News round up: ‘Mother drowned disabled baby out of shame’

Mother drowned disabled baby because she was embarassed, court hears

A mother drowned her four-year-old daughter in the bath because she was embarrassed by the girl’s disability, a court heard.
Joanne Hill, 32, planned the murder after her husband refused to allow their daughter, Naomi, to be adopted, it was alleged.

A jury heard how Mrs Hill struggled to cope caring for the youngster, who suffered with cerebral palsy. She wore callipers to help her walk and had poor hearing.

Mrs Hill, who denies murder but admits manslaughter, told police she had been suffering from suicidal thoughts before the killing and later suggested she was psychotic.

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Man who raped schoolgirl after fleeing hospital sent to Broadmoor

A mentally ill man who raped a schoolgirl after escaping from a low-security psychiatric hospital had previously been allowed to amass a collection of pornographic and horror DVDs, a court heard yesterday.

Darren Harkin, 21, who attacked the 14-year-old girl the morning after absconding, was also taken by staff to the cinema to see horror films and had been allowed unsupervised leave.

Judge Nicholas Cooke QC said Harkin, who was initially detained when, aged 12, he stabbed his six-month-old stepbrother to death in his cot, was “exceptionally dangerous”. He said he was aghast at the actions of staff at Hayes hospital in Pilning, a village near Bristol.

Harkin, who has schizophrenia and autistic spectrum disorder, yesterday admitted escape from lawful custody, burglary and two counts of rape. Cooke ordered that he should be detained indefinitely at the maximum security Broadmoor hospital.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Brown and Darling face TUC grilling

Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling will today try to mollify an angry and disillusioned TUC, which wants Labour to act to help millions of low-paid workers facing massive rises in fuel and food prices.

The chancellor is due to address the annual congress this afternoon and will face a barrage of hostile questions on the government’s policy to hold down public sector pay, and its failure to introduce a windfall tax on energy companies or extra taxes on the super-rich.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Tories mull cuts in spending

George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, signalled on Monday that the Tories were prepared to cut public spending to rein in “shocking” government borrowing, in a clear sign that the terms of the political debate are shifting.

Last September, Mr Osborne announced he would match Labour’s spending plans until 2011, hoping to reassure voters an incoming Tory government would not embark on a programme of cuts.

Read more on this story in The Financial Times

Half of nursing home residents wrongly drugged, study shows

Half of all nursing home residents in Britain are being wrongly drugged, a new study suggests, twice as many as previously thought.
Staff admit that part of the reason why so many people are given the “chemical coshes”, many of which have strong sedative effects, is to “make life easier”.

Experts who looked at 22 nursing homes found 51 per cent of residents were being inappropriately given drugs, including anti-psychotics, antidepressants and painkillers.

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Almost £750m of council tax uncollected

Almost £750 million of council tax went uncollected last year, a trade union has calculatedThe GMB union said that across the UK, a total of £745,666,831 of council tax was not paid in 2007/08.

The union, which represents many local government workers, carries out an annual survey of uncollected tax. The 2006/07 total was slightly higher, on £760m.

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph


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