Edmonton stabbings: Four people hurt in ‘random attacks’

The first victim was stabbed in Aberdeen Road on Saturday eveningImage copyright @999London
Image caption The Metropolitan Police said each victim appeared to be “selected at random” for being “alone and vulnerable”

Police are searching for a knifeman after four people were stabbed in a spate of attacks in north London over the weekend.

A woman and three men were all approached from behind and knifed in the back as they walked alone in Edmonton.

Police said each victim appeared to “selected at random” for being “alone and vulnerable” in the potentially linked attacks.

Two are in a critical condition.

The Metropolitan Police said officers were working on the theory the suspect acted alone and “mental health issues may be a factor”.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of causing GBH but police say inquiries continue to establish if he is the person behind the stabbings.

The first attack was on a 45-year-old woman who was hurt in Aberdeen Road at 19:02 GMT on Saturday. She remains in a critical condition in an east London hospital.

Four hours later, a man was stabbed half a mile away in Park Avenue. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Police believe the third attack happened less than a mile away in Silver Street.

The victim, a 23-year-old man, was found injured at Seven Sisters Tube station at about 04:00 BST. He is in a critical condition in hospital.

The final stabbing happened at 09:42 in Brettenham Road, less than a mile away from Silver Street. Police say a man has been taken to hospital with potentially life-changing injuries.

Detectives said they were searching for a slim black man, who is about 6ft 3in tall and was wearing dark clothing.

Det Ch Insp Stuart Smillie said: “Police are treating the incidents as potentially linked. The four victims are all from different backgrounds and appear to have been selected at random due to them being alone and vulnerable.

“He has approached from behind without warning.”

Extra officers are on the streets to keep the public safe, a spokesman said.


IS defeat: British fighters emerge after fall of Baghuz

The end of the Islamic State group’s so-called caliphate was announced less than a week ago – and now, the first British fighters who stayed until the very end are resurfacing.

The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville spoke to a former police cadet from west London, Hamza Parvez, who spent five years with the extremists.

He once marched for the Queen, and is now in Kurdish custody in Syria.

He’s one of a growing number of men who have emerged after joining IS – most have been stripped of their British citizenship.


Brexit: There are ‘no ideal choices’, says justice secretary

David GaukeImage copyright PA
Image caption The justice secretary argued Theresa May’s deal remained the best outcome

There are “no ideal choices” over the Brexit deadlock, Justice Secretary David Gauke has said.

The prime minister is considering her next move after her withdrawal plan was defeated by MPs for a third time.

On Monday, Parliament will hold an indicative vote on Brexit alternatives. A customs union with the EU is thought to be the most likely preference.

Mr Gauke warned it would “not be sustainable” to ignore MPs if they voted for a softer Brexit.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he argued the prime minister’s deal was “the best outcome”.

But he added: “Sometimes you do have to accept your second or third choice to avoid an outcome you consider to be even worse.”

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said it would be “inconceivable” if there was a general election and his party did not include a new referendum in its manifesto.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Theresa May arrives at church with her husband Philip

Following the UK’s vote to leave the EU in 2016, Theresa May negotiated a withdrawal deal with the EU.

Although European leaders agreed to the plan, Mrs May has yet to get the deal approved by Parliament.

The prime minister has until 12 April to seek a longer extension to the Article 50 process if the UK is to avoid leaving without a deal.

The prime minister’s deal is currently opposed by parties including Northern Ireland’s DUP – which the government relies upon for support – as well as a group of her own MPs.

Tory Brexiteer Steve Baker, who resigned as a Brexit minister over the PM’s handling of negotiations, wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that Mrs May’s deal “cannot be allowed to go through at any cost”.

However he admitted deciding to vote for it on Thursday before being talked out of it by friends.

What next?

  • Monday, 1 April: MPs hold another set of votes on Brexit options to see if they can agree on a way forward
  • Wednesday, 3 April: Potentially another round of so-called “indicative votes”
  • Wednesday, 10 April: Emergency summit of EU leaders to consider any UK request for further extension
  • Friday, 12 April: Brexit day, if UK does not seek/EU does not grant further delay
  • 23-26 May: European Parliamentary elections

On Monday, MPs have a non-binding vote on a series of options designed to test the will of Parliament. The intention is to see what outcome, if any, commands a majority.

None of MPs’ eight proposed options secured a majority in the first set of indicative votes on 27 March, but those which received the most were a customs union with the EU and a referendum on any deal.

A customs union would allow businesses to move goods around the EU without checks or charges – but membership would bar the UK from striking independent trade deals after Brexit.

Mr Gauke said he was in favour of leaving the customs union, arguing that it would “better reflect the way the country voted in 2016”.

Membership of a customs union would breach the Conservative’s 2017 manifesto.

But he acknowledged that his party “does not have the votes to get its manifesto position through the House of Commons at the moment”.

“We are in an environment where it is not just about going for your first choice,” he added.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Brexit demonstrators gather outside the Houses of Parliament

Mr Gauke reiterated his opposition to a no-deal Brexit, warning he would leave government if such a policy was pursued.

A no-deal Brexit would mean cutting ties with the European Union immediately and defaulting to World Trade Organisation rules for trade.

Tom Watson said there was an “emerging consensus” among Labour MPs.

He said: “Whatever the deal looks like – and we understand there has to be compromises – if it’s underpinned by a People’s Vote that is the way we can bring the country back together.”

Please upgrade your browser

Your guide to Brexit jargon

Use the list below or select a button

Speaking on Sky News, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said under a Labour government it was “likely” that the UK would leave the European Union.

When asked if Labour was a Remain party, Ms Thornberry replied: “In our hearts we want to remain but we have to square that with democracy.

“If the people want us to leave we have to leave.”

‘Last thing we need’

Ms Thornberry also said “it looks like the time may come” for another attempted no confidence vote in the government.

If passed, this would pave the way for a general election.

The deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, James Cleverly, told Sky News that his party is doing “sensible pragmatic planning” in case there is a snap general election, but not seeking to call one.

And Mr Gauke warned he did not see how a general election would solve the current deadlock.

Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major said: “When feelings are running high… a general election is pretty much the very last thing we need.”

But he added: “We might be driven to it later.”

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty, which furthered European integration

If an election failed to produce a majority in the Commons, Sir John suggested a “time limited” national unity government should be formed.

He said: “I think it would be in the national interest to have a cross-party government so we can take decisions without the chaos that we’re seeing in Parliament at the moment where every possible alternative is rejected.”

“I don’t think it is ideal, I would prefer a Conservative government with a clear majority.”

But he argued such a government would at least enable decisions to be taken.


Knife crime: More stop and search powers for police

Police carrying out stop and search in London
Image caption London is one of seven areas where the change to stop and search will be trialled

Police in England and Wales are being given greater stop and search powers to tackle rising knife crime.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is making it easier for officers to search people without reasonable suspicion in places where serious violence may occur.

It comes after fatal stabbings rose last year to the highest point since records began.

But campaigners said the move was “disappointing and regressive” and that stop and search is not effective.

Stop and search powers have been controversial for many years, with evidence that they are frequently misused and that they target black people disproportionately.

But Mr Javid said: “The police are on the front line in the battle against serious violence and it’s vital we give them the right tools to do their jobs.”

The change is being trialled in seven police force areas where more than 60% of knife crime occurs: London, the West Midlands, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Wales and Greater Manchester.

It makes it easier to use so-called “section 60” checks, where for a limited period of time officers can search anyone in a certain area to prevent violent crime.

Under the new rules, inspectors will be able to authorise the use of section 60. Currently, more senior officers have to give approval.

There will also be a lower threshold. Police will only need to reasonably believe serious violence “may” occur, not that it “will”.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said evidence-based stop and search was “a very important tool for police”.

But she added: “Random stop and search is not effective in bringing down levels of knife crime.”

Section 60 has been used at large events such as Notting Hill Carnival last year and after violent incidents such as the stabbing of a man outside Clapham Common Underground station on Friday.

Other powers which account for the majority of searches will remain the same, and will still require officers to have reasonable suspicion of an offence.

With 285 deaths from stabbings in 2017-18, the most ever recorded in the UK, ministers have come under increasing pressure to tackle knife crime.

Prime Minister Theresa May will host a summit on serious youth violence on Monday.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionYouth mentor Dijon Joseph and Ch Supt Simon Messinger discuss stop and search

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said officers in London had increased the use of section 60 over the past 18 months, following 132 deaths from stabbings in the capital during 2017-18.

She said: “Stop and search is an extremely important power for the police. It is undoubtedly a part of our increasing results suppressing levels of violence and knife crime.”

But Katrina Ffrench, chief executive of StopWatch, which campaigns against excessive use of stop and search, said: “This decision is a disappointing and regressive move, which is about politics not saving lives.”

Removing the need for reasonable suspicion “will not only exacerbate the racial disparity, but has the potential to further damage the relationship between the black community and the police,” she said.

Garvin Snell, an anti-knife crime activist in Hounslow, west London, said that when stop and search was “used in the correct manner”, there was “nothing wrong with it”.

But he added: “I grew up in an era in the 1990s when you almost felt being young and black was enough to be stopped and searched and I don’t want to go back to that environment.”

He said some of the extra £100m the government has promised to help reduce knife crime should be used to open more youth centres.

“A lot of these incidents are happening in poorer parts of London,” he said. “Why don’t we do something to raise the aspirations of these young people?”

A data study for the College of Policing into a decade of London stop and searches found them to be “inconsistent” and “weak” as a deterrent.

The extra powers reverse a key change made by Mrs May in 2014 as home secretary.

She introduced a revised code of conduct after an inquiry examined thousands of police searches and found 27% may have been illegal.

When misused, stop and search was “an enormous waste of police time” and “an unacceptable affront to justice”, she said.

Reflecting on the recent announcement, the prime minister said the powers were “an important tool in the fight against knife crime”.

Image copyright PA
Image caption It is vital police have the right tools to do their jobs, Home Secretary Sajid Javid says

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, welcomed the government’s renewed support for stop and search, saying it “had been lacking for far too long”.

He said it was a useful and accountable tool for officers to use in tackling knife crime and there was “no credible alternative”.

Partly as a result of the 2014 changes, the use of stop and search fell in England and Wales from a peak of 1.4m ten years ago to 277,378 last year.

The numbers of searches fell for every ethnic group, but ethnic and racial inequality has grown.

In 2014-15 black people were four times more likely to be searched than white people, while in 2017-18, they were 9.5 times as likely to be targeted.


More adults seeking support for alcoholic parents

Family photo of Amelia and her fatherImage copyright FAMILY HANDOUT
Image caption Amelia Carr with her father whose alcoholism became particularly serious when she was five

The number of adults seeking help to cope with an alcoholic parent has tripled over five years, according to a leading charity.

The National Association for the Children of Alcoholics took more than 23,000 calls or messages last year from over 18s, compared to 6,400 in 2013.

Experts say more funding to support families and friends would help more people with alcoholic parents.

The Department of Health said it was investing £6m to tackle the issue.

‘My homeless dad’

Image copyright FAMILY HANDOUT
Image caption Amelia’s father’s drinking carried on until his death two years ago

Amelia and Joe Carr, from Newcastle, grew up with an alcoholic father.

His drinking became very serious when Joe was 13 and Amelia was five. It continued up until his death two years ago. Towards the end of his life he was sleeping rough.

“It was the thing I’d been dreading seeing, my own dad homeless on the street,” Joe says.

“I found him inebriated, as he always was, and dirty; sat in a doorway with a bottle. When I saw the state he was in all my anger evaporated and was replaced instead with pity.”

Children whose parents drink too much are said to be four times more likely to become dependent drinkers themselves.

Image copyright FAMILY HANDOUT
Image caption Joe and Amelia now

Joe developed an issue with alcohol as an adult but he gave up completely when he became a father and is now teetotal. However, his ability to quit led to a new, very painful thought.

“I can’t help but think if I could do that for my children why couldn’t he?” he says.

Joe remembers the happy times before his father’s issues with alcohol started. But Amelia, eight years his junior, only remembers her father drinking. When he died she says in some ways she felt relieved.

“Everyone around me was grieving for the man he was,” she says, “but I just couldn’t do that – I felt so guilty and confused.”

The drug and alcohol charity Addaction says approximately one in three older adults with an alcohol problem first develop it later in life.

A spokesman told 5 Live Investigates they would like to see more support and ease of access to services for people over the age of 50 with alcohol misuse issues.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionAuthor Kate Tojeiro on life with an alcoholic father

The National Association for the Children of Alcoholics (NACOA) supports those who have lived through childhood with their parent’s alcohol problems. They also offer help to people whose parent’s issues emerged in later life.

Stephanie Page, a helpline supervisor at the the charity, said: “The feelings of guilt have been born out of the anger and resentment towards their parent but they still love them so they feel guilty about feeling that sort of way towards them.”

She also said that people whose parents began drinking later tend to face a different set of challenges.

“The parent may have retired and is lonely; they may have had issues adjusting to retirement. The adult child of the alcoholic often finds that really difficult because they haven’t seen this side of them before and they may not know what to do.

“It can be really surreal seeing this side to your parent.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said it can be “incredibly damaging for a young person to grow up with an alcoholic parent and can lead to lifelong harm”.

“We are investing £6m to support children of dependent parents, and services including alcohol treatment and mental health services are available for people who are suffering the impact of parental drinking as adults.”

The spokesman said every person admitted to hospital showing signs of alcohol dependence in the 25% worst affected parts of the country will be offered “targeted help to stop”.

You can hear 5 Live Investigates at 11:00 GMT on Sunday 31 March and on BBC Sounds.


Jersey Premiership: St Paul’s set for title after 2-1 St Peter victory

Jersey captain Jack Boyle spent time on Southampton’s books and played for Airdrie United in the Scottish First Division

St Paul’s came from a goal down to beat title rivals St Peter 2-1 and open up a nine-point gap at the top of the Jersey Football Combination Premiership.

The reigning champions dominated the second period, having gone behind to Karl Hinds’ strike before the break.

Jack Boyle scored both of St Paul’s goals the second in stoppage time.

St Peter have two games in hand on the leaders, but need St Paul’s to slip up in their final game against St Clement if they are to win the title.