No movement in the table this week and with little over six weeks left to go, some of us are hoping that this cold weather will do the trick. I hope you’re all researching your lists for 2020 already and letting your friends know about our amazing little pool.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Frank Dobson, 79, British politician, MP (1979–2015), Secretary of State for Health (1997–1999).
- Jean Fergusson, 74, British actress (Last of the Summer Wine, Coronation Street).
- Terry O’Neill, 81, British photographer, prostate cancer.
- Niall Tóibín, 89, Irish comedian and actor (Ryan’s Daughter, Far and Away, Veronica Guerin).
In Other News
Jimmy Carter has been admitted to hospital for brain surgery following a number of recent falls. The former US president was due to undergo surgery on Tuesday morning to relieve pressure on his brain caused by bleeding, his spokeswoman said. Rev Tony Lowden, Mr Carter’s pastor, said the Democratic leader had had ”a rough day” on Monday. “We just need the whole country to be in prayer for him,” he said. Mr Carter is resting comfortably Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and his wife Rosalynn is with him, his spokeswoman added. The 95-year-old former peanut farmer has fallen at least three times in 2019, with one incident necessitating hip replacement surgery. On 6 October Mr Carter needed 14 stitches after a fall and on 21 October he fractured his pelvis. He is the oldest living president, surviving longer after leaving the White House than any former president in US history.
Ariana Grande has reportedly been struggling on tour in recent weeks. The 26-year-old posted a message to her Instagram Story on Saturday, revealing that she’s been battling an illness for several weeks! Not only that but her message indicates that her future tour dates in jeopardy until she’s feeling better. “Hi my loves so I’m still very sick. I’ve been sick since the last London show. I don’t know how it’s possible but my throat and head are still in so much pain. I sound okay I’m just in a lot of pain and it’s difficult to breathe during the show,” Grande wrote. “I just really don’t know what’s happening with my body right now and need to figure it out.” From there, the singer expanded on her condition throughout several videos. “Hi everyone so I have a quick health update, I just finished my show in Charlottesville and I’ve been sick since the last show in London,” the video showed. “I’ve been coughing and had this like crazy sinus infection thing that has not gone away for a really long time. I haven’t been able to really get better and tonight during the show tonight my head was really splitting and heavy and my glands really hurt and I’m trying to figure out what’s going on.” Grande added that she’ll be going to a doctor soon and hopes to learn more about her condition and prompt a speedy recovery. Fans are likely hopeful she goes sooner than later, with Grande adding to fears with her confusion over the illness. “I’m scared that I might have to cancel some things, so this is kind just a heads up of like I don’t know what’s happening with my body, and I’m really disappointed and freaked out of why I can’t get better because it’s been over three weeks at this point,” Grande revealed to her fans. Pneumonia? Tuberculosis? Pleurisy? Over-reacting to a slight cold?
Dwayne Johnson has become the victim of another sick death hoax after a fake news story suggesting he’d died in a stunt accident went viral. The post purported to be from BBC News and featured the headline “Dwayne The Rock Johnson Dies at 47 after a terrible stunt attempted failed”. The link took social media users to a fake website rather than the legitimate BBC site and it horrified fans as it circulated online. The 47-year-old actor and wrestler has yet to comment on the hoax, but he has been active on social media since, so he is alive. This isn’t the first time The Rock has been a target for a death hoax. In 2011 and 2014, the Fast and Furious star was declared dead by online trolls. He responded to the 2011 rumours on his Facebook page, telling fans: “Rumours of my death are false. “I’m still ‘Bringin’ It’ 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – including leap year!” In 2014, trolls circulated a fake story suggested Johnson had been killed in an accident on a movie set in New Zealand. The fake report declared: “Actor Dwayne Johnson died while filming a movie in New Zealand early this morning – June 10, 2014. “Preliminary reports from New Zealand Police officials indicate that the actor fell more than 60 feet to his death on the Kauri Cliffs while on-set.” However, the movie star was very much alive and well at the time and went on to make several shit films.
On This Day
- 1558 – Elizabethan era begins: Queen Mary I of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.
- 1603 – English explorer, writer and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh goes on trial for treason. It didn’t end well…
- 1894 – H. H. Holmes, one of the first modern serial killers, is arrested in Boston, Massachusetts.
- 1796 – Catherine the Great, of Russia (b. 1729)
- 1917 – Auguste Rodin, French sculptor and illustrator (b. 1840)
- 1940 – Eric Gill, English sculptor and typeface designer (b. 1882)
- 1968 – Mervyn Peake, English poet, author, and illustrator (b. 1911)
Herman Webster Mudgett, better known as Dr. Henry Howard Holmes or, more commonly, as H. H. Holmes, was an American serial killer. While he confessed to 27 murders, only nine could be plausibly confirmed and several of the people he claimed to have murdered were still alive. He is said to have killed as many as 200, though this figure is only traceable to 1940s pulp magazines. Many victims were said to have been killed in a mixed-use building which he owned, supposedly called the World’s Fair Hotel (informally called “The Murder Castle”. Besides being a serial killer, Holmes was also a con artist and a bigamist, the subject of more than 50 lawsuits in Chicago alone.
One of Holmes’ early murder victims was his mistress, Julia Smythe. She and her daughter disappeared on Christmas Eve of 1891, and Holmes later claimed she had died during an abortion, though what truly happened to the two was never confirmed. Another likely Holmes paramour, Emeline Cigrande, began working in the building in May 1892, and disappeared that December. Another woman who vanished, Edna Van Tassel, is also believed to have been among Holmes’ victims.
While working in Chicago, Holmes met and became close friends with Benjamin Pitezel. Holmes used Pitezel as his right-hand man for several criminal schemes; a district attorney later described Pitezel as “Holmes’ tool … his creature”. Holmes had an entrepreneurial spirit. Based on his former medical education and his connections, he was able to sell skeletons to medical labs and schools. “He, and his creature were accused of stripping the flesh off the bodies, dissecting them, and preparing the viable skeletons. The rest of the remains would be tossed in pits of lime or acid, effectively breaking down the remaining evidence.
Whilst briefly incarcerated for the first time, on the charge of selling mortgaged goods in St. Louis, he struck up a conversation with a convicted outlaw named Marion Hedgepeth, who was serving a 25-year sentence for fraud. Holmes had concocted a plan to swindle an insurance company out of $10,000 (equivalent to $300,000 today) by taking out a policy on Pitezel and then faking his death. Instead, Holmes killed Pitezel by knocking him unconscious with chloroform and setting his body on fire with the use of benzene. As with all good plans, he became rather unstuck when he was forced to take on Pitezel’s children, who he later confessed to murdering by forcing them into a large trunk and locking them inside. He drilled a hole in the lid of the trunk and put one end of a hose through the hole, attaching the other end to a gas line to asphyxiate the girls. Holmes buried their nude bodies in the cellar of his rental house. Frank Geyer, a Philadelphia police detective assigned to investigate the disappearance of the missing children found the decomposed bodies of the two Pitezel girls in the cellar of the Toronto home. And thus Holmes’ murder spree finally ended when he was arrested after Hedgepeth informed the police of Holmes’ prior intentions.
In October 1895, Holmes was put on trial for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel, and was found guilty and sentenced to death. By then, it was evident Holmes had also murdered the Pitezel children. Following his conviction, Holmes confessed to 27 murders in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Toronto, and six attempted murders. Holmes was paid $7,500 (worth $226,000 today) by the Hearst newspapers in exchange for his confession, which was quickly found to be mostly nonsense. Holmes gave various contradictory accounts of his life, initially claiming innocence and later that he was possessed by Satan. His propensity for lying has made it difficult for researchers to ascertain the truth on the basis of his statements.
On May 7, 1896, preceding his execution, Holmes was served boiled eggs, dry toast, and coffee as his last meal. He was then hanged at Moyamensing Prison, for the murder of Pitezel. Until the moment of his death, Holmes remained calm and amiable, showing very few signs of fear, anxiety or depression. Despite this, he asked for his coffin to be contained in cement and buried 10 feet deep, because he was concerned grave robbers would steal his body and use it for dissection. Holmes’ neck did not snap; he instead was strangled to death slowly, twitching for over 15 minutes before being pronounced dead 20 minutes after the trap had been sprung. In 2017, amid allegations Holmes had in fact escaped execution, Holmes’ body was exhumed for testing. Due to his coffin being contained in cement, his body was found not to have decomposed normally. His clothes were almost perfectly preserved and his mustache was found to be intact. The body was positively identified as being that of Holmes with his teeth. Holmes was then reburied.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Lisa Bonet (52), Missi Pyle (47), Maggie Gyllenhaal (42), Martha Plimpton (49), Beverly D’Angelo (68), Jonny Lee Miller (47), Petula Clark (87), Russell Tovey (38), Sandahl Bergman (68), Paul McGann (60), Gerard Butler (50), Whoopi Goldberg (64), John de Lancie (71), Jimmy Kimmel (52), Anne Hathaway (37), Ryan Gosling (39), Wallace Shawn (76), Max Grodénchik (67), Neil Young (74), Mariella Frostrup (57), Leonardo DiCaprio (45), Demi Moore (57), Stanley Tucci (59), Calista Flockhart (55), Taron Egerton (30), and Hugh Bonneville (56).
We begin this week by awarding 65 points to Sylvia for correctly guessing that Guy Byrne would kick the bucket this year. This leaves seven of us yet to score this year, and as always, one of the seven is me. You’d think I’d be good at this now, having run this thing for 28 years…
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Brian Tarantina, 60, American actor (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, City by the Sea, Gilmore Girls).
- Bob Norris, 90, American model (Marlboro Man).
- Gay Byrne, 85, Irish broadcaster (The Late Late Show, The Gay Byrne Show, The Meaning of Life).
- Tazeen Ahmad, 48, British journalist and broadcaster (NBC, BBC, Channel 4), cancer.
- Robert Freeman, 82, British photographer (With the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Rubber Soul) and graphic designer.
- Nik Powell, 69, British film producer and record executive, co-founder of Virgin Records.
- Brian Mawhinney, 79, British politician, MP (1979–2005), Minister for Health (1992–1994) and Shadow Home Secretary (1997–1998).
In Other News
Donald Trump “stumbles, slurs and gets confused”, according to a new book by a senior White House official, who claims the US president “deserves to be fired”. The anonymous staff member questions Mr Trump’s fitness for office in a book published later this month under the title A Warning. “I am not qualified to diagnose the president’s mental acuity,” the author writes, according to a review by The Washington Post. “All I can tell you is that normal people who spend any time with Donald Trump are uncomfortable by what they witness. “He stumbles, slurs, gets confused, is easily irritated, and has trouble synthesising information, not occasionally but with regularity. “Those who would claim otherwise are lying to themselves or to the country.” Mr Trump is described variously as “a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower” and an “elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard” of a nursing home while “cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him”. “You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time,” the author adds. The anonymous official admits he sat in “uncomfortable silence” as the president made offensive jokes about a woman’s appearance or performance. The anonymous official says that “the last straw” which prompted his decision to speak out was the president’s attempt to prevent the White House flag being lowered to half-mast after the death of senator John McCain.
A woman nearly died from an allergic reaction after having sex with her husband! The 46-year-old from Baltimore, Maryland, suffered an anaphylactic reaction to a medication her husband was taking through exposure to her husband’s semen, according to the case report in the American Journal of Medicine. The report, titled “Almost Killed by Love: A Cautionary Coital Tale”, said she complained of dizziness, diarrhoea, itchy hands and feet, and severe sweating shortly afterwards. The woman went to A&E and doctors initially believed she was suffering from sepsis due to her low blood pressure and she was put on an IV drip and given various antibiotics. However, further tests revealed she was suffering from anaphylactic shock. It was found that her husband had been treating a bacterial infection with a course of an antibiotic called nafcillin, which contains penicillin. The woman had a history of penicillin allergy since she was a child and said she had not been exposed to penicillin since then. The authors said they believe the woman was “exposed to nafcillin concentrated in the seminal fluid”. After her blood pressure normalised and her symptoms improved, the woman was discharged from hospital with an epipen. She was instructed to abstain from sexual intercourse with her husband until at least one week after he completed his course of antibiotics.
A man has died attempting to eat 50 eggs to settle a dispute with a friend. The pair were visiting the Bibiganj market area in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur district, in India, when they began arguing, police said. To settle the disagreement, they agreed on a Rs2,000 (£22) bet that each could be the first to eat 50 eggs in one sitting. Police say Subhash Yada had just begun eating his 42nd egg when he collapsed and fell unconscious. The 42-year-old was rushed to hospital but died just hours later. Doctors believe Mr Yada died from overeating, according to the Indo-Asian News Service. However his family has refused to comment on his death. But this eggy chap isn’;t the first to die stuffing his face! In August this year, Dana Hutchings died after choking and hitting his face on a table as he fell to the ground during a taco-eating contest in California. Medical staff attempted to clear airway of food but he died less than half an hour after arriving at hospital. Bethan Gaskin, 24, also choked to death in February while trying to see how many Jaffa Cakes she could fit inside her mouth. The young mother stopped breathing and suffered a heart attack after they became lodged in her throat. Student Caitlin Nelson, 22, collapsed just minutes into a pancake-eating contest during a charity fundraiser at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, US, in 2017. She later died in hospital. Take this as a warning peeps, chew your food!
On This Day
- 1580 – After a three-day siege, the English Army beheads over 600 people, including papal soldiers and civilians, at Dún an Óir, Ireland.
- 1871 – Henry Morton Stanley locates missing explorer and missionary, Dr David Livingstone in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika, famously greeting him with the words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”.
- 1944 – The ammunition ship USS Mount Hood explodes at Seeadler Harbour, Manus, Admiralty Islands, killing at least 432 and wounding 371.
- 1983 – Bill Gates introduces Windows 1.0.
- 1989 – Germans begin to tear down the Berlin Wall.
- 1982 – Leonid Brezhnev, Ukrainian-Russian general and politician, 4th Head of State of the Soviet Union (b. 1906)
- 2006 – Jack Palance, American boxer and actor (b. 1919)
- 2010 – Dino De Laurentiis, Italian-American, producer, and production manager (b. 1919)
Saddam Hussein was President of Iraq from 16th July 1979 until 9th April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party which espoused a mix of Arab nationalism and socialism. Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup (later referred to as the 17th July Revolution) that brought him and the party to power in Iraq. He suppressed several movements, particularly Shi’a and Kurdish movements which sought to overthrow the government or gain independence, and maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War. Whereas some in the Arab world lauded Saddam for opposing the United States and attacking Israel, he was widely condemned for the brutality of his dictatorship. The total number of Iraqis killed by the security services of Saddam’s government in various purges and genocides is conservatively estimated to be 250,000. Saddam’s invasions of Iran and Kuwait also resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
In 2003, a coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, in which U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair erroneously accused him of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al-Qaeda. Following the war, Saddam’s Ba’ath party was disbanded and elections were held. Saddam’s whereabouts remained in question during the weeks following the fall of Baghdad and the conclusion of the major fighting of the war. Various sightings of Saddam were reported in the weeks following the war, but none was authenticated. At various times Saddam released audio tapes promoting popular resistance to his ousting. On 13th December 2003, in Operation Red Dawn, Saddam Hussein was captured by American forces after being found hiding in a hole in the ground near a farmhouse in ad-Dawr, near Tikrit.
Following his capture, Saddam was transported to a U.S. base near Tikrit, and later taken to the American base near Baghdad. The trial of Saddam took place under the Iraqi Interim Government and he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam’s half brother, Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court in 1982, were convicted of similar charges. The verdict and sentencing were both appealed, but subsequently affirmed by Iraq’s Supreme Court of Appeals.
Saddam was hanged on the first day of Eid ul-Adha, 30th December 2006, despite his wish to be executed by firing squad (which he argued was the lawful military capital punishment citing his military position as the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi military). In his final hours, he refused offers of cigarettes and a last meal of chicken and shawarma rice.” Other sources state Saddam ate his last meal of chicken and rice and had a cup of hot water with honey. The execution was carried out at Camp Justice, an Iraqi army base in Kadhimiya, a neighbourhood of northeast Baghdad. Saudi Arabia condemned Iraqi authorities for carrying on with the execution on a holy day. A presenter from the Al—Ikhbariya television station officially stated “There is a feeling of surprise and disapproval that the verdict has been applied during the holy months and the first days of Eid al-Adha. Leaders of Islamic countries should show respect for this blessed occasion … not demean it.” On his way to the gallows, Hussein never bowed his head, until his neck snapped that is… His last words were equally defiant. “Down with the traitors, the Americans, the spies and the Persians.” Video of the execution was recorded on a mobile phone and his captors could be heard insulting Saddam. The video was leaked and posted on the Internet within hours, becoming the subject of global controversy. It was later claimed by the head guard at the tomb where his remains lay that Saddam’s body had been stabbed six times after the execution. A second unofficial video, apparently showing Saddam’s body on a trolley, emerged several days later. It sparked speculation that the execution was carried out incorrectly as Saddam Hussein had a gaping hole in his neck. Saddam’s demeanour while being led to the gallows have been discussed by two witnesses, Iraqi Judge Munir Haddad and Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie. The accounts of the two witnesses are contradictory as Haddad describes Saddam as being strong in his final moments whereas al-Rubaie says Saddam was clearly afraid. Saddam was buried at his birthplace of Al-Awja in Tikrit, Iraq, on 31st December 2006. He was buried 3 km (2 mi) from his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein. His tomb was reported to have been destroyed in March 2015. Before it was destroyed, a Sunni tribal group reportedly removed his body to a secret location.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Taron Egerton (29), Hugh Bonneville (55), Neil Gaiman (58), Ennio Morricone (90), Robert Duncan McNeill (54), Lou Ferrigno (67), Alfre Woodard (67), Matthew Rhys (45), Gretchen Mol (47), Richard Curtis (63), Gordon Ramsay (53), Adam Devine (36), Emma Stone (31), Ethan Hawke (49), Rebecca Romijn (47), Thandie Newton (47), Sally Field (73), Maria Shriver (64), Lori Singer (62), Nigel Havers (68), Famke Janssen (55), Sam Rockwell (51), Tilda Swinton (59), Robert Patrick (61), Tatum O’Neal (56), Armin Shimerman (70), Elke Sommer (79), Tamzin Outhwaite (49), Chris Addison (48), Art Garfunkel (78), Matthew McConaughey (50), Ralph Macchio (58), Olivia Taylor Dudley (34), and Loretta Swit (82).
A quiet week in the celebrity death circles. You are forgiven for not knowing anyone on the list below. However, an excellent time to remind you to start researching for next year, whether that be looking back through Dead Pool articles or hunting down those celebs who have been unwell for some reason or another.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- John Witherspoon, 77, American actor (Friday, The Wayans Bros., The Boondocks).
- Rudy Boesch, 91, American Navy SEAL, reality show contestant (Survivor: Borneo, Survivor: All Stars) and host (Combat Missions), complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Florence Giorgetti, 75, French actress (La Grande Bouffe, The Lacemaker, Pepe Carvalho).
- Annick Alane, 94, French actress (Hibernatus, Pour la peau d’un flic, Three Men and a Cradle).
- Geetanjali, 72, Indian actress (Seetharama Kalyanam, Murali Krishna, Kalam Marindi), cardiac arrest.
In Other News
Nigel Benn has been forced to call off his controversial comeback fight after sustaining a shoulder injury in training. The 55-year-old had been due to face Sakio Bika in a one-off contest at the Resort World Arena in Birmingham on November 23rd. But Benn, who last fought 23 years ago when he lost a rematch to Steve Collins, revealed the bout against Bika is now off. He said “I have been dreaming of a one-off fight for years and I’m heartbroken I’ve had to call it off.” Benn’s clash with Bika was to have been sanctioned by the British and Irish Boxing Authority. Although Benn did not formally apply for a licence to the British Boxing Board of Control, its general secretary Robert Smith indicated there was no chance of his request being considered. In his prime, Benn won middleweight and super-middleweight world titles and was involved in some of the defining fights of his generation against the likes of Chris Eubank, Michael Watson and, tragically, Gerald McClellan. Announcing his comeback in September, Benn said: “It is my decision to box again (although may be seen by some as ‘controversial’). “However, unlike many boxers, I have continued to maintain my fitness and healthy lifestyle since my last fight with Steve Collins. “I acknowledge the risks associated with the sport, and fully understand the importance of being fully assessed by medical professionals. “Therefore, I’ve welcomed the requirements of BIBA to clearly establish that I AM ‘fit to box’. There appears little chance of the contest being rescheduled for a later date.
Earlier this year the actor and comedian Kevin Hart was involved in a major car accident while in a car in Malibu, California. The Jumanji star suffered major injuries to his back after he was involved in the incident in September with friend Jared Black, who was driving the car, and his fiancée Rebecca Broxterman. And now, two months later, Kevin has spoken out the difficult accident, opening up to fans about his ‘world was changed forever’ after the crash and how he has moved on from it. Taking to his Instagram page, the comedian shared a video with his nearly 81 million followers that shows his intensive rehabilitation and recovery over the last couple of months. “Basically you realise you’re not in control,” he said. “No matter how much you think you’re in control, you’re not in control. And at the end of the day it can all be over.” In the video the star can be seen in a hospital, leaning on a frame to try and stand up. He also shared clips of him undergoing physical therapy at home and struggling through rehabilitation exercises. The dad-of-four also shared a series of clips that show him walking around the house and spending time with his wife and children while wearing a back brace. Saying that the accident was a “message from God”, the star added, “Life is funny, because some of the craziest things that happen to you end up being the things that you needed most. “In this case I feel that God told me to sit down. When you’re moving too fast and doing too much, sometimes you can’t see the things you’re meant to see.” “After my accident I see things differently” he continued. “I see life from a while new perspective. My appreciation for life is through the roof. “I’m thankful for my family, my friends, for the people who simply ride with me and have been with me, because you stood by me. My fans – thank you for all of your love and support.” Kevin also showed fans a clip of his meeting with a team of doctors, who say to him that will take a year to fully recover, to which the star replies, “I’m not in a rush. I’m thankful for simply still being here.”
On This Day
- 1936 – The British Broadcasting Corporation initiates the BBC Television Service, the world’s first regular, “high-definition” (then defined as at least 200 lines) service.
- 1947 – In California, designer Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the “Spruce Goose”), the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.
- 1990 – British Satellite Broadcasting and Sky Television plc merge to form BSkyB as a result of massive losses.
- 1950 – George Bernard Shaw, author, playwright, and critic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1856)
- 1996 – Eva Cassidy, American singer (b. 1963)
- 2014 – Acker Bilk, English singer and clarinet player (b. 1929)
Ricky Ray Rector was executed for the 1981 murder of police officer Robert Martin in Conway, Arkansas. On March 21, 1981, Rector and some friends drove to a dance hall at Tommy’s Old-Fashioned Home-Style Restaurant in Conway. When one friend who could not pay the $3 cover charge was refused entry, Rector became incensed and pulled a .38 calibre pistol from his waist band. He fired several shots, wounding two and killing a third man named Arthur Criswell, who died almost instantly after being struck in the throat and forehead. Rector left the scene of the murder in a friend’s car and wandered the city for three days, staying in the woods or with relatives. On March 24, Rector’s sister convinced him to turn himself in. Rector agreed to surrender, but only to Officer Robert Martin, whom he had known since he was a child. Martin arrived at Rector’s mother’s home shortly after 3 p.m. and chatted with Rector’s mother and sister. Shortly thereafter, Rector arrived and greeted Martin. As Martin turned away to continue his conversation with Rector’s mother, Rector drew his pistol from behind his back and fired two shots into Martin, striking him in the jaw and neck. Rector then turned and walked out of the house. Once he had walked past his mother’s backyard, Rector put his gun to his own temple and fired. Rector was quickly discovered by other police officers and taken to the local hospital. The suicide attempt effectively resulted in a lobotomy. Rector survived the gunshot and was put on trial for the murders of Criswell and Martin. His defence attorneys argued that Rector was intellectually impaired and not competent to stand trial. However, after hearing conflicting testimony from several experts who had evaluated Rector, Judge George F. Hartje ruled that Rector was competent to stand trial. Rector was convicted on both counts and sentenced to death. Rector was subject to a unique overlap of controversies in 1992, during his execution in Arkansas. An oft-cited example of his mental insufficiency is his decision to save the dessert from his last meal “for later,” which would have been after his execution. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court banned the execution of people with mental retardation in Atkins v. Virginia, ruling that the practice constitutes cruel and unusual punishment; however, it is not clear that this ruling would have applied to Rector because his brain damage was caused by his suicide attempt after having committed the two murders for which he was convicted.
For his last meal, Rector requested and received a steak, fried chicken, cherry Kool-Aid, and pecan pie. As noted above, Rector left the pie on the side of the tray, telling the corrections officers who came to take him to the execution chamber that he was “saving it for later.” The slice of pecan pie was not disposed of until Rector had been executed. Rector was executed by lethal injection. It took medical staff more than fifty minutes to find a suitable vein. The curtain remained closed between Rector and the witnesses, but some reported they could hear Rector moaning. The administrator of the State Department of Corrections Medical Program said “the moans did come as a team of two medical people—that had grown to five—worked on both sides of his body to find a vein. That may have contributed to his occasional outbursts.” The state later attributed the difficulty in finding a suitable vein to Rector’s great weight and to his having been administered an antipsychotic medication. Unsurprisingly he didn’t leave any last words.
Last Week’s Birthdays
David Schwimmer (52), Stefanie Powers (76), k.d. lang (57), Toni Collette (46), Jenny McCarthy (46), Anthony Kiedis (56), Peter Jackson (57), Stephen Rea (72), Sanjeev Bhaskar (55), Michael J. Anderson (65), Vanilla Ice (51), Clémence Poésy (36), Henry Winkler (73), Jessica Hynes (46), Ivanka Trump (37), Winona Ryder (47), Rufus Sewell (51), Richard Dreyfuss (71), Dan Castellaneta (61), Joaquin Phoenix (44), Annie Potts (66), Julia Roberts (51), Matt Smith (36), Gwendoline Christie (40), and Bill Gates (63).
Thanks to some detective work from Doug, he’s found a couple of deaths I have missed. I’ve also run through everyones lists and found a few more, obviously I’ve scored you all accordingly. So, a few more points awarded to quite a few of you, which certainly makes things rather interesting at the top of the league table.
However Trish has lost the accolade of getting the first death of the year as Lee managed to trump her with Sayed Ashraful Islam by five days. Sorry Trish!
So, we’re pretty much up to date but I’d like to give an honourable mention to Abi, she’s listed quite a few Death Row inmates who have indeed been offed by the State, but alas they’ve not been listed on the Wiki page, thus not earning precious points. With five deaths under her belt she should be at the top of the table, but those pesky rules….
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Kathleen Blanco, 76, American politician, Governor (2004–2008) and Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana (1996–2004), member of the Louisiana House (1984–1989), ocular melanoma. Died on 18/10/2019
- Julie Gibson, 106, American actress (Nice Girl?, The Feminine Touch, Lucky Cowboy) and singer. Died on 02/10/2019
- Sayed Ashraful Islam, 67, Bangladeshi politician, MP (since 2008) and Minister of Public Administration (since 2009), lung cancer. Died 03.01.2019
- Qin Hanzhang, 111, Chinese engineer and food scientist, heart attack. Died 15/08/2019
- Josip Elic, 98, American actor (The Twilight Zone, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), complications from a fall.
- Gustav Gerneth, 114, German supercentenarian, unvalidated world’s oldest man (since 2019).
- Chris, 9, Australian sheep, world record holder for heaviest fleece.
- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 48, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), suicide by explosive device.
- Ivan Milat, 74, Australian serial killer (backpacker murders), oesophageal cancer.
In Other News
Krept, one half of Krept and Konan, has cancelled his shows in October after a warning from his doctor. The pair were due to do seven shows back-to-back in November performing songs from their newest album Revenge is Sweet. He says he has been “back and forth” from hospital since he was attacked backstage at the BBC’s 1Xtra Live event in October. The rapper says his plans for the tour “require 100% strength”. Krept was “slashed” in a backstage scuffle at the event in Arena Birmingham and treated on site. Following the assault, the concert was called off early and the headliners didn’t get to perform. West Midlands police told Newsbeat no arrests have been made but investigations are ongoing. Krept says he made the decision to postpone the tour because he didn’t want to “collapse on stage”. He said: “All tickets remain valid of course and I promise it will be worth the wait… health is priority and I’m sorry for any inconvenience.” The show in London’s O2 will go ahead as planned in December. Shall we remind this tough rapper that 53 year old President Theodore Roosevelt once read a 50 page speech which took over 90 minutes after he was shot in the chest.
Billy Connolly has opened up about some “awful” symptoms he has experienced after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, as the comedian admitted he recently “started to drool”. The 76 year old got candid about living with Parkinson’s disease in an interview with Chris Evans, 53, on Virgin Radio. The comedian, who was diagnosed with the condition six years ago, opened up about some “awful” symptoms he is currently dealing with. He told the presenter: “I’ve started to drool which is a new one on me. “This disease it gives you a new thing every now and again that you have to deal with and drooling is my latest.” Detailing other aspects of the disease, Billy added: “I walk unsteadily and my hearing is going and it’s bizarre that bits of me are fallen off but it’s interesting.” The Scottish performer went on to explain why he has been avoiding taking to the stage since his diagnosis. When Chris quizzed him on why he is reluctant to perform live, Billy admitted: “It would affect my performance. “I don’t think the way I used to, I don’t think at the same speed as I used to. And because I don’t need to. “I don’t really know if the performance bit has gone because I have to get into the performance mode to see that.” “And steadily more symptoms come and it’s incurable. It’s not going to end. “As a matter of fact I had a Russian doctor in New York who said, ‘You realise this is an incurable disease’. “And I said, ‘You’ve got to get a grip of yourself, stop calling it an incurable disease, say we have yet to find the cure’. Give the guy a light in the tunnel. Incurable is such an awful thing to say to somebody.”
As you will have seen from the lists above, Ivan Milat, the notorious Australian serial killer who kidnapped and murdered hitchhikers, has died aged 74. Milat had been serving a life sentence for killing seven backpackers between 1989 and 1992 and dumping their bodies in a New South Wales forest. He died of cancer in a Sydney hospital early on Sunday local time. Police said Milat’s lifelong refusal to admit his crimes had hampered further investigations into the killings and other unsolved cases. His murder victims were three Germans, two Britons and two Australians. All were aged between 19 and 22. Milat was arrested after targeting another backpacker, British man Paul Onions, who escaped and alerted police. The 2005 Australian film Wolf Creek is based on the backpacker murders of the two British females. It’s sequel was based on the murders of the two Germans.
On This Day
- 939 – Æthelstan, the first king of all England, dies and is succeeded by his half-brother, Edmund I.
- 1962 – By refusing to agree to the firing of a nuclear torpedo at a US warship, Vasily Arkhipov averts nuclear war.
- 1992 – United States Navy radioman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. is murdered by shipmate Terry M. Helvey for being gay, precipitating debate about gays in the military that results in the United States’ “Don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy.
- 939 – Æthelstan, English king (b. 894)
- 1988 – Charles Hawtrey, English actor, singer, and pianist (b. 1914)
- 2013 – Lou Reed, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor (b. 1942)
Brandon Astor Jones was an American criminal who was executed by lethal injection by the state of Georgia on February 3rd, 2016. Jones, aged 72, was the oldest person on Georgia’s death row at the time he was executed. He was first sentenced to death on October 17, 1979 for his involvement in the felony murder of Roger Tackett on June 17 of that year during a robbery of a Tenneco convenience store, of which Tackett was the manager. According to evidence at his trial, Jones and Van Roosevelt Solomon were arrested at the scene by a Cobb County policeman who had driven a stranded motorist to the convenience store to use a pay phone. The officer knew the store usually closed at midnight and was suspicious when he saw a car out front with the driver’s side door open and lights still on inside the store. In the storeroom, the officer found 29-year-old Tackett, the station manager, who had been shot in the legs and arms and beaten before the fatal contact shot was fired behind his left ear. Both Jones and Van Roosevelt Solomon were apprehended in the storeroom, literally caught red-handed. Tests showed each man had recently fired a gun or handled a recently fired gun. The cash drawer had been removed and was found wrapped in a plastic bag. Jones was convicted in relation to this murder along with Van Roosevelt Solomon who was executed in 1985 by electrocution at age 41. In 1989, a federal court ordered Jones to be re-sentenced because the jurors who had convicted him had improperly brought a Bible into the deliberation room. He was re-sentenced to death in 1997. e
Jones was to be executed early on February 3, 2016 by lethal IV injection, ten days before his 73rd birthday, he declined to make a final statement and did not make a special meal request so was given the standard issue menu of chicken and rice, rutabagas, seasoned turnip greens, dry white beans, cornbread, bread pudding and fruit punch. Following his meal, he waited in a holding cell a few steps from the death chamber as the appointed time came and went amid a flurry of last-minute court filings for mercy. The executioner team struggled for an hour to insert the IV into Jones’ veins, spending 24 minutes trying to get it into a vein in his left arm, another eight minutes trying his right arm and then they asked a doctor in attendance to insert it into Jones’ groin which took 13 minutes. Jones fought death. His eyes closed within a minute of the warden leaving the execution chamber, but 6 minutes later his eyes popped open. He looked at a clock on the wall, and then appeared to look at the man who prosecuted him in 1979, former Cobb County District Attorney Tom Charron, who was sitting on the front row. Jones was pronounced dead at 12:46 AM.
Last Week’s Birthdays
John Cleese (79), James Cosmo (71), Robert Picardo (65), Kelly Osbourne (34), Cary Elwes (56), Seth MacFarlane (45), Jon Heder (41), Roger Allam (65), Keith Urban (51), Nancy Cartwright (61), Katy Perry (34), Glynis Barber (63), Kevin Kline (71), F. Murray Abraham (79), Sarah Greene (61), Emilia Clarke (33), Ryan Reynolds (43), Ang Lee (65), Sam Raimi (60), ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (60), Cat Deeley (43), Christopher Lloyd (81), Bob Odenkirk (57), Saffron Burrows (47), Jeff Goldblum (67), Derek Jacobi (81), Catherine Deneuve (76), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (44), Ken Watanabe (60), Kim Kardashian West (39), Everett McGill (74), Viggo Mortensen (61), Danny Boyle (63), and Snoop Dogg (48).
Since I took a brief holiday last weekend, there are plenty of points to award this week. Paul C took time out to read through his list and found that I had missed one of his names, specifically actress Fay McKenzie who died back in April at the age of 101. With the death of Leah Bracknell, Paul’s tally is now six deaths!!!
But we must also congratulate Abi, Doug, Ceri, and Neil who also had Leah Bracknell listed, 95 points each; but a special round of applause goes to Debbie, Lee, and Ashley who listed her as their Woman and score 195 points each!!! So a huge upheaval in the table.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
5th Oct – 12th Oct
- Stephen Moore, 81, British actor (A Bridge Too Far, The Last Place on Earth, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).
- Rip Taylor, 88, American actor (The $1.98 Beauty Show, Chatterbox, Down to Earth) and comedian.
- Juliette Kaplan, 80, British actress (Last of the Summer Wine, Coronation Street), cancer.
- Robert Forster, 78, American actor (Jackie Brown, The Black Hole, Medium Cool), brain cancer.
- Alexei Leonov, 85, Russian cosmonaut (Voskhod 2), first person to walk in space.
13th Oct – 19th Oct
- Richard Huckle, 33, British convicted sex offender, strangled and stabbed.
- Leah Bracknell, 55, British actress (Emmerdale, Casualty 1900s, The Royal Today), lung cancer.
- Patrick Day, 27, American professional boxer, brain injuries sustained in bout.
In Other News
Eddie Van Halen is suffering from throat cancer which he believes he contracted after years of sucking on his metal guitar pick, according to reports. The veteran rocker, 64, was diagnosed with cancer nearly 20 years ago and has been travelling between the United States and Germany for treatment. He had a third of his tongue removed in 2000 and had reportedly been declared cancer free in 2002 but has now been to Germany to get radiation treatment over the last five years. The Van Halen star, who was a ‘heavy smoker’, is said to blame holding the pick in his mouth while on stage for his diagnosis. Eddie told Billboard in 2015: ‘I used metal picks – they’re brass and copper – which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer. ‘Plus, I basically live in a recording studio that’s filled with electromagnetic energy. So that’s one theory. I mean, I was smoking and doing a lot of drugs and a lot of everything. But at the same time, my lungs are totally clear. This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it’s possible.’ Eddie’s friend and TOTO guitarist Steve Lukather said ‘health issues’ were stopping the group – who are also made up of singer David Lee Roth, Eddie’s brother Alex Van Halen, who plays drums, and Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen on bass guitar – from touring. The band last performed in October 2015 at at L.A.’s Hollywood Bowl and there were rumours the band’s classic lineup were set to perform for the first time since 1984.
Strictly Come Dancing’s head judge Shirley Ballas has been struck by illness and had to be hooked up to a vitamin drip just before Saturday’s show. It comes after Shirley was sent death threats over the early elimination of contestants Dev Griffin and Dianne Buswell. Shirley, 59, revealed she was needing some TLC after falling ill after a ‘tough’ week. Shirley shared a picture to Instagram of her lying down in a cosy jumper while a drip was fixed to her left arm on a home visit. “Full of all sorts of things Vitamin c, Magnesium b12 and the list goes on. Feeling under the weather today as a result of a tough week,” she told her followers. “Hopefully we’ll be right as rain for Saturday,” she added. Looks like she was, but with death threats coming in, who knows what will happen!
As you may have seen in the listings, some good news. Richard Huckle, 33, from Ashford, Kent, who was jailed for numerous sex crimes against Malaysian children has been found stabbed to death in prison. In 2016, he was given 22 life sentences after admitting 71 charges of sex abuse of children aged between six months and 12 years, between 2006 and 2014. It is understood he was attacked on Sunday in his cell at Full Sutton Prison, near York, with what was described as a makeshift knife. Police were called shortly after 12:30pm and have launched an investigation into his death, which they are treating as suspicious. Huckle’s trial at the Old Bailey in 2016 heard that investigators who checked his computer found more than 20,000 indecent pictures and videos of his assaults. These were shared with paedophiles worldwide through a hidden website on the dark web. Huckle, who worked as a freelance photographer, tried to make a business out of his abuse by crowd-funding the release of the images. He was compiling a paedophile’s manual at the time of his arrest in 2014. At the end of his trial, Judge Peter Rook said Huckle’s sentence reflected the “public abhorrence” over his “campaign of rape”.
On This Day
- 1944 – Liquefied natural gas leaks from storage tanks in Cleveland and then explodes, levelling 30 blocks and killing 130 people.
- 1973 – The Sydney Opera House is opened by Elizabeth II after 14 years of construction.
- 1977 – Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd’s airplane crashes. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines perish in the crash.
- 2011 – Libyan Civil War: Rebel forces capture Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte and kill him shortly thereafter.
- 1964 – Herbert Hoover, American engineer, 31st President of the United States (b. 1874)
- 1989 – Anthony Quayle, English actor and director (b. 1913)
- 1994 – Burt Lancaster, American actor (b. 1913)
- 2011 – Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan colonel, Prime Minister of Libya (b. 1942)
Robert Alton Harris was an American car thief, burglar, kidnapper and murderer who was executed at San Quentin State Prison in 1992 for the murders of two teenage boys in San Diego. His execution was the first in the state of California since 1967. Harris was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and was abused as a child. He had run-ins with police as early as age 10, and was first placed into juvenile detention at age 13 for stealing a car. His mother abandoned him at age 14 and he was soon after placed into juvenile detention after stealing another car. On July 5, 1978, Harris and his younger brother happened upon John Mayeski and Michael Baker, both 16, sitting in a green Ford LTD eating hamburgers in a supermarket parking lot in Mira Mesa. Mayeski and Baker were best friends who had planned to spend the day fishing to celebrate Mayeski’s newly acquired driver’s license. Robert Harris commandeered Mayeski’s car and ordered him to drive to Miramar Lake, with Daniel Harris following in another vehicle. Robert Harris told the boys that they would be using the vehicle to rob a bank, but that no one would be hurt. At Miramar Lake, the Harris brothers ordered the boys to kneel, whereupon the boys began to pray. Robert told the boys to “Quit crying, and die like men”, then shot both boys multiple times. The Harris brothers then returned to Robert’s Mira Mesa home and finished the victims’ half-eaten hamburgers while Robert boasted about the killings. About an hour later, the Harris brothers robbed the Mira Mesa branch of the San Diego Trust and Savings Bank located across the street from where they had abducted Mayeski and Baker, and fled with about $2,000. A witness to the robbery followed the Harris’ to their home and notified police. The Harris brothers were arrested less than an hour after the robbery. One of the officers who apprehended the Harris brothers was Steven Baker, father of victim Michael Baker, who at the time was unaware that his son had been killed. On March 6, 1979, Robert Harris was convicted in the San Diego County Superior Court of two counts of murder in the first degree with special circumstances as well as two counts of kidnapping, and was sentenced to death. Daniel Harris was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to six years in state prison; he was released in 1983.
Harris was executed on April 21, 1992, in the gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison—the first execution in California in 25 years. For his last meal, he requested and was given a 21-piece bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, two large Domino’s pizzas, ice cream, a bag of jelly beans, a six-pack of Pepsi, and a pack of Camel cigarettes. At 6:01a.m., Harris was escorted into the gas chamber. The execution order was given at 6:07a.m., and Harris died at 6:21a.m. Harris’ execution is specifically remembered for his choice of final words (recorded by Warden Daniel Vasquez): “You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everybody dances with the grim reaper.” It was the subject of a 1995 Dutch documentary film, Procedure 769, witness to an execution. This is a misquote of a line used in the 1991 film Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey: “You might be a king or a little street sweeper but sooner or later you dance with the reaper.”
Last Week’s Birthdays
Rebecca Ferguson (36), Michael Gambon (79), Trey Parker (50), John Lithgow (74), Philip Pullman (73), John le Carré (88), Zac Efron (32), Jean-Claude Van Damme (59), Martina Navratilova (63), Pam Dawber (68), Felicity Jones (36), Michael McKean (72), George Wendt (71), Mark Gatiss (53), Eminem (47), Angela Lansbury (94), Tim Robbins (61), Suzanne Somers (73), Peter Bowles (83), Dominic West (50), Sarah Ferguson (60), Steve Coogan (54), Cliff Richard (79), Sacha Baron Cohen (48), Himesh Patel (29), Paul Simon (78), and Chris Carter (63).
A fairly quiet week for the world of celebrity deaths, worry not though, we have plenty for you to read. Next weeks issue will be deferred until the following Saturday as this writer will be partying hard and unable to put pen to paper.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Peter Sissons, 77, British journalist and broadcaster (BBC News, ITN, Question Time).
- Diahann Carroll, 84, American actress (Julia, Dynasty, Claudine), Tony winner (1962), cancer.
- Ginger Baker, 80, English Hall of Fame drummer (Cream, Blind Faith, Ginger Baker’s Air Force).
In Other News
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders underwent emergency surgery after suffering a heart attack, his campaign has confirmed. The senator was taken to hospital on Tuesday after complaining of chest pain at a campaign event in Nevada. Doctors operated on Mr Sanders, 78, to remove a blockage in one of his arteries. His doctors said “two stents were placed in a blocked coronary artery in a timely fashion”. A stent is a small mesh tube used to help keep arteries open. Receiving stents is “a minimally invasive procedure”, typically with a short recovery time, the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says. Tehe doctors, Arturo Marchand and Arjun Gururaj, said Mr Sanders’s other arteries were “normal”. On Friday, Mr Sanders was well enough to be discharged from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, the doctors said. The two doctors said that, while Mr Sanders has made “good progress”, he has been advised “to follow up with his personal physician”. In an upbeat statement, Mr Sanders said: “After taking a short time off, I look forward to getting back to work.”
It was a horrific bison attack that left trail runner Kyler Bourgeous with a collapsed lung and cracked ribs. But when the fully-recovered 30-year-old wanted to impress a date three months later, he invited her to the state park where he had been gored. Bison attacks are rare, he reasoned. And the scenery at Antelope Island in the US state of Utah was too stunning to be scared of going back: “I’ve never seen better sunsets anywhere,” he said. It was to be, it turned out, an unwise decision. His date became the second person attacked there this year. Kayleigh Davis was airlifted to hospital with a gored thigh and broken ankle after being charged by one of the beasts. “I thought my situation was just a freak accident,” Mr Bourgeous, from nearby Syracuse, told the Washington Post on Monday. “But apparently, they’re a lot more aggressive than I ever thought.” Neither he nor Ms Davis are understood to have made the mistake of approaching the animals. Both are keen outdoor types, and know the 900kg monsters are best left alone. “There’s a fair number of people that assume by association that this was somehow my fault, because I was there when it happened again,” Mr Bourgeous say. “I would never intentionally approach a bison.” During his own ordeal on 1 June, the keen cyclist and climber had reached a park summit when he saw two bison. As he attempted to get out of sight, one of the beasts – which can hit speeds of 35mph – charged. His attempts to flee were in vain. “You can’t outrun bison,” he noted. He was thrown into the air by the animal. Its horns pierced his hips and armpit. As he lay on the floor, it trampled him before waiting to see if he would move again. “It’s just hovering there, waiting for you to move, and it will finish you off if you do,” he said. He was rescued after two park-users saw the incident. Yet, despite needing to use a hip drain for several weeks, Mr Bourgeous says he was determined to go back to the park, which he has been visiting since childhood.
So, when he and Ms Davis decided to have an outdoors date, it seemed like just the right location. She had gone ahead and out of sight as he put on bug spray, when a group of Scouts on bikes raced up to him to say they had just seen a woman being gored. Ms Davis later said she had seen the bison and given it space but the Scouts coming into view may have spooked it. “I looked over my shoulder, seeing it get closer,” she told the BBC. “And I looked again and it was pretty much right behind me. Right as I saw it, I flew up in the air 15 ft.” She landed on her back and – remembering conversations about her date’s previous experience – lay completely still as the bison sniffed her. Eventually, it wandered away, allowing Mr Bourgeous and other hikers to move into help. Yet despite what may now seem a disastrous date, the pair say it may have brought them closer together and they are continuing to see each other.
On This Day
- 1854 – In England the Great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead leads to 53 deaths and hundreds injured.
- 1927 – Opening of The Jazz Singer, the first prominent “talkie” movie.
- 1985 – Police constable Keith Blakelock is murdered as riots erupt in the Broadwater Farm suburb of London.
- 1995 – The first planet orbiting another sun, 51 Pegasi b, is discovered.
- 1892 – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, English poet (b. 1809)
- 1951 – Will Keith Kellogg, US businessman, founded the Kellogg Company (b. 1860)
- 1980 – Hattie Jacques, English actress and producer (b. 1922)
- 1981 – Anwar Sadat, Egyptian politician, 3rd President of Egypt (b. 1918)
- 1989 – Bette Davis, American actress (b. 1908)
- 1992 – Denholm Elliott, English actor (b. 1922)
- 2018 – Montserrat Caballé, Spanish soprano (b. 1933)
Stephen Wayne Anderson was an American murderer who was executed at California’s San Quentin State Prison by lethal injection in 2002 for the murder of Elizabeth Lyman. He was either known to have killed or admitted to the killings of at least eight other people, including a fellow inmate and at least seven contract killings.
Anderson had been incarcerated for one count of aggravated burglary in 1971 and three counts of aggravated burglary in 1973. While incarcerated at Utah State Prison, Anderson murdered an inmate, assaulted another inmate, and assaulted a correctional officer. Anderson admitted to six other contract killings in Las Vegas, Nevada that happened prior to the crime for which he received a death sentence. On November 24, 1979, he escaped from prison, after which he worked for narcotics traffickers and committed at least one contract killing in the eastern mountains of Salt Lake County, Utah.
On May 26, 1980, Anderson, then 26, burglarised the Bloomington, California house of 81-year-old Elizabeth Lyman, a retired piano teacher. In the middle of the night, Anderson cut Lyman’s telephone line with a knife, and broke into her home by removing a glass pane from her French doors. He checked the house for occupants room by room. When he entered Lyman’s bedroom, she awoke and screamed. Anderson shot her in the face from close range with a .45 calibre handgun, fatally wounding her. He covered her body with a blanket, recovered the expelled casing from the hollow-point bullet that killed her, and ransacked her house for money. He found less than $100.
Anderson then prepared himself a meal in Lyman’s kitchen. A suspicious next door neighbour called the sheriff’s department. As he was eating and watching television, sheriff’s deputies responded to the call and arrested him. He obviously admitted to the murder.
On July 24, 1981, a San Bernardino County jury sentenced Anderson to death. His last meal before the execution was two grilled cheese sandwiches with radishes, one pint of cottage cheese, a hominy/corn mixture, one slice of peach pie, and one pint of chocolate chip ice cream. When asked by the Warden if he had any last words, Mr. Anderson was very adamant that he did not. On January 29, 2002, Anderson was executed by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison. He was pronounced dead at 12:30 am Pacific Time.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Elisabeth Shue (55), Ioan Gruffudd (45), Britt Ekland (76), Kate Winslet (43), Guy Pearce (51), Jesse Eisenberg (35), Karen Allen (67), Clive Barker (66), Neil deGrasse Tyson (60), Bob Geldof (67), Melissa Benoist (30), Dakota Johnson (29), Christoph Waltz (62), Alicia Silverstone (42), Susan Sarandon (72), Liev Schreiber (51), Sarah Lancashire (54), Lena Headey (45), Seann William Scott (42), Denis Villeneuve (51), Neve Campbell (45), Clive Owen (54), Gwen Stefani (49), Tommy Lee (56), Avery Brooks (70), Sting (67), Brie Larson (30), Zach Galifianakis (50), Julie Andrews (84), Randy Quaid (69), Monica Bellucci (55), and Omid Djalili (54).
A slightly quiet week for celebrity deaths, however we do have a point scorer!! Martin correctly guessed that Jacques Chirac would depart this plane of existence thus scoring himself a tidy 64 points.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Robert Hunter, 78, American Hall of Fame lyricist (Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan), poet and musician.
- Jacques Chirac, 86, French politician, President and Co-Prince of Andorra (1995–2007), Prime Minister (1974–1976, 1986–1988) and Mayor of Paris (1977–1995).
- Rob Garrison, 59, American actor (The Karate Kid, Iron Eagle, Prom Night).
In Other News
Nigel Benn has been described as the “fittest 55-year-old on planet Earth” as he prepares for a shock ring return. The ex-world champion has not fought professionally since November 1996 but will resume his career on 23 November, according to his promoter Mark Peters. “I wouldn’t support Nigel if I didn’t believe he was fit to box,” he added. The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoc) is against the fight, which will be sanctioned by the rival British and Irish Boxing Authority (Biba). Benn – whose last fight was a defeat by Irishman Steve Collins 23 years ago – has passed all Biba’s medical tests, while there will be a specialist in head trauma and a portable brain scanner available at ringside on fight night. Biba – a rival to the BBBoC launched in 2016 – said it was happy to licence the fight, despite Benn’s age. “Nigel Benn is in amazing condition,” said Biba vice-president Gianluca di Caro. “He is a magnificent athlete. He is not taking any chances and he is minimising risk. No formal license application was made to the BBBofC – the governing body for the sport in the UK – despite the fight taking place on British soil. “We have not had a formal application for a licence from him but we had a conversation in the summer and we advised him that he was very, very unlikely to get one. “It is not in the best interests for him, or for the sport.” Brain injury charity, Headway, is uneasy about the idea of a 55-year-old boxing competitively. “Boxing at any age is an inherently dangerous sport,” said chief executive Peter McCabe. “We know that every blow to the head delivered by a boxer has the potential to cause serious and long-term brain injury or even death.”
An award-winning TV chef who was on the cusp of receiving a Michelin star when cancer treatment cruelly robbed him of his sense of taste, has revealed the devastating news that the disease has returned – giving him just 12 months to live. Tim Bilton, 47, was at the height of his career, planning to open his second restaurant and appearing on shows including the BBC’s Great British Menu, when he was first diagnosed with melanoma, a type of skin cancer, in his eye in March 2013. The melanoma returned in 2015, with treatment cruelly robbing him of his sense of taste. But clear for nearly three years, Tim felt confident he had beaten it, only to discover cancer in his left leg and kidney in December which, at stage four, is incurable. Now focusing on keeping things as normal as possible for their children, despite having to give up his restaurants, showing remarkable fortitude, Tim, who has regained 80 per cent of his taste, is continuing to work as a chef. By the time his melanoma was first discovered, Tim was excelling professionally with two appearances on the BBC’s Great British Menu under his belt and a Michelin star – seen as the greatest fine dining accolade – within his grasp.
A professional hunter was killed when an elephant that had just been shot fell on top of him, according to reports. South African big-game bagger Theunis Botha, 51, was leading a hunt in Zimbabwe on Friday when his group accidentally walked into the path of a herd of breeding elephants near Hwange National Park and three of the elephant cows charged at them. Botha fired at the rampaging pack but was caught by surprise when a fourth cow came in from the side and picked him up with her trunk. One of the other hunters shot the animal, and it collapsed on top of Botha, killing him. Botha, who leaves behind a wife and five kids, was known for taking wealthy American clients out to shoot for trophies. He specialized in hunting leopards and lions and was also an expert “houndsman” — which means he used big packs of dogs to drive deer and boar into hunters’ cross hairs, the paper said. Looks like he was beaten by his own game.
On This Day
- 1829 – The Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as The Met, is founded.
- 1885 – The first practical public electric tramway in the world is opened in Blackpool, England.
- 1957 – The Kyshtym disaster is the third-worst nuclear accident ever recorded.
- 1902 – Émile Zola, French journalist, author, and playwright (b. 1840)
- 1973 – W. H. Auden, English-American poet, playwright, and critic (b. 1907)
- 1981 – Bill Shankly, Scottish footballer and manager (b. 1913)
- 1997 – Roy Lichtenstein, American painter and sculptor (b. 1923)
- 2010 – Tony Curtis, American actor (b. 1925)
Margie Velma Barfield was an American serial killer who was convicted of one murder, but who eventually confessed to six murders in total. Barfield was the first woman in the United States to be executed after the 1976 resumption of capital punishment and the first since 1962. She was also the first woman to be executed by lethal injection.
Velma Barfield was born in rural South Carolina in 1932. Her father was physically abusive and her mother, Lillian Bullard, did not intervene. She escaped by marrying Thomas Burke in 1949. The couple had two children and were reportedly happy until Barfield had a hysterectomy and developed back pain. These events led to a behavioural change in Barfield and an eventual drug addiction. Burke began to drink and Barfield’s complaints turned into bitter arguments. On April 4th 1969, after Burke had passed out, Barfield and the children left the house, and when they returned they found the structure burned and Burke dead. Luckily they were insured and a few months later she married widower Jennings Barfield, who died less than a year later from ‘heart complications’. Not long later, her mother died, exhibiting intense diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea. In 1976 Barfield began caring for the elderly in Montgomery, and quite a few of her patients died of similar symptoms to her mother. Strangely enough, before they died cheques were written out to Barfield from most of the people she cared for, thus she was arrested and several autopsies later found that most of her victims had died of arsenic poisoning.
Barfield was imprisoned at Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina, in an area for escape-prone and mentally ill prisoners, as there was no designated area for women under death sentences at the time and she was the state’s only female death row inmate. During her stay on death row, Barfield became a devout Christian. Her last few years were spent ministering to prisoners, for which she received praise from Billy Graham. Barfield’s involvement in Christian ministry was extensive to the point that an effort was made to obtain a commutation to life imprisonment, something I doubt would have even been considered if she was a devout Muslim. A second basis for the appeal was the testimony of Dorothy Otnow Lewis, Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and an authority on violent behaviour, who claimed that Barfield suffered from dissociative identity disorder. Lewis testified that she had spoken to Barfield’s other personality, “Billy”, who told her that Velma had been a victim of sexual abuse, and that he, Billy, had killed her abusers. The judge was unconvinced. “One of them did it,” Lewis quoted him as saying. “I don’t care which one.”
After Barfield’s appeal was denied in federal court, she instructed her attorneys to abandon a further appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Barfield was executed on November 2nd 1984 at Central Prison. She released a statement before the execution: “I know that everybody has gone through a lot of pain, all the families connected, and I am sorry, and I want to thank everybody who have been supporting me all these six years.” Barfield chose as her last meal one bag of Cheetos and two 8-ounce glass bottles of Coca-Cola. Barfield was buried in a small, rural North Carolina cemetery near her first husband, Thomas Burke.
Naomi Watts (50), Hilary Duff (31), Mira Sorvino (51), Brigitte Bardot (84), Dita Von Teese (46), Bam Margera (39), Moon Unit Zappa (51), Indira Varma (46), Gwyneth Paltrow (47), Meat Loaf (72), Avril Lavigne (35), Linda Hamilton (63), Olivia Newton-John (71), Serena Williams (38), Ricky Tomlinson (80), Will Smith (51), Mark Hamill (68), Catherine Zeta-Jones (50), Michael Douglas (75), Michael Madsen (62), Heather Locklear (58), Felicity Kendal (73), Sven-Ole Thorsen (75), Bruce Springsteen (70), Karl Pilkington (47), Billie Piper (37), Tom Felton (32), Sue Perkins (50) and Ruth Jones (53).
Winner winner!! With the sad passing of Fernando Ricksen at the young age of 43, Shan has earned herself 107 points! But to outdo this enormous score, Douglas marked him down as a Maverick, thus amassing a huge 207 points. Well done both of you, especially Douglas, from memory this is only the second Maverick we’ve had since the inception of The Dead Pool.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Brian Turk, 49, American actor (Carnivàle, Big Fat Liar, American Pie 2), brain cancer.
- Phyllis Newman, 86, American actress (Subways Are for Sleeping, Mannequin, To Find a Man) and singer.
- Davo Karničar, 56, Slovenian mountaineer, hit by falling tree.
- Jessica Jaymes, 40, American Hall of Fame pornographic actress.
- Suzanne Whang, 56, American actress (Las Vegas, From Here on OUT) and television host (House Hunters), breast cancer.
- Tony Mills, 57, English rock singer (Shy, TNT), pancreatic cancer.
- Fernando Ricksen, 43, Dutch footballer (Fortuna Sittard, Rangers, national team), motor neurone disease.
- Barron Hilton, 91, American businessman, Chairman of Hilton Hotels Corporation.
- Aron Eisenberg, 50, American actor (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
In Other News
Dog The Bounty Hunter was hospitalised over the weekend due to a heart emergency, three months after he lost wife Beth Chapman to cancer at age 51. The TV star, 66, was taken to a Colorado hospital after he felt chest pains but doctors couldn’t pinpoint what happened – but they believe it was a possible heart attack. The doctors were trying to see if he needed some type of corrective surgery. At the time his rep released a statement on Dog’s Twitter account and said: ‘I can confirm Dog is under doctor’s care and is resting comfortably. Thank you for all your well wishes – keep ’em coming.’ On Wednesday, the reality TV star recalled the scare, explaining that he “couldn’t breathe.” “It was like I had ran a three- or four-mile run,” “There’s something haywire or it’s psychologically. I don’t know,” Chapman — who noted he’s not sure what caused the episode — added. “I guess things happen like that. I’ve never … I don’t do drugs.” “It feels much better now. And I’m going through some psychological things right now, too, so that doesn’t help,” he told the media “I think, basically, I had a broken heart. And of course, it’s going to heal.”
Sir Rod Stewart has been given the all-clear after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. The rock legend made the revelation at a fundraising event on Saturday. “No-one knows this, but I thought this was about time I told everybody. I’m in the clear, now, simply because I caught it early. I have so many tests,” he said. The 74-year-old was speaking at an event for the Prostate Project and golf’s European Tour Foundation. He joked to wife Penny Lancaster that he was going to use the evening to “come out”, adding: “It’s not what you think. Two years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.” He said: “If you’re positive, and you work through it and you keep a smile on your face… I’ve worked for two years and I’ve just been happy, and the good Lord looked after me.” He urged men to get checked, adding: “Guys, you’ve got to really go to the doctor.” He was speaking at the event in Wentworth, Surrey, alongside former Faces bandmate Ronnie Wood, who has previously been treated for lung cancer. “Somebody up there likes us, Rod,” he said, the paper reported.
A man has died in Australia after a swooping magpie reportedly caused him to crash his bicycle. The 76-year old man was distracted by the bird when he crashed into a fence, suffering a head injury, police said. The incident happened on an off-road cycle path near Woonona Beach south of Sydney at about 8am on Sunday. The victim was wearing a helmet, which is a mandatory requirement for cyclists in Australia. Paramedics called to the scene treated him before he was flown to St George Hospital in Sydney. He was admitted in a critical condition and died of his injuries on Sunday evening. According to witnesses, the man was cycling with three other people when he became aware of the magpie which was swooping over a female cyclist coming towards him in the opposite direction. While he was distracted, his bicycle left the path and hit a low wooden fence and he fell to the ground. “His eyes were off the path because he was concerned about the magpie swooping him I think,” said Nathan Foster, whose wife was the cyclist being swooped by the magpie. Mark Lawrie, chief executive of the Sydney University Veterinary Teaching Hospital said it was “pretty much impossible” to qstop magpies from aggressive swooping once they had learnt the behaviour. Last month a Sydney council was forced to defend the shooting of a “particularly aggressive” magpie, which had apparently swooped and attacked people. The council had received 40 complaints about the “monster” bird over three years, which reportedly dive-bombed people, going for their faces, even outside swooping season.
On This Day
- 1692 – The last hanging of those convicted of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials; others are all eventually released.
- 1888 – The first issue of National Geographic Magazine is published.
- 1975 – Sara Jane Moore tries to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford, but is foiled by the Secret Service.
- 1989 – Irving Berlin, Russian-born American composer and songwriter (b. 1888)
- 1999 – George C. Scott, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1927)
- 2018 – Chas Hodges, English musician and singer (b.1943)
Thomas J. Grasso was a 32-year-old male double murderer when he was executed for the strangulation of Hilda Johnson, an 87-year-old woman, using her Christmas tree lights on December 24, 1990, in her Tulsa home. He stole $8 from her purse, $4 in loose change, and her television set which he sold for $125. Six months later, after moving to New York with his wife, Lana, he murdered Leslie Holtz, an 81-year-old man from Staten Island, on July 4, 1991, stealing his Social Security check. Once caught he soon confessed and pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years to life at New York, however a new Republican senator got involved and had him extradited to Tulsa which got him the death penalty. On the day before his execution, Grasso released four statements to the press, all rambling poetic verses, the first read, “What we call the beginning is often the end, and to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” the rest weren’t any better…
Grasso’s last meal was two dozen steamed mussels, two dozen steamed clams (flavoured by a wedge of lemon), a double cheeseburger from Burger King, a half-dozen barbecued spare ribs, two strawberry milkshakes, one-half of a pumpkin pie with whipped cream, diced strawberries, and he requested a can of SpaghettiO’s with meatballs though he used his last words to claim that kitchen staff did not honour this request.
Just before 1:00 a.m. on March 20, 1995, Grasso walked from his cell to the execution chamber. The witnesses, including Grasso’s lawyers and 12 reporters, sat in an adjoining room. About 1:00 a.m., with Grasso strapped to the gurney, warden Ron Ward picked up a phone in the witness room and spoke to Governor Keating, who granted permission to proceed from his official residence in Oklahoma City. His final statement was: “I did not get my SpaghettiO’s, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this”. Grasso was pronounced dead at 1:22 a.m.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Stephen King (71), Bill Murray (68), David Wenham (53), Alfonso Ribeiro (47), Ricki Lake (50), Liam Gallagher (46), Jon Bernthal (43), Sophia Loren (85), Asia Argento (44), Moon Bloodgood (44), George R.R. Martin (71), Danielle Panabaker (32), Jeremy Irons (71), David McCallum (86), Jimmy Fallon (45), Victoria Silvstedt (45), Twiggy (70), Jada Pinkett Smith (48), Jason Sudeikis (44), Tim McInnerny (63), Mickey Rourke (67), Nick Jonas (27), Amy Poehler (48), Tom Hardy (42), Tommy Lee Jones (73), Jimmy Carr (47), Prince Harry (35), and Brendan O’Carroll (64).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- John Wesley, 72, American actor (Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, Hang ‘Em High), multiple myeloma.
- Robert Axelrod, 70, American actor (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, The Blob, Digimon).
- Paul Cronin, 81, Australian actor (The Sullivans, Matlock Police, State Coroner).
- Eddie Money, 70, American musician (“Baby Hold On“, “Two Tickets to Paradise“, “Take Me Home Tonight“), complications from oesophageal cancer.
- Kenny Cantor, 81, English comedian.
- Valerie Van Ost, 75, English actress (Carry On, The Beauty Jungle, Mister Ten Per Cent).
- Charlie Cole, 64, American photojournalist, World Press Photo of the Year winner (1989), sepsis
In Other News
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has said Kevin Hart is “doing very well” after suffering major back injuries in a car crash earlier this month. Comedian and actor Hart was taken to hospital after a vintage car he was a passenger in rolled down an embankment in the California hills. Speaking on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Johnson said his pal was “a lucky man”. “Everything is good,” he said. “I spoke with Kevin – I connected with him today.” He added: “And you know what? These things happen in life and thankfully he was strapped in nicely to his car seat.” The pair are close friends – having starred together in films including Jumanji and Central Intelligence – and the former professional wrestler, 47, confirmed he would soon pay Hart a hospital visit. “I love the guy, he’s one of my best friends,” Johnson went on. “And honestly, I mean, thank God, it could have been a lot worse. So, he’s a lucky man, and he knows it, too. Hart and the car’s driver were both taken to hospital following the crash in the hills above Malibu on 1st September. The driver of the car was not under the influence of alcohol, according to a California Highway Patrol collision report.
Freddie Flintoff has confirmed he is “absolutely fine” following a high speed accident during filming for a new series of Top Gear. The former English cricketer reportedly “ran out of runway” at Elvington Airfield near York while riding a specialised three-wheel drag racing vehicle. He was competing with fellow presenters Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris in a drag race. In a statement, Flintoff said: “I’m absolutely fine and was back filming today. I go to great lengths to make sure I do well in Top Gear drag races but on this occasion I went a few lengths too far! It will look more ridiculous than dangerous when you see it on TV.” A spokesperson for the BBC said: “The health and safety of our presenters and crew on Top Gear is paramount. As viewers of the recent series will have seen, Freddie is often keen to get ‘off the beaten track’. “Tuesday’s filming at Elvington Airfield was no exception – but he suffered no injuries as a result of his spontaneous detour, as fans will see for themselves when we show the sequence in full in the next series.” Flintoff, who assumed hosting duties on the long-running BBC programme this year, was wearing full protective gear and a motorcycle helmet while filming. The airfield is the same one former Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond crashed at in 2006 while piloting a drag racing car. Hammond crashed at 288mph after a tyre blew out, and suffered a severe head injury. He spent two weeks in a coma and later detailed the extent of his subsequent paranoia, memory loss and depression as a result of the brain damage from the crash.
A religious celebration was marred by tragedy this week as a man participating in a traditional Islamic mourning ritual accidentally beheaded himself. Mohammed Sayum was displaying his prowess at swordsmanship in the Nalanda district of Bihar, in east India, as part of a ritual procession known as the Mourning of Muharram. According to reports, Sayum, 60, accidentally cut his own neck and was rushed to Sadar Hospital, but died from loss of blood before he arrived. The accident sparked chaos in the area, according to the news site Swarajya, where hundreds of others were also observing the ritual procession. Sayum’s son, Mohammad Feroz, told police he witnessed the incident. Police in Bihar are still investigating and sent Sayum’s body for an autopsy. Fatal accidents and violence have long plagued Muharram commemorations: On Tuesday, at least 31 people were killed in a stampede in Karbala, with 100 more injured. According to the AP, the stampede started when a walkway collapsed. The same day, 20 people were injured watching a Muharram procession in Andhra Pradesh, in southeast India, when the roof they were standing on collapsed at about 2 a.m. Police report the victims were viewing the Pedda Saragathi ritual, where devotees walk on a hot bed of coals. Also on Tuesday, a man in Uttar Pradesh was electrocuted, and others wounded, when a tazia they were carrying came in contact with a live electrical wire. A tazia is a replica of Imam Hussain’s tomb, carried during Muharram processions. Days earlier, at least four people died in Karachi, Pakistan, when a tazia collided with overhead electrical cables… Think I’d stay at home…
On This Day
- 1752 – The British Empire adopts the Gregorian calendar, skipping eleven days (the previous day was September 2)
- 1901 – U.S. President William McKinley dies after an assassination attempt on September 6, and is succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.
- 1959 – The Soviet probe Luna 2 crashes onto the Moon, becoming the first man-made object to reach it.
- 1975 – The first American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, is canonised by Pope Paul VI. Before this date, there were no miracles in America because God only cared for people east of the Atlantic Ocean.
- 1321 – Dante Alighieri, Italian writer (b. 1265)
- 1715 – Dom Pérignon, French monk and priest (b. 1638)
- 1852 – Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Irish-English field marshal and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1769)
- 1982 – Grace Kelly, American-Monacan actress; Princess of Monaco (b. 1929)
- 2009 – Keith Floyd, English chef and author (b. 1943)
- 2009 – Patrick Swayze, American actor, singer, and dancer (b. 1952)
John Martin Scripps was an English spree killer who murdered three tourists—Gerard Lowe in Singapore, and Sheila and Darin Damude in Thailand—with another three unconfirmed victims. He posed as a tourist himself when committing the murders, for which British tabloids nicknamed him “the tourist from Hell”. He cut up all his victims’ bodies, using butchery skills he had acquired in prison, before disposing of them. Martin was arrested in Singapore when he returned there after murdering the Damudes. Photographs of decomposed body parts were shown as evidence during his trial, making it “one of the most grisly” ever heard in Singapore. He defended himself by saying that Lowe’s death was an accident and that a friend of his killed the Damudes. The judge did not believe Martin’s account of events and sentenced him to death by hanging, making him the first Briton since Singapore’s independence from Britain and Malaysia to be given the death penalty. He is also the second Westerner to be executed in Singapore since independence, the first one being Johannes Van Damme.
Whilst Martin killed at least three people in Singapore and Thailand, he may have killed others in Belize, Mexico, and the United States. His modus operandi was to pose as a tourist and converse with randomly chosen caucasians, either aboard their flights or while waiting at airports. He stayed in the same hotels as his victims in a room near theirs. Once he had an excuse to be in their rooms, he used an electroshock weapon to immobilise them before killing them by striking their heads with a hammer and cutting them up in their bathrooms. He chose caucasians as his victims because they were vacationing far away from their home countries, which made him less likely to be discovered. His motive apparently included money, as large amounts were withdrawn using the credit cards of Gerard Lowe and Timothy MacDowall. Martin was arrested when he arrived at Changi Airport on the evening of 19 March 1995 and produced a passport with his assumed name, Simon Davis. Police had put the name on their wanted list on 14 March after they determined that Lowe had checked into River View Hotel with someone by that name. In a police interview room in the airport, Martin smashed a glass panel and cut his wrist with a shard of glass in a suicide attempt, fearing that he would be hanged immediately.
The police found five passports on Martin in addition to his own—two British passports issued to Simon Davis, two Canadian passports issued to Sheila and Darin Damude, and a South African passport issued to Gerard Lowe—each with Martin’s photograph affixed. They also found credit cards belonging to Sheila Damude and Gerard Lowe. In addition, police found Simon Davis’ birth certificate, and items that Martin had used to immobilise and kill: a hammer weighing 1.5 kilogrammes, a battery-operated Z-Force III electroshock weapon, a can of mace, two pairs of handcuffs, a pair of thumb-cuffs, two Police brand foldable knives, an oilstone and two Swiss army knives. Importation of some of these into Singapore is illegal.
In court, Martin argued that he was by nature not a violent person. “I may have worked in the (prison) butchery, but cutting up a human body is another thing. When I saw the photographs (of Lowe’s body parts), it made me feel sick.” He maintained that he had killed Lowe after the latter made homosexual advances that caused him to “freak out”; he had previously fended off homosexual attacks twice while imprisoned: in Israel in 1978, and in England in 1994. However his pleas fell on deaf ears as the evidence against him was conclusive. The judge sentenced Martin to death by hanging.
In the days before his hanging, Martin wrote of an “emptiness” inside him and lamented that no one had loved him besides his family and his ex-wife María. Martin’s mother remarked, “Whoever he is now, he’s the person the prison service trained him to be. These bastards have no right to take my son’s life. I brought him into the world. I am the only person who can take him out of it.” However, no one formally protested against the hanging. At dawn on 19 April 1996, Martin was hanged in Changi Prison together with two Singaporean drug traffickers. Prior to his hanging he was granted his last meal of a pizza and a glass of hot chocolate.
When Martin’s ex-wife María heard that he had been hanged, she said: John disappeared on several trips and went to the United States and Southeast Asia. I knew something awful was happening, but I could not believe he had started killing people. The last memory I have of him is a message he sent promising we would meet in the next life and that he would never let me go again.
I bet she sleeps well at night….
Last Week’s Birthdays
Alfie Allen (32), Ian Holm (87), Linda Gray (78), Virginia Madsen (57), Elizabeth Henstridge (31), Johnny Vegas (47), Guy Ritchie (50), Colin Firth (58), Adam Sandler (52), Hugh Grant (58), Henry Thomas (47), Jeffrey Combs (64), Eric Stonestreet (47), Julia Sawalha (50), Topol (83), Rachel Hunter (49), Martin Freeman (47), Heather Thomas (61), Pink (39), Julian Richings (63), and Miles Jupp (39).
Welcome all, more points to dispense this week with the demise of Robert Mugabe!! Both Shan and Jamie had him as a Cert, so 155 points each, and Chrissy and Mark get 55 points each! Well done everyone, slight movement in the league table with only the last quarter of the year to go.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Katherine MacLean, 94, American science fiction author.
- Terrance Dicks, 84, English screenwriter (Doctor Who, Crossroads, Space: 1999).
- LaShawn Daniels, 41, American songwriter (“Say My Name“, “Love and War“), Grammy winner (2000), traffic collision.
- Carol Lynley, 77, American actress (Harlow, Bunny Lake Is Missing, The Poseidon Adventure), heart attack.
- Robert Mugabe, 95, Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician, Prime Minister (1980–1987) and President (1987–2017).
- Chester Williams, 49, South African rugby union player (Western Province, national team) and coach (Blitzboks), heart attack.
In Other News
Comedian and actor Kevin Hart was taken to hospital with “major back injuries” on Sunday following a car accident in Los Angeles. According to the California Highway Patrol, Hart was being driven in his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda on Mulholland Highway at the time of the accident. His wife Eniko Parrish told news reporters on Monday that the comedian was awake and “going to be just fine”. The accident happened just after midnight. The driver, Jared Black, lost control of the car and it tumbled into an embankment, the report stated. Black also sustained major back injuries. A third passenger was unhurt. Black – the fiance of the third passenger, Rebecca Broxterman – was determined not to have been driving under the influence at the time of the crash. Hart was taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Centre and the driver was taken to another hospital, the patrol report said. Photos published by the media showed the car had suffered considerable damage. It looks like the fire department had to saw the roof off to free the two occupants who were pinned to their seats.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro will miss a planned summit on the fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest to prepare for surgery, an aide has said. The operation will be the far-right leader’s fourth after he was stabbed in the stomach during his presidential election campaign in 2018. Brazil may send a representative in his place or ask for the summit to be postponed, the spokesman said. More than 80,000 fires have broken out in the Amazon rainforest this year. The controversial leader was elected to the presidency in October 2018, a month after he was stabbed at a campaign rally. His surgery is to correct an incisional hernia and is his fourth operation since the attack. Speaking to reporters outside his official residence, the president vowed on Monday to defend his Amazon policy “even in a wheelchair” at a UN General Assembly meeting on 24th September. Let’s hope hr has a complication on the operating table.
It is the kind of incident that might convince one of a higher power, or not. A priest has accidentally shot himself in the face with a spear gun while scuba diving. Despite the three-foot dart impaling his head, he survived. Connie Hallowell, from Umkomaas, in South Africa, called his escape a “miracle”, obviously… The near-tragedy happened as he was spearfishing in the sea off Scottburgh Beach, south of Durban, on Saturday. “I put my gun down while I was trying to get some sinkers out of the rocks,” the 48-year-old father-of-two told us from his hospital bed. “A big wave came, and with that wave in action, I tried to remove the gun, and the trigger went off and fired the spear into my face.” The arrow smashed straight through his right check and out in front of his left ear – but crucially missed his brain and eyes. He said: “When I tried to move my head, I couldn’t, and I realised it was a spear. I managed to stand up, and I just thought let me stay awake. I screamed for people to help me while I walked back towards the shore.” He was able to make it to dry land where lifeguards treated him while a fisherman shortened the embedded projectile with an angle grinder. Doctors were able to remove the spear after he was airlifted to hospital. “I can see, I can talk, everything is going well. I’ve got a bit of numbness, but I will be much better,” Mr Hallowell said on Sunday. “It’s amazing that I am here at all.” He added that he had no plans to quit spearfishing and was already planning his next trip. God is planning his next ‘miracle’ to cleanse the earth of priests as we speak.
On This Day
- 1727 – A barn fire during a puppet show in the village of Burwell in Cambridgeshire, England kills 78 people, many of whom are children.
- 1888 – In London, the body of Jack the Ripper’s second murder victim, Annie Chapman, is found.
- 1914 – World War I: Private Thomas Highgate becomes the first British soldier to be executed for desertion during the war.
- 1966 – The landmark American science fiction television series Star Trek premieres with its first-aired episode, “The Man Trap”.
- 1965 – Dorothy Dandridge, American actress and singer (b. 1922)
- 1999 – Moondog, American-German singer-songwriter, drummer, and poet (b. 1916)
- 2017 – Don Williams, American musician (b. 1939)
Larry Swearingen, 48, was the latest recipient of the lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for his part in the brutal strangling of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter, a Montgomery county girl he claimed was his friend. The Texas death row inmate maintained his innocence until the very moment of his execution for the 1998 rape and murder of the student who was found strangled in woodland with a pair of pantyhose around her neck. Despite Swearingen’s repeated pleas of innocence and a number of push-backs on his execution date – along with Trotter’s family – prosecutors stood firm on their belief that he was her killer. A last-ditch appeal filed by Swearingen’s attorneys was denied by the US Supreme Court just minutes before his scheduled execution time of 6pm. As a result, Swearingen was escorted into the execution chamber, strapped to an IV, and at 6.35pm, he was injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital. ‘Lord, forgive them,’ Swearingen said into a microphone hanging above his head after the warden asked if he had a final statement. ‘They don’t know what they’re doing.’ He then began narrating his impending death, saying he could hear the drug going into his arm, before saying he could ‘taste it’. ‘It’s actually burning in my right arm. I don’t feel anything in the left arm,’ he said. Almost immediately, he took a short breath, then started to snore quietly. He stopped moving. He never opened his eyes and never looked at the witnesses who were there on his victim’s behalf, including her parents, who watched through a window just a few feet from him. At 6.47pm – 12 minutes after the lethal dose was administered – Swearingen was pronounced dead and became the 12th inmate to be put to death in the US this year, and the fourth in Texas – the country’s busiest state for capital punishment. But what was his last meal I hear you ask… Well… In Texas, you ain’t getting anything special, and this is the reason why.
Back in 2011, white supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer, 44, was served two chicken fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions, a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger and a cheese omelette with beef mince, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapenos. If that wasn’t enough, he was also given fried okra with ketchup, a pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread, three fajitas and a meat pizza. For dessert he was served a pint of ice cream and peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. He was also given three root beers to wash it all down. But Brewer thumbed his nose at the system one final time and didn’t have a single bite, telling staff at the Huntsville prison he wasn’t hungry.
The next day, Texas lawmakers were so outraged that the practice of final meals on death row was brought to an immediate halt. State Senator John Whitmire said Brewer had ordered such an elaborate meal to “make a mockery” of the system. “It’s wrong to treat a vicious murderer in this fashion. Let him eat the same meal on the chow line as the others.” And rightly so, Brewer was convicted of the racist murder of James Byrd Jnr – who was chained to a truck and dragged to death 21 years ago. Along with Shawn Berry, the killers chained Mr Byrd’s ankles to the back of a truck and dragged him for three miles along roads in Jasper, Texas, on a Saturday night in June 1998. They had offered Mr Byrd a ride home but drove him to an isolated spot where they beat him, spray-painted his face and urinated and defecated on him before chaining him to the vehicle. He was alive during much of the dragging before his head and right arm was severed. The killers dumped his body in front of a black cemetery. King was convicted in February 1999 and became the first white man in modern Texas history to be sentenced to death for killing a black person.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Evan Rachel Wood (31), Shannon Elizabeth (45), Leslie Jones (51), Toby Jones (52), Julie Kavner (68), Dario Argento (78), Chrissie Hynde (67), Doug Bradley (64), Idris Elba (47), Michael Keaton (68), Raquel Welch (79), Rose McGowan (46), Carice van Houten (43), Paddy Considine (46), George Lazenby (80), Christopher Morris (54), Beyoncé (38), Michael Berryman (71), Charlie Sheen (54), Jean-Pierre Jeunet (66), Pauline Collins (79), Keanu Reeves (55), Salma Hayek (53), Keith Allen (66), Zendaya (23), Burn Gorman (45), Lily Tomlin (80), Steve Pemberton (52), Gloria Estefan (62), and Barry Gibb (73).
Yay! Points!!! Sarai correctly guessed Valerie Harper would pop it this year, but also listed her as her Woman, so 170 points, Paul C and Laura also listed her and got 70 each. Quite a points haul for Sarai, instantly propelling her to third place and Paul C strengthening his leadership. Well done all of you.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Timothy Bell, Baron Bell, 77, British advertising and public relations executive (Bell Pottinger).
- Jessi Combs, 36, American racer and television host (Xtreme 4×4, MythBusters, Overhaulin’), jet-car crash.
- Jim Leavelle, 99, American homicide detective, police escort for Lee Harvey Oswald, heart attack.
- Franco Columbu, 78, Italian bodybuilder and actor (Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator), Mr. Olympia winner (1976, 1981), heart attack.
- Valerie Harper, 80, American actress (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, Valerie), multiple Emmy Award winner, leptomeningeal carcinomatosis.
- Hans Rausing, 93, Swedish businessman, Chairman of Tetra Pak (1985–1993).
- Anthoine Hubert, 22, French racing driver, GP3 Series champion (2018), race crash.
In Other News
Pope Francis has apologised for arriving late for his weekly prayer in St Peter’s Square, saying was stuck in a lift in the Vatican. The 82-year-old pontiff said he had been trapped in the lift for 25 minutes because of a power outage before he was freed by firefighters. We all know what can happen in broken down lifts! “I have to apologise for being late,” a smiling Pope said at the start of the Angelus address. He then asked the crowd for a round of applause for the firefighters. Addressing the crowd, the Pope said there had been a “drop in voltage and the elevator stopped”. “Thank goodness, the firefighters arrived, and I thank them so much, and after 25 minutes of work they managed to get it started again,” he said. Television networks in Italy which broadcast the prayer live had been concerned the unprecedented delay might have been due to health reasons, AFP news agency reports. In his address, the Pope announced that he would create ten new Roman Catholic cardinals next month, like we needed any more…
Colin Baker, who starred as the sixth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who, admitted that he had to wait nine-and-a-half hours to be seen in A&E while he was suffering from a mystery illness. The ex-Time Lord star recalled “A fortnight ago I was sent by my GP to A&E in Stoke Mandeville where (I was told) the orthopaedic team were awaiting my arrival. I spent nine and a half hours being in a corridor. “My problem was not life-threatening, but I had a very high temperature and felt unwell. “I was admitted, put on an antibiotic drip and discharged thirty six hours later. “Forty-eight hours after that I was back in A&E for an eight and a half hour wait, with an even higher temperature. “Six hours in, I was left in a side room, where I dozed off and woke at 2am and went in search of help. “I was presented with an irate nurse, demanding crossly to know where I had been.” Colin explained: ”They had a bed for me and couldn’t find me. The doctor had apparently not told her where they had taken me. Fortunately, Colin was later discharged from hospital and recovered completely within five days, but as we know, these things tend to flare up now and again.
Charlie Webster – the Radio 5 Live favourite – admitted she will have a kidney problem “for the rest of her life” after a battle with malaria damaged her organs. The former Sky Sports presenter revealed doctors have now told her they “don’t know if her kidneys will last”. The 36 year old presenter opened up about her health fears after suffering a near-fatal experience with malaria three years ago. Revealing how the disease has impacted her internal organs, Charlie explained: “The one thing I’ve got as a long-term thing is I’ll always have a kidney problem.” She admitted doctors are currently unsure about whether her kidneys will continue working. She added: “I have to keep an eye on it and see a consultant for the rest of my life, because they don’t know if my kidneys will last and that really upset me.” In spite of the frightening diagnosis, Charlie insisted she is trying to avoid “constantly worrying” about it. Charlie was diagnosed with malaria back in 2016 after spending two weeks in a coma. She was told by doctors she was dying after contracting the mosquito-borne disease, while also suffering from other diseases including pneumonia. Reflecting on when she began to feel unwell during a work trip to Rio, the campaigner said: “I started not feeling well and pushed and pushed and I could hardly stand up. “I was even bleeding through my bum and going to the toilet all the time. Moral of the story, get your jabs or get mentioned on this newsletter.
On This Day
- 1715 – King Louis XIV of France dies after a reign of 72 years, which is the longest of any major European monarch. Our Queen is coming up to 68 years.
- 1923 – The Great Kantō earthquake devastates Tokyo and Yokohama, killing about 105,000 people.
- 1939 – Adolf Hitler signs an order to begin the systematic euthanasia of mentally ill and disabled people, the UK Conservative Party try to emulate him in 2019.
- 1958 – Iceland expands its fishing zone, putting it into conflict with the United Kingdom, beginning the Cod Wars.
- 1985 – A joint American–French expedition locates the wreckage of the RMS Titanic.
- 2004 – The Crisis in Beslan commences when armed terrorists take schoolchildren and school staff hostage in North Ossetia (Russia); by the end of the siege three days later more than 385 people are dead (including hostages, other civilians, security personnel and terrorists).
Charles Frederick Peace was an English burglar and murderer, who embarked on a life of crime after being maimed in an industrial accident as a boy. After killing a policeman in Manchester, he fled to his native Sheffield, where he became obsessed with his neighbour’s wife, eventually shooting her husband dead. Settling in London, he carried out multiple burglaries before being caught in the prosperous suburb of Blackheath, wounding the policeman who arrested him. He was linked to the Sheffield murder, and tried at Leeds Assizes.
In 1854, he was found guilty of multiple burglaries and sentenced to four years’ penal servitude. In 1859, he married a widow named Hannah Ward. Soon afterward, he committed a major burglary in Manchester, nearly killing a police officer who came to arrest him, and was sentenced to six years’ penal servitude. Another burglary in Manchester earned him another eight-year sentence. For a while after this, he seems to have concentrated on his picture-framing business, before working on the North Eastern Railway, from which he was sacked for absenteeism. After moving to the Sheffield, Peace made the acquaintance of a civil engineer called Dyson, which would prove fateful in due course. During this time, Peace fatally shot a policeman but managed to escape in the darkness, two brothers, John and William Habron, living nearby, were arrested and charged with the killing of Constable Cock. John Habron was acquitted for lack of evidence, but William Habron was sentenced to death, later commuted to penal servitude for life. Peace had made a point of attending the trial, to confirm that he was not a suspect, before returning to Sheffield.
In the meantime, Peace had developed an obsessive interest in Dyson’s wife, though it was never established how far she may have returned his feelings. On 1st July, Peace approached Mrs Dyson and threatened to blow out her brains and those of her husband. Dyson took out a summons against Peace, and moved to a different suburb. On their first day in the new house, Mrs Dyson was accosted by Peace, who said “You see, I am here to annoy you, and I’ll annoy you wherever you go.” That evening, a little after eight o’clock, Peace observed Mrs Dyson coming out from her back door and entering a nearby outhouse. When she duly emerged, he confronted her with a revolver, shouting “Speak or I’ll fire.” In terror, she retreated to the outhouse, and her husband came out to investigate. Peace fled down the passage, where Dyson followed him. Peace fired twice at Dyson, the second shot passing fatally through his temple. As Mrs Dyson cried “Murder!”, Peace escaped and made his way by train to Hull, where his wife kept an eating-house. There was an immediate hue and cry, with a price of £100 on his head. Peace was finally caught. On 10th October 1878. During his trial Peace denied all allegations against him, but the evidence against him made it clear he was a bad ‘un. The Judge passed a sentence of death for the murder of Dyson. Having nothing more to lose, Peace made a full confession to the murder of Constable Cock, in order to exonerate William Habron, who was later given a free pardon and £800 compensation. Peace re-asserted that Mrs Dyson had been his mistress, but she strenuously denied this, calling him a demon, “beyond the power of even a Shakespeare to paint”.
On the morning of his execution, Peace ate a hearty breakfast of eggs and salty bacon, and calmly awaited the coming of the public executioner, William Marwood, inventor of the “long drop”. He was escorted on the death-walk by the prison chaplain, who was reading aloud from The Consolations of Religion about the fires of hell.
Peace burst out “Sir, if I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be, on hands and knees and think it worth while living, just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that!”
Peace was buried in Armley Gaol. He was 46 years old.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Richard Gere (69), Chris Tucker (47), Todd Carty (55), Cameron Diaz (46), Michael Chiklis (55), Warren Buffett (88), Carla Gugino (47), Rebecca De Mornay (59), Elliott Gould (80), Jason Priestley (49), Jack Black (49), Brian Thompson (59), David Soul (75), Shania Twain (53), Aaron Paul (39), Peter Stormare (65), Barbara Bach (71), Paul Reubens (66), Reece Shearsmith (49), Melissa McCarthy (48), Chris Pine (38), Macaulay Culkin (38), Alexander Skarsgård (42), Sean Connery (88), Tim Burton (60), Rachel Bilson (37), Tom Skerritt (85), Gene Simmons (69), and Claudia Schiffer (48).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Richard Booth, 80, Welsh bookseller.
- Angelo Grubisic, 38, British astronautical engineer and wingsuit designer, BASE jumping accident.
- Junior Agogo, 40, Ghanaian footballer (Bristol Rovers, Nottingham Forest, national team).
- Gary Ray Bowles, 57, American serial killer, executed by lethal injection.
- David Koch, 79, American businessman and political financier, Executive Vice President of Koch Industries (1983–2018).
In Other News
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been treated for a tumour on her pancreas, according to a court spokesperson. The tumour was determined to be malignant, a spokesperson said, adding that noe additional treatment would be required at this time. The 86-year-old justice reportedly began radiation treatment for the localised cancerous tumour on 5th August in New York City on an outpatient basis. The Supreme Court also said a bile duct was placed inside of the Supreme Court justice as part of her treatment. She has battled numerous bouts of cancer in past decades, including lung cancer last year, when she underwent surgery in December. Ginsburg “tolerated treatment well,” the statement said, adding: “She cancelled her annual summer visit to Santa Fe, but has otherwise maintained an active schedule.” “The tumour was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body,” the statement read. “Justice Ginsburg will continue to have periodic blood tests and scans. No further treatment is needed at this time.” In a recent interview with NPR, Ginsburg shot down critics who have lambasted her amid numerous health scares. “There was a senator, I think it was after my pancreatic cancer, who announced with great glee that I was going to be dead within six months,” she said. “That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I,” she added with a smile, “am very much alive.”
The man who hoaxed detectives by claiming to be the Yorkshire Ripper has died, police have confirmed. John Humble, who was dubbed Wearside Jack, sent police on a wild goose chase when he sent them hoax letters and an audio tape in the late 1970s. He was unmasked and sentenced to eight years in jail in 2006 after admitting perverting the course of justice. Northumbria Police said Humble, who had changed his name to John Samuel Anderson, died on 30th July. West Yorkshire Police detectives, headed by the force’s assistant chief constable George Oldfield, believed the letters and tape were genuine and diverted resources to Humble’s home town of Sunderland. When Humble was eventually prosecuted, Leeds Crown Court heard claims that delays caused by the hoax allowed Peter Sutcliffe to murder three more women. Sutcliffe was jailed in 1981 and given 20 life sentences for killing 13 women and attempting to kill seven more. Humble, 63, died at his home in South Shields, where he had lived since being released from prison in 2009. A force spokesman said his death was not being treated as suspicious and would not be investigated.
Actor Ben Unwin, who played Jesse McGregor in Australian soap Home and Away, has died at the age of 41. The actor’s body was discovered last week, on 14th August, but the cause of death has not yet been confirmed. “Police attended Minyon Falls, Whian Whian (New South Wales), responding to a concern for welfare,” a police statement read. “The body of a 41-year-old man was located. The death is not being treated as suspicious.” Unwin played “bad boy” Jesse during two stints on the popular soap, between 1996 and 2000 and then from 2002 to 2005. His character was often in trouble with the law, with one storyline seeing his character sent to prison after he was accused of burning down Alf Stewart’s shop for insurance money. A spokesman for the Seven network, which broadcasts Home and Away, said: “Cast and crew from Home and Away are saddened to learn of the passing of former cast-mate, Ben Unwin. “Ben’s work in the role of Jesse McGregor is remembered with much affection.
On This Day
- 1609 – Galileo Galilei demonstrates his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers.
- 2001 – American singer Aaliyah and several members of her record company are killed as their overloaded aircraft crashes shortly after takeoff from Marsh Harbour Airport, Bahamas.
- 2012 – Voyager 1 spacecraft enters interstellar space becoming the first man-made object to do so.
- 1819 – James Watt, Scottish-English engineer and instrument maker (b. 1736)
- 1822 – William Herschel, German-English astronomer and composer (b. 1738)
- 1867 – Michael Faraday, English physicist and chemist (b. 1791)
- 1900 – Friedrich Nietzsche, German philologist, philosopher, and critic (b. 1844)
- 1956 – Alfred Kinsey, American biologist and academic (b. 1894)
- 1984 – Truman Capote, American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter (b. 1924)
- 2012 – Neil Armstrong, American pilot, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1930)
- 2017 – Rich Piana, American bodybuilder (b. 1971)
- 2018 – John McCain, American politician (b. 1936)
Teresa Wilson Bean Lewis was an American murderer who was the only woman on death row in Virginia prior to her execution. She was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the murders of her husband and stepson in October 2002. Lewis sought to profit from a $250,000 life insurance policy her stepson had taken out as a U.S. Army reservist in anticipation of his deployment to Iraq.
Teresa Wilson Bean first met Julian Lewis, her future husband, at work. He was a recent widower with three children. Julian’s older son was previously killed in a car accident, leaving his father $200,000 from a life insurance policy. Which might have sparked Teresa’s greed. Julian’s younger son, Charles J. Lewis, obtained a $250,000 insurance policy in preparation for his impending deployment to Iraq as part of the United States Army Reserve. Charles designated his father as the primary, and Teresa Lewis as the secondary beneficiaries.
In the fall of 2002, Teresa Lewis met 21-year-old Matthew Jessee Shallenberger and 19-year-old Rodney Lamont Fuller at a Wal-Mart in Danville and began a sexual relationship with both of them. In October 2002, Charles came home on a visit from Army training in Maryland. On October 23rd, Shallenberger and Lamont were given $1,200 by Lewis to purchase firearms and ammunition to kill Julian Lewis and his son Charles for the insurance money. A week later, on the night of October 30th, Shallenberger and Fuller entered the Lewis’ trailer through a back door that Teresa had left open. While she waited in the kitchen, Shallenberger shot the sleeping Julian several times, while Fuller shot Charles in his bedroom with a shotgun. After discovering Charles was not dead, Fuller shot him twice more. Teresa waited 45 minutes before calling for help, and while waiting for the police to arrive, she removed money from her dying husband’s wallet. Shortly after, Teresa Lewis was caught attempting to withdraw $50,000 from her dead husband’s account with a forged check. Within a week, she confessed to law enforcement officers that she had offered money to have her husband killed. During the investigation, prosecutors found that Lewis had been trying to gather the assets of her late husband and stepson even before they had been buried. During the murder trial, the judge deemed Lewis the mastermind of the crime and called her “the head of this serpent.” Barbara G. Haskins, a court appointed, board-certified forensic psychiatrist, stated that “Cognitive testing showed a Full Scale IQ of 72. Verbal IQ was 70, and Performance IQ was 79.” Dr. Haskins also stated that Teresa Lewis was and is able to make a plea agreement and enter pleas. Lewis’ lawyer stated that “She’s not mentally retarded, but she is very, very close to it.” Defence attorneys thought the evidence against Lewis was overwhelming and advised her to plead guilty to the capital charges in order to avoid a jury, and hope that the judge would show some leniency since Lewis had been cooperating with investigators. However, she was sentenced to death.
Lewis’ last meal consisted of two fried chicken breasts, sweet peas with butter, a Dr Pepper and apple pie for dessert. Lewis addressed stepdaughter Kathy Lewis Clifton, who came to witness her execution, to apologize for killing her brother and father. Her last words were:
“I just want Kathy to know that I love you, and I’m very sorry.”
Lewis was executed on September 23rd, 2010, at 9 p.m. by lethal injection, at Greensville Correctional Center near Jarratt. This made her the 12th woman to be executed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Jared Harris (57), Steve Guttenberg (60), Rupert Grint (30), Stephen Fry (61), Ray Park (44), Charley Boorman (52), Kristen Wiig (45), Richard Armitage (47), Honor Blackman (93), James the cunt Corden (40), Ty Burrell (51), Carrie-Anne Moss (51), Hayden Panettiere (29), Kim Cattrall (62), RJ Mitte (26), Kenny Rogers (80), Amy Adams (44), Andrew Garfield (35), Ben Barnes (37), Jonathan Ke Quan (47), John Noble (70), Joan Allen (62), James Marsters (56), Misha Collins (44), David Walliams (47), Ray Wise (71), Demi Lovato (26), Sylvester McCoy (75), Matthew Perry (49), Jonathan Frakes (66), Ian McElhinney (70), Kevin Dillon (53), Diana Muldaur (80), Simon Bird (34), Roman Polanski (85), Edward Norton (49), Robert Redford (82), Christian Slater (49), Madeleine Stowe (60), and Denis Leary (61).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Barbara March, 65, Canadian actress (Star Trek), cancer.
- Robyn Léwis, 89, Welsh author, politician and arch-druid, Vice President of Plaid Cymru (1970–1976).
- V. B. Chandrasekhar, 57, Indian cricketer (Tamil Nadu, Goa, national team), heart attack.
- Princess Christina of the Netherlands, 72, Dutch royal, bone cancer.
- Peter Fonda, 79, American actor and screenwriter (Easy Rider, Ulee’s Gold, 3:10 to Yuma), lung cancer.
- Richard Williams, 86, Canadian-British animator and director (The Thief and the Cobbler, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Return of the Pink Panther), three-time Oscar winner, cancer.
In Other News
Police are investigating after Labour activist Owen Jones was “kicked in the head” by a group of men outside a pub. The Guardian columnist said he had been celebrating his birthday with friends when the men made a “direct beeline” for him in the early hours of Saturday. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said an attack on a journalist was “an attack on free speech and our fundamental values”. The Met said it was working to establish the “full circumstances”. Mr Jones told the BBC he had spent Friday night with his partner and some friends at the Lexington pub on Pentonville Road, Islington. The six of them left the pub at about 02:00 BST on Saturday. As they were saying goodbye to each other, a group of “three or four” men made a “direct beeline” for Mr Jones. Mr Jones claimed it was a “premeditated” move by “far right” activists. “They marched over, kicked me in the back, threw me on the floor… and then kicked me in the head,” he said. Mr Jones said his friends were also punched in the head as they tried to stop the “frenzied” attack on him – and that there was “no question” the men were “specifically” targeting him. Mr Jones said the attack was the latest in a series of assaults since he was verbally abused by protesters on College Green in Westminster earlier this year. “I’m obviously very concerned and worried – not simply about my own personal safety, but of others, and the fact that the far right feels increasingly emboldened and far right-types are feeling increasingly prepared to resort to thuggery and violence.”
Peter Murphy, former frontman of goth rock group Bauhaus, has suffered a heart attack. In a statement posted to Murphy’s Instagram, his management confirmed that the 62-year-old star was admitted to a New York hospital after experiencing “shortness of breath” and was later determined to have had a heart attack. As a result, several dates in Murphy’s New York residency at music venue Le Poisson Rouge have been postponed. “Sadly, Peter is physically unable to perform the remaining shows in the Residency series” the statement read. “These shows will be postponed to later dates to be determined.” Ticket holders have been offered transfers to a new date, or a refund on their tickets. Murphy’s family additionally said in a statement: “We would like to thank the fans for their undying support and hope that Peter will be back on stage with a refreshed heart, stronger than before!” Last year Murphy joined Bauhaus for a world tour celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary, and is currently in the midst of his second residency following a successful stint in San Francisco. His last solo record Lion was released in 2014.
Olivia Newton-John has been seen for the first time since she opened up about her battle with breast cancer. The Grease actress, 70, recently revealed she doesn’t know how much longer she has to live as the chance of a cure for her condition – which is at stage four – is very slim. On Wednesday night she hit the red carpet at the Industry Dance Awards and Cancer Benefit Show in Hollywood, where she picked up an award. She looked glam in a white trouser suit and shimmery silver top which she matched with her trainers. Olivia was all smiles as she posed for photos and wanted people to know that she was feeling good. “I just want everyone to know, I’m here, I’m doing great, it was a challenging year because I broke my sacrum and I had to learn to walk again and everything. But I am strong and I am back and I’m feeling good and loving every minute.” Olivia shared the devastating news that she’s battling breast cancer for the third time back in November. She decided it was better for her mental health if her doctors didn’t tell her how long she had left.
On This Day
- 1612 – The trial of the Pendle witches, one of England’s most famous witch trials, begins at Lancaster Assizes.
- 1634 – Urbain Grandier, accused and convicted of sorcery, is burned alive in Loudun, France.
- 1958 – Vladimir Nabokov‘s controversial novel Lolita is published in the United States.
- 1227 – Genghis Khan, Mongolian emperor (b. 1162)
- 1998 – Persis Khambatta, Indian model and actress, Femina Miss India 1965 (b. 1948)
- 2017 – Bruce Forsyth, English television presenter and entertainer (b. 1928)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Robert De Niro (75), Sean Penn (58), Belinda Carlisle (60), Steve Carell (56), James Cameron (64), Julie Newmar (85), Madonna (60), Jennifer Lawrence (29), Ben Affleck (47), Natasha Henstridge (45), Joe Jonas (30), Jim Dale (84), Tony Robinson (73), Mila Kunis (36), Halle Berry (53), Steve Martin (74), Joseph Marcell (71), Cara Delevingne (27), Chris Hemsworth (36), Ian McDiarmid (75), and Hulk Hogan (66).
William George Bonin also known as the Freeway Killer, was an American serial killer and twice-paroled sex offender who committed the rape, torture, and murder of a minimum of 21 boys and young men in a series of killings in 1979 and 1980 in southern California. Bonin is also suspected of committing a further 15 murders. Described by the prosecutor at his first trial as “the most arch-evil person who ever existed”, Bonin was convicted of 14 of the murders linked to the “Freeway Killer” in two separate trials in 1982 and 1983. He spent 14 years on death row before he was executed by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison on February 23, 1996. Bonin became known as the “Freeway Killer” due to the fact that the majority of his victims’ bodies were discovered alongside numerous freeways in southern California. He shares this epithet with two separate and unrelated serial killers: Patrick Kearney and Randy Kraft.
Bonin’s quest started early, on November 17, 1968, at age 21, Bonin committed a sexual assault on a youth. He was to commit three further sexual assaults upon boys and youths over the following four months. The victims of these four assaults were aged between 12 and 18 and in each instance, he bound or otherwise restrained his victim before forcibly engaging in sodomy, oral copulation, and methods of torture which included bludgeoning and the squeezing of his victims’ testicles. In early 1969, Bonin was arrested as he attempted to restrain a 16-year-old youth whom he had lured into his vehicle; he was indicted on five counts of kidnapping, four counts of sodomy, one count of oral copulation, and one count of child molestation against the five youths he had abducted. Bonin pleaded guilty to molestation and forced oral copulation and was sentenced to the Atascadero State Hospital as a mentally disordered sexual offender. While detained at this hospital, Bonin was subjected to a battery of psychiatric examinations, which revealed that he possessed a higher than average IQ of 121, and displayed traits of manic depression in addition to damage to the prefrontal cortex of his brain—which would likely reduce his ability to restrain any violent impulses. Two years after his arrival at the Atascadero State Hospital, Bonin was sent to prison, declared unsuitable for further treatment—largely due to his repeatedly engaging in forceful sexual activity with male inmates. On June 11, 1974, he was released from prison after doctors concluded he was “no longer a danger to the health and safety of others. He then went on to murder dozens of young boys and men.
On June 11, police observed Bonin driving in a seemingly random manner throughout Hollywood, unsuccessfully attempting to lure five separate teenage boys into his van, before succeeding in luring a youth into his vehicle. The police followed Bonin until his van parked in a desolate parking lot close to the Hollywood Freeway, then discreetly approached the vehicle. Upon hearing muffled screams and banging sounds emanating from inside the van, these plainclothes officers forced their way into the vehicle; discovering Bonin in the act of raping a 17-year-old Orange County runaway named Harold Tate, whom he had handcuffed and bound. Although initially protesting his innocence in any of the murders, Bonin confessed to abducting, raping, and killing 21 boys and young men. He expressed no remorse for his actions, but he did demonstrate extreme embarrassment and regret over having been caught. Bonin was brought to trial in Los Angeles County, charged with the murder of 12 of his victims whose bodies had been found within this constituency. Bonin was sentenced to death for the murders. Describing the murders as “a gross, revolting affront to human dignity”, the judge further ordered at this hearing that if Bonin’s death sentence were commuted to one of life imprisonment, the sentences should run consecutively.
Bonin was to remain incarcerated on death row for 14 years at San Quentin State Prison, awaiting execution in the gas chamber. In his years on death row, he undertook both painting and writing as hobbies, and received several minor awards for his artwork, short stories and poems. He also corresponded with numerous individuals, including the mothers of some of his victims, he never expressed any regret or remorse over having murdered their sons. On one occasion, Bonin informed one mother that her son had been his favourite victim as “he was such a screamer”. Bonin was executed by lethal injection inside the gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison on February 23, 1996. He was the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the history of California. At 6 p.m. on the day he was executed, Bonin was moved from his cell to a death watch cell, where he ordered his last meal: two large pepperoni and sausage pizzas, three pints of chocolate ice cream and three six-packs of Pepsi. Bonin was escorted from his holding cell into the execution chamber. In his final statement, given to the prison warden one hour prior to his scheduled execution at midnight, Bonin again expressed no remorse for his crimes and left a note that stated:
I feel the death penalty is not an answer to the problems at hand. I feel it sends the wrong message to the people of this country. Young people act as they see other people acting instead of as people tell them to act. I would advise that when a person has a thought of doing anything serious against the law, that before they did, they should go to a quiet place and think about it seriously.
Bonin was pronounced dead at 12:13 a.m. He was 49 at the time of his execution.
This weeks big news is the suicide of that lovely individual called Jeffrey Epstein. However convenient his death may be to some major players in the world, it’s crass and pointless to engage in conspiracy theories about it, as we’ll probably never know who committed Epstein’s suicide.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Miriam, 38, Mexican reality show personality (There’s Something About Miriam, Big Brother Australia 2004).
- Henri Belolo, 82, French music producer (The Ritchie Family, Village People) and songwriter.
- Alfred Smith, 111, Scottish supercentenarian, oldest man in Scotland.
- Toni Morrison, 88, American author (The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, Beloved), Nobel laureate (1993), Pulitzer Prize winner (1988).
- Jeffrey Epstein, 66, American financier (Bear Stearns), philanthropist (Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation) and convicted sex offender, suicide by hanging.
In Other News
Country music legend Willie Nelson has canceled his tour just as it began, due to a medical issue. The 86 year old singer took to his verified Twitter on Wednesday night, to reveal that his tour with Allison Krauss is canceled due to a breathing problem. Nelson didn’t indicate whether there were any plans in the immediate future to hit the road again. ‘To my fans, I’m sorry to cancel my tour, but I have a breathing problem that I need to have my doctor check out. I’ll be back Love, Willie,’ the singer said. He wouldn’t elaborate on the medical issue, but Nelson had just embarked on his tour on Monday, with a performance at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This isn’t the first time that Nelson has been forced to cancel numerous performances due to medical issues. Nelson has had a history of emphysema, and in 2012 he canceled a performance in the Denver area due to complications with emphysema due to the high altitude. In 2015, after several years of difficulties with emphysema, Nelson underwent stem cell therapy to improve his lungs. A longtime cigarette smoker, he quite several years ago but continued smoking marijuana, though in 2008, he used a carbon free method to avoid effects of smoke.
You might remember that Jimmy Osmond, 56, suffered a stroke during a pantomime performance of Peter Pan in Birmingham at the end of last year. The singer fell ill on stage but still continued his performance and signed autographs for fans before being rushed to hospital. Now, Merrill Osmond, 66, who was previously the lead singer of the sibling’s group The Osmonds, has said a return to the stage for his brother is unlikely. He commented: “I think they are off the cards. I think they are off, brother. We used to be called The Osmond Brothers. Now it’s down to Brother Osmond.” Merrill went on to say his brother’s illness is a “big enough disaster” to prevent him from performing again. “He definitely needed space – and he still does. He doesn’t want to meet with anybody,” he added.
Happy Mondays star Shaun Ryder says he’s taking more pills than ever because ‘getting old is really shit’. Bizarrely, the singer, now 56, now pops more prescription drugs than ecstasy tablets. He told us: “I’m on so many fucking drugs I rattle when I walk. I have to take all sorts of bleedin’ stuff for all me different ailments. Shaun has never hidden his past struggles with drugs – he’d regularly indulge in a cocktail of booze, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana after a gig. But these days, while on tour with the band four decades later for their greatest hits tour, he’s got a new addiction to contend with. “Just shit loads of chocolate really,” he said. “It used to be sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. Now it’s just rock ’n’ roll – the wife is gutted. Shaun recently hit the headlines about his appearance when all his body hair fell out. He explained in an interview that he now has ‘no eyelashes, no fingernails, no head, no hair whatsoever’ – and it has left doctors completely baffled. “I got alopecia and all me hair fell out,” he said. “At the start of this year I had hair and a beard and then, almost overnight, the whole lot went, eyelashes, eyebrows, even me pubes. “They don’t know what’s caused it. At first they thought I had that immune deficiency thing, but I haven’t. Then they said it was linked to me under active thyroid but that just makes me fat and tired. “And I haven’t produced any testosterone for 10 years. I used to have injections but now I’m on the gel which is better.”
On This Day
- 1934 – The first civilian prisoners arrive at the Federal prison on Alcatraz Island.
- 1942 – Actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil receive a patent for a Frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system that later became the basis for modern technologies in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi.
- 1969 – The Apollo 11 astronauts are released from a three-week quarantine following their lift-off from the moon.
- 2000 – An air rage incident occurs on board Southwest Airlines Flight 1763 when 19-year-old Jonathan Burton attempts to storm the cockpit, but he is subdued by other passengers and dies from his injuries.
- 480 BC – Leonidas I, Agiad King of Sparta
- 1956 – Jackson Pollock, American painter (b. 1912)
- 1994 – Peter Cushing, English actor (b. 1913)
- 2014 – Robin Williams, American actor and comedian (b. 1951)
Friedrich Heinrich Karl “Fritz” Haarmann was a German serial killer, known as the Butcher of Hanover, the Vampire of Hanover and the Wolf-Man. Between 1918 and 1924, Haarmann is known to have committed at least 24 murders, although he is suspected of murdering a minimum of 27. All of Haarmann’s victims were males between the ages of 10 and 22, the majority of whom were in their mid- to late-teens. The victims would be lured back to one of three addresses in which Haarmann is known to have resided throughout those years. He is known to have killed upon the promise of assistance, accommodation, work, or under the pretence of arrest. At Haarmann’s apartment, the victim would typically be given food and drink before Haarmann bit into his Adam’s apple, often as he was strangled. In many instances, this act would cause the victim to die of asphyxiation, although on several occasions, Haarmann would bite completely through his victims’ Adams apple and trachea. (Haarmann would refer to the act of biting through his victims’ neck as being his “love bite”.) All of Haarmann’s victims were dismembered before their bodies were discarded, usually in the Leine River, although the dismembered body of his first known victim had simply been buried, and the body of his last victim had been thrown into a lake located at the entrance to the Herrenhausen Gardens. Following Haarmann’s arrest, rumours would circulate that the flesh of his victims had been consumed by Haarmann himself or sold upon the black market as pork or horse meat. Although no physical evidence was ever produced to confirm these theories, Haarmann was known to be an active trader in contraband meat, which was invariably boneless, diced and often sold as mince. Haarmann was found guilty of 24 of the 27 murders for which he was tried and sentenced to death by beheading in December 1924. In addition, in accordance with German practice, his honorary rights of citizenship were revoked.
At 6 o’clock on the morning of 15 April 1925, Fritz Haarmann was beheaded by guillotine in the grounds of Hanover prison. In accordance with German tradition, Haarmann was not informed of his execution date until the prior evening. Upon receipt of the news, he observed prayer with his pastor, before being granted his final wishes of an expensive cigar to smoke and Brazilian coffee to drink in his cell. No members of the press were permitted to witness the execution, and the event was seen by only a handful of witnesses. According to published reports, although Haarmann was pale and nervous, he maintained a sense of bravado as he walked to the guillotine. The last words Haarmann spoke were: “I am guilty, gentlemen, but, hard though it may be, I want to die as a man.” Immediately prior to placing his head upon the execution apparatus, Haarmann added: “I repent, but I do not fear death.” Following Haarmann’s execution, sections of his brain were removed for forensic analysis. An examination of slices of Haarmann’s brain revealed traces of meningitis, although no sections of Haarmann’s brain were permanently preserved. Nonetheless, Haarmann’s head was preserved in formaldehyde and remained in the possession of the Göttingen medical school from 1925 until 2014, when it was cremated.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Antonio Banderas (58), Rosanna Arquette (59), Anna Kendrick (34), Sam Elliott (75), Gillian Anderson (51), Rhona Mitra (43), Eric Bana (51), Melanie Griffith (62), Audrey Tautou (43), Dustin Hoffman (82), Charlize Theron (44), Abbie Cornish (37), Michael Shannon (45), David Duchovny (59), M. Night Shyamalan (49), Michelle Yeoh (57), Barbara Windsor (82), Geri Horner (47), Mark Strong (56), Tawny Kitaen (58), Meghan Markle (38), Billy Bob Thornton (64), and Barack Obama (58).
They say self praise is no praise, however I’ve managed to write a bumper edition of the newsletter when fuck all seems to be happening in the world of celebrity deaths. Fair play to me! In fairness, this year is turning out to be a bit of a washout, scoring has been low and barely anyone of notable fame has passed away. Let’s hope the latter third of the year delivers something better.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Hamza bin Laden, 29–30, Saudi jihadist (al-Qaeda).
- Ian Gibbons, 67, English keyboardist (The Kinks), bladder cancer.
- D. A. Pennebaker, 94, American documentary filmmaker (Dont Look Back, Monterey Pop, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars).
- Nikolai Kardashev, 87, Russian astrophysicist and SETI pioneer, known for the Kardashev scale of extraterrestrial civilisations.
- Joe Longthorne, 64, English singer and impersonator (Live from…), throat cancer.
In Other News
Michael Schumacher watched last weekend’s German Grand Prix alongside former Ferrari team boss Jean Todt, the FIA president has revealed, and he is still “fighting” to recover from the serious head injuries he suffered in a skiing accident six-five-and-a-half years ago. The seven-time Formula One world champion struck his head on a rock in a skiing accident in December 2013 while skiing with his son Mick in the Meribel resort. Schumacher received emergency treatment at Grenoble Hospital before being transferred to Switzerland’s University Hospital in Lausanne, and returned to the family home in Geneva in September 2014 where a state-of-the-art clinic had been installed to continue his treatment. Updates on Schumacher’s condition have been sparse, with his family keen to keep the matter private unless they feel it necessary to let the public know about his recovery. But a number of the German’s friends from the motorsport world make numerous visits to see him, with current FIA president and former Ferrari team principal Todt one of his most frequent guests. Speaking to Radio Monte-Carlo this week, Todt revealed that he was at the family home over the weekend to join Schumacher in watching Sunday’s Grand Prix at Hockenheim. “I’m always careful with such statements, but it’s true. I saw the race together with Michael Schumacher at his home in Switzerland,” Todt said. He added that the 50-year-old is making “good progress”. “Michael is in the best hands and is well looked after in his house. “He does not give up and keeps fighting.” Little is known about what condition Schumacher is in, though Todt did say that is saddens him that they cannot share the same relationship that they had while together at Ferrari for their trophy-laden partnership that brought five drivers’ championships and six constructors’ championships. “His family is fighting just as much and of course our friendship cannot be the same as it once was,” Todt added. “Just because there’s no longer the same communication as before. Schumacher’s lawyer confirmed in 2016 that he “cannot walk” after the family took legal action against a German publication for saying otherwise, and Todt was keen to honour their desire for privacy by not revealing any details on his current condition.
Amanda Barrie is best known for playing Alma Sedgwick in Coronation Street, a role she played on and off for 20 years. But one thing fans of the star may not know about her is the potentially life-threatening allergy she lives with. The 83 year old actress “blew up like a balloon” one night as part of an allergic response to anaphylaxis. Her throat became swollen and she struggled to breathe until medics gave her powerful antihistamines to counteract the extreme reaction. “It was really terrifying”. But what is most frightening about the actress’ ordeal is she didn’t know what triggered her anaphylaxis. Amanda has had a couple of extreme allergic reactions since her first ordeal, which occurred September 1998 – the night of Diana, Princess of Wales’ funeral. But none have been as serious as the first episode. She now carries an Epipen with her at all times in case of emergency.
Home And Away star Ray Meagher had to be hospitalised for emergency heart surgery this week. The actor, who plays Alf Stewart on the Australian soap, had to undergo a triple bypass after doctors discovered three serious blockages during a routine health check. The 75-year-old is reportedly feeling “very very lucky” that the blockages were found in time. He and his wife have had to cancel their planned winter trip to Queensland so he can recover at home in Sydney. The Melbourne Herald Sun reports that a simple stent procedure should have been enough to keep Ray’s heart ticking along but “the extent of the coronary calcification meant he was scheduled for open heart surgery the next day”. Ray sparked worries about his health when he announced he would be scaling back his role on Home and Away earlier this year. He told This Morning: “Over the last 10-20 years, each Christmas I come over to Britain to do a pantomime, and more recently I went over twice to do Priscilla Queen Of The Desert in the West End. “Once was a six month stint, another a run of four months in that same show. “If you average my time out over the last 10-15 years, I probably average 40 weeks a year. “From now on, on a new contract, I’ll probably work 35-36 weeks of the year. So it’s just taking a tiny bit more time out, but I ain’t going nowhere.”
On This Day
- 1693 – Date traditionally ascribed to Dom Perignon‘s invention of champagne; it is not clear whether he actually invented champagne, however he has been credited as an innovator who developed the techniques used to perfect sparkling wine.
- 1783 – Mount Asama erupts in Japan, killing about 1,400 people. The eruption causes a famine, which results in an additional 20,000 deaths.
- 1944 – The Holocaust: A tip from a Dutch informer leads the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse, where they find and arrest Jewish diarist Anne Frank, her family, and four others.
- 1875 – Hans Christian Andersen, Danish novelist, short story writer, and poet (b. 1805)
- 1962 – Marilyn Monroe, American model and actress (b. 1926)
- 1997 – Jeanne Calment, French super-centenarian; holds records for the world’s substantiated longest-lived person (b. 1875)
Otto Adolf Eichmann was a senior Assault Unit Leader in the Nazi SS Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organisers of The Holocaust. He was tasked with facilitating and managing the logistics involved in the mass deportation of Jews to the extermination camps during WWII. At the end of the war, Eichmann was captured by US forces and spent time in several camps for SS officers. Following his trial, Eichmann was convicted on 15 counts of crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes against the Jewish people, and membership in a criminal organisation. The judges declared him not guilty of personally killing anyone and not guilty of overseeing and controlling the activities of the Einsatzgruppen. He was deemed responsible for the dreadful conditions on board the deportation trains and for obtaining Jews to fill those trains. In addition to being found guilty of crimes against Jews, he was convicted for crimes against Poles, Slovenes and Gypsies. When considering the sentence, the judges concluded that Eichmann had not merely been following orders, but believed in the Nazi cause wholeheartedly and had been a key perpetrator of the genocide. For his last meal, Eichmann’s final request was a bottle of Carmel, an Israeli red wine; which you can still buy from Ocado for £10.95. He drank about half of the bottle, which seems a bit of a waste to me. Eichmann was hanged at a prison in Ramla hours later. His last words were reported to be:
Long live Germany. Long live Argentina. Long live Austria. These are the three countries with which I have been most connected and which I will not forget. I greet my wife, my family and my friends. I am ready. We’ll meet again soon, as is the fate of all men. I die believing in God.
Rafi Eitan, who accompanied Eichmann to the hanging, claimed in 2014 to have heard him later mumble “I hope that all of you will follow me”, making those his final words. Within hours Eichmann’s body had been cremated, and his ashes scattered in the Mediterranean Sea, outside Israeli territorial waters, by an Israeli Navy patrol boat.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Evangeline Lilly (39), Stephen Graham (45), Martin Sheen (78), John Landis (68), Mamie Gummer (35), John C. McGinley (59), Steven Berkoff (81), Edward Furlong (41), Kevin Smith (48), Sam Worthington (42), Jason Momoa (40), Wesley Snipes (57), Michael Biehn (63), Emilia Fox (45), Dean Cain (53), J.K. Rowling (54), Christopher Nolan (49), Arnold Schwarzenegger (72), Hilary Swank (45), Lisa Kudrow (56), Jean Reno (71), Laurence Fishburne (58), Frances de la Tour (75), Paul Anka (78), Wil Wheaton (47), David Warner (78), and Elizabeth Berkley (47).
Another pointless week, sadly marked by the passing of Rutger Hauer. Although many of you have seen him in Blade Runner, my personal favourite of his was Salute of the Jugger, but most if his 80’s films were awesome!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Rutger Hauer, 75, Dutch actor (Blade Runner, Nighthawks, The Hitcher).
- Li Peng, 90, Chinese politician, Premier (1987–1998), Vice Premier (1983–1987). Known as the “Butcher of Beijing” for his role in the Tiananmen Square massacre.
- Maxim Dadashev, 28, Russian boxer, head injuries sustained in match.
- Carl Mattsson, 111, Swedish supercentenarian, oldest person in the Nordic countries.
- Jimmy Patton, 87, British comedian (Patton Brothers, ChuckleVision), cancer.
- Russi Taylor, 75, American voice actress (Disney’s House of Mouse, The Simpsons, DuckTales).
In Other News
Comedian and broadcaster Sir Michael Palin is to have surgery to fix a “leaky valve” in his heart. The Monty Python member discovered a problem with his mitral valve – a small flap that stops blood flowing the wrong way around the heart – five years ago. It had not affected his general fitness until earlier this year, he said. “Recently, though, I have felt my heart having to work harder and have been advised it’s time to have the valve repaired,” he wrote on his website. “I shall be undergoing surgery in September and should be back to normal, or rather better than normal, within three months.” According to the NHS, a leaking mitral valve – known as mitral regurgitation – can cause dizziness, breathlessness, tiredness and chest pain, and can potentially lead to an irregular and fast heartbeat, high blood pressure and heart failure. The 76-year-old has cancelled a book tour scheduled for October to promote his North Korea Journal, a spin-off from his recent Channel 5 documentary about the country.
Wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein was found semi-conscious in his prison cell on Thursday, US media reports say. The 66-year-old, who is awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, was reportedly found sprawled on the floor with injuries to his neck on Wednesday. The cause is unclear – neither suicide attempt nor assault has been ruled out. He has been at the New York facility since being denied bail last week. Epstein has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. The US Bureau of Prisons issued a statement saying that Epstein was, as of noon local time (16:00 GMT), at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Centre and “not in a local hospital as has been reported”. But it was not clear if he had been treated for injuries either at a hospital or the prison, with officials saying “we do not share information on an inmate’s medical status or their conditions of confinement”. He was taken to a nearby hospital in Manhattan, reports say, but his condition has not been made public. Investigators are working to establish what happened. According to the indictment, the financier is accused of paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.
Finally, because Nickie is obsessed with it, I’m bringing back the Last Meals section. A few longtime subscribers might remember a few of these from back in the day, so forgive me if I’m repeating myself.
We’ll start with John Wayne Gacy (1942 –1994). He was an American serial killer who raped, tortured and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, Illinois. All of Gacy’s known murders were committed inside his Norwood Park ranch house. His victims were typically induced to his address by force or deception, and all except one of his victims were murdered by asphyxiation or strangulation with a makeshift garrotte, his first victim was stabbed to death. Gacy buried 26 of his victims in the crawl space of his home. Three other victims were buried elsewhere on his property, while the bodies of his last four known victims were discarded in the Des Plaines River. Gacy became known as the “Killer Clown” because of his charitable services at fund-raising events, parades, and children’s parties where he would dress as “Pogo the Clown” or “Patches the Clown”, characters that he had created. Popular rumour suggests that Ronald McDonald was retired due to Gacy’s actions and that many horror clown stories are based on him. For his last meal, Gacy requested 12 fried shrimp, a bucket of original recipe KFC, french fries, and a pound of strawberries. His final statement to his lawyer before his execution was that killing him would not compensate for the loss of others, and that the state was murdering him. His final spoken words were “Kiss my ass”. One fun fact, prior to being convicted, Gacy managed three KFC outlets. Nom Nom!
On This Day
- 1540 – Thomas Cromwell is executed at the order of Henry VIII of England on charges of treason. Henry marries his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, on the same day.
- 1976 – The Tangshan earthquake measuring between 7.8 and 8.2 moment magnitude flattens Tangshan in the People’s Republic of China, killing 242,769 and injuring 164,851.
- 2005 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army calls an end to its thirty-year-long armed campaign in Northern Ireland.
- 1540 – Thomas Cromwell, English lawyer and politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer (b. 1495)
- 1655 – Cyrano de Bergerac, French poet and playwright (b. 1619)
- 1741 – Antonio Vivaldi, Italian violinist and composer (b. 1678)
- 1750 – Johann Sebastian Bach, German organist and composer (b. 1685)
- 2004 – Francis Crick, English biologist and biophysicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1916)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (48), Taylor Schilling (34), Donnie Yen (55), Jason Statham (52), Kate Beckinsale (46), Sandra Bullock (55), Kevin Spacey (60), Helen Mirren (74), Nana Visitor (62), Eve Myles (41), Mick Jagger (76), Roger Taylor (70), Matt LeBlanc (52), Iman (64), Elisabeth Moss (37), Jennifer Lopez (50), Summer Glau (38), Anna Paquin (37), Lynda Carter (68), Danny Dyer (42), Daniel Radcliffe (30), Woody Harrelson (58), Charisma Carpenter (49), Ronny Cox (81), Slash (54), Willem Dafoe (64), Rhys Ifans (52), Selena Gomez (27), Terence Stamp (81), Danny Glover (73), Louise Fletcher (85), Ross Kemp (55), John Woodvine (90), and Paloma Faith (38).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Craig Fallon, 36, British judoka, world champion (2005).
- Marc Batchelor, 49, South African footballer (Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates), shot.
- Karl Shiels, 47, Irish actor (Fair City, Into the Badlands, Henry IV, Part 1).
- Pernell Whitaker, 55, American boxer, four-weight world champion, Olympic champion (1984), traffic collision.
- Richard Carter, 65, Australian actor (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Great Gatsby, Rafferty’s Rules).
In Other News
Hong Kong actor Simon Yam has been stabbed while speaking at an event in southern China. According to his manager, Lester Mo Gee-man, Yam was stabbed in the stomach but police say his injuries are not life-threatening. The 64-year-old actor is currently undergoing “a minor operation” at a hospital in Zhongshan city. “He was stabbed in his stomach and slashed on his arm, but was conscious the entire time,” Lester Mo Gee-man told the South China Morning Post. He added: “A preliminary investigation showed his injuries were not critical but the doctors are still deciding whether to operate on him”. Yam has appeared in more than 125 movies and 40 television series. His most high-profile Hollywood role came in 2003 Hollywood sequel Lara Croft: Tomb Raider -The Cradle of Life. Yam was attending the opening of new shop in Zhongshan in the southern province of Guangdong on Saturday when a man rushed the stage and attacked Yam. Two videos have surfaced on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. One shows Yam clutching his stomach after the attack. A suspect has been detained, but a motive remains unclear.
Labour MP Emily Thornberry was taken to hospital after coming off her bicycle in an accident outside Parliament. The shadow foreign secretary was involved in a collision with a vehicle in Parliament Square, Westminster, outside the House of Commons on Friday. The Islington South and Finsbury MP was taken to hospital in an ambulance. spokesperson for Ms Thornberry said she had now been discharged and was “hugely grateful” for the support of the paramedics and A&E staff. “She will be back to work and back on her bike as soon as possible,” the spokesperson added. Looks like she’s not that good at cycling, so we should really keep an eye on her.
A man choked to death on a piece of meat about five months after his brother died in exactly the same way. An inquest has been opened into the death of Selwyn Francis, 68, who choked on food at a restaurant in Flintshire and died in hospital two days later. He died a day after an inquest heard his brother Gwyn Francis had died after choking on a piece of steak at a pub. Their brother Kenneth Francis had said he and his two brothers ate quickly without chewing their food properly. Kenneth Francis told the inquest into Gwyn’s death that Selwyn had choked on a piece of steak at the same pub 18 months earlier but the obstruction had been cleared by someone performing the Heimlich manoeuvre. “I said it should be a warning to us all,” Kenneth Francis had told the earlier inquest. Let’s hope that Kenneth chews his food from now on.
On This Day
- 356 BC – The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is destroyed by arson.
- 1865 – In the market square of Springfield, Missouri, Wild Bill Hickok shoots and kills Davis Tutt in what is regarded as the first western showdown.
- 1969 – At 02:56 UTC, astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to walk on the Moon.
- 1972 – The Troubles: Bloody Friday: The Provisional IRA detonate 22 bombs in central Belfast in the space of 80 minutes, killing nine and injuring 130.
- 1983 – The world’s lowest temperature in an inhabited location is recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica at −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F).
- 2001 – At the conclusion of a fireworks display on Okura Beach in Akashi, Hyōgo, Japan, 11 people are killed and more than 120 are injured when a pedestrian footbridge connecting the beach to JR Asagiri Station becomes overcrowded and people leaving the event fall down in a domino effect.
- •1796 – Robert Burns, Scottish poet and songwriter (b. 1759)
- •1967 – Basil Rathbone, South African-American actor and singer (b. 1892)
- •1998 – Alan Shepard, American admiral, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1923)
- •2004 – Jerry Goldsmith, American composer and conductor (b. 1929)
- •2015 – E. L. Doctorow, American novelist, short story writer, and playwright (b. 1931)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Diana Rigg (80), John Francis Daley (33), Gisele Bündchen (38), Benedict Cumberbatch (43), Jared Padalecki (37), Brian May (72), Kristen Bell (39), Vin Diesel (52), Priyanka Chopra (37), Alex Winter (54), Donald Sutherland (84), David Hasselhoff (67), Konnie Huq (44), Phoebe Cates (56), Will Ferrell (52), Corey Feldman (48), Travis Fimmel (40), Diane Kruger (43), Brigitte Nielsen (56), Forest Whitaker (58), Celia Imrie (67), Jesse Ventura (68), Linda Ronstadt (73), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (34), Jackie Earle Haley (58), David Mitchell (45), and Kyle Gass (59).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Freddie Jones, 91, British actor (Emmerdale, The Ghosts of Motley Hall, Dune).
- Arthur Ryan, 83, Irish clothier, founder and chairman of Primark.
- Ross Perot, 89, American billionaire businessman, philanthropist and presidential candidate, founder of Electronic Data Systems and the Reform Party, leukemia.
- Rip Torn, 88, American actor (Cross Creek, The Larry Sanders Show, Men in Black), Emmy winner (1996).
- Denise Nickerson, 62, American actress (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Dark Shadows, Smile), seizure.
- Albert Shepherd, 82, British actor (The Anniversary, Charlie Bubbles, Before Winter Comes, Crossroads).
- Brendan Grace, 68, Irish comedian (Moondance, Father Ted) and singer, lung cancer.
In Other News
Sting has cancelled multiple European concert dates due to a mystery illness. The 67-year-old singer announced the news on Twitter on Tuesday just hours after revealing he couldn’t play his upcoming Munich concert under “doctor’s orders”. Taking to social media, the former The Police frontman apologised for “disappointing” any excited fans. “It is with great regret that Sting’s concerts previously scheduled for Thursday, Jul 11 at Jazzopen in Stuttgart, Germany and Friday, July 12 at the Castle Garden in Slavkov u Brna, Czech Republic will be cancelled,” a statement on his Twitter read. “As reported earlier this week, Sting is under the weather and under doctor’s orders, was forced to also cancel concerts in Ghent, Belgium (Monday July 8) and Munich, Germany (Wednesday, July 10). “Sting sincerely regrets disappointing or causing any inconvenience to the fans.” he post added that fans could obtain refunds for their tickets on his website. Fans are currently none the wiser about the nature of the singer’s health issues. It comes after Sting was also forced to cancel a concert with Jamaican singer Shaggy back in 2018 due to medical reasons.
Nell Gifford, co-founder of Giffords Circus, has revealed the sad news that she has a year to live. Giffords Circus, based at Fennells Farm in Lypiatt, is a Stroud institution, with many families returning year upon year for each new show. Nell, the creative visionary behind the circus, and also one of its glamorous performers, shared her cancer prognosis in an interview with the Evening Standard yesterday. “I have a poor outlook,” she said. “I’ve been diagnosed with a year to live and things like that and I can hardly remember the feeling of being without cancer. But I’m having loads of treatment under an incredible oncologist, ducking and diving through the NHS and private system.” Nell has kept her nine-year-old twins Red and Cecil fully informed about what’s going on. She said the circus ‘has become a lifeline’. “It always has been. It’s a support system, I’m the happiest I am here on the show. It probably props me up more than I prop it up. In the most calamitous times it’s been what I’ve turned to and what’s contained me and where I’ve felt safe. It’s the community, being by the horses; knowing you have your tribe; it’s cool.” Nell was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago and has now been told the disease has spread to her bones and lymph nodes. Last month she was advised she would need more chemotherapy and since then has been dividing her time between hospital and her circus. Nell created the circus with her former husband, Toti Gifford, in 2000. Since then, it has been at the centre of her life and brought joy to thousands of people. Low-fi and vintage in feel, Giffords is now famed for its magical performances.
On This Day
- 1789 – French Revolution: Citizens of Paris storm the Bastille.
- 1865 – First ascent of the Matterhorn by Edward Whymper and party, four of whom die on the descent.
- 1881 – Billy the Kid is shot and killed by Pat Garrett outside Fort Sumner.
- 1992 – 386BSD is released by Lynne Jolitz and William Jolitz beginning the Open Source operating system revolution. Linus Torvalds releases his Linux soon afterwards.
- 2002 – French President Jacques Chirac escapes an assassination attempt unscathed during Bastille Day celebrations.
- 1881 – Billy the Kid, American criminal (b. 1859)
- 1998 – Richard McDonald, American businessman, co-founded McDonald’s (b. 1909)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Harrison Ford (77), Patrick Stewart (79), Ken Jeong (50), Michael Mando (38), Topher Grace (41), Michelle Rodriguez (41), Anna Friel (42), Cheryl Ladd (68), Tamsin Greig (53), Bill Cosby (82), Stephen Lang (67), Mark Lester (61), Lil’ Kim (45), Caroline Quentin (59), Craig Charles (55), Chiwetel Ejiofor (42), Sofía Vergara (47), Peter Serafinowicz (47), Jessica Simpson (39), John Simm (49), Tom Hanks (63), Richard Roundtree (77), Kelly McGillis (62), Fred Savage (43), Scott Grimes (48), Brian Dennehy (81), Linda Park (41), O.J. Simpson (72), Courtney Love (55), Richard Wilson (83), Jack White (44), Kevin Bacon (61), Anjelica Huston (68), Jaden Smith (21), Billy Crudup (51), Jeffrey Tambor (75), Jack Whitehall (31), Shelley Duvall (70), and Ringo Starr (79).
After three earthquakes in California, you’d have expected a few celebrities on today’s list, however, the best we can muster is John McCririck and Vinny Jones’ wife. Luckily to fill the gap we have a guest post from Neil G. plus we have to award some points to Paul C. 71 well earned points for the aforementioned John McCririck!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Glyn Houston, 93, Welsh actor (Doctor Who).
- Mr. Two Bits, 97, American cheerleader (University of Florida).
- Christopher Booker, 81, British journalist (The Sunday Telegraph, Private Eye).
- John McCririck, 79, British horse racing journalist.
- Cameron Boyce, 20, American actor (Jessie, Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything, Descendants), seizure.
In Other News
Stevie Wonder will have a kidney transplant later this year, he has announced. The singer told the crowd about his medical condition as he finished his set at British Summer Time Hyde Park. He said he had found a donor and would perform three more shows before the operation in September, saying: “I’m all good, I’m all good.” Fans greeted the news with a loud, supportive cheer, applauding the 69-year-old singer as he left the stage. He had just finished playing the song Superstition when he told the crowd he wanted to prevent “rumours” spreading about his health. “I’m all good, I’m all good, all good, I have a donor and it’s all good,” he said. “I want you to know, I came here to give you my love and thank you for your love. I love you and God bless you.”
BBC newsreader Kate Williams has revealed she has a rare form of cancer. Williams, who works for BBC Radio 5 Live, said she was diagnosed with cystic peritoneal mesothelioma in 2017. Following surgery later that year, she said her first annual scan showed no evidence of disease, although there was a chance of reoccurrence. She was only aware of three others in the UK who have the cancer, which affects the abdominal cavity. Williams, who is married with two children, said: “If you look at the medical literature, they often quote 153 cases in the world. “And in the UK I know of three other people, mainly through a Facebook group that I joined. “If you look at mesothelioma it’s not a nice one to look at. It’s very aggressive, malignant, quite often caused by asbestos.” Having a rare disease was “really lonely”, she said. “It’s also quite traumatic because every time [I see a new doctor] I have to explain it,” she added. Describing her course of surgery, she said: “It’s called MOAS – mother of all surgeries. “They took out the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, greater omentum, lesser omentum, pelvic peritoneum, another bit of my peritoneum.” She added: “I keep saying I’m lucky or it wasn’t too bad – my surgery was only about six hours. Williams said she still had problems with her bowels and stomach as well as weak bones following the surgery and will continue to have annual scans for the foreseeable future – although her first scan in November showed no evidence of disease.
A ‘relieved’ Chris Froome says he will be following the Tour de France from bed after returning home to start his recovery from the crash which left him seriously injured. Froome, 34, broke his neck, femur, elbow, hip and ribs in the accident on 12th June. “It’s a huge disappointment not to be at the Tour but I’m relieved to finally be out of hospital and home,” he said. Froome hit a wall at 54km/h when he took a hand off his handlebars to blow his nose during a practice ride before stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine in Roanne, France. He would have been chasing a record-equalling fifth victory in the Tour, which starts in Brussels on Saturday.
On This Day
- 1928 – Sliced bread is sold for the first time (on the inventor’s 48th birthday) by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri.
- 1954 – Elvis Presley makes his radio debut when WHBQ Memphis played his first recording for Sun Records, “That’s All Right”.
- 1992 – The New York Court of Appeals rules that women have the same right as men to go topless in public.
- 2005 – A series of four explosions occurs on London’s transport system, killing 56 people, including four suicide bombers, and injuring over 700 others.
- 1307 – Edward I, king of England (b. 1239)
- 1930 – Arthur Conan Doyle, British writer (b. 1859)
- 1973 – Veronica Lake, American actress (b. 1922)
Tales From The Darkside by Neil G.
I could hardly have called it “The Wistful Musings from the Meadow of My Memories – A List of Those Whom I Wish Dead”.
To be fair though I do think about death a lot, particularly on or around December the 31st when I realise I’ve done no actual research into my Dead Pool list for the following year and it’s due in just a few hours.
I often ponder how I might die, in fact just the other day my father imparted to me recently what I would be receiving as my inheritance, “High cholesterol, dodgy prostate and a stamp collection”. Which of that trio might get me first is anyone’s guess but at this point the stamp collection is the clear favourite.
I mean I’m not actually sure how things could be worse at my coronial hearing:
Dr. – He was found dead surrounded by first editions of the Postal Service Commemorative 1st class stamp depicting the Margret Thatcher years, the excitement caused a peak to his blood pressure that his weak heart just couldn’t take.
Coroner – And his prostate?
Dr. – I beg your pardon?
Coroner – His prostate, man. Did it in some way contribute to his untimely death?
Dr. – Um, no your honour. By the normal method of examination it was perfectly fine…
The normal manner of investigation, I shudder, we men folk – such delicate flowers. A one-off finger (lubed) up the clacker as opposed to a lifetime, post-adolescence, of constant examination of the holiest of holies. A poem about prostate examination…
Oh no, oh no the indignity,
For the fingerer and the fingeree.
Right. Back on track and more about death. Who else has a steaming turd of a pointless list this year?
Seriously, I’m considering leaking to the Hollywood elite the miraculous life extending power of my list, those who at a five to midnight on December the 31st are predicted by the honest news available online to soon be ex-celebrities. Imagine the money on offer to be included in my list of the lucky, guaranteed to grant you an extension of at least five years, nay, if not a complete cure even.
Oh no, not next year, oh no. For my planning has begun in earnest already…
As such I will now retreat to some wistful musings from the meadows of my memories to come up with some names. And if by chance you find yourself wandering by some beautiful field full of long grasses and wildflowers, butterflies silhouetted against the setting sun as the beautiful song of the nightingale sounds out into the void, listen closely you may hear a list being repeated in a manner not dissimilar to that of the diminutive murderess of millions Arya Stark, “Donald Trump, Borris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Benjamin Netanyahu, Simon Cowell…”
Well you know, you will have stumbled upon the meadow of my memory, take a look around… It’s entirely at your own risk.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Sylvester Stallone (73), Eva Green (39), Kevin Hart (40), Ned Beatty (82), Geoffrey Rush (68), Jennifer Saunders (61), 50 Cent (44), Burt Ward (74), Huey Lewis (69), Neil Morrissey (57), Ronni Ancona (51), Tom Cruise (57), Patrick Wilson (46), Kurtwood Smith (76), Yeardley Smith (55), Margot Robbie (29), Lindsay Lohan (33), Larry David (72), Jerry Hall (63), Pamela Anderson (52), Liv Tyler (42), Dan Aykroyd (67), Jean Marsh (85), Debbie Harry (74), David Prowse (84), Vincent D’Onofrio (60), Mike Tyson (53), Katherine Ryan (36), and Cheryl (36).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Peter Ball, 87, English Anglican cleric and convicted sex offender, Bishop of Lewes (1977–1992) and Gloucester (1992–1993).
- Billy Drago, 73, American actor (The Untouchables, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., Pale Rider), complications from a stroke.
- Bryan Marshall, 81, British actor (The Spy Who Loved Me, Quatermass and the Pit, The Long Good Friday).
- Beth Chapman, 51, American bounty hunter and reality television personality (Dog the Bounty Hunter, Dog and Beth: On the Hunt, Dog’s Most Wanted), throat cancer.
- Douglas Fielding, 73, British actor (Z-Cars, EastEnders) and narrator (Nightfall in Middle-Earth).
- Max Wright, 75, American actor (ALF, Reds, All That Jazz), lymphoma.
In Other News
Former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler has been rushed to hospital after suffering a stab wound, according to reports. The Media reports that someone called emergency services on Thursday night, to report that someone had stabbed themselves. Adler was apparently found at his home in LA with a stab wound to the stomach, and taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No one else was suspected to have been involved in the incident. Adler has struggled with substance abuse for decades. He was kicked out of Guns N’Roses over his issues with addiction in 1990, after achieving worldwide success as one of the original five in the late Eighties. Adler was later inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the group in 2012.
Rapper Slim 400 was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds, according to reports. Local law enforcement told the media that they received a call at approximately 8.30pm on Friday night for a male who had been shot in Compton. Sources say the circumstances of the shooting are unclear, though it’s believed a black vehicle seen leaving the scene may be involved. The rapper is best known for his appearance on the track “Bruisin”, alongside YG and Sad Boy Loko. Podcaster Adam Grandmaison, known as Adam22, wrote on Twitter: “Slim 400 got shot 10 times and is currently in the hospital. Pray for him.” He also posted text screenshots that claimed the rapper had been shot in the face and back.
Former deputy prime minister and Labour veteran John Prescott has been admitted to hospital after suffering a stroke, his family has said. A statement on the 81-year-old’s Twitter account said he was taken to Hull Royal Infirmary on Friday. He is “over the worst” and “talking”, former Home Secretary Alan Johnson told the BBC. A statement from the family of Lord Prescott said the hospital staff had been “remarkable and we cannot thank them enough”. “He is receiving excellent care from the NHS,” they said, praising the “swift actions” of the paramedics and A&E staff. Mr Johnson said Lord Prescott was enormously grateful for the care he had received. “Now it’s about the aftercare – it’s what comes afterwards that is as important as what happens on the day of the stroke itself,” he said. “They want him to get proper rest to get over this, that’s the number one priority, to recover and get over that important after-stage.” He said there had been no concerns for Lord Prescott’s health in the days prior to the stroke and there were “no signs of him slowing down at all”.
Former West Indies captain Brian Lara says doctors believe his health scare is “nothing major” after he was taken to hospital in Mumbai with chest pain. Lara, 50, had tests on Tuesday after suffering the pain in the gym but hoped to be discharged on Wednesday. “A couple of the tests have come back already,” said Lara in a message on Twitter from Cricket West Indies. “The doctors were quite happy that there is nothing major. I’ll be back in full health very soon.” One of the finest batsman in the game’s history, Lara is in India to perform media duties during the World Cup. “I think I maybe just extended myself too much in the gym this morning and there’s been a bit of pain in my chest,” added Lara. “I’m just letting everyone know I’m fine, I’m recovering and I’ll be back in my hotel room tomorrow. Lara is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen the game has ever seen.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she is “fine” following two bouts of shaking in public that have sparked concerns about her health. Speaking at the G20 summit in Osaka, she said she was convinced that “this reaction will disappear just as it has arisen”, German news agency DPA said. Asked what lay behind it and whether she had seen a doctor, she said she had “nothing in particular to report”. On Thursday she was seen shaking for two minutes at a ceremony in Berlin. The chancellor, who turns 65 next month, gripped her arms until she became steadier. She was offered a glass of water but did not drink it. The previous incident – which she later blamed on dehydration – saw her shaking while standing next to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in hot sunshine. In 2017 she had an earlier bout of shaking in hot weather on a visit to Mexico as she was attending a military honours ceremony. Reports said that subsequent medical checks had found nothing to be wrong. Mrs Merkel is now in her fourth term as chancellor, a role she began in November 2005. She has said she will leave politics when her current term ends in 2021. She has a reputation for remarkable stamina – during intensive late-night discussions at EU summits, for example. She has been in good health while in office, and even worked from home after a knee operation in 2011; she suffered a fall while skiing in 2014. Her absences were only brief on those occasions.
On This Day
- 1905 – Albert Einstein sends the article On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, in which he introduces special relativity, for publication in Annalen der Physik.
- 1908 – The Tunguska Event, the largest impact event on Earth in human recorded history, resulting in a massive explosion over Eastern Siberia.
- 1934 – The Night of the Long Knives, Adolf Hitler‘s violent purge of his political rivals in Germany, takes place.
- 1937 – The world’s first emergency telephone number, 999, is introduced in London.
- 2007 – A Jeep Cherokee filled with propane canisters drives into the entrance at Glasgow Airport, Scotland in a failed terrorist attack.
- 2009 – Yemenia Flight 626, an Airbus A310-300, crashes into the Indian Ocean near Comoros, killing 152 of the 153 people on board. A 14-year-old girl named Bahia Bakari survives the crash.
- 2012 – Yitzhak Shamir, Israeli politician, 7th Prime Minister of Israel (b. 1915)
- 2017 – Barry Norman, English television presenter (b. 1933)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Gary Busey (75), Amanda Donohoe (57), John Cusack (53), Mel Brooks (93), Kathy Bates (71), Felicia Day (40), Alice Krige (65), Aileen Quinn (48), Elon Musk (48), Tobey Maguire (44), Courtney Ford (41), J.J. Abrams (53), Meera Syal (58), Ariana Grande (26), Ricky Gervais (58), Carly Simon (74), Iain Glen (58), Nancy Allen (69), Peter Weller (72), Mick Fleetwood (72), Selma Blair (47), Frances McDormand (62), Joss Whedon (55), and Bryan Brown (72).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Chanchal Lahiri, 40, Indian magician, drowned.
- Philippe Zdar, 50, French electronic musician (Cassius) and record producer (Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix), fall.
- Jean-Marie Hullot, 65, French computer scientist and programmer (Apple Inc.).
- Mohamed Morsi, 67, Egyptian politician, President (2012–2013), heart attack.
- Maria Giuseppa Robucci, 116, Italian supercentenarian, Europe’s oldest person.
- Peter Allan Fields, 84, American television writer (Star Trek, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.).
- Lionheart, 36, British professional wrestler (ICW).
- Marion Wilson, 42, American convicted murderer, executed by lethal injection.
- William Simons, 78, British actor (No Place for Jennifer, Where No Vultures Fly, Heartbeat).
In Other News
Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine has revealed that he has been diagnosed with throat cancer. Due to the diagnosis, the heavy metal band have cancelled most of their forthcoming 2019 tour. “I’ve been diagnosed with throat cancer. It’s clearly something to be respected and faced head on – but I’ve faced obstacles before. I’m working closely with my doctors, and we’ve mapped out a treatment plan which they feel has a 90 per cent success rate. Treatment has already begun,” Mustaine wrote in an Facebook post. The recently announced “Megacruise” taking place between 13-19 October will take place as scheduled, “and the band will be a part of it in some form”, Mustaine wrote. They will also continue to work in the studio on the follow-up to their 2016 album Euphoria, which Mustaine said he “can’t wait for everyone to hear”. Mustaine founded Megadeth more than 30 years ago, pioneering the sound that would become known as thrash metal.
Angela Merkel has said she is “fine” after her body was seen shaking uncontrollably during an official ceremony. The German chancellor blamed dehydration for the episode, telling reporters: “Since then I’ve drunk at least three glasses of water, which I apparently needed, and now I’m doing very well.” The violent trembling, which raised concern about her health, took place as she welcomed the president of Ukraine to Berlin, on a hot 30 degree day. The chancellor appeared to recover as the ceremony continued, walking down the red carpet with Volodymyr Zelensky. Ukranian president Mr Zelensky said he would have come to Ms Merkel’s rescue if she had been in any danger, telling: “She was standing next to me and completely safe.” Germany’s strict privacy laws mean it is not known whether Ms Merkel has any health problems. In 2014 she postponed a television interview at the last minute after reports that she was feeling weak, though her spokesperson said was able to carry it out later after eating and drinking. The Chancellor is due to step down as Germany’s head of government when her current term runs out in 2021. She has already resigned as leader of her conservative CDU party and give the reins to her protege, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer – widely known as “AKK”.
Alice Cooper has revealed he’s made a death pact with his wife. The 71-year-old rock star, who has been married to Sheryl Goddard, 61, for more than 40 years, suggested he will kill himself if his wife dies first in a brand new interview. “We’ve made a pact – there is no way of surviving without each other,” he said. “I couldn’t live without her. We always said there will never be a time when one of us will be mourning the other.” Cooper – whose real name is Vincent Damon Furnier – continued: “Whenever it does happen, we are going to go together. I’ve been married 43 years to the greatest girl in the world. We have never cheated on each other.” Goddard, a dancer and choreographer, performed for the rock star in the 1970s and 1980s. They married in 1976 and have three children together. Despite a brief break in the early 1980s when Goddard filed for divorce, the couple reconciled and have been together ever since. Goddard will perform with the Alice Cooper band in October this year when they come to the UK, and Cooper said: “She dances better now than she did in 1975. You would think people would want to get away from their wives but she is my best friend.” Cooper, who admitted to substance abuse in his younger years, said he weighs the same as he did when he was 30, crediting his health to not smoking and not having had an alcoholic drink for nearly 40 years. He said his mother, who is 96, is “indestructible” and that “it must be in the genes”.
And finally, you may have noticed that I listed an obscure Indian magician in todays list, well he was lowered into a river while shackled in a bid to recreate Harry Houdini’s world-famous trick and has managed to drown, police confirmed. Chanchal Lahiri was meant to escape and swim to safety but did not emerge from the Hooghly river in West Bengal state. Crowds who watched him take the plunge on Sunday alerted the police, who then launched a search operation. His body, which washed up some 1k from the site of the incident, was identified late on Monday. Mr Lahiri, also known as Mandrake, was lowered into the river from a boat for his trick. He was shackled with six locks and a chain as spectators on two boats watched him. Several people had also gathered by the shore and some stood on the landmark Howrah Bridge in Kolkata. According to the Press Trust of India, the crowd started to panic after Mr Lahiri did not appear after more than 10 minutes!! Jayanta Shaw, a photographer with a local newspaper, witnessed Mr Lahiri attempting the trick. He told the BBC that he spoke to him before the magician started his act. “I asked him why he risked his life for magic,” Mr Shaw said. “He smiled and said, ‘If I do it right, it’s magic. If I make a mistake, it becomes tragic.’”
On This Day
- 1960 – The United States Food and Drug Administration declares Enovid to be the first officially approved combined oral contraceptive pill in the world.
- 1972 – Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon and White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman are taped talking about using the Central Intelligence Agency to obstruct the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the Watergate break-ins.
- 1973 – A fire at a house in Hull, England which kills a six-year-old boy is passed off as an accident; it later emerges as the first of 26 deaths by fire caused over the next seven years by serial arsonist Peter Dinsdale.
- 1996 – The Nintendo 64 home video game console is first released in Japan, with Nintendo ultimately selling 32.93 million units worldwide.
- 2016 – The United Kingdom votes in a referendum to leave the European Union, by 52% to 48%.
- 1998 – Maureen O’Sullivan, Irish-American actress (b. 1911)
- 2006 – Aaron Spelling, American actor, producer, and screenwriter, founded Spelling Television (b. 1923)
- 2011 – Peter Falk, American actor (b. 1927)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Meryl Streep (70), Bruce Campbell (61), Kris Kristofferson (83), Lindsay Wagner (70), Stephen Chow (57), Prunella Scales (87), Cyndi Lauper (66), Tim Russ (63), Chris Pratt (40), Juliette Lewis (46), Lana Wachowski (54), Lana Del Rey (34), Prince William (37), Nicole Kidman (52), Olympia Dukakis (88), Robert Rodriguez (51), John Goodman (67), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (30), Danny Aiello (86), Lionel Richie (70), Brian Wilson (77), Zoe Saldana (41), Aidan Turner (36), Kathleen Turner (65), Paula Abdul (57), Richard Madden (33), Isabella Rossellini (67), Paul McCartney (77), Jodie Whittaker (37), and James Bolam (84).
A controversial week, as Trump and Macron’s symbolic friendship tree dies; we have bad news for Trish, although her pick for a Woman, Grace Jones passed away, she’s not been listed on the Wiki obituaries so I am unable to dish out the points until there’s an entry! Again, the list of deaths is rather bereft, oh how we hark back to the days of David Bowie and Robin Williams! Let’s set the flying monkeys free, carrying their suicide enabling kits and gremlin luck infusers!
Also as a side note, Tony Berry of the Houghton Weavers has died. Nickie thought I’d instantly know who he was, but sadly I had no idea of his earthy existence, nor the band, or ever heard any of their songs. So here’s the question to you Poolers, who has heard of this chap?
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Sylvia Miles, 94, American actress (Midnight Cowboy, Farewell, My Lovely, She-Devil).
- Gary Burrell, 81, American electronics executive and philanthropist, chairman and co-founder of Garmin.
- Franco Zeffirelli, 96, Italian film director (Romeo and Juliet, Jesus of Nazareth, The Taming of the Shrew).
- Grace Jones, 112, Britain’s oldest living person, supercentenarian.
In Other News
Veteran broadcaster Bob Harris is to take a break from presenting his BBC Radio 2 country show after suffering an aortic dissection. The condition occurs when there is a tear in the wall of the major artery carrying blood out of the heart. “The aorta is basically the M1 of the body and any damage is regarded as extremely serious,” said Harris. “I am not exactly sure when I will be on air again but I am on the road to recovery now,” he continued. Harris, known to fans as “Whispering Bob”, said he suffered a tear to his aorta while out walking 10 days ago. “It was an incredibly scary moment and I am massively indebted to the ambulance crew who attended so promptly,” he said. Harris, 73, also paid tribute to the Intensive Care team and consultants at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, his wife Trudie and his “wonderful” family. Paul Sexton will host the next two editions of Harris’s hour-long show, which airs on Thursdays at 21:00. Harris, who was made an OBE in 2011 for services to music broadcasting, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007.
Chris Froome has admitted he is lucky to be alive after speaking for the first time since his horror cycling accident. The four-time Tour de France winner crashed at nearly 35mph during his fourth-stage reconnaissance of the Criterium du Dauphine on Wednesday. Lying in his hospital bed, Froome also paid tribute to cycling fans following his life-threatening crash. “I know how lucky I am to be here today and how much I owe to all the paramedics and medical staff on the race, whilst this is a setback and a major one at that, I am focusing on looking forward. There is a long road to recovery ahead, but that recovery starts now and I am fully focused on returning back to my best.” The post was issued with a picture of Froome giving the thumbs up from his bed at the University Hospital of St Etienne where he underwent a six-hour operation. It has been reported that the 34-year-old suffered a fractured neck and faces six weeks in hospital. He also has a fractured right femur, a broken hip, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs and was in intensive care following the surgery. Froome is not expected to compete again this year. Froome took his hand off his handlebars to blow his nose before a gust of wind destabilised his bike. He crashed into a wall and lost consciousness. The Briton was airlifted to hospital where he has since been joined by his wife Michelle and Team Ineos doctor Richard Usher.
Paul Sinha, one of the professional quizzers on ITV’s The Chase, has revealed he has Parkinson’s disease. “I will fight this with every breath I have,” tweeted the 49-year-old comic, going on to share further details of his diagnosis in a blog post. Sinha, a former GP, said he was told he had Parkinson’s – a degenerative brain condition – last month. He said it had been “a really, really tough two weeks” but said he did not “consider himself unlucky”. “Whatever the next stage of my life holds for me, many others have it far worse,” he continued. Sinha said he intended to “keep Chasing, keep writing and performing comedy [and] keep quizzing” while joking that appearing on Dancing on Ice was probably “out of the question”. “A lot of people have asked ‘What can I do to help?'” he concluded. “The answer is to treat me exactly the same as before.” Last month the BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones revealed he has Parkinson’s, whose symptoms include involuntary tremors. Sir Billy Connolly and actor Alan Alda have also spoken about how they deal with the illness since being diagnosed in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
And just as you thought life wasn’t harrowing enough, a glass ledge on the 103rd floor of the tallest skyscraper in Chicago cracked under visitors’ feet on Monday night. The all-glass area of the Willis Tower, in which sightseers can view the city of Chicago from a high point, is called the Skydeck. Its protective top layer is made of laminated glass, which is built to maintain its integrity even while it cracks. On Monday, it cracked into “thousands of pieces,” according to WBBM. In a video shared on Facebook, visitors appear nervous and scared, and immediately huddle away from the glass area. The Willis Tower, which was called the Sears Tower until 2009, said no one was ever in danger. The layer is known as the “Ledge,” and was constructed in 2009, after Tower officials noticed “the hundreds of forehead prints visitors left behind on Skydeck windows every week.” Build to hold five tons, the attraction give tourists and residents an immersive view of the midwestern city. Still, tourists appeared frightened, as the incident was, of course, not supposed to happen. “There was a woman with two kids and they looked really pale and scared because the floor just cracked,” witness Jesus Pintado told WBBM. “I’m scared of heights in general so when I saw that happen, I was like nope, not going on,” Karly Pintado, who was also on the 103rd floor that day, said.
And finally, it’s the contest Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fans never knew they wanted. On Sunday, Justin Bieber challenged Tom Cruise to join him in the octagon to solve a problem so fiendishly difficult no-one had previously bothered to think of it. Why does a 25-year-old pop star randomly decide to try to goad a 56-year-old movie star into fighting him? Needless to say, a calculation so onerous quickly won the attention of the very best minds the social media platform had to offer. Former UFC champion Conor McGregor was quick to talk up the bout’s prospects. “Does Cruise have the sprouts to fight?” he inquired, simultaneously offering his own company’s services in hosting the clash and then offering to fight actor Mark Wahlberg on the undercard. Sprouts or no sprouts, many took the view that in this match-up it’s Bieber who’s the turkey. Cruise famously performs his own stunts and the physicality exhibited in action films like the Mission Impossible series would give him the edge, many social media users argued. Others were just left confused by the whole thing. “At some point tonight Tom Cruise’s agent will have to call Tom Cruise and tell him Justin Bieber has challenged him to a fight,” another user tweeted. Tom Cruise is yet to respond. UPDATE: Justin Bieber doesn’t want to actually take on Top Gun star Tom Cruise in a fight as the pop star admitted that he wasn’t really serious about fighting the actor. Speaking recently with TMZ, Justin Bieber admitted he was only joking about the fight. Bieber also admitted that he said it almost randomly and didn’t realise the traction his challenge to Tom Crusie would get: “I don’t know him. He’s tight. The story is I saw an interview with him, and he was just on my mind. It was just a random tweet. I do that stuff sometimes.” “I think he’d probably whoop my ass in a fight.” It seems we won’t get to see a match between Tom Cruise and Justin Bieber after all.
On This Day
- 1883 – The Victoria Hall theatre panic in Sunderland, England kills 183 children.
- 1884 – The first purpose-built roller coaster, LaMarcus Adna Thompson’s “Switchback Railway”, opens in New York’s Coney Island amusement park.
- 1911 – IBM founded as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company in Endicott, New York.
- 1944 – At age 14, George Junius Stinney, Jr. becomes the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th century.
- 1961 – Rudolf Nureyev defects from the Soviet Union.
- 1963 – Soviet Space Program: Vostok 6 Mission: Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space.
- 1977 – Wernher von Braun, German-American physicist and engineer (b. 1912)
- 1999 – Screaming Lord Sutch, English singer and activist (b. 1940)
- 2016 – Jo Cox, English political activist and MP (b. 1974)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Courteney Cox (55), Helen Hunt (56), Neil Patrick Harris (46), Ice Cube (50), Jim Belushi (65), Yasmine Bleeth (51), Donald Trump (73), Boy George (58), Alan Carr (43), Stellan Skarsgård (68), Chris Evans (38), Ally Sheedy (57), Tim Allen (66), Malcolm McDowell (76), Richard Thomas (68), Simon Callow (70), Kathy Burke (55), Richard Ayoade (42), Joshua Jackson (41), Peter Dinklage (50), Shia LaBeouf (33), Adrienne Barbeau (74), Hugh Laurie (60), Jane Goldman (49), Elizabeth Hurley (54), Jürgen Prochnow (78), Johnny Depp (56), Natalie Portman (38), Michael J. Fox (58), Eddie Marsan (51), Griffin Dunne (64), and Nancy Sinatra (79).
We’re still stuck in the doldrums, we really need a big name to drop soon or this year is going to be a wash out! We’re halfway through the year and most of us haven’t even scored yet! Darn these healthy celebrities!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Paul Darrow, 78, English actor (Blake’s 7, Doctor Who).
- Keith Birdsong, 59, American illustrator (Star Trek, Shadowrun), complications of cerebral haemorrhage from traffic collision.
- Dr. John, 77, American Hall of Fame singer-songwriter (“I Walk on Guilded Splinters“, “Right Place, Wrong Time“), heart attack.
- Justin Edinburgh, 49, English football player (Tottenham Hotspur) and manager (Leyton Orient), cardiac arrest.
In Other News
Brian Wilson has postponed his forthcoming June tour over mental health concerns. The Beach Boys legend, 76, issued a statement to announce that he would not be able to go ahead with the Pet Sounds and Greatest Hits Live tour as scheduled, after a recent surgery caused him to feel “mentally insecure”. “It is no secret that I have been living with mental illness for many decades,” the statement on Wilson’s website read. “There were times when it was unbearable but with doctors and medications I have been able to live a wonderful, healthy and productive life with support from my family, friends and fans who have helped me through this journey. “As you may know in the last year or so I’ve had 3 surgeries on my back. The surgeries were successful and I’m physically stronger than I’ve been in a long time.” “However, after my last surgery i started feeling strange and it’s been pretty scary for a while,” he continued. ”I was not feeling like myself. Mentally insecure is how I’d describe it. We’re not sure what is causing it but i do know that it’s not good for me to be on the road right now so I’m heading back to Los Angeles.” He said he plans to rest, recover and work with his doctors, and that he was looking forward to recovery and “seeing everyone later in the year”.
A former nurse has been convicted of murdering 85 patients at two hospitals in northern Germany and handed a life sentence. Judge Sebastian Buehrmann described Niels Högel’s killing spree as “incomprehensible”. Högel, who is already serving life for two murders, administered lethal doses of heart medication to people in his care between 1999 and 2005. He is believed to be the most prolific killer in Germany’s modern history. Prosecutors said he attacked patients in order to impress colleagues by subsequently trying to revive them. A former colleague told the German newspaper Bild that Högel was nicknamed “Resuscitation Rambo” because of the way he “pushed everyone else aside” when patients needed to be resuscitated. On the last day of his trial, Högel, 42, asked the families of his victims for forgiveness for his “horrible acts”. “I would like to sincerely apologise for everything I did to you over the course of years,” he said. Högel had been accused of murdering 100 patients in the northern cities of Delmenhorst and Oldenburg. Police believe he may have killed far more but the cremation of bodies had destroyed any possible evidence. Högel had confessed to 55 murders and the court in Oldenburg convicted him of 85, German media reported. Högel’s killing spree was stopped when he was caught in the act of administering unprescribed medication to a patient in 2005 in Delmenhorst. Records at the Oldenburg hospital showed rates of deaths and resuscitations had more than doubled when Högel was on shift!!!
A botched helicopter rescue (video in the link) of a hiker from a mountain in Arizona has resulted in the injured 74-year-old woman being spun round at high speed while strapped to a stretcher as she was being winched up into the aircraft. The incident, which has been captured on film, shows the aircraft crew attempting to winch the woman up into the helicopter. She had reportedly suffered a head injury from a fall while hiking on Piestewa Peak – the second highest point in the Phoenix mountains – on Tuesday morning. As the stretcher nears the belly of the aircraft, it begins to rotate faster and faster until it is a whirling blur. The winch is then lowered somewhat, and the speed of the spin falls, but as they again try to pull up the stretcher the spin goes to an even higher rate. Unable to immediately bring the stretcher on board, the helicopter flies away with the woman strapped to the stretcher on the dangling line, spinning at high speed over the mountains. Shelley Jameson, assistant chief of the Phoenix Fire Department, told us: “We carry out mountain rescues all of the time, but this one gathered quite a bit of attention because during the rescue she was packaged on a hoist in a stokes basket and it started to spin.” Captain Bobby Dubnow said: “As dramatic as it looks … she suffered no ill-effects from that spin other than being a little bit dizzy. The reports from the hospital are that she is stable and suffered no effects from the spin.”
On This Day
- AD 68 – Nero commits suicide, after quoting Homer‘s Iliad, thus ending the Julio-Claudian dynasty and starting the civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors.
- 1934 – Donald Duck makes his debut in The Wise Little Hen.
- 1959 – The USS George Washington is launched. It is the first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.
- AD 68 – Nero, Roman emperor (b. 37)
- 1870 – Charles Dickens, English novelist and critic (b. 1812)
- 1958 – Robert Donat, English actor (b. 1905)
- 2013 – Iain Banks, Scottish author (b. 1954)
- 2014 – Rik Mayall, English comedian, actor, and screenwriter (b. 1958)
- 2017 – Adam West, American actor (b. 1928)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Liam Neeson (67), Bill Hader (41), Karl Urban (47), Anna Torv (40), Julianna Margulies (52), Griffin Dunne (63), Nancy Sinatra (78), Kanye West (41), Michael Cera (31), Helen Baxendale (49), Iggy Azalea (29), Bear Grylls (45), Tom Jones (79), Anna Kournikova (38), Jason Isaacs (56), Paul Giamatti (52), Josie Lawrence (60), Robert Englund (72), Sandra Bernhard (64), Mark Wahlberg (48), Mel Giedroyc (51), Angelina Jolie (44), Noah Wyle (48), Bruce Dern (83), Russell Brand (44), Sean Pertwee (55), Bradley Walsh (59), Imogen Poots (30), James Purefoy (55), Suzi Quatro (69), Morena Baccarin (40), Liam Cunningham (58), Zachary Quinto (42), Justin Long (41), Dominic Cooper (41), and Dana Carvey (64).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Carmine Caridi, 85, American actor (The Godfather Part II, Bugsy, Summer Rental), pneumonia.
- Peggy Stewart, 95, American actress (The Fighting Redhead, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, That’s My Boy)
- John Tidmarsh, 90, English broadcaster and journalist (Outlook).
- José Antonio Reyes, 35, Spanish footballer (Sevilla, Atlético Madrid, national team), traffic collision.
In Other News
Father Christmas… Sorry, Julian Assange was too ill to appear at his court hearing in London on Thursday, his lawyer said. The WikiLeaks founder, 47, is fighting against being extradited to the United States over charges related to leaking US government secrets. He had been due to appear at his case management hearing via video link from Belmarsh Prison but lawyer Gareth Peirce said he was “not very well”. According to WikiLeaks, Assange has been moved to the medical ward in jail. A spokesman for the whistleblowing website said it had “grave concerns” about Assange’s health. “During the seven weeks in Belmarsh his health has continued to deteriorate and he has dramatically lost weight,” the spokesman said. “Defence lawyer for Assange, Per Samuelson, said that Julian Assange’s health state last Friday was such ‘that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him’.” The five-minute hearing on Thursday at Westminster Magistrates’ Court was the second in the Australian’s extradition case. The US Justice Department has charged Assange with receiving and publishing thousands of classified documents linked to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On Thursday, chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot set the next hearing for 12 June and suggested the hearing could take place in Belmarsh, adding: “It may be more convenient for everyone if it’s there.” Assange sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012. He is currently serving a 50-week sentence in Belmarsh Prison in south east London for bail violations. Earlier this month, Swedish prosecutors reopened their investigation into rape allegations against Assange, which he denies.
Game of Thrones star Kit Harington has checked into a “wellness retreat” in the US, reportedly for stress. The actor – who’s known for playing Jon Snow – began getting treatment several weeks ago. His publicist told Radio 1 Newsbeat that Kit was working on “some personal issues.” In a recent interview Kit spoke of “a huge heave of emotion” after filming the final scenes of Game of Thrones, which he worked on for eight seasons. In a different interview – the 32-year-old actor told Esquire what it was like filming Jon Snow’s final scenes. He said: “The final day of shooting, I felt fine… I felt fine… I felt fine… Then I went to do my last shots and started hyperventilating a bit. “Then they called, ‘Wrap!’ And I just… broke down. It was this onslaught of relief and grief about not being able to do this again.” A documentary about the end of Game of Thrones called The Last Watch was released on Sunday. It showed Kit crying when he learned about his character’s ending. Kit – who was in Game of Thrones from the first episode until the last – told Variety about the effects of working on such an intense show for a long period. “You have these in-jokes, and these relationships that thrive for eight years,” he explained. “That’s a long time for those jokes to be going, and they never felt old or tired. In the last season, I was like, these are getting tired now. “And I think they got tired because we could see the end coming. “That’s a way of emotionally detaching from something: relationships very slightly starting to strain, just on the edges, just frayed.” Must be awful knowing your career is over at such a young age….
Nepal’s tourism authority has denied accusations that the rise in Mount Everest deaths is solely due to overcrowding. The department’s director general Dandu Raj Ghimire said other factors including adverse weather conditions had also contributed. Ten climbers have been reported dead or missing this season. Photos of long queues near the summit have been widely shared as record numbers ascended the mountain in May. Mr Ghimire said 381 people had ascended Everest this spring but as periods of fine weather had been short, the number of people on the routes had been “higher than expected”. A local tour organiser told AFP that one of the climbers, Nihal Ashpak Bhagwan, died of exhaustion after being “stuck in traffic for more than 12 hours”. Mr Ghimire offered “heartfelt condolences to those who’ve passed away and prayers to those who are still missing”. “Mountaineering in the Himalayas is in itself an adventurous, complex and sensitive issue requiring full awareness yet tragic accidents are unavoidable,” he said. Basically, they don’t give a fuck, just pay your royalty fee of $11,000 and take your chances.
And finally, there was an empty seat in the front row when Good Omens had its world premiere in London on Tuesday. But that’s not because organisers had trouble filling the gigantic (and newly reopened) Odeon in Leicester Square – quite the opposite, the event was packed out. In fact, a seat was deliberately kept vacant for Terry Pratchett, the co-writer of the original novel, who died in 2015. As a tribute, his trademark hat was placed in the front row as the premiere got under way. According to Gaiman, one of Pratchett’s last requests was that the novel be adapted for the screen. “[Pratchett said] ‘You have to make it into television because I want to see it before the lights go out,'” explained Gaiman at the premiere. “I said OK, figuring I had six or seven years of Terry left. And then he died, which suddenly turned into a last request.” Gaiman took on the task of adapting the story himself – giving the project a stamp of approval that helped it attract some stellar names to the cast.
On This Day
- 1692 – Bridget Bishop is the first person to be tried for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts; she was found guilty and later hanged.
- 1910 – Charles Rolls, a co-founder of Rolls-Royce Limited, becomes the first man to make a non-stop double crossing of the English Channel by plane.
- 1953 – The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, who is crowned Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Her Other Realms and Territories & Head of the Commonwealth, the first major international event to be televised.
- 1962 – During the 1962 FIFA World Cup, police had to intervene multiple times in fights between Chilean and Italian players in one of the most violent games in football history.
- 1990 – Rex Harrison, English actor (b. 1908)
- 2008 – Bo Diddley, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1928)
- 2009 – David Eddings, American author (b. 1931)
- 2012 – Richard Dawson, American actor, tv personality, & gameshow host (b. 1932)
- 2017 – Peter Sallis, English actor (b. 1921)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Tom Holland (22), Morgan Freeman (81), Brian Cox (72), Jonathan Pryce (71), Amy Schumer (37), Rene Auberjonois (78), Heidi Klum (45), Robert Powell (74), Alanis Morissette (44), Clint Eastwood (89), Colin Farrell (43), Lea Thompson (58), Brooke Shields (54), Tom Berenger (70), Sharon Gless (76), Stephen Tobolowsky (68), Mark Sheppard (55), Colm Meaney (66), Duncan Jones (48), Keir Dullea (83), Harry Enfield (58), Leigh Francis (46), Jennifer Ellison (36), Annette Bening (61), Danny Elfman (66), Mel B (44), Kylie Minogue (51), Julie T. Wallace (58), Michelle Collins (57), Paul Bettany (48), Joseph Fiennes (49), Rachel Parris (35), Helena Bonham Carter (53), Pam Grier (70), Bobcat Goldthwait (57), Lenny Kravitz (55), and Stevie Nicks (71).