The rumour parakeets arrived in the UK when rock star Jimi Hendrix released a pair in London’s Carnaby Street in the swinging 60s has finally been scotched.
They also didn’t escape across the country during the wrap party for the movie The African Queen, in 1951.
In fact, reported sightings from the 1860s have been uncovered, Goldsmiths and Queen Mary universities say.
Intentional releases may have also been encouraged in 1929-1931 and 1952 when fatal “parrot fever” hit the headlines.
The bright green non-native ring-necked parakeets now thrive across the UK.
Originally from Africa, it has become a successful invasive species in 34 countries on five continents, the study’s lead author, the late Steven Le Comber, says.
As well as the rumour from the Bogart and Hepburn classic, in 1951, another suggests that a flock kept at Syon Park escaped when a plane crashed through the aviary roof, in the 1970s.
However, the researchers found their spread across the UK is more mundanely down to repeated intentional releases and not to do with publicity stunts.
Numerous sensational accounts of human deaths due to psittacosis infections from birds were published in 1929.
And in 1932, the Middlesex County Times reported parakeets had been spotted in Epping Forest, with the paper blaming the “parrot disease scare” of 1931 for the observations in the wild.
“Scary” health stories often prompt a strong public reaction, said Sarah Elizabeth Cox, postgraduate history student at Goldsmiths.
“If you were told you were at risk being near one, it would be much easier to let it out the window than to destroy it,” she said.
This latest study used geographic profiling, a statistical technique originally developed in criminology to prioritise large lists of suspects in cases of serial crime, to analyse spatial patterns of parakeet sightings.
When applied to biological data, the model can identify the origin sites of diseases or introduction sites of invasive, non-native species.
None of the “suspect sites” connected to origin myths showed up prominently in the geoprofile of more than 5,000 unique records dating from 1968 – 2018.
By 1961, birds were a more popular pets than cats and dogs in the UK, with 11 million birds in captivity, of various species, and it seems obvious there would be an increase in escapes, researchers said.
Three men who were jailed nearly 50 years ago on the evidence of a corrupt police officer have had their convictions quashed.
Winston Trew, Sterling Christie, now both 69, and George Griffiths, 67, were accused of stealing handbags in 1972.
The group known as the Oval Four were jailed for eight months for assaulting a police officer and attempted theft.
The Court of Appeal overturned the convictions due to the unreliability of a detective’s evidence.
The judge described it as “a very unhappy story”.
The men, who belonged to a political organisation representing black people in London, were aged between 19 and 23 at the time.
They were arrested with another man, Constantine “Omar” Boucher, at Oval tube station in by officers who accused them of mugging women.
A plain clothes police operation was set up on the Northern Line led by Det Sgt Derek Ridgewell, who was later jailed for seven years for conspiracy to steal.
A 14-year-old boy was murdered by a “yellow-gloved attacker” who was part of a gang that set out to murder a rival, a court heard.
Jaden Moodie was repeatedly stabbed in a “violent and frenzied” attack carried out by three men on 8 January.
After Jaden’s death, yellow “washing up gloves” with traces of his DNA as well as that of the accused, Ayoub Majdouline, were found in a drain.
The 19-year-old denies murder and is on trial at the Old Bailey.
Jurors previously heard that Jaden was driving on a moped when he was “struck head on” by a Mercedes car which was later found abandoned and burnt out.
His crash helmet came off when he was hit and he was then stabbed by five men who had armed themselves with knives, prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC said.
In addition to the yellow gloves, jurors heard a knife showing traces of Jaden’s blood on the blade and Mr Majdouline’s DNA on the handle was found in the drain.
Mr Glasgow said: “After Jaden Moodie’s killers left the car, they threw away a blood-stained knife and pair of gloves, both of which are linked to this defendant.
“The clothing and footwear that they had worn during the attack was also removed and burned in the churchyard and amongst that pile of debris was clothing and trainers that is linked to this defendant.
“Whether those connections are because this defendant was one of Jaden Moodie’s killers or whether there might be an innocent explanation will be for you to decide once you have heard all the evidence in the case.”
Mr Majdouline was arrested on 19 January and said no comment in his police interviews, Mr Glasgow said.
Defence barrister James Scobie QC said there was “no dispute that Jaden was a defenceless victim”.
He added: “However the defence case is that Ayoub Majdouline was not in the Mercedes that night.”
The trial continues.
Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced he is to join forces with ticket resellers Twickets in a bid to beat touts.
The theatrical grandee, whose LW playhouses include The London Palladium and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, hopes the move will bring consumer-friendly ticket resale to the West End.
Fans have often been charged over the odds on secondary ticketing platforms.
The new system means unwanted tickets bought at the box office can be resold for no more than the original price.
Twickets will also add a fee of 10% to 13% of the face value.
Rebecca Kane Burton, CEO at LW Theatres said: “We continue to strive to not only offer our customers an incredible experience, but also help them when things don’t go to plan.
“Providing a safe, secure and easy way to resell tickets is best practice and yet another step LW Theatres is taking to innovate and improve theatre-going.”
Lord Lloyd-Webber has produced best-selling and long-running musicals including Cats and Jesus Christ Supsterstar.
Twickets launched in 2015 as a more ethical ticketing company, helping fans get into concerts by the likes of Adele and Arctic Monkeys, but this is their first official tie-in with a UK theatre group.
“The UK is in the midst of a market shift away from rip-off secondary ticketing platforms and towards capped consumer-friendly resale services,” said Twickets’ founder Richard Davies.
“I am proud Twickets is at the forefront of this change, and delighted we can extend our service to theatre lovers via this groundbreaking partnership with LW Theatres.”
The partnership will not stop touts from putting tickets on other ticket resale sites, but intends to give theatregoers a trusted option for trading unwanted tickets at a fair price.
The move comes after the West End production of Hamilton scrapped a paperless ticketing scheme intended to combat unauthorised resale.
Producers argued that increased customer awareness and action against sites like Viagogo meant they could reintroduce a “more open” system, including printed paper tickets.
Hamilton and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, two of the biggest West End hits in recent years, say tickets that are re-sold will be cancelled.
Music stars including Adele, Little Mix and The Spice Girls also teamed up with Twickets as the official ticket reseller for their last tours.
Seventeen people have been arrested in early morning raids across east London in an international human trafficking investigation.
Officers went to 16 addresses after working with Romanian police, who simultaneously raided four addresses in Romania and arrested one man.
In London, police took 29 potential victims – women aged between 20 and 40 – to a “place of safety”.
The suspects – 14 men and three women – remain in custody in central London.
The 17 arrested people, who are aged between 17 and 50, are being held on suspicion of modern slavery, controlling prostitution, Class A drug offences and firearm offences.
‘One fell swoop’
Det Ch Insp Richard McDonagh, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “The Met recognises the seriousness of modern slavery and the devastation it brings to people’s lives.
“Today’s synchronised operational activity [had] the aim of, in one fell swoop, dismantling an organised crime network and providing support to the victims.”
The London raids were carried out in Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Brentwood and Tower Hamlets.
A spokesman for Romanian police in the UK said: “Romanian police officers working shoulder to shoulder with our British partners is a great achievement, a proof of our mutual permanent support and a great professional reward.
“The Romanian police is committed to continue its efforts in combating all forms of criminality together with the Metropolitan Police.”
Several people were injured when parts of a ceiling collapsed during a Piccadilly Theatre show in London’s West End.
The venue in Denman Street was packed on Wednesday for a performance of the Arthur Miller play Death of a Salesman, starring US actor Wendell Pierce.
Audience members “heard dripping sounds indicating water was coming through the ceiling,” according to the theatre production company.
More than 1,000 people were evacuated.
Four people were taken to hospital after three men and two women were treated at the scene by paramedics.
“We are ascertaining the extent of the situation, and will be providing an update on future performances as soon as possible,” the Ambassador Theatre Group said.
The group said Thursday’s showing would be cancelled.
Wendell Pierce, who plays Willy Loman in the show which opened on Monday, apologised for having to stop the performance and evacuate the theatre.
A video shared on social media shows the US actor outside the venue asking the crowd to come back and see the play another time.
“We’re so honoured that you came tonight. We are so sorry that this happened,” he said.
BBC journalist Iain Haddow, who was in the audience, said the collapse happened about 20 minutes into the show.
He said that before the ceiling caved in there had been a steady drop of water “which turned progressively into a stream” – although it was not raining at the time – and said there was some panic when the ceiling fell in.
He said that outside the theatre there was scaffolding and building work going on.
In December 2013, 76 people were injured, seven seriously, when part of a ceiling at London’s Apollo Theatre collapsed during a show, while 1,200 people had to leave the Queen’s Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, following a small fire during a matinee performance of Les Miserables.
Queen drummer Roger Taylor and DJ Paul Oakenfold are among those who will oversee a new Music Walk of Fame, its organisers have announced.
The project will see the biggest musicians in the world being commemorated with flagstones along a walk in Camden Town, north London.
It will follow the style of the famous Hollywood Walk Of Fame, with the first plaque being unveiled on 19 November.
Rapper Kurtis Blow and The Libertines’ Carl Barât are also on the committee.
Others who will also decide which stars will feature include rock photographer Jill Furmanovsky, Food Records label boss Andy Ross and Chris McCormack of Camden Rocks.
Music promoter Lee Bennett, who previously spoke about the idea in 2013, said he was “overjoyed” to see it coming to fruition.
“We see this as a seminal moment for the music industry,” he said.
London’s deputy mayor for culture and the creative industries, Justine Simons, said “Camden’s legendary venues” meant it was an ideal place “to celebrate the musicians who have such an impact on all our lives”.
Organisers plan to unveil over 500 commemorative stones over the next two decades.
A murder investigation has been launched after the discovery of a woman’s body in south-east London.
Police were called to an address on McMillan Street in Deptford on Monday morning after concerns were raised about the welfare of a resident.
The body of Zoe Orton, 46, was found by officers.
A post-mortem examination which was held on Tuesday found the cause of Ms Orton’s death was “neck compression”, according to police.
Her next-of-kin have been informed.
No arrests have been made as yet and police are appealing for witnesses.
Knife crime in England and Wales has increased again, according to the latest figures from police forces.
In the 12 months to the end of June 2019, knife crime offences rose by 7%, reaching a record high.
But the picture on knife crime is mixed – with a fall in the number of homicides related to knife crime.
The data, from the Office for National Statistics, also found a 11% rise in the number of recorded robberies, while fraud offences went up by 15%.
According to the ONS, which published its latest figures on Thursday, the number of offences involving a knife or sharp instrument increased from just over 41,000 in the year to June 2018 to just over 44,000 in the last 12 months.
The knife crime figures do not include Greater Manchester Police, which records data differently.
It marks a new record level since 2011, the year that knife crime statistics started to be gathered in a unified way.
But the ONS added: “The number of homicides where a knife or sharp instrument was involved decreased by 14%.
“This decrease was mainly driven by falls in London.
“There is a mixed picture in the total number of offences involving knifes or sharp instruments across different police force areas, with the Metropolitan Police recording little change in the last year.”
The total number of homicides recorded by the police also fell by 5% in the last year, from 719 to 681 offences.
More bank and credit account fraud
Meanwhile, a separate Crime Survey for England and Wales, which includes offences that are not reported to police, indicated a continuing rise in fraud.
The survey’s latest estimates show a 15% increase in fraud offences, driven by a 17% rise in “bank and credit account fraud”.
It said there were 3,863,000 fraud offences in the year to June.
Almost 2.7m of those were bank and credit account fraud offences, up from 2.3m the previous year.
But the survey, which measures people’s experience of crime, found fewer than one in six incidents of fraud were reported by the victim to the police or Action Fraud in the last 12 months ending March 2019.
Click here to take part in a short study about this article run by the University of Cambridge.
Where do crime figures come from?
The ONS figures include two sources of data: Home Office statistics about crimes recorded by police; and also the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which asks people about their experiences of crime.
On its own, police recorded crime is not seen as a complete picture of crime in England and Wales.
The crime survey provides an estimate of crimes that may either have not been recorded by police or may never have been reported to them in the first place.
The crime survey selects about 50,000 households at random from the Royal Mail’s list of addresses.
Read more: How accurate are police crime figures?
Meanwhile, separately, other Home Office data shows the number of crimes solved across England and Wales has fallen to another record low.
Figures show just 7.4% of crimes in the 12 months to the end of June resulted in a suspect being charged or ordered to appear in court.
The previous year the figure was 8.7%, and the figure in the 12 months to March 2019 was 7.8%.
Two of the so-called “IS Beatles” have been taken out of Syria to “a secure location controlled by the US”, President Donald Trump has said.
El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are accused of being part of an Islamic State group cell which kidnapped and murdered Western hostages in Syria.
The pair – who are from London – are in the custody of the American military, according to US media reports.
In a tweet, Mr Trump described them as “the worst of the worst”.
He said the decision to remove them from Syria had been taken “in case the Kurds or Turkey lose control”.
The announcement comes after the US withdrew its forces from the region this week.
On Wednesday President Trump told reporters the US had transferred “some of the most dangerous IS fighters” amid fears they could escape custody as Turkish troops invade Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria.
The Kurds – who helped defeat IS in Syria and were key US allies in that fight – guard thousands of IS fighters and their relatives in prisons and camps in areas under their control. It is unclear whether they will continue to do so if fighting breaks out.
Other members of the IS cell – dubbed “The Beatles” because of their British accents – included Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, who was killed in a US air strike in 2015, and Aine Davis, who has been jailed in Turkey.
Emwazi is thought to have killed US journalist James Foley in 2014.
All four were radicalised in the UK before travelling to Syria. Elsheikh and Kotey have since been stripped of their British citizenship.
The pair are designated as terrorists by the US State Department, which links them to the group’s executions and “exceptionally cruel torture methods” including electric shocks, waterboarding and mock executions.
They were said to have been captured by Kurdish forces in January 2018.
The New York Times reports the US is planning to take Elsheikh and Kotey to Virginia – one of the few states that still carries out the death penalty – where they will be put on trial.
However, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said they should “come home to face justice”.
A Home Office spokesperson said “it would be inappropriate to comment whilst legal proceedings are ongoing”.
It remains to be seen whether the evidence against the pair amassed by British investigators will be handed over in full to US authorities.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May, when she was home secretary in 2015, told Washington the UK would only hand over evidence after receiving a categorical guarantee that neither man would be executed.
The UK has long sought and obtained such a death penalty assurance from the US.
That position was reiterated by Mrs May’s successor, Amber Rudd, but then reversed after Sajid Javid entered the Home Office in April 2018.
Mr Javid decided to hand over 600 witness statements, without seeking any kind of guarantee that Elsheikh and Kotey would not be put to death.
Elsheikh’s mother, Maha Elgizouli challenged the decision but, in January, lost that case in the High Court.
The issue is currently being decided by the UK Supreme Court.
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