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Twin sisters who fought off crocodile attack to swim again in 13km race despite being ‘triggered’ in the water | UK News

Twin sisters who were viciously attacked by a crocodile, before one fought it off, are to swim again in a river race, despite initial fears over getting back into the water.

Georgia and Melissa Laurie were swimming in a lagoon near Puerto Escondido, Mexico, in June 2021, when they spotted a crocodile coming for them.

Speaking to Yalda Hakim on Sky News’ The World, the twins recounted the attack that left them fearing they would both die – and the heroic rescue that turned things around.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY MAY 14 Twins Melissa and Georgia Laurie at their home in Sandhurst in Berkshire. Georgia has been included on the King's first Civilian Gallantry List after she saved her twin sister Melissa from a crocodile attack while they were in Mexico in June 2021. Both women were seriously hurt but survived after treatment, and now Georgia will receive the King's Gallantry Medal, which acknowledges exemplary acts of bravery. Picture date: Monday May 13, 2024.
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Melissa and Georgia Laurie. Pic: PA

Now, the sisters are planning to get back into the water, with a 13km river swim.

Melissa, who was attacked and dragged under by the crocodile, told Sky News: “We’re actually getting back into the water, it was Georgia’s crazy idea for us to swim the Thames marathon, so 13km.

“We have been doing some training. At first getting back into the water was scary and things like getting tired was a trigger and having water go into my lungs, that would remind me of drowning.

“But I think the more that we start swimming the more we’ll get used to being back in the water.”

The twins pictured after the attack
Image:
The twins pictured after the attack

Georgia, from Sandhurst in Berkshire, described how the sisters had headed off to see the bioluminescence on the day of the attack, but timed it wrong so were unable to, so instead went for a walk along a beach.

With the sun out, and weather lovely, they went for a swim as well, but it was then Melissa saw the crocodile coming for them.

Georgia told Sky News: “We started swimming frantically away and the next thing I hear is Melissa screaming because it had taken her underwater.

“It was a pretty scary moment, at that point I thought that one of us was going to die I just didn’t know who it would be.”

Melissa described a friend reaching out for her, about to pull her to safety, before the crocodile “snatched” her hand away and “dragged” her back underwater for a second time.

During the “brute force” attack, she said her life began flashing before her eyes, but it was then her sister Georgia launched a desperate attempt to save her.

Georgia said: “It was a very visceral, primal response. That was the only choice I had right?

“I went back to try and find her and saw her body floating towards me in the mangroves and that’s when the fight began because the crocodile came back and it snatched her away from me.

“So I started punching it. Just going hell for leather really.”

She added: “I didn’t know if I was going to live myself… when I saw her I thought she was dead.”

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Georgia repeatedly punched the crocodile in the face until the twins could escape.

Both women were seriously hurt but survived after treatment.

Melissa survived with an open fracture to her wrist, severe puncture wounds to the abdomen and several injuries to her leg and foot, while Georgia was bitten on her hand.

Georgia will also receive the King’s Gallantry Medal, which acknowledges exemplary acts of bravery.

She said the medal was an “honour” that left her “so shocked”.

“I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t expect it,” she said.

“I feel really privileged, it’s a silver lining to have come out of the terrible ordeal… it kind of softens the whole traumatic experience.”

Twin who saved sister in crocodile attack honoured on King’s first gallantry list | UK News

A 31-year-old woman who saved her twin sister from a crocodile attack in Mexico will receive a bravery honour after being included on the King’s first Civilian Gallantry List.

Georgia Laurie, from Sandhurst in Berkshire, punched the reptile in the face when it attacked her twin Melissa in June 2021.

Both women were seriously hurt but survived after treatment.

Georgia will receive the King‘s Gallantry Medal, which acknowledges exemplary acts of bravery.

Ms Laurie said the medal was an “honour” that left her “so shocked”.

“I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t expect it.

“I feel really privileged, it’s a silver lining to have come out of the terrible ordeal… it kind of softens the whole traumatic experience,” she said.

“It’s been a good thing for not just me but for the whole family, I feel like I have to share it with my sister because, let’s face it, I don’t think I would have been nominated for it if she didn’t survive.

“What’s made this story so incredible is Melissa’s unwavering bravery throughout it all because she was so strong during it and I don’t think I would be here without her, she really gave me the strength to keep fighting.”

The twins were swimming in a lagoon near Puerto Escondido when Melissa was dragged under the water.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY MAY 14 Twins Melissa and Georgia Laurie at their home in Sandhurst in Berkshire. Georgia has been included on the King's first Civilian Gallantry List after she saved her twin sister Melissa from a crocodile attack while they were in Mexico in June 2021. Both women were seriously hurt but survived after treatment, and now Georgia will receive the King's Gallantry Medal, which acknowledges exemplary acts of bravery. Picture date: Monday May 13, 2024.
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The twins at home in Sandhurst in Berkshire. Pic: PA

Melissa survived with an open fracture to her wrist, severe puncture wounds to the abdomen and many injuries to her leg and foot, while Georgia was bitten on her hand.

Georgia added: “The further away it gets, the less it feels real.

“But then something like this happens and it puts it all back into perspective again, like wow, that actually did happen, it’s a crazy story.

“Because when you think about it, it does sound like a horror movie, but it’s part of the tapestry of our life.”

Police officer Zach Printer, who confronted gunman Jake Davison unarmed on 12 August, 2021 in Keyham, Plymouth, is also included on the King’s Civilian Gallantry List.

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Davison killed his mother Maxine, 51, and then shot dead three-year-old Sophie Martyn, her father Lee, 43, Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd, 66.

PC Printer was attending to Mrs Shepherd when he saw Davison carrying the firearm.

He immediately sprinted towards the 22-year-old, telling him to stand still in the hope he could talk him down. Davison then took his own life.

The officer was acknowledged for his “selfless and brave actions” while confronting Davison, which prevented further harm to others.

Among the other recipients is PC Steven Denniss, who was stabbed in the leg when apprehending a double murder suspect while off-duty in Louth, Lincolnshire, in June 2021.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY MAY 14 BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout photo issued by Lincolnshire Police of Pc Steve Denniss who will receive the King's Gallantry Medal, which acknowledges exemplary acts of bravery. Pc Denniss was stabbed in the leg while apprehending a double murder suspect while off duty in Louth, Lincolnshire, on June 1 2021. Pc Denniss was walking his dog at Hubbard's Hills when he spotted Daniel Boulton, who was wanted for the murder of his former girlfriend Bethany Vinc
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PC Steve Denniss who is set to receive the King’s Gallantry Medal. Pic: PA

PC Denniss was walking his dog when he spotted Daniel Boulton, who was wanted for the murder of his former girlfriend Bethany Vincent, 26, and her nine-year-old son Darren Henson the previous evening.

Without any protective equipment, PC Denniss tried to detain Boulton until colleagues arrived, and was stabbed by him while on the phone with police.

The officer chased Boulton until he was joined by armed officers, before the suspect was arrested and later charged and jailed for life with a minimum term of 40 years.

This year’s Civilian Gallantry List, which includes nine people, is the first to be approved by the King.

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Also on the list are Lawrie Elsdon-Dew, for protecting others during fierce fighting outside the British embassy in Sudan in April 2023, and Stacey Farrington and Jake Walker, who stopped a speeding car travelling the wrong way on a motorway using an ambulance.

The King’s Commendation for Bravery is set to go to Stephen Ellison, who rescued a stranger from a river in Chongqing, China, in November 2020.

Chhaganlal Jagaita, who helped people out of a burning hotel in Mati, Greece in July 2018, and Paul Martin, who intervened during a knife attack in April 2021, also received recognition.

Murder suspect in hospital after 14-year-old killed in sword attack in London | UK News

A murder suspect remains in hospital after a 14-year-old boy was killed and four others injured in a sword attack in northeast London.

A 36-year-old man was tasered and arrested at the scene in Hainault on Tuesday morning.

He was taken to hospital after sustaining injuries during the incident when his van hit a house.

The Metropolitan Police said he had not yet been interviewed because of his injuries.

Police were initially called at 7am on Tuesday to reports of a vehicle being driven into a house in Hainault.

A man was later seen wielding a sword and attacking members of the public on a road near Hainault tube station.

The suspect was arrested 22 minutes later. Doorbell footage showed the moment officers cornered the hooded man, who was still holding his weapon, in a driveway.

RETRANSMITTED AMENDING BYLINE..NUMBERPLATE PIXELATED BY PA PICTURE DESK..Handout footage from a doorbell camera of police officers tasering a sword-wielding man in Hainault, north east London, after a 14-year-old boy died after being stabbed following an attack on members of the public and two police officers. Picture date: Tuesday April 30, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story POLICE Hainault. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
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The suspect can be seen turning away from an officer with a taser. Pic: PA

Moment Hainault stabbing suspect tasered and arrested
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A female officer can be seen walking towards the suspect and tasering him. Pic: PA


Police confirmed on Tuesday that one person – a teenage boy – had died and four others were injured during the incident.

Among those injured were two police officers who suffered wounds that required surgery, but were not life-threatening, and two members of the public.

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Police said they did not think it was a targeted attack, or terror-related, and they were working to establish the circumstances of what took place.

Eyewitnesses described hearing shrieking and seeing someone receive CPR at the scene of the stabbings.

Video of part of the incident showed how officers shouted at the suspect, saying “Don’t move, don’t f****** move” after he was brought to the ground by three separate Taser discharges before being arrested.

RETRANSMITTED AMENDING BYLINE NUMBERPLATE PIXELATED BY PA PICTURE DESK Handout footage from a doorbell camera of police officers tasering and detaining a sword-wielding man in Hainault, north east London, after a 14-year-old boy died after being stabbed following an attack on members of the public and two police officers. Picture date: Tuesday April 30, 2024.
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The suspect is surrounded by officers who pin him to the ground. Pic: PA


Other footage showed the suspect being chased by police as an officer is heard shouting “Lock your doors” as the sword-wielding man entered residential gardens.

In another clip, a police car arrives before the man verbally confronts the police and shouts “Is there anybody here who believes in God?” while standing next to a body.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe said there had been speculation about whether police had been aware of the suspect before the incident.

She said that, despite urgent and extensive checks, police had “found no trace of a prior incident involving him so far, but we will of course continue to make those inquiries”.

Pic: Jordan Pettitt/PA 
Police at the scene in Hainault, north east London, after reports of several people being stabbed at a Tube station. A 36-year-old man wielding a sword was arrested following the attack on members of the public and two police officers. Picture date: Tuesday April 30, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story POLICE Hainault. Photo credit should read: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire
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Police at the scene. Pic: Jordan Pettitt/PA


Pic: Jordan Pettitt/PA
Police at the scene in Hainault, north east London, after reports of several people being stabbed at a Tube station. A 36-year-old man wielding a sword was arrested following the attack on members of the public and two police officers. Picture date: Tuesday April 30, 2024.
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Police at the scene. Pic: Jordan Pettitt/PA


Read more:
Everything we know so far
Witnesses recall terrifying scenes

A neighbour from a nearby road, who witnessed the incident, told PA news agency the suspect pulled a “samurai sword from the back of his trousers”.

James Fernando, 39, said the suspect had asked one of his neighbours to “take the telephone from him to tell whoever was on the phone his location”.

“Within two seconds she realised something wasn’t right, started running, and he pulled a samurai sword from the back of his trousers,” he said.

“She shouted to the other neighbour – a boy who was on his way to school. As he’s turned around, he’s struck him on the face.”

Mr Fernando said the suspect then started “running around with the sword in his hand looking for victims”.

Another witness, who asked not to be named, said: “He was wielding his sword trying to attack the police but then they sprayed him and he ran away.

“We were very scared and trying to hide and not show ourselves through the window, because he was standing right next to our house and he could have seen us if he looked up.

Nottingham attack families traumatised by ‘barbaric’ police WhatsApp message about killings | UK News

A police officer described the students stabbed to death in Nottingham last summer as “proper butchered” and said officers “tried to hold their inners in”.

Sky News can reveal the “disgusting” police WhatsApp message sent in the aftermath of the killings of Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar on 13 June 2023.

Their families are horrified by the language used by an officer when discussing the stabbings with colleagues.

Valdo Calocane, 32, a paranoid schizophrenic, stabbed the two 19-year-olds to death as they walked home from a night out before flagging down and killing 65-year-old school caretaker Ian Coates.

At the time, one officer messaged colleagues on a WhatsApp group.

The message said: “So 2 students on Ilkeston road have been proper butchered, 4 section [officers] turned up and tried to hold their inners in. Suspects then made off and attacked a man in a car on magdala [road] and stabbed him to death.”

Another officer, PC Matt Gell, then shared the message outside of the police WhatsApp group with his wife and two friends.

More on Nottingham Attacks

The families of Barnaby and Grace learned of the contents of the message in February but were so disturbed by its contents that they have only felt comfortable publicising it now, despite the pain it causes them.

Grace’s father, Dr Sanjoy Kumar, said the message is “so disgusting”.

Undated handout photo issued by Nottinghamshire Police of Valdo Calocane. Prosecutors have accepted Calocane's pleas of not guilty to murder and guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to mental illness, for the murders of Grace O'Malley-Kumar, Barnaby Webber and Ian Coates, and the attempted murder of three others, in a spate of attacks in Nottingham on June 13 2023. Issue date: Tuesday January 23, 2024.
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Valdo Calocane was given a hospital order for the killings. Pic: PA

“Would anyone with a child, a mother, a relative use words like that?” he asked.

“Why have police in Nottinghamshire forgotten that these are our dear and beloved children they are referring to? I have tears in my eyes every time the message echoes in my head,” said Dr Kumar.

“The message is as barbaric as the crime for me.”

Nottinghamshire’s chief constable Kate Meynell acknowledged to Dr Kumar that some of the WhatsApp message was “crude and distasteful”.

‘Callous and degrading’

Emma Webber, Barnaby’s mother, has now written an open letter to the members of the WhatsApp group after requests to meet the officers involved were rejected by the force.

“The callous, degrading and desensitised manner of your comments have caused more trauma than you can imagine,” she wrote.

“When you say ‘a couple of students have been properly butchered’ did you stop to think about the absolute terror that they felt in the moment when they were ambushed and repeatedly stabbed by a man who had planned his attack and lay waiting in the shadows for them?

“When you say ‘innards out and everything’ did you think about the agony they felt and the final thoughts that went through their minds as this vicious individual inflicted wounds so serious that they had no chance of surviving?”

Ian Coates
Pic:Huntingdon Academy
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Caretaker Ian Coates was also murdered in the rampage. Pic: Huntingdon Academy

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‘Murderers can get away with murder’ – victims’ families

Mrs Webber’s letter also calls for tougher action for the officer involved.

“Anyone who can witness the details of such a horror as happened… and refer to lost children as butchered animals; should seriously consider their position,” she says.

“So, to the author of that message, who we understand has received a management warning. I pray you will read this and pause for a while.

“Dig a little deeper for compassion and care. Show the respect in the future that you did not afford Barney.”

PC admits ‘lapse of judgement’

The officer who wrote the message did not face a misconduct hearing but received ‘management intervention’.

In January, PC Gell, who forwarded the message to people outside the force, was found guilty of gross misconduct and given a final written warning after he looked up records relating to Calocane when he had no part in the investigation.

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Police forensics officers search a white van on the corner of Maples Street and Bentinck Road in Nottingham
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Forensics officers at the scene after the June attacks. Pic: PA

The panel at the hearing agreed with his acknowledgement that he had “a lapse of judgement”.

A special constable was also sacked for viewing body-worn footage of the two students in their final moments.

Almost 180 police staff were found to have viewed material relating to the case, with 11 of them having no “legitimate reason” to do so.

Nottinghamshire Police referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct after the families raised a number of concerns over the investigation and police conduct, including the force’s failure to inform relatives their Professional Standards Directorate was investigating officers.

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The College of Policing is also conducting a review of how the force handled the case.

Deputy Chief Constable Steve Cooper previously told Sky News that action over the WhatsApp message was taken “immediately”.

“Some of the words were crude and distasteful. It was a single message and no images were taken or shared,” he said.

Pouria Zeraati: Iranian journalist ‘lost a lot of blood’ in stabbing outside home in suspected ‘state-sponsored attack’ | UK News

An Iranian journalist has described the moment he was stabbed outside his home in what he believes was a state-sponsored attack.

Pouria Zeraati, a 36-year-old presenter at London-based broadcaster Iran International, was attacked by three unknown assailants in Wimbledon on 29 March.

In his first live interview, Mr Zeraati told Sky News’ The World With Yalda Hakim he “lost a lot of blood” in the stabbing.

Pouria Zeraati shares photo of himself from hospital bed after being stabbed. Pic: X / @pouriazeraati
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Pouria Zeraati shared photo of himself from his hospital bed after being stabbed. Pic: X/ @pouriazeraati

He said he was walking towards his car when a man came up to him and asked for £3 in cash.

When Mr Zeraati replied that he did not have any change a second man approached and “grabbed me from the front very firmly”.

At that point, he said the first person “stabbed me in the leg, the back side of my leg in my thigh, and very fast they ran away”.

The journalist said at first he thought he had been robbed, but then realised he still had his phone, watch and wallet – and instead believed the attack may have been something to do with his job.

Mr Zeraati said he thought the men were trying to harm rather than kill him.

He said: “Because [of] the way they were holding me, and then they stabbed me in my leg – they could stab anywhere in my body. They could stab in my neck, they could stab in my heart. There are places specifically that people [aim for to] make sure the target is dead.”

Pouria Zeraati. Pic: Iran International
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Pic: Iran International

The Metropolitan Police said no arrests have yet been made.

The force said it is confident the three suspects “do not present a risk to communities of London or the UK,” as detectives believe they fled the country via Heathrow Airport within hours of the stabbing.

Mr Zeraati said: “It looks like a state-sponsored attack, but we need to wait for more investigation results to come out”.

‘Situation is concerning’

Mr Zeraati, who returned to TV a week after the attack, said he was recovering and “feeling much better physically”.

But he added: “Mentally it definitely takes some time to get over it”.

Asked about his safety, he said: “Of course I am worried and I am concerned. We are under protection right now. I am not even allowed to visit my friends. The whole situation is concerning.

“But if it was done to scare me and silence me, then definitely it’s not working. This was an attack on the job I do, this was an attack against the platform I have.”

When asked about the attack, Mehdi Hosseini Matin, the Iranian charge d’affaires in the UK, said: “We deny any link”.

‘State-backed threats’

Iran International editor Niusha Boghrati previously told Sky News that the station was guarded by armed police, and said threats had “turned into a reality of terrorism”.

The broadcaster temporarily shut down its operations in London early last year and moved to studios in Washington after what it described as an escalation of “state-backed threats from Iran”.

The station resumed broadcasting from a new location in London last September.

A Chechen-born man was jailed in December after being found guilty of spying on Iran International to help terror plotters.

Pouria Zeraati attack: Three suspects left UK hours after Iranian journalist was stabbed in London, police say | UK News

Three suspects believed to be involved in the stabbing of an Iranian journalist left the UK a few hours after the attack, according to police.

Pouria Zeraati, a presenter at London-based broadcaster Iran International, was stabbed in the leg outside his home in Wimbledon, southwest London, on Friday afternoon.

The Metropolitan Police said the victim was approached by two men in a residential street before he was attacked.

The pair then fled the scene in a blue Mazda 3, driven by a third man, which was abandoned in the New Malden area shortly afterwards.

The suspects then “travelled directly to Heathrow Airport and left the UK within a few hours of the attack”, said police.

Forensic experts are currently examining the vehicle as searches around the New Malden area continue.

Police have said the motivation for the attack is not yet clear, but Mr Zeraati’s occupation – coupled with recent threats towards UK-based Iranian journalists – meant the probe was being led by specialist counter-terrorism officers.

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The force said it was “keeping an open mind on any potential motivation” for the attack.

The presenter was discharged from hospital on 1 April, and said he and his wife were living at a “safe place” under the Met’s supervision.

Pouria Zeraati shares photo of himself from hospital bed after being stabbed. Pic: X / @pouriazeraati
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Mr Zeraati had shared a photo of himself from his hospital bed after the attack. Pic: X/@pouriazeraati

Mr Zeraati had thanked well-wishers for their calls and messages of support, posting on X: “The amount of your sympathy, kindness and love in past few days has been and is the greatest and best energy for my recovery process.”

Iran International spokesman Adam Baillie said the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been targeting its broadcasters.

In October 2022, the IRGC – a key security force for the regime in Tehran – “openly” and “nakedly” warned Iran International ‘we’re coming for you’, Mr Baillie added.

Crossbow attack victim calls for tougher regulation of the weapons | UK News

A woman whose partner was murdered by a neighbour armed with a crossbow is calling on the government to tighten restrictions on the weapons.

Laura Sugden and Shane Gilmer were attacked by their neighbour Anthony Lawrence in 2018, when he broke into their East Yorkshire home and shot them both with a crossbow.

Laura, who was pregnant at the time, was injured in the attack but she and the couple’s unborn daughter survived.

The attacker was later found dead.

Anyone aged over 18 can possess a crossbow but, following a review, the Home Office has launched a call for evidence – a request for public feedback – over whether people should need a licence to have one.

It represents a significant moment for Ms Sugden, who has been campaigning on the issue since Shane’s death.

“There’s nothing I would love more than to see some kind of guidance brought in around crossbows,” she said.

“It’s scary to think that anybody can just get hold of them over the age of 18 and I feel like it’s the last thing that I can do for Shane, to try and push for them to be brought in line with firearms.”

After the inquest into Shane’s death, the coroner raised his concern about the lack of controls on crossbows in a Prevention of Future Deaths Report to the Home Office.

The Home Office responded that the current laws struck the correct balance.

But the home secretary announced a review after an intruder was caught entering the grounds of Windsor Castle with a crossbow on Boxing Day 2021 intending to kill the late Queen.

Laura Sugden and Shane Gilmer. They were attacked when a man broke into their home with a crossbow in 2018. Shane was killed.
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Laura Sugden and Shane Gilmer

The prospect of legislation has alarmed those who use crossbows for legitimate sporting reasons. Archery is one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK.

Raynor Pepper, a competitive archer who helps run courses and sales at Phoenix Archery in Burnley, Lancashire, said: “You’ve probably got some garden tools that are far more dangerous.

“Anything in the wrong hands is going to be a weapon and perceived as such. So where does it stop?”

She said a growing number of people sought exercise and social contact through archery.

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Ms Pepper added: “I’m just worried that something like this would narrow that for them and that would change their lives.

“To be honest, any gun crime that’s committed is not committed by a licensed gun owner, so what is it going to change?”

Ms Sugden said she was shocked by the easy availability of crossbows online.

For her and the daughter born a few months after Shane’s death, new legislation would be a vindication of her campaign.

“My only hope and wish is that no family has to go through, because of that weapon, anything that my family and Shane’s family have,” she said.

Two teens jailed over fatal machete attack on boy, 14, in Newcastle gang feud | UK News

Two teenagers have been jailed after being found guilty of the manslaughter of a 14-year-old boy.

Gordon Gault was stabbed on the arm with a machete as he rode on the back of a friend’s e-bike in Newcastle’s West End in November 2022. He died six days later in hospital.

The deadly attack, which also saw one of his associates slashed in the back, broke out when two rival gangs went out looking for each other.

Six teenagers went on trial at Newcastle Crown Court and were cleared of murder, but Carlos Neto, 18, of Salford, Greater Manchester, and Lawson Natty, 18, of Newbiggin Hall, Newcastle, were convicted of manslaughter.

Neto stabbed the 14-year-old, jurors heard, while Natty was the one who supplied him with the machete he had bought online.

Mr Justice Martin Spencer sentenced Neto to nine years and two months while Natty, who was born in Belgium, was sentenced to 32 months, after which he could face deportation.

The attack was the culmination of an escalating tit-for-tat exchange of violence between the two gangs.

It had begun with a rival making a “diss track” making fun of Natty’s appearance, the court heard.

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Neto led a group of six to infiltrate Elswick Park, where they were spotted by a larger group of rivals, causing them to retreat.

Gordon, armed with a baseball bat, was stabbed as he was isolated riding on the back of a friend’s speedy e-bike, then a separate clash followed in a nearby street.

During the sentencing, the judge also criticised drill music as a “pernicious genre” that he said “tends to glorify violence”.

Neto said he was inspired by rappers and their lifestyle, their money, fame, cars and watches.

He liked the rappers’ masculine image and the respect they earned, telling jurors during his trial: “Without these things, my chances of success were zero.”

“You still have a future,” Mr Justice Spencer told Neto. “Sadly, Gordon Gault does not.”

Gordon’s mother wept as she read a statement out in court, urging people not to carry knives.

“The devastation your actions cause is unimaginable.”

Gordon’s grandmother Frances Gault referred to offensive raps and remarks Neto made after the killing.

She said: “Mocking him and gloating about these actions absolutely crushed me.

“No remorse has ever been shown and I can never forgive this.”

Chloe Othen: Model punched 30 times and sustained bites that turned ‘septic’ in attack, court hears | UK News

A Miss Universe finalist was punched in the head at least 30 times and sustained bites that turned “septic” in an attack by her ex-partner, a court has heard.

Model and influencer Chloe Othen, 33, was also strangled and dragged along the floor by her hair by Ricky Lawrence, 32, the Nightingale Crown Court in Holborn, central London, was told on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Sheilagh Davies said Lawrence, of Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, west London, beat Ms Othen, took her phone and stopped her from leaving his flat, during an alleged attack in October 2022.

Ricky Lawrence outside the Nightingale crown court held at the Grand Connaught Rooms, Holborn, central London, where he is on trial charged with assaulting Instagram star and model Chloe Othen on October 15 2022. Picture date: Tuesday March 5, 2024.
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Ricky Lawrence outside court. Pic: PA

“As she got up to leave, Ricky Lawrence had grabbed her phone out of her hand and refused to give it back. He then lashed out and punched her,” Ms Davies said.

“He was fighting her, biting her multiple times all over her body.”

Ms Othen and Lawrence’s six-month relationship ended in May 2022 but she told the court the pair were “on and off” after that time and she had last seen Lawrence “a few days” before the alleged assault.

Bora Guccuk, who had begun a relationship with Ms Othen at the time, had tried to call her phone in the flat, but Lawrence answered and threatened him, saying he would “kill him”, the court heard.

Ms Othen ran out of the flat after the attack, calling Mr Guccuk for help, before meeting him and a friend at the Berkeley Hotel, also in Knightsbridge.

She went to A&E on 16 October, where her injuries were documented, and it was shown that one of the bite marks on her neck “turned septic”, the prosecutor said.

‘Manic’ messages exchanged before alleged attack

Ms Othen said she decided to go to Lawrence’s apartment in the early hours of 15 October after she had been at an event as the defendant became “aggressive” by text, adding: “I thought I’d let him calm down and then go over there and see him.”

In WhatsApp messages shown in court, exchanged between Ms Othen and Lawrence from 4.17am to 5.35am on 15 October, Lawrence said: “You f***** up tonight. Watch what I do now you silly c***.”

Another message said: “I’ll do anything in my power to f*** up the rest of your life. Screenshot that.”

Ms Othen said she thought Lawrence’s behaviour was “manic”, but that receiving abusive messages from him was “quite normal”.

She said she arrived at his flat at 5.35am after getting a taxi from Kensington.

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‘I genuinely thought he was going to kill me’

Asked about Lawrence’s mood when she arrived, Ms Othen said he was “weirdly calm”.

“Ricky was quite strange when I walked in. Within five, 10 minutes, I wanted to leave,” she said.

“I genuinely thought he was going to kill me.”

Ms Othen said Lawrence “punched me about 30 times in the head and the ear” for “about an hour and a half”, after taking her phone away from her.

She said he also “pulled me up and down from the kitchen to the bedroom” by her hair before he “got two kitchen knives from his bedroom and chased me round the dining room”.

Lawrence was arrested at his flat and provided a prepared statement to police in which he said he had “repeatedly asked Chloe to leave but she continued to shout and scream” and he had “sustained a lengthy scratch along my abdomen”, the court heard.

The jury was shown two sets of photographs, one taken by police on 15 October, and more taken the following day, which showed marks and bruising on Ms Othen’s face, neck, elbow, inner thigh, right leg and knee.

Ms Othen said she had a mild cauliflower ear and had to get her jaw unlocked, and had to wear a neck brace from being strangled.

Lawrence, who denies a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, spoke only to confirm his name at Tuesday’s court hearing.

The trial continues.

Dramatic bodycam video: Two rescued after suspected arson attack in Birmingham | UK News

Two people have been rescued after being trapped inside a burning building, following a suspected arson attack.

West Midlands Police said firearms officers spotted the fire at Villa Road, Lozells in Birmingham just before midnight on Sunday.

The police officers alerted the fire brigade and then entered the building next door before leading the occupants out to safety.

Footage showed them using a battering ram to break down the door to make the rescue.

They also checked another property located above the fire but found no one was inside.

Police said their officers were checked by paramedics at the scene, with one going to hospital for further checks for smoke inhalation.

They added that their investigators were treating the incident as arson.

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DS David Newson, from Birmingham CID, said: “This fire had the potential to have really serious consequences. Thankfully, the quick-thinking response of officers in the face of danger to themselves got the two residents to safety.

“We are working with our colleagues at WMFS Fire Investigation Team and would like to hear from local people as we try to build a picture of what has happened.

“Villa Road is a main route and we’d ask anyone who was driving along it between 11pm and midnight time, to take a look at any dashcam they may have, as it could hold vital evidence for our investigation.”