INDEPENDENT 2024-02-04 18:13:07


Martinelli restores Arsenal’s lead over Liverpool

Premier League leaders Liverpool travel to face Arsenal at the Emirates in Sunday’s late kick-off, looking to stretch the gap over the Gunners to eight points.

The Reds beat Chelsea 4-1 in emphatic fashion in midweek, in their first game since Jurgen Klopp announced he would leave the club at the end of the season. Meanwhile, Arsenal beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 at the City Ground. The Gunners sit in third place on 46 points, with Liverpool on 51. The last meeting between the two in the Premier League ended in a 1-1 draw at Anfield in December, before a January FA Cup tie saw the Reds grab a 2-0 away win.

Follow all the build-up and action below, and check out the latest odds and tips for the match at the Emirates here.

Grandmother, 68, killed in dog attack while visiting grandson

A grandmother has died after being attacked by two dogs while visiting her 11-year-old grandson in Jaywick.

Essex Police were called to Hillman Avenue shortly after 4pm on Saturday where they found the victim, named by her family as Esther Martin, seriously injured.

The 68-year-old, from Woodford Green, London, was pronounced dead at the scene. The attack is thought to have involved two XL bully-type dogs.

A 39-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous dog offences and is being questioned by detectives.

The dogs had to be destroyed and police said that experts would confirm their breed later.

The victim’s daughter, Sonia Martin, from Chesterfield, told Mail Online: “They were XL bullies. There were eight of them in the house, six puppies and two adults.

“Her grandson was in the house. He came running out shouting for help. We would like to thank all the neighbours who tried to help our mum.”

Chief Superintendent Glen Pavelin added: “I would also like to thank local people who tried to get into the house to help Esther Martin. You should be proud.”

A police spokesperson said: “We have been carrying out inquiries to establish the circumstances which led up to the incident and we believe she had been assaulted by two dogs.”

The scene is now safe for members of the public, he added.

Chief Superintendent Glen Pavelin said: “My thoughts, and those of our officers and staff, are with the family of the woman who died yesterday.

“This incident will be a huge shock to the community and I understand their concerns.

“We’ll have officers in the area throughout today so please come and speak to them if you have any information or are worried.

“Experienced detectives are leading the investigation to identify exactly what has happened.

“I know there will be speculation about the breed of the dogs involved.

“We’re waiting for confirmation from experts about this before releasing further details and I’d ask people not to speculate.

“If anyone has any information about what has happened please contact us.”

People can contact the force online quoting reference 723 of Saturday, or information can be provided to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police reveal last sighting of Clapham fugitive and offer reward as manhunt continues

Police have revealed the last known sighting of the Clapham chemical attack suspect as they released unsettling new footage showing the suspect in Tesco just moments after the attack.

He is seen on CCTV leaving Tesco at 21 Caledonian Road at 8.42pm, he exits and turns right with significant injuries and is believed to have bought a bottle of water.

As the manhunt for Abdul Ezedi continued for the fourth day, police revealed the convicted sex offender was last seen exiting Tower Hill Station at 9.33pm on Wednesday.

The Met Police also announced it would be offering a £20,000 reward for information and issued a direct warning.

“I must warn anyone who is helping Ezedi to evade capture – if you are harbouring or assisting him then you will be arrested,” Commander Jon Savell said today.

It comes after a witness revealed the three-year-old victim would have died if his partner hadn’t intervened.

“My partner lunged in and tackled him, grabbing his leg and falling to the ground in the process like a rugby tackle,” he told The Times.

“I have no doubt that if my partner had not jumped in then the child would no longer be with us.”

Curse of ‘saddest ever’ Grand Designs home continues as it goes on sale for slashed price

The owner of a house on the “saddest ever” Grand Designs episode has said he wants to “put it behind him” after relisting the house for sale at a knockdown price.

Lighthouse-inspired Chesil Cliff House became infamous after the home’s construction left its owner Edward Short in £7m of debt.

The construction of the home took 12 years and went several million pounds over budget.

It featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs and was described as the “saddest episode ever” by many who watched it after airing in October 2019.

The episode followed Mr Short and his family as misfortune beset the project leaving the house in Croyde, Devon, unfinished and with the family plunged into millions of pounds worth of debt.

The show also revealed that the process had taken a strain on Mr Short’s personal life, resulting in his separating from his wife Hazel.

It was first listed for sale in February last year but – despite rumours of celebrities including Harry Styles expressing interest – a buyer failed to emerge.

And now the five-bedroom home is back on the market again, listed by Savills on behalf of Joint Receivers at a knockdown price of £5.25m on Rightmove.

Mr Short has now revealed why the sale fell through – and how he plans to pay back his debts.

“We had a slight problem – the old driveway that was there before we bought the property,” he said.

“We built a brand-new driveway down to the new house, but the original driveway that goes down the other way has become a problem.

“That was partly behind the buyer’s concern because I think that was built in the 1960s.

“I’ve got to try and find a way to pay the lender back as much as possible.

“My belief is that we should be fixing the drive and taking that risk element away, but that’s a negotiation I’ve got to have – I think that’s the way for me to pay back the most money.

“The lenders have been very good with giving me time to sell it. It’s always going to be a bit of a financial fiasco to me, but that’s not the biggest problem in the world.

“The price now is very good and reflects the fact that you can just take that on and do it yourself.

“It was for sale all year and didn’t sell, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t sell at that price.”

Despite ongoing setbacks at Chesil Cliff House, Mr Short says he has begun a “new life”, and is eager to put the past behind him.

He is also set to tie the knot to his fiance Jalia Nambasa and says that finding love is more important than money.

“There have been highs and lows, but I’m used to highs and lows with this,” Mr Short said.

“I’m used to dealing with adversity, and money has always come and gone in my life.

“Things change that you don’t expect – I’ve fallen in love with a new partner now, and I’m engaged.

“I woke up one morning and realised I can do anything I want all of a sudden. The world had suddenly opened up again.

“That moment opened things up – and I ended up in Bath, and falling in love.

“That’s a much harder thing to find in your life than money.

“It makes a huge difference to have support. It’s like a new life.”

Now, he still hopes to sell the property – but says he’s already put the situation behind him.

“Mentally, this is all over and behind me anyway, but I still have to fight for the best outcome to pay the most money back.

“I’m going to get on with my new life – whatever the ending is, it’ll be what it’ll be.”

Reporting by SWNS

Queen ‘thought Diana was better match for Andrew’, new book claims

The late Queen thought Princess Diana was better suited for Prince Andrew than her eldest son the Prince of Wales, a new book has claimed.

Ingrid Seward, the former editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, has shed light on the early days between the future King Charles and Diana in her new book My Mother and I.

In a new extract published in the Daily Mail, Seward writes the late Queen Elizabeth II first became aware of Lady Diana Spencer when she visited her sister Jane in 1980 who was married to Robert Fellowes, her then private secretary, at their cottage on the Balmoral estate.

Diana was invited to spend four days at the castle to attend a royal house party after her second visit.

According to Seward, everyone was “enchanted” by the future princess who woke up earlier than the other ladies to walk around the garden.

But the book claims the late Queen had two reservations about the new woman in her son’s life. Firstly, she did not know if anyone at the age of 19 could differentiate between the man and his royal duty. Secondly, she thought Diana would be better suited to her younger son, Prince Andrew.

King Charles and Princess Diana had an age gap of 15 years between them.

The biographer said: “Most of the ladies do not get up until after the guns have gone out, but Diana was always up early. If you looked out of your window at a quarter to eight, you would see her walking in the garden, and she made a great point of being there to see them off.

“It was then that she played her sharpest card. She would go around telling everybody how much she loved Balmoral and that it was such a magical place and how she loved it beyond imagination.”

Queen Elizabeth invited Diana and Charles to Birkhall, her house on the Balmoral estate, and later in January 1981 the future Princess of Wales was invited to Sandringham.

According to the book, Princess Diana had to work hard to fit into her new bourgeois way of life but her efforts eventually paid off when Charles proposed and she moved into Buckingham Palace a few months before her wedding.

Ms Seward has unveiled more royal secrets in her latest book, claiming the Queen thought that the Duchess of Sussex’s wedding dress was “too white” because she had been married before she met Prince Harry.

“In the monarch’s view, it was not appropriate for a divorcee getting remarried in church to look quite so flamboyantly virginal,” Seward wrote.

Meghan was previously married to film producer Trevor Engleson but they divorced four years before she married Harry in 2018.

Unmissable New York State experiences

The ‘forever war’ will go on until Palestinians have their own state

When British planes joined American airstrikes on the Houthis in Yemen, voices were raised in the UK warning against “escalation” of the Gaza conflict to a wider war in the Middle East. There were similar voices on the pro-Palestinian march in London today, warning that the US airstrikes against allegedly Iranian-backed targets in Iraq and Syria risk a wider war.

In one sense, these warnings are misconceived, in that it was the Houthis, formally known as Ansar Allah or “Supporters of God”, who were engaged in escalation, using drones and missiles to attack international shipping in the Red Sea in solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza. And it was Iranian-supported militia who “escalated” a conflict that otherwise did not exist when they attacked US forces in Jordan, killing three soldiers.

The responses to these attacks cannot be defined as “escalation” if they are trying to prevent and deter further attacks, and if they are proportionate to the initial attack. Unfortunately, in such situations proportionality is very much in the eye of the beholder. Palestinians in Gaza, and their many supporters around the world, do not regard the Israeli response to the 7 October atrocities as proportionate. Some of them even regard the US-British strikes against the Houthis as a display of excessive force, although it is hard to argue that attacks on international shipping should be simply ignored.

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.