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Review of the year: January to March
6:00am Saturday 28th December 2013 in News
As 2013 draws to a close, we look at who was making the headlines in Kingston these past 12 months.
- A leaked report revealed social workers failed to respond to calls for help from Charito Cruz, later hammered to death in front of her baby daughter by her abusive partner. Che Cruz was twice referred to Kingston Council by the NSPCC before she was killed in her Norbiton home. Reports were then altered to ‘cover up’ the lack of response, the former interim head of social care, claimed to the BBC.
- A self-appointed Kingston caretaker rifled through his absent neighbour’s post and siphoned off more than £290,000 over four years. John Stalker, 52, who also rented out the empty fat below in Wimbledon, was given a suspended prison sentence in January after his victim John Elliot wrote a letter saying the money had been paid back.
- Bungling security firm Serco tried to talk its way out of a glaring error when it let a convicted murderer escape from Kingston County Court, run into the street and assault a Surbiton student in June 2012. It is still unclear how Richard Kwakye, serving life for killing a child, escaped but Serco insisted in January: “We are confident our prisoner escorting procedures are completely safe and secure.”
Love Kingston Day
- Love Kingston Day united five of the borough’s most worthy charities with a day of action on Valentine’s Day. Flash mobs, spinning bikes and Italian meals were utilised to raise money for the pathways out of poverty appeal, helping homeless people, battered women, foodless families, troubled teenagers and those in the jaws of loan sharks.
- The driver of a Porsche Boxter careered out of control and smashed her luxury car through the front of Emma’s Nails in Surbiton (see above). Incredibly no-one was injured but the glass and metal shop front was ripped apart.
- The ‘Christmas shopping arsonist’ from the previous December was revealed as a mentally ill man who had been discharged from mental health care weeks before launching a quickfire series of arson attacks which brought Kingston to a halt. West London Mental Health NHS Trust declined to comment on whether it had failed Barry Davies, 52.
Shoppers were evacuated from several Kingston stores after Barry Davies' arson spree
- Double death hit the A3 when a doctor’s motorbike crashed into a parked ambulance dealing with a jumper from a bridge. Traffic was brought to a complete standstill. Footballer John Terry phoned a friend to pick up his car and walked home.
- A murder investigation was launched after Sammy Warsame was found unconscious on a train from Wimbledon to Raynes Park after a fight. He died days later with the investigation into whether he died of pre-existing injuries from a nightclub brawl years earlier. A 24-year-old was later charged with his manslaughter.
- A cyber-hacker took the credit for redirecting the Tiffin Boys School website to a porn video. Police investigated but could not catch MMTrollface, who it was even suggested could have been a pupil or parent. One parent said: “I guess that’s the downside to having super intelligent pupils. Maybe it was a disgruntled parent whose son did not get a place.”
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