The Reefers Digest is back and we’re not amused. Seems freedom and liberty, are under attack from all sides, censorship rules, smokers are the devil incarnate and even little old men are to be feared, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What is the world coming to?
Serial Bride Admits Bigamy MEN June 22 2009
Emily Horne, 30, a former glamour model has pleaded guilty to bigamy after marrying for the fifth time.
She married Oldham man Ashley Baker at a civil ceremony at Chadderton town hall in September 2007 but neglected to mention that she was still married to her first husband, or that in marrying Baker, she had just committed bigamy for the fourth time.
Clearly this is one Bridezilla who couldn't get enough, even after being cautioned for two offences of bigamy in August 2001 and then jailed for six months in 2004 again for bigamy she went on to marry for a fifth time, to Mr Baker only telling him of her past as the pair travelled to Scotland for their honeymoon.
I have to say her excuses are a little thin, claiming she “lost touch” with her first husband, soldier Paul Rigby as he was posted abroad. Interesting that she never thought to ask the MOD how she might contact him, if only to serve divorce papers. Horne went on to marry Sean Cunningham in Leeds in 1999 and then Chris Barratt in Rotherham in 2000. In 2002 she left Mr Barratt and met her fourth husband, James Matthews, on a train.
The judge at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court said: “You are an attractive young woman and you might be described as a very predatory female.”
Generous comments under the circumstances, perhaps he’s hoping to be husband number six.
Cattle Trample Woman to Death Mike Keegan MEN June 22, 2009
A 49-year-old vet from Warrington was trampled by a herd of cows as she walked her dogs on a stretch of the Pennine Way, near the hamlet of Gayle, Hawes. North Yorkshire Police said the herd of cattle and calves became aggressive after seeing the woman's spaniel and collie-type dog as they were being walked on leads through a field.
A National Farmers' Union spokeswoman said such attacks were "very rare" and that "By and large cows are very docile and 99% of the time they ignore you ... Just occasionally, they will decide they feel threatened, particularly if you have got a dog and they have got a calf and they become over-protective. Sometimes, as seen at the weekend, they can get aggressive."
The two dogs were said to be uninjured. Now I’m not meaning to make light of this, but I have been saying for years that cows are not cute, soft eyed, docile farm animals but nasty and vicious when cornered and definitely dangerous…maybe now people will listen.
Fire Pair in 'Rude' E-Mail Storm Neal Keeling MEN June 22, 2009
How many times have you opened your e-mails to find some joker has sent you a photo-shopped picture of an obese woman in (or rather hanging out of) a bikini, or an “interesting” tattoo on chaps nether regions? You have a chuckle, perhaps send it on to friends or colleagues and go about your day. Well you might want to think twice before hitting the FWD button next time.
Two Manchester fire service officers have been suspended for allegedly sending "inappropriate" e-mails.
Community safety officer Jan Finch and watch manager Mark Sapple, were sent home on full pay last week after the digital sh*t really hit the fan. It is alleged the e-mail included a graphic image of a woman with body piercing with a humorous caption. Seems that Mrs Finch sent the e-mail to Mr Sapple who then forwarded it on to a group of people, unfortunately for him when one of those people opened the e-mail a senior officer just happened to be standing by her, saw it and decided to make a formal complaint to management. Ooops! So next time somebody sends you a dodgy picture you might want to open it, have your chuckle and delete it, oh and make sure to look over your shoulder before you do, your boss might not be amused.
Rabbit but no Ransom Deborah Linton MEN June 22, 2009
When Manchester artist Richard Charnock set up his exhibition at the Cornerhouse Gallery I doubt that the prospect of his art being kidnapped entered his mind but that’s exactly what happened. Mr Charnock had put his pet rabbit 'Bob' in an exhibit called “An Exploration into Consciousness” where visitors to the arts centre could watch Bob react to the world around him.
Is this an art gallery or a petting zoo? Seems somebody out there thinks live animals have no place in art installations and I’m inclined to agree, although I’m not sure I’d resort to kidnapping to prove my point. However, an anonymous fellow Manchester artist took matters into his own hands when, after enlisting the help of three friends, he dressed himself in a white rabbit mask and hood and armed with two carrots took a lift to the fourth floor, took Bob from his pen, placed him in a bag and left the gallery.
Since then the kidnappers have released pictures of Bob, saying they will not give him back. The anonymous artists holding Bob sent a disc to the MEN containing a statement and photographs to show that the rabbit has not been harmed. They say "We just saw a really unhappy rabbit that was really frightened. We're not animal rights campaigners but I saw something that I found really rather disturbing that I felt should not be represented as art. Bob is safe and well and has shown us he is happy with his new home. I will not be returning him. I think his owner has proved how he feels about his pet by leaving him at the gallery”
The gallery and the original owner and artist feel very differently, they say the work followed advice from the RSPCA, Manchester council and a rabbit behaviour expert. Mr Charnock said "I wanted the installation to be a nice environment for him and can tell when he is unhappy and he wasn't. He wasn't traumatised at all. If I felt he was I'd have taken him home.The rabbit is far more important than any of the artwork to me, and I just want him back. He's my pet."
Well say what you want mate, but I would’t leave any of my pets in any sort of installation at the mercy of the public, I dread to think what could happen. No buddy, I think bugs has gone to a better place.
Gangster Images 'Breached Rights' BBC News, 17 June 2009
Like most people in Manchester, I know the faces of Colin Joyce and Lee Amos all too well. The notorious pair were the leaders of the Gooch Gang, and were very publicly tried and jailed in April for 39 and 35 years respectively for the murders of Ucal Chin, 24, and 23-year-old Tyrone Gilbert.
Now the men’s relatives say they have become a target for vigilantes since posters showing how Joyce and Amos might look by the time they are freed have been displayed on billboards put up across the city.
The relatives of the gangsters believe their human rights have been breached by a police crime-fighting poster and they are being backed by Liberty, as they take action against Greater Manchester Police.
The police are claiming that the campaign was to prevent young people falling into gang crime.
Chief Constable Peter Fahy said, "We are in the business of saving lives and will do all we can to prevent young people falling victim to gun crime and gang life. The poster campaign was part of that drive…These were amongst the most dangerous men in Manchester and our communities are safer with them locked up. We used the poster campaign to drive that message home, and to let young people who may be tempted into gang violence understand the real-life consequences of such actions."
That’s all well and good, and I do agree that the families of these Gooch boys should be left in peace, however, I live on the edge of Mosside , I have family in Longsight, and Rusholme (where the Gooch gang originally came from, believe me I know plenty about the history of the gangs in my city), all areas with rising gang and crime issues, areas you would think the police would want to push that message hardest and yet I haven’t seen a single one of these billboards in my area. Seems to me this wasn’t about saving kids from gang culture at all but all about the Police celebrating a long awaited conviction at the expense of innocent family members.
…And the bad cops keeps coming
Police Fight Data Deletion Ruling BBC News 22 June 2009
Data about the criminal convictions of one million people could be deleted from police computers. The Court of Appeal court is hearing a challenge by five police forces against an Information Tribunal ruling to delete conviction data on five people after it stated that "personal information must be relevant, up to date and not excessive". The Association of Chief Police Officers estimates there are one million offenders in England and Wales for whom data would have to be deleted if the tribunal's ruling is upheld and they fear that this will have a "very significant impact" on officers' ability to carry out their duties since, they claim,"… old and minor convictions records assist detective work and the investigation of criminal offences."
Now I’m sure you think that sounds reasonable enough until you consider the kind of information the police are fighting so hard to hang onto. But the five people at the centre of this case aren’t hardened criminals or con-artists desperate to conceal a seedy past. One case, about the theft of a 99p packet of meat dated back to 1984. The person involved, who was under 18 at the time, was fined £15. A second, another petty theft from more than 25 years ago for which the individual was fined £25. A third concerned someone who was cautioned for a minor assault, serious you think? Not when the “offender” was under 14 at the time.
Under current policy, criminal records remain on the police national computer for up to 100 years, you might want to consider that next time you apply for a job.
It’s not been a good week for smokers either
Smoke Float Under Threat Chris Osuh MEN June 22, 2009
Seems they’re just not welcome at the Manchester International Festival parade. Promoters have been advertising in tobacconists and on the Internet for smokers to join the festival launch parade, however there have been loud objections and criticism from town hall chiefs and Pat Karney, NHS director of Smoke-Free Manchester.
Health Secretary Andy Burnham is being asked to stop the float of `unrepentant smokers' from entering the hour-long extravaganza, called Procession, which is being put together by Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller to showcase the city, its history, traditions and characters.
Their main objection seems to be that children will see the float and somehow make the leap that smoking is a cool and acceptable thing to do.
Now I’m thinking the protesters would do better to keep schtum and let the thing roll, I mean really what could make smoking look less appealing than a flatbed truck, festooned with crepe paper and rammed with grey faced, wheezing, coughing, phlegm hacking Mancunians, Rothmans and roll-ups gripped in yellow fingers or between stained teeth, desperately trying to keep their neps lit in the Manchester drizzle and looking like the least healthy people in the entire parade?
Personally I’d be more concerned about the the Alternative Project float, featuring the young people who hang around outside Urbis, they smoke more than tobacco on that grassy knoll you know, and they are possibly the ugliest, rudest, most belligerent bunch of Emo tossers I’ve ever had the displeasure to meet.
While we're on the subject, the Urbis Emos might want also want to consider this further assault on your right to poison your self on your own time, even if you’re mentally ill.
Smoking Ban on Psychiatric Wards Driving Habit Underground BBC News 22 June 2009 Now why would you do that? Apparently, a survey found that many staff said patients had taken to smoking in secret, with staff feeling the need to turn a blind eye, particularly when patients were very unwell. That's all you need, mentally unstable people hiding dimps and lighters all over the place and accidentally setting themselves alight because they can't smoke in their own common areas anymore.
Some staff reported feeling more like police than nurses, and others said that patients had reacted aggressively when asked to stop smoking.
Well yes I would too mate. These people have few enough pleasures and they’re locked down up to 23 hours a day, now they can’t even have a smoke in peace?
Report author Simon Lawton-Smith said the ban was “justified on health grounds”. I’m sorry, what? Health grounds? Do you really expect us to believe you care about the health of the mentally ill given the state of affairs in the NHS? Why don’t you show us how much you care and start by overhauling the entire mental health care system in this country, re-educate GPs on mental health diagnosis and treatment and put some serious money into the infrastructure and staff, then you can talk to me about your “justification”.
Vicki Nash, of the mental health charity Mind, said: “Forcing people to stop smoking abruptly on admission to hospital when they are already likely to be distressed is inappropriate and could heighten anxiety.”
No shit!! I could have told you that myself from 10 years of working in nursing homes and warehouses, you can’t just take away someones fags, not if you want to keep your limbs, and that’s before you add in any mental health issues.
Louis Appleby, the National Director for Mental Health, said “We believe that mental health staff and patients deserve the same healthier, smoke free environment as the rest of the NHS and there are no plans to change the policy”
Really? Well that’s nice but what if they liked it smokey? What ever happened to freedom of choice?
Of course in Manchester, you don’t need to take away a chaps Ciggies to wind him up, just wave a stick in his general direction and you could find yourself in a ruck. Even the old gaffers in this town are something to be reckoned with.
Man Breaks 90-Year-Old's Pelvis BBC News 22 June 2009
Alfred Young 73, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm and admitted that he used 'excessive force' when he pushed 90-year-old Francesca Poka over and broke her pelvis after she brushed him with her walking stick. Mr Young, was given a six-month suspended sentence a curfew and an electronic tag for the attack on May 23rd last year.
Seems Young was having a pretty bad day, he attacked Mrs Poka after she had sat next to him on a bus from Withington. As she sat down she brushed her her stick against Mr Young. After following her off the bus in Fallowfield he shouted at her, “You want to be careful with that stick”, and then pushed her to the ground.
Mr Young denies any suggestion that he chased after her off the bus.
Mrs Poka spent six weeks at Manchester Royal Infirmary and still suffers pain.
So it’s not just the youngsters you need to be worried about.
Crocodile Causes Helicopter Crash BBC News 22 June 2009
No the croc wasn’t flying, but the pilot nearly nominated himself for a Darwin Award, he got so excited when he spotted a crocodile that he flew in for a closer look and crashed into mudflats.
The pilot only suffered minor injuries, but his passenger was seriously hurt. Now this is where it gets really weird, apparently worried that help would take sometime to arrive and concerned about his mate getting hypothermia the pilot dragged his passenger to the safety of the shore, (away from crocodiles), then buried him in the sand up to his neck in an attempt to keep him warm before using his satellite phone to alert emergency services. I would have built a fire mate, I thought you Aussies knew all about barbecue!
Earning a mention by surviving the curse of Dad’s Army for this long, and by ending his days in my home town of Wigan…Godspeed Old Fella
Dad's Army Veteran Dies Aged 82 BBC News June 22 2009
Actor Colin Bean, who played Private Sponge in Dad's Army for many years, has died aged 82 in Wigan Infirmary.
He spent his last years at Wickham Hall Care Home in Springfield and died at the infirmary on Saturday.
After many years in repertory, he was spotted in 1968 by his friend Jimmy Perry, one of the creators of Dad's Army, and given a part in the series.
He last appeared in public at a reunion of the Dad's Army Appreciation Society last year.