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Steve Gallen: Charlton Athletic appoint director of football

Steve Gallen spent almost 20 years with QPR before leaving in January 2016

Charlton Athletic have appointed Steve Gallen as their director of football.

The 46-year-old had been the club’s head of recruitment since April 2017.

“He buys into the model that we’re looking to implement. He’s knowledgeable and he’s got a great track record,” chairman Matt Southall told the club website.

“He’s shown me in the short time I’ve been here that he can deal with the agents and the clubs and this title gives him authority.”

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Dagenham & Redbridge: Daryl McMahon appointed boss after resigning as Macclesfield manager

Daryl McMahon left Macclesfield after just four months in charge, having taken over from former England international Sol Campbell at Moss Rose

Daryl McMahon has been appointed boss of National League side Dagenham & Redbridge, just one day after quitting as manager of Macclesfield Town.

The 36-year-old replaces ex-Crystal Palace, Brighton and Leicester boss Peter Taylor, who left on Sunday.

Daggers executive chairman Peter B Freund said McMahon was “first choice from the moment” they Taylor left.

Macclesfield responded to McMahon’s resignation by saying they are “taking advice” from the legal team.

He left Moss Rose with the Silkmen 22nd in League Two, with his tenure overshadowed by financially difficulties which led to a six-point penalty for non-payment of wages and failing to fulfil a fixture against Crewe on 7 December.

His 25-game stint in charge of Macclesfield was his first spell as boss in the English Football League, having previously managed Ebbsfleet in the National League.

“We are thrilled he has agreed to lead the Daggers moving forward and into the future,” Freund told the Dagenham website.

Taylor, who managed England in a friendly against Italy in 2000 and was twice in charge of the national under-21 side, was sacked on 29 December with the Daggers 19th in the table after losing nine of their 11 previous games.

They then held Ebbsfleet to a 1-1 draw on New Year’s Day, but slipped a further two places to 20th in the table.

McMahon said he will have to “instil confidence in the side very quickly” after the poor run.

“Looking at them in training today there are very good players. with pace energy, with quality and good leaders,” he told the club website.

“I think it is organising that and giving them confidence again.

“The club wants to get back to the Football League. The club is ambition and I’m ambitious and think we can grow together.”

McMahon will watch Saturday’s league game against Torquay from the stands before taking charge for the first time in their FA Trophy tie against Notts County on 11 January.

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Jonathan Leko: West Brom forward and Charlton loanee out for season with ACL injury

Jonathan Leko injured his anterior cruciate ligament in innocuous fashion during Charlton’s 2-2 draw at QPR on Saturday

Charlton loanee Jonathan Leko faces a long absence after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament, and has gone back to parent club West Brom.

Forward Leko, 20, returned to Albion to begin treatment having scored five goals in 21 games during a loan spell which was meant to last all season.

He suffered the injury only 11 minutes into the Addicks’ 2-2 Championship draw at QPR on Saturday.

“Jonathan is out for the rest of the season,” Charlton boss Lee Bowyer said.

“It came from nothing – he jumped, landed, jolted his knee a bit and has done his ACL.

“He’ll be out for the rest of the season, going into next season as well.”

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Premiership: Saracens v Bristol Bears

Maro Itoje has played just once in the Premiership since returning from the World Cup
Gallagher Premiership
Venue: Allianz Park Date: Saturday, 21 December Kick-off: 15:00 GMT Coverage: BBC local radio and the BBC Sport website

Maro Itoje returns for Saracens after missing the win over Munster last week.

Ben Spencer starts at scrum-half, Brad Barritt returns at centre and Wales prop Rhys Carre is set to make his Premiership debut from the bench.

Bristol welcome back full-back Charles Piutau, who is one of six changes.

Backs Luke Morahan and Andy Uren get starts while prop John Afoa is back from a dead leg and is joined by Harry Thacker and captain Steven Luatua.

Bristol lie in second place, two points behind leaders Northampton, while champions Saracens – deducted 35 points for breaching salary cap rules – are 14 points adrift of 11th-placed Leicester.

Saracens: Malins; Maitland, Tompkins, Barritt (capt), Daly; Farrell, Spencer; Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Kruis, Isiekwe, Earl, Vunipola.

Replacements: Singleton, Carre, Lamositele, Skelton, Wray, Wigglesworth, Taylor, Lewington.

Bristol: Piutau; Morahan, O’Conor, Bedlow, Fricker; Sheedy, Uren; Woolmore, Thacker, Afoa, Joyce, Vui, Luatua (capt), Heenan, Hughes.

Replacements: Capon, Lay, Lahiff, Holmes, Hamilton, Randall, Lloyd, Leiua.

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Rory Burns and Ollie Pope: England Test players sign new Surrey contracts

Rory Burns (left) has made 14 Test appearances for England, averaging 32.81 with the bat, while Ollie Pope (right) has played four times for his country

England internationals Rory Burns and Ollie Pope have signed new contracts with Surrey.

Test opener Burns, 29, and middle-order batsman Pope, 21, will now remain at The Oval until the end of 2023.

Burns has scored more than 9,000 first-class runs at an average of 42.4, and captained the side to the 2018 County Championship title.

Both players, who came through Surrey’s academy, are in the England squad for the winter Test tour of South Africa.

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Joseph McCann guilty of sex attacks on 11 women and children

Joseph McCann

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Met Police

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Joseph McCann was found guilty of 37 offences against 11 victims

A man who carried out a string of sex attacks on 11 women and children across England over two weeks has been found guilty of 37 offences.

Joseph McCann’s victims were aged between 11 and 71 and included three women who were abducted off the street at knifepoint and repeatedly raped.

The 34-year-old also raped a mother in her home and then tied her to a bed as he molested her son and daughter.

McCann, of Harrow, was found guilty of offences including rape and kidnap.

Afterwards the jury wrote in a note to the judge that it wished to acknowledge the bravery of the victims and the hard work of the police forces involved.

The Old Bailey heard how McCann’s “spree of sex attacks” started in Watford before moving to London, Greater Manchester and Cheshire over two weeks in April and May.

On 21 April, he grabbed a 21-year-old woman at knifepoint off a street in Watford as she walked home from a nightclub.

She was bundled into a car and taken to a house where she was raped until being released later that morning in a “state of great distress”, prosecutors said.

A 25-year-old woman was then abducted as she walked home in Walthamstow, east London, just after midnight on 25 April.

She was driven off in car then raped “many times” by McCann in a number of locations over 14 hours, including outside a school where he told her he “wanted to make her rape a child”, prosecutor John Price QC said.

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Sana Muhammad crossbow death: Ex-husband jailed for ‘evil’ murder

Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo

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Met Police

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Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo murdered his pregnant ex-wife with a crossbow

A man who shot dead his heavily pregnant ex-wife with a crossbow in a “brutal and evil attack” has been jailed.

Sana Muhammad, 35, was shot in the abdomen by Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo at her Ilford home on 12 November, 2018.

He hid in the shed in his ex-partner’s garden armed with two crossbows, bolts, a knife, duct tape, cable ties and a hammer, the Old Bailey heard.

Unmathallegadoo, 51, was jailed for life with a minimum of 33 years.

Mrs Muhammad’s son – her sixth child – survived the attack and was delivered by Caesarean section, the court heard.

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Sana Muhammad, formerly known as Devi Unmathallegadoo, was nine months pregnant when she was killed

On the morning of November 12, the defendant, armed with two crossbows, was disturbed by Mrs Muhammad’s husband Imtiaz, who had gone to the shed to store a box.

Unmathallegadoo ran into the house and shot his ex-wife with an 18-inch arrow as she fled upstairs.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC described the killing as “brutal and evil”, saying if it was not for the presence of her children, Unmathallegadoo would have shot Mr Muhammad too.

Jurors heard Unmathallegadoo had been plotting the attack for weeks – buying two crossbows which were discovered near his ex-wife’s home by a neighbour in March 2018.

“You have carefully planned this attack. You had two loaded crossbows and I’m entirely satisfied you intended an attack on Sana and then on Imtiaz,” the judge said.

“One can only assume that you were jealous of their life together and the fact that they had formed a loving bond between themselves and with your children.”

‘My best friend’

Mrs Muhammad’s widower previously paid tribute to his outgoing “soul mate”.

“She was very friendly, talkative and always made me laugh. She was my soul mate, my best friend, my wife, my companion and my everything and I love her dearly.

“Ram must have been very jealous of the life Sana and I had and that we were living a happy life.”

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PA

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A jury rejected the defendant’s claim he fired the crossbow by accident and found him guilty of murder after four hours of deliberations

The court heard the victim was 16 when she entered into an arranged marriage with the defendant, then aged 30, in Mauritius.

Their relationship ended in 2012 after an incident where she jumped from an upstairs window and broke her ankle.

Mrs Muhammed filed for an order which banned the defendant from going within 100 metres of her home.

It was still in place at the time of the attack.

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Sana Muhammad crossbow death: Ex-husband guilty of murder

Sana Muhammad

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Sana Muhammad, formerly known as Devi Unmathallegadoo, was nine months pregnant when she was killed

A man who shot dead his heavily pregnant ex-wife with a crossbow has been found guilty of murder.

Sana Muhammad was shot through the abdomen by Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo at her home in Ilford, east London, on 12 November 2018.

He hid in a shed in his ex-partner’s garden armed with two crossbows, bolts, a knife, duct tape, cable ties and a hammer, the Old Bailey heard.

Mrs Muhammad’s son survived after being delivered by Caesarean section.

The court heard the couple’s relationship ended in 2012 after an incident which led to her jumping out of an upstairs window.

At a trial in 2013, a judge directed jurors to acquit Unmathallegadoo of attempted strangulation.

The mother-of-five then successfully filed for an emergency non-molestation order which barred the defendant from coming within 100 metres of the family home.

The order was still in place at the time of her attack.

The court heard Unmathallegadoo plotted the attack – buying two crossbows which were discovered near his ex-wife’s home by a neighbour in March 2018.

After they were removed, he replaced the weapons and organised surveillance on the house in Applegarth Drive.

‘She just screamed’

Mrs Muhammad’s second husband Imtiaz told the court he was in the garden and thought he was “dreaming” when he saw the defendant step out of the shed with two crossbows.

He shouted to his wife to run as Unmathallegadoo chased him into their home.

“When she got an arrow she just screamed. I was thinking, ‘what is happening?’, I was screaming for her.”

Mr Muhammad said the defendant had a second crossbow on his shoulder and he thought: “The second one might be for me.”

Unmathallegadoo later claimed Mr Muhammad was his target but that his ex-wife got in the way.

The court heard Unmathallegadoo’s children tried to take the crossbow away from him.

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Ultra-long haul flight non-stop from London to Sydney

Australian carrier Qantas has completed a test of the longest non-stop commercial passenger flight as part of research on how the journey could affect pilots, crew and customers.

The tests included monitoring pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness as well as exercise classes for passengers.

The BBC’s Luke Jones was on board the flight.

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Crossrail Delay: Line will not open until 2021 as costs increase

Construction workers work on a section of train track inside a Crossrail tunnel, beneath Stepney in east London in 2016

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Getty Images

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Latest projections indicate an further £400m to £650m will be needed to complete the project, Crossrail Ltd said

The opening of London’s Crossrail project will be delayed until 2021 as Europe’s biggest infrastructure scheme is set to go another £650m over budget.

The route, to be known as the Elizabeth Line, was originally due to open in December 2018.

Crossrail Ltd chief executive Mark Wild said services would be delayed to allow time for more testing.

He also said the cost of the project could reach £18.25bn, an increase of £650m on the previously agreed total.

The budget was originally set at £15.9bn for the scheme, which will connect major landmarks such as Heathrow Airport and the Canary Wharf business district.

However, Mayor Sadiq Khan, the Government and Transport for London (TfL) had since agreed a figure of £17.6bn.

Bosses said in April that services would begin between October 2020 and March 2021.

Announcing the latest delay, Mr Wild insisted services would begin “as soon as practically possible in 2021”.

He added: “The central section will be substantially complete by the end of the first quarter in 2020, except for Bond Street and Whitechapel stations where work will continue.

“We will provide Londoners with further certainty about when the Elizabeth line will open early in 2020.”

The delay will allow more time to complete software development and allow safety systems to be tested.

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Reuters

Analysis

Tom Edwards, BBC London Transport Correspondent

Just weeks ago I spoke to businesses up and down the Crossrail line and there was very little confidence with anything they were being told by the company.

Well they were right. We are getting a drip drip of delay and uncertainty.

Crossrail’s hopeful “opening window” of between Oct 2020 and March 2021 just got slammed shut. Now it’ll open “as soon as possible in 2021”.

This has gone beyond embarrassing into the ridiculous.

And then there’s the extra cost. I suspect that will again come from London businesses through the precept, which was meant to be earmarked for other transport projects like the second phase of Crossrail.

Yes, this will be an incredible project when it’s finished. But at the moment businesses will despair.

The line will make use of some existing track, but involves 26 miles of new tunnels connecting Paddington and Liverpool Street stations to improve rail capacity crossing the capital.

Mr Khan said he was “deeply frustrated” by the new delay.

A spokesman for the Mayor said “Further work is taking place immediately to assess Crossrail’s latest cost estimates.

“TfL and the Department for Transport, as joint sponsors, will continue to hold the Crossrail leadership to account to ensure it is doing everything it can to open Crossrail safely and as soon as possible.”

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Reuters

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The Elizabeth Line had been due to open in December 2018

An estimated 200 million passengers will use the new underground line annually, increasing central London rail capacity by 10% – the largest increase since World War Two.

Crossrail says the new line will connect Paddington to Canary Wharf in 17 minutes.

In May, Crossrail was criticised by the National Audit Office for running late and over budget, suggesting that bosses had clung to an unrealistic opening date.

‘No shortcuts’

A TfL spokesman called the delay “disappointing”.

In a statement TfL said: “It is only over the last year that the new Crossrail leadership has established the full complexity of finishing the software development and signalling systems, while getting the necessary safety approvals to complete the railway.

“Full testing is due to get underway next year and there can be no shortcuts on this hugely complex project.”

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