in cash, told the court in a victim impact statement that her search for companionship had been “exposed in the most cruel manner”.”They made me feel so special and so loved,” she said. “I can’t believe this has happened to me. It all sounds so unbelievable.” Daudu then told her they would need more money to exchange the cash from dollars to pounds. She sold some jewellery and borrowed £10,000 from a friend and handed him £12,000 in cash at an hotel in London in June 2016.Daudu the persuaded to hand over a further £9,000, secured by a bank loan, “because Brexit had increased the price of a currency conversion certificate”.It was at this point that she became suspicious and spoke to police. Daudu then said he needed another £27,500. She arranged a meeting in London and officers arrested him.The court heard that, in total, Mrs Hawes lost £100,000 in money she handed over and interest on loans. But a basis of plea which was put forward by Daudu, and accepted by the prosecution, said that he had received no more than £26,000.Defending, Jide Lanlehin said that Daudu wanted to apologise to Mrs Hawes and he “wished he had the courage at an earlier stage to tell her finally about what was going on”. Mr Lanlehin said that Daudu had three children with an ex-partner who he regularly sees and had a law degree.Daudu, who had spent the entire hearing with his head in his hands, shouted to the court “I deserve to lose everything for what I did to her” and started sobbing loudly. A lovestruck woman who lost £100,000 in an elaborate con by online fraudsters strung one of the scammers along for two months to help police catch him.Lynn Hawes was targeted in what was described as a “planned, complicated, sophisticated and systematic” sting after joining the Plenty of Fish dating website.She handed over cash, sold jewellery, took out a bank loan and borrowed money from a friend to help one of the conmen in unlocking what she was told was a £7million inheritance in Dubai.However, it was part of a sophisticated scam that was played out over almost 18 months and left her “exposed in the most cruel manner”. But Mrs Hawes said she did not believe Daudu was remorseful, adding: “I’ve seen those tears before. He can put on an act. He has no remorse in my eyes.”She said: “It was just like a movie. There was at least six to seven people. They had everything, all the props. I felt it was 100 per cent genuine.”Jailing him, Judge Nicolas Woodward described the offence as a “deliberate and shameless betrayal”. Police praised the courage of Mrs Hawes, who continued to speak to Daudu for nearly two months after her suspicious were raised that she was being conned. She helped set up a meeting with him where he was arrested by police.Sgt Kev Green, from Cheshire Police, said: “Daudu failed to recognise the courage and determination of his victim, who once she realised was being scammed, was instrumental in his location and arrest.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
“The prosecution say that each of them was effectively imprisoned in that room against their will,” he said.”It was not a one-off but organised and systemic abuse of people with learning disabilities – vulnerable members of society who were residents in homes that were meant to care for them.”The rooms were known as either the “garden room” or the “quiet room”.Mr Langdon said: “Whatever the original purpose, these two rooms were used by staff to control – perhaps to even punish – residents at a time that was not only unacceptable by professional standards of care but was also quite unnecessarily cruel.”One man, who cannot be named, spent 195 sessions in a “quiet room” including 13 overnight stays. His mother said the treatment was “barbaric, disgusting and unnecessary”.Hewitt was described as a “respected figure” who was a qualified psychiatric nurse and behavioural therapist.At the time he ran seven care homes in Devon and Berkshire. Hewitt sold Atlas for £3 million to his two sons and other directors in a management buyout in 2006 but continued to describe himself as the managing director.The “balloon went up” when one former resident contacted the watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, in July 2011 and the police became involved. Staff tried to correct residents’ behaviour as if they would train an animal, with prosecutor Andrew Langdon QC describing it as the “Atlas culture”. “There is no doubt that Atlas had an impressive reputation. It could offer care to people with severe learning disabilities that others could not.”At some point the wrong turn was taken which allowed the quiet room and garden rooms to be used.”It became a way of life – it became the norm, a habit. Rather than care in the community it became lack of care in the community and systematic neglect.”The residents didn’t like it. The phrase that comes back to me, ‘If you kick off, you get the quiet room’.”It was used as a form of punishment and they were distressed and in discomfort when left in the room. Eventually they complied but that had no therapeutic value”There were many that benefited from the Atlas regime but the way that the rooms became used was not beneficial.”Those two rooms cast a dark shadow over people’s lives.”One former employee of Veilstone told the BBC that that the atmostphere was like an “ice block” and likened it to a “prison regime”. Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector of adult social care at the Care Quality Commission, welcomed the sentences.”Atlas and a large number of their staff utterly failed in their duty to look after the people in their care,” she said. Care home bosses could increasingly face prosecution over the neglect of residents after a “groundbreaking” court case into “organised and systematic” abuse.Five company directors and managers were among 13 people convicted yesterday for imprisoning the vulnerable, with senior figures accused of creating a culture where neglect was the norm.Staff treated vulnerable people like animals, the court heard, trapping them in rooms without heating, furniture or even toilets for long periods, as a form of punishment.During the trials, the directors and staff were accused of creating a culture where “systematic neglect” was the norm at the two care homes in Devon run by Atlas Project Team. But the court heard that those who were vulnerable disabled were left alone for hours on end with little food or water.The case is significant because it is thought to be the first time directors have been successfully prosecuted alongside staff.Last night health watchdogs the Care Quality Commission admitted they had been too slow to act on concerns, but said they had strengthened enforcement processes, which could mean further prosecutions.Huw Rogers, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The directors and managers at the Atlas care homes created a culture of abuse – unlawfully detaining residents in very poor conditions for long periods of time.”This case has been ground-breaking in that the directors and managers of the homes and not just the staff that implemented their policies have been held to account.The investigation was launched after one of the residents contacted the authorities in July 2011.He said he was left to sleep on a punctured airbed, in a room that was “disgusting and cold” without a toilet, or a handle to open the door. “These criminal court proceedings against Atlas Projects Ltd founder Paul Hewitt and Atlas managers and employees underline the legal responsibilities those who manage and profit from care facilities have for the physical and psychological well-being of their residents.”It also highlights the responsibility of those public bodies who failed these vulnerable individuals by not commissioning appropriate facilities and therefore should retain responsibility for the services they have contracted out.”These verdicts against the owners and managers of Atlas Projects Ltd and those they employed are a reminder that health and safety legislation protects the rights of the most vulnerable and we would call on the Government to ensure that more is done to strengthen such safeguards.” “No-one should be subject to the degrading abuse people experienced and I am glad that the perpetrators have been recognised for the criminals they are.”When the CQC inspected Veilstone in October 2011, inspectors were so concerned by the treatment they discovered that they quickly extended the inspection to all 15 of the services run by Atlas.”We found serious concerns in most of their care homes, including the routine use of excessive restrictive practices, which is why we took action which led to the closure of all of these services in 2012.”She said the watchdog “should have responded much more quickly” when concerns were first raised. “Much has changed since 2011,” she said. “Since then we have overhauled our regulatory approach; improved the monitoring of services and the way we respond to safeguarding concerns; introduced a new and more thorough inspection process; increased the numbers of people with learning disabilities involved in our inspections; and strengthened our enforcement processes.”The end of these trials is a chilling reminder that we must all remain vigilant to support and protect people in vulnerable circumstances who have every right to live their lives to the full, free from fear and treated with dignity and respect.” It became a way of life – it became the norm, a habit. Rather than care in the community it became lack of care in the community and systematic neglectJudge William Hart The CQC carried out unannounced inspections the following October and the two homes were later closed. Atlas has since gone into administration.”The prosecution say it was an insular world and it led to a culture of care that was in effect abusive,” Mr Langdon said.”The residents were not inmates, they were residents, and whatever the challenges their behaviour created, each of them at all times should have been treated with respect.”The company was paid as much as £4,000 a week per resident.Gatooma had an income of nearly £700,000 a year while Vielstone produced annual revenue of £1.2 million. Atlas Project Team had a turnover of £6.5 million in 2011.During the trial, some of the seven victims – who were only known by their initials of AF, AC, BP, LO, HI, JM and WB – gave evidence.Seven defendants were acquitted and prosecutors did not seek retrials against four others after the panel failed to reach verdicts.Passing sentence last year, Judge William Hart said: “Having heard the evidence during these trials, I can only conclude that for many years the Atlas homes were well run and were able to provide a service for the most challenging people in our society. The court case saw senior managers convicted of the “organised and systemic abuse” of disabled residents at the Veilstone care home in Bideford, and Gatooma, in Holsworthy, in 2010 and 2011.They included Jolyon Marshall, 42, a company director, jailed for 28 months, his wife Rachel, 32, who was given an eight-month suspended sentence.Paul Hewitt, 71, the founder of the company, was convicted of a health and safety offence, with other managers given suspended sentences and community service orders, along with care workers who carried out the abuse.The company was paid up to £4,000 a week per resident. The room inside Veilstone care home in BidefordCredit: Devon & Cornwall Police/PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Health campaigners said weak inspection systems had allowed an abusive culture to develop. Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, and Vivien Cooper, chief executive of The Challenging Behaviour Foundation, said: “Throughout the three trials last year, juries have listened to horrific accounts of people with a learning disability being abused by those who were being paid to support them,””Despite several warning signs, it took far too long for the abusive practices at the care homes to be exposed.”Poor commissioning by a number of local authorities and weak inspection allowed an abusive culture to develop and sustain itself, with devastating consequences for individuals and their families.”They said the families of the Atlas victims had waited more than five years for justice and commended Devon and Cornwall Police for a thorough investigation.The treatment of some vulnerable adults within residential settings was exposed by the BBC’s Panorama programme in 2011 with its undercover investigation into the scandal at the Winterbourne View private hospital.Since then the Government has ordered the closure of 1,000 beds at assessment and treatment units like Winterbourne View.Lawyer Alison Millar, from law firm Leigh Day, is representing several of the former residents.”We believe this is a significant verdict for the future welfare of people in residential care,” she said.
The new head of the Scottish Police Authority has admitted that the country’s police service has experienced a “bumpy ride” in the last few years but denied that it was “in crisis”.Susan Deacon, who becomes chairman of the body that oversees the workings of Police Scotland on Monday, said she wanted to drive change in the force and improve public and political trust in policing.The force and the SPA have been caught in a series of very public controversies, including resignations, suspensions and call centre failures, with allegations of bullying and gross misconduct against senior officers.Ms Deacon was speaking as Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, the acting head of the national force, called for less political interference and said policing should be an “apolitical public service”He said it made it difficult for officers if policing was “moved around as a political issue”, and he would like to see it taken out of the constant political debate.Mr Livingstone postponed his planned retirement to take over at the head of Police Scotland in September, after Phil Gormley, the Chief Constable, took special leave to allow allegations of bullying to be investigated.More recently, Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins and three other senior officers were suspended as part of a probe into alleged criminal and misconduct allegations, which also resulted in two officers being placed on restricted duties. The Scottish Police Federation claims that Mr Higgins and his colleagues should not have been suspended by the SPA, under Ms Deacon’s predecessor, Andrew Flanagan, who quit following concerns over governance and transparency and criticism of his leadership.Meanwhile, Mr Livingstone told Scotland on Sunday: “It would be helpful if issues around government policy and the political debate that goes on in Scotland, if policing wasn’t part of that.”That’s what at times makes it difficult for senior officers and operational officers and staff, if policing gets moved around as a political issue. Core policing in its essence is apolitical.”He agreed that the Scottish Parliament should have an interest in armed policing, but said the practice of armed officers in Scotland was almost identical to the practice in England and Wales, and he could not remember “the last time there was a debate on armed policing in Westminster”. Susan Deacon after receiving a CBE at the Palace of Holyroodhouse this summerCredit:PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. He is understood to have asked the SPA to be granted special leave – in the same way as Mr Gormley – but was refused and suspended instead.Meanwhile, the Sunday Mail said two of the claims – that he swore at work and failed to discipline a colleague who allegedly used a police rucksack in his leisure time – were previously looked into.They were allegedly raised by a former boyfriend of a female police sergeant, after the man’s firearms licence was revoked over a domestic abuse complaint.The paper said the new compliant alleged that the female officer had “inappropriate relationships” with two other officers from the firearms unit, Supt Kirk Kinnell, and Chief Insp Bob Glass, who have also been suspended with their boss Mr Higgins. The officers deny any wrongdoing.Ms Deacon said she could not comment on the current investigations, but in her new role would be looking “very, very carefully at the cases that are live”.She said: “I have to take issue with the notion that our police service itself is in crisis. Policing is continuing in Scotland. “I, for one, do not doubt for a minute the challenges that lie ahead both in terms of taking forward and developing our police service, but also in making sure there is an SPA that the public, politicians and others can have trust and confidence in. From tomorrow, that’s my job, to make improvements in that area.” Chief Constable Phil Gormley is facing claims of bullyingCredit:PA It has been claimed that police investigated one of the main allegations against Mr Higgins and dismissed it more than a year ago.
So it is particularly poignant that the funeral and memorial service for Mary Parkinson, the eldest daughter of the late Tory grandee Cecil Parkinson, will be held within those very walls at St Columba’s Church in Knightsbridge this week. For more than 30 years, the meeting room within the imposing Grade II listed church was her sanctuary, the place where she could talk openly about her demons and where the strongest bonds with lifelong friends were formed. She had led a troubled life, spiralling into the depths of drug addiction and prostitution and struggling… Ms Parkinson, 57, was found dead at her home at the beginning of December, nearly two years after the death of the father she idolised.
Jet Moore posted the news on FacebookCredit:Athena He wrote: “Thank you all for your help this evening. A mega thank you the officers who jumped in the river and the rest of the emergency services for all they did.”Unfortunately Kiara had an amazing but short life.”Dyfed-Powys Police said it received a call about a missing vehicle at 3.30pm and posted on its Twitter page that the Mini had been located at 5.11pm.Mother, Ms Rowlands, made a plea on Facebook after her car went missing. Police this afternoon confirmed that they were no longer looking for anyone else in connection with the incident. A two-year-old girl has died after being pulled from a car found in a river near her family’s outdoor pursuits business.Kiara Moore died at the University Hospital of Wales, just days before her third birthday, after being rescued from a silver Mini in the River Teifi in Cardigan. Her mother, Kim Rowlands, reported her car had been stolen, near the old Scout Hall, with her daughter inside, sparking a major search in the area yesterday afternoon.Police searched for two-hours before finding the car submerged in the river. Kiara’s father, Jet Moore, who is in a relationship with Kim, wrote on Facebook that Kiara died despite the heroic efforts of emergency services. The two-year-old was found in the river Teifi The Mini was found submerged in the river in Cardigan, west WalesCredit:Athena Noel Lewis who runs a car repair business close to where Kiara went missing told BBC Wales: “Kiara was the most wonderful little girl. She was always playing out here with her little dog. “Her parents run an outdoor adventure business the other side of the slipway. “I’d often see them taking Kiara out on the river in a canoe. She always had a life jacket on when she was in the canoe with them. “They’re a lovely family, always smiling and having fun together.”Dyfed Powys Police Deputy Chief Constable Darren Davies wrote on Twitter: “Tragic outcome and sincerest condolences to the family. Incredible bravery and selflessness shown by officers who entered the water and rescued the child.” Police said no arrests have been made and they are appealing for anyone, who may have seen the car between 3.30pm and 4.50pm, to contact them.There is currently no information about who may have been driving the vehicle before it entered the river. A spokeswoman said: “Police have made extensive enquiries into the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident and can now confirm that we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the investigation. “The vehicle was recovered from the river early this morning. H.M Coroner has been advised. Kiara’s family are being supported by specially trained officers.” Mr Moore owns an outdoor activity company, Adventure Beyond, near to the old Scout Hall, where the vehicle was reported missing from. It is believed Ms Rowlands also works at the business. Mr Moore said Ms Rowlands and Kiara had gone to the office after Ms Rowlands snapped her bank card. He posted on Facebook: “[Ms Rowlands] went back to the office to get money from the desk and came back to no car. looked in the river No signs. So we thought she and the car had been taken. The police found the car a while later and went way beyond the call of duty jumping in and pulling her out.”They tried to revive her for hours but unfortunately could not. Everyone done their best. Thank you all so much for the support it means the world!!!”He added: “She was an incredible happy young girl who lived I hope a great adventurous fun life. And may have done more than most people Been skiing twice and skied her self! Paddled the great glen Scotland Paddles the wye Played on every beach we could. “Had a Loving family and made us all happy She always wanted to be called RAR RAR which was our Knick Name for her Love her so much.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Brian Gough and his wife Trixie. Trixie was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer after finding a small lump in her breast in late 2010 and died in 2015. Now, Brian has questioned if she was one of the women who could have been saved or lived longer. PHE and the NHS are working round-the-clock to offer advice and ensure that every person affected will be offered appropriate follow-up. Arrangements have been put in place to ensure those affected can access services appropriately, and that those already in the system will not have their care disrupted.” Show more Laura Preston, from legal firm Slater Gordon, said the numbers who could seek compensation were “huge”.The lawyer said the new scandal could result in the biggest legal action against the NHS ever mounted.But Ms Preston, who was deputy lead solicitor fighting for compensation for victims of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson said that unless a bespoke scheme was set up for victims, they could be left fighting for years.“It could be absolutely massive but something that may take a very long time depending on how pragmatic the Government wants to be,” she said. Jeremy Hunt has held furious meetings with the agency chief, demanding to know how the failures took so long to be detected.As pressure mounted, Mr Selbie on Thursday night issued a statement, offering a “heartfelt and unreserved” apology on behalf of PHE and NHS breast screening services.And legal experts warned that victims of the scandal could face a long battle to secure compensation – with many likely to die before receiving any payout. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt makes his statement to MPs in the House of Commons on WednesdayCredit:PA “I think Mr Selbie should consider his position very carefully, he should resign,” she said. Around 140,000 women who missed scans have since died, with estimates that up to 270 deaths were caused by the absence of checks.Health officials have now embarked on efforts to contact around 300,000 women in their 70s, but have said it could take up to a month to send all the letters out, and six months for those who want mammograms to undergo them. The error affected 450,000 womenCredit:Rui Vieira/PA The NHS breast cancer screening scandal last night became a growing fiasco, with victims calling for the resignation of the man in charge.Helplines were overwhelmed with calls within hours of opening, while warning letters to alert women they had missed checks were sent to the wrong patients.Public Health England (PHE) is attempting to contact around 300,000 women who were denied screening checks they should have been offered over the last decade.But as the first warning letters arrived on Thursday, recipients included cancer sufferers who had never been excluded from the programme – raising concerns about whether those who missed checks will be reached.Victims of the scandal called for the resignation of Duncan Selbie, the head of Public Health England (PHE), who has remained out of public view since the blunders emerged on Wednesday. Patricia Minchin should have been offered a mammogram in 2013. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015Credit:Tom Pilston for The Telegraph They criticised the career NHS manager for being slow to apologise to women affected by the scandal, including those whose lives it may cost.Helplines set up by PHE received 8,000 calls on Thursday, with cancer sufferers saying it had taken them more than an hour to get through.Meanwhile bereaved relatives said they were told by call-handlers to put a complaint in writing. The debacle has increased pressure on Mr Selbie, the head of PHE, who was already facing questions about how “administrative incompetence” meant blunders went undetected for years. Ministers have said cancer sufferers may be able to secure payment if they can prove harm was caused by delays in diagnosis. But they have failed to announce any kind of fast-track scheme which would automate compensation for those who were denied a check and went on to develop cancer.The problems began with an error made to computer programmes in 2009, which meant around 450,000 women aged between 68 and 71 were not invited for mammograms.An independent inquiry is to examine how it was that PHE, which took responsibility for the programme in 2013, failed to detect the problems – even as screening rates fell to the lowest rates in a decade. Cancer sufferer Helen Jarvis, 72, was among those attempting to contact PHE’s helplines on Thursday, eventually getting through after an hour of trying.The retired NHS therapist, from Newport Pagnell, has recently begun treatment for cancer, after finding a lump in her breast, and has since learned she is among hundreds of thousands of women who were never offered the scan which could have saved them.And Lee Towsey, from Brighton said he was told to send a complaint in writing when he called the helpline to ask whether his mother – who died of breast cancer in 2012 – was among those affected by the failings.“All I was told by the guy was ‘yes she was probably one of those women’, and the phone went dead,” he said.PHE last night said it had twice increased capacity in order to cope with demand yesterday, and would bring in extra call handlers today.And in a statement released on Thursday night, Mr Selbie said: “On behalf of PHE and NHS breast screening services, our apology is heartfelt and unreserved. She said: “I saw the letter and was just confused in honesty, I’m going to call them because I think this whole disgraceful error will have caused enough people anxiety and upset, but to now be sending letters to the wrong people, what is going on?”Describing the chaos as “disgraceful,” she called for the resignation of PHE’s chief executive, saying he should “have a conscience” over the failings by his agency. Diane Loxam, 71, from Lancaster, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, after having a mammogram the year before, following a screening invitation.Yet she is among those who received a warning letter from PHE on Thursday saying she had been affected by the blundersThe grandmother-of-three said she was left “anxious and confused” – and concerned about whether the failed targeting of the letters meant women who needed to be recalled were missing out. “The numbers we are talking about are huge.“It would be a tragedy if these victims don’t get some reassurance that this is going to be dealt with quickly.”Without a bespoke scheme, individuals would need to try to prove that their harm was caused by the delay in diagnosis -something the solicitor said is notoriously difficult.
Coming back from Iraq I just felt sad all the time, I lost a friend out there and I didn’t really grieve till I got backKevin Williams Mr Williams deployed to Iraq on Operation TELIC 9, which saw some of the toughest fighting and involved 46,000 personnel at its peak. He had signed up when he was 16 after being inspired by watching soldiers on television, but was discharged from the army after failing a drugs test aged 22. Kevin Williams, then aged 17, met the Queen over a decade agoCredit:Alpha Photo Press Agency Ltd. He was particularly horrified when a charity put out a television advert of an ex-soldier “drinking in a bar, and instead of a guy they replace him with a weapon with the safety catch off. It is totally unacceptable and a complete abuse of my cohort”. He felt the public perception of the military is: “You’re either a hero, or you’re broken. Ninety-five percent of us are in the middle.”Commenting after the death of Mr Williams, a MoD spokesman said: “We are committed to tackling the stigma of mental health, and have launched our mental health and wellbeing strategy to improve our mental health services.”We have spent £20 million this year on mental health services and encourage anyone who is suffering to come forward to access the care and help they deserve.”We take the mental health of our veterans extremely seriously and work tirelessly to ensure they receive the care they deserve.” Mr Williams believed he suffered from PTSD. He reportedly suffered flashbacks and relatives said he would often talk about the war. His sister Katherine said: “A loud noise could go off and then you could see his mind shut down. All he could talk about then was the war.”The ex-soldier was being helped by charity Combat Stress before his death. Sue Freeth, the charity’s chief executive, said “every veteran’s death is a tragedy, and our heartfelt condolences go out to Mr Williams’ family”.Provision of mental health support to veterans has come under fire recently from Johnny Mercer MP. Speaking to The Telegraph earlier this month, the former army officer said “Some charities have gone way too far in painting the picture of veterans in the UK for their own ends, to raise money. The youngest soldier sent to Iraq killed himself after the horrors of war left him feeling “pretty much useless”, an inquest has heard. The body of Kevin Williams, 29, who deployed on his 18th birthday, was discovered by police near his home in Basildon, Essex, in March.He had struggled to adjust to civilian life after he left the army seven years ago.Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said: “I have come to the very, very sad conclusion that Kevin intended to take his own life.”Speaking to his family, the Coroner added: “It’s quite clear he was much loved and that shines through by you being here.”Mr Williams’ sister, Jennifer Williams, revealed in a statement handed to the coroner that the suicide was not unexpected. “Kevin’s death was a shock to us all and despite the pain of a great loss, we feel it would not be classed as a surprise” she said. After leaving he found it difficult to adapt to civilian life and talked of joining the Foreign Legion as he missed combat.In a short documentary recorded before his death he said: “Returning to civilian life was a big shock. The skills I learnt especially being in the infantry regiment was all combat based. I was pretty much useless.”Coming back from Iraq I just felt sad all the time, I lost a friend out there and I didn’t really grieve till I got back. I didn’t know how to handle normal everyday tasks, having that soldier’s mentality it makes you think you are stronger than this.” “They do it because they are a business, because they want the money.” He accused charities of “specifically advocating” a narrative that “veterans are mad, bad and dangerous”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Just 44 postcodes out of 1.7m are using optimum broadband speeds, Ofcom figures show.Analysis of internet speeds suggests that a tiny minority of British households are accessing the “gigabit speed” broadband, which is more than 20 time faster than the current average. The analysis by the Financial Times suggests that there are only 44 postcodes that are accessing average speeds of 1GBit/s, just three of which are in urban areas. The internet speed, seen as the benchmark for fast broadband in the future, is also offered by some providers as “hyperoptic” broadband and outstrips the superfast and ultrafast speeds commonly offered by mainstream internet companies. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––Many of the areas with the fastest broadband in the country are in remote areas, including rural parts of of Lancashire and Oxfordshire. Some northern areas are covered by B4RN, or Broadband for the Rural North, a community-led organisation that offers the fast connection to households in its coverage area for £30 a month. Its area currently covers a portion of the rural north-west, from south of Lancaster to north of Kendal, in the Lake District. Residents installed the cables themselves by digging trenches and pooled their resources in 2011 to fund the project. According to Ofcom, rural areas make up most of the five per cent of homes which are still unable to access superfast broadband, which is usually at speeds of anything up to 80Mb.The Government pledged to ensure that 95 per cent of homes would be able to access these speeds by the end of December last year. In January then-secretary of state for digital culture, media and sport Matt Hancock said the £1.7 billion programme had been successful. The extremely fast gigabit broadband requires fibre optic cables to be laid directly to be the building which is to be connected to the network. This differs from standard superfast broadband, which involves fibre optic cables being laid to the street cabinet with older copper cables making up the rest of the distance to the home. The National Infrastructure Commission has also warned that some rural areas risk being left out of plans to roll out high-speed fibre broadband across the country.The Commission’s report, published earlier this month, also said that copper wires should be switched off within seven years, and a full fibre internet network should be rolled out by 2033. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Last month it urged the Government to subsidise its installation in areas where it is less economically viable for private companies. The Telegraph has been campaigning for better broadband in line with modern business and social requirements which mean it is an indispensible utility.Rural businesses have said they are being held back by an inability to access fast, reliable internet, which limits their ability to set up online shops and communicate with clients and customers. The FT said its data was based on Ofcom’s information and relates to the speeds that households were actually accessing. Openreach said 17.5m homes and businesses were able to upgrade to faster broadband services. However, rural areas are still neglected, with a recent report by the Local Government Association warning that residents outside cities were struggling with slow speeds.
Human-like robots are sold as substitutes for women and are marketed as “companions”, “girlfriends” or “wives”, a coalition of academics, abuse victims and activists have claimed and MPs and ministers are ignorant of the potential dangers. “At a time when pornography, prostitution and child exploitation is facilitated and proliferated by digital technology turning it into a global profitable industry; these products further promote the objectification of the female body and as such constitute a further assault on human intimacy,” the campaign… Ministers are “lagging behind” in efforts to tackle sex robots, experts have warned, amid concerns they could “make women interchangeable with technology”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Anjem Choudary, the notorious Islamist hate preacher, will be released from jail next month despite a chilling warning from the justice minister that he remained “genuinely dangerous”.Choudary, 51, is due to be freed within weeks after serving half of a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence for encouraging Muslims to join Islamic State.The Government admitted on Tuesday it was powerless to prevent Choudary from being released on licence. Rory Stewart, the prisons minister, said that the preacher was “a deeply pernicious, destabilising influence”.Mr Stewart, in an interview, added: “He is… somebody who is a genuinely dangerous person. We will be watching him very carefully.”Choudary was leader of the proscribed terrorist group al-Muhajiroun, whose followers included Khuram Butt, part of the London Bridge terror cell who murdered eight innocent bystanders in June last year.Other disciples include Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby, murdered outside his barracks in south London in 2013. Show more At the time he was jailed in 2016, Choudary had been linked to 15 terror plots dating back almost 20 years and connections to hundreds of British jihadists who fled to Syria to fight.David Videcette, a former detective with the anti-terror squad who investigated the July 7 suicide attacks on London in 2005, said: “Every plot I ever researched – someone in it was linked to Choudary.” Lord Carlile, former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, said Choudary “knows how to play the system”, adding: “It is disturbing and worrying that he will be back on the streets.” It is Choudary will likely be tagged and placed in a ‘halfway house’ with restrictions imposed on his use of the internet and on the people he can mix with. Security services are also expected to keep him under surveillance.His case highlights the huge problems faced by the Government in delaing with Islamist extremists jailed for shorter sentences for lesser offences who are now due out.Mr Stewart said in the interview with the Evening Standard: “Even if they themselves are not making bombs. They are a completely pernicious influence on the people they come into contact with and they need to be kept away from them.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The Ministry of Justice said that Choudary was given a determinate sentence, has served his two and a bit years and will serve the remaining time on licence in the community. He will be monitored and tracked.A government source added: “He will technically be a free man”.Choudary had spent years goading authorities before finally being jailed. He refused to condemn the 7/7 bombings, demanded the imposition of Sharia across Britain and once called for the Queen to wear a burka.But using his legal training and forensic understanding of terrorism legislation he had – until 2016 – always managed to stay just the right side of the law and avoid prosecution.
Women could avoid the heartbreak of suffering a miscarriage or stillbirth during fertility treatment with the use of artificial intelligence.A study shows that having a baby using IVF would be more likely if clinics used a computer to assess embryo quality.Half of all miscarriages are caused by an abnormal number of chromosomes in the embryo.Working out which is the best to transfer into the womb is considered key to IVF success.The new study shows that when a computer equipped with AI was shown images of hundreds of embryos, it could predict which would lead to a live birth with 85 per cent accuracy.Researchers say the technology could be available for use within five years, revolutionising fertility treatment.The team, from Imperial College, London and Cornell University in the USA, is set to present their data to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Denver today (Wednesday). Dr Nikica Zaninovic, from Cornell University, who led the study said: “If AI can recognise embryos that are normal and those that have abnormal chromosomes, that will result in a reduced miscarriage and stillbirth rate, which is the reason for doing this research.“This is something new and an 85 per cent success rate is huge.”The researchers say that hospitals and fertility clinics would not need to buy the computer. Instead they could simply send photos of embryos to the machine and would receive results ‘in minutes.’The AI system is based on time-lapse photographs of growing embryos that are already used in many fertility clinics.A photo is taken of the embryo every 10 minutes and given to embryologists who use their expertise to decide which appear normal.Looking at images rather than putting an embryo under a microscope may reduce the risk of damaging it.One study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology earlier this year showed time-lapse imaging could improve live birth rates in women using fresh embryos by up to 28 per cent.However, the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority has recently said that more research is needed before patients can be told it guarantees a higher chance of having a baby.The latest study on adding AI to time-lapse imaging could provide this missing data that doctors and patients need.The computer, nicknamed “The Beast”, was given 700 images of embryos and told which resulted in a birth and which led to a miscarriage or stillbirth so it could learn to search for subtle changes that could indicate a problem.In the trial, the computer analysed images of 328 embryos implanted into prospective mothers.When asked which of these would result in a baby being born, it correctly identified 280.The machine is also capable of continuing to learn from the data it is given, adapting its algorithm to make it ever more accurate.Dr Zaninovic added: “To make a baby embryo is probably 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the value [reason] but there are other factors why an embryo doesn’t make a life birth.“So these numbers are almost 100 per cent because there are other factors in the mother after implantation. That’s why we think this is extremely high.”He said that in his clinics, women under 35 with no underlying health conditions had around a 50 per cent of having a baby using IVF and time-lapse imaging.Using AI, this could rise to between 60 and 70 per cent, he added.Dr Zaninovic, whose team are currently patenting the technology, said: “I just need patient information from a hospital in London and the image of the embryo and I can put this in the computer.“It’s all web based. It doesn’t mean every hospital will have to have this it can just be done over the internet very easily.”He added: “Within five years it will be routinely used in clinical settings.”Leading UK fertility expert Prof Allan Pacey, of Sheffield University, said: “The ability to observe embryo development using time lapse systems has developed greatly in recent years and these devices have become commonplace in clinical practice.“However to date, data doesn’t find that they actually help in selecting the best embryo and improving the chances of pregnancy.“Therefore the application of artificial intelligence to the data collected from time lapse systems is a very good idea as it may find patterns and algorithms that are not visible to the human eye.”Prof Charles Kingsland founded Britain’s largest NHS IVF unit, the Hewitt IVF centre in Liverpool, which was the first to successfully use time-lapse technology.Prof Kingsland, clinical director of CARE Fertility, said: “Although the numbers in the study are small these results are encouraging.“By adding artificial intelligence to the computer, this takes it one stage further into the future.“The final arbiter in embryo quality though will always be a highly trained embryologist or clinician.“We’re many years away from dispensing with humans in the IVF lab.”Meanwhile, experts have raised fears that an “Instagram generation” of young British women do not realise they should take folic acid before they fall pregnant.A survey of 11,000 women found that more than half of 18-24 year-olds who wanted to conceive do not take the vitamin.Folic acid can prevent birth defects in babies such as spina bifida. But in order to benefit from its protective effects, women need to take it before they start trying to conceive.Researchers from fertility test company SPD said public health messages need to target online forums and sites such as Instagram and SnapChat, amid fears young women are not receiving information from traditional routes. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire heard WO2 Hodgkinson twice tried and failed to get a courier to take the vacuum-packed cash, instead returning it to a safe in his base. He also tried on one occasion to take it to a bank, but found it closed when he got there as it was a Friday.However, he removed the money from his office in November 2017 because he feared it would cause an embarrassing incident if a forthcoming inspection found such a large amount of money in the safe. Instead, prosecutor Rupert Gregory told the court, he carried the money back to his flat and hid it in his airing cupboard.“It [had] remained in the safe rather longer than one or two nights,” Mr Gregory said. “There was to be an inspection in October or November 2017, and Hodgkinson took the money from the safe and went home with it. An Army Warrant Officer hid €300,000 (£260k) of Ministry of Defence money in his airing cupboard after he failed to get it couriered back to base, a court martial has heard.The soldier received a severe reprimand and was fined after he ‘forgot’ that he had not returned the money for four months.Kevin Hodgkinson, 43, who was serving in the British Army training unit in Gibraltar at the time, claimed he’d stashed the money at home to spare senior officers embarrassment after he failed to get it couriered back to the UK. On remembering the money – which had originally been part of the ready cash float on board HMS Ocean – was still in the cupboard, the court martial was told he called his boss, Major Wilson, and said: ‘Ma’am, I f***** up’.A panicked WO2 Hodgkinson then ran from his home, arriving in Major Wilson’s office puffing and panting, carrying the €300,000 shrink-wrapped in a rucksack. He claimed he had forgotten it was in his airing cupboard.WO2 Hodgkinson had been working as a financial systems administrator with the responsibility of transporting the cash, via a courier, back to Britain. It was put into a safe overnight until it could be carried back. “He says he removed the money because he didn’t want the chain of command being embarrassed by such a large sum of money being in the safe when it shouldn’t be.“He fully accepts he failed properly to safeguard the funds.” Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire.Credit:Solent News & Photo Agency HMS Ocean, an amphibious assault ship that Britain sold to Brazil in 2018 for £84 million. The missing €300,000 was the left over ready cash float from the ship’s previous patrol. Credit:LPhot Paul Hall/PA The money had been on board the amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean, which docked in Gibraltar in September 2017, and was swapped for $300,000 as the ship was heading to the Caribbean to offer disaster support during Hurricane Irma. The unused stack of Euros should have been sent swiftly back to the UK. A court martial board fined WO2 Hodgkinson £2,500 and issued a Severe Reprimand.Judge Alistair McGregor said: “It was your duty to ensure the money’s safety and you should have secured its onward passage.“In our view your actions fall far below that of a competent financial systems administrator of your rank, position and experience.“Your actions put a very large sum of her majesty’s money at significant risk.”WO2 Hodgkinson, who is now based at the British Army Training Unit Suffield in Alberta, Canada, admitted one count of failure to perform a duty. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.