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Photo appeal after mother and daughter assaulted on Tube

CCTV image
BTP

Police have released CCTV images of a person they are trying to find after a mother and daughter were attacked on the Tube.

The pair had been travelling on the Metropolitan Line at about 19:00 on 27 December last year when they were approached by a man who tried to pull at the daughter's top.

He was challenged so he spat at the mother and punched her before leaving the train at Finchley Road.

The daughter also left the train to speak to him and he punched her as well, causing her to fall to the floor.

British Transport Police said: "Officers believe the man in the images may have information which could help their investigation."

CCTV image
BTP

Steve McQueen exhibition to reopen at Tate Modern

Members of staff pose in front of Kara Walker"s installation "Fons Americanus" in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
PA Media

Tate Modern will reopen its Steve McQueen exhibition on Friday, it has been announced.

The exhibition had launched in February but closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and is the first major UK retrospective of McQueen's visual art career since he received the Turner Prize in 1999.

The exhibition has been modified with new visitor signage to aid social distancing and will reopen with a reduced visitor capacity, while those attending will be required to wear face coverings.

It will join the three existing visitor routes round the gallery, which reopened last week, and will be extended to 6 September.

McQueen said: "I remember my first school trip to Tate when I was an impressionable eight-year-old, which was really the moment I gained an understanding that anything is possible.

"As we all gradually emerge from lockdown, and in some ways begin to see the world anew, I hope visitors experience that same sense of possibility."

Frances Morris, director of Tate Modern, said it had been "incredibly moving to see our visitors return to Tate Modern and we're delighted by how understanding and conscientious everyone is being in the galleries".

New bike lanes and speed limit in Kensington and Chelsea

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Pavilion Road, Chelsea
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

New bike lanes and a 20mph speed limit are part of a £500,000 package to encourage people to get out and about in Kensington and Chelsea.

It means pavements in some of the area’s most iconic shopping streets in Notting Hill Gate, High Street Kensington and King’s Road will be widened for the time being. There will also be a temporary bike lane at Kensington High Street and Queen’s Gate.

The council is putting in £343,000 and it got a £185,000 grant from Transport for London (TfL), with £100,000 from the Department of Transport.

It gives the green light to schemes to help people maintain social distancing and encourage them back to businesses across the borough.

The features the money will be used for include a 20mph speed limit to be introduced across the borough, temporary bike lanes on Kensington High Street and Queen’s Gate and upgraded cycle lanes.

Tom Frost, who chairs the Kensington Business Forum, one of the groups which talked to the council about ways it could help said: “Everything’s trial and error and everything’s temporary.”

He said a new rule book is being created to adapt to the post lockdown rules, adding thatL "people are happy that the high street is back operating".

Johnny Thalassites, the politician in charge of transport said he hoped the moves will help revitalise the borough’s economy.

“Cycling’s an option people might not have considered before and we are doing all we can to instill confidence in both new and experienced cyclists.

"For pedestrians, safer speed limits and trial road closures can also bring about new, local walkable neighbourhoods,” he said.

Uber starts new Thames river boat service

Uber Boat
Uber

Uber has joined up with Thames Clippers for the launch of its new service, Uber Boat.

The service, which commences in London on Monday, will allow users to purchase tickets for Thames Clippers boats in advance through the Uber app and then use QR technology to board.

The payment will be processed using Uber account details.

Passengers will be able to use the service across a fleet of 20 boats on the River Thames, with departures from 23 piers across London.

Thames Clippers' users can still purchase tickets via the existing methods, including touching in and out with contactless or Oyster and via its own ticketing app.

Uber had its London private hire operator's licence revoked by Transport for London (TfL) in 2017 due to safety concerns.

It was eventually granted a 15-month licence following an appeal, however TfL refused the ride-sharing firm's application for another new licence late last year after at least 14,000 trips were made with drivers who were not the ones shown on the app.

An appeal against the decision is still ongoing

Today's weather: Dry with sunny spells

BBC Weather

As high pressure ridges more into the region, it will be a dry day with sunny spells.

However, some cloud looks to develop in the afternoon, with a few showers, which could be sharp and thundery.

Maximum Temperature: 19C to 22C (66F to 72F).

London Zoo gorillas keep cool on third hottest day

It's officially the hottest day of the year so far, and now the third warmest on record in the United Kingdom.

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London Zoo's Western lowland gorillas look to have got the right idea - keeping cool with a giant fruit ice lolly!

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Man admits manslaughter over wife's arson death

Denise Michelle Keane-Barnett-Simmons
Metropolitan Police

A man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter after his estranged wife died in arson attack after he allegedly spied on her with secret cameras.

Denise Michelle Keane-Barnett-Simmons, 36, died from burns and smoke inhalation in the fire at her home in Alric Avenue, Brent on 16 April.

Maureen Laigle, in her 60s, managed to escape the fire through a window.

Damien Simmons, 44, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murder at the Old Bailey on Friday.

He also pleaded not guilty to a charge of arson with intent to endanger life and a charge of voyeurism, but admitted disclosing private and sexual photographs with intent to cause distress.

It is alleged that, before the fire, Simmons had set up covert video cameras in the marital home to spy on his wife.

Prosecutor Louise Oakley said the pleas were "not acceptable" and said the matter needs to go to trial.

Defence counsel Judy Khan QC said: "Lack of intent and diminished responsibility are being looked into."

Judge Mrs Justice McGowan set a trial date at the same court for 21 September.

Musicians anxious ahead of return to the stage

Musicians are worried about "losing their game" while not performing live, a concert hall director has said.

London's Wigmore Hall will reopen to the public in September, with at least 60 concerts open to live – and socially-distanced – audiences.

"The reason we're putting on this series is to get money to the artists,” said director John Gilhooly. “It’s also to give them confidence to get back on stage.

“A performance opportunity in front of 12 people is just as useful as in front of 2,000 people because they're getting back in front of audiences."

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Mr Gilhooly said masks would be compulsory for audiences, while “anti-vital fogging before and after every concert” would also be used.

A re-opening concert will take place at Wigmore Hall on Saturday, the date that the government announced that indoor concerts with socially-distanced audiences can begin.

A seven-week-long series of 80 concerts will then take place at the venue from 13 September to 1 November.

At least 60 of the concerts will be open to live audiences as the auditorium capacity is reduced to 56 (10% of capacity).

Arts centre awarded £10,000 grant

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A Battersea-based arts centre that works with community groups and young people has been awarded a £10,000 grant from Wandsworth Council.

At the most recent grants committee, a single ‘cultural capacity’ grant was awarded to Agora Arts Circle to encourage it to develop as a business and continue its work bringing the arts to a broader audience and emerging young artists.

Marie Bidegaray, co-founder of Agora Arts Circle and resident of the Winstanley Estate, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the group is particularly focused on engaging with Battersea residents.

She said: “We are very much based in Battersea because it takes time to build relationships and for people to trust us, because if they do not trust us then they are not going to tell us what they need, and they are just going to see us as one of those agencies that just comes and goes.”

Soaring temperatures in London

BBC London

We know it's going to be hot today. But just how hot? Elizabeth Rizzini has the low down.

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Trapped kitten named Dusty freed by firefighters

A "shaken and very thirsty" kitten was rescued by firefighters after it became trapped in a wall cavity at a shop in Balham.

London Fire Brigade said it was called to Balham High Road on 22 July to save the three-week-old animal.

Crews from Tooting fire station used a disc cutter and sabre saw to cut away parts of the wall in order to save the kitten - named Dusty - with the rescue taking about 50 minutes.

Rescued kitten being held by a firefighter
London Fire Brigade

Firefighter Matt Harrold, said: “When we got her out she was very shaken and thirsty, but after she was checked over and had a cuddle and a drink of water she calmed down.

“We would always encourage people to call the RSPCA in the first instance if they see an animal stuck or in distress.

“Firefighters love animals too and we are always happy to assist if our specialist equipment is required, as in this case.”

Crossrail delayed 'before pandemic'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Crossrail workers
PA Media

Crossrail bosses are “not blaming” coronavirus for recently announced delays to the railway – admitting they were already behind schedule when the disease hit.

But the virus has made it impossible to recover lost time, they claim – despite a six week blitz of 24-hour work due to start tomorrow.

The central section of the Elizabeth line was due to open in summer next year – but scheme leaders have warned that will no longer be possible.

The rail link, which will connect Heathrow, Reading, Berkshire, and Shenfield, Essex, to central and south east London, was originally due to open in December 2018.

But it has suffered a series of delays and costs have spiralled, with the latest price tag as much as £18.25 billion.

The summer 2021 opening target has now been scrapped – and a new date will be announced next month, after the Crossrail board meets.

But chief executive Mark Wild said that the pandemic was just one factor in the hold up.

“We’re not blaming Covid for this,” he told a Transport for London (TfL) board meeting.

“It’s an epic obstacle course, Crossrail, and Covid is one of the many obstacles we’ve faced.

“On our schedule pressures we’d be the last people to hide behind Covid. The reality is when Covid happened we had maybe about two months schedule pressure already.”

Mr Wild admitted that project overseers Jacobs, an engineering consultancy firm, might have a higher estimate of delays up to four months.

London's weather: Dry and very hot

BBC Weather

Dry and very hot for most today with plenty of sunshine.

However, later in the afternoon, patchy cloud will tend to build with the chance of a few isolated thunderstorms breaking out.

Maximum temperature: 32 to 35°C (90 to 95°F).

£1.5 billion utilities upgrade for the capital

Local Democracy Reporting Service

London gas, water and electric networks are set for an upgrade, as Sadiq Khan announced a £1.5 billion scheme to boost supplies.

The massive cash injection, launched will improve services, create jobs, and kickstart the capital’s recovery from coronavirus, the Mayor promised.

Britain’s biggest utilities companies – including gas supplier Cadent, cable company UK Power Networks and Thames Water – will be involved.

The industry heavy weights have been brought together on the scheme by the London Recovery Board.

Chaired by the Mayor and Southwark Council leader Peter John, the group is coordinating the capital’s response to Covid-19.

Individual utilities projects are yet to be finalised, and some may need regulatory approval before getting the green light.

But the investment will improve gas networks, boost water supply to north east boroughs, the City of London and Canary Wharf, and slash leakage by 20 per cent in five years.

The Recovery Board will also push for new jobs to be created, particularly targeting young and black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) Londoners, who have been worst in recent months.

Utility companies have not furloughed any staff during the coronavirus outbreak, and have, in fact, continued to hire.

Cash-strapped council fears second Covid spike

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Brent Council will not be able to offer the same levels of support to services in the borough if there is a second spike of Covid-19 infections, its chief executive has warned.

Carolyn Downs said the council will have to “think very, very carefully” about what it can and cannot offer if a second wave hits the area.

She said there would be analysis of who benefited from financial aid during the first rush of Covid-19 cases and a system of “prioritisation” put in place for any future instances.

“Our response to a second spike will be tempered by our financial position,” she said. “At the end of the day, we can’t go bankrupt – it’s not allowed.”

She added any decisions about who or what would benefit from support in the case of a second wave would be “entirely political”.

According to a report presented at a full council meeting earlier this month, it is facing a funding gap of around £23 million due to additional costs and lost income associated to coronavirus.

Ms Downs pointed out that, at the start of the pandemic, the Government told local authorities to do “whatever it takes” to get through it.

She noted the council has received “substantial amounts” of money from Whitehall, but she still anticipates a shortfall once everything has been tallied up.

Disruption expected at London Waterloo until this evening

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Disruption at the UK's busiest station is being caused a signalling problem between Vauxhall and London Waterloo.

Trains maybe cancelled, delayed or revised, while some services travelling towards London Waterloo may not call at Vauxhall.

Queen’s House Gallery to reopen in August

Queen’s House Gallery
Google

The Queen’s House Gallery at the National Maritime Museum will reopen on 10 August while the north side of the Royal Observatory Greenwich will open its doors on 3 August, Royal Museums Greenwich have announced.

Both attractions have been shut since lockdown began in March.

Visitors will still be able to see an exhibition which features the three surviving Armada portraits of Elizabeth I at the Queen’s House Gallery.

Faces of a Queen: The Armada Portraits of Elizabeth I sees the three paintings displayed together for the first time in their 430-year history and will run until 31 August.

Woburn Treasures, featuring the private art collection of The Duke and Duchess of Bedford, has also been extended until Easter 2021.

The Queen’s House remains free to enter but tickets need to be purchased in advance.

The Cutty Sark reopened earlier this month and Royal Museums Greenwich said the rest of the National Maritime Museum will open for visitors later in the summer.

Leisure centres to reopen

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Every leisure centre in the borough of Westminster, from Victoria to Little Venice, will reopen on Saturday (1 August).

It comes a week after the government allowed gyms and swimming pools to reopen across England.

A number of safety measures will be put in place at Westminster Council’s leisure centre in a bid to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus.

Woman arrested after party stab death

A 22-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder after a man was stabbed to death at a party.

The victim, 32, was pronounced dead at the scene in Hounslow, west London in the early hours of Thursday after he was found with stab wounds.

A 22-year-old woman was been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder over his death in Clements Court, Green Lane.

Detectives have launched a murder investigation and the victim's family has been told.

Met Police: 'Focus on violence' behind disproportionate force on black people

Nick Ephgrave
BBC

The "disproptionate use of force" by the Met Police against black people is because officers are "focussing efforts on those who are involved in perpetrating violence," Scotland yard has said.

Metropolitan Police officers are four times more likely to use force against black people compared with the white population,according to official figures.

Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave told the BBC the police response could only be judged when taking into account "the types of crimes committed, the type of demographics of individuals involved in those crimes".

Mr Ephgrave said he was "worried" by the "disproportionality" in the use of force.

"But I’m also worried by the fact that young black men, are much more likely to be stabbed in the street, much more likely to be the victim of serious violence, much more likely to be the victim of gun crime, and much more likely to be the perpetrator," he said.

"We are trying to prevent young people from whatever background being injured and becoming victims of gun crime, knife crime and serious violence," he said.

"And we have to therefore focus our efforts on those who are involved in perpetrating that violence - and that's going to end up in disproportionate interactions.

"I take no pleasure in saying this, and it must be hard reading for people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, but we do know that black men are disproportionately affected by these types of crimes. "If you simply look at disproportionality you're not seeing the full picture."

Watch the full interview tonight on BBC London at 18:30 BST on Thursday or catch up on iPlayer.

Man stabbed to death in residential west London street

Clements Court
Google

A man has been stabbed to death on a residential west London street.

The victim, believed to be in his early 30s, was found suffering from stab wounds on Clements Court, Hounslow, at about 02.45 this morning.

Despite treatment from London Ambulance Service he was pronounced dead at the scene.

His next of kin have been informed.

One person has been arrested in connection with the investigation.

A crime scene is in place around the area. Enquiries continue.

'I kept telling them I couldn’t breathe'

'I kept telling them I couldn’t breathe'

Nathan Addae says he contemplated suicide after being knocked unconscious during an arrest for alleged taxi touting at Heathrow Airport.

During the incident in October 2013, Mr Addae said the police confirmed he was working on a pre-booked job. Despite this, he says he was arrested and handcuffed with his arms behind his back.

He said: "That's when I realised it was going to be a racial case."

Official figures show that Met Police are four times more likely to use force against black people compared with the white population.

The Met Police said "the causes of disproportionality are not straight forward and easy to understand".

A formal complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) was made which "ultimately found there was no case to answer and Mr Addae's complaints were not upheld".

Read more here.

Met Police 'four times more likely' to use force on black people

Sam Francis

BBC News, London

Anaylsis of Met Police data shows officers were nearly four times more likely to use force against black people compared with the white population.

Restraint techniques - such as stirkes, wristlocks and groundpinning - were also three times more likely to be used on black people.

Serving and former officers in the Met have told the BBC this is down to "racial biases" among police.

But Scotland Yard said "the causes of disproportionality are not straight forward and easy to understand".

Using force is dangerous for both the police and the suspect. Police are more likely to end up injured than the target.

Last year 96 Met Officers were severely injured during use of force incidents - compared to 90 civilians.

Read more here.

data pic
BBC

Whipped cream sculpture unveiled in Trafalgar Square

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A sculpture depicting a whirl of cream topped with parasites has become the latest artwork to be unveiled on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

The End was created by British artist Heather Phillipson and is described as representing "exuberance and unease" and a "monument to hubris and impending collapse".

Passers-by will be able to use their mobile phones to live-stream what the camera-equipped drone on the sculpture can see or people can log in to a website remotely.

It is the 13th piece on the plinth and will stay in place until spring 2022.

Man charged after police officer stabbing

A man has been charged after a police officer was stabbed while on duty.

The 40-year-old has been charged with grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of a knife in a public place.

He is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court later.

The Metropolitan Police Federation said the officer suffered a "serious injury" while responding to an incident in Maida Vale on Tuesday evening; however, he has since been discharged.

The Police Federation said: "Sad to report a serious injury to a colleague (on Tuesday night).

"Stabbed in west London. We wish him well and he is being fully supported.

"Thankfully injuries are not as bad as they could have been.

"Yet again shows the dangers Metropolitan Police officers face each and every every day."

The federation has previously voiced concerns about members coming "under attack" in recent weeks.