INDEPENDENT 2024-06-11 00:10:42


Two 12-year-old boys who murdered stranger with machete are ‘UK’s youngest knife killers’

Two 12-year-old boys who used a machete to mercilessly stab an “utterly defenceless” teenager have been found guilty of murder.

On Monday, jurors unanimously convicted the youths, who are believed to be youngest defendants convicted of murder in Britain since Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, both aged 11, were found guilty in 1993 of killing two-year-old James Bulger.

They had attacked Shawn Seesahai, 19, who was unarmed when he and his friend were set upon while walking through Stowlawn playing fields in Wolverhampton on November 13 last year.

Jurors heard one of the defendants regularly carried a machete, and the two had been seen “passing it between themselves” before carrying out the lethal attack.

Despite doing nothing to offend his killers, Mr Seeshai was shoulder-barged and then hit so hard on the skull that a piece of bone came away. He also suffered a fatal 23cm deep stab wound which almost went the whole way through his body.

In an interview released after the verdicts, Mr Seesahai’s parents Suresh and Maneshwary have said they will never be able to get over the loss of their 19-year-old son who always told them he would “shine” and take care of them.

Speaking for the first time since their son was murdered, Suresh Seesahai said he feels sorry for the parents of the killers and only hopes that “justice” is served for his son.

Both the defendants, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had screenshots of knives on their phones and had researched articles about the killing. One of them had also searched online for “how many criminal records can you have to leave the country” on November 14, a day after the attack.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that Mr Seesahai, who lived in Handsworth in Birmingham but was originally from Anguilla in the Caribbean, had travelled to the UK to receive treatment for cataracts.

On November 13, he had travelled with friends to Wolverhampton, while the two 12-year-olds were together from 4.10pm that afternoon, meeting two girls of around the same age who are witnesses in the case.

After spending a period of time sitting with a friend on a bench and walking near basketball courts, the court heard Mr Seesahai and his friend “came together” with the defendants as the boys passed the machete between them, with one commenting “Keep stepping”.

The weapon had been taken out of one of the boys’ trousers and was made available to be used despite the fact Mr Seesahai had offered no violence.

His friend who was with him at the time of the attack told police that one of the boys had deliberately shoulder-brushed his victim, before producing the weapon and launching their attack.

Michelle Heeley KC told the court: “The prosecution says the two boys were engaged in a joint attack upon a man who had done nothing wrong, a man with no weapon, who was utterly defenceless on the ground.

“We say that these two boys were acting together and meant to kill Mr Seesahai, at the very least they intended to cause really serious harm.

“As a result of their actions, Shawn Seesahai died at the scene. He had been hit so hard to the skull with the machete that a piece of bone had actually come away.

“He had slash wounds on his leg, and most significantly he had an injury from the machete that went through his body all the way from his back, through his ribs and into his heart.”

After the killing Mr Seesahai’s friend called the police, who attended and began to carry out CPR but it was apparent from the severity of the injuries suffered that he was already dead.

The two boys had denied the charge and blamed each other for his death, while one had admitted possession of the machete used in the attack.

As well as failing to summon help for Mr Seesahai, the youths showed no remorse for what they had done in the 24 hours before their arrest – with one cleaning the machete with bleach and hiding it under his bed.

They told the court they both played video games in the hours after the killing, claiming they did not know Mr Seesahai had died until the following day.

Jurors heard one of the defendants posed, wearing a mask, with the murder weapon for a picture hours before the killing, and was found to have 11 areas of bloodstaining on his clothing.

In an interview, Mr Seesahai’s parents have questioned how a child so young could have a weapon like a machete with them as they walked the streets.

Suresh said: “This world is a different world, kids are dangerous now. If we don’t pay attention to them this will keep happening.”

Maneshwary added: “Twelve-year-old kids should be at home doing school work and then going to bed. I have two children and at 7.30pm they had to go to bed because they have to follow the rules of the house.

Detective Inspector Damian Forrest, who led the investigation, said: “The weapon was a large machete that really no person who doesn’t need it as a tool of their trade should have any reason to own.

“Obviously, originally it would be a gardening tool.

“Although the facts of this case mean we can’t say for certain how that weapon came into the possession of the suspects, there is some evidence that suggests that one of them had tried to purchase knives on the internet.”

Jonathan Roe, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, said: “Shawn Seesahai was an incredibly brave young man who had a world of opportunities at his feet.

“Shawn suffered traumatic injuries after being ruthlessly targeted by defendants who had a fixation with violence and were roaming the streets looking for a potential victim.

“This was a horrifying and random act of brutality, perpetrated by two 12-year-olds who should not have been spending their time arming themselves with a machete and preparing to take a life.”

Kyiv ‘strikes Russian air defences’ in Crimea after downing a Su-57 stealth jet

Ukraine has claimed it damaged three Russian surface-to-air defence systems overnight in missile attacks on occupied Crimea.

One S-400 anti-aircraft missile unit was hit near Dzhankoi, and two more S-300 anti-aircraft missile units were attacked near occupied Chornomorske and Yevpatoria, Ukraine’s military said.

It comes as Kyiv said it also destroyed a Russian Su-57 plane, a twin-engine stealth fighter worth up to £28million around 370 miles from the frontline.

The strike, believed to have been conducted using drones, comes after Ukraine’s Western allies permitted Kyiv to use their weapons for limited strikes inside Russia.

Earlier, US president Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin was not going to stop with the war in Ukraine, pledging to support Europe against Russia.

Mr Biden said the whole of Europe was threatened by the Russian president. The US president met his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris, and the two pledged solidarity on the wars raging in Europe and the Middle East.

Outrage after football club votes to remove entire female section

An English football club has come under fire after its committee voted to remove its entire female section – from the under sevens to the first team – leaving more than 100 players without a club.

News of the decision made by Thornaby FC’s committee was revealed on Facebook by a page for the women’s section, who expressed their disappointment at the remarkable decision.

“Yesterday we found out that a majority on the Thornaby FC committee voted to remove the entire female section from the club,” Thornaby FC Women wrote.

“This leaves over 100 girls without a club. We would like to thank all of our Coaches, Volunteers, Players, Supporters and Sponsors for their dedication over the last 3 years, you are all AMAZING.

“We are all devastated to hear of the Thornaby FC decision and would like to thank the members of the club who voted to keep female football.”

The post was accompanied by a selection of pictures showcasing the club’s female players, who participated in teams from under sevens to women’s in the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees in North Yorkshire.

Our Sporting Life found that less than a quarter of women have played on a football team compared to 60.6 percent of men.

But despite this startling difference, the number of girls playing football in England increased from 118,000 in 2018 to 777,000 in December 2022 girls play football in England.

News of the decision was met with outrage on Facebook.

One commentator remarked: “Sadly this happens in too many sports. I hope there’s a solution for all these girls.”

“I see a swift meeting to reverse this situation coming,” added a second. “Unless it’s all a PR stunt in which case well done because I’m now a Thornaby Women’s FC supporter.”

Another nearby football club then took the opportunity to give the women a place to play, while yet another outraged commentator said they should not remain at Thornaby FC even if the committee makes a u-turn on its decision.

One Facebook user, who identified themselves as a player on the under 15 team, said: “I think this decision is absolutely vile, to ostracise a whole gender, is simply wrong.

“Women’s football is supposed to be progressing yet we have moved backwards? It’s literally discrimination and the Thornaby fc committee that made this decision should all be ashamed of themselves.

“The fact that they think this is justifiable is disgusting. Yous should seriously be embarrassed to have made this decision.” [sic]

In a subsequent post to the club’s social media, chairman Garry Morris said he did not agree with the committee’s decision and he has asked the board to “reconsider its decision.”

This is not the first time that the club has hit the headlines in recent years.

The club was the victim of an arson attack last June that left it in a state of ruin, but thanks to various donors, they were able to rebuild.

This did not go unnoticed by social media commentators in light of the committee’s decision to remove the club’s female section.

One Twitter (X) user wrote: “A lot of us from the wider footballing community in the North East rallied round and contributed financially (me included) when you had your arson attack last year. Sort of wondering why we bothered if you’re now making decisions like this!”

The club wrote on its official Facebook page that the committee concluded that removing the female section was the only way to combat staffing issues affecting the running of the club.

The statement read: “The committee held an emergency meeting with all concerned and discussed the whole future of the club including the events over the last 12 months and after discussions it was felt the only way to continue was without the women and running with only the men’s team as before they came to the club also with the Staffing levels very low the day to day running of the club is in doubt.” [sic]

The Independent has reached out to Thornaby FC for comment.

Man, 64, charged with voyeurism at Taylor Swift concert

A 64-year-old man has been charged with alleged voyeurism at one of Taylor Swift’s Edinburgh concerts.

Police Scotland said the man was arrested and charged in connection with a voyeurism offence during the concert at Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday.

Superintendent David Happs said: “A 64-year-old man was arrested and charged in connection with a voyeurism offence committed within Murrayfield during the event on Saturday June 8.

“He was released on an undertaking to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date.”

The American star kicked off the UK leg of her international Eras tour on Friday with the first of three consecutive dates at Murrayfield.

She played to a capacity crowd of almost 73,000 each time, and she told fans that made the gigs the highest attended stadium concerts in Scottish history.

Body found in River Soar confirmed to be missing two-year-old

A body found in the River Soar in Leicestershire has been confirmed as missing two-year-old Xielo Maruziva, police have said.

A major search operation was launched after Xielo fell into the River Soar while walking with family members in Aylestone Meadows on 18 February.

His father desperately entered the water to try to rescue him, and later police launched a vast rescue operation across the nature reserve including over 200 officers and five specialist teams.

But despite their efforts, the toddler – described as “cheeky, funny, friendly, smart, caring and independent” by his distraught family – was not found, and the BBC reported that the operation had been scaled back several weeks later.

Leicestershire Police said a body had been recovered from the river last Thursday and announced on Monday that formal identification had now taken place.

Confirming the body belonged to Xielo, Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr said: “We are so sorry to bring this news.

“This is a devastating and tragic incident and our thoughts are with all of Xielo’s family at this most difficult and unimaginable time. We ask that the privacy of the family continues to be respected at this time.”

In a previous statement issued by the police force, Xielo’s mother described her son as a “cheeky, funny and friendly” boy.

“Me, his dad and the whole family are so heartbroken at what has happened,” she said. “We thank everyone who has supported us and helped us during this time. We are extremely grateful for this.

“All we want is for Xielo to be found as soon as possible.”

Leicestershire Police was joined by specialist diving teams from Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire constabularies, while members of the public were urged to avoid the water for their safety.

But last Thursday, workers found the boy’s body.

Ass Chf Cons Kerr said: “Full support also continues to be provided to the workers who were in the area of Aylestone Meadows on Thursday morning and I continue to thank them for their support and co-operation in the most horrendous circumstances.”

She added: “I know this news has affected so many of us and again I want to pass on my thanks to everyone who has been involved in the search for Xielo for your dedicated work in extremely traumatic circumstances and an extremely complex search.

“Thank you also to our communities and wider members of the public for your continued support.”

Local councillors have shared their sadness at the discovery of Xielo’s body.

In a joint statement, Nigel Porter and Scott Kennedy-Lount: “We know that for Xielo’s parents and family this will be the most devastating news and it is a heartbreaking outcome.

“Local residents in Aylestone have been deeply affected by this tragedy and it has touched us all.”

Jet2 Costa Dorada! Win a seven-night stay at Ohtels Villa Dorada

With a buffet restaurant, two pools and a jam-packed entertainment schedule – and plenty of Mediterranean sunshine – Ohtels Villa Dorada a family fave. After a busy day getting stuck into all the activities, the well-equipped rooms are waiting to welcome you. This hotel’s hit the location jackpot too, just a short stroll to the beach and Salou resort centre. You’ll also have Spain’s largest theme park nearby! Prepare to be in prime position for exploring this sunny slice of Spain. Why not check out the illuminated fountain or take a seaside stroll?

Enter now for your chance to win a seven night stay at Ohtels Villa Dorada for a family of four.

If you are unable to view the entry form, click here

Terms and Conditions

Promotion closes at 23.59 on 17th June 2024. The winner will be the first entry drawn at random after the closing date.

1. Entrants to this prize draw must be residents of the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man and must be aged 18 years or over. Employees and officers of Jet2holidays Limited, Jet2.com Limited, Jet2 plc or any companies within the same group or any organisation professionally involved with the prize draw (or in each case, their close relatives) are not eligible to enter. An entrant may only be entered into the prize draw once. The Prize

2. The winner will win: (a) A 7-night Jet2holiday on a Bed and Breakfast board basis, in a standard double room, at the 3-star Ohtels Villa Dorada, Costa Dorada for 2 adults and 2 children (up to the age of 12). (b) The prize includes return flights from any of the UK bases from which Jet2holidays fly directly to Reus Airport (REU) and allows the duration of the prize advertised.

The prize also includes private transfers to and from the overseas airport and the hotel, a 22kg hold-baggage allowance per person on each flight. (c) If the winner opts to book, this holiday must be booked by 08/07/2024 and travel to and from the destination must be completed between one of the following bands subject to availability (including all return travel):

i. 11/06/2024 – 18/07/2024

ii. 29/07/2024 – 12/08/2024

iii. 04/09/2024 – 18/10/2024

iv. 03/05/2025 – 22/05/2025

v. 03/06/2025 – 17/07/2025

vi. 28/07/2025 – 11/08/2025

vii. 03/09/2025 – 16/10/2025

3. The following is not included with the prize: Transfers to and from the airport in the UK; Spending money; optional flight/board/transfer/accommodation supplements; or travel insurance. Winners are advised to take out their own insurance.

4. If a prize is not booked by the applicable date, it will be deemed forfeited and Jet2holidays reserves the right to award a prize to another randomly selected entry.

5. The prize is subject to these terms and conditions (“Prize Terms”) and the Jet2holidays’ and Jet2.com’s terms and conditions (together the “Terms and Conditions”) which can be found at http://www.jet2holidays.com/terms-and-conditions and http://www.jet2.com/terms respectively. The holiday shall not constitute a ‘package’ under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 (the “Regulations”) and the Regulations shall not apply, nor shall the applicable provisions of the Terms and Conditions which relate to the Regulations. In the event of any conflict between the Terms and Conditions, and these Prize Terms, these Prize Terms will take precedence.

6. Prize flights are limited on the flights operated by Jet2.com and may be unavailable even if there is general availability on a particular flight.

7. Jet2holidays reserves the right to amend or cancel the flights or holiday for any reason without prior notice (which may include substituting the prize or any element of the prize with alternative dates/property/transfers/destinations at any time, to the equivalent prize value).

8. Please note that flight schedules are not guaranteed.

9. The prize and each element of the prize is non-transferable and may not be exchanged for cash. The prize may only be taken by the prize draw winner along with any accompanying passenger(s) notified to Jet2holidays in the relevant booking, subject to the maximum number of passengers specified within the prize details. Flights must be taken by all passengers at the same time from the same airport. Once you have made your booking this cannot be amended.

10. The prize duration may not be extended and no element of the prize may be changed by the winner. Additional passengers outside the maximum amount permitted in the prize details may not be booked onto the prize booking.

11. All passengers must have a valid passport to travel, and must meet all relevant visa and/or other entry requirements including any medical/health screening requirements or similar. General:

12. Entrants’ details will be used to administer the prize draw and award the prize. Details will be used in accordance with the Jet2holidays privacy policy (see https://www.jet2holidays.com/privacy-policyhttp://www.jet2.com/privacy).

13. [When entering the prize draw entrants will be invited to opt in to receiving marketing from Jet2holidays. If entrants choose to opt in, their details will be retained by Jet2holidays for the purposes of marketing (which may include activities such as passing on information about deals, offers and promotion codes from Jet2holidays).]

14. Where Jet2holidays makes any changes to the prize (including dates of travel), no compensation or cash equivalent will be available. Jet2holidays will not be liable for any cancellations or changes to the prize draw or any prize, or for any loss or damage entrants or accompanying passengers suffer as a result of entering the prize draw provided that nothing in these terms shall exclude or limit the liability of Jet2holidays in relation to personal injury or death caused by Jet2holidays negligence or for fraud.

For full terms and conditions visit www.jet2holidays.com/promotions

For further information, please write to Customer Care, The Independent, Alphabeta, 14-18 Finsbury Square, London, England, EC2A 1AH. Promoter: Jet2holidays.

Labour and the Tories must stop avoiding the difficult issues

When the political parties unveil their manifestos this week, they have an opportunity to engage voters who have not yet tuned into the election and might not do so. Worryingly, a survey by Techne UK for The Independent found that 20 per cent of people have already decided not to vote, and some experts think we might see the lowest turnout in modern history.

That would not be a surprise given that many voters have written off Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives but have not yet been won over by Keir Starmer’s Labour Party. Labour’s 20-point opinion poll lead has encouraged Sir Keir to run a safety-first campaign. So far, the Tories appear to be appealing to their core vote to limit the scale of the defeat they expect on 4 July, rather than talking to the whole country.

Naturally, all parties want to play to their strengths and attack their opponents’ weaknesses. But this has resulted in a very narrow election agenda, contributing to a lack of excitement about the election and the absence of much hope for a better future. The manifestos offer the parties a chance to have a more honest conversation with the public about the huge challenges facing the next government. If they take it, more people would probably turn out on 4 July, which would be a good thing.

Rishi Sunak’s welfare reforms: what is the prime minister promising?

Rishi Sunak has promised to halt the spiralling benefits bill by reforming the welfare system if he wins the election.

The prime minister believes he can save £12bn a year by the end of the next parliament by getting more benefit claimants back to work.

He is proposing a mix of expanded support for those with poor mental health and tighter sanctions for those not seeking work.

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