The mother of a teenage boy who was stabbed to death by a love rival and his parents has called the sentences his killers received “a joke”.
Jay Sewell, 18, was attacked by a group led by Daniel Grogan, who thought he was dating his ex-girlfriend.
Mr Sewell’s mother Sharon Louch said she and her family were still “suffering” and felt they had been sidelined during the court process.
Grogan, 20, was found guilty of murder and jailed for a minimum of 21 years.
The Old Bailey heard he had deliberately engineered a stand-off with Mr Sewell and his ex-girlfriend Gemma Hodder in December 2018.
Mr Sewell and his friends were set upon in Lee, south-east London, by Grogan’s parents and friends who were armed with knives, hammers, a 4ft (1.2m) fireman’s axe and wooden sticks.
Ms Louch said her son had only known Ms Hodder for four days but in that time had received numerous threats.
“He decided enough was enough and he needed to go and sort it out. I wish he had come to me but instead he went to sort it out himself,” she said.
She described her son as a “very popular, very loyal” teenager who “meant everything to me”.
“I lie awake at night and that’s all I think about…just his last minutes because I never got to say goodbye,” Ms Louch said.
On Tuesday, Grogan and a group of his friends and family were given sentences ranging from life imprisonment to a nine-month rehabilitation order.
Ms Louch said it was “completely and utterly wrong” that some of those involved “could be out on the street” soon.
She said: “I had to walk out, I couldn’t listen to it – I did feel very angry about it because we haven’t been able to say a lot at all.
“It was all about them. The court process is very much in their favour. I just don’t think there’s any deterrent to stop people from doing this or reoffending.”
The prime minister has previously called for tougher sentences and an end to automatic release for all killers.
Those jailed over fatal stabbing
- Grogan’s father Robert, 58, who had armed himself with an axe, was jailed for 14-and-a-half years for manslaughter, six years for wounding with intent and three-and-a-half years for violent disorder
- Grogan’s mother Ann, 55, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for manslaughter and three-and-a-half years for violent disorder, to be served concurrently
- Friend and neighbour Charlie Dudley, 26, of Grove Park, was jailed for 16 years for manslaughter, six-and-a-half years for wounding with intent and three-and-a-half years for violent disorder, to be served concurrently
- Cousin Liam Hickey, 19, of Eltham, was sentenced to three years in a Young Offenders Institution for wounding with intent and two years for violent disorder, to be served concurrently
- Sister Francesca Grogan, 30, of Sibthorpe Road, was jailed for 12 months for violent disorder
- Jamie Bennett, 32, of Sibthorpe Road, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for violent disorder
- A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named, was handed a nine-month rehabilitation order and a supervision order for violent disorder.
Millions of commuters will have to pay an average of 2.7% more for train tickets from today.
The rise, announced by industry body the Rail Delivery Group in November, is lower than the 3.1% increase at the start of last year.
Train companies say it is the third year in a row that average fares have been held below RPI – the inflation measure on which rises are based.
But many commuters face an increase of more than £100 for annual passes.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps cited a new fund for trials for flexible fares as an example of how the government was committed to “putting passengers first”.
He said he planned to tackle the “fragmented” system and had begun the process to end the franchise for Northern Rail, whose performance was “completely unacceptable”.
“You can judge me on this at the end of the year,” he said. “These changes are going to take time but I think people will see things moving in the right direction.”
But Labour’s shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, said the rise showed passengers were “once again paying more for less under the Tories”.
Independent watchdog Transport Focus says most rail users (53%) do not feel train ticket prices offer value for money.
The watchdog’s director, David Sidebottom, said: “After a year of pretty poor performance in some areas, passengers just want a consistent day-to-day service they can rely on and a better chance of getting a seat.”
He encouraged passengers to claim compensation for eligible delays in order to “offset” the cost of fare rises.
Some annual season tickets up by more than £100
- Reading to London up £132 to £4,736
- Gloucester to Birmingham up £118 to £4,356
- Glasgow to Edinburgh up £116 to £4,200
However, Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions for Rail Delivery Group, said rail companies were investing in improving journeys while holding fare increases below inflation.
He said 2020 will see 1,000 extra weekly services and 1,000 more carriages added to Britain’s rail fleet.
“There is a record level of investment going into the railway at the moment,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“For people who do suffer from poor punctuality in areas of the country, that could be for a variety of different reasons, we apologise. We are looking at at trying to make punctuality much better across the board,” he said.
Official statistics show that just over one in three trains failed to arrive on time in July, August and September 2019, although that figure was an improvement on the previous year.
About 40% of annual rail price rises are regulated by governments in England, Scotland and Wales. They are pegged to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure for the previous July. Other fare rises are decided by train companies.
RPI inflation was 2.8% last year.
But RPI inflation is generally higher than the most widely watched measure of inflation, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).
Passenger groups have repeatedly called for the system to be changed since RPI inflation was abandoned by the National Audit Office as a national statistic in 2013.
Protests will be held against the fare increase on Thursday, including a demonstration outside London King’s Cross station.
The rallies come as the Trades Union Congress (TUC) releases research suggesting fares have risen by twice as much as wages in the last 10 years.
The TUC said someone earning an average salary in the UK would have to spend 16% of their wages for a season ticket from Chelmsford to London (£511 a month), but similar commutes would cost 2% of the average salary in France, and 4% in Germany and Belgium.
Christmas dinners have been served to Londoners who are reliant on the city’s homelessness services.
Hairdressers and opticians were also made available at City Hall before guests were given a three-course meal.
Last year, 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London, an 18% increase since last year, and more than double the number in 2010.
“Events like this help bring a sense of community back in to London,” Claire, a former rough sleeper, told the BBC.
Claire, who spent 30 years either living on the streets or in prison, said: “It’s the type of event that does matter. It forms partnerships and builds bonds.
“If it wasn’t for the support of St Mungo’s, I’d either be dead or doing what I was before.”
Guests were chosen from the thousands of Londoners that currently receive assistance from services funded by City Hall and delivered by charities St Mungo’s and Thames Reach.
But Claire said services were still “hit and miss”.
“Where I live I’m still waiting for support with my mental health,” she added.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “St Mungo’s and Thames Reach are struggling with finances.
“Since I became mayor we’ve more than doubled the amount of money we’ve spent on rough sleeping and the size of our outreach team.
“But we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve not got the money or the resources to do much more – as it is I’m criticised for going outside my remit and my power.
“It is both heartbreaking and shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do.”
Last year 15,470 people were accepted as being homeless by London councils.
There were 55,000 families living in temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and hostels.
Hundreds more people are estimated to be sleeping on London’s night buses.
Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper Services at St Mungo’s, said: “It’s wonderful that the Mayor has opened the doors of City Hall for this festive event.
“Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for clients in our services and our staff work hard to support those who stay with us over the holiday period.”
Sue Peart is preparing to be on the phone for Samaritans on Christmas Day.
It comes after her life quickly changed in 2017, when she left her job as a national magazine editor to look after her sick mother, who died only months later.
As a result, Sue’s mental health suffered – but two years later she is lending an ear to those in need.
Video Journalist: Paul Murphy-Kasp
Voting is under way to decide who will represent London’s 73 parliamentary seats.
Londoners will decide the fate of hundreds of parliamentary candidates including the prime minister and leader of the Labour Party.
Registered voters will be able to cast their ballots from 07:00 to 22:00 GMT.
Labour represented 46 seats in the city going into the 2019 General Election. The Conservative had 20 London MPs while Liberal Democrats had four.
The BBC, like other broadcasters, is not allowed to report details of campaigning while the polls are open. More details around electoral law and our BBC code of practice is explained here.
Croydon. Famous for concrete, Boxpark, Stormzy and Kate Moss.
The south London borough is home to some 387,000 people, with the highest number of under-18s in the capital.
Croydon North, Croydon South and Croydon Central are its three parliamentary constituencies. The latter is a marginal, bellwether seat and since 1979 its winner has belonged to the party that forms the next government.
On a wet, grey day, residents shared their views on the election issues that mattered most to them.
Gemma, 33, is a council officer who moved to the area five years ago and lives in Shirley.
She said she “loves Croydon” and it had improved in her time there with the opening of places such as Boxpark – a pop up mall next to East Croydon station that serves a variety of cuisines from converted shipping containers.
The election however, is causing her some consternation. “I just feel like we’re on the precipice of something awful and there just needs to be a massive change.”
The environment and education are her top priorities.
“As I have two young children, my son just started school and I love his school but I’d be devastated if cuts affected it,” she said.
Waiting for a tram Courtney Robinson, a software engineer in his 20s, said Brexit was his bugbear.
“I feel the people are being sold isolation as independence and it is my generation and those after us who will pay the consequences,” he said.
He is not entirely convinced by any of the main party leaders.
He said he was disappointed with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn not taking a stance over Europe and believed the Tories have “screwed over the country”.
According to the council, about 7,000 people are employed in Croydon’s tech-associated industries, with a further 7,000 in engineering.
As a millennial working in tech, Mr Robinson said housing costs were less of a problem for him, despite the “ludicrous” prices.
He rents a flat in New Addington that only takes up 15% of his salary but said the price of commuting was a big concern.
His views on Brexit and transport were shared by 50-year-old Daisy Nahrulla, who has lived in her own home in Thornton Heath for the past 18 years.
She has been training to be a business coach after years working in the City in transport financing.
Ms Nahrulla has previously voted Labour but said she wanted to move away from the “mess that is Brexit” and would either vote Liberal Democrat or Green.
“We need more stations in south London. Transport has been under-invested for years,” she said.
Melissa Brooks, 33, is a single mother of two who was born in Croydon. Retail accounts for a large proportion of the local economy and for the past 16 years Ms Brooks has worked part-time at Next.
She said violence and drugs were her worry, having witnessed people “sniffing things off bin lids” outside her home.
Her eldest son starts high school next year and she has chosen a school nearest to their home.
“He’s so quiet and you don’t have to be part of a gang now. They’re targeting random innocent people and that really scares me,” she said.
She did not vote in the 2017 election but did take part in the EU referendum.
Essentially though she has lost faith. “I don’t know if it makes a difference really,” she said.
- Drug crime in the year to September in Croydon was twice England’s national average, according to Croydon Council data
- Violent crime was also higher, with 17.3 crimes per every 1,000 of the population compared to 11.3 across England
- Croydon University Hospital’s most recent CQC report found it needed to improve overall but that outpatient waiting times were good and within national standards for many conditions, including cancer
- Croydon Council and the Home Office have been the town’s largest employers with more than 41,000 people working in these offices
- Retail and logistics employed more than 16,000 people respectively in 2017
Her friend Ann Charles, 69, lives in South Norwood and is a mother of three.
She is a carer for her eldest daughter and volunteers at a lunch club.
Ms Charles said normally she voted Labour but would not be doing so as she did not trust Mr Corbyn but she said she was “not sure about Boris either”.
She recently spent more than eight hours waiting on a regular trip to a hospital with her daughter and said the main problem for her was immigration.
“We need some of it but schools and hospitals are inundated with people, they’re struggling to cope,” she said.
Milo, 18, is studying mechanics at Croydon College. His mum and dad have always voted in the election and he said he planned to vote Labour.
He wanted politicians to “look out for the youth” and speak to young people, especially those in areas of “higher gang activity”.
“Ask them what they’re into and make the changes,” he added.
Tom Magrath has been working on a stall at the town’s Surrey Street market since he was 14.
He shared Milo’s concerns about knife crime but said he could not vote for Mr Corbyn and would be voting for the Conservative Party on 12 December.
Mr Magrath added: “They’ve got to… get us out of the EU because we voted for that.
“I know what we’re going to get though – the best of a bad bunch.”
Arsenal have identified Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo as a potential replacement for Unai Emery if the Gunners decide to sack the Spaniard.
Head coach Emery is under pressure after a winless run of six matches across all competitions.
Arsenal have only won four of 13 Premier League games this season.
BBC Sport understands that if Emery is sacked and Nuno is allowed to speak to Arsenal, then the Portuguese would be a strong contender to take over.
Nuno said it would be “disrespectful” to talk about being linked with Arsenal when asked in a news conference before his side’s Europa League tie against Braga on Thursday.
“I wouldn’t ever mention an issue which is not a reality,” he said. “Speaking about a job which has a manager would be disrespectful and I will not do so.”
Emery said he still has the full support of the club, having been warned results must improve while being offered public backing by the Arsenal hierarchy earlier this month.
“Really the club is supporting me,” he said. “I feel the club, everyone responsible in that area, is backing me. Really I appreciate it a lot.
“I feel strong with that support and know my responsibility to come back and change that situation.”
The former Sevilla and Paris St-Germain boss added he is only focused on “today and tomorrow” as he prepares for his side’s Europa League match at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.
“My job is to prepare for the match, to show the best performance in front of our supporters,” he said.
Arsenal go into Thursday’s game top of Group F, four points clear of both their German opponents and Standard Liege.
On Sunday, a number of Arsenal fan groups called for “urgent action” over the “state of things” at the club.
“My focus is only today and tomorrow, to do all the things that we have worked on here at the training ground,” Emery added.
“We know our supporters were disappointed by the draw against Southampton, but we have the perfect chance to reconnect with our supporters.
“Our wish is that every supporter tomorrow helps the team, we need them.”
Arsenal are also eight points adrift of the top four and 19 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.
Chelsea became the first team through to the Women’s Continental League Cup quarter-finals after beating Tottenham 5-1 at Kingsmeadow.
Beth England scored two of Chelsea’s five second-half goals to ensure Chelsea progressed and extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 10 games this season.
Elsewhere, there were also wins for fellow WSL sides Brighton and West Ham.
Brighton’s 5-0 win over London Bees moved them top of Group B.
The Hammers’ 3-1 win over Lewes moved them up to second in Group D behind Chelsea.
In the only all-WSL fixture of the night, Drew Spence’s early second-half goal set Chelsea up for a convincing win.
The London derby defeat was Spurs’ second in four days, having gone down 2-0 to Arsenal in front of a Women’s Super League record crowd of 38,262 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.
There was nothing like that crowd at Kingsmeadow, a ground with a capacity of less than 4,900 – which itself attract a record attendance for a WSL game held at a non-Premier League stadium when 4,790 watched Chelsea overcome Manchester United on Sunday.
In the all-Championship fixtures, Charlie Estcourt scored a late winner for Charlton Athletic against London City Lionesses, while the second tier’s bottom side Coventry United held division leaders Aston Villa in a 2-2 draw before going on to earn an extra point with a penalty shootout win.
- Coventry United 2-2 Aston Villa (Coventry won penalty shootout 3-1)
- Charlton Athletic 1-0 London City Lionesses
- London Bees 0-5 Brighton
- Chelsea 5-1 Tottenham
- West Ham 3-1 Lewes
BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women’s sport available to watch across the BBC in 2019, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women’s sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.
Saracens have brought in a major communications company to help manage the public fallout of the salary cap scandal, with the Premiership champions yet to formally appeal against their points deduction and fine.
Sarries are set to be docked 35 points and fined £5.36m after an inquiry into business dealings between owner Nigel Wray and some of the club’s players.
Journalists were banned from asking director of rugby Mark McCall questions about the salary cap breach during Wednesday’s regular media briefing.
The news conference was called to preview their match against Racing 92 on Saturday, when they will begin the defence of their European Champions Cup crown.
FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm, were present at the briefing and will oversee how Sarries manage the situation publicly.
McCall confirmed the club have until Monday, 18 November to officially lodge their appeal.
In a statement issued on the same day the sanctions were announced, owner Wray said it felt as though “the rug is being completely pulled out from under our feet” and vowed to “appeal against all the findings”.
Premiership Rugby has said a review “can only be on the basis that there has been an error of law, the decision is irrational or that there has been some procedural unfairness”.
What did McCall actually say on Wednesday?
Former Ireland international McCall said it will be a “heck of a challenge” if the 35-point deduction stands, adding that it would be about the Premiership holders “trying to avoid relegation”.
“It’s a challenge we haven’t had to experience before as a group and I think one that we’ll get our head around and relish if we have to do that,” he told BBC Sport.
“We’re in a bit of adversity at the moment and I think over the years when adversity has come our way we’ve dealt with it pretty well.
“This is obviously probably adversity at a different level to what we’ve been used to before.”
Saracens have won six of their opening eight games in all competitions and are likely to be without most of their England World Cup players for their European opener in France, with several yet to return to training.
“I genuinely don’t think it’s realistic that people can jump from being away for five months into something completely different,” McCall added.
“For us to try and tell them playing against Racing’s the biggest game – they played a World Cup final two weeks ago – so we’ve been having some individual conversations to see how they genuinely feel and try to make some decisions with them, rather than for them, as to when they come back.”
What does it all mean for their European campaign?
Saracens centre Alex Lozowski, who spoke to the media after McCall, insisted the club can “absolutely” defend their European crown, adding they are “not going to lie down and give it away”.
But European Professional Club Rugby director general Vincent Gaillard earlier said the sanction “isn’t good news” for their tournament.
“Our concern rests in their capacity to put everything into the European Cup knowing that they will have to fight all the way to avoid relegation,” said Gaillard.
“Perhaps other clubs will be happy that they are going to be a bit wounded but it’s not good news for us.
“We would prefer that they are thoroughly behind the competition.”
England international Lozowski said the Saracens squad had become accustomed to not being popular within the sport, after the silverware they have won over recent years.
“Since I’ve been here we’ve been pretty much been universally disliked so it’s not really new to us,” he said.
“That’s what happens when you have success and win championships. What happened has, I guess, made that a bit worse but we are used to being disliked so it’s nothing new for us.
“The target on our backs may be a little bit bigger now but looking at the people we have I’m pretty sure everyone’s ready to deal with that.”
What’s the background?
The charges relate to a failure to disclose player payments in each of the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
Saracens previously claimed they “readily comply” with salary cap rules and were able to spend above the £7m cap because of the high proportion – almost 60% – of home-grown players in their squad.
The Allianz Park outfit have several of the game’s biggest stars on their books, including seven of the 31-man squad that represented England at the World Cup in Japan.
One of the dominant forces in northern hemisphere club rugby, Sarries have won five Premiership titles and three European Champions Cups since 2010-11 – with two of those domestic titles coming in the timeframe that Premiership Rugby have been investigating.
Their three European successes have all come within the past four seasons.
Several people were injured in a roof collapse during a show at the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End.
The venue in Denman Street was packed for a performance of the Arthur Miller play Death of a Salesman.
Screaming was heard from the circle when the partial ceiling collapse happened just before 20:00 GMT. Some theatre-goers left covered in debris.
More than 1,000 people were evacuated from the venue, the Met Police said.
Five members of the audience needed hospital treatment for minor injuries, Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) said.
Wendell Pierce, who plays Willy Loman in the show – which only opened on Monday – apologised to those who had been evacuated.
A video shared on social media shows the US actor outside the theatre asking the crowd to come back and see the play another time.
“We’re so honoured that you came tonight. We are so sorry that this happened,” he said.
BBC journalist Iain Haddow, who was in the audience, said the collapse happened about 20 minutes into the show.
He said that before the collapse there had been a steady drop of water “which turned progressively into a stream” – although it was not raining at the time – and said there was some panic when the ceiling fell in.
Outside the theatre, including on the roof, he said there was scaffolding and building work going on.
Following the collapse, an ATG spokeswoman confirmed the section of ceiling collapsed in the rear upper circle, at 20:00 GMT.
“The performance was immediately stopped and the theatre safely evacuated,” she said.
“We take the safety and security of our audiences extremely seriously and we are doing everything we can to ascertain the cause of the incident.
The theatre group has not yet made any announcement on when the venue will reopen and whether any shows or ticket-holders will be affected – but indicated a statement would be made later in the day.
In December 2013, 76 people were injured, seven seriously, when part of a ceiling at London’s Apollo Theatre collapsed during a show.
London Fire Brigade said three fire engines and three rescue units were at the scene on Denman Street and investigations were taking place.
Police added that road closures have been put in place and advised motorists to use alternative routes.