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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10257911/GP-surgery-manager-won-294-000-sacked-falling-pregnant-awarded-20k.html

GP surgery manager who won £294,000 after she was sacked for falling pregnant and was called a 'mother hen' is awarded another £20,000 to cover cost of her missed bonus

    Naomi Hefford, manager at a GPs, sued employers for pregnancy discrimination
    Mrs Hefford stumbled on practice partners secretly hatching a plan to axe her
    She was originally awarded £294,000 after tribunal ruled they victimised her
    Now she has got an extra £20,000 after arguing she missed pay and bonus

By Dan Sales For Mailonline

Published: 12:22, 30 November 2021 | Updated: 12:31, 30 November 2021

A GP practice manager who won £294,000 in a discrimination claim after they sacked her for falling pregnant has got an extra £20,000 over a missed bonus.  Distraught Naomi Hefford stumbled on the partners secretly hatching a plan to axe her and discussing what 'excuse' they could get away with three days after she told them she was going to have a baby.  An employment tribunal heard the GPs then launched a bogus misconduct investigation into her and fired her by email when she was in hospital shortly before she gave birth to her daughter.  Mrs Hefford successfully sued the doctors for pregnancy discrimination and was awarded £294,000 in compensation earlier this year.  She has now won an extra £20,000 after arguing to the panel that she was entitled to a greater payout to take into account a higher weekly pay and the bonus payment that she would have received had she not been fired.  A hearing in East London was told that the practice manager began work at Queensway Surgery, Southend, Essex, in November 2017 following an interview with partners Dr Michael Jack, Dr Ajith Sivaprasad, Dr Jamil Sorouji, Dr Olanike Aderonmu and Dr Sajid Azeem.  During the application process Mrs Hefford said she was asked whether she had children or was planning to have them. Although Dr Jack denied this, the tribunal concluded that he had childbearing 'in his mind'.  A year later she informed them that she was pregnant and that she had been deemed 'high risk'.  Three days later the practice manager was left in tears when she overheard Dr Sivaprasad, Dr Azeem and Dr Aderonmu declaring they needed to 'focus on sacking her' and calling her a 'mother hen'.  The tribunal judgements states: 'Her recollection was that the words were these: 'We need to focus now. We need to focus on sacking her and then steadying the ship because that's going to take up an awful lot of time'.  (She) also explained that she had heard the female voice saying that 'If we are going to do this what will be our excuse?'.  It was that point (she) says she became very upset and ran away because she was scared that the people in the room were going to hear her.  She added that after the comment made by the female voice (Dr Aderonmu) she also heard the phrase 'mother hen' and it was after these words that she left the vicinity.'

Mrs Hefford who had a habit of using her phone to record meetings so she could accurately write up minutes later realised the conversation had been accidentally taped.  The hearing was told that by January 2019 the GPs had decided to sack her and launched an investigation into her conduct, claiming she had been rude in her 'abrasive' emails to staff, undermined colleagues and that feedback had 'no effect' on her.  They then abruptly invited her to a 'heavy-handed' meeting without notice.  Mrs Hefford later complained of pregnancy discrimination to HR advisors, who ruled against her, and she was dismissed for gross misconduct in June while she was in hospital.  Tribunal judges concluded that the misconduct allegations were exaggerated and that the real reason she had been sacked by the doctors was because she was pregnant.  The panel's judgement continued: 'The principal reason for (her) dismissal was her pregnancy. We have found that the concerns about the (her) conduct were trivial up to the date on which she announced her pregnancy.  Thereafter, a meeting took place which discussed her potential dismissal. The process from then on which ultimately led to her dismissal was connected to her pregnancy  This was the catalyst that started the chain of events.'

Mrs Hefford won her claims against the doctors of unfair dismissal, pregnancy discrimination, victimisation and breach of contract.  The tribunal originally awarded her £294,372.72 in compensation but this has now been increased to £313,672.36.

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Fun Stuff / Cat
« on: November 03, 2021, 05:00:09 PM »
It's not a cat it's...

a small, four-legged, fur-bearing extortionist.

a wildlife control expert impersonator.

an un-programmable animal.

a four footed allergen.

a hair relocation expert.

a treat-seeking missile.

a lap-warmer with a built-in buzzer.

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Fun Stuff / Parking
« on: November 03, 2021, 04:57:39 PM »
An elderly lady was stopped to pull into a parking space when a young man in his new red Mercedes went around her and parked in the space she was waiting for.  The little old lady was so upset that she went up to the man and said, "I was going to park there!"

The man said, "That's what you can do when you're young and quick.”

This really upset the lady even more, so she got in her car and backed it up and then she stomped on the gas and plowed right into his Mercedes.  The young man ran back to his car and asked, "What did you do that for?"

The little old lady smiled and told him, "That's what you can do when you're old and rich!"

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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10084335/DAN-WOOTTON-targeting-Jesy-Nelson-using-wokery-bully-vulnerable-woman.html

DAN WOOTTON: The Mean Girls beating up Jesy for wearing too much fake tan may be using wokery to bully a vulnerable woman but they are doing so much worse than that

By Dan Wootton for MailOnline

Published: 16:06, 12 October 2021 | Updated: 16:08, 12 October 2021

Two years ago, when Jesy Nelson first revealed she had tried to kill herself after being subjected to relentless trolling about the way she looked, there was an outpouring of social media love.  The Be Kind brigade was out in full voice, championing the vulnerable singer - then a member of the world’s most successful girl group Little Mix - for being open about her insecurities and telling anyone who would listen they should stop commenting on her appearance.  Funny then that it’s those hypocrites who have this week started relentlessly taunting the very same Jesy for so-called ‘blackfishing’.  You see, now that she’s a solo artist having left the band, Jesy is in the line of fire for upsetting the woke mob, as I like to refer to them.  They claim that, as a white British woman, Jesy’s fake tanned skin, hip hop-inspired fashion and braided hairstyle somehow makes her racist.  The ‘blackfishing’ term was originally created in 2018 and used to describe someone pretending to be black on social media for personal or financial gain.  What the hell?

Since when was being tanned racist. If that’s the case we might as well cancel the whole cast of TOWIE today.  I’m partial to a touch of the St Tropez during winter myself and it’s certainly nothing to do with imitating another culture, but rather making it look like I’ve had at least a few minutes of sun in the past month.  On a more serious note, many young women with serious hang ups about their body, as Jesy has openly spoken about, have a condition called ‘tanorexia’, a compulsion to darken their skin that is similar to the behaviour connected to an eating disorder like anorexia.  Jesy, for her part, has insisted she would never ‘intentionally do anything to make myself look racially ambiguous’.

As for fashion, are we seriously saying that what we choose to wear or how we style our hair should somehow be dictated by the colour of our skin?

How utterly ridiculous and counterproductive, given the increasing cultural influence that Africa and Asia are in particular having on globalised pop culture.  And the influence black American music has had on pop and rock and roll since its earliest days.  Generations of white performers have taken inspiration from black music, and paid it generous credit.  These days Elvis would never have been allowed through the doors of Sun Records in Memphis without being accused of ‘cultural appropriation’.  And Mick Jagger would have been cancelled the minute he started belting out R’nB classics in the pubs of Dartford.  Surely, anyone sane can agree this is a route we don’t want to take as a society.  It’s very interesting to me that no one is accusing Eminem of ‘blackfishing’ despite the fact he’s a white gangster rapper who wears baggy jeans.   Either way, this scandal has turned what should have been a hugely significant moment of celebration for Jesy the release of her first solo single called Boyz with the top US rapper Nicki Minaj into something deeply disturbing. Overnight she has, yet again, become one of the most trolled women in the world.  And who’s concerned about Jesy’s mental health now?

Sadly, feeling the need to justify herself, Jesy has said in a livestream with Minaj today that her darker skin tone in the Boyz video was down to spending time in Antigua before the shoot.  And she added: ‘I personally want to say that my intention was never, ever to offend people of colour with this video and my song because, like I said, growing up as a young girl, this is the music that I listened to.’

On her hairstyle, she added: ‘I genuinely didn't think I was doing anything wrong, because I've got naturally curly hair.’

Nothing excuses the toxic bile being aimed at Jesy Nelson by the keyboard warriors, especially Little Mix fans who just a few months ago idolised her.  For the record, I am neither Team Little Mix or Team Jesy I love them both equally and have such a soft spot for the ladies.  I was the first journalist to ever interview the group in the canteen of ITV in 2011, when they were so terrified about what they were doing they were all physically shaking.  And then 12 months later, I presented them with their first ever gong (Best Girl Band in the dearly departed DW Awards hardly a Brit or Grammy!) where they teared up and declared they now felt like ‘sisters’.  And I felt like a proud distant relative watching the powerful quartet go from terrified schoolgirls to accomplished businesswoman, bossing it in the music industry, and even daring to sack their boss Simon Cowell (not something many X Factor alum get away with).  I have huge respect that, unlike their boy band contemporaries One Direction, the girls didn’t want to rip each other’s hair out at every opportunity.  Sure, there were the usual tensions of any band. But Little Mix stayed united for a decade with a mutual respect of their differences and not one member feeling like they were the standout star.  That’s why it’s so disappointing to see Jesy’s former bandmate Leigh-Anne Pinnock accused of encouraging the mob to join the pile on against her ‘sister’ this week.  In a message leaked by NoHun, Leigh-Anne allegedly encouraged the TikTok star to produce a negative post about Jesy, writing: ‘Do a video about her being a black fish.  She blocked us. Cut us off. Horrible person.’

And today a source close to Leigh-Anne has appeared to brief The Sun that she warned Jesy about cultural appropriation and ‘blackfishing’ in the past, saying: ‘Leigh-Anne had a conversation with Jesy, trying to explain why she was upset and why it could be offensive.  She felt she had to address it while making her racism documentary, but it apparently fell on deaf ears. For Jesy to now claim that it has never been mentioned to her before is really rude.’

Having been in a band with Jesy for years, I’m sure Leigh-Anne knows as well as I do that she is the opposite of a racist and that her style choices were guided by deep insecurities about her body.  Perhaps it’s best left to controversial tweeter Nicki Minaj to sum up the situation in rap slang, writing in reference to Leigh-Anne: ‘JeLeigh btchs actin real messy. if you know someone has been suicidal from bullying in the past, why try to get a bunch of ppl to bully them again about smthng else, on an even bigger scale? Shame on you that’s rlly sad. You don’t know what ppl can deal with.’

And as Jesy told Minaj in their livestream today: ‘It's just hard for me because I was in a group with two women of colour for nine years and it was never brought up to me up until the last music video I did with them.’

‘Blackfishing’ feels to me like a made-up concept designed for woke people to work each other up and take offence at something completely unnecessarily.  It’s this type of toxic cancel culture I am determined to rally against.  And when it’s turned into an online campaign against one individual who has already spoken openly about the near-deadly psychological impact on her of vile internet trolls that’s when you know it’s gone too far.  The people obsessed with black-fishing, cultural appropriation and the growth industry of offence-taking aren’t helping achieve racial equality.  Wittingly or not, they are driving us all further apart.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/david-lammy-says-labour-must-25084523?utm_source=mirror_newsletter&utm_campaign=politics_briefing_newsletter2&utm_medium=email

David Lammy says Labour must do more to remove barriers black men face in politics

The Shadow Justice Secretary is the only black man in Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet

By Aletha Adu

    17:30, 27 Sep 2021

David Lammy believes the Labour party has been "too slow" to recognise the barriers black men face in attempting to run for Parliament.  The Labour MP for Tottenham said positive discrimination may be needed to stop black men being held back.  Speaking at a Labour Conference fringe event in Brighton, Mr Lammy said: "There are so many barriers to entry and when we’re talking about black men the barriers to entry are huge.  And the party has been slow to pick that up and understand that and we need to do considerably more.  I do think we have to do a serious analysis about those barriers and removing those barriers as that does mean a degree of positive discrimination if you are to bring people forward.”

Mr Lammy is one of three black male Labour MPs and is the only black man in Keir Starmer's shadow cabinet.  The Shadow Justice Secretary has previously expressed how anxious he was when joining Parliament because of his race.  He previously said: "I was very conscious that I was never anonymous in the Palace of Westminster.  I felt very self-conscious, I think."

It comes after internal rows over equalities with Sir Keir Starmer saying Rosie Duffield was wrong to say “only women have a cervix”.  Asked about the row, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “I just think that this issue has just become so divisive and toxic, and it pits people against each other both groups who have faced discrimination in society women and trans women.  I just find this debate incredibly unhelpful and unproductive, to be totally honest.”

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/heartbroken-family-pay-tribute-boy-24968020?utm_source=mirror_newsletter&utm_campaign=daily_morning_newsletter2&utm_medium=email

Heartbroken family in 'shock' after boy, 16, stabbed to death on first day of college

Rhamero West, known to many as Mero and described as being a 'beautiful soul', had started a catering course at college on the day he was brutally stabbed to death

By Mike Bedigan & Sam Truelove News reporter

20:45, 12 Sep 2021Updated20:47, 12 Sep 2021

The heartbroken family of a young boy who was brutally stabbed to death on his first day of college have paid tribute to the teenager, describing him as "a beautiful soul."  Rhamero West, known to many as Mero, was found with multiple stab injuries on Norton Street in Old Trafford shortly before 6pm on Thursday.  He was rushed to hospital but tragically died of his injuries a short time later.  According to the boy's family, Rhamero started a catering course at college on the day he was fatally attacked.  On Sunday, Rhamero's family appealed for justice for their "beautiful son, Mero", describing their "total shock" and devastation.  "Our son's life was taken away from him on Thursday, September 9, 2021, on the day he started his first day at college studying catering," they said in a statement. 

"We are in total shock and want justice for our beautiful son Mero. His life was taken too soon at the age of 16, turning 17 on September 20.  We are all devastated and are now left with an empty hole in our hearts. Mero was a beautiful soul and got on with everyone who he met.  He will be sadly missed, lots of love son, we will love you forever - mum, dad, Remi and not forgetting your nephew Caerus. We will make sure he will never forget you.  Each and everyone in the family right now wishes you were still here. Sleep tight baby boy till we meet again. We love you forever."

Before the knife attack, it's believed Rhamero was with friends in a blue BMW that was being chased by another vehicle.  During the high-speed pursuit a pedestrian was hit by a car in Cross Street, though their injuries were not believed to be serious.  The BMW then crashed in Upper Chorlton Road.  Rhamero tried to flee the scene but he was caught by two males who attacked him.  A police cordon was set up where Rhamero was found and in two other areas of Moss Side where officers are attempting to establish where the car chase began.  Detectives from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are continuing with their investigations into the incident and have urged anyone with information to come forward.  So far, no arrests have been made.  Detective Chief Inspector Liz Hopkinson, from GMP's Major Incident Team, said: "Our thoughts are with Rhamero's family and we have specialist officers supporting his mum, dad and brother through this extremely distressing time.  A number of detectives have been working to piece together the sequence of events and find those responsible.  At this stage, we understand that Rhamero was attacked by two males and we're working hard to identify them but would appeal for anyone with information to come forward.  Since the attack, we've already followed up a number of lines of enquiry and we're carefully examining CCTV and forensics.  There will be people who know who was involved in this attack on a young teenager and we would ask them to come forward  even the smallest bit of information may prove vital in our investigation.  A family have lost their young son and they are deserving of answers."

Anyone with information can report it online or by using GMP's LiveChat service at www.gmp.police.uk.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/girl-7-stabbed-neck-dad-24957106?utm_source=mirror_newsletter&utm_campaign=hopeful_daily_newsletter2&utm_medium=email

Girl, 7, stabbed in neck by her dad meets police officers who saved her life

Officers PC Ryan Legge and PC Ahmet Mavitunali were able to reach her as she lay unconscious after smashing down doors in the building to find her

By Ella Doyle & Shiler Mahmoudi

16:33, 10 Sep 2021Updated17:37, 10 Sep 2021

A seven-year-old girl has been reunited with the police officers who saved her life after she was attacked by her father last year.  Noura, seven, from North West London, was stabbed in the neck and chest on the 22 May 2020 in Larch Road, Brent, MyLondon reports.  She was found unconscious after the police received a call that an incident may have occurred.  Officers PC Ryan Legge and PC Ahmet Mavitunali were able to reach her after knocking down a number of doors in the building to find her.  She was suffering from major stab wounds to her neck and chest and was six-years-old at the time.  PC Mavitunali and PC Legge performed emergency first aid on Noura and she was rushed to hospital in critical condition.  Her father was found with self-inflicted stab wounds in a serious condition.  Despite fears that she would suffer from severe brain damage, she survived and is said to be doing 'really well'.  She remained in recovery in hospital for three months before she could return home.  Sarah Leach, North West BCU Commander, said: “I am immensely proud of Ahmet and Ryan, whose actions at the scene were crucial in helping Noura in this sad and shocking case.  This was a violent assault on a young girl by a person who should have been looking after her. It is quite right that both officers be recognised for their quick thinking under what must have been extremely distressing circumstances.   They, along with Noura, should be commended for their bravery and resilience.  It is really special that Noura and the officers are able to meet at this event, and it will I’m sure be an emotional moment for all.”

Noura’s father has been charged with attempted murder and has been jailed for 22 years.

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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9992455/Shamima-Begum-begs-forgiveness-claims-didnt-know-ISIS-death-cult.html

'If you knew what I did you'd have done the same': Sajid Javid defends decision to strip Shamima Begum of her British citizenship as she makes fresh plea for forgiveness and says she ‘didn’t know’ ISIS was a ‘death cult’

    Begum left Britain to join ISIS in 2015 with two friends and is fighting to get her British citizenship back
    Her image change including western dress, dyed hair and painted nails is not a publicity stunt, she claims
    But she claims that she was 'groomed and taken advantage of and manipulated into' travelling to Syria
    She said: 'No one can hate me more than I hate myself for what I've done and all I can say is I'm sorry'
    In a message for the PM: 'You are clearly struggling with extremism in your country. I could help you'

By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter and Katie Feehan For Mailonline

Published: 08:01, 15 September 2021 | Updated: 13:38, 15 September 2021

Sajid Javid today scoffed at Shamima Begum's claims she was only a 'wife and mother' while a servant of the cruel ISIS 'death cult' in Syria and defended his decision to take away her right to be British, declaring: 'If you know what I knew you would have made exactly the same decision'.

Begum donned western clothing for a tone deaf interview with Good Morning Britain from a Syrian refugee camp where she begged the UK for forgiveness and claimed she was a victim not a terrorist or a criminal.  The 22-year-old is banned from the UK after marrying a jihadi with spy agencies denying her claims she was just a Raqqa housewife and instead believe she was a member of the terror group's feared 'morality police' and was even seen stitching suicide bombers into explosive vests and carrying a Kalashnikov.  Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who revoked her British citizenship in 2019 on national security grounds when he was Home Secretary, hinted that Begum was lying about just being a 'mother and wife' when in Syria.  He said today: 'I won't go into details of the case, but what I will say is that you certainly haven't seen what I saw.'

He added: 'If you did know what I knew, because you are sensible, responsible people, you would have made exactly the same decision of that I have no doubt.'   

Today, wearing a Nike baseball cap and a low-cut vest top instead of a niqab, Begum said she is a victim of grooming by extremists, would now 'rather die' than rejoin ISIS and admitted she was wrong to say the Manchester Arena attack was 'justified' because of airstrikes that have killed civilians in Syria.  She also said she had no idea ISIS was a 'death cult' when she joined.  She told Good Morning Britain: 'No one can hate me more than I hate myself for what I've done and all I can say is I'm sorry and just give me a second chance', but she added she was 'groomed and taken advantage of and manipulated into' travelling to Syria. Denying she is a criminal, she said: 'The only crime I think I committed was being dumb enough to come to ISIS'.

The east London schoolgirl who dumped her veil a year ago and now straightens her dyed hair, paints her nails and wears make-up, fled her home in 2015 to join the so-called Islamic State terror group in Syria with two friends both now believed to be dead. She denies her image change is a publicity stunt.  In an extraordinary interview Begum, who is deemed a danger to the country if she was able to return, declared:

*  Begum said she came to Syria expecting simply to get married, have children and 'live a pure, Islamic life'.
*  That she could help the Prime Minister in 'your fight against terrorism because you clearly don't know what you're doing';
*  She wants to face a terror trial in the UK but refuses to go to Banglandesh, where her father lives, because she fears she will receive the death penalty;
*  Begum said she the decision to stop wearing the hijab was one she took for herself and denied that the move was a publicity stunt;
*  When asked what she would tell Sajid Javid, who was Home Secretary when Begum's British citizenship was revoked, Begum said: 'I understand why he took my citizenship away, that it's his job to think about the interest of the UK before anything else';     

Begum also made a jaw-dropping offer to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who wants her kept out of Britain, she said: 'You are clearly struggling with extremism and terrorism in your country. I could very much help you with that because you clearly don't know what you're doing'.

She added: 'I want them (the British public) to see me as an asset rather than a threat to them.'

She has begged to be brought back to the UK to face a terror trial. Asked why she won't go to Bangladesh, she said: 'How can a country like the UK, who does not believe in the death penalty, how can they expect me to go to a country where I will be killed?'

She said: 'I made a mistake at a very young age. I know it's very hard for the British people to try and forgive me because they have lived in fear of Isis and lost loved ones because of Isis, but I also have lived in fear of Isis and I also lost loved ones because of Isis, so I can sympathise with them in that way. I know it is very hard for them to forgive me but I say from the bottom of my heart that I am so sorry if I ever offended anyone by coming here, if I ever offended anyone by the things I said.'

Amid claims of her innocence, her classmates in London have previously said that Begum wore an ISIS badge on her blazer in an attempt to recruit class members to join the terror group alongside her friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana. She previously described with chilling nonchalance how she 'wasn't fazed' by the sight of a severed head. Begum also declared how she had a 'good time' with Isis, and justified the terror group's bombing of Manchester Arena.  There are also claims that intelligence officials briefed Boris Johnson that she had been witnessed handling suicide vests and sewing them on to jihadis, as well as caring for injured terrorists in Raqqa hospitals.  In a direct plea to Boris Johnson, before asking to meet Sajid Javid face to face because he revoked her British citizenship when he was Home Secretary, she said: 'You are clearly struggling with extremism and terrorism in your country and I want to help with that telling you my own experience what they say and how they persuade people to come to places like Syria and I could very much help you with that because you clearly don't know what you're doing in the fight against terrorism and I want to help'

Begum said she came to Syria expecting simply to get married, have children and 'live a pure, Islamic life', adding: 'The reason I came to Syria was not for violent reasons.'

She added: 'At the time I did not know it (so-called Islamic State) was a death cult, I thought it was an Islamic community I was joining.  I was being fed a lot of information on the internet by people.'

She said she thought she was 'groomed and taken advantage of and manipulated into' travelling to Syria.   Begum has also never been open about what she did for the group, but it has been claims she worked caring for injured jihadis in the terror group's former stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria.  She married Dutch jihadi Yago Riedijk and had three children, all of whom died.  Begum, who frequently swept the hair from her face with hands decorated with pink-coloured nail varnish, denied being directly involved in terrorist preparations.  She told Good Morning Britain: 'I am willing to go to court and face the people who made these claims and refute these claims, because I know I did nothing in IS but be a mother and a wife.  These claims are being made to make me look worse because the Government do not have anything on me.  There is no evidence because nothing ever happened.'

She added: 'I would rather die than go back to IS.'

Begum said she regretted her actions and apologised for the comments she previously made about the Manchester Arena bombing.  She said: 'I do not believe that one evil justifies another evil. I don't think that women and children should be killed for other people's motives and for other people's agendas.'

Begum said she did not know that women and children were hurt in Manchester.  'I did not know about the Manchester bombing when I was asked. I did not know that people were killed, I did not know that women and children were hurt because of it.'

Begum said it was 'not justifiable to kill innocent people in the name of religion'.

She also apologised to anyone who has been affected by Isis and the terror group's actions.  She said: 'I'm in a different camp, obviously. I have friends now. I have a security shield now around me with my friends and I feel more confident in myself.  I obviously don't have my son anymore so I only have to think about my safety so if I do get attacked for taking my hijab off, it's on me.  While I'm in this camp, I'm trying to change myself. I'm trying to better myself, because I can.'

In an apology to the public, she said: 'Of course I am completely sorry for anyone that has been affected by Isis.  In no way do I agree with what they did, I don't, I'm not trying to justify what they did, it's not justifiable to kill innocent people in the name of religion.'

Asked for a message to Boris Johnson, Begum said that she could help the Prime Minister in 'your fight against terrorism because you clearly don't know what you're doing'.  She told Good Morning Britain: 'I want to say that you are clearly struggling with extremism and terrorism in your country. And I want to help with that with giving my own experience from with these extremists and what they say and how they persuade people to do what they do and to come to places like Syria.  I think I could very much help you in your fight against terrorism, because you clearly don't know what you're doing.'

Begum added that while she believes the only crime she committed was being 'dumb enough' to come to Isis, she still deserves a fair trial.  She said: 'Honestly, the only crime I think I committed was being dumb enough to come to Isis, and even that can be refuted because I was 15 when I came, and you can't, you know, judge a 15-year-old for making a mistake which he or she very quickly regretted making.  If you really think I did do this, why don't you bring me back and put me on trial, and hear my side of the story.  If you if you honestly believe that, don't you think I just have to go to jail for it.  The fact that you think I should rather rot here, instead of face trial the democracy that you live in, says that everyone deserves a fair trial.'

Begum said she the decision to stop wearing the hijab was one she took for herself and denied that the move was a publicity stunt.  She said: 'I have not been wearing hijab for maybe more than a year now. I took it off for myself, because I felt very constricted in the hijab, I felt like I was not myself.  And I feel like it makes me happy, to not wear the hijab. I'm not doing for anyone but myself.  I've had many opportunities to let people take pictures of me without my hijab on, but I did not.'

Begum said 'no-one can hate me more than I hate myself for what I've done'.

She told Good Morning Britain said: 'I know there are some people no matter what I say or what I do, they will not believe that I have changed, believe that I want to help.  But for those who have even a drop of mercy and compassion and empathy in their hearts, I tell you from the bottom of my heart that I regret every, every decision I've made since I stepped into Syria and I will live with it for the rest of my life.  You may forget about it one day but I will take it to my grave, this feeling of regret and this feeling of disgust at myself.  No one can hate me more than I hate myself for what I've done and all I can say is I'm sorry and just give me a second chance.'

When asked what she would tell Sajid Javid, who was Home Secretary when Begum's British citizenship was revoked, Begum said: 'I understand why he took my citizenship away, that it's his job to think about the interest of the UK before anything else.  What he saw on the media was not the true me. If he were to meet me himself, I'm pretty sure he would change his mind about my citizenship.'

Begum said she was groomed and taken advantage of, believing she would be entering an 'Islamic paradise'.  She said: 'People that I was speaking to online they just, they created this image for me over paradise, an Islamic paradise.  They pressured me very hard into coming. They made me feel bad for wanting to stay in the UK, for wanting to stay with my family who weren't even practising at the time. And they took advantage of me because they knew that I was young.'

Speaking to her closest associates in March, the Mail revealed how she spends her days watching Good Morning Britain on ITV in her tent, playing charades or dancing to the music of Shakira downloaded from the internet with her fellow Western campmates.  She is also fond of Zumba classes and watching films: the Spider-Man and Men In Black franchises are particular favourites.  Ms Begum insists she has changed.  She isn't 'that' person any more: 'I would say to people in the UK, give me a second chance because I was still young when I left,' she pleaded in an emotive interview for a new documentary in the spring.  Her rejection of Islamic clothing is evidence, for some, at least, that she has renounced her past.  Others believe her transformation is part of a ploy to win sympathy while her lawyers challenge the decision to strip her of her British citizenship.  In February, the UK's Supreme Court ruled on national security grounds that she cannot return to Britain to pursue an appeal against the decision.  Either way, her striking new image has turned the global spotlight on to Shamima Begum and her life at al-Roj. She is among a 50-strong British contingent of women and children at the encampment, which houses around 800 families in total.  The authorities at al-Roj the Kurdish-led and Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have banned black clothing, the colour of Isis, and black face veils.  A number of woman, like Ms Begum, have voluntarily given up Islamic dress entirely. Ms Begum mixes with a small circle of European and American friends.  U.S.-born Hoda Muthana, 26, once a high-profile Isis agitator, is a member of her close-knit social group, so too is Canadian Kimberly Polman, a mother of three adult children in her late 40s; all three were Isis brides.  Miss Begum was married off to a Dutch jihadi with whom she had three children in quick succession, all of whom died of disease or malnutrition before she arrived at al-Roj.  Her husband is thought to be held in a Kurdish-run prison in Syria, and the pair haven't been in contact since 2019.   Syrian journalist Khabat Abbas , who has visited Ms Begum many times, and has been inside her tent, which has a satellite TV and basic cooking facilities, said: 'She is very happy here.' 

She adds that Ms Begum seems undimmed by the latest setback in her case that has left her stranded, for the foreseeable future, at any rate, in legal limbo.  In the documentary, The Return: Life After Isis, which has followed her and the other women over the past two years, Ms Begum is filmed in her tent; in the background is a couch with cushions, one of which has 'love' stitched into it and another is in the shape of a heart.  The women often hold parties in their living quarters.  Music was haram prohibited under the strict interpretation of the Koran.  'They are always socialising together,' Khabat says. 'They have even invited me to spend the night with them.'

One typical party is featured in the documentary, which shows a tent lit up with fairy lights and the women eating pastries.  In another scene, they engage in a 'group hug' and a voice can be heard saying: 'I don't know what I'd do without you guys.'

The camp has numerous shops run by ordinary refugees who are allowed to enter and leave at will selling second-hand European clothes, make-up and jewellery, as well as vegetables, groceries, chocolate, crisps and other basic provisions.  The documentary makers show Ms Begum's group queuing up at a money exchange 'hole in the wall' window for hawala an ancient system based on trust between brokers that leaves no paper trail.  This is a method often used by those in such camps to receive funds from family based in other countries.  Families can be prosecuted for sending money to relatives under anti-terror legislation.  In The Return: Life After Isis, she is seen writing to her younger self and then reading the letter out aloud.  'I know you think this is the only option you have to hold on to your religion and escape the problems in your life, but you have your entire life ahead of you to complete your religion and mend broken relationships between everyone in the family,' she says, addressing the camera.  'Think about Mum and how much it would hurt her to know that her little baby left her and didn't give her a hug and a kiss, knowing that she'll probably never see her again.  Think about the education you're about to throw away. You worked so hard to get where you are now. Don't just walk away from it all for something I know you're not even certain about.'

Sky will be screening the 90-minute film on Sky Documentaries and Now TV in the summer.  Shamima is heard speaking for the first time about what drove her to desert her country, her home, and her family, and join Isis with two school friends from East London, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana, both now presumed dead.  'I felt like I was an outsider in my community,' she says.

'So I just wanted to be part of something. My friend started practising [Islam] and they helped me come into the religion as well and it then turned into wanting to come to Syria, wanting to help the Syrians.'

She was subsequently groomed by online radicals.  Two months later just two months is all it took she and her friends were on a plane from Gatwick bound for the Middle East.  In interviews after she was discovered in 2019 at al-Hol the camp where she was based previously, also in north-east Syria she continued to espouse the barbaric ideology of Isis.  A clip of one of those inflammatory interviews, where she failed to condemn the Manchester Arena atrocity after being asked about the child victims by a Manchester journalist, is played to Ms Begum during the documentary.  It is a chilling reminder of why she remains such a divisive and controversial figure. Ms Begum responds to being shown the footage by saying she 'had no choice but to say certain things' to reporters because 'she lived in fear' that women at al-Hol would kill her if she didn't.

ISIS bride Begum on claims she aided terrorists, the decision to revoke her citizenship and being a victim herself

On claims she sewed jihadis into suicide vests

'I am willing to go to court and face the people who made these claims and refute these claims, because I know I did nothing in IS (so-called Islamic State) but be a mother and a wife.  These claims are being made to make me look worse because the Government do not have anything on me. There is no evidence because nothing ever happened.'

On asking for forgiveness

'I know it's very hard for the British people to try and forgive me because they have lived in fear of IS and lost loved ones because of IS, but I also have lived in fear of IS and I also lost loved ones because of IS, so I can sympathise with them in that way.  I know it is very hard for them to forgive me but I say from the bottom of my heart that I am so sorry if I ever offended anyone by coming here, if I ever offended anyone by the things I said.'

Message for the PM

'I think I could very much help you in your fight against terrorism because you clearly don't know what you're doing'.

She added: 'I want them (the British public) to see me as an asset rather than a threat to them.'

On why she went to Syria 

Begum said she came to Syria expecting simply to get married, have children and 'live a pure, Islamic life'.  'The reason I came to Syria was not for violent reasons.' She added: 'At the time I did not know it (so-called Islamic State) was a death cult, I thought it was an Islamic community I was joining.  I was being fed a lot of information on the internet by people.' 

On justifying  the Manchester Arena bombing

She said: 'I do not believe that one evil justifies another evil. I don't think that women and children should be killed for other people's motives and for other people's agendas.  I did not know about the Manchester bombing when I was asked. I did not know that people were killed, I did not know that women and children were hurt because of it.'

Begum said it was 'not justifiable to kill innocent people in the name of religion'.

On whether she is a criminal or a terrorist

She said: 'Honestly, the only crime I think I committed was being dumb enough to come to Isis, and even that can be refuted because I was 15 when I came, and you can't, you know, judge a 15-year-old for making a mistake which he or she very quickly regretted making.  If you really think I did do this, why don't you bring me back and put me on trial, and hear my side of the story.  If you if you honestly believe that, don't you think I just have to go to jail for it.  The fact that you think I should rather rot here, instead of face trial the democracy that you live in, says that everyone deserves a fair trial.'

On her new western look

Begum said she the decision to stop wearing the hijab was one she took for herself and denied that the move was a publicity stunt.  She said: 'I have not been wearing hijab for maybe more than a year now. I took it off for myself, because I felt very constricted in the hijab, I felt like I was not myself.  And I feel like it makes me happy, to not wear the hijab. I'm not doing for anyone but myself.  I've had many opportunities to let people take pictures of me without my hijab on, but I did not.'

On the decision to revoke her citizenship

When asked what she would tell Sajid Javid, who was Home Secretary when Begum's British citizenship was revoked, Begum said: 'I understand why he took my citizenship away, that it's his job to think about the interest of the UK before anything else.  What he saw on the media was not the true me. If he were to meet me himself, I'm pretty sure he would change his mind about my citizenship.'

Begum said she was groomed and taken advantage of, believing she would be entering an 'Islamic paradise'.  She said: 'People that I was speaking to online they just, they created this image for me over paradise, an Islamic paradise.  They pressured me very hard into coming. They made me feel bad for wanting to stay in the UK, for wanting to stay with my family who weren't even practising at the time. And they took advantage of me because they knew that I was young.'

'Is she going on Love Island?' Shamima Begum shows off her highlights, manicure, Nike cap and tank top from refugee camp - as GMB viewers say she 'looks like she's had a spa day'

Shamima Begum has been through a 'major glow up' that puts her on a level with the contestants of Love Island, according to reaction on social media.  The British-born Isis bride, 22, donned a full face of makeup and fresh manicure for her interview with Good Morning Britain today.  And viewers were quick to take to Twitter to praise Begum's westernised appearance, with one suggesting she should apply to be on next year's series of the popular dating show Love Island.  Begum opted for a casual look for her television appearance, wearing a vest top, black jeans and trainers, with a Nike cap covering her freshly dyed auburn tresses.  Her appearance was a far cry from the full burkha and no-makeup look worn for previous interviews and viewers were quick to point out the Syrian refugee camp where Begum is living must have a stylist.  She has denied her image change is a publicity stunt and GMB viewers celebrated Begum's new look online following the interview.  One said: 'Shamima Begum has had a major glow up. I bet she’s on Love Island next year.'

Another added: 'Shamima Begum on GMB wearing a Nike baseball cap from their newest line. They got an outlet store in the prison camp?'

9
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9980101/Taliban-BEHEAD-Afghan-soldier-chilling-video-celebrate-holding-severed-head-victim.html

Taliban BEHEAD Afghan soldier in chilling video then celebrate as they sing while holding severed head of the victim by his hair

    A video of Taliban fighters beheading an Afghan soldier has emerged online
    The group can be seen chanting praise to the Taliban leader in the chilling clip
    Proceed to celebrate and sing while holding victim's severed head by his hair

By Lydia Catling For Mailonline

Published: 11:12, 11 September 2021 | Updated: 13:54, 11 September 2021

Taliban fighters beheaded an Afghan soldier before singing as they held the severed head of the victim aloft by his hair, then shared chilling footage of the execution in a chat forum.  The video, obtained by the Washington Examiner, was reportedly shared on a private Taliban chat room but it is not clear when it was recorded.  In the 30-second clip, the group of Taliban fighters can be heard chanting 'Mujahideen' as they parade the man's head around.  Six of the men were holding rifles and another was clutching on to two bloodied knives.  It is believed the man on the ground was an Afghan solider due to the colour of his dark green uniform similar to that given to the national army by the US.  The man carrying the knives puts them in the air as they continue to chant Mujahideen an Arabic term which refers to Muslims who fight on behalf of the faith or the Muslim community.  They then start shouting praise for the Taliban's supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada.  The video ends with the group stating they must shoot the Afghan soldiers because 'he has to look shot'.

The footage has emerged just days after Taliban militants executed the brother of one of the Afghan resistance fighters' leaders.  The man was the brother of Amrullah Saleh, the former Afghan vice president who became one of the leaders of anti-Taliban opposition forces in the Panjshir valley.  The news that Saleh's brother Rohullah Azizi was killed came days after Taliban forces took control of the provincial centre of Panjshir, the last province holding out against them after the took control of the rest of Afghanistan last month.  'They executed my uncle,' Ebadullah Saleh told Reuters in a text. 'They killed him yesterday and would not let us bury him. They kept saying his body should rot.'

The Urdu language account of the Taliban information service Alemarah said that 'according to reports' Rohullah Saleh was killed during fighting in Panjshir.  Saleh, a former head of the National Directorate of Security, the intelligence service of the Western-backed government that collapsed last month, is at large though his exact location remains unclear.  The National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, which groups opposition forces loyal to local leader Ahmad Massoud, has pledged to continue opposing the Taliban even after the fall of Panjshir's provincial capital Bazarak.  The news of Rohullah Saleh's execution comes after the UN warned the Taliban have started carrying out 'reprisal killings'.  The UN envoy for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons said there had been 'credible allegations' of targeted killings 'despite the many statements granting general amnesties'.

She added Afghan security officials and people who worked for the previous administration were at risk.  The Taliban have been at pains to present a reformed image since sweeping to power on August 15, pledging a more moderate brand of rule.  But videos and footage from inside Afghanistan have told a different story, showing the militants beating and whipping people on the streets as reports emerged of targeted killings and fighters going door-to-door searching for blue US passports.  Earlier, a second charter flight carrying foreigners out of Afghanistan left Kabul airport the latest sign Kabul Airport is close to resuming commercial operations after the chaotic US-led evacuation ended on August 30.  Just over 100 foreigners, including 13 Brits, left Kabul yesterday on a charter flight.  The White House has praised the Taliban for being 'businesslike and professional' in allowing the flight to leave.  It comes as unconfirmed reports in the capital suggested the Taliban may hold a ceremony to swear in the new government on Saturday the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks that triggered the end of their first stint in power.  As news of a resumption in evacuation flights spread, some people gathered at the airport gates, pleading with Taliban guards to get in.  'If I can't go just kill me!' said one woman, among a group of women and children each carrying backpacks.

Many Afghans in the capital are fearful of a repeat of the hardline Islamist group's brutal and repressive rule from 1996-2001.  The Taliban have already begun to segregate men and women students and medical staff, suggested women will be banned from playing sports, and unveiled an all-male government drawn exclusively from loyalist ranks.  More than 100 passengers were on the Qatar Airways flight that landed in Doha on Thursday evening, 10 days after a mammoth, chaotic airlift of more than 120,000 people came to a dramatic close with the US pullout.  In the days that followed the Taliban's blitz, the airport had become a tragic symbol of desperation among Afghans terrified of the militants' return to power - with thousands of people crowding around its gates daily, and some even clinging to jets as they took off.  More than 100 people were killed, including 13 US troops, in a suicide attack on August 26 near the airport that was claimed by the Islamic State group's local chapter.  Qatar has said it worked with Turkey to swiftly resume operations at Kabul's airport to allow the flow of people and aid.  The Taliban have repeatedly claimed they would not seek revenge against those who worked with the previous regime and all Afghans would be granted free passage out of the country when commercial flights resume.  However, they have shown clear signs that they will not tolerate opposition.  Earlier this week, armed Taliban militants dispersed hundreds of protesters, sometimes by firing shots into the air, in cities across Afghanistan, including Kabul, Faizabad in the northeast and Herat in the west, where two people were shot dead.  They also moved to snuff out any further civil unrest, saying protests would need prior authorisation from the justice ministry and no demonstrations were allowed 'for the time being'.

10
https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2021/mar/02/adoption-is-like-couples-therapy-what-we-learned-as-hosts-some-families

‘Adoption is like couples therapy’: what we learned as hosts of an LGBT+ family podcast

From transparency with your children to gay parenting shame, the hosts of Some Families, the first podcast series to support queer parenting, share the key issues they have adddressed

Lotte Jeffs: ‘There should be no shame’

The adoption process is the equivalent of intensive couples therapy

I knew very little about the process of adoption until I started hosting Some Families with Stu, who shared his experience of adopting two children and then, a year later, a third. We have spoken to a number of other LGBTQ+ adopters on the show and the thing that I’ve learned most is that you have to really know yourselves. Throughout the journey, you are forced to answer the kinds of questions that other families never have to consider from asserting your preferences on the age and ethnic background of a potential child, to how willing you are to take in a child with health issues or disabilities. A lot of what Stu described sounded like intensive couples therapy. Such self-analysis would be beneficial for anyone intending to start a family.

Gay people make better parents

This may sound a bit sensationalist but it’s true. We spoke to Prof Susan Golombok, who has studied the effects of coming from an LGBTQ+ family since the 1970s, and she told us that, compared on aggregate with straight families, there was better communication and emotional intelligence in families with same-sex or transgender parents. This comes down to the fact that if you aren’t in a straight couple you will have had to have been very sure you wanted to start a family, given the emotional and financial investment. Sadly, as one of our guests, Chris Sweeney (host of Homosapiens), put it, it takes more than “a lasagne and a bottle of wine” for LGBTQ+ people to make a baby.

We’ve come a long way from the 1970s

Something else I learned from Prof Golombok was how awful it was for lesbian parents in the 70s, 80s and even 90s, who separated from a male partner to be with a woman, only to have their children taken from them after divorce proceedings. Courts at that time believed it was detrimental for children to be brought up by gay parents. In one US case she told us about, the courts ruled it would be better for a child to live with his father a convicted murderer than with his mother, who was in a happy and loving relationship with a woman. It is so important to remember our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, who fought and struggled so that we can enjoy the protection and relative ease of being a queer family today.

Communication and honesty is key

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot as my own daughter grows into a very smart and sassy toddler is how and when to talk to her about how her Mummy and Mama brought her into the world. It’s a subject Stu and I ask many of our guests’ advice on, and, overwhelmingly, what they tell us is to be open and honest from the get-go. Children are happiest and most well-balanced if they don’t ever remember being “told” something as though it was a secret that has now been revealed, but rather that they grow up with conversations about their donor, or their surrogate their birth mother or biological family being part of their everyday lives from the earliest of ages. There should be no shame, no hushed conversations. We had a great chat with adoptive mums Didi and Priscilla this season, who told us their five-year-old daughter outs them at every occasion to Amazon delivery people, shop assistants. She’s so proud of her mums, she wants to tell the world! Stories like that are heartwarming.
Stu Oakley: ‘Prejudice and ignorance still exist’

The existence of gay parenting shame

My son loves to wear dresses, which is something I’ve found surprisingly difficult to deal with. I’ve struggled to find why I’ve had such a strong emotional reaction to this harmless, and totally normal desire, especially as a queer parent. Discussing it on the show with Lotte and other guests, I have come to realise that the cause of this upset is likely to be the deep-rooted shame that often weighs the LGBTQ+ community down. “Am I pushing my own gay “agenda” on him?” is my constant concern, but who cares?

I am so proud of him and the fact he is constantly exploring his gender. My fear of what other people think took a hold of my parenting and held me back from allowing him to express himself the way he should. I was in danger of enabling a vicious circle of shame, but meeting our guests, with the support of Lotte has helped me come to my queer senses.

Educating oneself on parenting from across the queer community

In our pilot recording, I began to ask Lotte a question: “So, during the surrogacy process ...” but she stopped me.

“Donor conception via IUI [intrauterine insemination] not surrogacy.”

Ten minutes later, I dropped the S-word again and by the third time Lotte was not happy, and quite rightly so. I came to this podcast knowing little outside my own gay adoption bubble and it has been incredible to educate myself on the whole fertility journey that Lotte and our other lesbian guests have been on. We are a queer community and, regardless of how you created your family, it is important to learn about the journey we all go on to support and understand one another. I think this is also a reason why the podcast resonates for so many cis-het parents, who are curious and want to educate themselves on what it means to become a queer parent.
It's not just about having gay parents: why we wrote our kids' book about queer families

The next generation are our future

Hearing how proud and supportive children from LGBTQ+ families are has been a wonderful part of Some Families. Trans-parent Zoey from series one had the most incredible support from her young children, who witnessed their father transition into their Mama Zo, and recognised that their parent was much happier post-transition. Mike, who grew up with two mums, was so happy to be part of a queer family. And a teenage daughter of two mums told us she had never felt any different. Lotte and I have taken great solace in talking to some fabulous families whose children’s high emotional intelligence gives us comfort in our own parenting and hopefully points to a sign of a more inclusive and supportive generation to come. Children thrive on the confidence of their parents, regardless of their identity.

Sadly, ignorance still exists

We have heard so many wonderful and positive stories from parents across the queer spectrum. However, it is clear that widespread prejudice and general ignorance still exist and we should never be complacent. While some people’s intent might be good, there is still a lot of education to be done and LGBTQ+ families are still very much in the minority with almost no representation in popular media and culture. One listener told Lotte and me about a nurse, who constantly referred to her wife as “dad” and another guest told us how her daughter was “uninvited” to a party when they learned she had lesbian parents. The fear of being grilled at passport control when travelling, the worry about that first day at the school gate and the wicked parenting whispers, feeling alienated by “mummy” groups, heteronormative language, and the unnecessarily awkward conversations at hospitals are all very real occurrences for queer parents. I have been pulled up for referring to myself as a “gay” dad by the LGBTQ+ community before, but it is important to bring queer parenting to the table and ensure we make parenting a safe space for anyone.

11
For a change Prince Harry is actually saying the right things.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9899591/Prince-Harry-says-Afghan-war-veterans-bound-shared-experience.html

War vet Prince Harry says fellow Afghan veterans should 'reach out to each other and offer support' but adds nothing about Joe Biden's chaotic withdrawl

    Prince Harry has said he and other Afghanistan War veterans are 'bound by a shared experience'
    The Duke of Sussex spent 10 years in the British Army and performed two frontline tours of Afghanistan
    He said scenes from Kabul 'resonate' as he urges former soldiers to 'offer support for one another'

By Jack Wright For Mailonline

Published: 00:08, 17 August 2021 | Updated: 07:28, 17 August 2021

Prince Harry issued a statement last night saying he and other Afghanistan War veterans should 'reach out to each other and offer support' and described the scenes from Kabul as ones that 'resonate' in a message to his charity for wounded veterans.  The Duke of Sussex, who spent 10 years in the British Army and performed two frontline tours of Afghanistan as a air controller with the Blues and Royals on the frontline in Helmand province, and as an Apache attack helicopter pilot during the two-decade Western intervention.  But in his statement from the Invictus Games Foundation he did not offer any views on Joe Biden's decision to abandon the Afghans he fought alongside, or the chaotic execution of the withdrawal that saw the Taliban re-take the country in days following 20 years of war.  Last year, he and Meghan were accused of wading into the US election when they urged voters to 'reject hate speech' in a message that was widely interpreted as an attack on Donald Trump and tacit support for Joe Biden's campaign.   Harry has known President Biden and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, for several years, and both have been publicly supportive of the duke's Invictus Games. Harry and Meghan were praised by White House press secretary Jen Psaki after their 'courageous' bombshell Oprah interview.  When asked if the US President had any reaction to the chat, Ms Psaki said: 'For anyone to come forward and speak about their own struggles with mental health and tell their own personal story, that takes courage and that's certainly something the president believes.'

Amid scenes of frightened Afghans trying to flee a return to brutal Islamist theocracy after the Taliban captured the capital city Kabul, Harry and senior figures from the Games said: 'What's happening in Afghanistan resonates across the international Invictus community.  Many of the participating nations and competitors in the Invictus Games family are bound by a shared experience of serving in Afghanistan over the past two decades, and for several years, we have competed alongside Invictus Games Team Afghanistan.  We encourage everybody across the Invictus network and the wider military community to reach out to each other and offer support for one another.'

Kabul airport will reopen on Tuesday, US officials have vowed, as extra security is drafted in to manage the evacuation of thousands of foreign nationals and Afghans trying to escape Taliban rule amid mounting fears that Islamic State could commit a terror atrocity in the country.  The President defended the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, two decades after NATO forces invaded the country and toppled the Taliban regime following the September 11, 2001 attacks, as he blamed Donald Trump and the Afghan security services for the anarchy engulfing the country.  Speaking from the White House, Biden who had returned from his 'vacation' at Camp David told the American nation that the Taliban's astonishing sweep to power and seizure of the capital city Kabul this month had happened 'more quickly' than he had anticipated.  His address came as Americans woke up to images of terrified Afghans plummeting from the engines of an airborne US Air Force C-17 jet above Hamid Karzai International Airport, as hundreds of other desperate locals attempted to escape the theocratic rule of the Taliban.  The airport was forced to close and evacuation flights halted after at least eight people were killed, including two shot dead by US troops, three run over by taxiing planes and the three who fell hundreds of feet.  But in a push to secure the airport, Britain and the US deployed another 200 and 1,000 soldiers respectively on Monday. The deployments take the totals to around 900 and 6,000 respectively, with many troops expected to be on patrols to help keeping the capital's airport safe.  It is understood there are growing Anglo-US concerns that Islamists could exploit security lapses at the airport with suicide bombings with the risk of an attack by the Khorasan Province wing of Islamic State great enough for it to be discussed at Monday's emergency Cobra meeting in Downing Street.  The issue has also been raised in Ministry of Defence planning meetings, the Telegraph reported.  Speaking about the clashes at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday, one defence source told the paper: 'If you are in the Pentagon or the MoD you are looking at the scenes and thinking: 'That is a tragic loss of life, but what if that was an IS-KP suicide bomber?''

Three stowaways fell hundreds of feet to their deaths after climbing onto the fuselage of a departing US Air Force C-17 plane as it took off from at Hamid Karzai International Airport, while hundreds of other desperate people tried to cling onto planes as they taxied down the runway.  Senior US military officials said troops shot and killed two armed Afghans among those trying to get onto the jet while US citizens were evacuated in two separate incidents. A further three people were caught under plane wheels amid scenes of anarchy as the country slips into Taliban control.  A Pentagon official said that US troops had come under fire at the airfield and grounded all flights while soldiers cleared the airfield with Apache helicopters and fired 'warning shots' to disperse the crowds. Flights resumed after 90 minutes but were suspended again after a security breach on the civilian side of the airport, a Pentagon spokesperson said.  Thousands of terrified people descended on Hamid Karzai International Airport as the US, Britain and other Western countries evacuate their citizens and diplomats on military aircraft following the Taliban's seizure of the capital city Kabul and much of Afghanistan this week.  Video posted on Twitter shows hundreds of people running alongside a C-17 crammed with 800 people eight times its usual capacity with many clambering on to the front and rear wheels, while others climbed airbridges hoping to force their way on to planes waiting at the departure gates.  The clip then shows three people falling to their deaths from hundreds of feet in the air, with images posted online later appearing to show residents collecting bodies from a rooftop in Kabul.  The C-17 can carry 171,000 pounds of cargo but its interior is designed to carry fewer than 150 soldiers. It is unclear who exactly was on board and how many Americans remain on the ground. However, a flight-tracker showed the jet was flown to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.  The first of three German evacuation planes en route to Afghanistan diverted to the Uzbek capital Tashkent after it could not land at Kabul airport, a German general said on Monday.  The A400M transport plane circled for more than an hour over Kabul before changing its destination, Lieutenant General Markus Laubenthal told public broadcaster ZDF. A foreign ministry spokesperson said earlier in Berlin that no evacuation flights were leaving Kabul because people were blocking the runway.  A Pentagon spokesperson said 3,000 soldiers would be on the ground at the airport by Tuesday to help with the evacuation efforts, with a further 3,000 troops arriving later this week.  However, the shambolic scenes further humiliated the US and its NATO powers, with much of the Anglo-US media and political class branding the withdrawal the 'biggest foreign policy disaster' since Suez.  US media said the 'debacle of the US defeat and chaotic retreat in Afghanistan' was a 'political disaster' and slammed the President's 'failure to orchestrate an urgent and orderly exit'.  A New York Post editorial even said his claims that he 'inherited' Trump's withdrawal plans were a 'lie' and branded the crisis situation 'as humiliating an end as the rooftop scramble in Saigon in 1975'. 

The head of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, Armin Laschet, called it the 'biggest NATO debacle' since the founding of the alliance, while MPs accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of a 'shameful' silence and questioned if he did enough to discourage President Biden from withdrawing US troops.  UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was 'concerned' by accounts of human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan who fear a return to the darkest days' of the 1990s when the Taliban came to power after the Civil War and imposed a brutal theocracy.  Afghanistan's representative to the UN Security Ghulam Isaczai told a meeting of the five powers the US, Britain, China, Russia and France on Monday that 'there are already reports of target killings and looting in the city'.  'Kabul residents are reported that the Taliban have already started house-to-house searches in some neighbourhoods, registering names and looking for people in their target list,' he added.   

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has also come under fire from critics and political rivals for hightailing out of the country as the Taliban stormed the Presidential Palace on Sunday night.  The Russian Embassy claimed that he had fled in a helicopter full of cash. His whereabouts remain unknown.

FALL OF KABUL: A TIMELINE OF THE TALIBAN'S FAST ADVANCE AFTER 40 YEARS OF CONFLICT

Feb. 29, 2020 Trump negotiates deal with the Taliban setting U.S. withdrawal date for May 1, 2021

Nov. 17, 2020 Pentagon announces it will reduce troop levels to 2500 in Afghanistan

Jan. 15, 2020 Inspector general reveals 'hubris and mendacity' of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan

Feb 3. 2021 Afghan Study Group report warns against withdrawing  'irresponsibly'

March Military command makes last-ditch effort to talk Biden out of withdrawal

April 14 Biden announces withdrawal will be completed by Sept. 11

May 4 - Taliban fighters launch a major offensive on Afghan forces in southern Helmand province. They also attack in at least six other provinces

May 11 - The Taliban capture Nerkh district just outside the capital Kabul as violence intensifies across the country

June 7 - Senior government officials say more than 150 Afghan soldiers are killed in 24 hours as fighting worsens. They add that fighting is raging in 26 of the country's 34 provinces

June 22 - Taliban fighters launch a series of attacks in the north of the country, far from their traditional strongholds in the south. The UN envoy for Afghanistan says they have taken more than 50 of 370 districts

July 2 - The U.S. evacuates Bagram Airfield in the middle of the night

July 5 - The Taliban say they could present a written peace proposal to the Afghan government as soon as August

July 21 - Taliban insurgents control about a half of the country's districts, according to the senior U.S. general, underlining the scale and speed of their advance

July 25 - The United States vows to continue to support Afghan troops "in the coming weeks" with intensified airstrikes to help them counter Taliban attacks

July 26 - The United Nations says nearly 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in May and June in escalating violence, the highest number for those months since records started in 2009

Aug. 6 - Zaranj in the south of the country becomes the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban in years. Many more are to follow in the ensuing days, including the prized city of Kunduz in the north

Aug. 13 - Pentagon insists Kabul is not under imminent threat

Aug. 14 - The Taliban take the major northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and, with little resistance, Pul-e-Alam, capital of Logar province just 70 km (40 miles) south of Kabul. The United States sends more troops to help evacuate its civilians from Kabul as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says he is consulting with local and international partners on next steps

Aug. 15 - The Taliban take the key eastern city of Jalalabad without a fight, effectively surrounding Kabul

Taliban insurgents enter Kabul, an interior ministry official says, as the United States evacuate diplomats from its embassy by helicopter

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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9855415/Islamist-hate-preacher-Anjem-Choudary-kicked-Instagram.html

Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary is kicked off Instagram days after he was banned from Twitter and Facebook

    Anjem Choudary was jailed for inviting support for Islamic State group in 2016
    He left Belmarsh prison on licence in 2018 and public speaking ban was lifted
    The 54-year-old hate preacher set up a series of pages on social media platforms
    But Twitter and Facebook 'permanently suspended' his pages within days
    Now Instagram account in Choudary's name has been banned under 'Dangerous Individuals' policy

By William Cole For Mailonline

Published: 11:12, 3 August 2021 | Updated: 12:04, 3 August 2021

Hate preacher Anjem Choudary has had his Instagram account suspended just days after he was also booted off Twitter and Facebook.  The 54-year-old joined the social networking site as anjemchoudary1967 and began posting on Monday.  But within hours, Instagram's parent company Facebook moved to take the account down for violating its policies.  It comes days after Choudary's accounts on Facebook and Twitter were 'permanently suspended for violating the rules' of its violent organisations policy.  The firebrand preacher began setting up online profiles two weeks ago after legal conditions that prevented him from speaking publicly expired on July 18.  He had been the subject of legal restrictions since he was released from prison in October 2018 following a five-and-a-half-year stretch for inviting support for Islamic State.  But after they became void, Choudary joined a number of social networks. He also began sending essays promoting Shariah Law to a network of Whatsapp contacts, where he promoted his Instagram account.

'Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah) I am now on instagram, feel free to follow me for updates on anjemchoudary1967,' he texted the group.

While active, his Instagram account showed a picture of him in glasses and another snap read: 'I bear witness that there is no Ilah (God/diety) except Allah (God Almighty).  And I bear witness that Muhammad is his Slave and Messenger.'

In a 'press release' dated July 31, and titled 'The Call For Shariah Is Just being A Muslim', he said: 'It is essential today to question all of our beliefs and to ensure that they have a firm basis because decisions we make based upon our beliefs not only shape our own lives but also impact upon others.  As a Muslim my firm belief in Allah and in the finality of the Messenger Muhammad comes with it the acceptance of all the tenets of Islam encompassed in the Shari'ah.  Sadly, due to the fact that not only are Muslims a minority in this country but also the fact that the majority of Muslims have had a secular education and have been indoctrinated with concepts which are an anathema to Islam and Muslims like, democracy freedom and liberalism, it is true that the majority of Muslims not only do not know what the Shari'ah or Islam is in terms of ruling and the economy etc* but they have also wholeheartedly adopted secularism and democracy instead.  This has led many to unfortunately leave the fold of Islam and among them are also a vocal few who not only have abandoned Islam but have become propagandists for secularism and democracy!'

He went on to say that Muslims who reject Shariah law are effectively saying they do not want to obey Allah.  'For those who believe they can isolate Britain or France or America and contend that Muslims should only call for the Shari'ah in "Muslim countries" this is also erroneous after all the whole planet Earth belongs to God and his law should, indeed must, be implemented everywhere,' he added.

'The vitriol that I have faced over the years for calling for Islam/the Shari'ah in Britain and indeed everywhere in the world therefore is not surprising.  'So this is merely a reminder to myself and fellow Muslims and a lesson to non Muslims and those who believe in secular democracy, that the call for the Shari'ah should not come as a surprise to anyone especially practising enlightened knowledgeable Muslims.  And it certainly is not radical, extreme or any or any other negative label you might wish to use. Is it just being Muslim on Gods Earth.'

In another post, he called for awareness over the 'plight' of Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, who has 'languished' in Lebanon's notorious Roumiah Prison since April 2014.  He was sentenced to six years there with hard labour after being convicted of founding a Lebanese affiliate of the Al-Qaeda linked Syrian terrorist group the Al-Nusra Front as well as building a training camp for terrorist fighters.  Choudary claimed to be speaking on behalf of Bakri Muhammad's family.  A spokeswoman for Instagram said: 'This account was removed from our platform for violating our Dangerous Individuals & Organisations policies.  Under these rules, we ban organisations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or engage in organised hate or violence.'

Anjem Choudary: Preacher of hate

For hate preacher Anjem Choudary, freedom has mostly been sweet since he was released from Belmarsh prison in 2018 after serving half of a lengthy prison sentence for inciting support for Islamic State.  Despite severe restrictions on his movements he’s electronically tagged and effectively gagged he’s since been spotted out and about as late as 11pm.  And just weeks ago the north London resident had his ban on public speaking lifted.  The ban on his accounts by big social media companies will be a set-back to him reaching his following, but he has other ways to spread his message such as sending essays promoting Shariah Law to a network of Whatsapp contacts.  Yet many might think it deeply offensive that this disgraced Islamist, who co-founded the British jihadist network al-Muhajiroun and has been an avowed supporter of terrorism here and abroad, is once again walking the streets of the capital.  Security experts have told the Mail that Choudary’s very presence in public is providing succour to followers of his despicable ideology.  Choudary is now back living with his wife Rubana Akhtar, 43, and their five children. Akhtar has been investigated for promoting extremism, but enquiries were dropped in September 2019. Their household, of course, ticks along thanks to generous benefit payments.  There is concern that Choudary’s new visibility is reigniting interest in his banned jihadist network al-Muhajiroun (which means the Emigrants).  In recent years this deadly group has been disrupted by arrests and anti-terrorism laws, but there are fears it is now reconstituting itself, splintering into smaller cells meeting in secret.  Hope Not Hate chief executive Nick Lowles, who has spent years monitoring Islamist and Far-Right groups, warns that even while depleted, al-Muhajiroun remains ‘Britain’s most prolific and dangerous extremist group’.

All of this however is a world away from Choudary’s previous incarnation as a fun-loving student at Southampton University. Then he was known as ‘Andy’ and was a smoking and beer-swigging womaniser.  He became radicalised after meeting the Syrian cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed at a mosque in Woolwich, South-East London. He was Bakri’s lieutenant, helping to found al-Muhajiroun in 1996.  The group gained worldwide prominence in 2002 when it advertised ‘The Magnificent 19’, a conference convened to celebrate the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and honour those who carried them out.  Choudary would eventually succeed Bakri as leader when the latter quit Britain for Lebanon in the wake of the London bombings of July 7, 2005, which killed 56 people. (The leader of the 7/7 attacks, Mohammad Sidique Khan, was linked to al-Muhajiroun.) Bakri now languishes in prison in Lebanon following his arrest in 2010.  Banned in 2006, al-Muhajiroun has over the years simply mutated, adopting new names to keep one step ahead of the authorities.  According to American academic Michael Kenney, author of The Islamic State In Britain, it has adopted 181 separate identities in the UK and abroad.  Having avoided arrest for years despite his overt sympathy for extremism and his terrorist links, Choudary was convicted at the Old Bailey in 2016 for swearing an oath of allegiance to Islamic State. It was the culmination of a police inquiry that involved 20 years of material, 333 electronic devices and 12 terabytes of data.  Professor Kenney, who believes hardcore supporters of Choudary can be counted in dozens, says: ‘He doesn’t want to go back to prison. These people are very careful when they are on licence. But it will be interesting to see what will happen in the summer of 2021 [when the licence expires].’

More than 25,000 people in the UK are thought to be radicalised, of whom 3,000 to 4,000 are being watched. Returnee jihadists add hugely to this burden.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/katie-prices-son-harvey-mocked-24641042?utm_source=mirror_newsletter&utm_campaign=12at12_newsletter2&utm_medium=email

Katie Price's son Harvey 'mocked in cruel texts by 8 police officers as Met launch probe'

Katie Price's disabled son Harvey was allegedly mocked by eight police officers in cruel texts, with the cops now being investigated

By Molly Pike

09:12, 29 Jul 2021 Updated 10:54, 29 Jul 2021

Katie Price's son Harvey was allegedly mocked by a group of eight police officers in "cruel" texts.  The officers, who are based at Bexleyheath police station in South East London, are currently under investigation, accused of posting racist and sexist jokes, bullying a female co-worker and mocking black suspects.  Officers were brought into a meeting with senior command once the messages came to light last March.  A source said: "They've been putting sick jokes in there, pictures of black criminals, but some of the worst stuff was taking the mickey out of Harvey Price.  There are a lot of messages about him, I'm told.  These are the people who are supposed to be looking after us and are supposed to be out in these communities."

The eight officers have been placed on restricted duties while the investigation is being carried out, the Daily Mail reports.  Harvey, 19, is blind and has autism and Prader-Willi syndrome, which causes learning difficulties and behavioural problems.  The Metropolitan police confirmed that the Department of Professional Standards was investigating allegations that inappropriate material was shared by officers in a closed WhatsApp group.  Last year, a video of a couple mocking Harvey went viral, with one half of the pair wearing blackface.  Katie slammed the video as "disgusting" and "racist".  In recent months, Katie has joined the campaign to urge social media sites to ask for proof of ID when setting up accounts.  This campaign argues that trolls will be more easily identifiable, which will make it easier for them to be held to account.  In March, she wrote in The Independent: "I've seen Harvey mocked and belittled since he was a small boy, because of his disabilities, and because of his race.  Now that he's 18, he understands that the treatment he receives from strangers is cruel and unfair. He’s said it himself: 'People are horrible to me.' As a mother, that breaks my heart.  We have no other option: to make the law work, we need to remove people’s anonymity online to ensure that users cannot cause harm by using online platforms to abuse others.  As a family, we have experienced the worst kind of abuse imaginable towards my sweet and disabled son and it’s my mission to make sure that no one can hide behind their crime, or an anonymous social media profile.  Where an offence has taken place, they ought to be easily identified, reported to the police and punished."

14
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9834029/Far-left-firebrands-led-Lambeth-Council-time-child-abuse-scandal.html

Pictured: The far-left firebrands of Lambeth Council that used children in care 'as pawns in toxic power game with Thatcher's government' and oversaw a 'culture of cover-up' that let sex offenders freely abuse 705 victims

    Lambeth Council leader were more focused on opposing the ruling Tories than tackling abuse, report says
    Nationally-known Labour leaders such as Ted Knight and Linda Bellos were posturing against Government
    At the same time social workers treated children with 'callous disregard' and allowed paedophiles free rein
    Report says council in South London was dominated by 'politicised behaviour and turmoil' during the 1980s

By Mark Duell for MailOnline and Steve Doughty, Social Affairs Correspondent for the Daily Mail

Published: 09:36, 28 July 2021 | Updated: 09:38, 28 July 2021

More than 700 child abuse victims in the care of a notorious hard-Left council were 'pawns in a toxic power game' local leaders were having with Margaret Thatcher's Government in the 1980s, a damning inquiry has found.  Frequent and vicious abuse by paedophiles was allowed to go on while the leaders of Lambeth Council in South London were more focused on opposing the ruling Conservatives - with the children treated as 'worthless', it said.  While nationally-known Labour leaders such as Ted Knight and Linda Bellos postured against the Government and condemned racism, social workers treated children with 'callous disregard' and allowed paedophiles free rein.  Between 1986 and 1988 the council's leader was gay rights and anti-racism activist Miss Bellos, 70, who now runs an equality consultancy. The radical feminist succeeded Mr Knight, who died aged 86 in March last year.  The report released yesterday said Lambeth Council was dominated by 'politicised behaviour and turmoil' during the 1980s and that the authority sought to 'take on the Government' to the detriment of local services.  The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report said: 'During that time, children in care became pawns in a toxic power game within Lambeth Council and between the council and central government.  This turmoil and failure to act to improve children's social care continued into the 1990s and beyond.'

It told how 'bullying, intimidation, racism and sexism thrived within Lambeth Council', all of which was set within a context of corruption and financial mismanagement which permeated much of the council's operations.  The report said senior council officials who tried to rein in corruption were threatened and levels of intimidation against staff deepened when one official who resisted corruption was murdered in a crime that went unsolved.  Yesterday, survivors of Lambeth Council children's homes revealed the horrific abuse they were subjected to as the report exposed how predators 'infiltrated' the system to abuse 705 victims.  Sandra Fearon said she was driven to the point of being 'seconds away from suicide' after a doctor launched a campaign of violent sexual abuse against her from the age of 12.  Elizabeth McCourt, who was sexually abused at Angell Road care home, told BBC News she was later kidnapped by a pimp and forced into prostitution because of the council's 'negligence'.  Philip Wells told Sky News he was 10 when, over the course of seven months at Shirley Oaks, he was sexually abused two or three times a week by a teacher.  He said he reported his injuries at the time but was ignored by staff and it went on to become 'a dark secret'. He went 60 years without revealing what had happened to him.  Employees at Lambeth Council 'treated children in care as if they were worthless' and appeared to demonstrate 'a callous disregard for the vulnerable children they were paid to look after', yesterday's report said.  The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) heard evidence of children being raped, indecently assaulted and sexually abused while investigating what happened over several decades since the 1960s.  But the report said that of the 705 former residents across three such facilities who complained, only one member of senior staff was ever disciplined as it estimated the number of those abused was likely much higher.  And it recommended the Metropolitan Police should consider whether there are grounds for a criminal probe into a boy who died in a care home in 1977 having previously complained of being abused by a senior member of staff.  Victims have spoken out about their experiences following the report.  Ms Fearon, who was at Shirley Oaks between 1964 and 1969 with her siblings, said she was abused every week for two years until she told a school nurse what was happening.  'I got to the point where I was probably seconds away from suicide. That's how bad my health was and the state I was in,' she said, adding that the abuse 'absolutely destroyed me'.' 

Ms McCourt, 56, told the BBC she 'felt ashamed' after the abuse and hasn't been able to hold a job down because of her subsequent criminal record.  Mr Wells thought the abuse was 'the way things are done in schools' until he realised the way he had been treated was not okay. He said what happened to him has been 'constantly on his mind' since a teacher assaulted him regularly after swimming lessons.  One girl claimed she was raped 500 times by older boys at Shirley Oaks during the 1950s.  And Mr Wells, who moved to Shirley Oaks in the 1950s after his mother became unwell, said he thought a 'corrupt viper's nest of paedophiles' had targeted children at the home.  In its summary, the IICSA report said: 'With some exceptions, they (Lambeth Council staff) treated children in care as if they were worthless. As a consequence, individuals who posed a risk to children were able to infiltrate children's homes and foster care, with devastating, life-long consequences for their victims.  For several decades, senior staff and councillors at Lambeth Council failed to effect change, despite overwhelming evidence that children in its care did not have the quality of life and protection to which they were entitled, and were being put at serious risk of sexual abuse.  When systemic failures were identified, time and again they were minimised and levels of risk ignored.'

The inquiry into Lambeth Council, held in the summer of 2020, examined five facilities Angell Road, South Vale Assessment Centre, the Shirley Oaks complex, Ivy House and Monkton Street dating back to the 1960s.  The report highlighted the case of Michael John Carroll, a member of staff at the Angell Road children's home who had failed to disclose in the 1970s a previous conviction for child sexual abuse but was retained when this was eventually found out.  He was subsequently convicted in 1999 of 34 counts of child sexual abuse, including of two boys in the care of Lambeth Council between 1980 and 1983.  The report found 'clear evidence' that sexual offenders and those suspected of sexual abuse were co-workers in Lambeth Council's children's homes at the same time.  Carroll also had a role in recruiting staff and investigations at Angell Road.  The report said: 'Through such poor practice and its failure to respond to concerns and allegations, Lambeth Council put vulnerable children in the path of adults known or suspected to be perpetrators of child sexual abuse.'

It described sex offenders as likely feeling 'untouchable', while children were left feeling 'isolated and ignored'.  The report identified a 'culture of cover-up' and a 'lack of concern for the day-to-day lives of children in its care'.  It said Lambeth Council was dominated by 'politicised behaviour and turmoil' during the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, and that the council sought to 'take on the Government' to the detriment of local services.  The report said: 'During that time, children in care became pawns in a toxic power game within Lambeth Council and between the council and central government.  This turmoil and failure to act to improve children's social care continued into the 1990s and beyond.'

It said 'bullying, intimidation, racism and sexism thrived within Lambeth Council', all of which was set within a context of corruption and financial mismanagement which permeated much of Lambeth Council's operations.  The report acknowledged there were 'much-improved systems in Lambeth', but said there was still evidence of a more recent case, from 2016, in which an allegation of rape did not result in a strategy meeting taking place to consider the claim.  The report added: 'For several decades, senior staff and councillors at Lambeth Council failed to effect change, despite overwhelming evidence that children in its care did not have the quality of life and protection to which they were entitled, and were being put at serious risk of sexual abuse.  When systemic failures were identified, time and again they were minimised and levels of risk ignored.'

The report made a number of recommendations, including that the council publish an action plan to deal with the issues raised in the report, and for a review of recruitment and vetting checks of current foster carers and children's home staff.  It also said Scotland Yard should consider whether there were grounds for criminal investigations into the council's actions when providing information to the coroner about the circumstances of a child's death known during the inquiry as LA-A2 who died in the bathroom at Shirley Oaks in 1977 having previously alleged his house father, Donald Hosegood, abused him.  The inquiry heard Lambeth Council did not inform the coroner of the boy's allegations.  Other areas of investigation during the long-running inquiry have included Westminster, the church and the internet.  The final report of overarching findings from all 15 sections of the investigation is being laid before Parliament at a later date.  Husna-Banoo Talukdar, who said she was repeatedly abused while in Lambeth care homes between 1976 and 1979, said she would not stop campaigning for justice until all the perpetrators' names were made public.  Ms Taludkar, who waived her right to anonymity, said: 'The inquiry missed that opportunity to get those names out there, to get it known who did what the abusers, the council, the police who covered it up.'

The 57-year-old said she sought to banish the memories of her childhood growing up, but began getting nightmares and flashbacks in her 40s.  She said she tried to kill herself three years ago, and detailed her ordeal in a 91-page letter before taking an overdose, but survived after more than a week in a coma.  She said: 'Every day counts now, I know that. I will not stop trying to get justice.'

Richard Scorer, specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who is representing the sister of a teenage boy who killed himself in a care home after making allegations of abuse against staff member Donald Hosegood, said: 'It is clear from today's report that Lambeth Council deliberately withheld information from the coroner in order to give the impression that our client's brother was happy in care.  IICSA have now recommended that Lambeth Council's cover-up in this case is investigated by the police.  We urge the Metropolitan Police to act on that recommendation without delay and urgently establish a full investigation anything less would be a betrayal of our client, of her deceased brother who took his own life in 1977, and of the generations of children who were let down by the litany of council and police failings set out in this report.'

One former leader of Lambeth Council has said she wishes she 'should have known' about abuse that happened at council-owned homes.  Ms Bellos, who led the council from 1986 to 1988, was not called to give evidence by the IICSA.  She told the BBC: 'It is so shocking to hear the hurt that has been done to children. I am actually shocked. I responded to the questions and I wasn't asked to say any more, but now listening to what has happened I am shocked. I am disgusted in fact.'

She added: 'I should have known, there should have been transparency for the services that we were supposed to be giving to vulnerable children.  On the other hand, to ask any questions of any officers, the media, and I can think of a number of national newspapers who were accusing me of interfering. I didn't wish to micromanage senior officers. We were paying them thousands of pounds to do their work.'

Claire Holland, Lambeth council leader, said: 'The council was responsible for their care and protection but failed, with profound consequences. The council is deeply sorry for their experiences.  The extent and scale of the horrendous abuse, which took place over many decades, remains deeply shocking.  The council failed to acknowledge concerns when they arose, often failed to believe children when they disclosed abuse and then failed to take effective action.  That so many children and adults were not believed compounded their experiences and caused further pain and distress with lifelong impacts.'

Ms Holland added: 'Lambeth Council fully accepts the recommendations from this inquiry and will continue to strive to improve the care we provide to children and young people.  The council recognises that there is much more to be done as part of its improvement journey and that we can never be complacent.  We believe children and young people are better listened to and better protected in the Lambeth of today.  Lambeth Council and our partners welcomes all the recommendations from IICSA that will assist the council to continue to keep children safe now and in the future.'

John O'Brien, secretary to the IICSA, described the Lambeth Council report as 'the most difficult to read' of the inquiry's 15 completed investigations so far.  He said: 'It's a fairly difficult read. I've been involved in every report we've ever issued and this is genuinely the most difficult read of all.  If you look at all the elements in our other reports, many contain common areas this contains everything we found in other areas, all happening in one place.  The only way I can describe it is a generally toxic environment.'

Mr O'Brien added that childhood for a young person placed in care in Lambeth at the time would have likely been 'bewildering, frightening and soul-destroying'.  He said: 'It didn't matter which corner you look in here, you found a failure or a number of failures.  It's the only report where, reading through it, I've had to put it down at regular intervals because what it's describing is just unrelenting.  Everything you read just made you think: I know when I turn the next page I am just going to read another story of something not happening.'

He added: 'People were in here and saw no way the environment they existed in was ever going to change.'

Asked if there were any people who emerged from the report with any credit, Mr O'Brien replied: 'No, I don't think so.'

He said: 'Officers named in the report, largely speaking, failed to do their job properly if at all.  Councillors weren't focused on what they needed to do, there's not one element of this where you think they did their job properly.  There was nobody doing the job in the way they should have done, and when things were brought to their attention they deliberately didn't do very much about them.'

He added: 'More people involved in this need to put their hands up and commit to making sure this doesn't happen again.'

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's the World at One, Mr O'Brien also warned there might still be the danger of abuse without the recommendations of the inquiry being acted on.  He said: 'We have certainly got an environment where without those recommendations being acted upon it would be easier for people to do things like not fully declare their background, which is a real concern.'

Mr O'Brien had earlier said the failures by Lambeth Council could not be 'disentangled' from the 'political argument that was going on between Lambeth and central government at the time'.  He had earlier said: 'This was truly a failure of the whole authority to protect the children in its care over an extended period of time and when abuse was reported or when it came to light it wasn't investigated properly, and in many instances people that had been accused of abuse were simply allowed to carry on with their jobs as if nothing had happened.'

Abusers were rife and there was a focus on politics instead of service delivery: Key findings in abuse review

The latest report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has found staff with Lambeth Council failed children in care and foster homes repeatedly from the 1960s. Here are some of the key findings:

The abuse was widespread

Sexual and other abuse of children was 'widespread' in Lambeth Council's residential and foster care homes during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The investigation covered five children's units Angell Road, South Vale Assessment Centre, the Shirley Oaks complex, Ivy House, and Monkton Street. The inquiry said that by 2020, 705 former residents from Shirley Oaks, South Vale and Angell Road made complaints about sexual abuse, though the true number is likely to be much higher.

Children who raised the alarm were effectively dismissed

A number of victims reported sexual abuse to adults at the time, including to other staff or their social workers. But in many cases, this did not result in the investigation or prosecution of alleged offenders, or any disciplinary action being taken. The report found some children were too frightened to tell anyone, or were threatened with violence by the perpetrator if they reported the abuse. At Shirley Oaks, staff viewed children with hostility and as given to 'fantasy'. The report said: 'This complete disbelief of children was incomprehensible and further increased their vulnerability. Even when their allegations proved to be substantiated, they were shown no compassion and given no support.'

The children themselves were among the most vulnerable in society

Two of the facilities Ivy House and Monkton Street were for children with complex needs and communication difficulties. Some were taken into care because they experienced or were at risk of experiencing abuse or neglect at home. But it also found that some children were in care simply because they were from families whose problems were rooted in poverty or poor housing. The report said that from the 1980s onwards, 'too many children were taken into care because of a lack of family support, poor planning and poor children's social care practice, often carried out by unqualified staff'.

Impact of the lack of care

The report found that many Lambeth Council staff involved in children's social care appeared to demonstrate 'a callous disregard for the vulnerable children they were paid to look after'. It meant that some former residents experienced emotional, physical and sexual abuse. John O'Brien, secretary to the inquiry, said: 'People were in here and saw no way the environment they existed in was ever going to change.'

Abusers were rife and acted with impunity

The report found staff and councillors failed in their professional and statutory duties when it came to responding to extremely serious allegations of staff misconduct, including criminal behaviour, towards looked-after children. For example, Michael John Carroll, a member of staff at the Angell Road children's home who had failed to disclose in the 1970s a previous conviction for child sexual abuse, was retained when this was eventually found out. There is clear evidence that sexual offenders and those suspected of sexual abuse were co-workers in Lambeth Council's children's homes at the same time, the report found. Carroll also had a role in staff recruitment and investigations at Angell Road. The report added: 'Sexual offenders operating within children's homes were likely to have had a sense of being untouchable, while children were left feeling isolated and ignored.'

The focus on politics rather than service delivery

The report found Lambeth councillors failed to hold senior staff accountable for the dismal quality of children's social care, and did not themselves take responsibility for setting an appropriate strategy or ensuring improvements were made in order to protect children in their care. They crossed the boundary into operational and professional decision-making, when they should not have done so, the report found. It said Lambeth Council was dominated by 'politicised behaviour and turmoil' during the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, and that the council sought to 'take on the Government' to the detriment of local services. The report said: 'During that time, children in care became pawns in a toxic power game within Lambeth Council and between the council and central government. This turmoil and failure to act to improve children's social care continued into the 1990s and beyond.'

The cover-up

Reputation management has been a feature of several IICSA reports to date, and it was present at Lambeth council 'with spades on', IICSA secretary John O'Brien said. The report found that rather than a culture of openness and a willingness to improve when it came to the fundamental interests of children, there was instead 'defensiveness and resistance to change children's interests were secondary to those of staff and councillors', the report found. It said that when systemic failures were identified, 'time and again they were minimised and levels of risk ignored'. One former council official told the inquiry that Lambeth 'spent a lot of time not being transparent and that problems were covered up'.

The tragic case of LA-A2

The inquiry heard evidence of one teenage boy known only as LA-A2 to protect his identity who killed himself while at Shirley Oaks in 1977. He had previously accused a senior member of staff Donald Hosegood of abusing him. The inquiry heard LA-A2 was 'slow at doing things', and had trouble speaking, and that he was one of a number of people allegedly abused by Mr Hosegood. Mr Hosegood later went on trial for 11 counts of rape and indecent assault involving four children, but the case collapsed after only four days. The inquiry heard Lambeth council did not inform the coroner of LA-A2's allegations about Mr Hosegood. LA-A2's sister said: 'Following the court case, (my brother) was even less like his old self. He hardly spoke and he never seemed to be happy or engaging when I saw him. Had fate been kinder to my beloved (brother), and had counselling and support been available, (he) may have been able to represent himself (at the inquiry).'

Who led Lambeth Council when Margaret Thatcher was in power in the 80s?

Ted Knight (1978-1986)

'Red Ted' was expelled from Labour in 1954 for being a member of the Socialist Labour League, before being readmitted in 1970. He left his job as contracts manager of a cleaning company to work at the council full-time in 1978 and he earned just £60 a week there, which was the allowance for attending committee meetings. He was one of the driving forces behind the Labour councils' rebellion against Margaret Thatcher's attempts to limit the budgets of local councils in the mid-1980s. 

Linda Bellos (1986-1988)

Between 1986 and 1988 the council's leader was gay rights and anti-racism activist Linda Bellos, 70. The radical feminist was not called to give evidence by the IICSA and said yesterday that she wishes she 'should have known' about abuse that happened at the homes. She now runs an equality consultancy and introduced Black History Month as chair of the London Strategic Policy Unit. She was awarded an OBE in 2006.

Linda Bellos (1986-1988)

Between 1986 and 1988 the council's leader was gay rights and anti-racism activist Linda Bellos, 70. The radical feminist was not called to give evidence by the IICSA and said yesterday that she wishes she 'should have known' about abuse that happened at the homes. She now runs an equality consultancy and introduced Black History Month as chair of the London Strategic Policy Unit. She was awarded an OBE in 2006.

Joan Twelves (1989-1991)

Joan Twelves became involved in politics in the 1970s in fighting fascism and held numerous positions in the Labour Party in Lambeth and London in the following decade. She was suspended by the party in 1991 for campaigning against the Poll Tax and the Gulf War.

Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990

The six men convicted of child sexual abuse

Despite the scale of reported abuse and suspected abuse in Lambeth, only six perpetrators have been convicted of child sexual abuse. They are as follows: 

William Hook: In 2001 pleaded guilty to 26 offences, including indecent assault, gross indecency and buggery, in respect of six children in the care of Lambeth Council and one he abused after leaving the Council. Sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment.

Philip Temple: In 2016 pleaded guilty to 29 counts of child sexual abuse related to 13 victims, four of whom had been at Shirley Oaks. Sentenced to 12 years in jail, which was increased to 18 years upon the Attorney General referring the case to the Court of Appeal.

Leslie Paul: Convicted on three separate occasions in 1994, 2002 and 2016 of a range of sexual offences against several children in Lambeth Council's care, including from South Vale. In 1994, he was sentenced to 30 months' imprisonment, in 2002 to 18 months' imprisonment and in 2016 to 13 years' imprisonment.

Michael Carroll: In 1999 was convicted of the sexual abuse of two boys in the care of Lambeth Council, as well as nine boys from a children's home in Liverpool. The indictment before the court in 1999 contained 76 counts relating to child sexual abuse. Carroll pleaded guilty to 34 charges and was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment.

Patrick Grant: Convicted in 2019 of eight counts of indecent assault on a boy under the age of 16, two of which concerned a child in Lambeth Council's care. Sentenced to eight years' imprisonment.

Geoffrey Clarke: In 1998 was convicted of the sexual abuse of three children not connected to Lambeth, where he had worked in children's homes. Sentenced to three years in jail. Later charged with various offences of indecent assault and possession of indecent images, but took his own life on the day the trial was to start.

'Repeatedly abused' woman says she won't stop campaigning until all the perpetrators' names are made public

Husna-Banoo Talukdar, who said she was repeatedly abused while in Lambeth care homes between 1976 and 1979, said she would not stop campaigning for justice until all the perpetrators' names were made public.  Ms Taludkar, who waived her right to anonymity, said: 'The inquiry missed that opportunity to get those names out there, to get it known who did what the abusers, the council, the police who covered it up.'

The 57-year-old said she sought to banish the memories of her childhood growing up, but began getting nightmares and flashbacks in her 40s.  She said she tried to kill herself three years ago, and detailed her ordeal in a 91-page letter before taking an overdose, but survived after more than a week in a coma. She said: 'Every day counts now, I know that. I will not stop trying to get justice.'

Former council leader says she 'should have known' about child abuse

A former leader of Lambeth Council has said she wishes she 'should have known' about abuse that happened at council-owned homes.  Linda Bellos, who led the council from 1986 to 1988, was not called to give evidence by the IICSA.  She told the BBC: 'It is so shocking to hear the hurt that has been done to children.  I am actually shocked. I responded to the questions and I wasn't asked to say any more, but now listening to what has happened I am shocked. I am disgusted in fact.'

She added: 'I should have known, there should have been transparency for the services that we were supposed to be giving to vulnerable children.  On the other hand, to ask any questions of any officers, the media, and I can think of a number of national newspapers who were accusing me of interfering. I didn't wish to micromanage senior officers. We were paying them thousands of pounds to do their work.'

What happened to the victims of child abuse?

A series of horrifying accounts described by victims in residential settings and foster care were given in the report. Here are four of them:

LA‑A307 was taken to Shirley Oaks at the age of nine. He described hearing other children screaming at night and he himself routinely experienced violence and sexual assault, including being photographed whilst being raped.

LA‑A147 was in the care of Lambeth Council in the 1990s and 2000s, from the age of three. Over ten years, she was placed in nine children's homes and with four sets of foster carers. She described being raped by a foster carer's teenage son at the age of nine, and was also frequently sexually abused by older men she met whilst in care. By the age of 13, she had developed a drug addiction and was 'selling herself' to fund it.

LA‑A2 was found dead in a bathroom at Shirley Oaks in 1977. Lambeth Council did not inform the coroner that he had alleged being sexually abused by Donald Hosegood, his 'house father'. In the course of Hosegood's employment at Shirley Oaks, six out of eight children looked after by him and his wife alleged sexual abuse by him.

LA‑A7 described sexual abuse by three male members of staff, including two from South Vale. Two of them separately photographed him at their private homes when he was either naked or wearing only his underwear. One of them, Leslie Paul, was convicted of indecent assaults against him.

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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9819631/I-sexually-assaulted-womens-prison-fellow-inmate-male-genitalia.html

'I was sexually assaulted in a women's prison by a fellow inmate with male genitalia': Read Amy's story and decide can it be right to put trans sex offenders in female jails?

By Julie Bindel For The Daily Mail

Published: 22:07, 23 July 2021 | Updated: 06:37, 24 July 2021

Her sense of shock, and the awful aura of menace that closed in on her, still haunt former prisoner Amy Jones.  Jail should have been a place free from the predators who had sexually assaulted and raped her in her childhood, but the terrifying presence looming over her suggested anything but.  'The look in her eyes was frightening,' Amy says, her voice quiet but assertive. 'She leered at me before lunging forward and grabbing my breasts hard. She squeezed them and I cried out in pain. I was terrified she would rape me.'

The prisoner who sexually assaulted Amy we cannot legally identify her, so we shall call her J is a transgender woman, with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), and therefore referred to by the female pronoun, but still had male genitalia.   Amy was equally well aware that J still had male genitalia because she often intimidated her and fellow female prisoners at HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Middlesex, by exposing them.  Moreover, J was serving time for a serious sexual assault on a child and was clearly a danger to other inmates. Yet she had secured a coveted job as a cleaner at the prison gym where Amy also worked. And it was while she was in the gym's lavatory block that J assaulted her in 2017.  'What were the officers even thinking, letting her clean toilets in which women would be in a state of undress and alone? Why was there a child sex offender with a penis cleaning the toilets of the gym in a women's prison?'

J had already stridently asserted her 'right' to be treated exactly like other women prisoners, although this clearly terrorised them.  'When J went for a shower, the prison put a sign on the door saying that no one else should enter, because they knew it could upset the women if they saw her naked, but J objected to this and said it was an infringement of her human rights,' says Amy.

'She said, 'I am a woman and I want to shower with other women.' Just before she assaulted me, she was seen with the shower curtain open, her genitals in full view of the other women.'

Amy, 38, mother to a daughter, is an articulate woman; small in stature with thick, auburn hair and milky white skin.  On the day we meet, in a cafe, she has been released from prison, just over halfway through a nine-year sentence which she began in 2016, for drug-related crime. She is smartly dressed in a black shirt and cream trousers; quick-witted, innately intelligent but also very angry.  The reason?

This month Amy learned that she had failed in a judicial review challenge to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) policy in relation to the allocation of high-risk transwomen prisoners including sex offenders like J to female prisons.  Amy has also brought a separate civil action for damages against Sodexo, the company which runs HMP Bronzefield, and the MOJ.  She argued, through her lawyers, that the law currently discriminates against women prisoners and that the Government has failed to take into account the provisions of the Equality Act which allow for certain single-sex exemptions, permitting men and women to use separate facilities in particularly sensitive circumstances.  The case, for which Amy did not give evidence, involved legal arguments only; neither has J faced any police investigation or charges for the alleged assault.  In a judgment handed down by email, Lord Justice Holroyde accepted there were real concerns raised by Amy, and that 'a substantial proportion of women prisoners have been the victims of sexual assaults and/or domestic violence'.

He accepted that many would 'suffer fear and acute anxiety if required to share prison accommodation and facilities with transgender women with male genitalia and convictions for sexual and violent offences against women'.

He also allowed that the statistical evidence showed the proportion of trans prisoners previously convicted of sexual offences was 'substantially higher' than for non-transgender men and women prisoners.  Between 2016 and 2019, 97 sexual assaults were recorded in women's prisons, the judgment said.  Of these, it appears that seven were committed by transgender prisoners without a GRC. It is not known whether any were committed by transgender women with a GRC because they are, apparently, disregarded in Government figures.  But the judge said the statistics '.... are so low in number, and so lacking in detail, that they are an unsafe basis for general conclusions'.

As of March 2019, there were 34 transgender women without GRCs allocated to a woman's prison. The number of transgender prisoners with a certificate of which J is one is thought to be in single-figures across the prison population as a whole.  Male-born trans prisoners were first allowed to request a transfer to women's jails in England and Wales in 2016. Just a year later the risks of the policy were made clear when a convicted rapist was moved to women's jail HMP New Hall in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and sexually assaulted two women inmates.  Karen White identified as a woman but was still legally a man and had not undergone surgery.  She was jailed for life in 2018 by a judge who branded her a 'highly manipulative' predator.  Despite the history of such assaults, this month the court decided that, ultimately, the rights of transwomen trumped the concerns of natal female prisoners.  For Amy, who was given legal aid to pursue the case from which she did not benefit financially the ruling is profoundly unjust.  Contending that the law needs to be changed, she says the equation is a simple one: 'If a transwoman is in for violence against women, or sex offences against women or children, you should not be in prison with women.'

Transwomen prisoners were already housed at Bronzefield when Amy arrived there, soon after the law was changed to accommodate them in female prisons.  'I was a bit shocked because I knew they were sex offenders. An officer told me that, off the record,' she says. 'The other women in prison who knew were in shock and angry, too.  It's like putting a crack addict in a crack house, or an alcoholic in a pub. Sex offenders should never be in prison with women. Most women in there have gone through child abuse and domestic violence and rape. What if someone is raped?'

She continues: 'J would wear a long flowery skirt and sit with her legs wide open. A number of the other girls said it was very distressing to see that.'

Since her release, Amy has been supporting women victims of domestic abuse on a voluntary basis. Her own story highlights how the sexual violence perpetrated against her shaped her life and led to her spiral into addiction and crime.  Growing up in a big family in South London, she was raped at 13 coincidentally the same age as one of the children who was sexually assaulted by J; a crime that led to her conviction and began drinking and smoking crack.  'I then went out of control and began my life of crime, stealing in order to pay for my drugs. Sexual predators would target me, especially when I was in and out of care.'

At 15, Amy was sent to the youth offender wing of a prison, which was the start of a string of drug-related crimes and prison sentences.  Although she hated prison, Amy tells me that away from male sexual predators, and among other women who had been through similar experiences, she felt safe for the first time in her life.  'But I stopped feeling safe knowing trans sex offenders were housed beside me,' she says.

Her fears were, sadly, not misplaced: a year or so into her sentence she was sexually assaulted by J.  It is pertinent, too, that she was working at the time in the prison gym a vital provision because it allowed prisoners to 'let off steam, talk to others and get off the wing for a bit', generally improving their mental health. But these benefits were nullified when J was given the job of gym cleaner.  The sexual assault took place in the toilets of the gym, which were left unguarded and without CCTV.  'It was supposed to be my sanctuary,' says Amy. 'I felt so distressed. Prison is an awful place to be under any circumstances, and this just made it 100 times worse.'

It seems that J wielding the threat that any criticism of her behaviour would be considered 'transphobic' was permitted concessions that would not be granted to other women prisoners.  Although rules state that most cosmetics purchased from outside the prison are banned, J was allowed to have toiletries brought in, including perfume in glass bottles, heated rollers, make-up and a razor to shave her face.  'Trans prisoners claim they have to disguise their beards and want to look feminine so they are given special privileges,' explains Amy.

She believes that J had planned the assault and knew that it was likely she would be in the gym when J was cleaning.  'I think she targeted me on purpose and waited until the coast was clear. After it happened, I went back to my room and couldn't stop shaking. It brought back feelings of trauma about all the previous times when I've been attacked by men. I went to the senior officer and told her what had happened and asked why a child sex offender with a penis was allowed to clean the women's toilets in the gym?'

The officer simply said: 'Everyone deserves a second chance.'

Amy adds: 'Sex offenders are master manipulators, and if they sniff vulnerability they target it. At the same time, they are going on about their human rights and scaring the prison officers into looking the other way. After J assaulted me, I'd see her around the prison on a regular basis. She would leer at me and smirk.'

Amy and a number of other women heard that J had been sent to the segregation unit as punishment for not taking the medication that prevented her penis from getting erect, 'which begs the question: 'Why was she still allowed around us?'

Appalled by the inadequate response from prison officers to the assault, and frightened of what would happen next, she took legal action against the prison service and applied to move jails. Extraordinarily she was transferred to HMP Downview in Banstead, Surrey, which had just established a separate wing for high-risk transwomen with a GRC.  The new unit was originally intended for up to 15 female prisoners who were being released on temporary licence, but it was never used for this purpose.  By awful coincidence, it was recommissioned for high-risk transwomen prisoners. Initially three such transwomen were housed there, but since then all have successfully challenged their allocation to this wing as 'transphobic'. All are now back in the general prison population.  On arriving at Downview, Amy was horrified to discover J was also in the same prison: 'The reception officer told me and I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. They moved me for my own protection, and then I ended up back in the same prison as this person who had sexually assaulted me.'

At Downview she discovered she was far from alone in being terrified of J. 'Quite a few women were scared of J, because she would rub up against them in the dinner queue with an erect penis.  She would wear very tight trousers which made it obvious she had male genitals. The prison officers protected her more than they did us. They were terrified of being accused of transphobia.'

So as J continues her sentence in the general prison population, Amy's fears are for the women still terrorised by her.  I meet her on the morning the judgment is made public and as the news comes through she looks distraught.  'I am on the outside now,' she says, with tears in her eyes, 'but what about those young girls, so vulnerable and tiny? Who will protect them now?'

ThE judgment recognises that housing transwomen with convictions for sexual offences creates a real risk, but considers the prison service has put measures in place to manage that risk.  But the evidence seems to belie this. Indeed, Amy's case against the prison services was bolstered by evidence from another prisoner at HMP Bronzefield who also complained of assault by J.  The woman, who provided a statement for the legal case, reported two assaults one in the line for dinner and one in her room. J pressed her genitals against the woman's buttocks.  Yet the prison did not report the assaults by J on either woman to the police.  The staff turned a blind eye to this behaviour. They protected themselves and didn't speak out as they were worried that they would get into trouble because of the trans policy in prison; a policy which doesn't consider the impact on women prisoners,' says Amy.

She adds: 'I have nothing against transgender people. It is the sex offenders that I have a problem with. This kind of thing is happening to women all the time in prisons. I owe it to them to continue to raise this issue and to get the public up in arms about it. Even though we are prisoners and have committed crimes, we are all human beings.'

Meanwhile, Ian Whiteside, prison director at HMP Bronzefield, offers: 'As this case is an ongoing legal matter, we are unable to comment further except to say that the safety and welfare of all those living and working within our prisons is of paramount importance to us.'

Amy would contest this. 'Some female prisoners have been punished for 'transphobic behaviour' when complaining about transwomen being housed among us. It's outrageous. How could they not recognise the danger we were in?  J is a serious sex offender. This judge's decision is insulting to her victims, to all female prisoners and to women everywhere. At least this case will have alerted the authorities to how dangerous J is.'

Amy believes the outcome of the case is so iniquitous that she intends to continue to campaign.  'I want to train as a lawyer,' she tells me. 'I want to help women who have been unfortunate enough to end up in prison because of the abuse they suffered in childhood and beyond.  I would never have imagined this; that sex offenders would be allowed to prey on the most vulnerable women in society.'

Pseudonyms have been used.

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