‘I could hear the surgeon talking as he cut into me. I tried to scream but I couldn’t move’: Mother describes horror of waking up during operation

A mother has described the agony of feeling a surgeon cutting into her stomach when she woke up during an operation.

Sarah Newton lay paralysed on the operating table as she listened to doctors speaking above her and felt every incision they made.

Unable to move or scream, she resorted to counting each stitch and staple that was used to sew her wounds while she waited for the ordeal to end.

The 32-year-old spent 40 minutes trapped within her body, awake due to misjudged anaesthetic but paralysed by muscle relaxants, as unwitting doctors continued to operate.

When the medication finally wore off, 20 minutes after the operation had finished, she was so traumatised that she became hysterical.

University Hospital in Coventry has paid Miss Newton £30,000 in compensation after admitting a doctor ‘switched off the anaesthetic too early’.

While the operation took place more than a year and a half ago, it has taken Miss Newton until now to build up the courage to speak about her ordeal.

The mother-of-two was diagnosed in 2004 with inter-cranial hypertension, a brain condition which causes severe headaches and could lead to blindness.

While she takes medication daily, doctors suggested she should have an operation to drain fluid from her brain to her stomach, which was completed in September 2010.

She was then booked in for another four-hour procedure on her spine and stomach in April 2011 in the hope it would further relieve the pressure on her brain.

The last thing Miss Newton remembers is having a tube fitted in her hand and then ‘going black’, before becoming aware of the most excruciating pain.

‘There are no words to describe what it felt like,’ she said. ‘I could feel them cutting across. It was them cutting my stomach open. I was unsure whether I was dreaming.

‘I could hear them talking but I couldn’t move at all. I was trying to scream. ‘I tried to wiggle my toes desperately hard but I couldn’t move anything. I tried to raise my heartbeat to make them notice but they couldn’t notice. I couldn’t blink or anything.

‘The feeling of being trapped was worse than the pain. I have never experienced pure panic like it ever before. I really believed I was going to die. It felt as if I was being tortured but was powerless to stop it.’

Eventually, Miss Newton remembered that the stages of her operation had been explained to her by doctors before surgery, with the stomach being opened last, so she recognised they were towards the end of the procedure.

‘The only thing I could do was concentrate on what they were physically doing,’ she said. ‘I just had to get to the end of it. I could feel every stitch going in. I counted all the stitches. It’s infinite counting now in my nightmares.

‘And then the staples afterwards. I was able to tell them afterwards exactly how many they had done.’ In total, Miss Newton remembers 40 minutes of surgery, although it felt ‘like hours’.

In recovery, she screamed uncontrollably. A nurse ran to get the anaesthetist and Miss Newton was able to recount to him the conversations he had been having during surgery.

‘The first thing I said was: “I was awake.” He was mortified. Straight away he knew. He kept saying: “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done it.”

Miss Newton’s consultant anaesthetist had decided that day to change his usual routine, which he had used treating more than 1,000 previous patients. He decided to switch off the anaesthetic before surgery was finished so that Miss Newton might become alert faster after the operation.

He immediately accepted his error and while he kept his job, the hospital never contested Miss Newton’s complaint. The doctor was said to feel ‘deep regret’ over what happened.

Soon after the operation, Miss Newton was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress, suffering from anxiety attacks and becoming so agoraphobic that she did not leave the house for six months.

She had to have four more urgent operations but refused to go to hospital, so was taken in by ambulance and given gas. She will not be given further surgery because she is not emotionally strong enough.

Miss Newton, from Hinckley in Leicestershire, now takes morphine every day and has only recently built up the courage to start leaving her home.

She is particularly upset that her children, Jack, eight, and Holly, five, have also suffered, adding: ‘I’m still angry – with the hospital, with the anaesthetist. I want them to face what happened.’

Meghana Pandit, of University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, said: ‘On behalf of the Trust I apologise profusely to Miss Newton for her pain and distress.’

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NHS Trust fined £37,000 after staff were exposed to deadly strain of TB when test tube smashed in laboratory

An NHS trust has been ordered to pay more than £37,500 after staff were exposed to a potentially deadly strain of tuberculosis when a tube smashed in a lab.

Four employees were put at serious risk and the Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea had to be evacuated when the test vial containing multi-drug resistant TB bacteria was dropped in the specialist laboratory.

Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust (RBHT), which manages the south-west London hospital, was fined £12,500 and ordered to pay £25,000 in costs after admitting breaching health and safety laws.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation following the spillage on January 17 last year.

None of the employees suffered adverse effects but the HSE identified a series of failings at the facility where the trust provides a microbiological diagnostic service.

It found the trust conducted inadequate risk assessments which compromised the safety of staff and branded its emergency procedures ‘poor’.

‘It was a serious lapse’, District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe, said at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday. ‘It is right to say there had been advice and notices about the sealability, checking of filters, and so on, and I accept those were not deliberately ignored. ‘But they were ignored by virtue of falling through gaps in the system.

‘That’s something that public bodies are susceptible to and need to be more stringent about.’

Those responsible for health and safety in the laboratory lacked the appropriate training and RBHT should have had a safe system which could have prevented exposure to TB, the HSE said.

Health and Safety executive inspectors found a series of problems with health and safety standards in the laboratory, including poor risk assessments and inadequate systems to tackle spillages.

A hospital scientist had to go back into the lab to help clean up the hazardous spill, but was issued with an ill-fitting mask and had not been properly trained.

The HSE was forced to intervene at the same laboratory in 2002 over health and safety issues. The defects were rectified but were allowed to reoccur over time, the HSE said.

Mara Ajder, HSE inspector, said: ‘Multi-drug resistant TB is a potentially deadly bacterium.

‘There are well established practices for handling this agent safely, but in this case these practices simply weren’t met and several members of staff were exposed to a real risk of infection.

‘The consequences of that one smashed vial could have been very serious, and the incident highlighted some serious flaws with controls and ways of working within the containment laboratory, a facility where the highest possible standards are necessary at all times.

‘Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust failed in its duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees in its management of health and safety in the laboratory.’

The trust was ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge on top of the fine and costs, following a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London, on Wednesday when it pleaded guilty to two health and safety breaches.

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Degrees in misogyny: Disturbing insight into culture of sex and alcohol at Britain’s top universities

An imprudent approach to alcohol and sex has always been a part of university student life but the imprudence does seem to have got extreme at many British universities

The invitation left little to the imagination: the silhouette of a naked woman in stilettoes with horns and a whip, posing in a seated position like Sharon Stone in that now infamous moment from the film, Basic Instinct.

The scene inside the University of Exeter’s Great Hall, setting for the annual Safer Sex Ball last month, was as decadent as the publicity material which advertised it.

Each guest — girls mostly dressed in lingerie, boys in their underpants — was given a condom when they arrived. (The pretext of the bash was to raise awareness of Aids). Many attending also brought their own contraceptive supplies.

One of the rooms in the main campus building was turned into a mini-casino for the night. Another featured a burlesque act called ‘Kinky and Quirky …. the best “Tease” in Devon’.

‘The atmosphere in the Great Hall wasn’t fantastic, but it was quite different in the other rooms,’ a 21-year-old student revealed. ‘To be honest, it was like going to any other university ball, except that everyone was in their underwear rather than a dress.’

The university authorities, though, could never have imagined the event, as risqué as it was, would prove to be even more controversial than previous balls held in the name of so-called sex education.

The last one in 2011 attracted widespread criticism for using promotional leaflets containing a ‘joke’ about the number of calories a man could burn off by stripping a girl naked without her consent. On another recent occasion, a scantily-clad reveller was filmed gyrating while holding a sign which said: ‘No 1 Sh**.’

But the college top brass were in for a surprise.

For it emerged this week that shortly before 1.50am on December 11, as the raucous party neared its end, a couple sloped off to the bar, where they ended up in a darkened and deserted corner next to a pool table. The two soon lost all inhibitions. They didn’t know — or probably didn’t care by that stage — that a CCTV camera was trained on them.

Not so very long ago, what happened between them, however reckless or foolhardy, would have remained private, or at least as private as it is possible to be when you are having sex in a bar.

Instead, the whole world has been able to witness their steamy encounter. Footage from the security eye on the wall, it transpires, was recorded on to a mobile phone and sent to fellow students when they returned from their Christmas break.

Last night it emerged that two members of staff who had worked for the Students’ Guild were responsible for filming the footage from the CCTV camera.

Since then, the four-minute clip has been viewed not only by thousands of young people with smartphones in and outside Exeter University; it has also gone viral on the internet and caused something of a media storm.

Today, there is really only one topic of conversation on campus: who are the unidentified couple? She is in a negligee; he wears shorts, cape and headband. Their faces have not been pixelated.

The fallout has been devastating, not just for the embarrassed duo, but for others who have also been dragged into the scandal. One student in particular has been the subject of hurtful rumours and gossip. She vehemently insists she is not the girl in the video, saying she has a boyfriend and did not even attend the Safer Sex Ball. Her account is supported by a tweet she sent after the raucous extravaganza in which she reveals she is ‘at home’ (away from Exeter) and another later when she tweets she is ‘on train back to Exeter’.

Even so, her reputation has been traduced. And the furore shows no sign of abating.

The Athletics Union, the governing body of sports societies at Exeter, is understood to be ‘scrutinising’ claims a female footballer was the young women caught in flagrante. The club categorically denies that any of its players were involved.

The incident is still among the ‘most read’ items on The Tab, an online tabloid newspaper for the University of Exeter (11 other universities, including Cambridge, Leeds and Durham, have their own version of the site). It ran a poll asking students whether the footage should be posted on its website.

An overwhelming 83 per cent (947) voted Yes, which, in its own way, tells us as much about the society we now live in as the events that unfolded that night.

A decision was eventually taken not to publish the material following legal advice. The Tab was told it could have been in breach of data protection and human rights legislation if it had. Not that this will be any consolation to the frisky couple whose humiliation is already complete.

Before smart phones, instant messaging, Facebook, and Twitter, you would probably not have read about them at all. But the revolution in social media appears to not only mirror the culture of voyeurism and exhibitionism that seems so prevalent — especially among the young — but to encourage and fuel it.

Exeter, it should be pointed out, is a member of the Russell Group of leading universities and was recently named University Of The Year in the Sunday Times University Guide.

Few would think so if they read The Tab — ‘a newspaper for students, not a student newspaper’.

Much of its website features both male and female students without clothes on.

Parents about to pay the £9,000-a-year tuition fees for their sons and daughters to study at Exeter should perhaps turn away at this point or pour themselves a stiff drink.

One of the stories on The Tab website concerns the phenomenon of ‘spotting’, which involves taking (usually inappropriate) photographs of yourself or friends in public places and posting them on the internet. In this case, a male student is pictured (or ‘spotted’) sitting at a library computer screen with his trousers pulled down and his ‘family jewels’ exposed (to use The Tab’s description).

Not to be outdone, female students have taken explicit images of themselves and uploaded them on to Facebook. Some are naked from the waist up, their modesty barely protected by a bar bearing the words ‘Original Sin’, the name of the London-based events company that organises themed student parties at Exeter nightclubs. One such night last term was called ‘F*** Me I’m Fresh’ [as in fresher]. A second, a few weeks ago, was entitled ‘F*** Me It’s Xmas.’

So far, so squalid. But it would be unfair to assume Exeter University is in any way out-of-the-ordinary when one looks at student behaviour at seats of learning across the country.

The proof, if any is needed, can be found on the Confessions Of A Uni Student website, founded in September last year, as a vehicle for students around Britain to reveal their most intimate secrets.

Many may wonder why anyone would want to contribute to such a site, even anonymously. But, then, why would you post lewd pictures of yourself on Facebook or ‘vote’ in favour of putting footage of a couple caught having sex on CCTV on the internet just for the fun of it?

Nevertheless, Confessions Of A Uni Student has been flooded with postings from virtually every university in Britain: Edinburgh, Loughborough, the London School of Economics, Brunel, Bristol, Brighton, Nottingham and Manchester, to name but a few.

The vast majority of these ‘confessions’, which reveal details about everything from oral sex to one-night stands, cannot be repeated in a family newspaper even with a liberal sprinkling of asterisks. The website has received more than 226,000 ‘likes’ and rising, meaning those who have read the content approve and have clicked the ‘thumbs-up’ icon.

One ‘confession’ is from a student from Swansea University who reveals how he was kicked out of the home of his girlfriend’s parents after her father accidentally stumbled across pictures of their X-rated bedroom games on her mobile phone. Did he feel any shame or embarrassment? Apparently not.

‘I wish I could have seen her dad’s face when he looked down to see his only daughter, naked and staring back at him, with me giving a thumbs up to the camera.’

Back in Exeter, some of the lewd behaviour has been blamed, rightly or wrongly, on the ‘public school crowd’. Many Old Etonians and their contemporaries from other top public schools like Marlborough traditionally choose Exeter if they cannot get into Oxford or Cambridge (Peter and Zara Phillips are graduates).

Exeter has a good academic track record, after all, as well as excellent facilities, and is in a beautiful part of the country where wealthy families live or have second homes. It’s no coincidence that, at one time, more students at Exeter were said to own their own cars than at almost any other university in the country.

‘Their uniform is Jack Wills and Abercrombie and Fitch [so called ‘preppy’ clothes brands] or trainers and parka jackets,’ one 20-year-old female student told us this week. ‘They stand out a mile even when they are trying to look more ordinary. They have all got the obligatory signet ring on their little finger.

‘I think the problem is that some of them have got more money than sense and party hard, which they seem very proud of. Some of them have been so heavily spoonfed that they can’t think for themselves. I think they go off the rails a bit here because no one is telling them what to do, where they should be and when.’

It is a story we heard from a string of sources at Exeter. The behaviour of a section of the male student population at Exeter has resulted in what one female undergraduate described as a ‘testosterone-fuelled’ atmosphere.

There were two allegations of sexual harassment made by female students in the 2011/12 academic year and five the previous year.

But sexist behaviour, we have been told, is commonplace. ‘Hi, slut’ has become an all too familiar way of addressing women undergraduates.

‘I have run into boys, particularly from the sports societies, on nights out who refer to you as a “slag” or “slut” and think its funny,’ says a second-year student. ‘They say it’s just banter, but it’s demeaning. ‘If you take them on about it, then they say you’re uptight, a prude or a lesbian. Sometimes I think we have gone backwards not forwards.’

Such attitudes can never be justified. But the behaviour of some women at Exeter, as we have already seen, has not helped. This is something which has been highlighted by the university’s award-winning newspaper, the fortnightly Exeposé.

One recent report was prompted by the growing number of girls posting compromising pictures of themselves on the internet, particularly on the Facebook page of event-organisers Original Sin.

‘Substantial concerns have been expressed regarding the way in which some women in particular have been presented and placed in a number of the images with some students claiming the shots condone the objectification of women,’ the paper said.

The Original Sin Facebook page featured many photographs of semi-naked students cavorting for the camera. Some were engaged in apparently drunken deep kissing while others were snapped having booze poured down their throats from bottles high above their heads by pals. Other photographs featured trays of glasses filled with red alcopops. Others showed bottles of booze next to boxes of condoms.

Yesterday, Tom Wye, Original Sin director, said: ‘In some circumstances, some people will go further than others to be noticed. At no point are people encouraged to do anything they’re uncomfortable with, or that may upset others.’

There are now signs that the university authorities are cracking down on some of the more outrageous behaviour, at least on campus. ‘Employers now scan social networking sites and will take a view on people’s professionalism based on what they read,’ the university management warned.

The couple caught on CCTV at the most recent Safer Sex Ball (and indeed the people responsible for circulating the footage) will now be hoping that there are no further revelations — such as their names becoming public.

But given the ubiquity of social media nowadays, there’s no guarantee of that.

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Our town’s like a foreign country: Locals can’t cope with all the immigrants, says British mother after TV clash with academic

A mother who tackled a leading historian on live television about immigration insisted last night that her family’s home town has become like a ‘foreign country’.

On BBC1’s Question Time, Professor Mary Beard dismissed stories about the number of migrant workers overwhelming Boston as ‘myths’ and said ‘public services can cope’.

But Rachel Bull, an office manager in Boston, who was in the audience, immediately challenged the Cambridge University classics professor, claiming hospitals and schools are struggling to cope in the Lincolnshire agricultural town.

Mrs Bull – whose grandparents moved to Britain from Poland after the Second World War – said that she is not against immigration, but believes ministers should reconsider allowing Romanians and Bulgarians unrestricted rights to live and work in the UK from December 2013.

After Professor Beard – known to millions for the BBC2 series Meet the Romans – told Question Time on Thursday night she believed local services in Boston are able to cope, Mrs Bull raised her hand and said: ‘I’m sorry, I really disagree.’

She told the panel, which was sitting in Lincoln: ‘I have a business in Boston, I have family that live in Boston and we’ve got land at Boston and we’ve had major issues with workers who’ve got nowhere to go, camping on our land and we can’t move them off because the police aren’t interested. Boston is at breaking point. All the locals can’t cope any more – the services, doctors’ surgeries, hospitals.

‘I have a family member that’s a midwife at Boston Pilgrim Hospital. The facilities are at breaking point because of these people coming into the country and nothing is being done. You go down to Boston High Street and it’s just like you’re in a foreign country. And it’s got to stop.’

Yesterday Mrs Bull said that Boston, which has a population of around 61,000, is too small to cope with such a large number of migrants, now thought to number 9,000.

She added: ‘The problem is we’re not like these politicians or other people on television, we’re on the frontline. I’ve not been to university, I’m just a 35-year-old who spoke from the heart.’

Mrs Bull, whose family has a retirement home business, said she is worried that more migrants from Romania and Bulgaria will make the problems worse. She said many workers head to the area on the promise of work, but end up without employment or money.

Mrs Bull, who has a 10-year-old son, said: ‘They are going to come to Boston because of the landworkers, the farms and agriculture, that’s where they would get work.

‘But we’ve got so many homeless on the streets, this town has so many problems that are just being swept under the carpet and the locals are crying out. Someone needs to help us.

‘I don’t want it to be about them and us. We all want to work together as one, but when resources are stretched that’s when the animosity starts, and we don’t want that.’ Mrs Bull, who now lives elsewhere in Lincolnshire, said her family has had repeated problems with migrants camping on their land and that it has been impossible to get help from the authorities and police to move them.

‘I don’t want it to be about them and us… but when resources are stretched that’s when the animosity starts, and we don’t want that’

She said: ‘My dad and brother used to go there every day as my dad speaks Polish, to explain to them that they have to move on because we were getting complaints from environmental health, and local residents were complaining about the mess they were leaving. There were empty bottles, human faeces, needles.

‘We felt sorry for them as there was a young couple who had been promised work, they’d been dropped off in Boston, had their passports taken off them, they had no money, and they were just left stranded. ‘We gave them a bit of money for them to get some food and drink to help them out, but the numbers just grew.’

Mrs Bull’s grandfather was a flight sergeant who fought for Britain, flying Lancaster Bombers and Mosquitoes.

She said her family is proud of its background and enjoy pierogi – traditional dumplings – from the local Polish shops.

She said: ‘We just want help from the Government, and we want them to reconsider when the Romanians and the Bulgarians come in.’

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Hooded ‘Muslim Patrol’ vigilantes remove alcohol from drinkers and tell women to cover up as they stalk London suburb

Police are investigating reports a gang claiming to be Islamic vigilantes have been confronting members of the public and demanding they give up alcohol and women cover their flesh in their ‘Muslim area’.

The hooded men, who call themselves Muslim Patrol, have been filmed walking London’s streets and calling white women ‘naked animals with no self respect.’

The group is also shown taking ‘evil’ booze from revellers and film a cyclist being treated after a road accident, claiming they were injured because they were unclean.

In one exchange a member of the group says: ‘We don’t care if you are appalled at all’, before calling themselves ‘vigilantes implementing Islam upon your own necks’.

They have uploaded videos to their YouTube channel with the most recent three-minute clip causing a stir online. ‘The Truth About Saturday Night’, which was uploaded on Sunday, has already been viewed more than 42,000 times. Scotland Yard says it is investigating.

It was shot on a mobile phone at night in what the Met say is Waltham Forest, London, with a number of men seen shouting ‘this is a Muslim area’ towards white Britons they’ve confronted.

The video, which first appeared on The Commentator, states: ‘From women walking the street dressed like complete naked animals with no self respect, to drunk people carrying alcohol, to drunks being killed in the middle of the road, we try our best to capture and forbid it all.’

One scene shows the hooded yobs forcing a passing man to put a can of lager away, telling the stunned gentleman they are the Muslim Patrol and that alcohol is a ‘forbidden evil’.

They then tell a group of women ‘they need to forbid themselves from dressing like this and exposing themselves outside the mosque’.

On another occasion, a woman takes offence to their requests and tells them they are in Great Britain at which point they respond by saying ‘they don’t respect those who disobey God’.

Mohammed Shafiq, the chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, a Muslim organisation which campaigns for a peaceful co-existence among communities, has condemned the group’s behaviour. He said: ‘We live in the UK and we are governed by UK law, there should be no mob rule. If people are involved in this behaviour then it is worrying but it is an isolated incident.’

The vigilante video follows an earlier clip made by the group where they protested against adverts for push-up bras by High Street retailer H&M.

In the clip they say: ‘The Muslims have taken it upon themselves to command the good and forbid the evil and cover up these naked people.’

They then show a number of adverts for the product which has been sprayed over and also film themselves pouring petrol over one advert and setting it on fire.

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WE NEED MORE PRINCE CHARMINGS

Nice to see that Allison Pearson (below) has read some Chaucer but her mastery of modern English grammar is deficient. I have reproduced her heading above exactly as I found it. “Princes Charming” was needed. But, grammar aside, what she says is reasonable

I never knew his name, but the memory of his act of chivalry will still be keeping me warm when I’m in my red rubber chair in the nursing home watching reruns of The Rockford Files.

In the mid-Eighties, I was on a down escalator at King’s Cross when the heel of my shoe got stuck. With the bottom of the escalator fast approaching, I stepped out of the shoe and hopped with one bare foot onto the concourse.

Appearing from nowhere, my verray parfit gentil knyght retrieved the errant footwear, came towards me and dropped to one knee. Proferring the shoe, he said with a smile, “You shall go to the ball.”

Well, it worked for me. If Prince Charming happens to be reading this, I’d like to thank you, kind Sir, for that swift act which brought such grace and – yes – wit into a dreary commute. For a moment, instead of feeling like a worker drone, I was Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief, with a chiffon scarf and Cary Grant to tease me.

How depressing to learn that acts of chivalry are now so rare that, as highlighted in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, women view them with outright suspicion.

Ladies, what a catastrophic own-goal! And who can blame men if they hesitate before offering to help with a heavy case, knowing that they risk getting the feminist death-stare in return? Perhaps those of us who are happy to be patronised by a beefy guy, if it means he will lift a double-buggy onto a bus, could wear a Willing Damsel in Distress badge?

The decline of chivalry has led to a coarsening in society. Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington College, is to make a timely call for a General Certificate of Character Education (GCCE). To be introduced in all secondary schools, it would give students a grounding in self-control, responsibility, punctuality, kindness and tidiness.

To that list I would add playfulness, which, for both sexes, is the most highly regarded quality in a potential mate. Undoubtedly, a certain playfulness and charm left life the day man decided not to hold a door open for woman. The mistake was to see chivalry as oppressive when, all along, it was just good manners dancing.

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Another British woman jailed for crying rape to cover up cheating

A woman who cried rape to cover up cheating on her partner with a taxi driver has been jailed for two years after the infidelity was exposed.

Gaynor Cooke, 41, claimed she had been subjected to a horrific ordeal in the front seat of a taxi cab in 2003 and reported the incident to police at the time. She was also swabbed for DNA evidence.

In her 18-page statement, she said the rape had made her depressed and suicidal.

It was not until eight years later that police found a match after a taxi driver from Nottingham was arrested for an unrelated incident.

Cooke, formerly of Nottingham but now of Corby, Northamptonshire, was told about the match and the taxi driver was charged. He was due to face trial at Nottingham Crown Court in February 2012.

The driver denied the charge, claiming that he had only had consensual sex with women in his home when he was a single man in 2003.

At the time, Cooke said she was “pleased” a suspect had been identified and could finally could have “justice”.

Cooke originally kept up her lie when visited by a policewoman, saying she intended to proceed with her complaint and had nothing to add to her original statements.

But the lie was eventually exposed when police went to speak to Cooke about the case and a couple in the St Ann’s area of Nottingham told them the rape had been a lie to cover up her cheating on her husband.

When police told Cooke about the couple’s allegation, she admitted “you have got me”. She later confessed that she had been having problems with her partner and had a one-night stand with the cab driver.

She said she had made the false allegation when she realised her husband was angry when she returned home.

After the lie was exposed, the taxi driver was “completely exonerated” and instead Cooke was charged with perverting the course of justice between October 25, 2003, and January 20, 2012.

She wiped away tears as Recorder Shaun Smith QC sent her to prison for two years after she admitted the offence.

He read to her extracts from statements she had given about her “ordeal”. In these she had claimed: “Since I was raped in 2003, I feel my life has been changed for ever. I’m depressed after what happened to me and often feel suicidal.”

The judge told her: “It’s a complete pack of lies. It may only have been for a short period of time, but you have destroyed an innocent life.”

The court heard the taxi driver had been suspended from work as a result of the charge. The stress of the court proceedings had taken a toll on his health and he had been unable to return to work. “It was a humiliating experience for him,” said Prosector Grace Hale.

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Arrested for rant against Islam on Facebook?

Since I have repeated the “offending” words below, it will be interesting to see if the British try to extradite me to their nasty little police state. This post will presumably be read in Britain so they could have grounds.

I would certainly be rash to visit Britain again. The British have in the past dragged an Australian (Toben) off a plane at a British airport for things he said in Australia. A nasty little police state indeed — made even nastier by the fact that what Toben was arrested for was eventually found in the courts not to be a crime in Britain — and he was acquitted of any offence and released — but released only after a considerable, prolonged and expensive ordeal. So he was in effect punished for a non-existent crime

Anyone in the UK prone to ranting on Facebook should be afraid. Given a case earlier this week, it now seems that simply posting offensive comments is enough to have you arrested and forced to pay regular visits to a police station.

The comments posted by the co-leader of the English Defence League (EDL), Kevin Carroll, will certainly offend some people. Responding to an article about a ritual slaughter of cattle for the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival, complete with pictures of a dozen cows lying in pools of blood in an arena, Carroll wrote in block capitals: ‘They are all fucking backward savages, a devil-spawned death cult worshipping all that is unholy and barbaric, pure evil.’

Such a rant, while certainly distasteful, is hardly uncommon on Facebook or other types of social media. In this case, much the same sentiment could have been uttered by an animal-rights activist expressing his distaste about the Halal method of slaughtering cattle. It seems, however, that one of Carroll’s so-called Facebook ‘friends’ took offence and sent a screengrab of the comments to police. And, according to the British Freedom Party (BFP) – which Carroll has recently become chairman of – the police deemed these comments sufficient to have him arrested in dramatic fashion on his way to a meeting in Luton last Saturday. As Carroll describes: ‘They swooped down on me, blues flashing and sirens wailing – you would have thought I was a serial killer or something. Right in the middle of the town centre.’

According to Bedfordshire police, Carroll was arrested for ‘display[ing] threatening abusive / insulting written material with intent / likely to stir up racial hatred’. Racial hatred? While certainly Carroll’s comments could be seen to be offensive to Muslims, such a charge appears to overlook the fact that Islam is a religion, not a race. Indeed, to make the odd assumption that Islam only has an appeal to a particular race speaks volumes about the prejudices of those making such an assumption. Islam is no more a race than Christianity or Buddhism.

Equally, the Koran itself is hardly averse to expressing disdain for those who hold differing beliefs. Take for example this quote from ‘The Cow’ by Dawood: ‘God’s curse be upon the infidels! Evil is that for which they have bartered away their souls… They have incurred God’s most inexorable wrath. An ignominious punishment awaits the unbelievers.’ Should Muslims also be concerned that if they post excerpts from the Koran, they too will be arrested for stirring up hatred against those who worship religions other than Islam?

But this raises the question: why should anyone be arrested for expressing their views, regardless of how offensive? You don’t have to be an EDL supporter – which certainly I am not – to be chilled by the fact that you can be arrested for saying what’s on your mind.

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About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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