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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Lock your doors alert as Whitby double murder suspect spotted on run

Detectives hunting double murder suspect James Allen have urged Yorkshire residents to lock their doors and windows after reported sightings of him on the East Coast raised fears the killer could strike again. Allen, a 35-year-old drug user with previous convictions for violence, is believed to have killed his former next-door neighbour in Middlesbrough and murdered a Whitby housewife while on bail for other offences. Police called on him to hand himself in yesterday as they revealed sightings of the suspect had been reported in Whitby, Scarborough and Middlesbrough. More than 100 officers from the Cleveland and North Yorkshire forces are investigating the murders of Colin Dunford, 81, and Julie Davison, 50. Both victims suffered head injuries. The detective leading the inquiry, Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang of Cleveland Police, said it was a “24/7 operation” that would not stop until Allen is found.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Gas canister man storms office

One of the country's busiest shopping streets has been closed as a man wearing gas canisters stormed into an office and threatened to blow himself up, it was reported. Tottenham Court Road in central London was closed after police received emergency calls at midday. Scotland Yard sent a hostage negotiator to the scene amid reports the man had held people hostage inside the building several floors up. Pictures emerged of computer and office equipment being thrown through one of the office windows. A police spokesman said it was "too early to say if the suspect was armed or indeed had taken any hostages" but businesses and nearby buildings were evacuated. Joaqam Ramus, who works at nearby Cafe Fresco, said before being evacuated: "There was talk of a bomb and somebody having a hostage in a building. "All Tottenham Court Road is closed and so are we - the police told us to shut. "We don't know what it is but it seems someone has a hostage."

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Credit card fraud websites shut down on three continents

Three men have been arrested and 36 criminal websites selling credit card information and other personal data shut down as part of a two-year international anti-fraud operation, police have confirmed. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), working with the FBI and US Department of Justice, as well as authorities in Germany; the Netherlands; Ukraine; Australia and Romania, swooped after identifying the sites as specialising in selling card and bank details in bulk. The move comes as a blow to what is a growing black market for stolen financial data. Detectives estimated that the card information seized could have been used to extract more than £500m in total by fraudsters. SOCA claimed it has recovered more than two and a half million items of compromised personal and financial information over the past two years. “The authorities have shut down 36 websites but it is difficult to know how many other people had access to that data. They could spring back up somewhere else if a gang is not eradicated completely,” said Graham Cluley of internet security firm Sophos. He added: “This is big business and, just as in any legitimate company there are people who specialise in different things, so there are those who actually get their hands on the personal data and those who sell it on; they are not often the same person.” An investigation by The Independent last summer found that scammers were making a “comfortable living” getting their hands on sensitive information and selling it online. Card details were being offered for sale for between 4p and £60 per card – depending on the quality – according to one source in the business. Some cards would be sold with incomplete or unreliable information; others ready to use. Some of the card details for sale on the websites shut down by SOCA were being sold for as little as £2 each. Investigators said that the alleged fraudsters were using Automated Vending Carts, which allowed them to sell large quantities of stolen data. They are said to be a driver of the growth in banking fraud over the last 18 months because of the speed with which stolen data can be sold. Lee Miles, Head of Cyber Operations for SOCA said: “This operation is an excellent example of the level of international cooperation being focused on tackling online fraud. Our activities have saved business, online retailers and financial institutions potential fraud losses estimated at more than half a billion pounds, and at the same time protected thousands of individuals from the distress caused by being a victim of fraud or identity crime.” An alleged operator in Macedonia was one of those arrested, while two British men accused of buying the information were also detained. Britain’s Dedicated Cheque & Plastic Crime Unit also seized computers suspected of being used to commit fraud.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Shooting a 'warning' from rival bikie gang

SIMMERING tension between rival bikie gangs exploded on the Gold Coast yesterday with the drive-by shooting of a tattoo parlour in the heart of Bandidos territory. Police fear the attack could be a push for territory by the Hells Angels as the outlaw gang seeks a toehold on the lucrative Glitter Strip. Less than 24 hours after police commissioner Bob Atkinson told the Bulletin that bikie gangs were "one of the greatest challenges to face law enforcement", the Bandido-protected Mermaid Beach tattoo shop was hit by at least four shots in the early hours of yesterday morning.  High-ranking police yesterday said it was "inevitable" that the violence that has plagued Sydney would eventually spill across the border. "We do not believe it is directly connected to the war between the Hells Angels and the Nomads that has been unfolding in New South Wales," said police. "But it is a similar style of attack. "We know the Hells Angels have been pushing to establish a chapter on the Gold Coast -- that push is coming from Sydney. "Tradelink Drive is not their most profitable chapter." While detectives have attempted to play down the shooting, police say there is "no doubt" it was intended as a warning. The Bandidos are the largest and one of the most secretive bikie gangs on the Gold Coast. The club has gained strength as its main rival -- the Finks -- have been severely weakened with so many senior members behind bars and Bandido territory stretches south from Broadbeach. Police said last month's Hells Angels National Run was intended as a direct message to all gangs on the Gold Coast. More than 200 patched gang members descended on Surfers Paradise for the run. "These clubs are so well organised, they do nothing without a reason," police said. "You can bet they had some purpose in coming to the Gold Coast. "They taunted the Finks and nothing happened, now the Bandidos tattoo shop is shot up in the same way the gym controlled by the Hells Angels was hit a few months ago. "You join the dots." The shop is owned by a senior member of the outlaw gang who has been a patched member of the Bandidos "for years", police say. In an exclusive interview with the Bulletin, Mr Atkinson said the danger of bikie gangs was "under-rated" by the community. "The outlaw motorcycle gangs nationally present one of the greatest challenges to police. "I think the degree of that challenge and the risk they present to our society is underrated." The Gold Coast has one of the highest populations of bikie gangs in the country. Mr Atkinson said he would not be surprised if the Hells Angels were not considering a move closer to the Glitter Strip. "They are businesses, they look for opportunity so that wouldn't be a surprise," he said. "They market themselves as a group of mature men who have a love and interest in motorbikes and they do that very cleverly. The reality is they are highly sophisticated, well organised criminal enterprises that pose a genuine risk to the community and many are well represented by the finest and best lawyers who they retain to represent them." South East Region Assistant Commissioner Graham Rynders said the gangs were constantly looking to expand. "One of things about OMCGs is they look for opportunity for criminal enterprise," Mr Rynders said. "Throughout Queensland, throughout the country, probably throughout the world they are looking to expand. It is obviously dictated to by territory, depending on who or what other groups exist in what areas."

Jury hears grisly details about murder scene

Police discovered a grisly scene on Sept. 10, 2000, when they entered a Cogmagun Road home in Hants County. “It was a very brutal scene,” Cpl. Shawn Sweeney, who was a constable with the Windsor rural RCMP detachment that day, testified Tuesday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Kentville. It was the second day of trial for Leslie Douglas Greenwood, 42, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Barry Kirk Mersereau, 48, and his wife, Nancy Paula Christensen, 47. Sweeney, a Crown witness, testified that he and four other police officers who responded to a 911 call found Christensen sitting upright in a chair in the living room of her Centre Burlington home with a bullet wound in her left cheek, under her glasses. She had a cup of tea in her hand and a small dog was sitting in her lap. There were several bullet casings and lead fragments scattered on the floor. Mersereau was lying face down, with pools of blood around his head and body. Another dog, believed to be a German shepherd-Rottweiler mix, was hiding under covers on the bed in the master bedroom. A third dog was tied to the front porch and another had run off into the woods. Sweeney told Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy and the seven-woman, five-man jury hearing the case that the house appeared to be neat and orderly, with no signs of struggle. “It didn’t appear to be a house that was rifled through or things thrown around,” Sweeney testified. Const. Glenn Bonvie told the court it was immediately obvious that Mersereau and Christensen were dead. “There was no movement. There was no doubt that they were deceased.” Crown witness Ronald Connors owned a hunting cabin in the woods about half a kilometre away from the couple’s house. He testifed that he heard several shots at about 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 9. Connors said he heard six shots fired in quick succession, followed by a pause and a couple more shots. Moments later, there were more shots. He said he thought at first someone might be jacking deer, but Connors concluded that the shots didn’t sound like those from a high-powered hunting rifle. The jury was shown a video of the two bodies as they were found. Former RCMP officer David Clace, then in charge of the RCMP’s forensics identification unit in New Minas, said a large amount of money was found in plastic bags in a gym bag in one of the bedroom closets. The bag was later determined to contain about $65,000 in cash. Crown attorney Peter Craig has told the court that the victims were shot to death in their home in an execution-style killing as part of a Hells Angels-ordered killing. “They were killed in their home in a quiet community, with a teapot on the stove, with no signs of struggle and their baby in the next room,” Craig told the jury. He said evidence presented by as many as 40 Crown witnesses will show that Michael Lawrence and Greenwood murdered the couple on the orders of Jeffrey Lynds, a former Hells Angels operative who died recently in a Montreal jail of an apparent suicide. Lawrence, who owed Lynds money, pleaded guilty last January to three charges of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years. Also killed that day, by Lawrence, was Charles Maddison, an innocent man who picked Lawrence up hitchhiking. Lawrence shot him to take his truck to commit a planned robbery. Craig said Lawrence, expected to be a crucial Crown witness, will testify that he and Greenwood shot the couple, one with a .357 Magnum, the other with a 32-calibre handgun, in what he called “planned and deliberate” killings. The couple’s 18-month-old baby boy was safely recovered from the house by neighbour Ruby McKenzie, who went to the victim’s home the day after the shootings. McKenzie said she brought the baby back to her mobile home and called police. Greenwood sat quietly during the proceedings, occasionally exchanging comments with his lawyer, Alain Begin. Begin is expected to argue that Greenwood went to the Mersereau house the day of the shootings to buy drugs, and that Lawrence shot the couple while Greenwood was waiting outside. Also charged with first-degree murder in the killings is Curtis Blair Lynds, 36, who is serving time in a federal prison for drug trafficking. A preliminary inquiry in his case is scheduled to begin July 16.

Monday, 16 April 2012

British terror supergrass sentence cut by two years


jailed British terrorist has had his sentence cut by two years in a supergrass deal after giving evidence about an al Qaeda-linked “martyrdom” plot in New York, it was revealed today. Former teacher Saajid Badat was jailed for 13 years in 2005 for plotting with shoe bomber Richard Reid to blow up a transatlantic airliner in 2001 in what an Old Bailey judge said was a “wicked and inhuman” plot. He has now had his term reduced by two years under the first “supergrass” deal involving a terror convict, after providing intelligence to US prosecutors investigating an alleged plot to blow up the New York subway on the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attack. Details of the deal — kept secret for more than two years — were revealed today by the Crown Prosecution Service as a trial of the alleged al Qaeda plotters began in New York. Defendant Adis Medanjanin, a 27-year-old Bosnian-born US citizen, is charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country, and providing “material support” to al Qaeda. He is said to have had terrorist training in Pakistan in 2008 and then returned to begin a plot to use beauty parlour chemicals to blow up the subway. Badat, from Gloucester, joined Reid’s shoe bomb conspiracy but pulled out at the last minute.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Western embassies targeted in Afghanistan attacks

 

Gunmen have launched multiple attacks across the Afghan capital Kabul. Western embassies in the heavily-guarded, central diplomatic area are understood to be among the targets as well as the parliament building in the west. There are reports that up to seven different locations have been hit. The Taliban has admitted responsibility, saying their main targets were the British and German embassies. There is no word at this stage on any casualties.

Taliban free hundreds from Pakistan prison

Hundreds of prisoners are believed to have escaped from a jail in northwest Pakistan after it was attacked by anti-government fighters armed with guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Some of those who escaped from the facility in the town of Bannu, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, early on Sunday morning were "militants", an intelligence official told the Reuters news agency. "Dozens of militants attacked Bannu's Central Jail in the early hours of the morning, and more 300 prisoners have escaped," Mir Sahib Jan, the official, said. In Depth   Profile: Pakistani Taliban "There was intense gunfire, and rocket-propelled grenades were also used." Many of those who escaped following the raid were convicted Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fighters, Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder reported from Lahore. A prison official in Bannu confirmed that "384 prisoners have escaped". A police official identified one of the inmates who escaped as a "dangerous prisoner", who took part in one of the attempts to kill the former president, Pervez Musharraf. The TTP, an umbrella organisation for anti-government groups that are loosely allied with the Taliban in Afghanistan and al-Qaeda, took responsibility for the attack. A spokesman for Hakeemullah Mehsud, TTP's leader, confirmed to Al Jazeera that the group was responsible for the attack. Another Taliban spokesman told Reuters: "We have freed hundreds of our comrades in Bannu in this attack. Several of our people have reached their destinations, others are on their way.".   Our correspondent said the attack took place in the early morning and had resulted in an exchange of fire that had left several people wounded. "After the attack the paramilitary and regular military forces came to that location and tried to surround the area," he said. "They have arrested up to a dozen men, but most of the people have indeed escaped." The injured were rushed to a local hospital in Bannu. Sources told Al Jazeera that as many as 150 fighters were involved in the attack. After blowing up the gates of the main prison at around 1:30am local time (20:30 GMT on Saturday), they entered the compound and freed the inmates, the sources said. The attackers had arranged for the transportation of the inmates from the facility. A police official told Reuters that Bannu's Central Jail held 944 prisoners in total, and that six cell blocks had been targeted in the attack.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Alaska coast guards found dead at Kodiak Island

 

Two members of the US Coast Guard in Alaska have been found dead, prompting concerns that a killer could have struck at a remote island outpost. A captain at the Kodiak Island Station said they were unsure what happened and a suspect could still be at large. The base and schools in the area were put on lockdown and residents of the island were told to remain vigilant. The names of the victims will be released after their families have been notified, the coast guard said. "It is possible that the suspect remains at large," Commanding Officer Captain Jesse Moore said. "Since we don't have all the details, we strongly advise all Kodiak residents to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement officials." The captain also said the unit was "deeply saddened" to have lost two shipmates. Officials were unable to determine whether the deaths were a double murder or a murder-suicide. "This is a rare occurrence and we are going to do everything possible to ensure we find out exactly what happened," he said. Agents from the FBI have been sent to Kodiak from the town of Anchorage, about 250 miles (402km) away. Kodiak has a population of about 6,300 people.

An Albanian fugitive accused of multiple murders in his home country has been arrested in north London after 15 years on the run.

Ndrieim Sadushi, 41, was last night picked up on an international warrant by police outside his home in Southgate.

An Albanian court found him guilty in his absence of three killings and an attempted murder in the eastern European country in 1997.

At an extradition hearing in Westminster Magistrates' Court today, Sadushi claimed he had been the victim of mistaken identity and was in fact 31-year-old Arjan Kasa.

 

But district Judge Michael Snow ruled police had got the right man after being told his fingerprints matched those of the convicted killer.

Sadushi, who is said to have used at least six aliases while evading the authorities, will face a life sentence if he is sent back to his homeland.

 His barrister Richard Hallam stands by the claim that his client is Arjan Kasa.

Prosecutor James Stansfeld said that, in addition to being wanted by the Albanian police, authorities in Italy accuse Sadushi of drug trafficking, passport fraud and controlling prostitutes.

Italian courts sentenced him to 13 years and four months in his absence.

He has been linked to the notorious Kadeshi armed gang, of which all the other leaders have been arrested.

Sadushi is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court today

Sadushi is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court today

Hannah Pye, representing the Albanian authorities, said: 'The request for extradition comes from Albania, after he was handed a custodial sentence, following a conviction for five offences.'

‘Those were, the creation and participation in an armed gang, three counts of murder and one attempted murder.

‘For that he was sentenced to life imprisonment, and an appeal against the sentence was upheld by the Albanian appeal court in 2000.’

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s extradition unit arrested Sadushi outside a property in High Road, Southgate.

The UK Border Agency holds no record of him claiming asylum and he is thought to have entered Britain on the back of a truck in 2000. 

Last year he was one of 14 suspects to have their mugshots released as part of Operation Sunfire, a coordinated effort to bring some of the UK's most wanted fugitives before extradition courts.

Twelve of the suspected murderers, rapists and robbers pictured were from eastern Europe, while the other two were wanted in connection with crimes in Italy and Australia.

Sadushi will return to court on April 25.




Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Canadian man detained in Spain 'extremely thin and weak,'


Philip Halliday, the Nova Scotia man who has been detained in Spain for more than two years on drug-trafficking charges without a trial date, is extremely weak and thin but in good spirits, his family said Monday, hours after returning home from their first visit to him in jail. "It was pretty emotional. It's hard to describe. Definitely a lot of hugs, some tears," Halliday's son, Daren, told Postmedia News. Philip Halliday, 55, was arrested in December 2009 about 300 kilometres off the coast of Spain aboard a converted Canadian Coast Guard research vessel, the Destiny Empress. Inside a hidden compartment, authorities found more than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of $600 million. Halliday, an ex-fisherman who spent more than 30 years dragging scallops off the sea floor, insists he had no idea the drugs were onboard and believed he was simply delivering the vessel to a new owner. Daren Halliday said he, his older brother Cody, and their mother Sheree, were able to spend several hours with Philip in a private room over a span of two days. Recalling the first moments they laid eyes on their father, Daren said, "I don't know if there was a lot said. We hugged him pretty quick. Told him it was good to see him, that we missed him and how much we love him." One thing that was readily apparent to everyone was how much weight Philip, dressed in a buttoned-up shirt and blue jeans, had lost. Since landing in jail, he has had to have his gall bladder removed. He has also had problems with his liver and kidneys. "I thought I'd prepared myself for what Philip would look like, but I must admit I was shocked," Sheree later recalled in a Facebook posting. "He is extremely thin and weak. He walks like an elderly man and is quite emotional." "But," Sheree added, "he still has that beautiful smile that I've missed! And he hasn't lost his sense of humour." Philip was able to buy some pop, juice, chips and some sweets for the occasion, turning it into something of a family picnic, Sheree recalled. Daren said family members peppered Philip with questions about what life was like in jail. Philip, in turn, asked about life back home in Digby, N.S. The family brought Philip some novels, Sudoku game books and some clothes, including a T-shirt that said "Canada" that one of Philip's fellow inmates had requested. Philip gave the family a duffle bag full of letters that people had written to him to bring home. On the third day of their visit, the family was only able to communicate with Philip through a glass partition. "We couldn't physically touch him," Daren said. "He was on a phone. We talked through a mic. Like the movies, we put our hands on the glass. "There was a hallway he had to walk down. And one we walked down. We waved goodbye. And that was it. That was pretty hard." Family and friends back home have been pleading with Canadian officials to help get Halliday released — or at least to get a trial date set. "We're hoping to get him a quick and fair trial, to speed things up," Daren said. "It's very frustrating that nothing's changed." The amount of time someone spends in pre-trial detention varies widely across the European Union. Some countries, including Spain, can hold someone for up to four years, while other countries don't have a limit. Canadian foreign affairs officials have said that while this country cannot interfere with the judicial proceedings of another country, they have been pressing Spanish authorities for a timely and transparent trial. So far, the Halliday family has incurred $90,000 in legal fees and has had to sell their home in Digby. Family friend Peter Dickie said Monday that a Halliday Family Support Society has been formed with the goal of raising $250,000 to help cover expenses.

$10 mln bounty on LeT founder Hafiz Saeed

 

The United States has put up a $10 million reward to help arrest Pakistani Islamist leader Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, suspected of masterminding two spectacular attacks on Mumbai and the parliament building in New Delhi. The offer comes at a time of heightened tension between Washington and Pakistan and increases pressure on Pakistan to take action against the former Arabic scholar, who has recently addressed rallies despite an Interpol warrant against him. India has long called for Saeed's arrest and said the bounty - one of the highest on offer - was a sign the United States understood its security concerns. Only last week Saeed evaded police to address an anti-U.S. rally in Islamabad. "India welcomes this new initiative of the government of the United States," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said on Tuesday of the reward announced on the U.S. Rewards for Justice website. "In recent years, India and the United States have moved much closer than ever before in our common endeavour of fighting terrorists." The United States only offers a $10 million reward for three other people it suspects of terrorism, with a single reward of up to $25 million for Egyptian-born Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Saeed, 61, is suspected of masterminding numerous terrorist attacks, including the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. Poor train commuters, foreigners and some of India's wealthy business elite were killed by 10 Pakistani gunmen in a three-day rampage through some of Mumbai's best-known landmarks, including two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre. A total of 166 people died, including six U.S. citizens. In the 1990s, he founded Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), or the Army of the Pure, one of the largest and best-funded Islamist militant organisations in South Asia. He abandoned its leadership after India blamed it and another militant group for an attack on the parliament in December 2001. Saeed, released from prison by a Pakistani court in 2010, now heads an Islamic charity that the United Nations says is a front for the militant group. LeT was nurtured by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency to fight India in disputed Kashmir and analysts say it is still unofficially tolerated by Pakistan, though it was banned in the country in 2002. Admiral Robert Willard, the head of the United States military's Pacific Command, last year expressed concern over the expanding reach of LeT, saying it was no longer solely focused on India, or even in South Asia.

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