Why did the NHS leave a drug abusing schizophrenic free to kill?
After 27 happy years, Barbara Quelch thought she would never have to leave the four-bedroom bungalow in the Berkshire countryside her husband had built as their dream home. Yet today she can’t bear to set foot inside. Even driving down the lane towards it causes her to break into a cold sweat. She’s also overwhelmed by a wave of nausea, almost as if her body has developed an allergic reaction.
The house has been empty for three years, ever since the terrible August morning when her youngest son was found hacked to death in the kitchen.
Landscape gardener Daniel Quelch, 33, had been sleeping in a back bedroom when the house was broken into by drug-abusing paranoid schizophrenic Benjamin Frankum, who had suffered mental health issues ever since he began smoking cannabis in his teens. In a desperate struggle, Daniel was stabbed 82 times.
His was not the only life destroyed in the frenzied attack. Daniel’s three children, now aged 11, eight and five, have been left shattered, traumatised and without a father – the two youngest actually witnessed the murder. His three brothers, Paul, 44, Patrick, 43, and Robert, 42, lost a much-loved sibling. And his parents have been left trying to make sense of what happened.
Since Daniel’s death, Barbara and her 66-year-old husband Ernest, a retired builder, have been living like nomads, with their possessions scattered in the homes of friends and family. Unable to live in their house, which is now tainted by images of Daniel’s brutal death, they have moved five times to different rented accommodation.
Yet the Quelch family has never been given a proper explanation of how a dangerous schizophrenic was allowed to live in the wider community without anyone making sure that he took the medication he desperately needed.
Indeed, when an independent inquiry into the case finally released its overdue report last week, the result was what Barbara describes as ‘a deeply flawed whitewash’. For while the authors identified a ‘number of failings and weaknesses’ in the health authorities, it concluded that these had not led to the stabbing.
Barbara, the 62-year-old managing director of a small advertising company in Maidenhead, is at pains to say she is not looking for compensation or to point the finger of blame.
Instead, she explains with quiet dignity, she wants someone in the NHS to acknowledge publicly that something went horribly wrong and to put measures in place to make sure it never happens again. ‘We just want someone to take responsibility for the errors,’ she explained. ‘I think I would be letting my son down if we gave up and just rolled over.
‘Danny was the youngest of my four sons and in many ways he represented the rest of us. He was a good dad, a good man and a good son. He used to phone me about three times a day. I miss hearing his voice so much and think about him all the time.
‘For a long while I blamed myself for his death. I was in pieces and couldn’t even make a cup of tea. All I could do was sit in a chair and think about him. Sometimes I ask myself why I hadn’t told him to go home – he was only there to look after me, but it’s pointless to keep dwelling on what-ifs.
‘My husband Ernest is suffering more than anyone else. He has lost all of his confidence, is extremely depressed and spent months on medication. It’s heartbreaking and I worry that he might never fully recover. ‘He built that house virtually from scratch and he was so proud of it, but neither of us can go back. It’s still too raw and I fear I’d get flashes of what happened in my mind. It’s funny, I’ve done so much since Danny died to be strong but that’s the one thing I can’t do. I can’t even go into the road.’
Daniel had been staying with his mother on the fateful night only because his father and two brothers had gone on a fishing trip to Canada and he wanted her to be safe. Though a keen angler himself, he had been unable to afford the trip. His three children were with him.
A drug abuser since his teens, Frankum had been in various secure mental health units before being moved to a residential home in Worthing, West Sussex, which also provided him with round-the-clock support.
But three months before the attack in 2007, he was allowed to go to live independently in a housing association home in Hampshire. Barbara says this was a mistake because it did not have staff dedicated to ensuring he continued taking his prescribed drug, Clozapine – a powerful anti- psychotic. ‘If you stop taking it the side-effect is even more powerful psychotic symptoms,’ says Barbara.
Unknown to his caseworker, Frankum stopped taking his medication almost immediately. His behaviour soon became increasingly erratic and he was assessed in early August to determine whether he could be detained under the Mental Health Act. It was decided not to detain him.
Barbara points out that the doctor and a social worker who made the decisions had not treated Frankum before and were not experts in the drug Clozapine. She wonders why Frankum’s long-term psychiatrist, who had been treating him since 2002, had not been called. ‘The psychiatrist told the inquiry that he would have sectioned [locked up] Frankum, regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms, if there was any suspicion that he had stopped taking his medicine,’ she says. Tests later showed Frankum had stopped taking the drugs nine weeks before the killing.
According to Barbara, ‘everyone’ – including Frankum’s family – knew by the beginning of August that he was in a terrible mess. On July 24, a month before the murder, his grandmother Norma had alerted police and his care team about his deteriorating condition. His mother, Diane King, also pleaded with the authorities for her son to be returned to hospital. These, by Barbara’s reckoning, were triggers that should have alerted his care team. But the official alarm was still not raised, even after Frankum disappeared from his shared house in Littlehampton that August.
Several days later, he turned up at his mother’s house near Maidenhead in Berkshire.
While the household was asleep, he crashed his stepfather’s car into the swimming pool, walked across a field with the family’s pet dog and went into Barbara’s house, which was nearby. There he stabbed Daniel as he lay sleeping with his two-year-old son. When the other children in the house, one of whom was a neighbour’s daughter having a sleepover, woke up during the struggle, Frankum put the blood-stained knife down on the bed to fetch them cans of Coca-Cola and yogurt, telling them he was their ‘new daddy’.
Barbara, who had been out walking her dogs when the attack happened, shivers as she recalls: ‘I saw someone through the kitchen window and assumed it was Danny making a cup of coffee. I thought, “Great, he’ll have one for me.” But then this young man walked out the front door, wearing a pair of boxer shorts. He was covered in blood. Weirdly, for an instant I imagined that it was my nephew and he had been in a car crash.’
But as Frankum walked towards her she realised it was a stranger. ‘He said he was from MI5 and to follow him into the house, but I instinctively knew something was dreadfully wrong and locked the car door.’ She dialled 999 and Frankum was arrested at the scene. Although ruled unfit to enter a plea, he was convicted of murder at Reading Crown Court in 2008 and ordered to be detained in Broadmoor Hospital.
Barbara blames NHS workers in West Sussex for failing to recognise that 28-year-old Frankum was a danger to the general public. ‘It will always be a scandal to us that nobody got a firm and proper grip on his mental state and, more importantly, failed to recognise the dangers and risks he clearly posed to others,’ she says. ‘We just thank God that he didn’t harm the children. They are living with us and miss their father terribly.’
She says that initially NHS South East Coast and the Sussex Partnership Trust, who had been responsible for Frankum’s care, had been reluctant to share information with the family. It was only after intervention from local MP Theresa May that an independent inquiry was commissioned from the consultancy Verita – a private consultancy that manages investigations, reviews and inquiries for the NHS, Ofsted and local authorities.
Its investigators said that although they identified a number of failings and weaknesses in the actions of the statutory services during 2007, they could find ‘no link’ between them and Frankum’s actions that morning.
Barbara says: ‘It’s like the system has let us down twice – first by leaving a mentally ill man free to kill and then by refusing to accept that NHS staff made mistakes that caused my son to die. ‘I don’t understand how the Verita report could have concluded that Danny’s death could not have been predicted nor prevented. ‘It counters the findings of a previous internal report by the NHS trust, which was not made public, that blamed individual members of staff for not intervening quickly enough and recommended changes in procedures.’
She insists the new inquiry was deeply flawed. ‘It did not talk to all the possible witnesses, is in part inaccurate, and some of the findings are clearly not substantiated by the available evidence. Our case is that the health authority made arrangements for this young man to move out of a safe and supported environment, into a house where he was virtually unsupervised.
‘He was known to be resistant to taking his medication, yet no system was put in place to ensure he complied, no plan was arranged by mental health services to care for him and no assessment for risk was done before setting him loose into the community.
‘In seven weeks he deteriorated so badly that he couldn’t even sleep in his room. His care worker ignored the fact that this man had started to take illegal drugs, was drinking heavily and a few weeks before his frenzied kill had threatened another resident with a knife.’
The Quelches are law-abiding people who worked hard to carve out a comfortable life for themselves, their four sons and ten grandchildren. They trusted in the system and now find it hard to understand how it could have let them down so badly. Barbara plans to ask Home Secretary Theresa May to look closely at the report. Barbara said: ‘We understand there have been at least 19 killings by people with serious mental illness in Sussex since 1996 – at least two of them since Daniel’s murder. How many more innocent people must die, and their families left to suffer, before the lessons are truly learned?’
She remains critical about the way Verita, NHS South East Coast and the Sussex Partnership Trust have treated her family, and of the length of time it has taken to complete the inquiry. Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, co-author of the Verita report, said that while she was sorry that the findings had added to the family’s pain and distress, ‘we have to say it like we find it’.
Barbara remains unimpressed. ‘We still want answers. Danny should not have died. We can see the failings that led to it happening, even if those on the inquiry do not. ‘It feels like we’ve been to hell and back, but we’re still no nearer to the truth – which might bring about changes in the monitoring of mentally ill people like Frankum. If that were to happen then Danny would not have died in vain.’
Asylum seekers last in the housing queue: Britain’s biggest council decides to put its locals first
The largest council in the country is to stop providing homes for asylum seekers – so it can offer the properties to locals. Birmingham City Council said last night that it had seen a surge in the number of existing residents who found themselves homeless in the aftermath of the economic slump.
Currently, nearly 200 homes are handed to asylum seekers who have been sent to the city while their applications are being processed by the UK Border Agency. But the council is to cancel its contract with UKBA so the homes can instead be given to those who hail from the city.
Councillor John Lines, Birmingham’s cabinet member for housing, said the decision was ‘in the interests of local people’. He explained that the council expects nearly 8,000 applications for homes this year alone.
‘Over the last year, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of homeless people in Birmingham and we must help the citizens of this city first and foremost,’ he said. ‘With a long waiting list for homes, we really need all our properties for our people in these difficult economic times. I believe the UK Border Agency should find somewhere else to carry out their duties.’
Mr Lines said delays within UKBA meant hundreds of asylum seekers were obtaining British citizenship while they waited for their cases to be decided. ‘When they have been given citizenship the city of Birmingham has to treat them as citizens and give them one of our rare homes,’ he added. ‘I’m putting hundreds of Brummies in bed and breakfast, local people who possibly through no fault of their own are homeless.
‘I couldn’t sit here and allow the situation where Birmingham people have had to tolerate that whilst the border agency has got up to 200 of my homes for people who have come here for political asylum.’
Under the five-year contract, the council provided 190 properties to asylum seekers, but with turnover it meant up to 1,000 staying in the city every year. The contract – which also involved Wolverhampton, Dudley and Coventry councils – comes to an end in June next year and will not be renewed, Mr Lines said.
Wolverhampton council is also expected to follow suit and stop housing asylum applicants, he added. Birmingham is run by a joint Liberal Democrat and Tory coalition, and is seen as indicating possible policy directions for the Government.
The UK Border Agency’s Regional Director for the Midlands and East of England, Gail Adams, said: ‘We’re disappointed by Birmingham City Council’s decision to withdraw from the West Midlands Consortium. ‘The Consortium’s existing contract will continue until June next year. UKBA will manage the transition to new accommodation in accordance with the terms of the contract.’
One welfare reform that would make Britons happier… and richer
By Peter Hitchens
There’s only one lasting, simple welfare reform package this country needs. It goes like this. First, an announcement that nine months from today, all benefits of any kind for new unmarried mothers should cease.
Note the word ‘new’. Existing victims of one of the stupidest policies in human history should continue to get their handouts and subsidised homes until their children are grown. It is not their fault, or their children’s, that they were misled by weak and wicked politicians into this way of life.
They should not be condemned or harassed. But this state-sponsored assault on marriage should stop. Just to emphasise the point, we should once again distinguish between those who end up as lone parents through no choice of their own and those who choose this state.
We should once again distinguish between those who end up as lone parents through no choice of their own and those who choose this state
We should once again distinguish between those who end up as lone parents through no choice of their own and those who choose this state
The Widow’s Pension – scandalously abolished – should be reinstated. Deserted wives should likewise be offered proper support.
Next, the disastrous divorce reforms of the Sixties, which have blasted the lives of millions of deserted children, should be replaced by new rules that make it rather harder to break up a marriage than to end a car-leasing agreement.
And Parliament should overturn the disastrous judge-made laws which have, over the past 50 years, left divorced husbands with almost no rights at all. Within ten years we should be a happier, more orderly and peaceful society, and a much richer one too.
Depriving children of fathers, which seems to have been the policy of the so-called ‘centre-left’ and ‘centre-right’ for 40 years, has had a grim and painful effect on almost every aspect of our lives – and has affected almost every topic I touch on in this column.
The costs of trying to patch up the damage are immense, in grief and money. It is as if the whole country has been banging its head hard against a concrete wall for decades. It would be wonderful to stop, as well as being rational and kind. But of course it will not happen.
For all three parties have been taken over by Sixties liberals, who will never do this. Which is why no message of hope came out of the Tory Conference last week, and why the Prime Minister was reduced to attacks on a dead-and-buried Labour Government, and to flogging his gassy, thought-free ‘Big Society’, under which we’re all supposed to come home from work and the long commute, and then rush out to hold up the sky.
What was really wrong with the Tory Party’s amateur dramatics was not the incompetence, though there was plenty of that; nor the dismissive callousness towards mothers who take the responsible decision to bring up their own children; nor the impracticable promises to ‘clamp down’ on a welfare system that is specifically designed to create more clients every day and will grow inexorably if this does not stop.
It was that it has turned its back forever on the married family (while tossing footling token gestures in its direction). And it has sold its soul – and the conservative people in this country – in return for the approval of the BBC and for the empty, pompous joys of office without power.
No wonder there were so few conservatives there, and no wonder Tory Party membership is shrivelling so quickly that the figures are a secret.
Prominent Warmist ambushed: Unable to answer basic questions
– Science abandoned for metaphysics & quasi-mysticism
– Admits Piers Corbyn’s (solar based!) extreme events forecasts important
CLIMATE SENSE campaigners – Philip Foster, Graham Capper, Piers Corbyn & Hans Schreuder attended a talk by Prof Mike Hulme (of University of East Anglia and various UN (IPCC) and EU climate panels and bodies) at Emmanuel United Reformed Church Cambridge on 8th Oct. They found he offered no meaningful defence of the science, indeed he gave significant ground and seemed to be moving onto ‘higher’ things.
Prof Hulme’s talk which was part of the Church’s ‘EARTHED’ series* indicated he had largely moved ‘beyond’ Climate Change and considered the subject more of a metaphysical or quasi-mystical ‘sign’ or figure of speech for a plan to better approach the problems of a finite planet and its inhabitants in line with his religious beliefs.
Although he considered the question: What does Climate Change demand of us? he could not defend the supposed science which is claimed to be at its core.
Questions and comments were put to him by Philip, Piers and Hans, of ClimateSense which is campaigning for EVIDENCE-BASED SCIENCE, to the effect that:-
– There is no evidence for the CO2 theory only evidence against.
– ALL the CO2 based predictions of the UN’s IPCC have failed,
– World Temperatures have been falling for a decade while CO2 is rising,
– There has been no increase in extreme weather events,
– If you really care about the world then extreme weather events prediction is important and this is being done (eg Russia heatwave etc – see WAnews31**) using solar activity while CO2 tells us nothing; therefore you should be supporting this SCIENCE not a failed theory.
Prof Hulme (First Degree Geography 2(i) Univ of Durham) defended that
(i) it could not be denied that CO2 is an infra-red absorber and emitter and that
(ii) (accepting that temperatures have not risen in a decade despite IPCC predictions) temperatures have increased over the last 50 or so years.
Piers (First degree Physics First class Imperial College London) pointed out that although CO2 is indeed an infra-red absorber and emitter any consequences are completely negated by feedbacks such as extra plant transpiration surface cooling due to extra CO2 which makes plants grow faster****; which is why the data shows CO2 has zero effect in the real world atmosphere.
The temperature point is selective and ‘so what?’ because fuller data shows CO2 temperatures fluctuating up and down while CO2 was still rising.
Prof Hulme (then) said that dealing with extreme weather events is important whatever the cause and that Piers making and continuing to circulate predictions of extreme weather events is important.
Afterwards a number of people expressed keen interest in what the ClimateSensers had said and took leaflets.
Piers commented: “Prof Hulme offered no meaningful defence of the failed science of the Global Warming lobby and his welcoming my solar-based predictions of extreme weather events is good and an admission of failure of the IPCC project – the whole reason for which was to deal with extreme weather events which were supposedly driven by man-made CO2! Will he now suggest the Govt and UN use these forecasts?
“The Global Warmers are on the run. We now have to take the matter to politicians to turn the run into a rout. The next event is our public Climate Fools Day rally in Parliament*** Wed Oct 27th”
Baccalaureate board probes Wikipedia plagiarism claim
The credibility of the International Baccalaureate (IB) has been questioned amid claims parts of its marking guides were plagiarised from Wikipedia.
The Times Educational Supplement (TES) reports that guides for three history papers are being investigated by the IB’s managing board. The guides offer model essays and are used by examiners marking papers.
The A-level alternative is mainly taken in private schools, but ministers say other schools could offer it.
One IB examiner told the TES they were “shocked” to discover what was called “serious examples of academic dishonesty” in the guide for one of the papers. He claimed information from 14 of 24 questions contained sections copied from websites such as Wikipedia.
A teacher who runs training workshops for the IB warned the programme had been put at risk and told the TES they were “livid” and “stunned”.
The IB diploma, taken by teenagers, is currently offered in more than 200 UK schools and is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to A-levels.
An IB spokesman told the TES: “The IB has always insisted on academic honesty throughout our examination system since the organisation was founded. “We have always taken immediate and appropriate action when we discover any violation. “The issue related to the history paper mark scheme is one of those cases, and our investigation of this matter is moving forward but has not yet been completed.
“As a general rule, for each exam session we investigate any and all allegations of malpractice. “This includes deploying technology to screen and scan scripts, and conducting unannounced inspections of schools’ arrangements for the examinations to ensure compliance.”
More revelations about Britain’s insane State school system
Stabbings, threats, red-tape blunders and ‘gruesome’ pupils who terrify classmates. This is the bleak picture of secondary-school life revealed in an internet blog by Katharine Birbalsingh, the teacher who became a star of the Tory Party Conference with a speech about the chaos in the education system.
In the shocking account, Oxford-educated Miss Birbalsingh describes the ‘madness’ in her academy, comparing it to the notorious prison Alcatraz because ‘none of the kids choose to go there’.
She also refers to one of the pupils using the pseudonym Gangster.
The 37-year-old received a standing ovation from Tory delegates in Birmingham last week when she claimed she had abandoned her Marxist beliefs for Conservatism because of poor pupil behaviour.
Now details have emerged of the blog, published on the internet anonymously but for which Miss Birbalsingh has secured a deal with Penguin for a book, which comes out in March.
In it she describes life as a teacher in the state sector, including her current school, St Michael and All Angels Academy, in Camberwell, South London. She writes: ‘I watch Gangster, a year 11 pupil, go into the Head’s office with his mum for a meeting, because on the last day of school in July he stabbed another boy in the playground with a knife.
‘The madness does not stop there. In April three boys were “excluded” for stabbing a boy from another school. At the time, certain paperwork was not filled out. The consequence is that the powers-that-be can now force us to take these three criminals back. Three gruesome, terrifying, influential boys who terrorise everyone around them are coming back and there is nothing we can do.’
A source at the Diocese of Southwark, which has run the academy as a faith school since last year, said it was unaware of the blog, called To Miss With Love, until Friday evening.
The school would not comment on the alleged stabbing as it was said to have happened when the local education authority was still in charge. Scotland Yard was unable to find details of the April incident. But Miss Birbalsingh said she stood by the account although she admitted that she did not confirm the accuracy of incidents that took place before she arrived at the school.
Police figures show there were 21 criminal allegations at the school in the past academic year, including five of actual bodily harm and a rape.
Nevertheless Miss Birbalsingh’s comments have angered colleagues.
School governor Musa Olaiwon said: ‘I am astonished and I can only think that she has a hidden agenda. It’s not a violent school.’ Miss Birbalsingh added: ‘I have no regrets. Not the blog and not the speech. I am a whistleblower. I am passionate about teaching but there is something fundamentally wrong in our system.’
Leftist hypocrisy never stops
Atheist British Liberal Party leader considering sending his son to exclusive Catholic school — because their nearby government school is crap — only fit for “the masses”
Nick Clegg is considering sending his eldest son to one of Britain’s leading Catholic state schools – despite both his atheism and his party’s opposition to faith schools.
The Deputy Prime Minister faces accusations of hypocrisy after he and his Catholic wife Miriam were given a private tour of the London Oratory, where Tony Blair controversially sent his sons.
Headmaster David McFadden told The Mail on Sunday that he believed his school would be a ‘natural choice’ for the couple, who were ‘happy with what they saw’ during their tour last week.
The news that the Liberal Democrat leader is ‘very keen’ on the elite school for his nine-year-old son will dismay many within his party, which has repeatedly made clear its opposition to faith schools.
In a manifesto pledge that was widely seen as a commitment to dismantling faith schools in their current form, the party vowed to ‘ensure that all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair discrimination on grounds of faith when recruiting staff’.
Elsewhere, the Lib Dems have said the party would halt ‘the establishment of new schools which select by ability, aptitude or faith’ and said it would introduce ‘policies to reduce radically all existing forms of selection’.
The Cleggs live in Putney, South-West London, where their three sons attend Catholic primary schools. Their nearest Catholic secondary school, less than a mile from their home, is John Paul II in Wimbledon. A high percentage of its students are from deprived areas and many have English as a second language. Ofsted ranks the school ‘satisfactory’. However, the London Oratory was classed as outstanding – Ofsted’s highest grade – in its most recent inspection.
In the 2009 examinations, 94.5 per cent of pupils attained five or more GCSEs, at Grade C or above, including English and maths. This compared with 50 per cent at John Paul II and a national average of 46.7 per cent. The school also has a strong record in sciences, with 86 per cent of pupils securing at least two GCSEs, Grade C or above, in science subjects.
But it is more than twice as far away from Mr Clegg’s home as John Paul II school.
Mr Clegg revealed his atheism in a radio interview in December 2007. Asked directly on BBC Radio 5 Live ‘Do you believe in God?’, Mr Clegg replied simply: ‘No.’ Later, he said he had ‘enormous respect’ for people with faith and added: ‘I’m married to a Catholic and am committed to bringing my children up as Catholics.
‘However, I myself am not an active believer, but the last thing I would do when talking or thinking about religion is approach it with a closed heart or a closed mind.’
Earlier this year Mr Clegg was accused of discovering religion just in time for the General Election when he claimed that Christian values were central to his party’s policies. And during the campaign he was photographed attending Sunday worship at an Anglican church in New Malden, Surrey.
A few days later he was spotted at his local Catholic church, Our Lady of Pity And St Simon Stock in Putney, for his eldest son’s first communion. It later emerged that the boy was recorded on the list of children receiving the sacrament under his Spanish-born mother’s maiden name.
Mr Clegg’s interest in the Oratory will also surprise many within his party, given his recent insistence that faith schools should teach that homosexuality is ‘normal and harmless’. It prompted a furious response from the Family Education Trust, which accused him of showing a ‘woeful lack of respect for faith schools and totally disregarding the deeply held views of parents’. It added: ‘The vast majority of parents do not want their children’s schools to be turned into vehicles to promote positive images of homosexual relationships.’
The London Oratory is linked to one of the most conservative Catholic churches in Britain, the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, popularly known as the Brompton Oratory and controlled by a group of fathers known as Oratorians.
Three years ago the school cancelled plans to raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust, one of Europe’s most respected Aids charities, because it did not consider it a suitable recipient of charity from a Catholic institution.
Mr McFadden said yesterday that the Cleggs’ eldest son would be considered for entry in two years’ time if his parents decide to submit an application. ‘We don’t admit children on the jobs of their parents, but I think most parents who apply to the school do so on the basis of the Catholic nature of the school more than anything else,’ he said. ‘I think his wife seems to be the driving force.’
He added that he believed the couple would look at other schools in the area but said: ‘I think it would be a natural choice for them [to come here], yes. ‘They’re just normal parents of Form Five boys who are starting to turn their thoughts to secondary schools.’
Last night a spokesman for the Deputy Prime Minister said: ‘Nick Clegg’s sons go to a local school in South-West London. ‘Miriam and Nick have always refused to turn the issue of their children’s education into a political football. ‘He and Miriam are currently considering a number of schools for their eldest son but no decision has yet been made.’
The Oratory, along with other voluntary-aided schools, previously conducted interviews with the parents of prospective pupils and their children to determine the depth of the religious faith, which led to accusations of ‘covert selection’.
However, a change in the law ended the practice and the Oratory – which does not require both parents to be Catholics – now asks for references from parish priests and demands that parents complete a stringent ‘religious inquiry form’.
The four-page document requests details of how frequently the prospective pupils and their parents attend Mass and holy days of obligation. The application form questions how long they have lived in a particular parish and whether they worship weekly, fortnightly, monthly, occasionally, rarely or never. It also asks ‘How does your parish priest know your child?’ and ‘How does your parish priest know you?’
Mustn’t call Gypsies Gypsies in Britain
“Judges have been told not to use the word ‘gipsy’ for fear of causing offence. But the ban has been condemned as ‘confusing’ – by a leading gipsy group.
The edict is among a string of terms banned in a new set of guidelines for judges to make sure they comply with equality rules. They are told the word ‘gipsy’ is disparaging and should be replaced by ‘member of a travelling community’.
Last night, however, Joseph Jones, secretary of the Gipsy Council, said: ‘People in the UK are proud to be called gipsies. They don’t mind being called gipsies.
‘It’s not a name that came from the Romany community and some people don’t like it for that reason. But Romany Gipsy is not a term that’s seen as a negative thing. A lot of British people from the Romany Gipsy community are proud to be gipsies – like anyone from any ethnic community would be proud to be.’
Mr Jones said describing gipsies as ‘members of the travelling community’ was ‘too simplistic’.The problem with that is it confuses the issue by mixing people who are in an ethnic group with people who are not,’ he said.
The edict comes in a summary of the Equal Treatment Bench Book, published by the judges’ training body, the Judicial Studies Board.
The manual also warns about using the word ‘British’. It states: ‘Use of the term as a synonym for White, English or Christian is incorrect and unacceptable.’
Other words banned are ‘invalid’, ‘mental handicap’ and ‘wheelchair-bound’. Instead judges should use ‘disabled person’, ‘learning difficulties’ and ‘a wheelchair-user’.