Sunday, 26 June 2011

'I hope he is marrying her for love': Socialite warns Petra Ecclestone of her future husband's past

She's the ultimate daddy's girl - the stunning daughter F1 billionaire Bernie Ecclestone bought a £56m house in Chelsea AND a £91m LA mansion.

This summer she's set to marry a little-known businessman with a string of glamorous and wealthy exes.

So what does model and friend Jasmine Lennard have to say about Mr Ecclestone's future son-in-law?

When they marry in August, Petra Ecclestone and James Stunt will become one of London’s highest-profile, not to mention stupendously wealthy, couples.

After a no-expenses-spared ceremony in the Mediterranean, the newlyweds – whose £56million Grade II listed house in Chelsea is currently being renovated – will start married life by moving into The Manor, a 123-room super-mansion in Los Angele built by the late TV producer Aaron Spelling and bought by the bride’s father, Formula 1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone, for £91million.

Ecclestone, the son of a Suffolk fisherman, is said to have given the match his seal of approval and marked the couple’s engagement with a sumptuous party for 300 guests at Battersea Power Station in May.

The night reached its climax when pop star Rihanna performed a surprise set – for a reported £250,000 fee.

As the youngest daughter of 80-year-old self-made billionaire Ecclestone and his ex-wife Slavica, a Croatian former Armani model, 22-year-old Petra’s social pedigree is in no doubt.

Petra Ecclestone and James at their engagement party

After all, this is a woman who counts collecting £10,000 Hermes handbags as a hobby, lists Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie as close friends and is set to inherit a sizeable chunk of her father’s £2.5billion fortune.

But far less is known about the man she will marry, 28-year-old businessman Stunt, who proposed to Petra in March and has been living with her in a seven-storey townhouse in Eaton Square, Belgravia, since 2007.

One woman who does know Stunt, however, is model and former socialite Jasmine Lennard.

The 25-year-old daughter of Seventies Bond actress Marilyn Galsworthy and her ex-husband, Sacha Shoes founder Brian Lennard, was at college with Stunt and knew him over a three-year period.

She recalls their friendship as close, although he now describes it as merely ‘hanging out’.

According to Jasmine, a reality-television star who has dated former Manchester United footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, Stunt is a serial ladies’ man and ambitious social climber who has used his charm and guile to springboard his way from one super-rich girlfriend to another.

Jasmine said: ‘When I see James with Petra I just think, “He must believe he’s hit the jackpot.”

‘I am not bitter – I wish him all the best and I really hope he is marrying her for love.’

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Jasmine met Stunt when they were studying at London’s exclusive Mander Portman Woodward private sixth-form college in South Kensington.

‘When I met James, I was 17 and he was a couple of years older. He looked very different from how he does now.

He has put on a lot of weight, but back then he was very skinny, almost undernourished, and weighed about nine-and-a-half stone. He was very handsome.

James with Petra and her father Bernie Ecclestone at Sandown Park in Surrey

‘James is incredibly charming and is very flattering. Every girl to him is ‘‘Princess’’ or ‘‘Baby’’. He could charm a nun into bed.

‘With me, he used to play Westlife CDs in his car and sing along to them, even though he can’t sing. Eventually, I gave in and agreed to go out with him.

‘James was obsessed with gangster films – his favourite film was Scarface. He hated his slight build and was desperate to try to build himself up.

‘Image is very important to James. His skin was bright orange because of all the fake tan he wore, which left his towels and bed linen stained orange too.

‘In the past few years, he has bulked out because of his lifestyle.’
Stunt grew up in a £1.8 million house in Virginia Water, a Surrey village at the heart of the stockbroker belt and a mile from the Wentworth Estate, home to multi-millionaires including Sir Bruce Forsyth and where Stunt’s parents, Geoffrey and Lorraine, still live.

The family also own a luxury two-bedroom apartment in the exclusive Chelsea Harbour development, bought, according to records, in 1999 for £600,000 but now believed to be worth well over £1 million.

It’s certainly not a lifestyle to be sniffed at. But the family’s wealth is a drop in the ocean alongside that of the Ecclestones – and therein, according to Jasmine, lies the rub.

Jasmine, a full-time mother to ten-month-old son Phoenix, says it quickly became clear after their relationship started that Stunt was a man who wanted the best from life – and was prepared to do whatever it took to get it.

‘Ever since I have known him, he has surrounded himself with the sons and daughters of wealthy people.

‘He had a very wealthy upbringing – his family certainly weren’t poor. But he was mixing with people who were millionaires several times over and he couldn’t compete. He once jokingly told me he’d bought a title, so he could call himself a marquess. I remember how excited he was the day his credit cards arrived embossed with his new title.

Jasmine, pictured age 18, a contestant in Five reality show Make Me A Supermodel

‘You only have to look at his history to understand what James is about. He went out with Camilla Al Fayed, daughter of Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed, and was friends with pop star Lily Allen.’

Despite his meteoric rise up the social ranks, Jasmine says Stunt has left a trail of heartbreak in his wake. ‘That man has been on dates with half of London. If I had to put a figure on it, I would say he has dated hundreds of girls.’

Not exactly what most prospective fathers-in-law want to hear about the man about to marry their daughter. But despite his former playboy lifestyle, Stunt is said to get on well with Bernie, whom he approached for permission to marry Petra before he proposed in March.

Like Bernie – whose favourite meal is egg on toast with brown sauce – it seems Stunt, who has described himself variously as a businessman and a wine collector, is a man of simple but very particular tastes.

‘James was a real mummy’s boy when we were together and I don’t think that’s changed,’ says Jasmine. ‘He has what you would call very exacting standards. Everything has to be done his way.

‘His favourite meal is chilli con carne – but I had to cook it following his mother’s recipe precisely.

‘He would only drink Lucozade, and his other vice was gold chocolate coins, which I had to bring him when I saw him.

‘James needs a lot of attention. He was obsessed with germs. All of his cutlery had to be washed twice and he would inspect it afterwards.’

Despite the enormous wealth he is marrying into, it seems teetotal Stunt’s interests also remain resolutely down-to-earth.

He and his sylph-like bride-to-be apparently like nothing more than a night in on the sofa watching at least an hour of television – including their favourite programme, BBC soap EastEnders.

It’s a far cry from Stunt’s days on the partycircuit with Jasmine, when he was a regular at nightspots such as Tramp, Boujis and Movida and drove a yellow Lamborghini with the number plate S7UNT.

‘He had a regular table at Tramp straight in the door and on the left,’ Jasmine recalls. ‘On the right would be (heiress) Lisa Tchenguiz and other regulars were the Reubens – the billionaire Jewish family from North London – and they would engage in ‘‘champagne wars’’ to see who could order the most bottles.

Petra and Bernie attend a party in London

‘He liked to be the centre of attention, and every time he ordered another magnum of Cristal, the club manager, Guido, turned the music off and played the Rocky theme tune while the bottle was delivered with sparklers so everyone would watch. All eyes had to be on James.

‘The champagne was rarely drunk because it was all about the show.
‘If he wasn’t in nightclubs, he would be in the casino, usually Aspinalls or Crockfords, a private members’ club in Mayfair.

‘He would be with friends who would spend £250,000 in one turn on the baccarat table. I went to his flat one day and found him lying on a bed of gambling receipts after a bad night of losses.

‘On the flip side of all this wealth, James had an obsession with gangsters and the East End underworld. He loved EastEnders because of the way it portrayed the East End. He affected a cockney accent from watching the soap and claimed to be related to the Richardsons (a notorious London criminal family).

‘He liked to flit between speaking in a cockney gangster’s voice to cut-glass English, depending on who he was talking to.’

Despite his high-rolling lifestyle, Jasmine says it was never clear exactly how Stunt earned an income. Jasmine, who lives in a £500,000 flat in Fulham, West London, and who found fame on reality TV show Make Me A Supermodel in 2005, recalled: ‘I asked him what he did but it was never completely clear.

‘Sometimes he would say it was stocks and shares, then he was supposed to be running a betting firm.

‘James surrounds himself with people who have money and he never went short. But in the time we were together, I don’t think he ever bought me anything.

‘James can be very persuasive. That’s his skill and I believe that’s how he has got to the point he is now. When we were together, he convinced me to buy him a £400 Bulgari bracelet. He said he had to have it, and I am embarrassed to admit it now but I stole my mother’s credit card to pay for it.

‘Later, he dated Camilla Al Fayed for a year. She helped him choose stuff to buy for the apartment. After they split, I visited him and there was a new sofa, new rugs and all the pictures were in silver frames.

‘It was the first time we talked as friends as we laughed about how the whole place had been “Harrodised”.

‘Many of the people in his circle were the wealthy sons and daughters of rich and successful people. Often their parents lived abroad and they lived in London, so they had access to a lot of money.

‘James would befriend them and invite them out. He could get them in to the places they wanted to go.’

These days it’s Stunt who is in charge of the purse strings as he prepares to marry into one of the world’s richest families.

He is now keen to demonstrate spending his money on more philanthropic causes. At Elton John’s White Tie And Tiara Ball, he bid £250,000 in a charity auction for a car, then promptly gave the car back to be sold again.

And as the countdown to the big day begins, it seems only fair to give the last word to the one that got away.

‘Nothing would surprise me about James. He always said he wanted to be known, and called himself ‘‘the most famous unfamous person in London’’,’ says Jasmine.

‘I just never thought the cost of finding that fame would be £91 million. I wish them both the best of luck, I really do. But rather her than me.'

A spokesman for Mr Stunt said yesterday: ‘James attended the same sixth-form college as Ms Lennard but he had no wish to keep in touch with her.

‘He does not recognise her account of those days in any way. He has been with Petra Ecclestone for five years.

‘They are completely in love with each other and looking forward to sharing the rest of their lives together.’


Friday, 24 June 2011

The “unrepentant” leader of a gang of organised criminals has today (June 24) been hit with the longest-ever jail term for waste offences, the Environment Agency has announced.

The “unrepentant” leader of a gang of organised criminals has today (June 24) been hit with the longest-ever jail term for waste offences, the Environment Agency has announced.

Hugh O’Donnell, 64, along with two accomplices was arrested by environmental crime officers and police following a three-year investigation into operations at his illegally-operated landfill site at Aldermaston near Reading.

The offences related to the operation of a large-scale illegal waste landfill site at Aldermaston near Reading
The landfill was ranked as one of the highest risk and highest priority illegal waste sites in South East England.

Sentenced in Isleworth Crown Court, Mr O’Donnell was given a four-year jail term for money-laundering and 22 months for waste offences, which are set to be served concurrently. Mr O’Donnell previously served six months in jail for waste offences and non-payment of fines.

The so-called “crime boss” had been released from prison yesterday (June 23) after serving four-and-a-half years for possession of an illegal firearm.

Mr O’Donnell’s accomplices, Robert Evans and Peter Lavelle, were also sentenced, with Mr Evans set to serve a total of two years in prison for money-laundering and Mr Lavelle to serve 18 months for the same offence. Both were also given 14 and 12 month sentences, respectively, for waste offences, which will be served concurrently.


The offences related to the operation of the Aldermaston landfill site, which was raided by the Environment Agency and Thames Valley Police in October 2008. The raid uncovered unlicensed handgun and ammunition, other weapons, stolen vehicles, plant equipment and over £5,000 in cash.

Speaking in court, Judge Edmunds QC said: “This was deliberate, calculated offending on an industrial scale…for profit. You carried on in the teeth of attempts to stop you, and with the clear intention of making as much criminal profit as you could before you were stopped.”

Judge Edmunds added that the trio had been “dismissive and obstructive” with regards to their interaction with the enforcement authorities.

Activity had stopped at the Aldermaston site in late 2008 following Mr O’Donnell’s arrest for possession of an illegal handgun. However, Mr Lavelle and Mr Evans were said to have been used by Mr O’Donnell to take over the day-to-day running of the site and operation of “phoney businesses”.


Angus Innes, principal solicitor for the Environment Agency, said: “O’Donnell’s illegal waste business netted millions of pounds in profit by taking skips or lorry loads of construction and demolition waste into the Aldermaston site to be dumped in an illegal landfill.

“This sentence sends out a message that waste crime is a serious offence and you can and will be sent to jail.”

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Environment Agency

Mr Innes added that the three-year investigation had been one of the “biggest and most complex” ever undertaken by the Environment Agency.

It involved the use of forensic techniques such as DNA, handwriting analysis, smartwater tracking, fingerprinting and mobile phone and laptop interrogation.

The Environment Agency said it would now be seeking a Proceeds of Crime application in order to confiscate assets from the gang. A restraint order has been in place for the past two years to prevent the disposal of £1 million of assets.

A woman died from a heart attack caused by shock after waking up to discover she had been declared dead - and was being prepared for burial.

As mourning relatives filed past her open coffin the supposedly dead woman suddenly woke up and started screaming as she realised where she was.

Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov, 49, had been wrongly declared deceased by doctors but died for real after hearing mourners saying prayers for her soul to be taken up to heaven in Kazan, Russia.

Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov pictured with her husband Fagili. The Russian woman died from shock after waking up at her own funeral

Devastated husband Fagili Mukhametzyanov, 51, had been told his wife had died of a heart attack after she'd collapsed at home suffering from chest pains.

Mr Mukhametzyanov said: 'Her eyes fluttered and we immediately rushed her back to the hospital but she only lived for another 12 minutes in intensive care before she died again, this time for good.

'I am very angry and want answers. She wasn’t dead when they said she was and they could have saved her.'

Hospital spokesman Minsalih Sahapov said: 'We are carrying out an investigation.'

Monday, 20 June 2011

Robbie Williams accidentally flashes willy on stage

Robbie Williams had accidentally flashed his willy on the stage while performing his solo section for the 'Take That's 'Progress' show at Croke Park Stadium, in Dublin last weekend.

The singer lost his grip on the whole situation when he stuffed his hands down his trousers as the song reached its climax.

It was a pretty wild routine so it''s no wonder it fell out. He didn''t seem in a hurry to put it away, the Sun quoted a witness as saying.

He was definitely up for it. He was going mental, shouting and swearing, trying to get the crowd going before shoving his hands down his keks.

Even though he was like a man possessed, the ladies didn''t complain, the witness added.

However, It is not the first time the Stoke-born star has shown what he is made of. He walked on stage naked in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1999 and in January this year, he recorded a birthday message for Gary Barlow's 40th in the buff.

Also last week Williams ripped his trousers while on stage at Cardiff''s Millennium Stadium and yelled: I''m so excited I''ve split my keks!


British man arrested after allegedly setting fire to castle over wedding bill

British man has been arrested after part of a castle was destroyed when a fire broke out.

The Daily Mail reports a source close to the investigation said the 36-year-old man allegedly started the fire over a disagreement about the bill for his wedding at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire,  located 60 km southwest of Manchester.

The Cheshire Constabulary confirmed a man had been arrested on suspicion of arson with the intent to endanger life.

Police and fire crews were called to the castle around 5:18 a.m. Sunday. Cheshire Fire and Rescue reported about 100 firefighters spend most of Sunday battling the fire. About 70 people were safely evacuated by staff prior to fire crews arriving on scene and no injuries were reported.

Despite a complex layout, fire officials said crews were able to contain the fire to won wing of the castle, although all three floors, which included hotel bedrooms and offices, had extensive damage.

The castle, which also serves as a hotel, dates back to 1840.

The owners of the castle told the Daily Mail the costs to repaid the building will be more than $1.6 million.


Thursday, 16 June 2011

British man has shot his own finger off in an effort to get rid of a painful wart.

Sean Murphy, a security guard from Yorkshire, blew most of his middle finger off with a shotgun after drinking several pints of beer, The Sun newspaper reported.

The 38-year-old was charged with possessing an illegal firearm after the incident but walked free yesterday after a judge handed him a suspended sentence.

Murphy told the Doncaster Magistrates' Court how he had lived with the wart for five years and had tried several removal creams over the years to no avail.

He added that the wart "was hurting a lot and causing my finger to bend".

"It was as big as my thumbnail. I'd been to the doctors with it and tried all sorts of things but it wouldn't go," he was quoted saying.

He said he didn't expect to lose most of his finger in the shooting.

The 38-year-old pleaded guilty to the possession of firearms charge and also to theft of the shotgun after he told police he found the firearm in a hedge near his work.

A police investigation revealed that it was stolen in a 2009 burglary which Murphy claims he had no knowledge of, The Sun reported.

The judge handed him a 16-week suspended sentence.


Monday, 13 June 2011

56-year-old says she hopes to become the first woman to have her womb transplanted into her daughter.

Eva Ottoson who lives in Nottinghamshire has agreed to take part in the medical procedure that would see her donate her uterus.

Her 25-year-old daughter, Sara, who lives in Sweden, was born without reproductive organs.

If successful she could become pregnant and carry her child in the same womb that she herself was carried in.

Adoption discussed
The mother and daughter hope the procedure could happen in Sweden next spring.

The pair have undergone tests to ascertain their suitability for the transplant operation.

Sara Ottoson was born without a uterus because of the condition Mayer Rokitanksy Kuster Hauser (MRKH) syndrome.

It's just an organ like a kidney or whatever”

Eva Ottoson
Her mother, who moved to England from Sweden three years ago, said: "From the start when we realised what her condition was she [Sara] has always been talking about adoption.

"Then this opportunity came along last autumn.

"So I think there are loads of young women out there, who for one reason or another, can't get their own babies and if this could be some way of doing it in the future, why not?

"Both me and my daughter are rational about it.

"It's just an organ like a kidney or whatever. She needs it, I have it. I don't need it anymore.

"I can't see the ethical problems about it really."

The only previous womb transplant widely reported occurred in 2000, in Saudi Arabia.

A womb from a 46-year-old was given to a 26-year-old but it had to be removed 99 days later because of complications.

Troubled Lewis Hamilton could be in line for a sensational switch to Red Bull Racing after it emerged he held private talks with the team's principal Christian Horner on Saturday evening.

Troubled Lewis Hamilton could be in line for a sensational switch to Red Bull Racing after it emerged he held private talks with the team's principal Christian Horner on Saturday evening.

The McLaren star, who retired from Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix on lap 8 after colliding with team-mate Jenson Button, is out of contract at the end of next season, and is yet to commit his future to the Woking-based team.

On the move? Hamilton held private talks with Horner over the weekend

Although a Red Bull source dismissed the 15-minute meeting as a 'social visit', the news is unlikely to dampen rumours that Hamilton could be ready to throw in the towel at McLaren.

Earlier this season, Hamilton hinted that he would be prepared to leave the British team in search of a second Formula One world title.

'I don't really envisage anything except winning world championships,' the 26-year-old said.

'I have only got a short period in Formula One. I am fortunate enough to be in a top team where I am comfortable but I want to win championships.'

In the wall: Hamilton collided with team-mate Button during the Canadian GP

Hamilton already trails Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel by a mammoth 76 points in the drivers' championship after his latest disappointment in Montreal.

His incident with Button followed an earlier collision with Mark Webber, prompting three-times world champion Niki Lauda to say: 'He is completely mad.'

Speaking on German television, the Austrian added: 'If the FIA does not punish him, I do not understand the world any more. At some point there has to be an end to all the jokes. You cannot drive like this as it will result in someone getting killed.'

Spinning around: The Briton also collided with Webber on lap 5 of the race

The only probable options for Hamilton beyond McLaren are Ferrari and Red Bull.

The Briton is unlikely to be partnered with bitter rival Fernando Alonso, who recently signed a five-year deal with the Italian marque, leaving Red Bull as the only other permutation.

Hamilton could replace Mark Webber in 2013, should the Australian agree a new one-year deal with the drinks manufacturer.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

'Immaculate conception' and the Marquess of Bath's 'wifelets' catfight

Since police were called to the Marquess of Bath's Longleat estate after one his "wifelets" was allegedly injured during a fight with a rival, mystery has surrounded the identities of the women.
Now, however, Amanda Doyle, who has been a companion of the "Loins of Longleat" for more than 10 years, has stepped forward to tell Mandrake: "It was just a catfight between two ladies."
Doyle, a 45-year-old Irish singer, claims that in the opposite corner was Trudie Juggernauth-Sharma, 51.
Doyle is understood to have become pregnant by Alexander Thynn, as the 79-year-old peer is known, but she suffered a miscarriage 18 months ago. She accuses the willowy Juggernauth-Sharma of provoking the altercation by claiming that if Doyle was pregnant by Lord Bath, "it must have been by an immaculate conception".
Doyle, who has a daughter from a previous relationship, replied: "Well, how's that, when it's IVF?" She says a physical confrontation then ensued. "I pushed out my hand to stop her," the singer claims. "She's jealous because I've been through 10 years of IVF with Alexander."


SlutWalk London: Hundreds turn out in lingerie for the march

Organised to insist that women should be allowed to wear as much or as little as they want without facing harassment from men, some ladies turned out in provocative and revealing outfits for the colourful march, which began at Trafalgar Square the capital.

The idea for SlutWalk was born in Toronto after a police officer caused outrage by stating that 'women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised' during a speech to university students.
Police officer Michael Sanguinetti told students at Osgoode Hall Law School during a campus safety talk: 'Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.'

Female empowerment: SlutWalkers marched from Hyde Park Corner to Trafalgar Square in central London
The first SlutWalk was held in Toronto in April.
The protest soon spread to cities around the world where women joined in to challenge the mindset that victims of sexual assault should bear a degree of responsibility on the grounds that they were 'asking for it'.
The London march, which had been planned since May, kicked off behind a banner reading 'SlutWalk London: because we've had enough'.
View more pictures from SlutWalk London here
Others carried placards reading 'It's a dress, not a yes', 'Women against rape', 'No means no' and 'Hijabs, hoodies, hotpants, our bodies, our choices'.
One sign read 'We are all chambermaids' – a reference to the recent Dominique Strauss-Kahn sex case.
The former International Monetary Fund chief has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of sex crimes, including attempted rape, against his 32-year-old female cleaner.
One protester, student Sofia Capel, 25, said: 'It's not the victim's fault if they're raped. Some men think they own the right to women's bodies.'
Rachel Sullivan, 35, another protester who was casually dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, said: 'It's unusual for us in England to demonstrate like this, but this is too much, what this policeman said.'
Several men joined the protest too. Among them was Andy Fell, a 27-year-old sound engineer.
He said: 'I came to show my solidarity with my girlfriend, and with the issue as well.'
A man and a woman, walking arm in arm, both wore bras and had the word 'slut' written across the midriff.
Caitlin Hayward-Tapp, one of the event's organisers, said: 'We are using the word slut because that is the word the officer used.... and by using it so often we feel we have taken some of the power out of it... it can't hurt us anymore.'


David Miliband was forced to deny plotting against his brother today amid claims of an ongoing feud over the Labour leadership.

The former foreign secretary called for the party to unite behind Ed, dismissing reports that he was hoping for him to fail as a "soap opera".
"I have moved on from the leadership election and so should everyone else," Mr Miliband said in a statement. "Ed won, I stand fully behind him and so should everyone else.
"I called for unity last October and I repeat that now."
The latest wave of speculation over the brothers' relationship has been sparked by an unauthorised biography alleging that the fallout from last year's contest was far worse than either has admitted publicly.
David is said to have effectively accused his younger brother of lying about his conduct in the contest last year.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Irishman attempting to row across the Indian Ocean naked was rescued on Tuesday after he was hit by a large wave and banged his head

Keith Whelan, 30, was trying to become the youngest man, and first Irishman, to complete the 6,000 kilometre (3,720 mile) crossing, but came to grief in rough seas off Western Australia.
He was picked up by a Japanese ship some 206 kilometres northwest of Geraldton.
“He was hit by a wave overnight and sustained a large cut to his head,” a spokeswoman at the Australian Maritime Safety Authority told AFP.
“He made a satellite phone call to a contact in the United Kingdom who then contacted Australian authorities and we diverted a merchant ship to pick him up.”
On his website, Whelan said he was attempting the epic voyage naked to raise money for Keep a Child Alive, a charity dedicated to helping children and families affected by HIV/AIDS.
“At first I thought this was complete madness but at the same time it appealed to me,” he said of why he was undertaking the trip.
“I am a risk taker and risking your life to achieve a dream is the biggest risk you can take.”
He initially departed Geraldton on May 7. But bad weather hampered his progress and forced him to spend time on the Abrohlos Islands, off the Western Australian coast.


Monday, 6 June 2011

SAS soldiers are acting as spotters in Libya to help NATO warplanes

WESTERN special forces appear to have been filmed on the front line in Libya, in what al-Jazeera TV said was ''evidence for the first time of allied boots on the ground''.

A group of six Westerners are clearly visible in the report by al-Jazeera from Dafniya, described as the westernmost point of the rebel lines west of the town of Misrata. Five of them are armed and wear informal sand-coloured clothes, peaked caps and cotton Arab scarves.

The sixth, apparently the most senior, carries no visible weapon and wears a pink, short-sleeved shirt. It is possible he is an intelligence officer. The group is seen talking to rebels and then quickly leaving on being spotted.

The reporter, Tony Birtley, a veteran war correspondent, said: ''Here a group of armed foreigners, possibly British, are seen liaising with the fighters. It could be to facilitate forthcoming helicopter attacks.''

There have been British media reports that SAS soldiers are acting as spotters in Libya to help NATO warplanes target Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces. In March, six special forces soldiers and two MI6 officers were detained by rebel fighters when they landed on an abortive mission to meet rebel leaders in Benghazi. The group were withdrawn soon after and a new ''liaison team'' was sent in their place.

The revelations came as as eight Libyan army officers appeared in Rome, saying they were part of a group of as many as 120 military officials and soldiers who had defected in recent days.

The officers - five generals, two colonels and a major - told a news conference that they had defected in protest at Colonel Gaddafi's actions against his own people, citing killings of civilians and violence against women. They claimed the Libyan campaign against the rebels was weakening rapidly.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

'Wayne Rooney prostitute' arrested in drugs raid

Jenny Thompson was held after officers found drugs paraphernalia at the £400,000 property where she lives in Bolton, Greater Manchester.
Officers also found a small quantity of what is believed to be cocaine at the house, which is owned by Thompson's wealthy parents.
Thompson, 22, was given a caution by police following the raid yesterday morning.
She and another prostitute, Helen Wood, 23, hit the headlines last September over allegations of £1,200 payments for sex sessions involving married England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.
Both women later made public apologies to Coleen Rooney after making the claims that her husband paid them for sex during the time she was pregnant.


Friday, 3 June 2011

Serial attack seagulls besiege pensioners' home

Two elderly women say they are too terrified to leave their home following a series of aerial attacks by gulls.

Nancy Bond and Gloria Prinn say they cannot use their garden or even hang their washing out following a number of onslaughts near their flat in Falmouth, Cornwall.

Ms Prinn told the BBC she had her glasses knocked off during one incident.

"I was hanging out my clothes. It just landed on me and glasses really went off," she said.

"It was like a tonne weight on me. It was terrible."

Ms Bond said: "When we come out to go shopping, the two big ones up there just come zooming over the top of you."

The RSPB said gulls nesting on house roofs are most likely to be herring gulls and are likely to be protecting their young.

The charity said the problem should disappear when the gulls' chicks have flown.

The RSPB said although gulls are protected, it is possible to get a licence to deal with nuisance birds.

But it added that Government licences allow the killing of urban gulls only as a last resort, where a significant risk to public health or safety has been identified