Friday, 30 April 2010

Finance Boss Of Bust Housing Association Still On Run

Police are still hunting the former finance boss of the UK's largest and oldest black housing association - on the run for an alleged £200,000 fraud plot.

George Avwunu, 50, of Smithams Down Road, Purley, Croydon is the ex chief finance officer of Ujima Housing Association, which went bust two years ago.

From 2006-2008 Ujima received £47m from the Housing Association's national affordable housing programme.

He was probed by Metropolitan Police detectives investigating a plot between Avwunu and others swindle the organization which provides affordable housing.

Avwunu was arrested on March 19, 2008 on suspicion of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud Ujima.

He was bailed to return to a central London police station in May 2008 pending further enquiries, but fled.

The trial of two other defendants is due to begin in January next year.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Deaf Boyfriend Throttles Pregnant Deaf Girlfriend

A Police Community Support Officer was forced to break-up a violent domestic dispute involving a deaf Huddersfield couple, which saw the pregnant woman throttled by her partner at a busy London railway station, a court heard.

Dean Stanton, 20, of Brent Street, Newsome was convicted at City of London Magistrates’ Court of assaulting Siobhan Keogh at King’s Cross Station on November 19, last year.

Prosecutor Mrs. Varinder Hayre told the court (pictured) it was 5 pm when Miss Keogh rushed up to the PCSO and gestured with her hands that she had been attacked.

“She indicated that she had been grabbed by the throat and that she was pregnant and pointed at the defendant.”

Stanton walked off, ignoring the PCSO, and Miss Keogh chased him into the underground station.

“The victim tried to stop the defendant and he used his hand to grab her throat and pushed her to the ground,” added Mrs. Hayre.

“The PCSO tried to stop him, but he walked away.”

Police were called and Stanton was arrested, but could not be interviewed because of a lack of a sign-language interpreter.

He was re-arrested in Huddersfield on March 26 and charged.

Stanton, who has two recent police cautions, the last being a similar incident involving the same victim was bailed until May 18 for sentencing.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Boxer Uses Head Not Fists In Late-Night Street Attack

A boxing instructor who headbutted a party reveler dressed as a pirate during nightime horseplay in the West End dodged jailed with a conditional discharge yesterday.

Polish-born Marcin Marczak, 28, of Dollis Park, East Finchley left the victim bloody and nursing a swollen nose after taking offence at a pirate hat being placed on his head by the group.

Marczak (pictured) denied, but was convicted by City of London Magistrates’ Court of assaulting Thomas Winton in Denmark Street on May 17, last year.

Prosecutor Mrs. Varinder Hayre told the court the victim and his friends were in good spirits enjoying a birthday celebration and were walking near Charing Cross Road when they met the defendant and his friend.

“The victim noticed one of his friends’ hat’s had been placed on the defendant’s head and the defendant returned the hat and walked towards the victim and confronted him.

“The victim felt he was aggressive and the defendant headbutted him, leaving Mr. Winton feeling a pain to the bridge of his nose which began to bleed and swell.

“His shirt was bloodstained and he fell to the floor,” added Mrs. Hayre.

Marczak, who began training as an amateur boxer eleven years ago, coaches at Cityboxer - based at Southwark's legendary and historic Ring Boxing club.

He was cautioned by police in November 2008 for assault and for the headbutt was conditionally discharged for three years, ordered to pay £200 compensation to the victim and £200 costs.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Train Inspector's Ticket Punched For Blackmail Bid

A greedy ticket inspector who tried to blackmail the Financial Services Authority after finding their paperwork on a Stanstead express train dodged prison with a suspended sentence today for the "nasty" crime.

Heavily-built Ian Aitken, 50, of Pearson Avenue, Hertford pleaded guilty that between June 2 and 6, within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court, he made an unwarranted demand of monies from the Financial Services Authority, with menaces.

The revenue protection officer stumbled upon the documents on June 1, last year after they were left behind by a female employee of the SFA on the Liverpool Street to Stanstead express.

"What you did was serious and nasty," Judge James Wadsworth QC told Aitken at Southwark Crown Court. "There is something particularly unpleasant about blackmail and it passes the custody threshold."

First-time-offender Aitken was sentenced to twenty weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, ordered to perform 100 hours unpaid community service, attend a 25 day educational requirement and obey a nightime curfew with tagging for six months.

Prosecutor Mr. Nick Rimmer told the court the documents gave details of test purchases made by a 'phantom' shopper employed by the FSA to investigate financial products sold by LloydsTSB.

"The defendant went to LloydsTSB in Hertford and said he was thinking of taking the documents to the press."

The bank photocopied the documents and forwarded them to the FSA, who phoned Aitken on June 3, asking for the originals to be returned.

"He refused and said they would be worth a lot of money to the press," added Mr. Rimmer.

The FSA tipped-off City of London Police and a detective posing as an employee contacted Aitken two days later, offering £50, but it was refused.

The officer called back and agreed a sum of £500 with Aitken, who was then arrested at his house on June 5, with the documents lying on his sofa.

When quizzed Aitken claimed he intended to give the money to charity and was only trying to teach banks a lesson for leaving confidential documents lying around.

"They were taken on the spur of the moment and he did intend to hand them in," said Miss Rebecca Randall, defending. "He admits it was extremely stupid of him.

"He has genuine remourse and is deeply sorry," added the lawyer. "It's his own admission that he's not the brightest spark in the box."

Aitken's daughter and wife of twenty-three years were in court. "They are absolutely terrified about the outcome today."

Judge Wadsworth added: "This was a stupid attempt to benefit from something that happened by chance."

Monday, 26 April 2010

Killer Cabbie's Licence Fight Goes On

Convicted killer and wannabe black taxi driver Shamsul Haque will take his licence fight to the High Court after his appeal was thrown out today by magistrates who ruled: "A risk to the public remains."

The 38 year-old paranoid schizophrenic, who strangled his wife nine years ago drove unsuspecting Londoner's around in his mini-cab for nearly two years and even began learning ‘The Knowledge’ in a bid to earn a black cab licence.

Negative publicity forced the Public Carriage Office (PCO) to revoke his private hire licence and do a U-turn on their decision to allow him to join the 'Knowledge' programme.

He did not appear at City of London Magistrates’ Court where he failed to win back both his mini-cab licence and rookie black cab licence.

Bench Chairman Rodney Brody announced: "The safety of the traveling public has to be paramount.

"His conviction for manslaughter was most serious and must be relevant. A risk to the public remains."

The PCO publicly admitted during the hearing errors were made in their decision-making.

Haque pleaded guilty to the manslaughter, of Asiya, 23, on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and on January 29, 2001 was sentenced at the Old Bailey to indefinite detention under the Mental Health Act.

On June 2, 2003 a mental health tribunal recommended his release and Haque walked free on October 3, 2003.

He was fined £15 for gross indecency in 1991 and in 1998 he was conditionally discharged for assaulting a police officer.

On June 18, last year he was cautioned by police for slapping his 13 year-old daughter across the face when she failed to wash her dinner plate.

Shortly after his release from custody Haque travelled to Bangladesh in 2004 and remarried.

On September 28, 2007 the PCO allowed him to enter the 'Knowledge' programme and shortly afterwards granted his application for a mini-cab licence which he held until September 23, last year.

Remarkably Haque's lawyer Miss Abigail Bache told magistrates they could ignore the fact Haque killed his wife when deciding if he was a "fit and proper person" to hold a licence.

"His conviction in 2001 for manslaughter is not a material consideration because it is part of his disability and any decision based on it would be unlawful. It is not part of his character, it is part of his disability."

She claimed it would be discriminatory to rule against Haque based on the fact he was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic.

Psychiatrists confirm Haque remains on anti-psychotic medication, but they could not rule out stress or changes in his drugs regime triggering a relapse.

The PCO's lawyer Mr. Guy Ladenburgh conceded the office made an error when granting Haque the licences and the case resulted in guildlines being updated to recommend only in "exceptional circumstances" should applications from killers be considered.

"We concede that decision was incorrect, a mistake was made," he told the court.

Miss Bache confirmed her client would now seek a Judicial Review.

At least one woman examiner refused to be in the same room as the convicted killer and the case has led to a row within Transport for London and the Public Carriage Office, which regulates the black cab trade.

A number of examiners at the PCO have said they were appalled when they learned of Haque's past.

Under offender rehabilitation laws his manslaughter conviction is now 'spent' and barring him could lead to a court action citing either restraint of trade or Human Rights Act violations.

His Old Bailey case was described as “tragic” by Judge Michael Coombe, who heard Haque told relatives after killing his wife: “I sent her to heaven because I love her so much.”

It is understood Haque unsuccessfully tried to sue Transport for London when he was originally refused a minicab licence.

However, that case took place within three years of his original release from detention in 2003 and the authority was then within its rights to reject his application.

In the past, Transport for London has successfully used the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act to block certain candidates wishing to drive a black cab.

Under the rules any conviction which earns a jail sentence of more than two and a half years can never be 'spent'.

Normally this would cover a conviction for manslaughter but detention under the Mental Health Act becomes 'spent' after five years.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

£20,000 Reward To Catch Turkish Club Killers

Police hunting the killers of a 21 year-old shot dead while playing pool at a Turkish social club hope a £20,000 reward plus release of CCTV stills of the suspects will get tongues wagging.

Islington salesman Cem Duzgun was killed inside Clapton FC Club, Upper Clapton Road, Clapton on October 5 last year by two gunmen still being sought by police.

At 10.45 pm Cem was playing pool with a pal when the male suspects arrived at the venue, opening fire from the doorway.

The victim, who was nearest the door was struck with a number of bullets and pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers do not believe he was the intended target, but rather that the suspects simply fired indiscriminately into the venue.

The two men then left the scene on foot heading in separate directions - one north past Clapton BR station (next to the venue), before turning right to go east into Southwold Rd.

The second turned left on leaving the club and ran south along Upper Clapton Rd, then left into Cleveleys Rd.

Suspect 1: a light-skinned black man, in his early 20s, of medium height and slim build, wearing a navy/black jacket, grey hooded top, blue jeans and white trainers.

Suspect 2: a black man, in his early 20s, wearing a navy hooded coat, jeans and trainers. He carried a plastic bag containing the gun.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Andy Perrott of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command said: "I believe there are people in the community who know who is responsible for this murder and hope the offer of a significant reward will persuade these individuals to come forward and help police provide some justice for Mr. Duzgan's family."

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information that may assist the investigation is asked to call the incident room on 020 8785 8244.

Turkish or Kurdish speakers can call a special line on 020 8785 8944.

To remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Couple Together Despite Twin Knife Attack

A woman who tried to stab her partner of nineteen years with two 9” kitchen knives while screaming she would kill him during a T.V. row dodged prison with a suspended sentence today.

Jobless Theresa Hogston, 51, slashed at David Diggins’ throat at their flat at Glenmill House, Hanworth Road, Hampton,Middlesex and threw the blade at his head during the “frenzied” attack.

Remarkably Mr. Diggins continues to support Hogston, who was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, even trying to persuade police to drop the prosecution eight days later and the couple continue to live together.

Hogston pleaded guilty at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court (pictured) to attempted grievous bodily harm, with intent, and threats to kill Mr. Diggins on December 1, last year.

Prosecutor Miss Hannah Dawson told the court: “The couple started arguing about the defendant’s apparent mood swings and also something silly about the television.

“The defendant told Mr. Diggins: ‘Don’t talk to me like that. I’m going to kill you.’

“She then appeared in the doorway with a large kitchen knife and he tried to disarm her and pushed her into the kitchen.

“She appeared again with another knife, again approximately nine inches long and she went for him in a frenzied attack saying: ‘I’m going to kill you this time’.

“He had to disarm her and she caught him in the ribs with the handle of the knife,” added Miss Dawson.

As Mr. Diggins fought Hogston off he managed to dial 999 and when officers arrived she was in bed crying under her duvet.

“She claimed she loved him and admitted she had waved the knife around his neck area and thrown the knife at his head,” explained Miss Dawson.

Recorder Mark Milliken-Smith QC told first-time-offender Hogston: “Ordinarily attempted grievous bodily harm, with intent, would result in a lengthy prison sentence of some years.

“The repeated use of as knife with intent to injure someone, with intent to do serious harm is extremely serious,” he added.

Accepting the attack was “spur of the moment” Recorder Milliken-Smith added: “Perhaps it was a reaction to an off the cuff remark by your partner that triggered the incident.

“It is impressive your partner wants to stand by you and take car of you.”

Hogston was sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, on both counts and placed under two years probation supervision.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Amateur Hitmen Receive 30-Year Minimum

Two amateur hitmen who assassinated an East End crook and accused molester for £5,000 - allegedly put up by his own wife and stepdaughter – are starting life sentences.

Gunman Douglas Johnson, 30, of Witley Crescent, New Addington, Croydon and getaway driver David Austin, 43, of Dunley Drive, New Addington, must serve a minimum of 30 years.

Wheel clamping boss Charles Butler, 50, ( was shot outside his home opposite the Matapan pub in Green Lane, Dagenham at 11.45 pm on October 13, 2004 after pulling up in his burgundy Land Rover.

As he walked to his front door Johnson (pic.mid.) approached and chased the victim around the car and into the main road, shooting Mr. Butler as he stumbled.

He was taken to Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, where he died on June 23, 2005 after an eight-month coma. A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as gunshot wound to the neck.

Rumours that Mr. Butler traded in stolen cars and had molested his step-daughter helped police put a case together after hearing Johnson’s brother was approached by the family to kill the victim.

Detective Superintendent Keith Niven, of the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: "This has been a protracted and complex enquiry.

“The team of detectives investigating this murder have worked tirelessly throughout and it is as a consequence of their commitment, dedication and professionalism that convictions have been secured here today.

"Charles Butler was murdered in a gangland-style killing as he returned to his Dagenham home.

"As part of the investigation detectives took the unusual step of releasing very graphic CCTV images of Mr. Butler's final moments.

The grandfather was captured on his own security systems being chased by a gunman before being shot and fatally wounded.

"Today's result demonstrates the Met's ongoing determination to identify and bring to justice those who seek to use guns on the streets of London.

"I would also like to pay tribute to the witnesses who showed great courage in coming forward to give evidence at court."

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Lazy Hubby Kills Divorce-Threat Wife

A husband who squandered his children’s savings and faced a divorce will spend at least 20 years behind bars after plunging a knife through his hard-working wife’s heart.

Jobless Mikdat Sahpaz, 47, of Carlton Avenue East, Wembley, Middlesex even attempted a clumsy cover-up and staged the ‘discovery’ of his wife’s body in front of their son, 11 and daughter, 13.

He was convicted at the Old Bailey of murdering Elif Orac, 42, ( a school cook who sold her deli business to spend more time with her children and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a twenty-year minimum recommendation.

Detective Chief Inspector Tim Duffield of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command said: "Mikdat Sahpaz (pic.bottom) not only callously and coldly planned the murder of his wife, but he engineered the evening's events to ensure that his children were present when he supposedly 'discovered' their mother's body.

"Evidence gathered during the investigation exposed a man whose desire was to lead a life very much apart from his family, and who had secretly squandered the children's life savings to fund his selfish indulgencies.

“Sahphaz knew Elif's plans of divorce would bring an abrupt end to this comfortable lifestyle, and he was all too aware that he stood to gain very significant assets upon her death.

"My sympathies go out to Elif Oruc's children as they now have to come to terms with not only their mother's death, but the fact that it was at the hands of their father who now faces life imprisonment."

The court heard police were called by London Ambulance Service at 10 pm on July 9, last year to the family home where a woman was in the kitchen, suffering from a stab wound to the heart. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The defendant had earlier collected the children and drove to the home address where Elif's car was still parked on the driveway.

He went into the house with the children and put on his slippers before going into the kitchen and finding the body.

He told the children to go outside before calling the police and an ambulance.

Despite things having been removed from the house to indicate that a burglary had taken place, officers found no sign of a forced entry.

Friends of the victim had also told police that the marriage had been unhappy for some time and that Elif was contemplating divorce.

On July 13 police received a tip from a friend of the defendant's, who explained that Sahpaz had asked him for a lift to Wembley on the day of the murder and had later directed him to a secluded area in West Hendon where household items were dumped.

The friend later found a kitchen knife hidden in the rear of his van where Sahpaz had been sitting and the weapon bore Elif's blood.

Sahpaz claimed he had been at a local community centre at the time of the murder, even parking his car awkwardly to draw attention to its presence.

The police found Sahpaz had fresh scratches to his arm, which it is believed were inflicted by Elif as she sought to defend herself during the attack.

He attempted to explain the injuries away by suggesting he had been picking blackberries for an unknown friend.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Fraudsters Invent 'Phantom' Sheikh In $58m Deal

Two fraudsters posed as agents for a multi-millionaire Arab sheikh in a $58m property deal to scam three South African businessmen who jetted into London’s Square Mile to clinch the deal.

The property developers, who were seeking investment for a huge ranch project, became suspicious when asked for a £35,000 cash deposit and tipped off police.

Nigerians Ifeanyichkwu Kalu, 34, and Chukwuma Emetu, 34, both of Parrock Street, Gravesend, Kent, pleaded guilty to dishonestly making a false representation to Bernhardt Richter on April 6 that an Old Mutual plc bond was genuine, with intent to make a gain.

“This was a planned and organised fraud,” prosecutor Mrs Varinder Hayre told City of London Magistrates’ Court (pictured).

The victims had published their proposal and were seeking investment of $58m when contacted by the defendants, who claimed they represented Sheikh Muhammad, and a meeting in the City was arranged.

As part of the deal the defendants demanded a £35,000 deposit, which would be invested in a bond issued by Old Mutual plc and given to the three businessmen.

The victims became suspicious at the meeting, held in an office available for hourly hire, and asked the men for id, but were refused.

Enquiries with Old Mutual plc revealed the bond was fraudulent and City of London police were contacted, arresting the defendants at a follow-up meeting, when they again hoped to get their hands on the cash.

The defendants were committed in custody for sentencing at the Old Bailey on May 13.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Cyclist Left Brain-Damaged By Unprovoked Attack

Two young thugs who left a cyclist permanently brain-damaged after mistaking him for a paedophile and clubbing him to the ground were caged today for the "sickening" attack.

Portugal-born father-of-two Filipe Nunes David, 40, had the left side of his skull removed by doctors who were forced to perform a partial lobotomy following the brutal assault with woodden tree stakes.

Ringleader Brett Carslake, 20, (pic.l) of Fendall Road, Epsom, Surrey pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm, with intent, to Mr. David in Cox Lane, Ewell on August 18, last year and was sentenced to a five-year minimum term for public protection - equivalent to ten years custody.

Jamie Bailey, 17, (pic.mid.) of Watersedge Estate, Watersedge, Ewell received five years' custody for the same offence.

A third defendant, student Frank Miller, 17, (pic.r.) of Cumberland Close, Ewell, who did not strike the victim, but did force him from his bike must complete a two-year intensive supervision and surveillance programme after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm.

"This was a brutal and unprovoked attack on Mr. David who was cycling along the road," Recorder Simon Oliver told the defendants at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court.

"The three of you involved yourselves in extreme and gratuitous violence. The attack was so serious and injuries so severe he was unable to remember it or provide a statement and needs full-time medical help."

Mr. David, (pictured) who needed emergency brain surgery and was in a coma for two weeks and in critical condition for a further three needs help washing and dressing himself, walking outside, upstairs and performing simple everyday tasks.

"We know Mr. David has a depression in his skull, we can see it," added Recorder Oliver telling the defendants: "I hope his appearance leaves you with a sick feeling in your stomachs. He's very lucky to be alive."

The group - fuelled by drink and drugs - were seen "celebrating" the attack and waving one of the heavy tree stakes in the air like a "trophy" as Mr. David, who has a son Victor, 2 and a daughter Jessica, 6, lay bleeding in the middle of the road.

"You were boasting of your actions, celebrating what you did. I find that sickening," added Recorder Oliver. "For you to consider taking anything into your own hands was appalling. Nothing whatsoever supported the rumour Mr. David was a paedophile."

Prosecutor Mr. Richard Jory said: "Mr. David will bear the physical and mental consequences for the rest of his life.

"He was left bleeding in the road and there was no remourse from the defendants who were part of a group celebrating in a nearby street shortly afterwards."

Cleaner Mr. David was waiting for his wife and kids to return home on the Watersedge Estate when ambushed by the trio.

"Jamie Bailey struck Mr. David to the head and there was an audible bang on impact. Brett Carslake used both hands to pull the length of wood over his shoulder and swung at Mr. David's head with full force. There was a loud impact."

Mr. David who pleaded "why me" after the first blow then had his packet of cigarettes taken by Bailey as he lay in a pool of blood, also suffering from a brain haemorrage, multiple fractures around his eyes and bleeding from his nose and mouth.

Victorious shouts of: "We've done it. We've beaten the paedophile," were heard by witnesses.

"They were excited and exhilarated and were showing off," added Mr. Jory. "One was holding the piece of wood and waving it about like a trophy."

One witness told police Carslake, who has a history of violence, and had been bailed by a local court earlier that day even wanted to return and club Mr. David again, but was restrained by members of the group.

Mr. David bravely attended court with the assistance of two nurses. "He remains grossly disfigured by the attack," added Mr. Jory.

Probation branded scaffolder Carslake as a "high risk" to the public who's only concern after the attack was how long he would be in custody, showing no remourse for Mr. David.

"You have destroyed this man. He is still missing a large part of his skull and brain," Recorder Oliver told the trio, telling Carslake: "You are a dangerous, vicious man and we need to stop you at once."

Partner Helena Sousa, 23, said: "Filipe was a good father, but since the attack most of the time he doesn't recognise us. I am now mother and father to our children and it's been really hard."