Tuesday 1 April 2003

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

Judge lets abusive neighbour keep her home

A woman suffering from mental health problems, who makes her
neighbours’ life a misery when she shouts and swears late at
night, has been allowed to remain in her home.

A high court judge told Christine Brazier that moves to get her
evicted constituted a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act,
despite repeated anti-social behaviour.

A county court ruling made in October that ordered Brazier to
leave her home in Burrington, Devon, was overturned by Mr Justice
David Steel.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 1 April 2003

Prison officer wins £150,000 trauma

The prison service will pay damages of £150,000 to a
retired prison officer for the psychological trauma he suffered as
a result of counselling some of Britain’s worst sex

Ronald Johnson from Leyland in Lancashire has been unable to
work since doctors diagnosed post traumatic stress disorder and
depression. He claimed he had not been properly supervised or
prepared for dealing with sex offenders at Albany jail on the Isle
of Wight.

The award was agreed minutes before a four-day hearing at the
high court was due to begin.

Lawyers estimated the prison service will face a costs bill of
between £70,000 and £100,000. The service did not accept

Source:- The Times  Tuesday 1 April 2003

Nanny ‘shook child until brain

A nanny shook a seven-month-old baby so hard that the baby girl
suffered a brain haemorrhage, a court was told yesterday.

Michelle Petchey was employed by a couple to look after their

-old twin daughters, but after 23 days in employment she had
shaken one so severely that her brain had started to bleed, Reading
crown court heard.

The trial continues.

Source:- The Times  Tuesday 1 April 2003 page 13

MP’s sword attacker obsessed with

A man who believed he was a victim of a conspiracy attacked his
MP with a samurai sword, a court was told yesterday.

Robert Ashman seriously injured Liberal Democrat MP for
Cheltenham, Nigel Jones in the attack at the MP’s weekly
surgery, and killed his assistant Andrew Pennington.

Ashman admits killing Pennington, but denies attempting to
murder Jones in the same attack.

The prosecution has accepted Ashman’s plea of guilty of
manslaughter of Pennington on the grounds of diminished

The trial continues.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 1 April page 13

Son knifed parents to spare their feelings

A teenager who was plotting to murder a youth, stabbed his
father to death and tried to kill his mother to save them from the
shame of a trial.

James MacDonald, aged 17, told police he spent weeks planning to
murder a teenager, he claims bullied him at college and he had
hoarded weapons to do so.

But he said he realised his parents would be “upset”
by his trial so he decided to kill them to protect them.

MacDonald, who was 16 when he crept into his parents bedroom to
stab them both, denies murdering his father, but admitted
manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The plea was accepted yesterday at Winchester crown court where
MacDonald also admitted the attempted murder of his mother at the
family home in Hampshire.

He will be sentenced on Monday, but Stewart Jones, QC for
MacDonald, said doctors believed he needed psychiatric help and
accommodation was being sought at Broadmoor security hospital.

Source:- The Times  Tuesday 1 April page 15

Alarm over deaths in custody

Human rights group, Liberty, said in a study yesterday that the
system for dealing with deaths in custody in England and Wales
breaches the European Convention on Human Rights.

The report, which calls for radical changes to the way such
cases are investigated, was backed by relatives of people, who have
died in police custody or prison.

The study proposes a reform of the inquest system and the
procedures for deciding on prosecutions of police officers, prison
wardens and others involved in prisoners’ deaths.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 1 April page 14

GP ‘hit mental patient’

A GP hit a psychiatric patient with a frying pan, a wine bottle
and said shooting such people was a “good idea”, it was
alleged at a General Medical Council disciplinary hearing

It was alleged that Charles Gould of Jordanstown, County Antrim,
struck out at a patient after being called to assess him in June

Dr Gould denies acting violently and unprofessionally towards
Patient X. He also denies two charges of making inappropriate and
unprofessional remarks about psychiatric patients.

He has denied a charge of being guilty of serious professional
misconduct in relation to the charges.

The hearing continues.

Source:- The Guardian  Tuesday 1 April page 15

Drug warning

A British Journal of Psychiatry report claims that one in five
teenagers who smokes cannabis will go on to become dependent on the

Source:- Daily Telegraph  Tuesday 1 April page 12

Scottish newspapers

COSLA says housing agency is in a mess

The £370 million housing agency set up by the Scottish
executive is making a mess of its work, and is more likely to
hinder local authorities than help them, the head of
Scotland’s councils claimed yesterday.

Communities Scotland is also accused of trying to police
councils instead of trusting them, and threatening to choke new
initiatives with red tape.

The damning charges are made in two leaked letters written by
Pat Watters, President of COSLA to Margaret Curran, who was social
justice minister before parliament dissolved.

Source:- The Herald Tuesday 1 April page 6

Eviction threat for problem youths

Teenagers and their families could be thrown out of their homes
under a scheme being piloted by a Scottish council to combat
anti-social behaviour.

The initiative, which has proved a success in several towns and
cities in England and Wales, involves contracts between offenders,
their parents and the authorities.

Edinburgh council admits that while acceptable behaviour
contracts are voluntary and not legally binding, they can be used
to support an application for an eviction order.

Source:- The Herald Tuesday 1 April page 10

Welsh newspapers

Many prayed – but others wept

Prayers have been said for the victims of a paedophile priest at
the church where they were abused.

Following the jailing of Canon Lawrence Davies, a senior Welsh
cleric for sexual abuse against two boys in his parish, members of
the congregation in the church where he served as a vicar broke
down in tears during the first service held following his

The Bishop of Llandaff, the Right Reverend Dr Barry Morgan, told
parishioners that the abuse and subsequent conviction had divided
the community.

Davies was jailed for 10 years last week after a jury at Cardiff
crown court found him guilty of a number of sexual offences.

Source:- South Wales Echo Monday 31 March page 9

Pain in store

Parents with children who have disabilities say they face an
endurance test each time they go out to the shops.

Research by the charity, the Family Fund, reveals that for the
majority of families with a child with disabilities, the simple
weekly chore that other people take for granted, is made difficult
and frustrating.

Problems with access and parking and the unhelpful attitude of
other shoppers made the task unnecessarily difficult, according to
the research.

Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 1 April page 9

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