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Harlesden stabbing: Boy, 16, charged with murder

Meshach Lee Mitchell Williams

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Met Police

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Meshach Williams died after being attacked in Harlesden in April

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of a man who was stabbed to death on a north-west London street.

Meshach Williams, 21, died in hospital hours after he was attacked in High Street, Harlesden, on 23 April.

The boy was remanded in custody after appearing at Willesden Magistrates’ Court earlier. He is next due to appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

Three men, aged 19, 18 and 24, have previously been charged in connection with Mr Williams’s death.

They are due to stand trial in November.

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Towie star Lewis Bloor denies £3m diamond fraud

Lewis Bloor

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Lewis Bloor also appeared in Celebrity Big Brother in 2016

The Only Way Is Essex star Lewis Bloor has denied conspiring to defraud investors in an alleged £3m diamond scam.

The 29-year-old appeared alongside six other men at Southwark Crown Court where he pleaded not guilty to dishonestly marketing coloured diamonds for investment purposes.

Four of his co-defendants also denied conspiracy to defraud.

A trial has been set for 1 September next year.

Mr Bloor, of Buckhurst Hill, Essex, appeared in the ITV2 show for three years from 2013 as well as Celebrity Big Brother in 2016.

He sat in the dock with his co-defendants Joseph Jordan, 26, from Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, George Walters, 27, from Beckenham, south-east London, Max Potter, 22, of Enfield, north London, and Nathan Wilson, 25, of Brentwood, Essex, who all also pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to defraud.

Simon Akbari, 25, from Loughton, Essex, did not enter a plea to the same charge.

Another co-defendant, 52-year-old Danny Chappell, of Bexleyheath, south-east London, denied a charge of seeking money for completing renovation works which had not been undertaken, which is alleged to have taken place on 31 May 2014.

A hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last month heard there were 50 victims of the alleged fraud with “in excess” of £3m lost between 17 May 2013 and 19 June 2014.

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Clapton flats fire: Woman rescued during ‘suspicious’ blaze

Fire in Clapton

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The blaze destroyed balconies from the ground to the fifth floor

A fire that ripped through flats where a woman had to be rescued is being treated as suspicious, police say.

The blaze broke out off Harry Zeital Way in Clapton, east London at 22:40 BST on Monday.

It started on a downstairs balcony but spread to the upper floors “within two minutes”, resident Soyeb Isralia said.

Balconies from the ground to the fifth floor were destroyed, along with part of a flat on the fifth floor and a section of the roof.

Met Police officers were called to the scene along with ambulance and fire crews, although there were no reported injuries.

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About 80 firefighters and 12 fire engines were sent to tackle the blaze

Mr Isralia said he was in the bath when he heard people shouting about the fire, so he grabbed a towel and escaped from the building.

“We saw the downstairs balcony on fire and within two minutes the flames went all the way up to the fourth floor,” he said.

“Everything just exploded after that.”

The blaze took firefighters, who remain at the scene, three hours to bring under control.

Hackney council, the local authority, will also be involved in investigating the fire.

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The fire was under control by 01:40

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Newham ‘must improve’ youth offender services, watchdog says

Newham Town Hall

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Newham Council said it would “bolster” its youth offending team

A London borough must improve the way it deals with young offenders, the probation service watchdog has said.

Newham Council does not “adequately assess” the risk posed by young criminals, according to the HM Inspectorate of Probation.

Young people who had committed crimes were also not sufficiently helped to stop them re-offending, a report said.

​​Newham Council said it accepted the findings and would “bolster” its youth offending team.

Councillor James Beckles, Cabinet member for crime and community safety, said: “We fully accept the weaknesses found in our service and will take the inspectors’ recommendations on board when considering how we ensure the right improvements are made.

“We apologise to our young people who have been let down by the failings highlighted by the report.”

Services are plagued by delays and staff shortages according, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.

‘Robust plan’

The council’s youth offending team, which supervises people aged 10 to 18 who have been sentenced in court or arrested but not charged, was deemed “inadequate”.

Overall services were reported as “requires improvement”.

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “Staff should work with the young person and their families to develop a robust plan that will deter them from further offending.

“As the plans were not up to the mark, it is unsurprising that the delivery was poor.”

However management were praised for their leadership.

Inspectors said the “tragic deaths of several children in the borough in recent years has resulted in a focus on keeping children safe”.

Newham is the third London borough to be inspected under the new standards and ratings system introduced last year.

Lambeth’s youth offending team was also rated as requires improvement, while Wandsworth was given a good rating.

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Byron burger death: Owen Carey’s family demand law change

Owen Carey

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PA Media

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Owen Carey was celebrating his 18th birthday when he died

The family of a teenager with a dairy allergy who died after he unwittingly ate buttermilk in a burger restaurant have called for a change in the law.

Owen Carey, ordered a skinny grilled chicken at Byron burger at the O2 Arena in London.

He told staff about his allergy but was not told the meal included buttermilk.

After a coroner ruled he was not told about allergens that led to his death, Mr Carey’s family said the current policy left too much room for error.

Speaking outside Southwark Coroner’s Court, Mr Carey’s family said: “His death should not have happened.”

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Media captionA statement calling for an “Owen’s Law” was read by his sister Emma Kocher

They said they wanted something good to come out of their loss and they were calling on the government to change the law.

“It’s not good enough to have a policy which relies on verbal communication between the customer and their server, which often takes place in a busy, noisy restaurant where the turnover of staff is high and many of their customers are very young,” the family said.

“This leaves far too much room for error on an issue we know far too well can cost lives. We hope we can bring about change with Owen’s Law for better allergen labelling in restaurants.”

The parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, who died after eating an unlabelled seed Pret A Manger baguette called the ruling a “landmark judgement”.

‘Severe anaphylactic reaction’

Earlier, assistant coroner Briony Ballard ruled: “The deceased made serving staff aware of his allergies.

“The menu was reassuring in that it made no reference to any marinade or potential allergenic ingredient in the food selected.

“The deceased was not informed that there were allergens in the order.

“The food served to and consumed by the deceased contained dairy which caused the deceased to suffer a severe anaphylactic reaction from which he died.”

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The inquest heard Mr Carey ate half the chicken before he experienced symptoms

The inquest has heard Mr Carey died on 22 April 2017 as he celebrated his 18th birthday with family and friends.

He ate half of his chicken before he felt his lips tingling and experienced stomach problems, the hearing was told.

The teenager collapsed 55 minutes later outside the London Eye.

Members of the public, including an RAF doctor, tried to revive him but when paramedics arrived he was “silent, not breathing and pulseless”, the hearing was told.

Mr Carey, from Crowborough, Sussex, died later at St Thomas’s Hospital in central London.

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Family handout

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Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died after an allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger baguette in 2016

After the hearing, Simon Wilkinson, the CEO of Byron Burger said: “We take allergies extremely seriously and have robust procedures in place and although those procedures were in line with all the rules and guidelines, we train our staff to respond in the right way.”

He said the company had heard what the coroner had said about talking to customers and added: “It’s clear current rules and requirements are not enough and the industry needs to do more – more to help customers with allergies and more to raise awareness of the risks of allergies.”

Ms Ballard is expected to make recommendations to prevent future deaths at a later date.

After the hearing, Thomas Jervis, the Carey family’s lawyer, said no family should have to endure the heartbreak the family had gone through.

He said: “The food regulations relating to allergy information are clearly not fit for purpose.

“It cannot be right that there is such room for human error on an issue that can be fatal.”

Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse said there were remarkable parallels between their daughter’s death and Mr Carey’s.

They said Mr Carey’s death highlighted the inadequacy of food information in the country, adding: “This verdict is a landmark judgment for millions of allergy sufferers in this country and another clear statement to the food industry that things cannot go on as they are.”

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London Stock Exchange gets £32bn Hong Kong bid

London Stock Exchange

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The company that owns Hong Kong’s main stock exchange has made a £32bn bid to buy its rival in London.

Shares in the London Stock Exchange Group jumped by more than 15% on news of the offer, but fell back later.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing said in a statement that combining the two exchanges would bring together “the largest and most significant financial centres in Asia and Europe”.

But it wants the LSE to scrap its plans to buy data firm, Refinitiv.

The deal would “redefine global capital markets for decades to come”, said Charles Li, chief executive of the Hong Kong company.

“Together, we will connect East and West, be more diversified and we will be able to offer customers greater innovation, risk management and trading opportunities,” he added.

The LSE confirmed it had received an “unsolicited, preliminary and highly conditional” offer from its Hong Kong rival and said it would make an announcement in “due course”.

‘Strategic asset’

But analyst Neil Wilson, from Markets.com, described the proposed deal as a “non-starter”. He pointed to the LSE’s share price after the announcement – just more than £71 and well below the £83.61 offer price – a sign that investors don’t expect the deal to get over the line.

He said political considerations would be “front and centre”.

“The UK government may not wish to see such a vital symbol of UK financial services strength, and indeed a strategic asset, to be owned by foreigners,” he said. “Effectively it would hand it over to the Chinese through the Hong Kong back door.”

One of the conditions of the offer from Hong Kong is that the LSE scraps its proposed £22bn deal to buy data firm Refinitiv from its current owners, which include Thomson Reuters and private equity house Blackstone.

But in its statement, the LSE said it “remains committed to and continues to make good progress” with the deal.

In 2017, EU regulators blocked a proposed £21bn merger between the LSE and Germany’s Deutsche Boerse.

The European Commission said the deal would have created a “de facto monopoly” for certain financial services.

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Chalk Farm stabbing: Woman arrested over fatal attack

Police in Belmont Street, Chalk Farm

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PA Media

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The victim was found injured in Belmont Street, Chalk Farm

A 35-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a woman who was stabbed to death in north London.

The victim, in her 20s, died nearly an hour after she was found wounded in Belmont Street, Chalk Farm, at 23:10 BST on Sunday.

Two other women were discovered with slash wounds. They were taken to hospital but their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

The Met said the arrested woman was in custody at a London police station.

The victim’s next of kin have been informed and a post-mortem examination will take place in due course.

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PA Media

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Two other women were taken to hospital with slash wounds

Terry Ellis, from Camden Against Violence, said he understood the attack was the result of “an argument” which the woman “wasn’t really involved in”

“She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.

Floral tributes have been laid on the street by friends of victim.

One, who gave her name as Ronney, described the woman as a “really, really good mum” who had a son.

“She was part of everyone’s life, she helped everyone,” she said.

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PA Media

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Tributes have been left in the road where the woman was killed

The killing was the second in two hours in north London after a man was shot dead on Malden Road in Kentish Town.

Police have said there is no link between the two deaths.

Another man was shot dead in Sydenham, south-east London on Sunday afternoon.

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Boy charged with murder over knife attack in London

Santino Angelo Dymiter

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Met Police

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Santino Angelo Dymiter was found injured on 26 August

A 14-year-old boy accused of a stabbing murder has been remanded to a secure unit.

The teenager, from Barking, appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning over the killing of Santino Angelo Dymiter, from Plaistow.

Eighteen-year-old Mr Dymiter was found injured on the afternoon of 26 August by emergency services at Chadd Green, east London.

The judge remanded the 14-year-old to appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is also accused of having a knife in a public place.

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PC who bought porn while child lay dead in house is jailed

PC Avi Maharaj

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PC Avi Maharaj was jailed for 12 months after pleading guilty to fraud

A police officer who bought pornography at the family home of a dead child has been jailed for 12 months.

Met PC Avi Maharaj was asked to guard the house on 11 February 2018 while the family was “being consoled elsewhere” after their 14-year-old son had taken his own life.

Maharaj guessed the password to the household Virgin Media account and downloaded four pornographic films.

He was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday.

The officer’s actions led the father to believe his son had been accessing pornography before his death, the court heard.

Maharaj, 44, of Kingswood Place, Hayes, had previously pleaded guilty to fraud.

‘Gross lack of decency’

Sentencing, Judge Deborah Taylor told him: “While his grieving parents were being consoled elsewhere, you had the responsibility of guarding the house late at night until the arrival of the undertaker to remove the body.

“Instead of performing that duty with respect and professionalism, you took it upon yourself to guess the password to the household Virgin Media account, to act as if you were the account holder, and use it to purchase, download and view four pornography films.”

The judge added the family were “vulnerable, traumatised by the loss of their son, and trusted you to guard their house”.

“Your actions led them to a false understanding of their son’s last hours and greatly exacerbated their grief and suffering.

“It is impossible to overstate the affront of your behaviour that night, in a house where the tragic death of a young boy had occurred, and in the presence of his body.

“All right-thinking people would be appalled by your gross lack of decency and respect in indulging yourself at all in those circumstances, let alone deviously, and at the expense of the bereaved parents.”

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Avi Maharaj pleaded guilty to fraud at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in July

The Met officer’s conviction follows a complaint from a member of the child’s family, which led to an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The watchdog also found evidence he may have falsified his attendance log to cover his actions.

The IOPC’s regional director Sal Naseem described PC Maharaj’s behaviour as “shocking” and “deceitful”, adding that he “caused considerable distress for the family involved who were dealing with the sudden death of a family member”.

The Met has been approached for a comment.

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Brixton stabbing: Man charged with murder

A family photo of Lee Casey

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Lee Casey died after he was found stabbed on Thursday

A man has been charged with murdering a 39-year-old who was stabbed to death in south London.

Lee Casey was found with a stab wound on Brixton Hill at 12:07 BST on Thursday and died in hospital two hours later.

Levi Paschal, 33, of Brixton, is due to appear at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court later.

Mr Paschal has also been charged with attempted wounding with intent and conspiracy to rob.

Clementine Jones, 30, of Brixton, is also charged with conspiracy to rob and will appear at court later.

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