Former England captain Bob Willis has died at the age of 70.
The fast bowler took 325 wickets in 90 Tests from 1971 to 1984, claiming a career-best 8-43 to help England to a famous win over Australia at Headingley in the 1981 Ashes.
He captained England in 18 Tests and 29 one-day internationals before his retirement from all forms of cricket in 1984.
In a statement, Willis’ family said he had died “after a long illness”.
“We are heartbroken to lose our beloved Bob, who was an incredible husband, father, brother and grandfather,” the statement continued.
“He made a huge impact on everybody he knew and we will miss him terribly.”
Willis subsequently worked as a summariser on BBC TV before joining Sky Sports as a commentator in 1991.
He continued to work for Sky and was part of their coverage of this summer’s Ashes series.
The England and Wales Cricket Board said it was “deeply saddened to say farewell” to a “legend of English cricket”.
“We are forever thankful for everything he has done for the game,” it added. “Cricket has lost a dear friend.”
Willis represented Surrey for the first two years of his professional career before spending 12 years at Warwickshire, finishing with 899 wickets from 308 first-class matches at an average of 24.99.
In a statement on Twitter, Surrey said the club was “devastated” by the news of Willis’ passing.
The Sunderland-born bowler made his international debut aged 21 in the 1971 Ashes after being called up to replace the injured Alan Ward and played the final four Tests of the seven-match series as England won 2-0.
Despite needing surgery on both knees in 1975, he became one of the finest fast bowlers of his generation, playing another nine years and claiming his 325 wickets at an impressive average of 25.20.
At the time of Willis’ retirement, only Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee had taken more Test wickets.
James Anderson (575), Stuart Broad (471) and Ian Botham (383) are the only England bowlers to have since surpassed Willis’ tally.
|Bob Willis career record|
The pinnacle of Willis’ international career was arguably the stunning 18-run victory against Australia in the third Test of the 1981 Ashes at Headingley.
England, trailing 1-0 in the series, were forced to follow on and needed Botham’s spectacular 149 not out to force Australia to bat again, setting them 129 to win.
With his Test career on the line, Willis produced a devastating spell, taking a Test-best 8-43 as Australia were dismissed for 111.
England went on to win the series 3-1 and Willis finished with 29 wickets at 22.96 in six matches.
He was appointed captain for the 1982 India tour of England after Keith Fletcher was sacked.
Willis oversaw a weakened team during his tenure, after the likes of Graham Gooch, Geoffrey Boycott and Derek Underwood were banned from international cricket for three years from 1982 for taking part in a rebel tour to South Africa.
He finished with a record of seven wins, five defeats and six draws from his 18 Tests in charge before he was sacked and replaced with David Gower prior to what proved to be Willis’ final Test series against West Indies in 1984.
In 29 ODIs under Willis, England won 16 and lost 13.
Willis made his ODI debut in 1973 and played in the 1979 World Cup but sustained a recurrence of his knee injury in the semi-final win over New Zealand and missed the final, which West Indies won by 92 runs.
He captained England at the 1983 World Cup where his side were beaten by eventual winners India in the semi-finals.
Willis played his final ODI in 1984, finishing with a record of 80 wickets from 64 matches at an average of 24.60.
Willis moved into commentary soon after his playing career ended and worked alongside former team-mates Botham and Gower.
After moving away from live commentary and summariser duties in 2006, Willis continued to work as a pundit on Sky Sports programmes such as The Debate and The Verdict.
He was frequently firm in his criticism of current players, which was seen by some as being unfair.
Yet Willis also played up to his persona and had a humorous side, telling current captain Joe Root he would “have you back in the dock” with bared teeth after the England batsman’s impersonation of Willis during the 2015 Ashes.
Middlesex have re-signed Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman for next season’s Twenty20 Blast campaign.
The 18-year-old took seven wickets in 10 games last season and will be available for all 14 of their group stage matches in 2020.
Mujeeb made his debut for his country at the age of 16 and featured in this year’s World Cup.
“I enjoyed my time at Middlesex so much, so I am very pleased to be coming back,” he said.
Meanwhile, the club have awarded England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan a testimonial year in 2020.
The 33-year-old made his debut for the county’s first XI in 2005.
A security guard who raped and sexually assaulted girls stopped for shoplifting has been jailed for 14 years.
Zia Uddin, 27, of Manor Park, Newham, east London, attacked four 15-year-old girls at the Kingston Primark in 2017.
He threatened to call the police and inform their parents if they did not perform sexual acts on him in the control room of the store.
Uddin was convicted of rape and four counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
He has also been banned from working with children.
During his trial, Kingston Crown Court heard his colleagues had noticed his strange behaviour, which included making requests to delete CCTV and not properly completing paperwork on shoplifting.
He was also known to keep condoms in the control room where he attacked his victims, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
He threatened to call the police if they did not comply with his demands, it added.
Prosecutors said one girl only did as he asked because “there was no other choice” and it was the only way out of the situation.
Graham Partridge, of the CPS, said Uddin “preyed on young girls in a vulnerable situation”.
“Having worked in security, Uddin was also well aware of the CCTV camera ‘blind spots’ and took advantage of these in order to carry out his offending.”
After the sentencing a Primark spokeswoman said: “This has been a horrendous ordeal for the victims and their families and we are truly sorry for what they have suffered. Our thoughts are very much with them.”
An “angry pig” confronted engineers in a London street, delaying their repair of a burst water main before it was led away with a bag of crisps.
The pipe burst on Lamberts Road, Surbiton, damaging nearby railway equipment, which caused train delays.
Thames Water said their efforts to reach a valve to cut the water were initially hindered by “a large pig” which was “acting aggressively”.
It is not known what flavour crisps were used to lead it away.
Damage caused by the flooding of tracks and signalling equipment meant limited trains have been able to run along the line.
Disruption is currently expected to last until 16:00 GMT although Network Rail said engineers were carrying out inspections.
Thames Water said engineers “were quickly on site” to deal with the burst 120cm (48 in) pipe, but they had been unable to initially carry out the work because of the pig, which is thought to be someone’s pet.
A second man has admitted trying to rob Arsenal footballers Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac in a moped ambush.
Jordan Northover, 26, pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to attempting to steal watches from the pair in Hampstead, north-west London.
His co-accused Ashley Smith, 30, of Archway in North London, admitted his role in the crime in October.
CCTV footage showed Bosnian defender Kolasinac chasing off the two masked attackers on 25 July
In the video, that circulated on social media, 26-year-old Kolasinac is seen fighting off two men who are wielding knives.
He can be seen jumping out of a vehicle to confront the masked men who had pulled alongside the car on mopeds.
In the footage, both carjackers were seen to be armed and were filmed brandishing knives at full-back Kolasinac.
World Cup winner Özil can also be seen in his black Mercedes G class jeep before he reportedly took refuge in a Turkish restaurant.
Kolasinac and Germany midfielder Özil were left out of the Arsenal side ahead of the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign after the incident.
Judge Rosa Dean said Smith would be sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday.
Northover will be sentenced at a later date.
Özil told the Athletic sports site that he was scared for his wife Amine as the attackers pursued his car.
“Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers,” he said.
“I tried to move the car, block them, escape, but each time they would be there. My wife was extremely scared.”
A survivors’ group has welcomed a report on the Grenfell Tower fire, calling for the government to treat its response as “a national emergency”.
The report, published on Wednesday, followed the first phase of an inquiry, looking at what happened on the night of 14 June 2017, when 72 people died.
It was critical of the London Fire Brigade’s response and said the tower did not meet building regulations.
The LFB said it was “disappointed” by some of the criticism of individuals.
Campaign group Grenfell United said the report showed “the immediate and real dangers” of “highly combustible cladding and insulation”.
“Lives are at risk and the government need to treat this as a national emergency,” the group said.
The report made 46 recommendations, including improvements in training for fire brigade staff and the development of national guidelines for evacuating high-rise buildings.
Grenfell United called for the recommendations to be implemented in full, saying they would save lives.
The report condemned the LFB for “serious shortcomings” and systemic failures in its response to the fire.
Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said the absence of a plan to evacuate the tower was a “major omission” by the LFB and more lives could have been saved had the “stay-put” policy been abandoned sooner.
Grenfell United responded: “It is heartbreaking to read that more of our loved ones could have been saved that night if the building was evacuated earlier.”
At an emotional press conference, relatives of 20 victims of the fire called for an overhaul of the LFB, saying its leadership should resign and even face prosecution.
Nazanin Aghlani, who lost two family members in the fire, said some firefighters displayed a “serious lack of common sense” and failed to see “what was so vivid in front of them”.
“If a fire happened tonight the same thing would happen again,” she said.
‘Too little too late’
The report said evidence from London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton that she would not have changed anything about the brigade’s response was “insensitive”.
Ms Cotton said many of the recommendations were welcome and would be “carefully considered”.
She expressed her “deepest sorrow at not being able to save all those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire”.
She added: “We welcome the chairman’s recognition of the courage, commitment and bravery of firefighters on the night, but we are disappointed at some of the criticism of individual staff members who were placed in completely unprecedented circumstances and faced the most unimaginable conditions while trying to save the lives of others.”
However, Natasha Elcock, chairwoman of Grenfell United who was rescued with her six-year-old daughter from the 11th floor, said Dany Cotton’s statement was “too little too late”.
“She stood up in the inquiry, in a room full of bereaved and survivors and said there’s nothing she would do to change that night,” she told the BBC.
“If she’d expressed that sorrow that day in that room, that potentially would have washed with us today.”
Grenfell United expressed concern at the report’s finding that the LFB were “at risk of not learning the lessons from Grenfell”, adding that firefighters were “let down by their training, procedures, equipment and leadership”.
Other issues highlighted in the report included:
- A lack of training in how to “recognise the need for an evacuation or how to organise one”
- Incident commanders “of relatively junior rank” being unable to change strategy
- Control room officers lacking training on when to advise callers to evacuate
- An assumption that crews would reach callers, resulting in “assurances which were not well founded”
- Communication between the control room and those on the ground being “improvised, uncertain and prone to error”
- A lack of an organised way to share information within the control room, meaning officers had “no overall picture of the speed or pattern of fire spread”
In the House of Commons, MPs held a minutes’ silence to remember victims of the fire, before a debate on the inquiry.
Boris Johnson told MPs that survivors and the bereaved had been “overlooked and ignored” before the fire and “shamefully failed” afterwards.
The second phase of the inquiry will focus on wider circumstances of the fire, including the design of the building.
While this was not the focus of the first phase, the report found there was “compelling evidence” external walls of the building failed to comply with building regulations and “actively promoted” the spread of fire.
It said the principal reason the flames shot up the building so fiercely was the combustible aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding with polyethylene cores which acted as a “source of fuel”.
Grenfell United said the second phase of the inquiry “must now focus on where responsibility for the devastating refurbishment [of the building] lies”, with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the tenant management organisation and the companies involved facing “serious questions”.
League One side AFC Wimbledon have appointed caretaker boss Glyn Hodges as their new permanent manager.
The ex-Wales midfielder, 56, has been in charge since Wally Downes was suspended by the club last month, after being charged by the Football Association over bets placed on games.
Downes left Wimbledon on Sunday, two days after being given a four-week FA suspension for admitting the charge.
Former Wimbledon player Hodges had been assistant to Downes at Kingsmeadow.
More to follow.
Extinction Rebellion activists are continuing protests despite a London-wide ban by police.
The group says it has taken initial steps towards a judicial review of the ban. Lawyers and politicians have also criticised the move.
Meanwhile climate change protesters targeted the Department for Transport and MI5 on Tuesday morning.
A government spokeswoman said protests “should not disrupt people’s day-to-day lives”.
Extinction Rebellion’s co-founder, Gail Bradbrook, was arrested after climbing on to the entrance of the Department for Transport on Tuesday morning. Police also cleared further protesters from outside the building.
Activists have also been arrested on Millbank outside MI5’s headquarters, where a small group had gathered. Two men briefly sat in the middle of the road before being moved by officers.
The Metropolitan Police began clearing protesters from Trafalgar Square on Monday evening following the announcement of new restrictions under Section 14 of the Public Order Act, which required activists to stop their protests in central London by 21:00 BST or risk arrest.
The force said it decided to impose the rules after “continued breaches” of conditions which limited the demonstrations to Trafalgar Square.
Extinction Rebellion said it had taken the “first steps” towards a judicial review of the Met’s “disproportionate and unprecedented attempt to curtail peaceful protest”.
“Our lawyers have delivered a ‘Letter before Action’ to the Met and asked for an immediate response,” a statement read.
Tobias Garnett, a human rights lawyer working for the movement, said the letter warned police to withdraw the order, giving them a deadline of 1430 BST to respond, or else the group would file a claim in the High Court.
“We will be looking for an expedited hearing either today or tomorrow morning,” he added.
The Met confirmed it had received “pre-action judicial review correspondence” alleging Human Rights Act breaches.
“The letter will be reviewed by the Met’s Directorate of Legal Services, and we will respond to the claimant in due course,” a statement read, adding it would be “inappropriate” to comment further.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said he is “seeking further information” about the decision to impose the ban and why it was necessary.
“I believe the right to peaceful and lawful protest must always be upheld,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the government said the UK was “already taking world-leading action to combat climate change”.
The statement added: “While we share people’s concerns about global warming, and respect the right to peaceful protest, it should not disrupt people’s day-to-day lives.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted that “supporting our [police] is vital” and accused the Labour Party of supporting “law breakers”.
‘Overreach of powers’
Meanwhile, lawyers have also questioned whether the ban by police is legal.
Anti-Brexit barrister Jo Maugham QC said the move was “a huge overreach” of police powers, while human rights lawyer Adam Wagner described it as “draconian and extremely heavy-handed”.
Mr Wagner added in a tweet: “We have a right to free speech under article 10 and to free assembly under article 11 of the (annex to the) Human Rights Act. These can only be interfered with if the interference is lawful and proportionate. I think the police may have gone too far here.”
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott tweeted: “This ban is completely contrary to Britain’s long-held traditions of policing by consent, freedom of speech, and the right to protest.”
Allan Hogarth, of Amnesty International, issued a statement saying the ban was “an unlawful restriction on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly”.
A number of demonstrations have been staged across the capital by Extinction Rebellion, which is calling on the government to do more to tackle climate change.
The protests were due to last two weeks and have led to more than 1,400 arrests.
The Met said there had been 1,457 arrests by 08:45 BST on Tuesday, in connection with the nine days of Extinction Rebellion protests in London.
Last week, the Home Office confirmed to BBC News that it was reviewing police powers around protests in response to recent demonstrations.
What are the rules around protests?
Police have the powers to ban a protest under the Public Order Act 1986, if a senior officer has reasonable belief that it may cause “serious disruption to the life of the community”.
Police are also under a duty to balance the task of keeping the streets open with the right freedom of assembly under the Article 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and freedom of expression, under Article 10. These rights are not absolute – the state can curtail them.
However, the BBC’s home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani said: “The test, if and when it gets to a human rights court battle, is whether police action was proportionate to the threat and only what was strictly necessary.”
By law, the organiser of a public march must tell the police certain information in writing six days in advance.
Police have the power to limit or change the route of the march or set other conditions.
A Section 14 notice issued under the Public Order Act allows police to impose conditions on a static protest and individuals who fail to comply with these can be arrested.
Extinction Rebellion activists intending to continue protesting in central London “must” go to Trafalgar Square or risk arrest, police have warned.
Police enforced a Section 14 notice to stop “serious disruption” to communities, after officers removed those camped out in Westminster.
Police have made 471 arrests over the two days of protests.
The prime minister has described the activists as “uncooperative crusties”.
But campaigner and TV presenter Chris Packham said they are “the concerned people of the world.”
Extinction Rebellion activists are protesting in cities around the world, including Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and Sydney, and are calling for urgent action on global climate and wildlife emergencies.
Protesters say they are occupying 11 sites in central London and people have travelled from across the UK to take part in the demonstrations.
Activists glued themselves to a government department and to the underside of a lorry outside another.
A protester who attached himself to the top of a trailer with a bike lock for more than 28 hours in Trafalgar Square was arrested and removed from the area by five police officers.
The Metropolitan Police said at 15:20 BST on Tuesday there had been 471 total arrests over the two days, including 152 on Tuesday.
Police have enforced a Section 14 Notice of the Public Order Act 1986, forcing those who wish to continue protesting to move to the pedestrianised area around Nelson’s column in Trafalgar square.
Anyone suspected of breaching the condition – which has no time limit – could be arrested and prosecuted, police said.
A Section 14 order allows the police to impose conditions on a static protest – where campaigners are gathered in one place, rather than marching.
To impose the condition, police must have evidence that serious disruption is being caused to communities.
Activists have attached themselves to the underside of a lorry, which is blocking the road outside the Home Office.
The vehicle is parked on Marsham Street, where hundreds of protesters set up camp overnight. One activist climbed on top of the lorry and set up a tent.
There was a large police presence in the area on Tuesday, with pictures showing officers removing activists from the lorry.
Protesters have also glued themselves to the Department for Transport building – a tactic used in similar protests in April.
Two activists have attached themselves to the doors of the building, while others demonstrate outside.
Meanwhile, a group have placed 800 potted trees outside Parliament, in Old Palace Yard, as they call on the government to plant billions of trees across the UK.
Trees have been dedicated to MPs, and protesters hope they will use them to reforest the country.
Sean Clay, 36, from Newcastle, told the BBC: “Planting trees would go a long way to restore the habitats we have lost as well as absorbing carbon emissions.”
Asked about Boris Johnson’s description of demonstrators, Packham told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “I was there yesterday. I met farmers, I met teachers, I met scientists, I met lawyers, I met grandparents, I met mothers and fathers, and I met children.
“These are the concerned people of the world.”
Mr Johnson had suggested while attending a book launch on Monday that the demonstrators should abandon their “hemp-smelling bivouacs” and stop blocking roads.
Protester Claudia Fisher, 57, from Brighton said campaigners would like to discuss their views with the prime minister.
Responding to his description of activists as “uncooperative crusties”, Ms Fisher said: “We are a little bit crusty, I’ll put my hands up to it, after a night sleeping out on the grounds of Whitehall, but we’re not uncooperative.
“We’re actually very co-operative. We… would really like to hear what he has to say, and we’d really like him to… hear what we have to say.”
John Curran, a 49-year-old former detective sergeant for the Metropolitan Police, was one of the protesters who camped overnight.
Mr Curran, who has a three-year-old daughter, says he was arrested while protesting with Extinction Rebellion in April, and is willing to be arrested again.
He said: “Clearly there is some frustration (for the police) that they probably have better things to be doing, and I agree, but the responsibility for that must lie with the government.
“Take action, and we won’t have to be here.”
Activists camped at Smithfield Market overnight, but say they allowed traders to operate.
‘A last resort’
By Becky Morton, BBC News
The only rush hour traffic around Parliament this morning came from cyclists, who were cheered as they passed encampments of protesters dotted around Westminster.
Roads have been blocked by tents and gazebos, with protesters from all over the country camping overnight.
Bowls of porridge were served from food trucks, while volunteers said some local businesses had donated pastries.
One of those who spent the night here is Mikaela Loach, 21, who travelled down by bus from Edinburgh with a friend.
She said taking part in this week’s action was a “last resort”.
“I’ve spoken to my local MP, I’ve taken part in protests, I just feel like I haven’t been listened to,” she said.
“I have been changing things in my lifestyle for a long time to try and be more eco-friendly, but I had a realisation a few months ago that it doesn’t matter if I go vegan or zero waste if the government doesn’t do anything.
“There need to be big structural changes.”
In an update at 15:39 BST on Tuesday, Transport for London (Tfl) said road closures included the Strand in both directions between Lancaster Place and Trafalgar Square; Trafalgar Square itself and Whitehall in both directions.
Also closed are Parliament Square; Marsham Street; Horseferry Road; and Millbank in both directions between Parliament Square and Horseferry Road.
All bridges remain open, however there is no access from Westminster Bridge into Parliament Square.
Extinction Rebellion claims protests in the capital will be five times bigger than similar events in April, which saw more than 1,100 people were arrested.
What is Extinction Rebellion?
2025year when the group aims for zero carbon emissions
298,000followers on Facebook
1,130people arrested over April’s London protests
2018year the group was founded
Source: BBC Research
Extinction Rebellion (XR for short) wants governments to declare a “climate and ecological emergency” and take immediate action to address climate change.
It describes itself as an international “non-violent civil disobedience activist movement”.
Extinction Rebellion was launched in 2018 and organisers say it now has groups willing to take action in dozens of countries.
In April, the group held a large demonstration in London that brought major routes in the city to a standstill.
One of Britain’s most wanted fugitives has been convicted of murder after a three-and-a-half-year international manhunt.
Shane O’Brien slashed 21-year-old Josh Hanson’s neck after a brief conversation in RE Bar in Hillingdon, west London, in October 2015.
The 31-year-old was on Interpol and Europol’s “most wanted” lists before he was extradited from Romania in April.
An Old Bailey jury deliberated for 55 minutes before finding him guilty.
Council worker Mr Hanson was stabbed in front of his girlfriend and suffered a 37cm (14.5ins) wound from his left ear to the right side of his chest on 11 October 2015, the court heard.
O’Brien walked calmly out the bar before enlisting the help of his friend “Vanessa” to secure a private plane to take him from Biggin Hill airport to the Netherlands, the jury was told.
He grew long hair and a beard and got a tattoo of his child’s name covered over.
He then used false identity documents to travel to countries including Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
Friends helped O’Brien avoid police after he was added to both Europol and Interpol’s most wanted lists, his trial heard.
Despite being arrested in Prague in 2017 for assault, he managed to flee when he was released on bail and began using the alias Enzo Melloncelli.
O’Brien told jurors he had felt threatened by Mr Hanson’s “very aggressive body language” on the night of the attack. He said he felt Mr Hanson was “ready to attack”.
At bar closing time he approached his victim and asked him, “what’s your problem?”, before pulling the knife from his jacket pocket and fatally slashing him.
He claimed he wanted to “pretend to attack” Mr Hanson in a bid to “scare him”.
“From the bottom of my heart, I did not mean to touch him with that blade,” O’Brien added.
Commenting on the verdict, Mr Hanson’s mum Tracey said: “The aftermath of Josh’s murder has left us broken beyond repair as Josh was taken from us in the most horrific way possible – suddenly, abruptly, viciously and violently.
“Nothing will ever erase the CCTV footage of Josh’s final moments from our minds as he was struck with a knife so horrifically and callously, along with his suffering as he tried to fight for his life.”
Det Ch Insp Noel McHugh, of Met Police, said in a statement: “This is the day I, and certainly Josh’s family, almost feared would never come – O’Brien finally convicted of that unprovoked and vicious attack in a bar in Eastcote close to four years ago. And we still do not have a clear answer – why?
“O’Brien is an extremely dangerous individual who murdered a young man in the prime of his life in a packed bar for no reason whatsoever.”
He will be sentenced on 17 October.