INDEPENDENT 2024-03-12 16:04:05


British man dies during own engagement party in Australia

A British man who moved to Australia to become a police officerdied in a ghastly accident during his engagement party.

Liam Trimmer, 29, died on Sunday at his home in Western Australia during a party with friends and family to announce his engagement.

The senior constable reportedly slipped and fell to the ground, cutting open his carotid artery.

Those gathered for the celebrations rushed to save Trimmer, but he died from heavy bleeding shortly before the paramedics could arrive at the scene, the police said.

Trimmer was described as an “extraordinary officer” by police commissioner Col Blanch, who said the officer’s friends and family did their best to save him.

It was not immediately clear how the police officer fell and suffered the fatal neck wound, which has prompted an inquest to be opened.

“Everything was done to try and save him, but it wasn’t to be and I know everyone that was involved are really, really hurting at the moment and I think they wish they could just wake up from this nightmare,” the commissioner told 9News.

“This extraordinary officer loved helping the community and was a fine example of WA [Western Australia] policing and it’s just such a tragedy. [He] a very, very confident, capable young man with his whole life ahead of him, and that’s how sad this is.”

Trimmer moved to Australia in 2013 and graduated from the Joondalup Police Academy, before relocating to Kalgoorlie town.

He joined the Gang Crime Squad and tactical response group in the force and became one of the prominent members of the local community.

The Western Australia police union described Trimmer as a “valued member of the blue family”, adding that his death has been an “awful, awful tragedy”.

“Everytime a death occurs for a police officer, it doesn’t matter how, it really does rock the core of the police family,” union president Paul Gale told reporters.

Trimmer’s body has been sent for autopsy, law enforcement authorities said. The health, welfare and safety division of the Western Australia police will provide support to his family and colleagues impacted by his death, a spokesperson added.

UK surfers flock to huge tidal wave as five-star Severn Bore returns after five years

The only five-star bore this year is ripping through the Severn Estuary on Tuesday morning, to the joy of surfers and spectators alike.

A bore is an upriver surge of tidal water, forming a fast-moving wave that can travel for several miles. Since the Severn Estuary has one of the largest tidal ranges in the world – about 13 metres – its bores are massive to match.

Several four-star bores are expected later in the week, but the five-star bore has seen crowds gather on a rainy Tuesday morning, with surfers enjoying the waves.

Due to the excessive rainy weather of the past month, the Environment Agency has put in place red alert warnings for the River Severn and River Wye.

Lloyd Russell, who has travelled from Cornwall to surf the Severn Bore, told BBC’s Today Programme described the experience as “quite fun”, despite the mud and smell.

He said: “It’s muddy, it’s dirty, it’s not glamorous. Everything smells. A little bit of poo and muddy rivers.

“You get out of the river and you’re absolutely caked in mud. It’s quite fun really. Sliding down the river banks.”

The Independent has compiled below everything you’d want to know about the Severn Bore:

When waves enter the Bristol Channel, and subsequently the River Severn, they bottleneck, slowing and narrowing substantially to fit the decreasing space.

The funnelled water begins to build in height, exacerbated by the increasingly shallow floor of the estuary. Above a sandbar the channel narrows sharply again, concentrating the bore, creating the iconic roaring sound that accompanies the surge upstream.

In the pre-surf era the bore was a nuisance to ships sailing up the channel to Gloucester Docks. Skilled captains could make it upriver without getting gored, but downstream journeys in bore season usually required at least one layover.

The first man known to have surfed the bore was Jack Churchill – a World War II veteran famous for carrying a Scottish broadsword into battle, and being the only allied soldier to kill a man with a longbow. An extraordinarily eccentric man, he surfed a mile and a half upriver in 1955.

A group of Cornish lifeguards followed his feat in 1962, and the longest successful surf now yields a spot in the Guinness Book of Records. The top spot has changed hands many times over the years, but the current holder is Steve King, a Gloucestershire rail engineer, who surfed the Severn for 7.6 miles in 2006.

1966 saw the highest ever recorded bore – a whopping 2.8 metres.

Unfortunately surfing this year’s five-star bore has come too late for you. However there is a full timetable at the Severn Bore website, which predicts bore time and quality a year in advance, and observers often line the banks hours in advance to watch the bore unfold.

Participants should enter the water at least 20 minutes before the bore’s ETA, as the surges do not always keep to schedule.

Additional reporting by PA

Kate felt ‘awful’ over Mother’s Day photo furore after editing shot to make it ‘best it could be’

The Princess of Wales felt “awful” about releasing an edited family photo of herself and her three children for Mother’s Day, according to a royal insider.

Kate said she had just “tried to make it the best it could be” because she knew how important it was for it to be “a nice picture”, The Times reported.

The photo shows Kate Middleton smiling surrounded by Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte in what is the first official picture of the princess since she underwent abdominal surgery in January.

However, within hours of it being posted on social media, picture agencies began recalling the photo citing fears it had been “manipulated”.

Eagle-eyed royal fans pointed out a number of editing failures, including that the sleeve of Princess Charlotte’s cardigan did not line up.

It comes as Queen Camilla was pictured for the first time since the scandal marking International Women’s Day and the end of the Wow Girls Festival bus tour at Buckingham Palace.

Boeing whistleblower John Barnett found dead in US

Boeing whistleblower John Barnett, 62, was found dead in his truck in a hotel parking lot in South Carolina over the weekend.

Barnett blew the whistle on alleged safety problems at the aircraft manufacturing giant and had been giving evidence in a lawsuit against the company in recent days.

The Charleston City Police Department is investigating Barnett’s death, the office of Charleston County coroner Bobbi Jo O’Neal said.

Barnett’s former employer, Boeing, has responded to his death, saying: “We are saddened by Mr Barnett’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Barnett worked with Boeing for more than three decades until his retirement in 2017.

He had voiced safety concerns at the airline’s manufacturing facilities and gave his initial testimony just days before he was found dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Charleston County coroner told BBC News.

In 2019, Barnett alleged that Boeing intentionally used defective parts in its planes and warned that passengers on its 787 Dreamliner might face a lack of oxygen if a sudden decompression occurred.

At that time, Boeing refuted Barnett’s assertions, stating that the company follows the strictest safety protocols.

On Saturday, US prosecutors initiated a criminal inquiry into an incident where a Boeing 737 MAX, flown by Alaska Airlines, experienced a mid-air fuselage rupture.

According to reports by the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been conducting interviews with witnesses, including the flight crew, as part of its investigation into the event that took place on 5 January, where part of the aircraft’s body tore away during the flight.

Barnett had been staying at a hotel to provide a deposition in the whistleblower lawsuit against the company.

His attorney Brian Knowles told TMZ that he had doubts about the circumstances of his death.

“Today is a tragic day,” Mr Knowles wrote in an email to Corporate Crime Reporter. “John had been back and forth for quite some time getting prepared. The defence examined him for their allowed seven hours under the rules on Thursday.”

“Once you understand what’s happening inside of Boeing, you’ll see why we’re seeing these kinds of issues,” Barnett told ABC News in Australia in late January.

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.

Lee Anderson’s defection has damaged the Tories more than they realise

The best bit of analysis on Lee Anderson’s defection to Reform UK so far has been provided by, erm, Lee Anderson.

Before he had the Tory whip removed, and was still Rishi Sunak’s licensed attack dog, a sort of XL Bully patrolling the Red Wall to intimidate Labour canvassers, Anderson was very lucid about the futility of supporting what is now his new party: “Reform is not the answer. It leaves the door open for Sir Keir Starmer to get into No 10, and undo all the hard work we have tried to do so far.”

Leaving aside the bit about “hard work”, Anderson is entirely right, and he will soon enough observe the results of his not-that-surprising move on his former mates when the general election eventually comes round. He will damage the party that helped get him into parliament, just as surely his previous defection from Labour in 2019 – he was once a Corbynite local councillor – helped Boris Johnson snatch the usually safe constituency of Ashfield from Labour after decades of possession.

Island-hopping in the Ionian sea: a guide to Greece’s idyllic islands

Mamma Mia! It’s time to start thinking about a summer holiday, and there’s nowhere more picturesque and dreamy than a Greek island. With an estimated 1,600 isles, although not all are inhabited, there’s plenty to choose from that guarantee sparkling seas, golden sands, rugged nature, delicious food, and a warm welcome.

To help you find your ideal Greek island holiday this summer, travel experts Jet2holidays offer great-value breaks in more than 50 amazing destinations, including 21 in Greece. Hotspots and hidden gems, all boards and budgets, flexible stays and fab flight times – there’s something for everyone. With just a £60pp deposit*, 22kg baggage included and flexible monthly payments** to help spread the cost of your well-deserved holiday, it’s never been easier to get your next Greek getaway booked. 

What’s more, with the Jet2holidays sale now on, you can enjoy even better value on your break with up to £240 off† all holidays. Simply sign up for a myJet2 account, visit your independent travel agent or call the Jet2holidays contact centre. Book now and let the countdown to sunshine begin.

Here’s our pick of some of the best islands Greece has to offer…

Stunning beaches are a given in Greece, and in Corfu, the most beautiful include Agios Georgios, a long, horseshoe-shaped bay with a mix of sand and pebbles fringing calm, clear waters. Down the northwest coast is the pretty village of Palaiokastritsa which boasts six sheltered bays and offers boat trips to the fascinating Blue Caves. For a beach as romantic as its name, head to the Canal d’Amour, where a series of unique rock formations create intimate, narrow channels; legend has it that couples who swim between the sea walls together, stay together!

Explore the cobbled streets of Corfu Old Town, and take in pastel-coloured Venetian architecture while looking out for the new and old Fortresses which loom over the harbour. Base yourself at the swish Olivar Suites on the southeastern coast, a restful haven set in olive groves, away from the bustle.

Lefkas, also known as Lefkada, is an island connected to the Greek mainland by a causeway. Head to the beach at Porto Katsiki, located below a set of huge, looming cliffs which create a unique and dramatic landscape. Another gem is nearby Egremni, a classic, Caribbean-style stretch of white sand, fringing crystal-clear turquoise water, while if you fancy windsurfing, head to Vasiliki. On the east coast, check into the four-star, beachfront Porto Galini Sea Side Resort and Spa; handily, it’s just 15 minutes’ drive from Lefkada Town.

Also formerly under Venetian rule, landmarks including Church of the Pantokrator and the ruins of Agia Mavra Castle are worth a look. Escape to a pretty coastal village, such as Agios Nikitas or Nikiana, where you can take a table at a seafront taverna, and tuck into local speciality Englouvi lentils served with riganada (bread with olive oil, vinegar, and oregano). For a foray into nature, head to the spectacular waterfalls of Dimossari, near Nydri village.

Also known as Zakynthos, Zante is a popular island in the Ionian Sea, with a plethora of alluring beaches. The most famous is Navagio, which is surrounded by dramatic, honey-coloured cliffs and often called ‘Shipwreck Beach’ after the cargo boat which ran aground there in 1980, another must-visit is Agios Nikolaos, a serene pebbly stretch on Zante’s northern shore.

Stay at the luxury Domes Aulus Zante Autograph Collection, a laidback beachfront paradise on the south coast, near the quiet resort town of Kalamaki, where you can spot endangered loggerhead turtles. Zante has its own Blue Caves, a set of geological formations turned azure by the reflections of the sea, while its capital, Zakynthos Town, offers architecture influenced by its former Venetian, French and English rulers. Don’t miss the imposing Church of Agios Dionysios with its signature bell tower, and the ruins of the old Venetian Castle.

Sprinkled with Hollywood stardust, scenic Kefalonia was the location for the Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz movie, Captain Correlli’s Mandolin. Key scenes were shot in the harbour town of Sami, the stunning Antisamos beach and in the picturesque fishing village of Fiscardo. Kefalonia’s jagged coastline is made up of limestone cliffs, bays and strips of dazzling white sand, like Myrtos Beach in the north. Other standout beaches include Skala, bordered by thick trees and rocky outcrops, and the unusually named Xi beach, where white cliffs contrast with rare, rust-coloured sand.

Stay at the luxurious, contemporary, adults-only Thalassa Boutique Hotel Kefalonia on the southwest coast, a short drive from capital, Argostoli, where you can explore the Archaeological Museum, Municipal Theatre and historic castles and monasteries. For something more adventurous, explore the vast azure lake inside Melissani cave or hike Mount Ainos, the island’s highest peak, covered in pine forests and home to wild horses. Visit a winery such as Robola or Haritatos for a tasting.

Jet2holidays, the UK’s number one tour operator, offers package holidays you can trust where everything’s included. With you every step of the way, Jet2holidays has an incredible range of great-value, expert-rated getaways for all types of holidaymakers, across more than 50 stunning destinations. From the five-star luxury of Indulgent Escapes by Jet2holidays® to the compelling cities of Jet2CityBreaksVIBE by Jet2holidays for Insta-worthy stays that suit your style to family-friendly Jet2Villas, the boxes are ticked for every age, budget and interest. What’s more, with holidays secured for just £60pp deposit* and flexible payment options**, plus a host of perks like 22kg baggage and return transfers included††, it’s easy from start to finish. It’s all ABTA and ATOL-protected too, so you can enjoy sunshine with peace of mind. To find out more and book with the best, head here.

*On bookings made ten weeks or more before departure. **Terms and conditions apply. Please visit www.jet2holidays.com/part-payment for details. †Based on 4 people. On all holiday departures until 31 October 2025. . T&Cs apply. £60pp discount does not apply to Free Child Places. See http://Jet2holidays.com/promotions#60OFFMYJET2SALE ††Transfers are not included as standard on Jet2CityBreaks. Jet2Villas packages include car hire instead of transfers.

What else don’t the royals want us to see?

On first reading, the row about the Princess of Wales’s Mothering Sunday photograph appears to be the epitome of royal trivia. According to the explanation that eventually emerged from Kensington Palace, the “manipulation” of the image was no more sinister than the bumbling of an amateur photographer and inexpert user of the Adobe Photoshop software package or the like. In the words of Kate herself: “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing…”

Unfortunately for her, as well as for Prince William and their advisers, it also seems that they occasionally like to “experiment” with their comms strategy, too.

In the case of this unfortunate snap – already referred to in tabloid circles as “Kategate” – it has had some calamitous consequences for their public image, and for the trust the public invest in the institution of the monarchy. And that is not a trivial matter. To put it plainly, and despite some spectacular PR failures over the years, the public expect rather more from the royal family than they do from, say, their political leaders, in relation to whom fake news is no shocker.

Putin invaded Ukraine on my wedding day, I’ve not seen my fiance since

Svitlana and Leonid had chosen a beautiful venue for their big day; her wedding dress was picked out, and the most pressing concern on the horizon was where to spend their honeymoon – Turkey had been earmarked as top choice.

“It was a wonderful time, as if we knew each other our whole lives,” says Svitlana Chepalova in an interview with The Independent, speaking of her fairytale romance with her Ukrainian Marine Corps fiance.

There was one problem, the day they had picked. Initially scheduled for 22 February 2022, it had to be pushed back two days to Thursday 24 February. That date is now branded in the memories of all Ukrainians as the day Vladimir Putin declared his “special military operation” and sent thousands of troops across the border to attack Russia’s neighbour to the west.