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Prince Andrew’s alleged links to Epstein could come under further scrutiny as judge approves release of hundreds of files | US News

Prince Andrew’s alleged links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein could come under further scrutiny with the release of hundreds of files from a defamation case.

They include 40 documents of evidence from Johanna Sjoberg, who has claimed the Duke of York touched her breast while sitting on a couch inside Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.

Buckingham Palace previously said the allegations are “categorically untrue”.

US Judge Loretta Preska ruled on Monday that documents relating to more than 170 people who were either associates, friends or victims of disgraced US billionaire Epstein should be made public.

The documents are part of a 2015 US defamation case by Virginia Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite who supplied Epstein with underage girls.

The individuals who are set to be named in the documents will have 14 days to appeal against the judge’s decision – meaning they are likely to be released in early January.

Johanna Sjoberg has accused Prince Andrew of touching her breast in 2001. Pic: ANL/Shutterstock
Johanna Sjoberg has accused Prince Andrew of touching her breast in 2001. Pic: ANL/Shutterstock

Ms Giuffre settled her civil claim against Maxwell, but representatives of the media have since argued documents that were sealed as part of the case should be made public.

Judge Preska ordered some individuals should be named because they had already given interviews to the media – including Ms Sjoberg.

Prince Andrew stepped down from public life after the furore over his friendship with Epstein and paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case to Ms Giuffre, a woman he claimed never to have met.

The out-of-court settlement was reported to be as much as £12m.

Read more:
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Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein: The claims and denials

Epstein’s death ‘raises serious questions that must be answered

Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell, pictured in a photo believed to have been taken in 2001. Pic: Rex/Shutterstock
Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell, pictured in a photo believed to have been taken in 2001. Pic: Rex/Shutterstock

The duke was cast out of the working monarchy and no longer uses his HRH title after Ms Giuffre, who was trafficked by Epstein, accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17.

In January 2022, ahead of his legal settlement, his mother Queen Elizabeth II stripped Andrew of all of his honorary military roles, including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards.

Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.

The death was ruled a suicide.

Jeffrey Epstein was found dead while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges
Jeffrey Epstein was found dead while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges

Maxwell has been imprisoned since July 2020, despite numerous attempts from her defence counsel to have her released on bail.

She was sentenced to 20 years in prison at the federal court in the Southern District of New York in June last year.

The socialite indicated her desire to appeal shortly after her conviction, with her lawyers claiming victims had “faded, distorted and motivated memories”.

Her appeal is currently scheduled to be heard in November next year.

Man arrested in Bulgaria over alleged indecent assault of 14-year-old girl in Rotherham | UK News

A man wanted in connection with the alleged indecent assault of a 14-year-old girl in Rotherham has been arrested in Bulgaria.

Shahid Hussain, a Pakistani national who previously lived in the South Yorkshire town, was detained at a border crossing between Bulgaria and Turkey, according to the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA).

The 48-year-old was held by Bulgarian police officers at the Kapitan Andreevo border post on 26 November as he tried to enter the country from Turkey.

Hussain is wanted over the alleged indecent assault of the girl, which is said to have happened in 2003.

He was charged with offences in July 2018, but failed to appear in court.

A European Arrest Warrant was later obtained by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

NCA operations manager Stuart Cobb said: “Hussain has been wanted by the NCA for more than five years, and we were always determined that he be brought back to the UK to face those charges.

“We will be working with our partners at the CPS and in Bulgaria to ensure that happens and the extradition process continues.”

The investigation into Hussain is part of Operation Stovewood, which is looking into non-familial child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 to 2013.

NCA officers have so far made more than 200 arrests and have more than 50 active investigations under the Stovewood banner.

While the NCA has committed to complete the current investigations, it has previously announced it will no longer adopt new investigations from January 2024.

Everton could face 12-point deduction over alleged financial breaches | UK News

The Premier League has reportedly recommended a deduction of up to 12 points from Everton’s current standing due to alleged breaches of financial rules.

In March, the Premier League referred Everton to an independent commission after reviewing the financial records of all top-flight clubs for the 2021-22 season.

While the specific charge has not been revealed, it is thought to be linked to a tax matter concerning loans for Everton’s new Bramley Moore Dock stadium, which is currently under construction.

The disciplinary hearing began last week, with a decision anticipated later in the year.

Now, the Daily Telegraph has reported that the league has asked the independent commission to impose a severe sanction against the Merseyside club.

A deduction of 12 points would result in Everton’s current score dropping to minus five points in the ongoing season’s league table.

According to the league’s profitability and sustainability rules, clubs can sustain losses of up to £105m in three years or potentially face penalties.

However, Everton reported losses of £371.8m in the past three years and faced annual losses for five consecutive years, amounting to over £430m during this time.

There has been no official response from either the club or the Premier League regarding the details of the report.

When the league referred the club to the commission in March, it cited a potential violation of its profitability and sustainability (P&S) regulations during the period leading up to the 2021-22 season.

Everton issued a statement on the day when the referral was confirmed, saying: “The club strongly contests the allegation of non-compliance and, together with its independent team of experts, is entirely confident that it remains compliant with all financial rules and regulations.

“Everton is prepared to robustly defend its position to the commission. The club has, over several years, provided information to the Premier League in an open and transparent manner and has consciously chosen to act with the utmost good faith at all times.”

The team is currently subject to a takeover bid by the American private investment company 777 Partners.

Last week, the firm refuted a New York Times report claiming that its bid had stalled due to a failure to provide information to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Meanwhile, the club’s longstanding chairman, Bill Kenwright, died on Monday at the age of 78.

South Tyneside: Ten people arrested over alleged kidnapping of ‘number of people’ | UK News

Ten people have been arrested as part of an investigation into an alleged kidnapping of a “number of people” in South Tyneside.

Police said some people had sustained “serious, but non-life threatening injuries” but there was “no risk to the wider public at this time”.

The arrests came after dawn raids were carried out by Northumbria Police at multiple addresses in South Shields.

The force said it followed an allegation of people being held against their will and seriously assaulted at an address on 20 September.

Northumbria Police’s Major Investigation Team said anyone with “concerns or information” should contact them.

Detective Inspector Mark Atherton said: “Following a concerning report made to us about a number of people being held against their will at an address in the area, an investigation was launched with a number of specialist detectives tasked with establishing exactly what happened.

“A number of people sustained serious, but non-life threatening injuries and have now been safeguarded.

“We have since identified a number of people we believe to have been involved and yesterday, carried out targeted action to arrest those people and bring them into custody.

“Seven people have since been charged with a number of offences and are due to face the courts today.

“Our investigation remains ongoing and is still at an early stage, but we do believe there is no risk to the wider public at this time.

“Officers will remain in the area and anyone who thinks they might be able to help or have information they want to share, should get in touch.”

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Police said six men and one woman have been charged with a number of offences and are due to appear before magistrates in South Tyneside on Wednesday.

One man remains in police custody. Another man and a woman have been released on bail.

Anyone with information should contact Northumbria Police by calling 101 or using the ‘tell us something’ page on its website, quoting log NP-20230921-0543.

Independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Domestic abuse victims put at risk after data breaches revealed their locations to alleged abusers | UK News

Domestic abuse victims have been put at risk after data breaches meant their locations were disclosed to their alleged abusers, the UK Information Commissioner has said.

The breaches have taken place at organisations including a law firm, a housing association, an NHS trust, a police service, a government department and local councils.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued reprimands to seven organisations for data breaches affecting domestic abuse victims since June 2022, with four of those cases related to inappropriate disclosure of the victim’s safe address to alleged perpetrators.

In one case, a family had to be immediately moved to emergency accommodation.

In another, an organisation gave the home address of two adopted children to their birth father, who was in prison on three counts of raping their mother.

Organisations had also revealed the identities of women seeking information about their partners to those partners.

There was also a breach in which an unredacted assessment report about children at risk of harm was sent to their mother’s ex-partners.

The people they trusted exposed them to further risk

John Edwards, the UK Information Commissioner, has called on organisations to handle personal information properly to avoid putting vulnerable people at further risk.

Mr Edwards said: “These families reached out for help to escape unimaginable violence, to protect them from harm and to seek support to move forward from dangerous situations. But the very people that they trusted to help, exposed them to further risk.”

He called on organisations to handle personal information properly and stressed that “getting the basics right is simple” through training, double checking records and contact details and restricting access to information.

A lack of staff training and failing to have robust procedures in place to handle personal information safely were among the various reasons for the breaches.

Mr Edwards continued: “This is a pattern that must stop. Organisations should be doing everything necessary to protect the personal information in their care.

“The reprimands issued in the past year make clear that mistakes were made and that organisations must resolve the issues that lead to these breaches in the first place.”

He added: “Protecting the information rights of victims of domestic abuse is a priority area for my office, and we will be providing further support and advice to help keep people safe.”

Read more:
Domestic abuse victim shares image of ‘horrific’ injuries
Domestic abusers to be tagged after leaving prison

‘A data breach can be a matter of life or death’

Nicole Jacobs, the domestic abuse commissioner for England and Wales, said: “It takes a huge amount of bravery for victims and survivors of domestic abuse to come forward, and many go to extreme lengths to protect themselves from the perpetrator. To then be exposed to further harm due to poor data handling is a serious setback.

“That seven organisations have breached victims’ data in the past two years, with some sharing their address with the perpetrator, is extremely dangerous. For victims of domestic abuse, a data breach can be a matter of life or death.”

Kelly Andrews, the chief executive of Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid, said: “In the most serious cases lives are at risk.

“We encourage organisations to read the guidance and ensure staff are trained in handling confidential and sensitive data to better protect victims and prevent further harm.”

The ICO revised its approach to public sector enforcement last year. It aims to reduce the impact of fines on the public by working more closely with the public sector, encouraging compliance with data protection law to prevent harms before they happen.

The reprimands give instructions to the organisations on how to improve their data protection practices.

Eleven on trial over alleged ‘child sex abuse and witchcraft’ in Glasgow | UK News

Eleven people have gone on trial accused of taking part in a child sex abuse ring involving witchcraft, attempted murder and the killing of dogs.

Seven men and four women are charged with 32 offences between them, including forcing children to participate in seances – using an Ouija board or similar – to “call on spirits and demons”.

The alleged victims were also reportedly made to watch and participate in classes involving witchcraft, point wands and utter spells that caused them to believe they had “metamorphosed into animals”.

It is also claimed children were raped on various occasions while members of the group did “clap, cheer and verbally encourage” the attacks, as well as film them, prosecutors say.

Five of the accused also face an attempted murder charge for trapping a child in a cupboard.

The alleged victim was also reportedly forced to act like a dog, eat dog food, was hung by their clothing from a nail on the wall, and was pushed into a microwave oven.

Each of the accused has also been charged with abusing and killing a number of dogs, including forcing two children to stab the animals.

Other charges include causing children to take part in sexual activity, forcing a child to courier drugs, possessing diamorphine and cocaine, and supplying the Class A drugs.

The alleged sexual and non-sexual crimes – involving three girls and a boy – are said to have taken place across Glasgow between 2010 and 2020.

Iain Owens, 45, Elaine Lannery, 39, Lesley Williams, 41, Paul Brannan, 41, Marianne Gallagher, 38, Scott Forbes, 50, Barry Watson, 47, Mark Carr, 50, Richard Gachagan, 45, Leona Laing, 51, and John Clark, 47, deny all the charges against them.

Maureen Goudie, Steven McHendrie and Robert Brown are also mentioned as being involved in a number of the charges, but court papers said they are now deceased.

The trial, before Lord Beckett at the High Court in Glasgow, continues.

British Museum director resigns following alleged thefts of artefacts | UK News

The director of the British Museum, Hartwig Fischer, has announced he is stepping down with immediate effect following alleged thefts of artefacts from the central London institution.

Mr Fischer said the situation is “of the utmost seriousness” and he has “sadly come to the conclusion” that his presence is “proving a distraction”.

The museum earlier sacked a senior curator after close to 2,000 artefacts, worth millions of pounds, were believed to have been stolen.

Mr Fischer said it was “evident that the British Museum did not respond as comprehensively as it should have” in response to “warnings in 2021” about a problem that has now “fully emerged”.

“The responsibility for that failure must ultimately rest with the director,” he said.

File pic
Artefacts worth millions of pounds are thought to have been stolen

Mr Fischer also said he had “misjudged” some comments he made about antiques dealer Ittai Gradel.

He added: “I wish to express my sincere regret and withdraw those remarks.”

Dr Gradel has said his concerns about misplaced items were ignored.

He said: “I told them about the few items where I had absolute proof that they came from the British Museum. I said, ‘I have all the information you would require me, all the assistance, I’m entirely at your disposal’. They never contacted and now they’re trying to shoot the messenger,” he said.

Mr Fishcer previously said that an “individual who raised concerns” had “many more items in his possession”.

He added: “It’s frustrating that that was not revealed to us as it would have aided our investigations.”

Former chancellor George Osborne, who chairs the museums trustees, said “no one has ever doubted Hartwig’s integrity, his dedication to his job, or his love for the museum”.

He added: “I am clear about this: we are going to fix what has gone wrong. The museum has a mission that lasts across generations. We will learn, restore confidence and deserve to be admired once again.”

Blundell’s School: Teenager remanded in custody over alleged assaults at private school | UK News

A 16-year-old boy has appeared in court in connection with multiple alleged assaults at a Devon private school.

The boy, who cannot be named due to his age, appeared before Exeter Magistrates’ Court today charged with three offences accused of two counts of attempted murder relating to two youths, who also cannot be identified.

He is also charged with grievous bodily harm with intent against Henry Roffe-Silvester, a member of staff at the school.

The boy spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth, then nodded when the judge asked if he had understood the proceedings.

District Judge Stuart Smith remanded him in custody after the hearing ahead of an appearance at Exeter Crown Court on Tuesday.

Kyle Walker: Manchester City and England footballer won’t face criminal charge over alleged indecent exposure | UK News

Kyle Walker will not face a criminal charge over an allegation that he indecently exposed himself in a bar, police have confirmed.

The Manchester City and England footballer voluntarily attended a police station for questioning on Thursday following the circulation of a video on social media.

The alleged incident was said to have happened in a bar in Wilmslow, Cheshire, after City’s 2-0 Premier League win over Newcastle earlier this month.

Cheshire Police confirmed Walker was given an out of court disposal – meaning he won’t face a criminal charge – and “the matter is now closed”.

In a statement on Friday, the force told Sky News: “On Wednesday 8 March, Cheshire Constabulary was made aware of a video circulating on social media in relation to an alleged incident at a bar in the Wilmslow area.

“Officers have now concluded their enquiries which included speaking to those directly involved.

“A 32-year-old man from Prestbury voluntarily attended a police station for questioning on 16 March.

“He has been dealt with by an out of court disposal and the matter is now closed.”

Manchester City footballer Kyle Walker being investigated by police over alleged indecent exposure | UK News

Manchester City and England footballer Kyle Walker is being investigated by police over allegations he indecently exposed himself in a Wilmslow bar.

Cheshire Police said officers were investigating the incident following the circulation of a video on social media.

The alleged incident is said to have happened in a bar on Sunday after City’s 2-0 Premier League win over Newcastle.

A statement from police said: “On Wednesday 8 March, Cheshire police was made aware of a video circulating on social media in relation to an indecent exposure which allegedly occurred in the Wilmslow area.

“Enquiries in relation to the incident are in the early stages and no arrests have been made at this time.”

The Sun released security camera footage from the pub which the papers claims shows Walker pulling down his tracksuit bottoms.

The paper reports that the 32-year-old was drinking with friends at a Manchester venue.

City, who gave their players two days off after the Newcastle victory, have declined to comment.

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The PA news agency understands Walker contests the allegations and reported for training as normal after the two-day break.

Walker’s representatives have been approached for comment.