Thursday, 31 March 2011

Brands Hatch: Police Seize Stolen Motorbikes


A day’s racing at a legendary circuit was thrown into chaos when specialist police’s dawn raid seized sixteen stolen high performance motorbikes.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Stolen Vehicle Unit targeted the organised event at Brands Hatch, Kent on March 5, suspecting stolen bikes would be competing.

They swooped on the circuit at 7:00am, confident some of the many superbikes stolen in the London area over the previous three years would be found.

The Sunday race meeting ground to a halt as officers examined 144 high performance motorbikes, which had engines above 599cc.

Sixteen of them were identified as either stolen or 'rung' (pictured) with a false identity and some were made up of stolen parts.

Officers did not make any arrests, but seized the 16 bikes, one of which was a sidecar.

The operation aimed to ensure unsafe and stolen bikes were not being used on the racetrack.

Police accept some of the bikes seized may well belong to completely innocent victims who were unlucky enough to have been duped into buying stolen vehicles. 



Detective Chief Inspector Will Young, who heads the Stolen Vehicle Unit, said: “The purpose of the operation was to recover as many stolen motorcycle engines and frames as possible and restore them to their rightful owners.

“However, we also want to use the successful results over the weekend to send a clear message to anyone who thinks that they can use stolen machinery to enter race events - this is illegal and any stolen vehicles or parts will be seized by police. 



“This is the start of a continued piece of work the Stolen Vehicle Unit is leading on in order to remove stolen bikes from racing circuits.

“We will continue to work closely with the sports governing bodies to try and introduce processes whereby the industry can effectively prevent stolen bikes being used on their race tracks.”

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Gay Cruising Rape-Bid: E-Fit Released


Police have issued this E-fit of a would-be rapist who attacked a lone man in a notorious gay cruising haunt in woodland at the edge of North-East London.

Officers from Ilford’s Sapphire team want witnesses to identify the man responsible for the late-night attack in Whipps Cross Forest.

The 27 year-old victim was in the forest at approximately 11:00 pm on October 20, 2009 when the stranger approached and suggested sex.

The victim refused and insisted he was leaving, but as he walked away the assailant grabbed his arm and forced him to the ground.

He then attempted to rape the struggling victim who managed to push the suspect off him and run away.

An e-fit of the suspect has been complied from a description given by the victim.

He is described as a white male in his early thirties with a London accent and short blonde hair.

The suspect is also described as having heavy acne scarring on the right side of his face, with slight acne scaring on the left side of his face.

He was wearing a blue tight fitting T-shirt with a "Superman" emblem on it and dark trousers.

Detective Constable Graham Alger said: “We are releasing this e-fit in the hope that someone will recognise the suspect and come forward.

“We would like to speak to anyone who was in the area at the time and may have information that will assist our investigation, or to anyone who recognises the suspect from the e-fit.

“I would like to reassure the community that incidents of this nature are rare, but, understandably, cause great concern.

The Metropolitan Police Service takes all allegations of rape and sexual assault extremely seriously and this case is being investigated by dedicated officers from the Sapphire command.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sapphire unit on 0208 345 3562 or if you wish to remain anonymous, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The "Dirty Business" Of The Fake-Medicine Five


Five businessmen accused of plotting to sell fake Chinese-manufactured medicines in a multi-million pound scam were determined to "protect their dirty business" despite the risk to public health, a jury were told today.

In his closing speech, after over three months of evidence, prosecutor Mr. Andrew Marshall told Croydon Crown Court the defendants continued importing the fakes - even after a respected drug wholesaler raised concerns that eventually contributed to their downfall.

They are: Accountant Peter Gillespie, 64, of Carey Close, Windsor, Berkshire; Pharmaceutical wholesaler Richard Kemp, 61, of School Lane, Y Waen, Flint Mountain, Clwyd; Peter's accountant brother Ian Gillespie, 58, of The
Green, Marsh Baldon, Oxford; Salesman Ian Harding, 58, of Lower Westwood, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire and pharmaceutical wholesaler James Quinn, 69, of Gillespie House, Holloway Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey.

Medicine watchdogs ordered a Class One recall of all suspected drugs -taken by heart and cancer patients and the mentally ill - resulting in shelves cleared in pharmacies all over the country and half of the 73,000 fake packs recalled.

AAH Pharmaceuticals told Kemp the medicines he supplied were "tatty" and "well travelled" as the defendant tried to rush the deal through, Mr. Marshall told the jury.

"The urgency Kemp showed only heightened their concern. That is what put them on guard," said the prosecutor. "Why was Kemp so keen to get approval so quickly and get them through?

"This business, Kemp's second business, this bent business is never offered to AAH again to avoid scrutiny. This is their first close shave.

"Their priorities were to protect their dirty business and continue to sell counterfeit pharmaceuticals."

Mr. Marshall told the jury it was obvious Kemp knew the drugs purchased by Basingstoke-based Consolidated Medical Supplies, (CMS) which he funded, were from the Far East.

"He did know their source and he was prepared to lie to you," the prosecutor told the jury. "He saw the Air Singapore stickers and the invoices to Mauritius-based Multiscope.

"He has got no honest basis to say these products had been on sale in France and knew the source was Multiscope in Mauritius, which could never have had an official wholsesale dealers licence."

Kemp cancelled the purchase initially because the stock - anti-psychotic drug 'Zyprexa' - arrived in a Brussels warehouse water-damaged, but happily sold them once they were re-packaged, Mr. Marshall told the jury.

"The damaged stock was now being brought in by Peter Gillespie and Harding via the Eurotunnel. This was the first run and they wanted to make sure they got through and smooth out any wrinkles."

CMS's unsuspecting pharmacist had told the jury this first batch of imported medicines were re-packaged by the Gillespie brothers and collected by Kemp, who drove them away in the back of his car.

"They all knew each other going back years," said Mr. Marshall. "They spent so much time together in production and must have deliberately kept quiet and must have had an understanding to say nothing to make sure it did not leek out.

"That first production run was driven away by Kemp. That in itself is extraordinary and not the usual way of doing things.

"It shows Kemp physically handled the boxes containing the property, the labelling and packaging he had paid for."

Mr. Marshall dismissed the defendants attempts in the witness box to distance themselves from the scandal.

"None of them want to admit ownership of the goods. It is a real hot potato amongst them, but the drugs have got from China and in some cases to patients and there are a lot of steps on the way to ensure that.

"There has in this courtroom been a desperate last-ditch attempt to explain something that cannot be explained," added the prosecutor.

The second Brussels run -again by Peter Gillespie and Harding - was to collect a shipment of heart drug 'Plavix'.

"All the time Kemp caries on funding CMS and is keeping the company going," said Mr. Marshall.

Eventually AAH became so suspicious they sent a drug-sample for testing at an NHS lab at the same time another company - OTC - tested the sixth importation.

Approximately 100,000 doses of fake medication ended up in the hands of patients.

The charges relate to 'Casodex', used to treat advanced prostate cancer, Plavix', a drug prescribed to prevent blood clots and prevent heart attacks for angina patients and 'Zyprexa' a anti-psychotic drug prescribed to schizophrenic and bipolar patients.

All five defendants have pleaded not guilty that between January 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007, they conspired together and with others to defraud pharmaceutical wholesalers, pharmacists, the public and holders of Intellectual Property Rights in pharmaceuticals by dishonestly distributing for gain counterfeit medicines.

They also deny two counts each of selling or supplying the three drugs without authorisation and selling or supplying counterfeit goods, namely the three medicines, between January 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007.

Peter Gillespie alone denies one count of breaching a company director disqualification order between July, 2005 and June, 2007, following his bankruptcy.

The drugs were manufactured by the notorious Chinese pharmaceutical counterfeiter Lu Xu aka Kevin Xu, currently serving a prison sentence for a similar scam in the United States.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Mum-Of-Five Banned After Beeb Bust-Up


A mother-of-five has been banned from all BBC premises for a year and given a suspended jail sentence for attacking a chasing police officer after she was thrown out of the corporation’s radio HQ.

Hannah Oladele, 43, of Hewett Place, Swanley, Kent arrived unannounced at two BBC buildings in a bid to highlight her sense of injustice that her children have been taken into care.

She was convicted at City of London Magistrates’ Court of assaulting the policeman outside McDonald’s, Portland Place, Marylebone on June 5, last year.

Prosecutor Regina Naughton told the court today Oladele initially tried to force her way into the beeb’s Bush House, Aldwych building.

“She wanted to get on television to explain her difficulties with social services and Bush House sent her to the building near Regent’s Street.

“Once there she demanded to go on television to tell the nation of the plight of her and her children, but was told the building only did radio broadcasts,” explained Mrs Naughton.

“She then demanded to go on the radio and eventually security staff came down to the foyer and she was escorted from the building and the police called.

“When police arrived they saw her outside, obviously angry with security staff, before she made off towards Regent’s Street.”

Police followed in a van, but Oladele repeatedly ignored their requests to stop.

“Eventually PC Bond put his arm out to hold her back and using her fingernails the defendant clawed at his throat and continued to maintain her grip,” said Mrs Naughton.

“Other officers assisted and the defendant was put on the ground as a result of her volatile behaviour.

“It took two months for the injuries to heal.”

The defendant’s children remain in care after allegations of abuse were made against Oladele.

First-time offender Oladele, who also denies abusing her children, was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment, suspended for twelve months and ordered to pay £200 compensation to PC Bond and £300 costs.

She was also banned from visiting any BBC premises for a year.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Bus Driver Bashed In Fare Row


Police investigating a violent Guy Fawkes Night attack on a lone bus driver – who was repeatedly punched in the face during a fare dispute - want to identify this suspect.

The 64 year-old victim had just finished his number 54 route at 7:30pm and stopped outside Tesco’s, Croydon Road, Bromley on November 5, last year.

There had been a dispute between him and a female passenger, which resulted in the suspect forcing open the driver’s cab door – punching him several times in the face – and running off.

The injured driver was treated in hospital for bruising and swelling to the eye and head and discharged the same day.

The incident is being investigated by detectives from the joint Metropolitan Police Service and Transport for London Safer Transport Command Workplace Violence Unit.

The suspect, who is described as a black man, was wearing a dark coloured hooded top.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Constable Dan Hippey leading the investigation for the Workplace Violence Unit on 020 3054 5403 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Man Strangles Girlfriend In Front Of Their Six Month-Old Daughter


A man who strangled his girlfriend in front of their six month-old baby, as he forced her head into a bowl of water used to cool the tot’s bottle, has been caged for life.

Basil Chawafambira, 36, (pic.bottom) used the straps of a nappy bag to throttle 21 year-old Czarina Baker (pic.top) at their flat in Hemans Street, Stockwell, South London.

He was convicted by an Old Bailey jury of the murdering Czarina on June 14, last year and was ordered to serve an eighteen-year minimum sentence.

The couple, who had been together five years, argued over the defendant’s reluctance to help with domestic chores and he had been violent towards Czarina.

Chawafambira tried to kill himself afterwards, but an overdose of sleeping pills simply made him excessively drowsy.

Three days later he walked into Brixton police station and confessed to the killing.

Officers went to the couple’s flat where they found the young woman’s body wrapped in a sleeping bag under a quilt.



Detective Chief Inspector Dave Manning of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: “Chawafambira had a history of violence towards Czarina.

“I suspect that she believed that this would stop with the birth of their daughter.

“Tragically this proved not to be the case.

“Czarina’s murder was all the more cruel having been committed in the same room as her child.



“Chawafambira attempted to justify his actions by claiming provocation, however the jury disagreed and I am pleased that he has today been found guilty of her murder.



“I would like to pay tribute to Czarina’s family, especially her mother and father, who now care for Czarina’s child.

“They have displayed great dignity at court while being forced to listen to lies about their daughter.

“I hope that his conviction will go some way in comforting them.”

The victim’s parents said in a statement: “Our daughter was a happy-go-lucky girl who enjoyed life to the full until she fell under the control of a man who was determined to control her life and every move.

“It has been distressing having to listen throughout the trial to Chawafambira who told complete lies about Czarina and her behaviour.

“He also showed no remorse at all even when he was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

“As a result of Czarina’s murder we have assumed responsibility for the care of Czarina’s little girl, our grandchild.

“We try to be strong but still it’s hard to believe she has gone.”

Friday, 25 March 2011

White Wannabe And His Black Gang Wanted For Axe Attack


A token white thug in an otherwise all-black gang – who struck a teenager over the head with an axe – is being hunted along with his fellow masked attackers for the brutal East London stabbing.

The 18 year-old victim was descending steps from Plaistow tube station, which connects Lettsom Walk to Libra Road (pictured) at 8:30pm on February 28 when an altercation broke out.

Newham detectives have confirmed the victim was stabbed in the stomach, back and left arm as well as being struck with the axe.

Witnesses are being sought who can identify the gang – made up of approximately ten black youths and a young white male – all aged around 17 years-old.

Their faces were covered with white bandanas and four of them rode mountain bikes.

The victim was taken to an East London hospital with non-life threatening, but potentially life changing injuries.

He remains in hospital in a stable condition.

No arrests have been made and the investigation continues.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact the Serious Youth Violence Team on 020 7275 5839 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Benefit Cheat Labour Councillor Resigns - Five Months Late


A benefit cheat Labour councillor, who falsely protested her innocence when charged, has eventually resigned her seat five months after being convicted - potentially pocketing an extra £4,000-plus in allowances.


Keadean Rhoden, 24, illegally claimed housing benefit between 2007 and 2009 while a psychology student at London Metropolitan University and employed as as a cashier -making her first court appearance six weeks after taking the Southwark Council Lane Ward, Peckham seat in May 2010.


Rhoden, of Decima Street, Peckham vowed: "I am innocent. I will be pleading not guilty and will work vigorously to clear my name so I can get on with the job of serving the people who elected me."


She was convicted at Tower Bridge Magistrates' Court in November, last year and was sentenced to 200 hours community service work, but only resigned her seat yesterday.


Rhoden had been suspended from the Labour party and the party's council group, but was still entitled to an annual £10,000 allowance as a sitting councillor.


She turned up at only one of the fifteen public meetings she was expected to attend since October, 2010.


Southwark's Labour leader Peter John had urged her to quit since the conviction, but defended his party's selection procedure.


"I looked into it and I am not concerned about our vetting process," he said. "There are no questions we could have asked that would have brought this to light. I would have expected a Labour candidate to have raised any concerns they have of this nature."


Her profile on Southwark Council's website has been deleted.


Rhoden was previously a Prince's Trust Ambassador, ran a youth project in Bermondsey and stood for election, she claims, so the voice of young black women in the area could be heard.


"I live in Southwark where black and ethnic minority women are particularly under-represented in the council," she announced before winning her seat. "I want to see more women my age getting involved and putting a different perspective across from the younger generation.


"I also want to encourage more young women from minority backgrounds to get involved in making decisions. Many young people are not even aware of the decisions councils make on their behalf.


"By standing, I want to empower these people and make them realise they can be part of their community otherwise we become complacent and oblivious to changed happening all around us."

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Theatrical Imprasario Jailed For Fleecing Opera And Literary Agent


An ex-theatrical PR boss – who worked with the biggest names in entertainment – is starting a forty-month prison sentence after fleecing a top operatic producer and an agent of over £100,000.

Anthony Barlow, 70, of Park Hill Road, Wallington, “leeched” from dying 73 year-old Alan Sievewright and 94 year-old Elspeth Cochrane – blowing it all in a Nigerian get-rich-quick scheme.

Croydon Crown Court Judge Ruth Downing told Barlow – who worked with artists including Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev – “It was undoubtedly a long-standing friendship with Mr Sievewright and you repaid that by systematically taking his money.

“When he died and was no longer available to milk, you moved on to Miss Cochrane and I’ve no doubt you thought the lady might die before the trial,” added the Judge, branding the defendant “greedy and stupid.”

Barlow, who studied drama at Manchester University and later became the youngest general manger of the Royal Academy of Dancing, pleaded guilty to eleven sample counts of theft between October, 2006 and August, 2009.

He targeted long-term friend Mr. Sievewright, a well-known operatic and theatrical impresario, who was responsible for bringing young tenor Jose Carreras to the UK.

Mr Sievewright, who died in 2007, worked with tenors Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo and counted luminaries such as Princess Diana, Ava Gardner and Marlene Dietrich as friends.

His theatrical company, Iambic Productions, showcased the talents of performers such as Rudolf Nureyev, Monseratt Caballe and Maria Callas to the world.

Barlow was working for the London Festival Ballet when he met Mr Sievewright and the pair became friends.

As the victim’s health deteriorated Barlow gradually assumed control over his finances, which culminated in the systematic daily withdrawal of cash from ATMs.

He followed this with large cheque withdrawals and eventually full bank transfers from Mr Sievewright’s account to his own.

The con was only discovered after Beverley Anderson, Mr Sievewright’s niece, found discrepancies in her uncle’s accounts after his death in 2007, and contacted police.

Detectives discovered after emptying his old friend’s account Barlow began stealing from agent Miss Cochrane, whose management company was still enjoying a lucrative royalty income after decades in the business.

Miss Cochrane, of Trinity Close, The Pavement, Clapham Common, had built up a roster of clients since the 1960’s, including Sir Ian McKellen and believed Barlow was helping her voluntarily.

Due to her poor health Barlow gradually gained unrestricted access to her bank accounts and helped himself to a total of £63,000 over two years.

When police contacted Miss Cochrane they discovered the previously comfortable pensioner was in dire straits financially with accounts overdrawn, letters from bailiffs and unpaid bills.

She had planned to move into Denville Hall, Middlesex, a care home for retired professional actors and actresses, but can lo longer afford to live there.

In a victim impact statement Miss Cochrane told of her humiliation and horror at finding out she had lost all of her money and could not move into Denville Hall.

Barlow, jailed for forgery in the eighties, claimed he began stealing the money after his Russian lover fled home with his life-savings.

Detective Sergeant Andy Wickens said: “You can’t fail to get personally involved in a case like this. It was an appalling breach of trust.”

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Church-Going Accountant Denies Involvement In Bogus Medicine Scam


An accountant accused of a multi-million pound counterfeit-medicines plot - Europe's biggest ever - has told a jury he was simply helping his brother and did not know the drugs were Chinese-manufactured fakes.


Ian Gillespie, 58, of The Green, Marsh Baldon, Oxford told Croydon Crown Court in the fourth month of his trial: "He said he had the products tested and they were fine. I believed him."


Charges were brought following a two-year investigation by the Medicines and Health Care products Regulatory Agency, part of the Department of Health into Consolidated Medical Supplies Ltd. (CMS).


Medicine watchdogs ordered a Class One recall of all suspected drugs - taken by heart and cancer patients and the mentally ill - resulting in shelves cleared in pharmacies all over the country.


Five men, including Ian's brother Peter Gillespie, 64, of Carey Close, Windsor are accused of being motivated by "pure greed" when selling three types of expensive fake drugs - with approximately 100,000 doses ending up in patients hands.


Ian Gillespie, a parochial church councillor and deputy church warden, worked for a firm of chartered accountants before troubleshooting for two accountancy employment agencies.


He was his brother's accountant at Staines-based Discpharm until it folded and assisted his sibling in setting-up CMS.


"Peter asked me if I would like to come along and help. He did not promise me I would be paid and as I was unemployed at the time I went along," Ian told the court.


His role was limited to cleaning and decorating the premises, he claimed, and did not get involved in the day-to-day running of the company.


"I believed Peter was the buying agent, the consultant for the company."


Ian guaranteed a £50,000 loan for CMS to buy their old Discpharm machinery, which was used to re-package the bogus Chinese drugs, but the defendant insisted this did not put him at the centre of the plot.


"I did not want to sign it at first. It was a lot of money," Ian told the jury. "Peter told me if I did not everyone there would not have a job so with great reluctance I signed."


Throughout the period of the alleged conspiracy Ian was employed by Hillingdon Primary Healthcare Trust and he insisted the accountancy services he provided via his company ACO Consultants Ltd. took up the bulk of his time.


"I still had a little contact. I was doing the VAT returns for CMS," he said. "I thought it was the same operation as at Discpharm."


He also agreed to do "four or five" deliveries for the company.


"I hired a van, loaded the pallets on, and drove it to wherever it was going to go," Ian told the court. "Peter asked me to do it. I did not think it was strange."


After a co-defendant resigned his CMS directorship Ian did become a director of the company for a short time, simply to help his bankrupt brother, he claimed.


"I wanted to assist in keeping the company alive and assist my brother. I believed what he said."


He denied knowing the drugs only had a 70% strength. "I would never have been a director if I had known that."


His brother Peter told the jury he was devastated to discover during a meeting on the banks of Lake Geneva the supplies from his French contact were counterfeit.


"I had never heard that until I heard it in this courtroom," insisted Ian. "I love my brother, but I am very angry and upset."


The charges relate to 'Casodex', used to treat advanced prostate cancer, 'Plavix', a drug prescribed to prevent blood clots and prevent heart attacks for angina patients and 'Zyprexa' a anti-psychotic drug prescribed to schizophrenic and bipolar patients.


The other defendants are: Ian Harding, 58, of Lower Westwood, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire; James Quinn, 69, of Gillespie House, Holloway Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey and Richard Kemp, 61, of School Lane, Y Waen, Flint Mountain, Clwyd.


All five have pleaded not guilty that between January 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007, they conspired together and with others to defraud pharmaceutical wholesalers, pharmacists, the public and holders of Intellectual Property Rights in pharmaceuticals by dishonestly distributing for gain counterfeit medicines.


They also deny two counts each of selling or supplying the three drugs without authorisation and selling or supplying counterfeit goods, namely the three medicines, between January 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007.


Peter Gillespie alone denies one count of breaching a company director disqualification order between July, 2005 and June, 2007, following his bankruptcy.


The drugs were manufactured by the notorious Chinese pharmaceutical counterfeiter Lu Xu aka Kevin Xu, currently serving a prison sentence for a similar scam in the United States.


His bogus drugs were imported via Singapore and Belgium before being ferried and driven into the U.K and distributed by the five defendants, allege the prosecution.


Trial continues............