Wednesday, 31 March 2010

East London Teen Murder: Hunt Continues Three Years On

Police investigating the brutal murder of a 15 year-old boy – fatally stabbed three years ago – have renewed their appeal for witnesses to come forward as the hunt continues for the killers.

Adam Regis from Plaistow, East London, suffered a stab wound to the heart in March 2007 as he walked home after a night at the cinema with friends.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Clayman of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command said: "It is now three years since Adam was tragically murdered in Kingsland Road, Newham at around 21.30 on 17 March 2007.

"Since that time the investigation team has made extensive enquiries, and whilst good progress has been made, it is clear there are some people with knowledge of the murder who are not coming forward and speaking to the police.

"Those responsible must have spoken to someone following Adam's murder- a friend; family member; wife or girlfriend, and we urge those people to come forward. Do you have suspicions about anyone?

"Hiding the fact you are involved in someone's murder is difficult to live with and Adam's family have the right to know why this happened and who is responsible.

"I understand some people might have concerns about speaking to the police, but it is important they do, so we can offer them reassurance and support.

"Adam was a respected and well-liked teenager who was caring towards his friends and family and a popular student.

“He did nothing to provoke the events of that night and we still do not know why he was targeted.

"Those with information may not see this investigation as any of their business, but it is.

They are all part of the community and have a vested interest in ensuring that all those responsible for Adam's murder are held to account. "

Police were called just after 21:30hrs to the junction of Boundary Road and Kingsland Road, to reports of a teenager injured.

Adam was taken to Newham General Hospital where he died shortly before 23:00hrs.

A post mortem examination gave the cause of death as a single stab wound to the chest.

The knife used had a blade of at least 20cm and travelled through Adam's right arm and into his chest, nicking the aorta of his heart.

That evening Adam had travelled on a bus with friends back from the Showcase cinema in Beckton then strolled alone towards his home.

The driver of a VW Scirocco picked up two suspects and another two suspects were seen running north along the New City Road towards Barking Road.

Seventeen suspects have been arrested since the killing, but nobody has been charged with any offence.

CCTV footage has been released of suspects in the area police would like to identify.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Musician Swaps Bassoon For Breathalyser

Composer Craig Carpenter hit a bum note with late-night cops when blowing over the limit after being stopped driving across Tower Bridge at three in the morning.

Carpenter, 42, of Finsbury Park Road, Finsbury Park, North London pleaded guilty at City of London Magistrates' Court to driving with excess alcohol on his breath on March 19.

The court heard Carpenter, who had performed at a concert that evening, was driving his blue Nissan Torano home when pulled over by police who then detected the smell of drink on his breath.

He failed a roadside breath-test and later gave an alcohol reading of 50 microgrammes - the legal limit is 35.

The magistrates were told Carpenter regrets his "foolishness" and took a chance because he thought he could get home quickly.

He was fined £160, with £90 costs and disqualified from driving for twelve months.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Crooked Pharmacist's Secret Sex Den

A disgraced pharmaceutical professor, whose secret drug-fuelled sex den was discovered during an investigation into his seven-year £141,893 expenses fraud on taxpayers, was jailed for three years today (Monday).

Professor Charles Butler, 64, MBE, was a paid expert serving the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) since 1996 and billed the Health Services Commission (HSE) for non-existent staff costs.

When police raided his flat in Mile End Road, Whitechapel, East London on March 14, last year they seized cocaine, crystal meth, ecstasy, ‘special-K’, amphetamines, cannabis, date-rape drugs GHB and Rohypnol plus quantities of sedatives diazepam, temazapam and midazolam.

He pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to defrauding the HSE between July 2002 and January 2009, two counts of obtaining property by deception, three counts each of possessing class A and B drugs and five counts of possessing class C drugs.

“You were in a high profile public position. You were employed on behalf of the public to provide expert advice over a number of years,” Judge Michael Gledhill QC told Butler. “Your claiming of expenses for employment of a non existent locum was a gross breach of trust.

“The message must go out clearly that those in public positions of trust who breach that trust will be dealt with by way of a severe sentence.

“You were at the height of your profession at the time of your fall.”

Butler (pictured) received two-and-a-half years for the fraud, plus six months consecutive for the drug offences and was ordered to pay £141,893 compensation.

“The defendant had exposed himself to the truly horrible disgrace of conviction for dishonesty and possessing drugs and exposed his wife and five children to the shock of his offending and the sordid going-on at his flat in East London,” said Mr. Jeremy Lynn, defending.

Butler, a fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the College of Pharmacy Practise, which he co-founded claims his insufficient £300 daily fee for providing expert consultancy to the PHSO triggered the fraud, which netted him nearly £2,000 per month.

Prosecutor Miss Deanna Heer told the court: “The defendant is a highly-qualified academic pharmacist, a professor with a hitherto unblemished character.”

Butler, a visiting professor at Reading University until last year, sold off his chain of Reading area chemist shops ‘JR Butler & Sons’ in mid-2002, but continued claiming expenses for locum cover when working for the PHSO.

“The false claim was for daily locum payments, employing a locum to replace him at one of his Berkshire pharmacies,” explained Miss Heer. “He is applying for locum services for pharmacies he no longer owned.”

Butler lied that ex-employee Kathrine Billing, who finally left under “strained circumstances” in 1997, was his locum and even posed as her during the probe in a failed bid to cover his crimes.

He created an email account and sent bogus messages to HSE investigators, purporting to come from Mrs Billing. “He tried to fob the commission off with spurious information,” explained Miss Heer.

“The defendant spelt her name wrong, he provided bogus documents and claimed he was finding her antagonism embarrassing, but continued to claim locum expenses.”

Only Butler’s wife was at his Reading home when raided by police who seized his computer and documents. “They contained the various documents used to support his expenses claim.”

Impatient police hunted the elusive Butler to his East End flat and after “battering open the entrance” found him inside.

“The address was specially adapted to be used as sexual bondage venue,” said Miss Heer, adding police seized a “cache” of drugs.

“It may well be the drugs were made available only to people visiting the address with the defendant and although technical supply it was not in the public interest to pursue.”

Mr. Lynn told the court: “The defendant does not offer any excuse for what was serious fraud over a number of years.

“He sought to justify his behaviour for himself. The amount he was paid was not enormous, he worked for longer hours than he was paid for, took work home, worked weekends, again unpaid and took calls at home.”

Butler also complains the role did not include holiday or sick pay and there were no pension benefits.

“He worked extremely hard for the money he did earn, he was dedicated to the commission,” added the lawyer. “The office got full value from Mr. Butler, he worked very hard at it and gave them value for every amount he was paid.”

The defence claim after tax deductions the actual loss is £84,050.

“It’s true he made a determined effort to obscure the truth, he did it to cover his tracks. He was in a state of panic and horrified at the prospect of being discovered.”

Butler will also face proceeds of crime proceedings on July 16 and has revealed his assets, which include a “significant property portfolio”.

His bank accounts are currently frozen, but he has confirmed an intention to pay full compensation.

“His arrest at his East London flat exposed the somewhat murky double-life he lived there,” added Mr. Lynn, whose client has written an explanatory letter to his wife Mary, 61, and their five children, Ruth, 35, John, 32, Kate, 31, Philip, 25, and Anthony, 20.

“That was written to his children who were surprised to find the position their father in now in. He feels he owes them an explanation.

“He went from being a pillar of the community and a father who commanded their love and respect to being a common criminal. He is aware of the shame and humiliation he has brought to his family.”

Butler has been chairman of his regional branch of the Pharmaceutical Society, an NHS tribunal member, a regional health authority member for over thirty years, a chairman of the ‘Friends of Reading Hospital’, a trustee of his church and municipal charities, a school governor and Rotary Club member.

While performing charitable work in Kenya and Sierra Leone he contracted an undisclosed medical condition for which his receiving on-going treatment.

His wife and one of his daughters were present in court.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Cops Seize Converted Pistol During Raid

A gunman arrested by gangbusting cops during a sudden raid on his home has been locked up for five years after a starting pistol converted into a deadly live firearm was found in his bedroom.

Daniel Coker, 37, of Faraday Road, Acton, West London, pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown court to possessing a firearm – namely a modified BBM Olympic 38 revolver – and ammunition on May 1, last year.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Command swooped on the address, finding the brown handled gun (pic. bottom) on top of a chest of drawers.

They also seized a shoulder holster for a Mac 10 machine pistol and when quizzed about the revolver Coker (pic. top) claimed: “That’s not mine.”

Four live rounds were already loaded with one in the chamber and one had been spent.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Beyer said: "This is a fantastic example of the proactive detective work constantly undertaken by the Met police to tackle gun crime.

“What was particularly concerning about this seizure was that the gun was loaded, suggesting it was always intended for use.”

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Credit Card Fraudsters Sold Loot On Ebay

Two fraudsters, whose online scam using a notorious criminal website was smashed by the Serious Organised Crime Agency, were both locked-up yesterday (Friday) after 200 counterfeit credit card numbers were used to net £28,000 worth of camera equipment and other high value goods.

The pair bought credit card numbers on notorious criminal website ‘darkmarkets’ and goods they ordered were delivered to short-term accommodation addresses they rented with more bogus numbers.

Rayyaz Hassim, 32, and illegal overstayer Zaheer Mahomed, 28, both of Wilne Street, Leicester pleaded guilty that between March 24, 2006 and October 17, 2008, within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court, they conspired together to steal goods belonging to Jessops, Ebuyer and other companies.

“This is a professional multiple-use fraud over a period of time. A custodial sentence is inevitable,” Judge Anthony Pitts told the pair at Southwark Crown Court, sentencing Hassim to fifteen months imprisonment and Mahomed six months.

The court heard police involved in Operation Rampart – the investigation of ‘darkmarkets’ – discovered the defendants were involved and raided the house they shared.

They seized a computer from Hassim’s bedroom, which contained full details of genuine credit cards, including names, numbers, dates of birth, passwords and expiry dates, which they used mostly to order camera equipment subsequently sold on eBay.

The items were delivered to short-term accommodation addresses, often holiday lets, then sold on.

Hassim claims his involvement was limited to £18-£20,000 worth of goods.

“You, Mahomed were aware that Hassim had access to card details and allowed your eBay account to be used for fraudulent transactions and you also made deliveries,” announced Judge Pitts.

“Not everyone can get on darkmarkets. You have to prove you are a criminal, join the club as it were, and that’s what you, Hassim, were doing and you were allowed access to the website.”

Hassim’s seized computer with all the credit card information provided the telltale evidence police needed.

“They spanned nine different banks and were used to buy high-value goods on the Internet, computers and cameras that were delivered to short-term lets.

“Hassim was number one and Mahomed played a lesser role in allowing use of your computer knowing Hassim had access to compromised cards.

“Hassim was clearly the man in charge of the operation,” added Judge Pitts, giving both defendants, first-time offenders, credit for expressing “genuine remorse.”

Neither defendants are British nationals, but the Judge made no recommendation for deportation.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Jilted Lover Caged For Stabbing Ex-Girlfriend To Death During Date With New Boyfriend

A jealous ex who stabbed his former girlfriend to death as she enjoyed a night out with her new fiancé has been caged for life.

Jobless Vikramjit Singh, 27, of Ruskin Road, Southall, Middlesex, was obsessed by 24 year-old Gemma Dorman (pictured) who had reported him to police after being bombarded by phone calls and texts.

He stalked her on July 31, 2008 as she enjoyed a night out in Battersea, South-West London with her new partner and launched his knife attack when she walked alone to a cash point.

Singh – known as ‘Ricky’ – who had a large ‘Gemma’ tattoo across his back was convicted of her murder at the Old Bailey and will serve a minimum of twenty years.

Gemma had spent the evening in the Lazy Bar, Lavender Hill, and then enjoyed a bite to eat at Amazing Thai across the street.

She left at 9 p.m. to get more cash, with her fiancé waiting inside, when Singh (pictured) confronted her near a bus stop and fatally stabbed her several times with a large knife.

She was taken to St Thomas' Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 10 p.m.

Gemma had a brief relationship with Singh, which she ended in January 2008, but he continued to pester her with repeated calls, texts, letters and gifts.

She made a report of harassment to police in May 2008, but was reluctant for police to contact Singh without her knowledge and delayed making a formal statement.

On June 10 her mother even reported Singh to police for harassment for sending her up to 30 text messages a day, begging her to speak with her daughter and persuade her to take him back.

Singh was ordered to attend Wandsworth police station on June 2 to receive a warning for harassment, but he failed to attend.

On July 8 Gemma's mother told police Singh’s campaign of harassment had ceased and she no longer wanted police action.

Hours before she died at his hands Gemma received a letter from Singh, who revealed he knew she had a new boyfriend and wished her well.

Detective Inspector Mick Norman from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command said: "Vikramjit Singh became obsessed with Gemma to a point where he could not accept that she had moved on with her life.

"He barraged her with texts, phone calls, letters and gifts all the while knowing that she simply wanted him to leave her alone.

He couldn't and he didn't and the end result was the absolute tragedy that saw Gemma lose her life.

“Her family and friends have to live with that loss every single day knowing that nothing can bring her back.

“I sincerely hope that today's conviction will bring some small comfort to them by seeing justice brought upon the man who has caused so much heartbreak."

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Sixties Movie Star Tried To Abduct Screaming 5 Year-Old Girl

Disgraced sixties movie star Iain Quarrier – a protégé of controversial film director Roman Polanski – dodged prison yesterday (Wednesday) for trying to abduct a screaming five year-old girl in a busy supermarket.

Alcohol and illness ruined Quarrier’s glittering career and he went from the glamour of the 60’s movie world to being locked-up in Bethlem Mental Hospital in 1972.

He pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court to attempted child abduction in Sainsbury’s, Ladbroke Grove, West London on October 7, 2008, and received 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Montreal-born Quarrier, 68, of Chesterton Road, North Kensington – now a shadow of the young actor who was the darling of the London psychedelic scene – also produced a cult Rolling Stones movie, starring Mick Jagger and the band, directed by the legendary Jean-Luc Godard.

Like former collaborator Polanski – currently battling extradition to the U.S. from Switzerland – Quarrier now has a criminal conviction involving an under-age girl.

Quarrier is pictured (centre) attending a sixties film premier with Mia Farrow (far left) and Peter Sellers (far right)

"You pleaded guilty to attempting to abduct a child in a supermarket in front of her mother who was terrified," Judge Aiden Mannon QC told the defendant.

"You sought to drag the child away and you were involved in an earlier disturbing incident when you sought to buy a young girl and offered her £20 and in 1996 you received a caution for indecently assaulting two girls."

The court heard Quarrier, who has a long-term girlfriend Penny, approached a nine year-old girl in the same supermarket two weeks earlier, produced a £20 note, telling her: "I'd like to buy you."

The child and her family were reluctant to pursue a complaint.

"You have a very real problem with drink and have no insight into your offending or drinking," Judge Mannon told Quarrier. "On a number of occassions you turned up to court drunk and late."

Prosecutor Mr. Ian Dear told the court it was 6.30 pm when the victim was in Sainsbury's with her mother at the checkout.

"She heard her daughter scream and saw this defendant had her by the shoulder, holding tightly, and dragging her towards the exit.

"She ran over and confronted him. He said: 'I'm sorry,' and walked away.

"Both mother and daughter were shaken by the incident," added Mr. Dear.

Store security were alerted and the police were called and arrested Quarrier. "The defendant had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath."

When quizzed by officer Quarrier gave a "bizarre" account and now claims he cannot recall the incident.

His lawyer Mr. Hugh Blake-James said: "He has a lot of past history that he can talk about, a lot of interesting things that have happened in his life.

"He puts himself forward as a binge drinker rather than an alcoholic. It may be that all hope is not lost......There are treatments that can assist."

Quarrier is also effected by a debilitating mental condition. "That is obviously very sad. He's a very pleasant man to talk to," added the lawyer.

"This is the behaviour of a man who acted inappropriately while under the influence of alcohol. He is a friendly person who goes up to people in shops and talks to them."

Quarrier escaped a prison term despite Judge Mannon announcing at a previous hearing: "I am of the firm view, at the moment, that this man presents a risk, when in drink, to small children and that is a frightening situation."

"I have never seen a probation officer so insistent that a defendant is such a danger, in drink, to young children."

"This officer is as strong as you can be that you have here a dangerous man." added the Judge, who even adjourned sentencing once to bring the probation officer to court.

"The author of this report says there should be a protective prison sentence to protect the public," said Judge Mannon, troubled by the copycat incident two weeks before the attempted kidnapping.

"I regard that incident as sinister, I treat it with immense seriousness," he said.

Quarrier was directed by Roman Polanski in 1967's 'Dance of the Vampires' and 'Cul-de-sac' (1966) shortly after cutting his teeth in 1964's 'The Fledglings', his big-screen debut.

He also appeared in the George Harrison-inspired psychedelic fantasy 'Wonderwall' (1968) as well as Brit-flick 'Separation' in the same year.

He produced the Rolling Stones' 1968 movie 'Sympathy For The Devil' directed by the legendary Jean-Luc Godard and starring all five members of the band.

Quarrier was also placed under two years supervision with a residency requirement, ordering him to inform the probation service where he is living.

Judge Mannon also made a Prohibitive Activity Order, banning Quarrier from unsupervised contact with children under 16 years-old and ordered him to comply with any alcohol treatment directed by the probation service.