A summary of social care news

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay

Gang jailed for cargo of human misery

Members of a gang of Asian criminals has been jailed for making
millions of pounds in one of Britain’s largest human
smuggling rings.

The group provided thousands of Gujaratis from western India
with forged passports, birth certificates and driving licences, it
is thought, for a cost of £10,000 each.

The gang members lived a lavish lifestyle as a result, while the
immigrants often worked in sweatshop factories.

Police discovered 151 stolen passports, birth certificates,
driving licences and forgery equipment hidden under the stairs,
when they raided a house in Leicester. Cash totalling £60,000
in sterling and foreign currency was also found.

The final member of the gang was jailed on Friday after a series
of trials in Leicester.

Detective Inspector Bob White, who led the 24 member team
working on the operation, said: “We cannot put a figure on the
number of illegal immigrants involved with this gang but we believe
it to be in the thousands.”

The operation resulted in five men being jailed last November
after admitting conspiracy to secure entry of illegal immigrants
between January 1994 and September 1999.

Source:- The Times Saturday 17 March page 4

Death of a nameless baby that has shaken a

A baby boy who was just a few days old has been found dead in
Edinburgh naked and burned last week.

Former soldier Billy Franks found the body among rubbish last
Sunday while walking his dogs at Harewood Crescent.

The baby had a shock of dark hair and was lying on his side.
Nearby was a baby-grow and a petrol can.

Police are still baffled a week later and the only sighting of
the woman thought to be the mother, was a distressed teenage girl
in the area.

Post mortem results were inconclusive although police have
confirmed the body was charred, but he had drawn breath for a
couple of days.

Toys and floral tributes are piling up and a committee is
collecting money to pay for a funeral and memorial.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 17 March page 6

Pensioner freed after battering sick wife to

A pensioner walked free from court yesterday after he beat his
wife to death with a hammer.

Peter Fairey ended his wife’s days of misery when
arthritis caused her to suffer “intolerable” pain, Bristol crown
court was told. He had cared for her 24 hours-a-day when Adelaide
had become too ill to look after herself.

Fairey denied murder, but admitted manslaughter due to
diminished responsibility.

Judge Mark Dyer gave Fairey a two-year suspended sentence and a
supervision order saying he could not see what would be gained from
sending him to prison.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 17 March
page 13

Beached Kurds are smuggled into Britain

More than 20 Kurdish refuges are believed to have come to
Britain after their ship was beached off southern France four weeks

They are thought to have completed their journey to Britain with
the help of smugglers operating from a Red Cross camp near Calais.
Thirty more Kurds remain at the camp waiting to cross the

The crew, part of a smuggling ring, is thought to have
deliberately crashed into rocks on the Cote d’Azur on
February 17 before fleeing in small boats from the wreck. The ship,
East Sea, contained 911 Iraqi Kurdish refugees.

Earlier this week a woman known only as Atije described how
smugglers turned up at the camp where they were being held, days
after the beaching. They offered to transport them to ports before
smuggling them into Britain.

Jack Straw said last month that any immigrants from East Sea who
arrived in Britain, would be deported. He also attacked the French
government for failing to deal with the refugees.

Source:- The Sunday Times 18 March page 14

Grandparents to be paid for childcare

Chancellor Gordon Brown is currently considering plans to allow
grandparents to be paid for looking after their grandchildren.

A tax credit for hard pressed working mothers would be extended
to reward grandparents helping out with childcare.

The proposals are supported by independent Childcare Commission
and campaign groups representing working mothers.

Statistics last year showed that one in three grandparents spent
half their week looking after their children’s children.

It is currently unclear how much the proposal would cost and how
it would be regulated, but ministers are thought to be “very keen
on” the plans and Treasury sources indicated it may be included in
the Labour election manifesto.

Source:- Independent on Sunday 18 March page 8

High court to rule on internet twins’

Two US courts have urged Birmingham high court to return the
“internet twins” to their country of birth.

The future of the nine-month-old girls will be considered by
Birmingham court on Monday in a private hearing before Mr Justice
Kirkwood, that is expected to last three days.

The judge has been approached by two courts, Missouri and
Arkansas. The twins were born in Missouri while Arkansas was the
state where Judith and Alan Kilshaw from north Wales, adopted the

The Missouri court wants the twins returned so their future can
be decided. Both natural parents Tranda and her estranged husband
Aaron Wecker want separate custody of the children.

The Arkansas court now claims the procedure by which the
Kilshaws adopted the twins, was invalid.

At least four different parties will attend Monday’s
hearing with lawyers representing the Kilshaws, Tranda Wecker,
Aaron Wecker and Flintshire social services, which is currently
caring for the girls.

The other Californian couple involved in the dispute, Richard
and Vickie Allen have dropped their case as Richard faces charges
of sexually abusing two babysitters. He denies the charges.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 18 March page 15

Police given new powers to test for drug

The first national campaign against ‘drug driving’, which begins
this week, will allow police to check motorists for drug abuse.

Drivers who police suspect of drug driving will face a series of
co-ordination tests.

The scheme will be announced on Wednesday by Strathclyde police,
and other forces will copy the scheme.

The crackdown follows a survey by Glasgow University and System
Three, which discovered one in 10 drivers under 40 had driven
having taken illegal drugs ranging from cannabis to cocaine.

Motorists suspected of drug abuse will be asked to stand with
feet together, eyes closed and head tilted back and to estimate
periods of time between 30 seconds and one minute. They will also
have to walk in a straight line and touch their nose with their
index finger.

The scheme was developed in Strathclyde as the Glasgow region
has the highest number of registered and suspected drug abusers in
the UK with an estimated 10,000 heroin addicts in Glasgow

Source:- The Observer Sunday 18 March page 7

Teacher kept a cache of 11,500 child porn

A teacher who downloaded thousands of pornographic pictures of
children from the internet has been jailed for six years.

Vincent Knights’ sentence is thought to be the longest
handed out by a British judge for such offences.

Knights was head of history at a grammar school, Queen
Elizabeth’s High School in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. His
home computer had 11,500 images and 250 video clips included
pictures of babies being abused. He had downloaded so many
pictures, he had to use extra computer drive to store all the

Jonathan Straw prosecuting said: ” It is hard to imagine
anything more vile and depraved. Many of the children were clearly
being coerced into what they were doing. They were deliberately
being set in certain disgusting poses.”

Oxford graduate Knights, was arrested last year after police
raided his home having received a tip off.

Knights admitted 12 specimen charges of making indecent
pseudo-photographs of children between August and December

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 19 March page 39

Home office may monitor use of date rape

A recreational “club drug” that has been linked to date rape and
four deaths may be monitored following mounting concern over its
safety and role in organised crime.

The home office has decided not to add GHB to the list of
controlled drugs like cannabis and cocaine, but European drug
authorities are increasingly worried about its potential to dope
people so they do not resist sexual assaults.

Concerns over health risks have also been raised as its
recreational use in liquid form or powder poses risks because of
the fine line between relaxation and loss of consciousness.

Britain accounts for more than a third of the 11 deaths since
1995 associated with the drug.

European ministers have stated new checks should be introduced
on its use before EU wide controls are instigated. The home office
has claimed there is not enough evidence of widespread misuse to
merit controls on GHB. It has agreed to monitoring of the drug.

The Roofie Foundation, however, which runs a telephone line for
date rape victims believe as many as 40 per cent of the 500 date
rape victims a year who call for help, could have been drugged by
GHB. Its colourless, odourless form, however makes it difficult to

Source:- The Guardian Monday 19 March page 4

Holiday camp plays host to asylum seekers

Mosney holiday camp near Dublin has become home to thousands of
asylum seekers putting Ireland near the top of the European Union
refugee league.

An average of 1,000 asylum seekers from 140 countries each month
enter the camp each month, which used to offer Irish families a
holiday with lush countryside and a private beach.

Colette Morey of the justice department said: “There are far
more direct flights from Africa to Dublin than there were. And
there are no controls between Great Britain and here, so if you
come into Dover or wherever, you can simply carry on to

Permanent residency is granted to less than 18 per cent, who
have to prove persecution in their country of origin.

The process can take more than a year and Morey said the real
problem was housing.

“There’s a big shortfall, even for our own population. As
the traditional seaside holiday fights for survival against
overseas packages, Mosney seems a good way to cope,” she says.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 19 March page 10

Fewer British schoolgirls are getting

The number of schoolgirls giving birth has begun a downward
trend, research has shown.

Figures to be released by the Office for National Statistics on
Thursday are expected to show a drop in the number of teenage
pregnancies during 1999. Britain has had the worst rate for teenage
births in Western Europe for nearly two decades.

The latest figures will boost the government, which hopes to
halve the rate of conceptions in under 18s by 2010.

Tony Blair set up a teenage pregnancy unit in the department of
health in 1999.

The unit’s independent advisory group is chaired by
Winifred Tumim, who said yesterday: “We haven’t had the
figures yet, but…certainly the impression of the unit is that
the trends are moving in the right direction. However, we still
have a long way to go.”

Source:- The Independent Monday 19 March page 11

Scottish newspapers

HIV study used in criminal case

Confidential data in a study of HIV was used in a criminal
prosecution case an academic has revealed. Professor Andrew Leigh
Brown, professor of evolutionary genetics and head of the centre of
HIV research at Edinburgh University, was speaking out after
Stephen Kelly made British legal history as the first person to be
convicted of causing grievous bodily harm by knowingly passing on
the virus to his girlfriend.

While in Glenochil Prison, Kelly had voluntarily and in
confidence given a blood sample for research. The samples were
seized by police to establish that the strain of HIV carried by
Kelly’s girlfriend was similar to the Glenochil strain.

Brown described the actions of the authorities as “an invasion
of human rights”, which would prevent him working in similar
research in the future unless there were guarantees that the
material would not be seized.

Kelly was sentence to five years in prison for the conviction.
Human rights and HIV support groups are studying the outcome
carefully, unhappy at the possible wider impact of the

Source:- The Herald Monday 17 March page 1

Ex-council home owners may face huge bills

Around 13,000 owner-occupiers in Glasgow may face refurbishment
bills of £40,000 each as a result of the city plans to
transfer stock to an independent housing association.

The figures have become available in an analysis by the proposed
new landlord, Glasgow Housing Association, which hopes to take over
the city’s 85,000 council homes from next year. The
association estimates that the owner-occupiers will be required to
pay £130 million towards repairs unless the Scottish executive

Unlike existing tenants, the owner-occupiers will not have a
vote in the ballot in November regarding transfer of stock. The
powers to transfer housing stock are a key part of the Housing
(Scotland) Bill, which received unanimous support in the Scottish
parliament last week.

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 19 March page 1

Prisons on red alert

Prison officers warned last night that Scottish prisons are on
the brink of riots which staff are ill equipped to cope with. In
recent weeks there has been an outbreak of serious violence at six
Scottish prisons. The Scottish Prison Service has sent in senior
officers to ascertain the cause of the trouble. Meanwhile the
Prison Officers’ Association in Scotland has warned that
reduced resources places serious doubt on their ability to manage
widespread trouble. Jim Dawson, spokesperson for the POA, said: “We
are simply so understaffed that we simply wouldn’t be able to
cope with the riots we had in the 1980s.”

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 19 March page 1



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