A boy aged 16 has been arrested over a homophobic attack which left two women covered in blood after refusing to kiss on a bus.
Melania Geymonat, 28, said the attack on her and partner Chris happened on the top deck of a London night bus.
A group of young men began harassing them when they discovered the women were a couple, asking them to kiss while making sexual gestures.
Four other males aged between 15 and 18 remain in custody, the Met said.
They are being questioned on suspicion of robbery and aggravated grievous bodily harm.
Speaking about the attack, which happened in the early hours of 30 May, Ms Geymonat told BBC Radio 4’s World at One she had previously experienced “a lot of verbal violence”.
But she said she had never before been physically attacked because of her sexuality.
Asked whether the attack left her less willing to show affection in public, Chris, who lives in north London but is originally from the US, said: “I am not scared about being visibly queer.
“If anything, you should do it more.”
Ms Geymonat, who is a doctor but currently works for Ryanair as a stewardess, said she agreed.
Chris said: “I was and still am angry. It was scary, but this is not a novel situation.”
Over the five years to 2018, reported homophobic hate crimes across London have increased from 1,488 in 2014 to 2,308 in 2018, according to the Met Police’s crime dashboard.
Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd has been jailed for four more years for assaulting a barman with a bottle.
The 31-year-old pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court to attacking the former soldier in Newton Abbot, Devon, in March 2018.
Shepherd admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm over the attack, which involved a vodka bottle.
He is currently serving six years in prison for the killing of a woman in a speedboat crash on the River Thames.
He returned to the UK in April after going on the run to Georgia to avoid justice over the manslaughter of Charlotte Brown, 24.
Shepherd, whose address was given as Charles Street, Bristol, appeared before the court via video link.
The attack on David Beech at the White Hart Hotel happened shortly before Shepherd fled the country in March 2018.
The court was shown CCTV footage of Shepherd slamming a vodka bottle into Mr Beech’s head after he told Shepherd and a drunken friend to leave.
The barman had served in Afghanistan where he was shot in the head in 2014 and he had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the court heard.
“Your assault undid in a matter of seconds the good progress he had made over the years,” said Judge David Evans, sentencing Shepherd.
Mr Beech said being hit by the bottle was “like a blow from a baseball bat”.
He had to be taken to hospital and his wound stitched and glued.
During the sentencing hearing, Shepherd appeared to sob and wipe tears from his face.
Ms Brown died in December 2015 when Shepherd took her on a date on his speedboat, a trial in July last year heard.
The pair were both thrown from the boat when it hit branches in the water near Wandsworth Bridge.
Ms Brown, from Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, was found in the water unconscious and unresponsive, while Shepherd was discovered clinging to the upturned boat.
His trial was told that he was responsible for the speedboat, which had a series of serious defects, including to its steering.
He was jailed for an extra six months in April for fleeing the country.
The four-year jail sentence for attacking Mr Beech will run consecutively to his current jail terms.
Shepherd has been granted the right to appeal against his conviction for manslaughter.
President Trump is on the second day of his three-day state visit to the UK, joined by his wife, First Lady Melania Trump.
Mr and Mrs Trump will be visiting Downing Street for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May, followed by an evening banquet at Winfield House, the London residence of the US ambassador.
Protests against Mr Trump’s state visit are to be held in central London. Here are pictures of events on Tuesday.
Photos are copyright.
BTS have made history by becoming the first South Korean group to headline Wembley Stadium.
The boy band blasted through 24 songs on Saturday, assisted by quirky props, glitter cannons, jet sprays… and 60,000 fans screaming their approval.
The septet, who said they “grew up watching videos of Live Aid,” even paid tribute to Freddie Mercury.
During the encore, lavender-haired singer Jin led the crowd in a version of the Queen frontman’s “ay-oh” chant.
“You guys always had the greatest artists, historically, in the music industry – The Beatles, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Adele. We don’t even have to make a list,” added his band-mate Kim Nam-joon, who’s known to fans as RM.
“So the UK was like the big, big wall to me.
“But tonight we, and you guys, just broke the wall.”
The gig was the first of two sold-out nights at Wembley Stadium – and just the third UK show of BTS’s career.
It capped off an extremely successful year for the band, who topped the UK album charts in April with Map Of The Soul: Persona, played Saturday Night Live and Britain’s Got Talent, and scored their biggest hit single to date when Boy With Luv entered the UK top 20.
Unlike previous Wembley headliners, they’re not quite household names yet (and many people would be hard-pressed to name one of their songs) but their fanbase, dubbed the “Army”, is unusually devoted, highly mobilised, and growing daily.
Indeed, BTS’s sold-out stadium debut comes just eight months after they played the smaller, 20,000-capacity O2 Arena on the other side of London, and the significance of their achievement did not go unnoticed at home.
‘Hype and excitement’
“Everyone in Korea is so excited,” said Sungmi Ahn, a K-pop reporter for the Korean Herald. “They’re doing a live broadcast of the show so everyone can watch it.
“The Freddie Mercury film Bohemian Rhapsody was huge in Korea, so when people think of Wembley Stadium, they know how important it is, and BTS are getting a lot of hype and excitement as a result.”
For the band, however, this meant an additional level of pressure.
“I barely got any sleep last night, that’s how nervous we are,” said rapper/singer Suga at a pre-show press conference. “But the nerves will just make us work harder.”
You certainly couldn’t have accused BTS of slacking off.
From the moment they burst onstage from behind two giant panthers, no pirouette was left un-spun; and no leap left un-leapt.
Every member got their moment to shine: Resident heartthrob Jungkook floated perilously over the audience’s heads for a high-wire performance of Euphoria; while Jimin showed off his balletic dance moves during Serendipity.
But the best moments came when the septet united for tracks like the rap-rock juggernaut Fake Love and the Justin Bieber-esque Make It Right.
The band’s camaraderie was especially evident in the encore, as they leapt around an inflatable playground trying to make each other laugh with ever-more goofy dance moves.
They even attempted English accents, with Jungkook declaring, “easy peasy, lemon squeezy,” for no particular reason during the intro to Dope.
It was a shame the backing tracks were all pre-recorded, as the lack of a live band robbed the show of musical spontaneity.
And there was a lingering suspicion the boys were miming during their more athletic dance routines, even though the impassioned harmonies of The Truth Untold proved they could ably handle a live vocal.
But any such minor gripes were swept away by the tidal wave of fans’ enthusiasm.
They sang at the top of their voices, even during the Korean sections, and started Mexican waves with their “Army bombs” – Bluetooth connected light sticks that created cascades of colour across the stadium.
Oh, and they screamed. They screamed at the dancing. They screamed at the fireworks. They screamed when Jin held up a rose. They screamed at RM grabbing his crotch. They screamed at every, single smouldering look to the camera.
Even V’s pet dog Yeontan got a scream of approval when he popped up in a video interlude.
Never has the phrase “Wembley, make some noise,” been more redundant.
|Gallagher Premiership final|
|Venue: Twickenham Stadium Date: Saturday, 1 June Kick-off: 15:00 BST Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC local radio and live text, plus score updates on the BBC Sport website and app|
For a competition that prides itself on being “the most exciting club rugby league in the world”, the makeup of Saturday’s Premiership final was on the cards before a ball was kicked this campaign.
Exeter Chiefs and Saracens meet in the Twickenham showpiece for the third time in four seasons. Between them, they have won the title every year since 2014.
While most clubs have been busy taking points off each other and jostling for position, the top two have been in a league of their own.
“It’s the right final – it’s the best two teams in England going at it,” England and Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care said on the Rugby Union Weekly podcast.
“Saracens are winning huge games and have coasted to this final. But Exeter will cause them problems.”
Both clubs have settled coaching teams, deep squads, strong cultures and clear game-plans.
It promises to be a compelling combination of the physical and tactical.
Stopping the unstoppable
Saracens’ record in major finals of late has been without parallel.
Since losing to Northampton Saints in the Premiership final in 2014, the men in black have won their last six deciders, most recently – and perhaps most impressively – against Leinster in the European Champions Cup three weeks ago.
So how to stop the unstoppable? How can Exeter succeed where the best of Europe have failed?
“The Exeter coaches will have planned for this game a long time ago,” explained Care. “Listening to the players talk after the semi-final, Exeter aren’t going there to lose again.”
And, having reached the domestic final for a fourth year in a row, the Chiefs coaching team are not intimidated by the challenge.
“Three European Cups suggests a phenomenal side, which they are,” Exeter head coach Ali Hepher told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“But equally they have their weaknesses and areas you can exploit. We have had our wins [against them], so we kind of know what it takes.”
Attack v defence
Exeter prosper when keeping hold of possession, especially in the opponents’ 22.
But with their ravenous, suffocating defence, Saracens are often happier without the ball, forcing mistakes and attacking greedily off turnovers.
So how do Exeter avoid playing into Saracens’ hands on Saturday?
“It’s about being smart in the right places – we have to be able to play heads-up,” said Hepher. “We can’t be so prescriptive that every situation we do the same thing.
“We are not rigid in what we do, we are very organised. We have got to make the right decisions, keep it simple and play what is in front of us.”
Hepher also knows that competing with a massive Saracens forward pack – with the likes of Will Skelton, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola – is a non-negotiable.
“You have to match the physicality,” he added. “They are going to bring that and we are certainly going to bring that.”
Battle of the mind
While Exeter will be gunning for revenge after being dispatched this time last year, Saracens insist they will be mentally sharp, despite it being a maximum 33rd major game this campaign.
“The last eight to 10 games has been a period of real growth. Our group’s ability to respond to different situations has been really good,” boss Mark McCall told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“We need to go in with a clear mind, see this as a fresh challenge, and be excited by it.”
“Exeter will be hurting from the final last year,” acknowledged hooker Jamie George. “We are fully aware of what it is going to take.”
Rugby Union Weekly’s Ugo Monye added: “Saracens find a weakness and go for the jugular.
“I just think Sarries are too big, too strong and too good. They are head and shoulders above not just everyone in the Premiership, but everyone in Europe at the moment.”
Salary cap cloud
A league investigation into potential salary cap breaches in 2015 saw “confidential agreements” reached over “certain issues”, with Saracens believed to be one of the clubs probed.
Four years later, Sarries are again under scrutiny, with Premiership Rugby revealing in April the four-times champions had not disclosed the full extent of their business deals with leading players.
An enquiry is ongoing, with Saracens owner Nigel Wray insisting these arrangements are a vital step towards helping players with life after rugby.
But players and coaches from other clubs have privately expressed their unease with the praise lavished on McCall’s outstanding side.
Whether because of jealousy or legitimate concerns over fair-play, the neutral is likely to be supporting the Chiefs at Twickenham on Saturday.
More dominance to follow
But what next for the league?
Under new management, Northampton are on the up, growing more and more accustomed to Chris Boyd’s leadership.
The same can be said of Johan Ackermann’s Gloucester, who are currently the best of the rest, and Paul Gustard’s resurgent Harlequins.
But these teams may still be a season or two away from fulfilling their potential.
“We are not good enough to win the league yet, but we might well be in two or three years’ time,” said Quins’ Care. “Saracens are way down that line, and Exeter are exactly the same.”
For the likes of the once-giant Leicester Tigers and Bath – both in transition under rookie directors of rugby – it could be five years or more before they can compete again.
So, with coaches committed long-term and a core of key players under 30 – not to mention some high-profile recruits heading to Devon and north London over the summer – the Exeter Chiefs and Saracens duopoly is set to continue for a while yet.
Postboxes have been painted blue in towns and cities across England and Wales to mark the Cricket World Cup, which starts on Thursday.
Ten postboxes close to host venues have been rebranded by Royal Mail for the duration of the tournament.
The International Cricket Council (ICC), said the promotion would “help bring the tournament to life”.
The tournament opens with England playing South Africa at the Oval.
The blue boxes, which initially caused some bemusement, have been decorated with local facts about the game and players.
One in New Street, Birmingham, celebrates Brian Lara’s record first-class innings score of 501 not out at Edgbaston in 1994.
Another postbox is near Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, which will host the final of the 50-over tournament on 14 July.
Blue postboxes are not an entirely new phenomenon – they were introduced for air mail letters in the 1930s. Examples remain at Castlefield, Manchester, and outside Windsor Castle.
Postboxes were painted gold in the home locations of gold medal winners in the 2012 London Olympics.
Blue postbox locations
- Birmingham: New Street
- Bristol: 33 Wine Street
- Cardiff: 29 Queen Street
- Chester-le-Street: Front Street
- Leeds: 3-7 King Edward Street
- London: St. John’s Wood Road
- Manchester: 19 Princess Street
- Nottingham: 19 Angel Row
- Southampton: Above Bar Street
- Taunton: 37 North Street
The Liberal Democrats have gained three London MEPs in elections for the European Parliament.
Both the Brexit Party and Labour had two candidates elected, while the Green Party took the remaining seat.
It means the Conservative Party no longer has any MEPs in London, having lost the two seats it won in the 2014 European Parliament elections.
The Lib Dems vote share went up by 20%, while the Brexit Party took 18% of the overall vote.
Turnout was 41.3% – slightly higher than the 40.1% turnout in the previous election.
Labour’s share fell by 12.7%, while UKIP and the Conservatives fell by 14.8% and 14.6% respectively. UKIP leader Gerard Batten lost his seat as an MEP.
Earlier in the evening, Jeremy Corbyn’s party lost in his own Islington constituency.
By Professor Sir John Curtice
Nothing illustrates more clearly the success of the Lib Dems in winning over Remain voters than the party’s success at coming a clear first in the capital, something it has never come remotely close to achieving in a previous election.
The Greens have also prospered to some degree with a three point increase in its vote to 12%.
Meanwhile the Brexit Party have inevitably done less well here with a modest 18% of the vote.
Meanwhile the weakness of Change UK is underlined by its inability to get more than 5% in this most Remain party of England.
Lib Dem MP Ed Davey tweeted he was “hearing good things across London” as his party dominated Kingston-upon-Thames in his constituency with 25,006 votes, amounting to 47% of the total 53,027 turnout in the borough.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas tweeted her congratulations to successful London candidate Scott Ainslie.
After Change UK failed to win a seat in London, MEP candidate and former BBC journalist Gavin Esler thanked “the 170,000 Londoners” who voted for the new party.
He added: “Now the real fight begins – to save Britain from the self-harm of Brexit in a People’s Vote and work to Remain.”
A controlled explosion has been carried out on a World War Two bomb found near Kingston University, the Metropolitan Police said.
The unexploded device was found on a building site on Thursday morning.
Nearly 1,500 homes were also evacuated and the Met warned some may be without gas and electricity while surveyors carried out checks.
Police cordons in the Kingston area will remain in place while the site is assessed, the Met added.
The controlled explosion was carried out by the armed forces’ specialist Explosive Ordinance Disposal team.
On Thursday, Kingston Council confirmed two polling stations being used for the European elections had to be shut while the bomb was being dealt with.
Students and staff from Kingston University’s Penrhyn Road and Knights Park campuses, as well as the University’s nursery and some student halls, have been affected by the cordon.
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.