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Two men jailed 34 years each for murder of businessman Guy Hedger

22 January

Two men have each been jailed for 34 years for the murder of a businessman who was shot dead during a botched burglary at his £1m home.

Guy Hedger,61, was killed after intruders entered his home in Castlewood, Ashley, near Ringwood, Hampshire, at about 3am on 30 April 2017.
Jason Baccus, 42, of Verney Close, Bournemouth, Dorset, and Kevin Downton, 40, of Winterborne Stickland, near Blandford, were found guilty after a trial at Winchester Crown Court that lasted 40 days.
A third man, Scott Keeping, 44, also of Verney Close, was found not guilty of murder.
His wife, Helen Keeping, 40, was also cleared of two counts of assisting an offender.
They were also convicted of offences of aggravated burglary with a firearm, possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and two charges of burglary of industrial buildings.
Scott Keeping was cleared of these offences as well.
Nigel Lickley QC, prosecuting, told the court that Downton and Baccus wore masks when they stormed into the bedroom where Mr Hedger was with his husband Simon Hedger-Cooper, and ordered both naked men to face the wall.
Downton shot Mr Hedger with a sawn-off shotgun after Mr Hedger-Cooper set off a panic alarm causing the thieves to flee, the court heard.
Mr Hedger-Cooper, 48, described in a video interview showed to the court, how his partner began to tell the raiders the code for their personal safe but then froze.
He said: "All the alarms outside went on and flashing, alarms going off. As it happened I heard an almighty boom, shot, and Guy said 'I have been hit, I have been hit'."
Jewellery and other valuable items such as Louis Vuitton bags worth a total of £124,000 were stolen during the raid.
Mr Hedger was a director of the Avonbourne International Business and Enterprise Trust, which runs colleges and a primary school in the Bournemouth area.
The Prosecution said that Baccus was the second man in the house while Keeping remained in the getaway car.
In the first 24 hours of the shooting police admitted they had no idea who may have been involved but the major breakthrough came when they found discarded cigarette butts around the corner from Mr Hedger's home.
They contained the DNA of Baccus and detectives were then able to identify his known associates and track their movements at the time of the shooting.
A search of Downton's Vauxhall Astra found a number of items in a hidden space in the ceiling including a scarf which had gunshot residue on it as well as a mobile phone and SIM card linked to the raid, the jury heard.
Downton denied being involved in the raid and said he had been involved in a burglary earlier that night at sandwich shop.
Mr Keeping, a drug addict, said he had stayed at home that night after drinking while watching TV, a claim supported by his wife who denied selling on the property.
During sentencing, Mr Justice Jay, told them that the planning of the raid "was amateurish and incompetent but that doesn't diminish the culpability of what happened".
Addressing Downton, he added: "You have a cold, callous streak and show no remorse."
To Baccus, he said: "I would not describe you as ruthless but I have seen no signs of remorse from you."

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Tesco puts 1,700 jobs at risk in shake-up to 'simplify' operations

22 January

Tesco has announced plans to "simplify" its operational structures - placing 1,700 roles at risk as it looks to make further savings in the business.

The main change being implemented, Tesco said, was its intention to erase people manager and compliance manager roles at its large stores and fulfilment centres.
Customer experience managers were also facing the axe at its 226 largest stores.
The UK's largest supermarket chain said the 1,700 people affected would be able to apply for 900 new jobs with "broader remits".
It described these roles as people partners, learning partners and colleague relations partners, while colleague administration jobs were also being added "to support management teams in each large store and fulfilment centre", it said.
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Tesco boss for the UK and Ireland, Matt Davies, said: "These changes remove complexity and will deliver a simpler, more helpful experience for colleagues and customers.
"We recognise these are difficult changes to make but they are necessary to ensure our business remains competitive and set up for the future.
"Our priority now is to support affected colleagues through these changes in any way we can. We hope to retain as many colleagues as possible in the new roles we have created and in the vacancies we currently have available."
The major UK supermarkets have moved over the past few years to meet the challenge posed by discount chains by slashing costs to invest more in their price offerings.
Tesco cut thousands of head office and call centre jobs last year alone under a recovery programme ordered by chief executive Dave Lewis, who has made progress in stemming a customer exodus to the likes of Aldi and Lidl.
Tesco employs 450,000 people in total and has been focusing its investment on its core UK supermarket chain.
That was reflected in its Christmas trading figures which showed like-for-like sales rising 1.9% in the six weeks to 6 January, with food up 3.4% on the same period last year.

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Celine Dookhran case: 'Uncle was fulfilling sexual fantasies with murder'

22 January

A man kidnapped his niece and her friend while wearing a balaclava and pyjamas before raping them and slashing their throats to satisfy his sexual fantasies, a court heard.

Mujahid Arshid, 33, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering his niece Celine Dookhran, 20, and the attempted murder of a second woman, who has been giving evidence in court.
Jurors were told how builder Arshid enlisted the help of labourer Vincent Tappu to kidnap the women by bundling them into the boot of his pick-up truck and driving them to an empty house he was renovating in Kingston, southwest London, on the morning of 19 July last year.
Both men allegedly hid their faces during the kidnapping, with Arshid - who prosecutors claim was trying to fulfil his "sexual fantasies" during the ordeal - dressed in pyjamas.
It is claimed that over the course of the day, Arshid molested the women and cut their throats, with the survivor - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - able to escape after tricking him into thinking they could be together.
She told the court of how she managed to get away: "When eventually I got hold of my phone, my first instinct was to call someone for help."
She texted her boyfriend: "Don't message or call. Or reply. I have been kid booed (sic). Kidnapped."
And later in the afternoon, she texted her mother: "He's going to kill me. Don't reply."
The woman managed to raise the alarm and was rescued by Arshid's brother, who saw her in the back of his truck and took her to St George's Hospital in Tooting, where she went on to have two operations as she recovered from knife wounds.
She told police where they could find 5ft 3in tall Ms Dookhran, whose throat was said to have been slit in a bathroom at the six-bedroom property.
"He brought Celine down in a bag, picked her up and put her into the chest freezer," she told officers from her hospital bed.
"All I could see was her legs sticking out. I had to act like it was not affecting me."
Ms Dookhran was still wearing her Barclays bank work uniform when she was dumped in the freezer.
Arshid, of no fixed address, denies murder, attempted murder, rape of both women and the previous sexual assault and assault by penetration of the surviving woman when she was about 13.
Along with Tappu, 28, of Spencer Road, Acton, west London, he has also pleaded not guilty to both women's kidnap and false imprisonment, and possession of a firearm with intent.
The trial continues.

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Princess Eugenie to marry long-term boyfriend Jack Brooksbank

22 January

Princess Eugenie and long-term boyfriend Jack Brooksbank are engaged to be married, the Royal Family has announced.

The couple became engaged in Nicaragua earlier this month and will tie the knot in the autumn at St George's Chapel in Windsor - the church hosting Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding in May.
Eugenie, 27, was pictured with her ring at Buckingham Palace in official photographs marking their forthcoming big day.
The oval padparadscha sapphire surrounded by diamonds is set on a gold band and is similar in shape and design to her mother the Duchess of York's engagement ring.
Eugenie began dating Mr Brooksbank, 29, around seven years ago after they met while skiing in the Swiss resort of Verbier.
The Stowe-educated socialite was the manager of Mayfair nightclub Mahiki and is now the UK brand ambassador of Casamigos Tequila, which was co-founded by actor George Clooney.
Buckingham Palace said Eugenie's parents, the Duke of York and his former wife Sarah Duchess of York, were delighted to announce the engagement.
Sarah Ferguson tweeted a series of pictures showing Princess Eugenie with Mr Brooksbank, saying: "I always say that the river flows well to it's destiny because of the guidance of a solid rock."
She posted one photo of the couple with the caption "total joy", and another which said "they float with laughter and love".
The Duke of York said: "I'm just completely overjoyed for them and wish them every happiness."
Nicola and George Brooksbank, the parents of Eugenie's fiance Jack Brooksbank, say they are "over the moon".
The couple said in a brief statement: "We could not be more delighted with the news of the engagement.
"We are completely over the moon and are very excited for them both."
She graduated from Newcastle University after studying English and history of art, and is now a director at the contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth in London.
She is also the patron of various charities including the Elephant Family, the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Coronet Theatre and The European School of Osteopathy.
Eugenie underwent back surgery aged 12 to correct a scoliosis condition, and is now patron of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital.
Her husband-to-be met the Queen at Balmoral when he and Eugenie attended Prince Harry's 32nd birthday in September 2016.
The Queen reportedly gave the couple her blessing for their marriage.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh "are very pleased and wish the couple all the best".
Eugenie is currently eighth in line to the throne, but will be ninth in line after the arrival of William and Kate's third child.
How does the current order of succession stack up?

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Fury as police shoot dead abandoned dog left alone in freezing cold

22 January

The police shooting of an abandoned dog found tied to a telegraph pole in freezing weather has sparked outrage online.

Officers killed the distressed and elderly German shepherd after it was discovered in a street in Hartlepool on Sunday morning.
In a statement on Cleveland Police's Facebook page, the force said it had been alerted to the animal by Hartlepool Borough Council.
Officers said the canine had been described as "aggressive".
They said they worked with "partner agencies" including the RSPCA, a re-homing charity and vets to try and calm the dog but said the "difficult decision was made to destroy it".
The statement said the dog became "increasingly aggressive as time went on" and that attempts were made to find the animal's owner but they were unsuccessful.
However, Cleveland Police's post attracted more than 1,400 angry reactions and almost 3,000 comments.
"You are a disgrace. Absolutely shameful. The dog was bloody scared you morons," one woman wrote. "What you did is take the easy option and yes it is evident that the easy option was the one you chose. Trigger happy is all you are."
Another wrote: "Poor dog it must have been scared stiff no wonder he was aggressive, it's disgusting they didn't give it a chance."
But a Cleveland Police spokesperson insisted the decision to kill the animal was not "taken lightly".
They said: "This was the very last course of action that we wanted to take.
"All attempts to calm the dog failed. Vets advised that they were unable to sedate the dog due to not being able to approach it and not having equipment to sedate from a distance.
"Unfortunately, veterinary professionals advised that the dog could not be re-homed due to its aggressive behaviour.
"The decision taken, in conjunction with the RSPCA and veterinary professionals, was that the kindest thing to do for the dog would be to destroy it. This has been a difficult decision and one that we had hoped we wouldn't have to make."

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