Connect with us

Latest Stories

Boy, 2, dies after falling from ninth-floor east London flat

Published

on

boy 2 dies after falling from ninth floor east london flat

A toddler has died after falling from a ninth-floor window at a block of flats in east London. 

The boy, believed to be aged two, fell at around 4pm yesterday in Shoreditch. 

Shocked neighbours heard screams before seeing the child motionless on the ground beneath the open window. Police and ambulance crews attended but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Residents described him as a ‘chatty’ toddler called Treasure. It is believed to be the seventh such incident of a toddler plunging from a block of flats in England this year and the third in London.

Today devastated residents demonstrated the poor window security at the Charles Gardner Court building, which is owned and managed by Hackney Council. They implored the council to rectify the windows immediately. 

The toddler, believed to be aged two, fell at around 4pm yesterday from the open window on the ninth floor of the Charles Gardener Court building, above, in Shoreditch, east London

The toddler, believed to be aged two, fell at around 4pm yesterday from the open window on the ninth floor of the Charles Gardener Court building, above, in Shoreditch, east London

The toddler, believed to be aged two, fell at around 4pm yesterday from the open window on the ninth floor of the Charles Gardener Court building, above, in Shoreditch, east London

One neighbour, Isabella Peters, urged those who manage the building to review windows safety. The toddler's family is said to have only moved into the flats just over a year ago

One neighbour, Isabella Peters, urged those who manage the building to review windows safety. The toddler's family is said to have only moved into the flats just over a year ago

One neighbour, Isabella Peters, urged those who manage the building to review windows safety. The toddler’s family is said to have only moved into the flats just over a year ago

A view from the ninth floor. Shocked neighbours reported hearing screaming and then seeing the toddler motionless on the ground beneath the open window.

A view from the ninth floor. Shocked neighbours reported hearing screaming and then seeing the toddler motionless on the ground beneath the open window.

A view from the ninth floor. Shocked neighbours reported hearing screaming and then seeing the toddler motionless on the ground beneath the open window.

Residents gathered this morning to lay flowers, above, in tribute to the child. An investigation is underway into the incident which neighbours have called a 'tragic accident'

Residents gathered this morning to lay flowers, above, in tribute to the child. An investigation is underway into the incident which neighbours have called a 'tragic accident'

Residents gathered this morning to lay flowers, above, in tribute to the child. An investigation is underway into the incident which neighbours have called a ‘tragic accident’

Gifty Kimberly-Koka, who knows the boy’s mother, said: ‘His name was Treasure. He was a very nice boy. He was chatty. The mum is a very nice person. They open the door for me when I come in. She always asked me when my son could give extra lessons to her children.’

Mrs Kimberly-Koka compared the situation in the flats to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, in which flammable cladding on the building on a London estate accelerated a fire that killed 72 people.

The mother-of-three said: ‘It’s like Grenfell because they didn’t know until something happened.’

The 44-year-old added: ‘My message to the council is that they need to do something about the windows immediately.

‘The way they open is very dangerous. They open down, and not up. The council should have divided the windows into two, with only the top part opening. The council know that families with children are going to live here. So why did they do that?

‘When you go to the bathroom you can’t take your children with you. It was very hot yesterday inside the building. You need to open the windows.’ 

Eyewitnesses said they heard a man, who they say is the boy’s father, screaming and saying ‘oh no, oh no,’ as he saw the child when he emerged from the building.

Residents, who had gathered at the scene then looked to the open window on the ninth floor of Charles Gardener Court building, said they saw another child peering down being told to move away.

Tammy Johnson, 41, who lives next door to the building, said: ‘All I heard was a big whack, a big loud bang from when I was in my kitchen cooking. Then I came outside.

‘I saw the dad there first and then when I looked down I saw the baby on the floor. It wasn’t a child anymore. He definitely fell on his head.

Another resident, who lives on the 16th floor with his two young children, said the windows open completely leaving a wide gap posing a risk of falling

Another resident, who lives on the 16th floor with his two young children, said the windows open completely leaving a wide gap posing a risk of falling

Another resident, who lives on the 16th floor with his two young children, said the windows open completely leaving a wide gap posing a risk of falling

‘I looked up at the open window, the other kid was peering out. The dad said: ‘get in, get in.”

The mother-of-four added: ‘I am an epileptic and I was so shocked I was almost having a fit. So I had to go inside. I couldn’t sleep last night, I was twisting and turning.’

Another neighbour, Isabella Peters, said she saw the boy’s father at the scene.

She said: ‘I just saw the boy’s dad standing there dressed only in his shorts, with his hands on his head shouting ‘no, no.’

The 25-year-old added: ‘Two ambulances then arrived and then a police car.’

Residents said the victim’s family had only moved into the flats just over a year ago.

The deceased boy’s distraught relatives, believed to live elsewhere, turned up at the scene after the incident yesterday.

Neighbours reported seeing relatives arriving in two full vehicles, who then fell to the ground crying.

A spokesperson for Hackney Council, which owns and manages the building, called the fall a ‘truly devastating incident’ and vowed to work with the police to ‘understand how this tragedy came about.’ 

Residents were seen gathered this morning to lay flowers in tribute to the child, feet from where he fell.

Residents were seen gathered this morning to lay flowers in tribute to the child, feet from where he fell.

Residents were seen gathered this morning to lay flowers in tribute to the child, feet from where he fell.

Mrs Peters said she will never forget the harrowing scenes she saw.

She added: ‘It was a tragic accident. Toddlers are so smart; it just takes a couple of seconds for something to go wrong. I just wish this had never happened and that I never saw what I did. I will always have that picture in my head.

‘This is how we feel and we are just neighbours. Imagine how the family must feel. The mum, the dad, the children. It is just devastating.

‘The most important thing now is to be in solidarity with the family and make sure this never happens again.’

Mrs Peters, who has four young cousins, urged those who manage the building to review windows safety.

She said: ‘There are three settings for opening the windows. If you look up at the gap, a child could easily fit through that. The council definitely need to check it out.’

Another resident confirmed that the windows open completely leaving a wide gap posing a risk of falling.

Bilal Achi, 43, who lives on the 16th floor with his two young children said: ‘It opens all the way. Obviously two adults together could fit through, not only one. It needs to be changed. 

He added: ‘I have a four-year-old and 10-year-old. Now I have to make sure the windows are fully shut before I leave.’ 

Esilinah Lunga, 78, who lives next door to the family of the boy, said: ‘When you look up you can see some windows are really wide open. For people with children, it’s very risky. The council should check the windows, especially when there are small children. I nearly had an accident myself.’ 

She added: ‘I had often seen the toddler in the buggy, but I haven’t been going out for a while because of the virus so I hadn’t seen him for some weeks. I didn’t think he could walk.

‘The mother and father were very friendly. One time the father came over to tell me he was organising a surprise party for his wife to warn me about any noise. I really feel so sad for the family.’ 

A view from the 16th floor where another resident demonstrated how it was possible to open the windows very far

A view from the 16th floor where another resident demonstrated how it was possible to open the windows very far

A view from the 16th floor where another resident demonstrated how it was possible to open the windows very far

Saddened residents laid bouquets of flowers with tributes to the boy, placing them just metres away from the spot where he fell.

Building maintenance workers scrubbed the ground where he died this morning as passersby stopped and looked on in disbelief.

Neighbours said a police tent was placed over the body yesterday, but it has since been removed. 

A Met Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called at approximately 4.20pm on Thursday August 13. to Haberdasher Street in Shoreditch to reports of a child fallen from height from a residential building.

‘Officers and the London Ambulance Service attended (LAS). A young child was pronounced dead at the scene.

‘Next of kin are aware and being supported by specialist officers.’

An investigation is underway into the incident which neighbours have called a ‘tragic accident.’ 

A Hackney Council spokesperson said: ‘This is a truly devastating incident and our thoughts are with the family of the child.

‘We are offering all the support we can to both the family and the neighbours, and we will of course work with the police to help their investigations and understand how this tragedy came about. I can confirm the block is owned and managed by Hackney Council.’

Hackney Council did not comment when asked about window security at the building.  

Powered by: Daily Mail

Latest Stories

Family of missing British mother, 52, say disappearance has become ‘deeper and darker’

Published

on

By

family of missing british mother 52 say disappearance has become deeper and darker

Family of a British mother who vanished in France a year ago said today ‘The longer this has gone on, the deeper and darker her disappearance has become.’

Police are currently investigating after Karen Milsom, 52, suddenly left the home she shared with electrician husband Steve in the Charente region with some clothes and £5,400 of Euros.

Her car was found three weeks later at nearby Ruffec station by him and their two grown-up children, with no trace of her.

Officers from the French police have searched the family home and septic tank but have still not found out what has happened. They are looking at three possible theories she could have started a new life, killed herself or been murdered.

Sources close to the investigation revealed there was ‘a considerable amount of funds’ in Mrs Milsom’s bank account, but has not made any withdrawals since.

Last night Mrs Milsom’s brother Jon Ward told MailOnline: ‘Something has happened to my sister.

‘The longer this has gone the deeper and darker her disappearance has become.

‘There are a lot of uneasy elements in this, we didn’t learn Karen was missing until more than two months later – this was from my dad.

‘We are aware that Karen had been unhappy about the state of her marriage for some time. She had told friends she was unhappy.’

Steve and Karen Milsom pictured in France just weeks before she vanished without a trace

Steve and Karen Milsom pictured in France just weeks before she vanished without a trace

Steve and Karen Milsom pictured in France just weeks before she vanished without a trace

Mother-of-two Karen Milsom, 52, left her home in the Charente region in August last year

Mother-of-two Karen Milsom, 52, left her home in the Charente region in August last year

Mother-of-two Karen Milsom, 52, left her home in the Charente region in August last year

The family car was found at Ruffec Station 25 miles away three weeks later after a tip-off

The family car was found at Ruffec Station 25 miles away three weeks later after a tip-off

The family car was found at Ruffec Station 25 miles away three weeks later after a tip-off

33569808 8767457 image a 35 1600946061815

33569808 8767457 image a 35 1600946061815

Mrs Milsom, who was born in Bristol, had been a carer for an elderly British women before she disappeared after they moved to France 15 years ago.

Mr Ward said: ‘I have such an emotional attachment to all this I don’t want to put two and two together and get 22

‘At the end of the day we hope and pray she is safe and well. If she sees this we just want to ask her “please Karen get in touch”.

‘We don’t care what she’s doing or what she’s up to we just need to know she is safe and well and then we will give her space.

‘If she doesn’t pick up the phone and say she’s safe then we will think and continue worry she is in trouble.

‘There has been no communication from her and there were no clues in the car when her husband and two sons recovered it from the train station.

Mrs Milsom and her family had moved to the Charente region 15 years ago to live

Mrs Milsom and her family had moved to the Charente region 15 years ago to live

Mrs Milsom and her family had moved to the Charente region 15 years ago to live

‘The boys think one day she will just come back and walk through the door when she’s ready.’

Her husband told the Guardian she suddenly left after an outburst and thought she would come back after she took their car, but said she texted him to say the vehicle was at nearby Ruffec station. It had a bag of men’s clothes inside.

He added: ‘She had been fishing for an argument. She was in one of her moods.

‘She said no one cared about her. She would fly off the handle and then a couple of hours later she would apologise.

‘I was gobsmacked when she left. She said she would be in contact as and when she wanted to.

‘Three weeks later, I got a text off her to say that the car was at Ruffec station. 

‘She left of her own accord. I really don’t know what could have happened. I don’t think she’d have taken her life. I had two phone calls from withheld numbers. I spoke to her and it was a strange conversation.’

Maybe she was craving a more exciting life. I’m hoping she’s going to show her face, but at the moment I’m in limbo.”

Mr Milsom said he reported her missing to the police three weeks later after it became clear she was not coming home. 

She vanished in August and the Gendarmerie has made appeals for witnesses as it investigated what has happened.

One of her friends Claire McDermott received a text from her in September last year and she believed she had been bored with her life in France.

Ms McDermott said: ‘She felt she had nothing to look forward to.’

The message said she would be back in December to explain, but she has not been seen again.

Another friend Sue Jones added: ‘She was a very bubbly person, very caring and empathetic.

‘But I knew she wasn’t very happy.’

She said that Milsom’s mother had killed herself when her daughter was a teenager.

She said: ‘I find it hard to believe that she would do that to her children.’

Milsom is one of more than 800 missing people on the files of the Lucie Blackman Trust.

It said in an appeal: ‘Karen has not been seen nor heard from since around 20th August 2019.

She has been living in France for 15 years and has kept in regular touch with her family.

‘Therefore this disappearance, from her home in Charente, France, is completely out of character and there are serious concerns for her.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading

Latest Stories

NHS hospitals warn test and trace system is NOT ready for the enormous demands of winter

Published

on

By

nhs hospitals warn test and trace system is not ready for the enormous demands of winter

The body which represents NHS hospital trusts says the test and trace systems in England isn’t ready for the enormous demands of winter.

NHS Providers is calling for testing capacity to be quadrupled within three months, a dramatic improvement on turnaround times and a clear plan for regular testing of health workers, according to the BBC.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: ‘If NHS Test and Trace is under pressure now, it’s likely to face even greater pressures this winter.

‘We’ll all, understandably, want the reassurance of a test if we have a cold, flu or a bug with coronavirus-like symptoms.

‘NHS Test and Trace therefore has a major task on its hand to expand capacity, expand the number of testing sites, expand the number of tests being processed for the next day, and expand its ability to deal with local outbreaks.

‘Whilst there are top level plans in place to do this, we need more detail and the NHS trusts that we represent want to know what contribution they will need to make.’

He told BBC Breakfast that going into winter, the country would need ‘probably four times as many tests as we’ve currently got’. 

Yesterday health secretary Matt Hancock hailed the Government’s test and trace app a success, claiming more than 10 million people had already downloaded it since Thursday.

But the app has been plagued with problems since it launched with the latest fiasco seeing up to 70,000 users blocked from logging their test results.

The app relies on Bluetooth to determine if someone has been within two metres of an infectious person for 15 minutes, but other Bluetooth devices can interfere with the signal, generating a ‘false positive’. 

Matt Hancock has hailed the app a success as he says 10 million people have downloaded it

Matt Hancock has hailed the app a success as he says 10 million people have downloaded it

The app has been plagued by problems since it launched on Thursday

The app has been plagued by problems since it launched on Thursday

Matt Hancock’s new coronavirus tracing app, which the health secretary has hailed as a huge success, has been hit by multiple flaws and bugs this weekend which have left users confused

Police to start coronavirus HOME checks: Officers will launch drive to enforce self-isolation rules this week with spot visits to people’s houses and £10,000 fines 

Police will carry out spot checks and act on tip-offs to enforce strict new Covid-19 self-isolation rules from today.

People ordered to quarantine after they or a contact test positive for the virus face a knock on the door from officers to check they are not leaving their home.

From today, people across England are required by law to quarantine for ten days if they test positive for Covid-19 or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

Those who do not self-isolate – or employers who force staff to turn up to work – will be hit with fines of up to £10,000.

The police will be used to ‘check compliance’ with the rules and will investigate claims by informers that a person who should be in quarantine is flouting the requirement. 

Officers will ‘investigate and prosecute high-profile and egregious cases of non-compliance’, and ‘act on instances where third parties have identified others who have tested positive, but are not self-isolating’.

The rules state that if someone receives a positive test result, they are required by law to self-isolate for ten days after they first displayed symptoms, or ten days after the date of the test if they did not have symptoms.

Other members of their household must self-isolate for 14 days after the onset of symptoms, or after the date of the positive test.

<!—->Advertisement

To compound the problems, it has also transpired that the app doesn’t work on millions of older smartphones.

It also requires a code to register a completed test but it is only given if the test returns as positive. 

Those with a negative test are only able to register their result if they booked directly through the app – a bug the Government says has been fixed over the weekend.

But users continue to report flaws with the system which users say are confusing.

Maddie, from London, told BBC Radio 4: ‘I had a notification on my phone saying ‘possible Covid exposure’ so obviously as soon as I saw that I clicked it and it took me straight into the app.

‘So I was clicking all the different sections in the app and nothing was coming up with any kind of alert that I’d been exposed to Covid.

‘It was just really confusing and then I didn’t really know what to do.’

Maddie added that because it seemed like an ‘error’ she went about her day as usual.

David Bonsall, senior researcher at Oxford University and a government adviser on the app said: ‘There are notifications that are pushed to the phone from the core bit of software that’s provided by Google.

‘So the contact tracing function of the app is working in the background and there’s some notifications that are just telling you that the app is working.

‘To be absolutely clear, any notification to isolate will be absolutely crystal clear within the app.

‘If you don’t have something within the app telling you to do something then you don’t need to worry.’ 

The Health Secretary said on social media it was an ‘absolutely fantastic’ response so far, and urged more people to download it. 

It comes as NHS Test and Trace whistle-blowers told BBC Panorama that they were bored and frustrated and that the system for tracing people who’ve tested positive for coronavirus and their contacts does not appear to be working.

Healthcare professional and NHS Test and Trace whistle-blower Alex Lee says that she only spoke to one person with coronavirus during her four months with the system, after it went live. 

The app relies on Bluetooth to determine if someone has been within two metres of an infectious person for 15 minutes, but other Bluetooth devices can interfere with the signal

The app relies on Bluetooth to determine if someone has been within two metres of an infectious person for 15 minutes, but other Bluetooth devices can interfere with the signal

The app relies on Bluetooth to determine if someone has been within two metres of an infectious person for 15 minutes, but other Bluetooth devices can interfere with the signal

Another whistle-blower, Tobin Stonelake, employed to call the close contacts of positive cases, told Panorama he had made no successful contact tracing calls during the 10 weeks he was working for the service: ‘It’s demoralising and it doesn’t make you feel good about what’s going on with Covid-19.’

Alex Lee, who worked for the BBC four years ago, and is also the on-screen reporter for tonight’s film BBC Panorama: ‘Test and Trace Exposed’, says: ‘I’m pretty ashamed to say to people, this is what I’m doing, because the whole point of me setting out to do this was to make a turnaround, to make a contribution.

‘I feel like I’ve achieved a big fat zero.’

She was hired as a clinical contact caseworker to call people who’d tested positive, tell them to self-isolate and obtain the details of their close contacts.

She filmed herself on a mobile phone to show how little work she had to do. She can be seen on her computer, wearing a telephone headset ready to call cases and clicking a button labelled ‘start tracing’ signalling that she is available.

Whistle-blower, Tobin Stonelake, employed to call close contacts of positive cases, told Panorama he made no successful contact tracing calls during the 10 weeks he worked there

Whistle-blower, Tobin Stonelake, employed to call close contacts of positive cases, told Panorama he made no successful contact tracing calls during the 10 weeks he worked there

Whistle-blower, Tobin Stonelake, employed to call close contacts of positive cases, told Panorama he made no successful contact tracing calls during the 10 weeks he worked there

Alex Lee, who worked for the BBC four years ago, told the Panorama special on test and trace that she was 'pretty ashamed' of what she was doing when she worked for test and trace

Alex Lee, who worked for the BBC four years ago, told the Panorama special on test and trace that she was 'pretty ashamed' of what she was doing when she worked for test and trace

Alex Lee, who worked for the BBC four years ago, told the Panorama special on test and trace that she was ‘pretty ashamed’ of what she was doing when she worked for test and trace

She also records computer glitches and system errors that either prevented her from logging on or following up some cases.

When reporting issues to team leaders, she was told that they were widespread, affecting others too.

Latest Government figures show that just over one in five people who’ve tested positive for coronavirus aren’t being reached by NHS Test and Trace, the system for England that went live last May.

It includes health protection teams who continue to trace cases and their contacts in complex settings like hospitals and care homes.

Panorama also filmed with Leicester City Council. Officials there believe that England’s first local lockdown which followed a spike in infections, could have been avoided had local authorities been plugged into the national system earlier.

Sir Peter Soulsby, the Labour Mayor of Leicester said: ‘If they had been feeding through to us where the positive tests were coming from…We could have intervened at a much, much earlier stage.

The mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby

The mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby

The mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby

‘And there [would have] been no question whatsoever of having to take any special measures, lockdown or other in Leicester.’

The details of people who have tested positive are now shared with local authorities, but only when NHS Test and Trace has been unable to contact them first.

Panorama filmed teams in Leicester cross referencing information they received from Test and Trace, with their own databases to help improve the likelihood of tracing a positive case and persuading them to self-isolate.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘NHS Test and Trace is one of the largest testing and contact tracing systems in the world.

‘The service is working hard to break chains of transmission, with almost half a million people who may otherwise have unknowingly spreading coronavirus contacted and told to isolate.

‘We’re working with Directors of Public Health and have more than doubled the size of local health protection teams to increase local contact tracing and stop outbreaks.

‘We are also providing tests at an unprecedented scale – over 225,000 a day on average over the last week – and expanding capacity further to provide 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.’

The DHSC also told Panorama any technical issues which emerged with the establishment of the new service have been resolved quickly and it says whilst it keeps staffing levels under constant review, it is right to have capacity in the system as the infection rate and thus call handler requirement can increase at an exponential rate on short timescales.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading

Latest Stories

Lawyers offer free help to freshers fighting campus lockdowns

Published

on

By

lawyers offer free help to freshers fighting campus lockdowns

Lawyers have encouraged students in isolation at university to seek their help pro-bono amid a growing row over coronavirus lockdowns on campuses.

Up to 4,000 students across Britain are now self-isolating for a fortnight after more than 500 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed across at least 32 universities.

Among them are 1,700 students under lockdown at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) campuses of Birley and Cambridge Halls. All lectures, seminars and classes for first-year students at the university will now be online for the next 14 days.

And Levins Solicitors of Liverpool tweeted: ‘To the MMU students at Birley campus and Cambridge halls: get in touch and we will do our best to help, pro bono.’

The number of students trying to get a shopping delivery means some say they are starting to run out of food, with parents turning up to halls with bags of shopping. 

MMU student Phoebe told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I’ve had a test back and I’m actually positive, which is quite scary. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve got corona from this place. Before the isolation would be the period when I would have got it.

‘There’s just been non-stop parties, no social distancing, no wearing masks in the corridors, which would all contribute to the spread.’

As thousands prepared to start the new term, the president of the National Union of Students said the Government was ‘gambling’ with students’ lives.

Five of the 1,700 students under lockdown at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) campuses of Birley and Cambridge Halls speak to Sky News yesterday following the outbreak

Five of the 1,700 students under lockdown at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) campuses of Birley and Cambridge Halls speak to Sky News yesterday following the outbreak

Five of the 1,700 students under lockdown at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) campuses of Birley and Cambridge Halls speak to Sky News yesterday following the outbreak

First-year students pose from behind fencing at a campus of MMU on Saturday evening

First-year students pose from behind fencing at a campus of MMU on Saturday evening

First-year students pose from behind fencing at a campus of MMU on Saturday evening

Labour even called for a delay to the start of the English term until the chaotic testing system can meet soaring demand.

It comes after MMU student Joe Barnes told BBC Breakfast on Saturday: ‘I’ve heard horror stories of massive parties in some of the halls around here… it is just frustrating that no one else could have foreseen that.’ 

Daisy Cooper, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for education, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I’m extremely worried about these young people.

‘Some of them will be vulnerable to mental ill health, and for some of them it’s the very first time away from home. 

Lawyers have encouraged students in isolation at university to seek their help pro-bono

Lawyers have encouraged students in isolation at university to seek their help pro-bono

Lawyers have encouraged students in isolation at university to seek their help pro-bono

Students post a message in their window at MMU yesterday complaining about the situation

Students post a message in their window at MMU yesterday complaining about the situation

Students post a message in their window at MMU yesterday complaining about the situation

‘So I think that the very first thing that needs to happen is that universities need to be given the support to identify which students may be particularly vulnerable.

Pressure mounts for universities to refund tuition fees 

Pressure is mounting on universities to refund tuition fees as thousands of students face lockdowns, online-only courses and the prospect of Christmas confined to their halls.

Tory MPs said it was ‘madness’ that the country’s universities were charging the same fees for ‘second-rate’ learning.

As students face the prospect of being confined to their halls of residence over Christmas because of Covid-19 outbreaks on campuses, 3,000 students have already been locked down in their rooms after cases at 36 universities, including Glasgow, Manchester Metropolitan and Edinburgh Napier.

Last night Robert Halfon, the Conservative chairman of the education select committee, said students must be compensated for the lack of face-to-face learning.

The Department for Education said students who wanted refunds should appeal to their universities. 

Mr Halfon told the Daily Mail: ‘If we have 3,000 students in lockdown now, it could be 6,000 next week, so ministers need to come up with a plan on testing and tracing. And we need to ensure students are back by Christmas, because a lockdown over Christmas would cause anguish for them and their families.

‘The Government needs to seriously consider a discount, because when you pay for a product you should expect to get that product, and if not, you should get some money returned.’ 

Tory MP George Freeman said yesterday it was ‘madness’ that students were locked in halls of residences by universities ‘still happily taking their money’.

He said on Twitter: ‘How do I think universities make up the losses from offering student discounts? Well, not from fleecing students! Maybe from vice-chancellors’ £300,000 salaries?’

<!—->Advertisement

 ‘The second thing is there needs to be an assessment of which young people want to stay at university and which ones may not want to stay there.’ 

She added: ‘If young people want to be returning at some point between now and Christmas, there needs to be a plan that the Government works up with universities so that we have a managed Covid-secure return of those young people to home.

‘Because what we can’t have is for those young people to be moving in the same numbers at the same time that they were at the start of term, but doing that at Christmas time.’

In Manchester, the 1,700 students have been told they cannot leave the campus to visit the local testing centre, leading to fears the outbreak will spread.

Labour education spokesman Kate Green last night called on ministers to stop students from returning to university for the start of the academic year – affecting 2.3 million in the UK.

She said they should either delay the start of term or ‘pause’ the return of students to university campuses where courses had not started.

Backing Miss Green, NUS president Larissa Kennedy told The Guardian the union was demanding ‘a functional test-and-trace system in place on campuses and adequate funding to tackle the student mental health crisis’.

She added in a tweet: ‘Government and universities are gambling with students’ lives.’

But outgoing University of Buckingham vice-chancellor Sir Anthony Seldon said: ‘We must have a sense of perspective. Universities have gone to huge lengths to plan for this and many are coping.’

And the Department for Education rejected Labour’s call, insisting it was ‘working closely with universities to support them to keep staff and students as safe as possible’.

The 1,700 MMU students in lockdown yesterday complained of feeling abandoned – with some already plotting their escape.

After 127 positive tests for Covid-19 on Friday, the shocked students – many of them freshers living away from home for the first time – were ordered to self-isolate in their halls of residence for a fortnight.

Desperate undergraduates said supplies of food and toiletries were low and complained of students holding all-night parties likened to ‘prison riots’.

Some tried to ease the boredom by putting up signs in their windows with slogans including ‘send drink’ and ‘f*** Boris’. 

Students look down from outside their window at MMU while in lockdown yesterday

Students look down from outside their window at MMU while in lockdown yesterday

Students look down from outside their window at MMU while in lockdown yesterday 

A student waves through the window of accommodation at MMU behind a sign yesterday

A student waves through the window of accommodation at MMU behind a sign yesterday

A student waves through the window of accommodation at MMU behind a sign yesterday

As some students in lockdown likened the university to a prison by labelling it ‘HMP MMU’, with security guards blocking them from leaving, legal experts claimed their incarceration could amount to false imprisonment.

‘Don’t fine students for partying – refund their fees’: Oxford professor urges UK to follow Sweden and PAY infected freshers to trace their contacts

A Oxford professor has urged universities in the UK to follow Sweden and pay infected freshers to trace their contacts as at least 32 report Covid cases.

Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University told the Times newspaper the Government had helped every sector but had ‘clamped down’ on students.

The professor said that the UK should pay students to trace their contacts if they become infected and said students should be trusted to behave like responsible adults instead of being locked on campus over Christmas.

He added: ‘We should waive student fees. We have asked people to go back to university and at the first sign cases are going up, we are clamping down on people.’

<!—->Advertisement

Adam Wagner, a human rights barrister at Doughty Street chambers in London, wrote on Twitter: ‘False imprisonment is detention without lawful authority.’

Hours later, university vice-chancellor Professor Malcolm Press conceded it could only ‘expect’ students to follow the self-isolation rules – designed to avoid spreading the infection to their home towns.

While many students pledged to stick it out, others were preparing to flee the city.

Tilly Thompson, 19, said she felt like a ‘caged animal’ and was waiting for her mother to take her home to Wolverhampton.

Students claimed some of those under restrictions had been ignoring the rules and throwing parties.

One boasted the quarantine would be ‘a two-week p***-up’, saying he had ‘200 cans of lager’ and ‘it’s going to get messy’.

A student called Tom told BBC Radio 5 Live that people had been running past their flats shouting: ‘Open your doors, we’ve got coronavirus, we want to give it to you.’

He added: ‘It was insane… parties going on everywhere, loud music… It was like a prison riot.’

Martyn Moss, of the University and College Union, said he had warned MMU chiefs that their plans for the ‘mass return of students would inevitably see institutions become Covid incubators’.

He added: ‘Universities should have spent the summer following the science and preparing properly for this inevitable crisis.’

* Are you a student in lockdown? Send your photos to: pictures@mailonline.co.uk * 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 DiazHub.