The Telegraph 2024-03-22 16:00:37

Defiant FA stands by multicoloured St George’s Cross despite Rishi Sunak’s intervention

The Football Association is continuing to defy a growing revolt over the inclusion of a multicoloured St George’s Cross on England’s new kit despite the Prime Minister saying the national flag should not be “messed with…

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Nato ‘ready for direct conflict with Russia’

Nato is “ready” for direct conflict with Russia, Admiral Rob Bauer, chairman of the Nato Military Committee, has said.

“Are we ready? Answer: Yes! Our primary task is to be prepared,” Adml Bauer told ArmyInform, the information branch of Ukraine’s ministry of defence. “If this happens today, you must fight with what you have. It is always a combination of being ready for today and improving opportunities for the future.”

Addressing Nato’s readiness on its eastern flank, he recalled how the alliance has increased its presence in the Baltic states since 2016, as well as in Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria since the outbreak of the full-scale war in Ukraine.

“We now have eight such combat groups, each with a battalion, and they can be combined to form a brigade if necessary,” he said.

His comments come as Russia admitted it was in a “a state of war” with Ukraine amid reports Moscow is building up a force of more than 100,000 soldiers in preparation for a major offensive this summer.

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Hypnotist ‘used insidious tactics’ to steal and sell women’s intimate photos

A hypnotist used “insidious tactics” to steal intimate photos of women, police said…

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Justin Welby criticises Church’s ‘deconstructing whiteness officer’ job advert

The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned the church for advertising for a “deconstructing whiteness officer…

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Fentanyl ‘nerdy’ killer who ‘hacked into the lives’ of married couple poisoned his victim for 18 months, police reveal

A “cruel and manipulative” IT worker “hacked into the lives” of a married couple and spent 18 months poisoning the wife with drugged health drinks.

Luke D’Wit was sentenced to life in prison on Friday and told he must serve a minimum of 37 years behind bars for the deaths of Carol, 64, and Stephen Baxter, 61.

D’Wit, described as a “nerdy and weird” loner, spent almost a decade ingratiating himself with the couple and their family before “scheming and planning their demise”.

At Chelmsford Crown Court, the Baxter’s children, Harry and Ellie, said they had been “completely brainwashed” by the 34-year old who they viewed as a brother.

The couple were discovered slumped in their armchairs in the conservatory of their detached home in the seaside village of West Mersea, Essex, by their daughter on April 9 last year.

In the months before giving the couple a fatal dose of fentanyl, D’Wit had created multiple fake identities of doctors to trick Carol into taking medication that left her with dementia-like symptoms.

The court heard he would film her and giggle at the footage, after making her drink “health drinks” that would supposedly help with her thyroid condition, but were laced with drugs.

Ellie, 22, read out an emotional victim impact statement at Chelmsford Crown Court in which she laid bare the horror of finding her parents’ bodies.

She said she found her parents “stiff and stone cold.

“I have never known an emotional pain to physically hurt so much. It was like my insides were on fire. I pleaded for them to wake up. I begged them.”

She told the court that her parents, who ran a shower mat company, had grown closer to D’Wit, who carried out IT work for them and lived a five-minute walk away, when his father died in 2021.

Over the next 18 months, Carol’s health began to decline and Ellie said her mother had been “completely brainwashed” by a fake doctor D’Wit was posing as, called Dr Andrea Bowden.

In the months leading up to their deaths, Miss Baxter has said her father seemed lonely as her mother constantly struggled to stay awake.

“My mum being drugged for so long and needing such constant help was also, slowly but surely, tearing away every last bit of my dad’s soul. I felt so helpless.”

Ellie said her parents, who were planning on taking early retirement, had “so much life left to live and so much to look forward to”.

She added: “All that had been crushed due to one man’s heinous crimes.

“A man my family protected and cared for. A man who lied his way into our lives. A man so manipulative he hacked his way into our lives over a decade ago, schemed and thoroughly planned my parent’s demise.”

Prosecutor Tracy Ayling KC said D’Wit’s murder involved “quite an extraordinary long-term case of manipulation”.

The barrister said D’Wit was drugging Carol, causing her to appear as if she had dementia or a stroke, and that the pain he was inflicting on her “was for (his) own satisfaction”.

She said he had previously tried to harm Mrs Baxter by giving her a pill with a tack inside it.

As the couple lay dying in their home, D’Wit monitored their passing remotely via cameras installed in the property and after they had died, a fake will was discovered naming D’Wit as the director of the couple’s business.

Mr Justice Lavender said that while D’Wit had hoped to gain financially from the couple’s deaths, the primary motivation may have been a “desire to control others” as he had done with Carol in the months before he murdered her.

“Deciding whether another person lives or dies is the ultimate form of control,” he added.

The judge told D’Wit, who was in a wheelchair and remained emotionless as he was sentenced, that he had been viewed as a member of the Baxter family.

He added: “You spent a great deal of your time in their home and, in particular, you accompanied Carol Baxter on walks and visits to the gym and you regularly mixed what were supposed to be health drinks for her.

“I am sure that it was by means of one such drink, which you had recommended to Carol and Stephen Baxter in the guise of… one of many false identities created by you, that you administered the drugs to Carol and Stephen Baxter without their knowledge.”

In the close-knit coastal community of West Mersea, locals were still coming to terms with the impact of the murders.
Many who knew D’Wit, are unable to accept that the “polite, mild mannered” boy who grew up on the island was capable of such cruelty.

A close friend of the D’Wit family, who did not wish to be named, told The Telegraph: “I’ve known him for 30 years, I knew him as a little boy, he used to come round to our house.

“Throughout that time up until the day he was arrested, I thought he was a polite nice lad. I just can’t understand it”.

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Drivers prefer buttons to ‘distracting’ touchscreens

Drivers prefer cars that have physical buttons and switches for operating the controls instead of touchscreens, a study has found…

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Hollywood has ‘depoliticised’ bad guys for fear of causing offence, The Crown producer says

Hollywood studios and US streaming giants have “de-politicised” villains in drama because they are scared of causing controversy over race or religion, the producer of The Crown has said…

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