■ Two more patients die from listeria outbreak
Two more patients have died after eating pre-packaged sandwiches and salads linked to a listeria outbreak, taking the total number of deaths to five, Public Health England has said.
The source of the infection is understood to relate to products supplied by The Good Food Chain and the affected sandwiches and salads have since been withdrawn from hospitals.
PHE said evidence suggests all the deceased ate the products before the withdrawal took place on May 25.
The investigations into the outbreak are ongoing, PHE said, and are being conducted in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The first three victims who died were at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool.
It is not yet known where the latest two victims were receiving treatment.
■ RAF drafted in after widespread heavy flooding
MILITARY helicopters are assisting emergency services in Lincolnshire after a river burst its banks following heavy rain which caused disruption to parts of the country.
A Chinook helicopter was deployed to drop sand in the town of Wainfleet in an attempt to stop the flow of water from the River Steeping which experienced a breach.
The Ministry of Defence said it will continue to assist with emergency repairs, drafting in a Puma to help tackle floods today as a Joint RAF and Army unit are set to fly in almost 70 one-tonne bags of gravel.
Seventy properties were hit by flooding, but Lincolnshire County Council warned that up to 720 could be affected after it said the town had more than two months’ of rain in just two days.
Some 13 flood warnings and 46 flood alerts were in place on Friday afternoon, with the majority across the Midlands and North West.
As at June 12, the UK had seen total rainfall of 2.6in (65.7mm) since the beginning of the month.
■ Jo Brand apologises for ‘crass and ill-judged’ acid joke
COMEDIAN Jo Brand has apologised for making a joke about throwing battery acid over politicians.
Her remarks on the BBC Radio 4 programme Heresy on Tuesday night led to public criticism, including from Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, and multiple complaints being made to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.
Yesterday, the Metropolitan Police said they were assessing Brand’s comment following an allegation of incitement to violence.
Appearing at an event in Henley, Oxfordshire, on the same day, the comedian apologised for making a ‘crass and ill-judged’ joke.
But she reportedly told the audience she did not think that she had made a ‘mistake’, adding that she had not mentioned Mr Farage.
On Wednesday, the Brexit Party leader, who had a milkshake thrown at him while campaigning in Newcastle, accused Brand of inciting violence, although he did not say who against.
It was later announced that Brand has pulled out of an Alzheimer’s Society event following controversy over the joke.
The comic was due to attend the event, with Buzz Bingo, in London tomorrow.
Sinead Donoghue, head of corporate partnerships at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘Unfortunately in light of recent events, Jo’s schedule has now changed and she’s not able to attend the Buzz Bingo event, celebrating their contribution to Alzheimer’s Society.’
■ No money from French tycoons as US donors foot Notre Dame repair bills
THE billionaire French donors who publicly promised flashy donations totalling hundreds of millions to rebuild Notre Dame have not yet paid a penny toward the restoration of the French national monument, according to officials.
Instead, it has been mainly American citizens, through the charitable foundation Friends of Notre Dame, who have footed the bills and paid salaries for up to 150 workers employed since the April 15 fire that devastated the cathedral’s roof and caused its famous spire to collapse.
This month the foundation is handing over the first payment for the cathedral’s reconstruction of 3.6million euros (£3.2million).
‘The big donors haven’t paid. Not a cent,’ said Andre Finot, senior press official at Notre Dame.
‘They want to know what exactly their money is being spent on and if they agree to it before they hand it over, and not just to pay employees’ salaries.’
Hundreds of millions was promised by some of France’s richest and most powerful families and companies, some of whom sought to outbid each other, in the hours and days after the fire.
■ Carers murdered missing woman after making her life ‘a living hell’
A MAN and a woman who made the life of the young woman they should have been caring for ‘a living hell’ have been convicted of her murder.
Margaret Fleming, who had learning difficulties, vanished ‘from the face of the Earth’ around December 1999. Her body has never been found.
Following a seven-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow, her supposed carers, Edward Cairney, 77, and Avril Jones, 59, were found guilty of murdering the missing woman.
Jones was also convicted unanimously of fraudulently claiming £182,000 in benefits by pretending Ms Fleming, who would now have been 38, was alive.
Speaking after the conviction, Detective Superintendent Paul Livingstone, senior investigating officer in the case, said money was one of the motivations of the ‘evil and greedy’ pair.
He said: ‘The treatment which she was subjected to can only be described as horrific and the conditions in which she lived in were utterly disgusting and uninhabitable.
‘For Cairney and Jones to continue the charade that she was still alive for all these years is abhorrent, with one of their reasons for doing so being for financial gain.
‘We will never know just how Margaret was killed. What we do know is that she lived her last days in what can only be described as a living hell.
‘She must have felt that she was alone in the world with no-one coming to help her, which is just heartbreaking to think of.’
Jurors found the couple murdered Margaret by unknown means between December 18 1999 and January 5 2000 at their home in Inverkip, Inverclyde, or elsewhere in Scotland, and then tried to cover up the crime for almost 18 years.
The jury took around three hours over two days to reach their majority verdict on the murder charge.
■ Prize pants!
A SHORT story written ‘from the point of view of a pair of pants’ has triumphed in a BBC competition in which all the winners were girls.
Mya Dainty’s prize for her tale, Pants!, is the Duchess of Cornwall’s height in books.
BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show’s 500 Words competition received almost 113,000 entries this year and the six winners were announced in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.