Friday 28 February 2003

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

Downing still prime murder suspect say

Police announced yesterday that Stephen Downing remains their
primary suspect for the murder of Wendy Sewell.

In a fresh police inquiry, 16 detectives spent six months in
Derbyshire interviewing 1,600 witnesses. They concluded that he is
still their only possible suspect for the 1973 killing of

The claim is a devastating blow to Downing and his supporters
who on his release from jail two years ago having served half his
lifetime in prison, said he was the victim of Britain’s
longest running miscarriage of justice.

The police have now officially declared the case closed.

Source:- The Times Friday 28 February page 11

New curb on asylum ‘passports’

British travel documents will no longer automatically be given
to asylum applicants as part of the government’s drive to
curb the number of people coming to the UK.

Officials issue the documents to applicants given exceptional
leave to remain, who have an urgent need to travel and cannot get a
passport from their own country’s embassy.

Ministers believe that easy access to the document, which looks
like a passport and can be used in the same way, has encouraged
people to seek asylum in Britain.

Source:- The Times Friday 28 February page 4

Criminal vetting for all who change jobs is

Government plans to introduce criminal record checks this summer
for the 10 million people who change jobs each year is to be
shelved indefinitely, it emerged yesterday.

The move is part of a package of measures including legislation
designed to put the troubled criminal records bureau back on the
road to recovery.

An inquiry yesterday blamed “unreasonably high public
expectations” for the bureau’s problems.

Ministers insisted yesterday that the situation at the CRB has
been stabilised and is under control.

Source:- The Guardian Friday 28 February page 11

Prisoner found hanged

A prisoner found hanged in his cell at HMP Leeds died in
hospital yesterday.

Neil Sowray, 32, was serving a four-month sentence for assault
and was on suicide watch at the jail.

Source:- The Guardian Friday 28 February page 15

Law lords back teachers’ rights over unruly

Law lords yesterday backed teachers who refused to teach violent
and disruptive pupils after they were expelled and then reinstated,
in two landmark judgements.

In a ruling, five law lords found unanimously that industrial
action in such cases was lawful under trade dispute laws concerning
teachers’ terms and conditions of employment.

In a related case the same law lords also decided by a 3:2
majority that an expelled pupil allowed back to school on appeal
was properly ‘reinstated’ even though he was taught in
isolation after teachers refused to allow him to enter the

The two youths whose appeals were rejected were expelled from
different comprehensive schools in the south of England.

Source:- The Guardian Friday 28 February page 17

Drink related deaths among young soar

Alcohol related deaths among young adults have tripled in 20
years and an average of two young men and one young woman now die
every day in England and Wales from the effects of alcohol.

The Health Statistics Quarterly bulletin show that people were
dying younger from alcohol-related causes – a trend that is
forecast to continue, fuelled by the ladette binge drinking

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 28 February page 7

Fate is on the cards for city centre yobs

People who behave badly in city centres are to be shown red and
yellow cards by the police.

Anyone caught committing offences such as urinating in the
street, dropping litter or using threatening behaviour will be
issued with a yellow card and given a verbal warning. If they
commit a second offence later in the evening such as carrying
alcohol or carrying glasses in the street they will get a red card
and may be arrested.

The City Rules initiative begins in Liverpool today.

Source:- Independent Friday 28 February page 12

Scottish news

One shake ‘could have caused baby’s

One shake alone could have caused fatal injuries to a child
whose childminder is accused of murder, a court heard

Expert Professor Jeanne Bell, 60, told the High Court in
Edinburgh that massive haemorrhaging to Alexander Graham’s
brain and spine could have been inflicted by someone shaking him
just once with enough force.

Source: The Herald Friday 28th February page

Tolerance zones for prostitutes bill slumps to heavy
Holyrood defeat

Attempts by Margo MacDonald, the independent MSP, to introduce a
bill for councils to set up tolerance zones for street prostitutes
were crushed in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

However, the Executive has agreed to create a working group to
study ways of tackling prostitution.

Source: The Herald Friday 28th February page 8

Second council quits COSLA

COSLA suffered a fresh blow yesterday when another local
authority decided to withdraw from the organisation which
represents Scotland’s councils.

Argyll and Bute’s move, which follows a decision by
Glasgow City Council to withdraw, relates to concerns over policy
areas such as care-home fees and concessionary fares.

Source: The Scotsman Friday 28th February page 11

Under-12s to be spared court ordeal

Children under the age of 12 and victims of sexual attacks are
to be spared the ordeal of going to court to give evidence against
their alleged abusers under new Scottish Executive plans.

Technology is to be installed in Scotland’s highest courts
to allow vulnerable witnesses to give evidence electronically.

Source: The Scotsman Friday 28th February page 7

Welsh newspapers

Services are up to scratch

Gwent social services are on track to meet recommendations by
Wales’ children’s commissioner, Peter Clarke.

In a report published this week the commissioner highlighted
‘worrying inadequacies’ within social services
departments in Wales with vulnerable children unable to make
complaints because of a lack of specialist complaints officers.

Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen councils already have
children’s complaints officers and a spokesman for
Monmouthshire said that the council was pleased that many of the
recommendations in the commissioner’s report had already been

Source:- South Wales Argus Thursday 27 February page

Surge in calls by mothers to helpline

Stressed mothers have triggered a surge in calls to a child
protection helpline.

Calls to the NSPCC Cymru helpline have soared by 60 per cent
since a campaign aimed at stopping baby battering by parents was
launched by the charity earlier this week.

The new five-week initiative warns that even the most loving
parent can reach breaking point and harm their children.

Source:- Western Mail Friday 28 February page 7

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