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Posts Tagged ‘Briton’

Briton ‘warned of rampage’ before shooting 12 dead

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2010 at 10:13 am

British taxi-driver declared “there’s going to be a rampage” just hours before launching a shooting spree that left 12 people dead, and then turning the gun on himself, reports said Thursday.


Derrick Bird, 52, also wounded 11 people, three of them critically, as he drove through the picturesque Lake District region of northwestern England taking pot shots at passers-by from the window of his car.


Police warned local residents and the many tourists who flock to the region to stay indoors for their own protection, but it was more than three hours before Bird’s body was eventually found in wood near the village of Boot.


They believe he killed himself. Officers later recovered a shotgun and a .22 rifle fitted with a telescopic sight.

Police officers look a body at the scene of a shooting in Seascale, Cumbria

More than 100 policemen were working Thursday to retrace Bird’s deadly journey through the rural communities here, to establish why a quiet man, described by neighbours as a “normal bloke”, caused such devastation.


“We are not able to understand at this stage the real motivation behind it or establish whether this was a premeditated or a random attack,” Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde said in the coastal town of Whitehaven Wednesday.


He described it as “probably the blackest day in our community’s history”.


People who knew “Birdy“, as the killer was widely known, described him as a quiet man who worked hard, lived alone but was quite popular. He was divorced, had two children and had recently become a grandfather.


However, reports suggested Bird might have planned the attacks the night before, when he got into an argument with other taxi drivers.


“Afterwards Derrick shook all their hands and said, ‘There’s going to be a rampage tomorrow’,” one of his colleagues told The Sun newspaper.


The Times also reported an old friend of Bird’s recalling that the killer had told him when they spoke late Tuesday: “I won’t see you again.”


The newspaper raised the possibility that the attacks were motivated by a feud over his mother’s will, and reported that Bird’s twin brother David and the family solicitor, Kevin J. Commons, were among the victims.


The shooting began in Whitehaven, where taxi driver Darren Rewcastle was among the dead, and continued to the village of Egremont, where local resident Gary Toomey recounted how he found a man bleeding on his doorstep.


“I saw a car screeching off and a man saying ‘help me’. He was bleeding heavily from the side of his face,” Toomey told local media.


“He said he dived out of the way of the shot, and the man in the car pointed the gun down and shot him again in the back from about six feet away as he lay on the floor.”


Bird then headed into Seascale, where eyewitnesses said he took “pot shots” at people as he drove through.


Among the victims there were the elderly Jane Robinson, who died as she delivered catalogues door-to-door, and 64-year-old Michael Pike, who was shot as he rode his bicycle.


Seascale doctor Barrie Walker told of “blood flowing in the streets” as he attended to victims.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “alarmed and shocked” by the attacks, the worst in Britain since the shootings of 16 primary school children and their teacher in the Scottish town of Dunblane in 1996.

“When lives and communities are suddenly shattered in this way, our thoughts should be with all those caught up with these tragic events,” Cameron told lawmakers in parliament.

Queen Elizabeth II said she was “deeply shocked” by the “appalling” events, offering her sympathy to the victims’ families.

“I am sure I share in the grief and horror of the whole country,” she said.

Britain has tight controls on gun ownership introduced after both the Dunblane massacre and a 1987 shooting in Hungerford, southern England, where 14 people died.

Registration is now mandatory for shotguns and firearms, which must be kept in secure storage. Handguns were banned in 1997, and semi-automatic and pump-action rifles are also outlawed.

Source: SGGP

China executes Briton over drugs; Brown slams decision

In World on December 29, 2009 at 11:13 am

 China on Tuesday executed a British citizen caught smuggling heroin, the British Foreign Office said, in a move quickly condemned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.


Akmal Shaikh‘s family and the British government had appealed for clemency, arguing the former businessman suffered from bipolar disorder. The Chinese supreme court rejected the appeal saying there was insufficient grounds.


“I condemn the execution of Akmal Shaikh in the strongest terms, and am appalled and disappointed that our persistent requests for clemency have not been granted,” Brown said in a statement issued by the British Foreign Office.


“I am particularly concerned that no mental health assessment was undertaken.”


China had yet to publicly confirm Shaikh had been executed in the western city of Urumqi at the time Brown made the statement. Shaikh had been due to be executed on Tuesday morning.


Shaikh was still “hopeful” when relatives met him in Urumqi this weekend, his cousin Soohail Shaikh told reporters at Beijing airport late on Monday night.


“We beg the Chinese authorities for mercy and clemency to help reunite the heartbroken family,” Soohail Shaikh had said.


Brown last week asked China not to execute Shaikh, who was born in Pakistan and moved to Britain as a boy. While not leading to any diplomatic rift, the case could harden public opinion in Britain against China, and also rile Chinese public opinion.


The two countries recently traded accusations over the troubled Copenhagen climate change negotiations.


Shaikh’s defenders, including British rights group Reprieve which lobbies against the death penalty, say he was tricked into smuggling the heroin by a gang who promised to make him a pop star. Arrested in 2007, a Chinese court rejected his final appeal on December 21.


Reprieve posted on the Internet a recording Shaikh made of a song, “Come Little Rabbit”, which it described as “dreadful” but which Shaikh believed would be an international hit and help bring about world peace.


He would be the first European citizen to be executed in China since 1951, Western rights groups say.


Shaikh’s family says he suffered from bipolar disorder, and was tricked into becoming a mule by a smuggling gang who promised him a music recording contract.


“This is not about how much we hate the drug trade. Britain as well as China are completely committed to take it on,” the British Foreign Secretary, David Milliband, said in a statement emailed to reporters. “The issue is whether Mr. Shaikh has become an additional victim of it.”


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UFO-obsessed Briton loses bid to block US extradition

In World on November 27, 2009 at 6:13 am

A Briton accused of hacking into US military and NASA computers faces extradition to the United States after the British government rejected last-ditch requests to block the move.


Home Secretary Alan Johnson concluded that sending Gary McKinnon to the United States would not breach his human rights, and said he has no general discretionary powers to stop the extradition.


“If Mr McKinnon’s human rights would be breached, I must stop the extradition. If they would not be breached, the extradition must go ahead,” Johnson said in a statement.


“As the courts have affirmed, I have no general discretion,” he said.








Briton Gary McKinnon leaves the High Court in central London in January 2009.

McKinnon, who suffers from a form of autism, could spend life in prison if convicted by a US court of gaining access to 97 computers in 2001 and 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.


His family and lawyers have warned throughout the long-running case that McKinnon, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, could commit suicide or suffer psychosis if the extradition went ahead.


McKinnon’s mother, Janis Sharp, slammed the decision as “devastating” and “barbaric,” adding that her son was terrified of extradition.


“To force a peaceful, vulnerable, misguided UFO fanatic like Gary thousands of miles away from his much-needed support network is barbaric,” she said.


“This is a cruel and miserable decision,” she told the BBC, adding that the government, should “hang their heads in shame.”


“If the severity of Gary’s medical condition isn’t sufficient to prevent his extradition, I can’t imagine what is. God help others facing a similar fate.”


McKinnon, 43, says he was only looking for evidence of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) when he hacked into the US Navy and NASA space agency computers.


US authorities allege he stole passwords and deleted files, leading to the shutdown of computer systems, with repairs costing around 800,000 dollars (486,000 pounds, 534,000 euros).


His cause has drawn high-profile support, including from Trudie Styler, wife of rock star Sting, who urged mothers to write to the Home Secretary.


Last month, the High Court in London refused McKinnon leave to appeal to Britain’s new Supreme Court against his extradition.


The Home Office agreed to study new medical evidence about McKinnon before deciding on his extradition.


But Johnson told McKinnon’s family in a letter that he could not block the move on medical grounds.


He said he had received guarantees from US authorities that McKinnon’s medical needs would be met once extradited, and if convicted he would not serve any time in a “supermax” prison.


“Due to legitimate concerns over Mr McKinnon’s health, we have sought and received assurances from the United States authorities that his needs will be met,” Johnson said.

“Finally, should Mr McKinnon be extradited, charged and convicted in the US and seek repatriation to the UK to serve a custodial sentence, the government will, of course, progress his application at the very earliest opportunity.”

McKinnon’s solicitor said she would seek a judicial review of Johnson’s decision, and lodge an application before the High Court within seven days.

“We are certainly coming to the end of the road, but we are just hoping that at some point, someone sees sense and steps in,” Karen Todner told the BBC.

“In some ways it’s like dealing with a death row case, we genuinely believe Gary’s life is at stake here.”

His lawyers say he could easily be prosecuted in Britain, where he would face a less severe sentence. But the Crown Prosecution Service ruled in February that the case was best brought in the United States.


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