INDEPENDENT 2024-04-12 10:08:55


OJ Simpson, ex-NFL star controversially acquitted of double murder, dies aged 76

The families of OJ Simpson’s alleged victims have vowed to go after his estate for unpaid compensation following his death.

In the 1990s, he became arguably the most infamous man in America after he was charged with the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, a waiter, who were stabbed to death. The trial in 1995 dominated the news for months, sparking contentious debate about fame, domestic abuse and racist treatment of Black Americans by the police. He was ultimately acquitted.

In 1997 Simpson was found liable for the pair’s deaths in a civil proceeding. Simpson was ordered to pay $33.5 million in a judgment, but managed to avoid paying significant damages. David Cook, a San Francisco attorney for Goldman’s father, Fred, who has been seeking to collect the civil judgment, said he would continue to fight for justice for the families.

“He died without penance. We don’t know what he has, where it is or who is in control. We will pick up where we are and keep going with it,” he said.

Simpson was battling prostate cancer and died at his home in Las Vegas on Wednesday, according to his family.

Man told to repay £17,000 to bank despite never having an account

A man has been left with £17,000 worth of debt and a crippled credit score after fraudsters, who he believes broke into his letterbox, managed to steal his identity and open bank accounts in his name before going on a spending spree.

Jamie Cavanagh, 37, a civil engineer from East Grinstead, West Sussex, received a letter in January 2024 from HSBC showing he spent more than £12,000 on a credit card despite having never banked or dealt with them in his life.

He then discovered an HSBC current account with an overdraft of £5,000 had been opened in his name and “maxed out” – and that his credit rating had plummeted by more than 300 points over the past few months.

Jamie immediately flagged the payments to HSBC as fraud and believes that someone managed to steal his identity by “busting” into his letterbox and using his personal information to open the accounts.

The majority of funds were withdrawn in £350 chunks from bank accounts dotted across south London, while card payments were also made to retailers, such as Tesco, Sports Direct and several chicken shops.

Jamie, who lives alone in a large block of flats, has been working with HSBC to try and close the accounts and restore his “nigh on perfect” credit rating.

He waited 14 weeks but after being told HSBC’s investigation was still ongoing and that the credit card account had not been closed, he decided to post about his ordeal on X, formerly known as Twitter, which received more than 40,000 views.

“At first I thought somebody had sent the wrong post, until I saw my name and address at the top of it,” Jamie said.

“In January my credit score was 930 out of 1,000, so nigh on perfect.

“Come February, March, it had nosedived to 620 out of 1,000.

“When I look at my outstanding finances, it shows that I’m in arrears for £12,820 on a credit card account with HSBC and £5,130 for an overdraft on a current account with HSBC.

“I’ve never banked with HSBC in my life.”

Jamie was surprised to find a letter from HSBC in his letterbox on January 21 2024 given he banks with NatWest and Santander.

To his horror, the envelope contained a credit card statement which showed he had been on a spending spree and now owned more than £10,000.

“I saw there were reams and reams of cash withdrawals on this credit card, so I was trying to figure out what had gone on,” he said.

“I discovered that somebody had taken out the card in my name, managed to get themselves a credit of £13,000.

“It showed that they had managed to take out £10,000 in cash at various cashpoints across south London, in Catford, Croydon, Bromley, Orpington, Lewisham…”

The fraudulent purchases range from spending a few quid in shops, including Tesco, Joe and The Juice and Lazy Chef, to withdrawing hundreds of pounds.

Jamie suspects the thieves broke into his post box to obtain the information they needed to open the account.

“It dawned on me that my post box had been stiff to open for a few months, which I just assumed was to do with rust or the weather,” he said.

“They would have had to take receivership of the credit card and the PIN code, which gets sent separately.

“So I figure, that’s what they were doing, busting into my post box.”

Jamie immediately tried contacting HSBC to warn them that somebody had stolen his identity and taken out a credit card in his name.

“I needed to speak to someone human because every time I phoned their telephone number it was asking for a bank account number which I didn’t have,” he said.

“So I messaged them on Twitter and they said just type any number in and it will put you through to someone.”

Jamie was hoping to resolve the issue quickly, but was told that he would have to visit his nearest branch with three forms of identification.

“At the time I was pretty distressed,” he said.

“I was like, you must be having a laugh? How can someone get all of that and you’re telling me that I need to attend the bank in person.”

That same day, Jamie called Sussex Police who advised he file a report with Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime.

He also registered with the Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System, a fraud prevention service, which placed a marker against his credit report, to flag the fraud.

But when Jamie decided to check his credit score for himself on checkmyfile.com, he learned there was more too it.

“Not only had they taken out the credit card, but they had also managed to set up a current account with a £5,000 overdraft, again with HSBC, which they had also maxed out,” he said.

He would later learn that the fraudsters had also checked his credit rating by creating an account on ClearScore with a different email address.

In total, they have spent £12,820 on the credit card and £5,130 on the debit card, money which on paper, Jamie now owns the bank.

The bank informed Jamie that it would take around two weeks for it to carry out an investigation.

“Two weeks go by and I’m thinking what the hell is going on here,” he said.

“I eventually get through and they inform me that the investigation is still ongoing and that it can actually take up to seven weeks.”

During this time, Jamie repeatedly received letters demanding he start paying back the money.

He was sent a final warning at the end of March saying he needed to start paying back the debt or face a final demand for the full amount and default notice.

“Obviously, I knew it wasn’t my debt, it had nothing to do with me,” he said.

“So I asked them at the very least, can you get this to stop?”

But it never did.

“I’m going to end up with bailiffs at my door – it just baffles me,” he added.

Last Saturday, April 6 2024, 14 weeks after Jamie first reported the fraud to HSBC, he still had not received any news.

“I rang them myself in the morning,” he said.

“This is what beggars belief in my opinion.

“If you are doing a fraud investigation, would I not be top priority to contact?

“Even if they suspect that it might be me who is doing this, would it not make sense to call me and question me?

“Other than sending letters demanding payment for the outstanding debt, they never contacted me.

“I was quite upset as you can imagine.”

Again, Jamie was told the investigation was still ongoing.

In the space of two and a half months, Jamie’s credit score has plummeted from 930 to 620 out of 1,000.

“All that’s happening is that my financial situation is seemingly getting worse,” he said.

“Not only that, but they hadn’t closed the credit account.”

After “politely ranting down the phone”, Jamie was able to raise an official complaint with the bank, which he was told could take up to five days to process.

The next day, he visited his nearest branch in Crawley with three forms of identification, his passport, driving licence and council tax bill.

He said after checking the system, he was told there was nothing they could do.

“I was at a complete loss with my treatment,” he said.

Out of options, Jamie decided to post about what had happened on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Over the next 24 hours, his post received 43,000 views and on Monday April 8 2024 he received a message from HSBC saying, “Good morning Jamie, thank you for reaching out to us, we would really like to get this matter sorted as quickly as possible. If you could join me in a private chat by clicking the link below, I can investigate this further…”

He has since been sent another link and asked to upload his identification, but at the time of writing, the credit card has still not been blocked and Jamie’s credit score remains 300 points down.

“It took me blasting it all over Twitter for them to actually contact me directly, because before then I had not received any correspondence in 14 weeks,” he said.

“Whoever has done this, I assume does not know me.

“I believe they’ve probably just pot-lucked as many people as they can.”

An HSBC UK spokesperson said: “Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

“We take all allegations of fraud extremely seriously and this case is being looked into.”

Jeremy Paxman says Parkinson’s ‘makes you wish you hadn’t been born’

Jeremy Paxman has said Parkinson’s disease “makes you wish you hadn’t been born”, as he delivered a list of recommendations about the illness to the government.

The former University Challenge and Newsnight presenter and fellow members of the Movers and Shakers podcast – which discusses the challenges of living with the disease – marked World Parkinson’s Day by presenting the Parky Charter and a petition with tens of thousands of names to Number 10.

The podcast also features former BBC journalist Rory Cellan-Jones, the broadcaster’s ex-Europe and North America editor Mark Mardell, correspondent Gillian Lacey-Solymar, the late Princess Diana’s divorce barrister Sir Nick Mostyn, and Vicar of Dibley co-writer Paul Mayhew-Archer.

The Parky Charter has five key recommendations: swift access to specialists for individuals with Parkinson’s under the NHS, the introduction of a Parkinson’s UK pamphlet for enhanced awareness and support, the implementation of a Parkinson’s passport granting automatic entitlement to specific benefits, improved comprehensive care, including regular consultations with a Parkinson’s nurse, and increased Government funding for research for a cure for the disease.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak praised the charter, saying he is “very supportive of the excellent work that the Movers and Shakers do and the charter will rightfully receive the attention it deserves”.

However, Paxman said he believes the charter and petition will have “no effect whatsoever” on the Government.

He told the PA news agency: “The fact that they (the Government) have ignored all their responsibilities to date indicates to me that they’re not going to get any better.

“And I suspect that the form of words devised by the Ministry of Health will confirm that.

“I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere. You feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall.”

The Leeds-born broadcaster also voiced his frustration with the public’s treatment of Parkinson’s sufferers.

He said: “You want to say, get the f*** out of the way, that’s what you want to say.”

In May 2021, he announced he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and stepped down as the host of University Challenge.

Paxman began his broadcasting career on the BBC’s graduate trainee programme in 1972.

The 73-year-old added: “(Parkinson’s) may not kill you but it will make you wish you hadn’t been born.

“There’s nothing in it for the drug companies, it’s just more money for them.”

Movers and Shakers began in February 2023 and is described by Paxman as “good fun”.

Mardell said: “None of us began our podcast Movers and Shakers with the slightest intention of becoming campaigners, let alone taking a charter to Downing Street.

“But the more we heard from our listeners throughout the series about the way they had been treated, ignored and misunderstood, the more shocked and outraged we became.

“Now we are determined to use what profile we have to demand some simple measures that would make a huge difference.

“Our trip to Number 10 is not the end, merely the first steps on a long road. We may stagger, we may be slow, but we will move and shake the system until it makes life better for our fellow Parkies.”

About 153,000 people have been diagnosed with the condition, although estimates suggest more than 200,000 may be affected.

Caroline Rassell, chief executive of the charity Parkinson’s UK, said: “The Movers and Shakers are an incredible group of people with Parkinson’s who are using their combined voices to create a powerful platform for change.

“We support the principles of the Parky Charter, which echo the issues that the Parkinson’s UK community raises with us.”

Carl Beech, chief executive of charity Spotlight YOPD, said: “When I was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s, I’ll never forget the words “incurable, degenerative and progressive” ringing in my ears as I left the consultant’s room. I knew that life was different now, and looked for help.

“The Movers and Shakers podcast was the first thing I listened to. It gave me great comfort to know I wasn’t alone. However, I was young and so I had a similar but also different battle on my hands.

“One of having to work with declining health and yet no easy access to financial help. Having to fight and often failing to get the help needed is soul-destroying.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We want a society where every person with a neurological disease, along with their families and carers, receives high quality, compassionate care – and having a better understanding of diseases like Parkinson’s is vital in making sure we can provide the right care at the right time.

“That’s why we committed to spend at least £375 million in research into neurodegenerative diseases over five years, so that we can better understand these conditions and improve outcomes for patients.”

McIlroy chasing DeChambeau and Scheffler on day two at Masters

Bryson DeChambeau set the round one pace at The Masters as the LIV golfer topped the opening day leaderboard at Augusta National. The big-hitting DeChambeau survived blustery conditions at the first men’s major of the year to shoot an outstanding 65 at a course where he has enjoyed limited success in the past.

Leading the chasers is Scottie Scheffler, continuing his excellent form with a smooth 66 to finish six-under. The PGA Tour’s dominant player and 2022 green jacket winner had arrived at Augusta as the favourite to add a second Masters crown to his collection and produced a typically composed and confident round.

The start of play was delayed by two and a half hours after morning storms, and while the rain cleared, the wind provided challenges throughout. Soft surfaces allowed players who remained in control to score relatively freely, though, with plenty top golfers to the fore. Rory McIlroy signed for a 71 after bouncing back from a slow start, while bogeys at the last two holes left Jon Rahm, the defending champion, at one-over. The surprise of the day, though, was Danny Willett — playing his first tournament since shoulder surgery just six months ago, the 2016 Masters winner produced a lovely 68 to suggest another enjoyable weekend on the immaculate Georgia course.

Tiger Woods made a solid start after the five-time winner said that he’s targeting “one more green jacket” to take him to 16 major titles, despite the pain he faces on the vast majority of shots at Augusta. He, and a number of other players, will conclude their first round on Friday after fading light forced a curtailment to Thursday’s play.

Follow live coverage of all of the action below. Get our tips for the winner here, and the best special bets to target here:

Stranded sailors make ‘HELP’ from palm trees to escape remote Pacific island

A trio of sailors who spent more than a week stranded on a remote, uninhabited atoll in the Pacific were rescued by the US Coast Guard after a search and rescue team spotted a giant sign spelling ‘HELP’ the men had constructed from palm fronds on the beach.

The sailors, identified as three men in their 40s with sailing experience, set out from Polowat Atoll, southeast of Guam, on 31 March. Their boat, a 20-foot open skiff with an outboard motor, sustained damage and the men were stranded on Pikelot Atoll.

Nearly a week later, on 6 April, the US Joint Rescue Sub-Center in Guam got a distress call from a relative of the sailors, saying they hadn’t returned from Pikelot.

The call prompted US officials to begin a rescue operation spanning an area of over 78,000 nautical miles.

The following day, a US Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft operating out of Kadena Air Force Base in Japan spotted the mariners, along with a crude shelter they’d erected on the beach and dropped them survival packages.

“In a remarkable testament to their will to be found, the mariners spelt out ‘HELP’ on the beach using palm leaves, a crucial factor in their discovery. This act of ingenuity was pivotal in guiding rescue efforts directly to their location,” one of the operation’s search and rescue coordinators, Lieutenant Chelsea Garcia of the US Coast Guard, said in a news release.

On 8 April, a US Coast Guard HC-130J Hercules aircraft flew over the stranded men, dropping a radio to the missing sailors.

The men radioed back that they were “in good health” and “had access to food and water,” according to the Coast Guard. They had been surviving by eating coconuts.

The next day, a Coast Guard ship, the USCGC Oliver Henry, which had been diverted from its original course to join the rescue, picked up the sailors.

In another twist, one of the Coast Guard personnel involved in the rescue, Petty Officer 2nd Class Eugene Halishlius, was related to the missing men.

“I could see on their faces, ‘Whoa! Who’s this guy pulling up that can speak our language?’” he told CNN on Thursday.

“It’s a crazy world, I actually found out I’m related to them!” he added, describing the missing men as third and fourth cousins.

The men have now been safely returned to their departing point of Polowat Atoll.

The Coast Guard urged all sailors to equip their vessels with emergency position indicating radio beacons.

The remote atoll was the site of a similar rescue in 2020 when another group of three washed up on Pikelot when their boat ran out of fuel.

They spelt out ‘SOS’ on the beach and were later rescued by a multi-country team.

The best beach breaks in Italy: from idyllic islands to chic rivieras

Italy is renowned for la dolce vita, or living ‘the sweet life’ and you’ll find no better place to do that than basking on one of the country’s gorgeous beaches. With a whopping 4,723 miles of coastline, dotted with some of the most beautiful seaside towns and stretches of sand in the world, you can swim in clear, azure waters, then sip cocktails under a stylish striped parasol. Whether you head for one of Italy’s beautiful lakes or one of its stunning islands, you’re guaranteed the perfect escape.

To help you find that perfect beach holiday this summer, travel experts Jet2holidays offer great-value breaks in more than 50 amazing destinations, including six in Italy. 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 that dreamy Italian 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 beach destinations Italy has to offer….

Italy’s largest island sits in the Mediterranean to the west of the mainland and offers rugged nature and crystal-clear seas all the way from Sardinia’s glitzy resorts of the Costa Smeralda in the north to the unspoilt southern coast.

A stay at the Grand Hotel Smeraldo Beach, close to the glamorous resort of Porto Cervo, gives you access to a private beach as well as four swimming pools, while nearby Club Hotel Baja Sardinia (main picture, above) is set back from the picturesque, rocky Cala Battistoni beach where it has its own reserved section for guests. Not far from either hotel is Spiaggia Rena Bianca, a swathe of pale sand and clear, shallow waters, often labelled as one of the island’s best beaches.

Further down the northeastern coast, check into the elegant Hotel Calacuncheddi, just a stone’s throw from the striking Li Cuncheddi beach where the clear waters are perfect for snorkelling. Not far is Cala Brandinchi, nicknamed ‘Little Tahiti’ for its thin arc of soft, talc-like sand lapped by crystalline turquoise waters and surrounded by pine trees.

Floating just off the toe of Italy’s boot, Sicily is a true sunshine paradise. Base yourself at the luxurious Delta Hotels by Marriott Giardini Naxos, a relaxing retreat on the island’s northeast coast with its own private beach. Just a 20-minute drive away is the picture-perfect hilltop town of Taormina, which you might recognise from series two of The White Lotus.

Head to Spiaggia di Isola Bella, a semicircular pebble beach reached by cable car, and swim in the translucent waters of the surrounding marine park. Head north west to the coastal village of Scopello, where you’ll view striking rock formations from the breathtaking beach. Nearby, overlooked by the craggy Monte Monaco mountain, is San Vito Io Capo; think turquoise waters and golden sands fringed by palm trees.

Italy is peppered with hundreds of lakes, with the largest being Lake Garda. Check into the elegant, 19th century Grand Hotel Gardone Riviera, which sits on the lake’s western side and boasts a private bathing platform so you can slip right into the water. For a more traditional-style beach, head to the pebbly shores of Torbole at the northern tip of Garda, where you can enjoy stunning views across the crystalline waters and majestic mountains in the distance.

Blooming with hot pink bougainvillea and windswept pine trees is pretty Spiaggia Fonte Torrente San Giovanni in Limone sul Garda, on the lake’s western side. If you’re looking for more tropical vibes, head to Jamaica beach at the charming southern town of Sirmione, and don’t miss the alluring Parco Baia delle Sirene; located on the lake’s eastern shore, it offers calm, quiet waters and magical scenery.

You might not associate Venice with beaches, but the archipelago city is close to a region of pretty towns set along a picturesque bay known as the Venetian Riviera. As well as scenic harbours and historic architecture, youll find a handful of attractive stretches of sand. Lido di Jesolo is a traditional seaside town located just across the lagoon from Venice, featuring ten miles of golden Blue Flag beach.

Stay at the luxurious Almar Jesolo Resort and Spa, or the stylish Falkensteiner Hotel and Spa, both of which have their own private section on sweeping Jesolo beach. Further down the coast is busy Capannina Beach, where traders bearing trolleys of cold drinks and ice creams come straight to your sunlounger, while nearby, quieter Cavallino is the place to hire boats or pedalos for family fun.

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. See http://Jet2holidays.com/promotions#60OFFMYJET2SALE ††Transfers are not included as standard on Jet2CityBreaks. Jet2Villas packages include car hire instead of transfers.

The NHS needs a health secretary who will be radical about reform

Like being the water purity press officer for Thames Water or compliance manager for GB News, a Conservative health secretary is very usually on a hiding to nothing – or to turn to another, still more obvious cliche, invariably presented with a compulsory “hospital pass” with no exemption clause.

Victoria Atkins is only the latest to be wheeled out to defend the indefensible, and it is fair to say that she is proving worse at the task than most of her predecessors. Although, had Therese Coffey, Liz Truss’s eccentric pick for the high-profile role, lasted for more than a few weeks she’d probably have mined the very nadirs of public respect even more determinedly than Ms Atkins.

Try as she might, on the morning media round Ms Atkins somehow managed to turn what should have been a mildly encouraging piece of news for the government, which is that National Health Service waiting lists are edging down again, into a bit of a debacle.

What would it take to reform the NHS – and is it even possible?

Even after recent marginal improvements, NHS waiting lists remain high and government performance targets are being missed. Public satisfaction levels are at their lowest since Labour left office in 2010, and cancer survival rates are poor. Ambulances take about twice as long to turn up as they are supposed to.

There are around 100,000 staff vacancies within the health service, and the pay and conditions offered to its current staff are prompting skilled medics to leave. Industrial relations are notoriously poor. Yet the NHS is also the sixth-largest employer on the planet, only outnumbered by the Indian Ministry of Defence, the US Department of Defense, the People’s Liberation Army of China, Walmart, and Amazon.

The NHS spends around £230bn per annum. That sum should put into perspective the £2bn package promised by Rachel Reeves, and the £2.5bn funding boost plus £3.4bn in capital funding over five years announced by Jeremy Hunt in the last Budget. Both main parties talk about “reform”, but never about moving away from the present model…