Tuesday 19 November 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

£3bn: cost of jails almost doubles in four

Spending on prisons in England and Wales is fast approaching
£3 billion a year, as the record population behind bars forces
the service to provide more accommodation for inmates.

The service has been given an 11 per cent increase by David
Blunkett after long term forecasts show there is no sign of an end
to the rise in numbers being jailed.

The service will receive an extra £275 million in 2003-4
bringing total spending on the 137 prisons in England and Wales to
£2.8 billion compared with £1.6 billion in 2000-1.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 19 November page 10

Child abuse fears push Santa out of his

Traditional Santa’s grottoes are being abandoned by
department stores this year in response to growing fears about
child abuse.

An increasing number of high street chains are scaling down or
cancelling the festive custom where children sit on Santa’s
lap because parents are scared about “stranger danger”.

However, Marks and Spencer is opening grottoes in nine of its
stores for the first time and the company has insisted that all its
Santa’s and elves are checked by the Criminal Records Bureau
to ensure they have no convictions for offences against

Source:- The Times Tuesday 19 November page 13

Paedophile told ‘hitman’ to kill

A paedophile admitted at the Old Bailey yesterday that he had
tried to hire a hitman to murder a nine-year-old girl whom he had
sexually abused.

Stuart Spring thought he was paying a contract killer
£10,000 to exact revenge on the girl, whose evidence led to
him being jailed for four years.

However, he was talking to an undercover detective at Pentoville

Sentencing was adjourned while reports are prepared, but Spring
from north London faces a life sentence.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 19 November page 13

Priest admits he assaulted boys

A convicted paedophile Ronan Catholic priest admitted six
further charges of indecent assault on three boys yesterday at the
Old Bailey.

Michael Hill was remanded in custody by Judge Christopher Moss
for sentencing on Thursday. Another eight similar charges are to be
left on file.

Hill was jailed for five years in 1997 for a string of sex
offences against boys and was freed in 2000 on parole.

The court heard that the charges related to offences between
1969 and 1987, the same period covered by the previous case.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 19 November page 13

Life sentence part of new child prostitution

A tightening of prostitution laws today will mean that any adult
who pays for sex from a child aged under 18 will face prosecution
and up to life imprisonment.

The new offence of commercial sexual exploitation of a child
will mean that for the first time anyone uses an under age
prostitute will face a specific criminal charge of buying sex with
a child and heavy penalties.

Home secretary David Blunkett is expected to announce the
measures today when he publishes the white paper setting out a
reform of the laws on sexual offences and sexual offenders, which
date back to the 19th century.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 19 November page 1

Excluded boy treated ‘like pariah’ on return
to class, Lords told in test case

A teenage boy was subjected to “humiliating and degrading”
treatment, and was treated like a “pariah” when he returned to
school after an appeal panel ruled he could return to school after
he was excluded, the House of Lords was told yesterday.

In a test case that will challenge the right of teachers to
prevent unruly pupils returning to mainstream schools, Cherie Booth
QC told the law lords that the boy, who was 16 at the time, had
been denied a proper education to which he was entitled under human
rights law.

When he returned to school to study for his GCSEs, he was taught
in isolation by a retired maths teacher.

The boy is one of two in a legal challenge seeking to overturn
earlier rulings involving staff belonging to the National
Association of School Masters/Union of Women Teachers.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 19 November page 8

53% of inner London children ‘live in

More than half of the children in inner London boroughs are
being brought up below the government’s official poverty
line, according to a report for the city’s mayor, Ken
Livingstone, today.

It will show that 53 per cent of children in the capital’s
core boroughs are suffering deprivation, casting doubt on whether
the chancellor’s anti-poverty strategy is working.

It shows that poverty is worse in inner London than in any other
region of Britain.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 19 November page 14

Scottish newspapers

Executive claims poverty is easing

Labour and the SNP seized on the annual social justice report
yesterday, disputing whether the executive’s policies had
added to or helped ease poverty.

Margaret Curran, social justice minister, launched the report,
pledging that £31 million would be phased in over three years
to create investment in deprived areas.

Source:- The Herald Tuesday 19 November page 6

Government failing on public services

The government is failing to meet the vast majority of its
targets for improving public services, according to a 200-page
dossier produced by the Conservatives.

Source: The Scotsman Tuesday 19 November page 11

Crackdown on incapacity benefit as pensions rise by
£2 a week

People on incapacity benefit who are incapable of working will
be forced to attend job interviews or risk losing 20 per cent of
their allowance, Andrew Smith, work and pensions secretary
announced yesterday. He said he wanted to change attitudes and get
disabled people into work.

He also said the basic state pension would rise by £2 a

Source:- The Herald Tuesday 19 November page 2

Welsh newspapers

Lawyers to fight for action group

Residents opposed to a planned asylum appeal centre in Newport
will have lawyers to fight their case when it comes before

The immigration hearing centre with eight courts would be used
for people making appeals, and although the crown does not need
planning permission, local planners will look at the proposals.
Work has already started on the £3 million project which will
handle more than 30 cases a day.

Local MP John Griffiths told a meeting of more than 200 people
opposed to the plans that the location and transport links were
inadequate. He described the decision to locate the centre in a
local business park as bizarre. “Huge questions should be asked of
the consultants involved,” he said.

Source:- South Wales Argus Monday 18 November page

Trial papers stolen with solicitor’s

Sensitive papers for a major trial into the death of a baby were
stolen when thieves took a lawyer’s car from outside a
Newport court.

In the car were case papers for a trial into the death of a
four-week old baby which was due to start this week. Among the
papers were expert reports from doctors at Great Ormond Street and
Alder Hey children’s hospitals. The loss of the papers, which
were contained in eight separate files that had taken more than a
year to put together, could now delay the trial.

Source:- South Wales Argus Monday 18 November page

We want justice, says uncle of victim

More than 11,000 petitions from all over Wales are being taken
to Downing Street calling for a referendum on bringing back the
death penalty for child murderers.

Leading the campaign is Ian Heffron, uncle of Nicola Fellows,
who was killed along with her friend Karen Hadaway in the notorious
`babes in the wood’ murders 16 years ago.

“We have been trying for 16 years to get justice for my niece.
We have 11,000 petitions completed and more from other parts of the
country are on the way,’’ said Heffron.

He and his fellow campaigners also want the introduction of an
American system where motorway signs are used to alert drivers
immediately a child kidnap takes place.

Source:- South Wales Echo Monday 18 November page

Stars come out for a good cause

Ending cruelty to children in Wales is vitally important, guests
at the NSPCC celebrity ball were told. The event, the first of its
kind in Wales, saw a line up of Welsh celebrities, including
actress Ruth Madoc and war hero Simon Weston, as well as several
rugby legends who auctioned signed shirts to raise money for the

“Not only does an event like this promote the profile of the
vital work of the society, it also enables us to raise much needed
funds to continue the service,’’ said Tony Curtis,
chairperson of the NSPCC Full Stop Campaign in Wales.

Source:- South Wales Echo Monday 18 November page 9

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