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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Shawn Tyson guilty of murdering two Britons in Florida

 

An American teenager has been found guilty of the first degree murder of two British tourists in Florida. James Cooper, 25, from Warwickshire, and James Kouzaris, 24, from Northampton, were shot dead on a public housing estate in Newtown, Sarasota. The pair, who met at Sheffield University, were killed after drunkenly wandering into the estate in the early hours of 16 April 2011. The court heard Shawn Tyson, 17, killed them after trying to rob them. Tyson, who was tried as an adult despite being 16 at the time of the shooting, faces life in prison with no chance of parole. 'Shattered soul' The families of Mr Cooper and Mr Kouzaris were not in court but said in a statement they were satisfied with the verdict. They added: "It is a fact that we were given a life sentence when our sons were so brutally and needlessly taken from us. "Ours is a life sentence, with no chance of parole from a broken heart, and a shattered soul." Mr Kouzaris and Mr Cooper had been out drinking in downtown Sarasota before they were shot The families also criticised the Sarasota court system that freed Tyson after a judge warned he was a danger to the public. Hours before he shot the two Britons, Tyson was arrested for a separate shooting incident in which no-one was hurt. In the statement the families said: "The evil of the killer is one thing, but the fact is, he would not have been on the streets had instructions to keep him incarcerated been passed from one judge to another." Killer's boast When the mistake came to light the Mayor of Sarasota, Kelly Kirschener, vowed the city's prosecutors would never let anything similar happen again. During the trial jurors heard how Mr Kouzaris and Mr Cooper had been out drinking in downtown Sarasota before getting lost and wandering into the Newtown area in the early hours. The prosecution said they were confronted by Tyson who tried to rob them and then shot them when he realised they had very little money. The court heard Tyson had boasted to his friend Latrece Washington, who testified against him, that one of the men had begged for his life but he shot him anyway.

French judges seek arrest of Equatorial Guinea leader's son

 

Two French judges sought an international arrest warrant for the son of Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema on money laundering charges, a judicial source said on Tuesday. The two judges, Roger Le Loire and Rene Grouman, consider there are grounds to suspect that Teodorin Obiang, who is agriculture minister in the small, oil-rich central African country, acquired real estate in France by fraudulent means. The warrant will not be released until a prosecutor has reviewed the request and decides whether to proceed. Teodorin is frequently seen enjoying an extravagant lifestyle abroad with multi-million dollar mansions, jets and yachts. Billboards in the capital Malabo seek to show him at work and in touch with the people, but diplomats and analysts cite his playboy lifestyle as a cause for concern. The French judges, who have been handling the case since 2010 on the basis of "concealment of embezzled public funds," suspect that the properties were purchased with public money from Equatorial Guinea. The judges had previously sought permission from the government of Equatorial Guinea to question Teodorin, but that request was rejected, Olivier Pardo, lawyer for the oil producing nation, told Reuters in Paris. "Unless one wishes to violate the sovereignty of the State of Equatorial Guinea and harm relations between France and Equatorial Guinea, it is absurd to want to launch an arrest warrant," he said. As part of the investigation, French police raided a building belonging to Equatorial Guinea in a wealthy area of Paris in February. After three days they removed art works and fine wines worth several million euros. The building was valued at about 150 million euros and investigators say it housed a nightclub and hairdressers, which suggested it was not being used as a diplomatic residence. Anti-corruption organisation Transparency International had filed the original legal complaint against Teodorin Obiang. On March 1, Teodorin filed for defamation against Daniel Lebegue, the president of the French arm of Transparency, denying he had embezzled funds. President Teodoro Obiang has ruled the former Spanish colony for more than three decades, making him the longest-serving African leader following the demise of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, with rights groups labelling his regime one of the world's most corrupt. The country produces about 240,000 barrels of oil per day. In January, Teodorin asked a U.S. court to dismiss attempts by the Obama administration to seize some $71 million worth of his assets, denying charges that they were obtained with allegedly corrupt funds taken from his country. He argued he had not violated U.S. or Equatorial Guinea law and called the corruption allegations "character assassination" against him and his country. Equatorial Guinea in October said it wanted to appoint Teodorin as its deputy permanent delegate at U.N. cultural agency UNESCO in Paris, a position that would give him diplomatic status in France. Until now the agency has not received any official documentation to proceed further with that request.

JetBlue plane in emergency landing after captain's apparent breakdown


The captain of a JetBlue plane screamed "They're going to take us down!" and rambled about al-Qaida as passengers pinned him to the floor while another pilot took charge to make an emergency landing. An off-duty airline captain who was a passenger on the flight entered the cockpit, locked the door and landed in Amarillo, Texas, the airline said in a statement. JetBlue Airways said the original pilot on flight 191 from New York's John F Kennedy international airport had been taken to hospital after suffering a "medical situation" on board. The captain had earlier stormed through his plane rambling about a bomb and threats from Iraq until passengers on the Las Vegas-bound flight tackled him just outside the cockpit, passengers said. He had seemed disoriented, jittery and constantly sipped water when he first marched through the cabin, then began to rant about threats linked to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan after crew members tried to calm him down. "They're going to take us down! They're taking us down! Say the Lord's prayer!" the captain screamed, according to passenger Tony Antolino. Josh Redick, who was sitting near the middle of the plane, said the captain seemed "irate" and was "spouting off about Afghanistan and souls and al-Qaida". Gabriel Schonzeit, who was sitting in the third row, told the Amarillo Globe-News: "He started screaming about al-Qaida and possibly a bomb on the plane and Iraq and Iran and about how we were all going down." "A group of us just jumped up instinctually and grabbed him and put him to the ground," Antolino said after arriving in Las Vegas later Tuesday. "Clearly he had an emotional or mental type of breakdown." Antolino, a security executive, said he and three others pinned down the captain as he ran for the cockpit door and sat on him for about 20 minutes until the plane landed at Rick Husband Amarillo international airport at 10am. Shane Helton, 39, who was seeing off his son at Amarillo airport, said: "They pulled one guy out on a stretcher and put him in an ambulance." The flight had left New York around 7am and was in the air for three and a half hours before landing in Texas. The passengers completed their journey to Las Vegas several hours later on another flight. The FBI was co-ordinating an investigation with the police, the FAA and the Transportation Safety Administration, said FBI spokeswoman Lydia Maese in Dallas. She declined to comment on arrests. Earlier this month an American Airlines flight attendant took over the public address system on a flight bound for Chicago and spoke for 15 minutes about 9/11 and the safety of their plane, saying: "I'm not responsible for this plane crashing," passengers said. She was wrestled into a seat while the plane was grounded at Dallas-Fort Worth international airport. The attendant was taken to hospital. In 2008 an Air Canada co-pilot was forcibly removed from a Toronto to London flight, restrained and sedated after having a mental breakdown. A flight attendant with flying experience helped the pilot make an emergency landing in Ireland. None of the 146 passengers and nine crew members on board were injured. In August 2010 JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater pulled the emergency chute on a flight from Pittsburgh after it landed at John F Kennedy international airport. He went on the public address system, swore at a passenger, grabbed a beer and slid down the tarmac. He was sentenced to probation, counselling and substance abuse treatment for attempted criminal mischief. An aviation expert remembered only two or three cases in 40 years where a pilot had become mentally incapacitated during a flight. John Cox, an aviation safety consultant and former airline pilot, said incidents in which pilots become mentally incapacitated during a flight were "pretty rare". He said he could only recall two or three other examples in the more than 40 years he has been following commercial aviation. Airlines and the FAA strongly encouraged pilots to assert themselves if they thought safety was being jeopardised, even if it meant contradicting a captain's orders, Cox said. Aviation safety experts had studied several cases where first officers deferred to more experienced captains with tragic results. In Tuesday's case the FAA is likely to review the unidentified captain's medical certificate, which must be renewed every six months to a year.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Cannabis: Legal high

 

CANNABOOST plant food is one of the best selling products at the Hydroexpress hydroponics store in Stirchley, a working-class part of Birmingham. The small shop, its windows filled with graffiti-style posters, also sells fertilisers with names like “Nirvana” and “Bud Candy”, alongside strong lights and giant rolls of tin foil to line greenhouses. In one corner, a couple of juicy-looking tomato plants grow in a demonstration set-up. But the youth behind the counter guesses that his customers are “not all growing tomatoes”. Birmingham now has 58 hydroponics shops, up from 42 just a year ago. Whether aided by the latest plant-growing technology or not, cannabis production is soaring. According to the Association of Chief Police Officers, the number of cannabis factories detected each year increased from around 800 in 2004 to 7,000 in 2010. Birmingham is one of the most fertile areas; West Midlands Police, which set up a Cannabis Disposal Unit in 2010 to tackle the problem, dismantled more than 500 factories last year. Your correspondent visited one recently closed by police; the gardener was a cocaine-addicted woman growing a few plants in a spare room in the hope of earning a cut. Other set-ups have been found in tents in the bedrooms of high-rise council flats and in the lofts of terraced family houses. Many growers are simply feeding their own habits. As one officer on the West Midlands Police drugs team says, “It’s becoming the most popular cottage industry in the country.” In this section A big splash with little cash Falling flat Earning a hearing The worst job in the world Constituency of the world Mother tongue Money for old metal »Legal high A rock and a hard place The Notting Hill budget Reprints Related topics United Kingdom Birmingham, England Small growers are squeezing out both importers and the well-connected, often Vietnamese, gangs that once dominated domestic production. The big cannabis factories set up by the latter, with their telltale heat hazes, are fairly easy to spot. Smaller operations are often uncovered only when the electric lights start fires, or when local teenagers mount a burglary. The police and the courts can neither keep up with the surge in small-scale production, nor are they desperately keen to do so. Last month the government published new sentencing guidelines that advised judges to treat small cultivators less strictly. Attitudes to smokers are softening, too. The reclassification of cannabis in 2009, from class C to the more stringent class B, was oddly accompanied by a more liberal approach to policing consumption. Users caught on the street are rarely arrested; rather, they are issued “cannabis cautions” (a reprimand which doesn’t appear on a criminal record) or fined. In Brixton, a south London neighbourhood, an open-air cannabis market exists within ten minutes’ walk of the underground station. The dealers are frequently moved on but they soon regroup elsewhere. As one dealer admits, his competitors are a bigger hassle than the police. “They get to fightin’, over money and things,” he says in a deep Caribbean drawl. Violence is far more likely to get a dealer into legal trouble than business. Strangely, this lackadaisical approach is not encouraging people to take up the reefer habit. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the proportion of people who admit to having used cannabis in Britain has fallen more quickly than in any other European country over the past few years. Just 6.8% of adults told another survey that they used cannabis in 2010, down from 10.9% eight years earlier. The herb is now ubiquitous and effectively tolerated—and, perhaps as a result, not all that alluring.

Cat-Sized Rats Invade Florida

 

Cat-sized rats are causing trouble in the Florida keys. A pack of Gambian giant pouched rats have been breeding in the keys despite officials’ efforts to eradicate them. NBC Miami reports that Officials are worried about the vermin making it over to the mainland, saying that the hungry species could wipe out crops and upset the delicate ecological balance in Florida. Scort Hardin, the exotic species coordinator for Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said: “We thought we had them whipped as of 2009…. In the early part of 2011, a resident e-mailed me and said he saw one of the rats. We were skeptical but went back and talked to people and [saw] there were rats that we missed.” Hardin believes that there are less than two dozen giant rats roaming Grassy Key where they were trapped during multiple efforts last year. The Wildlife Conservation Commission will set out once again this July in an attempt to trap the Gambian giant pouched rats. Hardin told Keys Net: “I would not imagine there’s more than another couple of dozen at most. We’ve caught them all within a half-mile of each other… We think they have not moved far but they clearly reproduced.” MSNBC reports that the cat-sized rats were introduced to the island by a local rat breeder more than a decade ago. The rats have moved into the wild where they are now breeding and wreaking havoc on the ecosystem.

New Black Panther leader arrested as group sets bounty in Florida shooting

 

high-ranking member of the New Black Panther Party was arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. DeKalb County Sheriff's Office Hashim Nzinga, 49, was arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. More Atlanta area news » Immigration-related complaint may become ‘moot' 'Chicken Man' house explodes Trayvon Martin rally at Capitol draws many Gang member guilty of 2011 killing Hashim Nzinga, 49, recently announced on CNN that his group was offering a $10,000 reward for the capture of George Zimmerman, the man who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. CNN identified Nzinga as the chief of staff of the New Black Panther Party. According to a DeKalb arrest warrant, Nzinga was in possession of an FN Herstal 5.7 x 28 handgun, which investigators said he pawned at a shop on Rockbridge Road. That alleged transaction would be illegal due to Nzinga’s convictions last month for felony deposit account fraud in Gwinnett County, the DeKalb Sheriff's Office said. Nzinga was arrested by members of the fugitive squad at a probation office in Lawrenceville and transported to DeKalb County Jail. The New Black Panther Party is offering a $10,000 bounty for the capture of Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed Martin, an unarmed teenager, last month. "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," Black Panther leader Mikhail Muhammad said Saturday at a rally in Sanford, where Martin was killed Feb. 26, according to Fox News. Zimmerman has claimed he shot Martin in self-defense, but the New Black Panthers are calling for mobilization of 10,000 black men to capture Zimmerman, who has gone into hiding, the Orlando Sentinel reported. "He should be fearful for his life," Muhammad said. "You can't keep killing black children." According to the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the New Black Panthers "is a virulently racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers." The group was founded in Dallas in 1989 and believes black Americans should have their own nation, according to the SPLC. Zimmerman shot Martin as he returned to his father's house from a store where he had bought candy. Zimmerman told a 911 dispatcher that Martin was acting suspicious and told police that he was attacked by Martin. Sanford police say they were advised by prosecutors that they did not have enough evidence to charge Zimmerman.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Whitney Houston full autopsy report to offer more details

Whitney Houston’s full autopsy report may offer more clues about whether the singer suffered a heart attack before her drowning death, officials said Friday. The full report, which is expected to be released in a few weeks, may include test results and physical descriptions of the singer’s heart that will show whether she suffered a heart attack, Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said. The report is being compiled and Winter said he did not have access to its findings, which might show whether there were any obvious signs such as discoloration of her heart that would suggest Houston had a heart attack before slipping underwater in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 11. Houston’s death has been ruled an accidental drowning, with heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors. The report also will include detailed toxicology results that will show how much cocaine and its byproducts were in Houston’s system when she died. Coroner’s officials said Thursday that the results showed the singer used cocaine shortly before her death, and there were indications of chronic use. Beverly Hills police detectives will use the full coroner’s report to complete their investigative file, which is not expected to be publicly released. The department has said there were no signs of foul play in connection with Houston’s death. Houston’s death on the eve of the Grammy Awards stunned the music industry and fans worldwide. The singer had battled addiction for years, but friends and family have said she appeared committed to making a comeback in the months before her death.

Pakistani Taliban training Frenchmen


Pakistani intelligence officials say dozens of French Muslims have been training with the Taliban in northwest Pakistan. The officials said on Saturday they were investigating whether Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian descent suspected of killing seven people in southern France, had been part of this group. Merah traveled to Pakistan in 2011 and said he trained with al-Qaida in Waziristan. He was killed in a gunfight with police Thursday in the French city of Toulouse. The officials said 85 Frenchmen have been training with the Pakistani Taliban in the North Waziristan tribal area for the past three years. Most have dual nationality with France and North African countries. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Sex is a multibillion-dollar industry in Spain, with colorfully lit brothels staffed mainly by poor immigrant women from Latin America, Africa and eastern Europe lining highways throughout the country

Pimps Arrested in Spain for 'Barcoding' Women

Police in Spain arrested 22 alleged pimps who purportedly tattooed women with bar codes as a sign of ownership and used violence to force them into prostitution.  Police are calling the gang the "bar code pimps." Officers freed one 19-year-old woman who had been beaten, held against her will and tattooed with a bar code and an amount of money — €2,000 ($2,650) — which investigators believe was the debt the gang wished to extort before releasing her. The woman had also been whipped, chained to a radiator and had her hair and eyebrows shaved off, according to an Interior Ministry statement.All those arrested were of Romanian nationality and had forced the women to hand over part of their earnings, the statement said. The women were tattooed on their wrists if they tried to escape, the statement said. Police also seized guns and ammunition. It was not immediately clear when the raids took place. Police seized €140,000 ($185,388) in cash, which had been hidden in a false ceiling, a large amount of gold jewelry and five vehicles, three of which were described as luxury cars. The gang was made up of two separate groups, referred to as "clans" in the statement, each dedicated to controlling prostitution along fixed stretches of a street in downtown Madrid. One of the alleged ringleaders who was identified only by the initials "I.T." is wanted by authorities in Romania for crimes linked to prostitution, the statement said. The women were controlled at all times to ensure "money was taken off them immediately," the statement said.   Sex is a multibillion-dollar industry in Spain, with colorfully lit brothels staffed mainly by poor immigrant women from Latin America, Africa and eastern Europe lining highways throughout the country. Prostitution falls in legal limbo: it is not regulated, although pimping is a crime. The northeastern city of Barcelona plans to introduce regional legislation in coming weeks banning prostitution on urban streets.

Russian banker shot six times had testified over murder plot


The banker was left for dead by a lone gunman as he returned to his home in Canary Wharf on Tuesday evening. Scotland Yard detectives are investigating the attempted assassination, which Mr Gorbuntsov’s lawyer believes was a retaliation attack after the banker gave evidence in a 2009 attempted murder case. Mr Gorbuntsov, who fled to London because of his fear of reprisals, had recently submitted new evidence to Russian police about the attempted murder of Alexander Antonov, another Russian banker. The case was closed three years ago when three Chechen men were jailed for attempted murder. But police have never discovered who organised the attempted hit. Officers re-opened the case on March 2 this year after Mr Gorbuntsov submitted his new testimony.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Russian banker shooting: 'It looks like a contract hit'


A former Russian banker is in a critical condition in hospital after he was shot several times in east London. German Gorbuntsov was shot by a man armed with a sub-machine gun as he entered a block of flats in Byng Street, Isle of Dogs, on Tuesday. Aleksander Nekrassov, a former Kremlin advisor, told the BBC that Mr Gorbuntsov was a "key witness" in the case of a murder attempt on another Russian banker, Alexander Antonov, in Moscow in 2009. He said: "It looks like a contract hit to be honest because a sub-machine gun is not really a weapon that would be used by some amateur"

Painkiller warning as pack contains higher dose than label says


39,000 packs of co-codamol, which contains both paracetamol and codeine, contain higher dose tablets than is stated on the label, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said. Some of the 8mg/500mg packs actually contain 30mg/500mg tablets in the blister strips inside. The two can be told apart by markings on the side of the tablets. The 8mg/500mg tablet has the marking

on one side only. The 30mg/500mg tablet has CCD30 on one side and CP on the other. An overdose of co-codamol is serious and patients should not take more than one or two tablets every four to six hours and no more than four doses in 24-hours.

Mafia Bosses 'Turn Cannibal': Serbian Gangsters 'Ate Milan Jurisic In A Flat In Madrid' Say Police


A mafia traitor was beaten to death and then eaten by Serbian gangsters, police believe. Milan Jurisic, 37, was killed with a hammer by a gang of criminals from the Zemun Clan, a mafia group from Belgrade, in Madrid. His remains were then ground up with a meat grinder, cooked, and eaten, according to a confession by another Zemun Clan member, Sretko Kalinic, nicknamed "The Butcher". Later the gang reportedly threw the bones into the River Manzanares in the Spanish capital. This week, police found bones in the river and the apartment where the killing apparently took place in 2009. Jurisic is thought to have betrayed his fellow gang members by stealing money from them. He was on the run after being convicted in his absence of assassinating Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic in 2003. Kalinic confessed to the murder after he was arrested in the Croatian capital of Zagreb in 2010. Police believe the murder and subsequent cannibalism was led by Luka Bojovic, a Serbian gangster arrested in Valencia last month. Bojovic was also on the run after being accused of assassinating Djindjic. Inside Bojovic's apartment in Valencia police found documents backing up Kalinic's account of the killing. The murder is being investigated by magistrate Fernando Andreu at the National Court in Madrid.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

TWO men who have been arrested by detectives investigating the murder of crime boss Eamon 'The Don' Dunne are senior lieutenants of crime lord Christy Kinahan.


 The mobsters were picked up by armed gardai during a dawn raid at a property in the north inner city and are currently in custody at Store Street Garda Station. Sources do not believe that either is the gunman who actually killed Dunne in the gangland murder in a Cabra pub in April 2010 but they believe that the pair played a key role in organising the hit. The Herald can today reveal that gardai also planned to arrest the young criminal who they believe shot Dunne but he "has gone to ground." The north inner city gunman is a close associate of the two related men who are in garda custody today. Selling One of those arrested -- aged in his late 20s -- was mentioned by Spanish authorities in the four-page European Arrest Warrant they used to extradite 'Fat' Freddie Thompson to Spain last year. The warrant asserts explosive details about the criminal's role within the multi-million euro Christy Kinahan drugs organisation. This man, who comes from a flats complex in the city, was previously arrested by Spanish police as part of Operation Shovel -- the massive probe against Kinahan's organisation which revealed that his mob were selling shipments of drugs worth a staggering €1m every two months. The 'Fat' Freddie warrant alleges that the arrested criminal is a "member of this organisation in Ireland". The warrant claims that the criminal travelled to Malaga on May 7, 2010, to meet Christy Kinahan's son Daniel to discuss a major drugs shipment into Ireland. "Daniel was supposedly going to finance part of the shipment. A surveillance operation was launched in Malaga Airport and officers saw Ross Browning, another one of the persons under investigation, arrive at the airport," the warrant alleges. The Herald has previously revealed that Browning (28) was named in the warrant, which claims he was a driver for the Kinahan drugs organisation. Browning, from the north inner city, is a close associate of the men arrested yesterday. In January 2001, a 30-year-old, who is in custody today, was involved with Browning in the robbery of over £IR13,000 from a a Securicor van driver. Both men later received suspended sentences. Gardai believe the shocking murder of Dunne was sanctioned by Christy Kinahan who felt that the reckless behaviour of the gang boss was getting out of control. 'Dapper Don' Kinahan -- who is serving the last days of a jail sentence for money laundering in Belgium -- is regarded as the biggest drugs trafficker in the history of the Irish State.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

FEMALE pals of Murder Inc thugs John and Wayne Dundon are using SEX to recruit hitmen to execute gangster's moll April Collins.

The Irish Sun can reveal two women close to the depraved brothers have been sleeping with a string of young Limerick thugs in a bid to recruit them as killers.

The female mobsters, who we can't name for legal reasons, want their former friend murdered at all costs.

Last Friday, brutes Wayne, 33, and John, 29, were convicted of threatening to kill members of April's family, for which they face up to ten more years behind bars.

But now the blood-soaked savages fear April will testify against them for ordering at least FOUR gangland murders — including those of innocent victims Shane Geoghegan, 28, and Roy Collins, 35.

And a senior security source told the Irish Sun last night: "The Dundons are terrified April can now obliterate them for once and for all.

"She has first-hand knowledge of several murders and attempted murders.

"By the time she's finished testifying, the Dundons and their associates might never get out of prison again.

 

Eight years together ... Ger and April before she ditched him
Eight years together ... Ger and April before she ditched him
"That's why their female pals have been bedding a string of young fools around Limerick and recruiting them to kill April and stop her talking.

 

"These girls are obviously pretty good in bed because these young fools are prepared to do anything for them — as long as they get plenty of sex."

April, 24, who lived with Ger Dundon for eight years and was privy to Murder Inc's darkest secrets, has agreed to tell all she knows.

She's said to be a "dead woman walking" since deciding to do the unthinkable — turn State's witness against her ex's psycho siblings.

Last month, April helped to convict Murder Inc hitman Barry Doyle, 25, for the murder of innocent rugby player Shane Geoghegan in 2008.

She made the decision to become a supergrass after John and Wayne Dundon threatened to kill her and members of her family, including her ma, her gangster da and her brothers.

They made the chilling threats when they learnt she was having an affair with gang-rapist Thomas O'Neill, 24, after brother Ger, 25, was jailed for five years in February 2011.

April had dumped the father of her three children — and refused to bring their young kids to see their da in prison.

Her mother Alice, 48, and her younger sister also gave evidence of being threatened by the lardy mobsters.

During the trial, Alice said Wayne told her his bro John would "give some fool ten grand" to kill her son Jimmy.

She said Wayne then told her his face would be the last her gangster son Gareth, who'd also been a member of Murder Inc, would see — "because I'm going to kill him myself".

He also warned her: "You're digging your own grave; it's very easy to make people disappear." Mr Justice Paul Butler said the Special Criminal Court found April's evidence to be fully believable.

He said the court was also impressed by the "entirely credible and convincing" evidence of her mother Alice, and was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt Wayne had intimidated and made threats against her.

Although heavily pregnant with sicko O'Neill's twins and living under constant armed Garda protection, April is determined to help cops smash Murder Inc once and for all.

Despite her condition, Collins insisted on being present in court to see the three judges deliver their verdicts against the Dundons last Friday.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A GANG of “guns for hire” who spread lawless violence in a spate of gun and grenade attacks across Merseyside were today starting life behind bars.


Grenade gang

 

The five were the “go to” men for gangsters across the area as they carried out attacks on underworld rivals.

But their spree saw innocent people caught in the middle as indiscriminate shootings and grenade attacks escalated.

At the top of the tree sat Tony Downes and Kirk Bradley, a “thick as thieves” pair of career criminals from Huyton, and Gary Wilson, who used his ill-gotten gains to buy himself a plush seafront Southport home.

Bradley and Downes, both 26, never got their hands dirty – Downes was directing operations from his cell in HMP Liverpool and was said to be the group’s “chief executive” by a judge yesterday.

Instead their underlings, “trusted and active lieutenants” Craig Riley and Joseph Farrell, were given “jobs” to carry out and would farm some tasks out to younger crooks wanting to make a name for themselves.

On their instructions, the young thugs would be given guns or explosives and an address or a specific individual to target.

They threw grenades into a room where a woman babysitting her seven-year-old grandson was sleeping and shot people in the legs and stomach, leaving them with life-changing injuries.

Their “modus operandi” saw them use the same guns over and over again – two guns linked to the group were used in 16 different shootings – and carry out their attacks on scrambler bikes, ideal for a quick getaway.

Police slammed the gang as “parasites, the worst kind of mercenary” after bringing them to justice.

A covert police operation was launched to snare those linked to more than 20 incidents over two years.

As the net closed on them, officers took an arsenal of weapons off the streets.

At Woolwich Crown Court yesterday the “chapter” in the ongoing fight against gun crime was brought to a close by high court judge Mr Justice Henriques when he sentenced each of the gang to life imprisonment.

Only Farrell, Wilson and Riley were actually in the dock at Woolwich yesterday.

Downes and Bradley escaped from a prison van in Manchester last summer as they were being brought to court in Liverpool.

Their escape caused their trial, which was in its 11th week at the time, to collapse and a retrial at maximum-security Woolwich was ordered.

But the day after they were convicted in their absence, Downes was picked up after eight months of freedom.




Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Taliban fire at delegates visiting Afghan massacre site

 

Taliban militants opened fire on an Afghan government delegation visiting one of the two villages in southern Afghanistan where a US soldier is suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians. The delegation was talking with families of the victims in Balandi village on Tuesday when they heard shooting, said Qayum Karzai, a brother of the Afghan president who was part of the group. He said he did not believe anyone was killed in the attack, but he had heard reports of one person wounded in the foot. "We were giving them our condolences, then we heard two very, very light shots," said Karzai. "Then we assumed that it was the national army that started to fire in the air." He said that the members of the delegation were safe and were heading back to Kandahar city. An Associated Press reporter accompanying the delegation said the gunfire came from two different directions. The US is holding an army staff sergeant in custody who is suspected of carrying out the killings before dawn on Sunday in two villages close to his base in Kandahar province's Panjwai district, considered the birthplace of the Taliban. Villagers have described him stalking from house to house in the middle of the night, opening fire on sleeping families and then burning some of the bodies. Nine of the 16 killed were children, and three were women, according to Karzai. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid vowed to take revenge for the attack in a statement sent to reporters on Tuesday. He said the soldier should be tried as a war criminal and executed by the victims' relatives. Also on Tuesday, hundreds of students in eastern Afghanistan shouted angry slogans against the US and the American soldier accused of carrying out the killings, the first significant protest in response to the tragedy. The killings have caused outrage in Afghanistan but have not sparked the kind of violent protests seen last month after American soldiers burned Muslim holy books and other Islamic texts. Afghans have become used to dealing with civilian casualties in over a decade of war. Some have said the deaths in Panjwai were more in keeping with Afghans' experience of deadly night raids and air strikes by US-led forces than the Qur'an burnings were. But the students protesting at a university in Jalalabad city, 80 miles east of the capital Kabul, were incensed. "Death to America!" and "Death to the soldier who killed our civilians!" shouted the crowd. Some carried a banner that called for a public trial of the soldier, whom US officials have identified as a married, 38-year-old father of two who was trained as a sniper and recently suffered a head injury in Iraq. Other protesters burned an effigy of Barack Obama. "The reason we are protesting is because of the killing of innocent children and other civilians by this tyrant US soldier," said Sardar Wali, a university student. "We want the United Nations and the Afghan government to publicly try this guy." Obama has expressed his shock and sadness and extended his condolences to the families of the victims. But he has also said the horrific episode would not speed up plans to pull out foreign forces, despite increasing opposition at home to the war in Afghanistan.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Michel Smith, a Quebec member of the Hells Angels wanted se 2009 in connection to 22 murder cases, has been arrested by authorities in Panama

 

Michel Smith, a Quebec member of the Hells Angels wanted se 2009 in connection to 22 murder cases, has been arrested by authorities in Panama, according to media reports. However, officials from the Surete du Quebec and RCMP were not immediately able to confirm or deny the reports. According to the RCMP, Smith is a member of the South Chapter of the Hells Angels and goes by the nickname "L'animal." He has been on the run since 2009 in connection with a police crackdown on the Hells Angels biker gang. He faces 29 criminal charges - including 22 murder charges. Citing Panamanian local media and Agence France-Presse, the QMI news agency reported that Smith, 49, had been detained by police Friday evening in the Playa Coronado region, on the Pacific Ocean coast of the Central American nation. A Canada-wide warrant issued by the RCMP said he was being sought for murder, gangsterism, drug trafficking and related conspiracy charges. His Central American connections were known to authorities. "Smith is likely to visit Panama and speaks French," the warrant stated. Const. Erique Gasse of the RCMP's C Division in Montreal said he had relayed a request for official word on Smith's status to RCMP officials in Ottawa, who did not immediately return a phone call. Asked for confirmation of the arrest report, Surete du Quebec spokesperson Sgt. Christine Coulombe said: "I have no information on this." Smith is "considered to be violent," according to the warrant. Aside from "L'animal," his aliases have included Mike Smith-Lajoie, Michel Lajoie-Smit and Michel Lajoie. The warrant describes Smith as 172 centimetres tall and weighing 95 kilograms, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Alleged Quebec Hells Angels member arrested in Panama

 

Quebec fugitive -- and alleged member of the Hells Angels -- who is wanted on murder charges has been arrested in Panama, local media reports say. Michel Smith, 49, who was linked to Quebec's deadly biker war in the 1990s, was reportedly arrested Friday. Smith -- whose nickname is "animal" -- has been on the run since 2009. He was taken into custody by local police in the tourist area of Playa Coronado on the Pacific Ocean coast, according to local reports. The reports said he had been under surveillance for about two months before his arrest. Smith faces 29 charges, including 22 counts of murder. Police in Canada had not confirmed the news as late Sunday night. Smith is to be extradited back to Canada, police officials in Panama said in a news release. Smith has long been alleged to be among the top men affiliated with the Hells Angels when it was at war with the Rock Machine biker gang in the 1990s and early 2000s. The gang war killed more than 150 people. While most of the victims were members of the rival gangs and their affiliates, two prison guards and an 11-year old boy -- a bystander -- also died. An RCMP warrant describes Smith as 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 210 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Stalking to become a crime for 1st time with offenders facing up to 5 years in jail


Stalking is to become a crime for the first time, with offenders facing jail for up to five years and unlimited fines. After decades of debate, David Cameron will announce today that the Government is to change the law to protect tens of thousands of victims let down by the system. Currently, police must wait until  suspects commit another crime – such as harassment or breaching a restraining order – before they act. Scroll down for video Beauty consultant Clare Bernal, 22, was shot dead in Harvey Nichols by her former boyfriend Slovakian Michael Pech, 30, who she had dated for just two weeks. Pech on bail was awaiting sentence for breaching a restraining order and harassment of Clare when he shot her four times before turning the gun on himself As a result, only 2 per cent of stalkers are jailed, with the maximum sentence being six months if pursued under the Protection from Harassment Act. Mr Cameron will unveil plans to reform the law at Downing Street alongside Tricia Bernal, whose daughter Clare was shot dead by her former boyfriend in a Harvey Nichols store in Knightsbridge.     Also at No 10 today will be Claire Waxman, who was subjected to an eight-year campaign of harassment by Elliot Fogel. The former Sky Sports news producer stalked his ex-classmate for nearly a decade, Googling her name 40,000 times in a year and posing as a prospective parent at her child’s nursery. He was finally jailed for two years after breaching a restraining order. Tricia Bernal, pictured with her daughter Clare who was shot dead by Pech on September 13, 2005, will appear alongside David Cameron when he announces changes to the law today Mr Cameron will say today: ‘Stalking is an abhorrent crime. It makes life a living hell for the victims – breaking up relationships, forcing the victims to move house, making them feel they are being watched 24 hours of the day. ‘That is why we are criminalising stalking, to make sure justice is done, protect the victims and show that stalking is a crime.’ A Downing Street source added: ‘Stalking will carry a sentence of six months and stalking with violence a maximum of five years.’ Cross-party MPs who examined the existing law concluded it was not fit for purpose. Even stalkers  who had broken into victims’ homes or threatened to kill them escaped with community punishments and suspended sentences. The British Crime Survey suggests 120,000 people are stalked a year, with many claiming their concerns are not taken seriously by the authorities.   Some stalkers who continually flout restraining orders go on to murder their victims, according  to probation officers’ union Napo. CLARE BERNAL WAS SHOT FOUR TIMES BY HER  STALKER Beauty consultant Clare Bernal, 22, was shot dead by a stalker she briefly dated while working at the Knightsbridge Harvey Nichols store. Clare dated 30-year-old Slovakian Michael Pech, a former security guard at the department store, for just three weeks. But after they broke up Pech started following her, pestering her with phone calls, standing outside her house and bombarding her with text messages. Her mother Tricia Bernal has told how Clare felt she had no where to turn, couldn't sleep at night and became physical exhausted from the constant harassment.    He was arrested for breaking a restraining order and found guilty of harassment but while awaiting sentence he went to Slovakia and bought a gun. On September 13, 2005, just as Harvey Nichols was due to close, he walked up behind Clare and shot her four times in the head before turning the gun on himself. Mrs Bernal, from Tunbridge Wells, last night welcomed moves to strengthen laws against stalkers to prevent anyone suffering the way her daughter did.

Police divers search for head and limbs of Gemma McCluskie


Frogmen from Scotland Yard's Marine Support Unit are in Regent's Canal in Hackney, east London, where the torso was found this week. Ms McCluskie's brother Tony is thought to have been arrested yesterday at his home in Bethnal Green, east London, where he lives with his mother and where his sister disappeared from last week. His mobile phone number was among those that appeared on a missing person's poster he himself helped circulate around the local area when Ms McCluskie disappeared. The limbless corpse was dragged from Regent's Canal by the Metropolitan police, with sources indicating it had been identified as 29-year-old Ms McCluskie. Relatives and former co-stars were said to be 'fearing the worst' while awaiting official results of forensic tests. Police sources said the unclothed body's arms, legs and head had been hacked off before it was found floating in the waterway. 'At this early stage officers believe they know the identity of the victim but must await further forensic tests before formal identification can take place,' a Met spokeswoman said. 'Police were initially contacted by a member of the public who had noticed something suspicious floating in the water. The torso was recovered by divers from the Met's Marine Support Unit (MSU) and additional searches are due to be carried out in the water.' The actress, who played Kerry Skinner for 30 episodes in 2001, had been missing since March 1, sparking a frantic search. Past and present cast members on the flagship BBC1 soap including Martine McCutcheon, Brooke Kinsella and Natalie Cassidy had appealed for information about the actress via Twitter and other social networking websites. Brooke Ms Kinsella tweeted: 'Please get in touch if you have seen her.' Ms McCluskie's brother Danny said her family was 'going out of our mind with worry' after she disappeared from her home in Bethnal Green last week. 'Her phone has been switched off since Thursday afternoon,' he said. 'We've not heard from her.' More than 100 people helped carry out a search for Ms McCluskie, with posters being put in shops and pubs while leaflets were handed out. A statement from Scotland Yard issued after the body was found said: 'A body was found in Regents Canal near Broadway Market in East London at 2.40pm. 'Enquiries are underway to establish the identity of the deceased. A post-mortem will be scheduled to ascertain the cause of death. 'Pending that post-mortem we will be treating the death as unexplained.'

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the roadside bomb that killed six British soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the roadside bomb that killed six British soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan, saying they were "very proud of it".

The Ministry of Defence has named six soldiers killed in the biggest single loss of life in Afghanistan, including three from the same town.
Image 1 of 4
From top left: Sergeant Nigel Coupe, Corporal Jake Hartley and Private Anthony Frampton. From bottom left: Private Christopher Kershaw, Private Daniel Wade and Private Daniel Wilford Photo: MOD

Sources had already indicated the device that killed the six men – five of whom were under the age of 22 – was not a legacy bomb but one planted "recently".

They were named today as Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33, Pte Christopher Kershaw, 19, and Pte Daniel Wade, 20, Cpl Jake Hartley, 20, Pte Anthony Frampton, 20, and Pte Daniel Wilford, 21.

In a statement on their website, the Taliban said: "Mujahedeen (holy warriors) of the Islamic emirate have reported that a landmine of mujahedeen blew apart a tank of British invading forces in Greshk district.

"All the invaders on board were incinerated."

One told the BBC the insurgents were "very proud" of the attack.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Man Held After Headless Torso, Feared To Be EastEnders Actress Gemma McCluskie Is Found In Canal


The brother of former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie has been arrested after a headless torso believed to be missing 29-year-old was dragged from a canal in east London, Sky News understands. Tony McCluskie remains in custody at an east London police station, sources say. Police have not yet confirmed the identity of the suspect The limbless body was discovered near to the Broadway Market stretch of Regent's Canal in Hackney at 2.40pm yesterday. "Police were initially contacted by a member of the public who had noticed something suspicious floating in the water," the Met Police said in a statement. "The torso was recovered by divers from the Met's Marine Support Unit and additional searches are due to be carried out in the water." Relatives and co-stars of 29-year-old Miss McCluskie were said by sources to be "fearing the worst", as Scotland Yard carried out forensic tests on the remains. Miss McCluskie starred in the soap as Kerry Skinner on more than 30 occasions in 2001. Her character arrived in Walford as a friend of Zoe Slater and the great niece of the late Ethel Skinner. She briefly dated Robbie Jackson and got him to propose to her. Brooke Kinsella turned to Twitter to appeal for help in finding Miss McCluskie Miss McCluskie disappeared from Bethnal Green, east London, last week. Friends had been carrying out searches in the area and handing out leaflets. Co-stars Brooke Kinsella and Natalie Cassidy both appealed for help finding her on Twitter. Kinsella, who has become a prominent anti-knife crime campaigner since her brother Ben was murdered in 2008, had tweeted: "Gemma McCluskie has been MISSING from Bethnal Green since Thursday please get in touch if you have seen her." Cassidy, who played Sonia in the soap, also posted on the website: "Gemma McCluskie, missing since Thurs, if u have sn her/have any info PLS contact @CarlyKarma ... #FindGemma." Officers believe they know the identity of the victim but are awaiting further forensic tests before formal identification can take place. The man being questioned by police is understood to be known to Miss McCluskie. He remains in custody at an east London police station. Detective Inspector John Nicholson, who is leading the murder inquiry, has appealed for witnesses.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Wheels of Soul outlaw motorcycle gang member pleads guilty

 

Allan "Dog" Hunter, 33, of Chicago, was present during the March 6, 2011, shooting death of Javell T. Thornton, 32, also of Chicago, at 126 South Main St. according to a federal indictment. As part of his plea, Hunter, a member of the Wheels of Soul outlaw motorcycle gang, admitted Thursday in federal court that he conspired with other members of the gang to dispose of several firearms after the shooting. WOS was in Marion for a meeting at a private motorcycle club. In the early morning hours of March 6, a fight at the gang's after-hours party spilled onto the sidewalk on South Main Street. When the dust settled, three men were injured with stab and gunshot wounds, and Thornton was dead. The federal indictment states that Anthony R. Robinson shot three victims in the back as they fled the party, killing Thornton and seriously injuring another. Hunter reportedly fired a handgun indiscriminately into the crowd while wearing a bulletproof vest. Robinson has been indicted on one count of murder in aid of racketeering activity and one count of attempt to commit murder in aid of racketeering, along with other federal charges for murder and racketeering activities in other states, according to the federal indictment. Eighteen members of the WOS were indicted on federal charges June 9, 2011. One member allegedly stabbed another person in the head during a fight at a Chicago motorcycle club, then shot another in the stomach. The indictment says gang members are required to carry weapons - mostly guns, but also hammers, knives and other weapons.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Rapper Young Buck -- Shot at 11 Times in Attempted Drive-by

 

A woman riding in the passenger seat of an SUV driven by Young Buck was shot in the shoulder early this morning when another car drove alongside and opened fire, but the rapper was unharmed ... this according to a local report.  The woman was treated and released according to WSMV in Nashville, TN. There was a third passenger in the vehicle who was also not injured.  The shooting occurred at approximately 3:30 AM, police told the television station. Young Buck is from the area and was reportedly back in town for a music project.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Fresh appeal over murder of Christopher Mackin in Belfast

 

Police investigating the murder of a man in Belfast city centre have made a fresh appeal for information about the attack. Christopher Mackin, a 31-year-old known to police, is thought to have been shot up to four times during the incident at College Square North on Thursday night. Police are asking for information in relation to a car that may have been involved. It was a silver Renault Clio, registration number ELZ 7444. The car was seen in the Divis Street and College Square North areas at about 21:20 GMT on Thursday, the time of the murder. The car was later found burnt out in Wyndham Street, off the Cliftonville Road in north Belfast. It is thought the Renault Clio had been in the Belfast area for the last few weeks and sightings have been reported at a car park at Candahar Lodge on the Ormeau Road. A man and woman who were arrested in connection with the murder of Mr Mackin remain in custody. Police do not believe there was any paramilitary involvement in the murder. They said Mr Mackin has a child and lived with his mother close to where he was shot. Mr Mackin was conscious when the emergency services arrived, but died an hour later in the Royal Victoria Hospital. Earlier in the week, Det Chief Insp John McVea said the PSNI were not looking at any of Mr Mackin's "previous involvement with police as the motive for this murder". "This is an unusual event in this area and I think the motive lies more in close associations with Christopher Mackin and I don't think it involves any of his previous criminal activity," he added.

AN expat gangster has fled his £3million Spanish villa amid claims his life has been threatened by the Russian mafia.

 

 Pat McCadden hasn’t been seen at the Marbella mansion for weeks and his cleaner has told callers he has moved to South Africa. The convicted drug dealer – nicknamed Pat the Rat – is said to be living in fear after a bootleg tobacco deal turned sour. Underworld sources claim McCadden is wanted by a Russian gang who claim he ripped them off in a plan to smuggle cigarettes and tobacco to Ireland. One said: “McCadden is terrified. He has been missing for weeks and has only spoken to his cleaner. “He struck a deal with some Russians to smuggle tobacco into Ireland but they accused him of ripping them off. Now he’s been told there is a price on his head. “He has told her to tell anyone who calls that he has moved to South Africa.” No one answered the door when the Sunday Mail called at McCadden’s mansion last week. It’s a stone’s throw from the exclusive Las Brisas Golf Club, where Sean Connery was a regular when he lived on the Costa del Sol. Post and junk mail remained uncollected in the post box outside the property. There were no cars on the drive behind the metal gates and high hedge which surrounds the front of the house. A postman said: “I’m still delivering letters in Mr McCadden’s name but I’ve never seen anyone here.” A neighbour added: “Pat lived at the house with his family but they haven’t been around for five or six months at least. “Someone’s looking after the house and they’ve told us he’s gone away.” Another neighbour in the upmarket estate of Nueva Andalucia said: “I used to see Mr McCadden quite a bit and he seemed pleasant. I haven’t seen him for ages.” McCadden, jailed for 10 years in 1985 for drugs trafficking, has lived in Spain for more than 10 years. He spent most of 2006 on remand accused of the attempted murder of a Spanish police officer in December 2003. The officer was gunned down during a shootout with two men who moments earlier had shot British expatriate businessmen Luke Miller in the leg. McCadden was in jail for almost seven months before being released on bail while a judicial probe continued. But a judge dismissed the case against the Glaswegian after witnesses failed to identify him and there were also problems with DNA evidence. A source at Malaga’s Policia Nacional, which covers the Marbella area, said: “There’s nothing outstanding against Pat McCadden that we’re aware of at the moment.”

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Mexico Arrests Boss of La Mano con Ojos Gang

 

Mexican authorities have arrested the La Mano con Ojos (The Hand with Eyes) drug gang’s reputed leader, who confessed to ordering the murders of 10 people. The arrest of Marco Antonio Hernandez Garcia was made near the Villa Olimpica neighborhood of southern Mexico City, the capital’s district attorney, Jesus Rodriguez, told reporters. Hernandez Garcia, alias “El Comandante,” who was detained Thursday along with bodyguard Gustavo Moreno Diaz, confessed to ordering the killings of 10 people “whose bodies were mutilated – some incinerated – and abandoned in different parts of the capital,” Rodriguez said. The victims, all decapitated and found with threatening messages alongside them, were suspected rivals involved in the local drug trade, the DA said. The suspect told authorities that he took over leadership of La Mano con Ojos after the arrest last August of Oscar Oswaldo Garcia Montoya, alias “El Compayito,” who confessed to participating directly in 300 homicides and ordering 600 others. La Mano con Ojos operates mainly in the central state of Mexico, which surrounds Mexico City, and is known for using extreme violence against its victims, most of whom have been decapitated. The Mexico City DA’s office will ask a judge to order Hernandez Garcia and Moreno Diaz held in preventive detention for their alleged responsibility in the multiple homicides. Clashes pitting drug cartels against each other and the security forces have claimed more than 50,000 lives in Mexico – according to media tallies – since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and militarized the struggle against the drug gangs.

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