One of Jodie Chesney’s alleged killers has been accused of throwing his business partner “under the bus” over the teenager’s death.
Drug dealer Manuel Petrovic drove Svenson Ong-a-Kwie and two youths to the park where Jodie was fatally stabbed on 1 March.
Mr Petrovic denied he was trying to “rewrite the truth”.
He, along with Mr Ong-a-Kwie and two youths, aged 16 and 17, deny murder and are on trial at the Old Bailey.
Cross-examining Mr Petrovic, Mr Ong-a-Kwie’s lawyer accused him of distancing himself from his co-accused.
Charles Sherrard QC said: “What I suggest is that you have, from the minute you were arrested, decided your best tactic is to present yourself as a particular type of person – somebody who is too nice, the older brother type, and wherever possible, distanced yourself from Svenson.”
Mr Petrovic replied: “That’s not correct.”
Mr Sherrard continued: “And in distancing yourself you have chosen to rewrite the truth and metaphorically throw him under the bus.”
The 20-year-old repeated: “That’s not correct.”
Mr Sherrard asserted that it was Mr Petrovic that 19-year-old Mr Ong-a-Kwie turned to when he needed a lift to Harold Hill on the night of 1 March.
He turned to him again when he needed fresh clothes and trusted him with a “drug line”, it was claimed.
But Mr Petrovic told jurors: “It was more business associates than friends but I would not not class him as a friend.”
Asked why he picked up Ong-a-Kwie on 1 March, leaving customers waiting, he said: “It’s not out of the blue, he would help me out on occasions so I would try to help him out too.”
The Old Bailey trial continues.
Boris Johnson is expected to comply with a London Assembly order to explain his links to a US businesswoman.
Len Duvall, chairman of City Hall’s oversight committee, said: “We are going to have something this evening from Downing Street.”
The PM is facing questions about his friendship with Jennifer Arcuri when he was London mayor.
He has been accused of failing to declare a conflict of interest, but has said he acted properly at all times.
Mr Johnson had been given until Tuesday to provide details of contacts with Ms Arcuri.
Mr Duvall said: “We have had some fun and games today arguing about when is the deadline, but we finally have an announcement that they are going to comply, and we are going to get something this evening from Downing Street. I hope it is comprehensive and I hope it provides answers.
“The allegations are serious, I hope the prime minister is treating them seriously.”
He said the assembly’s powers to take action against Mr Johnson, if he was found to have breached its code of conduct, were limited because he was no longer mayor of London.
He held the office between 2008 and 2016.
But it could still summon the prime minister to appear before the oversight committee to answer further questions about his contacts with Ms Arcuri, along with others connected to the case.
The committee has asked for the details and a timeline of all contact between Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri, including private text messages and emails.
According to the Sunday Times, which first reported the story, Ms Arcuri joined trade missions led by Mr Johnson when he was mayor and received thousands of pounds in public money.
It is also understood she attended events on two of the trade missions – to New York and Tel Aviv – despite not officially qualifying for them as a delegate.
The prime minister has denied breaking any rules of conduct and insisted everything was done “entirely in the proper way”.
Ms Arcuri told ITV’s Good Morning Britain Mr Johnson was “a really good friend” – but denied the then mayor had shown any “favouritism” towards her.
The code governing conduct at London City Hall states that public office holders should not act in any way to gain benefits for families or friends, and should declare private interests to resolve any conflicts.
Mr Duvall, a Labour member of the London Assembly, said his committee was attempting to “make a judgement call on what the relationship was” before deciding what, if any, action it would take.
Separately, the Independent Office for Police Conduct has been asked to consider whether Mr Johnson, who as mayor was responsible for policing in London, should be investigated for misconduct in public office, a criminal offence.
Current Mayor Sadiq Khan has asked a senior lawyer to review a 2013 decision by London and Partners, the mayor’s promotional agency, to sponsor a conference organised one of Ms Arcuri’s companies, for £10,000.
London and Partners say they have found no evidence of Mr Johnson’s involvement in the decision.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is, meanwhile, “reviewing” a £100,000 grant made in February this year to Ms Arcuri’s cyber-security business Hacker House.
Luke Hart’s mother and sister were shot dead by his father days after they left the family home in Spalding after years of coercive control.
Mr Hart claims his mother was vilified by the press and courts for not doing enough to look after her family.
He’s now calling on more local authorities to adopt the “Safe and Together” method from America, a new approach to tackling domestic violence which aims to keep the abused parent with their child after they’ve been removed or left the abuser.
Mr Hart called the initiative “really important” as it “helps people focus on who we are trying to protect” which will help both children and those being abused.
Waltham Forest and Hackney councils are the first London councils to adopt the new scheme.
Heavy rain is causing flash flooding and travel problems on roads across England.
Ten flood warnings and 40 flood alerts have been put in place across much of the country by the Environment Agency.
The Met Office has a yellow rain warning covering most of the country in force until 23:00 BST.
Floods have been reported on roads in Southampton, Birmingham, Liverpool, and London where flooding was also reported at the Houses of Parliament.
Some areas saw more than 50mm of rain in less than 12 hours as wind, rain and thunder battered parts of the country.
Boscombe Down in Wiltshire had the biggest downpour, with 51.2mm falling at the military base near Amesbury in the 12 hours to 13:00 BST.
About 49.6mm (2in) of rain fell there in the six hours before 09:00, according to the Met Office.
Spokesman Grahame Madge said it was a “significant” amount of rain.
He said the band of rain was “transient” having started in the South West, before moving to the Midlands and hitting the North later in the day.
Currently, flood warnings, where flooding is expected, are in place for:
- Grace Dieu Brook at Whitwick and Thringstone in Leicestershire
- Ifield Brook and the River Mole at Ifield and the River Mole at Lowfield Heath in Crawley, West Sussex
- River Maun at Edwinstowe and Ollerton in Nottinghamshire
- River Tame at Hams Hall, Whitacre and Water Orton in Warwickshire
- Upper Frome from Maiden Newton to Dorchester in Dorset
- Whinney Brook and Dovers Brook at Maghull in Sefton, Merseyside
Flood alerts, which indicate flooding is possible, are in place across the country, including for parts of Greater London, Derbyshire, Sheffield, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire.
Wales has also been affected by the heavy rainfall, with the Met Office issuing warnings across south and north eastern areas of the country.
The weather has affected public transport, with National Rail warning of major disruption between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stourbridge earlier due to a tree blocking the line.
On the roads, delays were caused by several cars breaking down in water on Milbrook Road West in Southampton city centre, with motorists also advised to avoid Waterhouse Lane and Paynes Road.
Mersey Fire and Rescue Service reported vehicles trapped in floodwater in the Queens Drive and West Derby areas of Liverpool.
A service spokesman urged drivers to “please take extra care”, adding: “Slow down, increase your distances, switch your lights on and please don’t drive into floodwater.”
Roads have been flooded in the Longbridge area of Birmingham, with West Midlands Fire Service reporting being called to two motorists on the roof of a vehicle in a ford in Hawkesley Mill Lane, Northfield.
West Midlands crews also rescued two pensioners who had become stuck in their vehicle in flood water in Alum Rock, Birmingham.
They also had to pump water out of one of their own fire stations; in Ward End, Birmingham.
Flooding has also been reported in the Houses of Commons, with Twitter users sharing footage of a patch of water being barricaded off.
The cycling action can still be seen on West Park and Parliament Street, organisers said, but the wet weather did lead to two crashes involving riders.
The downpours are being brought by low pressure travelling across the UK, along with warm and humid air linked to the remnants of Hurricane Humberto which hit Bermuda coastline last week.
The heavy rain is expected to clear by Wednesday, but a low-pressure front is expected to remain for the rest of the week.
Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo says his team’s dramatic draw at Crystal Palace is the “starting point” for their Premier League recovery.
Wolves appeared set for a fourth consecutive defeat across all competitions until Diogo Jota’s stoppage-time goal rescued a point.
Despite the draw, they remain 19th and remain winless after six top-flight matches but the nature of their fightback – completed in the 96th minute and made more difficult by Romain Saiss’s dismissal for two yellow cards – has given Nuno optimism.
“This is football. We have the spirit, the heart and the character to believe until the end,” said Nuno, whose side have regular Thursday night Europa League matches adding to their fixture list this season.
“The boys were running up and down and tired. The growing of the team relies on these kind of aspects. We are in the situation where we play Thursday and Sunday.”
“This is a starting point. What we did in the first half, lets try to do over and over again.”
Leander Dendoncker’s own goal had put Palace in front, with the unfortunate Belgian midfielder diverting Joel Ward’s wayward shot past Rui Patricio.
But Wolves, who enjoyed the better of the first half with Dendoncker, Matt Doherty and Jota all having chances to open the scoring, merited their point.
The equaliser came through Wilfried Zaha’s failure to maintain possession for Palace, Adama Traore galloping clear on the right, with his far-post cross poked home by Jota from four yards as defender Ward lost his balance.
That denied Roy Hodgson’s Palace side, who move up to 12th in the table, a fourth win in five matches against Wolves, a win could also have moved them into the top six.
Wolves show quality needed to get out of trouble
While Nuno has not shown signs of being a man under pressure, the way in which the visiting bench exuberantly celebrated Jota’s last-gasp goal told a different story.
It had looked like being another miserable afternoon for the Black Country side, who had arrived in London having failed to win any of their opening five top-flight fixtures.
On every occasion that has happened to them in the past, relegation has followed – 2003-04, 1983-84, 1975-76, 1964-65, 1905-06 – but the way in which his side rallied suggests Nuno’s team have the quality and heart to avoid the same fate.
With Ruben Neves relegated to the substitutes bench, captain Conor Coady assumed the early responsibility for orchestrating Wolves’ attacking play from the centre of defence.
The former midfielder, who was converted into the central figure of Wolves’ three-man defence when Nuno arrived in 2017, sprayed several raking cross-field passes to initiate openings.
In the first half, there were few signs of a lack of confidence or fatigue – Wolves have now completed 13 matches this season, almost double the number of most of their domestic rivals.
Doherty’s header forced Palace keeper Vicente Guaita into a fine stop, while Dendoncker’s close-range strike was blocked close to the Palace goalline.
But it was their attitude to adversity which stood out, as they persevered despite being a man and a goal down in the last 20 minutes.
Substitute Neves curled a right-footed shot just wide while Jota and Traore both saw efforts blocked by a posse of home defenders before Jota’s goal.
Palace revert back to type
After a humbling 4-0 reverse at Tottenham this was very much a Palace performance that reverted back to Roy Hodgson’s blueprint of defensive discipline and organisation.
Forward-thinking midfielder Andros Townsend was sacrificed for James McArthur in the starting XI as the former England manager again deployed a five-man midfield but this time with personnel capable of stifling the opposition,
And that strategy worked during the first period – albeit aided by some errant Wolves finishing – as the teams largely cancelled each other out.
The problem for Hodgson arrived once Ward’s deflected strike and Saiss’ dismissal put Palace in complete command.
Luka Milivojevic and Kouyate both saw shots from distance deflected behind while substitute Christian Benteke and Jeffrey Schlupp forced Patricio into one-versus-one saves.
But they were simply unable to kill off the game and in committing men forward to do so they showed a lack of game management as they left themselves open to Wolves on the counter-attack.
“I am bitterly disappointed,” Hodgson said.
“It feels like a defeat. I didn’t expect them to get such a clear goal chance. You want game management and players to use experience to see games through but the feeling is one of disappointment and anguish that we weren’t able to see the game through. We have surrendered two points.”
Man of the match – Diogo Jota (Wolves)
Capital gains for Wolves – the stats
- Crystal Palace haven’t lost any of their last 10 Premier League games against sides starting the day in the bottom three (P10 W7 D3 L0) since a 0-4 defeat to Sunderland in February 2017.
- Following Diogo Jota’s late equaliser, Wolves remain unbeaten in their seven Premier League games in London since their promotion back to the top-flight in 2018, winning three and drawing four of those games.
- Crystal Palace (P6 W2 D2 L2) have won eight points from their opening six Premier League games this season, their most after six games since the 2016-17 season (10 points).
- Wolves have conceded five own-goals in the Premier League since their return to the competition in August 2018, the joint-most alongside Burnley in that timeframe (Conor Coady (3), Matt Doherty (1) and Leander Dendoncker (1).
- Since making his Premier League debut in December 2013, Wilfried Zaha has induced six opposition red cards – the most of any player. Romain Saïss became the eighth Moroccan to receive a red card in the competition.
- Leander Dendoncker’s own goal was Crystal Palace’s 100th goal in the Premier League under Roy Hodgson – the first time the Eagles have scored as many under one manager and the first club he has managed in the competition to reach this total.
- Wolves have made one more change to their staring XI after six Premier League games this season (12) than they did through their first 16 games in the competition last season (11).
- Diogo Jota’s goal for Wolves (94:53) is the latest Crystal Palace have conceded at Selhurst Park in the Premier League since March 2016, when current striker Christian Benteke netted for Liverpool (95:10).
Crystal Palace face Norwich at Selhurst Park in their next Premier League fixture on Saturday 28 September (15:00 BST).
Wolves host Reading in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday 25 September (19:45 BST) before resuming their Premier League duties at Molineux against Watford on Saturday 28 September (15:00 BST).
Labour MP Harriet Harman says she will “not back down” in the race to replace John Bercow as Commons Speaker, despite objections from her local party.
Members in Camberwell and Peckham, London, voted to urge her to pull out, and hinted they could run a candidate against her at the next election.
But the ex-Labour deputy leader said her devotion to her constituency would be “unshakeable” if she became Speaker.
Mr Bercow has said he will stand down from the role by 31 October.
The House of Commons Speaker is in charge of keeping order during debates and ensuring the rules are observed.
Once an MP is elected Speaker they are expected to be impartial and can no longer take part in debates or put questions to ministers, although they can still do constituency work and hold surgery appointments.
Camberwell and Peckham Labour Party secretary Dave Lewis said: “As a party we lose a political voice in the House of Commons [if Ms Harman becomes Speaker] and as an electorate the people of Camberwell and Peckham lose a voice in the House of Commons.”
The vote urging Ms Harman to reconsider her candidacy was initially tied at 21 to 21 but a recount saw the motion passed by 26 to 22.
Responding to the vote, Ms Harman – who has been MP for Camberwell and Peckham since 1982 – said: “A confident and respected House of Commons representing every constituency in this country and holding the government to account is vital to our parliamentary democracy.
“The Speaker is at the heart of this – that’s why I’m going for it.”
She added the “overwhelming majority” of local members understood “the importance of a strong and fair Speaker and support me in this bid”.
Members also hinted they could run a candidate against Ms Harman in the next election, although Mr Lewis said he didn’t think that would be “a good idea”.
There is a tradition that parties do not stand against the Speaker. However, in September Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said the Conservatives would break the convention by running against Mr Bercow in his Buckingham constituency, accusing him of ignoring “the government’s right to govern”.
As Mr Bercow announced on 9 September that he would be stepping down as an MP as well as a Speaker, the Conservatives will not now have to run against him.
And in the 2010 election, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage ran as a UKIP candidate against Mr Bercow.
Mr Bercow, who became Speaker in 2009, has faced criticism for failing to tackle allegations of bullying in the House of Commons, and from Brexiteers who questioned his impartiality on the EU.
He has also been accused of mistreating his own staff – allegations he denies.
However, he has received praise for strengthening the role of Parliament and making it easier for backbench MPs to hold the government to account.
Mr Bercow’s announcement that he would step down triggered the race to become the new Speaker.
So far eight MPs have announced their candidacy for the job: Sir Henry Bellingham, Chris Bryant, Ms Harman, Meg Hillier, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Eleanor Laing, Sir Edward Leigh and Shailesh Vara.
A new Speaker is elected through a secret ballot of all MPs.
A man accused of murdering a teenage girl who was stabbed in a park claimed to be “deeply saddened” to hear of her death but refused to help police, a court has heard.
Manuel Petrovic, 20, is one of four people jointly accused of murdering Jodie Chesney.
The 17-year-old was stabbed in the back as she sat with friends in a park in Harold Hill, east London, on 1 March.
The Old Bailey has heard she was caught up in a dispute between drug dealers.
Mr Petrovic, a second man Svenson Ong-a-kwie, 19, and two youths aged 16 and 17, who cannot be named for legal reasons, from Barking and Romford, all deny murdering Jodie.
The court heard Mr Petrovic was arrested within days of her death after his Vauxhall Corsa was linked to the scene around the time of the stabbing.
Initially, he denied involvement in Jodie’s murder and said his car had been stolen in a knifepoint robbery.
Jurors were told he later admitted to owning the Vauxhall and having a mobile phone he used for selling cannabis.
He said: “I would like to say that I have no involvement in the murder of Jodie Chesney. I am deeply saddened by her death and feel for her friends and family.”
Mr Petrovic refused to name anyone he had been with that night “due to my own safety and the safety of my family”, saying people had already gone to his house looking for him.
The court heard Mr Petrovic said he had been with a friend on 1 March who received a call from a man, who was not named, asking for a lift.
They picked up that man, who was with another person, and drove to Harold Hill so the men could “collect some weed and some money”.
In his police statement, Mr Petrovic said the two unnamed men got out at Harold Hill, leaving him and his friend in the car.
He said the men were gone for up to five minutes and “seemed calm” when they returned.
“Nothing about them made me suspicious. I did not see either of them carrying anything,” he added.
After dropping the two men off, Mr Petrovic claimed a black male had pulled a knife to his throat and snatched his car keys.
He said he heard the next day that a girl had been stabbed in Harold Hill and added he “hoped it had nothing to do with why I was in the area” with the two unnamed men.
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told jurors: “You may recall Petrovic’s claim to have been ‘deeply saddened’ by Jodie’s death.
“Nonetheless, Petrovic was not willing to help the police. He continued to make no comment until the police gave up asking questions.”
Mr Aylett told jurors that police went to arrest Mr Ong-a-Kwie at a hostel where he was living and found a knife on top of a fridge in his room.
The prosecutor suggested the murder weapon itself may have been disposed of but the presence of another blade was “not without significance”.
The court heard officers continued their search for Mr Ong-a-Kwie and he was arrested at another address in Dagenham where the defendant allegedly told police: “Murder? I ain’t done a murder.”
The 17-year-old defendant was also arrested in the back garden of the house.
The trial continues.
Body scanners used to screen passengers for hidden explosives and weapons are being used for the first time at a London railway station.
A Home Office sponsored five-day trial has started at Stratford station, east London.
Portable scanners are being used to screen passengers from up to 30ft away without them having to pass through a security checkpoint.
The Home Office said the scheme was part of a “battle against knife crime”.
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “No-one should feel they can walk the streets with a knife and expect to get away with it.
“We are pulling out all the stops in a battle against knife crime in London and across the country.”
The scanners, built by British firm Thruvision, reveal objects hidden inside clothing that block body heat.
Sensitive cameras capable of screening 2,000 passengers an hour will enable officers to see the size, shape and location of any blade or gun.
It does not show any intimate body parts, the Home Office said.
The station, which connects several Transport for London lines with Overground services, has an average of 110,000 passengers a day.
The trial will also look at how officers can use technology to reduce reliance on controversial stop-and-search powers.
Thruvision is already used on the Los Angeles Metro, which last year became the first mass transport system in the US to adopt it.
Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith, from British Transport Police, said: “Fortunately, knife crime on the rail network is very low.
“In support of the Home Office and other police forces, we are keen to explore how technology can assist us in tackling violent crime head on.”
Derrick Williams and Bradley Dack scored the goals as Blackburn secured victory over Millwall at Ewood Park.
Williams drove the ball home from 20 yards after there had been little to choose between the sides in the opening exchanges.
The Lions struggled to carve out chances and most of their first-half efforts were from outside the box.
Adam Armstrong almost made it two after the break, only to be denied by Bartosz Bialkowski’s reaction save, but the Millwall keeper could do nothing as Dack slid home Darragh Lenihan’s square ball to seal the points.
Both managers made two changes for their first game after the international break, with Tosin Adarabioyo and John Buckley in for Rovers, and Jayson Molumby and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson making their first Championship starts for Millwall.
Bodvarsson provided the pass for an early shot by Jed Wallace, but it was off target and the visitors fell behind when Williams found the bottom corner after receiving the ball from Greg Cunningham.
Lions boss Neil Harris sent on Matt Smith in the second half to provide a more physical presence up front and Ryan Leonard was only just too high from Bodvarsson’s lay-off.
Millwall’s hopes were ended when Dack found the net for the third time this season and, although Ben Thompson tested home keeper Christian Walton after beating two tackles, they could not find a consolation goal and are now without a win in four league games.
A man and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of murdering an eight-week-old girl.
The baby was pronounced dead after she was found at a home in the Bermondsey area of south-east London on 26 April.
A post-mortem revealed a number of broken bones and the man, 24, and woman, 21, were held on suspicion of grievous bodily harm in May.
After more tests, the Met said, the pair were further arrested on suspicion of murder.
They have since been released on bail until mid-October as inquiries continue, the force said.