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January 5 - 11 2011
μWorld News PAGES 14-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
Big Ben ‘targeted’ Men accused of plotting festive terror wave appear in court
National Archives This year’s batch of declassified documents offers up its secrets
The time to grow old Geraldine Bedell ponders the impact of an ageing society
A-Z of 2010 Rupert Neate looks back at a year filled with excuses and vuvuzelas
3 2 16 26 34 39 4 9 33 34 36 45
Bonus Ball 49
Bonus Ball 26
There was one winner of Saturday’s £7.3m jackpot but no one won Wednesday’s £2.6m prize
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By Richard Gray and Martin Beckford SWINE flu has spread more rapidly in Britain than in the rest of Europe, the World Health Organisation has disclosed, as the Government faces growing criticism over the country’s preparations for an epidemic.
Experts have warned that the surge in influenza cases in Britain has not yet peaked and say the number will continue to rise rapidly over the next two to four weeks.
Figures released by the WHO show the rate of flu-like illnesses is still low across continental Europe but has risen dramatically in Britain since the flu season began in October. The majority are swine flu cases.
Currently 738 patients are receiving intensive care treatment for flu in Britain and at least 17 have required life support because their heart and lungs have failed. The number of deaths stands at 39, with 36 of the victims dying of the H1N1 swine flu virus, while reported cases rose by more than 40 per cent last week.
Hospitals around the country have been forced to declare red and black alerts as a result of the outbreak.
Every hospital bed in the country offering life-saving treatment for flu is now in use as the outbreak worsens.
Over the past month, the NHS has increased fourfold the number of special machines that treat critical flu victims. The machines offer a form of life-saving treatment – Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation, or Ecmo – to help victims whose lungs have failed by putting oxygen directly into their bloodstream.
Ecmo is now on offer at seven hospitals around England, with referrals taking place at the country’s main Ecmo centre in Glenfield Hospital, Leicester.
Hospitals offering the treatment, which requires the help of extra doctors and nurses, have been told to postpone planned operations. All 21 beds are in use, although there is no suggestion that patients are being turned away.
But as more patients continue to be considered for Ecmo, health bodies are preparing to buy even more of the £40,000 machines and install them in more centres. NHS Specialised Services wrote to all Strategic Health Authorities before Christmas, putting them on alert that more hospitals may be required to offer Ecmo if demand continues to rise.
A spokesman said: “The NHS is monitoring the situation carefully and we are continuing to increase the number of beds available. For instance, hospitals providing respiratory Ecmo have been asked to take appropriate measures, including postponing planned cardiac surgery, in order to maximise capacity for patients needing Ecmo.”
The Government has been forced to defend the country’s level of preparedness against the flu outbreak. The Department of Health denied that the country was facing a shortage of the flu vaccine after some surgeries reported they were running out.
The Government also relaunched its national flu prevention campaign on New
Year’s Day to try to quell the rising number of cases, following criticism of Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, for his cancellation of the usual winter flu campaign urging people at risk to be vaccinated.
Announcing last Friday that radio and press advertising would begin again this week,
PROF JOHN OXFORD FLU VIROLOGIST
he said the NHS was under “huge pressures”. The campaign will run for three weeks and cost almost £1million.
A further surge in flu cases is expected this week as schools reopen and workers return after the Christmas and New Year holiday. School-age children, who have so far escaped the worst of the outbreak, are expected to be particularly badly hit in the next fortnight as the outbreak is forecast to reach its peak.
In its influenza bulletin, the WHO said: “The United Kingdom has been experiencing a surge in both mild and severe cases for the last three weeks which has not yet peaked. On the European continent, rates of respiratory disease are still relatively low, but the number of countries reporting influenza detections are increasing.”
Flu experts said it was not clear why Britain appeared to have so many cases early in the season compared with the rest of Europe, but it could be attributed to people travelling to visit family at Christmas.
Prof John Oxford, an influenza virologist at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, said: “These figures are just a snapshot of the current situation across Europe, but it could have something to do with the movement of people at this time of year.
“We can expect the number of cases to keep going up, possibly reaching epidemic limits before it peaks in the next two to four weeks. This is a virus that thrives on close human contact so we can expect an explosion in cases after the New Year.
“It is good to see the Government has decided to restart its campaign to encourage good hygiene – this is the first line of defence against the flu virus.”
Geoff Martin, the chairman of the NHS pressure group Health Emergency, said: “The NHS is now on the brink of the worst winter crisis in over a decade as the harsh reality of cuts to beds and staffing numbers is exposed with lethal consequences.”
There has also been concern that flu vaccines were not offered to children under five this year, despite advice from the Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation last January that it would be “prudent” to include children aged six months to five years in this winter’s vaccine programme.
A SCOUT leader, killed after the hot air balloon in which he was travelling caught fire and plunged to the ground, is thought to have been given the trip as a treat by his son.
Allan Burnett died alongside experienced balloonist Lee Pibworth last Saturday when their balloon exploded during a highaltitude flight. His son Alex was Mr Pibworth’s usual copilot, and is believed to have helped his father prepare for take-off and watched the balloon’s ascent.
Friends and colleagues paid tribute to Allan Burnett, who was also a governor at Cheddar Valley Primary School in Bedminster Down. On her Facebook page, Carol Collins said: “My thoughts are with Jill Burnett and her family after the tragic loss of Allan Burnett who was such
Allan Burnett and Lee Pibworth were killed when their hot air balloon crashed in Somerset. Right: Allan Burnett (right) and son Alex (left) who gave him the trip a lovely man and will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him, especially all those at Cheddar Grove
Primary School … x.” Liam Stevenson added: “He will never be forgotten and will be in our hearts.”
Mr Pibworth, 42, was piloting the £20,000 craft when it crashed at Prattens Bowls Club in Midsomer Norton, Somerset. His wife Elisabeth is thought to have been in the ground crew, alongside Alex Burnett.
The crew watched the balloon launch, losing sight of it as it disappeared into the clouds. Minutes later it reappeared with the canopy deflated and dropped from the sky “like a dart”.
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch was this week examining the crash site. One theory is that an oxygen cylinder – needed because the men were attempting to fly at 20,000ft – exploded, igniting the craft. Another is that the supply failed, causing the men to lose consciousness and crash. telegraph.co.uk/expat
T Fellow travellers Join our growing community and make friends wherever you are telegraph.co.uk/myexpat
January 5 - 11 2011
By Patrick Sawyer INMATES burned down large parts of an open prison during a New Year’s Day riot after staff claimed they refused to be breathalysed for smuggled alcohol.
Prison warders abandoned HMP Ford for several hours last Saturday as inmates went on the rampage, taking control of the jail and causing millions of pounds of damage.
The disturbances prompted claims by the Prison Officers Association (POA) that hardened criminals were allocated to the prison which had been left understaffed, with only two officers and four support staff on duty to manage a total prison population of 496.
The violence at the Category D men’s prison, near Arundel, West Sussex, broke out in B wing, which accommodates 290 inmates, at around midnight last Friday, when 40 prisoners began smashing windows and setting off fire alarms. Inmates then set fire to accommodation and facility blocks, forcing prison warders to evacuate.
The riots apparently began when staff tried to breathalyse inmates following fears that large quantities of banned alcohol had been smuggled on to the premises for the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Firefighters were forced to stand by as fires raged, while inmates, many wearing balaclavas, ran unchecked through the grounds. As daylight broke, prisoners leant out of windows hurling abuse at guards outside.
Another group of rioters were seen on a stairwell waving and mocking warders. Initially, five of the prison’s blocks were set alight with a further three torched at about noon last Saturday. The damaged blocks included a mail room, gym, snooker room and pool room with 10
new pool tables. Flames were still climbing from the blocks several hours after the fires started, with a number of buildings burning out of control. Two fire engines were seen being escorted into the grounds by 140 riot officers as the authorities concentrated on extinguishing the fires before regaining control of the buildings.
As warders equipped with shields and helmets secured the perimeter of the prison with dogs, inmates were detained and searched, before being led away. Up to 65 prisoners are expected to be transferred to other prisons as a result of the damage.
It took until 10.40am last Saturday, more than 10 hours after the violence began, for police to regain control of the first of two accommodation blocks captured by the inmates, and a further five hours to regain control of the second.
The POA has accused the Government of placing inappropriate inmates in open jails in an attempt to reduce prison numbers and of failing to recognise that such facilities require more staff.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The causes of the disturbance are not yet known and will be subject to an investigation.”
Fire crews try to control the blaze at Ford open prison (top) while inmates wave at onlookers from stairwells
SCOTLAND is sending 160,000 litres of bottled water to Northern Ireland as thousands of people struggle to cope without a mains supply.
About 36,000 were without water last week, some for more than 12 days, after much of the supply drained away through broken pipes following the freezing weather and sudden thaw.
Northern Ireland Water, the company at the centre of the crisis, has been criticised for its lack of contingency plans and failure to provide adequate and up-to-date information.
About 250 million litres extra was being pumped into the system every day, Northern Ireland Water said, but most of it was being lost in leakages from burst pipes.
The Stormont executive, which governs Northern Ireland, last week accepted the offer of the 35,000 gallons of water aid from Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister.
Peter Robinson, the Northern Ireland first minister, and Martin McGuinness, the deputy first minister, chaired a special meeting of the executive in Belfast to discuss the crisis.
Local councils have been distributing water and offering free showers at leisure centres to people who have lost their mains supply.
By Ben Leach and Michael Howie POLICE last Saturday night night released on bail Christopher Jefferies, the former teacher who was being questioned about the murder of landscape architect Joanna Yeates.
Mr Jefferies, 65, who was the landlord of Miss Yeates and her boyfriend, Greg Reardon, in Bristol, was arrested on suspicion of murder on Dec 30. His flat is upstairs from that of the murdered woman.
Geoffrey Hardyman, a friend of Mr Jefferies, who lives in the same block of flats, said: “Anyone who knows Christopher well has been 100 per cent certain that he is completely innocent.
“The fact that he has been released makes a mockery of the police investigation. Clearly, they arrested him on insufficient grounds and it suggests that they don’t really have much of an idea about what happened to Joanna.
“Christopher will be absolutely furious with the way it’s been handled and his name has been dragged through the mud and we’re back at square one.”
The release of Mr Jefferies came hours after the parents of Miss Yeates issued a heartrending statement expressing their grief for the daughter “stolen” from them.
The tribute was read out by a detective constable by the side of the Avon river, which was one of Miss Yeates’s favourite locations. Mr Reardon also issued a eulogy, read out by the same police officer, in which he declared he would always love her.
In the statement, Miss Yeates’s parents, David and Theresa, and her brother, Chris, said: “We are certain that Jo’s killer will be caught.
“Jo was taken from us. The method has only intensified our grief. She was a beautiful and talented young lady who was destined to fly high. Her life was stolen from her and she was stolen from us.”
They said their grief and sadness was exacerbated by knowing all the things the 25 year-old missed out on, including having a family of her own and a career.
In his own statement, Mr Reardon said the Avon was adored by Miss Yeates, making the choice of location for the statement, read by Det Con Emma Davies, particularly poignant.
“Jo loved it here by Bristol harbourside and found great joy in the rowing club,” said Mr Reardon in the statement.
“The memory of Jo will
Joanna Yeates and her boyfriend, Greg Reardon (top left), their landlord Christopher Jefferies (above) and Joanna’s parents David and Theresa (left)
always be with me as I look across the harbour and remember our unforgettable and special times together.
“Jo was a beautiful woman, beautiful in mind, body and soul. She had a great career ahead of her as a landscape architect and would have achieved a great many more things in her life if only she was given the chance.
“I will always love her.” He went on to praise the help and support he had received in the days after she went missing and before her body was discovered.
He said: “My never-ending thanks go out to those who showed so much love for Jo in the events following her disappearance and, after dropping everything, from all corners of the country took to the streets of Bristol to campaign for her to be found safe and well.
“Sadly this wasn’t the outcome we had all hoped for but we all, Jo’s dear friends and family, now celebrate the life of one of the most lovely and genuine people to grace this Earth.”
Mr Reardon added: “Jo’s life was cut short tragically but the finger-pointing and character assassination by social and news media of as yet innocent men has been shameful.
“It has made me lose a lot of faith in the morality of the British Press and those that spend their time fixed to the internet in this modern age. I hope in the future, they will show a more sensitive and impartial view to those involved in such heartbreaking events and especially in the lead-up to potentially high-profile court cases.”
Miss Yeates was last sighted on Dec 17 and her body found on Christmas Day, three miles from her home, by a couple out walking their dogs.
Mr Reardon reported her missing on Dec 19 on returning to their flat after a few days away. Miss Yeates’s parents, from Hampshire, said last Saturday that since receiving the telephone call from Mr Reardon informing them their daughter was missing, “time has had no meaning”.
They went on: “We had a ‘bad feeling’ from that moment, which deepened when we arrived in Bristol.”
Mr Jefferies is a former English master at nearby Clifton College public school. His friends have described him as a dedicated and highly academic man, who inspired his pupils and became a pillar of the community.
He was also regarded as an eccentric, who dyed his hair blue and had long fingernails.
A former pupil last Saturday night gave insight into Mr Jefferies’ teaching methods. Describing him as “a really good teacher”, the pupil said he liked to teach gothic poetry and surrealism. “He was very culturally aware and showed older pupils Trainspotting [the film],” the ex-pupil said. “I remember we did Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness when I was 13.”
However, another former pupil of Mr Jefferies, David Gawain, said: “He had a tendency of wanting to get his own way. If you had not done your prep or other things like learning poems, he used to shout at you. I went to his flat with my English class once and he began shouting at us because we were not behaving ourselves.”
Meanwhile, officers have taken DNA samples from men living close to Miss Yeates’s flat. Neighbours have made several reports of “suspicious” men seen in the street in recent weeks. One resident said a Neighbourhood Watch alert was issued two months ago about a “drug-crazed man” seen staring through a woman’s window.
Another woman reported “two scary-looking eastern European men” on Canynge Road on Dec 16.
Longwood Lane, the road where Miss Yeates’s body was discovered, reopened last Saturday.