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Jay Sewell death: Mother says sentences are ‘no deterrent’

Jay Sewell

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Met Police

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Jay Sewell was fatally stabbed through a car window

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.

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Sharon Louch said she had to walk out of court because she was “very angry” about the process

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

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Met Police

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(Clockwise from top left) Daniel Grogan, Ann Grogan, Robert Grogan, Francesca Grogan, Charlie Dudley, Jamie Bennett, Liam Hickey

  • 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.

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Rail fares rise by 2.7%, hitting millions of commuters

King's Cross station in London in 2014

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Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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 told BBC Breakfast. “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.

Passengers at a mainline railway station

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Season ticket rises

Some annual passes go up by more than £100

  • £132Reading to London. Total £4,736

  • £118Gloucester to Birmingham. Total £4,356

  • £116Glasgow to Edinburgh. Total £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.

Passenger complaints

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 UK Statistics Authority as a national statistic in 2013.

Emily Yates, a freelance writer from Brighton who co-founded the Association of British Commuters, said the annual rises feel like “Groundhog Day” and a “complete charade”.

“Every year, we ask for a fares freeze, the government says no, and the rail industry defends the decision,” she said.

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.

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London’s City Hall provides Christmas meals for homeless

Sadiq Khan hands out food

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Sadiq Khan helped serve 100 Christmas Dinners to guests at City Hall

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.

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Claire said she had been “looking forward” to the Christmas Dinner

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.”

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Guests were treated to rendition of carols by the London International Gospel Choir

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Around 100 people who use London’s homeless services were invited to City Hall

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.

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Sadiq Khan said “it is shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do”

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Guests were given a three-course Christmas Dinner

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.”

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Free opticians services were put on by charity Humanity First

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.”

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New life brewed for 100-year-old East End coffee stall

Coffee stall in 1920

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Jane Tothill / Museum of London

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Syd’s coffee stall has been on Calvert Avenue in Shoreditch since March 1919

An east London coffee stall which has been run by the same family for a century is to be given a new lease of life once it shuts for the final time.

Syd’s coffee stall was opened by a World War One veteran who started it using his invalidity pension.

It has been run by three generations of the Tothill family since then but will close on Friday after current owner Jane decided it was “time to move on”.

The stand has been acquired to go on display at the Museum of London.

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Museum of London

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The stall will be displayed at the museum once it moves into its new building

Sydney Edward Tothill spent £117 commissioning a local coachbuilder to construct the stall which has sat on Calvert Avenue in Shoreditch since March 1919.

By today’s standards, the initial menu was a little limited.

“Camp coffee”, a brown liquid made of essence of coffee-beans, chicory and sugar, was served alongside tea, cocoa and Bovex – described as a poor man’s Bovril.

The snack of choice was a “Sav and a Slice” – a saveloy sausage served with a slice of bread and English mustard.

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Museum of London

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Jane Tothill is Sydney Edward Tothill’s granddaughter

During World War Two, Syd and his wife May were given a special licence to remain open during blackouts so that they could cater for air raid wardens overnight.

The stall was considered so essential that when May was injured by shrapnel from a nearby explosion, the War Office brought Syd’s son back from a secret overseas RAF mission so it could remain open.

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Jane Tothill/Museum of London

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Syd junior became a Freeman of the City of London and was the only caterer to ever be allowed to trade on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral

The son, also called Syd, successfully expanded it into a catering business called Hillary Caterers to commemorate Sir Edmund Hillary’s conquest of Everest in 1953.

Jane Tothill said reaching 100 years had been “an incredible milestone” but “it was time for the stall to move on to tell a new story at the Museum of London”.

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Museum of London

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The stall will sell its final ever coffee on Friday

Vyki Sparkes, curator of social and working history at the museum, said the stall was “an invaluable piece of our shared history as Londoners”.

It will go on display once the museum moves into its new building.

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General Election 2019: Polls open across London

Ballot box

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PA

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.

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London minicab qualifications from private schools banned

Minicab

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Minicab drivers must sit mandatory exams to get a licence from Transport for London

Minicab drivers in London will only be able to gain required qualifications at official centres after a cheating scandal was exposed by the BBC.

Drivers could previously sit mandatory exams at Transport for London (TfL) centres or authorised private schools and colleges to get a licence.

However the investigation found some colleges cheated the required tests.

TfL said all licences gained from colleges where cheating occurred had been revoked.

‘Urgent review’

As part of the cab application process, drivers must sit a topographical exam and an English test at one of eight official TfL testing centres.

Evidence of these exams can also be accepted via other qualifications including BTecs, which are usually taken at numerous private colleges and centres around the UK.

Some employees at one of these colleges – Vista Training Solutions in Newham, east London – offered to take the tests for several BBC researchers for £500 per BTec.

After the cheating was exposed, TfL carried out an “urgent review” of every licence gained through qualifications passed at private colleges.

It has now revoked those of 143 drivers who had gained them through Vista Training Solutions while another 209 licence applications made by people who passed their qualifications through the college have also been rejected.

The transport authority added that no evidence of “fraudulent activity” had been found at any other private colleges but from February, qualifications will only be allowed to be gained from one of TfL’s eight testing centres.

“The most robust and relevant topographical tests are our own assessments,” said Helen Chapman, TfL’s director of licensing, regulation and charging.

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Media captionGerti Qamili, a manager at Vista, was challenged after the secret filming

In a statement Ofqual, which regulates tests taken at private colleges, said it took “all allegations of qualifications fraud extremely seriously”.

Vista Training Solutions previously said it was “devastated to learn that such malpractice took place” and apologised “unreservedly”.

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Nuno Espirito Santo is a potential replacement if Arsenal sack Unai Emery

Unai Emery’s Arsenal are eight points adrift of the top four in the Premier League

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.”

My focus is on today and tomorrow – Emery

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.

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General election 2019: ‘We’re just represented by white people’

Young people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds (BAME) have described how they feel the 2019 general election has failed so far to take on their views or represent them.

Students at London’s Westminster Kingsway College talked about the issues they care about and the changes they would like to see in politics.

Video by Jamie Moreland

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London Underground: Victoria Line staff to strike

Victoria station

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Getty Images

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Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will walk out for 24 hours from 22:00 on 27 November

Train drivers on the Victoria Line are to go on strike following a falling out with London Underground (LU) for “breaking promises”.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out for 24 hours from 22:00 on 27 November.

The line is one of the busiest on the Tube network, carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers a day.

The union warned it would consider further strikes in December if the dispute was not resolved.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash accused LU management of reneging on agreements reached during talks.

‘Childish behaviour’

Abuses of procedures, pay arrangements and constant harassment of staff were also were at the heart of the dispute, he added.

“It is extraordinary that LU seriously believed that they could get away with mugging off drivers on the Victoria Line by making promises and then pulling them away the moment that they step out into the daylight.

“LU’s actions are deliberately provocative and the announcement of action later this month is solely down to their childish behaviour.

“I have informed LU that the union remains available for talks to resolve this matter, but such talks have to be genuine, honest and based on mutual respect and trust.”

Transport for London has been approached for comment.

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City traders: We want to work 9 to 4

City trader

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City traders have urged UK and European exchanges to cut trading hours to improve work-life balance.

They say the long hours are bad for mental health and are not exactly female-friendly.

“It’s hard to find childcare at five o’clock in the morning,” said April Day, head of equities at the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME).

The idea is for exchanges to open 09:00 to 16:00, instead of 08:00 to 16:30.

The AFME is pushing for the change alongside fellow trader body the Investment Association.

Shorter trading hours would cut pressure on traders and attract a more diverse range of workers, it said.

Stock market trading has traditionally been seen as male-dominated, lagging behind other areas of financial services in terms of attracting women into roles,

The AFME’s Ms Day said her organisation had been lobbying stock exchanges in London, Paris, Germany and the Nordic region.

“A shorter working day would improve flexibility for employees and attract a more diverse range of individuals on to trading floors,” she added.

The London Stock Exchange said it would launch a consultation on the request.

Less efficient

Traders in the UK and elsewhere in Europe normally work for a few hours either side of the current 8.5 trading hours, Ms Day said.

By contrast, US exchanges are open for 6.5 hours and Asian exchanges for 6.

Chris Cumming, chief executive of the Investment Association, says that under the current hours, City traders are beginning work when there is not much action on the market anyway.

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“We have been doing a review about how we can make sure that trading on the market is as efficient as possible,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.

“What it means is that investors, pension funds, you and I as savers, we are able to eventually trade at the most efficient time when liquidity is at its best.

“It is cheaper to do and that actually means we get high levels of savings and better pensions, so this has got a real world impact.”

Childcare challenge

A knock-on effect of having a smaller intake of women in junior positions means that there are relatively few women in senior management positions in investment and banking trading, Ms Day said.

Juggling work and childcare responsibilities can be a challenge for both men and women, she added.

Long hours in a high-pressure job can also exacerbate any mental health difficulties traders may be suffering, Ms Day added.

Galina Dimitrova, director of capital markets at the Investment Association, concurred: “We have heard many deeply moving stories of traders’ mental health and personal life being impacted by their working hours.

“Whilst it is no silver bullet, we hope this European-wide review could start to lead to a step change in more efficient markets to the benefit of savers and those who operate them.”

The London Stock Exchange said it strongly supported improving diversity and workplace culture in the City.

It said the call from the trader associations was “an important suggestion for a European-wide adjustment to trading hours”.

“We intend to consider the request in a formal consultation with London Stock Exchange’s global members and customers,” it added.

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