Saturday, 9 January 2016

Sian Blake: Partner held in Ghana over EastEnders actress's murder

  • 3 hours ago
  • From the sectionEngland
Arthur Simpson-KentImage copyrightBBC pictures
Image captionArthur Simpson-Kent was arrested hidden amongst some rocks along the coast of Ghana
The partner of a former EastEnders actress who was murdered alongside her two young sons has been arrested in Ghana.
Arthur Simpson-Kent, 48, was detained earlier, two days after the Ghanaian police began their hunt for him.
The bodies of Sian Blake, 43, Zachary, eight, and Amon, four, were discovered in the garden of their London home on Tuesday.
The family had been reported missing on 16 December.
Sian BlakeImage copyrightMet Police
Image captionSian Blake played Frankie Pierre in the BBC One soap between 1996 and 1997
The Met Police said it had been "made aware of an arrest in Ghana" and was "working alongside the Ghanaian authorities but is not in a position to discuss further at this time".
BBC correspondent Alistair Leithead, who is in Ghana, said Mr Simpson-Kent was arrested in a coastal area popular with tourists.
"Around 10 police officers went down to the beach where he was spotted hiding amongst some rocks and the police, who were all armed, called out to him," he said.
Media captionThe BBC's Alastair Leithead reports from the "remote cove" where Arthur Simpson-Kent was found
"He gave himself up and they found that he had a knife on him, but he didn't use it in a threatening way.
"He was then taken to a nearby village where police thanked the people who had informed them he was in this area."
Mr Leithead said the arrest involved Met and Ghanaian Police as well as officers from Interpol.
Zachary, eight, and four year old AmonImage copyrightBlake Family
Image captionZachary, eight, and four year old Amon were last seen on 13 December with their mother
EastEnders promotional shot of Sian Blake as Frankie Pierre
Image captionSian Blake played Frankie Pierre in EastEnders in 1996 and 1997
Mr Simpson-Kent, the children's father, arrived in Ghana on 19 December, with the country's police force becoming involved in the hunt for him on Thursday.
Ghanaian Police had initially been sent to the Cape Coast in the south of the country - where the extended Simpson family is from - as well as to other parts of the Atlantic shoreline.
Ms Blake and the couple's sons had not been not seen at their south-east London home since 13 December and a missing persons inquiry launched on 16 December, after the NSPCC had raised concerns about their welfare.


  • 13 December: Sian Blake is last seen in Waltham Forest, east London, with her sons Zachary, eight, and Amon, four.
  • 16 December: Police visit her home in Erith and speak to Mr Simpson-Kent. This is the last time he is seen.
  • 3 January: Miss Blake's car is found in Bethnal Green, east London
  • 5 January: Bodies found at her home in Erith, south east London
  • 6 January: Police announce Mr Simpson-Kent is thought to have travelled to Ghana
  • 8 January: Sian Blake and her two sons are confirmed dead

The Met Police spoke to Mr Simpson-Kent on 16 December, but that was the last time he was seen.
A subsequent search of the family home in Erith, south east London, on 5 January uncovered three bodies in the garden.
The actress and her two sons had died from neck and head injuries, post-mortem tests revealed.
Ms Blake's sister Ava Blake spoke last week about how she believed the actress had wanted to leave her boyfriend.
She said: "It's my nephews more than anything. My brother is angry. My cousins are angry.
Ava (left) and Pansy Blake the sister and mother of murdered actress Sian BlakeImage copyrightPA
Image captionAva (left) and Pansy Blake are the sister and mother of murdered actress Sian Blake
Sian Blake with son AmonImage copyrightFamily picture
Image captionMs Blake had motor neurone disease and her family said her relationship with Mr Simpson-Kent had deteriorated
"They are angry about Sian, but the boys have devastated us. We have lost a generation. We can never replace them."
She said her sister had been "a lot more quiet" over the past year and had asked to move back home.
"In our opinion the relationship had already come to an end but she hadn't quite made that break or that decision to leave Arthur," she said.
Ms Blake, who had motor neurone disease, had played Frankie Pierre in 56 episodes of EastEnders between 1996 and 1997.
The Met has been criticised over delays in its investigation and is being investigated by the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Russian viral video of doctor hitting patient who dies

  • 8 hours ago
  • From the sectionEurope
CCTV footage of attack in Belgorod hospital (Image copyrightRossiya 24
Image captionCCTV footage from a hospital in Belgorod showed the moment of the attack
CCTV footage has emerged of a Russian hospital doctor punching a patient who collapsed and later died.
The incident took place in the city of Belgorod, 670km (440 miles) south of the capital, Moscow, on 29 December.
The patient had earlier kicked a nurse, after which the doctor punched him in the head, Russian media reported.
Investigators think it was a case of "involuntary manslaughter", one official told Russian TV, but have launched a criminal case.
The story went viral after the CCTV footage came to light.
Yelena Kozyreva from the local investigations committee said they believed there was no malicious intent in the doctor's actions.
Relatives identified the patient as Yevgeniy Bakhtin, 56, a resident of Belgorod,LifeNews TV reported.
The doctor has been named as Ilya Zelendinov, according to the privately owned channel Ren TV.

Cologne attacks: Pegida and police clash at migrant protest

  • 39 minutes ago
  • From the sectionEurope
Media captionAnna Holligan reports from the scene of the demonstrations
Riot police have used water cannon to disperse anti-migrant protesters in the German city of Cologne.
Right-wing groups, headed by the anti-Islam Pegida movement, gathered after reports emerged of a wave of sexual assaults on women on New Year's Eve.
Violence flared after a rally which heard condemnation of Chancellor Angela Merkel's migrant policy.
Mrs Merkel has proposed changes to make it easier to deport asylum-seekers who commit crimes.
Hundreds of police were deployed in Cologne to tackle demonstrators, who threw firecrackers and bottles. Several arrests were made.
Pro-migrant activists held a simultaneous counter-demonstration. Earlier, hundreds of women's right activists rallied in the city.
The New Year's Eve attacks, some of which were carried out by men of North African and Arab appearance, have led to criticism of Mrs Merkel's policies.
The police's handling of the events has also been sharply criticised.
Victims described chaos as dozens of sexual assaults and robberies were carried out with little apparent response from the authorities around Cologne station.
Protesters outside Cologne cathedral (9 January)Image copyrightGetty Images
Image captionVarious groups protested outside Cologne cathedral on Saturday


Mrs Merkel, speaking after a meeting of her Christian Democrat party leadership in Mainz, proposed tightening the law on denying the right of asylum for those who have committed crimes.
Under the new plans, those on probation could be deported too.
German chancellor chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Party, CDU, Angela Merkel, speaks during a news conference at a party conference in Mainz. Germany, Saturday Jan. 9, 2016Image copyrightAP
Image captionThe refugee policy has come to define Mrs Merkel's leadership
"When crimes are committed, and people place themselves outside the law... there must be consequences," she told reporters after the meeting.
Under current German laws, asylum seekers are only forcibly sent back if they have been sentenced to at least three years' imprisonment, and providing their lives are not at risk in their countries of origin.
The move, which will still need parliamentary approval, follows the New Year's Eve attacks, which sparked outrage in Germany.
Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative for Migration, said Mrs Merkel's latest move seemed "entirely appropriate".
He added: "The full application of the criminal law against those who behave in the way that has apparently taken place is appropriate, and they should not be entitled to asylum.
"However, on the other hand, one must not overreact against a whole category of people."
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Merkel under pressure - BBC's Anna Holligan in Cologne

Angela Merkel's challenge is to reassure an increasingly pessimistic public that she has a long-term plan. The chancellor showed compassion when she welcomed more than a million refugees and migrants into Germany in 2015. Now she is under pressure to make clear there are limits to German tolerance.
Anti-immigration campaigners have seized on the Cologne incident as an example of what they see as the failure of the country's asylum policy. The prominence of the far-right Pegida movement was fading. It is now using the attacks as a propaganda tool.
On the other side of what is a widening chasm, established Islamic groups here have expressed fears that the actions of a few may jeopardise the future of many.
With tension rising and tolerance waning, Germany's doors remain open, but many here are increasingly asking: For how long and at what cost?
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Police also said on Saturday that the number of reported cases of violence on New Year's Eve had risen substantially.
A statement issued by Cologne police on Saturday (in German) said the number had reached 379 - 40% of them cases of sexual assault.
"Those in focus of criminal police investigations are mostly people from North African countries. The majority of them are asylum-seekers and people who are in Germany illegally," the statement said.
Germany has accepted more than a million migrants and refugees in the past year.
Officials have warned that anti-immigrant groups have been trying to use the attacks to stir up hatred.
Media caption"Twenty or 30 men surrounded us and we couldn't even move anymore"
Image copyrightEPA
Image captionLeft-wing groups have also protested about violence against women
A shop assistant sets up a row of pepper spray in a showcase of a gunsmith's shop in BerlinImage copyrightReuters
Image captionSales of pepper spray have reportedly risen
Similar attacks to those seen in Cologne were also reported in Hamburg and in Stuttgart on New Year's Eve. In Bielefeld, hundreds of men tried to force their way into nightclubs, Die Welt reports (in German).
Police said several women had alleged sexual assault.
On Friday, the chief of police for North Rhine-Westphalia was suspended. Wolfgang Albers had been accused of holding back information about the Cologne attacks, in particular about the origin of the suspects.

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