Thursday, May 24, 2012

Safe Haven II

Standard :

Eight women were attacked after being stalked in the “nappy valley” area of Battersea and Clapham, and around the Fulham Road. One victim was seven months pregnant and had a 17-month-old child in a pushchair. Most of the women were strangled from behind with a potentially fatal grip before being forced to the ground. Once down and fighting unconsciousness in front of their screaming children, rings worth up to £50,000 were prised from their fingers.

One gang member, 26-year-old Perrie Williams, even applied for an emergency loan to boost his benefit payments in February last year. A month later, he was on holiday in Miami. All the victims were terrified by the attacks and many suffered shocking injuries to their face and bodies. One woman needed reconstructive surgery to her jaw. Today, a jury at Kingston crown court convicted Williams, of Wandsworth Common, and Christopher Byom, 29, of Clapham, of conspiracy to rob. Anton Lord, 33, of Clapham, had earlier pleaded guilty to the same charge. They will be sentenced at a date to be confirmed.

In April 2009, Sandra Pilger was throttled from behind in front of her two-year-old son near the Fulham Road and her wedding and engagement rings worth £18,000 were taken. Elizabeth Proctor was with her 12-week-old son in a pushchair near Clapham Common when she was grabbed around the neck from behind. Nicola Griggs was attacked in front of her seven-year-old child and baby in a pushchair in Battersea, and Emma Enticott was attacked in Battersea with her three young children.Christina Sheehy was robbed of her £8,000 engagement ring in front of her four-year-old son, and Katherine Britton was pregnant when she was beaten to the ground in Clapham. After losing consciousness, she awoke to find her £11,000 engagement and wedding rings missing.
 Hmm. Apparently the kit was sold in Hatton Garden, whose famously naive jewellers would never be suspicious of a young black guy wanting to unload ten thousand quids worth of sparklers at a bargain price.

That's a familiar modus operandi of theirs. But at least their victims escaped the fate of Neil Williams and Andrew Owen, killed in the great Garotting Panic of 2007.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Safe Haven ?

This blog, last summer :

I was reading just the other day about how Central London property prices are soaring as homes in the capital's richest areas are increasingly seen as a 'safe haven' for capital.

Now the financial centres and the central luxury belt are full of rich people who can buy their way out of a lot of London's nastinesses - the schools, public transport. But as the safer areas become fewer, they'll start to feel increasingly like islands of wealth marooned in a resentful and lawless sea.

Telegraph :

Gangs of homeless Romanian beggars sleeping rough are turning one of London's most expensive streets into a 'disgusting health and safety hazard', it was claimed today. The group of around 50 beggars set up camp on the grassy central reservation of Park Lane after being moved on from nearby Marble Arch several days ago.

Local workers say the group, aged between 30 and 60, spend the afternoons gambling and drinking at the edge of Mayfair. One end of the central reservation, opposite an exclusive Aston Martin dealership, has been turned into a rubbish dump. Empty beer bottles, cigarette packets, half eaten food and clothes littered the grassy area, just a stone's throw from London's most exclusive homes and hotels.

A Westminster City Council spokesperson added: "Groups of homeless people have been moving around the area. They have slightly dispersed from Marble Arch. There is continued dialogue going on with outreach teams to try and get them to move on. They try to suggest that they return home and ask them what they are doing and how they are earning money. It is an ongoing issue and one which we think will require various strategies to tackle, including talking with the groups directly and monitoring chartered coaches arriving in London from Romania."

Now a protected group making the lives of ordinary Brits an utter misery over years is one thing for our rulers. Who cares about people who choose to live in Essex, for God's sake ?

But inconvenience and unpleasant vistas for the very rich (and very rich tourists) is something quite different. After all, it might affect the image of London as a financial centre and a welcoming haven for the world's wealthiest people. So I imagine the authorities will find ways and means - where there's a will, and all that. Nonetheless, it's a straw that shows the way the wind blows.