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.
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
- 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.
Millions of commuters will have to pay an average of 2.7% more for train tickets from today.
The rise, announced by industry body the Rail Delivery Group in November, is lower than the 3.1% increase at the start of last year.
Train companies say it is the third year in a row that average fares have been held below RPI – the inflation measure on which rises are based.
But many commuters face an increase of more than £100 for annual passes.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps cited a new fund for trials for flexible fares as an example of how the government was committed to “putting passengers first”.
He said he planned to tackle the “fragmented” system and had begun the process to end the franchise for Northern Rail, whose performance was “completely unacceptable”.
“You can judge me on this at the end of the year,” he said. “These changes are going to take time but I think people will see things moving in the right direction.”
But Labour’s shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, said the rise showed passengers were “once again paying more for less under the Tories”.
Independent watchdog Transport Focus says most rail users (53%) do not feel train ticket prices offer value for money.
The watchdog’s director, David Sidebottom, said: “After a year of pretty poor performance in some areas, passengers just want a consistent day-to-day service they can rely on and a better chance of getting a seat.”
He encouraged passengers to claim compensation for eligible delays in order to “offset” the cost of fare rises.
Some annual season tickets up by more than £100
- Reading to London up £132 to £4,736
- Gloucester to Birmingham up £118 to £4,356
- Glasgow to Edinburgh up £116 to £4,200
However, Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions for Rail Delivery Group, said rail companies were investing in improving journeys while holding fare increases below inflation.
He said 2020 will see 1,000 extra weekly services and 1,000 more carriages added to Britain’s rail fleet.
“There is a record level of investment going into the railway at the moment,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“For people who do suffer from poor punctuality in areas of the country, that could be for a variety of different reasons, we apologise. We are looking at at trying to make punctuality much better across the board,” he said.
Official statistics show that just over one in three trains failed to arrive on time in July, August and September 2019, although that figure was an improvement on the previous year.
About 40% of annual rail price rises are regulated by governments in England, Scotland and Wales. They are pegged to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure for the previous July. Other fare rises are decided by train companies.
RPI inflation was 2.8% last year.
But RPI inflation is generally higher than the most widely watched measure of inflation, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).
Passenger groups have repeatedly called for the system to be changed since RPI inflation was abandoned by the National Audit Office as a national statistic in 2013.
Protests will be held against the fare increase on Thursday, including a demonstration outside London King’s Cross station.
The rallies come as the Trades Union Congress (TUC) releases research suggesting fares have risen by twice as much as wages in the last 10 years.
The TUC said someone earning an average salary in the UK would have to spend 16% of their wages for a season ticket from Chelmsford to London (£511 a month), but similar commutes would cost 2% of the average salary in France, and 4% in Germany and Belgium.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
Emily Thornberry warned privately in September that Labour’s election chances would be hampered by taking a neutral position on Brexit.
Speaking at the party’s conference, for a BBC film being broadcast on Tuesday, she said she was worried about Jeremy Corbyn saying he “didn’t have a view” on the biggest decision facing the UK.
She was “really pushing” at the time for Labour to openly back Remain.
Labour’s defeat has led to a bitter internal row over its Brexit policy.
Some Labour candidates who lost their seats have blamed the party’s offer of another referendum for their defeat alongside doubts about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Ms Thornberry, the re-elected MP for Islington South who is expected to be a candidate in the contest to succeed Mr Corbyn, revealed on Monday that she had begun legal action against a former colleague who claimed the shadow foreign secretary called some Leave voters “stupid”.
- Thornberry begins legal action in Labour Brexit row
- Labour leadership takes blame over election result
She said Caroline Flint’s claim she had told an MP from a Leave-voting area “I am glad my constituents aren’t as stupid as yours” was “a complete lie”. But Ms Flint, who lost her seat at the election, has stood by her remarks.
Labour went into the election offering another Brexit referendum on a new withdrawal deal it hoped to negotiate if it won power.
At its conference in Brighton, the leadership saw off an attempt by party members to force it to campaign to remain in the EU.
During the campaign, Mr Corbyn went further by saying that he personally would not take sides in any future public vote, arguing this would make it easier for him to implement whatever choice the people made.
While Ms Thornberry has never hidden her view that she thinks Brexit is a mistake, an interview she gave to the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg during the conference makes clear the extent of her doubts.
In the documentary, entitled The Brexit Storm Continues, she warned that a neutral position on Brexit would be politically dangerous.
She also revealed she had privately urged the leadership to take a much more overt pro-Remain stance.
“I think Jeremy is trying to find a compromise but if he goes into an election saying ‘I don’t have a view’ on the single biggest decision that we have to make – I think – what worries me is that every single interview he does will all be about Brexit.”
Asked if Labour could win an election with that position, she said: “Well, I think it makes it more difficult and that’s why I’m really pushing this because I want Jeremy in Number 10.”
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the Labour leadership’s position on Brexit seemed to thwart the views of the party’s traditional supporters.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the Labour Party had always been a coalition between supporters in working-class communities and “university educated liberal left” and Labour “had not been speaking to both sides of that coalition for some time”.
Before he became mayor, Mr Burnham was the MP for the Labour stronghold Leigh, which elected a Tory MP last week.
It would “help” if the next Labour leader was from the North, Mr Burnham added, and he said he would lend his support to a candidate that supported devolution.
However, Labour’s Jenny Chapman who lost her Darlington seat in the election said it was “patronising” to think that “presenting someone who speaks with a northern accent means you are going to win support in the North”.
“I don’t think you need a particular accent to have empathy and compassion,” she said explaining she wants shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer to run in the Labour leadership contest.
Mr Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell have apologised for Labour’s “catastrophic” performance, which saw them lose 59 seats.
The Labour leader said he was “sorry that we came up short”, while Mr McDonnell told the BBC: “I own this disaster.”
The Brexit Storm Continues was broadcast on BBC2 on 17 December at 21:00 and is available on the BBC iPlayer.
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.
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.
TfL said all licences gained from colleges where cheating occurred had been revoked.
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.
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”.
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.”
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.
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
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
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:
Above the arched windows, eight sculpted panels of heroic allegorical scenes represent the achievements of mankind:
- the arts
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
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
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
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
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 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
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.
City traders have urged UK and European exchanges to cut trading hours to improve work life balance.
They want exchanges to open 09:00 to 16:00, instead of 08:00 to 16:30.
Shorter trading hours would cut pressure on traders, and attract a more diverse range of workers, they said.
Stock market trading has traditionally been male dominated, and still lags behind other areas of financial services in terms of attracting women into roles, one association said.
April Day, head of equities at the Association for Financial Markets in Europe, (AFME) said her organisation had been in contact with stock exchanges in London, Paris, Germany and the Nordic region, calling for a reduction in trading hours.
The request is being made in conjunction with fellow trader body the Investment Association.
Traders normally work for a few hours either side of the current 8.5 trading hours, Ms Day said.
By contrast, US exchanges are open for 6.5 hours, and Asian exchanges for 6.
“A shorter working day would improve flexibility for employees and attract a more diverse range of individuals onto trading floors,” Ms Day said.
For example, trading floors need to attract more women, she said. “It’s fair to say [trading] is still male dominated.”
The London Stock Exchange said it would launch a consultation on the request.
A knock-on effect of having a smaller intake of women in junior positions means that there are relatively few women in senior management positions in investment and banking trading, Ms Day said.
Juggling work and childcare responsibilities can be a challenge for both men and women, she added.
“It’s hard to find childcare at five o’clock in the morning,” she said.
Shorter trading hours would improve the liquidity of stocks – that is, how quickly and easily an asset can be converted into cash – as trades would be less thinly spread, she said.
Long hours in a high-pressure job can also exacerbate any mental health difficulties traders may be suffering, Ms Day added.
Galina Dimitrova, director of capital markets at the Investment Association, concurred: “We have heard many deeply moving stories of traders’ mental health and personal life being impacted by their working hours.
“Whilst it is no silver bullet, we hope this European-wide review could start to lead to a step change in more efficient markets to the benefit of savers and those who operate them.”
The London Stock Exchange said it strongly supported improving diversity and workplace culture in the City.
It said the call from the trader associations was “an important suggestion for a European-wide adjustment to trading hours”.
“We intend to consider the request in a formal consultation with London Stock Exchange’s global members and customers,” it added.