This man survived the Boston Marathon blasts by seconds



A man who narrowly missed twin bomb blasts while running the Boston Marathon barely avoided disaster again two days later when he was rocked by the explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant.

Joe Berti, 43, could be considered the unluckiest man in the world for being so close to both horrific disasters.

Instead, he feels fortunate that he escaped from both tragedies unscathed.


'I was just like, "I can't believe this!"' said Mr Berti, who said he had never witnessed an explosion before. Then he thought: 'I just want to get out of here and get away from all these explosions.'



Unlucky? Joe Berti survived the Boston Marathon bombings by only 30 seconds. Two days later he saw - and felt - the blast in West, Texas



Unlucky: Joe Berti snapped this photo as he drove through West, Texas, two days after he narrowly missed the blast radius at the Boston Marathon

His wife fears he is becoming a magnet for disaster.

'We need to keep him moving. Maybe he just needs to stand in an open field,' Amy Berti said.

Mr Berti, who lives in Austin, Texas, says he crossed the finish line about 30 seconds before the first bomb exploded.





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He was looking for his wife and their friend when he felt and saw the explosion. Mrs Berti had gone to the finish line and taken a place among the spectators to snap a picture of her husband crossing the finish line.


Mrs Berti and the couple's friend where hit by flying debris, but suffered only minor bruising.




Joe Berti, second from left, is seen in this AP photo taken at a vigil Monday night in Boston after the marathon bombings



This is Mr Berti's wife Amy, taken just before the marathon. She is seen in this Associated Press news photo, left, fleeing the bombing

A woman right next to her had her leg torn off from the knee down, and lost all the fingers in her left hand.


Two days later, Mr Berti was returning home to Austin, Texas, after a day of meetings in Dallas. He was driving south on Interstate 35, which passes through West, when he saw a black smoke rising from the town.

As a got closer, he saw - and felt - a rumbling blast.


'You've got to be kidding!' he remembers thinking. He described the giant fireball as a massive force that shook his car. He said it looked like pictures of nuclear explosions that he has seen on television.

He didn't know what he had just witnessed - but he pulled over and took a picture.

'My next reaction was to get out of there because something fell on the top of my car - some debris or something fell from the sky,' he said.

Artist who designed Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon album cover dies aged 69



He was the man behind one of the most famous pieces of album cover artwork ever produced.


Graphic artist Storm Thorgerson, who produced the illustration of light refracted through a prism for Pink Floyd’s 1973 album Dark Side Of The Moon, died yesterday aged 69 after a battle with cancer.

A long-term collaborator with Pink Floyd and a childhood friend of its members, Mr Thorgerson also created covers for multi-million selling albums by Led Zeppelin, Muse and Peter Gabriel.



Passed away: Graphic artist Storm Thorgerson (left), who produced the illustration of light refracted through a prism for Pink Floyd's 1973 album Dark Side Of The Moon (right), died aged 69 after a battle with cancer







Other works: Thorgerson, a long-term collaborator with Pink Floyd and a childhood friend of its members created the cover art for their 1994 album Division Bell (left) and 1975 record Wish You Were Here (right)


A statement on Pink Floyd’s website said: ‘We are saddened by the news that long-time Pink Floyd graphic genius, friend and collaborator, Storm Thorgerson, has died. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends.’

Dave Gilmour, the band's vocalist and guitarist, added that the designs Thorgerson created for Pink Floyd were an ‘inseparable part of our work’ and that they had ‘first met in our early teens’.




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He said: ‘We would gather at Sheep's Green, a spot by the river in Cambridge, and Storm would always be there holding forth, making the most noise, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm.

‘Nothing has ever really changed. He has been a constant force in my life, both at work and in private, a shoulder to cry on and a great friend. I will miss him.’

Thorgerson died peacefully surrounded by family and friends, his family said, adding: ‘He had been ill for some time with cancer though he had made a remarkable recovery from his stroke in 2003.’






Well-known: Thorgerson - who is survived by his mother, son, wife Barbie Antonis and her two children - also designed covers for 2003 Muse album Absolution (left) and 1973 Led Zeppelin record Houses of the Holy (right)





He is survived by his mother Vanji, his son Bill, his wife Barbie Antonis and her two children Adam and Georgia.

‘Storm Thorgerson’ was trending on Twitter within an hour of his death being reported, with users remembering Dark Side Of The Moon and a man covered in lightbulbs for the live album Delicate Sound Of Thunder. Other notable - often surreal - works included images of people hanging upside-down in a desert landscape for Alan Parson's 1993 album Try Anything Once and two onions with women sprouting out of them for Umphrey's McGee's The Bottom Half

A beaming George H.W. Bush poses for a photo



Former President George H. W. Bush donned American flag socks to a ceremony Wednesday, where he gleefully posed for a photo with the newly-announced Houston Texans cheerleaders.


The 88-year-old - who paired his flashy socks with a blue shirt and beige suit - was on hand to give a presidential congratulations to the 34 women who were selected for the competitive squad.


And he couldn't help but grin from ear to ear as he presented roses to each of the cheerleaders, some of whom had visited him while he was unwell in the hospital earlier this year.

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All smiles: Former President George H. W. Bush grinned from ear to ear as he met with the Houston Texans cheerleaders at their training facility on Wednesday



Stars and stripes: Ever the patriot, he paired his summery beige suit with American flag socks that stood out during the photo op


The 41st president had been in poor health recently after a lingering cough associated with bronchitis landed him in a Houston hospital in November.

The cough soon improved, but he remained hospitalized for other health reasons and was moved to an intensive care unit in late December.




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He also suffers from a form of Parkinson's disease which has forced him to use a motorized scooter or wheelchair to get around.

Following a rumor that he was on his death bed, Mr Bush's aide Jean Becker announced to the press: 'Please put the harps back in the closet. He has every intention of staying put.'




Well hello ladies! Beaming George Bush meets new Texans...




Arm-in-arm: The 88-year-old presented each of the 34 girls with a rose to congratulate them on being selected to the highly competitive squad





Mr Bush reportedly cheered on the Houston Texans football team while in the hospital, and was even visited by the a few of the team's cheerleaders.


The former President was released from hospital earlier this year, and appears to be in good health.

Indeed, he seems to have had all kinds of fun since his release from hospital.

In March, when he went on one of his regular visits to Texas A&M University, a group of students greeted him with a surprise dancing flash mob.



Biggest fan: Mr Bush reportedly cheered on the Houston Texans football team while in the hospital earlier this year, and was even visited by the a few of the team's cheerleaders

The dance crew had re-recorded the lyrics to Boot Scootin' Boogie, a Brooks and Dunn song, to be tailored to the former President and the school named after him.

At least two dozen people participated in the choreographed stunt as the former President looked on, captivated.
Mr Bush 'loved it,' one of the students told CBS News at the time.'He loved the lyrics. He wanted an encore.'

RICHARD KAY: By George! Asda guru, 72, has a new girl



With seven children and three ex-wives behind him — his last divorce cost him an estimated £34 million — you might suppose that fashion genius George Davies would be happy to steer clear of the opposite sex.

But now at 72 and four years on from wife number three, Fiona — the former chief executive of his Per Una clothing range — George, I can reveal, has found love again.

The man behind Next and George @Asda — he sold Per Una to Marks & Spencer for £125 million in 2004 — is stepping out with Sarah Clark, an energetic mother of two, three decades his junior.




Back in love: After three wives and seven children George Davies has found love again

‘They met last June and are very happy together. He seems much more settled in himself,’ says a friend. ‘He’s certainly lost none of his romantic zeal.’

The couple were introduced when fitness instructor Sarah, who is in her early 40s, was involved in Cheltenham Fashion Week and organised a schools’ catwalk show at Gloucestershire College, where she lectures in fashion part-time.

‘We spent quite a bit of time working together on the project — and then one day I asked her out to dinner,’ says George.

‘Sarah also works as a Zumba exercise teacher and runs her own classes and is very good at it — not that I would ever Zumba!’



Sarah briefly moved in with grammar school-educated George, bringing her cat with her.

‘But she had to leave after a week because George is allergic to cats,’ says a friend. Davies, who lives in a farmhouse in Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds, says: ‘You wouldn’t be too far from the truth, but far be it from me to comment.’

Meanwhile, the tireless Liverpool-born businessman’s latest project is his FG4 fashion brand in Saudi Arabia. His daughter Emma Trayner, who works with him, is this week talking to manufacturers in China —though he is keen to encourage home-grown fashion manufacturers.

‘The important thing is getting the product right – it’s not about selling something for just a tenner,’ he says.

What of his most recent ex-wife Fiona, 49, to whom he was married for 18 years? Friends say she divides her time between a flat in London and a house near Cirencester. She has also found a new man — a local farmer.



Excited: Amber Le Bon is buying her own home

She took the plunge when she followed her mother into a catwalk career, but Amber Le Bon is not just a pretty face.

The gamine daughter of evergreen Yasmin Le Bon and Duran Duran rocker Simon has made her first significant investment — buying her own home.

Speaking at a bash for beauty products firm Molton Brown at the ICA, Amber, 23, could barely contain her excitement.


‘I’m ecstatic, I’m leaving home and getting my very own flat,’ she says.

‘I’m happy living with the parents but I decided if I didn’t get a place now it would be even more expensive in five years time.


'I’m proud to say I’ve done it all myself — although Mum and Dad helped me out a little bit.

‘You can earn a lot of money periodically in modelling but I’m trying to be sensible.’

And just to prove it Amber, who with her mother is a face of Monsoon, won’t be moving in with boyfriend Johnny Hynes.

‘I don’t really believe in all that. Besides I’m too young,’ she adds.



Split: Kristen McMenamy has finally ended her marriage to top fashion photographer Miles Aldridge

Veteran model Kristen McMenamy will soon be free to marry her art dealer love Ivor Braka — the go-to man for a Francis Bacon or a Lucian Freud — after finally ending her marriage to top fashion photographer Miles Aldridge.

The couple, who married 17 years ago in Holland Park — she was given away by Chanel show-off Karl Lagerfeld with Naomi Campbell as a bridesmaid in black — have been granted a decree nisi by the High Court, it was revealed yesterday.

According to the petition, Aldridge admitted adultery and Kristen found it ‘intolerable’ to live with him.

However, mother-of-two Kristen, 46, who pioneered the heroin chic look in the Nineties, tells me she doesn’t consider the divorce ‘official’ yet. ‘Obviously it’s a relief to get the nisi but it won’t be over properly until the summer,’ she says, before adding: ‘We have as good a relationship as you can expect after everything that’s happened.’

The U.S.-born model met Braka, 57, at a dinner party three months ago, as I revealed.

She said: ‘I was feeling a bit low and nearly missed my friend’s dinner party. But I thought — just get up off the sofa and go.

‘I sent my pal a cheeky message, saying: “Seat me next to an eligible bachelor.” It turned out to be Ivor.’


He is not a typical obsessive. Sober, well-spoken and polite, Robert Brown has fought a relentless campaign to prove he is the secret son of Princess Margaret.


For more than eight years the Jersey accountant has taken his claims before judges, treating each setback with unfailing courtesy. His efforts centre on a bid to have Margaret’s ‘sealed’ will opened.

This, he contends, will prove that he was born to the Queen’s sister in 1955. On Monday he goes back to the High Court to argue that he should be given leave to appeal under Freedom of Information laws.

So far his quest has cost him in the region of £100,000. Will he give up if this latest challenge fails? ‘Oh no, I will continue,’ he says. ‘My gut instinct is that I am right, even though I know how nutty it all sounds.’


Her household is already heaving with horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, goldfish and quail — which have just started laying again as the weather is warming up.

But now Chris Tarrant’s ex-wife Ingrid is adding to her menagerie, acquiring two black micro piglets from a local smallholding near her home in Surrey.




Ingrid Tarrant is adding to her menagerie after acquiring two black micro pigs

‘They are seven weeks old and arriving on Monday,’ says Ingrid, who reveals she has always had an urge to keep pigs. ‘I first thought about it when I was still married to You Know Who, but I wasn’t sure we had enough room then so in the end I got a labrador instead.’

Meanwhile, she has asked her Twitter followers to suggest names. ‘We’ve had Bangers and Mash, Smokey and Bacon, George and Mildred — but that isn’t any good because they are girls.

‘We’re going to draw them out of a hat next week.’


There was a panicky moment for Scottish Office officials on Wednesday morning.

Somebody had forgotten to lower their Whitehall building’s flag to half-mast, as per strict instructions for Baroness Thatcher’s funeral.

A Westminster figure spotted the gaffe and put in a friendly telephone call to Conservative Minister David Mundell to warn him.

Within seconds, I hear, the flag was whizzing down the flagpole to its more appropriate position.

‘Someone somewhere was given a right rocket,’ I am told.


PS My item about Old Etonian Edmund Marlowe’s homoerotic potboiler Alexander’s Choice continues to set pulses racing.


I reported how the title would not be added to the list of authors on the school website. Now I hear the writer, thought to be a peer of David Cameron and Boris Johnson, has been reprimanded by the OE Association and told not to use its data for marketing.


Marlowe — not his real name — tells me: ‘I replied saying I would fall in with their wishes and asked to advertise in the OE Review instead. I’ve just heard from their clerk that “with the best will in the world, I don’t think we’ll be able to advertise it”.’

Dallas fire captain and married father of three who 'rushed to the scene'



PUBLISHED: 21:54 GMT, 18 April 2013 | UPDATED: 09:59 GMT, 19 April 2013 [header links]



Victim: Capt. Kenny Harris, 52, wasn't on duty the night of the explosion, but he rushed to the scene to lend a hand to the volunteer firefighters battling the blaze at West Fertilizer Co.

A Dallas fire captain and father of three is among the fatalities of Wednesday night's powerful explosion at a fertilizer plant that rocked the small town of West, Texas.


Capt. Kenny Harris, 52, wasn't on duty the night of the explosion, but he rushed to the scene to lend a hand to the volunteer firefighters battling the blaze at West Fertilizer Co.


'Captain Harris rushed to the scene compelled to provide assistance to his community during this crisis,' said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. 'I want to express my deepest condolences to his family, friends and co-workers.'


A married father of three grown sons, Harris had worked for the city of Dallas for nearly 31 years. He is one of half a dozen firefighters who are missing or suspected dead in the aftermath of the explosion.


Authorities have not released official figures on the number of people who died in the blaze. The number of injured is estimated to be around 180.


The Dallas Fire-Rescue chaplain and other members of the department were in West on Thursday to help comfort Harris's family.

Dallas Fire Chief Louie Bright III said the department is 'hurting with the loss of such a great firefighter, great husband and great family man. Dallas Fire-Rescue is wrapping its arms around the Harris family to provide comfort and support.'

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Search: The family of Perry Calvin are hoping for good news. He is a father of two and his wife Becky is pregnant with his third child and his father is a volunteer firefighter too







Missing: Morris Bridges, pictured, is one of the firefighters who hasn't been heard from since the blast. He celebrated his 2-year-old son's birthday earlier this week





Fears for missing firefighters after Texas blast


Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm said the city has 'lost a real role model.'

'Captain Harris’ response is typical of all our first responders; night and day, no matter where they are, no matter if they are on or off duty they respond with the greatest acts of bravery,' Suhm said. 'The City of Dallas and the citizens of Dallas have lost a real role model.'

The fertilizer plant explosion in West is looking to be one of the most tragic events to hit America's volunteer fire service.


Five volunteer firefighters, who give their time for no reward, were missing or feared dead Thursday.

Seventy per cent of America's 1.1 million firefighters are volunteers, who save taxpayers billions of dollars each year and work to protect their communities.

Among the missing are many young fathers, including Perry Calvin, 37, a married father of two and firefighter in Emmett, where his father is the fire chief.

His father Phil told the Corsican Daily Sun: 'He was at EMT class at West last night. He and another boy responded to the fire alarm for West fire department and they got at the fire scene before the explosion. They were both right there at the explosion site.'




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'Of course, he’s one of those that just thought he could do anything. When we found out he was over there we figured he’d want to be right up front in the middle of it.'


'We’re hoping he got sent to a hospital,” he added.

His wife Becky is pregnant with their third child.


Locally at least four volunteer firefighters are still missing including two brothers, a new father and the City Secretary.



Newly-married: City Secretary Joey Pustejovsky is still missing






Heartbroken: Residents comforted each other in the town yesterday as they prayed for those still missing

Father-of-two Morris Bridges celebrated his youngest child Jaimeson's second birthday with wife Carmen just three days before the fire devastated the small rural Texas community.


His son, Brent, 18, told the Star Telegram that they had been warned the news may not be good.


'There’s not been anything official but the mayor did call my step-mom,' she said. 'He told her that he’s pretty sure that they’re both inside the business in the plant, trapped in there. And that there’s a pretty high probability that there’s no survivors there.'

The couple's home was also demolished by the explosion


City Secretary Joey Pustejovsky is also missing.

He and his wife Kelly celebrated their first wedding anniversary last month.


Her brother David Sebesta wrote on Facebook: 'He is a great person [I've] never seen [you] so happy till you met him.'


Brothers Robert, 47, and Doug Snokhous, 50, are also among the volunteer firefighters unaccounted for.


Robert's daughter Marqee called every hospital in hopes of finding her father and uncle.


Waco Police Chief, Patrick Swanton, who is leading the operation on West: 'There are true heroes out there today and they are civilians saving lives with us.'Residents comforted each other in the town yesterday as they prayed for those still missing.

Chin up, Georgie Porgie, those tears just prove you're human



There were a lot of unforgettable moments during Lady Thatcher’s splendidly British send off.


That flawless reading by granddaughter Amanda Thatcher, the Pippa of the funeral. The ­concentration and strain etched on the faces of the pallbearers as they carried the coffin up and down the 24 steps of St Paul’s.


The Queen just being the Queen. The Bishop of London’s tremendous speech. And of course — blub! — George Osborne’s tears.


Unsurprisingly, some frenemies have derided the Chancellor for becoming emotional during the service. What a big girl’s blouse, some said. After all, he apparently only met Mrs T once.


Whereas many on the Left insisted: ‘We’re the ones who should be ­crying, not him, after what he has done to this country blah blah blah.’ On and on and on. Same old stuck record. Let’s give the cry-baby Tory boy a bash. All of it misplaced. All so unfair. All unkind.


So dry your eyes, Georgie Porgie. Chin up and blow your nose. For the truth is that a great number of people, including myself, think more of you for crying at Lady Thatcher’s funeral — not less.


Funerals bring all sorts of deep-seated emotions swirling to the ­surface. They dig into your soul in unexpected and profound ways.




Sob story: George weeps

Whether they are being held for a close friend or relative, or even a comparative stranger, the mind is suddenly focused on what really matters.


They provide a rare moment of communion in public life when we directly and collectively address the subject of death. Head on.


And funerals are not just about the deceased.


They make us ­contemplate the mortality of ourselves and our own loved ones. In short, they are heart-searing occasions in which anything can set a mourner off; a snatch of music, a favourite hymn, the vicar’s words.


Osborne’s tipping point came during the touching and original address by Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London. It was when the bishop said the words ‘our hearts go out’ to Lady Thatcher’s children and her family that a spasm of ­distress first passed across the Chancellor’s pale face.


He blinked madly, trying to ­control his emotions, as the bishop went on to tell a story about a young boy who had written to Mrs Thatcher asking if she had ever done anything wrong.


There was a flash of a watery smile. And then he was undone. One great, fat tear slid down his cheek, closely followed by another.


He looked utterly stricken as he pawed the tears away. In one ­startling lachrymose moment, it became clear that the iron Chancellor had a soul.


That he was not the hard-hearted political automaton of popular legend after all.
Later on Wednesday, he alluded to his reaction by writing on Twitter that it had been a ‘moving, almost overwhelming day’.
All of this has made him seem a ­gentler and more likeable chap.





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Compare his reaction with the rare public ­occasions when arid-eyed Tony Blair, for example, cranked up enough ­compassion juice to make it look like he was crying or about to cry.


That always seemed so contrived, as if Alastair Campbell had just texted him with an order to squeeze out a tear, pronto. In contrast, George’s silent weep was the real deal — take it from one who knows. No matter how much I steel myself in advance, I always cry at funerals — and at weddings, too.


Christenings can also set off the old waterworks, and please don’t even mention nativity plays. I practically had to be stretchered out of the last one I attended. The utter innocence of little children with tea towels on their heads and crayoned moustaches as they follow the star to Bethlehem gets me every time.


Spontaneous tears are a basic human reaction. As I wipe my own away time after time, I always feel sorry for the boys.


Sad that there is so much more pressure on men not to cry in public because it is seen as weak and unmanly by some.


Why should men not cry at the big moments in life? They are affected just as much as women.


What is less acceptable are sportsmen or women blubbing fit to burst at those twin imposters of victory and defeat.


Or sobbing actors weeping a Niagara as they collect their latest Oscar or Golden Globe.


However, crying at a funeral is an entirely different matter. Even Nick Clegg agrees. The Lib Dem leader did not cry himself on Wednesday, but said it was a powerful occasion full of ceremony and that everyone should have the liberty to blub if they wanted. He’s right.


The thing is, a funeral is not just for the deceased. It is also an ­occasion when we contemplate all the other funerals we have attended; that sad little stockade of crosses, lodged deep in our hearts.


It is also when we consider, with dread, those funerals yet to ­happen. It is an entirely difficult affair, full of emotional pitfalls and dark hurts.


So if we are going to mock a man for crying at a funeral, even at ­Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, then as a society we are lost.


With so many cameras innocently trained on the Boston bombings, the outrage has ­produced many unforgettable images. One thing we witnessed was this: there will always be those who run towards the smoke and those who will run away.


I recall travelling on the Tube in the aftermath of the July 7 ­London bombings when a man pushed a large canvas bag onto the train, then turned away. He was actually reaching for his other bag but I was off, thundering down to the other end of the carriage.


I dare say that if a granny — even my own granny — was in the way, I probably would have trampled all over her. So I salute the courage of those people who did not run, who stopped to help their maimed and wounded fellow citizens instead. What heroes you all are.

No class from Clarkson or Katherine's cleavage


Cathedral cleavage: Katherine Jenkins attended Baroness Thatcher's funeral this week sporting a plunging neckline

The funeral — have we said enough about it? How sad and yet marvellous it all was?


How tremendous that singer Katherine Jenkins’s racy ­appearance at St Paul’s has added a new term to the lexicon of boob-flashing delinquency — cathedral cleavage.


And how awful of TV star Jeremy Clarkson to post such a rancorous despatch about his own attendance at the funeral in The Sun.


If he felt so bad about it all, why did he bother going? He was particularly rude about the Duke of Edinburgh, who — according to the Top Gear presenter — had not blown his nose properly when he arrived at the cathedral. The words ‘enormous stalactite of snot’ were used with no shame.


Yes, it’s awful when you get caught short in public, isn’t it? As Clarkson, who is always being photographed snogging women who are not his wife, knows.


And it was rather harsh on the Duke, who seemed on splendid form as he nipped up the steps of the cathedral. He will be 92 in two months and still has no need of spectacles, walking stick or ­hearing aid. He still works hard, too, with dozens of engagements lined up including away days in Britain before flying to Canada next week where he will be ­presenting new colours to the Royal Canadian Regiment in Toronto.


Meanwhile, all Jeremy could do was moan about the Duke, the horses, the quality of the sandwiches and wine at the receptions afterwards. Instead of being grateful for the enormous ­privilege of being there at such a defining moment of our times. How snotty can you get?


Anyway, never mind the Duke of Edinburgh’s appearance — what about JC himself? At the funeral, he looked like a half-chipped sack of spuds poured into a suit he’d nicked off Rick Astley.

Stop moaning, Tom...we can't afford a Ford original


Little sympathy: Few people can afford Tom Ford originals

Tom Ford has been complaining about High Street store Zara copying his designs. Tough. Apart from the fashion editors who are ‘gifted’ his clothes, few will have sympathy with his plight. We’d all love to buy Tom Ford originals — but who can afford them?


A Tom Ford jacket is £2,500. A pair of his sunglasses is £230. Even a lipstick from his range is £36. It is plum crazy.
Designer fashion has now become like buying a house in a desirable part of ­London — completely unaffordable for ordinary people.


Flick through net-a-porter and you will find a cotton T-shirt from Balmain at £598.


A silk camisole from Dolce & Gabbana for £425.


Shoes? Don’t get me started. When did they start being so exorbitant and so beyond the reach of the once well-heeled — but not any more — consumer?


This week I saw a pair of simple Marc Jacobs sandals and thought, oh, they’d be nice for summer. But not at £500 smackeroos, thanks very much.


The economics of fashion are completely baffling. ­Garments designed in the first world, generally made in the third world, then sold in exclusive stores in the best parts of town? It just doesn’t add up to a fair deal.


So carry on moaning, Tom. It’s your own fault for charging so much. The only place ordinary girls can get decent copies of high fashion is on the High Street. So thanks Uniqlo, Mango, Zara and the rest — we’re all so grateful.


THE MP Jacob Rees-Mogg was among the small number of gentlemen who wore top hats to Lady Thatcher’s funeral. Tremendous! For pray what, tell me, is more splendid than a black silk top hat?


Not only are they beautiful to behold, a topper is the most potent symbol of upper-class elitism, real or imagined, in the land.


You might as well write TOFF in ballpoint pen on your forehead.


Or TOFF-EE, if you happen to be a wannabe trying to sneak into the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.


Meanwhile, on the streets of London and elsewhere, it is now practically an act of anarchy to wear one. Which make them highly desirable hats.


So more toppers, please, before they go the way of the bowler and the bonnet to the great hat-stand in the sky.

Kate's awesome faith


Kate McCann is prepared to forgive her daughter Madeleine's abductor

Next month it will be six years since Madeleine McCann disappeared. In an interview this week, her mother Kate said she could probably find it in her heart to forgive her daughter’s abductor.


It was a remarkable thing to say — and even to think.


To suffer the loss of a child in such traumatic circumstances is a horrendous ordeal for any parent. Not to know whether she is alive or dead simply piles on the agony.


The McCanns chose to cling onto the hope that Madeleine is still alive.


This means that Mrs McCann is prepared to forgive an abductor whom she believes continues to hold her daughter.


She is ready to forgive someone she knows nothing about, who perhaps has abducted other children, too.


Human resilience is amazing — and so is the strength of Mrs McCann’s Roman Catholic faith.


She seems to have found a way to bear the unbearable, which is both admirable and incredible at the same time.







Did Jimmy Savile abuse 1,350 victims… treble



Jimmy Savile could have sexually abused up to 1,350 victims, treble the number who have come forward so far, the police officer that exposed him said today.

Operation Yewtree, which is looking into allegations of sex crimes against the former DJ and presenter, as well as a host of other celebrities, has recorded 450 complaints against him.


But former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Peter Spindler, who led Yewtree until earlier this year, told an NSPCC conference that as well as those who came forward there were 'probably double, treble who haven't'.






Paedophile: There have been 450 complaints of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile - but it is alleged there could have been three times as many victims, according to former Met Chief Superintendent Peter Spindler (right)


'My best guess is that there are many other victims who won't have come forward because they don't want to talk about it,' he told The Sun.


'They've dealt with it, they've put it in the past.


'So even with the 450 that have come forward there must be many more. That's not just true for Savile, it's true for other offenders as well.'




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A report released earlier this year revealed the disgraced TV presenter was one of the UK's 'most prolific known sexual predators' and said his victims included an eight-year-old boy and a seriously ill teenager.


The report by Scotland Yard and the NSPCC, released in January, found that Savile's reign of sexual abuse spanned 54 years.


Since the initial claims emerged in early October last year the former Top Of The Pops host, who died in 2011 at the age of 84, has had 214 criminal offences recorded against his name, including 34 rapes,


Disgraced: Around 450 individuals have contacted police with allegations against Savile since the launch of Operation Yewtree


Mr Spindler stepped down from Operation Yewtree earlier this month to become an Assistant Inspector of Constabulary.


Other have previously said the number of possible Savile victims could be much higher.


Mark Williams-Thomas, who presented the original ITV documentary which first exposed the Jim'll Fix It star as a dangerous sexual predator, said he could have targeted hundreds more victims in his near six decades of abuse.


In January he said: 'The first offence was in 1955 and the last in 2009, that's almost 60 years of offending. There could be at least double the number of potential victims, it's a mere drop in the ocean.'

Convicted paedophile, 23, attacked a sleeping five-year-old girl



A paedophile molested a sleeping five-year-old girl after his sex-offenders treatment was cancelled.

Daniel Veness, 23, was ordered to get urgent help after he was caught with 600 vile child pornography pictures on his computer.

But a lack of 'resources' meant that the scheme was scrapped.


Veness, of Lowestoft, Suffolk, filmed himself carrying out the sickening sex attack on the little girl as she slept.

He was jailed for two years eight months yesterday.

Judge David Goodin branded the pervert a danger to young girls.

The judge said it was 'a matter of great regret' that two years in to a three-year order Veness's treatment programme had not started.

Judge Goodin said this was initially because the offender had been on holiday.

But since then Veness had been given two start dates in March and October 2012 which had been called off because of 'insufficient resources'.

The paedophile was arrested in January after a shocked friend told police he had seen pornographic images of naked girls on Veness's mobile.


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Officers found 46 indecent pictures of children on the phone as well as film footage Veness had taken of himself sexually assaulting the five-year-old as she was asleep.



The judge at Ipswich Crown Court imposed an extended licence period of three years because of the danger he poses to young girls

Veness admitted sexual touching, two offences of taking indecent pictures of a child and downloading indecent images of children.

He also admitted breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and failing to notify police of a change in his address under the terms of the sex offenders' register.

As well as jailing him at Ipswich Crown Court, Judge Goodin also imposed an extended licence period of three years because of the danger he poses to young girls.

Veness was also ordered to sign the sex offenders' register and made the subject of an indefinite sexual offences prevention order.

He had been given a caution for sexual activity with a girl under the age of 13 in November 2008, the court heard.

Last night the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said the case was 'distressing' and insisted that it was vital the treatment is carried out.




Norfolk and Suffolk Probation Trust have launched an investigation into why the paedophile's treatment was cancelled

Judge Goodin said the Thames Valley Treatment Programme had been a crucial part of a three-year community order imposed at the court in March 2011 after the indecent photos were found on Veness's computer.

'This is a programme of high repute which is known to have some effect,' he said.

Andrew Thompson, defending, said it was unfortunate that Veness had not received any help.

Mr Thompson said: 'We will never know if it would have directed him away from the behaviour that has brought him back before the court.'

Stuart Macdonald, director of Norfolk and Suffolk Probation Trust, today said they had launched an investigation in to the case.

Mr Macdonald said: 'Our thoughts are with the victim and family at this incredibly difficult time.

'It would be wrong to comment further at this stage as the case is yet to be fully investigated.

'All cases involving a serious further offence are reviewed robustly and rigorously by Norfolk and Suffolk Probation Trust and the National Offender Management Service.

'Where deficiencies in the management of risk of serious harm are identified, action is taken to address these.'

Jon Brown, head of strategy and development for sexual abuse at the NSPCC, said: 'This is a distressing case where an offender has been convicted twice and the level of abuse since his first conviction has clearly escalated.

'In these cases it is vital that treatment should always be carried out to prevent further abuse.

'We hope the victims have also been provided with support and treatment to help them through their traumatic experiences.'

If you are an adult and you have concerns about the safety of a child, you can call the NSPCC's helpline on 0808 800 5000.

If you are a child and you are worried about your safety, you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111.

Judge attacks porn websites after rapist, 14, hooked on online sex sites attacks a four-year-old girl



A judge yesterday condemned online porn after a 14-year-old boy who was ‘obsessed’ with sex websites raped a four-year-old girl.

The boy was given free rein by his parents to watch graphic material on hi-tech gadgets such as his Xbox console and iPod.


But in an unusual move, Lord Burns directly linked the teenager’s exposure to porn to the sex attack.

He also criticised the boy’s parents who, even after the offence, allowed their son to carry on accessing the internet with virtually no form of restriction.

The case comes amid the Daily Mail’s on-going Block Online Porn campaign to protect children from graphic images.

Scotland’s top sex crimes prosecutor, Alison Di Rollo, has recently warned that online filth is fuelling a rise in sex offending by children.

The 14-year-old, who was spared a custodial sentence, forced the girl to perform a sex act on him at his home during the school holidays.

She later told the boy’s mother, a childminder, what had happened. The youth initially denied the accusations but confessed after DNA evidence came to light. He eventually admitted raping the child.


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At a hearing earlier this year, the Lanarkshire teenager admitted the offence, which happened last August.

He was referred to the Children’s Reporter and his behaviour will be monitored under the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements set up to deal with sex offenders.


Campaign: The Daily Mail has called for internet service providers to block online porn unless users 'opt in'

His name has already been added to the sex offenders’ register and he will be subject to random checks by social workers and police for any devices capable of online access.

Frank Gallagher, defending, said the accused’s parents had tried but failed to put a parental lock on their internet account.


They had handed back their son’s Xbox, iPod and mobile phone ‘on trust’ after the offence.

He said: ‘His bedroom door wasn’t to be closed and they frequently visited his room to make sure he wasn’t accessing pornography. But he breached his parents’ trust.’


Unrestricted: The boy, 14, has free rein to watch online porn (picture posed by model)

Passing sentence at the High Court in Livingston, West Lothian, judge Lord Burns criticised the parents, who wept during the hearing.

He told the boy: ‘The whole circumstances, I have to say, don’t reflect well upon your parents and I have no doubt that they are aware of the element of responsibility that they must take for this shameful event.’

Describing his offence as ‘highly serious’, he went on: ‘You are a young boy but you became obsessed with pornography through the internet and were able to access that freely. The result of that obsession, it appears, caused you to commit this crime.’

Last night, Tory chief whip John Lamont said: ‘Parents will be worried that this child will only be subjected to random checks. Something far more robust is needed to ensure his behaviour does not escalate as he gets older.’

Earlier this year, Mrs Di Rollo warned that the availability of sexual imagery ‘must have some effect on the attitudes’ of young people.

Anne Houston, of the CHILDREN 1ST charity, said: ‘Online pornography can give young people a skewed idea of sex and relationships. Sadly, in this case, it appears to have been one contributory factor.’

Man obsessed with pipe bombs lost several fingers



A man lost several fingers when a home-made pipe bomb exploded, causing the entire street to be evacuated.


Martin Middleton, 26, called 999 and was later picked up by paramedics after apparently fleeing the house he shares with his fiancee.

About 40 homes had to be evacuated after the explosion in Bolton, Greater Manchester, in January this year, while police and bomb disposal teams searched the area. His fiancee Kay Emerson escaped uninjured.

Previously, Middleton had posted a pencil drawing of a tattoo design that he wanted, depicting an exploding bomb with the word 'kaboom' in the middle, on his Facebook page.

But he told friends: 'mum wont let me have a pipe bomb on my arm i get it done'.

Middleton, from the Tonge Fold area of the town, yesterday pleaded guilty to causing an explosion likely to endanger life or injure property.

David Toal, defending, said: 'He acknowledges that there was some forseeability for harm, but there was no intention that is in the particulars.

'The defendant accepts that there wasn’t any intention on his behalf to endanger life.

'The defendant has pleaded guilty. Essentially there is no basis save for recklessness.'

The case has been adjourned until June 14 for a pre-sentence report and a psychiatric report to be prepared. Middleton has been remanded in custody.


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Judge Peter Davies told him: 'It is important that you co-operate with the preparation of the report.'

Middleton, who is expecting a baby with his fiancee, admitted an offence under the Explosive Substances Act 1883.

Mr Toal added: 'I have spent some considerable time researching case authority for offences pursuant to section two of this act.






Before the accident in January this year, Middleton had posted a picture of an exploding bomb tattoo design he wanted, left, and a photo of facial burns, thought to be from a previous bomb, on social networking sites


'It is right to say there are no previous cases that can be found where factors relate to any similarity to the current case.

'Generally speaking they are far more serious than this case.'

It also emerged outside court that this may not have been the first time he had experimented with home-made explosives.

He is believed to have previously suffered serious facial burns after making a tennis ball bomb.

A source claimed he bragged to former work colleagues in South Wales.

One of them said: 'One of the boys at work found a picture of him on a search on the internet.

'He said he was using matches to make a tennis ball bomb and it blew up in his face.”

A comment on the pictures, apparently by Middleton, was written on social networking website Where Are You Now?, saying: 'Me a year ago not like that any more.'



Middleton is believed to be expecting a baby with his fiancee Kay Emerson

Middleton is thought to have worked in South Wales, having lived in Aberdeen before that, between July and November last year.

The former colleague said: 'When he first came he was mouthy and full of confidence. He was a grafter for the first couple of weeks.

'But then he changed. He was a bit of a pain.



Police and bomb disposal teams attended the scene of the explosion back in January, pictured, where 40 homes had to be evacuated

'I am surprised he put a picture of his injuries on a social networking site - it is a strange thing to do.'

A neighbour said at the time of the blast: 'I am really shocked at what happened.


'His girlfriend is pregnant and I thought he was getting back on the straight and narrow.'

'Inspirational, dignified fighter': Hillsborough justice



One of the leading campaigners in the fight for justice for the Hillsborough victims has died aged 62.


Anne Williams, whose 15-year-old son Kevin was one of the 96 Liverpool fans who perished in the 1989 tragedy, had been suffering from cancer.


It was her 24-year fight to get her son’s inquest verdict of accidental death overturned that is credited with leading to fresh hearings for those who died.







Campaign: Anne Williams helped fight for justice over the Hillsborough disaster, which killed her son Kevin




Long-running battle: Anne Williams in 1999 when she published her book about the Hillsborough disaster



Tireless campaigner: Mrs Williams with Lord Justice Stuart Smith on the steps of the Maritime Museum in Liverpool




She established from witnesses at the Sheffield stadium that – despite the coroner’s assertion that all fans were dead by 3.15pm – Kevin was still alive and could have been saved.

She appealed to three different attorney generals for a new inquest, only to be rebuffed. Her case was also rejected by the European Court of Human Rights.


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But a breakthrough came in September following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report.


The tireless campaigner defied doctors' expectations to attend what was her last public appearance at the Hillsborough memorial service at Anfield on Monday.


She was diagnosed with terminal cancer in October, but despite her ill-health she carried on her campaign and attended a hearing at London's Royal Courts of Justice in December when the original inquest verdicts were quashed.



Fight for justice: Hillsborough victim Kevin Williams pictured at home reading a comic



Forever grateful: Fans and fellow campaigners have long held Anne Williams in the highest regard







Liverpool FC paid tribute to her, saying: '[Her appearance on Monday] was an act so typical of a mum who simply refused to accept defeat.

Speaking after the historic hearing, which she attended in a wheelchair, she thanked Attorney General Dominic Grieve for being 'a man of his word' in pushing for the new inquests.


She said: 'I am glad we never gave up. It has been hard, but we wouldn't have been here today.


'I'd like a corporate manslaughter verdict in the inquest, it's the least for what they have done. God willing, I will be here, it has been a long wait to see justice. I am so glad I could be here today to hear it for myself.'

Referring to the cover-up that shifted blame away from the authorities and on to the victims, she said: 'I can't forgive them the extremes they went to. Why didn't they just give us the truth?'


In a statement on the Liverpool website, the club paid tribute to her.


They wrote: '[Her appearance on Monday] was an act so typical of a mum who simply refused to accept defeat.



Tributes: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers laid a single red rose at the Hillsborough Eternal Flame shrine outside Anfield on Monday



Red and blue: Brendan Rodgers sat next to Everton manager David Moyes





Old and new: The current Liverpool playing staff joined club legends to mark the 24th anniversary

'Anne may not have survived to see ultimate justice for her son but her actions have played a significant part in ensuring that 96 families have moved closer to Hillsborough closure.'

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, said: ‘Anne was a woman of remarkable courage and determination. She had a strength and an energy that flowed from her love for Kevin. She will go down in history as one of the key people who brought to light the truth of the tragedy.’


Maria Eagle, MP for Liverpool Garston and Halewood, tweeted: 'So very sorry to hear about Anne Williams. She was an incredible inspirational woman. £RIP.'

Tom Watson MP tweeted: 'Goodbye Anne. You were loved.'



They'll never walk alone: A banner in honour of the Hillsborough victims at Anfield


Never forgotten: Three-year-old Liverpool fan Millie Morris leaves her tribute to the Hillsborough victims outside Anfield

As recently as Monday, Sheila Coleman, of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, paid tribute to Mrs Williams in the Liverpool Echo.


She said: 'We applaud Anne's tenacity to draw on whatever reserves she has left to be here today - she is quite simply an inspiration.'


Other friends and well-wishers took to Twitter to pay tribute to the campaigner who seemed to embody the spirit of the families who fought for justice for almost 25 years.

Paul Mac wrote: 'Deepest sympathy to Anne's family a truly truly lovely woman and your with Kevin now Anne. We will never forget you x.'





A day to remember: Fans have been visiting the Eternal Flame shrine at Anfield to leave floral tributes or have a moments' contemplation




With love: A message from the Hillsborough Family Support Group


Never forgotten: Some of the names of those who perished in Britain's worst stadium disaster

Pp Corke said: 'A truly insperation Anne Williams. Every decent person on this planet has love and respect for long hard fight you fought Anne. Your with your Kevin now. Rest Anne. You av earned it. Lovely lady.'


Steve Monahan added: 'R.I.P Anne Williams. What a true fighter and a wonderful woman. What she has had to endure for the last 24 years is a disgrace and it should never have been this long.


'But in the face of adversity she remained dignified and never gave up hope. If I'm half the parent she was when I have children I'll be doing well.YNWAx'.


Mrs Williams was an early chairman of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and later independently established Hope For Hillsborough (For Justice) in an effort to secure a fresh inquest into her son's death.

She leaves behind two children, son Michael, 41, and daughter Sara ,33, and three grandchildren.



Tragedy: 96 fans perished during the FA Cup match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough





It was her fight to get her son's inquest verdict of accidental death overturned that is credited with leading to fresh hearings for all 96 supporters who died