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Jay Sewell death: Mother says sentences are ‘no deterrent’

Jay Sewell

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Met Police

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Jay Sewell was fatally stabbed through a car window

The mother of a teenage boy who was stabbed to death by a love rival and his parents has called the sentences his killers received “a joke”.

Jay Sewell, 18, was attacked by a group led by Daniel Grogan, who thought he was dating his ex-girlfriend.

Mr Sewell’s mother Sharon Louch said she and her family were still “suffering” and felt they had been sidelined during the court process.

Grogan, 20, was found guilty of murder and jailed for a minimum of 21 years.

The Old Bailey heard he had deliberately engineered a stand-off with Mr Sewell and his ex-girlfriend Gemma Hodder in December 2018.

Mr Sewell and his friends were set upon in Lee, south-east London, by Grogan’s parents and friends who were armed with knives, hammers, a 4ft (1.2m) fireman’s axe and wooden sticks.

Ms Louch said her son had only known Ms Hodder for four days but in that time had received numerous threats.

“He decided enough was enough and he needed to go and sort it out. I wish he had come to me but instead he went to sort it out himself,” she said.

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Sharon Louch said she had to walk out of court because she was “very angry” about the process

She described her son as a “very popular, very loyal” teenager who “meant everything to me”.

“I lie awake at night and that’s all I think about…just his last minutes because I never got to say goodbye,” Ms Louch said.

On Tuesday, Grogan and a group of his friends and family were given sentences ranging from life imprisonment to a nine-month rehabilitation order.

Ms Louch said it was “completely and utterly wrong” that some of those involved “could be out on the street” soon.

She said: “I had to walk out, I couldn’t listen to it – I did feel very angry about it because we haven’t been able to say a lot at all.

“It was all about them. The court process is very much in their favour. I just don’t think there’s any deterrent to stop people from doing this or reoffending.”

The prime minister has previously called for tougher sentences and an end to automatic release for all killers.


Those jailed over fatal stabbing

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Met Police

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(Clockwise from top left) Daniel Grogan, Ann Grogan, Robert Grogan, Francesca Grogan, Charlie Dudley, Jamie Bennett, Liam Hickey

  • Grogan’s father Robert, 58, who had armed himself with an axe, was jailed for 14-and-a-half years for manslaughter, six years for wounding with intent and three-and-a-half years for violent disorder
  • Grogan’s mother Ann, 55, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for manslaughter and three-and-a-half years for violent disorder, to be served concurrently
  • Friend and neighbour Charlie Dudley, 26, of Grove Park, was jailed for 16 years for manslaughter, six-and-a-half years for wounding with intent and three-and-a-half years for violent disorder, to be served concurrently
  • Cousin Liam Hickey, 19, of Eltham, was sentenced to three years in a Young Offenders Institution for wounding with intent and two years for violent disorder, to be served concurrently
  • Sister Francesca Grogan, 30, of Sibthorpe Road, was jailed for 12 months for violent disorder
  • Jamie Bennett, 32, of Sibthorpe Road, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for violent disorder
  • A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named, was handed a nine-month rehabilitation order and a supervision order for violent disorder.

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Nigel Wray: Saracens owner retires as club chairman

Nigel Wray plans to remain “actively involved in the work of the Saracens Sports Foundation”

Saracens owner Nigel Wray has retired as club chairman with immediate effect.

Wray first invested in the club in 1995 and reclaimed full control in April 2018 by buying back a 50% stake sold to South African firm Remgro.

Saracens were deducted 35 points and fined £5.36m in November after an inquiry into business dealings between Wray and some Sarries players.

“As we enter a new year, a new decade, it is time for the club to make a fresh start,” he said in a statement.

“I am not getting any younger and feel this is the right moment for me to stand down as chairman and just enjoy being a fan of this incredible rugby club.”

He added that the Wray family “will continue to provide the required financial support to the club”.

Edward Griffiths is returning to the club as interim chief executive for the next 12 months.

Saracens established themselves as the dominant force in English club rugby in the past decade, winning the Premiership title on five occasions and being crowned European champions three times, most recently when they beat Leinster 20-10 in last season’s final.

But their reputation was severely tarnished by the financial scandal which emerged last year.

They were sanctioned by a disciplinary panel for breaching salary cap regulations in the past three seasons.

Saracens apologised for “administrative errors relating to the non-disclosure of some transactions” to Premiership Rugby Limited.

In a statement, Wray said the sanctions were “absolutely devastating” for everyone connected with the club.

He added: “It has been acknowledged by the panel that we never deliberately sought to mislead anyone or breach the cap and that’s why it feels like the rug is being completely pulled out from under our feet.”

The club initially indicated they would appeal, but later decided not to take the matter any further and Wray said they accepted the penalties “with humility”.

They have won five of their seven Premiership games so far this season, but are bottom of the table on -12 points and 18 points from safety.

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London’s City Hall provides Christmas meals for homeless

Sadiq Khan hands out food

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Sadiq Khan helped serve 100 Christmas Dinners to guests at City Hall

Christmas dinners have been served to Londoners who are reliant on the city’s homelessness services.

Hairdressers and opticians were also made available at City Hall before guests were given a three-course meal.

Last year, 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London, an 18% increase since last year, and more than double the number in 2010.

“Events like this help bring a sense of community back in to London,” Claire, a former rough sleeper, told the BBC.

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Claire said she had been “looking forward” to the Christmas Dinner

Claire, who spent 30 years either living on the streets or in prison, said: “It’s the type of event that does matter. It forms partnerships and builds bonds.

“If it wasn’t for the support of St Mungo’s, I’d either be dead or doing what I was before.”

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Guests were treated to rendition of carols by the London International Gospel Choir

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Around 100 people who use London’s homeless services were invited to City Hall

Guests were chosen from the thousands of Londoners that currently receive assistance from services funded by City Hall and delivered by charities St Mungo’s and Thames Reach.

But Claire said services were still “hit and miss”.

“Where I live I’m still waiting for support with my mental health,” she added.

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Sadiq Khan said “it is shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do”

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Guests were given a three-course Christmas Dinner

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “St Mungo’s and Thames Reach are struggling with finances.

“Since I became mayor we’ve more than doubled the amount of money we’ve spent on rough sleeping and the size of our outreach team.

“But we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve not got the money or the resources to do much more – as it is I’m criticised for going outside my remit and my power.

“It is both heartbreaking and shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do.”

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Free opticians services were put on by charity Humanity First

Last year 15,470 people were accepted as being homeless by London councils.

There were 55,000 families living in temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and hostels.

Hundreds more people are estimated to be sleeping on London’s night buses.

Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper Services at St Mungo’s, said: “It’s wonderful that the Mayor has opened the doors of City Hall for this festive event.

“Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for clients in our services and our staff work hard to support those who stay with us over the holiday period.”

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Tom Lace: Middlesex batsman agrees new contract after Derbyshire loan spell

Tom Lace’s 2019 season came to a premature end when he broke a finger while batting in August

Batsman Tom Lace has signed a contract extension with Middlesex to run until the end of the 2022 season.

Lace, 21, made his Championship debut for the club against Leicestershire at Lord’s in May, in between two loan spells with Derbyshire.

He topped Derbyshire’s Championship averages in 2019 after scoring 743 runs in 10 games, with three centuries.

“Tom will be a great addition to our middle order,” head coach Stuart Law told the Middlesex website.

“A talented batsman, a great character in the dressing room and a Middlesex man through and through. I look forward to working with him next season.”

Middlesex finished eighth in Division Two last summer, 49 points short of the promotion places, winning only three of their 14 games.

They will begin the 2020 Championship season with a home game against Worcestershire, starting on Sunday 12 April.

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General Election 2019: Polls open across London

Ballot box

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PA

Voting is under way to decide who will represent London’s 73 parliamentary seats.

Londoners will decide the fate of hundreds of parliamentary candidates including the prime minister and leader of the Labour Party.

Registered voters will be able to cast their ballots from 07:00 to 22:00 GMT.

Labour represented 46 seats in the city going into the 2019 General Election. The Conservative had 20 London MPs while Liberal Democrats had four.

The BBC, like other broadcasters, is not allowed to report details of campaigning while the polls are open. More details around electoral law and our BBC code of practice is explained here.

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London minicab qualifications from private schools banned

Minicab

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Minicab drivers must sit mandatory exams to get a licence from Transport for London

Minicab drivers in London will only be able to gain required qualifications at official centres after a cheating scandal was exposed by the BBC.

Drivers could previously sit mandatory exams at Transport for London (TfL) centres or authorised private schools and colleges to get a licence.

However the investigation found some colleges cheated the required tests.

TfL said all licences gained from colleges where cheating occurred had been revoked.

‘Urgent review’

As part of the cab application process, drivers must sit a topographical exam and an English test at one of eight official TfL testing centres.

Evidence of these exams can also be accepted via other qualifications including BTecs, which are usually taken at numerous private colleges and centres around the UK.

Some employees at one of these colleges – Vista Training Solutions in Newham, east London – offered to take the tests for several BBC researchers for £500 per BTec.

After the cheating was exposed, TfL carried out an “urgent review” of every licence gained through qualifications passed at private colleges.

It has now revoked those of 143 drivers who had gained them through Vista Training Solutions while another 209 licence applications made by people who passed their qualifications through the college have also been rejected.

The transport authority added that no evidence of “fraudulent activity” had been found at any other private colleges but from February, qualifications will only be allowed to be gained from one of TfL’s eight testing centres.

“The most robust and relevant topographical tests are our own assessments,” said Helen Chapman, TfL’s director of licensing, regulation and charging.

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Media captionGerti Qamili, a manager at Vista, was challenged after the secret filming

In a statement Ofqual, which regulates tests taken at private colleges, said it took “all allegations of qualifications fraud extremely seriously”.

Vista Training Solutions previously said it was “devastated to learn that such malpractice took place” and apologised “unreservedly”.

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Nuno Espirito Santo is a potential replacement if Arsenal sack Unai Emery

Unai Emery’s Arsenal are eight points adrift of the top four in the Premier League

Arsenal have identified Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo as a potential replacement for Unai Emery if the Gunners decide to sack the Spaniard.

Head coach Emery is under pressure after a winless run of six matches across all competitions.

Arsenal have only won four of 13 Premier League games this season.

BBC Sport understands that if Emery is sacked and Nuno is allowed to speak to Arsenal, then the Portuguese would be a strong contender to take over.

Nuno said it would be “disrespectful” to talk about being linked with Arsenal when asked in a news conference before his side’s Europa League tie against Braga on Thursday.

“I wouldn’t ever mention an issue which is not a reality,” he said. “Speaking about a job which has a manager would be disrespectful and I will not do so.”

My focus is on today and tomorrow – Emery

Emery said he still has the full support of the club, having been warned results must improve while being offered public backing by the Arsenal hierarchy earlier this month.

“Really the club is supporting me,” he said. “I feel the club, everyone responsible in that area, is backing me. Really I appreciate it a lot.

“I feel strong with that support and know my responsibility to come back and change that situation.”

The former Sevilla and Paris St-Germain boss added he is only focused on “today and tomorrow” as he prepares for his side’s Europa League match at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.

“My job is to prepare for the match, to show the best performance in front of our supporters,” he said.

Arsenal go into Thursday’s game top of Group F, four points clear of both their German opponents and Standard Liege.

On Sunday, a number of Arsenal fan groups called for “urgent action” over the “state of things” at the club.

“My focus is only today and tomorrow, to do all the things that we have worked on here at the training ground,” Emery added.

“We know our supporters were disappointed by the draw against Southampton, but we have the perfect chance to reconnect with our supporters.

“Our wish is that every supporter tomorrow helps the team, we need them.”

Arsenal are also eight points adrift of the top four and 19 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.

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General election 2019: ‘We’re just represented by white people’

Young people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds (BAME) have described how they feel the 2019 general election has failed so far to take on their views or represent them.

Students at London’s Westminster Kingsway College talked about the issues they care about and the changes they would like to see in politics.

Video by Jamie Moreland

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The rise of ‘facadism’ in London

London blogger The Gentle Author has been photographing the changing face of London, focusing on what is known as “facadism”, the practice of destroying everything apart from the front wall and constructing a new building behind it.

Here, we present a few pictures from the series and the story of the buildings that once stood.

National Provincial Bank, Threadneedle Street, City of London, EC2

National Provincial Bank, Threadneedle Street, City of London, EC2

This Grade I listed building was designed by John Gibson as London’s largest banking hall, in 1863-65, with figures along the roofline representing locations where the bank did business including:

  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Dover
  • Newcastle
  • London

Above the arched windows, eight sculpted panels of heroic allegorical scenes represent the achievements of mankind:

  • the arts
  • commerce
  • science
  • manufacturing
  • agriculture
  • navigation
  • shipbuilding
  • mining

The Cock & Hoop, Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, E1

The Cock & Hoop, Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, E1

Thomas Lloyd is recorded as this pub’s first landlord, in 1805.

After it closed for good, in 1908, the building was incorporated into the Providence Row Night Refuge and, in 2006, converted into student housing for the London School of Economics.

London Fruit & Wool Exchange, Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, E1

London Fruit & Wool Exchange, Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, E1

This building was designed by Sydney Perks, in 1927, as a state-of-the-art auction room with a roof that simulated sunlight on cloudy days, parquet floors, careful detailing and significant craft elements throughout.

Since the fruit and vegetable market left Spitalfields, in 1991, it has housed many small independent local businesses.

The tenant of the new development is an international legal corporation.

465 Caledonian Road, Islington, N7

465 Caledonian Road, Islington, N7

Mallett, Porter & Dowd built this handsome warehouse for their business, in 1874.

Redevelopment by University College London for student housing was turned down by Islington Council, citing inadequate daylight, due to the windows of the new building not aligning with those in the facade.

But this judgement was later overturned by the Planning Inspectorate.

And the development won Building Design’s Carbuncle Cup for 2013.

College East, Toynbee Hall, Wentworth Street, Spitalfields, E1

College East, Toynbee Hall, Wentworth Street, Spitalfields, E1

Designed by Elijah Hoole, this part of the Toynbee Hall campus, built in 1884-85, was demolished and facaded for the construction of Attlee House, which was completed in 1971 but itself demolished in 2016.

It will next front Gatsby Apartments, a development of flats for the commercial market.

Former Unitarian Chapel, Stamford Street, Blackfriars, SE1

Former Unitarian Chapel, Stamford Street, Blackfriars, SE1

Designed in 1821 by Charles Parker, the architect of Hoare’s Bank, in the Strand, this chapel was demolished in the 1960s apart from the portico and part of the ground floor, which stood in front of a car park for many years.

The Grade II listed Doric hexastyle portico is topped by a triglyph frieze and a pediment.

Its central door has a shouldered architrave and iron gates.

The Spotted Dog, 38 High Road, Willesden, NW10

The Spotted Dog, 38 High Road, Willesden, NW10

The Spotted Dog was described as “a well accustomed public house” in 1792, by which time it was at least 30 years old.

In the 19th Century, it was famous for its pleasure gardens and in the 1920s housed a dancehall.

18 Broadwick Street, Soho, W1

18 Broadwick Street, Soho, W1

Decorative brick inlay on the Berwick Street elevation declares this facade was built in 1886.

Originally a bakery, it became Central Chemists in 1950 when the ground floor and basement premises were acquired by Gertrude Kramer.

Michael Moss acquired the pharmacy and freehold to the building from Mrs Kramer in the 1970s and enlarged it to include 85-86 Berwick Street in the late 1980s, naming it Broadwick Pharmacy.

Richard Piercy bought the shop in 1990 and ran it as Zest Pharmacy until 2016.

In recent memory, the upper parts of the building were used as offices by music, film and voice-over businesses.

All photographs © The Gentle Author from the book The Creeping Plague of Ghastly Facadism.

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Algorithms helping patients on ventilators at London hospitals

Imperial College London and the Royal Brompton Hospital have found a way to make ventilators more precise for individual intensive care patients.

The trial involves a monitor next to a patient’s bed that will collect data showing their breathing patterns and lung capacity.

Doctors and nurses will use the data to better understand how to treat a patient and individually tailor their ventilator oxygen levels and pressure.

If successful, it could prove to be the future of critical care medicine, according to the research team.

Video by Gem O’Reilly.

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