The Best College Basketball Program of All Time

The University of Connecticut’s men’s and women’s basketball players won a pair of national titles this week, repeating the feat of their Huskies predecessors in 2004. The championships moved UConn into an indisputable lead as the most successful overall Division I college basketball program, when accounting for men’s and women’s achievements.UConn’s men’s and women’s teams, combined, have the most titles, the most tournament wins, the highest winning percentage and the highest average margin of victory in the NCAA tournament in Division I since 1951. The race was a close one until a few weeks ago, but UConn’s success this year coincided with stumbles by its two closest rivals in the category: Duke and Tennessee. It’s a remarkable achievement for UConn, which two decades ago hadn’t won any Division I basketball titles, men’s or women’s.UConn, Duke and Tennessee all entered two teams into tournaments this March. Four of the six teams were seeded third or better, and the two exceptions — UConn’s No. 7 men and Tennessee’s No. 11 men — were underseeded, according to FiveThirtyEight’s model. UConn went 12-0, while Tennessee’s teams won four games from the round of 64 on (plus a play-in win for the men). The Duke teams combined for just one win.If Duke had run the table while UConn disappointed, Duke would lead UConn in tournament wins and winning percentage. Tennessee could have led in winning percentage if its men’s and women’s programs had won titles, and UConn had struggled. UConn, though, would still lead the trio in titles. Its only real competition there is UCLA, which could have passed UConn with a men’s title.But the Bruins’ success has hardly been balanced: UCLA has won as many titles in the men’s tournament as it has won games in the women’s tournament. In fact, outside of Storrs, Conn., and a trio of Atlantic Coast Conference schools — Duke, North Carolina and Maryland — few of the leaders in combined basketball success have been truly successful in men’s and women’s hoops. Tennessee has a losing record in the men’s tournament even after this year’s run, and Stanford gets most of its wins from the women’s side.Kentucky, Kansas and Florida, meanwhile, have had little women’s success. Nonetheless, they appear on our list of the most successful combined programs, showing the teams with at least 10 wins in the men’s and women’s NCAA tournament since 1951 who have the best combined winning percentage in the tournament during that period. Other programs that have achieved a great deal in basketball didn’t even make the first cut, notably Georgia (little men’s success) and Michigan and Syracuse (little women’s success).Methodology alert: I’m counting the entire history of the women’s tournament, plus the men’s tournament since 1951, which is roughly when it superseded the National Invitation Tournament as the premier season-ending event. Including the earlier games and titles would make little practical difference because the tournament fields were so small — the NCAA men’s tournament through 1950 included just 111 games, compared with an overall total of men’s and women’s tournament games of nearly 5,000. I’m including the so-called play-in or first-round games introduced in 2001 since similar opening rounds counted as official games in earlier tournaments with field sizes that weren’t exponents of 2. Data comes from ESPN Stats & Information and, for this year, from the men’s and women’s brackets. read more

Minnesota Locks Up Tubby Smith For Another 3 Years

Tubby Smith, the fiery coach that won a national championship at Kentucky, received the appreciation of his efforts confirmation he desired from the Minnesota Gophers: an eight-year contract extension worth about $1.8 million a season.Smith, who rebuilt Georgia’s program before going to Kentucky and winning the national title in his first season, had been seeking an extension for about 18 months. His Gopher teams have not one an NCAA Tournament game in his five years. They won 23 games last year but only made it to the NIT (lost in the championship game).“I believe that we can get the job done here,” Smith said in a statement. “The commitment from the university is there to continue to grow the program, and I am looking forward to being a part of that.”The most significant part of that commitment is the construction of a practice facility to bring the Gophers up to speed with the rest of the Big Ten and around the country. Smith’s agent, Ricky Lefft, said no specific timetable was spelled out but that a “mutual agreement” has been forged between the university and the coach that the new building is on the horizon.“We needed to make sure there was a commitment to make that investment at the university,” Lefft said to the Associated Press. “It’s been accepted by the institution, and certainly by Coach, that this is necessary to advance the program.”New athletic director Norwood Teague said he looks forward to working with Smith “to help lift Gopher basketball to even greater heights.”Smith  took over a probation-ravaged program still reeling from the academic fraud scandal revealed in 1999, but a pair of one-and-done appearances in the NCAA tournament and a 38-52 record in Big Ten play has fallen short of the hopes he brought from Kentucky, where he won a national championship in 1998 and never finished worse than the second round. He is 103-68 with the Gophers.“Coach has made it clear it’s his desire to be at Minnesota and turn Minnesota into a powerhouse,” Lefft said. “He’s excited about getting it done.” read more

Um The Red Sox May Actually Be In Trouble

Brock Holt3.4+1.31.6-0.3-1.7 David Price4.9+3.45.2+3.9+0.5 Brandon Workman1.2+0.42.1+1.4+1.0 SeasonTeamPreseason Elo RatingWinsLosses Christian Vazquez2.5-0.33.9+1.7+2.0 2018Dodgers1568514 In the bullpen, the team probably has missed closer Craig Kimbrel, who recorded 1.8 WAR last season but was not re-signed (and remains a free agent today). But mostly the story of the 2019 Red Sox is of the holdovers from last year’s championship team — and most of those have fallen short of the performance standards they set for themselves a season ago.Shortstop Xander Bogaerts has actually played extremely well in the early part of this season, starter David Price and first baseman Mitch Moreland have been solid, and third baseman Rafael Devers has improved on last year’s disappointing sophomore campaign. But those gains don’t make up for declines by Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez and subreplacement starts from Jackie Bradley Jr., Eduardo Nunez, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi and — most concerning — Sale. Nathan Eovaldi1.5+1.15.7-2.0-3.1 2000Yankees1565316 2010Yankees1563613 2019Red Sox*1562613 2019221822301727 Rafael Devers4.5+0.56.2+2.5+2.0 The Red Sox’s strengths have become weaknessesMLB-wide wins above replacement (WAR) rankings for the Boston Red Sox, 2018 vs. 2019 seasons Steve Pearce1.5+1.22.1-3.4-4.5 PlayerPlaying timeWAR/162Playing timeWAR/162WAR/162 Diff. Worst 19 Games Andrew Benintendi6.1+4.15.6+2.8-1.3 WAR numbers are through games of April 17, 2019.Sources:, FanGraphs J.D. Martinez6.0+6.16.6+5.0-1.2 201821818653 * Based on plate appearances and (leverage-weighted) innings pitched.WAR numbers are through games of April 17, 2019.Sources:, FanGraphs Chris Sale4.4+6.54.9-2.5-9.0 * First 19 games of season. Heath Hembree2.0+0.32.4+0.0-0.3 Eduardo Nunez4.6-0.73.8-5.8-5.1 Sam Travis0.4-0.20.6-0.1+0.1 Mitch Moreland4.2+0.85.3+2.2+1.4 Tyler Thornburg0.6-0.21.4-0.2+0.0 Blake Swihart1.9-0.32.4+0.6+0.9 Betts has placed a lot of the responsibility for the team’s slow start on himself. “Basically, what I’m doing is unacceptable,” Betts said Monday. “I have to figure out a way to get something done and help the team.”The reigning AL MVP should start to turn things around sooner or later, though. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is an unsustainably low .208 this season, indicating a lot of potential for improvement, and most of his Statcast metrics are in line with his career numbers before last year’s career season — when he still was a .292/.351/.488 hitter with outstanding defensive skills.If Betts will be fine, Sale is a bigger worry. The lanky left-hander’s fastball velocity has been low in three of four starts — though he did reach an average of 96.1 mph against the Yankees on Tuesday (which is near where he was most of last season before a sharp drop-off in September). But radar-gun readings aside, Sale is also walking a career-high2Among seasons with at least 100 innings pitched. 2.5 batters per nine innings and has already given up nearly half as many home runs (five) as he yielded all of last year. The Red Sox have enough other talented players to remain a good team in a down year from Sale, but they might not be able to be a truly great team without him pitching at his best.And are they actually a good team, despite this horrid start? Or will this season eventually spiral into disaster the way Boston’s last championship defense did? As bad as the Red Sox have looked, it still seems foolish to count them out. In a sport where it takes 67 games before a team’s record is even roughly half-luck and half-skill, 19 games shouldn’t matter much to our expectation for a team going forward. Even after this rough start, our Elo model gives the Sox a rating of 1538, which equates to the talent needed to win about 89 times per 162 games. That’s only about five and a half fewer wins of talent than Elo thought they had before opening day.But the problem is that the Red Sox have to live with that 6-13 record they’ve banked for themselves so far. If they play like an 89-win team over the rest of the season, they’d still only end up with 85 wins by season’s end. In a division where the Tampa Bay Rays and even the up-and-down Yankees are on track for 92 or more wins, 85 to 90 wins might leave Boston right on the edge of the playoffs. (And to get to, say, 95 wins, they’d have to play at a 102-win pace over the rest of the season.) Although it is often said that the MLB season is a marathon and not a sprint, don’t be surprised if Boston’s early struggles force it to run ragged down the stretch just to make a bid for the AL’s second wild-card spot.Check out our latest MLB predictions. WAR Rankings Xander Bogaerts5.4%+4.36.2%+6.5+2.2 Tzu-Wei Lin0.7+0.00.1-0.1-0.1 Marcus Walden0.3+0.22.0+0.2+0.0 Sandy Leon2.7+0.00.2-0.7-0.7 1977Reds1566415 Dustin Pedroia0.1-0.11.7-3.2-3.1 Ryan Brasier1.1+1.12.8+1.3+0.2 Most of the Red Sox holdovers are ice-coldPercentage of team playing time* and wins above replacement (WAR) per 162 games for players who were on both the 2018 and 2019 Boston Red Sox 2002Athletics1565415 It’s a bad idea to read too much into any April baseball games, but this week’s two-game sweep at the hands of the archrival New York Yankees appears to have officially sent the Boston Red Sox into a full-blown crisis. The team’s record dipped to 6-13 — tied for the second-worst for a defending champ since 1947 (trailing only the fire-sale 1998 Marlins) — and they landed once again in last place in the American League East.[Our 2019 MLB predictions are updated after every game.]“This is flat-out embarrassing for my family, for my team, for our fans,” Boston ace Chris Sale told reporters after giving up four runs over five innings in Tuesday’s 8-0 loss. “This is about as bad as it gets. I have to pitch better.”“We’re not really playing very well anywhere,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski added. “Our starting pitching hasn’t been very good, our defense hasn’t been overly good, our hitting hasn’t been like it’s been capable of being.”As Dombrowski suggests, Boston has come by its horrible record honestly: Only the dreadful, rebuilding Miami Marlins (-49) have a worse run differential than the Red Sox’s -42 mark this season. Bad stretches happen to good teams sometimes, but ones this terrible haven’t happened often to teams that were supposed to be as good as Boston — especially coming off last year’s 108-win season. Since World War II, only six other teams that started a season with an Elo rating of at least 1562 (like the 2019 Red Sox) had any 19-game stretch in which they won six or fewer games — much less had those be the only 19 games we saw of them. 1955Yankees1568613 Hector Velazquez2.2+1.02.7+1.8+0.8 When bad stretches happen to good (we think?) teamsAmong teams that started a season with an Elo rating of at least 1562, the worst 19-game stretches at any point in the season, 1946-2019 SeasonBattingBase runningFieldingStartersBullpenTotal Jackie Bradley Jr.4.9+2.44.8-4.0-6.4 Brian Johnson2.6+0.91.0-1.9-2.8 (The good news for the Red Sox? Those other teams posted an average of 94.3 wins per 162 games even with the bad 19-game stretch, and none won fewer than 87. But again, those 19 games weren’t the only bits of evidence we had about the teams to begin the season.)It was always likely that the Red Sox would regress some — and perhaps even a lot — after last year’s storybook season. But nobody could have predicted that the wheels would fall off so quickly and thoroughly as they have. According to wins above replacement (WAR),1Averaging together the WAR figures found at and FanGraphs. the Red Sox went from the third-best team in MLB last season (behind the Astros and Yankees) to the fourth-worst this year (ahead of the Orioles, Marlins and Rockies). For two categories in which the team ranked among the top six last season — hitting and starting pitching — Boston has dropped into the bottom nine (including the very worst starting performance in baseball), and the bullpen has also dropped from the top five to the league’s bottom half: Rick Porcello5.3+2.93.0-4.8-7.7 Eduardo Rodriguez3.6+2.54.0-1.6-4.2 Mookie Betts5.7+10.66.8+1.5-9.1 2018 Season2019 Season Matt Barnes2.1+1.22.3+3.0+1.9 read more

By the numbers Ohio State fends off late Minnesota comeback stays undefeated

OSU junior running back Ezekiel Elliott is lifted into the air by senior right tackle Chase Ferris following Eillott’s 15-yard touchdown run in a game against Minnesota on Nov. 7 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorOhio State redshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones took back the reins for the Buckeye offense, and OSU held off a late rally from the Minnesota Golden Gophers to win 28-14 inside Ohio Stadium on Saturday night.Jones played an efficient game, going 12-of-22 passing for 187 yards and a touchdown while adding 65 yards and another touchdown on the ground against a stout Minnesota defense that nearly upset Michigan in its previous game. However, the offense was still never able to find its groove, leaving a lot of people wondering if redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett will take over once again next week at Illinois.In all, the Buckeye offense was able to pile up 376 yards of offense, which featured another strong performance by junior running back Ezekiel Elliott, who added 114 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The Buckeyes, despite being held scoreless once again in the first quarter, scored the first 21 points of the game, but the top performers from Saturday night were unquestionably the entire defensive unit.The Buckeye defense played an excellent game, holding Minnesota to only 33 rushing yards on the night. This forced redshirt junior quarterback Mitch Leidner to make plays through the air. Leidner did up passing for 281 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw a costly interception that was returned for a touchdown by OSU junior safety Vonn Bell. OSU was able to keep the Golden Gophers off the board until the fourth quarter.OSU is scheduled to play its final three regular-season games — two on the road — all against teams with winning records, starting with Illinois last week. Minnesota, after dropping two consecutive games since coach Jerry Kill retired, will hit the road to play at undefeated Iowa next week as it fights to reach bowl eligibility for the year.By the numbers:10 – The current win streak for the Buckeyes over the Golden Gophers.2 – Since 1967, Minnesota has only beaten OSU twice (1981 and 2000).8 and 6 – OSU’s football successes are well known, as it claims eight national titles, the sixth most all time. Minnesota, however, has had some great successes as well and claims six national titles, the eighth most all time.14 – Elliott has now ran for at least 100 yards in 14 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the nation.29 – OSU has now won 29 straight regular-season Big Ten conference games. Not only is it the longest win streak ever in the Big Ten, it is also tied for the longest conference winning streak of all time with Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference.22 – The Buckeyes have now won 22 straight games, which is tied for the second longest winning streak in school history. The longest streak in OSU history is 24 straight wins during Urban Meyer’s first two seasons as head coach. read more

Bucks use losses to their advantage

When a team is dominating opponents in basketball, the best thing for it to do to maintain its edge is … lose?That’s right. Losing can be very beneficial to a team that gets too comfortable winning easily.In women’s basketball, some teams have been able to go undefeated and win a national championship, but that is not common. Connecticut is the only team to do so in the last seven years, winning it all while remaining unbeaten last season. Not including Connecticut, championship teams have an average of three losses in each of the last seven years.Ohio State women’s basketball has made it into the NCAA Tournament each of the last seven seasons. Of those appearances, two have resulted in Sweet 16 berths, their deepest runs in the tournament over that span.These seasons occurred in ‘05, with four losses recorded, and ’09, with five losses. Those seasons compare very similarly to this season in the loss column, both in how the team lost and in number. They lost to Duke, a ranked team, after having a big win against California, ranked No. 15 at the time. Their losses against Purdue and Indiana came after a big win against Michigan and a blowout win over Minnesota.Last year’s team won the remainder of its games after two in-conference losses. This year’s team lost two games at about the same point in the year and is doing everything it can to not lose again.Center Jantel Lavender was so intent on improving after the loss to Purdue that coach Jim Foster said she stayed an hour after practice working to get better.“I hate to have a loss to have to learn something or go through ironing out team differences or ironing out little tweaks or minor things that can change the outcome of a game,” Lavender said. “It’s really frustrating to have to go through losing a game and … bringing a lot of things to light that you can really take care of before a loss happens in a game where it can be the difference between winning and losing.”Following the loss at Indiana, the team was more focused than ever. Every answer that players or coaches gave reporters involved improving the team and becoming better players.“We just know that there are things that we need to change and focus in on … we’re making sure we’re doing what we need to do,” center Andrea Walker said. “Attention to detail. We watch ourselves on film and see things we should have done and things that we weren’t doing right.”Since the team lost two of three games a couple weeks ago, it has won both of its games against Iowa and Penn State. More importantly, the Buckeyes are looking like the team that began the year 20-1 by scoring more than 80 points a game and having a sizeable advantage in rebounds.All of this improvement — and it only took two losses that shocked the focus right back into the team. read more

Tiger speaks to the media at Augusta

Tiger Woods answered questions Monday from a large gathering of reporters at Augusta National in preparation for The Masters, golf’s first major, which begins Thursday. It was the first time Woods spoke to the media, aside from a pair of brief, five-minute interviews with ESPN and The Golf Channel, since a sequence of events stemming from a Thanksgiving Day car accident revealed Woods’ involvement with a number of mistresses and his subsequent entry into rehab.Below is audio from Woods’ press conference. Tiger Woods at the Masters by The Lantern OSU read more

Mens volleyball teams run ends at Final Four

The No. 10 men’s volleyball team was swept 3-0 by No. 1 Stanford in the NCAA Championship semifinals last Thursday.Sophomore Shawn Sangrey earned a team-high 12.5 points.Giving up 11 service errors in the match, the Buckeyes gave up the battle in the third set, falling 30-17.Stanford went on to defeat No. 12 Penn State in the finals 3-0 on its home court, Maples Pavilion on Saturday.

Tressel meets with Buckeyes before Michigan game

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — When the bus departed the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Friday afternoon, some players were in tears. Not because of a loss and not because of their season, but because of a moving and emotional speech from one man. Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel spoke to the team before the Buckeyes departed for the 108th meeting between the OSU Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines. “It was like he didn’t skip a beat,” said senior center Michael Brewster. “It was like you blinked and your like, ‘man was everything just a nightmare?’” Brewster said the visit from Tressel was brief, and a surprise to the whole team. “To be able to see him again and hear a few words from him, it definitely got us pumped up. It was an honor,” Brewster said. Tressel gained a reputation at OSU as the Michigan killer. With a record of 8-1 against the Wolverines, Tressel looked to bring a little of that magic to the Buckeyes on Saturday. In the end, OSU fell to Michigan for the first time since Nov. 22, 2003, with a 40-34 victory on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich. “He came in and spoke to us and did a great job and got us fired up,” said junior linebacker John Simon. “Unfortunately we couldn’t come up with a win.” When Tressel was introduced as head coach of OSU on Jan. 18, 2001, Tressel’s disdain for Michigan became almost immediately apparent. During halftime of a basketball game between OSU and Michigan, Tressel had a brief message for Buckeye Nation. “Be proud of our young people in the class room, in the community and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Mich., on the football field,” Tressel said. Sure enough, 310 days later Tressel and his unranked-Buckeye squad travelled to Ann Arbor and defeated the No. 11-ranked Michigan Wolverines, 26-20. Tressel’s respect for the rivalry and the dedication to it was heart-felt and genuine, not only from the day he was introduced as head coach, but up through his dismissal from the university. Less than a week after his forced resignation for his involvement with “Tattoo-gate,” a group of students walked to his house in Upper Arlington, Ohio, to show their support to the former head coach. After meeting with several students and speaking to the crowd, Tressel had one parting message to students. “Don’t forget: Nov. 26, we’re going to kick their ass,” Tressel said. The game did not go as Tressel had promised. OSU’s attempt to comeback from a late-fourth quarter deficit was stopped by an overthrown pass to senior wide receiver DeVier Posey and was ultimately thwarted by a fourth-down interception thrown by freshman quarterback Braxton Miller. The Buckeyes didn’t win the game like they had wanted, but Simon said one of Tressel’s message was clear. “(Tressel) said you have to live in the moment, play the game in the moment,” Simon said. “And I think we did that today, you know, taking every play one play at a time.” Brewster said he was one of the guys that found himself in tears after Tressel spoke. “It was emotional for some guys, myself included, it stinks when you feel like you get robbed a year out of your life with him,” Brewster said. “I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that I get to meet back up with him next year, somehow, some way.” Tressel’s message was simple, Brewster said. Tressel told the team that the key was to be relentless on defense, to play opportunistic and mistake-free offense, and to have superior special units. “(Tressel said) the same thing he says all the time, that we used to be bored about,” Brewster said. “But now we can’t wait to hear it again.” read more

Millionaire businessman flown to hospital after coming off motorbike at highspeed racing

first_imgSomething happened out of sight and there was a big puff of smokephotographer Danny Lawson A millionaire businessman who was competing in a high-speed racing event has been airlifted to hospital after coming off his motorbike.Zef Eisenberg had been riding the Madmax turbine, a gas turbine engine motorcycle, at the Straightliners “Top Speed” event at Elvington airfield in North Yorkshire.Competing in the omega class, the businessman, who founded the sports nutritional product company Maximuscle, came off the high-powered machine during his timed track run at around 2pm on Sunday.A spokeswoman for the Madmax race team, owned by Mr Eisenberg, said he has “had an accident racing” and is understood to have suffered a suspected broken pelvis. Zef Eisenberg is airlifted to hospital after the crash Mr Duckworth, a former motorcycle racer, said some racers had hit more than 250mph, with records also set by some unusual vehicles.”We have had a garden shed that has done 95mph, that is what it is about – people doing different things. We have had a supermarket trolley doing 79mph.”We have had a mono-wheel doing 64mph – all new world records,” he said.Part of the Guernsey-based Maxicorp group, the Madmax race team website states they are “most known for its dedication to racing and building turbine-powered motorbikes for extreme speed”.It continues: “Madmax racing holds numerous Guinness, world, British and local records.”A spokesman for Yorkshire Ambulance Service said they were called to Elvington airfield at 2.08pm to reports a man had come off a motorbike at the event.”He was taken by Yorkshire Air Ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary,” he said. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Zef Eisenberg is airlifted to hospital after the crashCredit:Danny Lawson/PA “He is in a stable condition and is receiving the very best care. The bike and race vehicles are being returned to Guernsey via his team,” she added.The 43-year-old has been airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary for treatment.Photographer Danny Lawson, who was at the scene, said Mr Eisenberg had travelled down the airfield on his bike during the competition, before passing through the time gate.It was after he entered the slow-down area that it is thought the incident took place.”Something happened out of sight and there was a big puff of smoke,” he said. “They stopped the event for at least an hour and a half.”Organiser of the Straightliners Top Speed event, Trevor Duckworth, said they are working to establish what happened and do not yet know the full details.”The paramedics and medical staff were with him very quickly and dealt with it brilliantly,” he said.last_img read more

MI6 aims to attract more diverse spies with first ever cinema advert

first_imgMr Younger, also known as C, said he was concerned that potentially good candidates were “self-selecting” themselves out of contention by not applying because they were put off by stereotypes about secret agents. “That was the way I was recruited. We have to go to people that would not have thought of being recruited to MI6. We have to make a conscious effort. We need to reflect the society we live in,” he told the Guardian. MI6 is expected to grow from 2,500 people to close to 3,500 by 2020. MI6 has created its first-ever cinema advert aimed at attracting more women and ethnic minorities into the secret service. The spying agency is looking to show potential candidates the unexpected attributes that could help them become successful secret agents. Despite being hugely oversubscribed for the 100 roles it advertises every year, the agency is concerned that it does not receive applications from people from a wide range of backgrounds. The video shows a flower-seller showing the skills the heads of the agency are looking for in new recruits. She averts a potential argument after a woman spills coffee on a man, gives free flowers to another man who is struggling to pay, and helps a woman who is struggling to finish a running race.The agency says it wants recruits with mental sharpness, emotional intelligence, integrity and in interest in foreign affairs.MI6 chief Alex Younger said earlier this week that the agency was looking to bring back the famous “tap on the shoulder” ahead of planned expansion.  Show more  Mr Younger said: “I want everyone to know that, regardless of background, if you have the skills we need and share our values, there is a future for you in MI6.”I want people to see our advert and know that there is a place for them in our team.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Diktat for every hospital to change NHS logo ignored objections from chief

first_imgBut NHS chief executives and communications staff warned that making all trusts change their logo over a long period of time would simply create more inconsistencies. Jonathan Ashworth, shadow health secretary, said: “This beggars belief. Jeremy Hunt really needs to get a grip.“At a time when services are being cut and treatments delayed, people tightly want to know that every last penny is being spent improving patient care. It’s not the time to be rearranging signs or spending a fortune on new logos. Taxpayers deserve better than this.” Cost of re-signposting a whole hospital – will cost an absolute fortuneNHS England NHS Identity Research Hospital sign One told researchers: “The majority will have to change everything. I know it says we don’t have to do it straight away, but that defeats the object of the policy… because if we don’t do it straight away it will be inconsistent for years.”Several of those interviewed said the advice to make gradual changes would mean “a plethora of different logo usages in the short to medium term; and that others would simply give up, faced with the potentially prohibitive costs involved,” the 116 page report says.  “This isn’t something that we could literally do overnight” one warned, while another stated: “Cost of re-signposting a whole hospital – will cost an absolute fortune.” NHS logo This logo is compliant with the new guidance  Hospitals were ordered to change their logo despite warnings from health service executives that the move would “cost an absolute fortune,” a report reveals.Every hospital has been issued with instructions to alter their publicity materials, moving the “NHS” lozenge so it is above the name of the trust, instead of beside it.The move – revealed by the Telegraph last month – prompted fury from patients groups, with concern about the use of resources when the NHS is facing the greatest financial crisis in its history.The measure is being introduced by an “NHS identity team” following a two year review.Health officials said the changes would reduce “confusion and concern” among the public, claiming that current inconsistencies in use of the format could be fuelling pressure on Accident & Emergency units.But the team’s research reveals that health officials were repeatedly warned that trusts could not afford to make such changes, and could not justify spending such sums. They spent NHS money doing this? Good grief!NHS England NHS Identity Research  The two year process included 28 focus groups with members of the public.In the report, several described horror at the use of public money in the past to create NHS trust logos. One commented: “They spent NHS money doing this? Good grief!”However, participants expressed a “uniformly negative” response to independently created logos which were brought in by a number of trusts, such as 2gether NHS foundation trust – which runs mental health and learning disability services in Gloucestershire. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. This logo breaks the new rules  Under the new guidance, organisations have been told to make changes to online publications within a year and to make changes to physical signs when practical. Eighty trust chief executives, public relations officials and senior staff from primary care services were interviewed for their views, with nine workshops held involving more than 100 communications staff.The resulting report states: “Timing and costs were generally seen as a challenge. For some organisations, the sheer number of signs and communications that would need to be changed was daunting, and participants questioned how they could justify the expense at a time when the NHS faced funding difficulties.” “They look like companies that put you on hold for hours,” said one, with another likening the logo to that of a phone company.SEPT, the brand used by South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation  trust, was thought to resemble “a film title” while the logo used by the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation trust left members of the public thinking it could be a hotel or restaurant, and was likely to be private. If we don’t do it straight away it will be inconsistent for yearsNHS England NHS Identity Research NHS England said confusion about logos could be fuelling pressures on A&E departments Credit:PA It comes as organisations across the country have been asked to draw up plans to save £22bn by 2020, while meeting increased demand.NHS England said it did not know how much it had spent on the two year review, which involved nine workshops, 28 focus groups and interviews with 1,000 members of the public.A spokesman said: “The NHS is one of the country’s most recognised and trusted brands but in the 17 years since it was last assessed some NHS organisations have spent money on logos and brands that do not look consistent.“To minimise costs, the decision was taken not to order NHS organisations to adopt the revised logo but to phase it in as stationery runs out or signs need replacing.” He said the changes were expected to cost trusts £23 each. NHS logo last_img read more

Waiting lists for routine NHS treatment such as hip and knee surgery

first_imgBreast scan Dr Mark Holland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “This shocking figure is another damning indictment of the crisis we are experiencing in the NHS and is another example of how every unresolved problem impacts on another area. Waiting lists for routine NHS treatment such as hip and knee surgery are at their highest for a decade, official figures have shown.An estimated four million people were waiting to be seen by a specialist at the end of June, the first time the figure has been exceeded since 2007.Experts said the milestone marked a “symbolic” moment for the under-strain health service, as statistics revealed the number of people waiting more than 18 weeks for consultant-led treatment, which the NHS says should be the maximum time it takes to start treating them, has steadily increased. “Everything is interlinked – a delayed discharge in a patient waiting for social care deprives a surgical patient of their bed.“It is a fact that the NHS has less beds than other health economies and it is a fact that we have a workforce crisis. Across the first six months of 2017, an average of 369,007 patients had been waiting longer than 18 weeks to start treatment after being referred by their GP.This average figure for the same period in 2016 was 289,195 and in 2015 it was 208,489.The data also shows that the the NHS in England has now gone two years without meeting its target for seeing people in A&E within four hours.In July this year, 90.3% of patients spent four hours or less in A&E, missing NHS England’s 95% target, which was last achieved in July 2015. Everything is interlinked – a delayed discharge in a patient waiting for social care deprives a surgical patient of their bedDr Mark Holland, Society for Acute Medicine Two of eight official cancer targets were missedCredit:PA The latest figures also show that in June, two of NHS England’s eight cancer targets were not met either, including the 85% standard for 62 days between referral from a GP and first treatment.Only 80.5% of patients began their first definitive treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referral where cancer was suspected.A spokesman for NHS England said nine out of 10 patients were being admitted, treated, and transferred or discharged from A&E within four hours, which was “up on the May 2017 performance”.He said: “Reducing delays for patients awaiting discharge from hospital remains a key priority ahead of winter, and it is positive that NHS-related delays are lower this year than last.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Ruth Davidson urges Conservatives to make NHS funding a higher priority than

Ms Davidson warned of the burdens being imposed on the NHS by an ageing population, new drugs and technology. She cited the Darzi review, which concluded last month that the English NHS needs £50 billion more by 2030. Although health is devolved, the Barnett formula means any extra spending by Tory ministers on the English health service would result in more money being allocated to the SNP government in Edinburgh.Official figures published on Tuesday showed a record one in four Scottish NHS patients waited longer for treatment than the 12-week guarantee enshrined in law by the SNP.The statistics disclosed that nearly 17,000 patients due to receive planned inpatient or day case treatment waited longer than the Scottish Government target in the first three months of the year, the biggest breach of the standard since it was introduced in 2012.Shona Robison, the beleaguered Scottish Health Minister, again blamed severe winter weather brought by the so-called ‘Beast from the East’.But opposition parties said the guarantee was “not worth the paper it was written on” and described the SNP’s stewardship of the NHS as “shambolic”.Cancer Research UK criticised figures showing that around one in five patients are forced to wait longer than six weeks for a diagnostic test. As of the end of March this year, more than 17,000 people were waiting longer. Ruth Davidson has called on the Conservatives to shelve their traditional priority of cutting taxes and use any spare money in the public purse to increase spending on the struggling NHS.The Scottish Tory leader said the spiralling demands being placed on the health service across the UK means it is at a “tipping point” and substantial extra funding needs to be found to sustain it in the longer term.Amid intense criticism of the SNP over the latest waiting times figures in Scotland, she argued that the UK Government had to find more money or risk public faith in Britain’s “social contract” completely collapsing.Ms Davidson praised the Tories’ record of cutting income tax bills, by increasing the personal allowance and higher rate tax threshold, but argued that health spending must be prioritised in future if there is a choice between the two.Her intervention in a speech at Glasgow University came as the Telegraph publishes a series this week exploring the state of the NHS as it approaches its 70th anniversary later this summer. Shona Robison blamed the Beast from the EastCredit:Corbis Theresa May is expected to mark the milestone after announcing extra funding, She is understood to support the view that people would accept tax rises for the NHS if the money was used wisely. One in four patients missed the 12-week treatment time targetCredit:PA Her speech came as official figures showed only 75.9 per cent of patients were seen within the SNP’s treatment time guarantee in the first three months of the year. This proportion dropped to just 56 per cent in NHS Forth Valley.Ms Robison said: “This period covered a challenging winter for the NHS and severe weather in early March which caused disruption that took hospitals time to recover from.“So it is testament to the hard work and dedication of staff that the average wait for patients receiving treatment within the treatment time guarantee was eight weeks.”But Labour argued that the Beast from the East lasted a matter of days, starting on February 26, with forecasters stating that conditions were easing by March 2. The party noted that the treatment time guarantee has now been broken 134,804 times.Anas Sarwar, the party’s health spokesman, said: “No one will buy Shona Robision’s attempts to hide behind a week of extreme weather to explain poor performance for three months.”Gregor McNie, Cancer Research UK’s head of external affairs, said it was “concerning that so many people are waiting too long for tests that might tell someone if they have cancer” and blamed diagnostic staff shortages. Referring to its 70th anniversary, the Scottish Tory leader said she supports finding “substantial extra funding across the whole of the UK” to put the NHS on a “solid footing for the long term”.Addressing how she thinks the money should be found, Ms Davidson said the UK Government had “honoured its promise” to reduce the tax burden on working families.She said: “Raising the income tax threshold has reduced taxes for millions of UK workers and has taken thousands out of taxation altogether. But the UK Government has a choice to make.“And, if that choice is between extra spending on the NHS or introducing further tax breaks beyond those already promised, I choose the NHS.”The Tories have pledged to raise the income tax personal allowance to £12,000 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000 by April 2020. The latter promise does not apply in Scotland as this is now set by SNP ministers.Gillian Martin, an SNP MSP, said: “Ruth Davidson ironically makes a very strong case for how the UK is simply not working for Scotland – whether it comes to their damaging approach to Brexit, immigration, or austerity, the UK Government are actively harming jobs, public services and living standards in Scotland.” nhs shona robison Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Novichok victim conscious in hospital as police say nerve agent could last

Areas of Salibsury remain cordoned offCredit:AFP Meanwhile parents in Wiltshire have been warned not to allow their children to pick up items off the ground as the hunt for the source of the novichok poisoning continues. On Tuesday evening Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK Counter Terrorism policing, said the deadly Novichok “could last 50 years,” during a conference to a packed public meeting in Amesbury.He admitted it could be in several containers which may never be found, as “it would be impossible to keep going forever.” Dawn Sturgess died at the weekend The UK's head of counter-terrorism policing Neil Basu Earlier there were fears that novichok could have spread to a third Wiltshire town after a car belonging to a paramedic was seized at an address in Swindon and taken away for examination. One of the two people poisoned by novichok in Salisbury is now conscious, it has emerged, as the UK’s counter terror chief admitted the nerve agent could last 50 years. Charlie Rowley, 45, had been in a coma in intensive care ever since being rushed to hospital on Saturday June 30 but the improvement in his condition has raised hopes that he might be able to help police understand how he became ill.At the weekend, his girlfriend Dawn Sturgess, 44, tragically died after also being poisoned.In a statement Lorna Wilkinson, director of nursing at Salisbury District Hospital, said: “We have seen a small but significant improvement in the condition of Charlie Rowley. He is in a critical but stable condition, and is now conscious.“While this is welcome news, clearly we are not out of the woods yet. Charlie is still very unwell and will continue to require specialist, round-the-clock care here at Salisbury District Hospital.” A white Audi was removed from an address in Swindon Mr Rowley is being treated at Salisbury District HospitalCredit:AFP Areas of Salibsury remain cordoned off Military personnel wearing camouflage and gas masks removed the white Audi car from outside the home of former RAF man, Keith Mills, who is believed to been one of the medical team who attended Amesbury on Saturday 30 June.Mr Mills, is understood to have been given the all clear, but the authorities are taking no chances and are inspecting his car to make sure none of the deadly nerve agent has been transferred to the vehicle.Neighbour, Steve Morgan, 48, said Mr Mills had treated Dawn Sturgess, who tragically died after being exposed to novichok after picking up a discarded container in Salisbury.He said: “The car belongs to a paramedic who treated the woman who died. There was concern that clothes might have been contaminated and the car was taken to Porton Down.”Wiltshire Police said: “We have arranged the transportation of a car from an address in Swindon this evening in relation to the ongoing incident in Amesbury.”The public should not be alarmed by this. Those involved have the training expertise to safely remove the vehicle.” Mr Rowley is being treated at Salisbury District Hospital The fact he is now conscious may offer the police an opportunity to find out how the pair came to be contaminated.It is thought they may have picked up a container that had been used in the original assassination attempt on former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March. Basu said officers were working on the theory that Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley came into contact with the nerve agent in liquid form after opening a container.A massive operation is currently underway to locate that item and make it safe and it is hoped Mr Rowley may now be able to help with that task.Earlier Ms Sturgess’s family paid tribute to her and said they hoped Mr Rowley would pull through. In fresh advice, issued following the death of Ms Sturgess, the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, said people should be particularly wary of items that contained a liquid or gel.She said the warning was particularly important as the school holidays were about to begin and so everyone should be extra vigilant.More than 100 counter terrorism officers are involved in the hunt for a container thought to have been responsible for poisoning Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley. The UK’s head of counter-terrorism policing Neil BasuCredit:John Stillwell/PA In a statement they said: “Dawn’s death has been devastating for us. Dawn will always be remembered by us as a gentle soul who was generous to a fault.“She would do anything for anybody and those who knew Dawn would know that she would gladly give her last penny to somebody in need.“She had the biggest of hearts and she will be dreadfully missed by both her immediate and wider family.“Our thoughts and prayers also go out to Charlie and his family and we wish Charlie a speedy recovery.” A white Audi was removed from an address in Swindon Despite insisting that the risk to the public was low, Dame Sally Davies advised people to avoid picking up any litter that they had not dropped themselves.She said: “I want to emphasise to everyone in the Salisbury and Amesbury area that nobody, adult or child, should pick up any foreign object which could contain liquid or gel, in the interests of their own safety.”This, in practice, means do not pick up containers, syringes, needles, cosmetics or similar objects, made of materials such as metal, plastic or glass.”This is particularly important as families are starting to prepare for their children’s summer holidays and so I am asking that people are extra vigilant. “To be clear: do not pick up anything that you haven’t dropped yourself.” Dawn Sturgess died at the weekend Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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Police officer sacked for abusing staff at takeaway wins job back as

Instead he claimed it was a one-off for which she should be given a second chance rather than the “nuclear option” of dismissal.She and her mother wept as she was given the green light to resume her career as an officer. The force had fought to block her return, claiming her slurs could “seriously damage” the police’s reputation.”Sadly it confirms a stereotype that is unfortunately held in some communities about the police,” said the force’s barrister Steven Reid.Questions will now also be asked over whether Pc Barratt can work well with Asian communities. The panel heard she would find that hard after her picture was widely used in national media. And even her own barrister admitted the slurs she used were an “abomination”.Mr Reid said  the force felt no racism from an officer – on or off-duty – was ever acceptable.”The appellant didn’t go out that night to deliberately racially abuse members of the public,” he stated.”But the fact remains she did.”Pc Barratt accepted “it was only luck” nobody else bar her colleagues heard her slurs. Me Landenburg said: “She knew she was being racist.”Her prejudice on that evening leaked out.”The three-person panel downgraded her punishment to a final warning after two hours of deliberations. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A policewoman who was sacked after she racially abused takeaway staff has been allowed to return to the beat after claiming her remarks “were not the worst kind of racism”.Pc Katie Barratt was dismissed over racist comments she made following a Northumbria Police Christmas party in 2017. However, a panel overturned the “unreasonable” dismissal in a ruling on Monday.It means Pc Barratt can return to the beat, while the force will have to hand her at least £15,000 in back pay.Pc Barratt was waiting to be served in the Spice of Punjab, when she said in front of colleagues: “I wish these f—— p—- would hurry up with my pizza”.It was also claimed she had called them “n—–s, something Pc Barratt never denied.But her barrister Guy Ladenburg said she had come from a “police family” and had led a promising career before the 2017 incident.The panel heard staff had been buying Pc Barratt drinks all night at the 2017 Christmas “jolly” but she had since addressed that.”She’s not touched a drop of drink after this incident,” said Mr Landenburg.And he said she felt that she shouldn’t have been sacked “because it is not the worst kind of racism”. read more

Hermes Birkin handbag sells for £162500 in Christies auction

One of the world’s most expensive handbags in the world – the Hermes Birkin – has sold for £162,500 in a Christie’s auction. The 2015 Himalaya niloticus crocodile Birkin 35 exceeded its predicted sales price of £70-90,000. The sale makes it the second most expensive handbag ever sold at auction, after the record was broken in 2018 when the Matte Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 35 with 18k White Gold & Diamond Hardware went for £236,750. Named after the actor and singer Jane Birkin, Birkin bags are notoriously exclusive fashion accessories that are hugely popular with celebrities and collectors. Fashion designer Victoria Beckham’s collection of more than 100 Birkins is reportedly worth more than £1.5m.Bidders from 41 countries, across six continents, participated in the auction – which took place on Tuesday – with sales of 243 lots totalling £3.4m.Other items on sale that received well over their expected price included a 2017 Chanel black lucite and crystal rocket ship evening bag, which was estimated to sell for £6,000-8,000 but went for £21,250, and a 2010 shiny amethyst alligator bag, which was given the same estimate, but sold for £18,750.Rachel Koffsky, Christie’s head of handbags and accessories in London, said: “We are delighted with the results of today’s Handbags and Accessories auction, which reflects the maturing market for handbags around the world.  “With a full saleroom, a packed phonebank, and bidding from across the globe, the auction demonstrates the international demand for collectable and rare handbags.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Weed killing on beach is putting seals at risk warn marine conservationists

“However, we are already trialling alternatives as we move towards ending the use of spraying as set out by the Council vote and this should be the last summer that the beach is routinely treated in this way.” Many conservationists have condemned the council for their use of weed spray.Oceans campaigner Carrie Symonds said: “Why are councils spraying herbicides on UK beaches? Mad”.Swimmer Lewis Pugh, who is the UN Patron of the Oceans, added: “Why on earth would you spray a beach with herbicide?? STOP IT! We are not the only animals that live on this planet.”Former Countryfile presenter Julia Brabury tweeted: “Why are you weed spraying on a beach /close to a beach when the toxins can enter the sea? Why are you weed spraying, period? Who is advising you about your environmental responsibilities & behaviours?”A Council spokesperson said: “Thanks to everyone who has shared their views over the weekend about weed-spraying on Hoylake beach. We acknowledge there are strong and compelling views on both sides of the debate as to whether it is right to control the growth of spartina and other beach grasses in this location and these concerns are reflected in the actions we take.”Wirral Council recently voted to phase out the spraying of glyphosate in the borough, immediately after we have identified a suitable effective alternative.”In the specific case of Hoylake beach, we have had an agreement in recent years with Natural England to manage the issue of spartina grass. That agreement allowed for the grass to be sprayed once during the summer months in a controlled manner. Seals and rare toads are at risk after a council sprayed powerful weedkiller on a beach, according to marine conservationists.Wirral council sprayed a mixture of chemicals including glyphosate on Hoylake Beach in order to destroy the grasses growing there. The chemical treatment meant the beach was closed to the public for three days last week, and visitors have been warned not to pick vegetation as it could still be contaminated.Chris Cureton, the local co-ordinator for British Divers Marine Life Rescue told The Telegraph: “We don’t condone any chemicals getting sprayed on a beach, definitely so close to seals.”Particularly with the weather we are having at the moment, there is no way the chemical didn’t end up in the sea.”The seals are in a bank on the nearby River Dee – but I rescued a seal  pup at the very end of last year on that very beach, so they do come to the beach from time to time.” A seal rescued on Hoylake beach by Christopher CuretonCredit:Christopher Cureton He claimed there were internal disputes among council members about whether to phase out using the weedkiller.The diver added that toads are also at risk: “Just round the corner from Hoylake there’s a site of special scientific interest, and there’s a population of endangered Natterjack toads and they’re very close to where the glyphosate was sprayed. They are very very sensitive and are endangered.” A seal rescued on Hoylake beach by Christopher Cureton Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

GCSEs may need a grade 10 private school chief suggests

Mr Lenon is a former headmaster at the £41,775-a-year Harrow School “The number of grade 9s is rationed to avoid the possibility of grade inflation anyway,” he told the Times Education Supplement magazine. Mr Lenon is a former headmaster at the £41,775-a-year Harrow School A spokesperson from the exams regulator Ofqual said: “Our role is to secure that standards are maintained in GCSEs in England and we have no intention to introduce any additional grades above grade 9.”The 9 to 1 grading system has allowed better differentiation of the highest performing students than the A* to G grades it replaced. We believe everyone would now welcome a period of stability.” GCSEs may need a grade 10, a private school chief has suggested as he revealed that at some of the country’s top fee-paying institutions the “most common” mark this year was 9.Barnaby Lenon, chair of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), disclosed that there are now a growing number of private schools where the majority of GCSEs are given 9s, the highest possible grade.Mr Lenon, who is a former headmaster at the £41,775-a-year Harrow School, said: “Nobody envisaged this three years ago. It does leave room for a grade 10.”This year, almost a quarter (23.1 per cent) of private school GCSEs were awarded a grade 9.  Across the whole of England, 837 students were awarded a clean sweep of seven grade 9s, Ofqual said, compared with 732 last year. Of those awarded seven grade 9s this year, two thirds (66.4 per cent) were girls. London’s Westminster School came top in the private school GCSE league tables, with 98.61 per cent of students achieving grades 7, 8 or 9, equivalent to As and A*s.The school, which charges up to £41,600 a year, counts the actress Helena Bonham-Carter and former deputy prime minister Sir Nick Clegg among its alumni.Mr Lenon said that for now, the grade 9 serves its purpose in differentiating ability at the top end of the grading system. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. But he added that a grade 10 could be introduced in the future “if over time the general standard of pupils at the top end continues to rise”.“Given we were told grade 9s would be very rare, it’s astonishing there are schools where it’s the commonest grade,” he said.This summer was the first group to take the reformed courses in virtually all subjects. The new GCSEs were created by former education secretary Michael Gove as part of an attempt to inject rigour into the qualifications and bring the UK in line with top performing countries in the Far East.The reformed exams, which are marked in numerical grades of nine to one rather than A* to G, are designed to separate the very highest achievers with the A* now split between grades 8 and 9.More than half of students were awarded a grade 9 in certain subjects, GCSE data shows. Of those taking Chinese GCSE, 59 per cent were awarded the highest grade, according to figures compiled by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). Meanwhile, 61 per cent of all Russian entries were given a grade 9, along with 49 per cent of those taking Ancient Greek. read more

Murdered teenager Jodie Chesney was innocent bystander in pathetic drug turf war

Mr Aylett said all four defendants were “to greater or lesser extents” involved in the supply of drugs, and one or more of Jodie’s friends had bought cannabis from one or more of them. “The prosecution’s case is not dependent on identifying who it was who stabbed Jodie. Instead, it is about identifying which of the four defendants – and the prosecution say all four of them – was a party to that plan.”If the prosecution are right in saying that Jodie was an entirely blameless individual who got caught up in some quarrel between drug dealers, then her murder was the terrible but predictable consequence of an all too casual approach to the carrying and using of knives.” Flowers left in Harold Hill, Romford, where Jodie diedCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley/Heathcliff O’Malley Jodie in her Scouts uniform outside 10 Downing Street Jodie and her 18-year-old boyfriend Mr Coyle, who attended the same college, had been going out for three months.The day of her murder, she had left college at 2pm and gone home to walk her dog before meeting up with Mr Coyle. They joined friends at Romford railway station and headed to the park in Harold Hill.Jodie and her friends had been there for a couple of hours when two males entered shortly after 9pm – the taller one through the gate and the shorter vaulting the fence.”Eddie says the taller youth came up behind Jodie and swung his right arm downwards towards her,” said Mr Aylett.”Eddie could see something black in his hand. Jodie’s friend Faye Gibbs says that she heard a ‘slashing’ sound which she described as ‘horrible’. Jodie screamed in pain.”The attackers then ran off towards Retford Road, the court heard.”Jodie fell from the table that she had been sitting on,” said Mr Aylett.”Eddie caught Jodie as she fell and eased her to the ground. He realised immediately that she had been stabbed.”Jodie was already bleeding heavily. Eddie was crying and screaming at Jodie to try and keep her awake.” A local resident came running out of her house to see what was going on, calling out “Is everything ok?”, to which a voice replied “No, my girlfriend has been stabbed”, jurors heard.    “Jodie, you may think, could not have had the slightest idea of what had happened – still less, why,” said Mr Aylett. Murdered girl scout Jodie Chesney was a “blameless” bystander who got caught up in a “pathetic turf war” between drug dealers, a court heard.The 17-year-old was stabbed in the back as she sat on a park bench near St Neot’s Road in Romford, East London, on the evening of March 1.Jodie’s killer came up behind her as she listened to music and smoked cannabis with her friends. He plunged the blade into her with such force that the knife left an 18cm-deep wound.She collapsed off the bench, blood pouring from her back. Her distraught boyfriend cradled her in his arms and clutched her hand, begging her to stay awake, the court heard.The stepfather of one of Jodie’s friends, who had rushed to the park in his van, tried to stem the bleeding using her jacket.Her two assailants fled and she “took her last breath” as the first police car pulled up, jurors were told.A witness reported seeing a black Vauxhall Corsa with its engine running near the park around the time of the murder, and two males jumping into the car with the driver before it pulled away.Paramedics took Jodie to hospital and doctors met them halfway, where they performed emergency surgery on the forecourt of a petrol station, but they were unable to save her. Jodie lived in Dagenham with her father, stepmother and elder sister Lucy, and was studying for A Levels in psychology, sociology and photography at Havering Sixth Form College.Her father said she was a dedicated student who loved learning and never missed a lesson.Four months before her death, Jodie had appeared on the BBC at the Festival of Remembrance.She marched on stage at the Royal Albert Hall with her fellow scouts in front of an audience including the Queen, Prince Charles, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.Jodie also shared a picture of herself outside 10 Downing Street in her Scouts uniform on Instagram.She was just a few weeks away from completing a Duke of Edinburgh gold award when she was killed. Jodie in her Scouts uniform outside 10 Downing Street Flowers left in Harold Hill, Romford, where Jodie died Her lung had collapsed and she died from a combination of shock and haemorrhage, the court heard.Croatian Manuel Petrovic, 20, and Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, both of Collier Row, Romford, along with a 16-year-old and 17-year-old who cannot be named because of their age, deny murdering Jodie.They appeared at the Old Bailey this morning for the start of their trial.Opening the case, prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said: “Eddie Coyle, Jodie’s boyfriend, says one of the two males was noticeably taller than the other. Eddie saw this taller male swing his right arm in the direction of Jodie’s back. Jodie screamed. The two males ran off, noiselessly disappearing into the darkness from which they had come.”Jodie collapsed to the ground. Using a mobile telephone as a torch, one of her friends could see that Jodie had sustained a deep stab wound to her back and she was bleeding heavily.”None of Jodie’s friends had the slightest idea who could have been responsible for this terrible and cowardly attack.”The attack was so unexpected and so sudden that a number of Jodie’s friends had not even noticed the two males who came upon them in the darkness.” “There is, however, nothing to suggest that Jodie was involved in the supply of drugs or that she might have upset anyone,” he said.”Indeed, the evidence of her character, accomplishments and popularity are entirely to the contrary.”Jodie’s father Peter has described her as ‘a beautiful, well-liked, fun, young woman who judged no one and loved everyone’. “She was a keen student at a local sixth form college and also a member of the Scouts.”The prosecution suggest that Jodie is unlikely to have been the intended target – more likely is that the intended target was somebody else altogether.”The drug dealing world is one of turf wars, rivalries and pathetic claims for ‘respect’. And when drug dealers fall out, they do not take their problems to the police. Instead, they take matters into their own hands. They are prepared to use serious violence in order to prove whatever point it is that they wish to make.”The prosecution allege that all four defendants had gone together in Petrovic’s car to Harold Hill in order to mete out violence – and not, as Petrovic has claimed, to collect money and drugs.”The prosecution allege that all four of them were acting together as part of a joint plan to cause at least really serious bodily harm to someone in that park, even if Jodie was not necessarily their intended target. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

EYEWITNESS Killing dreams…

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedEYEWITNESS: Equal opportunity…June 6, 2018In “EYEWITNESS”EYEWITNESS: Dealing with…March 23, 2018In “EYEWITNESS”Eyewitness: Look BackJanuary 28, 2018In “EYEWITNESS” …in the USThe US is a nation of immigrants, but you wouldn’t think so, based on the way President Trump and his supporters are carrying on and acting. When the “Pilgrim fathers” landed at Plymouth Rock, weren’t there PEOPLE who greeted them and gave them food? Who was Pocahontas, for crying out loud? But they say, tell a lie long enough and pretty soon you begin to believe your lie as the “gospel truth”!You know who said that? Hitler’s propaganda honcho, Goebbels, who insisted the Jews were wiped out “for their own good”. Well looks like the Native Indians in the US were all herded into ‘reservations” “out of sight, out of mind” for their “own good”. But if you look carefully at what’s unfolding – some immigrants are less equal than others, and the line is clear as black and white. Heck, the line IS black and white!!All those folks who came from Europe – who just HAPPENS to be white – are OK! Even Trump’s present wife is an immigrant from Slovenia, who started to work even before she got a visa permitting that. But the immigrants that Trump went after during the campaign – and has now started to implement measures to expel are all of a darker hue. “Immigrant” is a trope for “coloured from overseas”!Never mind these immigrants have taken all the literally dirty jobs that others won’t touch with a 10-foot pole. Well if those folks were to even go…then the “Americans” remaining will soon discover what it is to live in a hell-hole like Georgetown led by its Gang of Four! But the latest action by Trump is low even by his truncated standards. Think of this. When Obama was President he asked all children of illegal immigrants to register in a “Dreamers” programme which, in accordance with basic humanity, would allow them to live in the USA, educate themselves and serve their new homeland as citizens.But Trump, while shedding crocodile tears of “contrition”, has now cancelled the programme and placed some 800,000 mostly Spanish and coloured children – some now adults – in line to be deported. And they talk about “Indian givers”!! Your Eyewitness is convinced this will be a defining moment for America in this century and beyond.After its declaration of independence in 1776, the US was exemplified by the Statue of Liberty with its boldly engraved message: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” No more…It’s now “everyman for himself and the devil take the hindmost”. Especially if the latter’s dark!!…in womenWhat exactly is going on with this Government and women. Right after the elections we had women rights activists pointing out the paucity of women in the Cabinet and the Boards.A lot of throat clearing ensued but nothing was done. Then we had the broken promise to Government workers on the “substantial raise” written in black and white in the APNU/AFC manifesto. Most of the workers in the lowest brackets were women. Red Thread poignantly asked how they were to live.Now, you’ve heard the one by Marie Antoinette when told the peasants didn’t have bread, haven’t you? “Let them eat cake”!! Well this Government that’s all heart just bested her. Told that guards in general, and women guards in particular, were getting ridiculously low wages – especially at nights – Minister Scott announced, “Well don’t hire women at nights!!”He of course, would like us to believe he’s really looking out for women’s safety. But let’s get real…wouldn’t it have been better to insist they get paid a special rate?Then maybe they can afford cabs to get home!!…in the PoliceThe ordinary folks know the Police Force needs a good hosing down to get rid of some bad apples. But seriously, folks, does the Government have to wash the dirty ones in public? read more