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January 24, 2014

Claire Tiltman murder: Prosecutors mull charges in notorious English crime

Claire Tiltman murder: Prosecutors mull charges in notorious English crime

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Friday, January 24, 2014

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Almost exactly 21 years after 16-year-old Claire “Tilt” Tiltman was stabbed to death near her Kent, England home, Kent Police have passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Cquote1.svg We hope to reach a decision as soon as is practicably possible Cquote2.svg

—CPS

The case has been the subject of speculation sadistic killer Robert Napper was responsible, but the file is reported to concern longtime suspect Colin Ash-Smith. Wikinews contacted Kent Police and the CPS but neither were willing to confirm how many suspects were covered by the evidence file.

“We have presented a file of evidence to the CPS for their consideration in relation to the murder of Claire Tiltman,” said Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson of the Kent Police cold case team in a statement provided to Wikinews. “Claire’s murder has been subject to an ongoing investigation by Kent Police who have never given up on justice for Claire.”

The CPS gave Wikinews a statement confirming they are “currently considering a file of evidence submitted by Kent Police in relation to the murder”. The statement added “We hope to reach a decision as soon as is practicably possible.”

Tiltman was stabbed in excess of 40 times in an alleyway in Greenhithe as she took a shortcut to visit a friend. The Dartford Grammar School pupil, who had celebrated her birthday four days before, aspired to be a firefighter and was a familiar face at her local fire station. Her death in 1993 sparked an investigation that amassed over 16,000 documents without success in spite of the fact she was killed between 6:00 and 6:30pm, as commuters returned from work.

Cquote1.svg Claire was 16 years old at the time of her murder with her whole future ahead of her. That evening someone took that future away Cquote2.svg

—Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson, Kent Police cold case detective

On Saturday the Justice for Claire campaign group marked the 21st anniversary of the murder. A band played in nearby Dartford and, including a raffle, the event raised over £3,000 for the group, which includes some of Tiltman’s friends. Wikinews attempted to contact Justice for Claire but their website is unavailable and previous contact details are no longer valid. Last year they organised a candlelit memorial walk to mark the 20th anniversary.

The victim’s parents have both since died. Her mother died of cancer after care at EllenorLions Hospice, one of two beneficiaries of the money raised by Justice for Claire last week. The other was the Fire Fighters Charity. Founding member and friend of Tiltman’s Lisa Gribben said “We want to hold onto the amazing memories we have but also create so many more so they can be remembered in a good way and not for what happened […] The evening is to remember Tilt and her parents for both the amazing friend she was and the wonderful, loving family they all were. […] Its saddens me that our memories are tarnished because of such evil. Hopefully now when someone reads about Tilt they can read about happier times too.”

Claire Tiltman’s hometown of Greenhithe as it appears today.
Image: Clem Rutter.

Vinson told local journalists at the time that officers were “absolutely committed” to catching the killer and “actively investigating this case”. “Claire was 16 years old at the time of her murder with her whole future ahead of her. That evening someone took that future away.”

Colin Ash-Smith is serving multiple life sentences for other attacks on women, including stabbing Charlotte Barnard, 22, in late 1995. The Barnard attack, for which he was convicted of attempted murder two years later, was yards from where Tiltman died. His other crimes include another attempted murder, kidnap, and attempted rape.

His former home in Dartfield, where his parents live, has been searched at least three times by police. The most recent was in September, when forensic officers spent several hours at the building. His father Aubrey received a twelve-month prison term for perverting the course of justice; shortly afterwards his mother was arrested after admitting on TV she asked for a knife to be destroyed during the initial investigation into her son.

Following the latest search of the property Kent Police said “Officers have obtained a large amount of items which will be examined in the coming weeks.” The former milkman’s father says he’s convinced his son did not murder Claire Tiltman.

Robert Napper, meanwhile, has been linked to the crime by criminologists and by former Metropolitan Police constable Vincent Wright. Wright went to an Inspector in 2000 to put forward his case that Napper killed Tiltman and also killed Rachel Nickell in London in 1992. In December 2008 Napper admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility for killing Nickell six months before Tiltman’s death. Like Tiltman, Nickell was stabbed more than 40 times.

Wright began investigating after Napper was convicted in the deaths of mother-and-daughter Samantha and Jazmine Bisset, who were killed ten months after Tiltman’s death. Samantha Bisset was stabbed 60 times. Wright discovered Napper was freshly released from an eight-week prison sentence for weapons offences when Tiltman died and was a known voyeur. In 1995 Napper admitted raping one teenager at knifepoint and attempting to rape another within eight days of each other in 1992. Wright produced a timeline for the inspector in 2000, and has been in touch with Kent Police as well. In 1998 Operation Enigma, a reexamination of cold murders, suggested the Tiltman and Nickell crimes could be down to the same offender.

A modern view of a path on Wimbledon Common. Rachel Nickell was fatally stabbed on the common by Robert Napper in 1992.
Image: Derek Harper.

“Napper could have been stopped,” Wright said after Napper was finally convicted in the Nickell case. “It was down to poor investigatory procedure that he wasn’t.” The Metropolitan Police lured innocent suspect Colin Stagg into a honeytrap and he was charged with murdering Nickell but later cleared when the case collapsed in court.

Professor David Wilson, a Birmingham City University criminologist, wrote in The Daily Star last March he believes Napper “was probably the murderer of 16-year-old Kent schoolgirl Claire Tiltman in January 1993, and of business executive Jean Bradley, 47, in west London two months later.” That month he repeated his theory in his Channel 5 documentary series Killers Behind Bars.

In addition to the “blitz” style of knife assault on Napper’s victims, Wilson hypothesised Tiltman was linked to Napper by Napper’s regular use of public transport. The Tiltman murder scene is twenty minutes by rail from Napper’s former home and her killer is believed to have headed towards a nearby train station.

Dr Laurence Allison, a professor of forensic psychology at Liverpool University, is co-author of a book titled Killer in the Shadows – The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper that looks at not just Napper’s convictions but also cold cases he may be connected to. In addition to Tiltman and Bradley, Allison identified Napper as a suspect in the death of Penny Bell, stabbed 50 times in west London. All three victims were to the west of Napper’s home area and all died within five minutes of train stations.

Allison told Wikinews, “we now know Napper was not sufficiently [investigated over] Rachel Nickell after it was established that he murdered Samantha Bissett”, noting “these sorts of murders are so rare that one needs to carefully consider an offender with track record as a plausible and worthy suspect”. However, Allison made clear this does not mean Napper is the only viable suspect: “Napper needs to be looked at [but] I wouldn’t be so bold as to favour one person over another either.”



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August 9, 2011

Rioting develops throughout England

Rioting develops throughout England – Wikinews, the free news source

Rioting develops throughout England

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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A fireman puts out a fire in Tottenham caused by rioters.
Image: Christophe Maximin.

Rioting, theft, vandalism and other acts of violence are currently occurring in various cities throughout England. There is a substantial rioting problem, primarily in the capital of London, which has spread to the cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and Nottingham.

David Cameron, the current UK Prime Minister, condemned the violent acts, referring to them as “sickening”, proclaiming that those involving themselves the incident “will feel the full force of the law”. At least 563 individuals have been arrested in relation to these incidents. He also reported that Parliament is to be recalled this Thursday. The number of police officers in London tonight is to be increased from six thousand to sixteen thousand, the Prime Minister said, with any pre-arranged leave being abandoned.

The riots were sparked by the fatal shooting by police of 29-year-old Mark Duggan on Thursday in Tottenham, during the planned arrest of Duggan as part of anti-gun unit Operation Trident. Reports from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) claimed that Duggan had been shot in retaliation, however the IPCC later admitted there is no evidence that Duggan shot at the police. On Sunday, a peaceful protest in Tottenham held by Duggan’s family and friends sparked a series of disturbances in the area, which quickly became a violent riot, with youths from the area looting and clashing with Police.

For three consecutive days, London has experienced what the Metropolitan Police have referred to as “copycat criminal activity”. Hundreds of arrests have now occurred, with 105 individuals having been charged for a variety of crimes. The Metropolitan Police are now contemplating the concept of using plastic bullets as a disciplinary method within the riots. As of yet, English police have never used such a weapon in this context.



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November 15, 2010

Somali piracy: Kenyan navy kills three, Chinese ship hijacked, British couple freed

Somali piracy: Kenyan navy kills three, Chinese ship hijacked, British couple freed

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Monday, November 15, 2010

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Three pirates were killed late Friday during a presumed attack in error, while other pirates successfully hijacked the Yuan Xiang, a Panamanian-flagged vessel with an all-Chinese crew, and a media embargo was lifted regarding the release of a British couple whose yacht was seized more than a year ago over the weekend.

At 11 p.m. on Friday a Kenyan patrol vessel was near Kilifi in Kenyan coastal waters “when four suspected Somali pirates on board a speed boat climbed the vessel, mistaking it for a merchant vessel,” according to Kenyan Defence Department spokesman Bogita Ongeri. He said three were shot dead but the fourth “dived into the sea with bullet wounds during the scuffle,” and is thought to have died. The speed boat with more pirates on board fled, the three bodies were taken to Coast General Hospital, Mombassa.

Ongeri promised more details after discussions with the vessel’s captain adding, “[t]he government will not relent in its fight against piracy.” Kenya, along with the Seychelles, performs international prosecutions of pirates, but convictions are rarely secured; 26 suspects were freed last week by Kenya owing to lack of evidence or jurisdiction.

Andrew Mwangura of the Seafarers’ Assistance Program said Saturday, “I can confirm the pirates hijacked Yuan Xiang on Friday at midnight Kenyan time in the Arabian Sea near India. The vessel has 29 Chinese crew.” The Yuan Xiang was sailing outside the zone covered by a multinational task force combating piracy. Reports suggest its captors are heading to Somalia.

Retired British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler were released after their yacht Lynn Rival was captured near the Seychelles en-route to Tanzania 388 days ago, in October 2009. An injunction prevented reporting the release until 56-year-old Rachel and 60-year-old Paul, from Kent, were out of Somalia.

“Men with guns came aboard,” Paul told ITV News over the phone a week after their capture. “Then we were forced to sail … toward Somalia.” The seizure was witnessed by UK refueling ship RFA Wave Knight but they were not helped for fear their lives would be endangered. “This is not piracy and must not be reported as such,” Paul said in custody. “It is kidnapping and extortion and even torture.” It is unclear if money changed hands; US$7 million was originally demanded but UK government policy forbids ransom payments. “We’re fine,” said Paul. “We’re rather skinny and bony but we’re fine.”

New figures show 790 people have been kidnapped by Somali pirates this year, on course to beat last year’s record of 867. Of these, 435 remain hostage. Dr Alex Coutroubis and George Kiourktsoglou of London’s University of Greenwich say crews are repelling more attacks, and attackers have responded with increased violence. “As it gets harder for pirates to capture ships, the Somali gangs are more likely to fire at sailors with automatic weapons in order to force vessels to stop”. Some tankers have had rocket propelled grenades fired at them.

Last year saw 217 hijack attempts. This year, to date, 140, and 40 ships seized – versus 47 for the whole of 2009.



Related news

  • “Somali pirates threaten to kill British hostages in days” — Wikinews, January 23, 2010

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July 8, 2007

Tour de France: The race begins in earnest

Tour de France: The race begins in earnest

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Tour de France 2007
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Sunday, July 8, 2007

London, England — For the second time in two days, the sun and the crowds came out to welcome the Tour de France to London.

The all clapping, all cheering public lined the streets to watch David Millar take the lead from Greenwich, only to lose his steam 50km to the end. The winner, Australian Robbie McEwan, claimed the Green jersey while Fabian Cancellara held onto the leaders yellow jersey.

Fellow Briton Mark Cavendish suffered bike troubles throughout the whole stage. Millar did not go without, he was awarded the polka dot jersey for king of the mountains.

Overall standing:

  1. Fabian Cancellara in 4 hours 47 minutes and 51 seconds
  2. Andreas Kloden at 13 secs
  3. David Millar at 21 secs
  4. George Hincapie at 23 secs
  5. Bradley Wiggins at 23 secs
  6. Vladimir Gusev at 25 secs
  7. Vladimir Karpets at 26 secs
  8. Thor Hushovd at 29 secs
  9. Alexander Vinokourov at 30 secs
  10. Thomas Dekker at 31 secs

Atmosphere at Jubilee Gardens

Tour de France 2007. The procession passes through the streets of London.

The show got underway as the caravane set off from the Mall at half eight. Dance beats, giant cows, and French tinged words of encouragement, momentarily woke the early birds from their patient wait for the main event. As they waited curious by-passers swapped photography tips, and thoughts on cycling as the youngest members wondered what the fuss was all about. Council workmen commented on how easy it was to get work done, with no car traffic on the roads.

Again the policing was low key and friendly with the Gendarme Nationale cutting a dash amongst their British colleagues. British bobbies rode in French vehicles, and French argents in British ones. Riding well in advance of the Tour, French and British motorcycle policemen swapped tips and compared notes as they passed. The Frenchmen bringing more than a little Gallic charm and swagger to the proceedings.

The crowd behind Jubilee Gardens grew as the start time of twenty-five past ten approached, an event presaged by an ever increasing number of press and support vehicles. As Big Ben chimed the hour in the background a quartet of helicopters in the sky above the River Thames began to jostle for position; a dance mirrored on the ground as anticipation grew. Slowly the dribble that was the vanguard of press and support vehicles became a torrent. A wave of cheers rung out, announcing finally the arrival of the riders. Despite their being almost 190 riders the speeding cyclists had come and gone in a matter of minutes, however the show was not yet over. For a quarter of an hour afterwards tour buses, and still yet more support vehicles followed in the wake of the cyclists. As the police began to remove their restrictions on the crowds and traffic, a final rear guard of race fans emulating their heroes brought up the rear. Despite some not being in the best of condition and some riding rather rickety bikes, these fans still managed to get an enthusiastic cheer of encouragement from the remaining onlookers.

With the Tour continuing on its way and it still not yet 11, some amongst the myriad of spectators began to make their way to the large outside video screens to continue watching the race, others preferring to sample the shops, sights, smells and tastes of the waking City. With some others choosing to sit in the sun, and lie in the park, no doubt making up for an early start.

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July 7, 2007

Tour de France: Cancellara wins 7.9 km time trial prologue

Tour de France: Cancellara wins 7.9 km time trial prologue

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Tour de France 2007
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  • 29 July 2007: Tour de France: Alberto Contador wins the grand tour
  • 28 July 2007: Tour de France: Levi Leipheimer wins stage 19
  • 27 July 2007: Tour de France: Sandy Casar wins stage 18
  • 26 July 2007: Tour de France: Daniele Bennati wins stage 17
  • 25 July 2007: Tour de France: Yellow jersey Rasmussen withdrawn
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At least half a million onlookers turned out to line the route as the Tour de France Prologue closed the streets of Central London for a day. Setting off at one minute intervals the 180 plus riders took less than ten minutes to speed past some of London’s most memorable landmarks. With the eventual winner World time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara completing the 7.9 kilometre individual time trial in 8 minutes 50 seconds.

Fabian Cancellara

The Tour had to compete with more familiar sporting events, the British Grand Prix, the closing stages of Wimbledon and with the Live Earth concerts for the heart’s of the British public. However some say as many as a million turned out for the Gallic extravaganza; the party atmosphere aided by a turn in the weather, the sun coming out for the first time all summer.

Run on the second anniversary of the 2005 terrorist attacks and at a time of heightened security, policing was successfully discrete the most visible police presence, by way of their novelty being, 45 members of the Gendarme Nationale.

Coming to England for the first time since 1994 fans new and old had the course of the day and the three hours of the trials to familiarise themselves with the French institution. The initial good natured cheering on of every rider, growing into real excitement as the shape of the race emerged. At the end of the day the standings were:

Rank Name Country Team Time
1 Fabian Cancellara Switzerland Team CSC 8’50”
2 Andréas Klöden Germany Astana Team 13″
3 George Hincapie USA Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 23″
4 Bradley Wiggins Great Britain Cofidis 23″
5 Vladimir Gusev Russia Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 25″
6 Vladimir Karpets Russia Caisse d’Epargne 26″
7 Alexandre Vinokourov Kazakhstan Astana Team 30″
8 Thomas Dekker Netherlands Rabobank 31″
9 Manuel Quinziato Italy Liquigas 32″
10 Benoît Vaugrenard France Française des Jeux 32″

Sources

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July 6, 2007

Tour de France: One day until \’Le Grand Départ\’

Filed under: Archived,Cycling,England,Europe,Kent, England,London,Sports — admin @ 5:00 am

Tour de France: One day until ‘Le Grand Départ’

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Friday, July 6, 2007

Tour de France 2007
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Other Tour de France 2007 stories
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More info from Wikipedia
  • Tour de France
  • 2007 Tour de France
  • Prologue to Stage 10
  • Stage 11 to Stage 20

London is preparing for Le Grand Départ of the 2007 Tour de France. The route, which will run through the Greenwich Millennium Village, is being prepared for the Départ. The Tour de France will be in London and the South East for the two days of the 7th and 8th of July. The event will start in Trafalgar Square at 15:00 BST (UTC+1).

“I believe this will be the most spectacular Grand Départ the Tour has ever seen and the weekend will underline London’s great sporting reputation,” said Ken Livingstone, mayor of London.

The parts of the Tour that London will be hosting are the Prologue and Stage One. The Prologue will be on Saturday, the 7th of July, starting in Trafalgar Square at 15:00 BST and finishing at 18:20 BST. Stage One will be on the following day, starting in Greenwich at 11:00 BST and finishing in Canterbury, Kent.

Over the years the Tour de France has seen 52 British riders; the first being Charley Holland and Bill Burl in 1937. Londoners may get to see today’s riders on their two wheels, but they will be followed by 1,500 vehicles, 13,000 policemen and women patrolling the route and 2,300 members of the world press.

During the event many roads will be closed along the route and off it. The official website provides detailed information.

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