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crime

Plymouth law courts increase security as part of acid attack crackdown

Plymouth law courts have stepped up security amid fear of acid attacks. People bringing a drink into the city law courts will now have to to take a swig of the liquid in front of security guards to prove it is not acid, before they are allowed to take it in. The security clampdown is being enforced by the Ministry of Justice across the country to reduce the risk of judges, jurors or witnesses being attacked with the corrosive substance.

In Plymouth, courts have also banned any other liquid, such as aerosols and foundation, from being taken any further than the foyer.

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Liquids were already banned from being taken inside the court rooms themselves for safety reasons, for example to prevent bottles being thrown and injuring somebody. But now people entering both Plymouth Magistrates Court and Plymouth Crown Court have to remove all liquids from their bags before going any further.

Stepping through a metal detector is protocol at Plymouth Crown Court

The security guards then check the rest of their belongings as usual, and keep the liquids in a safe place to be returned on departure. Stepping through a metal detector was already protocol, before the guards use a hand-held wand as a further security measure.

Plymouth courts implemented the new measure this month, although other cities across Britain already had the system in place. The Courts and Tribunals Service said the rules have been implemented to ensure courts are a safe place for people to come, and to make sure all courts have the same level of security. A Courts and Tribunals Service spokesperson said: “We take the safety and security of court users and staff extremely seriously, which is why we’re bringing in enhanced safety measure across the court estate.

“We keep our security procedures under constant review, and will always take action where appropriate.”

Acid attacks: Plymouth victim calls for longer jail terms

Andreas Christopheros pictured in hospital recovering from a acid attack

A former Plymouth University student who was left disfigured and on death’s door after a horrific acid attack at his home has called for longer jail sentences for attackers – and revealed the worst thing about his injuries. Andreas Christopheros, 32, said he could feel his face melting when he was attacked when he answered the door at his home in Truro, Cornwall, in a terrible case of mistaken identity. With his attacker facing release from jail in just five years, Mr Christopheros has spoken out in an interview with the Daily Mirror to call for longer sentences for anyone involved in acid attacks.

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As a rise in the number of acid attacks continues across the country, numerous people, including Home Secretary Amber Rudd, have called for a review of such incidents, including relabeling acid and other corrosive substances as dangerous weapons. In the interview, which can be seen in the video above, Mr Christopheros said he believed attackers should be given minimum sentences of 20-plus years. He also raised concerns about how easy it was to purchase corrosive and dangerous substances in the UK.

Andreas was was left scarred for life after a man hurled acid in his face

Mr Christopheros said: “Given how readily available corrosive substances are in our daily lives anyone can get their hands on them.

“Not every person in the UK can get a gun . The majority of people can’t.

“For that reason, I strongly believe that the sentencing for anyone who carries out any form of acid attack, whether their intended victim is injured badly or not, anyone who carries out an acid attack should serve a life sentence with a minimum term of 20 plus years.”

The matter was made even more personal for Mr Christopheros after news that his attacker, David Phillips, could be back on the streets earlier than previously anticipated following an appeal last year. At the time of the trial in October 2015, Mr Phillips, who had carried out the horrific revenge attack on the wrong man, was jailed for life . But in April 2016, the Court of Appeal cut the sentence to 16 years and he will be eligible for parole after serving just eight for the attack in December 2014. Phillips had wrongly believed that a person he suspected of sexually assaulting a family member lived at Mr Christopheros’ address.

Phillips drove 300 miles from his home to Truro, knocked on the door and threw acid in the face of Mr Christopheros.

Pia Christopheros with her husband Andreas at their home

In the interview with the Mirror, Mr Christopheros explained the terrifying moment he was attacked saying: “There was a knock on the door, I went to open it as I would normally, expecting it to be yet another courier delivering yet another parcel prior to Christmas, and instantly received a beaker of sulphuric acid to the face.

“Without this guy checking who I was, without anything . The only thing he said to me was, ‘this is for you mate’.”

After the incident Mr Christopheros was rushed to hospital where he was put on “death watch” with doctors unsure whether he would be able to pull through due to the severity of his injuries. He has lost his eyelids three times as the scarring on his face contracts, making sleep a constant struggle.

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He has undergone up to 12 surgeries and will need more, he said. He added: “My t-shirt disintegrated from top to bottom, it just rolled away into nothing . The pain was inexplicable. Mr Christopheros said: “Not having eyelids is probably the most torturous thing I’ve been through . You can’t hide from the light, you can’t shut your eyes .

Obviously sleeping is difficult . But also the risk of infection is a lot higher.”

“You can’t hide from the light . You can’t shut your eyes.”

The acid attack victim has called for tougher jail sentences

The government has been called on to launch action against acid attack following a rapid rise in cases. In June, two cousins were doused with acid through a car window as they were out celebrating a birthday, prompting Home Secretary Amber Rudd to review legislation. Crimes using corrosive substances in London jumped in 2016 to 431 from 261 in 2015, Metropolitan Police numbers show.

So far this year, there have been 282. The Home Office said it planned to set out guidance for prosecutors on classifying corrosive substances as dangerous weapons and to review sentencing guidelines. Sarah Newton, minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, said: “Other key actions will include a review of the Poisons Act to assess whether it should cover more acids and harmful substances and further work with retailers to agree measures to restrict the sales of acids and other corrosive substances.”

Jaf Shah, executive director of London-based non-profit Acid Survivors Trust International, said the law contained a “loophole” whereby people possessing acid would not be charged but those carrying a gun or knife could.

He said: “There just aren’t appropriate levels of controls around acid .

If you are caught with acid, police have to prove intent, which is very difficult.”

Love Island’s Olivia Attwood ‘asked to leave club by security after massive row with Chris Hughes’

Love Island couple Olivia Attwood and Chris Hughes have been hit with fresh claims that their romance is being tested. According to reports, the pair got into a fiery row with another one of their group on Saturday night while out a club in Birmingham.

The row was so bad, Olivia was eventually asked to leave by security, claims The Sun.1

A source reportedly said: Olivia was absolutely furious about something and stormed off to the toilets.

Chris ran to follow her to try and calm her down but nothing was working.”

Chris and Olivia locked tongues rather than lips as they presented a united front

There was a bit of a tussle on the balcony between Olivia and another of their group before door staff stepped in to hold her back and she then was told to leave. However, a spokeswoman for Olivia insisted the star “left on her own accord”.

The latest drama comes after Chris said he wanted to marry his 26-year-old girlfriend. But not only does Chris want to wed Olivia – he wants to start having real children too after the pair ‘raised’ a doll together on the hit ITV2 reality show.

“I honestly think Liv and I will marry . We ve already spoken about the fact we are both ready to do it . I swear on my life, Chris told the Daily Star2 on Sunday.

Chris said he wants to marry Olivia

Despite both being relatively young, Chris says he cannot wait to swap vows with his lover.

He also claims that falling for Olivia came as a total surprise after they first met on Love Island3 .

“That s how messed up we are . We can t really get out heads around it .

I don t think either of us expected to find love on the show, but we did, he said. Chris hails from Essex while Olivia is from Surrey – but the reality hunk says they are making things work despite the distance.

We assume the night didn’t go down like this

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“I ve been sleeping over at hers all the time but we will get a bigger place at some point . We ll need one for the kids, he said.

Chris and Olivia have seen their romance tested since Love Island ended in July.

Fans were shocked when photos emerged of Olivia kissing an ex-boyfriend4 – however Chris has since forgiven her.

Mirror Celebs has contacted a representative for Olivia for comment.

References

  1. ^ The Sun. (www.thesun.co.uk)
  2. ^ Daily Star (www.dailystar.co.uk)
  3. ^ Love Island (www.mirror.co.uk)
  4. ^ photos emerged of Olivia kissing an ex-boyfriend (www.mirror.co.uk)

Robbers flee with 15k after attacking security guard

BRUTAL robbers knocked a security guard to the ground and stole 15,000 he was carrying. The security guard, aged 44, had collected the money from the post office in College Road, Handsworth1 and was walking back to his van when he was knocked to the ground by two men. They wrestled the cash box, which contained around 15,000, from his grip before jumping into a waiting Audi A4 estate which sped away.

The getaway Audi was shortly found in Woodend in Handsworth Wood. It had been driven on stolen number plates. The incident happened just before 9am on Wednesday, August 16.

Police are appealing for any witnesses to the theft to contact them.

A West Midlands Police2 spokeswoman said: A security driver had collected money from the post office in College Road and was walking back to his van when he was attacked.

Two offenders knocked him to the floor and wrestled the cash box, containing around 15,000, from his grip, then jumped into a silver Audi A4 estate which sped away from the scene.

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Traces on the Audi reveal it was using stolen number plates It was found shortly after in Woodend, Handsworth Wood.

You may have information which could help police

Anyone with information should contact Det Sgt Nicki Addison, or one of her team from Force CID team on 101.

References

  1. ^ Handsworth (www.birminghammail.co.uk)
  2. ^ West Midlands Police (www.birminghammail.co.uk)