Where This Years Playoff Aces Rank In Franchise History

We’ve already seen some mighty impressive displays of pitching prowess in this year’s postseason, including Chicago Cubs hurler Jake Arrieta’s complete game shutout in the National League wild-card game last week and New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom’s seven-inning, 13-strikeout performance against the L.A. Dodgers on Friday. Not only have these performances been dominating, but a few of them even rank among the best playoff starts in their franchises’ histories.We can measure this using Game Score, a statistic that summarizes a pitcher’s value using his innings pitched, strikeouts, walks, hits and runs allowed. For each active playoff team, here are the best postseason starts since 19511The modern era of Retrosheet’s database files. (as rated by Game Score), with red dots denoting each franchise’s top game score of the time period and blue dots marking the best of this year.2We are considering only game scores greater than 70, in years since 1951, using data from Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index. Teams whose best 2015 starts are below 70 don’t have blue dots in the chart. For a group of franchises all vying for baseball’s greatest prize, there’s been a pretty wide spread in the quality of their postseason pitching over the years. The Cubs are a case in point: Arrieta’s sublime showing in the play-in game rates as the single best game score in franchise history,3Including games outside of the sample we analyzed, going back to 1903. which is why the Cubs’ dot is purple. But that wasn’t exactly a high bar to clear. Chicago, like the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals, hasn’t traditionally benefited from great starting pitching in the postseason.Meanwhile, franchises such as the Texas Rangers, headlined by Cliff Lee’s superb 2010 playoff run, and the Mets, with Tom Seaver dominating in 1969 and 1973, have been buoyed by plenty of masterful postseason starts over the years. And the single best postseason Game Score ever produced for these franchises belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals, in the form of Bob Gibson’s 1968 World Series Game 1 shutout (which featured an absurd 17 strikeouts against only one walk).Every team hopes to get that kind of transcendent pitching in the playoffs, though many of this year’s playoff teams have never seen anything close. But with the array of Cy Young candidates on the remaining teams, we may yet see a performance to rival Gibson’s famous start and rewrite a team’s postseason record book in the process. read more

The Bulls Made The Right Decision But The Wrong Trade

The rebuild is already off to an odd start, though. Beyond LaVine’s injury risk, the Bulls are also getting him at a time when the 22-year-old is on the cusp of landing what figures to be a big payday. (In fact, they’ll be forced to hammer out an extension this summer — perhaps well north of $20 million a year, without seeing him play meaningful basketball since the injury — or else risk another team throwing a bigger offer at him as a restricted free agent and forcing Chicago to match.) There’s a decent chance his next deal briefly outpaces Butler’s annual salary of almost $19 million, one of the best bargains in the NBA, since Butler is locked in until at least 2019.In other words: The rebuild will require the Bulls to shell out considerable salary to a young player who hasn’t proven to be a sure thing yet. And with Dunn, one of the older rookies in last year’s draft, they’ll be hoping that last season was just an aberration for him.Part of what makes the swap so disappointing for the Bulls is the fact that they were engaged in draft-day conversations about the same players last year, before talks eventually broke off. The Bulls have more information now — that LaVine showed vast improvement on offense before tearing his ACL, that Dunn’s college success probably won’t translate right away, and that Butler is truly an elite, All-NBA talent — yet the Bulls pulled the trigger on a package that should be even less attractive to them now than it was then.From Minnesota’s vantage point, it’s easy to imagine how Butler can immediately come in and change things for the youthful Timberwolves, who were a great first-half team but blew more double-digit leads in second halves than any other team in the NBA. The 27-year-old was fantastic when it counted this past season, posting a 44.5 player-efficiency rating in clutch scenarios,4Meaning moments when a game is within 5 points during the final five minutes of of action. second-best in the NBA behind only Russell Westbrook, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. His presence also boosts a defense that was fifth-worst in the league last season, in part because Andrew Wiggins still really struggles on that end, even though he has wingspan and athleticism of a stopper. It wouldn’t be surprising to hear some put Minnesota on a short list of clubs that could potentially beat Golden State a couple of years from now if they continue to build out that roster.There are a handful of things that figure to work out nicely for the Bulls as a result of this trade, too. LaVine showed considerable improvement as a shooter last season, something Chicago can use given the team’s abysmal numbers from outside. And his ability to get up and down the floor should allow coach Fred Hoiberg play the uptempo style he’s wanted to use since joining the Bulls more than two years ago. (This becomes even more true if Dwyane Wade, who recently told the team that he was opting into the last year of his deal for $24 million, decides it’s best to negotiate a buyout with the club.)With Dunn, even if his offense doesn’t improve a ton, the team will at least have a very good, capable defender at the guard spot. The ex-Providence standout is a pest and uses his length to disrupt the passing lanes. He ranked fourth in the NBA with 4.6 deflections per 36 minutes.5Among those who played 1,000 minutes or more this past season.All things considered, though, there’s a reason that the Bulls are getting failing grades for this move. No one is knocking the idea of conceding that a rebuild was necessary. That much was obvious. But given that Butler had more time left on his deal, the team’s hand wasn’t forced to do something this very moment. Chicago easily could’ve waited until the trade deadline to try to sell the swingman off to a desperate contender.Either way, the Bulls should have been able to get more than damaged, or diminished, goods in exchange for their franchise player. CHICAGO — NBA franchises fail all the time in trying to construct a team. On Thursday, the Bulls illustrated that it’s possible to botch the dismantling of one.Anyone who watched the Bulls over the past two years could see that this team — whether it managed to sneak into the playoffs or not — was on a treadmill of mediocrity. And that was the case despite having an All-NBA talent like swingman Jimmy Butler. The reset button needed to be hit.That happened Thursday when the team traded Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 draft pick, Lauri Markkanen. Without context, acquiring young players like LaVine (who averaged 19 points a game last season), Dunn (the highly sought-after No. 5 pick from last June) and 7-foot sharpshooter Markkanen would be a decent return for a player of Butler’s caliber. But, like always, the devil is in the details here. LaVine missed the final 32 games of the season after tearing his ACL — an injury the Bulls are all too familiar with — while Dunn had an incredibly rough rookie season, one in which he not only posted the lowest true-shooting percentage among first-year players, but the worst true-shooting mark of any player, period.1Of players who logged at least 1,000 minutes last season.And while it’s too soon to truly criticize anything about the Markkanen acquisition, it was shocking that Chicago felt the need to send its No. 16 pick2One it ended up using on Justin Patton, to send to Minnesota. to the Wolves to complete this trade, given how much better Butler was than everyone else involved. The Bulls shouldn’t have needed to send anything else to sweeten the deal.3Curiously, Chicago has a bit of a bad habit of sending along picks in situations where it shouldn’t have to. For instance, consider the Bulls’ trade-deadline deal in which they unloaded Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, the two best players in that transaction, yet found themselves giving up a second-round pick to complete the swap. Yet the team says this was the best offer they had for Butler, by far, and that the move gave Chicago an opportunity to move from the center of the totem pole all the way near the bottom, where it will be easier to build through the draft in the future.“Jimmy has improved as an individual maybe as much as any guy we’ve been around,” said Bulls Executive Vice President John Paxson of Butler, who went from averaging 2.6 points as a rookie to nearly 24 points in his sixth year. “Minnesota is obviously getting a heck of a player. He’s going to be missed. But with that said, what we’ve done is set a direction. We’ve gone to the playoffs, but not at a level that we’ve wanted to. And in this league, success is not determined that way. And we’ve decided to make the change and rebuild this roster.”VIDEO: Breaking down the Butler trade read more

Barrett among three Buckeyes named to national award watch lists

OSU then-redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett (16) carries the ball against Michigan on Nov. 28. OSU won, 42-13. Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe turnover of the roster from 2015 to 2016 has been the sweeping storyline in the offseason for Ohio State’s football team. Despite new faces bound to hit the field come September for coach Urban Meyer, three returning starters are receiving preseason notoriety.Redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett, junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan and redshirt junior defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis were named to offensive and defensive player of the year watch lists, respectively.Barrett was named to the preseason Maxwell Award watch list. The Maxwell Award honors the nation’s player of the year and often is a predictor for the winner of the Heisman Trophy.Former Alabama running back Derrick Henry went on to win the Maxwell and the Heisman Trophy last year. Eddie George was the last Buckeye to win the award in 1995, who also won the Heisman.This is Barrett’s second nomination for the watch list in consecutive years. He was joined by former Buckeyes Ezekiel Elliott, Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller on last year’s preseason watch list. Barrett was the backup quarterback behind current Buffalo Bill Cardale Jones to start the 2015 season. Following the victory over Penn State on Oct. 17, Barrett was named the starting quarterback. The 2014 National Freshman of the Year and Big Ten quarterback of the year threw for 992 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2015. He also ran for 682 yards on 115 attempts.McMillan and Lewis were named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award which is given to the nation’s defensive player of the year. OSU also had two players on the 2015 Bednarik watch list with former defensive end Joey Bosa and linebacker Joshua Perry. OSU has never had a Bednarik Award winner.As first-year starters last season, McMillan and Lewis both impressed along side the NFL talent on those units. McMillan will be expected to be the leader for the Scarlet and Gray linebackers in 2016 as the only returning starter from the year before. The Georgia native led the Buckeyes with 119 total tackles contributing four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.Lewis quietly made his presence felt on the same line as No. 3 overall pick Joey Bosa and fourth-round selection Adolphus Washington. Lewis led the defensive line with 54 total tackles, second behind Bosa with 14 tackles for loss and led with eight sacks in 2015.The Buckeyes begin the 2016 season on Sept. 3 at noon versus the Bowling Green Falcons. read more

Buckeye divers wrap up trials

For five Ohio State divers, The week of Feb. 1 through 8 was full of trials.OSU’s men and women divers competed in the 2010 USA Diving Winter Nationals and World Cup Team Trials starting Feb. 1 in the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.From preliminary to semifinal to final events, the Buckeyes were constantly performing and refocusing for multiple events.USA Diving spokeswoman Jennifer Lowery said there are 10 titles at stake from the events. For the FINA World Cup Team, they will take the top two finishers from the individual 3-meter and individual 10-meter events, Lowery said.“So the winner is the national champion, and gets a spot on the World Cup Team, and second place gets an alternate,” Lowery said. “We’ll have a synchro trial in April to pick the two from those two events.”OSU senior Weston Wieser started off the week of trials in the men’s 1-meter preliminaries on Feb. 1. Wieser placed second with a 366.5.On Feb. 2, Wieser placed second in the men’s 3-meter preliminaries, but was eliminated in the quarterfinals on Feb. 4, placing 23rd.His last event, men’s 10-meter platform, started with quarterfinals Feb. 5 immediately followed by semifinals. Wieser came in fifth with a score of 418.80, just less than 15 points behind the fourth place.In the final round, Wieser’s first and final dive of the six rounds earned dive scores of 86.40. He came in fifth against competition like Olympic medalist David Boudia, who swept first place with just more than 116 points.OSU senior Ryan Jefferson also had a good showing, placing sixth in the preliminary round of men’s 3-meter springboard. The Wisconsin native placed ninth in the semifinals and finished ninth in finals with an 815.10.Feb. 4 marked the start of the week for OSU diver Katie Bell, who placed second in both women’s 10-meter platform preliminary/quarterfinals and semifinals. Bell, who won a U.S. national championship in August on the 10-meter platform, dove in two events on Feb. 6, placing third in the women’s 10-meter platform finals with an overall score of 670.85.Bell missed the spot on the FINA World Cup Team by 6.5 points, but qualifies for the U.S. Grand Prix Team that will compete May 6 through 9 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., against divers from 20 nations.In the women’s 10-meter synchro final later that day, Bell did not place among the top two qualifying spots. The synchro event is similar to the individual dive, but two divers perform the same dive together and are judged on their technique and synchronization.Joining Bell in the women’s 10-meter platform was junior Kristen Asman, who went into finals ranked sixth from her semifinal dive on Feb. 4. The Columbus native scored a 529.55 with an average score of 49.81 to take ninth place in finals.Rounding it out for the Buckeyes was third-year Bianca Alvarez.Alvarez competed in the women’s 3-meter springboard preliminary/quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. She placed seventh in the finals, just less than 78 points shy of second place after a failed first dive.The Miami, Fla., native paired up with 17-year-old Loren Figueroa. This was the first time the two have competed as a pair in 3-meter synchro event.“We don’t have a lot of our skills the same; a lot of our techniques might be a little bit different,” Alvarez said after her 3-meter synchro event Sunday. So basically that’s one thing we need to work on, just trying to get together more.”Alvarez said because her partner doesn’t live in Columbus, Figueroa will have to fly to Columbus to practice with Alvarez to prepare for future competitions together.Paired together at a synchronized diving camp attracting the top divers from across the country, Alvarez said those that run the camp make the evaluation of which two divers look best together.“They told us that we did [look the best together], so we stuck with that,” Alvarez said. “We just tried it out here at nationals.”Lowery said Sunday that the experience overall was great watching the OSU divers make it all the way to the finals.“I think Ohio State did really well. I think everyone made finals on their event. There was a really good representation: top five, top six,” Lowery said. “Katie Bell was third, Wes [Wieser] just got fifth. A really strong showing by the Buckeyes.” read more

Cardale Jones to pick up the rifle with Barrett out for season

Redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) is carted away after suffering a right ankle fracture during the 4th quarter of a game against Michigan on Nov. 29 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-28. Credit: Chelsea Spears / Multimedia editorFor the second time in less than four months, the Ohio State football team will have to turn to its backup quarterback.Redshirt-freshman quarterback and Heisman candidate J.T. Barrett suffered a broken ankle during the second half of OSU’s 42-28 win over the Michigan Wolverines Saturday afternoon, forcing redshirt-sophomore Cardale Jones into action in The Game.Barrett is scheduled to have surgery Sunday, and will miss the remainder of the season.OSU co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said after the game he did not envision losing two possible Heisman candidates at the same position to injury in the same year.“I wouldn’t have asked for that,” he said. “This game is very crazy at times, throws you a lot of curveballs and you have to be able to adapt and adjust and I am sure we will be able to do that.”Senior tight end Jeff Heuerman, who was on the field when Barrett’s injury occurred, said, at first, he didn’t think the injury was severe.“I heard him yell, and I looked over…at first I thought he just got his bell rung (but) as soon as everyone got off of him, I just went over there and as soon as I saw his ankle…he (Barrett) didn’t realize it at first,” Heuerman said. “That is when I told him ‘you need to stay down for a second.’”With Barrett out for the season, Jones is set to make his first career start as a Buckeye next week in the Big Ten Championship Game.The Glenville High School product entered Saturday having attempted just 14 passes, eight of which were completed for 111 yards and two scores through the air.Jones finished the win over Michigan two for three on pass attempts for seven yards and added another 18 yards rushing on two carries.Herman said he was pleased with how Jones responded in such an intense atmosphere.“Great mentally. He missed the one pass to (redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Michael) Thomas, but mentally he was very in tune,” Herman said. “He keeps a headset on the entire game so he is in tuned to everything we are talking about. He is very engaged in everything that goes on in terms of in-between series adjustments, halftime adjustments, so he was ready to go.”OSU coach Urban Meyer said following the win that the Buckeyes will start preparing for the Big Ten Championship Game on Sunday, adding that the game plan won’t be adjusted that much with Jones at the helm.“We gotta go and we have a lot of confidence in the guy that’s going to be doing it, his name is Cardale Jones. He’s been here I think for 120 years,” Meyer said jokingly. “The good thing is they (Barrett and Jones) have a similar skill set and so it’s not like we’re going to have to drastically change things.”Sophomore safety Vonn Bell, who started the game with an interception on the second play from scrimmage, said the Buckeyes will continue to move forward with Barrett out.“We lost one of our soldiers today,” Bell said after the game. “Somebody has to pick up the rifle and keep on going.”Herman said after the game that although Barrett is out for the season, he does not want to discount the win over Michigan.“We are really, really happy for this team. You are happy for what we have accomplished in the regular season, you are happy to beat our rival at home and get a third pair of gold pants,” Herman said. “At the same time, your heart goes out to J.T. because he has not only meant so much to this team, but this team has meant so much to him and his growth as a young man. We will keep him involved as much as we can, and move forward.”Herman said that he believes the Buckeyes can still be successful with Jones, OSU’s third-string quarterback coming into the season.“The quarterback doesn’t have to win games for us anymore. The quarterback has to manage games, distribute the football and lead,” Herman said. “We have seen that throughout this season and so as long as he is mentally prepared…I have nothing but the utmost confidence that he (Jones) can get the job done because of what we have got around him.”One of those players will be sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott, who rushed for 121 yards and two scores against Michigan Saturday on just 17 carries.Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones (12) carries the ball during a game against Michigan on Nov. 29 at Ohio Stadium. Jones replaced an injured redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett in the fourth quarter of OSU’s 42-28 win. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorElliott said after the win that he believes Jones’ experience in the off-season will help him moving forward.“He got a lot of reps in the spring, he got plenty of reps this fall, I think he is ready,” Elliott said. “I don’t think there will be a drop-off.”As another one of the offensive weapons, Heuerman said he believes Herman will be able to coach Jones to success.“Coach Herman has obviously already been through this. Offensively man, we have a lot of talented guys that have played a lot of football this year. They are going to have to step up and make up for lost ground,” Heuerman said. “Cardale is an outstanding athlete, has a super strong arm. He can make the big plays we need to get this team rolling. We are going to have to rely on him, offensively and as a team.”The Buckeyes are set to travel to Indianapolis to take on Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game Dec. 6. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. read more

Mens basketball Ohio State players offer NBA comparisons for themselves

OSU junior forward Keita Bates-Diop (33), redshirt junior guard Kam Williams (15), sophomore guard C.J. Jackson (3) and senior forward Marc Loving (2) celebrate a call during the Buckeyes 78-68 win over Navy on Nov. 11. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorComing off a disappointing 2016-2017 season, a coaching change and considerable roster turnover, it is fair to say there is uncertainty surrounding the Ohio State men’s basketball team. When asked to compare themselves to NBA players, the Buckeyes answered candidly, giving fans a better sense of what to expect from the roster.Senior forward Jae’Sean Tate, redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop and sophomore forward/center Micah Potter quickly referenced NBA champions and All-Stars when asked for their comparisons.Micah Potter“[Cleveland Cavaliers forward] Kevin Love,” Potter responded without hesitation.“I’m a big white guy that can shoot and I like to rebound,” Potter said. “I think that’s pretty self-explanatory.”Potter added that he has the capability to throw full-court outlet passes like the ones Love has patented in his career. He said he will have to prove his ability in practice before throwing the long passes in a game, but he is confident in the athletic abilities of his teammates to run the floor, catch the ball and convert the exciting play.Jae’Sean TateAlthough the big man from Cleveland proudly compared himself to a champion and four-time All-Star in Love, Tate reluctantly compared himself to a two-time NBA champion and All-Star.“Everybody’s gonna say [Golden State Warriors forward] Draymond Green,” Tate said. “I mean, that’s an honor. It’s a great compliment, so I guess I got to go with him.”The comparison to Green stems from the fact both he and Tate are undersized forwards whose versatility allows them to defend multiple positions and make plays all over the floor. Potter agreed wholeheartedly when asked about Tate’s comparison to Green, who earned 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.“That one is 100 percent true,” Potter said.Tate said he knows that comparison has accuracy, but prefers to think of himself otherwise. “I would rather be a [Cleveland Cavaliers guard] Dwyane Wade, but I know I’m not there,” Tate said while flashing a smile.Tate said he has been working on his jump shot and ball handling, but knows he has a long way to go to resemble Wade, a 12-time All-Star and three-time champion who many regard as one of the best to ever play.Keita Bates-DiopUnlike Tate, Bates-Diop said he best compares to one of his favorite players.“Probably also my favorite — [San Antonio Spurs forward] Kawhi [Leonard],” Bates-Diop said. “Just because he’s pretty quiet and just goes about his business pretty much.”Bates-Diop said he does not need a lot of dribbling to make plays offensively, similar to Leonard. He also said he is ready to step up and make impact plays of the defensive side of the floor —  much like Leonard, who is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.Kam WilliamsPotter, Tate and Bates-Diop might have thought about comparing themselves to players at the highest level before, but it was clear fifth-year senior shooting guard Kam WIlliams and junior point guard C.J. Jackson had given less thought to the comparisons given their hesitation to answer. Williams labored over the question for a while as he pondered which players best resemble his game.“[Houston Rockets guard] Eric Gordon,” Williams eventually said.He compared Gordon’s 3-point shooting ability and improved pick-and-roll playmaking to his own. Over his career, Williams has shot a solid 39 percent on 3-pointers and said he has been working on his ability to handle the ball in pick-and-roll situations. Williams hopes to break out like Gordon did in 2017 when he finished fourth in 3-point field goals and won Sixth Man of the Year. C.J. JacksonJackson, perhaps the quietest player on the team, did not immediately compare himself to an NBA All-Star. “I don’t think I can choose one person,” Jackson said. “I try to get a little bit of everyone’s game ’cause obviously you can’t play like a specific person. You just kinda pick little things here and there — what you can do, what you like out of each player.”The junior point guard said he enjoys watching all guards play and specifically observes the intricacies of what makes Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry and John Wall so successful. But to Jackson, a guard does not have to be an NBA All-Star to grab his attention.“It doesn’t really matter the level either,” Jackson said. “You can learn from high school guys.” read more

Ring made from shard of glass that injured WWI tank commander in

first_imgHe had married Rose Loewe two months earlier in July and presented her with the ring after he recovered.Lt Henriques went on to serve with distinction at the Battle of Cambrai and on other fronts.After being demobbed in 1919 he dedicated his life to social work, and particularly the social welfare of children.He set up boys clubs for deprived Jewish children and from 1923 until 1950 the philanthropist sent youngsters to his country home in Buckinghamshire for rest and recuperation.He was also a magistrate and the former Berner Street in Whitechapel, East London, was renamed Henriques Street in his honour.Mr Willey said: “Basil Henriques joined the new tank unit with his old school friend George Macpherson who was killed on the day of the first attack. Lieutenant Sir Basil Henriques had the ring mounted in a gold ring which he then gave to his new bride, RoseCredit:TheTankMuseum/BNPS This is one of our smallest objects on display but certainly one of the most moving and is proving to be one of the most popular.David Willey, curator Lt Henriques, who was knighted in 1955 for his dedicated work for the social welfare of children, died in 1961 aged 71.His widow later donated the treasured ring to the Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset, where it has been held in their archives ever since.This year marks the centenary of the first use of the tank in action at the Somme and archivists stumbled upon the delicate item while trawling through their collection to research early tank pioneers.The unique ring has now been given a polish and put on display at the museum and will also be on show at Trafalgar Square in London on September 15 when a fully working Mk IV tank will be driven to mark the 100th anniversary.David Willey, the curator at the museum, said: “Our tanks are always going to have a presence and draw but objects like this ring help tell the personal stories of the men and their experiences. “He later wrote movingly about how lonely he was without George who was a ‘marvellous companion’ and he felt ‘blank’ and ’empty’ without him.”Tanks were developed in great secrecy and the first volunteer crews – including Henriques and Macpherson – didn’t know what they were actually volunteering for.”Conditions were awful inside with eight men to operate them in temperatures of 50 degrees C (122F) with a deafening noise, a top speed of three mph at the very best – and drawing German fire.”Carrier pigeons were taken on board to relay messages but often the carbon monoxide in the fumes left them too debilitated to fly.”Two out of every ten tank crew were killed and many others were wounded and it’s important we remember their contribution.”The first tank attack was not a great success, many tanks broke down and others lost their way, but a few made a real difference.”We have researched the lives of these eight early tank pioneers for our exhibition that marks the centenary, and their personal stories can’t help but powerfully bring home the nature of this new type of war.” Lieutenant Sir Basil Henriques had the ring mounted in a gold ring which he then gave to his new bride, Rose The Mark I female C6 ‘Cordon Rouge’ at Albert, 15 September 1916Credit:TheTankMuseum/BNPS The Mark I female C6 'Cordon Rouge' at Albert, 15 September 1916 A poignant ring made from a shard of glass that struck a First World War tank commander when his periscope took a direct hit has been unearthed 100 years later.Lieutenant Sir Basil Henriques was peering into the viewpoint during the first outing of the Mk I tank on the battlefield when artillery fire struck a glass prism that shattered, sending splinters into his face.Medics later removed the pieces and the officer kept the largest part and had it mounted in a gold ring which he then gave to his new bride, Rose. “For us now it seems amazing that after a day of such terror, confusion and loss Henriques was able to think of his new wife and make a present to her out of something that had nearly blinded him.”This is one of our smallest objects on display but certainly one of the most moving and is proving to be one of the most popular.”Lt Henriques came from a prominent Jewish family and was educated at Harrow and Oxford University.He served in the Tank Corps in the First World War and took part in the Battle of Flers on September 15, 1916. The action was part of the greater Battle of the Somme but was known for the first time tanks were used.The British invented the ‘land ships’ a year before as a solution for getting troops across shell holes, trenches and quagmire of No Man’s Land.Military top brass pretended the hulking vehicles were large water carriers and called them tanks as a result to hoodwink German spies as they thought the name land ship was too obvious.When the huge machines first appeared in the battlefield a terrified German soldier is said to have shouted ‘the devil is coming’ upon seeing them for the very first time.One of the men inside the first tanks was Lt Henriques who suffered severe facial wounds when it took a direct hit. Despite his injuries he managed to get the tank back to base. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

A fifth of parents regret their childs name – study

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. For a third of those who changed their mind about their child’s name, regrets emerged within the first six week. For 23%, the catalyst was their child starting school or nursery.Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts told the BBC: “Choosing your baby’s name is one of the first things new parents do, so in some ways baby name regret is great practice for parenting – you do a lot of hard work and research, try to please several people at once, and end up getting it wrong.”The consolation is that most children grow into their names, and those who don’t can always fall back on middle names, nicknames or, in extremis, deed polls.” Nearly one-in-five parents wish they’d opted for a different name for their child, a new survey by Mumsnet has revealed.An online poll by the parenting forum asked 1362 respondents if they ever regretted the first or middle names they’d chosen for any of their children. 18% said yes – with a quarter of those saying that the name being “too commonly used” was the main reason for their regret.The next most common reasons for regretting a child’s name were “it just doesn’t feel right” (21%) and “I have never liked it – I was pressured into using it” (20%.)Other reasons given included: “It’s not distinctive enough”; “It causes him/her problems with spelling/pronunciation”; “It doesn’t suit him/her”; and “Everyone calls him/her by a shortened version of the name, which I don’t like”.Three per cent of those who expressed regret said there had been a “shift in public perception of the name since my child was born”.last_img read more

Former glamour model groomed online as jihadi bride

first_imgMs Miners is understood to have been “warned off” and directed to a counter extremism programme by police.As many as 100 women and girls are believed to have travelled to territory held by Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (Isil), many of them after being groomed online.She said she was in contact with Abu Usamah, whose true identity is not known, as recently as last month.She said: “He was saying, ‘If you can leave England, then just leave.'” Islamic State extremists trying to sign up ‘jihadi brides’ to travel to Iraq or Syria have tried to recruit a former glamour model who converted to Islam.Counter terrorism police have warned Kimberley Miners to stop extremist activity after she exchanged social media messages with a recruiter and allegedly shared violent Islamic State propaganda videos on social media.The 27-year-old who has in the past posed topless for a tabloid newspaper admitted to the Sunday Times that she had been in contact on Facebook with an Isis recruiter called Abu Usamah al-Britani who is trying to recruit a new generation of jihadist brides from the West. She condemned Isil’s beheadings and did not want to be a jihadi bride, but was interested in travelling to the region to carry out charity work, she said.Ms Miners, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, turned to Islam after the death of her father, but said she had faced abuse in the street for wearing Islamic dress.She said: “I’ve gone from glamour model to something completely different. Kimberley Miners posed topless for a national newspaper before turning to IslamCredit:SWNS Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “But that again makes me wonder. You don’t get shit for wearing nowt, but the second you start wearing [the veil] you get accused [of extremism] and stuff.”Sources said her case had echoes of the recruitment of Sally Jones, a former punk rocker from Kent, who travelled to Isil’s self-styled caliphate with her young son after meeting a jihadist online.The flow of Westerners to Isil territory has slowed to a trickle as battlefield reverses and heavy casualties among jihadists has put them off travelling to Iraq and Syria. Kimberley Miners posed topless for a national newspaper before turning to Islamlast_img read more

One in four prisons hold transgender inmates says Ministry of Justice report

first_imgThe treatment of transgender people in courts, probation and prison services has not kept pace with the development of a more general understandingMinistry of Justice report The review, published by the MoJ on Wednesday, said: “It is apparent that the treatment of transgender people in courts, probation and prison services has not kept pace with the development of a more general understanding of the issues surrounding gender in society.”It said allowing transgender offenders to experience the criminal justice system in the gender in which they identify “will, in the great majority of cases, represent the most humane and safest way to act”.It added: “We believe it will also assist successful rehabilitation. In the minority of cases where that is not possible, the reasons for departing from this starting presumption must be clear, explicit and made known to the person they affect, especially when it involves assigning someone to a male or female prison.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Show more center_img One in four prisons in England and Wales are holding transgender inmates, an official report has revealed.Data collected in March and April showed that 33 of the 123 public and private prisons reported they had one or more transgender prisoners.There were 19 establishments with one transgender inmate, ten prisons with between two and four, and four facilities holding at least five.A paper published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said there were 70 inmates currently living in, or presenting in, a gender different to their sex assigned at birth and who have had a “case conference”. It did not include information on the number of prisoners who have already transitioned and have a full gender recognition certificate.Of the 70 inmates, 52 reported their gender as male and 14 as female, while it was not stated by four.The report said: “The gender is self-reported on reception to prison and based on information recorded on central administrative databases.”It is not possible to determine if this is the legal gender or whether or not the gender has changed.”There will be some transgender prisoners who have not had a case conference and some who are not known to prison staff, according to the study, so there may be some under-counting.Ministers launched a review of the care of transgender prisoners last year after the deaths of two inmates being held at all-male prisons.last_img read more

Sin taxes on alcohol and tobacco have cost the Treasury £31bn analysis finds

first_imgThe “tax gap” would be enough to fund a 1.5p cut in the basic rate of Income Tax, according to the report.Between 2010 and 2015 £13.9 billion was lost due to the illicit trade in cigarettes, with £5.8 billion being lost because of the black market in spirits.A further £3.5 billion was lost to the illicit trade in wine and £4.8 billion to diesel.The report states: “HMRC has clearly been unsuccessful at claiming these duties for some time and therefore it needs to take decisive action, not introduce policies that make it worse. It is unfair that higher taxes for ordinary families are often used to make up the shortfall.“The loss of £31.8 billion in revenue over a five year period could have funded a 1.5p cut in the basic rate of Income Tax. Not only would this have helped millions of ordinary families, but it would also have had a big impact on the jobs market, which is particularly important at this time.” Experts have warned that Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, is facing a £25 billion hole in the Government’s books as he prepares for this month’s Autumn Statement.The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that ministers could be forced to extend austerity measures into the 2020s as a result of falling growth forecasts and tax receipts.John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Our ludicrously complicated, punitive tax system not only hits hard-pressed families with crippling bills but also affects frontline services by depriving Treasury of revenue lost to the black market, all the while lining the pockets of those peddling dodgy tobacco, alcohol and diesel.”The revenue lost to the illicit trade could fund a modest but much needed tax cut for millions of families while preventing smugglers from profiting because of deeply regressive ‘sin taxes’ which hit the poorest hardest.”It is high time the Government offered struggling taxpayers a better deal instead of kowtowing to the self-appointed lifestyle police who remain oblivious to the cost of ever-rising duties on ordinary taxpayers.” Between 2010 and 2015, £13.9 billion was lost due to the illicit trade in cigarettesCredit: REUTERS Cigarettes HMRC has clearly been unsuccessful at claiming these duties for some time and… it needs to take decisive actionTaxpayers’ Alliance Sin taxes on alcohol and tobacco have cost the Treasury more than £31 billion, an analysis has disclosed amid calls for a reduction in the Autumn Statement.Around £31.6 billion of tax revenue has been lost because of the illicit market in spirits, beer, wine, cigarettes, rolling tobacco and diesel, according to the analysis of HMRC figures by the TaxPayers’ Alliance.The high taxes on alcohol and tobacco simply fuel a black market in the goods which means that HMRC loses money, the campaign group said. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

John Humphrys prompts diplomatic complaint after mentioning Mexican standoff on Today programme

first_imgVeteran broadcaster John Humphrys almost caused a diplomatic incident on the BBC Today show, angering the Mexican Embassy.A letter of protest arrived on his desk at BBC Radio 4 after those in the embassy misheard something he said on the programme.They thought he said he had used the phrase “Mexican standards” to describe shoddy building practices.However, he had actually said “Mexican stand-off”.Mr Humphrys jokingly compared himself to Donald Trump after the incident.In his column in Waitrose Weekend magazine yesterday, Humphrys, who also presents Mastermind on BBC Two, wrote: “President Trump has outraged Mexico with his wall plans and for one nasty moment recently I feared I might have done the same.”A letter arrived from the acting ambassador complaining about my references to Mexicans. Apparently I had used the expression ‘Mexican standards’ to describe shoddy building practices.”Serious stuff. Except I hadn’t. In a swift follow-up he acknowledged the phrase I had actually used, referring to a dispute between the builders and customers, was ‘Mexican stand-off’. “Crisis averted. Over to you Mr Trump.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

HIV tests should be offered to everyone in high risk areas when

first_imgEveryone in high risk areas should be offered HIV tests when they enroll for a new GP because 13,500 people are unaware that they have the disease, public health experts have said. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London are calling for immediate HIV screening to be rolled out to all 74 local authorities in England with high rates of infection. High HIV prevalence is defined as having more than two diagnosed infections per 1,000 adults in a given area.An estimated 13,500 people in the UK do not know they carry the virus that causes Aids, meaning they miss out on treatment and pose an infection risk to others.Dr Werner Leber, who led the study involving more than 86,000 people from 40 GP surgeries in the London borough of Hackney, said: “We’ve shown that HIV screening in UK primary care is cost effective and potentially cost saving, which is contrary to widespread belief.”This is an important finding given today’s austerity. Financial pressures, particularly within local authority’s public health budgets, mean that the costs of HIV testing are under intense scrutiny, and in some areas investment in testing has fallen.” The scientists conducted a trial which tested the effectiveness of rapid fingerprick HIV testing as part of the standard health check carried out during GP registration.They found it led to a four-fold increase in the HIV diagnosis rate.A mathematical model showed primary care HIV screening in high prevalence areas became cost effective after 33 years.But factoring in the higher costs of care for people diagnosed late showed that screening could become cost effective far sooner than this.The annual cost of rolling out HIV screening to all 74 high prevalence authorities was estimated at £4 million.Dr Clare Highton, from the City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Public health, specialist and CCG commissioners should take note of these important results showing the value for money of screening for HIV in primary care.”This intervention means that people with HIV are able to live longer and healthier lives and the spread of infection to other people is halted.”Dr Michael Brady, Medical Director for Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “One in seven people living with HIV do not know that they have it.”Undiagnosed HIV infection puts individuals at risk of preventable illness and death, disproportionally contributes to onward transmission and is an unnecessary burden of cost to the NHS.“Effective HIV therapy means people can now expect to live a normal lifespan and won’t pass the virus on to anyone else. Testing in General Practice is a key component of this.”Currently people are only screened for HIV if they have symptoms. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) is currently consulting on changes to testing. The findings appear in The Lancet HIV medical journal.Areas deemed to be at high risk are: Brighton and Hove, Camden, City of London, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Westminster, Adur, Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bedford, Bexley, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Brent, Bristol, Bromley, Corby, Coventry, Crawley, Croydon, Derby, Ealing, Eastbourne, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Harlow, Harrow, Hastings, Havering, Hertsmere, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston upon Thames, Leeds, Leicester, Lewes, Luton, Manchester, Merton, Milton Keynes, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newham, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Reading, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Rochdale, Rushmoor, Salford, Sandwell, Slough, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Stevenage, Sutton, Thurrock, Tower Hamlets, Trafford, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, Watford, Wellingborough, Wolverhampton and Worthing. Prince Harry being tested for HIV Prince Harry being tested for HIV Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Rise of study tubers is whipping up hysteria among schoolchildren experts warn

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The rise of “study tubers” is “whipping up hysteria” among schoolchildren, experts have warned.These increasingly popular YouTube videos – some of which have been watched millions of times – show teenagers studying for hours on end, while sharing tips and advice about how to revise.  Ruby, whose channel is called Ruby Granger named after her hero Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, has had over 13 million views.Among her videos are speeded-up clips of herself revising for her A-levels in English, Philosophy and Chemistry for 14 and 15 hours a day. Introducing her Study With Me: 15 Hour Study Day film, said explains: “This is the longest study with me that I have ever filmed. I just want to quickly point out that I do not do 15 hours of studying every day.“Usually if I’m not doing anything else that day I will do 10-12 hours of work. This isn’t always homework, sometimes I like to do extension projects.” Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that on the one hand, youngsters should be congratulated for “being innovative and using technology for something constructive”.However, he added that children must be “protected” from “setting themselves unattainable goals” after watching “study tubers” post videos of themselves revising for hours on end.“Mental health is such an issue for young people. People present themselves in a way that is unattainable,” he said. “It goes back to schools helping each child to think about themselves, and not that everyone can do this or should do this.”He explained that while teachers try to give their pupils as much advice and guidance as possible, there is always the possibility that they will look elsewhere.“You always know that youngsters can access other resources, and that the quality control of these is always slightly dodgy,” he said.Barnaby Lenon, the chairman of the Independent Schools Council, has previously advised teenagers to spend seven hours a day studying for their GCSEs and A levels.He advised that pupils spend 100 hours working during the Easter holidays, covering 50 topics in two-hour slots.“Plan to work for seven hours a day most days of the Easter break. If you work for 14 days, that will be about 100 hours of revision. If each topic takes two hours to revise, that is 50 topics,” he said.center_img Meanwhile, Jade Bowler’s YouTube channel Unjaded Jade has had 10.3 million views – one of her posts shows her crying as she tells how she was rejected from Oxford University – and Eve Bennett from Revision with Eve, has had 12.6 million views.Chris McGovern, chair of the Campaign for Real Education, said that “study tubers” can offer social support and reassurance for students who may otherwise feel isolated while revising. He added that there is “rising panic” among teenagers about exams, and that YouTube vloggers can fuel their anxiety. “One of the dangers is that it creates a sense of hysteria, a collective hysteria,” he said.“We need to get away from the videos, I suspect they are whipping up hysteria. Unfortunately for youngsters, they tend to whip each other up into a frenzy.”last_img read more

Watch Buckingham Palace transformed by rainforest projection

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A rainforest design was projected on the facade of Buckingham Palace on Sunday as part of a global conservation initiative led by Queen Elizabeth II.The projection of exotic trees will light up the building as representatives of 53 countries will gather in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Summit (CHOGM).Topics such as environmental themes and other issues of common interest are on the agenda.The projection features the QCC (Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy) logo embedded with a pattern of identifiable foliage and tree silhouettes, designed to take the viewer into a forest canopy space.last_img read more

Rocket launcher found at Brighton recycling site

The Veolia Materials Recovery Facility in Brighton Credit:Eddie Mitchell The Veolia Materials Recovery Facility in Brighton “Officers sought advice from Explosive Ordnance Device (EOD) experts, and it was confirmed there was no ammunition in the weapon.”The item was found within a compressed bale of rubbish and was therefore not in its original form (damaged). It was seized for forensic analysis and the road was reopened shortly before 2pm.”At no point was there any danger to any persons or any property in the area.”It is not clear when the waste in which the rocket launcher was found was brought to the site, nor where it came from. Brighton and Hove City Council declined to comment on the issue, with a spokesman saying it was “nothing to do with them”, despite the local authority subcontracting the site to Veolia.A Veolia spokesman said: “At approximately 12.20pm on Friday 18th May a suspicious item was found at Hollingdean Materials Recovery Facility.“The police were called, attended site and  safely  removed the item.  No one was injured during this incident and the site has now been reopened.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A spokesman said: “At 12.26pm on Friday, police were called after a rocket launcher was discovered at the Veolia Materials Recovery Facility in Hollingdean Lane, Brighton.”The site was evacuated and police closed the road as a precaution. Police were forced to evacuate a recycling centre after a rocket launcher was found in amongst household waste.The weapon was discovered by a member of staff at the Veolia Materials Recovery Facility in Brighton at lunchtime on Friday and the site was closed down while officers carried out their checks. It is understood Sussex Police called the bomb disposal team, but after it was established the rocket launcher was not loaded, it was left to the local force. The centre is owned by Brighton and Hove City Council, who had earlier wrongly told a local news outlet that it was a “fake device”, and recycles waste from Brighton and Hove and East Sussex. A witness told The Telegraph it is not believed the weapon was a historic rocket launcher, but rather a more modern model, which has now been sent to be forensically examined. Sussex Police insisted the rocket launcher posed no threat to the public as it was so badly damaged it could not have been discharged.  read more

Boris Beckers diplomatic passport is a clumsy fake claims Central African Republic

Becker announced his new role in a press statement in April, and was pictured with the president. The statement said that the office was “official bestowed” by President Touadéra and his ambassador, Dr Daniel Emery Dede.It included a quote from President Touadéra declaring he was “extremely pleased that a world star like Boris Becker, with his extensive international relations, has agreed to support our country”.Becker said he would use his “international network” to help make the country safe. He has yet to visit the CAR.A spokesman for Becker was unavailable for comment. The foreign ministry’s chief of staff, Cherubin Moroubama, told Agence-France Presse: “The diplomatic passport that he has is a fake.”He claimed the document’s serial number corresponded to one of a batch of passports stolen in 2014, and that the role Becker claims to occupy as a roving attache “does not exist”. Boris Becker’s diplomatic passport is a “clumsy fake”, a Central African Republic foreign minister has claimed, in the latest instalment of the former tennis star’s bankruptcy saga.The three-times Wimbledon champion is asserting diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention in his bankruptcy proceedings, and provided a High Court judge with a letter from the CAR embassy in Brussels stating that he is an attache for sports, humanitarian and cultural affairs in the European Union.The letter stated that Becker was issued with a diplomatic passport on March 19 and that it runs until 2023.However, a diplomatic passport requires the signature of the country’s foreign minister, Charles Armel Doubane. He claimed to Reuters that the version he has seen is a “clumsy fake”, adding that “the signature on the passport was not mine”.Mr Doubane said the government is launching an inquiry into who issued the passport to Becker. The diplomatic passport that he has is a fakeCherubin Moroubama, the CAR foreign ministry’s chief of staff The Brussels embassy issued a statement on Sunday reiterating that “Mr Becker is a support of our country and was appointed to the diplomatic service by the president of our country. His office is in Brussels. Mr Becker is in mission for our country and our embassy in the field of sport, culture and humanitarian affairs.”The statement said Britain must comply with the Vienna Convention and “respect all diplomats and their rights”. There appears to be a difference of opinion between the country’s foreign ministry and its Brussels outpost, and the foreign ministry appears to be contradicting a statement attributed to the president, Faustin Archange Touadéra. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

British Olympic gold medalist Amy Williams moved into a bungalow after sport

“I had back pain for my whole career, but only my close team really knew. My physios would be working on it just trying to get me through the next race,” she said. Williams won gold in 2010 Amy Williams took home gold at the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics in the skeletonCredit:AP Photo/Elise Amendola A British Olympic gold medallist has revealed how sport left her body so broken she moved out of a four-storey townhouse and into a bungalow to avoid having to climb the stairs.In 2010, Amy Williams won Britain’s first solo Winter Olympics gold medal for 30 years with victory in the women’s skeleton at the Vancouver games, but has been “living with pain every single day” since a crash in 2002.Such was the difficulty climbing and descending the stairs in her Bath townhouse, Williams opted to move to a knee-friendly bungalow nearby on the advice of another athlete.“I just brush over the pain, because every single day I am in pain. It’s just a part of my life,” the 36-year-old told The Telegraph.Williams competed in the skeleton, where athletes lie face down on an ultra-light sled, and hurl themselves round an icy, curvy course at speeds of over 90mph.Back in 2002, well before she clinched gold and became a household name, a crash triggered a disk to slip in her back and the effects are still with her today. Her friend Tanya Streeter, a world champion freediver, gave her the idea saying: “It’s the best thing you can do for your body.”“I spotted one for sale near to where I grew up, and I had to at least take a look.“It was hard to swallow, going from an 18th century townhouse which was the love of my life, to a 1970’s granny bungalow, but we have done the best for it, and now it looks great.“Even better, my knees love it.”At the end of a long day looking after one-year-old son Oscar, it still hurts to get up off the sofa, but the ever-positive Williams concedes: “My medal is still worth the pain.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Recently, another slipped disk at the top of her spine has caused her to be “plagued with headaches and migraines,” but the worst problems have been with Williams’ knees.“I have lifted weights since I was 14 or 15, so to a degree it’s wear and tear, but I have had a lot of operations,” she adds.“The first two were keyhole surgeries, then one was to smooth my kneecap, then I had damage under my kneecap so they had to clear it out and then my big injury came the week after I retired in 2012.“I was trying a new cycling machine at Bath university, and I snapped and busted everything from my ACL to my cruciate.“I saw my knee and leg bent back and I passed out. An ambulance came and I was operated on the next day.”Throughout the rehab period Williams describes sliding down stairs on her backside whenever she wanted to leave the house. She laughs about it now, but says she was crying at the time. “I sold my house because I had too many stairs. It simply hurt too much to get back upstairs.”Wanting to start a family, Williams and her husband Craig decided that life would be much easier in a bungalow. Williams won gold in 2010Credit:Andrew Milligan/PA Amy Williams competes in the skeleton at Vancouver 2010 read more

Samantha Eastwood murder Killer laid midwifes wedding dress on bed to fool

Mrs Justice Carr told him he had engaged in a “sophisticated and mendacious cover-up” and had “weaved an extraordinary web of deception.”She said: “Samantha was alone in her home where she should have been safe and sound, and trusted you in her house.”On any view, she suffered what must have been a terrifying assault resulting in a killing that was not immediate.“In the agonising hours and days following her death you lied and lied, over and over again, in an attempt to cover up what you had done.”Miss Eastwood had been in a relationship since 2010 and had been due to marry in the summer of this year. Michael Stirling Samantha Eastwood A “composed and callous” killer suffocated his midwife lover before laying a false trail for detectives in an act of “breathtaking cruelty,” a court heard.Michael Stirling, 32, flew into such an intense rage during a row with Samantha Eastwood, 28,at her Stoke-on-Trent home that he forced her to her bedroom floor and suffocated her.The pair had been having an “intimate” affair for three years. She had also been in a long-term relationship with his wife’s brother but had called off their engagement months earlier.After murdering her, Stirling carefully laid Miss Eastwood’s unworn wedding dress and engagement ring out on her bed.The following day he sent a series of texts to her sister from her phone, claiming she was having a breakdown and needed some “me time,” Stafford Crown Court heard.One said: “Please leave me alone” while another suggested she had met a “guy off the internet” and was being driven towards the motorway. Michael StirlingCredit:Staffordshire Police/PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Police later likened his level of deceit to that of Soham murderer Ian Huntley.Stirling bound Miss Eastwood’s face and eyes with masking tape before wrapping her body inside a single duvet cover.He then bundled her into a van outside her home in Stoke on Trent and drove to his parents’ house for dinner, where he was “fine and cheerful” before returning home for a shower. “I liken his actions to that of Ian Huntley.”  But she called off the engagement in January, to the surprise of friends, and later tried to sell her wedding dress online.She was reported missing by concerned colleagues on Friday July 27 after she failed to show up for a night shift at Royal Stoke University Hospital.At 3pm that afternoon, one of Miss Eastwood’s neighbours heard a woman screaming for “between 15 to 30 seconds”, and then a woman shouting “get off, get off me”.Stirling was arrested two days later but released under investigation.Four days after that, on Thursday, August 2, he inadvertently led police to her body.DI Dan Ison, the officer in charge of the case, told Stoke-on-Trent Live: “His behaviour on August 2 was suspicious to say the least. He was observed on a bicycle which he secreted in a hedge and he ran off.”I knew his phone had been in that area on the night she went missing. We had a 1,000 metre radius as to where she might be.”We started searching on the Saturday and, within an-hour-and-a-half, we found her body.”Stirling was re-arrested on August 4 and pleaded guilty to murder in October.DI Ison said: “To go to that level of deceit, it’s unthinkable really. He then went out in his van on the pretext of searching for Miss Eastwood, disposing of her body “like an animal” in the undergrowth on the edge of the Staffordshire Moorland.Hours later, he returned to her family home where distraught relatives had gathered and hugged her younger sister.Gemma Eastwood told the court: “Forever this will haunt me.”Stirling was caught when he was tailed by police as he returned to check on the body six days later.The married landscape gardener, who has a four-year-old daughter, was on Monday sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 16 years and ten months. Samantha EastwoodCredit:Staffordshire Police read more