Ana Rebelo death: Husband found not guilty of murder

Ana RebeloImage copyright States of Jersey Police
Image caption Alfredo Rebelo denies murdering Ana Rebelo at their home

A man has been found not guilty of murdering his wife at their home in St Helier.

Alfredo Rebelo, 60, had denied murdering Ana Rebelo, 51, in April 2017.

His defence lawyer Julian Gollop told Jersey’s Royal Court the prosecution case was based on speculation.

A lack of defensive wounds and evidence of a struggle pointed to Mrs Rebelo taking her own life, he said. Jurats agreed and found Mr Rebelo not guilty.

As the verdict was read out, he held his head in his hands and wiped tears from his eyes.

Mr Gollop earlier told the court prosecutors had based their case on speculation.

He said there were no defensive wounds on Mrs Rebelo, no injuries on Mr Rebelo, no evidence of a struggle and no damage to the wall or shelving in the room to suggest a murder had taken place.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Ana Rebelo was found dead on Victoria Street in St Helier

Ana Rebelo death: Woman ‘may have strangled herself with tights’

Ana RebeloImage copyright States of Jersey Police
Image caption Alfredo Rebelo denies murdering Ana Rebelo at their home

A woman whose husband is accused of her murder may have killed herself with a pair of leggings, a court has heard.

Alfredo Rebelo denies murdering 51-year-old Ana Rebelo at their home in St Helier, Jersey, in April 2017.

Jersey’s Royal Court heard from defence witness Dr Richard Shepherd, who showed how the leggings could have been used in “self-strangulation”.

Prosecutors claim Mr Rebelo became upset during an argument and killed his wife.

Dr Shepherd said: “I see no features inconsistent with self-strangulation, but I do see features inconsistent with homicide.”

Image copyright Google
Image caption Ana Rebelo was found dead on Victoria Street in St Helier

In cross-examination, prosecutor Howard Sharp questioned Dr Shepherd on the time of death.

Dr Shepherd said Mrs Rebelo was more likely to have died during the night of 4 April, rather than the evening of 3 April.

The defence has now closed its case. The trial continues.

Guildford pub bombings inquest to resume 45 years on

Pub wreckageImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Five people died in the blast at the Horse & Groom on 5 October 1974

The inquest into the deaths of five people killed in the 1974 Guildford pub bombings will be resumed.

Five people and 65 others were injured when the IRA blew up two pubs in the Surrey town.

The Guildford Four were wrongly convicted in what is considered one of Britain’s biggest miscarriages of justice.

Families told Surrey Coroner Richard Travers it may be “the only chance” for the truth to be known.

No date has yet been set for the inquest to resume.

Soldiers Ann Hamilton, 19, Caroline Slater, 18, William Forsyth, 18, and John Hunter, 17, as well as plasterer Paul Craig, 21, died following the first blast at the Horse and Groom on 5 October 1974.

Another bomb at a second pub also exploded but there were no injuries.

Paul Hill, Gerry Conlon, Patrick Armstrong and Carole Richardson – known as the Guildford Four – were wrongly convicted of the attacks and jailed for 15 years, before being released in 1989.

A four-man IRA unit known as the “Balcombe Street gang” claimed responsibility in 1976 but were not charged.

Brexit: ‘Extra time’ may be needed, says Jeremy Hunt

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Media captionThe foreign secretary says Brexit may be delayed if a deal is reached near 29 March

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says “extra time” may be needed to finalise legislation for Brexit.

Mr Hunt said a possible delay in the UK’s departure from the EU beyond the 29 March deadline depended on the progress made in the coming weeks.

MPs have voted for Theresa May to seek “alternative arrangements” to the Irish backstop, after rejecting her Brexit deal earlier this month.

But the EU has rejected the UK’s calls to renegotiate the withdrawal deal.

The UK is due to leave the European Union at 23:00 on 29 March. The backstop is an “insurance” policy to stop the return of checks on goods and people along the Northern Ireland border.

Earlier this month, Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said that the EU may be prepared to grant the UK a “couple of extra weeks” beyond the 29 March deadline to finalise preparations for Brexit.

And BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said there had been “growing chatter” about a potential delay and a potential extension to Article 50 – the mechanism by which the UK leaves the EU.

But Downing Street has said an extension to Article 50 is not being considered and the government remains “committed to doing whatever it takes to have the statute books ready for when we leave the EU on 29 March this year”.

Mr Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is true that if we ended up approving the deal in the days before the 29 March, then we might need some extra time to pass critical legislation.

“But if we are able to make progress sooner, then that might not be necessary.

“We can’t know at this stage exactly which of those scenarios would happen.”

Mrs May has been talking to EU leaders, including President of the European Council Donald Tusk and the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, after MPs voted on Tuesday for her to make changes to the backstop.

Mr Hunt said it was currently a “challenging situation” and the government was “not ruling out any of these potential solutions” to the Irish border issue.

Mr Hunt said the commitment to the Good Friday Agreement – which protects against the return of a hard Irish border – would need to be demonstrated.

The EU’s concerns that the UK could “access the single market by the back door” would also need to be alleviated, he said.

“If we can overcome those two issues, which I think we can, then we will be able to have substantive discussions,” he said.

“But this is not going to happen in the next few days.”

The backstop was one of the main reasons Mrs May’s Brexit deal was voted down in Parliament by a historic margin earlier in January as critics say a different status for Northern Ireland could threaten the existence of the UK and fear that the backstop could become permanent.

The prime minister has said there are several possible alternatives to the backstop that she wants to discuss with EU leaders.

These include:

  • a “trusted trader” scheme to avoid physical checks on goods flowing through the border
  • “mutual recognition” of rules with the EU
  • “technological” solutions

She also wants to discuss a time limit on the backstop and a “unilateral exit” mechanism – both options ruled out by the EU in the past.

But the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said the Irish backstop is “part and parcel” of the UK’s Brexit deal and will not be renegotiated.

Speaking at the European Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Barnier said it was a “realistic solution” to preventing a hard border.

Emiliano Sala: Seabed search boat arrives in Guernsey

Emiliano Sala and David IbbotsonImage copyright Getty Images/David Ibbotson
Image caption Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson

A ship that will search the seabed for missing footballer Emiliano Sala’s plane has arrived in Guernsey.

The FPV Morven left Southampton on Wednesday and will be used by a team led by shipwreck hunter David Mearns.

Cardiff City’s new signing Sala, 28, disappeared with pilot David Ibbotson, 59, over the English Channel last week.

An official search was called off but the privately-funded hunt for the plane started after £324,000 was raised in a GoFundMe appeal.

It will focus on an area of four square nautical miles which were identified after cushions, believed to be from the plane, were washed up on a beach near Surtainville on France’s Cotentin Peninsula.

Image copyright Josette Bernard
Image caption This unverified image shows a cushion which was found on the beach, believed to be from the plane

Sala signed for Cardiff City for £15m and was travelling to the Welsh capital from Nantes, where he previously played, when his plane disappeared.

Guernsey authorities stopped looking for Sala and Mr Ibbotson, from Crowle in Lincolnshire, on Thursday, with officials saying the chance of them being alive was “extremely remote”.

Image caption The FPV Morven has arrived in Guernsey

But after a plea from his sister not to give up, more than £324,000 was raised for the private search.

High-profile donors include France and PSG forward Kylian Mbappe, former West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet and Leicester City winger Demarai Gray.

Initially two local fishing boats were chartered to visually scan the surface but they lacked the sophisticated equipment needed.

Mr Mearns said the FPV Morven would work in “close collaboration” with a special survey vessel from the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) salvage and marine operations team.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch announced the MoD boat had been chartered on Wednesday after the discovery of the cushions helped it identify a priority search area.

However, both the FPV Morven and the MoD boat are not due to start searching until the weekend due to sea conditions and weather.

Knife crime: Suspects could be banned from social media

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Media captionSajid Javid says the Asbo-style orders would give police more powers to prevent knife crime

New powers to control suspects thought to be carrying knives are being introduced by the government in a bid to cut rising violence.

Knife Crime Prevention Orders would impose sanctions, including bans on using social media to stir up trouble.

The orders would target anyone aged 12 or over suspected of being involved in knife crime – even if they have not been caught with a blade.

Knife possession rose by almost a third in five years, the latest figures show.

It is already a crime to carry a blade in public without good reason – and there is a separate offence of taking a knife into a school.

The House of Lords is being asked to approve the proposed prevention orders as part of the government’s Offensive Weapons Bills.

Social media ban

If a court is convinced the police’s intelligence is probably right, it can impose sanctions including:

  • Curfews to keep the suspect off the streets and out of specific areas where gangs clash
  • Requirements to attend special knife awareness courses to change their thinking
  • Barring the suspect from using social media to encourage feuds
  • Banning them for up to two years from meeting other members of their gang

The prevention orders can also be imposed on someone convicted of carrying, in an attempt to prevent them returning to their old ways.

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Media captionInvestigation reveals knives sold illegally to children

Breaching an order would be a criminal offence punishable with up to two years in prison.

It comes as it emerged a fifth of offences for possession or threatening with a knife in the year to June involved 10 to 17-year-olds.

Hospital figures reveal that 813 people under 18 were treated for a sharp injury wound in the year to April 2018 – up 80% since March 2015.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales – a national rolling study of people’s experiences – found that almost 6% of children know someone who has carried a knife.

‘Completely disproportionate’

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the proposed power filled a gap in the law and would help police target knife-carriers more effectively.

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Media captionKnife crime: What happened to Michael?

“I will do everything in my power to tackle the senseless violence that is traumatising communities and claiming too many young lives,” Mr Javid said.

“The police already have a range of measures they are using to keep our streets safe, but there is more we can do to help them in this battle.”

But Sarah Jones MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime, said the plan was “flawed”.

“Imprisoning a young person – as young as 12 years old – for two years for breaching this order is completely disproportionate.”

Enver Solomon, CEO of Just for Kids Law, said the government was “resorting to harsh headline-grabbing initiatives that won’t work”.

“This will do very little to address the underlying causes of knife crime and will push more young people into the criminal justice system,” he said.

Warwick students suspended over rape threats allowed to return early

The International Digital Laboratory, University of Warwick, Coventry, EnglandImage copyright Getty Images

Two students banned from the University of Warwick for 10 years for their involvement in a group chat that threatened rape will be allowed to return later this year, it has emerged.

One woman who was targeted said she felt “terrified at the prospect of having these boys in my seminars”.

Several of those in the chat encouraged others to rape specific students.

The university said it had reduced the length of their bans to one year after they appealed.

In a letter, seen by the BBC, a university official apologised to the women for not informing them of the appeal’s outcome sooner – citing “my delayed summer break”.

One of the two women who received the letter, in October last year, said she was talking about it now because she wanted to highlight what she describes as “horrendous” treatment by the university.

The Facebook group chat was first reported last summer by Warwick student newspaper The Boar.

One of the messages said: “Sometimes it’s fun to just go wild and rape 100 girls.”

While another said: “Rape the whole flat to teach them all [a] lesson.”

Another post included a racially offensive term and anti-Semitic language.

At one point, a user wrote: “Rape her in the street while everybody watches,” with another responding it “wouldn’t even be unfair”.

Image copyright The Boar
Image caption Student newspapers obtained the screenshots after complaints were made to the university

After a disciplinary investigation by the university, five students were suspended.

Two were banned for 10 years – and have now had that reduced to one year, two were excluded for one year, and one was given a lifetime campus ban.

This means four out of the five of the men initially suspended will rejoin classes in September 2019.

‘Humiliated, as if for sport’

In an open letter to the university, one of the female students targeted in the chat said: “We were discussed so violently.

“We were humiliated, as if for sport. These boys were my friends – like my brothers. And they destroyed me.

“You expect us to return from semesters abroad and study alongside these men?

“It is a source of shame for past, present and future Warwick alumni that you lack the courage to stand by us.”

A spokesman from Warwick University said they were unable to comment on individual disciplinary cases.

But he added that the university’s focus had been “to ensure that anyone involved in this matter who remains a student at Warwick is able to complete their studies while minimising any further contact between the original complainants and anyone who received a sanction from the discipline committee.”

Liam Jackson, the president of Warwick Students’ Union, said the union would continue to push for a review of the university disciplinary procedure.

Students from the university have taken to Twitter to voice their anger at the university’s decision using the hashtag #ShameOnYouWarwick.