■ Police kept in dark about abuse at top Catholic schools
SEXUAL abuse at two leading Catholic schools over four decades was likely to be ‘considerably’ more widespread than conviction figures reflect, a report has found.
Monks at Ampleforth in North Yorkshire (pictured above) and Downside in Somerset hid allegations of ‘appalling sexual abuse’ against pupils as young as seven to protect the church’s reputation.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) made the claims in a withering report on the English Benedictine Congregation, which has 10 monasteries in England and Wales.
Ten individuals linked to the schools, mainly monks, have been cautioned or convicted over sexual activity or pornography offences involving a ‘large number of children’.
One alleged offender at Ampleforth abused at least 11 children aged between eight and 12 over a ‘sustained period of time’, but died before police could investigate.
The Catholic church is one of 13 strands of public life being investigated for child protection failings by the IICSA.
■ Brother of boy killed in ‘arson murder’ is convicted drug dealer
THE older brother of a seven-year-old boy who died in a suspected arson murder is a convicted drug dealer who was recently released from prison.
Joel Urhie was found dead after a blaze at the family home in Deptford, south-east London on Tuesday, while his mother Sophie and 19-year-old sister Sarah escaped by jumping out of a first-floor window.
Police said yesterday that Joel’s sister has been released from hospital, where her mother is still being treated.
Sources said one line of inquiry was the attack was gang-related amid reports Joel’s brother Sam, 21, may have been the target.
Court records show Sam was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court, in south-east London, in February 2016.
■ Pound continues to slide over Brexit fears
THE pound continued its downward slide today as fears of a no-deal Brexit continued to pile pressure on the British currency.
Sterling shed 0.3 per cent versus the dollar to leave it at 1.28, its lowest level for almost a year.
Against the euro, the pound hit a nine-month low as it edged down to 1.10 euros.
Connor Campbell, financial analyst at SpreadEx, said: ‘The fears of a no-deal Brexit have really gathered steam in the last few sessions, a snowball effect stemming from Mark Carney and Liam Fox’s warnings either side of the weekend.’
Mr Fox, the trade secretary, said over the weekend that the chances of the UK leaving the EU without an agreement in place is becoming more of a reality.
■ Russia attacks new US sanctions over Salisbury attack
RUSSIA has angrily denounced the imposition of ‘draconian’ new US sanctions after the administration concluded Moscow was responsible for the Salisbury nerve agent attack.
The embassy in Washington accused the Americans of running a ‘sanctions assembly line’ following the surprise announcement by the State Department yesterday.
The Kremlin said the US action was ‘absolutely unlawful’ but played down the prospect of immediate tit-for-tat measures.
The move came despite controversial efforts by Donald Trump to reach out to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at last month’s summit in Helsinki.
Unusually, there was no immediate comment by the US president, who has been heavily critical of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
■ Drink-drive casualties reach four-year high
THE number of drink-drive casualties has reached a four-year high, new figures show.
An estimated 9,040 people were killed or injured on Britain’s roads in 2016 in crashes where a driver was over the alcohol limit, according to the Department for Transport.
This is an increase of 7 per cent on the previous year and is the highest level since 2012.
It represents around one in 20 of all casualties in reported road accidents in 2016.
An estimated 230 people died in drink-drive crashes during the year, up from 200 in 2015.