A man on trial accused of a string of sex offences has declined to come to court and chosen not to give evidence.
Joseph McCann, 34, is accused of 37 offences, including rape, kidnap and false imprisonment, against 11 women and children over the course of two weeks in April and May.
Mr McCann was expected to show up at the Old Bailey on Monday, having opted not to attend before.
But on Wednesday defence barrister Jo Sidhu QC said he “declined to come”.
Mr Justice Edis said: “His absence from the trial is not evidence in the case. You must not infer from his absence that he is guilty of these offences.
“His decision not to give evidence is a separate matter and I will come to that later.”
Jurors were also told they must consider the case “in an objective, calm way”.
The judge said: “I gave you a warning that you would have an emotional reaction in this case and there is no doubt that warning turned out to be right in respect of some of what you listened to in the case.
“It was also intended to remind you and to direct you that an emotional reaction to material is unlikely to be a helpful guide to your decision-making when you come to decide the case.”
Mr McCann, of Harrow, west London, denies the charges against him.
The trial continues.
A 14-year-old boy was knocked off a moped and then stabbed to death by a rival gang in a “violent and frenzied” attack, a court has heard.
Jaden Moodie was allegedly dealing drugs for a gang when he was targeted by a group of five men on 8 January.
Ayoub Majdouline was in a stolen Mercedes which was driven at the victim, causing him to be “catapulted” over the bonnet, the Old Bailey heard.
The 19-year-old, of London, denies murder and possession of a knife.
Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC told jurors the five men in the car had armed themselves with knives and had gone to “great lengths” to hide their faces.
“On finding Jaden Moodie, the Mercedes drove straight towards the moped, swerving onto the same side of the road so that it struck Jaden Moodie head on,” he said.
He told the court the victim “did not stand a chance” and his crash helmet had come off when he was struck.
Three men then got out of the car and “repeatedly” stabbed the 14-year-old in a “violent and frenzied attack”, as he lay “defenceless and seriously injured” on the ground, the court was told.
“Fourteen seconds was all it took,” Mr Glasgow added.
Jaden was found with nine stab wounds and bled to death in the road, the jury heard.
Members of the victim’s family gasped and cried out as CCTV footage of the attack was played to the jury.
The prosecutor said the images showed the killers had “no qualms about playing out their petty rivalries using the blade of a knife”.
The Mercedes was abandoned in a quiet cul-de-sac, while a knife and a pair of yellow rubber gloves were thrown away and recovered from a nearby drain the next day, the court was told.
Mr Glasgow said the 14-year-old’s blood and traces of the defendant’s DNA were found on both.
Burnt clothing belonging to Jaden’s attackers was also found in a churchyard, the court was told.
Mr Majdouline disputes playing any part in the attack.
The trial continues.
A security guard who raped and sexually assaulted girls stopped for shoplifting has been jailed for 14 years.
Zia Uddin, 27, of Manor Park, Newham, east London, attacked four 15-year-old girls at the Kingston Primark in 2017.
He threatened to call the police and inform their parents if they did not perform sexual acts on him in the control room of the store.
Uddin was convicted of rape and four counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
He has also been banned from working with children.
During his trial, Kingston Crown Court heard his colleagues had noticed his strange behaviour, which included making requests to delete CCTV and not properly completing paperwork on shoplifting.
He was also known to keep condoms in the control room where he attacked his victims, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
He threatened to call the police if they did not comply with his demands, it added.
Prosecutors said one girl only did as he asked because “there was no other choice” and it was the only way out of the situation.
Graham Partridge, of the CPS, said Uddin “preyed on young girls in a vulnerable situation”.
“Having worked in security, Uddin was also well aware of the CCTV camera ‘blind spots’ and took advantage of these in order to carry out his offending.”
After the sentencing a Primark spokeswoman said: “This has been a horrendous ordeal for the victims and their families and we are truly sorry for what they have suffered. Our thoughts are very much with them.”
An “angry pig” confronted engineers in a London street, delaying their repair of a burst water main before it was led away with a bag of crisps.
The pipe burst on Lamberts Road, Surbiton, damaging nearby railway equipment, which caused train delays.
Thames Water said their efforts to reach a valve to cut the water were initially hindered by “a large pig” which was “acting aggressively”.
It is not known what flavour crisps were used to lead it away.
Damage caused by the flooding of tracks and signalling equipment meant limited trains have been able to run along the line.
Disruption is currently expected to last until 16:00 GMT although Network Rail said engineers were carrying out inspections.
Thames Water said engineers “were quickly on site” to deal with the burst 120cm (48 in) pipe, but they had been unable to initially carry out the work because of the pig, which is thought to be someone’s pet.
A second man has admitted trying to rob Arsenal footballers Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac in a moped ambush.
Jordan Northover, 26, pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to attempting to steal watches from the pair in Hampstead, north-west London.
His co-accused Ashley Smith, 30, of Archway in North London, admitted his role in the crime in October.
CCTV footage showed Bosnian defender Kolasinac chasing off the two masked attackers on 25 July
In the video, that circulated on social media, 26-year-old Kolasinac is seen fighting off two men who are wielding knives.
He can be seen jumping out of a vehicle to confront the masked men who had pulled alongside the car on mopeds.
In the footage, both carjackers were seen to be armed and were filmed brandishing knives at full-back Kolasinac.
World Cup winner Özil can also be seen in his black Mercedes G class jeep before he reportedly took refuge in a Turkish restaurant.
Kolasinac and Germany midfielder Özil were left out of the Arsenal side ahead of the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign after the incident.
Judge Rosa Dean said Smith would be sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday.
Northover will be sentenced at a later date.
Özil told the Athletic sports site that he was scared for his wife Amine as the attackers pursued his car.
“Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers,” he said.
“I tried to move the car, block them, escape, but each time they would be there. My wife was extremely scared.”
A survivors’ group has welcomed a report on the Grenfell Tower fire, calling for the government to treat its response as “a national emergency”.
The report, published on Wednesday, followed the first phase of an inquiry, looking at what happened on the night of 14 June 2017, when 72 people died.
It was critical of the London Fire Brigade’s response and said the tower did not meet building regulations.
The LFB said it was “disappointed” by some of the criticism of individuals.
Campaign group Grenfell United said the report showed “the immediate and real dangers” of “highly combustible cladding and insulation”.
“Lives are at risk and the government need to treat this as a national emergency,” the group said.
The report made 46 recommendations, including improvements in training for fire brigade staff and the development of national guidelines for evacuating high-rise buildings.
Grenfell United called for the recommendations to be implemented in full, saying they would save lives.
The report condemned the LFB for “serious shortcomings” and systemic failures in its response to the fire.
Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said the absence of a plan to evacuate the tower was a “major omission” by the LFB and more lives could have been saved had the “stay-put” policy been abandoned sooner.
Grenfell United responded: “It is heartbreaking to read that more of our loved ones could have been saved that night if the building was evacuated earlier.”
At an emotional press conference, relatives of 20 victims of the fire called for an overhaul of the LFB, saying its leadership should resign and even face prosecution.
Nazanin Aghlani, who lost two family members in the fire, said some firefighters displayed a “serious lack of common sense” and failed to see “what was so vivid in front of them”.
“If a fire happened tonight the same thing would happen again,” she said.
‘Too little too late’
The report said evidence from London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton that she would not have changed anything about the brigade’s response was “insensitive”.
Ms Cotton said many of the recommendations were welcome and would be “carefully considered”.
She expressed her “deepest sorrow at not being able to save all those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire”.
She added: “We welcome the chairman’s recognition of the courage, commitment and bravery of firefighters on the night, but we are disappointed at some of the criticism of individual staff members who were placed in completely unprecedented circumstances and faced the most unimaginable conditions while trying to save the lives of others.”
However, Natasha Elcock, chairwoman of Grenfell United who was rescued with her six-year-old daughter from the 11th floor, said Dany Cotton’s statement was “too little too late”.
“She stood up in the inquiry, in a room full of bereaved and survivors and said there’s nothing she would do to change that night,” she told the BBC.
“If she’d expressed that sorrow that day in that room, that potentially would have washed with us today.”
Grenfell United expressed concern at the report’s finding that the LFB were “at risk of not learning the lessons from Grenfell”, adding that firefighters were “let down by their training, procedures, equipment and leadership”.
Other issues highlighted in the report included:
- A lack of training in how to “recognise the need for an evacuation or how to organise one”
- Incident commanders “of relatively junior rank” being unable to change strategy
- Control room officers lacking training on when to advise callers to evacuate
- An assumption that crews would reach callers, resulting in “assurances which were not well founded”
- Communication between the control room and those on the ground being “improvised, uncertain and prone to error”
- A lack of an organised way to share information within the control room, meaning officers had “no overall picture of the speed or pattern of fire spread”
In the House of Commons, MPs held a minutes’ silence to remember victims of the fire, before a debate on the inquiry.
Boris Johnson told MPs that survivors and the bereaved had been “overlooked and ignored” before the fire and “shamefully failed” afterwards.
The second phase of the inquiry will focus on wider circumstances of the fire, including the design of the building.
While this was not the focus of the first phase, the report found there was “compelling evidence” external walls of the building failed to comply with building regulations and “actively promoted” the spread of fire.
It said the principal reason the flames shot up the building so fiercely was the combustible aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding with polyethylene cores which acted as a “source of fuel”.
Grenfell United said the second phase of the inquiry “must now focus on where responsibility for the devastating refurbishment [of the building] lies”, with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the tenant management organisation and the companies involved facing “serious questions”.
League One side AFC Wimbledon have appointed caretaker boss Glyn Hodges as their new permanent manager.
The ex-Wales midfielder, 56, has been in charge since Wally Downes was suspended by the club last month, after being charged by the Football Association over bets placed on games.
Downes left Wimbledon on Sunday, two days after being given a four-week FA suspension for admitting the charge.
Former Wimbledon player Hodges had been assistant to Downes at Kingsmeadow.
“To have been at Wimbledon as a young apprentice at 16 years of age, then to return and actually get the job, and now to have an opportunity to take the club back to Plough Lane, is what dreams are made of,” he said.
“I’m absolutely delighted and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve enjoyed the last month, it’s been fantastic. I will be giving it my all.”
Hodges won four of his six matches in temporary charge, with Wimbledon 21st in League One, one point from safety.
Until joining the club in December Hodges had worked under Mark Hughes at Wales, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City.
His only previous managerial stint came in an interim spell in charge of Barnsley, during the 2002-03 campaign.
“It feels fantastic, but I’ve got to pay tribute to Wally, as we go back a long way,” he added. “I’ve got to thank him for bringing me here to take this opportunity.”
Extinction Rebellion activists have launched legal action over the police’s decision to ban them from demonstrating anywhere in London.
Their lawyers submitted an application to the High Court for a judicial review which they hope will be heard later.
The claimants include the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas and Baroness Jenny Jones, Labour MPs Clive Lewis and David Drew and writer George Monbiot.
There have been more than 1,600 arrests over the ongoing protests, police said.
The Metropolitan Police began clearing protesters from Trafalgar Square on Monday evening.
It followed the announcement of new restrictions under Section 14 of the Public Order Act, which required activists to stop their protests in central London by 21:00 BST or risk arrest.
Any assembly of more than two people linked to the Extinction Rebellion action is now illegal in London.
The force said it decided to impose the rules after “continued breaches” of conditions which limited the demonstrations to Trafalgar Square.
Despite the ban, protesters plan to gather again in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday lunchtime.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, who is leading the policing of the demonstrations, said he was confident the Met’s decision was “entirely lawful” and “entirely proportionate”.
Officers would respond in a “balanced and proportionate” way towards anyone assembling in Trafalgar Square, he said, but added they would be “liable to arrest”.
‘Concern’ over ban
Extinction Rebellion argue the ban is disproportionate and an unprecedented curtailment of the right to free speech and free assembly.
The group hopes the High Court will quash the decision to implement the blanket ban.
Mothers and babies were among those defying the London-wide ban on Wednesday.
They staged a “feed-in” outside Google’s offices in London’s King’s Cross, aiming to highlight the company’s political donations to organisations that have campaigned against action on climate change.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said concerns had been raised about the police’s decision, adding that shadow home secretary Diane Abbott was discussing it with the police.
“I think it’s important to protect the right of free speech, and the right to demonstrate in our society – obviously in a non-violent way,” he said.
He added that Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan had no involvement in the “operational decision” by police to remove the protesters.
On Tuesday, Mr Khan said he was “seeking further information” about why the ban was necessary, saying he believed “the right to peaceful and lawful protest must always be upheld”.
A government spokesman said the UK was already taking “world-leading action to combat climate change as the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming entirely by 2050”.
“While we share people’s concerns about global warming, and respect the right to peaceful protest, it should not disrupt people’s day-to-day lives,” he added.
What are the rules around protests?
Police have the powers to ban a protest under the Public Order Act 1986, if a senior officer has reasonable belief that it may cause “serious disruption to the life of the community”.
Police are also under a duty to balance the task of keeping the streets open with the right freedom of assembly under Article 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and freedom of expression, under Article 10. These rights are not absolute – the state can curtail them.
However, the BBC’s home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani said: “The test, if and when it gets to a human rights court battle, is whether police action was proportionate to the threat and only what was strictly necessary.”
By law, the organiser of a public march must tell the police certain information in writing six days in advance.
Police have the power to limit or change the route of the march or set other conditions.
A Section 14 notice issued under the Public Order Act allows police to impose conditions on a static protest and individuals who fail to comply with these can be arrested.
Leyton Orient and Port Vale have both been fined by the Football Association after an on-pitch melee during their League Two match on 28 September.
The incident was sparked when Vale’s James Gibbons reacted after Orient’s Conor Wilkinson went down in the box.
Both clubs were charged with failing to ensure players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from provocative behaviour.
The O’s have been fined £2,000 and Vale £1,750.
The sight of Jason Donovan in his underpants tackling a fire was certainly a surprise for one crew of firefighters.
Officers called to Notting Hill, London came across the Australian actor and singer tackling the fire with an extinguisher.
Donovan, 51, who lives across the road spotted the flames from his home.
The London Fire Service quipped, “everyone needs good neighbours”.
On social media the artist posted his views on his firefighting attire:
Watch manager Thomas Wolfe explained: “When we arrived a gentleman was tackling the fire using a fire extinguisher. We took over from him and quickly dealt with the blaze.
“It soon transpired that it was Jason Donovan who noticed the fire from his property over the road.”
Asked if the good “neighbour” would get a commendation, the watch commander quipped: “He looks good for his age.”
The fire, on 22 September, was located in the side passage next to a house and was believed to have been caused by a fault in electrical cabling.