Here are this week’s headlines:
- Finsbury Park mosque murder
Reported by Sarah Mullane
Darren Osborne has been found guilty of murder and attempted murder, after ploughing a van into a crowd of Muslims in Finsbury Park last June. The premeditated attack resulted in the death of 51-year-old Markram Ali, and the injury of twelve others, some who have life changing injuries. Osborne, a far-right extremist, had been reportedly ‘brainwashed’ by anti-Islam propaganda and had hoped to kill as many Muslims as possible. On the day, Osborne purposefully targeted pedestrians outside of a mosque, most of whom had just left their prayers on the first day of Ramadan.
Police believe that the impetus for his actions had been a BBC drama surrounding a sexual abuse scandal which had involved Muslim men. This documentary had then been featured in online anti-Muslim extremist propaganda. Prosecutors on this case stated that it was “clear throughout that this was a terrorist attack.” After a nine-day long trial, the jury at Woolwich Crown Court took only one hour to return their guilty verdict. Evidence that had been given during the trial emphasised the aggression and brutality of the attack, with one witness describing how the rented van used by Osborne had left tyre marks on the upper torso of the victim.
Following the attack, a report by the Guardian has claimed that senior counter-terrorism sources confirm approximately 100 violent neo-Nazis and far-right extremists to be currently committed to a racial and religious war in Britain. The secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain has said that we “cannot be complacent and regard this as a one-off terrorist incident.” Osborne now faces mandatory life imprisonment.
He is due to be sentenced today.
- Advancements for those suffering from domestic abuse in Scotland
Reported by Sara Saquib
The first day of February has been met with some positive news for those who experience domestic abuse.
The Domestic Abuse Bill passed its final stage on the 1st of February 2018 in Scotland. This bill has labelled behaviour which is abusive to the person’s current partner or their ex-partner as an offence. It not only includes physically harming someone, but also criminalises forms of psychological abuse such as extreme emotional blackmail and coercive behaviour. For example, someone limiting the amount of access their partner has to their bank account has now will be recognised as criminal, under this new bill.
This legislation has been stated as marking a milestone in advancements for women who have been dealing with domestic abuse problems for a long time.
Dr Marsha Scott, who is chief executive of the Scottish Women’s Aid, has stated that many women had previously reported that it was not the physical, but rather the psychological abuse, that was hardest to deal with.
This legislation was passed by a clear majority in Scottish parliament. The attitude towards the issues of domestic abuse now seems to be changing, with it no longer being regarded as such a private matter that should be left to those within the household.
This legislation seems to have been welcomed with open arms, understandably. However, solicitors in Glasgow, including Grazia Robertson emphasise that it may be incredibly difficult to build up a detailed case against someone who is being accused of psychologically abusing their partner. The solidity of evidence does indeed seem to be a worry, but it doesn’t stop the overall positive attitudes of those who have passed and welcome the Domestic Abuse Bill.
- Vodafone plans European expansion
Reported by Anna Flaherty
Vodafone has been in talks this week, concerning the prospective purchase of Liberty Global.
Liberty Global is a US international telecommunications company, with operations the UK, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Central and Eastern Europe. It is the owner of Virgin Media. This deal would therefore increase Vodafone’s presence throughout the whole of Europe.
With overlapping assets in many European countries (including Germany, Czech Republic, and Hungary), the companies have already made deals together. In 2016, they merged their business in the Netherlands, agreeing upon a 50:50 joint venture. However, Vodafone has confirmed that current talks will not involve any discussion of a prospective merger.
Negotiations are at a preliminary stage, but the deal is expected to cost Vodafone more than £14 billion. Both Vodafone and Liberty Global’s shares rose as a result of news reports. It is said that these two companies are the only real challengers in Europe against competitors BT Group and Deutsche Telekom AG (who Liberty Global sold its Austrian unit to in December).
This all said, Vodafone has said that there is “no certainty” that any deal will be made.
- Man stabbed to death in London Prisoner
Reported by Paige Waters
Police were called to HMP Wormwood Scrubs – West London jail – at approximately 3:19pm on Wednesday 31st January after a prison was stabbed to death. The Mail prisoner was found with stab wounds and later pronounced dead at the scene, although paramedics tried their best efforts to save him. The next of kin has been informed and a post-mortem is due to be held.
The stabbing occurred after the decision to implement more patrol dogs, body-worn cameras and CCTV in HMP Wormwood Scrubs due to the serious violence risk. This was due to over 90 members of staff being attacked within six months.
The metropolitan police have commented on the fatal crime stating that “the homicide and major crime command was supporting local officers, no arrests had been made and inquiries were still ongoing.”
This crime of homicide follows three murders within jails in England and Wales in 2017. It has been said that the violence within prisons have reached levels which have not been seen in 25 years.
Read more here.