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Topics - selkie

Main / Scalding charge woman 'lied to nurses'
Sep 21, 2006, 11:08 PM

A mum accused of deliberately pouring boiling water over her five-year-old son admitted lying to nurses when she took him to casualty.

The woman, now 35, told staff at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, her child had been playing Power Rangers and caused the accident himself.

But Cardiff Crown Court heard yesterday that in her first police interview after her son made a complaint 11 years later, she admitted that was a lie.

The mum from Ely, Cardiff, told officers she had been shouting and screaming at the time.

And she said she had really been trying to kill off an ants' nest in her kitchen and had poured the boiling contents of her kettle over her son by mistake.

Referring to her first explanation, she told officers: 'The reason I said that was because I was frightened at what happened - I was terrified I would get into trouble.'

The boy, now 16, suffered burns to 21 per cent of his body in the incident in October 1995.

Cardiff Crown Court was told the mum, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had offered three explanations for what happened and had become agitated because the boy's father had not turned up to see him, and that he had started a relationship with another woman.

The jury also heard the mum had been beaten by her father as a child.

She told officers: 'I grew up with a father who didn't give a damn about me. I love my children and would never harm them. I admit I was shouting and screaming at the time because I was stressed. I boiled the kettle to get rid of an ants' nest in my kitchen.'

She told police she had the cordless kettle in her hand and accidentally spilled the boiling water over the five-year-old and her 18-month-old daughter after turning around.

The court was told the daughter was not scalded.

The boy's dad told the court his son, who has been living with him for the last year, 'did not go out, had no friends, no social life, nothing'.

He said: 'After my son told me what really happened, it took him maybe five or six months to go to the police. I was very upset. I kept asking why, why, why?'

During cross-examination Lucy Crowther, defending, said: 'Was it you who suggested to him that one explanation was his mum had bullied and threatened him?'

'No, absolutely not,' said the father.

The mother has denied a charge of causing grievous bodily harm.

. . .remains anonymous :evil:

An innocent man jailed for a sex attack was dramatically cleared after it emerged that his 'victim' is a serial liar with a long history of crying rape.

But because of laws that protect her anonymity, judges are powerless to name and shame her, leaving her free to make more false accusations against blameless members of the public.

Mr Blackwell, 36, hugged his loyal wife Tanya and wept as the Appeal Court quashed his conviction.

He described his accuser as "every man's worst nightmare".

Mr Justice Tugendhat admitted, however, that similar tragic cases could follow because of the lies of the woman, Miss A.

"Parliament does not seem to have contemplated this situation.

"There appears to be no means of displacing her entitlement to anonymity."

In the 1970s, the Daily Mail campaigned for women in sex cases to be granted automatic anonymity, but now there are questions about whether the law has gone too far.

Warren Blackwell's nightmare began when Miss A, now 38, claimed she had been seized with a knife outside a village club early on New Year's Day 1999, taken to an alley and indecently assaulted.

She later picked Mr Blackwell out at an identity parade.

There was no forensic evidence against him and he had no previous convictions.

'She needs to be stopped'

Yet Mr Blackwell, from Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire, was found guilty and spent three years and four months behind bars.

Eventually the case was referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) which assigned Detective Chief Inspector Steve Glover, to investigate. He discovered that the woman:
• Has made at least five other fake allegations of sexual and physical assault to police in three separate forces.
• Was married twice and made false allegations against both husbands - one of whom was a policeman.
• Once accused her own father of sexual assault, but police concluded she had made it up.
• Accused a boy of rape when she was a teenager, only for a doctor to discover she was still a virgin.
• The CCRC concluded that in the case of Mr Blackwell, she had "lied about the assault and was not attacked at all, her injuries being self-inflicted".

The Crown Prosecution Service did not oppose the appeal.

David Farrell QC, for the Crown, said: "This conviction is unsafe. What has come out of the woodwork paints a picture of a woman with immense personal problems with serious difficulties in distinguishing between truth and lies."

If this information had been known at the time of the trial, he added, "this case would not have made it off the ground".

Mr Blackwell said: "Clearly something has to be done about this woman. She needs to be stopped. The prosecution say she is psychiatrically disturbed, but insane people who murder are tried and if found guilty put away."

Mr Blackwell, who plans to sue police over his ordeal, will now have his name removed from the Sex Offender Register.

His accuser has a history of mental illness and self-harm - once inscribing the word 'HATE' on her body with scissors.

However, because she has changed her name at least eight times, and moved between addresses in at least three counties, it seems police never realised they were dealing with the same woman.

For Mr Blackwell, her accusations meant he missed more than three years of family life. His son Liam, ten, and stepdaughter Holly, 16, were three and nine when his ordeal began.

His 36-year-old wife said: "I never doubted him for a second. We were together six years before it happened, and ever since."
Main / At last I'm allowed to be a man
Sep 09, 2006, 09:38 PM
the link

James Delingpole makes his last stand for masculinity in a world increasingly tailored to women

Flashes and streaks of flame in the darkness. The smell of singed hair, burning cloth and paraffin. Roars of exultation; gasps of exertion; yelps of fear and pain. A fiery ball soars upwards, narrowly missing my face. "Come on Delingpole!" bellows the colonel. "Get stuck in there!" With a renewed surge of aggression and adrenaline I hurl myself back into the fray.

My first time in action with the Light Dragoons and I'm loving every second of it. War is hell? Pah! War is what men were designed for.

Not that this is actual war, you understand. It's just me playing a game of fireball hockey with a bunch of Light Dragoons officers after a black-tie dinner at their Norfolk barracks.

I have been invited to give them a short address on why it is that I would happily swap my glamorous career as a semi-famous writer and journalist for the life of an army officer. And this isn't just some sucky-up theme that I have devised to make myself popular: I envy these boys deeply and sincerely. It's my belief that in an increasingly feminised world, theirs is about the only career left where men are still allowed to enjoy being men.

A lot of my friends laugh at my military fixation. I'm a scaredy-cat and a wimp and I'm sure I would have made a lousy officer. But for all my weediness, there is still enough man in me to recognise that -- whatever the feminists may claim about patriarchy and male oppression -- we now inhabit a universe designed largely by and for girls.

It's a world where mostly female teachers treat the playground boisterousness of young male pupils as deviant rather than healthily normal; where the high pressure exams at which boys tend to excel are being replaced by more girl-friendly continuous assessment; where school sports days are turning non-competitive; where men who don't cook and wash dishes and take an equal role in childcare are viewed as antediluvian freaks; where to display more than a hint of male sexuality is to court accusations of harassment or even rape; where in television comedies and advertisements men are forever being mocked as useless monomaniacal slobs, while women are invariably depicted as wise, sparky omnicompetents; where force and strength are deemed primitive and "inappropriate" while negotiation, gentleness and empathy are blessed panaceas; where any form of risk is forbidden by an ever-lengthening list of health and safety directives.

To the feminists and liberal- lefties who ushered in this nonsense it may seem like proof of just how far society has progressed, how much more "civilised" we have become. But it flies in the face of human nature and it's deeply unfair on men. What if men don't want to spend their time changing nappies and nurturing their feminine side? Actually, there's no "if" about it: they don't.

Look at the popularity of The Dangerous Book for Boys. Look at the latest research from the Economic and Social Research Council, which shows that modern men just aren't interested in the paternity leave which the government is preparing statutorily to impose on business. They are much happier working long hours, avoiding childcare as much as possible and generally being men.

Which is more or less what I'm doing playing fireball hockey with the Light Dragoons. I bumped into their CO, Lieutenant Colonel Robin Matthews, at a party and it turns out that, besides being a big fan of a semi-pornographic autobiographical novel that I once wrote, he is the same age as me. "My God, I'm so jealous," I say. "In a parallel universe I might be you."

So I have come to see what life might be like in that parallel universe: a place which, if it didn't have such a dodgy ring, you could almost call Boy Zone.

Fireball hockey is a quintessentially Boy Zone activity. You wrap a roll of bog paper in chicken wire, douse it in paraffin, set it alight and play five-a-side hockey with it. When the fireball has burnt down to a size considered insufficiently dangerous, a new one is lit and the game carries on.

It gets quite scary, especially when your hockey stick catches fire or the ball flicks suddenly towards your face (if it hits it can leave chicken-wire-shaped burns), but I imagine that by military standards it's pretty tame. Nothing, say, on being RPGed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, which is where the Light Dragoons are going next.

As a specialist reconnaissance regiment, the Light Dragoons get to drive around in Scimitar light tanks. I'm allowed to have a go myself round a disused airfield. It's tremendous fun and surprisingly easy even when, following left/right instructions relayed by the commander through my headphones, I drive backwards blind at high speed. Afterwards I expect to be congratulated on my prowess. Instead I'm told: "Yeah, simple isn't it? The wives love it when they're allowed a go."

Men have always loved military hardware and until at least the mid-20th century this was encouraged. Boys played with lead soldiers, practised with catapults and bows and arrows, and later went out shooting with their dads. There was a time, indeed, in the Middle Ages when archery practice was compulsory for every Englishman.

Today, though, when grown men drool over jet fighters and fast cars, play Medal of Honor on their PlayStations or go off with their mates paintballing, it's giggled at as a sign of arrested development. Is it any wonder that so many of us look at soldiers and think meanly of ourselves for not having been one? In the army, after all, you can play with assault rifles and 30mm cannon with high-explosive shells and tanks that can roll over anything at speeds of up to 80mph, sometimes in authentic combat situations. And at the end of each month you actually get paid for it.

I loose off a couple of magazines' worth of 9mm Browning pistol rounds (rubbish grouping but no matter: I kill my target loads of times), before heading to the CO's office for a briefing on the regiment's history. An amalgam of the 13th/18th Hussars and the 15th/19th Hussars, its battle honours include Waterloo, the charge of the Light Brigade and D-Day where it provided the first allied tanks to land on French soil.

Later, in a sergeants' mess lined with framed VCs and MMs and paintings of great battles, the history lesson continues, with one senior NCO proudly recalling an incident 200 years earlier when a mere squadron of Hussars accidentally captured a whole regiment of Frenchmen in the fog.

This is one of the strengths of the British regimental system: the moment you join a regiment, its history becomes your history, with the great deeds of members past acting as a spur for members present to enact even more recklessly heroic deeds in the future.

If this sounds a bit archaic and GA Henty, that is because the British Army (its cavalry and guards regiments especially) still is. You see it in the unashamed way that it preserves the old social order. The mostly public school officers may be notionally in charge, but old-fashioned duty compels them to act more like the servants than the masters of the mostly working-class lads from Yorkshire and the northeast under their command. It's the working-class NCOs, meanwhile, who form the backbone of the regiment and stop the officers and troopers doing anything too stupid.

Dinner in the officers' mess is everything I had hoped: formal (it's the first time I've worn black tie in about a decade), polished silver, endless varieties of quality booze with each magnificent course; then afterwards, compulsory champagne in a room a bit like a gentleman's club library, with photo albums of Victorian officers after a day's pigsticking and wager books containing bets such as the one from 1914 where two officers lay money as to whether they are going to survive the war. (Remarkably, both do.) When you are a married man like me in the civilian world you get to go out drinking with a gang of blokes maybe once or twice a year if you're lucky. In the Light Dragoons it's compulsory at least once a week on formal mess evenings like this. And there are strict penalties for any young officer who retires too early (ie before the colonel): normally the others will trash his room and squirt him with fire extinguishers. Between drinking you are expected to indulge in high jinks such as kabaddi and, of course, fireball hockey.

To our feminised society this might sound pointless and puerile. In the army, though, it's an essential part of the training. It nurtures stamina, speedy reactions, camaraderie, joie de vivre, a sense of humour -- qualities that come in quite handy when the bullets start flying and your mates start dropping. This, you see, is what games are really all about: a form of ritualised combat, a preparation for war.

The officers of the Light Dragoons understand this. They are not a bunch of dim-witted hoorays, far from it. Beneath all that levity are the deep wells of seriousness and maturity which come from having great responsibility thrust upon you from a young age, from being overshadowed by the possibility of an early violent death.

They wear their burdens lightly, though, because that's what soldiers do. There's no point bleating or wearing your heart on your sleeve, as current modish practice demands. They are professional killers, not social workers.

Most of us today are quite squeamish about the profession of arms. We use euphemisms such as "peacekeeping". We choose to believe that it's possible to fight wars without collateral damage or the involvement of body bags. These are all the delusions of a politically correct society which prefers to see the world as it ought to be rather than as it actually is.

The army -- of necessity -- is a lot more realistic. It understands the nature of the world -- that it will always be violent -- and the nature of men -- that under the skin they remain hunters and fighters. We may think of the army as an old-fashioned institution whose values hark back to another age. But the age it belongs to is the age of reason. It's the modern world that has got it all wrong.
Main / Why do men need war? It's male bonding
Sep 08, 2006, 09:45 PM
here is the link

Men need threats, rivalry and war for them to work together the most effectively, according to a study of the "male warrior effect".

The issue of why men start wars has been investigated in a series of experiments by Prof Mark van Vugt of the University of Kent. They reveal that conflict is part of male bonding.

"We all know that males are more aggressive than females but with that aggression comes a lot of co-operation," Prof van Vugt said yesterday. While male co-operation lies at the heart of democracy and leadership, and men work better in hierarchical groups than women, it is a double-edged sword.

"Men might need wars to show off their altruism, to be celebrated as warriors and heroes," the professor added.

Women in general are better at co-operating. "Women leaders are more dovish than hawkish," Prof van Vugt said.

In a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, Prof van Vugt and colleagues in Kent and at the University of Tilburg describe laboratory tests which show that rivalry drives males to make sacrifices for their group more than women.

The experiments involved about 300 students. Equal numbers of men and women were divided into groups of six who could only interact by computer.

They were each given £3 that they could invest for the group, when it would be doubled and divided equally among the group, or keep for themselves. Those who did not co-operate reaped the most benefit. They would end up with £3 plus any money divided among the group.

But when the group was told it was competing with other universities, "it was the men who started to be very altruistic and invest in the group fund. The women were less sensitive".

This "male warrior effect" is consistent with findings from other disciplines.

"Men are more likely to support their country going to war," Prof van Vugt said. "Men are more likely to lead groups in more autocratic, militaristic ways.

"Men have evolved a psychology that makes them particularly interested, and able to engage, in warfare."

Similar behaviours can be seen in a "pristine primordial form" in chimpanzees, he added.

"They go out on raids into neighbouring communities and kill off members of rival groups." Aside from warfare, the males do not usually co-operate, the professor said.
Main / Justice blind to gender
Sep 07, 2006, 09:36 PM
There's a misperception by a certain element in our society who feel the justice system is biased against men.

They'll rail when a woman receives what they perceive as a light sentence, or a female judge treats a con man harshly.

In fact, one such individual is prone to leaving me angry voice mail messages every time such a case crops up.

But with summer doldrums being what they are, his most recent rant involves a case culled from his personal archives -- a woman who launched a lawsuit after being crushed in a sliding door.

No man, he claims, would engage in such frivolous litigation as suing a retail outlet for injuries incurred on their premises as this woman did three years ago.

Suggesting she is some sort of swindler, he points to his personal experiences in which he suffered injury on someone's property without taking the matter to court.

But contrary to his misperceived reality, the justice system doesn't play favourites based on one's gender any more than it cares about the colour of your skin.

Yes, it can be said women appear to have the upper hand in divorce and child custody battles in which they normally get the kids and financial support.

However, setting aside the natural bonding between mother and child, women more often than not "win" custody and support because of society's bias against them, not for them.

Women are vastly disadvantaged when it comes to re-muneration in the workplace and almost always the par-ent asked to sacrifice career for the sake of child raising. Courts recognize this reality and act accordingly.

As for the alleged "swindler" in our angry caller's mind, there are countless lawsuits involving men seeking compensation for injuries suffered while on business premises. If any of those are actual fraudsters, they are far more likely to be men than women.

One need look no further for proof than daily court dockets where the vast majority of frauds allegedly perpetrated within our community are by men.

Crime as a career path may not be the exclusive domain of males, but statistically the number of women resorting to criminal behaviour is near negligible compared to men.

Certainly there are examples where women receive light sentences, but if gender plays any role, it's only in the area of general deterrence.

One of the primary sentencing objectives of any court is to set an example for others that whatever crime has been perpetrated it won't be tolerated by our society.

Crimes which become prevalent, such as the relatively new phenomenon of cyberstalking, will receive harsher penalties in an effort to put a stop to them.

This concept of general deterrence recognizes some individuals will be punished more severely because they chose to commit a crime which needs to be dissuaded.

Since females rarely resort to illicit behaviour, there is seldom a need for a judge to hand one a tougher sentence in order to prevent others from acting similarly.

While there will always be exceptions which individuals who believe a judicial gender bias exists can point to, there will equally be cases which support the opposite opinion.

Another search of the archives might uncover the notorious case of convicted murderer Deborah Point.

Point was handed a life sentence in 2001, without parole for at least 20 years -- double the mandatory minimum. The judge who handed out the harsh punishment? Justice Suzanne Bensler.

No doubt Point doesn't believe a judicial bias exists -- unless it's against women.
Main / Wife who killed husband is freed
Aug 22, 2006, 10:50 AM

A woman who killed her husband with an axe because he had an affair with her niece has been freed by a judge after serving 10 months in prison on remand.

Wadanahalugeder Chandrasekera, 59, of Port Close, in Bearsted, Kent, had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Woolwich Crown Court heard she had suffered mental abuse at the hands of her 57-year-old husband, Sarath.

She was given a three-year community order on Tuesday.

The couple, who had two children, were separated when Chandrasekera discovered her husband was living with her niece and they had a daughter together.

During one of his visits to the family home in Bearsted on 22 October last year, she struck him 11 times with an axe.

Chandrasekera was originally charged with murder, but her guilty plea to manslaughter was then accepted.

Det Insp Derek Cuss said: "Two psychiatric reports stated that at the time she committed this offence, she was both depressed and desperate.

"This was a tragic and sad case whereby the defendant had been subjected to a number of years of emotional abuse.

"It was a horrific crime and we don't condone that.

"However, there were unique and exceptional circumstances surrounding this incident and I think this was reflected in the judgment."

A statement from the couple's son and daughter - Thusara, 24, and Harshani, 20 - said: "We love both our parents dearly and don't blame anyone for the break-up of the family.

"We did not want to lose another parent [and] we are grateful to the court for releasing our mother."

The judge at Woolwich Crown Court concluded that Chandrasekera had not planned to kill her husband, but said she would have to live the rest of her life with the knowledge that he died at her hands.
Main / $27,000 in monthly spousal support
Aug 14, 2006, 10:08 PM

If only becoming a bachelor were as lucrative as becoming a free agent.

Former Ottawa Senators coach Jacques Martin, 53, just lost an appeal of a divorce court ruling that awarded his ex-wife Patricia $27,000 a month in spousal support -- more than double what she testified she needed to maintain the standard of living she enjoyed while they were together.

The Ontario Court of Appeal decision, issued Friday, says justice Denis Power was right to conclude that because of the insecurity of Martin's profession as a pro hockey coach Patricia Martin should be able to continue her ex-husband's practice of saving large sums for a rainy day.

Yesterday Martin's lawyer Hunter Phillips said his client was "disappointed" with the decision.

"The issue was never ability to pay," said Phillips. "The question was whether it is appropriate to award support payments purely for the accumulation of post-separation savings."

Phillips argued unsuccessfully on appeal that the the larger than required support payments constituted an illegal "transfer of capital."

Prior to the divorce trial marital assets had already been split up with Patricia receiving a share worth some $1.7 million, Phillips said. Evidence at the trial showed Patricia would earn an annual investment income of more than $81,000 a year on the sum, while Jacques will earn more than $181,000 in investment income with his share.

"The court of appeal has basically said they agree with the trial judge without saying why," Phillips said. He said no decision had been made on whether to attempt to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Main / Excuse me, it’s time for gallantry
Aug 14, 2006, 09:55 PM,,20029-2312646,00.html

Our correspondent argues that modern men need to get back to basics in the lost art of manners

Even in a world as impolite as ours matters of etiquette still have the power to move. Take the story of New Yorker Darren Sherman, whose disastrous date with a secretary named Joanne has sparked debate in the American media.

The pair, who met through a dating website, went for dinner in June. At the end of the meal Joanne offered to go Dutch, but Darren declined. Some days later, however, he changed his mind -- and left a series of voicemails saying that he did now want Joanne to pay her way because she hadn't been in touch after the date. One of his messages said: "Do the right thing. The next time you go dating, be careful, don't lead guys on, which is what you did to me. Fifty dollars -- please put it in the mail and we're done . . ."

Oh dear. As Joanne said in an e-mail reply: "There is not a quid pro quo for eating and drinking on a date." Nevertheless, Darren contacted the restaurant where the date happened to ask that they charge Joanne for half of the bill. The restaurant's manager told The Washington Post they were not sympathetic to his request.

His behaviour has, unsurprisingly, been subject to some censure. It was incredibly ungallant, after all. It should be a given that a man should offer to pay the bill on the first date, and if his offer is accepted this honourable behaviour should be no more than that -- and certainly not linked to expectations of anything in return.

Many of us, though, are confused about matters of etiquette. As a commentator and so-called specialist on manners I am frequently asked by men: "Should I hold a door open for a woman?" Initially, I didn't stop to think: why is this question being asked again and again? What anxiety and uncertainty lies behind it? Eventually, though, I decided to investigate. What I quickly discovered is that the holding-the-door-open question is just the tip of a decidedly fraught social iceberg.

From casual social contact with women to dating and romance, men find themselves pulled in two directions. Men aren't sure how to be gallant without it being interpreted as sexist or patronising. And it's not just men over 45 (more likely to have been brought up with fixed ideas about the proper way to treat a lady) who are worried. Thirtysomethings and even twentysomethings are confused as well.

Of course, all this proves that men do care about manners. We can dare to move just a little (but only a little, of course) beyond the stereotype of the spitting, interrupting slob, who doesn't know how to blow his nose nicely or how to tuck his shirt in and who, at night, turns into a drunken sub-human, braying and puking round the streets of places such as Prague where he's gone for his mate's stag party.

In the past it was all so much easier. Men and women knew where they stood. In the 1950s, when Cecil Beaton dined with Prince and Princess Paul of Yugoslavia at Broadstairs, the Princess rose at one point during dinner but the two men carried on talking. She said, "But I am standing", whereupon her husband leapt to his feet, saying, "I do beg your pardon, madam". Even as late as the 1980s, a gracious young wife, when telling the story of how her handbag fell out of the window of a hotel at Assisi, quite unselfconsciously remarked to me: "So, of course, my poor husband had to go and fetch it."

Today we know at once that all this is absurd. Apart from anything else, too much chivalrous courtesy towards women often conceals contempt for them. This truth was revealed in 1937 when my grandmother became the first woman magistrate on the Plymouth bench. In the courthouse, she found doors literally slammed in her face. The male response to the outrage of her presence on an equal footing was to pretend that she just wasn't there.

But look what happens today if a man takes the opposite approach and treats a woman as a complete equal. Back in March, Jack Straw, as Foreign Secretary, accepted Condoleezza Rice's offer of the only bed on board Air Force Two. And what did everybody say? That's right: how ungallant to leave a woman to sleep on the floor! So let's try gallantry again. You might be surprised to learn women are quite keen on it. The novelist Sarah Long, as good a feminist and independent career woman as any I know, remarks: "After a certain age, it's the only thing left. A woman might make a half-hearted attempt to pay on a first date, but she'd be furious if it was accepted."

And what about Norah Vincent, the New York lesbian who disguised herself as a man to better understand things from the other side and whose book about her experiences, Self-Made Man, was published last year? What was her big discovery when she went out dating as a man? It was that women want men to take the initiative, pay for everything, hold the door open. As she puts it: "Women don't want soft, vulnerable men."

But still and still . . . returning to that question: "Should I hold the door open for a woman?" Contradictory expectations mean that many men don't know whether they are coming or going. One thirtysomething I spoke to complained: "One minute you have to be strong and protective, the next she wants you to be modern and show your feelings."

Let me try to offer some viable advice. Modern manners are fraught with uncertain travail. The manners that apply exclusively to men (almost entirely to do with their relationship with women) are no exception. But come on: be a man. Face up to it. It'll be good for you.

In the first place, let's make two simple categories: first, in the personal sphere, manners for dating, romance, relationships with women in general; second, manners for the workplace. If you remember nothing else, just grasp that you must behave entirely differently depending on which category applies.

In the workplace, banish all thoughts of glorious chivalry. Men must treat women absolutely as equals. That is why Jack Straw was right to accept Dr Rice's offer of that bed. If he had refused on the grounds that she was a helpless woman who couldn't cope with sleeping on the floor he would not have been treating her as a capable professional making her own decisions.

All this should be straightforward and becomes complicated only when a female colleague chooses to take some ordinary courtesy -- for instance, offering to make her a cup of coffee or attempting to help her to move heavy furniture -- as a sign of male condescension. If this happens a lot, maybe with a particular person, then frank discussions might ensue in which we can hope that the polite man's point of view will prevail over the hair-splitting political correctness of the woman. On the other hand, friendly touching of women (as with President Bush's inept attempts to massage the shoulders of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel) is not on. There is still a feeling, perhaps always will be, that women need to be protected from what could become aggressive male sexuality.

Outside the office, it's a different story. Yes, let's have gallantry by the gallon. Don't be a dreary New Man, worthily eating oatmeal from a healthfood shop and painstakingly dividing up the household chores. He died out years ago from lack of interest. Just not sexy. Men and women may be equal, but they are not the same. Somehow a dash of gallantry shows this. That's why women like it.

Another thing -- a little glamorous chivalry is definitely preferable to the ghastly consumerist ruthlessness and rudeness of modern dating. Do you really want to be like one man I heard of, who, ten minutes into a blind date, got to his feet, announced to the stunned woman, "This isn't for me", and then flounced out of the bar? Modern gallantry must be true gallantry. That's what's modern about it. There must not be a price to pay, as there always was for the woman in the old days. So yes, don't let anything stand in your way -- hold the door open for a woman.
Main / A question - not OT
Aug 13, 2006, 08:11 PM
Main / Mother on run found in Canada
Aug 10, 2006, 10:26 PM
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A woman who has been on the run for three years with her daughter in defiance of a custody order has been found in Canada, authorities say.

Claudia Librett, 51, and her six-year-old daughter Rachel had been missing since January 2003. They disappeared a day after a judge granted Librett's husband, Michael Marran, joint custody of Rachel.

The mother and daughter were picked up late Saturday night near Niagara Falls, Ont., Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor told a news conference Monday.

Claudia Librett was being held by Canadian immigration officials, and a hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, Castor said.

The prosecutor said the child was in the custody of Canadian authorities. "I want the child reunited with her father and Claudia Librett in custody," Castor said. He said she faces charges of kidnapping, interfering with child custody, and concealing the whereabouts of a child.

An initial investigation indicated the mother and daughter had been living in a condominium complex in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., for about two years.

A woman who had talked to Librett became suspicious, and checked out the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. When she found photos of Librett and her daughter, she called the organization, Castor said.

In late 2004, the father, Marran, put up a $25,000 reward hoping that it would lead to information about their whereabouts.

Marran, of Long Island, N.Y., last saw Rachel in October 2002. Librett had alleged during custody litigation that he had sexually abused the child. Investigators concluded the allegations were unfounded.

Main / OT - ???
Aug 10, 2006, 09:51 PM
Main / Woman finds baby's body in truck
Aug 10, 2006, 09:43 PM
Main / Violence against
Aug 06, 2006, 09:05 PM
Main / £48m divorce or $61,418,682.30 US
Aug 03, 2006, 08:57 PM

AN INSURANCE magnate has been ordered to pay his former wife £48 million in what is believed to be the largest divorce award made by a British court.

John Charman said that he would contest the ruling, which was made in private at the Family Division of the High Court last week but made public yesterday.

The sum is thought to be the largest awarded to an English wife in a contested case, although higher settlements have been reached outside the courts.

Mr Charman, who lives in Bermuda, described the decision as "grotesque and unfair".

Experts believe that it will further the trend towards pre-nuptial agreements for the rich and powerful, and increase calls for some form of "tariff" to clarify the rules surrounding high-level payouts.

Mr Charman, 52, had offered his former wife £20 million of his estimated £131 million fortune, including the couple's home in Sevenoaks, Kent.

He claimed that a trust fund worth £68 million should not be divided because it had been established to provide for future generations, including their two children Nicholas, 25, and Michael, 20.

Mr Justice Coleridge rejected this argument and said that the Dragon Trust, set up in 1987, should be shared with Beverley Charman. However, he acknowledged Mr Charman's extraordinary contribution to the wealth of the couple, who had little money when they married in 1976.

Giving his conclusion, the judge said: "This was a long marriage where the parties started with nothing and all the wealth was effectively created during its subsistence.

"Both played their full part in the marriage. However, this is a case, in that very small category, where the wealth created is of extraordinary proportions from extraordinary talent and energy.

"Taking everything properly into account, I have decided, after much deliberation . . . to transfer the husband's interest in Dell House to the wife and additionally order him to pay her a lump sum of £40 million."

Mr Charman made his fortune through the insurance market, which included selling terror cover after the September 11 attacks on the US.

The judge ruled that his "unique and exceptional contribution" to the global insurance market meant that he was entitled to keep more than half the total assets, leaving the tycoon -- who was joint 264th on The Sunday Times Rich List at the time of the split in 2003 -- about £83 million.

He ruled that Mrs Charman, 52, who gave up paid employment before the birth of her first child in 1982 and is now a magistrate, should receive a lump sum of £40 million in addition to the £8 million of assets already in her name.

Mr Charman said "This judgment is poor and blatantly discriminatory. The size of the award is grotesque and unfair. I made a fair and open offer to my wife of £20 million, which would be impossible for any reasonable person to spend in their lifetime. The judge has ridden roughshod over a decision, made nearly 20 years ago during the marriage, to place assets in trust for future generations. He has wrongly concluded that I have full access to those assets, which does not reflect the reality of the situation. He has taken them fully into account when awarding this unjust settlement."

Philip Rutter, a leading solicitor, said that the judgment showed that there was now no financial ceiling on divorce awards, "however wealthy you may be. There is increasing pressure among legal commentators for a change in the law because the awards are becoming so extraordinary. People are calling for the Government to legislate and impose greater limits."

He added: "If the courts are going to impose awards on the basis of community of assets, then people should have the ability to opt out of that, as they can in many countries, by way of prenuptial agreement."

"Prenups" are not legally binding in this country, although many divorce lawyers believe that a well-written agreement carries significant weight in high-level cases.

Vanessa Lloyd Platt, a divorce law expert, said that she had seen a significant rise in the number of people wanting protection before walking down the aisle and expects further interest after the Charman case. "What it shows is that if you don't have a prenup you are really stupid, but men still honestly believe that women are so daft they won't succeed in a divorce case," she said.

"They have a burying-their-heads-in-the-sand approach, as in the example of Paul McCartney, and much of the rise in interest has been from women."

Ms Lloyd Platt was pleased that, in his judgment, Mr Justice Coleridge had raised the question of whether it was time for a tariff for big divorce awards. "There could be some kind of percentage set to give a benchmark. I just hope that soon there is a bit more certainty ," she said.

"For now, what does this case mean for wealthy men? It means you are in big trouble."

A stalker who ruined a psychiatrist's life - destroying his wedding plans and accusing him of rape - has been warned she may face a long jail sentence.

But a furious Maria Mar-chese denied her guilt angrily to Judge John Price after he told her she had "terrorised" Dr Jan Falkowski and his fiancée Deborah Pemberton.

For almost a year, Marchese, 45, preyed on the couple, spying on them, bombarding them with abusive phone calls and text messages as well as calling their friends and family.

At one point, she threatened to poison the food at their wedding. The reception was cancelled and eventually Ms Pemberton broke off the engagement. But for Dr Falkowski, 45, worse was to come when Marchese accused him of rape and he was charged. The case was dropped before it reached trial but he lost all his private patients and many friends.

Yesterday the psychiatrist said: "The damage this false accusation has inflicted on my life and those close to me is immeasurable. I hope that by reading about our harrowing experiences of being stalked, other victims of stalking and of rape allegations will feel that they are not alone."

After Argentinian-born Marchese , a cheese-seller at Selfridge's, was found guilty of harassment as well as threatening to kill and perverting the course of justice, she said: "I did not commit these offences."

London's Southwark Crown Court heard how she had claimed to have put a bomb on a powerboat that Dr Falkowski was to race and bombarded Ms Pemberton with messages including one which warned she would be "burnt down in her wedding dress". Others read, "Dig your own grave" and, "Your life will end, gunman paid". Marchese had become obsessed when she met the consultant psychiatrist - a triple world power-boat record-holder - while he was treating her partner for mental illness in 2002. Deluded into believing she had a relationship with Dr Falkowski, she became convinced Ms Pemberton was ruining their happiness, later spending thousands of pounds trying to destroy his life and reputation.

Marchese, of Bow, east London, was arrested but stalking charges were dropped. She falsified DNA evidence against the psychiatrist by picking one of his used condoms out of a rubbish bin to back her rape claim, the court was told.

Judge Price said she had terrorised the couple. He told Marchese: "It is my humane hope that something can be done for you; if not, you are going to prison for a very long time."

Dr Falkowski said later: "The victims of rape are rightly given anonymity but I strongly feel this should also be extended to the accused until trial. In my case, this gave Marchese the freedom to make a false allegation, then systematically use this to destroy my reputation by approaching the press, my employers and organisations to do as much damage as possible."

Sentencing was adjourned till 22 September pending psychiatric reports.

Pregnant train passengers are to be issued with badges by Japanese rail firms so that other travellers know they should give up their seat.

The scheme is designed to solve the problem of men hesitating as they judge whether a woman is pregnant or merely overweight.

Some 65,000 "maternity mark" badges are being distributed at stations across greater Tokyo, showing a picture of a mother and child wrapped in a heart.

Many Japanese trains suffer from overcrowding, which can make travel uncomfortable or even dangerous for pregnant women. In a survey, many women called for a method to shame men into standing.

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