The Telegraph 2024-02-02 20:00:48


Teenagers sentenced: Brianna Ghey’s killer tried to paint herself in ‘worst possible light’

The 16-year-old girl who murdered trans teenager Brianna Ghey admired “notorious killers” and wanted to paint herself in as “bad a light as possible”, a court heard, as she was sentenced to life in prison.

Scarlett Jenkinson was told she must serve a minimum of 22 years before being considered for parole.

Her co-accused, Eddie Ratcliffe, also 16, was also sentenced to life in prison and ordered to serve at least 20 years.

The teenagers’ names were revealed for the first time on Friday at Manchester Crown Court, after Ms Justice Yip lifted an anonymity order.

Sentencing the pair, Justice Yip said: “Scarlett, I have concluded that the primary motivation for Brianna’s murder was your deep desire to kill. Brianna’s murder was exceptionally brutal. Your actions after the event confirm you enjoyed the killing.

“This was a murder involving sadistic conduct.

“Eddie, you knew what Scarlett wanted to do and why. You understood her desire to see Brianna suffer. You actively participated in this brutal murder knowing the desires behind it.

“I also find you were motivated in part by hostility towards Brianna, because she was transgender. Just as you know of Scarlett’s motives, she knew of yours.

“I therefore find you both took part in a brutal and planned murder, which was sadistic in nature and where a secondary motive was hostility towards Brianna because of her transgender identity.”

She said that Jenkinson, whom she described as the driving force behind the murder, “wanted to paint herself in as bad a light as possible” after it emerged that she had recently admitted to personally stabbing 16-year-old Brianna.

Jenkinson also admitted trying to poison the transgender teenager with ibuprofen in a previous murder attempt weeks before Brianna was killed in Linear Park, Culcheth, on Feb 11 2023.

Throughout the trial, Jenkinson had denied attacking Brianna and claimed Ratcliffe had physically carried out the killing using his hunting knife.

Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, said she believed both Jenkinson and Ratcliffe, who were 15 when they committed the murder, would continue to pose a danger to society.

She added: “I would never want them to have the opportunity to carry out their sadistic fantasies on another vulnerable person.”

She said the pair had decided to kill her daughter because Ratcliffe “hated trans people” and Jenkinson “thought it would be fun”.

The pair showed no emotion as the sentence was passed and they were led down to the cells.

‘Pure evil’

Brianna’s father, Peter Spooner, said “no amount of time spent in prison will be enough for these monsters” as he branded his daughter’s killers “pure evil”.

Justice Yip said that the pair would only be freed from prison when the Parole Board decided they no longer posed a danger to society.

“If you remain a danger, you will serve very much longer than the minimum term and may never be released,” she added.

During the hearing, it emerged Jenkinson had told psychiatrists she had a desire to murder again and had drawn up a kill list, with names of staff at the secure accommodation in which she was being held.

Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Nige Parr, of Cheshire Constabulary, described the murder as “brutal and senseless”.

He added: “Jenkinson and Ratcliffe have shown absolutely no remorse for the pain they have caused, refusing to admit responsibility for their actions and selfishly subjected Brianna’s family, and their own families, to the ordeal of a trial.”

Clapham chemical attack latest: Suspect last seen on Victoria Tube line, say police

The man being hunted in connection with the chemical attack in south London was last seen on a Victoria Line tube heading south, Scotland Yard has said.

Abdul Ezedi was captured on CCTV at King’s Cross Underground Station at 9pm on Wednesday around an hour and a half after the attack in Clapham, in which a woman and her two children were sprayed with a corrosive substance.

In a new image released by police, Ezedi can be seen walking through a tube station, bearing significant facial injuries.

Police issued an urgent public appeal for anyone who might have seen him on Wednesday or since to contact them immediately, but warned people not to approach him as he is considered to be extremely dangerous.

Scotland also released further information about Ezedi’s known movements in the hours before and immediately after the attack.

It is now known that he left Newcastle, where he has been living, shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning.

It is believed he drove south to London in his white Hyundai, which was spotted in the Tooting area of south London at around 6.30am.

The car was further spotted in the Croydon area at around 4.30pm and then again in the Streatham area of south London at 7pm.

The attack took place in Lessar Avenue in Clapham at 7.25pm and Ezedi then attempted to drive away but crashed his car and fled on foot.

Eight minutes later at 7.33pm he boarded a Northern Line train at Clapham South Tube station and at 7.59pm is seen leaving that train at King’s Cross station in north London.

At 8.42pm, after leaving King’s Cross station, Ezedi is captured on CCTV at the Tesco supermarket in Caledonian Road, where he picks up a bottle of water.

He then appears to head back to King’s Cross where trains depart for Newcastle upon Tyne.

But rather than attempting to return to the North East he once again heads onto the Tube and at 9pm boards a Victoria Line southbound.

The Victoria Line from King’s Cross stops at Euston, Warren Street, Oxford Circus, Green Park, Victoria, Pimlico, Stockwell and terminates at Brixton.

As well as issuing the updated timeline, police also revealed that they had raided a number of properties in Newcastle and east London.

Commander Jon Savell from the Met said: “First of all, I would like to thank the public and the media for sharing our appeals for information following the incident in Clapham, which I know has caused a great deal of public concern.

“We have received dozens of calls of possible sightings of Abdul Ezedi and every single one has been followed up and investigated.

“Fast-paced enquiries, led by senior detectives have been carried out in the past 24 hours to trace the whereabouts of the suspect. And I’d like to thank Northumbria Police, British Transport Police and Transport for London for their help as we progress this investigation.

“A total of five search warrants were carried out overnight, including at two addresses in east London and three in Newcastle.

“Two empty containers with corrosive warnings on the label were found at an address in Newcastle. Forensic tests are currently ongoing to see if the containers held the substance used in the attack in Clapham.”

A daughter’s love: Derek Draper’s daughter Darcey, 17, carries father’s coffin

Derek Draper’s daughter was among the pallbearers as celebrities and politicians gathered at his funeral in north London.

Darcey Draper, the 17-year-old daughter of Mr Draper and Kate Garraway, the Good Morning Britain presenter, carried her father’s coffin inside the Church of St Mary The Virgin in Primrose Hill.

Garraway, who announced her husband’s death last month, will say goodbye to him alongside her two children Darcey and William at the Church of St Mary The Virgin in Primrose Hill.

The TV star, who married Derek nearly two decades ago in the same north London church, wore a long black coat to the service. 

Prominent figures from the world of politics and entertainment were in attendance, including Sir Tony Blair, the former prime minister, and Sir Elton John.

The former Labour MPs Peter Mandelson and Ed Balls were seen arriving, as well as ITV presenters Ben Shepherd and Susanna Reid, colleagues of Garraway.

Mr Draper, a former political adviser, died last month at the age of 56. 

He was said to be one of the UK’s longest-suffering Covid patients, spending 13 months in hospital after testing positive in 2020.

The virus left him with extensive damage to his organs and requiring daily care and his health further deteriorated following a cardiac arrest.

BBC employee called Jewish people ‘Nazis’ and whites ‘parasites’

A senior BBC employee branded Jewish people “Nazis” and white people “parasites” in a string of social media posts.

The BBC has been informed of statements made online by Dawn Queva, who is a scheduling coordinator at BBC Three, according to her online profile.

Posts made on her Facebook page include calling Jewish people “Nazi apartheid parasites” that funded a “holohoax”.

Her posts repeatedly attack white people, calling them a “virus” and “mutant invader species”.

Ms Queva, whose location is listed as London on her Linkedin profile, also brands the UK “bigoted” and “genocidal” and claims white Europeans are “melanin-recessive parasites”.

The posts come after Tim Davie, the BBC director general, held a “listening” session for staff concerns following the breakout of the Israel-Hamas conflict, which has led some Jewish employees to file official complaints about anti-Semitism.

Ms Queva’s posts were made under the name of Dawn Las Quevas-Allen on Facebook, but it has the same profile picture as her regular profile, and trade magazine Deadline reports that her identity has been confirmed.

‘Synagogue of Satan cabal’

She previously worked with Disney and UKTV, according to her Linkedin profile,

Ms Queva’s post made numerous references to the supposed origins of the Jewish people, claiming that they are not truly Jewish, but a “synagogue of Satan cabal calling themselves “JeWISH”.

One post claims that the Rothschild family “funded their own holohoax”, and another that Israel is attempting to “forcibly permanently sterilise black women without their knowledge or consent”.

Several of Ms Queva’s many posts refer to Britain as the “UKKK”, in an apparent reference to the Ku Klux Klan.

Other posts state that white people have disturbed the natural order of the planet, and that they are a “barbaric bloodthirsty rapacious murderous genocidal thieving parasitical deviant breed”.

Ms Queva has been contacted for comment on her posts.

The BBC said: “We don’t comment on individual members of staff and we have well-established and robust processes in place to handle such issues. We do not tolerate anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or any form of abuse and we take any such allegations seriously and take appropriate disciplinary action wherever necessary.”

‘Everyone here is unhappy’

The Telegraph recently reported that groups of Jewish employees at the BBC filed grievances over alleged anti-Semitism in the workplace.

Staff complained about Gary Lineker’s social media use, and the corporation’s coverage of the conflict in Gaza, according to sources at the broadcaster.

One of at least 22 staff understood to have submitted formal complaints said Jewish staff were “fighting fires all over the place” and “everyone here is unhappy”, adding that concerns about anti-Semitism were “met with indifference or a shrug by management”.

Alice Wood to serve minimum of 18 years after murdering fiancé

A philosophy student who ran over her fiancé after she “lost her temper” has been jailed for a minimum of 18 years.

Alice Wood, 23, claimed her partner Ryan Watson, 24, died in a “tragic accident” when he was hit by the Ford Fiesta she was driving near their home in Rode Heath, Cheshire, at about 11.30pm on May 6 2022.

A jury at Chester Crown Court rejected her account last month and unanimously found her guilty of murder.

Sentencing her on Friday to life imprisonment, Michael Leeming, the judge, told the defendant: “Prison may be hard for you Alice Wood but you only have yourself to blame for the situation you now find yourself in.”

The three-week trial heard the couple had spent the evening at a party in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, with staff and service users of the brain injury charity Headway, where Mr Watson was a support worker.

Andrew Ford KC, prosecuting, said Mr Watson was seen on CCTV footage “having a good time, being a gregarious and outgoing party guest” while Wood was described by one woman attending as “a bit cold”.

Tiffany Ferriday, a fellow party guest, told the court she and Mr Watson had “clicked” and Wood was “pretty much left out” of conversation.

But Wood told the court that when she drove Mr Watson home from the party in his car, despite knowing she was over the drink-drive limit, he “flipped” and accused her of flirting with other men.

The student described an argument which continued when they returned to the house they owned in Oak Street.

She told the court she went out to her car to leave but Mr Watson followed.

During his opening address, Mr Ford said “she lost her temper” and “used the car as a weapon”.

The jury was told Mr Watson was trapped underneath the car as Wood drove 500ft up Sandbach Road before stopping.

Clapham chemical attack suspect ‘a good Muslim’ despite claim to have converted to Christianity

The Clapham chemical attack suspect was a “good Muslim” despite claiming he had converted to Christianity to claim asylum in the UK, friends have told The Telegraph.

Abdul Shakoor Ezedi, 35, told a shopkeeper at his favourite Middle Eastern speciality food store, where he bought Halal meat, that he planned to return to Afghanistan one day “to find a wife”.

Staff at the Byker butcher’s shop, in the east of Newcastle area where Ezedi lived for around a year, said they were “horrified” that the pizza takeaway chef had been connected to the attack because he was a “good Muslim”.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Halal butcher, a Kurdish Iranian, said Ezedi would pay £50 to £60 for a half a Halal sheep, which he put in his freezer and which would last a couple of weeks.

Ezedi, who arrived in the UK illegally in the back of a lorry in 2016, claimed his life would be endangered if he was returned to Afghanistan.

He was twice refused asylum before being granted leave to remain in 2021 or 2022, despite having been convicted at Newcastle Crown Court of a sex offence in 2018.

His third asylum claim was successful after a priest vouched for his conversion and said he was “wholly committed” to his new religion. An asylum seeker can make a claim based on conversion to a new religion if they will face persecution in their home country because of their new faith.

In November 2021, it emerged that a suicide bomber who blew himself up outside a maternity hospital in Liverpool on Remembrance Sunday that year had converted at the city’s cathedral

Emad al-Swealmeen, 32, who came to the UK from Iraq as an asylum seeker, was confirmed by the Rt Rev Cyril Ashton in 2017.

Ezedi was last in the Newcastle butcher’s shop the day before he was alleged to have attacked a woman and two children in Clapham, south-west London. He remains on the loose, having sustained severe facial injuries in the attack on Wednesday night.

Ezedi is suspected of attacking a 31-year-old woman and her two children, aged three and eight, with an alkaline substance and attempting to run them over before fleeing. Police officers were among 12 people injured, with witnesses saying the mother had been blinded.

Ezedi visited the butcher on Tuesday afternoon wearing a “puffed-up” black hoodie jacket, according to another member of staff, also a Kurd from Iran. An hour after the attack, police released CCTV of Ezedi wearing a black hooded puffer jacket, his face visibly disfigured.

The butcher said: “He works in a pizza shop. Every two weeks he would come here to buy a half sheep. He would say: ‘I am working in a pizza shop at night and I have no time to shop and you are closed when I finish work.’ So he would pay £50 or £60 for the meat. He said he put the meat in the freezer.

“He would come in during the day. He would say,: ‘Cut the meat for me.’ I would cut it for him, and he would also buy juice and Persian rice. He would spend about £100 in total.

“He never bought any alcohol. He was a good Muslim. Some Muslims do buy alcohol, but he never bought alcohol.

“He was a little man, short. He was very respectful, I never saw anything bad about him. One of my customers sent me the news that he was wanted. It is horrifying. If I see him I will call the police.

“But I thought he was respectful and a very good guy, a good Muslim. I know he was Afghani. He doesn’t have a wife. I don’t think so. I never saw him with a woman, ever. I thought he was single.”

The shopkeeper recalled his last conversation with Ezedi about a month ago, saying: “Last time I had a talk with him, I asked him why doesn’t get married. He said: ‘I have no money. I have to go to Afghanistan to get married, to be with one of our people.’

“He said he was always working – seven days, it is very hard [to find a wife]. He asked me why I am not married. I said I cannot go back to Iran on political grounds, so it is difficult to find a wife. He said: ‘I have to go back to Afghanistan to find a wife.’ He would start work at 3pm.”

Shown a photograph the Metropolitan Police released of the man they are hunting, the shopkeeper said: “It is him, 100 per cent.” He added that details about Ezedi had been shared among Kurdish people on a local Instagram group because he was known in the east of Newcastle.

Man arrested over incident that caused Bath hospital lockdown

A man has been arrested over an incident that caused the Royal United Hospital in Bath to be locked down on Friday.

In a statement, Avon and Somerset Police said officers “attended after a report by hospital staff of a man making verbal threats by phone”.

The statement added: “A short time later there was also a report of a man in the area carrying an unknown item, which the informant was concerned may have been a bladed weapon, but this is something that remains unconfirmed.

“The hospital decided to go into a lockdown and we advised a nearby school to take a similar precautionary measure. Both lockdowns were lifted in the early-afternoon and access to both the hospital and school are now unrestricted.

“We have arrested a man in his 40s on suspicion of making threatening communications and he is in police custody.”

People told to stay in their rooms

Earlier, police said they were called at 9.45am and 10.15am after a man made “verbal threats” to hospital staff, before reports at 10.35am of the man carrying the unknown item.

Patients and visitors were not allowed in or out, including at A&E, where witnesses said queues of patients were building up outside. Firearms officers entered the building, and the nearby St Mary’s Catholic Primary School was also recommended to lock down. 

One woman who was at the hospital for an X-ray was told by a member of staff that “a man armed with a blade is running amok in the car park”, according to her husband. Witnesses inside the hospital said they were initially told to “draw their blinds” and stay in their rooms.

Four hazardous area response team ambulances with staff in “full body armour” were on the scene, as well as several armed police vehicles, according to further witnesses.

One witness, who spoke to The Telegraph during the incident, said staff had told them it was because of someone who “possibly wants to hurt people”.

“I’m in one of the standalone buildings, but we’ve been locked in and no one is allowed in and they are cancelling all appointments,” said the witness. “They mentioned that it’s someone who is not very happy and possibly wants to hurt people [but have] given us no further info.”

They said they had later been let into the main building for their safety, but that there were “armed police in the lobby”.