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select for full details Driver, 71, caused death of pub landlady and friend when he parked in motorway 'fast lane'
Two women were killed when a van ploughed into the car they were in after the driver inexplicably parked in the 'fast' lane of a motorway as he was trying to get to Birmingham Airport.
By David Banner 22 Nov, 2018

Car driver James Graham Davies, from Welshpool, had become disorientated because of diversions on the M42 – and had stopped to ask a Highways Agency worker on the opposite carriageway for directions.

He pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court earlier this month to causing the deaths of Welshpool pub landlady Barbara Jones and his own partner Christine Evans by dangerous driving.

At the resumed hearing Davies, 71, of Sguar Heulwen, Welshpool, was jailed for two years and four months and banned from driving for 11 years and two months, after which he will have to take an extended test to get his licence back.

Prosecutor Simon Davis said the case centred on events on January 5 this year at 3.18am on the M42 northbound between junctions 9 and 10 in Warwickshire.

Highways Agency employee Jake Ashmore was parked in his vehicle on the southbound carriageway, which was closed that night for maintenance work, with its orange warning lights flashing, when there was a tap on his window.

It was Davies, who began asking him for directions, and Mr Ashmore "looked across and saw the defendant’s vehicle parked in the outside lane of the northbound carriageway".

Davies, who with his partner Christine Evans had been taking Barbara Jones and her partner Gareth Isaac to Birmingham airport, had left his passengers in his Vauxhall Meriva.


select for full details Q and A: Hiring the messenger - Highways England's telecommunications
This autumn saw the completion of the handover phase of the £450m National Roads Telecommunications Service 2 (NRTS2) contract, which Highways England awarded to telent Technology Services Ltd in late 2017.
By Dom Browne 6 Nov, 2018

NRTS2 provides the telecommunications backbone that enables the national road network operator's seven regional control centres across the country and its national traffic operations centre to connect to the strategic road network's (SRN's) 30,000 roadside technology assets - including message signs, CCTV cameras and emergency roadside telephones including smart motorways.

The contract started on 16 March 2018 and runs for seven years. In the first six months of the contract, services were transitioned safely and successfully over to telent.

Transport Network speaks to Kevin Hamer, head of programme, national road telecommunications services information and technology at Highways England about this massive project and the improvements it can bring to the SRN.

Q - How does the system feed into the smart motorway network and its real-time management of issues such as traffic flow and stop vehicle detection?

The NRTS2 service must provide a 24/7 365 day a year, highly reliable and resilient service to our regional control centres and traffic information services. This enables them to provide accurate, real-time travel information to drivers and travel news providers; it also enables the operation of technology on our smart motorways, which helps smooth the flow of traffic and provide a safer, improved service to our road users.

The NRTS2 service is also responsible for meeting challenging delivery timescales installing new telecommunications services to our road improvement schemes in support of the Road Investment Strategy.


select for full details Highways England: union slams DfT company’s ‘insulting’ 1% pay offer
Union says Highways England chief received 9.7% rise last year
By CSW World 29 Nov, 2018

Highways England has drawn fire from the civil service’s biggest union for offering staff a 1% pay rise – well below the controversial 1.5% cap that government departments are currently subject to.

As a government-owned company, or GovCo, Highways England is not bound by the latest HM Treasury and Cabinet Office guidance on pay increases and could choose to offer its 5,000-plus staff a cap-busting rise if it wanted to and could afford the move.

But the PCS union said the company, which is accountable to the Department for Transport had made an “insulting” offer to rank-and-file workers when its annual report and accounts revealed its chief executive Jim O’Sullivan had received a 9.7% rise between 2016-17 and 2017-18. O’Sullivan’s current pay is listed as £402,576 in the document.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said staff were considering all of their options, including industrial action.

“It is an outrage that our members are being punished with a de-facto 1% pay cap when top executives are taking home £100k-plus,” he said.

“When you consider that management at HE are not constrained by the government’s pay cap, it is a double slap in the face for members to be punished on pay and see their own top management laughing all the way to the bank.

“HE need to negotiate a fair rise with the union and examine their whole approach by paying hard-working staff properly. We will be looking at all options including industrial action.”

Serwotka said Freedom of Information requests lodged by the union had revealed a “huge increase” in the number of staff at senior grades earning more than £100,000 “the vast majority male”.

The union said that as of January this year there were 48 HE staff earning more than £100,000 a year, just eight of whom were female. It said the 2017 figures showed 24 staff earned more than £100,000 a year, only four of whom were female.

Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of the Prospect union, said the award was “derisory” and meant most staff would be receiving a real-terms pay cut.

“Prospect was assured that there would be additional funding for pay this year – Highways England has gone back on that assurance,” he said.


select for full details Emergency incident as PCSO steps in to save a life in Doncaster Market Place
hero police community support officer Natalie Martin sprang into action to save the life of a man found unconscious and not breathing on a Doncaster street.
By David Kessen 26 Oct, 2018

Natalie was on patrol with another officer in Doncaster market on Sunday September 30, a quiet day in the area, when the market was not open.

She saw a man in a doorway at Market Place and became concerned about his appearance, as his skin appeared grey. He was not breathing – so she sprang into action with cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, while her colleague called for an ambulance.

Natalie said: “It was on a Sunday, which is not a market day, so the market was really quiet.

“As I went up, I saw he was not moving. His skin was grey and his lips were blue. “I thought he was dead at first. But I stretched him out. I could get a faint pulse, but there was no breathing.


select for full details England’s first motorway turns 60 with major technology upgrade
60 years ago 2,300 drivers drove along a new road for the first time...and straight into the history books
By Cumbria Crack 4 Dec, 2018

The eight-mile section of road they were driving on was the Preston bypass – the very first motorway in Britain, which is now part of the M6. It had just two lanes in each direction, no safety barrier in the central reservation and no electronic signs or other technology.

Today hundreds of thousands of drivers travel more than 20 million miles on the M6 every day, accounting for one in eight of all motorway journeys.

They are now on the cusp of a major technology transformation which will significantly improve journeys on the M6. In the latest stage of the motorway’s evolution, Highways England is now pledging to complete four upgrades on the M6 by spring 2022 to add extra lanes and better technology to 60 miles of the motorway between Coventry and Wigan.

One driver, Chris Lee, 68 from Warrington, a Vice President of the Lancashire Automobile Club who remembers being driven on the Preston bypass as an 8-year-old boy by his older brother shortly after it opened, welcomed the new move.


select for full details Eagle-eyed PCSO catches suspected car crook
The car had been stolen in a robbery in Birmingham, where the victim was threatened with a needle.
By Kelly Ashmore 1 Nov, 2018

A suspected robber has been arrested in Dudley after he was spotted by an eagle-eyed officer.

After he clocked the black Ford Fiesta which had suspiciously sped away from him two days earlier, PCSO Roger Wright ran some checks and found the car had been stolen in a robbery in Birmingham, where the victim was threatened with a needle.

He called it in and officers arrived at the derelict car-park on Trindle Road within minutes, but the suspect sped off as soon as he saw them.

After a swift search, the vehicle - which has been involved in twelve other thefts and bilkings across Birmingham and the Black Country – was found unattended in Moncrieffe Close.

A short time later the suspect was stopped on Owen Street. The 36-year-old from Billesley, Birmingham, tried to give false details, but a letter in his pocket gave away his true identity.

He was arrested on suspicion of robbery, bilking and failing to stop for police.


select for full details paedophile PCSO and scout leader jailed
he sexually abused a 12-year-old boy
By Shannon Hards 3 Nov, 2018

A former PCSO and scout leader who abused a 12-year-old boy and secretly filmed children going to the toilet has been jailed for five and a half years.

Matthew Hopkins, 31, from Ivybridge in Devon, had been on trial at Truro Crown Court this week charged with a raft of offences.

He faced three charges of possession of indecent images of children, four making indecent images of children counts, three voyeurism charges as well as possessing prohibited images of children and possessing an extreme pornographic image.

He had also been convicted of an indecent assault on a boy at a previous trial. Opening the case on Monday (October 29), Gareth Evans told the court how the defendant helped out at a cub scout group.

In December 2016 police searched Hopkins' home and seized one tower computer custom built by the defendant and a laptop computer.

The child abuse images found showed children as young as one or two being anally raped, engaging in sexual acts and having their genitalia exposed.


select for full details Millions of motorway drivers at risk of accident for THIS ‘very dangerous’ mistake
Motorists are being provoked by the annoying habits of other road users and in turn, are making these ‘very dangerous’ decisions.
By Luke John Smith 1 Nov, 2018

A study for Kwik Fit shows that 89 per cent of drivers say they find tailgating by other drivers either very or moderately annoying, second only to dangerous overtaking (92 per cent), and three quarters (75 per cent) would take action in response to a car following too closely.

The most typical reponses that motorists are having to tailgaters is to slow down to leave a larger gap between them and the vehicle in front to coax the offender into doing the same.

However, a large proportion of drivers are taking more drastic measure to try and stop people tailgating.

Over a third (34 per cent) of drivers, 13.9 million licence holders said they would dab their brakes to make their brake lights come on.

One in ten would brake sharply to force them to stop and eight per cent flick their fog lights on to give the impression they are stopping.

All of these methods carry significant risks with them for both sets of drivers.


select for full details Sacked PCSO has now been kicked out of Lancashire's fire service
A FORMER police community support officer - sacked by Lancashire Constabulary after being arrested over alleged domestic violence - has now been dismissed by the county's fire service.
By Peter Magill 12 Oct, 2018

Paul Baden, then known as Paul McGladdery, hit the headlines in 2007 when he was questioned by colleagues on suspicion of attacking his then-partner.

An assault charge against the officer, which he denied, was eventually dropped by prosecutors when the case came to court.

But the incident was enough to merit the probationary PCSO, who covered the West Craven area, being kicked out of the force.

It has now emerged that McGladdery, who is understood to have subsequently changed his name to Baden, has also been booted out of the fire service. He is believed to be considering an appeal.

He is understood to have started out as a retained firefighter at Colne after he left the police.

Later he moved on to become full-time officer at Bacup, later transferring to work in Fleetwood.

Fire chiefs have declined to confirm the exact reasons behind Baden’s dismissal, but it is believed he has been suspended for the past seven months while the disciplinary process went on.

One source told the Lancashire Telegraph: “The brigade was warned by a fellow employee of the individual’s previous and ignored the facts.

"It has been a ridiculously drawn-out state of affairs which has been going for most of the year."

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that an individual had been subject to an internal disciplinary procedure which had resulted in his dismissal and which has a right of appeal.

Before he was taken on by Lancashire Police, he had previously worked as a lifeguard and football coach at Pendle Leisure Centre in Colne.


'I was treated like dirt': Former prison officer reveals how working conditions forced her to leave service
'I was told if you're not happy here, there's the door. There was no support, I'd never been so excited about a job but I came out of it feeling so hateful towards the service'
By May Bulman 30 Aug, 2018

Tess Wale had wanted to become a prison officer for years. At the age of 39, after having children, she was finally able to do the 10-week training course and qualify. On 29 May 2017, she drove to HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire for her first shift.

select for full details The Birmingham resident arrived on her first day to find that nobody was aware it was her start date. She was told to go home. On the second day, she was given a brief induction and sent straight to the wing.

"For my first few days on the wing, I didn't have any protection. I had no baton," she tells The Independent. "I was walking around with inmates who were in there for life for whatever crimes they had committed, without any form of protection."

Tess recalls that it took five months for her to be provided with her full uniform, which she says showed the general chaos in the jail. Within weeks, she became aware that her own safety and wellbeing were in constant jeopardy.

“I should have finished at 5pm one night, but alarm bells started going off," she remembers. "They had lost control of one of the wings. We weren’t allowed to leave the prison. I was there until 3:30 in the morning.”

A few months later, Tess became an innocent victim to the endemic drug use among prisoners in the jail. It began while she was carrying out accommodation fabric checks, going into each prisoners’ cell to do inspections.

"I opened one cell door at saw that the prisoner was off his head. As my duty of care to look after these men I put him back in his cell, sat him on his bed and told him not to move," she says.

"I could see him smoking tissue paper or something. It was spice. I inhaled it.”

Due to the spice inhalation, Tess suffered from headaches and feeling sick. After two days off work, she felt a lot better but still not well enough to drive. She was told that the prison would pay for her to get a taxi into work.

“It was £75 – but in the end they wouldn’t give it back to me.


select for full details PCSO saves bleeding man’s life with spoon and belt
community police officer saved a man from bleeding to death by using a spoon and a belt to staunch a serious wound'
By Press Assoc 10 Oct, 2018

PCSO Matthew Kieboom used the improvised tourniquet to stop the “catastrophic” blood loss after a man severely cut his hand and forearm.

The officer was on patrol in Cardigan, Mid Wales, when he noticed the injured man lying on the floor suffering 'uncontrollable bleeding' from injuries caused by smashed glass.

The Dyfed-Powys Police PCSO, who was previously deployed with the military in Iraq, wrapped his belt around the man’s arm and got a member of the public to fetch a spoon which he used to tighten the makeshift bandage and stop the bleeding.


M5 traffic: Man died on motorway after jumping from moving van into traffic
A farm worker died on the M5 between Cullompton and Exeter earlier this year after jumping out of a moving van, an inquest heard.
By Paul Greaves 4 Dec, 2018

select for full details EU migrant Ivo Angelov, 36, opened the door of the vehicle and leapt in front of traffic. He had recently split from his wife when the incident happened.

Motorists travelling behind had no time to react and avoid hitting Mr Angelov who died from multiple injuries at the scene according to Devon Live.

An inquest into his death at county hall in Exeter recorded a narrative verdict.

Philip Spinney, senior coroner for Exeter and Greater Devon, said the death happened on February 13 about three miles from Cullompton on the southbound carriegeway.

Mr Angelov was a Bulgarian national who had been working in the north of England picking cabbages on farms. At the end of 2017 he was driven back to his homeland for Christmas by countryman Lyubomir Ivanov.

Mr Ivanov said he would regularly bring Bulgarians back and forth from the UK to work, catching the ferry from France and driving through other EU member states.

On February 9 he picked up Mr Angelov and the pair drove back to the UK. But when they reached Leeds there was no work for Mr Angelov so they headed towards Bodmin to another farm job. On the way Mr Angelov dropped off other workers in Cambridgeshire and London.

Mr Ivanov said his passenger was quiet and talked about how his wife had left him for another man over Christmas.

At 6.40am, as Mr Ivanov was driving the Citroen Jumper van between junctions 28 and 29 of the M5 Mr Angelov suddenly grabbed the passenger door and jumped.

"I said 'Ivo, no, no, no," said Mr Ivanov.

"I tried to reach out but could not reach to grab him, he was too far away."

Moments before the incident Mr Angelov had tried to phone his ex-wife but there had been no answer. He had drunk about three bottles or cans of lager on the journey.

An investigator found there was no fault with the van doors.

Driving conditions were poor, it was raining heavily and windy with poor visibility. The left-side drive van had been travelling in the middle lane at about 65mph.

The van was surrounded by vehicles which had no chance to avoid Mr Angelov. Witnesses described running over an object in the road. A pathologist found the Bulgarian died from multiple injuries.

Mr Ivanov pulled over and another motorist called 999. An ambulance arrived at the scene at 7.05am but Mr Angelov was dead.

Mr Spinney said: "The deceased died as a consequence of of his own actions."


Dangerous thug jailed for violent attack wants £25,000 'compensation' for delayed prison release
he has been awarded the right to damages by a High Court judge
By Joe Riddle 2 Oct, 2018

select for full details Daniel Bate, 32, was one of four thugs who left builder David Head unconscious with a broken jaw and smashed teeth outside his home in November 2006.

The 48-year-old died of a heart attack a month later – but his death was not linked to the attack.

Then 21, Bate, of Clarendon Road, Hove, was handed an indefinite prison sentence for the public’s protection in March 2008.

He was ordered to serve a minimum of three years and five months – but was only released last year, after acquiring and kicking a Spice habit while behind bars.

Now he has been awarded the right to damages by a High Court judge in a case that could kickstart a flood of other claims by prisoners whose Parole Board hearings were delayed.

He has successfully sued the Parole Board for “delayed liberty” and “frustration, anxiety and distress” caused by delays in his bid for release being heard.

That delay, top judge Lord Justice Holroyde has now ruled, was the result of “a serious backlog of work” at the Parole Board and “insufficiency of resources to enable it to deal with cases speedily”.

The damages Bate is due have yet to be calculated but, based on payouts made in similar cases, he could be entitled to more than £25,000.

Bate was convicted of wounding with intent and possession of class A drugs at Lewes Crown Court.

He had already been in custody for a year when sentence was passed and his minimum term expired in 2010. However, he was not released until a review of his case by the Parole Board in March 2017.

He later sued, claiming damages for nine months of delay in approving his release.

Bate suffers from mental health difficulties, including autism and mild learning difficulties.

One of the causes of delay was a shortage of Parole Board panel members with appropriate psychiatric experience.

Bate’s barrister Philip Rule claimed he was fit for release months before he was finally handed back his liberty.

Delays in Parole Board hearings caused by staff shortages were “a breach of duty which has serious consequences” he said.

The judge said that, between 18 months and two years ago, the Parole Board was struggling to cope due to lack of human resources and many prisoners had their hearings delayed.

He ruled Bate is entitled to compensation for two separate periods of delay before his final hearing. It means Bate is due a payout for “stress and anxiety” over four months, between March and June 2016.


select for full details instructors' thumbs up for motorway driving lessons
driving instructors in the North West have given the thumbs up to new learner driver motorway lessons
By Highways England 29 Nov, 2018

Learner drivers accompanied by approved instructors were allowed to drive on motorways for the first time 6 months ago in a law change pioneered by Highways England.

As part of the changes, the government company - responsible for repairing, maintaining, improving and operating the country’s motorways - has also been trialling a project to develop closer links with the instructor community through a programme of visits to its network of regional control centres (RCCs).

Highways England’s control room team manager Neil Lloyd (far right) talks ‘signs and signals’ with approved driving instructor visitors

Maggie Carter, Highways England’s operations manager for strategic safety, said:

Our regional control centres are the nerve centres of the motorway network. These visits are designed to help prepare instructors as they start to take learners out onto motorways and sharpen their focus on the way our motorways are changing - including the arrival of smart motorways - and an appreciation of the work our uniformed traffic officers do to keep drivers on the move.

The response from instructors during the visits has been universally positive. They’ve been telling us the change in the law is increasing the confidence and willingness of newly-qualified drivers to take to the motorway network - and tackling the fear and nervousness displayed by some older-generation drivers, some of whom admit they’ve never even ventured onto a motorway.


select for full details Transgender PCSO from Flintshire who suffered vile taunts speaks out over hate crime
A TRANGENDER Police Community Support Officer who suffered vile taunts when he was growing up is urging all victims of hate crime to come forward.
By Staff Reporter 17 Oct, 2018

According to Connor Freel, 24, who is based in Mold, it’s vitally important that people don’t suffer in silence but report the abuse to the police.

PCSO Freel enthusiastically backed the Hate Crime Awareness Week launched by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones.

People are singled out for abuse because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, disability, body shape, age or a host of other personal characteristics

Mr Jones wants to throw a spotlight on the issue which causes untold misery to victims.

The plea came as it was revealed here has been a 27 per increase in the number of reports of hate crimes in North Wales over the past 12 months.

The number of cases reported to North Wales Police went up from 358 to 455, with incidents involving race and religion featuring prominently.

One of the main reasons for the increase, according to Mr Jones, is that people now have more confidence their plight will be taken seriously but he wants even more victims to contact the police or the Victim Help Centre in St Asaph.

It was a sentiment echoed by PCSO Freel who spoke movingly about his personal journey and the abuse he suffered along the way in a video funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner to get the anti-hate crime message out.


select for full details prisoner who bullied his young girlfriend into trying to smuggle him £10,000 worth of drugs
Joe Garland, 31, from Bath, sentenced to four more years, at Exeter Crown Court.
By BBC NEWS 25 Oct, 2018

He organised the supply operation through text messages, arranging for friends to drive Chelsea Bennett, then 18, to Channings Wood jail in Devon.

She was caught when a sniffer dog indicated she might be carrying drugs.

An officer monitored the visit on CCTV and intervened after seeing her move something from her groin into a pocket.

The pair had been in a relationship for eight months when Bennett was found with crack cocaine and cannabis.

The text messages showed Garland had used emotional and financial pressure to bully her into the smuggling trip.

He admitted inciting Bennett to possess class A and B drugs with intent to supply.

Bennett, 19, of Chubb Close, Bristol, admitted two counts of possession with intent to supply and one of possession.

She was jailed for 20 months, suspended for two years, with 25 days' supervision.


select for full details ‘Drink-driver’ arrested after BMW crashes on motorway with just TWO WHEELS
Central Motorway Policing Group cops quickly caught the driver after he crashed on the M42 on Sunday
By Dan Hall 3 Dec, 2018

COPS arrested a motorist on suspicion of drink-driving after his car was seen with just TWO WHEELS on the motorway.

Officers spotted the BMW X5 missing one front and one back wheel moments before it crashed into a barrier on the M42 Southbound on Sunday morning.

The flash motor was being driven by a 24-year-old man who was quickly arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and failing to provide a specimen.

Cops from the Central Motorway Policing Group who handled the incident took to social media to warn other motorists about the bizarre incident.

CMPG tweeted: "An interesting start to our first shift back.

"Driver on the M42 south decided to drive his X5 without a front wheel... Followed by no back wheel and was still trying to drive when we arrived!

"Driver arrested for drink driving."

And incredibly, the roadway rozzers came across another man driving with missing wheels just a few hours later.

The 35-year-old motorist was safely brought to a stop and arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and dangerous driving.

They wrote: "You really couldn't make it up!


New group aims to solve A127 woes by creating 'motorway standard' road
A NEW task force has been set up to try and solve motoring woes on the notorious A127.
By Southend Standard 3 Dec, 2018

The aim is to transform the road from one of the busiest roads in the country not controlled by Highways England which holds back growth into a route fit for purpose.

Called the A127 Economic Growth Corridor Task Force it includes MPs, councillors and representatives from Transport for London.

The A127, which sees more than 78,000 vehicles use the road on a daily basis, suffers a range of congestion problems on a daily basis.

The long term hope is for a motorway standard of road but discussions will take place about what is realistic and when changes can be made.

Councillor Terry Cutmore, leader of Rochford Council, said: “The main thing we want to do is re-trunk the A127 and bring it up to a motorway standard.

"By doing that, people will be encouraged to use it."


‘Rich soup of life’ in Gwent wetlands at risk from motorway
Campaigners fear the loss of rare biodiversity if a £1bn bypass is approved by the Welsh assembly
By Steven Morris 18 Nov, 2018

The Gwent Levels is a low-lying patchwork of wetlands, divided by drainage ditches first dug by the Romans, that is so full of life that conservationists compare its diversity to the Amazon rainforest.

But this quiet corner of south-east Wales may soon disappear under concrete if the Labour-led Welsh government gives the go-ahead for a new 14-mile stretch of motorway to be carved through the ancient levels.

Civil servants in Cardiff are currently examining a planning inspector’s report on the proposal, which is designed to ease congestion in and around Newport, and the Welsh assembly is expected to vote on the plans at the start of December.

“It’s a terrible idea, simple as that,” said Rob Waller, a Newport resident and volunteer at Magor Marsh, one of the four sites of special scientific interest that will be affected by the motorway. “I was just sitting there in the hay meadow. There was a buzzard circling overhead and the rustling of reeds behind me. It’s a beautiful spot. Why would anyone want to destroy this?”

Waller was also lucky enough to have seen the cranes that flew over the Bristol Channel from the Somerset Levels and nested on the Gwent version. “It was a very special moment to see them but the nesting site is right on the proposed route. I’m not sure they’ll nest again here if they blast a six-lane motorway through it.”


select for full details Prison worker on duty when man hanged himself dozed off
and rushed checks because she had diarrhoea
By Helen Johnson 31 Oct, 2018

A prison worker fell asleep on duty in the hours before a paranoid schizophrenic was found dead in his cell - and admitted at an inquest she was 'in a hurry' to complete morning checks because she had diarrhoea.

Bradley Brown, 32, was found hanged three days after being transferred to HMP Buckley Hall in Rochdale in August 2017.

A jury at a seven-day inquest into his death heard that the member of staff responsible for patrolling his cell block was caught sleeping during her night shift - around six hours before Bradley was discovered dead.

The same member of staff also failed to take action when she discovered, during her morning rounds, that Bradley had covered the viewing hatch into his cell with a towel.

The inquest heard that Lynn Kershaw, who was an operational support grade (OSG) - the rank below a prison officer - failed to tell any other colleagues that she had not been able to see or speak to Bradley to confirm he was safe and well.

She said that was because she was 'in a hurry' to complete her morning checks at the end of her shift - when Bradley was most probably dead - because she was was recovering from a stomach bug and had the runs.

The jury was asked to consider if Ms Kershaw's failure to stay awake, along with a series of other failings, contributed to Bradley's death.


select for full details Fracking activists to appeal against prison sentences
Three activists were first people to receive jail terms for anti-fracking protests in UK
By Frances Perraudin 5 Oct, 2018

Three environmental activists who became the first people to be jailed for an anti-fracking protest in the UK are to appeal against their sentences amid growing anger over their “excessive and extraordinary” punishments.

Last week, Simon Roscoe Blevins, 26, and Richard Roberts, 36, were sentenced to 16 months in prison, and Richard Loizou, 31, was given 15 months after a jury at Preston crown court convicted them of causing a public nuisance.

The men were charged after taking part in a four-day protest that blocked a convoy of trucks carrying drilling equipment from entering the Preston New Road fracking site near Blackpool in July last year.

Kirsty Brimelow QC, the head of the international human rights team at Doughty St Chambers, who is leading the appeal on a pro bono basis, said: “We are applying to the court of appeal for expedition of the appeal. We are fortunate in this country that there is this option. The core submission in this case was made at Preston crown court – that it is wrong to lock up peaceful protesters.”

On Saturday, friends, family and supporters of the three men will stage a solidarity demonstration outside HMP Preston, where they are being held. Planton Loizou, a former tour operator and the father of Richard Loizou, will attend his first political protest in more than 40 years.

“It’s pointless putting them in prison, because what this has done is turn me and his mother and the rest of the family into activists,” he said. “I was a Conservative through and through for the first 32 years of my voting life. My wife wasn’t and I didn’t listen to her and that was a mistake.”




select for full details What is behind the decline in UFO sightings?
in an age of wild claims churned out by politicians, media and advertisers, perhaps people don’t care as much any more
By Philip Jaekl 21 Sep, 2018

This month, the two major online sites for reporting UFOs – the National UFO Reporting Center and the Mutual UFO Network – both documented steep drops in worldwide sightings. The declines started around 2014, when reports were at a peak. They have since reduced drastically to 55% of that year’s combined total, many UFO interest groups have folded, and numerous previously classified government documents have been disclosed.

Do these declines reveal that UFO interest is becoming a blip on the human cultural radar? Perhaps UFO and alien lore is seeming more like a reflection of human culture, tied to the space age, motivated by conquering new existential frontiers.

It might not be a coincidence that the term UFO (unidentified flying object) and some of the phenomena that surrounds it – abductions and impossible technologies – are relatively recent. Before the 1940s, reports of sightings of objects in the sky were extremely rare. Centuries of recorded history give no clear indication of any such activity. Then, at the predawn of the space-age, around the time of the Roswell conspiracy, UFO culture was born, giving rise to everything from Space Invaders to The X-Files.


select for full details Aliens Might Have Sent Cigar-Shaped Probe to Monitor Earth
In October of last year, a mysterious, cigar-shaped interstellar object fell through our solar system
By Eric Levitz 6 Nov, 2018

When the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii first discovered "Oumuamua" — the object's official nickname, meaning "a messenger who reaches out from the distant past" in Hawaiian — researchers assumed that it was an ordinary comet or asteroid. But the longer they observed Oumuamua, the more improbable that hypothesis appeared: After all, what kind of asteroid is ten times longer than it is wide, and suddenly accelerates in speed, for no discernible astrophysical reason?

A new paper from scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics offers an answer: the kind of asteroid that is actually a solar-powered component of an alien spacecraft that broke off its mothership while investigating Earth's solar system.



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