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Sarah Everard murder: Kidnapper faces life sentence

During the trial, horrific details of the crime were revealed

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Sarah Everad

Wayne Couzens was sentenced to lifelong imprisonment on Thursday 30th September 2021 following the murder of Sarah Everard in south London on 3rd March 2021.

According to video footage released on Wednesday the UK police officer, Couzens used his police warrant card to handcuff Everard falsely to lure her off the street before raping, murdering, and burning off her body. Tom Little QC, the prosecutor told the Old Bailey courtroom “that was the start of her lengthy ordeal, including an 80-mile journey (to Kent) whilst detained which was to lead first to her rape and then her murder,” after he handcuffed her, adding “at some point fairly soon after driving from the pavement on to the South Circular and having not gone to a police station, Sarah Everard must have realised her fate.” The sentence hearing lasted for two days and on Thursday Couzens was sentenced to a whole life order for “deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fire” by Lord Justice Fulford. This sentence is reserved for people who are very dangerous to society and cannot be released, which means the 48-year-old will most likely die in jail. The sentence was not only for the crime but the fact that Couzens showed no remorse during the hearing.

Sarah Everard was a 33-year-old marketing executive disappeared in March. She was reported missing by her boyfriend. During the court hearing, Everard’s mother gave a powerful testimony in which she stated “Sarah died in horrendous circumstances. I am tormented at the thought of what she endured. In her last hours, she was faced with brutality and terror, alone with someone intent on doing her harm. The thought of it is unbearable.” Along with Everard’s mother, her sister and father also gave powerful statements in front of the murderer. Her sister, Katie broke down in tears while labelling her sister’s killer a “monster” and her father asked the killer to look at him and that the family would “never forgive him.”

The murder of Sarah Everard, a young bright girl by a law-enforcement agent who failed in his duty to protect the public has sparked nationwide outrage. There have been protests regarding male violence against women as well. The police officer who committed the violent crime had been accused of indecent exposure many times in the past which Kent Police failed to investigate. Sadly, this led to an unnecessary loss of young woman which could well have been avoided. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Crime

Six People Killed in Shooting at Independence Day Parade

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  • Six people were shot dead at an Independence Day parade near Chicago, Illinois. The gunman is still unknown and actively being searched for.
  • The gunman, who is being described as a white man near the age of 20, started shooting at random with a high powered rifle from a rooftop. The parade, which should have included hours of activities and entertainment, quickly ended and crowds were dispersed.
  • Those living in nearby suburbs or areas where the suspect might have gone have been told to shelter in place.
  • July 4th marks the colonies gaining independence in 1776 from Great Britain and the formation of the United States of America.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Crime

Eight Gang Members Arrested and In Possession of Underwater Drones

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800px Drug trafficking Caribean Sea
  • Spanish police arrested eight gang members that had unmanned underwater drones, six aerial drones, as well as other illegal substances in their possession.
  • The police said the drones could be used for illegal purposes, specifically “to be delivered to French narco-traffickers to be used to transport significant quantities of cocaine.”
  • One of the underwater vehicles was completely built, and two more were still being completed. The drones could potentially be controlled from anywhere in the world.
  • More than a year long investigation was carried out with the help of the French police to investigate the gang and arrest members in Cadiz, Malaga, and Barcelona.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Crime

Udaipur, India: Hindu tailor beheaded by two extremist Muslims 

Unfortunate incident of Hindu tailor beheaded by two extremist Muslims in Udaipur, India 

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Hindu tailor beheaded by Muslim extemists

Kanhaiyai Lal Teli, a Hindu Tailor beheaded by two extremist Muslims in Udaipur in the western state of Rajasthan, India. Tell was murdered by the two Muslim extremists who came into his shop on Tuesday. Mr Lal was stabbed multiple times, his throat was slit, and he was then beheaded. The act was filmed on a mobile phone and posted online.  In the video, Mr Teli could be heard screaming.

The attack came following rising religious tensions between Muslims and Hindus in India after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) now ex-official Nupur Sharma made derogatory comments regarding the Prophet of Islam.Sharma made the comments on live television and sparked countrywide protests, some of which turned violent, as well as being strongly condemned by many Islamic countries. Three Islamic countries summoned their Indian ambassadors to address the comments. Following global condemnation, Sharma was suspended  by the BJP and her comments were retracted. Another party official expressed support for Sharma’s comments and was expelled from the party. 

The controversy gave way to protests across India as well as rising communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.  In the Eastern Indian state of Jharkand, two Muslim men were killed in a protest on June 10, which was held calling for Nupur Sharma’s arrest.

Kanhaiya Lal had posted support for Sharma’s comments on a Whatsapp status, to which some Muslims took offence, and he was arrested but afterwards granted bail. His wife Jashoda claimed that they had received death threats from extremist minded Muslims in the days before her husband’s murder and had skipped work following his bail because of the threats. Mr Teli also filed a complaint with the police concerning the death threats. His killer’s pretended to be customers to the shop and first had their measurements taken by Mr Teli.

The perpetrators cited vengeance for Mr Telis’s Whatsapp status supporting Umur Sharmar’s comments. Brandishing knives they used to kill Mr Teli in another video in which they claimed responsibility for the murder, they addressed Prime Minister Modi; “Listen, Narendra Modi, you have lit the fire but we will douse it…I pray to God that this dagger will one day reach your neck too.”

The murderers were arrested within hours of the killing while attempting to flee the city on motorbikes. The chief minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot announced their arrest on Twitter and stated authorities would “ensure strict punishment and speedy justice”.

A prominent Muslim religious organisation, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, condemned the incident and said it was “barbaric, uncivilised and there is no room for justification of violence in Islam..no citizen should take law in his own hands. Let the law prevail.” 

The BJP party has been accused of helping cause rifts between Hindus and Muslims and marginalising the lattersince Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to office in 2014.

Following the attack, authorities shut down internet across the state of Rajasthan over concerns that it would cause further unrest within the community. The murder gave way to protests in Rajasthan. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Crime

How the United States can Solve its Gun Violence Problem

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Here’s what the U.S. can learn from firearm laws in individual states and across the globe

Jasmeet Sidhu’s husband was inside a Wisconsin Gurdwara when a white supremacist entered and began firing. 

He shot ten congregants, killing six. Sidhu’s husband survived the 2012 attack, but her family was never the same. Sidhu, who’s now a senior researcher at Amnesty International USA, felt afraid whenever she took her kids to the Gurdwara after that.

Later that year, a gunman shot and killed twenty-six people, including twenty children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

“I felt just shaken to my core that we can live in a country where you can send your kids to school or you go to pray or you go to a mall or you go to a movie theatre, or you send your kid to college and you never know if they’re going to come back,” Sidhu said.

The recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde have reignited debate about gun control  in the United States. In the aftermath of the shootings, the country took conflicting steps – the House of Representatives set a process in motion to raise the minimum age to buy some firearms, while the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that individuals can carry handguns in public. 

Where countries across the globe have tightened their laws after mass shootings, the U.S. has long been stuck in deadlock. While no gun policy is bullet-proof, experts like Sidhu say there are several models both within the United States and beyond which have proven they work.

Raising the age to buy a gun

Currently, federal U.S. law allows federally licensed dealers to sell shotguns and rifles, as well as ammunition for both, to individuals eighteen and up. Other firearms, such as handguns, and the relevant ammunition can only be sold to individuals twenty-one and older. 

That changes when the seller isn’t licensed; in other words, in private person-to-person sales. In those cases, handguns and handgun ammunition can be sold to individuals eighteen and older. As for long guns and long gun ammunition, individuals of any age can purchase them from unlicensed sellers.

In early June, after the recent mass shootings, New York also upped the minimum age for buying a semi-automatic rifle to twenty-one, joining other states including Florida, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont and Washington in doing so. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a federal bill to raise the minimum age to buy an assault rifle from eighteen to twenty-one, though the bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate. 

“As we saw from the recent shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, and then the Uvalde shooting in Texas, these are individuals who waited until they were 18 and then legally went out and purchased a gun,” Sidhu said. “The problem there is that they were able to go buy a gun legally.”

“In a country where you can’t drink until you’re 21, and there’s so many restrictions on other aspects of life until you’re 21, it seems odd that you would have access to… weapons,” she added. 

Sidhu noted that the U.S. had a lot of drunk driving accidents when the drinking age was eighteen. Once the government raised the national drinking age to twenty-one, studies showed a direct reduction in drunk driving accidents by youth, according to the United States Department of Transportation. 

On the flip side, one rebuke to gun control is the argument that people who aren’t allowed to have guns will find a way to get one, says Kerri Raissian, director of the Center for Advancing Research, Methods, and Scholarship (ARMS) at the University of Connecticut.

“The fact that most of these very recent mass shooters have waited until they were 18 and actually waited until the time that they were legal, provides us some of the preliminary evidence that gun laws do work,” she said.

Raissian noted that young men are particularly at risk of homicide and of arrest for homicide, a risk that declines with age. 

After a 2002 shooting where a nineteen-year-old gunman killed sixteen people, Germany raised the age for carrying sports weapons to twenty-one, instead of eighteen. Following another shooting in 2009, the country introduced random police checks for gun owners.

Germany already had relatively low rates of gun violence in 2002, with 1.29 gun deaths per 100,000 population, according to GunPolicy.org. But after the new rules were introduced, that number dropped to 1.01 gun deaths per 100,000 population by 2018, twelve times lower than the U.S. for the same year.

Assault Weapons Ban

From 1994 to 2004, the United States had an assault weapons ban which reduced the number of mass shootings in the country, Sidhu said. The ban expired under President George W. Bush.

Though handguns are behind most gun violence, She notes that assault weapons are particularly dangerous because of their ability to do a lot of damage in a short time.

In 1987, after a gunman with two semi-automatic rifles and a handgun killed sixteen people and wounded fifteen others before killing himself in Hungerford, Britain, England banned certain semi-automatic rifles, among other restrictions. Later, after a gunman killed sixteen children and their teacher in Dunblane, Scotland in 1996, England effectively banned civilians from owning handguns. 

The rate of gun violence in Britain is quite low – in 2016, England and Wales had an annual rate of 0.15 gun deaths per 100,000 population, according to GunPolicy.org. 

Australia also banned all semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns after a mass shooting in 1996 which killed thirty-five people and injured eighteen. People surrendered guns in droves under an amnesty program. It’s estimated that the buyback cut down the number of gun-owning households by almost half, according to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.

Similarly, after the Christchurch Mosque shooting in New Zealand where a gunman killed fifty-one people in 2019, the country banned assault weapons, as well as most semi-automatics, parts that convert firearms into semi-automatics, magazines over a certain capacity and certain shotguns. The country had 1.24 annual gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2015, the latest data available at GunPolicy.org.

gun control

Universal background check system

In the U.S., the Gun Control Act bans felons, individuals who’ve been dishonourably discharged from the Armed Forces and those without baseline mental capacity from owning guns, among others. Following the assassination attempt of former President Ronald Reagan in 1981, the country mandated background checks for individuals who purchased guns from federally licensed dealers.

But not much has changed since, Sidhu says.

Background checks don’t apply to non-licensed (i.e; person to person) sales or to inherited firearms. 

Raissian points to other inadequacies in the current system, noting that juvenile criminal records in some states are sealed once the offender turns eighteen, preventing adequate background checks from being performed in some cases for those who purchase a gun shortly after their 18th birthday. 

The new Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, passed at the end of June, introduces a more thorough review process for gun buyers under twenty-one years, including a juvenile record check.

Besides background checks, many scholars say gun owners should also be licensed, Raissian adds. Some states have introduced licensing systems, like Connecticut where gun owners must apply for a permit. In Massachusetts, police also interview applicants for a gun license.

Japan has almost no gun violence, with tight restrictions on who gets a gun. Handguns are banned, so residents can only buy limited firearms, such as shotguns and air rifles, but they have to pass multiple tests, including a mental health evaluation and background check to own a gun. In 2018, the country had 0.01 gun deaths per 100,000 people.

Red flag laws 

These laws give family and law enforcement the ability to petition a court to take an individual’s guns away for a period, if they’re seen as a threat to themselves or others.

While some states already have some version of red flag laws in place, the new Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in the U.S. offers financial incentives to states to introduce them, though it doesn’t require states to create those laws.

In May, Canada introduced a bill which would give courts the power to require individuals seen as a danger to themselves or others, to surrender their guns among other changes including a national handgun freeze and revoking firearms licenses from people involved in domestic violence or criminal harassment.

“Most mass shooters have had some violence against women in their history,” said Raissian. “We need to learn more about that connection, but it is possible that interrupting the cycle of violence (and) holding domestic abusers accountable can not only make women safer, it could make all of us safer.”

Research has shown that keeping guns away from people convicted of domestic violence reduced the number of gun homicides. It didn’t lead to an increase of homicides committed by other weapons.

“This is important to the argument that ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people.’ If that were true, we would see an increase in non-gun homicides,” Raissian added.

“But again, because guns are so effective at killing people, even if you try to kill someone with another weapon – and I don’t know if that happens or not, that’s not in the data – but even if you try, you’re just so much less likely to be successful in a homicide because guns are just very good at what they’re designed to do.”

‘Human rights begin at home’ 

There is also work to be done enforcing existing laws.

Beyond background checks at the point of sale, Raissian says there is a weakness in seizing guns from prohibited people found to be in possession of firearms.

“We could go a long way by enforcing… laws that we already have to enhance public safety,” she said. “That requires no votes in Congress.”

At the heart, experts agree that no policy will eliminate gun violence in the United States.

Raissian points to the nuances in individual states, where some have more suicide-related gun deaths compared to others where homicide plays a major role.

“America has a gun death problem, absolutely, but each state has its own version of that gun death problem,” she said.

For Sidhu, the push toward promoting gun rights is not an actual reflection of the United States constitution, but a stretch of what the Second Amendment was actually intended for. It reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” which Sidhu interprets as being primarily concerned with the right of the militia to keep and bear arms. 

But over time, it has been interpreted to mean that any individual has the right to have a gun, she says. 

school zone sign

With Ohio recently passing a law allowing teachers and other staff to carry guns at school, Sidhu adds that the mentality that the public can be better protected with more good guys with guns is “incredibly flawed.” In the Uvalde shooting, armed officers arrived at the school but were late to act, she noted.

People with inadequate gun training (the law drops training requirements from more than 700 hours to a maximum of 24) and high stress environments are likely to do more harm than good, Sidhu continues, adding that it’s not fair to expect teachers to now carry a weapon to protect their students on top of their regular jobs.

“The answer is not to give everybody in the country a gun so they can protect themselves, the answer is we need to put some common sense regulations in place to restrict the access of guns from individuals who are likely to misuse them,” she says.

“Human rights begin at home.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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From witch-hunting to testimonies: Gambia’s transition to democracy 

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52nd Independence Anniversary Celebrations and Inauguration of His Excellency Mr. Adama Barrow President of the Republic of The Gambia Saturday 18th February 2017 scaled

Transitioning to a democracy can be a difficult move particularly for a country that has experienced a violent past. For 22 years the Gambia was ruled by President Yahya Jammeh, known for human rights abuses, gender-based violence, harassment, torture and in particular, witch hunts, but was finally toppled by Adama Barrow in 2016. 

Witch hunting started in 2009 when President Jammeh claimed that the cause of his aunt’s death was witchcraft. As a result, several witch hunts took place throughout the country. Those who were suspected of witchcraft were forced into detention centres where they would be stripped naked and beaten until they would confess that they had carried out murders using witchcraft. Additionally, they were forced to drink a herbal concoction which caused many to fall sick and some to even die. The elderly who were mostly suspected of witchcraft faced the worst of the beatings.

However, it was not just witch hunting that defined Jammeh’s leadership. Human rights abuses, the lack of freedom of press and harassment of political opponents shaped a significant amount of his leadership. Deyda Hydara, editor of the daily The Point newspaper, had previously spoken up against the dictatorial regime. In 2004 Hydara was killed in a drive by shooting. Despite many pointing their fingers at Jammeh, he denied any link to the murder of the respected journalist. But in 2019 as part of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), Malick Jatta, a member of the Junglers – a death squad known to have done the ‘dirtiest work’ for the former President – confessed to Hydara’s murder at the behest of Jammeh.

When the former President lost the 2016 election to Adama Barrow, a property developer who achieved a 45.5% majority compared to Jammeh’s 36.7% Jammeh refused to accept the result. However, he was forced into exile to Equatorial Guinea. 

Adama Barrow’s win has been a turning point for the Gambia. He was the first President to start the country’s transition to democracy and freedom after Jammeh. Barrow was a favourite and was easily re-elected in December 2021 with a 53% majority. Under his Presidency, Barrow established the TRRC and hearings began in January 2019. It was set up to seek justice and a sense of peace for the victims of Yahya Jammeh. The commission included a large number of testimonies with hundreds of victims and perpetrators stating their personal accounts on what had taken place under the 22 years of the dictatorship. 

Alongside the TRRC,, the UN has supported 2,000 victims through the Victim Participation Support Fund. The fund provides ‘psychosocial support and essential medical interventions’. Furthermore, approximately 30 people who testified during the TRRC were provided with witness protection. The TRRC concluded on 28thMay 2021 and was a way to close the door on Gambia’s traumatic past. Despite the conclusion of the commission, many Gambians to this day live in fear as the reward promised for those who confessed to crimes under Jammeh and who were previously part of the Junglers, was release from jail. This decision not only stops victims achieving justice but also gives them a life where they will continually live in fear. Many of Jammeh’s ‘henchmen’ remain in positions of authority in the Gambia including in the army, the Government and the national intelligence service ensuring victims remain uneasy. Yahya Jammeh may have left and lost his power over the Gambia, but the harsh impact of his rule still lingers within many people today.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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‘Biggest’ Neo-Nazi in UK Jailed for Eight Years

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Flag of the British Peoples Party 2005.svg

Alex Davies, a 27-year-old man from Swansea, Wales was jailed for being part of the racist National Action (NA) group in the UK. This fascist group was banned in 2016 but he kept running it under the radar as it morphed into regional factions.

The new “continued group” was called NS131- National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action and it covered the southern part of the country. They were inspired by Hitler and the logo of the organization was based on Sturmabteilung, the paramilitary wing of the Nazi party.

The jury found him guilty of running this group and he was sentenced to eight and a half years at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey in London. The judge, Mark Dennis QC also ordered him to spend another year on extended license for his extremist views.

Davies was also the co-founder of this neo-Nazi group with the aim to start a “race war” in the UK. NA was found in 2013 by him and his partner Ben Raymond who was jailed last year for eight years as well.  The new group came to attention when they celebrated the death of MP Jo Cox.

During the trial, he was described as “probably the biggest Nazi of the lot” and a “terrorist hiding in plain sight” by the jury. While the group NA was described as the most extreme British far-right group after World War Two. He and his peers preyed on young people, grooming them to fit his twisted views.

While addressing him on the dock, Judge Mark Dennis QC said: “You are an intelligent and educated young man but you have held, over a period of many years, warped and shocking prejudices.”

“This was a well-orchestrated and determined effort to flout the ban on the activities of National Action and continue to promote and strive to achieve the long-held objectives,” the Judge added.

In his defense, Davies claimed that this new group was different from NA and he was only “exercising his democratic rights”. However, the prosecutor did not agree with his words and compared the two groups which made it hard to believe these were not the same groups just under different names.

“The same name – National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action (NS131) – take out the three middle words and you are left with a big clue: National Action,” he said.

Continuing, the prosecutor made even more comparisons, “Same colours – black and white, colours of Sturmabteilung. Same look of designer Benjamin Raymond, a convicted NA member… The same leader – this defendant, who makes it all happen. Same regional structure – adapted and redrawn following proscription, and so many familiar faces from the old guard.”

Davies was the 19th member convicted of being part of this group. A lot of them have been caught while planning dangerous things. One member was convicted for making pipe bombs while another, for plotting to kill MP Rosie Cooper with a machete.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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