■ Jodie murder accused appear in court
A TEENAGER has appeared in court charged with the murder of 17-year-old girl scout Jodie Chesney (pictured below).
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared for a short hearing at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court in east London today. Flanked by three security staff, he stood in the dock wearing a grey Puma hoodie while wiping tears from his face as the charge was read out and spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.
Manuel Petrovic, 20 (pictured above in court artist’s sketch), and the boy are charged with the murder of Jodie on March 1.
An 18-year-old man from Romford is also being held in police custody on suspicion of murder, while a 50-year-old man and 38-year-old woman, both from Dagenham, east London, and a 17-year-old boy were also being held on suspicion of assisting an offender.
A post-mortem examination gave the cause of Jodie’s death as trauma and haemorrhage.
■ Prodigy star died from hanging, inquest told
THE Prodigy star Keith Flint died as the result of hanging, an inquest has heard.
The 49-year-old (pictured) was found dead at his home in the Essex hamlet of North End on March 4.
Coroner’s officer Lynsey Chaffe said: ‘Police attended, all protocols were followed and his death was confirmed as not suspicious.’
The singer rose to fame in the Brit Award-winning electronic dance music band in the 1990s and was known for hits including Firestarter and Breathe. They released their latest album No Tourists in November, their seventh consecutive number one record.
Flint was described in a statement by Howlett and fellow bandmate Maxim as ‘a true pioneer, innovator and legend’. They said Flint was their ‘brother and best friend’ and ‘he will be forever missed’.
Senior coroner for Essex Caroline Beasley-Murray opened and adjourned the inquest until July 23 for a full hearing.
■ Birmingham fan jailed for attacking Aston Villa captain
A BIRMINGHAM City fan who launched an on-field attack on Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has been jailed for 14 weeks.
Paul Mitchell was wrestled off the playing surface by stewards after punching Grealish around the head in the ninth minute of Sunday’s Birmingham derby.
Pub worker Mitchell also admitted a charge of invading the pitch after magistrates rejected an application for his address to be withheld.
He appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court today, after being remanded in custody overnight.
In a statement read in court, the Aston Villa captain said: ‘I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident. It could have so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.’
Mitchell was also ordered to pay £100 to Grealish as compensation for the pain, discomfort and shock caused by the assault, as well as a £115 victim surcharge and £135 in prosecution costs.
■ Heathrow expansion would have ‘severe’ consequences
CONTROVERSIAL plans to expand Heathrow would effectively create a ‘new airport’ and have ‘severe’ consequences for Londoners, the High Court has heard.
Outlining the case on behalf of five London boroughs, Greenpeace and London mayor Sadiq Khan, Nigel Pleming QC said the plans could see the number of passengers using the airport rise to an estimated 132million, an increase of 60 per cent.
He told the court today: ‘The new development, if it goes ahead, will add, in effect, a new airport with the capacity of Gatwick to the north of Heathrow,’ adding that the adverse effects and consequences for local residents of such an expansion are ‘bound to be severe’.
The case is being brought against transport secretary Chris Grayling, which claims the government’s National Policy Statement (NPS) setting out its support for the project fails to properly deal with the impact on air quality, climate change, noise and congestion.
Executive director of Back Heathrow Parmjit Dhanda, who supports the expansion, said: ‘There is an awful lot of support for this project. It is really important that we see both sides of the argument. I think if this expansion did not go ahead, it would be a disaster for Britain in a post-Brexit world.
Construction could begin in 2021, with the third runway operational by 2026.
■ Woman accused of murdering Kim Jong-un’s half-brother freed
AN INDONESIAN woman held for two years on suspicion of killing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother has been freed.
Siti Aisyah, who was accused of smearing VX nerve agent on the face of Kim Jong-nam at an airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur in February 2017 along with Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong, was quickly ushered out of the courtroom telling reporters: ‘I am surprised and very happy.’
Indonesia’s government said its continual high-level lobbying resulted in Ms Aisyah’s release. The foreign ministry said in a statement that she was ‘deceived and did not realise at all that she was being manipulated by North Korean intelligence’. It said Ms Aisyah, a migrant worker, believed that she was part of a reality TV show and never had any intention of killing Kim.
Lawyers for the women have previously said they were pawns in a political assassination with clear links to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and that the prosecution failed to show the women had any intention to kill.