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HMP Pentonville: ‘Government neglect’ sees rise in prison’s violence

Pentonville Prison

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Violence at Pentonville prison has increased by more than 50% since 2017, a watchdog found

“Government neglect” has “directly contributed” to the rise in violence and drugs at HMP Pentonville, the prison’s watchdog said.

The Pentonville Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) called for funds for improvements “as a matter of urgency”.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland and Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer were asked to visit the Islington prison.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said it had “no illusions” about the challenges facing the jail.

Violence at the prison has increased by more than 50% since 2017, the chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke found.

Crimes at the prison were driven by gang affiliations, drugs, debt, according to Mr Clarke’s report.

In March, four officers and about 40 prisoners were attacked each week, the IMB said.

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A previous report in 2017 found HMP Pentonville was “violent and crowded”

Illegal substances were “pervasive”, according to the IMB, which is made up of members of the public to monitor the day-to-day life in the prison.

Less than half of the private workforce “required to maintain the building to health and safety standards, were in place”, the IMB said.

“The board believes this neglect directly contributed to the violence, drugs and self-harm.”

Opened in 1842, Pentonville is one of the country’s busiest prisons, with about 33,000 movements a year through its reception.

At the end of last month, the state-run jail was holding 1,082 men. However, the IMB said the jail was only “certified to hold 900”.

‘Money desperately needed’

The IMB also raised concerns about the prevalence of insecticide-resistant cockroaches and mouldy, broken showers.

It said HMP Pentonville “desperately needs money now to raise the standard of day-to-day life for prisoners and staff and deliver its dual function of serving local courts and helping prisoners lead productive lives”.

An MoJ spokesman said the new management team had made significant improvements since the inspection.

“Those changes include a new drugs strategy combining more cell searches with better addiction treatment, providing more money to refurbish cells, and appointing specialist staff members to work on reducing violence,” he said.

He added government had given an extra £100m for airport-style scanners and mobile phone blocking technology “to boost security and cut violence in our prisons”.

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Barnet 2-2 Torquay United – BBC Sport

Barnet came from two goals down to earn a point at home to Torquay in the National League thanks to Jack Taylor’s late strike which snatched a 2-2 draw.

The visitors looked on course for a third-straight win as they went in at half-time two goals up following Jean-Yves Koue Niate’s fifth-minute opener and a fine long-range finish from Armani Little on the half-hour mark.

But the Bees fought back after the interval and pulled a goal back through Ephron Mason-Clark’s effort.

The home fans were then treated to an 88th-minute equaliser as Taylor collected a pass from Mason-Clark before slotting a low finish past Lucas Covolan to earn a share of the spoils.

Report supplied by PA Media.



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Man Utd 1-2 Crystal Palace: Patrick van Aanholt scores winner

Ayew’s goal was Palace’s first of the season

Crystal Palace stunned Manchester United as Patrick van Aanholt scored an injury-time winner to record their first victory at Old Trafford since 1989.

Full-back Van Aanholt netted in the 93rd minute, smashing in as the ball broke loose following Wilfried Zaha’s burst forward.

Daniel James thought he had rescued a point for United when he curled in a delightful equaliser in the 89th minute following neat build-up from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

But Rashford will rue striking the post from the penalty spot earlier in the second period – the second spot-kick the Red Devils have missed this week after Paul Pogba had one saved in the 1-1 draw at Wolves on Monday.

Jordan Ayew had scored the opener in the first half against the run of play, latching on to Jeffrey Schlupp’s flick-on and coolly converting Palace’s first goal of the campaign, before the late drama.

United’s failing evident

Pogba received racist abuse on social media after his miss from the spot at Molineux.

United released a statement condemning the abuse, while fans brought an anti-racism flag into the stadium and sang “there’s only one Paul Pogba” to show they were behind the France midfielder.

However, a nasty minority of the tweets that followed Rashford’s miss showed the issue remains.

The England striker’s failure from the spot formed part of a bad day for United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The club paid a collective £130m this summer for defenders Harry Maguire and Wan-Bissaka – but neither covered round the back of centre-back Victor Lindelof in the lead-up to Palace’s opener, so when the Swede lost out to Schlupp as they challenged for goalkeeper Vicente Guaita’s clearance, Ayew was able to race clear of the United defence and finish.

James was Solskjaer’s third summer signing. The Welshman is having a major impact and his curling shot to equalise was a brilliant effort.

However, for the second game running, James was booked for diving – even if the decision from referee Paul Tierney looked harsh.

More to follow.



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Burning Grenfell effigy model ‘was joke about friends’

Grenfell effigy

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The model was burned at a bonfire party in south London on 3 November 2018

Figures pictured on a cardboard effigy of Grenfell Tower filmed being burned were not meant to represent people who died, a court heard.

Paul Bussetti, 47, told Westminster Magistrates’ Court the images depicted friends who were at a bonfire party on 3 November 2018.

He shared footage of the effigy on WhatsApp and it was added to YouTube.

Mr Bussetti denies sending “grossly offensive” material via a public communications network.

The clip of the cardboard building, which had “Grenfell Tower” written on it, was recorded at a party attended by about 30 people in south London.

Prosecutors said the footage is racist in its content, while a relative of one of the 72 people who died in the blaze on 14 June 2017 called it “revolting”.

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Paul Bussetti told the court he was not a racist

Mr Bussetti, of South Norwood, told the court the effigy had been created by his friend Steve Bull and was meant as a joke “about us”.

Asked who the characters on the effigy were, he said they were “the majority of people that were at the party” who had all found it “funny”.

One black-clad figure who was referred to as “ninja” was meant to represent his friend’s son who did martial arts, while his own image had been on the other side of the box, the Mr Bussetti said.

The father-of-two said he shared the footage with about 20 people on two WhatsApp groups but he had never intended it to go further.

When prosecutor Philip Scott suggested he sent the footage because it was in keeping with other “highly racist” content he shared, Mr Bussetti replied that it was “just banter” and denied being racist.

He also told the court he had not originally told police that the people in the tower were him and his friends because he was “scared” and “nervous”.

The trial continues.

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Elize Stevens death: Man jailed for murdering partner

Lime Court

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Ian Levy murdered Elize Stevens at his flat in Lime Court in Hendon

A man who stabbed his partner to death in a “fit of rage” has been jailed for a minimum of 21 years.

Elize Stevens, 50, suffered 86 knife wounds when Ian Levy attacked her at his flat on the Great North Way in Hendon, north-west London, on 2 March.

Levy, 55, was naked and covered in blood when he was arrested after a neighbour heard the victim “screaming for her life”, jurors heard.

He was found guilty of murder by an Old Bailey jury and sentenced to life.

Judge Richard Foster told Levy it was “a toxic mix of rage, self-pity and resentment” which led to a ferocious and pre-planned attack in which he “attacked her with 86 sharp form injury wounds”.

Levy, who had only recently been discharged from a psychiatric hospital, had denied murder but admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

‘Stop it’

The court heard how neighbour Michael Harvey called police at 10:20 BST after hearing Ms Stevens shouting: “Ian, Ian stop it. Leave me alone or you’re going to kill me.”

When police arrived at his flat in Lime Court, they found Ms Stevens prone on the floor covered in knife wounds, including a slit to her abdomen.

A large kitchen knife, a hammer and a pair of blood soaked men’s tracksuit bottoms were next to her.

Pathologist Dr Fegan Earl told the court the wounds showed signs of a rapid sequence of infliction with a sharp object.

Officers said that during his arrest, Levy said: “It’s the hospital’s fault. They let me out when they knew I was depressed.”

Jurors heard Levy was admitted to hospital after telling police he planned to kill himself, but was discharged 10 days later.

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