Veteran center Jason Collins announced his retirement Wednesday, officially ending his 13-year NBA career.Collins last took the court as a member of the Brooklyn Nets a season ago, when he became the first openly gay active player in the history of North America’s “big four” professional sports leagues.“It feels wonderful to have been part of these milestones for sports and for gay rights, and to have been embraced by the public, the coaches, the players, the league and history,” Collins wrote in Sports Illustrated this week.Collins’s most important legacy will be as a trailblazer for the LGBT movement, but his retirement also deserves a footnote for his status as one of the first “hidden” stars of the NBA’s advanced stats movement.In 2005, Collins headlined a group of unsung players whose value was only beginning to emerge via a new metric known as adjusted plus/minus (APM). Controlling for every other player on the court (for both teams), APM attempted to determine how much effect an individual had on his team’s per-possession scoring margin. And Collins, whose meager per-game averages would normally render him invisible to statistical analysts, had a far greater one than his conventional stats would suggest.“According to [APM expert Dan] Rosenbaum’s calculations, Collins is not a stiff at all but one of the NBA’s premier defensive centers: the fourth-most effective in the league over the last three seasons,” SI’s Chris Ballard wrote before the 2005-06 NBA season. “Over the last three seasons the Nets have been remarkably more effective at the defensive end with Collins in the lineup; they foul less, allow fewer free throws, rebound better and allow fewer points. ‘He’s very consistent and consistently very good,’ says Rosenbaum, ‘meaning he’s either the luckiest center alive and teams just fall apart when he’s on the court, or he’s doing something.’”According to regularized APM (RAPM), a Bayesian version of APM that forms the basis of ESPN’s new Real Plus/Minus stat, Collins continued to be an above-average on-court presence for one more season. (Then, the negative effect of his nonexistent offensive contributions began to outweigh his elite defense.) But over the 2001-2014 period for which Regularized APM can be calculated, Collins came out as a net positive (+1.6 points per 100 possessions) relative to the average NBA player.For a player who averaged merely 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game over his career — with a lifetime player efficiency rating (PER) of 7.0 — that’s an astonishing accomplishment. If we map every player’s RAPM (minimum 10,000 minutes played) against that which we would expect solely from his PER, a useful per-minute proxy for the conventional statistical perception of a player, Collins comes out as the NBA’s most underrated player of the past decade and a half.For more reasons than one, Collins was a player whose impact on the NBA can’t be divined from the box score alone.
The Sacramento Kings fired their head coach, Mike Malone, on Sunday after the team got off to a sub-.500 start this season. If that doesn’t sound earth-shattering, it’s because the Kings have been lousy for a while. They haven’t finished a season above .500 since 2006 and have had seven head coaches (including Malone and his interim replacement, Tyrone Corbin) over that span. Yes, the Kings fired another coach. So what?The Kings’ abrupt decision to fire Malone is a big deal because it flies in the face of what tends to keep coaches employed. In April, FiveThirtyEight’s editor in chief, Nate Silver, looked at NBA coaching dismissals and found a strong relationship between firings and whether the team underperformed the preseason Las Vegas over/under win totals. Win just 41 games with a team expected by Vegas to win 50? There’s a roughly 50 percent chance you’ll get fired after the season. (Sorry!) But win 41 games with a team Vegas expects to win 30? Nate’s model says there’s just an 8.2 percent probability of being canned for that performance.The latter is what Malone was on pace to do. In October, the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino listed the Kings’ over/under as 30.5 wins, while the offshore sportsbook Bovada set that number at 29.5 wins. (Our projections also called for 29 wins.) In other words, the Kings were essentially expected to be a 30-win team. And yet Basketball-Reference.com’s playoff forecast projects them to win 41.2 games by the end of the season, based on a combination of their point differential, schedule strength and remaining opponents.(It’s also worth noting that the past nine games of Malone’s Kings tenure were spent without his best player, DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins was having a lights-out season before coming down with viral meningitis in late November. It’s likely the Kings’ win projection would be even stronger had Cousins been active in the team’s most recent games.)Piloting a team with 30-win talent to 41 wins typically earns a head coach job security 92 percent of the time, but that wasn’t enough for Malone. Of course, this eventuality is built into the model, which would be wrong if 8 percent of coaches who exceeded expectations, like Malone, didn’t get the ax. That 8 percent can, in part, be explained by other aspects of a coach’s performance that don’t involve simply winning more than was expected.For instance, the Kings’ brain trust (owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Pete D’Alessandro) reportedly took issue with some of Malone’s stylistic decisions, such as the pace at which the team played and the emphasis on defense over offense. Some have even suggested that Malone’s not having been hand-picked by D’Alessandro hurt his cause substantially.For what it’s worth, I couldn’t find a statistically significant effect for how being hired by a different GM affects coaching dismissal rates. Using Basketball-Reference’s database of NBA executives, I looked at everyone who was an NBA coach (but not in a dual role as GM and coach) to begin a season since 1985-86, setting up a regression to predict whether someone would be fired before the following season began. As Nate found in his research, wins against expectation (in this case, set using a regressed-to-the-mean version of the team’s Pythagorean record from the previous season) was a highly significant predictor of employment. But a dummy variable for whether the team’s current GM was the same GM who originally hired the coach was nowhere near significant.In any event, Malone’s firing was nothing if not an outlier, according to the metrics that tend to predict whether a coach will hold onto his job. It goes to prove that, in the NBA, no job is truly safe.
Jack JohnsonWhen he beat Tommy Burns for the world heavyweight championship in 1908, Johnson became the first Black man to hold the title that Mike Tyson decades later accurately called the “baddest man on the planet.” After Johnson came many other Black champs in the weight class once considered the most exciting in the sport.
The year: 776 B.C. The place: Olympia, Greece.Under a banner of truce, the greatest athletes in the land gather together to glorify their deities in contests featuring feats of strength, speed and skill. Coroebus, a cook by trade, from the nearby city-state of Elis, was crowned the first Olympic champion after having won a footrace that spanned 210 yards. He was awarded a crown of olive wreathes.Flash forward to the year 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia, on the western coast of Canada. American figure skater Johnny Weir takes to the ice wearing an outfit adorned with faux fox fur and enough shiny sequins to guide a mariner back to port on a dark night in choppy waters.To an Athenian warrior displaced in time, these winter Games would seem far removed from the original spirit of the Olympics. In fact, Weir and the rest of his figure-skating and ice-dancing ilk would probably have been the ones the ancient Greeks abandoned at birth to perish from exposure.And lest someone accuse me of ulterior motives in singling out the figure skaters, I assure you that by the end of the page, there will be enough mockery spread around for all. For these 2010 Winter Olympic Games are rife with mockable moments.It starts with the biathlon. While perhaps trying to recapture the martial spirit of the original Olympics, someone somewhere came up with the brilliant idea to simply introduce gunfire to an existing winter sport; namely, cross country skiing. Biathletes ski around the course, pausing at regular intervals to fire off some shots with the rifles they have strapped to their backs. Because skiing without guns is like, I don’t know, grocery shopping without guns. It doesn’t sound as ludicrous as it actually is until you try to envision Usain Bolt stopping between legs of the 4×400 relay to squeeze off a few rounds at some skeet.There is no shortage of jokes to be made at the expense of frozen shuffleboard, also known as curling. The first time I tried to watch this silly spectacle, I had to spend several moments trying to figure out if it was the German men’s or women’s teams competing. To the eternal sorrow of German men everywhere, it was the women.Then there are the sledding events. Don’t get me wrong, I fondly recall sledding as something fun to do at Blendon Woods when school got canceled. That does not mean that I can envision Leonidas’ mighty 300 clinging tightly to one another, luging their way two-by-two into the Hot Gates of Thermopylae to stave off Xerxes’ mighty Persian hordes.Or that those rugged Spartans would have welcomed into their midst the Olympic snowboarding contingent. It’s tough to imagine a Spartan unit led by Shaun “Flying Tomato” White or Scotty Lago, with their free-wheeling, Red Bull-drinking exploits.I enjoyed a personal moment of mean-spirited mirth Sunday evening when the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team defeated our 51st state, known in some circles as Canada. I reveled in the absolute devastation on the faces of the Canadian faithful as their “big brothers” to the south beat them down at their own game while mom and dad weren’t looking.Their pained expressions seemed to say, “You already have straight bacon and policemen who don’t look like Ronald McDonald on horseback; can’t we have anything for ourselves? We already gave you Celine Dion and Martin Short.”And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the interesting dress code for this year’s games. It can be summed up in one word: tacky. It’s bad enough that one of the ice dancers looked like he was actually wearing a dead, black swan for a costume. It was as though his dance partner had shoved him inside the swan to keep him warm from the ravages of the western-Canadian cold, a scene eerily reminiscent of Han Solo shoving Luke Skywalker inside the guts of a Tauntaun on the frozen ice-world of Hoth.But someone actually had to explain to the Russian ice-dancing duo that it might not be in good taste to dress up in fake-Aboriginal costumes with foliage stapled to them.You might be wondering where all the vitriol is coming from and why I don’t get caught up in the nationalistic fervor that generally accompanies the Olympic Games. Well, I’m willing to admit to the fact that my dabbles with winter sports have always ended in humiliation.The first time I was able to successfully ski down Mad River Mountain’s bunny hill, I nearly killed a woman by neglecting to learn how to stop. I once had to be helped from the ice skating rink at the Chiller by a magnanimous 7-year-old.But the fact remains that some of these farcical Olympic “sports” are more like hobbies and less like athletic competition. I remain steadfast in my belief that a small cadre of ancient Greeks could conquer all of the Olympic village.At least until they come to the hockey villas.
For a player who played two years of college basketball, former Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger’s rÃ©sumÃ© is hard to top. Sullinger was an All-American in each of his two seasons at OSU, averaging 17.3 points per game and about 9.7 rebounds per game over the course of his collegiate career. As a freshman, he led the Buckeyes to a 34-win season which ended in a Sweet 16 loss. As a sophomore, he led OSU to the Final Four, where their run ended against Kansas. Wednesday, Sullinger announced that he would declare for the 2012 NBA Draft. He is a skilled post player who managed to average 17.5 points per game for his sophomore season, even though he faced double-team or triple-team defense nearly every time he touched the ball in the paint. He was able to do this because of his impressive array of post moves – no player in college basketball last season was better at using the hook shot to score over multiple defenders. Sullinger’s post scoring and rebounding abilities make him a likely top-10 draft selection, but there are many deficiencies in his game that he must overcome to be successful at the professional level. Sullinger stands at 6-foot-9, which is slightly short for an NBA power forward. The bigger problem for Sullinger, however, is that he will be a subpar athlete by NBA standards. He does not have an impressive vertical leap, and lacks the ability to play “above the rim” that most NBA forwards can. Dunking the basketball often looked like a struggle for him during his college career, a skill that comes easy for most NBA power forwards. Additionally, his lack of athleticism will hurt his ability to be an NBA shot-blocker. He averaged less than one block per game over his two-year OSU career, so that has never been a strength of his game. He is a well-built, 265-pound power forward, but even this past season, he often looked like he was still getting used to his body. He has the physical strength to physically dominate opponents in the paint, but his play could often be characterized by a lack of aggressiveness and shying away from contact. He must be more aggressive against NBA big men to make up for his lack of athleticism. Sullinger is often compared to Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love. In some facets, this comparison makes sense. Love is slightly taller at 6-foot-10, but like Sullinger, he lacks the height and athleticism of top NBA big men. Love only played one season of college basketball at UCLA, but had similar statistics to Sullinger, averaging 17.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Both players were among the best players in college basketball based on their technical skill sets, even though they lack elite athleticism. Comparing Sullinger to Love now, however, is giving Sullinger too much credit. Love, in his fourth season in the NBA, has emerged as one of the league’s best power forwards. As of Monday afternoon, he ranked 4th in the NBA with 26.5 points per game and 2nd with 13.5 rebounds per game. In addition to the skills Sullinger has, Love is a terrific 3-point shooter, a skill unlikely to translate to the next level for Sullinger. Although Sullinger did shoot 40 percent from beyond the arc in his sophomore season, he only attempted 40 3-point shots. He is a good mid-range field goal shooter in the NBA, but will have to become a more consistent shooter to be successful shooting from beyond the NBA-range 3-point arc. By looking at his statistics and achievements on paper, Sullinger appears to be a very good NBA prospect. However, having watched him over the course of two seasons at OSU, he was not physically impressive enough to convince me that his game will translate to NBA success. Sullinger’s post moves and rebounding ability should make him a productive professional player, but his lack of athleticism, aggressiveness and ability to make plays away from the basket are serious detriments to his NBA potential.
hat perhaps was expected to be an easy win for the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team Saturday might have proved more challenging than originally thought. The Buckeyes (9-3, 4-2) had to overcome a halftime deficit to earn a 10-9 victory at Air Force Saturday, which stumbled into the contest with a 1-4 Eastern College Athletic Conference record. Now on a three-game winning streak, OSU has secured a playoff spot by guaranteeing at least a top-four finish in the ECAC. The Buckeyes are tied for third in the ECAC standings heading into their regular season finale Saturday. No matter what happens during the final weekend of the season, OSU will be joined by Loyola (Md.), Denver and Fairfield in the conference tournament, since Fairfield clinched its playoff spot Saturday with a 10-9 overtime victory at Denver. OSU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead Saturday against Air Force (6-7, 1-5), but let the Falcons climb their way back into the game, finishing the first quarter tied at four. The Falcons, though, took a one-point lead into halftime, 7-6, before conceding three straight goals in the third quarter and falling behind for good. Co-captain and senior attacker Logan Schuss continued his run of good form, scoring four goals for the Buckeyes, including the series of three in the third quarter, and added one assist. It was his third consecutive game where he scored at least five points, bringing his career total moves to 216, 11 back of second place on the Buckeyes’ all-time points list. Co-captain and senior midfielder Dominique Alexander added a career-high five points, including two goals, and senior midfielder Trey Wilkes won 15 of 21 faceoffs. Having missed the last two games due to injury, junior goalkeeper Greg Dutton made his return for OSU in outstanding fashion on Saturday with a career-high 15 saves against the Falcons. The losses to Denver and Loyola earlier in the year mean that the Buckeyes will finish third in the ECAC with a win over Fairfield Saturday but will drop to fourth with a loss. The Buckeyes are set to close the regular season and celebrate their Senior Day at home against Fairfield on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Jane and Walt Dennis Golf Performance Center allows OSU’s golf programs to practice year round, no matter the weather.Credit: Whitney Wilson / Lantern reporterAbout a year after opening, Ohio State’s $6.3 million state-of-the-art golf facility is paying dividends in more ways than one.Not only are the current OSU golfers able to practice regardless of weather, but the indoor facility is helping the coaches bring in future Buckeyes as well.“It has allowed us to recruit kids from all over the country now, where before most of the kids we were recruiting were from the Midwest or from cold weather climates,” men’s golf coach Donnie Darr said. “That stigmatism of not being able to develop your game in the Midwest because it’s cold is gone now because we do have a place to practice.”The Jane and Walt Dennis Golf Performance Center was named a Design Excellence Recognition Program Award recipient by the American Society of Golf Course Architects earlier this year. The university’s golf programs received the 20,800-square-foot facility in February 2014.Darr said the facility has benefited his players enormously in terms of practicing, in addition to the help in recruiting.“The biggest advantage the facility offers us is that we have the opportunity to develop our skills year-round and we don’t have to take that break for a couple months like we’ve had to do in the past,” Darr said. “In the past, we’ve had four months where other teams were getting better and we weren’t and so we were falling further behind.”Women’s golf coach Therese Hession said players benefit the most when it comes to the finer portions of the game.“The biggest asset has been to our short game, a lot of putting practice, and a lot of short-game chipping and putting,” Hession said. “The facility aids us in putting too, having greens with different surfaces and speeds. Where we were in California (for the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge), greens were really fast, so we were able to adjust to them quicker, whereas in Peoria, Arizona, (for the Westbrook Spring Invitational), it’s a lot slower, so I think speed control has been good for us.”Women’s golf assistant coach Lisa Strom said the facility has also provided a place for players to spend their spare time.“The facility has provided a great environment for not only golf but also the camaraderie between the teams and also amongst ourselves,” Strom said. “You find that the team members come in here a lot more to study and lingering to practice on their own.”Darr said while it is difficult for his team to develop a playing mentality after practicing indoors for half of the year, the players have found a way to get a match mindset.“The playing mentality is hard,” Darr said. “One of the things we do is we try to simulate games. We will simulate a round of golf when they’re hitting balls, we’ll visualize, ‘OK, I’m going to hit the first tee shot at the next tournament’ and they’ll work their way through 18 holes. That’s the best way of getting back into playing again.”Darr said his players are not limited in terms of practicing with specific golf clubs, showing appreciation for the team’s spacious facility.“Mostly the building was designed for chipping and pitching and so we’ve been able to do that a lot in here,” Darr said. “You can also hit golf balls in the building, you can hit it 50 yards before you get to the other end, where there is a net. We also have a net that comes down in the middle of the building, so if we do want to hit pitching wedges or 8-irons inside the building, we can do that as well.”Darr said the building has required little upkeep thus far, sustaining excellent condition.“From a maintenance standpoint on the building, you do have to do a little bit of maintenance to the turf but it’s nothing in depth,” Darr said. “There’s a bunker in there that you’ve got to rake and maintain, but for the most part, it’s fairly common sense practices.”The Buckeyes are set to continue practicing in the facility until traveling to Scottsdale, Ariz., for the Desert Mountain Intercollegiate, scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
Zach Farmer’s No. 34 is written on the mound at Bill Davis Stadium after his passing on Aug. 4, 2015. Credit: Ryan Cooper / Sports EditorStay strong, don’t give up and keep fighting.Those are the words Zach Farmer lived by throughout his battle with cancer; and although the former Ohio State pitcher may have lost his battle with acute myeloid leukemia, he is still inspiring his teammates and coaches to live their lives to the fullest.OSU baseball coach Greg Beals said that Farmer’s legacy will live on well past his 21 years of life.“We learned a lot from Zach and his positive outlook, just that attitude that he was going to make it all good, was absolutely one of his strongest characteristics, no doubt,” Beals said Tuesday afternoon. Farmer passed away earlier that morning.OSU held a memorial service in honor of Farmer’s life at Bill Davis Stadium, where Farmer’s No. 34 was added to the pitcher’s mound in tribute. Beals said he knows Farmer will be watching over his former team.“We’re certainly going to have a guardian angel,” Beals said. “He’ll be there for our pitchers and our whole team. Today, I just felt it was proper to put his number on the mound. We’re going to light this stadium up tonight and keep the lights on tonight, so he can look down on us.”Beals said that Farmer’s fight has brought the team closer, reminding them to hold every day precious.“We talk about brotherhood,” Beals said. “It’s not an opportunity we’re certainly looking for, but it does present an opportunity for that brotherhood to strengthen and grow and that’s what Zach would want, no doubt about it. Not for it to benefit us as a team, but to benefit each of us as individuals, to take advantage of our opportunities, not to take things for granted, that life is precious and we need to attack every day like Zach did.”Adam Niemeyer, a rising redshirt sophomore pitcher for the Buckeyes, said he and his teammates are supporting each other through this tough time.“We’re all just there for each other, helping each other through it, talking to each other and just really praying for Zach’s family because that’s the most important thing right now,” Niemeyer said.Niemeyer said the last time he saw Farmer was when a group of players visited Farmer at his family’s home last week in Piketon, Ohio.“We just hung out with him,” Niemeyer said. ”It was actually during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony when Randy Johnson gave him a shout out. It was pretty cool to be there with him watching that stuff all happen, and we just hung out like it was a normal day — it was a good day.”Then-freshman pitcher Zach Farmer throws a pitch against Toledo on April 2, 2014. Farmer passed away on Tuesday from a second bout of leukemia.Credit: Lantern file photoFarmer was considered a professional prospect before arriving to OSU, but Niemeyer said his attitude didn’t give off the slightest bit of arrogance.“Zach was a great kid,” Niemeyer said. “Great teammate, very unselfish person. He was a very touted recruit out of high school, had the opportunity to get drafted out of high school, but just knowing Zach, you never would’ve known that just from talking to him. He was a very humble kid, good kid, a great teammate, and we’re going to miss him.”In Farmer’s one season at OSU, he compiled a 6-4 record with a 3.28 ERA before being diagnosed with leukemia. Farmer fought hard and initially thought he had beaten the illness — announcing he was cancer free just a couple of months after the diagnosis — but his victory was short-lived as the cancer returned after his body rejected the bone-marrow transplant — a condition known as graft-versus-host disease.Farmer opted to go through a second chemotherapy treatment — which was not compatible with the treatment for GVHD — to try to fight off the cancer, but it was too late, as his lungs began to fail him.Before he passed, Farmer married his girlfriend of four years, Kelsie Mays, who took his last name after marriage. They had their reception in the gymnasium of Farmer’s former school — Piketon High School — on July 19, just days after he learned of his fatal diagnosis.His former teammate Niemeyer said Farmer’s life and death will provide extra motivation for the Buckeyes this upcoming season.“It’s definitely going to be something to play for, it’s always going to be on our minds,” Niemeyer said. “You can never really take anything for granted. It really puts things into perspective, and it will give us something to play for this spring.”Was privileged to know the person behind the pitcher. Gone too soon but his inspiration & love will live on.God bless the Farmer family #RIP— Nick Sergakis (@SurgieeBaby) August 4, 2015Lost a brother today. I will never forget how Zach Farmer inspired me and so many others with his battle. Rest easy Farm Boy #ZF11— Pat Porter (@Pat_Porter3) August 4, 2015
The Airlander 10, part plane, part airshipCredit:Chris Radburn Chief executive Stephen McGlennan said he thinks there will be plenty of customers for the vehicle – both civilian and military – because of its potential to gather data and conduct surveillance for days on end.”What it does now, and will do, is fly, point to point, a bit like a giant helicopter, taking bigger loads, longer distances, cheaper, safer and crucially, without the same damage to the environment,” he said.The aircraft was initially developed for the US military, which planned to use it for surveillance in Afghanistan.The US blimp programme was scrapped in 2013 and since then Hybrid Air Vehicles, a small British aviation firm that dreams of ushering in a new era for airships, has sought funding from government agencies and individual donors.The vast aircraft is based at Cardington, where the first British airships were built during and after World War I. The stately aircraft performed a circuit of the area – watched by hundreds of local people who had parked their cars around the perimeter of the airfield – before touching down about half an hour later as dusk fell.The Airlander is designed to use less fuel than a plane, but carry heavier loads than conventional airships.Its developer, Hybrid Air Vehicles, says it can reach 16,000 feet, travel at up to 90 miles-per-hour and stay aloft for up to two weeks. A blimp-shaped, helium-filled airship considered the world’s largest aircraft flew for the first time on Wednesday with a short but historic jaunt over an airfield in central England.Engines roaring, the 302-foot Airlander 10 rose slowly into the air from Cardington airfield, 45 miles north of London.A hybrid of blimp, helicopter and plane, it can stay aloft for days at a time and has been nicknamed the ‘flying bum’ because of its bulbous front end. The Airlander 10Credit:SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Police officers outside the scene of the double killing in SpaldingCredit:Chris Radburn/PA A teenage girl convicted of a double murder along with her boyfriend, admitted plotting the killings in a chillingly matter of fact police interview, it can now be revealed.The girl, who was 14 at the time of the brutal murders, was described as being the “driver” behind the plot to kill dinner lady, Elizabeth Edwards, 49, and her 13-year-old daughter Katie in Spalding in April.After persuading her 14-year-old boyfriend to take part she planned the “cold and calculated” pre-planned attack, telling police : “I’ve felt like murdering for quite a while and [the boy] just hates me being upset…it just sort of happened.”After carrying out the murders the couple took a bath, had sex and settled down to watch the teen vampire film, Twilight.The pair are thought to be the youngest couple convicted of a double murder in Britain. . The killers watched the Twilight movie after the murders The court heard that they had talked about taking an overdose together after the murders, but changed their mind and ate ice-cream and toasted tea-cakes instead.They were arrested two days after the murders when police, concerned for the welfare of Mrs Edwards forced their way into her semi-detached home and found the bodies of her and her daughter.Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Philip Joseph told the trial that the couple’s “intense” and “toxic” relationship had been the primary reason behind the killings.He told the jury: “A group dynamic can lead you to a course of action you would never have contemplated on your own.“Bonnie and Clyde…that sort of intense attraction, emotional closeness – them against the world. It’s that sort of thing that led on to this.”As the jury returned its verdict the girl sobbed softly and wiped her face with a tissue. During her police interview she described how the boy had produced a bag containing four knives and had said to her: “Are you ready to do this?” to which she replied that she was.The boy then attacked Mrs Edwards as she slept, pinning her to her bed before repeatedly knifing her in throat and voicebox to prevent her from crying out.He then carried out a similar attack on her 13-year-old daughter, Katie, before he and the girl took a bath together to wash off the blood.In her police interview the girl said: “I planned it so we would be clean and refreshed and wouldn’t smell of blood. We spent about 20 minutes in the bath.“I like Twilight, so I said to [the boy] ‘Why don’t we watch it?’ I thought he might like it as well.” Despite the depravity of their actions, the pair, who were likened in court to the infamous American crime due, Bonnie and Clyde, cannot be named because of their young age.The judge will reconsider the issue of whether they should be identified when the pair are sentenced on November 10The boy admitted the two murders, but the girl was convicted following a five-day trial at Nottingham Crown Court.While he admitted inflicting the fatal stab wounds, the jury heard that it was the girl who was the “driver” in the plot, persuading her boyfriend to carry out the killings to satisfy a long held grudge.In the months leading up to the killings the girl wrote in her diary, “there is madness in me” and “death is the only way”.She was described as a “ticking time bomb” who was fuelled by “sheer contempt and brutality” for her victims. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Forensics officers enter the semi-detached house where the bodies were foundCredit:Matthew Cooper/PA Elizabeth Edwards and her daughter Katie were killed at their home in Spalding, Lincolnshire (pictured right)Credit:SWNS Both killers face indefinite detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure – the juvenile equivalent of a life term for an adult.Detective Chief Inspector Martin Holvey, of East Midlands Major Crime Unit, described the case as having a “shocking impact” on the whole community of Spalding.He went on: “What makes this case even more shocking is that these two were 14 years of age when they planned and committed these callous, senseless and unprovoked attacks on Elizabeth and Katie.“This case has left a number of lives in ruins, not only Elizabeth and Katie’s family, but also the two juveniles who committed these horrendous crimes.”
A vicar faces an official complaint for installing a childrens’ plastic table and chairs in a 12th century church.Rector Lynda Klimas introduced the pint-sized white furniture set as a way to keep young children entertained during services.But a disgruntled churchgoer has made an official complaint as he feels it has no place in the “historically sensitive and sacred” Lady Chapel.The matter will now be investigated and, if taken to a tribunal, Rev Kilmas could be given a “lifelong prohibition from exercising any ministerial functions”.Kevin Sims, 67, who has been attending the St Mary the Virgin Church for 20 years, said: “I definitely do not feel the number of children warrants it. My main issues are for aesthetic reasons and reasons of demand.”There are procedures in place that anyone who makes changes in church has to go through.”My concern is that if nothing is done it means effectively anyone could change anything.” Once they have been presented with all the details about what the changes would involve, the local Chancellor then makes a final decision on whether it can be made.In this instance Mr Sims feels bosses have been misled and given false information about the furniture placed in St Mary the Virgin Church, Maulden, Beds.For example, he says a report filed to them said the furniture would be “in keeping” with its surroundings – which he highlights it clearly is not.He also says the rector referred to it as a “children’s area” despite clear signage indicating it is the ‘Lady Chapel’. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Kevin Sims, 67 who made the complaintCredit:SWNS.com Mr Sims said: “For the Rector to state that this sacred space in church is not a chapel beggars belief and is manifestly untrue.”My main concern isn’t with the furniture itself, although I did highlight I don’t think it is keeping and there aren’t enough children for it.”This process relies on being truthful in what they are doing.”The bishop of the diocese must now decide whether or not to confront the rector who brought the children’s seating area.If this happens she could receive punishment from a rebuke to removal from her position.Kevin added: “I hope the Church authorities now wake up to the seriousness of what has taken place here and that appropriate disciplinary penalties and public censure will swiftly follow.”The Rev Klimas, who was made an honorary Canon because of her contribution to the Church of England, said she was forbidden to comment about the grievance.Arun Kataria, spokesman for the diocese of St Albans, said: “The complaint will be heard in accordance with standard procedure and will be confidential until the matter is concluded.” St Mary the Virgin Church in BedfordshireCredit:Rob Farrow /SWNS.com He has now placed a formal complaint of misconduct against the Rector Lynda Klimas who was responsible for the interior alteration.But despite Mr Sims stating he knows of “at least four” other parishioners who agree with him, other members of the congregation have welcomed the child-friendly space.A fellow churchgoer said: “I have never heard so much ridiculous fuss about a tiny little table and chairs. It’s lovely to see young children welcomed into the church and given a place to sit quietly and play.”According to church guidelines, priests wishing to making alterations like the introduction of furniture must apply to the the faculty jurisdiction.
The binary system is in a star cluster in the Milky Way galaxy Credit: EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY Although the white dwarf does not appear to be in danger of falling in or being torn apart by the black hole, its fate is uncertain.Associate Professor James Miller-Jones, from Curtin University and ICRAR, said: “We think the star may have been losing gas to the black hole for tens of millions of years and by now has now lost the majority of its mass.”“Over time, we think that the star’s orbit will get wider and wider as even more mass is lost, eventually turning into an exotic object similar to the famous diamond planet discovered a few years ago,” he said.Scientists believe that the binary system may have formed when the black hole smashed into a red giant star and as gas from the outer regions of the star were ejected a white dwarf emerged from the debris. Astronomers have found evidence of a star that spins around a black hole twice an hour.It is the closest orbital spin that scientists have ever seen, and was picked up by the two of NASA’s space-based telescopes, the Chandra X-ray Observatory and NuSTAR, and the Australia Telescope Compact Array located in New South Wales, Australia.The binary system, known as x9, is located in a dense cluster of stars in the Milky Way known as 47 Tucanae, and is 14,800 light years away from Earth.Observations from Chandra show the system consistently changes in X-ray brightness every 28 minutes, which is likely the length of time it takes the companion star to make one complete orbit around the black hole.Along with evidence of large amounts of oxygen in the system, scientists say it makes a strong case that X9 contains a white dwarf star orbiting a black hole at just 2.5 times the separation between the Earth and the Moon.No star has ever been seen spinning so close to a deadly black hole. “This white dwarf is so close to the black hole that material is being pulled away from the star and dumped onto a disk of matter around the black hole before falling in,” said first author Dr. Arash Bahramian, from the University of Alberta in Canada and Michigan State University in the United States. “Luckily for this star, we don’t think it will follow this path into oblivion – it should stay in orbit.” The black hole will eventually suck all of the star’s Co-author Vlad Tudor, also from the Curtin University branch of ICRAR, said an alternative theory would involve a neutron star that’s being spun up as material is pulled away by the black hole.“Much like a spinning top as you pull the string from around its middle to make it go – but this theory doesn’t explain everything we’re seeing here, so our best current explanation is that we’re dealing with a white dwarf in extremely close proximity to a black hole.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
A man who killed a retired lecturer is on the run after absconding from prison.Anthony Curry, 43, left HMP Kirkham in Lancashire between midday and 2pm on Wednesday and is described by police as “clearly a dangerous individual”.He was jailed for 12 years at Preston Crown Court in July 2013 after admitting the manslaughter of Christopher Proctor, 88, whose body was recovered from his fire-ravaged bungalow.Curry had earlier ransacked the Blackburn home of the great-grandfather – whom he had befriended over time – with his girlfriend, and they stole his wallet and bank card.Both went to a nearby cash machine to draw money out but they were thwarted because Mr Proctor had changed his pin number hours earlier.Curry returned alone to the bungalow, where it is thought Mr Proctor suffered a cardiac arrest “out of fear and shock”, the court heard.The heroin addict then set about trying to destroy evidence of his wrongdoing by torching the property in Pleckgate in the early hours of November 10 2012.Curry, formerly of Blackburn, also pleaded guilty to arson, burglary and two attempted thefts.Clare Randall, then aged 31, from Dewsbury, was jailed for two years and five months after she pleaded guilty to burglary and two attempted thefts. He has links to the Blackburn, Preston and Cumbria areas.Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting log reference 1131 of August 9. Sentencing the pair, Mr Justice Macduff said that reading the victim impact statement from Mr Proctor’s anguished daughter “makes me want to weep”.The judge said: “What a tragic case – this lovely old man, 88 years old, vulnerable, living alone, a retired lecturer, a degree from Cambridge, relatively well-off and targeted by people like you. And not the first time you had targeted him.”You say you are sorry. So you should be.”I have read the impact statement from his daughter. I have read it three times now. It makes me want to weep.”On Thursday, Detective Sergeant Madeleine Park, of Blackpool Police, said: “We are appealing for information leading to Curry’s whereabouts.”He is clearly a dangerous individual and we would urge anyone who sees him or knows where he is not to approach him but instead contact police.”Furthermore, I would ask Curry, if he sees this appeal, to do the right thing and contact officers so he can be returned to prison.”Curry is described as white, 5ft 8in and of stocky build with brown hair. He has a tribal tattoo on his neck, a tattoo of a dot close to his left eye and tattoos on his arms featuring a dragon and rose. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
The age verification scheme, which is the first of its kind in the world and has already attracted interest from countries wanting to protect children from porn and… New regulations, laid before Parliament, give Britain’s chief censor new powers to close down porn sites that fail to prevent children under 18 getting onto them from January. Anyone seeking access to the sites will have to prove they are over 18 via third party firms who will use people’s mobile phones, cards bought in newsagents, passports or credit cards to check ages and then confirm them anonymously to the porn companies. Under-aged children could be barred from social media as part of a government crackdown on access to porn.
The body was found in the hills above Horton in Ribblesdale According to Joomsri Seekanya, 72, from the Udon Thani region of northern Thailand, she has not heard from Lamduan since 2004, around the same time the body was found.She also told police that the sketch depicting the woman – dubbed the “Lady of the Hills” – bears a striking resemblance to her daughter.Mrs Seekanya claims her daughter moved to Britain in the early 1990s after meeting a British man, who was working in Thailand. A long running mystery could soon be solved after a Thai family came forward claiming to know the identity of a woman whose body was found by hill walkers in a remote part of the Yorkshire Dales in 2004.Police were left baffled when a group of ramblers came across the remains of a young woman wrapped around rocks in a stream above Horton in Ribblesdale.Extensive tests and public appeals failed to establish the identity of the woman, with detectives only able to confirm that she was 4ft 11in tall and probably from south east Asia originally.Now following a cold case review of the investigation and publicity in Thailand, a woman has come forward claiming the body might be that of her daughter, Lamduan, who moved to Britain in the 1990s. The woman was wearing a gold wedding ring, which detectives were able to trace back to Thailand due to the unusually high purity of gold.Forensic tests carried out on the woman’s hair, also suggested she had spent the previous two years living in a rural area of south Cumbria or northern Lancashire.In 2007 a coroner recorded an open verdict, but in 2016, a cold case review suggested that foul play might have been involved and detectives began exploring the theory that the victim was a “Thai bride” who had been murdered.The lady of the hills was eventually laid to rest by villagers in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, with one local donating his reserved burial plot to the unfortunate woman instead. She was more than a mile from the nearest road and a post mortem examination suggested the woman had been dead for several weeks. The unknown woman was buried in the local churchyard Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A source close to the investigation said: “It is very important to establish who this young woman was and this could be a significant breakthrough. Hopefully DNA tests can be carried out that will establish whether the remains are those of this woman’s daughter. But the source stressed that the investigation was still ongoing and the police were still appealing for any information to assist with their inquiries.The remains were found in a river by walkers who had unwittingly been posing for photographs in front of it without realising what it was.Police later revealed that the woman, who was half naked, had no visible injuries, and may have died of hypothermia after becoming lost in the hills. She said the couple had two children and used to return to Thailand regularly to visit family.But she explained that her daughter, who would now be 52, had abruptly ceased contact around 15-years ago and said she feared the remains could be hers.A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police confirmed they had been provided with a possible name for the woman but said DNA tests were now being carried out in order to establish whether there was a match with her supposed relatives in Thailand. Joomsri Seekanya claims the body found in the North Yorkshire Dales could be her daughter
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A war veteran who went to Specsavers for an eye test was told he had “invaded countries around the world and killed innocent people” by the optician, as the company says she has been suspended.Steve Leale, 54, asked for his medical notes to specifically state he was a veteran in order to get a faster hospital appointment under an NHS service leavers’ provision.But the former Warrant Officer Class 2 claimed he was left “gobsmacked” and “totally disgusted” when the staff member made the slur about his Army service.The incident allegedly happened on February 15 in Woodbridge, Suffolk.On being told he was to be referred to hospital, he asked for his paperwork to state he was a veteran. The optician expressed surprise that he could access more expeditious care and allegedly said: “what, for invading countries around the world and killing innocent people?”Mr Leale, a member of the Royal Hampshire Regiment and Adjutant General’s Corps who has served in Iraq, Northern Ireland and the Balkans, says he was “dumbfounded by the comment” and complained. He said the experience had left his wife fearing reprisals and “scared to go out alone”.”I am very proud to have served my country for over 32 years. I did my duty on behalf of all British citizens no matter what ethnicity, background or belief,” he said.
Ms Wistrich said that the decision to quash Mrs Challen’s conviction could also influence murder cases that were being tried currently. Mrs Challen’s appeal has been seen by campaigners as a test case for how domestic abuse is treated in the courts, because it in part involved a new understanding of coercive control.Controlling or coercive behaviour in a relationship became a criminal offence in 2015, carrying a maximum five-year jail sentence.The Government announced last month that non-physical and economic abuse were to be included in the first legal definition of domestic abuse as part of a landmark overhaul of the law.Ms Wistrich is working on three cases similar to Mrs Challen’s and Justice For Women, which supported her case, is working on at least two more, including those of Farieissia Martin and Emma-Jayne Magson. Richard and Sally ChallenCredit:collect Speaking after the ruling, Mrs Challen’s son David, 31, said: “The courts have acknowledged this case needs to be looked at again, as we have always said as a family. The abuse our mother suffered, we felt, was never recognised properly and her mental conditions were not taken into account.“As sons, we get another shot for our story to be heard, the events that led to our father’s death to be heard, and for our mother to have another shot at freedom – a freedom she has never had since the age of 15.” Sally Challen appeal: Son David meets supporters outside the court before the hearing beganCredit:Pixel8000 “There will be cases going to trial now and the publicity of this means they may have a better chance of advancing defence cases,” she said.Claire Mawer, a barrister and member of Justice for Women, said there needed to be a rethink of how women were treated by the courts.“The number of women given prison sentences is extraordinarily high and there’s no justice in that if you accept most women offend as a result of trauma,” she said.“Courts should afford women partial defences for murder or reflect the abuse suffered in the sentences passed.”Although the judges today ordered a retrial of Mrs Challen’s murder conviction, they declined to hear an application by her lawyers for her to be released on bail. Her legal team is expected to pursue bail at a future crown court hearing.Mrs Challen was said to be “delighted” at the result but “daunted by what’s to come”.The fresh murder charge will be put to her within two months. Her legal team said that she would accept a manslaughter plea if it was offered, which could prevent a retrial. Her family wanted to avoid going back to court and having to relive the past. Dozens of women imprisoned for murdering their partners after violent, abusive relationships will seek to overturn their convictions, lawyers have said, after a wife jailed for bludgeoning her husband to death with a hammer won her appeal to secure a retrial.Sally Challen’s murder conviction was quashed today and a retrial ordered by Court of Appeal judges after they heard she suffered four decades of controlling behaviour and humiliation at the hands of Richard Challen, her car dealer husband of 31 years, before killing him in August 2010. The 65-year-old Police Federation office manager was sentenced to 22 years in prison following a trial at Guildford Crown Court, later downgraded to 18 years on appeal.The Court of Appeal ruled that evidence from a psychiatrist that she was suffering from two mental disorders at the time of the killing undermined the safety of her conviction.Harriet Wistrich, Mrs Challen’s lawyer, said there were “many more cases” of women whose years of abuse by their partners would merit a reassessment of their convictions. One has already been given leave to appeal.“How many have been convicted for murder where they’ve killed someone abusing them?” said Ms Wistrich. “There are probably dozens of them.” Martin, a mother of two, was convicted of the murder of Kyle Farrell, her violent partner, when she was 22. She was sentenced to 13 years in prison.She had returned from an evening out when he attacked and tried to strangle her. She claimed she stabbed him, in self-defence, with a single wound to the heart. Her lawyers say Farrell’s history of violence was not addressed during the trial and a mental health assessment was not carried out.Magson was convicted of murder in 2016 and sentenced to life imprisonment after killing her boyfriend, James Knight, who was described by her lawyers as controlling, jealous and physically aggressive.Her legal team said no medical or psychiatric evidence was put before the jury despite the defence concluding that she had been suffering from an emotionally unstable personality disorder.They also said that the jury was not made aware of the full extent of the abuse to which she had been subjected by Knight, nor that she had suffered a miscarriage just one week before the killing.Three Court of Appeal judges granted an application in November from Magson’s lawyers to appeal against her conviction. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedJamaica perfects art of developing sprintersJune 23, 2017In “latest news”17,000 illegal Jamaicans in Trinidad & TobagoNovember 26, 2013In “Crime”PM Rowley intervenes in immigration dispute with JamaicaJune 6, 2016In “latest news” Indian High Commissioner to Jamaica Shri Sevala Naik yesterday expressed an interest in helping to develop the Jamaican film industry by offering scholarships and internships to interested Jamaicans.Though nothing has been officially implemented, the diplomat welcomed the suggestion that through India’s booming film industry, known as Bollywood, his country could offer assistance to Jamaica.“Film scholarships are not there, but we can develop a model and we can take it up with my Government. There has been no expression of interest from Jamaicans, but I can explore this opportunity. I will be more than happy to help the Jamaican film industry to go and study,” Naik told reporters and editors at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper’s Kingston offices.He also encouraged interested parties to submit proposals to the Indian High Commission.“In India most of the cinema acting schools are owned by the private sector, but in the Government sector there are certain drama schools where you all can go and spend three months, six months, or one year,” he said.In January 2016, Bollywood — the Hindi-language part of the Indian film industry based in the city of Mumbai — was valued at US$2.32 billion and was expected to grow by 11 per cent in 2017 to US$2.89 billion, according to the Digitization & Mobility: Next Frontier of Growth for M&E report from accountancy firm Deloitte and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.In recent times, Bollywood has gained popularity in Jamaica with the introduction of television shows and movies.The high commissioner pointed out that when he took office last August, a delegation of Indian filmmakers visited the island to scope its potential. He said he organised meetings between the Indian filmmakers and Jampro (Jamaica Promotions Corporation) and the Indians visited many locations.The filmmakers, he said, left with a positive note. “They’re supposed to come this month for the second round of discussions,” he continued.According to Naik, the Indian film industry has mostly filmed in countries that offer incentives to film crews.“Bollywood mostly have gone into Europe and then now into south-eastern countries. They all have different locations based on the facilities offered by the host countries. For instance, the UK offers about 50 per cent discount on the spending,” he stated. (Jamaica Observer)
…with the Ming SwingEven with all the criticisms of the illegal, sole-sourced design for the new Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) – for both procedural and substantive reasons – the PNC-led Government, as usual, are plunging straight ahead. And, if their attitude’s anything to go by, the Devil should take the hindmost – which includes, obviously, those Guyanese who’ve expressed doubts about the project design!The bids from the 11 mostly Chinese bidders will now be evaluated by this month-end, and three will be shortlisted. Even this procedure is highly suspect…since the criteria for the culling of 11 companies to 3 hasn’t been spelled out. This refusal to have all 11 companies submit bids stinks. It screams to high heavens that something rotten is in the making. It’s a crock to say it’s easier to pick from three bids than from 11!!!!Then, with so many Chinese companies involved, why would the Chinese Ambassador – a diplomat, mind you!! — say the design is so last century they wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole!! Imagine, China was the poster boy for backwardness and poverty back in the sixties, when we were flying high – and can now talk to us about backwardness!! That’s because those who make decisions about our development are not concerned about our development!Why was the ambassador so scathing? For the same reason any Guyanese who even cursorily considers the approved design would be. Guyanese know of the frustration caused to Demerara commuters over the last forty years, when the present DHB had to retract a span to allow ships to proceed upriver!! Now with us building a new bridge in the 21st century, you’d think any sane administration would build a fixed-span bridge, wouldn’t you?? The PPP thought so!!After all, Suriname built TWO, decades ago!! But no…rather than having a span RETRACT like the old DHB, this Government boasts about having a span LIFTED as if it’s technological leap forward!! The bottom line is that traffic would still be halted when the bridge is “open”!!This Government would like us to go along with spending all those hundreds of millions of US dollars for the “lifting” structure, rather than the present floating pontoons, because VEHICLES WOULD NOW BE ABLE TO PARK ON THE BRIDGE, RATHER THAN ON THE ROAD!!So what gives, since your Eyewitness doesn’t believe Minister Patterson can pass the McNaughton test to qualify for an “insanity plea”?!! The sudden swing of the Bridge as it approaches the western bank of the river offers a clue: it ends at land owned by PNC financier Stanley.We’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to figure out the reason for the “Ming Swing”!!…with antique aircraftWell, now your Eyewitness has heard it all!! Prodded by the PPP as to why they’re spending $484 million on four planes — manufactured forty years ago — for the GDF, the Government said the planes were like “Rolls Royses” – and age doesn’t matter!! Really?!! So we wonder why airlines aren’t flying those old Constellations from the WWII era!! Those were real beauts, weren’t they??But even if we’re to buy the argument about equating 1970s Skyvans and Islanders with Rolls…do these people know why Rolls become “vintage” and “antiques”? They aren’t used to fetch cargo all year round. With all the maintenance in the world, if these planes are used by the army as planned, they’ll be scrap in a few years. Just like those old Bell helicopters Burnham’d bought while he was around.The Skyvan – known as “the Flying Shoebox” – is pretty much extinct, with only 40 left as of 2009. And the GDF really believe they’ll be able to get spares??Your Eyewitness has the Brooklyn Bridge to sell!!…with GWI hanky-pankyLast June, Mayor Patricia Chase-Green was appointed to Chair GWI’s Board…to deal with procurement “irregularities”.Minister Bulkan’s now miffed GWI’s still sole sourcing. Wasn’t appointing Chase-Green tantamount to putting the cat to guard the milk?? Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedEYEWITNESS: Eye pass…August 15, 2018In “EYEWITNESS”EYEWITNESS: The occasion…September 28, 2017In “EYEWITNESS”EYEWITNESS: Spank them…December 11, 2017In “EYEWITNESS”