One of London’s most famous music venues has been badly damaged in a blaze.
The dome on the roof of Koko in Camden has been destroyed by fire, according to the London Fire Brigade.
Sixty firefighters helped fight the flames after the blaze broke out just before 21:00 GMT on Monday. No injuries have been reported.
The venue began life as the Camden Theatre in 1900 and has hosted stars including Madonna, Coldplay and Prince.
Station commander Jon Lewis said the fire was brought under control at about 02:30 on Tuesday, adding: “Firefighters’ quick action and hard work in the early stages meant the fire was contained to the roof and saved the rest of the building.”
Koko owner Olly Bengough said he was “deeply saddened”, adding: “We’ll be doing our best to get the redevelopment of this iconic building back on track.”
Koko, which was closed for refurbishment, was also previously known as the Camden Palace and Camden Hippodrome and has been one of the capital’s most iconic live music venues for decades.
The Rolling Stones, The Clash and Ed Sheeran are among other star names to have performed at the venue, which is close to Mornington Crescent underground station.
It was reportedly the last venue where AC/DC’s Bon Scott was seen drinking before his death from alcohol poisoning in 1980.
In the early 80s it served as a major venue for the punk and New Romantic scene, with singer Steve Strange of the band Visage holding club nights.
Music lovers have been sharing their Koko memories on Twitter.
Veteran DJ Tony Blackburn who held his legendary soul nights Shakatak also tweeted about the fire.
Koko and the nearby Roundhouse effectively “bookended” Camden’s music scene, according to music writer Carl Allen.
On Twitter, the Roundhouse said it was “really sad” to hear the news about its Camden neighbours.
Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said on Monday night: “Heartbreaking watching the Camden Palace/Koko up in flames this evening, a building that holds so many memories and means so much to us in Camden.”
The venue was set to reopen in the spring after a “major state-of-the-art” refurbishment, after the purchase of two adjacent buildings.
An investigation is under way into how the fire started.
Police are warning people not to attend New Year celebrations on the River Thames in London without a ticket, as spectators gather to usher in 2020.
More than 100,000 tickets have been bought for the sold-out fireworks display.
Firework shows are also to be held in cities including Manchester, Cardiff, Newcastle, Inverness and Nottingham.
Hogmanay celebrations have begun in Edinburgh, where crowds have gathered ahead of a massive display at midnight.
Fireworks have already been let off from Edinburgh Castle.
The Metropolitan Police urged those without tickets in London to watch from home or attend other events in the city.
Ticket-holders who had queued at designated entrances in London rushed to pick out their spots when the gates opened.
In a statement to those visiting London for the celebrations, the Met said it wanted “everyone who comes to London for New Year’s Eve to have a good time”.
However, referencing the fireworks on the Thames, the force added: “If visitors do not have a ticket, entry will not be permitted to the event, so the advice from the Met is to watch the fireworks from the comfort of your home.”
In London, approximately 12,000 fireworks are set to light up the capital’s skyline when the clock strikes midnight on Tuesday. Roughly 2,000 of the fireworks will be fired from the London Eye, with the remainder coming from barges that will be moored in a central location along the River Thames.
Big Ben’s chimes will sound the start of the display, despite them being silent this year while renovation work is completed.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the the city’s role in hosting several key games in the Euro 2020 football championship would be celebrated.
“We may be leaving the European Union, but we’re not leaving Europe. So tonight’s fireworks celebrate us as a global city, us as a European city,” he added.
He stressed that London and the UK need to be brought “together again” in the 2020s.
“I’m not pretending that fireworks and one night can do that, but I think it’s really important [that] we celebrate, tonight, some great things about our city and our country,” he said.
In Edinburgh on Monday night, crowds created a huge “be together” symbol of two people reaching out a hand in friendship in a display of fire art in Holyrood Park.
On New Year’s Eve itself, tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the Hogmanay street party featuring acts including Mark Ronson, Marc Almond and Idlewild.
The event covers at least part of more than a dozen streets in the city centre.
The evening is set to be cold but dry for many, with temperatures in Scotland and parts of northern England forecast to be around 1C (33.8F) or 2C (35.6F), according to the Met Office.
The rest of the UK is likely to see the mercury fall to around 5C (41F).
A yellow weather warning for fog has been issued by the Met Office for parts of north eastern England. The warning is in place from 19:00 GMT on New Year’s Eve until 03:00 GMT on New Year’s Day.
Parts of central England could see some drizzle on Tuesday evening while there may also be patches of fog appearing across the UK, according to Met Office forecaster Greg Dewhurst.
However, it is unlikely that visibility will be poor in either London or Edinburgh, he added.
New Year celebrations have already begun in some parts of the world.
The first places to welcome 2020 included the tiny Pacific island of Kiribati, neighbouring parts of Samoa and the Chatham Islands.
Auckland in New Zealand was the first major city to ring in the new decade, with thousands welcoming 2020 at a fireworks display at the city’s Sky Tower.
The traditional fireworks display in Sydney Harbour also went ahead, despite calls for it to be cancelled due to Australia’s bushfire crisis.
The uninhabited Baker Island and Howland Island, on the other side of the International Date Line, will be the last to leave 2019 behind.
Christmas dinners have been served to Londoners who are reliant on the city’s homelessness services.
Hairdressers and opticians were also made available at City Hall before guests were given a three-course meal.
Last year, 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London, an 18% increase since last year, and more than double the number in 2010.
“Events like this help bring a sense of community back in to London,” Claire, a former rough sleeper, told the BBC.
Claire, who spent 30 years either living on the streets or in prison, said: “It’s the type of event that does matter. It forms partnerships and builds bonds.
“If it wasn’t for the support of St Mungo’s, I’d either be dead or doing what I was before.”
Guests were chosen from the thousands of Londoners that currently receive assistance from services funded by City Hall and delivered by charities St Mungo’s and Thames Reach.
But Claire said services were still “hit and miss”.
“Where I live I’m still waiting for support with my mental health,” she added.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “St Mungo’s and Thames Reach are struggling with finances.
“Since I became mayor we’ve more than doubled the amount of money we’ve spent on rough sleeping and the size of our outreach team.
“But we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve not got the money or the resources to do much more – as it is I’m criticised for going outside my remit and my power.
“It is both heartbreaking and shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do.”
Last year 15,470 people were accepted as being homeless by London councils.
There were 55,000 families living in temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and hostels.
Hundreds more people are estimated to be sleeping on London’s night buses.
Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper Services at St Mungo’s, said: “It’s wonderful that the Mayor has opened the doors of City Hall for this festive event.
“Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for clients in our services and our staff work hard to support those who stay with us over the holiday period.”
Black cab rapist John Worboys has been handed two life sentences with a minimum term of six years for attacking four more women.
The 62-year-old, who is now known as John Radford, was jailed in 2009 for assaults on 12 women in London.
The four victims came forward after a public outcry caused by a Parole Board ruling that he was safe to be freed.
Sentencing Worboys, Mrs Justice McGowan said she did not know when “if ever you will cease to be a risk”.
In 2009, Worboys was locked up indefinitely for the public’s protection with a minimum term of eight years after being found guilty of 19 sex offences against 12 women between 2006 and 2008.
In January 2018, the Parole Board said Worboys would be freed after serving 10 years but victims challenged the decision.
That decision was later overturned by the High Court, leading to a review of the decision where the Parole Board decided Worboys must remain in jail.
Among the reasons given for refusing Worboys parole were his “sense of sexual entitlement” and a need to control women.
Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC told the Old Bailey that psychiatrist Philip Joseph found Worboys had been “fantasising” about attacking women since 1986.
A probation report in August this year found “he is potentially just as dangerous now as the point of the first sentence”.
Danny Shaw, BBC home affairs correspondent
If an offender tells lies, does that increase their risk of committing harm? That’s the key issue at the heart of this case.
John Worboys lied to psychologists before his parole hearing in 2017, giving a carefully-crafted account that tallied only with the crimes he’d been convicted of.
He was assessed as safe to be released from prison. But, when more victims came forward Worboys changed his story.
Despite this Dr Jackie Craissati, an experienced clinical forensic psychologist, told the court she believes Worboys poses a low risk of sexual reoffending.
She says she doesn’t expect offenders to give “truthful and full” accounts of their behaviour when assessing how dangerous they are.
The judge clearly did not agree, and many others may baulk at the idea that someone who can’t be trusted to tell the truth about their crimes can nevertheless be trusted in the community.
After the four women came forward, Worboys, of Enfield, admitted two charges of administering a drug with intent to commit rape or indecent assault.
He also pleaded guilty to two further charges of administering a substance with intent to commit a sexual offence.
Mr Penny said the first victim was targeted in 2000 or early 2001 after a night out at a wine bar in Dover Street in Soho.
The second victim, a university student living in north London, was picked up after a night out with friends at a club on New Oxford Street in 2003.
Worboys’ third victim was picked up after a night out on King’s Road in 2007 where he told her he had won £40,000 at a casino and offered her champagne.
The court heard Worboys told the fourth victim he had won the lottery and offered her and her friend miniature bottles of champagne.
Mr Penny said: “She woke up in bed the following morning. The bedclothes had not moved and her hands were crossed over her chest, which was unusual.
“She was sufficiently unnerved to check herself. There were no visible signs she had been touched.”
Mr Penny told the court: “The consistent themes throughout, together with the content of what took place, seems to be the profound effect not knowing what happened has had in each of these women throughout their lives, as a result of having been unfortunate enough to get into the defendant’s black cab.”
Police believe Worboys may have carried out more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults on women in London.
Becki Houlston, who has waived her right to anonymity, said Worboys drugged her in Bournemouth.
“He was pretty pre-meditated from the get-go, and I was a woman on my own,” she told the BBC.
“He is highly manipulative and relentless. It becomes easier to just accept a drink to shut him up.”
In Ms Houlston’s case, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there was not enough evidence to prosecute.
Reacting to the sentencing, the CPS’s Tina Dempster said: “John Worboys is a dangerous predator who still poses a clear threat to women.”
A GP who cited Angelina Jolie and Jade Goody to instil fear in his patients about their health has been found guilty of sexually assaulting 23 women.
Manish Shah preyed on cancer concerns to carry out invasive intimate examinations for his own sexual gratification, the Old Bailey heard.
He convinced his victims to have unnecessary checks between May 2009 and June 2013.
He was convicted of 25 counts of sexual assault and assault by penetration.
Jurors acquitted 50-year-old Shah, of Romford, of five other charges.
They were told afterwards he had already been found guilty of similar allegations relating to 17 other women, bringing the total number of victims to 23.
He will be sentenced for all the offences on 7 February. The BBC’s health editor Hugh Pym said it was one of the biggest cases of its kind involving one doctor.
The trial heard Shah mentioned a news story to one patient about Hollywood star Jolie having a preventative mastectomy, before asking if she would like him to examine her breasts.
In another instance involving a different complainant, he mentioned TV personality Goody – who died of cervical cancer – and advised an examination was in her best interests, it was claimed.
Prosecutor Kate Bex QC told the trial: “He took advantage of his position to persuade women to have invasive vaginal examinations, breast examinations and rectal examinations when there was absolutely no medical need for them to be conducted.”
One of Shah’s patients told the BBC how she became one of the GP’s victims.
“He would say you need to have these sexual health tests, to make sure you’re safe – you never know if somebody goes with somebody else even though you might have a safe partner,” she said.
“He was just encouraging the tests along when I didn’t think anything of it, I thought if a doctor suggests it you pretty much go along with it.
“He just duped so many people. He used our weaknesses and fears and took complete advantage. But not one time did I actually think he was doing anything untoward.”
The NHS in London said it “extended sympathies” to the victims and added: “As soon as the allegations came to light, swift action was taken and we have supported the police throughout their investigation.”
The family of London Bridge attacker Usman Khan have said they are “saddened and shocked” by what happened and “totally condemn his actions”.
In a statement, they expressed their condolences to the victims’ families
Khan, who was convicted of a terrorism offence in 2012, killed Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, at a prisoner rehabilitation event on Friday.
Separately, a porter who tried to fight Khan said he was coming to terms with the incident.
Lukasz, who works at the Fishmongers’ Hall venue where Khan began his attack, said he “acted instinctively” by grabbing a pole to try to stop Khan.
Usman Khan’s family said in a statement issued through the Met police: “We are saddened and shocked by what Usman has done.
“We totally condemn his actions and we wish to express our condolences to the families of the victims that have died and wish a speedy recovery to all of the injured.
“We would like to request privacy for our family at this difficult time.”
Lukasz, who was among those praised for his bravery during the attack, also issued a statement through Scotland Yard.
“When the attack happened, I acted instinctively. I am now coming to terms with the whole traumatic incident and would like the space to do this in privacy, with the support of my family,” he said.
The statement confirmed Lukasz was stabbed by Khan and taken to hospital but has now returned home.
“I would like to express my condolences to the families who have lost precious loved ones. I would like to send my best wishes to them and everyone effected by this sad and pointless attack,” he added.
Lukasz said, contrary to some reports, that he had used a pole to tackle Khan while someone else used a narwhal tusk in an attempt to stop the attack.
Two women were also injured in the attack before Khan was shot dead by armed officers on London Bridge – the women remain in a stable condition in hospital.
Khan, 28, was arrested in December 2010 and sentenced in 2012 to indeterminate detention for “public protection” with a minimum jail term of eight years after pleading guilty to preparing terrorist acts.
He had been part of an al-Qaeda inspired group that considered attacks in the UK, including at the London Stock Exchange.
But in 2013 the Court of Appeal quashed the sentence, replacing it with a 16-year-fixed term, and ordered Khan to serve at least half this – eight years – behind bars.
Since his subsequent release in December 2018, Khan had been living in Stafford and was required to wear a GPS police tag.
He was armed with two knives and was wearing a fake suicide vest during the attack at Fishmongers’ Hall on Friday.
He was tackled by members of the public, including ex-offenders from the conference, before he was shot dead by police.
It comes as Leanne O’Brien, the girlfriend of Cambridge University Mr Merritt who was killed, paid tribute to her partner on Facebook writing: “My love, you are phenomenal and have opened so many doors for those that society turned their backs on.”
Ms O’Brien was seen breaking down in tears as she and Mr Merritt’s family gathered at a vigil in Cambridge on Monday to remember the victims.
Mr Merritt’s father, David, also wrote a piece in the Guardian dedicated to his “absorbingly intelligent” and “fiercely loyal” son.
Also killed was Ms Jones, from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, who was a volunteer on the Learning Together programme, which was holding an anniversary event where the event took place.
She has been described as a “lovely, lovely woman” who was “fearless” by her former tutor.
Friday’s attack sparked a political row over the release of Khan and a debate over the criminal justice system.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused of “trying to exploit” the attack “for political gain”.
He blamed Khan’s release on legislation introduced under “a leftie government”, and called for longer sentences and an end to automatic release.
Mr Johnson denied claims he was politicising the attack, saying he had campaigned against early release for some time, having previously raised the issue during his 2012 campaign to be mayor of London.
He said he felt “a huge amount of sympathy” for the relatives of the victims.
Two boys tried to fight off an alleged serial rapist and rescue their friend who had been kidnapped, a court has heard.
A teenager told police he was walking along a Greater Manchester street with two friends – a girl and a boy – when they were stopped by Joseph McCann.
He said the defendant initially accused them of bullying his sister before driving off with the girl.
Mr McCann, 34, of Harrow, London, denies 37 offences against 11 victims.
The alleged attacks happened across London, Hertfordshire and the North West over a two-week period.
Mr McCann’s trial at London’s Old Bailey heard the boy, who cannot be named because of his age, told police the defendant was drinking from a bottle of wine in a car before ordering them into the vehicle.
“This guy stopped us, he said, ‘Which one of you was calling my sister names and making threats to her?’,” the boy said in a recorded interview.
“We said, ‘We haven’t, it was not us’. He told us to get into the car.”
Mr McCann later told the boys to “hop out” and wait on the pavement “for five minutes”, while the girl remained in the back seat of the car, the jury heard.
The witness said the defendant then told them he would stab them if they reported what had happened to police.
“He said he was keeping her hostage, then he drove off at 50mph,” the boy said.
“[The girl] was just crying. We asked her if she was OK. We tried to get her out. My friend was trying to get the guy off her for at least two minutes.”
The court heard a woman – who Mr McCann said was his grandmother – was in the front of the car at the time.
The trial has previously heard she was a 71-year-old shopper who was punched in the face by the defendant before being kidnapped and sexually assaulted.
The boys later raised the alarm at a nearby shop, the court was told.
Mr McCann, who was not in court, is charged with the following offences against women and children aged 11 to 71, between 20 April and 5 May this year:
- Ten counts of false imprisonment
- Seven counts of rape
- One count of rape of a child
- Two counts of causing or inciting a person to engage in sexual activity without consent
- Seven counts of kidnap
- One count of attempted kidnap
- Three counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity
- Three counts of assault by penetration
- One count of sexual assault
- Two counts of committing a sexual offence with intent
The trial continues.
Saracens have been fined an undisclosed amount for failing to attend the launch of the 2019-20 European Champions Cup.
Director of rugby Mark McCall and captain Brad Barritt did not appear in Cardiff on 6 November.
The event came the day after Sarries were fined £5.36m and docked 35 points by Premiership Rugby for breaching the competition’s salary cap regulations.
The club have since hired a major communications company to help manage the public fallout of the scandal.
Saracens won their third European title in May after beating Leinster in the final, and McCall and Barritt were both required to speak to the media at an event at the Principality Stadium earlier this month to launch the new campaign.
But, after the domestic sanctions against the north London club were announced, neither man travelled to Wales.
“Having previously indicated they would be represented at the event, Saracens’ failure to attend constituted a breach of the 2019-20 Champions Cup media rules,” a statement from European Professional Club Rugby said.
“EPCR appreciates the subsequent efforts made by Saracens to grant rights-holding broadcasters special interview access to members of their squad in the week before the start of the tournament.”
Saracens confirmed on Monday they will not be contesting the points deduction and fine handed to them by Premiership Rugby.
The punishment followed an inquiry into business partnerships between owner Nigel Wray and some of their players.
Wray said the club “made mistakes” and accepted the penalties “with humility”.
Saracens were beaten 30-10 by French side Racing 92 on Sunday in their opening pool match in this season’s European Champions Cup.
Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla been granted extra time to respond to allegations that he racially abused Charlton Athletic’s Jonathan Leko.
The Spaniard, 33, allegedly used words that “made reference to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin”.
He had been due to respond by Tuesday, 12 November, but now has until Wednesday, 27 November.
Leeds issued a statement when Casilla was charged on 4 November saying the former Real Madrid goalkeeper “strenuously denies the allegation”.
Under rules introduced for the 2019-20 season, the minimum suspension for a player found guilty of an aggravated breach of the FA’s discrimination rules will be six matches, which can be increased depending on any additional aggravating factors.
On Saturday afternoon, the hot water went off in Alex Milsom’s shared house in west London. Discussing the problem with his housemates on WhatsApp, one person replied: “It’s because there’s a cage on the thermostat.”
“I said I would put the water back on, but obviously I couldn’t get past the new lock box,” Alex said.
His landlady had visited the property to install a clear thermostat cover over the Google Nest thermostat – which can control heating and hot water.
“We have no idea what the temperature is,” he said. “The Nest screen only lights up when you stand up close to it, but the box has stopped that from working and we can’t see the number.”
Alex, 21, has been living with six or seven others in a semi-detached house in Ealing since August. Rented from a private landlady, he pays £700 a month, and the landlady covers his utility bills.
In a multi-occupancy dwelling like Alex’s, the landlord is permitted to control the heating, with no rules against boxing off the thermostat, experts say. The same is true of a standard rental property with fewer than three tenants, if the landlord pays the bills.
But, until now, Alex and his housemates have had control over the temperature of their home and the hot water via the thermostat in the communal kitchen.
“It’s just quite funny,” he adds.
“On Sunday night I woke up in a sweat because the heating was on, but the next morning I had to shower at work because there was no hot water,” he says. The water has since returned.
Alex shared his story on Twitter on Saturday, which went viral and prompted queries over the legality of the move.
Some landlords responded to the thread by saying the move could be understandable in a situation where tenants were being careless with the heating.
So can a landlord box off a thermostat?
David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, says there are no rules around boxing off thermostats.
But adds: “It is a matter of good tenancy management and we encourage landlords to speak first with tenants before taking such action.
“In shared homes there can often be disputes between tenants who want the thermostat set at different temperatures.”
However, the issue is not clear cut.
A tenant has a right to heating and hot water, says Daniel Fitzpatrick, a partner at Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors.
But whether a landlord can box off a thermostat depends on the terms of the tenancy agreement.
“If the tenant is just paying a basic agreement where bills are not included, that could be why the landlord installed the fitting – usually thermostats can be covered,” he says.
“Should that not be the case, then there could be various actions against the landlord.
“It’s a basic right to be able to turn on heating and hot water, and it would be a breach of health and safety if the tenant could not.”
Housing experts from Citizens Advice say the legality of a landlord-controlled thermostat is likely to rely on whether it results in hazards – excess cold or possibly extreme heat.
According to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), which governs housing conditions, heating can be centrally controlled by the landlord in a house in multiple occupation.
But the guidance adds that if this causes “unreasonable extremes in temperature” then this may represent a hazard – over which the local authority can take action against the landlord.
Risks of adverse health effects arise when indoor temperature drops below 19C, with serious health risks occurring below 16C, it says.
What can a tenant do if they are still unhappy?
Under the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, all residential tenancies after 20 March 2019 are required to be free of hazards.
If a tenant feels this is not the case they could try making a claim against the landlord.
But Citizens Advice says it is better to try to “negotiate amicably” if at all possible – “due to the limited security of tenure which private tenants tend to have” – and it warns of the risk of an escalating row.
“The tenants might consider trying to take control of the heating themselves by using electric heaters.
“There is a risk, however, that the landlord may respond negatively to a huge electricity bill, and perhaps seek to serve a section 21 notice (no fault eviction notice) to terminate the tenancy at the end of the fixed term, or seek to alter the rent or other tenancy terms as a condition of any renewal.”