INDEPENDENT 2024-02-03 12:11:14


Jonnie Irwin shared heartbreaking regret after terminal cancer diagnosis

A Place in the Sun presenter Jonnie Irwin has died aged 50, his family announced on Friday (2 February).

The former TV host had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2020. After initially keeping his illness private, Irwin revealed his condition in November 2022 after being told the cancer had spread from his lungs to his brain.

The news of his death was shared on the presenter’s Instagram account alongside a statement.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Jonnie’s passing. A truly remarkable soul, he fought bravely against cancer with unwavering strength and courage. Jonnie touched the lives of so many with his kindness, warmth, and infectious spirit,” the post read alongside a photo of Irwin and his wife Jessica Holmes.

Tributes have quickly poured in for Irwin, with Jasmine Harman – his Place in the Sun co-presenter of more than 200 episodes – saying her “heart is broken”.

British aristocrat Isabelle Thomas dies in fall at LA hotel as family pays tribute

Isabelle Thomas, the British documentary filmmaker and wife of Oscar-nominated Killers of the Flower Moon producer Bradley Thomas, has died aged 39 after falling from a hotel in Los Angeles.

Thomas, also known as “Izzy”, died by suicide and was discovered “with multiple traumatic injuries” at the Hotel Angeleno, according to records from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Police sources indicated that she was found dead at the scene when emergency responders first arrived.

In a statement to the LA Times, her family called her “the light of our lives”.

“She was courageous and took all life’s opportunities without fear, showering love and kindness on her friends, family, and children along the way,” their statement said.

“Her projects were as diverse as her passions, reflecting a curiosity about people and our culture that inspired everyone lucky enough to spend time with her. We remember her as a soulmate, beautiful daughter, sister, devoted mother and wife.”

Born in the Cotswolds, Thomas was the daughter of Sir Henry Lawrence, 7th Baronet of Lucknow, and his ex-wife Penelope.

She attended Oxford University and once advised former prime minister David Cameron on his Tech City start-up initiative, which he launched in 2010. She also DJ’d and reportedly partied with Amy Winehouse while living in London.

At the time of her death, she had been living in California with her husband and their two children, twins Poppy and Grace. She was also stepmother to Lucy and Charlie, his children from a previous relationship.

Bradley Thomas, an American film producer, is currently in the middle of awards season, as he co-produced Martin Scorsese’s epic, Killers of the Flower Moon, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone.

Actor and TV presenter Jameela Jamil, a friend of Thomas, was among those to pay tribute following the news of her death.

“I lost a friend very suddenly this week,” she wrote on Instagram. “Don’t wait ’til later. Don’t presume you can just grow old together. Don’t presume the world is fair or makes sense. Don’t take anyone or anything you love for granted for a minute.

“My heart is completely and utterly broken and I don’t think I will ever recover.”

Writing for Deadline,editor Mike Fleming said he had just seen Isabelle and Bradley at a Golden Globes party and was “shaken” by her death.

“I had just seen Izzy and Bradley at an Apple Golden Globes party and I’m shaken to the core by this,” he wrote. “She was a beautiful, kind and vibrant woman who would light up a room.

“Born in Bath and a graduate in Neuroscience from Oxford, Izzy moved to Los Angeles to follow her passion for storytelling and filmmaking. She went on to produce a documentary on the subject of kindness, and another more recently on pickleball. She was a member of The UCLA Center of Storytellers and Scholars Advisory Board.”

She and Bradley Thomas were married in 2018, and appeared together at red carpet events as Bradley’s career progressed thanks to successes with Clint Eastwood’s 2018 film The Mule, Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, and the Palme d’Or-winning 2022 satire, Triangle of Sadness.

His earlier production works include Farrelly brothers comedies such as Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, and Shallow Hal.

He and Thomas had been seen together as recently as 13 January, when they were photographed at the 2024 Bafta Tea Party at the Maybourne Beverly Hills.

Fleming said that her family had requested privacy at this time. In lieu of flowers, they are asking friends and those touched by her to consider contributing to the Mental Health Coalition.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

How Trump’s legal woes could yet derail his presidential campaign

The memes were delicious. Funny, too. No sooner had the federal jury delivered its damages verdict against Donald Trump over his sexual assault of the writer E Jean Carroll than social media lit up; lit up in the brightest, twinkliest lights that would befit any Broadway opening night. He would have to pay her an astonishing, eye-popping, head-spinning $83m for the “storm of hate” he had unleashed. $83m!

On Twitter, Trump Tower on 5th Avenue became E Jean Carroll Tower; the famous blue, red and gold 727 plane owned by the former president now had the letters “T-R-U-M-P” crossed out and instead – you guessed it – “E Jean Carroll” written in giant letters along the fuselage. On social media, she owned him.

This was a civil trial, not criminal – Trump, though, had been anything but civil through the proceedings. He had been abusive of E Jean Carroll. Describing her as a chancer and a fantasist, he said he’d never met the woman he was alleged to have raped in the 1990s, in a changing room in New York department store Bergdorf Goodman.

Tesco issues four-week warning to anyone with a Clubcard

Tesco has issued a four-week warning to customers to spend their Clubcard vouchers before they expire at the end of the month.

The supermarket giant warned Clubcard shoppers only have until 29 February to use £18m worth of Clubcard vouchers before they expire.

More than 20 million people in the UK hold a Tesco Clubcard, which allows shoppers to receive discounts on selected items as well as rack up points they can redeem later as vouchers for use in-store.

The vouchers were issued in February 2022, and while shoppers are racking up points, many are forgetting to use them before they expire.

The reminder for shoppers to use their old vouchers comes as more than £125m of new ones will be ready to use from 5 February.

Emma Botton, Tesco Group Customer Director, said: “Household budgets are still under pressure, and we want to help them stretch further.

“With more than £18m worth of vouchers due to expire at the end of the month, we’re reminding customers to spend them now.”

Tesco Clubcard vouchers are issued every three months in February, May, August and November. Customers can use their Clubcard vouchers on their weekly shop or fuel, or to pick up a new deal with Tesco Mobile.

They can also treat themselves by exchanging their Clubcard vouchers for 2x the value with 100+ Reward Partners including PizzaExpress, Alton Towers Resort and Hotels.com.

Earlier this year, Tesco announced that customers can collect double Clubcard points when they shop until February 25.

It is the first time the supermarket has offered a double points event like this in over a decade, with over 20 million Tesco Clubcard members set to benefit.

Containers with ‘corrosive’ warning discovered in hunt for chemical attack suspect

Police hunting the fugitive sex offender suspected of throwing an alkaline substance at a mother and her two children have discovered containers with a “corrosive” warning in an overnight raid in Newcastle.

Forensic tests are checking if the containers held the substance used during the attack against a mother and her two children in Clapham’s Lessar Avenue on Wednesday evening, which left a total of 12 people with injuries, the Metropolitan Police said on Friday.

Sole suspect Abdul Shokoor Ezedi was last seen boarding a southbound Victoria Tube at King’s Cross less than 90 minutes after the attack in Clapham, police revealed, as they published the last-known image of the 35-year-old fugitive, featuring severe burn marks down the right side of his face.

It has emerged that Ezedi was convicted of a sexual offence in 2018, before being granted asylum in 2021 or 2022 from his native Afghanistan. The 35-year-old had previously been refused asylum on two occasions but was granted leave to remain after converting to Christianity.

Have you been affected by this? Email barney.davis@independent.co.uk

Unmissable New York State experiences

Events in Clapham must not be used to block genuine asylum claims

Abdul Shokoor Ezedi is the subject of a nationwide manhunt in connection with a horrific assault in south London, involving a mother, two girls and some bystanders who attempted to intervene in the attack. This must primarily be a police matter, to be dealt with through the criminal justice system, with the interest of the victims and the safety of the public central at all times. A crime has been committed, and one of extreme violence that has, so it is said, left those affected with “life-changing” injuries.

Understandably, it has captured the public’s attention and sparked concerns. Quite rightly, the issue of using corrosive substances to injure and disfigure people is one that horrifies, and attention needs to be paid to the ready availability of acids and corrosive alkalines which, in the wrong hands, can be just as dangerous as a firearm or a blade. These assaults were carried out on a residential street and, as far as can be judged, with some forward planning.

Inevitably, because Ezedi has been granted asylum in the UK, this aspect of the case has also attracted comment, some rational and constructive, but far too much which merely seeks to use the misery of the victims of this assault for predictable and spurious political purposes.

How Turkey has dealt another blow to Rishi’s ‘stop the boats’ plan

Rishi Sunak’s promise to “stop the boats” has suffered another setback. The Home Office has declared Turkey an unsafe country for the purposes of asylum, meaning deporting anyone there could risk their life, in breach of domestic and international human rights law.

It is not the biggest setback he’s faced – everything to do with the Rwanda scheme has been far more embarrassing and damaging – but it’s undoubtedly an uncomfortable end to a difficult week. Questions about the asylum system as it has worked under successive Conservative governments have also been raised by the case of the chemical attack suspect, Abdul Ezedi. So on an important issue where the government hopes to gain some political advantage over Labour, the headlines continue to be all about chaos and failure.