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Robbie Coltrane: Harry Potter’s Hagrid and Cracker actor has died aged 72 | Ents & Arts News

Harry Potter and Cracker actor Robbie Coltrane has died aged 72.

The Scottish-born star, known for playing the Hogwarts gamekeeper Hagrid in the Potter film franchise and criminal psychologist Dr Eddie ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald in the 1990s TV crime drama, died on Friday.

In a statement, his agent of 40 years, Belinda Wright, said the actor will probably be best remembered as Hagrid, which led to a “stream of fan letters every week for over 20 years”.

From left: Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Jason Isaacs in 2002. REUTERS/Stephen Hird SH/ASA
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(L-R) Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Jason Isaacs in 2002

She described Coltrane, whose real name was Anthony Robert McMillan, as a “wonderful actor” and “forensically intelligent”.

Coltrane won the best actor gong at the British Academy Television Awards three years running for his role in Cracker and was made an OBE in the 2006 New Year Honours list.

His agent did not give details on his death – but said Coltrane’s family thanked the team at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert for their care.

‘A complete one-off’

Tributes have flooded in for the actor, as Harry Potter author JK Rowling tweeted an image with Coltrane and said: “I’ll never know anyone remotely like Robbie again. He was an incredible talent, a complete one off.”

Coltrane’s role in all eight of the Potter films arguably became his best known.

Daniel Radcliffe, who starred as Harry Potter, said: “Robbie was one of the funniest people I’ve met and used to keep us laughing constantly as kids on the set.

“I’ve especially fond memories of him keeping our spirits up on Prisoner of Azkaban, when we were all hiding from the torrential rain for hours in Hagrid’s hut and he was telling stories and cracking jokes to keep morale up.”

Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Pic: Lux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy
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Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Pic: Lux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy

While James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley, said he will miss the “random chats about all subjects under the sun”.

Coltrane’s ‘talent knew no bounds’

James Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli also paid tribute to Coltrane, who starred as Valentin Zukovsky in Bond films GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough.

They described him as an “exceptional actor”, adding that “his talents knew no bounds”.

While Stephen Fry, who starred with Coltrane in the comedy series Alfresco and narrated the British version of the Harry Potter audiobooks, said the actor will be “dreadfully missed”.

Fry said he met Coltrane almost 40 years ago and added: “Such depth, power & talent: funny enough to cause helpless hiccups & honking as we made our first TV show, Alfresco.”

‘A Scottish entertainment legend’

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called Coltrane a “Scottish entertainment legend” and said he will be “hugely missed”.

Actor Robert Lindsay, who starred alongside Coltrane in the 1989 film Bert Rigby, You’re a Fool paid tribute to his “dear pal”, adding: “We shared a Hollywood journey that will live with me forever.”

Coltrane was born in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire and attended Glasgow School of Art and Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh.

He is survived by his sister Annie Rae, his children Spencer and Alice and their mother Rhona Gemmell.

Be in no doubt, the prime minister is in deep trouble | Beth Rigby | Politics News

Be in absolutely no doubt, the prime minister is in deep trouble.

She has sacked her chancellor, committed a second major U-turn on her mini-budget, and junked the core of her economic policy.

And she did so, awkwardly and uncomfortably, in no more than eight minutes.

Government descends into chaos as PM faces battle to survive – follow live updates

In an excruciating news conference – so short the gathered political press pack were left open-mouthed as she departed – Liz Truss made her already perilous political position even worse.

The aim of this breakneck change in direction was to attempt to calm markets and her Conservative colleagues, but instead, she left huge questions unanswered.

It’s worth underlining the significance of what the prime minister just announced.

First, on policy, she has buckled and reversed her position on corporation tax. She will now go ahead with the increase proposed by her leadership rival, Rishi Sunak.

During the contest to replace Boris Johnson as Tory leader, Ms Truss had said increasing the rate from 19% to 25% next April would “put off people who want to invest in Britain” and amount to “cutting off our nose to spite our face”.

It was a significant part of the platform on which she was elected Tory leader, now humiliatingly discarded in order to bring in around £18bn to fill the black hole left by last month’s mini-budget.

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‘You’re out of your depth, prime minister?’

Read more:
Ministers say PM ‘cannot survive’ – so how could Liz Truss be removed?

She said it was a “down payment” on the medium-term fiscal plan due to be set out on 31 October – a signal to the markets that she’s prepared to make more reversals if necessary.

Does she still believe it will put people off investing? We don’t know because she didn’t stick around at the news conference long enough to be asked.

On the sacking of Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor, she expressed her sorrow – but again, did not answer the obvious question about how she can possibly justify his departure without her own.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng walk outside a hotel, as Britain's Conservative Party's annual conference continues, in Birmingham, Britain, October 4, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville
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Liz Truss and her former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng

The chancellor, who was supposed to be one of her closest political friends, was also humiliatingly discarded – along with the government’s radical economic mission for which she had asked him to lead the charge.

The way in which the prime minister delivered this news really matters. Not just because of the lack of scrutiny that came from only taking four questions and barely engaging with them in the answers – but because her party, and indeed the markets, will have been watching to see how she handled the situation.

That news conference was not just about communicating with the public. The messages I received from Conservative MPs ahead of the news conference made clear that she needed to put in a really strong, reassuring performance.

Their fears are that she is out of her depth. They want to see that she can handle being prime minister. And the early signs are that her performance today failed on both fronts.

One MP has messaged me saying it was “shockingly bad”, even by Liz Truss’s standards.

Jeremy Hunt says that while now is not the right time to change Prime Minister, he hasn't ruled out a return to frontline politics
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Jeremy Hunt has replaced Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor

Jeremy Hunt’s installation as the new chancellor may be intended to show the ship is being steadied – that someone with deep experience in government is at the helm of the economy and that markets do not need to fear further surprises.

But power flows from Number 10. The prime minister is the head of government. The prime minister is the person who must command the confidence of the Commons if they are to remain in post.

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This prime minister looks out of her depth. “It’s not going to last,” is how one cabinet minister put it to me.

Gary Lineker says he knows two gay Premier League stars and hopes they will come out at Qatar World Cup | UK News

Gary Lineker has claimed he knows two gay Premier League footballers and said it would be “amazing” if they chose to come out during the Qatar World Cup to send a strong message to the host nation, where homosexuality remains a crime.

The former England striker and TV presenter told the Daily Mirror the players had been “very close” to coming out before now.

“It would be great if one or two of them came out during the World Cup. It would be amazing,” he said.

“I know for a fact that some have been very close and contemplated it. There’s a couple I know, but obviously it’s not for me to say who they are.”

The tournament kicks off on 20 November in Qatar – a nation where same-sex sexual activity is punishable by seven years in jail, or even death by stoning for Muslim men under Sharia law.

On Thursday, Qatar’s World Cup chief Nasser Al Khater sought to give assurances to LGBTQ+ fans that they would be welcomed at the tournament

While Qatar is not prepared to change anti-LGBTQ+ laws to respond to concerns of visiting fans, he has insisted none will be discriminated against during the 29-day tournament and that gay fans will be allowed to hold hands.

“All we ask is for people to be respectful of the culture,” Mr Al Khater said.

“At the end of the day, as long as you don’t do anything that harms other people, if you’re not destroying public property, as long as you’re behaving in a way that’s not harmful, then everybody’s welcome and you have nothing to worry about.”

Although Mr Al Khater has said fans can display rainbow flags, he said “it’s a FIFA matter” whether approval is given for Harry Kane, the England captain, and Gareth Bale, his Welsh counterpart, to wear multicoloured “One Love” armbands that highlight discrimination.

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Gay world cup fans ‘can hold hands’

Lineker’s comments come after he was found to have breached BBC impartiality rules over a remark he made about the Conservative Party having Russian donors.

The Match of the Day presenter shared an article about Liz Truss, then foreign secretary, urging Premier League teams to boycott the Champions League final in Russia, with the comment: “And her party will hand back their donations from Russian donors?”

The former footballer said his tweet was prompted by an article on football, and it was intended as a comment on the sport rather than on politics.

However, the BBC said it has upheld a reader complaint made about his tweet from 23 February, and that the finding has been reported to the management of BBC Sport and discussed with Lineker.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng to return to London from Washington early as major mini-budget U-turn expected | UK News

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has cut short his trip to the International Monetary Fund in Washington and is returning to the UK earlier than planned, as another major mini-budget U-turn is expected.

Mr Kwarteng was due to attend a final day of meetings at the IMF’s annual gathering today.

Instead, after a hasty briefing with journalists late on Thursday, he announced he would fly home overnight.

A source close to him dismissed suggestions that this represented a sign of panic.

Truss is out ‘and we have the numbers’, says Tory MP – politics latest

Pressed on why there was a need for a last-minute schedule change, a Treasury official insisted that it was for talks on “the medium-term fiscal plan”.

The chancellor had “a very constructive time, spoke to Janet Yellen (the US Treasury Secretary), spoke to Kristalina Georgieva, the head of the IMF… and it put everything in a global context… a global set of challenges…” according to the treasury official.

The chancellor’s team bristled at comparisons made to the Greek financial crisis of 2011 when the Greek finance minister had to rush home from an international meeting.

“That was completely different. A sovereign debt crisis and on a completely different scale to anything that’s happening in our markets,” a Treasury source said.

Pushing for an explanation for such an unusual change in scheduling, we were told: “Markets have been turbulent and [the chancellor] really really wants to be there engaging with colleagues, engaging with ministers…”

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Pressure builds on Kwarteng

On his return, the chancellor is likely to find a significant section of his mini-budget re-drawn following days of open revolt among Tory MPs and an expectation that another major U-turn is on the cards.

It comes amid speculation in Westminster about the fate of Mr Kwarteng, only a few weeks into the job, if his financial plans are scrapped in the coming days.

However, Mr Kwarteng has insisted that his position is safe, telling broadcasters: “I am not going anywhere.”

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PM’s key pledge could be next casualty

Meanwhile, mounting pressure has been placed on Prime Minister Liz Truss to reassure the UK’s financial markets and rescue her administration, with her key pledge to scrap the planned increase in corporation tax from 19% to 25% widely seen as a likely casualty.

Former home secretary Priti Patel became the latest senior Tory to suggest the government could be forced into another U-turn, telling Sky News “market forces” could make a reversal on corporation tax cuts unavoidable.

Downing Street has not denied the policy could be reversed, despite it being one of Ms Truss’s landmark promises.

Labour pledges to ban fracking ‘once and for all’ with opposition day motion | Politics News

Labour has pledged to ban fracking “once and for all”, calling it “an unjust charter for earthquakes”.

The party is working to bring forward an opposition day motion to maintain the ban on the controversial gas extraction method, after Liz Truss said she would lift it as part of her energy security plan.

The moratorium on fracking was imposed by the Conservatives in 2019 after a series of tremors, and their manifesto that year said they would not support it “unless the science shows categorically that it can be done safely”.

Fracking involves injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks and boreholes to force open existing cracks and extract oil or gas.

A government-commissioned report by the British Geological Survey at the time said more data was needed, but despite the lack of scientific progress, Ms Truss’s administration has torn up the manifesto commitment.

Ed Miliband, the shadow climate secretary, will visit Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire, on Friday to meet the party’s candidate Jo White and residents to listen to concerns about the possibility of fracking in their area.

“Labour will stand with communities in opposing the Conservatives’ dodgy plans to impose expensive, dirty, and dangerous fracking on the British people,” he said.

“Fracking would make no difference to energy prices, and could risk the health of local communities, nature, and water supplies.”

The government has insisted that future fracking applications will be considered where there is local support, although it is not clear how that will be measured.

Previous fracking attempts have faced significant public opposition.

Ms Truss said she was “setting a new ambition for our country” when she announced the fracking ban would be lifted as part of a plan to make the UK a net energy exporter by 2040.

However, Labour says that shale gas extracted by fracking would make no difference to gas prices, and is a more expensive alternative to renewables, which the party says is nine times cheaper than gas.

Hitting out at what he called Ms Truss’s “unjust charter for earthquakes”, Mr Miliband said Labour would stand up to her plan to “outsource decisions about local consent to fracking companies”.

The party intends to work with MPs who oppose fracking to force the government to maintain the ban, one of several issues to divide the Conservatives since Ms Truss became leader.

The government’s environmental commitments have come under scrutiny in recent weeks, and the prime minister has been criticised for giving the green light to the expansion of oil and gas operations in the North Sea and after reports suggested she is opposed to the installation of solar panels on productive agricultural lands.

Read More:
Labour pledges to create publicly owned energy company

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The shadow climate change secretary says the government is ‘setting its face against renewables’

Mr Miliband will also visit a solar farm on Friday, and is expected to set out his party’s opposition to any plan that would block new solar projects.

“If Liz Truss blocks solar power she will be declaring unilateral energy disarmament – undermining our energy security and forcing the British people to accept decades of higher energy bills,” Mr Miliband said.

“Only Labour can deliver lower energy bills and energy security for the UK, with our plans for clean power by 2030 – including trebling solar power – and GB Energy, a publicly-owned, clean energy company, to make Britain an energy independent superpower.”

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng insists he is ‘not going anywhere’ and is ‘totally focused’ on growth plan | Politics News

The chancellor has insisted he is “not going anywhere” amid the economic turmoil in the UK and said he remains “totally focused” on delivering the government’s growth plan.

During a visit to Washington DC, Kwasi Kwarteng was asked whether he and Liz Truss, the prime minister, will be in their respective roles this time next month.

“Absolutely. 100%. I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

The chancellor admitted there has been some “domestic turbulence” since he unveiled his tax-cutting mini-budget at the end of September and the pound fell to record lows against the dollar, but said there is “a very dicey situation globally”.

Truss is out ‘and we have the numbers’, says Tory MP – politics latest

“I speak to Number 10, the PM all the time, and we are totally focused on delivering the growth plan,” he said.

Pushed on whether there will be any more reversals of policies in the mini-budget, Mr Kwarteng said: “I am totally focused on the growth agenda.”

Last week, after open revolt from Tory MPs and a surge in support for Labour in the polls, Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng abandoned the plan to abolish the highest 45% tax rate.

Sky News understands discussions are under way in Downing Street over whether to scrap some of the contentious proposals which remain in the chancellor’s tax-cutting mini-budget.

The proposed changes to corporation tax and dividend tax are those understood to be under discussion.

Downing Street insisted earlier on Thursday that there will be no more U-turns on policies in the government’s tax-cutting mini-budget despite pressure from Conservative MPs for changes to be made.

Asked to confirm there would be no further reversals, the prime minister’s official spokesman said: “Yes, as I said to a number of questions on this yesterday – and the position has not changed from what I set out to you all then.”

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Discussions happening over whether to scrap parts of the mini-budget

Ms Truss faces open revolt in her party over the £45bn package of unfunded tax cuts in the mini-budget, which unleashed chaos in the markets when it was announced last month.

The chancellor will set out his debt-cutting plan in more detail on 31 October, having bowed to pressure to bring the date forward from 23 November given the economic turbulence.

Earlier on Thursday, James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, refused to say there would be no more reversals.

He told Sky News the Halloween statement would give “a more holistic assessment of the public finances and our response to the global headwinds that every democracy, every economy in the world is facing”.

Pressed on the plan to axe the increase in corporation tax from 19% to 25% in April, Mr Cleverly said it is “absolutely right” the government helps businesses to “stay competitive” and “stay afloat”.

The Treasury had vowed to reduce the rate of income tax on dividends by 1.25 percentage points.

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How long can Truss stay in power?

Mr Kwarteng is meeting with International Monetary Fund (IMF) leaders in Washington DC today, after the institution’s chief economist said tax cuts threatened to cause “problems” for the UK economy.

Speaking at a press conference in Washington, the managing director of the IMF said it is sometimes right for a “recalibration” of policies as she was questioned over reports of further U-turns after the mini-budget market chaos.

Kristalina Georgieva said: “Our message to everybody, not just the UK, is that at this time, fiscal policy should not undermine monetary policy.”

Read more:
What on earth is happening in UK markets?
What are bonds and where do they fit in the mini-budget crisis?

Meanwhile, in a post on social media on Thursday, former Conservative chancellor George Osborne questioned why Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng would wait for the chancellor’s statement on 31 October to perform an “inevitable U-turn” on their mini-budget.

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Tories ‘must get back to being fiscally responsible’

On Wednesday, Mel Stride, the Tory chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, said that given Ms Truss’s commitments to protect public spending, there was a question over whether any plan that did not include “at least some element of further row back” on the tax-slashing package can reassure investors.

While David Davis, the Tory former minister, called the mini-budget a “maxi-shambles” and suggested reversing some of the tax cuts would allow Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng to avert leadership challenges for a few months.

Drugs worth £4.3m seized and 230 arrested in county lines crackdown | UK News

An estimated £4.3million worth of Class A drugs have been seized and 230 suspects arrested in a crackdown on county lines gangs.

Around 70 criminal networks supplying heroin, cocaine and crack from London were shut down by the Metropolitan Police during a week of action beginning on 3 October.

Scotland Yard detectives also confiscated a large quantity of Class B drugs together with almost £335,000 in cash and almost 60 weapons including a firearm, a samurai sword, meat cleaver, machetes, knives and knuckle dusters.

A total of 249 children and vulnerable adults – 215 male and 34 female – were safeguarded during the week-long crackdown, which is part of the force’s Operation Orochi.

County lines refers to criminal gangs using mobile phones to supply drugs from large cities to towns and rural areas.

This week police intercepted county lines running from the capital to Hull and Hertfordshire.

Line holders are in charge of the network while runners, often vulnerable people, are used to deliver the drugs.

This system of drug distribution leads to serious violence and exploitation, police said.

Some 31 referrals were made to officials responsible for identifying victims of human trafficking and modern slavery and ensuring they get appropriate support.

Drugs confiscated during the county lines crackdown
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Drugs that were confiscated during the operation
Drugs seized during the crackdown
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Drugs seized during the crackdown

From its inception in November 2019 until September this year, Operation Orochi has seen more than 1,260 county lines dismantled and almost 2,500 people arrested, leading to 3,833 charges for offences including drug supply, weapon possession and modern slavery.

Deputy assistant commissioner, Graham McNulty, said: “County lines bring misery to communities and devastate the lives of those who are most vulnerable in our society.

“There is an undeniable link between drugs and violence, so disrupting all routes of drug supply continues to be central to our work in making London safer for everyone.”

A suspect being led away by police Pic: Twitter/ Met Police
Image:
A suspect being led away by police Pic: Twitter/ Met Police

Read more:
Met Police failing in ‘several areas’ and told to make ‘urgent improvements’
New Met Police chief ‘happy’ for daughters to walk around London at night

Mr McNulty added: “Our efforts to tackle county lines are ongoing day in, day out, not just during the coordinated weeks of action.

“We will press on with removing drugs off our streets, keeping our communities safe, and protecting those who are most vulnerable and easily susceptible to predatory gangs.”

Police from across the capital also worked alongside 6,000 children and adults to explain the warning signs of criminal exploitation.

Kwasi Kwarteng in Washington DC for talks with IMF as Liz Truss faces revolt at home | UK News

As Liz Truss faces open revolt in her own party over her tax cut plans, her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will today try and reassure the IMF that everything is under control.

Ministers continue to be under pressure for the market chaos that erupted after the government announced its £45bn package of unfunded tax cuts last month.

The prime minister and her chancellor say the cuts are needed to get Britain’s economy growing again, as data published on Wednesday suggested we are heading for recession.

Mr Kwarteng will meet with IMF leaders in Washington DC on Thursday, after the institution’s chief economist said tax cuts threatened to cause “problems” for the UK economy.

The IMF has said Britain’s priority should be tackling inflation rather than adding to the price problem through tax giveaways to achieve economic growth.

The chancellor was seen touring the IMF’s offices and being shown artwork on Wednesday ahead of talks today.

Back at home, Ms Truss is facing growing calls for another policy reversal as her MPs see more and more polls threatening a Labour landslide at the next election.

The PM and her chancellor have already been forced into a U-turn on one of the many tax cutting policies within their plan – namely scrapping the 45p tax rate for the highest earners.

In her first PMQs since the dramatic mini-budget she pledged not to cut public spending to balance the books – despite a leading economics-focused think tank warning the government is billions short of the sums needed.

Liz truss responds to Sir Keir Starmer during PMQs
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Liz Truss responds to Sir Keir Starmer during PMQs

Read more:
What on earth is happening in UK markets?
What are bonds and where do they fit in the mini-budget crisis?

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned that the government would have to cut spending or raise taxes by £62bn if it is to stabilise or reduce the national debt as promised.

Mel Stride, the Tory chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, said that given Ms Truss’s commitments to protect public spending, there was a question over whether any plan that did not include “at least some element of further row back” on the £43 billion tax-slashing package can reassure investors.

“Credibility might now be swinging towards evidence of a clear change in tack rather than just coming up with other measures that try to square the fiscal circle,” Mr Stride said.

Conservative former minister David Davis called the mini-budget a “maxi-shambles” and suggested reversing some of the tax cuts would allow Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng to avert leadership challenges for a few months.

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Time ticking for pension managers

Meanwhile, Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested the government could ignore gloomy Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts if they predict low growth and rising debt.

The Business Secretary told ITV’s Peston that “its record of forecasting accurately hasn’t been enormously good” and that the chancellor could draw on “other sources of information”.

Woman accused of ‘pack of lies’ over sex trafficking claims | UK News

A 21-year-old woman is accused of concocting an elaborate “pack of lies” in order to convince police that she was the victim of a gang of sex traffickers in Barrow-in-Furness.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Eleanor Williams staged a trip to Blackpool and lied to police that she had been trafficked and raped in various houses by eight different men.

A trial at Preston Crown Court heard that this is one of many false rape allegations made against a number of men by Williams between 2017 and 2020.

Williams denies seven counts of perverting the course of justice.

Police had found Williams at Preston Railway Station after she went missing in early July 2019.

Jonathan Sandiford KC, prosecuting, said: “The defendant gave what can only be described as an horrific account of how she had been the victim of violence and sexual exploitation.”

Williams allegedly claimed that the men had threatened to kill her if she went to the police by throwing her into the sea. But the prosecutor told the jury the whole story was made up.

He said evidence would show she used Booking.com to book herself a room for two nights at the Savoy Hotel on the Promenade in Blackpool, and CCTV did not show her meeting men, but going to the shops to buy food before returning to her hotel.

In his opening remarks in the case, Mr Sandiford said instead of being sold for sex by traffickers, “the defendant was in her hotel room eating Pot Noodle and chocolate and watching YouTube and iPlayer on her mobile telephone while resolutely declining to answer any messages from her family and friends asking where she was.”

The court heard that Williams told police that she had been trafficked from the age of 12 or 13 and taken to parties where the men bidded to have sex with girls and that she was taken to Ibiza for two weeks and forced to have sex with men.

Jonathan Sandiford KC said: “When the officers pointed out that flight manifests could be checked, the defendant admitted that she had never been trafficked to Ibiza.”

The prosecution said it would also disprove claims that Williams was taken to Amsterdam and made to work in a brothel and that an attempt was made to sell her at auction.

Williams is also accused of setting up fake Snapchat accounts in the names of her alleged traffickers, some who were real people and others fictitious, and that she used a second mobile phone, given to her by a women’s help group for victims of abuse, to create conversations with an imaginary fellow victim.

The jury was told that phone mast records would show that while texts were exchanged, the two mobile phones were in the same place, even when the defendant travelled to Scotland to see her father.

In court on Tuesday, it was alleged that Williams had harmed herself with a hammer to make it look as if she’d been attacked by her abusers. On Wednesday, there were more details.

In May 2020 the defendant was discovered with severe injuries, described in court as a right eye that was purple and swollen shut, a finger with two cuts, one of which cut to the pulp, almost taking a chunk off it, and a shallow cut to her right ankle that was two inches long.

The police later recovered a hammer from the fields near to where she was found and it is clamed this was identical to the one Williams had purchased from Tesco ten days earlier.

The recovered hammer was extensively stained with blood, which, according to the prosecution, matched Williams’s DNA.

The jury was told that a Home Office pathologist examined photographs and medical notes about the injuries and, according to Mr Sandiford, the expert concluded that: “The injury to the little finger was not caused by a knife or blade but as consistent with a blow by the double pronged claw of a hammer of the type recovered.”

He said the pathologist found that “the injuries were consistent with multiple, self-inflicted hammer blows. The defendant has in a rather extreme act used the hammer to inflict the blows upon herself.”

Louise Blackwell KC, defending, said Ellie Williams’s case will be that “all the allegations she has made are true,” except in the case of the events in Blackpool where she will say she was instructed to go to Blackpool by her traffickers and to lie about what happened there.

Ms Blackwell added: “In all other respects the allegations she has made are true.”

The trial continues.

Wasps rugby club likely to ‘enter administration in coming days’ | UK News

Wasps rugby club has said it is likely to “enter administration in the coming days”, deepening a crisis within top flight English rugby.

The club announced it had withdrawn from this Saturday’s Premiership match against Exeter.

Its statement said: “It has become clear that there is likely to be insufficient time to find a solvent solution for the companies within the group, and it is therefore likely that they will enter into administration in the coming days with a view to concluding deals shortly thereafter.

“In light of the current situation, we have therefore taken the decision to withdraw the Wasps men’s team from this Saturday’s league fixture against Exeter Chiefs.”

It marks a low for the domestic game as rivals Worcester are already in administration and face relegation next season after being suspended from the Premiership for the rest of the league campaign.

Wasps, which lost to Northampton Saints in a Premiership match on Sunday, has been pushed to the brink of financial ruin by a debt pile that includes an unpaid tax bill.

The club’s parent company, Wasps Holdings, filed a notice of intention to appoint FRP Advisory, a restructuring firm, as administrator on 21 September. This was followed by a second such notice last week.

They gave the club ten days of breathing space from creditors as it sought to find a way through its financial troubles.

The statement by Wasps suggested there was hope that a new buyer would take over once the club entered administration.

Sky News revealed at the weekend that David Armstrong, a former Wasps chief executive, was working with investment firm Terminum Capital on a bid to buy the club and its stadium.

Exhibitions group NEC later lodged a bid for the Coventry Building Society Arena, the stadium the club shares with Coventry City FC, though Sky News understood that its interest did not extend to the club itself.

Wasps was founded in 1867 in Hampstead, north London, but its journey away from London and the southeast to Coventry has not proved successful.

The move 80 miles north of its last home, in High Wycombe, alienated the fan base and its subsequent financial struggles prompted an exodus of valuable players this year.