29 October 2005

29 October 2005

Net closes in on court fugitives

CORNERED and nowhere to hide, a woman struggles with cops as she is hand-cuffed and taken away from her flat.

Officers made more than 70 similar arrests in one morning, targeting fugitives with outstanding warrants.

The Met says its dawn blitz sent a clear message to those on the run from the law, "Hand yourselves in or we'll come and find you".

Operation Action Day saw cops raid the homes of villains in 14 London boroughs including Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham and Wandsworth.

More than 700 uniformed officers swooped at around 6am yesterday - breaking down doors when occupants refused to answer.

Those arrested had failed to appear in court for a range of crimes including robbery, assault, public disorder and traffic offences.

Commander Alf Hitchcock, who headed Operation Action Day, said: "Our message to those who have not been arrested in today's operation is give yourself up now - as we will continue to search out those who are wanted."

Action Day was part of an ongoing Met initiative to root out those on the run from the courts.

Operation Halifax was launched on September 19, and officers have already picked up 2,500.

Cmdr Hitchcock said: "This operation is about targeting people who fail to appear at court and are trying to evade justice.

"We are determined to see that they are arrested and the victims of their crimes have the satisfaction of seeing them dealt with by the courts."

Of the 78 arrests in the capital, Lambeth was the second highest borough with 10. There were five in Southwark and Wandsworth, and two in Lewisham.

'My baby died after docs ignored me'

A FURIOUS father told an inquest his baby died in hospital after doctors ignored his pleas for help.

Felix Agyemang-Amponsah phoned for an ambulance after five-month-old Richard began vomiting and developed diarrhoea.

The worried dad went with his son and wife Vida to the casualty department of Lewisham Hospital.

He told Southwark Coroner's Court on Wednesday he begged medics to do more but they ignored him and Richard died later, on August 4.

Mr Agyemang-Amponsah, of Eddystone Tower, Oxestalls Road, Deptford, told the inquest: "We were there seven hours and no one attended to him.

"I told them, 'This baby's very critical'. "The doctors came and they looked at him but they did nothing and went away.

"Then, at a quarter to nine, I noticed that his head was sinking in.

"I said, 'Please get the doctor, my baby is dying' . "About five of them came and they rushed to Richard and unfortunately he didn't make it."

But Dr Rebecca Rub, a consultant paediatrician at Lewisham Hospital, said the baby was monitored regularly through the day. She said Richard even seemed to be improving until around 7pm, when his temperature went up. He was pronounced dead at 10.40pm.

Richard was born two months early on February 23.

During his short life he had endured two operations for a bowel defect.

The coroner recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.

School dinner courses 'to be cut'

A course set up to train catering staff as part of a drive to improve school meal standards is under threat because of college funding cuts in England.
A one-day course developed after Jamie Oliver's campaign to improve school meals will not be funded under new government priorities.

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly announced in the summer there would be new training for school kitchen staff.

But ministers now say such short courses are of "limited value".

The City and Guilds course teaches basic requirements of a balanced diet, and how to prepare fresh food.

TV chef Jamie Oliver filmed school dinner staff in Greenwich as part of his series Jamie's School Dinners, which raised concerns about school meal standards.

Lewisham College trains Jamie Oliver's apprentices at his Fifteen restaurant, and already trains school dinner staff in Greenwich, where the series Jamie's School Dinners was filmed.

The college said it had been finalising the content of the course, and wanted to offer it in the near future.

But Nick Linford, head of planning, funding and projects, said it wondered whether it would be worthwhile to deliver the course if funding were withdrawn from next year.

"I wonder whether the government's priorities have been thought through," he said.

"Perhaps there will be some exceptions to the new priorities, and I hope the course will be saved, but the government position is clear.

"We very much support the government's agenda on vocationalism, but there could be unintended consequences of these funding changes."

He said schools would be obliged to pay for the course.

Wanted in connection with kidnapping

DETECTIVES are still chasing a man they want to question in connection with a violent kidnapping.

Police want to speak to Dwayne Callender about the incident in September, when a 25-year-old man was held hostage for 48 hours.

The victim was dragged from his car in Musgrove Road, New Cross, in the early hours of September 1.

He was blindfolded and gagged before being taken to an unknown car park, where he was tortured and subjected to repeated threats and beatings.

His two-day ordeal ended when he was dumped at an address in Brockley on September 3.

Callender, who is from Brockley but also known to visit St Mary Cray regularly, is black, around 5ft 9ins tall and has a distinctive gold tooth.

Anyone who knows where he is should call 020 8284 8433 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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