In the hours after last week s terrorist attack in Westminster that claimed the lives of four people, the message from the Government was one of defiance. Our way of life will not change, they said . It will be business as usual .
The British values of freedom and democracy will prevail. If there is going to be a debate on messaging and security it should at least be an informed one
Yet only four days after Khalid Masood s rampage, the Home Secretary took to the airwaves to demand that messaging services such as WhatsApp tear up their security features1, allowing police to intercept communications as part of criminal investigations. It appears that the debate about how to balance civil liberties against the Government s responsibility to keep the British public safe is about to start up all over again only four months after the so-called Snooper s Charter became law.
The Investigatory Powers Act, you may recall, requires web and phone companies to store the web and browsing histories of all users for a year. It also gives the police and security agencies powers to hack into computers and phones and to harvest vast amounts of data although the European Court of Justice s ruling in December has tempered this somewhat. Despite this major change, Amber Rudd is now targeting message services such as WhatsApp, claiming they provide a safe haven for terrorists by making it impossible for communications to be decoded, thanks to end-to-end encryption.
Giving police access in certain serious cases might sound reasonable, but unfortunately it is not that simple. Tech companies say that building a back door or security flaw into encrypted messaging systems naturally make them less secure for everyone. Ms Rudd also sounded less than clued-up when she talked about the technology she is trying to reform.
On extremist material, she asserted that the Government would speak to experts who understand the necessary hashtags to stop this stuff ever being put up . As anyone who has ever used Twitter knows, this is utter nonsense. If there is going to be a debate on messaging and security, as the Government clearly wishes, it should at least be an informed one.
An evil rapist who screamed at his victim from the dock before punching a security officer has been sentenced to life. Neil Anthony Thompson, 28, subjected his victim to a nightmare ordeal after following her home and climbing through her window armed with a knife. During a 30-minute attack Thompson threatened to kill her more than once.
It ended only when the brave victim managed to escape and run naked to a neighbour for help. Her incredible bravery continued at Manchester Minshull Crown Court1 on Thursday when she was interrupted during her statement by a shouting and swearing Thompson. Attacking the guard beside him, Thompson shouted at his victim as he tried to break free from the dock – while stunned officials in Court Seven sounded the alarm for help.
However, after a brief struggle, the convicted attacker was placed in a headlock and led to the cells to calm down. The hearing was adjourned until the afternoon, when Thompson emerged again to be given a life sentence. Afterwards, his defiant victim told the M.E.N: What he did in court just shows the type of person he is.
Neil Anthony Thompson has been jailed for life
I don t regret facing him in court – I wanted to look him in the eye and tell him what he d done to me and my family.
I ve got my life ahead of me and I won t let what he did define me . This is closure.
Earlier, Phil Barnes, prosecuting, told the court how Thompson, of Oswald Road, Chorlton2, followed his victim home on November 12 last year. She was sitting on her bed texting her boyfriend when Thompson burst into her room armed with a knife. He shouted at her to give him all her money , before ordering her to undress.
What followed was a gratuitous, brutal, sustained and violent series of sexual assaults which left her shaking and terrified for her life . The ordeal only came to an end when the victim bravely fled the house chased by Thompson, but she managed to get help from a neighbour who called the police. Detectives followed a trail of fingerprints, footprints and DNA evidence to a nearby bail hostel three days later.
On arrest, Thompson complained about being interrupted while watching a pornographic site and insisted he had been home alone taking cannabis and spice on the night of the attack. Only when confronted with the undeniable evidence did Thompson admit rape, attempted rape, three charges of sexual assault, causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence and burglary. Sentencing Thompson to life with a chance to apply for parole after eight years, Judge Tina Landale said Thompson had shown no remorse and couldn t care less about the impact of his behaviour . She said he could apply for parole in eight years, but added: However, you are an extremely dangerous man and it s possible you may never be released.
Minshull Street Crown Court
Defending, Thomas McKail said Thompson was appalled by his outburst in court and had in fact been trying to apologise to his victim. He added: There is no amount of apology or remorse that will begin to make amends for the damage caused to the complainant and her family. He said his client recalled following her home but cannot remember the attack .
As a career burglar, much of his life had been spent behind bars and he had been institutionalised, he added. Det Sgt Rebecca Mills, of GMP s Trafford borough, said: This is one of the most horrendous incidents I have been involved with investigating and the details of it will no doubt send cold shivers down the spines of anyone who hears them. Praising the courage of Thompson s victim, she added: I would like to thank her and pay tribute to her for this bravery, and I just hope the significant sentence passed today will bring her some comfort to know that her help has taken a dangerous man off the streets and seen justice served.
‘There is no way someone like that should ever be allowed to walk the streets again’
The victim of Neil Anthony Thompson showed incredibly bravery – first escaping his evil clutches, then helping police with their investigation – and finally facing him in court. On Thursday she saw him jailed for life and shared her relief that he can t hurt anybody else.
I don t have the words to describe how I feel about Neil . The overriding feeling is anger . He doesn t deserve to ever be let out . There is no way that someone like that should ever be allowed to walk the streets again.
There are a lot of cases where rapists aren t caught, where people haven t come forward because they might be afraid of the police not believing them.
I want to say if anyone has had a similar thing happen to them, come forward . If I hadn t come forward this person would still be out there, doing what he did to me to other people.
My life has changed now . It s affected me, my family, my health .
I m coming to terms with it, with wondering why me ? I m not going to be able to answer that.
I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks . I worry a lot now, I ve very nervous about situations . I m now very shy around people I don t know . I was shy when I was younger but I managed to get over that and this has brought it all back home.
A couple of weeks ago I felt like I couldn t cope any more . Everyone in my life has been affected, even though it happened to me.
The emotional effects on my mum where she started to suffer badly with anxiety and depression . She doesn t really sleep or eat.
My relationship with my dad is now also very strained . We rarely speak now and he has been very distant from me . I think he is struggling to come to terms with what happened.
When I m walking about on my own outside I feel as though I m now on high alert, constantly looking over my shoulder and about, in a way, suspecting everyone I come across on the street.
Before Neil did what he did I was in my second year of university .
But after this, I couldn t even get myself out of bed to find the energy or the mental strength to go into uni . As a direct result of Neil, I left university and I am no longer in full time education while I try to focus on putting my life back together.
I now share a flat with girls who have been through similar things in their lives . I m worried what is going to come next for me, emotionally .
But now I have closure and I want to get on with my life.
Kris Jenner, the family matriarch, has revealed that herself and her children – Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Rob, Kendall and Kylie – are “protected to a crazy level” now in the wake of the burglary. Kris said: “It’s an eye-opener how many people have tried to access our homes . Now we’re protected to a crazy level.”
The family are still coming to terms with Kim’s ordeal, after she was robbed at gunpoint in Paris last October.
Kendall has jewellery worth $200,000 stolen (Photo: Splash News)
In new security measures, guests have to be “patted down by security” before entering Kim and her husband Kanye West’s home. The insider told Us Weekly magazine: “Kim’s staff had to take polygraphs to see if anyone was involved in her robbery . Everyone passed .. .
Before going into Kim’s house, you get patted down by security . It’s intense.”
An ADT security services van was spotted outside Kendall’s home (Photo: Splash News)
Police fear the theft was an inside job (Photo: Splash News)
The Keeping Up With The Kardashians3 star called the police at around 1am on Thursday morning when she realised her jewellery worth around 162,000 was missing. Police found no evidence of a forced entry and now believe it was taken by someone who attended a party at the house on Wednesday night, according to TMZ. Kendall is said to have held a party at her Hollywood Hills home with a group of friends.
It’s reported that $200,000 worth of jewellery was stolen (Photo: Splash News) Kendall’s home in the Hollywood Hills (Photo: Splash News)
It was only when she returned home at 1am after an hour out of the house that she realised the expensive jewellery was gone and called police. The burglary at Kendall’s home comes just a few months after her half-sister, Kim Kardashian-West was robbed at gunpoint in Paris.
Media gather outside Kendall’s home (Photo: Splash News)
A terrified Kim kept silent in the immediate aftermath of the drama but spoke in detail about the incident in scenes to air on the next episode of KUWTK.
Kim can be seen make-up free as she huddles with sisters Kourtney, 37, and Khloe, 31, and discusses just what happened in the French capital and how the robbers knew to launch their attack when Kim was alone without bodyguard Pascal Duvier4 .
If you wait across the street you can see the lights on . We were the first floor and they must have been told we were the first floor . They must have been watching, says Kim.
Kim was robbed at gunpoint in Paris in October (Photo: E!) She’ll open up about it on the next KUWTK episode (Photo: E!)
I turned the lights off and went upstairs, what I think happened now, after thinking about it so much, is there was probably a group of guys following us the entire trip.
“I was Snapchatting that I was home and everyone was going out, so I think they knew Pascal was out with Kourtney and I was there by myself.
They had to have known we were leaving that day .
They had that window of opportunity and just went for it.