■ Des O’Connor leads tributes to comic Freddie Starr
ENTERTAINER Des O’Connor has led tributes to ‘borderline genius’ Freddie Starr following his death aged 76.
The funnyman (pictured) made several memorable appearances on O’Connor’s chat show in his heyday.
He said of Starr: ‘Always unpredictable, he could create mayhem in a TV studio with his wacky, unique humour.’
Russ Abbot, who appeared in Starr’s Variety Madhouse comedy series in 1979, described the stand-up as a ‘loose comedy cannon’.
Fellow Liverpudlian comedian and TV personality Les Dennis called him a ‘one-off’.
Starr, a household name who rose to fame in the 1970s, was found dead at his home in Spain, The Sun said.
■ Police probe after gun fired outside London mosque
DETECTIVES are investigating reports of a blank-firing gun being discharged outside a mosque.
A masked man is reported to have entered the Seven Kings mosque in Ilford, east London, but was made to leave before firing it.
Scotland Yard confirmed no one had been hurt and early investigations suggested a ‘blank-firing handgun’ had been discharged.
The force said the incident may have stemmed from something that happened nearby earlier and was not being treated as terrorist related.
As worshippers returned to the mosque today (pictured), Ibraheem Hussain, 19, said of the incident: ‘He was masked and acting suspicious and the firearm was let off.’
■ ‘Critical’ 999 overhaul ‘delays and over budget by £3.1bn’
A ‘CRITICAL’ overhaul of the communications network used by the emergency services is likely to be hit by further delays and cost £3.1bn more than the original budget.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has questioned if the replacement for Airwave will meet its target date of 2022, while the Home Office predicts the final cost will be £9.3bn.
The government had already pushed back the introduction of the Emergency Services Network (ESN) by three years.
But the NAO report raises doubts about the revised date and says key technology for ESN is not yet proven in ‘real world conditions’. It warned: ‘There are still significant risks.’
The Home Office insisted that ESN was ‘on track to deliver an ambitious, world-leading digital communications network’.
■ Bloodied anti-knife protest hails YouTube talks
FEMALE anti-knife-crime campaigners smeared themselves in fake blood outside YouTube’s London offices in protest over the tech giant’s ‘disgusting’ attitude to removing violent content.
They met Ben McOwen Wilson, regional director of YouTube UK, with organiser Lucy Martindale describing their talks as a ‘positive outcome’.
Some 20 women from the #OperationShutdown group protested first outside the London premises of Google, YouTube’s parent company.
Ms Martindale said: ‘Within seven years I lost 11 family and friends to murder, gun and knife crime. We believe YouTube plays a part in the rising knife crime we see.’
YouTube said it blocked videos where weapons were brandished in a threatening manner.