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Jury at John Leslie’s sexual assault trial is sent home amid fears the judge may have coronavirus 

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jury at john leslies sexual assault trial is sent home amid fears the judge may have coronavirus
In a statement Judge Deborah Taylor told London’s Southwark Crown Court that the trial would be delayed until Monday as a ‘precautionary measure’. But a source claimed she has suspected symptoms and is awaiting the result of a test

In a statement Judge Deborah Taylor told London’s Southwark Crown Court that the trial would be delayed until Monday as a ‘precautionary measure’. But a source claimed she has suspected symptoms and is awaiting the result of a test 

The judge presiding over John Leslie’s sexual assault trial sent the jury home yesterday amid fears she may have coronavirus.

In a statement Judge Deborah Taylor told London‘s Southwark Crown Court that the trial would be delayed until Monday as a ‘precautionary measure’.

But a source claimed she has suspected symptoms and is awaiting the result of a test.

Former Blue Peter and This Morning host Leslie, 55, is accused of grabbing a woman’s breasts at a Christmas party in central London on December 5, 2008.

The court had been due to hear closing speeches from the prosecution and defence.

But the jury was sent home and told the case would hopefully resume on Monday.

In her statement, judge Taylor said: ‘As a precautionary measure the trial is unable to sit today and it is hoped the trial will be able to continue on Monday morning at 10.30am.’

The trial had previously heard that Leslie groped the woman for three seconds laughing as he looked directly at her, before strolling off chuckling without saying a word.

The woman, who cannot be named, was left ‘stunned’ but did not report the alleged sex attack on December 5, 2008, as she thought no one would believe her, the court heard.

She went to the police years later in the wake of the #MeToo movement, jurors were told.

The jury was sent home and told the case would hopefully resume on Monday. Southwark Crown Court is seen above

The jury was sent home and told the case would hopefully resume on Monday. Southwark Crown Court is seen above

After appearing on Blue Peter between 1989 and 1994, Leslie went on to host several popular TV shows including This Morning and Wheel of Fortune.

In March 2018, the former presenter voluntarily attended a police interview to answer questions about the allegation.

He denies one charge of sexual assault. The trial is set to resume on Monday.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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John Lewis to turn HALF flagship Oxford Street store into OFFICES

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john lewis to turn half flagship oxford street store into offices

Retail giant John Lewis has moved a step closer in its plans to convert a large chunk of its famous Oxford Street store into offices –  becoming the latest big name chain to edge away from the High Street.

Nearly half of the firm’s flagship store on could be turned into office space as the embattled department store chain tries to stem its losses and return to profit.

The John Lewis Partnership, which runs the department store chain and the Waitrose grocery arm, secured conditional planning permission from Westminster City Council last night.

The move, if given the full go-ahead, will be yet another blow to the already bruised British High Street – which was struggling before the pandemic and has since seen huge falls in footfall.

Twenty Debenhams stores closed over lockdown, including one at Westfield in White City, London, where plans have been lodged to turn another department store, House of Fraser, into office space.

Meanwhile, Marks and Spencer also closed 17 of its stores last year, many in High Streets, while announcing plans for 7,000 more job cuts earlier this year. Some of the closed stores are currently being redeveloped, including one which is being converted into a pub.

The latest move by John Lewis represents a growing trend among big British retailers, who traditionally take up large units along High Streets and in shopping centres, and the owners of the buildings, who are increasingly looking to turn the empty units into flats or offices. 

John Lewis' flagship department store is on London's Oxford Street. Bosses have submitted plans to turn around half of the store into office space

John Lewis’ flagship department store is on London’s Oxford Street. Bosses have submitted plans to turn around half of the store into office space

The John Lewis Partnership, which runs the department store chain and the Waitrose grocery arm, secured conditional planning permission from Westminster City Council last night

The John Lewis Partnership, which runs the department store chain and the Waitrose grocery arm, secured conditional planning permission from Westminster City Council last night 

The unanimous decision by the council’s planning sub-committee, made on the basis of exceptional circumstances, could see up to 45 per cent, or 28,135 square metres, of the flagship shop floor converted to offices

The unanimous decision by the council’s planning sub-committee, made on the basis of exceptional circumstances, could see up to 45 per cent, or 28,135 square metres, of the flagship shop floor converted to offices

The basement, ground and lower two floors will remain as retail areas, while the floors three to eight will be turned into office space

The basement, ground and lower two floors will remain as retail areas, while the floors three to eight will be turned into office space

The ground floor, where customers traditionally enter, will stay the same and will remain retail, though an area towards the north west will be used to access the office space

The ground floor, where customers traditionally enter, will stay the same and will remain retail, though an area towards the north west will be used to access the office space

One of the floors, shown here in the plan, the fourth floor, will be one of the areas converted from retail space into new office space

One of the floors, shown here in the plan, the fourth floor, will be one of the areas converted from retail space into new office space

It's not just John Lewis which is making moves to convert retail space to office space. Plans have been approved to convert the former House of Fraser store at the West field Shopping centre in White City into office space

It’s not just John Lewis which is making moves to convert retail space to office space. Plans have been approved to convert the former House of Fraser store at the West field Shopping centre in White City into office space

Under the plans, about two-thirds of House of Fraser’s shop floorspace - equivalent to around a full-sized football pitch, will be turned into offices, leaving space for two retail units

Under the plans, about two-thirds of House of Fraser’s shop floorspace – equivalent to around a full-sized football pitch, will be turned into offices, leaving space for two retail units

A small section of the office space will also be let at a 35 per cent discount to entice start-up companies, plans voted through by Hammersmith and Fulham Council's planning committee earlier this year reveal

A small section of the office space will also be let at a 35 per cent discount to entice start-up companies, plans voted through by Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s planning committee earlier this year reveal

John Lewis announces cuts proposal as it reveals plans to expand its property business

The group behind retail giants John Lewis and Waitrose has warned of more cuts as it aims to save up to £300million-a-year, while also becoming a major housing landlord, bosses have today announced.  

The John Lewis Partnership says it wants to streamline its head office and operations, but expand into the property market, as part of a new five year growth strategy.

Bosses aim to triple the company’s annual savings from £100million to £300million each year by 2022 – a move which they hope, combined with growth, will push profits to £400million by 2025.

The announcement comes months after the group revealed plans to shut eight John Lewis stores, with the loss of 1,300 jobs.

It also announced closure of four Waitrose stores, in a move which will see 124 jobs axed, and told staff they would not receive a bonus for the first time since 1953 – after the group dived to a £635million pre-tax loss for the six months to July.

But alongside planned cuts, the group also announced a number of investment plans, including proposals to expand into the property business – an idea already explored by furniture giant IKEA.

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The company had said it is pushing forward with plans to expand into housing, highlighting that it has identified 20 potential sites which could be used for private housing.

The sites have not yet been made public, however the company said the new homes could be built above or beside stores or on other land it owns.

As well as some freehold stores, it owns a 2,800-acre farm in Hertfordshire, another farm in Leckford, Hampshire, four hotels and various logistics facilities.

Under the plans, the homes would be furnished with products from John Lewis department stores.

The group already has three sites and is aiming to make planning applications for two sites in Greater London in the new year, according to reports.

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Earlier this month, John Lewis announced plans to become a major landlord, by converting stores or parts of them into houses.

The retailer, which is already struggling in a rapidly evolving retail environment, has been hard hit by the pandemic and announced earlier this month it wants to save £300million each year by 2022.

It suffered a £635million pre-tax loss for the first six months to July following a £470million write down on its stores.

The John Lewis Partnership says it wants to streamline its head office and operations, but expand into the property market, as part of a new five year growth strategy.

Bosses aim to triple the company’s annual savings from £100million to £300million each year by 2022 – a move which they hope, combined with growth, will push profits to £400million by 2025.

The announcement made last month came after the group revealed plans to shut eight John Lewis stores, with the loss of 1,300 jobs. It also announced closure of four Waitrose stores, in a move which will see 124 jobs axed.

But alongside planned cuts, the group also announced a number of investment plans, including proposals to expand into the property business – an idea already explored by furniture giant IKEA.  

The company had said it is pushing forward with plans to expand into housing, highlighting that it has identified 20 potential sites which could be used for private housing.

The sites have not yet been made public, however the company said the new homes could be built above or beside stores or on other land it owns. This includes freehold stores, a 2,800-acre farm in Hertfordshire, another farm in Leckford, Hampshire, four hotels and various logistics facilities.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, a think tank urged the Government to consider undertaking a ‘nationwide programme of re-purposing city and town centres’ in a bid to find new uses for the rows of empty High Street shops across the country.

Such an effort could create more than 800,000 new homes to address the UK’s ongoing housing crisis, The Social Market Foundation (SMF) argued.

The SMF report came after the Government unveiled plans to tear up planning red tape to allow boarded up shops and abandoned offices to be turned into homes without the need for full planning permission – encouraging developers to convert the unused sites.

While John Lewis has already shown its intention, others such as Marks and Spencer have increasingly withdrawn from high streets, looking instead towards retail park-based M&S Food Halls.

In August, the retail giant announced plans to cut 7,000 jobs. Last year it closed 17 stores as part of a proposed five-year plan to shut more than 100 stores by 2022.

Earlier this year, planning permission was given to Amber Taverns to convert one of Marks and Spencer’s now-closed stores, in Bridlington, East Riding, into a pub, according to Hull Live.

Meanwhile, another former Marks and Spencer store in Stockton, County Durham, was set to go up for sale for around £300,000 in June, according to the Northern Echo. 

Earlier this year, planning permission was given to Amber Taverns to convert one of Marks and Spencer's now-closed stores, in Bridlington, East Riding, into a pub, according to Hull Live

Earlier this year, planning permission was given to Amber Taverns to convert one of Marks and Spencer’s now-closed stores, in Bridlington, East Riding, into a pub, according to Hull Live

Another former store in Stockton, County Durham, was set to go up for sale for around £300,000 in June, according to the Northern Echo.

Another former store in Stockton, County Durham, was set to go up for sale for around £300,000 in June, according to the Northern Echo.

The closed Newark store, in Nottinghamshire, was bought by Newark and Sherwood District Council for £540,000. The council had planned to redevelop the unit and convert it into four small retail units, according to the Newark Advertiser

The closed Newark store, in Nottinghamshire, was bought by Newark and Sherwood District Council for £540,000. The council had planned to redevelop the unit and convert it into four small retail units, according to the Newark Advertiser

High street’s vacant shops ‘should be converted into 800,000 new homes’, think tank says 

Ministers have been urged to convert the nation’s growing number of vacant shops into housing as a think tank warned the coronavirus crisis will change shopping habits forever.

The Social Market Foundation today called for the Government to undertake a ‘nationwide programme of repurposing city and town centres’.

Such an effort could create more than 800,000 new homes to address the UK’s ongoing housing crisis, it argued.

The SMF report comes after the Government unveiled plans to tear up planning red tape to allow boarded up shops and abandoned offices to be turned into homes without the need for full planning permission.

The coronavirus crisis has had a massive impact on the retail sector with thousands of jobs already lost and business chiefs warning there will be more redundancies and shop closures to come.

The SMF think tank said: ‘COVID-19 is catalysing changes to our working and consumer habits.

‘This is likely to have a significant impact on town and city centres. Rather than letting our high streets fade into obscurity, politicians can create an ambitious vision of repurposed urban space and reinvigorated communities.’

The think tank said that ’emerging evidence suggests that lockdown will change consumer and business behaviour on a long-lasting basis’.

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The closed Newark store, in Nottinghamshire, was bought by Newark and Sherwood District Council for £540,000.

The council had planned to redevelop the unit and convert it into four small retail units, according to the Newark Advertiser.

Meanwhile, fashion retailer Next also today announced a larger-than-expected profit hike, despite falling sales.  

The fashion brand is expecting pre-tax profit for the year to be £365m, which is £65m higher than it forecast last month. Online sales has been labelled as the key behind its success.

The chain also saw good demand for home items, while its retail park stores reportedly outperformed its high street ones. The clothing giant has not announced any store closures. 

Debenhams, which this year went into administration for the second time in 12 months at the start of the pandemic, announced earlier this year that 20 of its stores would not reopen after lockdown ended.

One store which has closed is the Debenhams in London shopping centre Westfields, in White City.

The store did not reopen after lockdown after the shopping centre reportedly refused its request for another round of rent reductions.

In June, it was reported by Retail Gazette that bosses at the shopping centre were developing plans for a co-working space as part of a wider strategy to provide ‘more mixed-use experiences’.

As of yet, no formal plans have been announced for the former Debenhams store. Debenhams declined to comment. It is understood the retailer has handed back the unit and will not play a part in any potential redevelopment.

MailOnline has contacted Westfields for a comment, but has not received a response so far.

Meanwhile, in June, plans were approved to convert the former House of Fraser store at the shopping centre into office space.

The plans were submitted by the centre’s owners, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.

The House of Fraser store reopened earlier this year after it closed during the coroanvirus lockdown.

The department store is still currently open, having been converted into a temporary Harrods outlet store.

The plans were submitted by the centre's owners, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. The House of Fraser store reopened earlier this year and is still currently open.

The plans were submitted by the centre’s owners, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. The House of Fraser store reopened earlier this year and is still currently open. 

The plans for the new office space at Westfields at the site of the House of Fraser store comes after Debenhams announced it would not reopen its store at White City

The plans for the new office space at Westfields at the site of the House of Fraser store comes after Debenhams announced it would not reopen its store at White City

Under the plans, about two-thirds of House of Fraser’s shop floorspace – equivalent to around a full-sized football pitch, will be turned into offices, leaving space for two retail units.

No operator has been lined up to run the office space as of yet. Westfield is considering running the operation itself if it can’t find a suitable provider, according to Estates Gazette. 

A small section of the office space will also be let at a 35 per cent discount to entice start-up companies, plans voted through by Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s planning committee earlier this year reveal.

MailOnline has contacted Marks and Spencer and Next for comment.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Killer Mick Philpott ‘had to be dragged to bedside of his dying son’

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killer mick philpott had to be dragged to bedside of his dying son

Killer dad Mick Philpott didn’t want to visit his son, 13, on his deathbed as the teenager battled injuries from the fire started by his father, which killed his five siblings. 

Revealing the harrowing detail for the first time in Channel 5’s 5 Mistakes That Caught A Killer, airing tonight at 10pm, retired Detective Superintendent Paul Callum, who helped lead the investigation said Philpott had to be convinced by support officers to visit dying son Duwayne. 

After finally agreeing to go, he flirted with staff and his behaviour left detectives convinced the father-of-17 was responsible for his children’s deaths. 

Philpott was sentenced to life in prison and Mairead to 17 years after their children Jade, ten, John, nine, Jack, seven, Jesse , six and Jayden, five, died from smoke inhalation in the May 2012 fire at the family home in Osmaston, Derby. 

The documentary lays bare the five mistakes committed by Mick, Mairead and their accomplice Paul Mosley, which included the couple’s suspicious press conference days after the fire, and Mick’s inappropriate behaviour at the hospital and mortuary. 

A new Channel 5 documentary looks into the five mistakes that led to the arrest of Mairead and Mick Philpott. Mick was sentenced to life in prison and Mairead got 17, along with accomplice Paul Mosley after the sick trio set fire to the couple's Derby house where their six children, aged 13 to five, were sleeping. Five children died of smoke inhalation at the scene, and one died in hospital from the injuries he sustained in the blaze

A new Channel 5 documentary looks into the five mistakes that led to the arrest of Mairead and Mick Philpott. Mick was sentenced to life in prison and Mairead got 17, along with accomplice Paul Mosley after the sick trio set fire to the couple’s Derby house where their six children, aged 13 to five, were sleeping. Five children died of smoke inhalation at the scene, and one died in hospital from the injuries he sustained in the blaze 

The programme also looks at the couple’s outrageous night out that saw Philpott sing Elvis songs at a local pub in the wake of his children’s deaths, the conversations between Mick and Mairead recorded by police and the petrol found on his clothes. 

‘He didn’t want to go across to Birmingham where Duwayne was effectively dying from his injuries,’ Callum said. 

‘And my understanding his that the family liaison officers had to persuade him to go across to Birmingham to see Duwayne,’ he added. 

Once he finally made the visit, officers were tipped off that Phillpot had acted inappropriately and flirted with nursing staff looking after his dying son. 

Duwayne Philpott, 13, died in a special burns unit in Birmingham. Family liaison officers had to persuade Mick to go visit his dying son

Duwayne Philpott, 13, died in a special burns unit in Birmingham. Family liaison officers had to persuade Mick to go visit his dying son 

Philpott was equally as inappropriate when he visited the Derby mortuary to formally identified his dead children. 

Callum revealed: ‘He chatted up the mortuary technicians.

‘He made inappropriate comments about their breasts, about things he wanted to do with them sexually.

‘He would then collapse into a pile and pretend he was upset. Then he’d sit up and say something inappropriate. He was a very strange character.

‘At the mortuary we know that he called his children “little s***s”, which in any context that children have died, I don’t know how that can be deemed as appropriate.’

Jesse Philpott, six, was the second youngest children of the siblings

Jayden Philpott was only five when he died in the fire started by his parents

Jess Philpott, six, left, and Jayden Philpott, five, were the two youngest of the Philpott children to die in the fire 

The Five Mistake that led to Mick and Mairead Philpott’s arrest 

1. Framing his ex-mistress

2. Suspicious Press conference

3 Police recordings

4. Inappropriate behaviour

5. Petrol on their clothes

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Mick’s long-time friend Mick Russell, who has since been one of his prison pen-pals, accompanied him to the mortuary and recounted the chilling moment in the documentary. 

‘He was smiling and cracking jokes and that. And then we went in and had the children in the room,’ Russell said. 

The family friend said he was more upset about the death of the children than his pal appeared to be.  

‘They was all lined up. Five little kids lying there with burns on their arms and hands. I just broke down crying.’

Philpott suspicious antics were one of the five main mistakes which led to his conviction. 

The documentary lists the four others, starting by the press conference which was given by Mick and Mairead after the fire, and which was deemed disingenuous by many. 

Local reporter Martin Naylor, who was at the press conference for the Derby Telegraph, said that all journalists present could tell the couple’s grief was ‘crocodile tears,’ as they dabbed their dry eyes with tissues. 

‘We all looked at each other and our faces had changed and that was when all of us thought “something’s not right”,’ Naylor said. 

‘I think what he was trying to do is sort of say to everybody: “This is how victims behaved, now I’ve done that, that’s the end of it”, and then the case would move on and perhaps the heat on him would have gone away,’ officer Callum guessed. 

‘After the press conference we were getting calls from everybody saying: “It’s obvious it’s Mick and Mairead, why are you not arresting him”,’ he added. 

Martin Naylor also recounted how Mick attempted to cash in on the teddy bears left by well-wishers in front of the house by trying to sell them 

A visit to a local pub, the Navigation Inn was also one of the incriminating mistakes made by the couple in the run up to their arrest. 

‘They did think they were celebrities, landlady of the Inn Jeanette Doherry said.

‘I would say they were enjoying the attention.

Mairead and Mick roused the suspicions of journalists and investigators with their 'crocodiles' tears during a press conference about the blaze in May 2012

Mairead and Mick roused the suspicions of journalists and investigators with their ‘crocodiles’ tears during a press conference about the blaze in May 2012

‘They were drinking double Jack Daniel’s, they appeared to be very tipsy, they were kissing and touching each other and he’s running his hand through her hair,’ she recounted. 

‘It wasn’t very appropriate.

‘He was singing ‘Suspicious Minds [by Elvis Presley] which was a very strange song to pick,’ Doherty added. 

‘And everybody was saying “Why would he be doing this after his children have died?”. They weren’t grieving parents.’

During the investigation, with their house destroyed by the fire, Mick and Mairead were staying in a hotel, which, unbeknownst to them, had been tapped by police. 

The couple’s third mistake was to discuss their police interviews in their hotel room, trying to get their stories to match. 

In outrageous recording which can be heard in the documentary, Mick could be heard asking his wife: ‘What did you say about how many times I went up ladders?

And Mairead could be heard replying: ‘I lost count how may times you went up thr ladders.’

The couple had tried to paint Mick as a hero that had climbed the ladders several times to save the kids from the blaze. 

The police also tapped a police van transporting Mairead and Mick to prison after their arrest. 

Mick could be heard whispering: ‘Are you sticking to the story?’ to his wife. 

Another mistake was that, early on in the investigation, Mick blamed his ex-mistress, who had left him months before the blaze, for the fire. 

This led police to talking to her, Callum explained. 

‘In the first 24 hours, Mick was telling anybody he could that it was his ex-girlfriend who had started the fire because of the legal court case and that he had been harassed by her,’ he said. 

‘We deliberated for quite some time over this and we felt the only way to manage this would be to arrest her.

However, it became clear very quickly that she had nothing to do with the fire, which had the officers circle back to Mick. 

Finally, the most crucial mistake committed by the couple, which secured their arrest and linked them directly to the crime scene, was the traces of petrol found on their clothes by forensic experts. 

The fire had been lit by spreading a large quantity of petrol at the bottom of the stairs in the Philpott home. 

Forensic expert Rebecca Jewell explained in the documentary that she was able to determine that the petrol found on the clothes of Mairead, Mick and their friend Paul Mosley was Shell petrol, the same petrol used in the arson. 

Rebecca recounted testifying in court during Mick, Mairead and Paul’s trial. She said: ‘I didn’t want to catch his eyes.

‘It was chilling. I’ve seen suspects obviously every time I’ve given evidence, but that does remain, in my mind, as one of the most chilling stares that a suspect has ever given me.’ 

Mick is currently serving a life sentence with a minimum of 50 years. It was announced last week that Mairead Duffy, now divorced from Phillpott, is to be released next year, having served only half her sentence. 

5 Mistake that Caught thr Killer: Mick Philpott airs tonight at 10pm on Channel 5.  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Shocking moment subway commuter gets wedged between the safety screen on the platform and the train

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shocking moment subway commuter gets wedged between the safety screen on the platform and the train

A Chinese commuter has survived unhurt after being trapped between a subway train and the safety screen on the platform in Shanghai.

The passenger was wedged in the tight gap in front of horrified passengers after he allegedly failed to squeeze through the train’s closing doors, according to the local authorities.

He was rescued by a staff member who rushed to stop the train from moving and helped the man get inside the carriage.

The passenger (pictured) is believed to have been wedged in the tight gap after he failed to squeeze through the closing doors at a station in Shanghai, according to the local authorities

The passenger (pictured) is believed to have been wedged in the tight gap after he failed to squeeze through the closing doors at a station in Shanghai, according to the local authorities

The incident occurred during the rush hour on Monday evening at a subway station in Shanghai.

The man is said to have gotten stuck after trying to force his way through the closing doors while the train was preparing to leave, according to a notice from Shanghai Metro.

A picture widely shared on Chinese social media shows the stuck commuter clinging onto the safety screen on the platform while other passengers watched in shock.

The incident occurred during the rush hour on Monday evening in Shanghai, according to an official statement. In this file photo, people are seen rushing into a subway station in Shanghai

The incident occurred during the rush hour on Monday evening in Shanghai, according to an official statement. In this file photo, people are seen rushing into a subway station in Shanghai

After spotting the man, a station officer is seen rushing to stop the train from moving by pressing an emergency button on the platform.

A safety mechanism on the screen doors was also triggered after the passenger became trapped, the officials said.

The man was rescued and escorted into the carriage by staff and other passengers after the train operator opened both doors.

He did not suffer any injuries, according to the official statement. The train resumed its services three minutes after the incident.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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