Monday, October 05, 2009

'Facebook' child abuse

LONDON - THREE Britons, including one nursery worker, who swapped pictures of themselves abusing babies online after meeting on social networking site Facebook admitted a string of offences on Thursday.

Vanessa George, 39, who worked at Little Ted's Day Care Unit in Plymouth, south-west England, faced angry relatives of possible victims at Bristol Crown Court when she appeared with Angela Allen, 39, and Colin Blanchard, 38.

The three, who only met in person when their crimes were discovered, emailed each other mobile phone pictures of themselves abusing children aged between a year and 18 months old with objects like plastic golf clubs.

Police - who are still trying to identify the young victims but say their chances of doing so are low - believe the abuse started in September 2008 and carried on until June this year. They are baffled by aspects of the crimes.

'How did three people get connected on Facebook and somehow get on to such depraved, awful topics of conversation that led to sex assault of children,' one of the investigating officers, Detective Superintendent Adrian Pearson, said after the hearing.

George, of Plymouth, admitted seven sexual assaults on children and six counts of distributing and making indecent pictures of children.

Blanchard, of Smallbridge, north-west England, who had been on the sex offenders register after being cautioned for a previous offence, pleaded guilty to 17 child pornography counts, two sexual assaults on children and a charge of possessing extreme pornography.

Allen, of Nottingham, central England, admitted four child sex assaults and one count of distributing an indecent image.

As the three were led back to the cells ahead of a sentencing hearing on Nov 13, one member of the public gestured to them by running his thumb along his throat. -- AFP

Source : The Straits Times

Cat survives after being shot in head with arrow

LEARNED, Miss. – BC the cat survived, but likely used up one of his nine lives when someone shot an arrow through his head. The 2-year-old gray and white tabby came home one day last week looking like he was doing a bad imitation of the Steve Martin skit from the 1970s. BC's arrow was pointing front-to-back rather than side-to-side.

Owner Ralph Henderson told WLBT-TV of Jackson that BC was walking and meowing, but was having trouble eating because the arrow kept bumping the cat food bowl.

Dr. Troy Majure, the veterinarian who removed the arrow, said it chipped BC's skull and somehow arched over the brain.

The only signs of the kitty's injury this week were scabs on the front and back of his head.


Fisher-dog catches attention

A Chinese man says his dog has become something of a local celebrity - after taking up fishing.

Mr Lin, of Wuchang in central China's Hubei province, told the Wuhan Evening Post that Ding Ding had always loved water.

"I often swim in Donghu Lake, and used to leave him on the bank to take care of my clothes and valuables. But he couldn't stop jumping into the water and swimming with me," he said.

"When he was swimming, he would bite anything floating in the water, like bottles, foam rubber, or dead fish, and bring them back to the bank.

"But several days ago he suddenly started catching live fish from the lake. Within 10 minutes he had brought back three big fish, weighing more than 3kg."

Lin says Ding Ding now regularly leaps into the lake and comes back with a live fish in his mouth - to the amazement of passers-by.

"He can tell where the fish are located by seeing the bubbles coming from the water," he added.

Shocked local angler Mr Zhao commented: "I've been fishing in Donghu Lake for decades but this is the first time I've ever seen a fishing dog."


Boy, 13, becomes one of world's youngest fathers

A schoolboy aged 13 has become one of Britain's youngest fathers, it was revealed today.

The boy, from Manchester, was 'chuffed to bits' after his 16-year-old girlfriend gave birth to a baby girl this week, according to his family.

'My son is mature for his age and will make a good father. He will make a better dad than most 25-year-old men would,' his father told the Daily Mirror.

The young couple's identity cannot be revealed for legal reasons.

They are said to have been in a relationship for some time, although they did not go to the same school.

His father added: 'He isn't bewildered about about what has happened. He was a bit shocked at first but now he's chuffed to bits.'

Earlier this year another 13-year-old, Alfie Patten, from Eastbourne in East Sussex, was believed to have become a father after his 15-year-old girlfriend conceived.

But DNA tests later showed that another 15-year-old was the father.

Britain has the worst teenage pregnancy rate in Europe, with an estimated around 43,000 teenage mothers created in England every year.

This latest case comes after new measures to deal with teenage pregnancies announced by Gordon Brown this week.

He said teenage parents on benefits would be forced to live in 'supervised homes' instead of being given council houses.

'It's time to address a problem that for too long has gone unspoken: the number of children having children,' he declared.

In 2007, there were 42,918 pregnancies among under-18s.

Daily Mail

The original Dennis the Menace

A grandfather running a garage in New Zealand has spoken of his delight to find he was the inspiration for Dennis the Menace.

Robert Fair, who left Britain 38 years ago, beamed: "I think it's fantastic - a real honour.

"Dennis the Menace does sound like me when I was young. I was always getting into trouble."

Beano cartoonist David Law, who created Dennis in 1951, never named his inspiration for fear of offending family friends the Fairs.

But David died in 1971 and his daughter Rosemary Moffat recently spilled the beans, reports The Sun.

Ex-merchant navy officer Robert, now a 62-year-old with six grandchildren living at Porangahau Beach, said: "I remember reading The Beano and all these years I have never known that was me - that was my character.

"I've always liked playing jokes on people and I have never lost that."

Rosemary, who herself inspired The Topper's equally naughty Beryl the Peril, said four-year-old Robert would create chaos when his family visited her home in Dundee.

He would frighten pals by jumping out and throwing spiders and worms at them.

She went on: "He used to come to visit us and I used to hate it as he was always so wild. Every time he left the house my father used to start laughing and say, 'What a menace he is'."


Pet cat travels 300 miles, is returned

ISLE OF WIGHT, England, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Microchipping allowed a cat in England to be reunited with its owners after it disappeared for three weeks, the cat's owners said.

Cindy and Tim Whitbread of the Isle of Wight, England, got a telephone call from Chris Archibald of the Yorkshire resort of Whitby -- 300 miles away -- to say she had Geoffrey, their cat, the Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

The Whitbreads said they believe Geoffrey, a Bengal cat, must have jumped into the luggage compartment of one of the many vehicles that stop to pick up tourists from their area's hotel and bed-and-breakfasts, and then ridden for about 10 hours to Whitby, in the north of England.

"At least he went somewhere lovely. It has made it a whole lot nicer to come and pick him up," said Cindy Whitbread.

Geoffrey was discovered in a Whitby field by Archibald's son, Zac, 10, who brought the cat home.

"We put posters up and asked around the village in the hope of finding his owners. After a couple of days we took him to the vet to see if he was chipped," said Archibald. "I thought I was hearing things when they scanned him and found out he was from the Isle of Wight."


Crocodile thrown in jail cell for loitering

NORTHERN Territory police were forced to arrest a grumpy crocodile and throw it in jail after it was discovered loitering in a town.

Gunbalanya police were called out recently after the 2m female saltie turned up at Arrkuluk Camp the Northern Territory News reports.

Police said they found it loitering near a fence, trying to look innocent.

Brevet Sergeant Adam Russell said intrigued residents had gathered around to watch the arrest - but any dreams he had of nabbing the gnasher in style were promptly voted down.

"I wanted to jump on it Steve Irwin style," he said. "But (the rangers) wouldn't let me."

Instead she was bound and bundled into the back of an ute, and taken to the police cells.

She was held in custody for three days until folks from a Top End croc farm came to pick her up.

"We cut the ropes on her legs just so she could move around (in the cell) ... we couldn't have her tied up for all that time," he said. "We just hosed her down every couple of hours."

He said the saltie was a fairly good prisoner, although she got grumpy with her curious audience.

"She got a bit cranky when she was in the cells - started hissing when people came near."