The Telegraph 2024-07-10 20:12:24

LIVE Triple crossbow killing victims are wife and daughters of BBC racing commentator – follow latest

The wife and two daughters of the BBC 5 Live racing commentator John Hunt are believed to be the victims of a triple crossbow murder in Hertfordshire, the Telegraph can reveal.

Police and paramedics were called to the Hunt family home in Bushey on Tuesday evening following reports that three women had been found with serious injuries.

It is believed Mr Hunt, who is married with three daughters, had been working for the BBC racing on Tuesday and may have raised the alarm when he returned home at around 7pm.

Despite the best efforts of paramedics, the three women died a short time later at the scene.

Hertfordshire Police have since issued an urgent appeal for 26-year-old Kyle Clifford from the Enfield area who is wanted in connection with the incident.

Mr Hunt, 58, who is a former police officer, has worked for BBC Radio Five Live for the last 20-years.

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LIVE Majority of Tory members do not want interim leader – live updates

A majority of Tory members are not in favour of appointing a caretaker leader to take over from Rishi Sunak while his permanent replacement is found, according to a new survey of the Conservative grassroots. 

A survey of almost 1,000 Conservative Party members conducted by the Conservative Home website between July 8-10 found 28.6 per cent wanted Mr Sunak to step down and hand the reins to an interim leader. 

But a clear majority – 68.6 per cent – said Mr Sunak should remain as leader while the leadership contest takes place. 

Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, said yesterday that he believed an interim leader should be appointed. 

He argued the architects of the Tories’ election defeat should “get off the stage as soon as possible and let the rest of us move on”.

You can follow the latest updates below and join the conversation in the comments section

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LIVE Kremlin threatens Starmer if he allows UK weapons to hit Russia – live updates

The Kremlin has said it will respond if Sir Keir Starmer allows Ukraine to strike Russia with UK-supplied weapons. 

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman said that allowing Kyiv to strike Russia with British weapons would be “an absolutely irresponsible step towards escalating tensions and seriously escalating the situation.”

He added:“We will carefully record all of this and, of course, take appropriate measures.”

The Labour leader told reporters en route to the Nato summit in Washington that military aid supplied by Britain, including Storm Shadow missiles, are “for defensive purposes” but Kyiv can “decide how to deploy it for those defensive purposes.”

Mr Starmer added that the long-range missiles should “obviously to be used in accordance with international humanitarian law as you would expect.”

Former foreign secretary Lord Cameron made similar comments about Ukraine’s use of Storm Shadow missiles earlier this year. 

At the time, Russia called it a “very dangerous statement”.

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Two children die amid infectious bug outbreak at primary school

Two children have died amid an infectious bug outbreak at a primary school. 

The pair, believed to be five and six years old, were pupils at Millstead Primary School in the Everton area of Liverpool.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) North West has been working with Liverpool City council and partners following a number of cases of giardiasis linked to the school.

Giardiasis, an infection of the digestive system, is caused by tiny parasites known as giardia lamblia. The infection can cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, stomach cramps, flatulence and bloating, but is generally not a serious risk to health and can be treated easily with antibiotics.

Emma Savage, a consultant in health protection for Cheshire and Merseyside health protection team, said: “UKHSA is aware of the sad deaths of two children who attend Millstead Primary School, and our thoughts are with the family, friends and school community.

“The deaths are unlikely to be due to giardia. Giardia usually causes a self-limiting gastrointestinal illness, which can spread easily in households and school settings. Investigations are ongoing, and we have provided information and advice to the school and parents. Public health measures have been put in place to help prevent further cases.”

Pupils ‘filled their classes with joy’

The cause of the deaths is not yet known, a UKHSA spokesman told The Telegraph. Merseyside Police said it was not investigating the deaths.

Millstead Primary School said its community was “devastated” by the deaths, and that the two pupils had “filled their classes with joy”.

Michelle Beard, the head teacher, said: “We have sent our sincerest condolences to both of their families. Both children filled their classes with joy during their time with us, and they will forever be in our hearts. 

“We are working closely with our families, staff and pupils to support them as we come to terms with this terribly sad news.”

Giardiasis can be spread by direct contact with infected people or animals, or from swallowing contaminated water, food or drinks. Any parents concerned that they or their child are displaying symptoms are urged to contact health specialists.

The Liverpool Echo first reported on the suspected giardia outbreak at Millstead last month, with public health measures put in place to try to tackle the number of infections linked to the school, which caters for children with special educational needs.

The Echo said it understood that the school closed for a week as it attempted to stop the growth in infections.

Millstead Primary School declined to comment when contacted by The Telegraph.

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King allows public to peek from royal balcony from next week – but one thing will be missing

When the public is invited in to see the view from the Buckingham Palace balcony for the first time next week, they will walk in the footsteps of the Royal family.

Perhaps unexpectedly, those footsteps will take them past hundreds of gold dragons from floor to ceiling, a Buddha statue that blows incense through its mouth and all the way up to arguably the most famous net curtains in the world.

Inside the Centre Room at the palace, opened up at the request of the King, a first cohort of visitors will be allowed to peer out at where crowds gather for jubilees, royal weddings and birthdays.

There is just one thing missing from a true royal outing: the television in the corner, watched by the King and his family on major national occasions so they can take in the full view down The Mall.

The television has been hidden away for the tour, but visitors will be able to see for themselves why it is needed: the Queen Victoria Memorial directly in front of the balcony blocks the view of crowds ahead.

Instead, tourists will – for the first time – see exactly what kings and queens have seen for generations, from the distinctive interior decorations of the East Wing to the Changing of the Guard below.

There are no ropes, no cordons and no glass protecting the centuries-old artefacts, most of which were collected and commissioned by George IV for Brighton Pavilion before being moved en masse to Buckingham Palace in 1850 after the new wing was built.

Some 6,000 visitors will walk through the East Wing this summer, in a trial opening of the private rooms of the palace which have been conserved and refurbished as part of a wider £369 million, 10-year project.

The King was the driving force behind the opening and was given his own tour to sign off on what visitors would see.

It begins in the Yellow Drawing Room, previously used as a meeting room for palace staff and where Elizabeth II recorded her Christmas address to the nation in 2004, moving through the 240ft-long “Principal Corridor” to the Centre Room.

Visitors will not be allowed to stand on the balcony, which is lower than it appears from afar and has wire cables and lighting on its floor.

Those who look closely as they walk will see dozens of hidden details which have never been visible before, even in rarely-released photographs of the rooms.

At knee height, there are table legs carved to look like Chinese men. 

Under a large portrait by Thomas Gainsborough sits a Buddha figure, revealed to be an incense burner which blows smoke from its mouth.

If ticket-holders crouch down, they may spot the figure of a nodding statue of a man under one of the tables.

The style is known as “Chinoiserie”, commissioned to emulate the art and design of China and Japan at a time when it was little known in the West.

Most items were acquired by George IV for Brighton Pavillion, which was sold off in 1850 by Queen Victoria to finance the 1847-9 construction of the East Wing to accommodate her growing family.

The opulent decor was moved to London via 143 shipments on artillery carts, where it transformed the bare walls and corridors of the new wing to a colourful home where images of birds, flowers, butterflies and fish mix with large traditional royal portraits and chandeliers.

Just as Victoria and Albert’s children may have counted the hundreds of gold dragons perched on ceilings, fireplaces, vases and curtain poles, so the new generation of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis can do the same 175 years on.

Some of the rooms will be familiar to the public via photographs: this week, the West Indies cricket team was hosted in one of the reception rooms, and the late Queen posed for portraits in the Yellow Drawing Room due to its exceptional natural light.

Large decorative pagodas can be found in the corners, with thick curtain poles carved to look like palm trees overhead and flower patterned carpets below.

Where there were once candles, there are now electric versions which have been rewired in a project which has seen every floorboard taken up and 3,500 works of art removed for conservation.

Just a handful of changes have been made over the years, with Queen Mary putting in wallpaper and bringing silk hangings out of storage, but the “vast majority” is unchanged since Prince Albert oversaw original plans.

Yellow sofas have now been moved back into the drawing room to allow members of the Royal family to use it comfortably for receptions and audiences.

Among the conservation work carried out has been the glass chandelier, shaped to resemble a lotus flower, in the Centre Room, along with the 18th-century hand-painted Chinese wallpaper in the Yellow Drawing Room which was removed and cleaned.

Following analysis of historic paint pigments, the walls of the Principal Corridor have been returned to their original green colour scheme.

Tickets for this year’s tours sold out within hours, although if successful it is thought the East Wing could be made a permanent part of the Buckingham Palace tour along with a Summer Opening that gives entry to 19 state rooms each year.

This year, the tours will finish in the palace ballroom, where a recent portrait of the King by Jonathan Yeo is on temporary display.

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Starmer will use first two summits to ‘strengthen’ EU ties

Sir Keir Starmer will use his first two international summits to “strengthen” ties to the EU.

The Prime Minister said he would use the 75th anniversary gathering of Nato states in Washington to tell European leaders he wants closer ties with Brussels.

Sir Keir will then seek to further improve relations with EU countries at a conference at Blenheim Palace next week, which was originally organised by Rishi Sunak. 

The Prime Minister has brought David Lammy, the Foreign Secretary, and John Healey, the Defence Secretary, with him to the Nato meeting as expected.  He has also taken the unusual step of inviting Nick Thomas-Symonds, the Europe minister. 

Asked why Mr Thomas-Symonds was attending, the Prime Minister said: “Look, this is straightforward. Because of the timing of the election, which was much discussed for other reasons, it has provided a really important window of opportunity for me and my team because we’ve got the Nato summit within a week of the election.

“So we get the opportunity to strengthen our relations with various of the Nato leaders and others obviously that are there, including EU leaders. Now that is a follow-up, if you like, on some of the phone calls that I’ve already had with international leaders that I’ve been doing since the King invited me to form a Government.”

Sir Keir said he would hammer home the message at the Blenheim Palace of the European Political Community (EPC). 

“We’ve got the EPC coming up at the tail end of next week, so that’s why I wanted Nick and David and John and me. I want to make sure we take full advantage of this opportunity,” he said.

“These are meetings that would probably take months and months and months for us to fit in as a team if we were not taking advantage of this summit for the purposes of those relations and the EPC.

“The central purpose is obviously all about Nato, but it is a very important opportunity to strengthen those relations. We built [the relations] in opposition with Nato allies, so I’ve spoken to a lot of Nato allies when I was leader of the opposition.

“I’ve taken the opportunity to speak to them on the phone very early on in this Government, and I want Nick here, David here and John here to double down on that.”

During the general election campaign, Rachel Reeves, the Chancellor, said she wanted to seek closer alignment with EU rules. She referenced chemicals and veterinary sector rules, better touring rights for UK artists and greater mutual recognition of qualifications for financial services workers.

Sir Keir also said he wanted to improve Britain’s defence and security relations with the EU.

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Irish air stewardess charged over attempted suicide after ‘attack by husband’

An Irish air stewardess has been left stranded in Dubai after being charged with attempting suicide following alleged domestic abuse.

Tori Towey is banned from leaving the UAE, where she works for the Emirates airline, and is charged with attempted suicide and drinking alcohol.

The 28-year-old, from Boyle, County Roscommon, said he tried to take her own life after her South African husband allegedly attacked her, leaving her with severe bruises and injuries.

She survived, but was told she would face criminal charges at a police station. Her passport has been blocked, meaning she cannot return to Ireland, and her case is due to go to court on July 18.

“I’m desperate to go home to Ireland and put all of this in the past. I’m asking the taoiseach to please help us,” Ms Towey said, speaking through the Detained in Dubai advocacy group.

On Monday, her plight was raised in Ireland’s parliament, the Dail. “She’s under incredible stress”, said Mary Lou McDonald, the Sinn Fein leader. “Tori is a Roscommon woman, and she wants to come home.”

Speaking under parliamentary privilege, Ms McDonald said Ms Towey had been a victim “of the most gross domestic violence”.

Simon Harris, Ireland’s taoiseach, said he would be happy “to intervene and see how we can support an Irish citizen in what sounds to be, based on what you tell me, the most appalling circumstances”.

The Irish department of foreign affairs is providing consular support to Ms Towey, who moved to the Gulf state in April last year for the job with Emirates, where she met her husband.

On Tuesday, Dubai authorities offered Ms Towey a lawyer, after diplomatic pressure from Dublin.

Ms Towey is currently staying in a rented property in Dubai with her mother, Caroline, who has flown to the UAE to be with her daughter.

Radha Stirling, the chief executive of Detained in Dubai, said: “Tori’s experience is nothing short of tragic. We are calling on Dubai authorities to urgently drop the charges against Tori, remove the travel ban and let her fly home to Ireland with her mother.

“Strangely, the UAE has gone to great public relations efforts to promote alcohol as legal in the country. In reality, people are still regularly charged with alcohol consumption and possession.”

Anyone found guilty of attempting suicide in Dubai faced a £1,050 fine or six months in prison before 2019, when that was downgraded to a £210 fine.

The Gulf state also relaxed its alcohol laws to allow tourists to buy alcohol in state-controlled shops, which were previously only accessible for licence-holding residents.

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