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Iran plane crash: Tributes to three British nationals killed

Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, Sam Zokaei and Saeed Tahmasebi

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Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, Sam Zokaei and Saeed Tahmasebi were all on board

Tributes have been paid to three British nationals who died when a Ukrainian plane crashed in Iran.

Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, who owned a dry cleaners, BP engineer Sam Zokaei and PhD student and engineer Saeed Tahmasebi were all on board the flight.

They were among the 176 people from seven countries who died in the crash.

Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed just after taking off from Imam Khomeini airport at 06:12 local time (02:42 GMT).

The airline said the plane underwent scheduled maintenance on Monday.

A Downing Street spokesman said the UK was “working closely with the Ukrainian authorities and the Iranian authorities” over the crash, and there was “no indication” the plane was brought down by a missile.

As well as the three Britons, the victims in the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians – including all of the crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans and three Germans, Ukraine foreign affairs minister Vadym Prystaiko said.

Rescue teams have been sent to the crash site but the head of Iran’s Red Crescent told state media that it was “impossible” for anyone to have survived the crash.

Tributes were paid locally to Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh, 40, who ran a neighbourhood dry cleaners in Hassocks, West Sussex, and had a nine-year-old daughter.

Steve Edgington from the pet shop next door said he had known Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh for 14 years, and described him as a lovely, hardworking man who was good at his job and loved by staff.

Savvas Savvidis, 36, who rented a room in Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh’s home in Brighton, said he was a “super-nice person”.

“It’s so sad. Before he left we had a conversation, he told me that he spent all his life working, working really hard, and now finally he wants to start to enjoy life a bit more.”

Mr Savvidis described Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh as a humble man who loved his daughter very much.

The dry cleaners closed on Wednesday, with neighbouring businesses telling the BBC that staff were too upset to stay open.

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A sign on the window of Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh’s dry cleaners in Hassocks

Meanwhile, in a statement, BP said “with the deepest regret” that its employee Mr Zokaei, 42, from Twickenham, was among the passengers.

Mr Zokaei had been on holiday. He had worked for BP for 14 years and was based at the company’s site in Sunbury-on-Thames in Surrey.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic loss of our friend and colleague and all of our thoughts are with his family and friends,” BP said.

A friend of Mr Zokaei, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC they were “still in shock”.

“He was a highly accomplished person. Very clever and very friendly. Always smiling and full of positive energy. He will be sorely missed.

“He was always trying new adventures. He cycled and toured Europe on bikes a few times. He also loved travelling to interesting far out places.”

Also killed was Mr Tahmasebi, 35, who worked as an engineer for Laing O’Rourke in Dartford.

Last year, Mr Tahmasebi married his Iranian partner, Niloufar Ebrahim, who was also listed as a passenger on the plane.

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Mr Tahmasebi, pictured here last Valentine’s Day, recently married his partner

“Everyone here is shocked and saddened by this very tragic news,” said Laing O’Rourke.

“Saeed was a popular and well respected engineer and will be missed by many of his colleagues. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult time and we will do all we can to support them through it.”

‘Humble and generous’

Mr Tahmasebi – whose full name was Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi – was also a part-time PhD student at Imperial College London’s Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation.

A spokeswoman for the university said: “We are deeply saddened at this tragic news. Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi was a brilliant engineer with a bright future.

“His contributions to systems engineering earned respect from everyone who dealt with him and will benefit society for years to come.

“He was a warm, humble and generous colleague and close friend to many in our community. Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Saeed’s family, friends and colleagues, as well as all those affected by this tragedy.”

At Prime Minister’s Questions earlier, Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn both said their thoughts were with the families of those killed.

A UK Foreign Office spokesman has said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in the plane crash in Iran overnight.”

They said it was “urgently seeking confirmation” about how many British nationals were on board and would be supporting any families affected.

Melinda Simmons, British ambassador to Ukraine, said her thoughts are with those affected.

Ukraine’s state aviation service has forbidden its national airlines from using Iranian airspace from Thursday, with the restrictions in place until an investigation into the cause of the crash has concluded.

Ukraine’s embassy in Tehran and Iranian state television both initially said technical issues caused the crash.

But the embassy later removed this statement and said any comment regarding the cause of the accident prior to a commission’s inquiry was not official.

Ukraine said its entire civilian aviation fleet would be checked for airworthiness and criminal proceedings would be opened into the disaster.

The country’s president warned against “speculation or unchecked theories regarding the catastrophe” until official reports were ready.

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Flowers were laid outside the Canadian embassy in Kiev in remembrance of the 63 Canadians on board the flight

Ukrainian International Airlines said the flight disappeared from radar just a “few minutes” after take-off.

The Ukrainian national carrier said according to preliminary data there were 167 passengers and nine crew members on board but its staff were “clarifying the exact number”.

“The airline expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the air crash and will do everything possible to support the relatives of the victims,” a statement said.

The airline, which is investigating the crash, said the aircraft – a Boeing 737-800 – was built in 2016 and had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday.

There was no sign of any problems with the plane before take-off and the airline’s president said it had an “excellent, reliable crew”.

A statement from Boeing said its “heartfelt thoughts” were with all those affected following the “tragic event”.

There are several thousand Boeing 737-800s in operation around the world which have completed tens of millions of flights. They have been involved in 10 incidents, including this crash, where at least one passenger was killed, aviation safety analyst Todd Curtis told the BBC.

This is the first time a Ukraine International Airlines plane has been involved in a fatal crash.

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Norwich City 1-1 Crystal Palace: Connor Wickham scores late VAR-awarded equaliser

Connor Wickham’s strike was waved offside on the field but awarded by VAR

Crystal Palace substitute Connor Wickham scored a late equaliser awarded by video assistant referee to deny bottom side Norwich a much-needed victory at Carrow Road.

Wickham’s strike after turning in Wilfried Zaha’s cross was initially disallowed for offside, but a check by VAR showed the striker was being played on by Christoph Zimmermann’s outstretched boot.

Palace had struggled to create against a resolute Canaries defence – who remain without a clean sheet at home this season – after Todd Cantwell put the hosts in front after only four minutes.

But Norwich ultimately paid for not scoring a decisive second, having come close several times, with Emiliano Buendia drawing a fine save from Palace keeper Vicente Guaita and Kenny McLean hitting the underside of the crossbar.

A renewed Palace surged forward in search of a late winner but Norwich held firm to avoid further damage.

But the Canaries are now five points adrift at the bottom of the table following Watford’s win over Wolves earlier on Wednesday.

Zaha makes most of rare opening

‘We got our reward’ – Roy Hodgson praises Palace work ethic

Zaha was a frustrated figure for most of this game, failing to pick up the ball in space to take on his man and quickly swarmed by Norwich defenders when receiving it in a stationary position.

By cutting out his threat, Norwich seemed to have effectively prevented Palace from creating any clear chances, only for Zaha to prove his worth right at the end.

The Palace winger collected debutant Brandon Pierrick’s neat pass, stole a yard on Max Aarons and fired in an excellent cross for Wickham to convert.

Although the linesman raised his flag for offside, referee Jon Moss quickly consulted VAR, with replays showing that as the ball left Zaha’s foot, Wickham was behind the foot of Norwich’s last man Zimmermann.

After VAR had overturned a goal for Palace against Southampton on Saturday for a marginal call and following other more contentious decisions in Wednesday’s games, this was an example of the technology working efficiently and well.

A point for Palace sees them remain ninth, eight points off the top four.

Norwich needed a second

Todd Cantwell capped a fine Norwich move by sliding in the opener after only four mintues

Norwich looked to be on course for a first league win since November, and to at least keep pace with their relegation rivals, but their failure to convert chances when on top and a brief lapse in concentration mean they are now winless in eight Premier League matches.

The hosts made an ideal start, Buendia slaloming into the area after a one-two with Cantwell and firing in a shot that was deflected back into Cantwell’s path, with the 21-year-old calmly slotting under Guaita.

Palace appealed for offside and VAR was quickly consulted but Cantwell was clearly onside.

Buendia, Cantwell and striker Teemu Pukki tracked back throughout and provided enough outlet to ensure their side did not get drawn into sitting too deep for too long, even when Palace dominated possession in spells.

They were unfortunate not to score again, with McLean almost capping a sublime move but seeing his strike bounce back off the bar and Pukki failing to fashion a chance when one-on-one against Palace centre-back James Tomkins.

Despite a much stronger defensive showing, a brief lapse and a lack of clinical edge has cost Norwich a vital two points as they head in to a run of fixtures against Manchester United, relegation rivals Bournemouth and Tottenham, seven points from safety.

Man of the match – Emiliano Buendia (Norwich)

Another assist for Buendia, he also tracked back well and almost gave Norwich a second goal with a fine free-kick

‘It feels like a loss’ – manager reaction

Norwich manager Daniel Farke to BBC Sport: “I’m not sure that [Wickham was onside] when the ball left Zaha’s foot – if you can guarantee that, we accept the decision, if not, then it’s tricky. It feels tough.

“It’s difficult to score against Crystal Palace, they are so well-structured and balanced, we got the first goal but missed chances – the second goal would have decided the game.

“Conceding a equaliser so late, it feels like a loss. It will be a long road and a sensation for us to stay in this league but we won’t give up.”

Daniel Farke says Norwich’s draw with Palace ‘feels like a loss’

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson to BBC Sport: “It was very close [for the goal]. You think it might be offside and with the technology you see someone has stuck a foot out, leaned forward and the margins are fine.

“We took chances in the end with 4-2-4 and got our reward, the boldness of the move paid off.

“Connor Wickham has been unlucky with injuries – injury after injury, and he has not been available in my time at the club. It was nice he could play again and I am looking forward to seeing him playing on Sunday.”

Canaries keep dropping points from winning positions – match stats

  • Norwich have dropped 14 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season (all since the start of December), only West Ham have dropped more (15).
  • Connor Wickham’s equaliser for Crystal Palace was his first Premier League goal since netting against Manchester City back in November 2016.
  • No English midfielder has scored more Premier League goals than Norwich’s Todd Cantwell this season (6 – level with Dele Alli, James Maddison and Jack Grealish).
  • Norwich’s Emiliano Buendía has provided seven Premier League assists this season – only Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (8) and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne (12) have registered more in the competition in 2019-20.
  • At 18 years and 22 days old, substitute Brandon Pierrick became the second youngest player to feature for Crystal Palace in a Premier League game after George Ndah vs Liverpool in November 1992 (17 years and 341 days).



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London’s City Hall provides Christmas meals for homeless

Sadiq Khan hands out food

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Sadiq Khan helped serve 100 Christmas Dinners to guests at City Hall

Christmas dinners have been served to Londoners who are reliant on the city’s homelessness services.

Hairdressers and opticians were also made available at City Hall before guests were given a three-course meal.

Last year, 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London, an 18% increase since last year, and more than double the number in 2010.

“Events like this help bring a sense of community back in to London,” Claire, a former rough sleeper, told the BBC.

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Claire said she had been “looking forward” to the Christmas Dinner

Claire, who spent 30 years either living on the streets or in prison, said: “It’s the type of event that does matter. It forms partnerships and builds bonds.

“If it wasn’t for the support of St Mungo’s, I’d either be dead or doing what I was before.”

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Guests were treated to rendition of carols by the London International Gospel Choir

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Around 100 people who use London’s homeless services were invited to City Hall

Guests were chosen from the thousands of Londoners that currently receive assistance from services funded by City Hall and delivered by charities St Mungo’s and Thames Reach.

But Claire said services were still “hit and miss”.

“Where I live I’m still waiting for support with my mental health,” she added.

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Sadiq Khan said “it is shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do”

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Guests were given a three-course Christmas Dinner

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “St Mungo’s and Thames Reach are struggling with finances.

“Since I became mayor we’ve more than doubled the amount of money we’ve spent on rough sleeping and the size of our outreach team.

“But we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve not got the money or the resources to do much more – as it is I’m criticised for going outside my remit and my power.

“It is both heartbreaking and shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do.”

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Free opticians services were put on by charity Humanity First

Last year 15,470 people were accepted as being homeless by London councils.

There were 55,000 families living in temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and hostels.

Hundreds more people are estimated to be sleeping on London’s night buses.

Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper Services at St Mungo’s, said: “It’s wonderful that the Mayor has opened the doors of City Hall for this festive event.

“Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for clients in our services and our staff work hard to support those who stay with us over the holiday period.”

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Victoria station ‘at a standstill’ after signal failure

Victoria station

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A signal failure near East Croydon has been blamed for the travel chaos

London Victoria is “at a standstill” because of a “major signal failure” during rush-hour.

Part of the station, the country’s second busiest, is currently closed due to overcrowding fears. Services are facing delays and cancellations until the end of Wednesday.

Southern Rail, which operates many of the services, is advising passengers not to travel from Victoria.

About 75m passengers passed through London Victoria last year.

Images posted on social media showed hundreds of passengers held on the station concourse, unable to catch Southern, Southeastern and Gatwick Express trains.

Thameslink services out of London Bridge have also been affected by the problems.

Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove and Portslade, was caught up in the disruption. He described the central London hub as being “at a standstill”.

He tweeted: “I’m sorry to every passenger, I know there’s a lot more that needs sorting on this service, I’m fighting for that. You have been let down badly this evening.”

Network Rail apologised and advised people to find other routes if possible.



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Naturalist and presenter David Bellamy dies at 86

David Bellamy

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Conservationist David Bellamy died on Wednesday, the foundation he formed said

Naturalist and broadcaster David Bellamy has died aged 86, the Conservation Foundation he formed says.

London-born Bellamy, who became a household name as a TV personality, scientist and conservationist, died on Wednesday, according to the foundation.

His colleague, David Shreeve, described him as a “larger-than-life character” who “inspired a whole generation”.

In later life Bellamy, who lived in County Durham, attracted criticism for dismissing global warming.

In 2004 he described it as “poppycock” – a stance which he later said cost him his TV career.

Bellamy worked as a factory worker and a plumber before embarking on his broadcasting career.

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Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said Bellamy was a “brilliant naturalist, broadcaster & character”

He gained public recognition for his work as an environmental consultant over the Torrey Canyon oil spill, when a tanker was shipwrecked off the coast of Cornwall in 1967.

He went on to present programmes such as Don’t Ask Me, Bellamy On Botany, Bellamy’s Britain, Bellamy’s Europe and Bellamy’s Backyard Safari.

In 1979 he won Bafta’s Richard Dimbleby Award.

His distinctive voice also inspireed comedian Sir Lenny Henry’s catchphrase “grapple me grapenuts”.

Well-known figures have paid tribute to Bellamy, including comedy writer and fellow broadcaster Danny Baker, who described him as a “truly brilliant and canny broadcaster”.

Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said Bellamy was a “brilliant naturalist, broadcaster & character”, in a tribute posted on Twitter.

And actor David Morrissey tweeted that Bellamy “cared about nature and our environment deeply.”

Former England footballer Stan Collymore called him a “childhood icon”, adding that he “learnt about botany and shrubs and trees as a kid because of this man’s love and infectious enthusiasm.”

Bellamy’s wife Rosemary, with whom he had five children, died last year.

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Jaden Moodie: Accused killer ‘carried knife for safety’

Jaden Moodie

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Jaden Moodie was allegedly dealing drugs for a gang when he was targeted by a group of men

A man accused of murdering a 14-year-old boy sold drugs for a London gang so he could “survive”, and would carry a knife for “safety”, a court has heard.

Jaden Moodie was knocked off a moped and stabbed to death in Leyton, north-east London, on 8 January.

Ayoub Majdouline, who is accused of being one of five men who carried out the attack, told the Old Bailey he had sold drugs since he was 16 years old.

The 19-year-old, from Wembley, denies murder and possession of a knife.

Jaden had been out drug dealing for the Beaumont gang when he was attacked by alleged members of rival drug gang the “Mali Boys”, the court heard.

The teen was hunted down and repeatedly stabbed to death in a 14 second attack.

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The jury was shown CCTV of the attack, still of which Jaden’s parents asked to be published

The day before, Mr Majdouline was caught on CCTV at a Travelodge hotel in Walthamstow, with distinctive Nike Air Max trainers he was wearing during the knife attack on Jaden, jurors were told.

Majdouline was also wearing yellow rubber gloves, one of which was later found to have traces of the victim’s blood and the defendant’s DNA, it is claimed.

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Ayoub Majdouline was captured on CCTV in a hotel in Walthamstow, the day before the murder

Jurors heard the defendant had a troubled upbringing in Leyton and his parents had split up when he was seven.

While living with his mother, he was abused by his stepfather so went to live with his aunt, the court was told.

However, that relationship broke down and he ended up in foster care. His father also died in 2015.

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Blood-stained rubber gloves allegedly worn by Mr Majdouline were found near the crime scene

The court was told he had been identified as a victim of modern slavery by the National Crime Agency (NCA) over concerns he was being exploited by older youths.

Giving evidence, Mr Majdouline said he sold drugs “for and with” the Mali Boys gang, including as part of county lines dealing in Basingstoke, Ipswich and Andover.

He told jurors he was previously jailed for drug and knife offences but went straight back to dealing “to survive”

“At the time I did not feel like I was being supported by social services and I never lived by myself before,” he said.

He added that he got “confused” sorting out jobseekers’ allowance when he turned 18 and dealing had been “the only way I knew how to make money”.

Explaining why he carried a knife, Mr Majdouline said he had been “sliced” on one occasion in Basingstoke so carried a blade “for my own safety”.

The trial continues.

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Ayoub Majdouline denies murdering the teenager and possession of a knife

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‘Tube saviour’ hopes her story can inspire others

Asma Shuweikh and jewish father

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Asma Shuweikh

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Asma Shuweikh said she hopes her story can inspire others to “come together”

A woman who was praised for intervening to stop anti-Semitic abuse said she hopes her story can inspire others.

Asma Shuweikh, was reunited with the father of the family that was racially abused while travelling on the London Underground.

“We spoke about our common ground,” she told the BBC “we should learn to get along in this multi-faith world.”

A man has been arrested and bailed on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence.

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Asma Shuweikh has been praised online for intervening and trying to stop the abuse

In a video shared on social media a man was filmed reading Bible passages which are interpreted as being anti-Semitic to two boys in skullcaps travelling on the Northern Line.

Ms Shuweikh, who was widely praised for confronting the man in the video, said she “wouldn’t hesitate to do it again” and wished more people had intervened.

“The kids looked terrified. I’m a mother and I couldn’t just stand by,” she said.

“As a practising Muslim I can’t see injustice and not intervene. It goes against what we are taught.”

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Media captionAsma Shuweikh said she “wouldn’t hesitate to do it again”

Meeting with the father, who has chosen not to be named, was “really, really nice,” she said.

“We spent an hour talking. At the end of the day we all need to get along as we all live in this country.

“That’s what’s nice about Britain. it’s a multi-cultural society.”

“I hope that people see this story and realise when you go through these things we can come together and something good can come from it.”

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The video was recorded on a Northern Line service on 23 November.

Previously the father said that without her intervention, he thought the abuse might have escalated to physical violence.

He said: “We are certain that without her intervention and distraction, he would have continued his abuse.

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Ilford stabbing: Man killed in fight outside flats

Police crime scene in Ilford

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Police found the 19-year-old man after being called to reports of a fight in Ilford

A man was stabbed to death in a fight outside a block of east London flats in a “particularly vicious attack”.

The 19-year-old was found by police responding to reports of a disturbance outside Owen Waters House, in Fullwell Avenue, Ilford, on Tuesday night.

The victim died at the scene and his next of kin have been informed.

No arrests have been made but the Met said “the possibility that the murder is gang-related is a very strong line of inquiry”.

Police are establishing if the stabbing is linked to a fire at some nearby garages where a car was found burnt out.

The Met said fire crews had been called to the blaze at about 22:20 GMT while traces of blood had also been found around the vehicle.

Det Ch Insp Chris Soole described the killing as a “particularly vicious attack” and appealed for witnesses.

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A burnt-out car was found by some garages near to where the teenager was stabbed

A Section 60 Order – giving police stop-and-search powers – was put in place for the whole of the Redbridge borough until 06:30.

There have been five murder investigations in the borough in 2019 – three of which have been as a result of fatal stabbings.

Homicides in London since 2008

Annual homicides in the Met Police area

So far this year, almost 130 murder investigations have been launched in the capital.

Three investigations have been carried out by British Transport Police and 124 have been investigated by the Met.


At the scene – Greg McKenzie, BBC London

A forensic tent is outside the tower block marking the spot where the teenager died.

Residents have been telling me about rising tensions in the last few weeks. The block – just off a main road in Ilford – is known as a meeting point for drug dealers and people said the issue is “rampant”.

They have also described a lot of “youth disturbance and violence” in the area and expressed their fear, anger and shock.

Officers have been coming in and out of the flats and they are trying to work out whether a burnt-out car is linked to the fatal stabbing.

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Arsene Wenger: Fifa appoints former Arsenal manager to senior role

Arsene Wenger saluted the Arsenal fans after his final game in charge, away at Huddersfiled on 14 May, 2018

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is returning to football after he agreed to become Fifa’s new chief of global football development.

The move ends speculation linking the Frenchman, 70, with a return to management as Bayern Munich boss.

Wenger left the Gunners in May 2018, after 22 years in charge, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.

“I very much look forward to taking on this extremely important challenge,” he said.

Wenger’s new role at the world governing body will help to develop men’s and women’s football, as well as technical aspects of the sport.

He will now be a member of the technical panel of the International Football Association Board, and chairman of Fifa’s technical study group.

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Man admits to trying to rob Arsenal stars Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac

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Media captionFootage posted online showed Sead Kolasinac fighting off an attacker

A second man has admitted trying to rob Arsenal footballers Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac in a moped ambush.

Jordan Northover, 26, pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to attempting to steal watches from the pair in Hampstead, north-west London.

His co-accused Ashley Smith, 30, of Archway in North London, admitted his role in the crime in October.

CCTV footage showed Bosnian defender Kolasinac chasing off the two masked attackers on 25 July

In the video, that circulated on social media, 26-year-old Kolasinac is seen fighting off two men who are wielding knives.

He can be seen jumping out of a vehicle to confront the masked men who had pulled alongside the car on mopeds.

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Arsenal Football Club said both Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Özil were fine after the incident

In the footage, both carjackers were seen to be armed and were filmed brandishing knives at full-back Kolasinac.

World Cup winner Özil can also be seen in his black Mercedes G class jeep before he reportedly took refuge in a Turkish restaurant.

Kolasinac and Germany midfielder Özil were left out of the Arsenal side ahead of the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign after the incident.

Judge Rosa Dean said Smith would be sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday.

Northover will be sentenced at a later date.

Özil told the Athletic sports site that he was scared for his wife Amine as the attackers pursued his car.

“Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers,” he said.

“I tried to move the car, block them, escape, but each time they would be there. My wife was extremely scared.”

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