A court case against four people accused of damaging an ambulance during World Cup celebrations in London last year has been dropped.
The car was taken out of service when it was damaged in Borough High Street following England’s quarter-final win over Sweden on 7 July last year.
Three men and and a woman were due to appear at Inner London Crown Court next month charged with criminal damage.
The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed they offered no evidence on the case.
The four people who will no longer face trial are:
Perry Kangyue Jian, 26, from Poplar, London; Larissa Bell, 21, from East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire; James Elton, 27, from West Hampstead, London and Scott Dennett, 25, from Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire.
|Saracens (23) 44|
|Tries: Maitland, Spencer, Williams, Tompkins 3 Cons: Farrell 4 Pens: Farrell 2|
|Gloucester (7) 19|
|Tries: Morgan, Dreyer, Ludlow Cons: Twelvetrees 2 Pens:|
Nick Tompkins’ second-half hat-trick helped Saracens cruise past Gloucester 44-19 and keep up their hopes of a second domestic and European double.
Ben Morgan’s second-minute try was cancelled out by scores from Sean Maitland, Ben Spencer and Liam Williams as Owen Farrell kicked eight points in an engrossing first half.
Replacement Tompkins’ treble came in the first 16 minutes after the break.
Ruan Dreyer and Lewis Ludlow got consolation tries for Gloucester.
Victory set up a final date at Twickenham next Saturday against old foes Exeter, who Saracens beat to lift the Premiership crown in both 2016 and 2018.
Gloucester looked like they could upset the form book as Morgan went over after a superb six-pass move that included a lovely reverse ball by Mark Atkinson to open up a hole in the Saracens defence.
But Mark McCall’s side showed why they are Europe’s best as they strangled Gloucester’s ambitions and pressurised them with high balls and front-foot defence.
They hit back within two minutes as Maitland gathered Farrell’s grubber kick, after Williams acrobatically kept the ball alive from the kick-off, before Spencer crossed after a brilliant 40-metre break and dummy by Maro Itoje.
Gloucester’s first half was summed up by two moments in the final 10 minutes – first Charlie Sharples’ pass after a lovely backs move was intercepted by Alex Goode when the Cherry and Whites had an overlap, and then Alex Lozowski snaffled a high kick and fed Sarries’ Wales and British and Irish Lions star Williams, who coasted into the corner.
First-half replacement Tompkins’ first score was a 40-metre dash a minute after the restart, while his second came at the end of some slick inter-passing from his team-mates and his third was from a metre out after Goode was held up on the Gloucester line.
Front-row replacement Dreyer got one try back after a lovely dummy opened up a gap under the posts while Ludlow ran in from distance following a cute Billy Twelvetrees offload.
But Saracens were not troubled as they made a fifth Premiership final in six years.
Farrell wins battle with Cipriani
The pre-match hype centred on the contest between arguably the best two fly-halves in the country as double Player of the Year Cipriani faced up against England’s first-choice Owen Farrell.
Saracens’ defence did not allow Gloucester the opportunities to get the ball into Cipriani’s hands and show his talent, while Farrell was key to his side’s first try.
Although the Saracens man did miss a number of kickable penalties, barring injury you would expect Farrell to be the one of the first men on the plane to Japan for the World Cup.
Whether Cipriani’s performance has persuaded Eddie Jones that he should join him is still in the balance.
Saracens sweat over Barritt
Saracens’ only concern from the victory was seeing skipper Brad Barritt limp off after 27 minutes.
The former England centre appeared to have a hamstring problem and would seem a major doubt for next week’s showpiece at Twickenham.
However, his replacement Tompkins proved a more than able deputy as his tries snuffed out any hope of a Cherry and Whites comeback.
“It’s devastating to lose Brad and it’s very unlikely he’ll be able to play in the final,” said Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall. “Given what he’s given the team this year, that feels very sad.
“Nick has had a phenomenal game. He’s been involved in every Premiership and European game this season. He’s been one of the players who has risen this year.”
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:
“I feel quite funny because the scoreline does them [Gloucester] a disservice. We need to be better against whoever we play at Twickenham next weekend.
“It’s almost perfect because we’ve won comfortably and scored some good tries, but still have a frustrated changing room.
“If we want to get the result we want [in the final], then we need to be better. The players understand that.
“For 10 minutes before half-time and 10 minutes after, we took advantage of some crucial turnovers. Our ability to recover the ball from kicks was outstanding.
“But there were other parts of the game we weren’t too happy with, so there are enough things for us to fix.”
Saracens: Goode; Williams, Lozowski, Barrett (capt), Maitland; Farrell, Spencer; Barrington, George, Koch, Skelton, Kruis, Itoje, Wray, B Vunipola.
Replacements: Gray, Adams-Hale, Judge, Isiekwe, Rhodes, Wigglesworth, Tompkins, Strettle.
Gloucester: Woodward; Sharples, Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Marshall; Cipriani, Heinz (capt); Hohneck, Marais, Balmain, Slater, Mostert, Ackermann, Kriel, Morgan.
Replacements: Sherry, Rapava Ruskin, Dreyer, Savage, Ludlow, Polledri, Vellacott, Purdy.
Referee: Luke Pearce.
A man has been arrested after a gun was fired outside a mosque in east London during Ramadan prayers.
Police were called to reports of a man with a firearm entering the Seven Kings Masjid in Ilford at 22:45 BST on 9 May.
A 28-year-old man was arrested earlier on suspicion of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence, possession with intent to supply, and assaulting a police officer.
Evidence suggested the weapon was a blank-firing handgun, police said.
Nobody was hurt in the incident. The arrested man remains in custody.
Climate activists inside five large containers have blocked the entrances to BP’s head office in central London.
The Greenpeace protesters used cranes to transport the heavy boxes into place at St James’s Square in the early hours of the morning.
Other campaigners abseiled down the side of the building to block windows and display banners.
Greenpeace says those inside the containers have enough food and water to last them for several days.
The aim is to keep BP’s headquarters closed “for at least the whole of this AGM week”, Greenpeace said. BP’s annual general meeting is set to take place in Aberdeen on Tuesday.
Greenpeace said it was carrying out the action to call on BP to end exploration for oil and gas, and only invest in renewable energy.
One campaigner, Morton Thaysen, told the BBC the group was planning a “long-term occupation of BP’s headquarters”.
Four people have been arrested for aggravated trespass after some protesters scaled the building.
Officers from the Met Police are in St James’s Square and said there had been no reported injuries.
At the scene
Becky Cafe, BBC London
As far as protests go, this doesn’t have the energy of the recent Extinction Rebellion demonstrations that closed off main arteries in central London. Then, it was very difficult to avoid the sound systems and banners.
This time it’s a very quiet protest tucked down a side street just off a main road leading to Piccadilly Circus. This has meant little disruption to businesses, shoppers and tourists.
However it has disrupted the protesters’ intended target, BP, as staff are unable to enter the building and have been told to work from home.
The boxes have been custom made to fit perfectly in the space in front of every entrance to BP’s offices, other than the fire exit.
Inside each box are two Greenpeace protesters with more sitting on top, looking around.
But as the police have cordoned off the entire road, it is very difficult for people to see what’s going on so you wonder how long the protest will have an impact.
In a statement, BP said: “We welcome discussion, debate, even peaceful protest on the important matter of how we must all work together to address the climate challenge, but impeding safe entry and exit from an office building in this way is dangerous and clearly a matter for the police to resolve as swiftly as possible.”
A company employee said staff had not been told what was happening.
“I’m thinking to go home because it will take the police a while to get the protesters abseiling off the building,” the staff member said.
A young woman was killed in the London Bridge attack after she ran to the aid of another victim, telling her friends, “I’m a nurse, I have to go and help”, an inquest has heard.
Kirsty Boden, 28, was stabbed in the head as she knelt over restaurant waiter Alexandre Pigeard as he lay dying, the Old Bailey heard.
Footage of her being set upon was shown at the inquest into the deaths of those killed in the London Bridge attack.
Eight people died on 3 June 2017.
Australian Ms Boden, dubbed the “angel of London Bridge”, had been out for a meal with two friends when she heard the three attackers’ van crash into the railings above and debris falling onto the outside tables.
Gareth Patterson QC, the lawyer for her family, said Ms Boden got up within seconds of the crash.
The off-duty nurse, who worked at Guy’s Hospital, was thinking of others rather than her own safety, he said.
A statement from Ms Boden’s friend, Melanie Schroeder – one of the friends she was dining with – was read out to the jury on Friday.
Ms Schroeder, who had previously asked Ms Boden to be her bridesmaid at her wedding, said: “Kirsty jumped up and said, ‘I’m a nurse. I have to go and help. I need to see if they need help’.
“Kirsty headed off and I thought nothing of it,” she said.
Ms Schroeder said she then remembered hearing screaming and thinking people should calm down because it was “just a crash”.
The friends fled the restaurant with the other diners, and when they returned Ms Schroeder said she saw Ms Boden’s body on the ground, which she recognised “because of her bright pink cardigan”.
Ms Boden, who had suffered stab wounds, was alive but unable to speak, Ms Schroeder said.
Ms Schroeder and a GP tried to revive her friend, while Ms Mooney attempted to find emergency medical help, but Ms Boden died at their side.
Courtroom in awe at selflessness
BBC reporter Hanna Yusuf, at the inquest
Dreams, hopes and friendships were terminated on the night Australian nurse Kirsty Boden lost her life.
The courtroom watched in awe as footage of a selfless Ms Boden getting up from her dinner with friends – to help victims after hearing a crash – was played.
The clips illustrated a night that violently broke up the friendship trio of Ms Boden, Melanie Schroeder and Harriet Mooney.
In statements read aloud, Ms Schroeder and Ms Mooney emotively described the night during which they saw their friend die.
The desperation in their attempts to save the life of their friend, who was supposed to be Ms Schroeder’s bridesmaid, was palpable.
There was a collective shudder as the court watched the moment Khuram Butt made a stabbing motion at a faint figure identified as Ms Boden.
The court was reminded that the breakdown of moments that seemed lifelong, and were life-changing, happened over a matter of seconds in real time.
The inquest heard how Ms Boden was set upon by all three attackers – Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba.
The three had crashed their car on London Bridge before running through Borough Market.
They were shot dead near the market around 10 minutes after their attack began.
Lawyer Mr Patterson said the tip of a knife carried by attacker Butt, 27, was later found embedded in Ms Boden’s head.
The jury heard an account from witness Alexandre Colou, who said he saw the moment Ms Boden fell as crowds of people fled the attackers.
“Her eyes were moving wildly,” he said. “She had difficulties breathing. I was talking to her and then her eyes stopped moving.
“I said ‘stay awake, stay awake, stay with me’.”
The stories emerging from the inquest
- Australian au pair Sara Zelenak was being helped up by a passer-by after slipping over in her high heels when they were both fatally stabbed.
- The first person stabbed in the attack, Richard Livett, described coming “nose to nose” with attacker Khuram Butt, who shouted “Allahu Akbar” in his face before stabbing him in the back.
- PC Mia Kerr recalled how she discovered victim Sebastien Belanger lying in the street and used her baton to protect other members of the public from the attackers.
- Off-duty nurse Helen Kennett told how she asked one of the London Bridge attackers what was wrong with him before he stabbed her in the neck. She survived the attack.
The inquest also heard from British Transport Police constable, Wayne Marques, who previously spoke to the BBC about being the first officer to confront all three of the attackers.
At the inquest, PC Marques told of how he had been on patrol, armed with only a baton, when he ran to the aid of Marie Bondeville, her boyfriend Oliver Dowling, and Richard Livett.
He said he was initially alerted by a woman’s scream and people running up and down Borough High Street.
As he went to investigate, he told the court he was approached by a man running, before finding Richard Livet lying in a pool of blood.
He then noticed a man grabbing Ms Bondeville and told the court how the attacker appeared to punch her three or four times, before she fell to the floor, face down.
PC Marques then described the moment he saw Mr Dowling being stabbed in the neck.
He said: “I got my baton out and charged the first attacker… my intention was to hit him as hard as I could with all my weight behind me with everything I had. I knew he was trying to kill the man on the floor.”
PC Marques said as the first attacker began to “crumble” the officer felt an “almighty blow” to his head – which impaired his vision.
He said: “At this point I saw a knife coming towards me. Through instinctive reaction I defended myself.”
The officer said “a messy fight” ensued with the second attacker, before the third ran over.
Although PC Marques was stabbed multiple times, he said: “My job at that stage was to hold on and keep them fighting until the cavalry arrived.”
Britain’s Cameron Norrie was knocked out in the second round of the Italian Open following a 6-2 6-2 defeat by 13th seed Borna Coric.
Norrie, 23, was the only British male to make it through to the second round after beating Australia’s John Millman.
Coric converted two of his four break points to win the opening set and broke again twice in the second to win in less than an hour in Rome.
The Croat will face Swiss Roger Federer or Portugal’s Joao Sousa next.
British number one Johanna Konta takes on American seventh seed Sloane Stephens in the women’s second round on Wednesday.
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says the club must respect Eden Hazard’s decision about his future but is hopeful the forward will choose to stay at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard has scored 16 goals for the Blues this season and has been strongly linked with a summer move to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The 28-year-old says he has made a decision over his future and has informed the club.
“I hope he will stay,” said Sarri.
“I think Eden has played here in Chelsea for seven seasons, trying in every match to do his best and now it’s time to respect his decision.”
Hazard has just a year left on his contract having joined from Lille for £32m in 2012.
Chelsea fans held up a banner before Sunday’s Premier League finale against Leicester, pleading with the Belgian to stay.
After a substitute appearance in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Leicester the Belgium international revealed he has made the club aware of his decision.
“Yes. A couple of weeks ago. Yes I have made my decision but it is not just about me,” said Hazard. “I have made my decision, that’s it.”
When asked if his future will become clear after the Europa League final against Arsenal on 29 May he added: “I think so. We have a final to play and then I will see.”
Hazard also admitted he wanted his future resolved earlier to avoid it being the season-long saga it has become.
“Yes, I wanted that but that’s not happened. I’m still waiting like you are waiting and like the fans are waiting,” he said.
“When you are on the pitch, you try to be focused on the pitch with the ball. That’s it. When I am on the pitch I just try to do the best.
“I am not thinking about this and this, my situation or the club’s situation. I just try to win games.”
Sunday’s point means the Blues finish the domestic campaign in third place after Tottenham drew 2-2 with Everton.
Next up is the Europa League final in Baku, Azerbaijan.
“The season is good,” added Sarri.
“We were in trouble two or three months ago but third place is a very good result.
“Now we have to go to Baku for the Europa League final and we have the chance for our season to be wonderful.”
- How to follow:
- Listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC local radio; text commentary on the BBC Sport website
The Europa League has become an “attractive” tournament everyone wants to win, says Arsenal boss Unai Emery.
Emery’s side hold a 3-1 advantage over Valencia after the first leg of their semi-final with the second leg taking place in Spain on Thursday.
The Spaniard won the trophy three times as Sevilla boss and says the incentive of a Champions League spot for the winners has improved the tournament.
“It’s an attractive title and it’s getting more attractive,” said Emery.
“I first competed for this title when it was still the Uefa Cup and was a lesser title than it is now.
“It has grown and I have seen that shift. Giving teams a Champions League place through the Europa League is a fair reward and it’s a title they all want to win.
“It’s an important title for those teams not in the Champions League – and for some who drop into it as a second chance, like Valencia did this season.”
Emery managed Valencia from 2008 to 2012 and then won the Europa League in 2014, 2015 and 2016 while in charge of Sevilla.
“The first time I won it with Sevilla, we didn’t get Champions League access; the second time, we did,” said the 47-year-old in his first season as Arsenal boss.
“The demands are high and everyone wants it, as a title, not just a way in [to the Champions League]. At any club like Arsenal or Valencia, titles have to be the objectives.
“Arsenal only have two European titles in their history: the old Fairs Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup, neither of which [still] exist, so I have a lot of ambition to win a title.”
Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at home against Brighton on Sunday all but ended their hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four.
“We started with two possible routes to the Champions League, one through the Premier League and the second through the Europa League,” added Emery.
“We’re finished in the Premier League, no possibility, but we have a possibility in this competition.
“With big ambition, full motivation, strong mentality, I want to enjoy this game. Games like this, away, difficult team, for an important target is all positive for us.”
Marcelino aims to take inspiration from Liverpool
Like Arsenal, Valencia are fifth in their domestic league with the Europa League representing their best chance of securing Champions League football.
Mouctar Diakhaby gave the Spanish side an early lead in London but two goals from Alexandre Lacazette and an injury-time third from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Arsenal a healthy advantage.
Valencia coach Marcelino says his side can take inspiration from Liverpool – who overturned a three-goal first-leg deficit by beating Barcelona 4-0 on Tuesday to reach the Champions League final.
“That game demonstrates that anything can happen,” said Marcelino.
“It’s a lesson that tells us if we play to our maximum we’ll have the chance to make it to the final.
“Every game is different and just because Liverpool beat Barcelona it doesn’t mean we have to knock out Arsenal, but if we do pull it off it’s because we believed we could be in the final.”
- No team has lost the first leg of a Uefa Cup/Europa League semi-final by two or more goals and gone through since Espanyol did it against Club Brugge in 1988.
- In total, five of the previous 28 teams to lose the first leg of a Uefa Cup/Europa League semi-final by two or more goals have ended up progressing.
- Including finals, Arsenal manager Unai Emery has won his past 18 Europa League knockout ties, last being eliminated from the competition in the 2011-12 semi-finals -with Valencia.
- Arsenal have never lost a European tie in which they won the first leg by two or more goals, progressing from all 27 previously.
- Valencia are looking to reach their first major European final since the 2004 Uefa Cup, when they beat Marseille 2-0 under Rafael Benitez.
- Arsenal’s last appearances in a European final was in 2006, losing the Champions League showpiece against Barcelona. They have lost their past three major European finals (1995 Cup Winners Cup, 2000 UEFA Cup, 2006 Champions League).
- Valencia have won both of their two previous home games against Arsenal, beating them 1-0 in the 2000-01 Champions League quarter-final and 2-1 in the 2002-03 Champions League second group stage.
- Valencia were unbeaten in 20 home games in all competitions (won 15, drew five) – but then lost their most recent match at Mestalla Stadium, 1-0 to Eibar in La Liga on 28 April.
- Valencia’s Kevin Gameiro has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last 11 starts in home Europa League games, scoring nine and assisting one.
- Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette has scored eight goals in his last 10 Europa League knockout stage games.
A man arrested over the abduction and rape of three women in and around London is being investigated for other attacks involving nine further victims.
Joseph McCann, 34, was arrested in Congleton, Cheshire, after two girls, aged 14, were abducted in the town.
He is being investigated over attacks in Cheshire, Manchester and Lancashire, on victims aged between 11 and 71.
Det Ch Insp Katherine Goodwin, of the Metropolitan Police, said the attacks were “grotesque and horrifying”.
The officer urged other victims to come forward and said police wanted to hear from anyone who had been approached by Mr McCann or in contact with him between February and May.
Mr McCann was found in a tree in Smithy Lane on Sunday evening and arrested after a stand-off with police negotiators.
He had been spotted in the town after two girls were forced into a car that afternoon.
Met detectives are now investigating him in connection with a number of other attacks earlier that day.
These include the false imprisonment of a woman in Haslingden, Lancashire, in which a teenage girl and a boy, 11, were raped and the abduction and rape of a 71-year-old in Bury, Manchester.
The suspect is also being investigated over the abduction of two 13-year-old boys and the abduction and sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl in Heywood, Manchester, at about 15:30 BST on Sunday.
Det Ch Insp Goodwin said the attacks were believed to have taken place between 21 April and 5 May.
“Detectives from the Met continue to lead on this investigation and are working very closely with policing counterparts where he is suspected to have carried out further offences,” she said.
Mr McCann was also wanted for questioning over the abduction and rape of a 21-year-old woman at knifepoint in Watford, Hertfordshire, in the early hours of 21 April.
The Met Police launched an appeal to find Mr McCann after two women in their 20s were snatched off streets in London and raped in a car in London on 25 April.
AFC Wimbledon guaranteed another season of League One football after a goalless draw at bottom side Bradford City.
Bradford’s Kelvin Mellor and Anthony O’Connor had the best chances of a quiet first half as Dons keeper Aaron Ramsdale made some smart saves.
Wimbledon came to life after the break as Joe Pigott had an effort cleared off the line and Mitch Pinnock shot wide from the edge of the box.
The Dons’ run of just one loss in their final 12 games ensured a fourth successive season in the third tier as they avoided relegation by virtue of goal difference from Plymouth Argyle.
It is a remarkable escape for the club who were 10 points from safety fewer than three months ago – but just two defeats in that time saw them climb the table and move out of the bottom four last week after a 2-1 win over Wycombe.
Meanwhile, Bradford’s disastrous season came to an end having gone through three managers and won just 11 of their 46 matches to conclude the campaign nine points from safety.