A drug dealer who sparked fears of a Novichok attack similar to that which hospitalised a former Russian spy and his daughter has been jailed.
Alex King went on the run in December after claiming he had been poisoned at a Prezzo restaurant in Salisbury.
The hoax in September came six months after the nerve agent was used against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
King, 42, was found guilty of selling drugs, including cocaine and ecstasy and sentenced in January to 11 years.
He was arrested on Wednesday, admitted breaching his bail, and was jailed at Southwark Crown Court for a further four months.
‘Glamorous, seedy existence’
King claimed he had been poisoned in a branch of Prezzo, where he had been dining with his Russian-born wife, Anna Shapiro, last September.
It sparked a major incident and the area was sealed off in echoes of the aftermath involving the Skirpals, who fell ill shortly after leaving Zizzi, another Italian dining chain in the city.
King was last seen leaving a flat near Harley Street, with his wife, on 17 December.
He was arrested about half a mile away at an address in Chiltern Street, in Marylebone, west London.
Scotland Yard said a 30-year-old woman who was arrested for assisting an offender remains in police custody.
King’s lifestyle was laid bare in court earlier this year when he was convicted of two charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, one charge of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and one charge of conspiracy to supply Class C drugs.
Sebastian Gardiner, defending one of King’s associates, described King in court as a “very bizarre” character who lived a “glamorous, albeit seedy, existence”, making money from arranging parties, selling drugs and supplying high-class escorts to his VIP clients.
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Lord’s (day one)|
|Middlesex 138: Harris 38*; Wiese 5-26|
|Sussex 169-4: Salt 50; Murtagh 3-34|
|Sussex (3 pts) lead Middlesex (1 pt) by 31 runs|
Middlesex were skittled for just 138 by Sussex on day one as the visitors took early control of the game at Lord’s.
Sussex seamer David Wiese starred with 5-26 and paceman Ollie Robinson claimed three wickets with only James Harris (38 not out) passing 20 for Middlesex.
Captain Dawid Malan, who has been in superb form this season, was one of five batsmen to edge behind for 15.
Sussex closed on 169-4, a lead of 31, with opener Phil Salt (50) one of three wickets for Irishman Tim Murtagh.
Harris gave Middlesex a late boost by removing Laurie Evans lbw for 31, but Stiaan van Zyl went to stumps on 46.
Charlton Athletic have offered new deals to Joe Aribo, Patrick Bauer, Jake Forster-Caskey and Tariqe Fosu after winning promotion from League One.
Centre-back Bauer, 26, scored the 94th-minute goal which sealed a 2-1 win over Sunderland in Sunday’s play-off final.
Meanwhile, Josh Parker and Jonny Williams are among six players who have been released by manager Lee Bowyer.
Nicky Ajose, Mark Marshall, Ben Reeves and Igor Vetokele will also leave The Valley when their contracts expire.
Forward Parker, 28, and Wales international Williams, 25, both featured against the Black Cats at Wembley.
“They are all different reasons as to why we haven’t offered those lads contracts,” Bowyer told the club website.
“Obviously they’ve played a massive part in last season and that was probably the hardest part of any discussion I’ve had since being in charge.”
Door ‘half open’ for Williams
Bowyer says financial reasons are behind the decision to release midfielder Williams, who joined the Addicks from Crystal Palace in January and has already been the subject of rumoured interest from Championship side Swansea.
“Jonny came from a Premier League club who were paying most of his wage,” the 42-year-old said.
“For us to get close to what he was on before is just impossible.
“He’s going to have other clubs that are interested in him. If the money isn’t what he’s looking for, or if there is any way we can get close to it, then we will be speaking to his agent.
“It’s not like we’ve shut the door on him – it’s half open.”
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Edgbaston (day one):|
|Warwickshire 275-8: Norwell 58*, Hain 47; Dunn 3-59|
|Surrey: Yet to bat|
|Warwickshire (2 pts), Surrey (2 pts)|
Warwickshire fast bowlers Liam Norwell and Henry Brookes transformed the first day at Edgbaston as they shared an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 89 to stun reigning county champions Surrey.
After slumping to 186-8 despite gritty knocks from Sam Hain (47), Will Rhodes (39) and Adam Hose (38), the Bears were set to go without batting points again.
Instead, Norwell slammed 58 and Brookes made 35 as Surrey’s attack wilted.
The pair both belted some fine shots to reach the close unparted on 275-8.
That earned two batting points, plus the prospect of a potential third in the morning, which would double the Bears’ previous haul for the season.
Prior to that, on a weather-affected day which brought two separate short breaks in play, injury-hit Surrey’s bowlers had dominated, including three victims for recalled fast bowler Matt Dunn.
After being put in to bat, a painstaking first half-century stand of the season for Bears openers Dom Sibley and Rhodes was ended by veteran spinner Gareth Batty, who removed both in successive overs just before lunch.
But after Dunn had seemingly put Surrey right in control, Norwell, on his home debut, and Brookes transformed the contest in the final hour.
They started to go for their shots when Dean Elgar came on for an over of spin just before the new ball was due – and 17 came from it, capped by two sixes in three balls from Brookes.
But they then kept up the attack, twice taking 16 off an over from South Africa paceman Morne Morkel, thanks to seven boundaries off in the space of 11 deliveries off him from the free-spirited Norwell.
Warwickshire all-rounder Liam Norwell told BBC WM:
“Henry and I are both naturally quite attacking players so we just played out natural game and played our shots and luckily it came off.
“It was a mixture of good shots and a bit of luck. I rode my luck at times but it was just good to be out in the middle with Henry. He is a lot of fun to bat with.
“The lads up top did the hard graft. Now we are in a pretty strong position and we have just got to focus in the morning and try to get up to 300 for that third batting point.”
Surrey fast bowler Matt Dunn told BBC Radio London:
“All day, the bowlers worked so hard together. We knew it was going to be tough but everyone bowled in partnerships and bowled for each other.
“It was a shame that it just got away from us a little bit at the end because we were in a great position but I think we would have taken this at the start of the day.
“It is great to be back in the team. I am so proud to wear the Surrey badge. It is everything to me. It is nice to get out there again and perform.”
A controlled explosion has been carried out on a World War Two bomb found near Kingston University, the Metropolitan Police said.
The unexploded device was found on a building site on Thursday morning.
Nearly 1,500 homes were also evacuated and the Met warned some may be without gas and electricity while surveyors carried out checks.
Police cordons in the Kingston area will remain in place while the site is assessed, the Met added.
The controlled explosion was carried out by the armed forces’ specialist Explosive Ordinance Disposal team.
On Thursday, Kingston Council confirmed two polling stations being used for the European elections had to be shut while the bomb was being dealt with.
Students and staff from Kingston University’s Penrhyn Road and Knights Park campuses, as well as the University’s nursery and some student halls, have been affected by the cordon.
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Beckenham (day two):|
|Surrey 439: Jacks 120, Borthwick 95, Clarke 88 & 11-0|
|Kent 294: Dickson 128; Batty 3-49, S Curran 3-54|
|Surrey (8 pts) lead Kent (5 pts) by 156 runs|
Kent collapsed after tea to hand the initiative to defending champions Surrey on the second day at Beckenham.
Kent were 227-2 in response to Surrey’s 439 all out, but fell to 238-6 with Gareth Batty dismissing Heino Kuhn and Ollie Robinson in consecutive balls.
Opener Sean Dickson compiled an excellent 128 for the hosts before he was dismissed by Sam Curran with the new ball as Kent were all out for 294.
Surrey closed on 11-0 in their second innings, leading by 156.
After adding 19 to their overnight 420-9 in the morning, Surrey’s chances of picking up their first win of the campaign appeared to be fading on a pitch that had flattened out under sunny skies.
But 41-year-old off-spinner Batty (3-49) turned the game either side of tea, first bowling Daniel Bell-Drummond for 37 and then finding the edges of captain Kuhn and in-form Robinson.
Right-hander Dickson, who had only made 85 runs in six innings in 2019, looked at ease against an attack that included England all-rounder Curran (3-54) for the first time this season.
However, with wickets tumbling around him, he eventually nicked Curran’s opening delivery with the second new ball behind to leave them 272-8.
Matt Milnes and Harry Podmore did manage to take Kent past the follow-on target of 290, although they face an uphill battle to avoid a third defeat in four matches.
Tottenham have “grave concerns” over whether Uefa acted strongly enough after their fans reported being attacked by Barcelona stewards at a Champions League match.
The La Liga side were fined 20,000 euros (£17,546) on Friday for “insufficient organisation” during December’s group game.
Video footage emerged after the 1-1 draw that appeared to show fans being struck with batons inside the ground.
The club and fans sent details to Uefa.
Other fans were filmed getting struck on the way into the Nou Camp.
“We have grave concerns that the punishment imposed will not act as enough of a deterrent to avoid a repeat,” said the Champions League finalists in a statement.
“The treatment our fans was completely unacceptable, something Uefa has acknowledged, and some are still recovering as a result of this ordeal.
“No visiting supporters should have to experience what our fans went through that night again.”
Uefa’s fine was imposed on the day that Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was given a one-match ban – suspended for 12 months – linked to the delayed start of the Champions League semi-final first leg against Ajax.
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust said there had been “unprovoked and indiscriminate” assaults on fans and it planned to take legal advice.
“We submitted a detailed dossier of accounts from supporters who were caught up in that night’s violence,” it said.
“This decision by Uefa sends clear signals. It says supporters are fair game for security staff to do what they want to.
“It says that broadcast rights and kick-off times are more important than supporter safety. And it says Uefa is unfit for purpose.”
Uefa and Barcelona have not commented on the statements.
Spurs, who will contest the Champions League final against Liverpool in Madrid on 1 June, were fined 10,000 euros (£8.758) for a delayed start to their home semi-final match against Ajax.
Medics were not told that three victims of the London Bridge attack needed urgent attention, an inquest has heard.
Andrew Beasley co-ordinated the medical response to the attack on 3 June 2017.
He told the inquest he did not know Sebastien Belanger, James McMullan and Alexandre Pigeard lay mortally wounded in a courtyard near Borough Market.
Earlier, a police officer explained how she had repeatedly asked for paramedics to be sent to help one victim – Mr Belanger – but none came.
The inquest has heard that the scene of the attack was deemed a “hot zone” under London Ambulance Service (LAS) protocol, which prevents paramedics from entering for their own safety.
Mr Beasley said he had parked a short distance away as the safety of his crew on the scene was “paramount”.
After hearing gunfire in Borough Market, he said he wondered ‘am I going to be shot next?’.
“For our own safety we couldn’t go forward,” he told the Old Bailey, which is hearing the inquests into the deaths of the eight people killed in the attack at London Bridge and Borough Market.
Mr Belanger, Mr McMullan and Mr Pigeard were eventually brought to ambulances at a safe meeting point, but were already dead.
‘A lot of pressure’
Mr Belanger, a 36-year-old chef, originally from Angers, western France, had been drinking at the Boro Bistro when he was stabbed in the stomach.
He was one of eight people killed in the attack.
PC Kerr said she had been a police officer for about a year at the time of the attacks.
She said she came across members of the public giving first aid to Mr Belanger at 22:12 BST.
He had collapsed in Green Dragon Court, below where the attackers’ van had crashed into railings on London Bridge.
After deciding that the group “looked like they knew what they were doing”, PC Kerr drew her baton in case the attackers returned to the area.
“I was the only officer down there for a little while which felt like forever,” she said.
“I’d only had about a year of service so it was a lot of pressure.”
Another police officer and a police medic arrived over the next few minutes, the court heard.
The court heard that no members of the LAS came to the scene to help Mr Belanger, despite PC Kerr calling the Metropolitan Police control room to request paramedics.
Two members of the public and the officers spent more than half an hour performing CPR on Mr Belanger before he was eventually moved up steps to a waiting ambulance at about 22:45 BST, the inquest heard.
‘I just wanted some help’
BBC correspondent Richard Lister, at the inquest
PC Kerr was composed as she told the inquest about how she, another officer and two members of the public fought to revive Sebastien Belanger.
She talked of initially being the only police officer there.
“Time just stood still. I just wanted some help,” she said.
The Belanger family listened intently to their interpreter as PC Kerr described standing guard while Lisa Deacon and Craig Smith did what they could for Mr Belanger.
None of them knew whether the attackers would come back and PC Kerr, who only had a baton for protection said: “I was very aware that where I was standing, I was trying to cover three potential entrances and exits.”
Ambulance service incident response officer Nicholas Lesslar told the court he was unaware there were seriously injured casualties in the courtyard.
Questioning PC Kerr on behalf of the victim’s family, Gareth Patterson QC said: “If you had been told there were LAS [London Ambulance Service] resources available before then, up on the High Street, presumably you would have discussed getting Sebastien up to those ambulances as quickly as possible?”
PC Kerr said: “We would have discussed it, yes.”
Mr Belanger’s mother told the inquest on its opening day that she was “so proud” of him.
‘I nearly stepped on him’
The Old Bailey also heard from a reveller who described how he jumped over a flowerbed and almost trampled on 32-year-old entrepreneur James McMullan.
Andrius Vorobjovas had been celebrating a friend’s birthday at the Boro Bistro on the night of the attack.
When a man emerged wielding a bloody knife, people ran for their lives.
“You could hear the tables moving, glasses smashing, people running,” he told the inquest.
Mr Vorobjovas headed towards some flowerbeds, where he nearly stepped on Mr McMullan, who had been stabbed after coming to the aid of au pair Sara Zelenak.
Mr Vorobjovas said: “I nearly stepped on a person on his belly. I was very shocked and amazed to see someone there because I could not figure out how they got there.”
He added that he hid in the dark passage for some seconds before he ventured out and “decided to make a run for it”.
Mr Vorobjovas said he later directed armed officers back to the courtyard of the Boro Bistro.
The other five people killed in the attack were: Xavier Thomas, 45; Chrissy Archibald, 30; Ignacio Echeverria, 39: Sara Zelenak, 21; and Kirsty Boden, 28.
The inquests into their deaths continues.
Chelsea defender David Luiz has signed a new two-year contract at the club, running until 2021.
The Brazilian, 32, is out of contract at the end of June meaning he could have left for free in the summer.
Luiz made his 48th Chelsea appearance of the season in Thursday’s penalty shootout win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-finals.
“I am so happy to be here and to have this opportunity to stay,” the centre-back said.
“I love this club and I still have the ambition of a young player.”
Luiz joined Chelsea from Benfica in January 2011 but left to join Paris St-Germain in 2014 before returning to Stamford Bridge for £34m in 2016.
“It means a lot to reach another European final, and we still have the opportunity to finish in the top three of the Premier League this season and I will continue to try to do my best to help the team,” Luiz added.
The mother of a woman who fell to her death from a balcony has lost a High Court challenge against a decision not to prosecute her daughter’s boyfriend.
Jourdain John-Baptiste was 22 when she fell from her fourth-floor flat in Enfield, north London, in August 2015.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) brought no charges against her boyfriend, which lawyers for her family claimed was “irrational”.
But Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said the CPS decision was “reasonable”.
After the hearing, her mother Tracey John-Baptiste said: “We have lost my beautiful daughter and now we have lost the chance to get justice.
“Even those against prosecuting in the CPS recognise this is a finely-balanced decision.
“Why not put this to the jury who can hear all the witnesses and decide?”
The boyfriend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was in the flat with Ms John-Baptiste at the time of the fall and last year her mother told the BBC witnesses said they heard the couple arguing.
Mrs John-Baptiste asked for the CPS decision not to prosecute to be reviewed and was told initially there ought to be a prosecution, which a senior prosecutor revised.
At an earlier hearing in London, the family’s barrister Karon Monaghan QC said there was “ample evidence” to support a prosecution, and there was a “threatening” text message on Ms John-Baptiste’s phone from her boyfriend saying: “When I see u again I’ll drop you.”
Ms Monaghan said the prosecutor who made the final decision based it on an “unevidenced and gendered assumption” that Ms John-Baptiste may have slipped in a state of “high emotion”.
But judges, who were asked to quash the decision, said it was “impossible” to conclude the decision was “wrong in law”.
Lord Burnett said a jury would be invited to say “the only realistic explanation for Ms John-Baptiste’s fall was that she was fleeing from a threat of violence”, which he said all involved accepted “was one possible explanation”.
“But the question for the decision-makers was whether it was more likely than not that a jury would reach that conclusion at the end of a criminal trial,” he added.
A CPS spokesman said: “We understand how difficult this has been for the family. We considered all the information given to us by the police investigation.
“We can only prosecute an offence when there is sufficient evidence to do so.
“The original decision has now been tested by a Victim’s Right to Review scheme (VRR) and now by a High Court hearing.”