Six new cases in which disabled people have been t

first_imgSix new cases in which disabled people have been the victims of brutal and degrading assaults have cast fresh doubt on the criminal justice system’s ability to recognise, punish and prevent disability hate crime.It is 10 years this month since journalist Katharine Quarmby and colleagues at Disability Now magazine drew public attention to the failure to deal with disability hate crime by highlighting five horrific murders of disabled people, and asking, “If these are not hate crimes, what are?”Now Disability News Service (DNS) has had to ask that question again, in the wake of repeated failings by police, prosecutors, judges… and politicians.Three of the six new cases, spread across England and Wales, were murders, another saw the offender jailed for manslaughter, while two victims survived the violent assaults.One case saw a man with learning difficulties tortured for a month in a “prolonged period of sadistic torture and humiliation”, including having his teeth knocked out with a hammer and chisel, and being forced to eat one of his own testicles, before his body was dumped on wasteland.Another saw a man, again with learning difficulties, stripped and tortured over 24 hours, in a prolonged, sadistic assault described by a judge as “gratuitous degradation”.But in neither case did the police treat what happened as disability hate crime*.All but one of the six cases were dealt with by the courts in the last two months, with the other crime sentenced last December.In all of the six cases, which all led to convictions, the offences involved violent, repeated assaults on the disabled person.Four of the victims were people with learning difficulties, while the others had long-term health conditions and physical impairments.But in all six cases, the attacks were not treated as hate crimes by the police officers investigating the crimes, although in one of them the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) disagreed and asked the judge to increase the sentence because prosecutors believed the crime was motivated by disability-related hostility.Apart from this one exception, in case after case the CPS has told DNS that the offences could not be treated as hate crimes because “there was not sufficient evidence to prove hostility towards disabled people”.These cases appear to highlight how difficult it is to prove an offence is a disability hate crime under current legislation, particularly if police officers have not collected the necessary evidence.The courts have a legal duty** to increase sentences for offences found to be motivated by disability-related hostility, under Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.But even in the one case in which CPS disagreed with the police, and treated the offences as disability hate crime, the judge is believed to have refused to increase the sentence.The six cases suggest yet again – following many other horrific offences reported by DNS over the last eight years – that there are enduring and troubling flaws in the way the criminal justice system, particularly within the police and judiciary, deals with the most serious disability hate crimes.The failure to acknowledge that offences were caused by disability-related hostility –described nine years ago by a director of public prosecutions, Sir Ken [now Lord] Macdonald, as “a scar on the conscience of criminal justice” – means that sentences are not increased, so there is no deterrent effect, and no public recognition of the problem.This is likely to mean there is less pressure placed on the government and wider society to reduce the widespread incidence of disability hate crime.Here are brief details of the six cases.Case one: Jimmy Prout, who had learning difficulties, was found dead on wasteland near his home in North Shields in March 2016.For months, he had been tortured by a group of people he considered his friends. He was even forced to eat his own testicle.Two of his attackers were jailed for murder, and the other two for causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult, with sentences ranging from nine years to a minimum of 33 years in prison for the ringleader.Northumbria police said the circumstances of the murder “did not meet criteria to be considered a disability hate crime”, and that Prout had not been targeted “because of any disabilities”.A CPS spokesman said: “The possibility of this case being a hate crime was considered, but there was not sufficient evidence to prove hostility towards disabled people or a disabled person as a motivation.”Case two: Craig Eade, who also had learning difficulties, was attacked in his own home, in Gateshead, over false rumours that he was a sex offender.He was attacked with a hammer, kicked and stamped on, and strangled, and then finally had his throat cut when his killer realised he was still alive. His body was dumped in a wheelie bin.His attacker, 36-year-old Paul Watkins, from Gateshead, admitted murdering Eade and was jailed for life and must serve at least 18 years in prison.Northumbria Police said this case, too, “did not meet criteria to be considered a disability hate crime” because Eade was not “targeted because of any disabilities”.A CPS spokesman said: “The possibility of this case being a hate crime was considered, but there was not sufficient evidence to prove hostility towards disabled people or a disabled person as a motivation.”Detective chief inspector Andy Fairlamb, of Northumbria Police, said of the Prout and Eade cases: “We take hate crime extremely seriously and in any death, a routine line of enquiry is to establish if the death is related to any disability or vulnerability or is believed to be hate-related.”Case three: An unnamed disabled man with muscular dystrophy was subjected to a “sustained and prolonged attack” by a teenager from Rhyl, north Wales, who stamped on his head, hit him with a radiator, and then smashed his head through a window.The teenager was jailed for 32 months.A spokeswoman for North Wales Police said: “North Wales Police can confirm that this occurrence was not tagged as a hate crime, and inquiries are underway to determine why this happened.”She said the court was aware of the victim’s “vulnerability”, and so could have increased the sentence on those grounds – although not on the grounds of it being a hate crime – “had the judge seen fit to do so”.Asked if the case showed that the force needed to review its procedures and policies on recognising and dealing with disability hate crime, the spokeswoman had declined to respond by noon today (Thursday).A CPS spokesman said: “The possibility of this case being a hate crime was considered, but there was not sufficient evidence to prove hostility towards disabled people or a disabled person as a motivation.”Case four: Wheelchair-user Manfred Jaedke, 61, from Boston, Lincolnshire, was found in July 2016 in his bungalow with 65 injuries on his body, after being savagely beaten to death by a neighbour he had been drinking with.His killer, Vidmantas Svedarauskas, was given a life sentence, and must serve a minimum of 15 years in prison.A spokeswoman for Lincolnshire Police said the motivation for the murder was “thoroughly explored during the murder investigation, including extensive enquiries into Svedarauskas’ background in Lithuania. “There was no evidence to support the murder having been motivated by hate and was therefore not recorded as such.”She said the judge had been “very robust” in his sentencing, “stating that one of the main aggravating factors in the case was that Manfred was extremely vulnerable”.She added: “He was elderly, a very unwell man because of his previous strokes, his heart condition was bad and he was disabled and wheelchair bound.“He was unable to defend himself, therefore Manfred’s disability was taken into account upon sentencing.”A CPS spokesman said: “There was no evidence to determine to a criminal standard the motive for this attack.“Consequently, it would not have been possible to prove that it was motivated by hostility towards disabled people or a disabled person.”Case five: A man with learning difficulties was forced into a cold bath and had his head pushed under water, was strangled with an electrical cord, and threatened with an electric drill, by two women who stripped and tortured him, in an attack that lasted 24 hours.The man had met one of the women through an online dating site, and had thought they were in a relationship, but when he arrived at her flat, she locked the door and told him: “You’re going to die today,” before calling a friend to join her in what became a prolonged and violent assault.He was knocked unconscious with a pole, threatened with a knife, punched, kicked and hit with a hammer and a bottle, and only escaped when an unexpected visitor saw him covered with blood and called the police.The judge described the assault as “gratuitous degradation”. He jailed both women to two years and four months in jail.A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said the offences were “initially recorded as domestic violence due to the relationship between the victim and one of the convicted women.“At no point did the victim or anyone else state that the attack on the victim was targeted or motivated because of his learning difficulties.“We do however recognise that the victim’s learning difficulties made him particularly vulnerable in the prolonged attack.“The investigation was also subject to review and this did not change the recording of the offence.”Despite the police refusal, prosecutors did treat the attack as a disability hate crime.A CPS spokesman said: “This offence was recognised as a hate crime motivated by hostility to the victim because of his disability and at sentencing a submission was made by the CPS to treat that hostility as an aggravating factor.”The CPS has not been able to confirm whether the judge agreed to increase the sentence.Case six: Paul Sandford was attacked and punched to death while he was hooked up to a dialysis machine.Again, his attacker had made unfounded allegations that the victim was a paedophile.After the attack, Sandford was rushed to hospital with a bleed on the brain, a fractured eye socket and severe cuts and bruising to his face and hands. He died in hospital five days later.His attacker was found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for 12 years.A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: “This case was not recorded as a disability hate crime by South Yorkshire Police due to the clear wishes of the victim and statements given by him, prior to his death.”A CPS spokeswoman said: “There was no evidence presented to us by the police of the defendant being motivated by hostility towards the victim’s disability. “Nor was there any evidence that the defendant demonstrated any such hostility at any point. For these reasons, there was no application for an uplift [in the sentence].”Stephen Brookes, a coordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network, said the cases made “further grim reading”, 10 years on from Quarmby’s first story, while the “total inconsistency” across the criminal justice system was “appalling”.He said he would like to see new “tighter and understandably clear” legislation that focused solely on disability hate crime, but was not convinced that that would be politically achievable.What can be done, he said, is for MPs and ministers to “force the whole criminal justice system to comply with the current disability hate crime requirements.”He added: “Where communities, disabled people, CPS and police work together on training and implementation and have effective and closely-monitored reporting processes then results are good, as we have generally experienced across Lancashire.”But he said that too many parts of the country had seen “substantial reductions in diversity policing and the proper training input using the knowledge of disabled people”, and in these areas disability hate crime was “still a massive issue, as cases aren’t charged correctly”.He said the reaction of the CPS in some regions was “still too much by the old book with clear failures to identify and promote section 146**”.He added: “The court system in terms of disability hate crime is still a mockery and if section 146 is even mentioned, too many of the judiciary just don’t get it, or don’t want the complication, thereby creating a double whammy for the victim – that of being victim of the crime and ultimately being a victim of sloppy justice.“Where communities, disabled people, CPS and police work together on training and implementation and have effective and closely monitored reporting processes, then results are good. “It can be done, but it depends on the inclusion of disabled people to create a mindset change in police, CPS and the judiciary practice, and this is where the sieve of justice is far too leaky to be of any practical use to disabled people in their seeking their legal rights.”Anne Novis, a disability hate crime expert and chair of Inclusion London, said: “We will never give up on fighting for equality of justice for victims of any sort of disability hate crime.“We will challenge the statutory agencies that still have not integrated the learning from too many awful murders of disabled people and the underlying perception that we are not as ‘worthy’ or ‘valued’, that pervades society and government polices at this time.“All who deny the perception of our communities and organisations that such cases are hate crime, need to realise, we, Deaf and disabled people, are the experts, no one else!”A spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office said: “We have one of the strongest legal frameworks in the world to protect those who become a victim of hate crime.“This has resulted in more prosecutions than ever before.“The government will give careful consideration to whether the current legislation requires change following the views of the home affairs select committee in its hate crime report.***”A Home Office spokesman said: “All forms of hate crime are unacceptable and those who commit these awful crimes should be prosecuted.“We have some of the strongest laws in the world to tackle hate crime but it is not just about legislation.“That is why last year the home secretary published a comprehensive new hate crime action plan that is driving forward action to tackle hate crime across government and the criminal justice system.”Last year, DNS reported that angry campaigners had attacked that action plan for its “totally disrespectful” failure to address problems around disability hate crime.The Home Office spokesman added: “Disability hate crime is significantly under-reported by victims, and that is why the government is working with community groups to raise awareness of hate crime and how to report it amongst disabled people, their carers and families.“We have also asked Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services to assess the police response to ensure it is dealt with effectively and efficiently, and we are working with the Crown Prosecution Service and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service to ensure that all those who commit hate crimes receive heavier sentences.”He also pointed to new joint training between the police and CPS staff to improve the way the police identify and investigate hate crime, and a national strategy and operational guidance published by the College of Policing to ensure that police deal with hate crime effectively.And he said CPS was working on a policy statement covering crimes against disabled people, setting out service standards expected when disabled victims and witnesses seek prosecution and attend court.Neither the CPS nor any of the police forces involved in the six cases raised any concerns about the way the criminal justice system deals with disability hate crime in their responses to questions from DNS.But a CPS spokesman said: “Wherever there is evidence a crime was motivated by hatred based on a victim’s disability, we will always treat it as a hate crime.“In some cases, disabled people may be the victims of offences which do not amount to hate crime.“In these cases, prosecutors will still present evidence of aggravating factors in court, as these will have an impact on the seriousness of the offence and any possible sentence.”*The Crown Prosecution Service defines a disability hate crime as “any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability or perceived disability”**Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 imposes a duty on the court to increase sentences for offences motivated by disability-related hostility, while the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 doubles to 30 years the starting point for sentences for disability hate crime murders***This inquiry looked at the violent consequences of online hate crime and mentioned disability hate crime only in passinglast_img read more

BE There a new video campaign from Rugby League

first_img‘BE There’ a new video campaign from Rugby League World Cup 2013 involves some big names from the world of sport encouraging fans to be part of the UK’s next major international sporting event.The Be There video invites fans to add their messages to those already added by the likes of Tour De France winner and Olympic Gold medallist Bradley Wiggins, Team GB Olympic hero Jonny Brownlee and Rugby League legend Darren Lockyer.The superstars join fans and Rugby League players in explaining why RLWC2013 is an event not to be missed. Any fans whose videos make the final cut also receive tickets to a RLWC2013 match of their choice.RLWC2013 Marketing Manager, Mark Foster said: “Our ‘Be There’ campaign went live on Friday November 30 and has so far received a great response. We’re seeing fans from all over the country joining in.“Less than 10,000 of the ‘Early Bird’ tickets remain on sale and we genuinely believe this tournament is a great chance for UK sports fans, especially those who may have missed out on Olympics tickets, to see a world class event in their own town or city. “There is no better way to watch Rugby League than to actually ‘Be There’ and with reports of ticket sales coming from all around the world, including places as far away as Australia, Russia, the USA and even Japan; fans wanting be at exciting games like the Rugby League World Cup Final really should buy now.”Fans can get be part of the Be There video by simply uploading a clip of themselves explaining why they’ll be there at RLWC2013 and upload it to www.rlwc2013.com/betherelast_img read more

SAINTS Business Academy met for the first time thi

first_imgSAINTS Business Academy met for the first time this week and presented Jordan Turner with his Player of the Month award.Sponsored by Oval Insurance Broking Ltd, the accolade hailed the centre for his work on and off the pitch in February.More than 25 businesses attended the breakfast event and took in the Captain’s Run training session as they networked.Paul Sculthorpe MBE also gave the guests a short speech on what it means to be a first team professional at Saints.Head of Sales and Marketing Dave Hutchinson said: “We were really pleased with the attendance at the meeting and the response from businesses in the region was excellent.“Business isn’t about quick wins; it’s about building a relationship and to combine that with good performance on the field we can celebrate success together for the rest of the season.“We’d like to thank the businesses that came to event and we look forward to the next one at the end of March.”The next meeting of the Saints Business Academy is on March 28. If you are interested in attending please email sales@saintsrlfc.comlast_img read more

KYLE Amor is hoping all fans of rugby league will

first_imgKYLE Amor is hoping all fans of rugby league will get to Langtree Park next Friday to back the Saints against Sydney.The Dacia World Club Series will see Leeds, Wigan and Keiron Cunningham’s charges take on North Queensland Cowboys, Brisbane Broncos and the Roosters in a real Super League versus NRL test.“If you’re a true fan of rugby league, and your team isn’t involved, why wouldn’t you get behind us?” he said. “It is six of the best sides in the world and you can watch them go toe to toe in your own back yard.“I will certainly be watching the other two games and if players can get behind the other two teams then I’m sure the fans can too.“We got behind an England team with six or seven Wigan players in it; I’m sure we can get behind them against Brisbane too and vice versa.”Saints last dalliance with the World Club Series was last season when they were humbled in the showpiece by South Sydney.And Kyle admits that one still stings.“We certainly want to get over what happened last season,” he continued. “I have watched the game back a couple of times over the off season and it might sound crackers but if Mark Percival scores in the corner then it could have been different.“I’m sure, on that form, they would have gone on to beat us but we shot ourselves in the foot. We just didn’t show on a world stage what we could do.“You always want to test yourselves against the best in the world. You wouldn’t be in sport if you didn’t want to do that. It will be a great day if we can get one over them.“We will be approaching the game full on. If we aren’t there mentally then it could be a similar story. We will come out ready for them.”World Club Series tickets are now on General Sale and are selling fast.They are priced at:Hattons Solicitors West Terrace, East Terrace and Family Stands:Adult – £22.50, OAP and Young Adult – £15.50, Junior – £10Solarking South and Totally Wicked North Stands:Gold: Adult – £30, OAP and Young Adult – £22.50, Junior – £12Silver: Adult – £28, OAP and Young Adult – £20.50, Junior – £12Bronze: Adult – £25, OAP and Young Adult – £18.50, Junior – £10Tickets can be bought by popping into the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.last_img read more

The hooker joined Saints from Salford for the 2017

first_imgThe hooker joined Saints from Salford for the 2017 season and made 18 appearances in the Red Vee.His previous experience has taken in spells at Hull FC, Wakefield and Huddersfield in the top flight, as well as Crusaders and London – and in 2016 he was captain of Salford Red Devils.The club would like to thank Tommy for his efforts and professionalism in Saints colours and wish him all the best for the future.last_img

Council to consider terminating Carolina Beach Lake dredging contract

first_img According to documents prepared by Town Manager Michael Cramer, the town has performed more soil studies on the material at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and the remaining soil in the lake. In order to move forward with the project, it will take up to 6 months to complete the additional permits applications and finalize another disposal location for the spoils.The documents claim it is not fair or appropriate to continue the current contract with Civil Works Construction while working through the permitting requirements and recommends the current contract be terminated while preparations for a future phase of the Lake Dredge Project move forward.Carolina Beach Town Council meets Tuesday night at 6:30. The project was initially suspended in August. Many other issues came up leading to a possible termination of the project. (Photo: Basil John/WWAY) CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — When Carolina Beach Town Council meets Tuesday night, one of the items they will discuss is whether to terminate the Lake Dredging Contract.The town suspended the project on August 29, due to issues with spoils placement at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.- Advertisement – last_img read more

NCAA Tournament upset makes lots of happy Little Caesars customers

first_img The company promised to give everyone free lunch if quote “crazy happened.”The wait was about 15 minutes around noon at the Little Caesars location on Carolina Beach Road to get in on the free deal. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history meant free pizza today for anyone willing to wait in line at Little Caesars Pizza.From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the pizza chain opened it’s doors for free pizza all because #16 seed UMBC beat the #1 seed University of Virginia.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Support Special Olympics at 2nd Annual Bowling with Badges

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Lace up and get ready for a strike! The UNCW Police Department is holding an event to benefit the Special Olympics of North Carolina.Bowling with Badges is part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run campaign, an annual fundraiser for Special Olympics.- Advertisement – On Saturday, July 21 from 2-5 p.m., enjoy bowling, raffles and a whole lot of fun at Cardinal Lanes on Shipyard Blvd. in Wilmington.Registration is $20 per person and includes shoe rental and three games of bowling. Teams are welcome with a limit of 5 people. All ages and skill levels are welcome. Special Olympic athletes are welcome to join for FREE.Click here to learn more about the event, donate to Special Olympics, or get tickets.Related Article: Town launches buy-a-brick fundraiser to aid in memorial constructionFor additional information or to register a Special Olympic athlete, contact Officer Bray at braye@uncw.edu.last_img read more

Wilmington man killed after being run over by trash truck

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man was killed after a trash truck reportedly ran him over in New Hanover County Tuesday evening.According to Trooper H. N. Middleton, the fatal accident happened on 23rd Street around 5:20 p.m. Tuesday.- Advertisement – Highway Patrol says 30-year-old Dashiell Titus Parker was riding east on the shoulder of the road when the bicycle hit a washed out area near the pavement. That’s when Parker reportedly lost control and was thrown into the road into the path of a Waste Industries trash truck that was also traveling east.Trooper Middleton says the driver of the truck was unable to avoid Parker and ran over him, resulting in his death.No charges have been filed at this time.last_img read more

Animal Alley New exhibit coming to the Childrens Museum of Wilmington

first_imgThe ribbon cutting, also called the floss cutting, allowed kids into the newly upgraded exhibit on July 18, 2018. (Photo: Basil John/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Children’s Museum of Wilmington will soon be opening its newest exhibit, Animal Alley. This will immerse children and their families into the world of pets.A grand opening will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on January 26. The event will feature pet-themed activities and a chance to interact with live animals in the courtyard.- Advertisement – For a $10 donation to the museum, the first 30 children can even get their stuffed animal micro chipped. Three local rescues will also be there including All 4 Cats, Fresh Start Rescue and Anchor Your Heart Rescue.Regular museum admission pricing applies for this event and no personal pets are allowed.“We are very thankful, and excited, for the opportunity to partner with Pet Supplies Plus to provide a new exhibit at the Museum,” said Jim Karl, Executive Director for The Children’s Museum of Wilmington. “We look forward to providing the community a positive and interactive pet care learning environment.”last_img read more