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Dead Pool 28th May 2023

Let’s dish out the points! With the celebrated passing of Rolf Harris, I can award 157 to Liz who had him listed as her Cert, and 57 points to Ian, Lee, Paul G, Paul C, Neil, and Abi. Well done all of you, certainly makes the top of the league table look very interesting. Unsurprisingly, nobody had Tina Turner, as much-loved celebrities are rarely listed, probably why so many of you had Rolf ‘The Destroyer of Childhoods’ Harris on your lists.

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

A Chinese live-streamer was found dead in his house hours after he live-streamed himself drinking an excessive amount of alcohol on the Chinese TikTok-like app Douyin. The Douyin user named Brother Three Thousand drank at least seven bottles of alcohol on the 16th May in his last livestream before he was found dead. The man, who was identified as Wang Moufeng by local media, was a 34-year-old resident of Lianyungang, in Jiangsu province. A video going viral on social media showed him drinking several bottles of baijiu spirits, a traditional clear grain spirit that contains up to 60% alcohol. The man was seen pouring out a small amount on the table and lighting it on fire to prove that it was indeed alcohol and not any other liquid. Unsurprisingly, he was found dead after 12 hours of the live broadcast, a funeral for him was held on Saturday. A man named Zhao, who knew about the incident, told the Flying Monkeys: “When his family found him, he was already gone, he didn’t even get a chance for emergency treatment.” The incident was widely discussed on Chinese social media, with people debating the safety regulations of apps that have billions of users. Mr Wang, who had 44,000 followers, was earlier penalised for posting drinking videos. The app prohibits content that shows drinking, with penalties including a ban following warnings. He had previously shared similar videos of drinking Chinese alcohol. On 16th May he took on a challenge in which users competed with each other by drinking alcohol to earn gifts. 

Television legend Esther Rantzen, 82, has revealed that her lung cancer has reached Stage 4 after announcing her diagnosis in January – but says she is ‘grateful’ for her long life and six-decade career. The mother-of-three and grandmother-of-five said at the time she had decided to announce the news because she found ‘it difficult to skulk around various hospitals wearing an unconvincing disguise. She is currently being treated with a new cancer medication and is due to have a scan ‘soon’ which will show whether or not the treatment is working. Dame Esther became a household name as she blazed a path for female broadcasters, most famously as presenter of That’s Life! from 1973 to 1994. Speaking for the first time about her cancer treatment, she told the Flying Monkeys: ‘I’m on one of the new medications, and nobody knows if it’s working or not. But I will have a scan fairly soon which will reveal one way or another.’ She added that her stage four diagnosis has made her realise ‘how very lucky I’ve been in my life’. She continued: ‘I’m not good at regrets. What I treasure most are the fantastic friendships I have made thanks to That’s Life! during the last 50 years, the people I met, and the team who worked so hard, and laughed so hard, together for so long.’  


Former tennis star Annabel Croft has been left devastated by the sudden death of her husband, a few weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer. Broadcaster Ms Croft, 56, married former professional yachtsman Mel Coleman in 1992. Around eight weeks ago after complaining of stomach pain, Mr Coleman was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. He died earlier this week, aged 60. Mr Coleman, a successful investment banker who took part in the America’s Cup and more recently ran a tennis school with his wife, was noted for his apparently perfect health and, like Ms Croft, enjoyed an active outdoors lifestyle. After Covid lockdowns, the two of them converted an old delivery van into a mobile home and took it around the country and into Europe on walking holidays. Last night, Ms Croft said: ‘My beloved husband Mel passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning after a short battle with cancer. My family and I are completely heartbroken and ask for privacy at this very sad time.’ A friend said: ‘This has come as an extreme shock to everyone – the diagnosis was out of the blue and Mel did not seem unwell at the time. Sadly the cancer progressed brutally… and he passed earlier this week. Everyone is devastated and horrified, and Annabel is absolutely shattered. The two of them have been together forever and were a wonderful couple.’

On This Day

  • 1588 – The Spanish Armada, with 130 ships and 30,000 men, sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal, heading for the English Channel. It doesn’t go well…
  • 2002 – The last steel girder is removed from the original World Trade Centre site. Clean-up duties officially end.
  • 2016 – Harambe, a gorilla, is shot to death after grabbing a three-year-old boy in his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, resulting in widespread criticism and sparking various internet memes.


Last Week’s Birthdays

Kylie Minogue (55), Michelle Collins (61), Joseph Fiennes (53), Paul Bettany (52), Louis Gossett Jr. (87), André 3000 (48), Helena Bonham Carter (57), Pam Grier (74), Bobcat Goldthwait (61), Laurence Fox (45), Lenny Kravitz (59), Philip Michael Thomas (74), Stevie Nicks (75), Cillian Murphy (47), Mike Myers (60), Ian McKellen (84), Octavia Spencer (53), Frank Oz (79), Ann Robinson (94), Daisy Edgar-Jones (25), John C. Reilly (58), Alfred Molina (70), Doug Jones (63), Jim Broadbent (74), James Cosmo (75), Eric Cantona (57), Gary Burghoff (80), Tommy Chong (85), Bob Dylan (82), Joan Collins (90), Melissa McBride (58), Richard Ayoade (46), Ginnifer Goodwin (45), Maggie Q (44), and Naomi Campbell (53).

Dead Pool 21st May 2023

Another week passes by, yet more stars pass away. Short and sweet this week, let’s crack on! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Dead Pool favourite Rob Burrow has shared that the marathon held in his honour was ‘one of the best days’ of his life after emotional scenes captured the moment he was carried over the finish line by his ex-teammate. The rugby league legend, 40, who has motor neurone disease, described the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon as ‘one day in a million’. He and former team-mate Kevin Sinfield were raising money for motor neurone disease (MND) charities and used a specially-adapted chair to join 12,500 other runners in the first Leeds marathon in 20 years. Rob was pushed around the 26.2 mile route but when it came to the finish line, rugby coach Sinfield, who has raised over £8million for MND charities since his former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Burrow was diagnosed with the condition in late 2019, lifted him from the chair to carry him across. The 42-year-old, who pushed Burrow around Sunday’s course, completed his Ultra 7 in 7 Challenge in November when he ran seven back-to-back ultra-marathons, running around 40 miles each day. Sinfield gave his former teammate a kiss of affection to mark the moment they crossed the line, leading Rob to joke with the Flying Monkeys that it could make people jealous.

The mother of Lauren Harries has issued a  plea for help after doctors were unable to diagnose her daughters’ troubling medical symptoms. Harries, 45, is still in hospital after undergoing emergency brain surgery last month. On her daughter’s Twitter account, Harries’s mother wrote: “Please help: Lauren has had a number of blackouts after which the right side of her face droops. This is incredibly scary for Lauren and us. She also has a consistent headache. “Doctors haven’t been able to explain what is causing these. Have you or someone you know been through this? Any ideas or help you could give will be so helpful.” She also credited the NHS with saving her daughter’s life, but expressed concern over the “scary” new symptoms. “@NHSuk have saved Lauren but they can’t find any answers for this and it is so scary when it happens, it happened again yesterday,” she wrote. “Please help find out what’s causing these!” Harries is the TV personality who found fame as a child through appearances on Terry Wogan’s chat show Wogan, featuring as a precocious antiques specialist. She later competed on the 2013 series of Celebrity Big Brother, ultimately finishing in third place. Her mother has kept fans updated as her daughter was rushed to hospital for surgery. “Thank you for your prayers & good wishes and cards & flowers!” she wrote. “Lauren is still recovering from neurosurgery, & a chest and throat infection. Lauren would also like to thank the NHS Nurses & Doctors. Physiotherapy next, while she is fighting a permanent headache. ‘Peace and light’.”  

A private ambulance has been pictured outside the home of “gravely ill” convicted paedophile Rolf Harris. The 93-year-old disgraced star, who is suffering from neck cancer, is understood to rarely leave his home. He and his wife Alwen, 91, apparently also “very frail” and wheelchair-bound due to Alzheimer’s disease, now rely on carers and nurses on a daily basis. The ambulance, often used by undertakers, left the couple’s £5million Thameside mansion in Berkshire at 6pm on Wednesday. Harris has been living almost like a recluse since he was released from jail back in 2017, after serving time for sex offences. His daughter Bindi had no comment to make when the Flying Monkeys contacted her.e. Her husband Craig also refused to comment. Daniel Burke, the Harris family solicitor lawyer, told us he has not spoken to Rolf’s only daughter Bindi and that he had not been given any instructions to prepare or issue a statement concerning his health. Last year, neighbour Portia Wooderson told the Flying Monkeys: “Only carers and nurses, who care for him 24 hours, come and go. I’m told he can’t eat anymore.” Author William Merritt confirmed Harris was “gravely sick” and claimed it was difficult to understand him when he communicates. Rolf was found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault (one was overturned in 2017) and sentenced to five years in prison. The disgraced star, whose victims included two girls in their early teens and his daughter’s friend, was released after three years in prison under licence. After being found guilty of crimes spanning nearly two decades – 1968 to 1986 – at London’s Southwark Crown Court, he was also stripped of his CBE.

On This Day

  • 1792 – A lava dome collapses on Mount Unzen, near the city of Shimbara on the Japanese island of Kyūshū, creating a deadly tsunami that killed nearly 15,000 people.
  • 1927 – Charles Lindbergh touches down at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 1932 – Bad weather forces Amelia Earhart to land in a pasture in Derry, Northern Ireland, and she thereby becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 1936 – Sada Abe is arrested after wandering the streets of Tokyo for days with her dead lover’s severed genitals in her handbag. Her story soon becomes one of Japan’s most notorious scandals.
  • 1991 – Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated by a female suicide bomber near Madras.
  • 2011 – Radio broadcaster Harold Camping predicted that the world would end on this day.


Last Weeks Birthdays

Fairuza Balk (49), Judge Reinhold (66), Mr. T (71), Noel Fielding (50), Jack Gleeson (31), Cher (77), Owen Teale (62), Louis Theroux (53), Grace Jones (75), James Fox (84), Amanda De Cadenet (51), Miriam Margolyes (82), Tina Fey (53), Chow Yun-Fat (68), Toyah Willcox (65), Ginger Gonzaga (40), Paul Whitehouse (65), Megan Fox (37), Pierce Brosnan (70), David Boreanaz (54), Danny Trejo (79), Janet Jackson (57), and Stephen Mangan (55).

Dead Pool 14th May 2023

In the week where we all preferred to Cha Cha Cha, we also heard that Ricky Gervais is going through the “worst illness of his life.” “I’m not well today,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning. “In fact I’d say I just lived through the worst 8 hours of illness of my life. Severe abdominal pains, vomiting every time I moved, (but only tiny bits of bile), hot sweats and chills, oh, and I really want to know who planted the 12 gravy bombs up my arse.” Let’s hope the 61 year old doesn’t actually get a real illness or he’d be bitching for real. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Rocky IV actor Dolph Lundgren has revealed an eight-year battle with cancer that was considered terminal prior to what he says was a more successful round of treatment. In an interview with the Flying Monkeys, Lundgren says he was first diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2015, information he’s sharing now for the first time. After surgery, he remained symptom-free for about five years but during a doctor visit during a trip to Sweden in 2020 was found to have additional tumours in the kidney and liver areas. At that point, the actor says, he was given a diagnosis of terminal cancer with only 2-3 years to live. He says that at the time he thought, “I’ve had a great life. I’ve lived like five lifetimes in one. So it wasn’t like I felt bitter but I felt sorry for my kids and my fiancé.” Eventually Lundgren sought an additional opinion from oncologist Dr. Alexandra Drakaki of UCLA Medical Center, and was placed on a more recently-developed medicinal treatment. Lundgren says the treatment, which he underwent while filming both The Expendables 4 and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, has proven effective in reducing the size of the tumours by 90%. According to Lundgren, he now needs to have an additional surgery, but he’s optimistic that after the operation he’ll have “no cancer activity.” Dr. Drakaki now hopes Lundgren’s survival rate will be measured in “years” rather than “months.” She continued, “My hope and goal is to try to keep him on this medication as long as possible and just keep getting biopsies as things change within his body to try to identify newer targets for treatment,” she said. Asked about his outlook now, Lundgren says, “You just appreciate being lucky enough to be alive.”

Miriam Margolyes, who played Professor Spout in the second Harry Potter film, recently announced she had been hospitalised after undergoing cardiac surgery. Margolyes, 81, gave fans an update on her health condition in separate Facebook posts. Last Friday, the veteran actor said she was being kept overnight at London’s The Royal Brompton Hospital. Her social media post reportedly read: “Have to stay overnight for Observation in the High Dependency Unit. BORING.” The following day, she informed fans she had undergone a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI), a minimally invasive procedure to replace a narrow aortic valve after it fails to open properly, adding that she would remain at The Royal Brompton “certainly till Sunday”. Alongside a photograph of herself in a hospital gown, Margolyes wrote: “I am growing energy but it’s still not quite me. I am putting this so you know how grateful I am for lovely messages.” She also expressed her desire to return to work, including embarking on a 22-city book tour later this year. The UK tour marks the release of her second book, Oh Miriam! Stories from an Extraordinary Life. Finally, on Monday, Margolyes said she had developed a chest infection and “can’t come home yet”. She added: “Probably tomorrow. But at least I’m resting. Love to all. Thank you for your lovely messages.” 

It’s been one month since Jamie Foxx was hospitalised after suffering a “medical complication”. On Friday his daughter Corinne Foxx revealed that apparently the actor had been out of the hospital “for weeks” after certain media outlets reported that his family were “preparing for the worst”. “Sad to see how the media runs wild,” she wrote on Instagram. “My dad has been out of the hospital for weeks recuperating. In fact, he was playing pickleball yesterday!” Specific details about the 55-year-old Django Unchained star’s illness remain undisclosed. “We wanted to share that my father, Jamie Foxx, experienced a medical complication yesterday,” Corinne, 29, said in a statement posted on social media on 12th  April. “Luckily, due to quick action and great care, he is already on his way to recovery. We know how beloved he is and appreciate your prayers,” she added. “The family asks for privacy during this time.” Conflicting accounts of Foxx’s status emerged in the weeks since he was admitted to hospital. While most reports suggested that the actor was recovering, one source told the Flying Monkeys on Tuesday that his friends and family were “hoping for the best – but preparing for the worst”. Corinne rebuked the Monkeys report. Foxx broke his silence on social media on 3rd May, thanking fans for their support. “Appreciate all the love!!! Feeling blessed,” the actor shared on his Instagram Story. 

On This Day

  • 1796 – Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox inoculation.
  • 1878 – The last witchcraft trial held in the United States begins in Salem, Massachusetts, after Lucretia Brown, an adherent of Christian Science, accused Daniel Spofford of attempting to harm her through his mental powers.
  • 1939 – Lina Medina becomes the youngest confirmed mother in medical history at the age of five.
  • 1973 – Skylab, the United States’ first space station, is launched.


  • 1987 – Rita Hayworth, American actress and dancer (b. 1918).
  • 1998 – Frank Sinatra, American singer and actor (b. 1915).
  • 2015 – B.B. King, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1925).
  • 2017 – Powers Boothe, American actor (b. 1948).
  • 2019 – Grumpy Cat, American cat and internet meme celebrity (b. 2012).


On the anniversary of the first inoculation against smallpox, I thought we’d have a look at the history of the virus. 

Smallpox is one of two infectious diseases to have been eradicated, the other being rinderpest in 2011. The term “smallpox” was first used in England in the 16th century to distinguish the disease from syphilis, which was then known as the “great pox”. 

Smallpox is an acute contagious disease caused by the variola virus, a member of the orthopoxvirus family. It was one of the most devastating diseases known to humanity and caused millions of deaths before it was eradicated. It is believed to have existed for at least 4000 years, with the earliest evidence of the disease dating to around 1500 BC in Egyptian mummies.

Early symptoms of smallpox include high fever, fatigue and severe back pain, and less often, abdominal pain and vomiting. Two to three days later the virus produces a characteristic rash with bumps full of a clear liquid, which later fill with pus and finally develop a crust that dries and falls off. The rash begins on the face and hands, then spreads to the rest of the body. Lesions develop in the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth and ulcerate soon after formation.

Smallpox is transmitted from person to person via infective droplets during close contact with infected people who have symptoms of the disease, or in some cases through contaminated clothing and bedding. It has an incubation period of 7–17 days after exposure and only becomes infectious once a fever develops. People remain infectious until the last scabs fall off. Smallpox was fatal in up to 30% of cases. 

The disease historically occurred in outbreaks. In 18th-century Europe, it is estimated that 400,000 people died from the disease per year, and that one-third of all cases of blindness were due to smallpox. Smallpox is estimated to have killed up to 300 million people in the 20th century and around 500 million people in the last 100 years of its existence. As recently as 1967, 15 million cases occurred a year.

The earliest procedure used to prevent smallpox was inoculation with variola minor virus, which likely occurred in India, Africa, and China well before the practice arrived in Europe. The idea that inoculation originated in India has been challenged, as few of the ancient Sanskrit medical texts described the process of inoculation. Accounts of inoculation against smallpox in China can be found as early as the late 10th century, and the procedure was widely practiced by the 16th century, during the Ming dynasty. 

The smallpox vaccine as we know it was created by Edward Jenner in 1796, was the first successful vaccine to be developed. He observed that milkmaids who previously had caught cowpox did not catch smallpox and showed that a similar inoculation could be used to prevent smallpox in other people. 

In 1959, the World Health Organisation announced an audacious goal, the eradication of smallpox. Although no human disease had ever been eradicated, smallpox was a good candidate: it was easily diagnosed, had an effective vaccine and did not live in any other animal host. The effort began slowly, but after a second resolution in 1966, international cooperation grew and the campaign accelerated. Technological innovations such as the freeze-dried vaccine and the bifurcated needle made vaccination more effective and simpler to administer. Initially, health workers conducted mass vaccinations, but over time they switched to a more targeted strategy. Teams would quickly track down new cases, isolate the infected, and vaccinate all of those who may have had contact with the infected person.  

In late 1975, three-year-old Rahima Banu from Bangladesh was the last person in the world to have naturally acquired variola major. She was also the last person in Asia to have active smallpox. She was isolated at home with house guards posted 24 hours a day until she was no longer infectious. 

Janet Parker was the last person to die of smallpox. In 1978, Parker was a medical photographer at England’s Birmingham University Medical School. She worked one floor above the Medical Microbiology Department where staff and students conducted smallpox research.

The global eradication of smallpox was certified, based on intense verification activities, by a commission of eminent scientists on 9th December 1979 and subsequently endorsed by the World Health Assembly on 8th May 1980.

Unbelievably, two live samples of variola major virus remain, one in the United States at the CDC in Atlanta, and one at the Vector Institute in Koltsovo, Russia. Research with the remaining virus samples is tightly controlled, and each research proposal must be approved by the WHO and the World Health Assembly.  The genome of variola major virus was first sequenced in its entirety in the 1990s. The complete coding sequence is publicly available online, in case you amateur scientists fancy a go at making it. 

The WHO currently bans genetic engineering of the variola virus, however the public availability of the variola virus sequence has raised concerns about the possibility of illicit synthesis of infectious virus. 

In 2016, a group synthesised the horsepox virus using publicly available sequence data. The researchers argued that their work would be beneficial to creating a safer and more effective vaccine for smallpox, although an effective vaccine is already available. The horsepox virus had previously seemed to have gone extinct, raising concern about potential revival of variola major and causing other scientists to question their motives. Critics found it especially concerning that the group was able to recreate viable virus in a short time frame with relatively little cost or effort. 

Famous historical figures who contracted smallpox include Lakota Chief Sitting Bull, Pharaoh Ramses V, Peter II of Russia, and Louis XV of France. Prominent families throughout the world often had several people infected by and/or perish from the disease. For example, several relatives of Henry VIII of England survived the disease but were scarred by it. These include his sister Margaret, his wife Anne of Cleves, and his two daughters: Mary I in 1527 and Elizabeth I in 1562. Elizabeth tried to disguise the pockmarks with heavy makeup. Mary, Queen of Scots, contracted the disease as a child but had no visible scarring. 

U.S. Presidents George Washington, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln all contracted and recovered from the disease. Washington became infected with smallpox on a visit to Barbados in 1751. Jackson developed the illness after being taken prisoner by the British during the American Revolution, and though he recovered, his brother Robert did not. Lincoln contracted the disease during his presidency, possibly from his son Tad, and was quarantined shortly after giving the Gettysburg address in 1863. 

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin fell ill with smallpox at the age of seven. His face was badly scarred by the disease. He later had photographs retouched to make his pockmarks less apparent. 

So there we are, a quick look at smallpox. We are all exceptionally lucky we don’t have to deal with it nowadays, but given that there are two examples of the virus sill around and that people are generally very stupid, we could easily be facing an outbreak soon enough. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Cate Blanchett (54), Tim Roth (62), George Lucas (79), Danny Huston (61), Francesca Annis (78), Greg Davies (55), Siân Phillips (90), Martine McCutcheon (47), Robert Pattinson (37), Samantha Morton (46), Harvey Keitel (84), Zoë Wanamaker (74), Iwan Rheon (38), Mark Heap (66), Stephen Colbert (59), Rhea Seehorn (51), Rami Malek (42), Malin Akerman (45), Emilio Estevez (61), Ving Rhames (64), Gabriel Byrne (73), Jason Biggs (45), Shohreh Aghdashloo (71), Tim Blake Nelson (59), Pam Ferris (75), Holly Valance (40), Jadyn Wong (38), Bono (63), Rosario Dawson (44), Grace Gummer (37), Glenda Jackson (87), Billy Joel (74), Stephen Amell (42), Vicky McClure (40), Phyllida Law (91), and David Attenborough (97).

Dead Pool 7th May 2023

Short and sweet this week; I was holding space for the potential celebrity killing explosion at Westminster Abbey for HRH’s coronation, however the lack of body parts flying about means nobody gets to score a huge amount of points! You may have seen our representative there, ready to pounce, but all we got in the end was a yawning princelet and Katy Perry trying to park her arse. So here’s to a £100 million well spent at a time where most of us can’t afford to eat. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Actress Vicky Wright, the fiancée of comedian Bobby Davro and daughter of England footballer Billy Wright, has died. Last week, the comedian explained opened up about the “absolute agony” of watching Vicky battle the disease after he proposed to her in 2022, having been together for 12 years. Although not famous enough for our ends, Vicky, 63, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which is difficult to detect until it reaches an advanced stage. Discussing her battle, he said: “It’s extremely, extremely, extremely painful.” Taking to Twitter, Kelly Wright-Warhurst, Vicky’s daughter, penned: “Hello everyone. Some incredibly devastating news to share as my wonderful mum Vicky has sadly passed away this morning. I wanted to use this platform to let you all know, as I know how much she valued all your love and support in so many ways.” Vicky’s dad, Wolverhampton Wanderers and England footballer Billy Wright had also battled the disease, passing away in September 1994 aged 70, just months after his diagnosis. Fans have since flocked to Twitter to share tributes, with one writing: “This is incredibly sad news; I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. Sending lots of love to you all.” Loose Women star Denise Welch penned: “So very sorry,” alongside three heart emojis. BBC Midlands’ Nick Owen commented: “Oh no. Shattering news. I had known Vicky for more than 40 years and loved her company. Her dad Billy gave me my first job in television. I feel terribly sad tonight. Thoughts with all the family.”  

MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo was secretly dealing with recurrent bowel cancer in the years before his death, it’s been reported today. The Flying Monkeys report that Zonfrillo, who was found dead by police making a welfare check at 2am on Monday in a property on Lygon St, Carlton, kept his cancer battle a secret and received treatment when MasterChef was not filming. Police said Zonfrillo’s death was not being treated as suspicious and a report will be made for the coroner. While there is no suggestion Zonfrillo died of cancer, the Flying Monkeys said that the much-loved TV chef was first treated for bowel cancer with chemotherapy and radiotherapy some years ago, before going into remission in 2016. The cancer was then reportedly detected again in May 2021, with Zonfrillo entering new rounds of chemotherapy the following month – which the outlet quotes an unnamed friend as saying he was “coping poorly” with. Zonfrillo made no mention of ever having had cancer in his 2021 memoir Long Shot. The Monkeys claim that he was receiving cancer treatment as recently as September last year, while on a sailing holiday in Italy. “I was told the reason why he hasn’t disclosed his medical condition was because he didn’t want people feeling sorry for him, or treating him any different,” a source told the outlet in 2021, a quote that went unpublished until today.   

Jamie Foxx is still in hospital after a sudden medical emergency three weeks ago – with family asking for fans’ prayers to help him through. The Spider-Man: No Way Home star, 55, was rushed to hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on April 11th following a “serious medical complication” while filming Netflix film, Back In Action. While the family have chosen not to disclose what exactly happened to the star, he has remained in hospital ever since. On Monday, close friend Charles Alston posted an update on Instagram asking for prayers as the star continues to recover. “We need you back Bro,” the message read. “As I always state a true champion isn’t the one that wins, it’s the one that meets & overcomes adversity!! You’re test becomes your testimony!! We all can’t wait to receive you back home to celebrate, laugh with and applaud you!!” The message comes after Jamie’s daughter, Corinne, confirmed her dad had been taken ill and was currently seeking medical attention. “We wanted to share that, my father, Jamie Foxx, experienced a medical complication yesterday,” she wrote shortly after the incident. “Luckily, due to quick action and great care, he is already on his way to recovery. We know how beloved he is and appreciate your prayers. The family asks for privacy during this time.” It’s since been reported by RadarOnline that it was “touch and go” for the star and that he was “very lucky to be alive” following the incident. A week after being first admitted into the hospital, it was claimed doctors were “stumped” over what caused the medical emergency. However, as of last week, it was claimed that he was doing well, awake and active, and being supported by his family while doctors run tests and ensure he is safe to be discharged.

On This Day

  • 1840 – The Great Natchez Tornado strikes Natchez, Mississippi killing 317 people. It is the second deadliest tornado in United States history.
  • 1915 – World War I: German submarine U-20 sinks RMS Lusitania, killing 1,198 people, including 128 Americans. Public reaction to the sinking turns many former pro-Germans in the United States against the German Empire.
  • 1946 – Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering (later renamed Sony) is founded
  • 1952 – The concept of the integrated circuit, the basis for all modern computers, is first published by Geoffrey Dummer.
  • 2000 – Vladimir Putin is inaugurated as president of Russia.


Last Week’s Birthdays

Richard O’Sullivan (79), Adrianne Palicki (40), George Clooney (62), Naomi Scott (30), Pippa Haywood (62), Alan Dale (76), Henry Cavill (40), Lance Henriksen (83), John Rhys-Davies (79), Zach McGowan (43), Richard E. Grant (66), Adele (35), Marc Alaimo (81), Michael Palin (80), Will Arnett (53), Rachel Zegler (22), Pom Klementieff (37), Christina Hendricks (48), Bobby Cannavale (53), Rob Brydon (58), Sandi Toksvig (65), Ellie Kemper (43), Dwayne Johnson (51), Matt Berry (49), Kumail Nanjiani (45), David Suchet (77), Lily Allen (38), David Beckham (48), Engelbert Humperdinck (87), Jamie Dornan (41), and Joanna Lumley (77).

Dead Pool 30th April 2023

In the week where blow jobs have been proven to cause throat cancer, we also have points to award! With the death of Harry Belafonte, 54 points go to Fiona and Jamie. Well done both of you! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Barry Humphries is said to have secretly battled cancer in the years before his death. The legendary entertainer, who was best known for his alter ego Dame Edna Everage, died a week ago at the age of 89. It was originally reported he was in hospital due to complications with hip replacement surgery following a fall at his home. But now it has emerged that while he was admitted, doctors discovered his cancer was more advanced than they thought. Back in 2021, Barry revealed he had been diagnosed with Extramammary Paget’s Disease (EMPD), a form of skin cancer, after noticing something unusual on his testicles in the shower. The slow growing disease is a pre-invasive form of skin cancer that looks similar to a patch of eczema and is most common in people over 60, according to the NHS. Although Barry had surgery on the affected area three years ago, it is thought he was still battling the disease at the time of his death. Sources close to his family told the Flying Monkeys that after his recent hip operation doctors realised “the extent of the cancer that would end his life within six weeks”. Speaking when he first diagnosed with cancer, Barry explained his health issues in his column for The Oldies magazine. He wrote: “I had the rare Extramammary Paget’s disease, first noticed under the shower – so it was a general anaesthetic and the knife. Ladies sometimes get Paget’s on their breasts, but it rarely – if ever – assails a man’s front botty.” Poking humour at his situation, comedian Barry continued: “The scrotum is very forgiving. These comforting words were recently uttered by a distinguished surgeon before he deracinated a nasty excrescence in a dark part of my anatomy.” Further details surrounding the comedian’s death came to light as his family and friends gathered at a private funeral for the star on Friday. Reports claim guests were only given 24 hours’ notice to attend the service, which was held at the Bowral estate of his long-time friend, artist Tim Storrier in the New South Wales Southern Highlands. It is thought the funeral was held earlier than expected as Barry’s wife of three decades, Lizzie Spender, is flying to London this weekend. Film director Bruce Beresford said: “It was a small affair, just family and close friends. It was very touching, very warm. Everybody was either related or a great friend of Barry’s.” No speeches were made, but excerpts from some of Barry’s favourite poems were reportedly read, including three verses from The Heart of a Friend by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. As well as wife Lizzie and his children, Oscar, Rupert, Emily and Tessa, Barry’s close friend, British comedian Rob Brydon is thought to have attended, as well as writer Kathy Lette and Scottish journalist Andrew Neal. Barry was cremated earlier in the week. It is not known if any public service, such as a stage funeral, will be held in Australia at this time.    

Micheal J. Fox has opened up about his thoughts on mortality, death and Parkinson’s disease in a candid interview where he discussed living with – and realising he would die with – the condition. The 61-year-old Hollywood star makes the heartbreaking acknowledgement that he doesn’t expect to reach his 80th birthday due to the disease. Michael was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s back in 1991 when he was just 29-years-old – and he went public with the news nine years later. After decades of campaigning, raising funds and awareness of the condition, Michael is set to appear in a number of interviews to discuss how he has experienced life with Parkinson’s. A preview of his CBS Sunday Morning interview has shown him stating: “My life is set up so…I can pack Parkinson’s along with me if I have to.” The actor goes on to explain that the disease made him reassess his approach to life and states: “You don’t die from Parkinson’s. You die with Parkinson’s.” He goes on to explain that those suffering from the disease at risk of injuries, like falling, choking, or getting sick with a cold which can in turn prove fatal. Heartbreakingly, he added: “I’ve been thinking about the mortality of it… I’m not gonna be 80.” Earlier this week, Michael explained to the Flying Monkeys that the work his Michael J. Fox Foundation does has been aiming to improve the lives of others at risk of the disease. He highlighted that his teams are working to devise new ways to detect and treat Parkinson’s. He said: “The idea of a biomarker… a way to identify the disease before the disease is present. “By the time I was diagnosed, I had a little twitch in my pinky but…with this, we can identify the disease really early and help progression and essentially cure ahead of the game.” He did explain that he does struggle with his own condition. He told the outlet: “I’m not going to lie, it’s getting hard, it’s getting harder. “Every day is tougher. But, but that’s — that’s the way it is.” 

Only Fools and Horses actor, Patrick Murray, 66, shared his doctors are “optimistic” despite the fact that his cancer has “unfortunately” come back. He is best known for portraying Mickey Pearce in the hit series. Having previously been diagnosed with lung cancer, he was given the all-clear last year. He took to Twitter to reveal the update, as he shared his bid to stay upbeat despite the diagnosis. He shared: “I have been trying to avoid this tweet for a while, but I owe it to my friends to keep you updated. Despite all the wonderful efforts by the medical and nursing teams at Medway, Guys, and Kings College hospitals, the lung cancer has returned. I thought I had a painful groin strain a couple of months ago, unfortunately that turned out to be the cancer getting into my pelvis and leg bones.” He continued on the status of the cancer: “It has also entered my lymphatic system.” However, Patrick went on to share some better news: “I had radiology treatment last week and my oncologist is fairly confident this will stop the leg pain, and I will be up and about again. Another positive is my consultant. He is confident that the chemo will keep things in check for months and even years. His optimism comes not from kindness of which I know he has in spades but advances in cancer medicine.” He ended the long message by thanking his fans for their support. He added: “I am feeling positive with my good wifes awesome support . Luv’n’Hugs.” 

On This Day

  • 1661 – King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland is crowned in Westminster Abbey.
  • 1985 – Coca-Cola changes its formula and releases New Coke. The response is overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula is back on the market in less than three months.
  • 2005 – The first YouTube video, titled “Me at the zoo”, was published by co-founder Jawed Karim.


The White Death 

Simo Häyhä, often referred to by his nickname, The White Death, was a Finnish military sniper in World War II during the 1939–1940 Winter War against the Soviet Union. He used a Finnish-produced M/28-30 (a variant of the Mosin–Nagant rifle) and a Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun. He is believed to have killed over 500 enemy soldiers during the Winter War, the highest number of sniper kills in any major war. Because of this, he is often regarded as the deadliest sniper of all time.

Häyhä estimated in his private war memoir that he shot around 500 Soviet soldiers. The memoir, titled Sotamuistoja (War memoirs), was written in 1940, a few months after he was wounded, and described his experiences in the Winter War from 30th November 1939 to 13th March 1940. Hidden for decades, the memoir was discovered in 2017. 

Häyhä was born in the Kiiskinen hamlet of the Rautjärvi municipality in the Viipuri Province of southern Finland near the border with Russia. He was the seventh of eight children in a Lutheran family of farmers. He was a farmer, hunter, and skier prior to his military service. 

Häyhä joined the Finnish voluntary militia Civil Guard at the age of 17. He was successful in shooting competitions in the Viipuri Province; his home was reportedly full of trophies for marksmanship. He was not keen to hog the spotlight, and accordingly in group photos from his youth he usually stood at the back, until his later successes forced him to take centre stage. 

In 1925, at the age of 19, Häyhä began his 15-month compulsory military service in the Bicycle Battalion. However, he did not receive formal sniper training until a year before the war in 1938. 

According to Major Tapio Saarelainen – who met Häyhä several times and has written five books about him, including his biography – Häyhä was able to estimate distances with an accuracy of 1 metre up to 150 metres. Saarelainen notes that during his Civil Guard training, Häyhä once hit a target 16 times from 150 metres away in just one minute. “This was an unbelievable accomplishment with a bolt action rifle, considering that each cartridge had to be manually fed with a fixed magazine that held together five cartridges.” 

All of Häyhä’s kills were accomplished in less than 100 days, an average of five per day at a time of year with very few daylight hours. His kill count as a sniper was based on his own reporting, with the confirmation of his comrades, and only those who were verified to be dead were counted. No count was taken when several snipers shot at the same target. Enemy soldiers killed with a submachine gun with Häyhä as a group leader were not counted.

Häyhä’s division commander Antero Svensson credited him with 219 confirmed kills with a rifle and an equal number of kills by submachine gun, when he awarded Häyhä with an honorary rifle on 17th February 1940. On 21st December 1939, Häyhä achieved his highest daily count of 25 kills. In his diary, military chaplain Antti Rantamaa reported 259 confirmed kills made by rifle and an equal number of kills by submachine gun from the beginning of the war until 7th March 1940, one day after Häyhä was severely wounded. Later in his book, Rantamaa credited Häyhä with a total  of 542 kills. Häyhä never discussed it publicly, but his own private memoir, discovered in 2017, states a number. He begins by stating that “this is his sin list”, and estimates the total number he shot to be around 500. 

Häyhä preferred iron sights over telescopic sights, as they enable a sniper to present a smaller target for the enemy (a sniper must raise his head a few centimetres higher when using a telescopic sight), and can be relied on even in extreme cold, unlike telescopic sights which tend to cloud up in cold weather. Another disadvantage of telescopic sights is that sunlight may reflect off the lenses and reveal the sniper’s position. Häyhä did not have prior training with scoped rifles, and therefore preferred not to switch to the Soviet scoped rifle. 

Häyhä dealt with the intense cold by dressing properly with multiple layers of clothing. He kept sugar and bread in his pockets, consuming them for the calories necessary to keep his body warm. His slight stature of 5 ft 3 in assisted him in disguising his position. Hidden in a snow pit, he could lie still and observe the enemy for long periods of time. It was Häyhä’s custom to move, well before daybreak, to the position he had prepared, and stay there until after sunset. He would frequently pack dense mounds of snow in front of his position to conceal himself, provide padding for his rifle, and reduce the characteristic puff of snow stirred up by the muzzle blast. He was known to keep snow in his mouth while sniping to prevent his breath in the cold air from giving away his position. 

On 6th March 1940, Häyhä was severely wounded after an explosive bullet fired by a Red Army soldier hit his lower left jaw. After the battle, as he appeared to be dead, he was placed on a pile of dead bodies. A fellow soldier, under orders from his commanding officer, searched for Häyhä, noticed a leg twitching among the pile and found Häyhä alive, although unconscious. He was evacuated by fellow soldiers who said that “half his face was missing”. The bullet had removed his upper jaw, most of his lower jaw, and most of his left cheek. 

Rumours of Häyhä’s death spread around in Finland and the Soviet Union. He regained consciousness a week later on 13th March, the day that peace was declared. He read about his own death in a newspaper, and sent a letter to the paper to correct the misunderstanding. He spent 14 months recovering from his wounds and endured 26 surgeries.  

It took several years for Häyhä to recuperate from his wound which required lengthy treatments and several surgeries. Although his face remained disfigured, he otherwise made a full recovery. After World War II, he was given a farm in Valkjärvi (“Whitelake”), Ruokolahti. He became a successful moose hunter and dog breeder. In addition to farming, he enjoyed hunting, and his hunting parties over the years included the President of Finland, Urho Kekkonen. 

Häyhä was known as a modest man who never boasted of his wartime merits. He rarely spoke of the war and his experiences.[ When asked in 1998 how he had become such a good sniper, he replied simply: “Practice”. He was asked if he felt remorse for having killed so many people. He replied, “I did what I was told to do, as well as I could. There would be no Finland unless everyone else had done the same.” 

Häyhä spent his last years in a war veterans’ nursing home in Hamina, where he died in 2002 at the age of 96. He was buried in his home town of Ruokolahti. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

John Cena (46), Dev Patel (33), John Hannah (61), Lee Majors (84), Gemma Whelan (42), Blair Brown (77), John Oliver (46), Jack Nicholson (86), Amber Heard (37), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (57), John Waters (77), Sheryl Lee (56), James McAvoy (44), Andie MacDowell (65), Toby Stephens (54), Tony Danza (72), Iggy Pop (76), Andy Serkis (59), Clint Howard (64), Veronica Cartwright (74), Jessica Lange (74), Ryan O’Neal (82), Carmen Electra (51), George Takei (86), Nicholas Lyndhurst (62), Michael Brandon (78), Hayden Christensen (42), James Franco (45), Tim Curry (77), Kate Hudson (44), Ashley Judd (55), David Tennant (52), Rick Moranis (70), Hayley Mills (77), James Woods (76), Eli Roth (51), Conan O’Brien (60), Jennifer Garner (51), Rooney Mara (38), Sean Bean (64), and David Bradley (81).

Dead Pool 23rd April 2023

With the sad passing of Barry Humphries, Sarai scores 61 points, well done her, although it was me who suggested him as she couldn’t think of another name… Sheesh! I do better on other peoples lists than my own! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Sir Michael Parkinson made a rare public appearance to celebrate his friend Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird’s 90th birthday. The broadcaster, 88, looked smart yet emaciated as he laughed and joked with pals at Leeds’ Headingley Stadium. The former BBC talk show host was one of 230 guests who joined Bird for a special lunch in the Howard Suite at Yorkshire’s headquarters to mark his milestone. ‘I was in hospital three weeks ago but I was determined to be here because he is my oldest friend,’ said 88-year-old Parky, who used to play cricket with Bird at Barnsley. ‘He is an extraordinary human being. He is one of the most remarkable men I have ever met. And he is the soul of cricket. I am proud to call him a mate.’ Former ECB and Yorkshire chair Colin Graves, the county’s interim chair Baroness Grey-Thompson, ex-Yorkshire captain Steve Patterson and former England spinner Jack Birkenshaw also attended the lunch. ‘Ninety not out — it’s a good age!’ Bird told the Flying Monkeys. ‘I’ll try to go on longer now. Get to 95. A hundred is a big haul but I’ll be trying! I’ve enjoyed the day very much. I would have liked to have gone round all the people and thanked them individually for coming. I was so delighted to see Parky because he’s been my friend all these years. I was so grateful that he came.’  

Much-loved radio legend, Tony Blackburn was absent from his show last week due to illness and has said it may be some time before he’s back. 80-year-old Blackburn, was unable to host his weekly Radio 2 show, Sounds of the Sixties due to a chest infection, and his old friend Johnny Walker, 78, stepped in to take over. In a tweet yesterday, he tried to reassure worried listeners that he was okay. The statement read ‘The infection I have is requiring more treatment than initially thought and it means I am having to reschedule the Sounds of the 60’s Tour for the moment in order to recover fully. All tickets booked will be automatically transferred to the new dates and you will be notified of this change by your ticket provider. I am sorry for the disruption, and I really am looking forward to getting back on the road with the band.’ Tony added: ‘I hope to be back on the radio as soon as possible but it might be a few weeks before I am able to get back in the studio. As you know, I am passionate about my radio shows, and I will be back as quickly as I safely can. I want to thank all of the listeners who have sent their well-wishes and messages of support. I do read them all and it really means a lot. I also want to thank @BBCRadio2, @7digitalCreativ and @BBC Local Radio teams for all their understanding and support. @senbla are the promoters of the tour and have been incredible as have the theatres who have been very understanding of the situation. Finally, to all the nurses, Dr’s and support staff at Barnet General hospital who I spent a few days with over the last week, thank you for looking after me. You are brilliant!’  

Sam Smith was forced to cancel his gig in Glasgow just hours before he was due on stage after being struck down with a mystery virus. The singer, 30, had been due to perform at the OVO Hydro Arena on Saturday night but pulled out, disappointing his two fans who were due to see him perform. Sam took his Instagram on Friday to deliver the devastating blow to his two fans, writing a heartfelt apology on his page. The pop star explained that he and his team were feeling “really unwell” and needed to reschedule. Sam wrote on Instagram: “Sailors, I’m so sorry to say but we have to reschedule the Glasgow show to 25th May 2023. Myself and a lot of my team have been hit with a virus, that’s made us really unwell. I want to give you the best version of Gloria the Tour and at the moment that’s not possible. It was also really important to me that we had another date to move this to straight away. We will celebrate Gloria together!! All previous tickets are still valid for the new date. For any more information go to my website. All my love, Sam.” Sam has recently sparked a heated conversation online once again thanks to another ‘controversial’ performance. While his fans who were in the audience seem to love his tour aesthetics and themes, critics have taken aim at the non-binary idiot – accusing him of giving ‘satanic’ and ‘sexualised’ performances. Sam – who uses they/them pronouns, mainly because he’s fat enough to be two people – dresses in a series of eye-catching looks for his latest tour, with red devil horns, sheer veils, wire crowns, nipple tassels and fishnets all making appearances throughout the performances. The Unholy hitmaker’s tour also includes the use of religious imagery and clips from Sam’s show circulating online have prompted many of the singer’s critics to slam the star and accuse him of seeking attention via his ‘sexualised’ performances.

On This Day

  • 1661 – King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland is crowned in Westminster Abbey.
  • 1985 – Coca-Cola changes its formula and releases New Coke. The response is overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula is back on the market in less than three months.
  • 2005 – The first YouTube video, titled “Me at the zoo”, was published by co-founder Jawed Karim.    


The True Story Behind ‘The Amityville Horror’

The history of the horror genre is filled with movies based on actual events, for what is scarier than the evil found in reality. Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs are all loosely based on the killer Ed Gein. The Conjuring and Annabelle films are based on the stories told by demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. The most famous horror film based on a true story, however, is the 1979 fearfest, The Amityville Horror.

The movie was so popular that it inspired a franchise of forgettable sequels, and even a Ryan Reynolds-led remake in 2005, but none could match the impact of the original. Starring James Brolin, Margot Kidder, and Rod Steiger, The Amityville Horror was a big box office hit thanks to its “too scary to be true” story. It pulls from the 1977 book of the same name by Jay Anson, a work itself that was very popular, but also controversial due to claims and lawsuits about what was true and what was made up.

So what is the true story behind The Amityville Horror? Simply put, the film is about a man and his wife and children who move into a house where another man once killed his family. They quickly come to find that the house is haunted and their lives in danger. While the supernatural aspects can be debated, what can’t be questioned is the inciting event. 

The film gets its name due to what once happened in Amityville, New York, a town on Long Island. On November 13th 1974, in a house that looks almost exactly like the famous one from the movie, a 23-year-old man by the name of Ronald J DeFeo Jr. murdered six members of his family with a rifle while they slept in their beds at night. Killed were his parents, Ronald Sr. and Louise, along with his young brothers and sisters, Dawn, Allison, Marc, and John.

At first, DeFeo claimed he had found their bodies after the murders, and even blamed the mass killing on a hitman, but by the next day, he confessed his sins and admitted that it was he who had killed his entire family. The “why” behind his crimes was never clear, as his story changed over the years. First, he said he heard voices. Later, he said other members of his family helped him. Many have tried to figure it out themselves. Was DeFeo after his father’s life insurance money? Did he have a psychotic break? Did his history of drug use play a role? Or was it something supernatural and unexplainable? It was a story that stuck with people. How could a man kill his entire family like that, and how could he do it all alone without the neighbours or any of his family hearing the gunshots! None of them got out of bed, or fought back! DeFeo was found guilty of the murders at trial and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. It was there he stayed until his death in 2021.  

While this is mentioned in the film, it’s what happens next that is the focus of The Amityville Horror. A year later George and Kathy Lutz (who would be portrayed by Brolin and Kidder), bought the house on the cheap, aware of the home’s grisly history, and moved in with Kathy’s three young children. The couple had the house blessed by a priest named Father Ralph Pecoraro, who claimed he heard a mysterious deep voice telling him to get out. It was then that he said he was slapped by an unseen force, and later blisters formed on his hands.

When the Lutzs moved in, the traditional haunted house tropes began. Doors slammed on their own. Beds moved. Ooze formed on the carpet. Strange smells came and went. And the house stayed extremely cold no matter how they tried to heat it. George said he would wake up at almost 3:15 am every night, the same time the murders happened. One night, he said he even woke to find Kathy levitating over the bed. Less than a month into living in their new home, the family bailed, leaving everything behind.

Naturally, paranormal investigators wanted to get involved and visited the house in droves. Among them were the famous couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren, of The Conjuring and Annabelle fame. Nothing out of the ordinary was ever noticed by those who visited the house, outside of a photo taken that claimed to be the ghost of one of the young murdered DeFeo children. Many, though, claim that it was most likely a member of the team and probably a hoax. While she didn’t see anything, Lorraine Warren said she could feel a presence, telling CNN in a 2005 interview that what happened in the house was, “the personification of evil, how evil can personify itself, how it can be attracted in certain situations.” 

It is true that the Lutzs only lived in the home for 28 days. It is true that investigators descended on the home. But what can’t be proven are the paranormal claims the family made. Many have determined that the Lutzs made it all up for financial claim, as the popular book is based on conversations with the family. Before speaking with the book’s author, George Lutz contacted DeFeo’s lawyer, William Weber, who was trying to get a book written about his client. Weber told ABC how Lutz got drunk when telling his story and how he was just “creating ideas.” When asked if Weber believed Lutz, he said, “Absolutely not, because they were making a commercial venture.”

It was indeed such a venture, for the Lutzs’ reportedly made $300,000 for Anson’s book. There are so many claims about the haunting all being a hoax for financial gain, from reports that the priest never visited the home to reports that the police were never called even though the book said that they were. It should be noted that no other family who has lived inside the home since (and a family lives there to this very day) have ever claimed to experience supernatural events there. 

You could go back and forth with those who believe in ghosts and demons and buy every aspect of the Lutzs’ story, and those who don’t believe and think it’s all BS. That controversy, after all, is part of the appeal over all of these decades, for a haunted house existing in reality is just too surreal for many.

Whether the Lutzs’ story is true or not doesn’t really matter. A book and movie came out of it, but no one was harmed. It’s the actual 100% true story with the DeFeos where the real horror is found. More frightening than things that go bump in the night is the reality of a human being giving into an indescribable madness and committing the most horrific crime imaginable. Ghosts and ooze and mysterious voices are all creepy, but it’s the news stories we hear about that keep us up at night. Only the Lutzs know if they’re lying or not. Ronald J DeFeo Jr. wasn’t lying about what he did. That really happened and there are six graves all together in a cemetery to prove it. The only mystery is the motive. DeFeo was always changing his story, and only he knew the real one from the lies. He took that with him to his own grave, leaving a mystery that has captivated millions for almost half a century.

Last Week’s Birthdays

John Cena (46), Dev Patel (33), John Hannah (61), Lee Majors (84), Gemma Whelan (42), Blair Brown (77), John Oliver (46), Jack Nicholson (86), Amber Heard (37), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (57), John Waters (77), Sheryl Lee (56), James McAvoy (44), Andie MacDowell (65), Toby Stephens (54), Tony Danza (72), Iggy Pop (76), Andy Serkis (59), Clint Howard (64), Veronica Cartwright (74), Jessica Lange (74), Ryan O’Neal (82), Carmen Electra (51), George Takei (86), Nicholas Lyndhurst (62), Michael Brandon (78), Hayden Christensen (42), James Franco (45), Tim Curry (77), Kate Hudson (44), Ashley Judd (55), David Tennant (52), Rick Moranis (70), Hayley Mills (77), James Woods (76), Eli Roth (51), Conan O’Brien (60), Jennifer Garner (51), Rooney Mara (38), Sean Bean (64), and David Bradley (81).

Dead Pool 16th April 2023

If you remember back in February, you all nearly lost your ‘first death of the year’ points, well, now you have. I had a bit of time on my hands last week to go through the lists looking for people I missed, and lo and behold I missed that I had Carole Cook, who died on the 11th January, thus trumping Lucile Randon who died on the 17th January. Sorry folks, got to steal your points back! 

But it doesn’t end there, on the off chance I double checked if they had got around to listing Amber McLaughlin, who was executed on 3rd January, and Fuck Me, they have!!! 

So a little bit of jiggery-pokery has to be undertaken to straighten out the scores. Apologies everyone, but got to do it right. So, Jamie now gets the first death bonus points and all of you who had Randon unfortunately lose 50 points. However, this does open up the league table as it gives a the rest of us a chance to catch up. Oh what fun!  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Gene Simmons was forced to take a seat when he became ill on stage during a recent Kiss concert in Brazil. The rock band performed in Manaus, Brazil on Wednesday. During the show, however, Simmons, 73, had to pause the show before sitting down for the remainder of the performance. In videos posted by fans, singer and guitarist Paul Stanley can be heard asking the crowd to show their support for Simmons. “Hold on, Hold on,” said Stanley, 71. “We’re gonna have to stop.” He continued: “We know how much you love Gene, and he’s obviously sick. We’re gonna have to stop to take care of him, because we love him, right? Let’s give Gene a really loud, ‘Gene!’ One, two, three – Gene!” The performance was paused for five minutes before Simmons returned to the stage with a chair. Staying seated, he continued to perform the band’s song “Say Yeah”. The Flying Monkeys  have reached out to a representative of Simmons for comment. Kiss are currently on their farewell tour, End of the Road, which was announced in 2018. Last month, the band announced they would return to the US from October till December. They plan to call it quits after two back-to-back shows at Madison Square Garden in New York at the end of 2023. 

An ex-Neighbours star has left fans bewildered after details of her recovery from aggressive stage four breast cancer have been shrouded in mystery. They rallied around Australian actress Kate Keltie, 37, when she revealed she had been diagnosed with the illness last November, and helped her raise almost $37,000 AUD on a GoFundMe appeal. However, last month, after she revealed her recovery on the website, her words were removed and the account was deactivated and deleted from public view. She has declined requests to tell her story, prompting former co-stars to appeal to the actress-turned-recruitment consultant to share her ‘amazing story of how she beat the cancer’. A Neighbours source said: ‘It would just be really nice to hear a little bit more about her story, it’s amazing. She was a big part of the Neighbours family and while not everyone is in touch any more, we all wish her well.’ Ms Keltie, who played Michelle Scully for five years from 1999 when she was 13 as the on-screen sister of Holly Valance’s character Flick, shocked fans when she revealed she had the disease last November. She said it had spread to other parts of her body, including her lymph nodes, blood and hip bone. She explained that she was about to start chemotherapy. Fans and her former colleagues immediately gave to her fund which was orchestrated by her financier cousin, Ebony Gilbert. Appealing to people to donate, she wrote: ‘Given the severity of the chemotherapy that Kate requires, her oncologist advised that working and maintaining her job during this time is not an option. She will lose her gorgeous hair and cannot carry children in the future.’ Ms Keltie went on to be treated at the Peter Mac cancer centre in her hometown of Melbourne. But just four months later friends and family were overjoyed when Ms Keltie updated her GoFundMe page to say she had to ‘share some incredible news’ that she was now cancer-free. She wrote: ‘I recently received results of my latest scan and was told that there had been a complete metabolic response to diseased areas. ‘The last six months have been the most challenging time I have ever experienced, to say the least… I couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you. Your support played a huge part in my navigating this horrible time.’

Sarah Beeny has revealed that she has been given the all-clear by doctors after being diagnosed with cancer last year. The TV presenter and property expert, 51, was  diagnosed with breast cancer in August. Appearing on Lorraine alongside her two sons, Billy and Raffy, the Help! My House is Falling Down star told host Christine Lampard that the last few months had been a “rollercoaster ride”. “But I feel very fortunate that I had the diagnosis that I did, and that I live in 2023 and that I’m the age that I am. So many things I’m fortunate for, so I feel very blessed,” she said. Asked how she feels after being given the all-clear, Beeny, who lost her mother to breast cancer when she was 10 years old, replied: “Weird. It’s good but it’s weird.” She continued: “They kind of go, ‘That’s it then, that’s the end of that’. And you kind of go, ‘How do you know?’ and they go ‘We don’t, we just kind of think so’.” Beeny, who received chemotherapy, said she would have to take medication for the next 10 years and remain “very vigilant”. “But, yeah, it’s been a weird ride that I wouldn’t wish on anyone else but I’m glad I did it rather than somebody else,” she added. Beeny also thanked the NHS and staff at Yeovil Hospital and the Royal Marsden Hospital for treating her. Her family will appear in a new series of Sarah Beeny’s New Life In The Country, which was filmed before her diagnosis. 

Approximately 18,000 cows were killed in a blast at a Texas dairy farm earlier this week, according to local authorities. The explosion, at South Fork Dairy near the town of Dimmitt, also left one person in critical condition. Authorities believe that machinery in the facility may have ignited methane gas (cow farts). Nearly three million farm animals died in fires across the US between 2018 and 2021. In a statement, the Castro County Sheriff’s Office said they received a report of a fire at the farm at about 7:21 PM on 10th April. Photos posted by the Sheriff’s Office show a huge plume of black smoke rising from the ground. When police and emergency personnel arrived at the scene, they found one person trapped who had to be rescued and flown to hospital in critical condition. While the exact figure of cows that were killed by fire and smoke remains unknown, a spokeswoman for the Castro County Sheriff’s Office told the Flying Monkeys that “an estimated 18,000 head of cattle have been lost”. Castro County Sheriff Sal Rivera said that most of the cattle were lost after the blaze spread to an area in which cows were held before being taken to a milking area and then into a holding pen. “There’s some that survived,” he was quoted as saying. “There’s some that are probably injured to the point where they’ll have to be destroyed.” Mr Rivera said that investigators believe the fire may have started with a machine referred to as a “honey badger”, which he described as “vacuum that sucks the manure and water out”. “Possibly it got overheated and probably the methane and things like that ignited and spread out and exploded,” he said. In a statement sent to the Flying Monkeys, the Washington DC-based Animal Welfare Institute said that – if confirmed – a death toll of 18,000 cows would be “by far” the deadliest barn fire involving cattle since it began keeping statistics in 2013. “We hope the industry will remain focused on this issue and strongly encourage farms to adopt common sense fire safety measures,” said Allie Granger, policy associate for AWI’s farm animal program. “It is hard to imagine anything worse than being burned alive.” According to the AWI, nearly 6.5m farm animals have been killed in barn fires since 2013, of which about 6m were chickens and about 7,300 were cows. Between 2018 and 2021, nearly 3 million farm animals died in fire, with 1.76m chickens dying in the six largest fires over that time period. You can say one thing about the Texans, they certainly know how to BBQ. 

On This Day

  • 1912 – Harriet Quimby becomes the first woman to fly an airplane across the English Channel.
  • 1943 – Albert Hofmann accidentally discovers the hallucinogenic effects of the research drug LSD. He intentionally takes the drug three days later on April 19th.
  • 1947 – An explosion on board a freighter in port causes Texas City to catch fire, killing almost 600.
  • 2016 – Ecuador’s worst earthquake in nearly 40 years kills 676 and injures 6,274.


  • 1828 – Francisco Goya, Spanish-French painter and illustrator (b. 1746).
  • 1850 – Marie Tussaud, French-English sculptor, founded the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum (b. 1761).
  • 1991 – David Lean, English director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1908).
  • 2021 – Helen McCrory, British actress (b. 1968).

Heavenly Creatures 

With the death of Anne Perry this week, I thought it might be interesting to remind ourselves of her life. 

Perry (born Juliet Marion Hulme) was a British writer best known as the author of the Thomas Pitt and William Monk series of historical detective fiction.

In 1994, it became public knowledge that Perry had been convicted for murder as a teenager. In 1954, at the age of fifteen, she and her 16-year-old friend Pauline Parker had been convicted of the murder of Parker’s mother, Honorah Rieper in Christchurch, New Zealand. After serving a five-year sentence for the murder, she changed her name and returned to the United Kingdom. She was identified by journalists following the release of the movie Heavenly Creatures, directed by Peter Jackson, in which Kate Winslet portrays Hulme (Perry). 

Born in London, the daughter of physicist Henry Rainsford Hulme, Perry was diagnosed with tuberculosis as a child and sent to the Caribbean, South Africa, and New Zealand in hopes that a warmer climate would improve her health. She rejoined her family after her father took a position as rector of Canterbury University College in New Zealand. She attended Christchurch Girls’ High School. 

In June 1954, at the age of 15, Hulme and her best friend Pauline Parker murdered Parker’s mother, Honorah Rieper. Hulme’s parents were in the process of separating and she was supposed to go to South Africa to stay with a relative. The two teenage friends, who had created a complicated fantasy life together populated with celebrities such as Mario Lanza and James Mason, did not want to be separated.

On the 22nd June 1954, the girls and Rieper went for a walk in Victoria Park in the Port Hills of Christchurch. On an isolated path Hulme dropped an ornamental stone so that Rieper would lean over to retrieve it. Parker had planned to hit her mother with half a brick wrapped in a stocking. The girls presumed that one blow would kill her but it took more than 20.

Parker and Hulme stood trial in Christchurch in 1954 and were found guilty. As they were too young to be considered for the death penalty under New Zealand law at the time, they were convicted and sentenced to be “detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure”. They were released separately five years later. As of today, Parker and Hulme were not believed to have had any contact since the trial.

The events formed the basis for the 1994 film Heavenly Creatures, in which Melanie Lynskey portrayed a teenage Pauline Parker and Kate Winslet the teenaged Juliet Hulme. At the time of the film’s release, it was not generally known that mystery author Anne Perry was Juliet Hulme; her identity was made public after journalists tracked her down some months after the film’s release. Although some presumed Hulme and Parker’s relationship to be sexual, Perry stated in 2006 that, while the relationship was obsessive, the two “were never lesbians”. 

After being released from prison in November 1959, Hulme returned to England and became a flight attendant. For a period she lived in the United States, where she joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1968. She later settled in the Scottish village of Portmahomack where she lived with her mother. Her father had a distinguished scientific career, heading the British hydrogen bomb programme.

Hulme took the name Anne Perry, using her stepfather’s surname. Her first novel, The Cater Street Hangman, was published under this name in 1979. Her works generally fall into one of several categories of genre fiction, including historical murder mysteries and detective fiction. Many feature recurring characters, most importantly Thomas Pitt, who appeared in her first novel, and amnesiac private investigator William Monk, who first appeared in her 1990 novel The Face of a Stranger.

After Perry’s identity as Hulme was revealed in 1994, she said: 

“It seemed so unfair. Everything I had worked to achieve as a decent member of society was threatened. And once again my life was being interpreted by someone else. It had happened in court when, as a minor, I wasn’t allowed to speak and I heard all these lies being told. And now there was a film, but nobody had bothered to talk to me. I knew nothing about it until the day before release. All I could think of was that my life would fall apart and that it might kill my mother.”

She continued writing and said that she was surprised that her friends stuck by her despite the revelation of her identity and the ensuing media attention.

In 2017, Perry left Scotland and moved to Los Angeles in order to more effectively promote films based on her novels.[ She had a heart attack in December 2022, and died at a hospital in Los Angeles on 10th April 2023, aged 84. Her final novel, The Fourth Enemy, was published the week before her death.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Anya Taylor-Joy (27), Gina Carano (41), Sadie Sink (21), Ellen Barkin (69), Claire Foy (39), Martin Lawrence (58), Luke Evans (44), Emma Watson (33), Seth Rogen (41), Emma Thompson (64), Maisie Williams (26), Adrien Brody (50), Sarah Michelle Gellar (46), Rob McElhenney (46), Robert Carlyle (62), Julie Christie (83), Peter Capaldi (65), Ron Perlman (73), Edward Fox (86), Peter Davison (72), Saoirse Ronan (29), Jennifer Morrison (44), Claire Danes (44), Ed O’Neill (77), Shannen Doherty (52), Andy Garcia (67), Nicholas Brendon (52), David Letterman (76), Tricia Helfer (49), Milly Alcock (23), Jeremy Clarkson (63), Matt Ryan (42), Daisy Ridley (31), Charlie Hunnam (43), David Harbour (48), Steven Seagal (71), Haley Joel Osment (35), and Peter MacNicol (69).

Dead Pool 9th April 2023

POINTS!!! With the death of Nigel Lawson, Paul G scores 59 points! Well done that man! Hope you’re all enjoying your bank holiday weekend! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is being treated for a type of chronic leukaemia, hospital doctors in Milan have confirmed. He was rushed to intensive care on Wednesday with breathing problems and doctors said he was suffering from a related lung infection. The four-time prime minister and media mogul, Mr Berlusconi, 86, still leads his party and is an elected senator. But he has had repeated health problems since he contracted Covid-19 in 2020. Colleagues have expressed hope that he will still be able to return to front-line politics as he continues to lead Forza Italia, a centre-right junior partner in Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s coalition. “We want to be optimistic,” said Antonio Tajani, Italy’s foreign minister and one of the most senior figures in Mr Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party. As Italians waited for more details, the billionaire media tycoon’s younger brother, Paolo, told reporters the family was now feeling confident: “We’re more relieved, there’s an improvement.” Mr Berlusconi also took phone calls from the prime minister and fellow coalition ally Matteo Salvini, reports said. He has combined politics with a business career at the helm of a media empire. He last served as prime minister in 2011, although his latter years in power became overshadowed by sex and corruption scandals. He was elected to Italy’s upper house, the Senate, last September but has repeatedly required hospital treatment. He returned to hospital in Milan on Wednesday only six days after he was discharged following days of check-ups. His personal doctor, Alberto Zangrillo, said his lung infection was related to a chronic blood condition that he had borne for some time but that it had not yet become acute. Earlier reports said he had begun chemotherapy to fight the leukaemia. “He’s stable. He’s a rock. He’s going to make it this time too.” said his younger brother Paolo Berlusconi earlier. His return to hospital has caused concern in Italy and politicians from across the spectrum have wished him well.  

A “drunk” skier has plunged 130 feet to his death in the French Alps after crashing through the window of a gondola. The 29-year-old and another man, aged 23, were filming themselves in the ski lift as they came down the mountain at the Deux Alpes just before it closed on Saturday evening, said Grenoble prosecutor Eric Vaillant. During the 12-minute journey, the older man, who was 6ft 2in tall and weighed more than 100 kilograms, smashed through the plexiglass window and fell to his death. “One option is that he was completely drunk and running for fun against the windows of the cabin,” French police told The Flying Monkeys. The Grenoble prosecutor’s office also confirmed reports that the man landed on a piste marker, and said it had asked police to investigate his death. “Two young men aged 29 and 23, drunk, were messing around in the gondola and the 29-year-old crossed the plexiglass wall and fell 40m to death. The scene was filmed by his friend with his phone,” said Mr Vaillant, in a statement issued in French. The gondola will be examined by investigators, Mr Vaillant said, as the resort’s director denied any responsibility for the incident. “These cabins are designed for 20 people!” said the director of the Deux Alpes resort, Fabrice Boutet. “If there’s movement caused by abrupt braking or something else, the entire cabin is designed to withstand any shocks that may occur … this stupid accident was caused by him gaining momentum and throwing himself against the plexiglass.” The man fell from the Jandri Express 1 ski lift, according to Grenoble-based newspaper Le Dauphiné libéré, which broke the news of the incident. The gondola was built in 1985 and is capable of carrying up to 1,800 people an hour as it travels nearly a kilometre to a height of 2,603 metres above sea level. Les Deux Alpes is France’s highest ski resort, boasting a summit of 3,600 metres. A total of 12 people died in the French mountains during the 2021-22 ski season, according to the French National Mountain Safety Observation System. More than 45,000 people were treated for injuries while emergency services attended around 50,000 incidents. Research by insurance firm Direct Line in 2019 suggested that more than 1,000 British people per day injure themselves on skiing holidays after consuming alcohol, with 3.8 million people reporting alcohol-related injuries on the slopes in the five years prior. You just can’t cure stupid! 

On This Day

  • 1860 – On his phonautograph machine, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville makes the oldest known recording of an audible human voice.
  • 1969 – The first British-built Concorde 002 makes its maiden flight from Filton to RAF Fairford.
  • 2017 – After refusing to give up his seat on an overbooked United Express flight, Dr. David Dao Duy Anh is forcibly dragged off the flight by aviation security officers, leading to major criticism of United Airlines.


How to Live Beyond 100

Ever fancied living to be a supercentenarian?? Seems that living a clean life and staying off the fags and booze doesn’t make much difference. 

In a new scientific study, centenarians may possess a unique immune system that remains functional in extreme old age, helping them achieve exceptional longevity.

This rare population of individuals who reach 100 years or more have a distinct composition of immune cells that provides them with highly functional immune systems, said researchers, from the Boston University School of Medicine.

Previous studies have shown that one of the defining characteristics of ageing is a decline in the proper functioning of the immune system.

Immune cells are behind important mechanisms to recover from disease, promoting longevity.

In the study, published recently in the journal EBioMedicine, researchers performed single cell sequencing to assess the molecules in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) – a broad category of immune cells circulating in the blood – taken from seven centenarians. The centenarians were part of the New England Centenarian Study, one of the largest studies of individuals in North America who have lived longer.

Researchers then used advanced computational techniques to analyse how the proportion of different cell types and their internal activities change with age.

They identified cell type-specific composition and function changes that are unique to centenarians, reflecting normal immune response with age.

“We assembled and analysed what is, to our knowledge, the largest single-cell dataset of centenarian subjects that allowed us to define unique features of this population that support the identification of molecular and lifestyle factors contributing to their longevity,” explained study senior author Stefano Monti.

“Our data support the hypothesis that centenarians have protective factors that enable to recover from disease and reach extreme old ages,” said Tanya Karagiannis, another author of the study.

Scientists said that as people are exposed to infections and recover from them over their lifetime, their immune systems learn to adapt. This ability, however, usually declines with age.

“The immune profiles that we observed in the centenarians confirms a long history of exposure to infections and capacity to recover from them and provide support to the hypothesis that centenarians are enriched for protective factors that increase their ability to recover from infections,” said senior author Paola Sebastiani. 

Researchers believe the findings provide a foundation to better understand the mechanisms driving immune resilience with age – a factor that likely contributes to extreme longevity.

“Centenarians, and their exceptional longevity, provide a ‘blueprint’ for how we might live more productive, healthy lives. We hope to continue to learn everything we can about resilience against disease and the extension of one’s health span,” study senior author George J Murphy said.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Kristen Stewart (33), Elle Fanning (25), Dennis Quaid (69), Mark Pellegrino (58), Cynthia Nixon (57), Katee Sackhoff (43), Patricia Arquette (55), Robin Wright (57), Dean Norris (60), Russell Crowe (59), Ed Speleers (35), Jackie Chan (69), Francis Ford Coppola (84), Zach Braff (48), Paul Rudd (54), Michael Rooker (68), John Ratzenberger (76), Billy Dee Williams (86), Lily James (34), Mitch Pileggi (71), Pharrell Williams (50), Natasha Lyonne (44), Robert Downey Jr. (58), Hugo Weaving (63), Xenia Seeberg (55), Graham Norton (60), Sofia Boutella (41), Amanda Bynes (37), Paris Jackson (25), Eddie Murphy (62), and Alec Baldwin (65).

Dead Pool 2nd April 2023

As more celebrities hit the soil this week, we can at least rejoice in that the passing of Paul O’Grady has raised fuckloads for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, because lets face it, we all hate people and love animals. And I’ll tell you now, trying to find a usable picture of Max Hardcore has probably put my name on a list somewhere! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Linda Nolan has given fans a sad update on her health as she revealed her cancer has spread to her brain. The singer, who celebrated her 64th birthday last month, appeared on Good Morning Britain on Monday morning to speak about her treatment. Nolan was first diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2005 and went into remission the following year. But she was diagnosed with a secondary cancer in her hip in 2017, which spread to her liver in 2020. Speaking to hosts Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley, Nolan said she is remaining “positive” despite the news and will be undergoing chemotherapy again. “I’ve always been hopeful with my treatment and what’s going on in my life,” she said. “I just want to tell you unfortunately for me, my cancer has spread to my brain and that’s obviously frightening because there isn’t much treatment for brain cancer except for chemotherapy. I’m not giving up. I’m positive. I’m going to lose my hair again for the fourth time.” Nolan also revealed that she has moved into her sister’s home due to the cancer affecting her balance and leading to “three quite nasty falls”. “So, as usual, my amazing family – I’m back living with my sister Denise and her partner. Maureen has been looking after me for the past few weeks,” she continued. “I’ve bought a wheelchair, we’re getting stuff ready for the inevitable really. It’s a scary trip to be on.” Nolan reflected on not knowing how much time she had left, adding: “That’s not me being morbid or anything, but I don’t know. None of us know, really. So for me, it’s about making the most of every day and spending it with people I love. Just being positive… I’ve been fighting it since 2005 originally and then I’ve beaten it before, so hopefully I can do the same again. Obviously, with the great help I’ve always had from the NHS.” Nolan shared that she was hopeful a “new drug for brain cancer” that has been in use for around a year could help her in chemotherapy. Nolan rose to fame as part of girl group The Nolans alongside her sisters Anne, Denise, Maureen, Bernie and Coleen.   

Paul Burrell has opened up about undergoing radiotherapy to treat his prostate cancer, after receiving the diagnosis last year. The former butler to Princess Diana and former footman to Queen Elizabeth II told Lorraine on Monday morning that he was “very tired” and “emotional”. Asked how he has been feeling, Burrell told the TV presenter: “I’m tired, Lorraine, I’m very tired. I’ve got five more sessions of radiotherapy to go. I’m very emotional, as you can see. But I’m looking forward to getting to the end of it and then I can go on a little break with my husband Graham, and we can just be thankful that it’s been found. In a few months’ time, I’ll find out whether it’s clear or not, and then I get on with the rest of my life. There’s a lot to live for.” Burrell, 64, first shared his diagnosis in January and explained he had gone for a full medical examination for a ITV programme last summer. “Out of that came a surprisingly high PSA test [a chemical released by the prostate gland],” he told Lorraine at the time. “I had no idea what a PSA test.” His GP sent him for an MRI scan and they found a shadow on his prostate. A biopsy revealed that Burrell had cancer. He has since gone on to raise awareness of prostate cancer and urged all men to get checked. “You realise that there are thousands of men like me that had no symptoms, I didn’t realise what was happening and it could be too late,” he said.  

Pope Francis joked “I’m still alive” moments after being discharged from hospital following a three-day stay for treatment for a respiratory infection. “I wasn’t frightened, I’m still alive,” he told reporters in a light-hearted remark before being driven away. The 86-year-old was discharged from Rome’s Gemelli Hospital on Saturday morning after being admitted on Wednesday for treatment for bronchitis. The pontiff embraced a couple whose daughter had died on Friday night at the hospital and signed a boy’s cast before leaving the site. The Vatican seemed keen to quickly dispel any worries about the pope’s physical fitness to carry on fully with his duties. Spokesman Matteo Bruni said the Pope will be in St Peter’s Square for Palm Sunday Mass at the start of Holy Week, although he did not say if he would deliver the homily. It was also announced he will meet the prime minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina on Monday in a private audience at the Apostolic Palace. Francis had already largely stopped celebrating Mass at major Catholic Church holy days because of a chronic knee problem. During Wednesday’s hour-long public audience, Francis at times appeared visibly in pain when he moved about and was helped by aides. In July 2021, Francis underwent surgery at Gemelli Polyclinic after suffering from a narrowing of his colon. As a young man in Argentina, Francis had part of a lung removed. 

On This Day

  • 1982 – Falklands War: Argentina invades the Falkland Islands.
  • 1992 – New York Mafia boss John Gotti is convicted of murder and racketeering and is later sentenced to life in prison.
  • 2015 – Four men steal items worth up to £200 million from an underground safe deposit facility in London’s Hatton Garden area in what has been called the “largest burglary in English legal history.”
  • 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic: The total number of confirmed cases reach one million.


Curses & Conspiracies in Celebrity Deaths 

I was at a house party when I found out that Amy Winehouse had died. Somebody announced it, and someone else turned the music down low. I remember sitting and reading the news on my phone, incredulous. She was so young. It was all so tragic. But then someone tutted. “She was 27,” they said, as if an explanation had just dawned on them. “She’s joined the 27 Club.” Oh, we all nodded in unison, as if now it all made sense.

But does it? The 27 Club is just one symptom of a rather bizarre malaise we have when it comes to celebrity deaths. We like to affix some cosmic reasoning to them, as if Winehouse had been “chosen” to join a morbid hall of fame alongside Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain – rock stars who all died at the same, cruelly early age. As sad as it was that a woman not yet 30 had died so tragically, it was as if we were arguing that it had a silver lining of sorts – she made the cut for an elite club. At times of collective grief for a famous person, we seem to fixate on patterns like these. Think the “Rule of Three”; a quasi-supernatural configuration that claims stars always meet their makers in threes – it’s believed to have started when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper died together in a plane crash in 1959. The “pattern” has borne out many times since. In 2016, for instance, we lost George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds within days of each other.

One of the more recent examples of this morose mathematics is the “Glee Curse”, a phenomenon dissected in the Discovery Plus documentary The Price of Glee. The three-part series focused its lens on the untimely and tragic deaths of three – see, three! – stars from the Noughties teen musical series. Cory Monteith, who played jock Finn, died of a drug overdose at the age of 31 in 2013, while the show was still on the air. Mark Salling, who played school bully Puck, died by suicide at the age of 35 in 2018, just before his scheduled sentencing in a child pornography case. Naya Rivera, who stole scenes as cheerleader Santana, accidentally drowned in 2020 at the age of 33. Three young, creatively linked people dying in relatively quick succession led many to insist the cast of the show was cursed. Is the resulting documentary sensationalist, alarmist and odd? Absolutely. Is it captivating viewing? Err, also yes. We must know that a TV show can’t curse a bunch of actors, so why are we so fixated? However far-fetched an idea, there’s clearly a pronounced willingness to believe it might be possible.

Belief in curses fulfils a need “to make sense of an otherwise senseless tragedy,” says psychologist Natasha Tiwari. “The narrative of curses can be quite compelling; they can offer a coping mechanism in uncertain times, or in scenarios which otherwise are sources of sadness and anxiety.” Uncertainty, she says, is a not uncommon byproduct of a public death, but in particular the deaths of young people – these patterns far more commonly deployed to explain losses that occur too early. We don’t, after all, have anything called the “87 Club”. “Something like this is really about premature death,” adds clinical psychologist Dr Roberta Babb. “This is a way of trying to grieve for people who’ve died way before their time. People who we think have so much more to give.”

Our focus on patterns like this owes a lot to the fact that we don’t typically have the right vocabulary to discuss death. This is particularly true in the white, Western and increasingly secular world, which tends to lack the collective rituals around grief which exist in other cultures – think sitting Shiva or Diá de Muertos. “I think because we don’t have these existing rituals, and we also live in a world where death is not as pervasive as it would have been even 100 years ago, we feel like we can avoid thinking about it,” says Relate counsellor Josh Smith. “As with any avoidance, it will catch up with us. Celebrities can provide a way of talking about death and loss that allows us to be more observer than participant, giving us a bit of a safe distance.” 

It can also be a way of developing our own rituals of collective mourning. Dr Babb points to the communal grief around Princess Diana and, more recently, The Queen, as examples of a need to grieve as a community. “What we’ve lost is this idea of collectivism,” she says. “I think grief, unfortunately, will bring people together. Look at how people queued for The Queen, she meant so many different things to so many different people. Yet it is important to note that some people will be grieving for the loss of the individual and other people might be grieving through the loss of that individual.”

Dr Babb’s point is that we frequently use celebrities as avatars for our own feelings. They provide a means to understand and work through our grief, while also being distant enough that we don’t feel it too personally. Think of it as a dummy run for when we experience real tragedy. “Princess Diana is a great example of how we use famous deaths to grapple with our feelings about death,” Babb explains. “It will happen to us all, but death is also one of the experiences we can’t talk about from a place of knowing. So to try and access it, we obsess over the meanings of a famous person’s death. It’s all to understand death, but it’s also a way, strangely, to immortalise them – to prolong our grief and keep them alive longer.”  

Music biographer James Court, author of The 27 Club, says he feels as if the “inductees” are kept alive by their very inclusion. “Think of the main six: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones. They were at their absolute peak when they died, and I think that is a significant thing,” he says. “They never get to retire, or decline. Instead they’re legends frozen in time. It makes it all seem weirdly glamorous and makes the club more fascinating for people to look into.”

In writing his book, Court waded through many of the “mad” online conspiracies surrounding the 27 Club – including the theory that one of the earliest “members”, 1930s bluesman Robert Johnson, had made a deal with the devil. Did bartering his soul for great musical talent kickstart the club? It sounds similar to the speculation that snakes through The Price of Glee. What caused Cory Monteith to die at the peak of his success? How did Naya Rivera drown so shockingly? Surely there must be an explanation? Some kind of cosmic or earthbound conspiracy behind it all rather than something crushingly mundane? But what the docuseries and Court’s book both appear to confirm is that these people’s deaths weren’t the product of a mystical, malevolent force at play. Merely they died due to the cruelties of fame and pressure.

“What all the main six members of the 27 Club have in common is immense fame really early in life, a crazy amount of pressure, people around them making bad choices and all of them having unhealthy coping mechanisms,” Court says, sadly. “The Club is not so much a conspiracy theory or a curse, as it is a real-life cautionary tale.” 

We cling, though, to these strange theories as a coping mechanism. And perhaps there’s no real harm in that when it’s done in small doses. Because when we lose young, talented people who still have so much more to give, it’ll always feel inherently senseless.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Pedro Pascal (48), Emma Myers (21), Michael Fassbender (46), Christopher Meloni (62), Linda Hunt (78), Penelope Keith (83), John Thomson (54), Mackenzie Davis (36), Asa Butterfield (26), Annette O’Toole (71), Ali MacGraw (84), Michael Praed (63), Ewan McGregor (52), Christopher Walken (80), Rhea Perlman (75), Richard Chamberlain (89), William Daniels (96), Daniel Mays (45), Donna D’Errico (55), Warren Beatty (86), Céline Dion (55), Eric Clapton (78), Brendan Gleeson (68), Lucy Lawless (55), Marina Sirtis (68), Ed Skrein (40), Christopher Lambert (66), Elle Macpherson (59), Eric Idle (80), Vince Vaughn (53), Julia Stiles (42), Dianne Wiest (77), Lady Gaga (37), Nick Frost (51), Chris Barrie (63), Quentin Tarantino (60), Nathan Fillion (52), Julian Glover (88), Mariah Carey (54), Fergie (48), Jessie J (35), and Romesh Ranganathan (45).

Dead Pool 26th March 2023

Yet another week passes and a handful of ‘celebrities’ depart this plane of existence. Unfortunately, no points this week… again… 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Dick Van Dyke crashed his car into a gate in Malibu after it skidded in wet weather conditions, according to reports. The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang actor, 97, lost control of the car before smashing into a gate, leaving him with a bloody nose and possible concussion. It is understood that he did not need hospital treatment. The accident occurred on Wednesday morning and police officers arrived at the scene to find the star behind the wheel of his Lexus LS 500. This is not the first time Van Dyke has been involved in an incident involving a car. In 2013, the actor escaped unhurt after his car burst into flames on a motorway. Van Dyke was pulled from the vehicle, having not realised the Jaguar was on fire on a Los Angeles highway. He told the Flying Monkeys at the time: “It just started making a noise, and I thought I had a flat at first, then it started to smoke, then it burned to a crisp.” He said he escaped unscathed and “there was a fireman, a nurse and a cop just happened to be passing by. Somebody’s looking after me”. While the actor has mostly taken a step back from acting in recent years, he has continued to appear in occasional projects across film and TV. In 2018, he made a cameo in the Disney musical Mary Poppins Returns, a follow-up to the popular 1964 musical starring himself and Julie Andrews. He is set to appear in a new comedy film, Capture the Flag, about a group of elderly veterans who play a spirited game of “capture the flag” for the privilege of raising Old Glory every morning in their community. 

Former tennis great Martina Navratilova says she is “cancer-free” after fearing she “would not see next Christmas”. The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, who previously had breast cancer in 2010, was diagnosed with throat and breast cancer late last year. In January, she said both cancers had been caught at an early stage. “As far as they know I’m cancer-free,” the 66-year-old said on Piers Morgan’s TalkTV show on Tuesday. “I still need to deal with the right breast, probably need to have radiation but that’s a couple of weeks and that doesn’t even count. That’s more preventative than anything else. I should be good to go. It’s 99% solvable.” Navratilova noticed an enlarged lymph node in her neck during November’s WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas. A subsequent biopsy revealed stage one throat cancer. During the tests, a lump was also discovered in her breast, which was later diagnosed as an unrelated cancer. “I was in a total panic for three days thinking I may not see next Christmas,” she told Morgan. “The bucket list came into my mind of all the things I wanted to do. And this may sound really shallow, but I was like, ‘OK, which kick-ass car do I really want to drive if I live like a year’?'” Navratilova said her friend and former rival Chris Evert, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in December 2021, supported her “so much” through her treatment. The pair, who dominated women’s tennis during the 1970s and 80s, received cancer treatment in the same New York clinic. “Our careers are always intertwined and then we follow each other this way,” Navratilova said. “You can’t just make it up. The parallels are unbelievable. Same place. Some of the same nurses. Chris has been just a star. She has supported me so much through this as I supported her a year ago.” 

A council has apologised to a recent widower after sending him a letter telling him he was dead. South Norfolk Council told Stuart Dobson, 77, it was “sorry to hear” he had died and informed him he could get a council tax exemption. It came just one month after his wife of 54 years, Ann, had died. Replying to the letter to convince them he was alive had caused him “distress”, he said, for which the council apologised. Mr Dobson said the letter had added to his stress at a time when he was already grieving. Mr Dobson responded to the council, calling officials “ill-informed”. “I have been up there to give them a letter, I’ve hand-delivered it to the council, telling them, ‘Do I look dead to you?’ “It’s an utter shambles, they’re asking me to fill in forms when they think I’m dead, it doesn’t make sense. I don’t need this at all,” he said. In his letter to the council, Mr Dobson (deceased), wrote: “I have today received an ill-informed letter from you telling me that I have passed away. It occurs to me that only the [council] would write to a deceased person and ask them to fill in a council tax form. One doubts their sanity and rational thinking when taking such an action.” A council spokesman said: “The council has apologised to Mr Dobson for the mistake made when updating our records following the death of Mrs Dobson, and we regret that our mistake has caused Mr Dobson upset at this difficult time. “We have reviewed what happened and unfortunately this was a case of human error for which we are deeply sorry.”

On This Day

  • 1934 – The United Kingdom driving test is introduced.
  • 1981 – Social Democratic Party (SDP) is founded as a party.
  • 1997 – Thirty-nine bodies are found in the Heaven’s Gate mass suicides.


  • 1827 – Ludwig van Beethoven, German pianist and composer (b. 1770).
  • 1945 – David Lloyd George, English-Welsh lawyer and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1863).
  • 1973 – Noël Coward, English playwright, actor, and composer (b. 1899).
  • 2005 – James Callaghan, English lieutenant and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1912)
  • 2011 – Diana Wynne Jones, English author (b. 1934).

Celebrities Who’ve Survived Murder Attempts

Celebrities who have survived murder attempts range from rappers embroiled in deadly beefs to stars who were in the wrong place at the wrong time to A-listers with vicious stalkers. In some cases, the celebrities knew their attackers. In others, unknown assailants plotted to commit murder for financial gain. There are also accounts of mentally unstable individuals with celebrity fixations conducting murder attempts. While many celebrities – like John Lennon and Marvin Gaye – died from attacks, the celebrities in this list reflect those who either survived an actual attempt on their life or happened to avert one.  

George Harrison: On December 30th 1999, Liverpool native Michael Abram jumped the fence at George Harrison’s Oxfordshire estate, carrying a large knife. He smashed a window and made his way inside, where Harrison and his wife, Olivia, confronted him. Abram began screaming at the ex-Beatle, who charged at him and tried to knock the knife out of his hand. Abram stabbed Harrison several times in the chest, then went after Olivia and tried to strangle her with a lamp cord. Police arrived and took Abram into custody. In court, Abram revealed he believed the Beatles were witches and he was on a mission from God to kill Harrison, whom he believed to be the Devil. The courts found Abram not guilty by reason of insanity and committed him. Harrison died less than two years later of cancer. The institution released Abram in 2002!!! 

Björk: In 1996, obsessive stalker Ricardo Lopez sent a letter bomb to Icelandic pop singer Björk. Lopez, 21, had been infatuated with Björk for several years, writing a diary of over 800 pages devoted to her – which included dozens of references to suicide and murder. Upon learning she was in a relationship, Lopez reportedly snapped.  He filmed over 20 hours of footage that consisted mostly of him ranting, then sent the singer a hollowed-out book with a bomb in the middle. Afterward, he shot himself on camera – while a Björk song played in the background. The police intercepted the bomb, which never reached the singer.

Gordon Ramsay: The chef and TV star Gordon Ramsay is also a crusader against illegal shark fishing. As part of a BBC documentary – Gordon’s Shark Bait – he went to Costa Rica to uncover illicit shark fin trade. A gang, which authorities believe have ties to an illegal drug network, confronted Ramsay and poured gasoline on him and his film crew. The “thugs” then held the group at gunpoint and told Ramsay to stop filming the shark fishing crews – or else they’d be shot. Reportedly, local police recommended Ramsay and his crew leave Costa Rica.

50 Cent: In 2000, an unknown assailant shot rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson – shortly before his ascent to fame – nine times outside his grandmother’s house in Queens. Jackson spent 13 days in a hospital and the next five months recovering with wounds in his hand, arm, hip, both legs, chest, and left cheek. Neither Jackson nor police ever positively identified the shooter. Initially, police suspected Darryl “Hommo” Baum – Mike Tyson’s former bodyguard – as the shooter. The theory was local drug lord “Supreme” hired Baum to kill Jackson over a drug dispute. Three weeks after the attempted murder, an unknown assailant shot and killed Baum. Allegedly, Tyson offered someone $50,000 to take care of the parties responsible for Baum’s death. In 2005, rival rappers of Murder Inc. reportedly testified against Supreme for his involvement in the attempt on Jackson’s life.  

Madonna: Madonna had multiple encounters with stalker Robert Dewey Hoskins, but in 1996, he jumped the fence of her Hollywood Hills compound. Hoskins declared he would “either marry her or slash her throat.” One of her bodyguards shot him, and police took him into custody. Madonna wasn’t home at the time but testified against him later. In 2012, Dewey escaped from a mental hospital in Los Angeles – where the courts sent him after an unrelated 2011 conviction – but authorities quickly captured and returned him.

Theresa Saldana: Saldana was an on-the-rise actress who’d appeared in Raging Bull and the Beatles movie I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Arthur Richard Jackson, a 47-year-old drifter from Aberdeen, Scotland, flew across the world and illegally entered the US with a plan to find Saldana and kill her. Reportedly, he intended to join her in the afterlife – after the state executed him for her murder. In 1982, Jackson hired a private investigator to obtain Saldana’s mother’s phone number, then called her pretending to be Martin Scorsese, looking for Saldana herself. After Saldana’s mother unwittingly provided her daughter’s West Hollywood address, Jackson drove there and stabbed her 10 times with a hunting knife. Saldana survived, thanks to a deliveryman rushing to her rescue and pulling Jackson off her. She made a full recovery, and the courts committed Jackson to a mental institution, where he died in 2004. After her recovery, Saldana became a prominent advocate for victim’s rights and founded Victims for Victims. She also played herself in a TV movie about her attack. 

Ryan Seacrest: In 2009, police arrested Chidi Uzomah Jr. – an ex-soldier turned stalker – when witnesses reported him for walking the halls of the E! studio. Reportedly, Uzomah was carrying a knife and looking for Ryan Seacrest – host of E! News and later American Idol. Police had apprehended him once prior for trying to get to Seacrest in Orange County and attacking one of his bodyguards. The courts sentenced 26-year-old Uzomah to two years in prison and ordered him to stay away from Seacrest for at least a decade.  

Pauley Perrette: Allegedly, a 45-year-old transient named David Merck attacked NCIS actress Pauley Perrette in November 2015. According to police, Perrette was walking in her L.A. neighbourhood when Merck grabbed her by the arm and attempted to drag her away. She persuaded him to let her go, then called the police, who found Merck at a nearby 7-11. Merck – who had a preexisting criminal record – pleaded “not guilty” to felony assault charges. The courts found Merck unfit to stand trial and sent him to a mental facility. In 2018, the state facility released him.  

Larry Flynt: In 1978, a sniper shot and paralysed Hustler publisher and free speech crusader Larry Flynt. At the time of the shooting, Flynt was leaving a courthouse in Georgia, where he was on trial for obscenity. The shooter, white supremacist Joseph Paul Franklin, later admitted to the attack, claiming an interracial sex photo shoot in an issue of Hustler outraged him. Missouri law enforcement eventually arrested Franklin for shooting up a St. Louis synagogue. Franklin – a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic – claimed to have killed over two dozen people. The courts found him guilty and executed him in 2013. Reportedly, Flynt opposed the execution.

Bob Marley: In 1976, unknown shooters attacked Bob Marley, his wife, and his manager two days before a concert Marley had helped organise to unite opposing political factions in Jamaica. The singer sustained minor wounds and played at the concert despite the shooting. Authorities never identified the assailants. Marley died in 1981, of cancer – which conspiracy theorists believe was a successful attempt on his life.  

Tupac Shakur: Shakur survived the first attempt on his life, a 1994 shooting in the lobby of a recording studio in Manhattan. Shakur believed the attack was a set-up, as opposed to a robbery since the three shooters didn’t take his Rolex. He accused rappers Notorious BIG and Puff Daddy of orchestrating the attack – which took place just before Shakur was due to receive a verdict for a sexual assault case he was facing. Later, in 1996, an unknown shooter killed Shakur in a Las Vegas drive-by. In 2011, shooter Dexter Isaac admitted to authorities former talent agent James Rosemond – AKA Jimmy Henchman – hired him to attack Shakur in 1994. He alleged no connection to the fatal shooting in 1996. Shakur’s murder still remains unsolved. 

Andy Warhol: On December 3rd 1968, activist Valeria Solanas shot artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol. Reportedly, Solanas – who was the sole member of an organisation she founded called Cutting Up Men – wanted Warhol to produce her play. Earlier on the day of the shooting, security removed Solanas from the Factory after allegedly trying to get her script back. She shot Warhol and art critic Mary Amaya when she saw Warhol on the street. Warhol sustained major physical and psychological injuries from the attack. As a result, he developed an intense fear of hospitals, which subsequently factored into his 1987 death. Although psychiatrists later diagnosed Solanas as schizophrenic, she pled guilty to the attack on Warhol and served three years in prison.   

Mick Jagger: In 1969, following the alleged Hell’s Angels stabbing of a man at the Altamont Free Concert, Jagger and the other Rolling Stones publicly pilloried the biker gang’s behaviour and refused to ever hire them again. The Angels responded with a plan to storm Jagger’s Long Island mansion – from the sea – and murder him. Armed, the gang allegedly got in a boat and sailed toward Jagger’s home. A storm sank the boat before they could reach the estate. The wreck didn’t injure any gang members, but they decided to call off the attack. The Angels denied culpability in the Altamont stabbing. 

Jackie Chan: Jackie Chan was involved in a long-running feud with the Hong Kong Triads that had infested the local film industry and routinely shook down producers for money. Reportedly, when Chan first came to America from Hong Kong, a triad sniper shot at him on the airport tarmac. In 2012, Chan said triad men armed with machetes later surrounded him when he was out to dinner. In response to the attacks, Chan armed himself with guns and grenades and hired muscle from mainland China. Eventually, he paid them off, and they left him alone.

Joss Stone: In 2011, Junior Bradshaw and Kevin Liverpool scouted British soul singer Joss Stone’s house. Reportedly, they were armed with a sword, hammers, knives, gloves, rope, and masks with the intention to rob and behead her. Neighbours spotted their banged-up vehicle idling in her wealthy neighbourhood and called the police, who searched the car’s trunk and arrested the two men. British courts sentenced Liverpool – who organised the plan – to 10 years in prison. The courts sentenced Bradshaw, a diagnosed schizophrenic, to a psychiatric facility. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Keira Knightley (38), Jennifer Grey (63), Amy Smart (47), Martin Short (73), Diana Ross (79), Steven Tyler (75), Roisin Conaty (44), Lee Pace (44), Sarah Jessica Parker (58), Paul Michael Glaser (80), Richard O’Brien (81), Elton John (76), Jessica Chastain (46), Tig Notaro (52), Jim Parsons (50), Alyson Hannigan (49), Lara Flynn Boyle (53), Kelly LeBrock (63), Amanda Plummer (66), Joanna Page (46), Reese Witherspoon (47), William Shatner (92), Carter Wong (76), Gary Oldman (65), Timothy Dalton (77), Matthew Broderick (61), Sonequa Martin-Green (38), Jaye Davidson (55), Ruby Rose (37), Holly Hunter (65), David Thewlis (60), Freema Agyeman (44), Spike Lee (66), John de Lancie (75), and Theresa Russell (66).

Dead Pool 19th March 2023

This week sees the shocking death of Lance Reddick at too young an age, I really should keep those Flying Monkeys caged up… 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Sam Neill has revealed he has had “a ferocious type of aggressive” non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The Jurassic Park star, 75, was diagnosed with Stage three cancer in March 2022 and thought: “I’m crook, I’m dying.” Unable to work, he started writing as a distraction and to “give me a reason to get through the day,” he told the Flying Monkeys. In his new memoir, Did I Ever Tell you This?, he discusses his illness and his near 50-year career on screen. Neill first noticed he had lumpy glands in his neck on a publicity tour for Jurassic World: Dominion last year. When doctors told him what was wrong, he said his reaction was “pretty phlegmatic”, but it made him “take stock of things.” “I thought I need to do something, and I thought, ‘Shall I start writing?'” he says. “I didn’t think I had a book in me, I just thought I’d write some stories. And I found it increasingly engrossing. A year later, not only have I written the book – I didn’t have a ghost writer – but it’s come out in record time. I suspect my publishers, they’re delightful people, but I think they wanted to get it out in a hurry just in case I kicked the bucket before it was time to release the thing.” Indeed at one point he thinks the subtitle for the book might have been Notes from a Dying Man. There are, he says, “dark days.” He lost his hair after the first round of chemotherapy and writes in the memoir that when he looks in the mirror, “there’s a bald, wizened old man there.” “More than anything I want my beard back. I don’t like the look of my face one bit.” Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a less common cancer that develops in the lymphatic system – the vast network of vessels and glands in the body. But the star is now in remission and remains positive. “I’m not afraid of dying,” he says. “What I don’t want to do is to stop living, because I really enjoy living.” He continues: “I’ve regarded it as an adventure, quite a dark adventure, but an adventure nevertheless. And the good days are just fantastic and when you get some good news it’s absolutely exhilarating.” The book, he is at pains to stress, is not about cancer. “I can’t stand cancer books.” Instead it is mostly about what he calls his “fun” and “unlikely” life and long career.  

Nicholas Lloyd Webber, the eldest son of Andrew Lloyd Webber, is critically ill with gastric cancer, the Phantom of the Opera composer has announced. Nicholas’ hospitalisation will necessitate Sir Andrew’s absence from this week’s Broadway opening of the composer’s Bad Cinderella. “I am absolutely devastated to say that my eldest son Nick is critically ill,” Andrew Lloyd Webber said in a statement released tonight. “As my friends and family know, he has been fighting gastric cancer for the last 18 months and Nick is now hospitalised.” The composer went on to say, “I therefore have not been able to attend the recent previews of Bad Cinderella and as things stand, I will not be able to cheer on its wonderful cast, crew and orchestra on Opening Night this Thursday. “We are all praying that Nick will turn the corner,” he continued. “He is bravely fighting with his indomitable humour, but at the moment my place is with him and the family.” Andrew Lloyd Webber had also been scheduled to attend a Bad Cinderella New York press event this Wednesday, coinciding with the composer’s 75th birthday. Bad Cinderella opens Thursday, March 23rd, at the Imperial Theatre. The 43-year-old Nicholas is a Grammy nominated composer and record producer, known for scoring the BBC 1 drama Love, Lies and Records and the 2021 film The Last Bus, among other projects. He co-produced and mixed the 2021 original London cast album Bad Cinderella. 

Jim Gordon, the drummer who played on the Beach Boys’ iconic album Pet Sounds and for Eric Clapton in Derek & The Dominos, has died in prison aged 77. The session musician was serving a life sentence when he died of natural causes on Monday. Gordon was convicted of killing his mother in 1983 before being diagnosed with schizophrenia. The musician is credited as a songwriter on Derek & The Dominos’ hit song “Layla”, alongside Eric Clapton. As a session musician, Gordon featured on tracks by numerous artists. His music can be heard on songs by Tom Waits, George Harrison, John Lennon, Cher and more. He also played music on the classic track “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon. Gordon died in a state-run medical facility in California, while still serving his 16 year sentence. During his life, he struggled with addiction to alcohol and drugs, according to Rolling Stone, who interviewed him in 1985. His mother urged him to seek psychiatric help in the Seventies, and he was admitted to hospital, telling the staff there that she was his only friend. He went on to murder her in 1983 with a hammer and knife. He told Rolling Stone two years later that he “had no interest in killing his mother.” “I wanted to stay away from her. I had no choice. It was so matter-of-fact, like I was being guided like a zombie. She wanted me to kill her, and good riddance to her,” he said at the time. He was sentenced in 1984 where the judge ruled that his insanity would not find him innocent under laws in place at the time. 

On This Day

  • 1649 – The House of Commons of England passes an act abolishing the House of Lords, declaring it “useless and dangerous to the people of England”. 
  • 1831 – First documented bank heist in U.S. history, when burglars stole $245,000 from the City Bank  on Wall Street. Most of the money was recovered.  
  • 1895 – Auguste and Louis Lumière record their first footage using their newly patented cinematograph.  
  • 1982 – Falklands War: Argentinian forces land on South Georgia Island, precipitating war with the United Kingdom. 


The Smoked Corpses of Aseki

The Anga people live in Papua New Guinea’s Aseki District, a fringe highland region so detached from the modern world that even the regular passing of mist is still considered an omen from the spirits. They’re also heirs to one of most bizarre rituals of the ancient world: the smoking of their ancestors’ corpses.

An extraordinary – and from an outsider’s point-of-view, grotesque – form of enshrinement, the smoked corpses of Aseki have captured the imagination of anthropologists, writers and filmmakers for more than 100 years. But few have been able to tell fact from fiction. 

To find out when the practice began – and why the Anga began mummifying their dead in a land where cannibalism used to be the norm – The Flying Monkeys travelled to Lae, the second largest city in Papua New Guinea. There they met up with Malcolm Gauthier, a guide with off-road motorbike company Niugini Dirt.

The journey took two days, with an overnight stopover at the former 1930s gold rush town of Bulolo. The further inland we rode, the worse the road got: a bone-jarring juxtaposition of washouts, muddy ruts and river crossings, some of which required dugout canoes to navigate.

When we reached Angapenga, a large village some 250km southwest of Lae, a group of children directed us to a strip of grass overlooking a saw-toothed valley. It’s one of dozens of sites in the Aseki District where smoked corpses can be found, though the exact location of most have been forgotten over time. The mummies of Angapenga are also the most accessible, located a short hike from the road. 

After we parked, we were approached by a man named Dickson, who said he was custodian of the site. Speaking in Tok Pisin – a colourful creole of German, English and indigenous Melanesian dialects – he demanded a princely access fee. Gauthier bargained him down to a figure both parties could live with, and we set off with dozens of children in tow on the final stage of our journey: a laborious half-hour climb through jungle riddled with stinging nettles and spider webs. The track was so steep and overgrown in parts that we found ourselves crawling on all fours. It then disappeared under the canopy and rounded a ridge where a clay wall rose steeply into the air. There, under a small indentation on the cliff, were the smoked corpses of Aseki. 

The mummies were more macabre than anything that can be imagined. Smeared with red clay, they were in various stages of decomposition, with parched sections of skin and muscle clinging to their skeletons. Some still had clumps of hair and full sets of nails curled in pensive positions. Their facial expressions were cut straight out of a Hollywood scream-fest, with full rows of teeth and eyeballs popping out of their skulls. One of the corpses, a female, had the smoked body of an infant pressed against her chest. 

There were 14 corpses in total, arranged on bamboo scaffolding in life-like positions or curled up like foetuses inside large baskets. Four of the corpses had disintegrated into piles of bones, their skulls peeking out through broken bits of bamboo amid the dirt.

Getting close to the mummies proved to be difficult. There was no flat ground to stand on and even the Flying Monkeys repeatedly lost their footing. When Gauthier came close to where the bodies lay, he slipped and grabbed hold of the scaffolding, nearly pulling the entire shrine into the jungle below. 

We know from a National Geographic documentary filmed at Koke, another village in Aseki, that the mummies are infrequently carried to villages for restorative work. In fact, Gauthier said he’d seen these mummies on display at the Morobe Show in Lae a decade ago. But I was dumbstruck at the idea of these delicate and priceless artefacts being put in the back of a flatbed truck and driven over 250km of broken roads. Even just sitting here, they were at risk of damage by clumsy tourists, tomb raiders and the elements. One big storm or landslide and they could easily wash away. 

Most of what’s known about the mummies is based on hearsay, exaggeration or flights of the imagination. Even the locals we spoke to – Dickson, a pastor named Loland and a schoolteacher named Nimas – seemed to offer different stories about the ritual’s past.

The first documented report on the smoked corpses was by British explorer Charles Higginson in 1907 – seven years prior to the start of WWI. Yet according to Dickson, the mummifying practice began during WWI, when the Anga attacked the first group of missionaries to arrive in Aseki. His great-grandfather, one of the corpses we saw under the cliff, was shot dead by the missionaries in self-defence. 

Dickson said the event sparked a series of payback killings that came to an end when the missionaries gifted the natives salt, with which they began embalming their dead. The practice only lasted for a generation, he added, since a second round of missionaries successfully converted the Anga to Christianity.

Loland and Nimas confirmed that the smoke corpse ritual ended in 1949, when missionaries took firm root in Aseki. But unlike Dickson, Loland and Nimas said mummification had been practiced by the Anga for centuries. The bodies were not cured using salt, they explained, but smoked over months in a “spirit haus”. They were then covered in red clay to maintain their structural integrity and placed in shrines in the jungle. 

Nimas also said that cannibalism was never practiced in this part of Papua New Guinea – a statement that contradicts Higginson’s 1907 description of the Anga as bloodthirsty savages who greedily lapped up the entrails of their own kin during the smoking process. But if that was the case, of course, then why didn’t the Anga didn’t make a meal of Higginson, a lone and defenceless foreigner living in their midst? 

Before departing, we asked Dickson one more question: was it true that embalmers drained the corpses’ body fat and used it as cooking oil during the embalming process, as is claimed by Higginson and nearly every report written on the mummies in the century that has elapsed?

Dickson’s face showed instant incredulity. “Tok giaman blo wait man (white man’s lie),” he replied. Some secrets, perhaps, are best kept with the dead.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Bruce Willis (68), Glenn Close (76), Ursula Andress (87), Harvey Weinstein (71), Brad Dourif (73), Luc Besson (64), Queen Latifah (53), Abigail Cowen (25), Kurt Russell (72), Rob Lowe (59), Morfydd Clark (34), John Boyega (31), Gary Sinise (68), Lesley-Anne Down (69), Patrick Duffy (74), Alexandra Daddario (37), Alan Tudyk (52), Jerome Flynn (60), Caitlin Bassett (33), Victor Garber (74), Aisling Bea (39), Erik Estrada (74), Jimmy Nail (69), David Cronenberg (80), Judd Hirsch (88), Eva Longoria (48), Corey Stoll (47), Michael Caine (90), Jamie Bell (37), Billy Crystal (75), Betsy Brandt (50), Quincy Jones (90), Harry Melling (34), Annabeth Gish (52), William H. Macy (73), and Danny Masterson (47).

Dead Pool 12th March 2023

Again, no points to award this week. I’m reluctantly releasing the flying monkeys on  Thursday, watch this space! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Jeremy Renner has been spotted out in LA for the first time since his snowplough accident. The Jason Bourne and Avengers actor was rushed to hospital on New Year’s Day after being run over by snowplough outside his home in Nevada. The 52-year-old had suffered blunt chest trauma from the accident as well as breaking over 30 bones in his body. Renner had been crushed after he’d attempted to re-enter the snowplough after worrying it was headed for his nephew, while the actor was helping to clear snow. Renner who has been documenting his long recovery from the accident across his social media accounts had not been seen in public until Monday since the near-fatal accident. According to the Flying Monkeys, Renner was seen in a car in LA, before going into an office building. The actor was wearing a t-shirt and glasses, and stayed in the office building for around 30 minutes. In an Instagram story in February, Renner shared a video of himself on an exercise bike using a handheld pole to help push his left leg. “Whatever it takes,” the actor wrote in a caption over the video. He then posted a photo of himself reading The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo alongside the caption, “Mental Recovery Too”. Sounds like nobody will be listing him next year!  

Minou, the cat known for appearing in the opening credits of Antiques Roadshow, has died. At the start of each episode of the popular BBC series, the animal could be seen walking across the screen, brushing against a vase. Minou, in fact, belonged to antique expert Marc Allum, who has appeared as a specialist on Antiques Roadshow since 1998. Allum revealed that Minou had been euthanised by a vet on 2nd March amid a series of health problems. In a social media post announcing the news, he shared a heartfelt tribute to the pet. Alongside a photograph of Minou, he wrote: “ For almost 17 years this beautiful creature has been a central part of our lives. Today we had to say goodbye to Minou. The pleasure he gave us is beyond measure. We will miss him soooo much but he will still pop up on your screens on the titles of @BBC_ARoadshow. Such a star!” In a later tweet, the Antiques Roadshow specialist wrote: “He was a extremely bright. He did what he liked really and we smiled as he did it… but he was always there butting his head against my chin.”  

Gene Hackman has been seen out in public for the first time in years and continues to sport a healthy look. The reclusive actor, 93, hasn’t starred in a film in almost two decades and is rarely spotted out and about. However, the Hollywood icon seemed in good health and spirits after being snapped near his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the weekend. Gene is a legend in the film industry with over 100 credits to the name, including huge hits such as Enemy of the State, Crimson Tide, No Way Out and The French Connection. It appeared as thought he is still very much fit and active as he got to grips with the yard work on Sunday. He was photographed getting stuck into his chores with a shovel in hand. He was also seen enjoying a bite to eat in his car after taking a trip to a Wendy’s drive-thru, before his busy day saw him take to the petrol station to fill up his vehicle and grab an instant coffee. The last time Gene was seen in front of the camera was in the 2004 comedy Welcome To Mooseport. In a chat with Larry King in July of the same year he confirmed he had no other projects lined up and didn’t plan on changing that fact. His retirement was confirmed four years later during the promotion of his third novel titled Escape From Andersonville. It brought an end to his career which spanned over six decades, beginning in 1956 when he joined the Pasadena Playhouse and befriended Dustin Hoffman.  

On This Day

  • 1950 – The Llandow air disaster kills 80 people when the aircraft they are travelling in crashes near Sigingstone, Wales. At the time this was the world’s deadliest air disaster.
  • 1989 – Sir Tim Berners-Lee submits his proposal to CERN for an information management system, which subsequently develops into the World Wide Web.
  • 2011 – A reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant explodes and releases radioactivity into the atmosphere a day after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.


Last of the Vegans

Police have arrested a suspected cannibal killer and are investigating whether ‘suspicious meat’ found in his suitcase are the human remains of his alleged victim.

Begolea Mendes Fernandes, 25, was detained at Lisbon Airport after arriving on a flight from Amsterdam.

He is suspected of killing a 21-year-old called Alan Lopes in the Dutch capital in February.

The contents of his luggage, said to include meat detectives fear could be human, are now being analysed at a specialist lab. 

Dutch police have confirmed Lopez was the victim of a ‘serious violent crime.’

Portuguese press have said investigators suspect the killer committed cannibalism.

The suspect held at Lisbon Airport was on a stopover and going to board a flight to Belo Horizonte in his homeland of Brazil.

He is now under police arrest at Santa Maria Hospital in the Portuguese capital and is expected to face extradition to Holland.

A spokesman for the Portuguese Borders and Immigration Service said: ‘A 26-year-old man suspected of murder in the Netherlands was arrested at Lisbon Airport on Monday.

‘He was wearing clothes with blood on them and had a package containing pieces of meat. He was held at the airport’s border control after the authorities became suspicious about the legality of the Italian ID card he presented. He was initially detained over suspicions he was travelling on falsified documents before it was subsequently discovered he was suspected of committing a homicide in the Netherlands the day before.’ 

The murder victim was found dead at the house he shared with relatives including his mother and two sisters.

Respected Portuguese daily Jornal de Noticias reported he may have the victim of cannibalism. 

A spokesman for Dutch police said: ‘On Monday afternoon a 25-year-old man was arrested at the airport in Lisbon in collaboration with the Portuguese authorities and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee. The man is suspected of having been involved in the death of a 21-year-old man who was found in a home on Vegasstraat in North Amsterdam on the evening of Sunday February 26th.’ The investigation continues.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Jaimie Alexander (39), Titus Welliver (61), Aaron Eckhart (55), Liza Minnelli (77), Jodie Comer (30), Thora Birch (41), Johnny Knoxville (52), John Barrowman (56), Olivia Wilde (39), Jon Hamm (52), Sharon Stone (65), Chuck Norris (83), Oscar Isaac (44), Katherine Parkinson (45), Freddie Prinze Jr. (47), Aidan Quinn (64), Cynthia Rothrock (66), Micky Dolenz (78), Bryan Cranston (67), Rachel Weisz (53), Rob Reiner (76), Alan Davies (57), Shaquille O’Neal (51), and Amy Okuda (34).

Dead Pool 5th March 2023

Another week flies by, also the week I found out that Boybits is a real name. Yep…  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Dame Julie Walters has been forced to leave the cast of the forthcoming Channel 4 drama Truelove, due to ill health. The veteran star of stage and screen, 73, was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in 2018. In 2020, she gave an interview in which she revealed that she had got the all-clear and said that she felt like a “different person” after having cancer. Walters’ role as Phil in the drama Truelove was set to be her return to TV after a seven-year hiatus (she was last seen in the acclaimed 2016 Channel 4 drama National Treasure). Walters will be replaced on the show by Lindsay Duncan. Filming on Truelove was initially last year after Walters began suffering from severe back pain. A spokeswoman for Clerkenwell Films, which is producing the show, told the Flying Monkeys: “We wholeheartedly support her decision, and the entire cast, crew and production team wish her the very best and a speedy recovery. We are delighted that Lindsay Duncan will be stepping into the role of Phil. We’re excited to see what she brings to this complex and captivating character when we restart filming later this year.” Speaking about her decision to return to screens, Walters said last year: “I had basically withdrawn from acting and wasn’t sure that anything could tempt me back but then I read Truelove. I was completely bowled over by the writing – the dark humour, the love story and thriller element set against a backdrop of what happens to us all as we approach our later years. How often does one have the chance at my tender age to play a leading lady in a TV drama?” Walters, who was made a Dame in 2017 for services to drama, has been married to her husband Grant Roffey since 1997, and the couple share one child, Maisie Mae.  

I know it’s now March, but finding time to meet up with an old friend in-between childcare, parties, hospitalisations, and general life getting in the way, I’ve finally been able to present last years trophy to Mr Lee. Seconds after this photo was taken he dropped it and broke Mr Deaths wanking hand, however, nothing a little bit of superglue wont fix. Twat! So, as you see, living proof that the trophy is real, and you do get to keep it forever, unless you find it hideous and decide to bin it! Lee seemed over the moon to receive it, now his lovely wife needs to win this year so they can have a nice looking pair on the shelf. So now you can see, there’s loads to fight for, you cold have your very own trophy on your very own shelf, you just need to work harder on those lists! 

On This Day

  • 1836 – Samuel Colt patents the first production-model revolver, the .34-caliber.
  • 1940 – Six high-ranking members of the Soviet politburo, including Joseph Stalin, sign an order for the execution of 25,700 Polish intelligentsia, including 14,700 Polish POWs, in what will become known as the Katyn massacre.
  • 1953 – Joseph Stalin, the longest serving leader of the Soviet Union, dies at his Volynskoe dacha in Moscow after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage four days earlier.
  • 1963 – In what would have been an amazing Dead Pool day, American country music stars Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas and their pilot Randy Hughes are killed in a plane crash in Camden, Tennessee.
  • 1981 – The ZX81, a pioneering British home computer, is launched by Sinclair Research and would go on to sell over 11⁄2 million units around the world.


  • 1829 – John Adams, English sailor and mutineer (b. 1766).
  • 1953 – Joseph Stalin, Soviet dictator, 2nd leader of the Soviet Union (b. 1878).
  • 1963 – Patsy Cline, American singer-songwriter (b. 1932).
  • 1982 – John Belushi, American actor (b. 1949).
  • 2000 – Lolo Ferrari, French dancer, actress and singer (b. 1963). 

The Killer Mother 

To the world, she looked like a doting mother smiling as she put her arms around her five young children as they opened presents.

But, months after this family photograph was taken, Genevieve Lhermitte went on to slit the throats of her children, aged three to 14, with a kitchen knife at their home in Nivelles, Belgium, in a case that shocked the country.

And exactly 16 years after Lhermitte, 56, slaughtered her children  – three-year-old Mehdi, Mina, seven, Myriam, ten, Nora, 12, Yasmine, 14 – on 28 February 2007, she was euthanised at her own request on Tuesday.

Her ex-husband Bouchaib Moqadem, who was visiting his parents in Morocco when Lhermitte launched her attack, revealed he still struggles to cope following his children’s ‘massacre’.

‘I keep my feelings to myself, I can’t share them. It’s a massacre 16 years ago, I have nothing more to say,’ the grieving father told the Flying Monkeys, adding that the murders of his children remains a ‘difficult ordeal’ for him to deal with. 

On 28th February 2007, Lhermitte stole two knives from a supermarket before cooking what would be a final meal for her five children. She locked the door and began slitting each child’s throat.

Lhermitte, who was 40 at the time of the murders, told her trial in 2008 that her eldest daughter, Yasmine, 14, was too big for her to handle so she tricked her into putting a blindfold on for a ‘surprise’.

When when the teenager was unable to see, her mother hit her over the head with a heavy marble tabletop, knocking her out before also killing her with a knife.

Lhermitte then tried to end her own life by stabbing herself, but the attempt failed and she ended up calling the emergency services.

Police found her body spread-eagled in the hall. Lhermitte later told police she felt ‘desperate and trapped’ at having to be at home with the children while her husband was away, the court heard.

Lhermitte was sentenced to life in prison in 2008, before being moved to a psychiatric hospital in 2019.

Her lawyer Nicolas Cohen said his client had died through euthanasia on the sixteenth anniversary of the killings on Tuesday. 

Belgian law allows for people to choose to be euthanised if they are deemed to be suffering from ‘unbearable’ psychological, and not just physical, suffering that cannot be healed. 

The person must be conscious of their decision and be able to express their wish in a reasoned and consistent manner.

Her funeral took place on Wednesday.

Her trial was told that Lhermitte’s role as wife and mother was disturbed by the presence in the family home of a middle-aged Belgium doctor, Michel Schaar who paid most of the family’s bills.

‘He lived with us he even went on our honeymoon and slept in our room. We had to wait until he fell asleep before we could make love,’ Lhermitte said in court. She began to resent Schaar for this and the fact that they depended financially on him.

It was revealed during her trial that Lhermitte laid the dead body of her 13-year-old daughter Nora in the bathroom used by Dr Schaar.  

When Lhermitte was asked why she said this, she said: ‘I wanted to hurt him. Nora was his favourite.’

Lhermitte, previously described as a ‘perfect’ mother, and Moqadem have since divorced. She said: ‘I gave him a son and killed him. I’ve lost all children through my own fault. They never deserved it.

‘I shall suffer to the end of my days – that is my punishment.’

Lhermitte’s lawyers argued that their client, who had regularly seen a psychiatrist, was mentally disturbed and should not be sent to prison.

But the jury found her guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced her to life in jail after hearing conflicting medical expertise. 

Lhermitte died at the Léonard de Vinci hospital in Montigny-le-Tilleul. In 2021, she reportedly attempted to end her life herself.

Last year 2,966 people died via euthanasia in Belgium, an increase of 10 percent compared to 2021, according to the authorities. Cancer remains the number one reason cited, but officials said for nearly three out of four requests the patient presented ‘several types of suffering, both physical and psychological’.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Jolene Blalock (48), Eva Mendes (49), Jake Lloyd (34), Matt Lucas (49), Paul Blackthorne (54), Fred Williamson (85), Patsy Kensit (55), Catherine O’Hara (69), Dominique Pinon (68), Julie Bowen (53), Jessica Biel (41), Miranda Richardson (65), Charlie Brooker (52), Bryce Dallas Howard (42), Gates McFadden (74), Nathalie Emmanuel (34), Daniel Craig (55), Rebel Wilson (43), Jon Bon Jovi (61), Chris Martin (46), Lupita Nyong’o (40), Jensen Ackles (45), Javier Bardem (54), Ron Howard (69), Zack Snyder (57), Dirk Benedict (78), Harry Belafonte (96), Justin Bieber (29), Roger Daltrey (79), John Turturro (66), Rae Dawn Chong (62), Stephanie Beacham (76), Kate Mara (40), Adam Baldwin (61), and Timothy Spall (66).

Dead Pool 26th February 2023

Sad week for sports commentators, and sadly no points to award. Let’s crack on!  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Former family members of a missing model have reportedly been arrested after her body was dismembered and left in soup pots!! The Hong Kong village of Lung Mei Tsuen was a butchers shop on Friday as the legs of Abby Choi were found in a household fridge. Police arrested the parents and elder brother of Ms Choi’s ex-husband on the horrific discovery in her former father-in-law’s rented home. Following an extensive search, Ms Choi’s former partner, 31, was also then arrested on suspicion of murder yesterday, according to the Flying Monkeys. A police officer told us that the attack was ‘well-planned’ and ‘premeditated’. Superintendent Alan Chung Nga-Iun added: ‘We are still looking for the head, the torso and hands, which we believed were disposed of.’ A missing persons investigation first took off on Tuesday after the up-and-coming model did not pick up a child as planned. ‘Someone was dissatisfied with how the victim handled her assets, which became a motive to kill,’ Chung Nga-Iun also said. On Friday, police searched the home that was allegedly set up with equipment such as a meat grinder, choppers, a hammer, and an electric saw. Two soup pots were also found containing human tissue, reports suggest. The property was then taped off with reportedly 20 police officers coming in and out to investigate the scene. An underwater search is now to be conducted in an effort to find the remaining parts of Ms Choi’s body this afternoon. Police also confirmed today that ‘post-mortem examinations will be conducted later to ascertain the cause of death of a 28-year-old woman, although one would imagine that dismemberment and being souped would be enough of a cause of death. 

Broadcaster Dan Walker has said he is “glad to be alive” after being hit by a car while cycling. The 45-year-old former BBC Breakfast presenter shared a series of images of his bloodied face while sitting in an ambulance, alongside a selfie with the NHS staff who were caring for him. Walker tweeted: “Bit of an accident this morning. Glad to be alive after getting hit by a car on my bike. Face is a mess but I don’t think anything is broken. “Thanks to Shaun and Jamie for sorting me out and the lovely copper at the scene. Thankful for our NHS.” A number of Walkers’ colleagues and fans shared their well-wishes with him after his post. Walker is yet to share further details about the accident, including the location where it occurred. In December, Walker said that he first began cycling as “an eco thing”. “I’ve worked in London and taxies are a nightmare and I started to get around on the bike,” he said. “I can go from Downing Street to St Pancras in about 15 minutes, and it’s about 30 minutes in a taxi so although I feel like a bit of a geek sometimes, I’m very much enjoying it.” The TV presenter – who presented Football Focus from 2009 to 2021 and had been a fixture on the corporation’s flagship breakfast show since 2016 – exited BBC Breakfast in May 2022.  

Joe Exotic’s medical team believe his prostate cancer has spread to his bladder, but the jailed star is refusing treatment, according to reports. The 59-year-old reality star – who was jailed in 2019 for a string of offences including animal abuse charges and a murder-for-hire plot, as documented in the hit Netflix series – has recently had a lot of blood in his urine and has bled a lot during his cancer treatments, according to a letter obtained by the flying monkeys. Exotic – whose real name is Joseph Maldonado – has reportedly decided not to have treatment after his urology specialist revealed they believed his cancer has spread to his bladder and wants him to have confirmation tests. The letter, reported to be written by Exotic, reads: “I want to stay here and just let it take its course. The world has to know just how corrupt our justice system is … If I have to be the one to die innocent in here fighting for the truth maybe people around the world will finally speak up for the truth for once.” Exotic, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2021, also revealed he has signed a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) with the Federal Medical Centre, Fort Worth. Joe went on to reveal he doesn’t want any of his family members to receive anything when he dies, writing: “I’m so tired of everything that’s going on there with people trying to exploit me and trying to write off my name and everything else. So I have my attorney Autumn Blackledge, she is the executor of the will, and I don’t want any of my will or Jeff Lowe, nobody to be able to get anything from me. Trademarks, copyrights, I just gave everything to my fiancé, Seth Posey.” He went on: “He has been there every day for five years. I know everything about Seth, I talk to his mom and I talk to everybody. All these people who try to fuck with other people, just give it up because I gave it all away. And if something happens to Seth, it is in the will that it goes to his son.” 

On This Day

  • 1616 – Galileo Galilei is formally banned by the Roman Catholic Church from teaching or defending the view that the earth orbits the sun.
  • 1995 – The UK’s oldest investment banking institute, Barings Bank, collapses after a rogue securities broker Nick Leeson loses $1.4 billion by speculating on the Singapore International Monetary Exchange using futures contracts.
  • 2012 – Seventeen-year-old African-American student Trayvon Martin is shot to death by neighbourhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman in an altercation in Sanford, Florida.


Last Meals

In Florida’s first execution since 2019, Donald David Dillbeck was put to death by lethal injection at 6:13 p.m. Thursday for the murder of a woman in a Tallahassee mall parking lot more than three decades ago.

Dillbeck, 59, was the 100th inmate executed in Florida since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. A final appeal was turned down Wednesday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The execution went as scheduled and took place without incident,” Michelle Glady, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections, told reporters outside Florida State Prison in Raiford.

Dillbeck was sentenced to death for the 1990 murder of Faye Vann, who was stabbed during a carjacking. The stabbing came after Dillbeck had walked away from a prison work detail in Quincy. At the time, Dillbeck was serving a life sentence in the 1979 fatal shooting of Lee County sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Lynn Hall when Dillbeck was 15.

Glady said family members of Vann were present for the execution. She also said Dillbeck made a last statement, though she did not have details.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Dillbeck’s death warrant last month, setting off attempts by the inmate’s lawyers to prevent the execution. The Florida Supreme Court last week refused to block the execution, and the U.S. Supreme Court followed suit Wednesday.

Dillbeck was the first person executed since Gary Ray Bowles was put to death by lethal injection in August 2019 for a 1994 murder in Jacksonville. 

Earlier Thursday, Glady said Dillbeck had received a visit from a spiritual adviser and ate a last meal at 9:45 a.m. of fried shrimp, mushrooms, onion rings, butter pecan ice cream, pecan pie and a chocolate bar.

“Mr. Dillbeck woke up early this morning,” Glady told reporters during an afternoon news conference. “He is calm, and he has followed his normal routine.”

Responding to a reporter’s question about the state’s lethal-injection method, Glady said the “foremost objective with the lethal injection protocol is a humane and dignified process, and our lethal injection protocol has been upheld by the courts.”

Dillbeck killed Vann when she resisted the carjacking. He was arrested after crashing the stolen car and was convicted in 1991 of first-degree murder, armed robbery and armed burglary, Department of Corrections records show.

In trying to prevent the execution, Dillbeck’s attorneys focused, in part, on a neurological condition caused by being exposed to alcohol before he was born.

They argued in one court document that the condition, known as neuro-developmental disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure, or ND-PAE, is “recognised by the medical community as an intellectual disability-equivalent condition.” The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that executing intellectually disabled people violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

But the Florida Supreme Court turned down the argument, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the case or grant a stay of execution.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Bill Duke (80), Michael Bolton (70), Téa Leoni (57), Jameela Jamil (37), Sean Astin (52), Anson Mount (50), Lee Evans (59), Billy Zane (57), Daniel Kaluuya (34), Edward James Olmos (76), Emily Blunt (40), Dakota Fanning (29), Kelly Macdonald (47), Josh Gad (42), Aziz Ansari (40), Jeri Ryan (55), Drew Barrymore (48), James Hong (94), Thomas Jane (54), Kyle MacLachlan (64), Julie Walters (73), Nigel Planer (70), Sheila Hancock (90), Elliot Page (36), Jennifer Love Hewitt (44), Sophie Turner (27), Kelsey Grammer (68), Jordan Peele (44), William Baldwin (60), Tyne Daly (77), Anthony Daniels (77), Rihanna (35), Brenda Blethyn (77), Chelsea Peretti (45), Anthony Head (69), and Cindy Crawford (57).

Dead Pool 19th February 2023

This week sees the passing of the great Raquel Welch, obviously well liked as nobody listed her. Nil points all round! Let’s get on with it! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Former US president Jimmy Carter will “spend his remaining time at home” receiving hospice care, it has been announced. The 98-year-old, who was president for one term between 1977 and 1981, made the decision after a series of hospital stays, the Carter Center announced on Saturday. “After a series of short hospital stays, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter today decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention,” the Carter Center said in a statement. “He has the full support of his family and his medical team. The Carter family asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.” Mr Carter, a Democrat, became the 39th US president when he defeated former president Gerald Ford in 1976. He served a single term and was defeated by Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980. He is the oldest living former president in US history and still lives in a modest home in rural Plains, Georgia, a two-and-a-half hour drive south of Atlanta. Mr Carter had a small cancerous mass removed from his liver in 2015. And in 2016, he announced that he would need no further treatment as his cancer had been eliminated by an experimental drug. The other living former presidents are Donald Trump, 76; Barack Obama, 61; George W Bush, 76; Bill Clinton, 76. Mr Carter’s grandson, former Georgia state senator Jason Carter, took to Twitter to say that his grandparents were “at peace.” “I saw both of my grandparents yesterday. They are at peace and—as always—their home is full of love. Thank you all for your kind words,” he tweeted. The former president, a lifelong Baptist, told a church Sunday school congregation in 2019 that he was “at ease with death” following his cancer diagnosis.  “I, obviously, prayed about it. I didn’t ask God to let me live, but I just asked God to give me a proper attitude toward death. And I found that I was absolutely and completely at ease with death, it didn’t really matter to me whether I died or lived. I have, since that time, been absolutely confident that my Christian faith includes complete confidence in life after death. So, I’m going to live again after I die — Don’t know what form I’ll take, or anything.” 

Comedian Rhod Gilbert said he is “coming back” to his former self after undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer. He announced in July that he had stage four cancer and was being treated at the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff, where he has been a fundraising patron. The 54-year-old from Carmarthen said his big recovery goal was leading a fundraising trek to Morocco in October. But he admitted he was “a little way off that at the moment”. In a pre-recorded video message for Channel 4’s The National Comedy Awards for Stand Up To Cancer, he explained how the cancer centre had been a “big part” of his life as a patron for 10 years. “So imagine my surprise when I was diagnosed with cancer… because I thought I’d have lifelong immunity,” he joked. He said he was in Cuba on a fundraising trek when he noticed a lump in his neck. “I had a sore throat and I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t breathe and I was postponing and cancelling tour shows and I had terrible spasms in my face and a lot of tightness in the muscles,” he said. “It turns out after a biopsy of this lump in my neck that I have something called head and neck cancer. Cancer of the head sounded pretty serious. So before I knew it, I was having surgery. I was in daily sessions of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.” He described his treatment as “faultless” and said he was “coming back” to his former self as his facial hair was regrowing, his voice was back to normal and he was regaining weight. His recovery goal was to lead the cancer centre’s fundraising trek to Mount Toubkal, in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, the highest point in North Africa, in October, Gilbert added. “I’m a little way off that at the moment, but I am feeling optimistic and weirdly feeling really happy and really positive,” he said. In December, Gilbert has postponed a string of live shows after being told he needed additional surgery due gallstones and recurring gallbladder infections that “kick like a donkey”. 

Jonnie Irwin has issued an update on his health after  announcing at the end of last year he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. The popular Channel 4 presenter has taken to Instagram to inform 155,000 followers and fans that he is receiving Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. The treatment involves a hyperbaric chamber which is highly pressurised, giving patients pure oxygen to breathe. Jonnie, 49, shared an image of the zip up portable chamber he was using after walking to the treatment centre in Newcastle. He captioned the snap: “And at the end of this walk…is this…hyperbaric oxygen therapy.” The dad-of-three and Dead Pool favourite has been very open about his health since he went public with his terminal cancer diagnosis in November 2022. In a recent interview with the Flying Monkeys, Jonnie revealed that he is getting his financial ducks in a row so he can secure the futures of his sons three year-old Rex and two year-old twins Rafa and Cormac. Speaking to the head monkey on Thursday, he said: “My experience will hopefully help people with a life-threatening disease and people who are dealing with these people. When you get diagnosed with something so serious, all control is taken away. “I wanted to take control back, so I did the usual weird diets and I also knew I had to look after my family. The moment you have family, your have this massive responsibility to look after them.” 

On This Day

  • 1878 – Thomas Edison patents the phonograph.
  • 1985 – William J. Schroeder becomes the first recipient of an artificial heart to leave the hospital.
  • 2012 – Forty-four people are killed in a prison brawl in Apodaca, Nuevo León, Mexico.


  • 1994 – Derek Jarman, English director and set designer (b. 1942).
  • 2016 – Umberto Eco, Italian novelist, literary critic, and philosopher (b. 1932).
  • 2016 – Harper Lee, American author (b. 1926).
  • 2019 – Karl Lagerfeld, German fashion designer (b. 1933).

Father killed by ‘Violent Chicken’

A man has died of ‘massive bleeding’ while whispering ‘rooster’ after being attacked by aggressive bird at home in Ireland! 

Cancer survivor Jasper Kraus, who was living near Ballinasloe at the time, was killed on April 28th last year after he was attacked by a Brahma chicken. The 67-year-old Dutchman, formerly from The Hague, Netherlands, suffered a heart attack after the bird drove its spur into his leg, causing him to lose litres of blood.

Police officers and his daughter Virginia Guinan found Mr Kraus lying in a pool of blood from the wound on the back of his leg. His lodger said he was able to whisper the word ‘rooster’ as he lost and regained consciousness.

Paramedics performed CPR on the victim but their efforts were unsuccessful. 

Ms Guinan, 33, told an inquest into her father’s death that she raced to the house to find ambulance crews already at the grim scene, the flying monkeys reported.

She had been contacted by her father’s lodger, Corey O’Keeffe, who had been living with Mr Kraus for two years and looked after the animals.

Mr O’Keeffe had just returned home from a night shift at 8am. Before heading to bed, he fed the animals and greeted Mr Kraus. Not long after, the inquest heard, the tenant was woken by the Dutchman shouting ‘come quick’.

The lodger performed CPR for 25 minutes on the victim before an ambulance arrived.

Giving evidence, he said blood was coming out of Mr Kraus’s leg and that he noticed a large wound in the man’s calf and scratches on his other leg.

As he was falling in and out of consciousness, Mr Kraus told his tenant ‘rooster’, the inquest heard. He eventually lost so much blood that he suffered a heart attack.

Dr Annette Jennings told the inquest in a deposition read out at the hearing that paramedics were attempting to resuscitate Mr Kraus when she arrived at the scene in Killahornia, County Roscommon. He was pronounced dead at 3.24pm.

She said the circumstances around the man’s death were unusual on account of the wound being inflicted by a chicken. 

Dr Ramadan Shatwan, who carried out an autopsy on Mr Kraus, said the victim’s face was covered in dried blood but that no cuts on his face were found. He also told the inquest that his lower limbs were covered in dried blood.

The cause of death was due to lethal cardiac arrhythmia in the context of severe coronary atheroma and cardiomegaly, Dr Shatwan said.

Ms Guinan said when she arrived at her father’s house, she found her father in a pool of blood, with paramedics performing CPR.

She told the inquest that she followed the trail of blood to the Brahma chicken, which she said had blood on its claws.

The bereaved daughter said she knew it was the culprit because it had previously ‘attacked my daughter’. She told the inquest that she had wanted to get rid of the chicken, but that her father, who was a big animal lover, wanted to keep it.

‘My dad protested – he had too big of a heart and didn’t want me to get rid of the rooster, so dad took it instead,’ the newspaper reported.

Mr Kraus – a father of two and grandfather of two – was suffering from other health issues at the time of his death. He was in remission from cancer and coroner said his heart was ‘severely calcified’.

He had been outside visiting his dog’s grave when he was attacked.

Ms Guinan said the family knew her father’s heart ‘was bad’. She said she had to clean up his blood in the house after the attack and called for more support to be given to families who suffer from similar tragedies.

She also used the inquest as an opportunity to warn others of the dangers of owning chickens – even breeds considered safe such as the Brahma.

Mr Kraus is thought to be one of the few people in the world to die in such a way.

‘People should be aware of the signs and get rid of any bird as soon as they show signs of aggression,’ she told the inquest.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Millie Bobby Brown (19), Benicio Del Toro (56), Sam Reid (36), Ray Winstone (66), Jeff Daniels (68), Ophelia Lovibond (37), Seal (60), Leslie Ash (63), John Travolta (69), Molly Ringwald (55), Matt Dillon (59), Cybill Shepherd (73), Greta Scacchi (63), Dr. Dre (58), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (42), Denise Richards (52), Bonnie Wright (32), Rene Russo (69), Rory Kinnear (47), Lou Diamond Phillips (61), Brenda Fricker (78), Dominic Purcell (53), Paris Hilton (42), Patricia Routledge (94), Alejandro Jodorowsky (94), Barry Humphries (89), Michael Jordan (60), Ed Sheeran (32), Elizabeth Olsen (34), Christopher Eccleston (59), LeVar Burton (66), Amanda Holden (52), The Weeknd (33), John McEnroe (64), Jane Seymour (72), Matt Groening (69), Danai Gurira (45), Simon Pegg (53), Andrew Robinson (81), Teller (75), Neal McDonough (57), Mena Suvari (44), Stockard Channing (79), Tony Dalton (48), and Hugh Dennis (61).

Dead Pool 12th February 2023

In a cruel twist of fate, you all nearly lost your initial points! I missed the death of Amber McLaughlin, whom Jamie had listed as his Cert; she was executed on January 3rd, a full fourteen days before Lucile Randon. The reason I missed her is because Wiki didn’t list her on the Obituary pages, even though there is a Wiki page dedicated to her. These Death Row inmates are always a little problematic for our needs, commiserations to Jamie, but unfortunately rules are rules. 

So, onto the points! With the passing of one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Burt Bacharach, I can award 56 points to: Laura, Fiona, Dave, and Shân. Well done you lot! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Authorities in southern California say they are still “hopeful” of finding Julian Sands, but admitted the outcome of searches for the British actor “may not be what we would like”. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s department said conditions in the area remain dangerous, but that ground searches were planned for the future. Sands has now been missing for four weeks, after first being reported missing in the Mount Baldy region of the San Gabriel mountains on January 13th. “Regarding the search for Julian Sands, we remain hopeful but know the outcome may not be what we would like,” a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s department told the flying monkeys. “Conditions on Mt Baldy remain a danger and our Aviation Division still patrols the area when they are available. We also plan to search the area by ground in the future.” The spokesperson added that Sands’ family were “grateful” for the support they had received since his disappearance, but had no further statement for the public at this time. Numerous searches for the actor have since been undertaken on foot and by air by both local and state-level agencies – and efforts remain classified as “search and rescue” rather than a recovery mission. Authorities have previously used a Recco device, which is able to detect electronics and credit cards, in the hopes of establishing a more exact area in which to focus search efforts. Two weeks ago, Sands’ hiking partner and friend Kevin Ryan told the flying monkeys that it was obvious “something has gone wrong” but that the actor’s advanced experience and skill would “hopefully” see his safe return. Yeah right!  

Radio DJ James Whale has revealed he seriously considered euthanasia after finding out he has terminal cancer. The TalkTV and talkRADIO presenter announced he has just months to live in a heartbreaking speech at the end of last year. “This time next year I won’t be here,” he told a shocked audience at an awards ceremony just before Christmas. The 71-year-old radio star was first diagnosed with cancer in 2000 when he had a kidney removed. He survived, but in 2020 the cancer returned attacking his remaining kidney and has since spread to his lungs, spine and brain. Speaking in more detail about his most recent diagnosis, James told the flying monkeys he was all set to go to assisted dying clinic Dignitas in Switzerland to take his own life. He said: “I am terminally ill. It would have been easier all round. I’m not scared of dying… the reason I wanted to go to Dignitas was because I was thinking of others, not me.” But James decided not to go through with it so he could spend more time with his wife Nadine, who he married in a fairytale wedding in October 2021. In the joint interview with Nadine, who James met in his local pub in the Kent village they both live in, he says he is “glad” he stuck around because they’ve had “two great years together”. And James already knows what he wants for his last wish when the time comes.“I want to be buried in the churchyard at the top of the hill. It’s a great view,” he said. 

On This Day

  • 1993 – Two-year-old James Bulger is abducted from New Strand Shopping Centre by two ten-year-old boys, who later torture and murder him.
  • 1994 – Four thieves break into the National Gallery of Norway and steal Edvard Munch‘s iconic painting The Scream.
  • 2001 – NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touches down in the “saddle” region of 433 Eros, becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.


  • 1554 – Lady Jane Grey, de facto monarch of England and Ireland for nine days (b. 1537).
  • 1979 – Jean Renoir, French actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1894).
  • 2000 – Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist, created Peanuts (b. 1922).
  • 2015 – Steve Strange, Welsh singer (b. 1959).
  • 2019 – Gordon Banks, English footballer (b. 1937).
  • 2022 – Ivan Reitman, Slovak-Canadian actor, director, and producer (b. 1946).

Last Meals

Amber McLaughlin breathed heavily a few times, uttered her final words and shut her eyes as she was executed on Tuesday, becoming the first transgender woman to be put to death years after she was convicted of killing her ex-girlfriend.

‘I am sorry for what I did,’ McLaughlin said in a final, written, statement. ‘I am a loving and caring person.’ McLaughlin, 49, spoke quietly with a spiritual adviser at her side as the fatal dose of pentobarbital was injected.

Earlier in the morning she was served her last meal of a cheeseburger, French fries, a strawberry milkshake and peanut M&Ms.

The Missouri inmate was convicted of stalking and killing former girlfriend Beverly Guenther, then dumping the body near the Mississippi River in St. Louis. A jury deadlocked on the sentence, but a judge sentenced McLaughlin to death in 2006. 

McLaughlin, who previously went by Scott, was executed 17 years after she was convicted of killing and stalking her girlfriend Beverly Guenther, 45, and dumping the body near the river in 2003.

McLaughlin was put to death by lethal injection after Republican Governor Mike Parson declined a clemency request hours before. 

‘McLaughlin’s conviction and sentence remains after multiple, thorough examinations of Missouri law. McLaughlin stalked, raped, and murdered Ms. Guenther. McLaughlin is a violent criminal,’ Parson said in a statement confirming the execution would go ahead.

‘Ms. Guenther’s family and loved ones deserve peace. The State of Missouri will carry out McLaughlin’s sentence according to the Court’s order and deliver justice.’

A database on the website for the anti-execution Death Penalty Information Centre shows that 1,558 people have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in the mid-1970s. All but 17 of those put to death were men. 

The centre said there are no known previous cases of an openly transgender inmate being executed. McLaughlin began transitioning about three years ago at the state prison in Potosi. In addition, the clemency petition cited McLaughlin’s traumatic childhood and mental health issues, which the jury never heard during her trial.

She claimed in her petition that a foster parent rubbed faeces in her face when she was a toddler and her adoptive father used a stun gun on her. It also cited severe depression that resulted in multiple suicide attempts, both as a child and as an adult.

The petition also included reports citing a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, a condition that causes anguish and other symptoms as a result of a disparity between a person’s gender identity and their assigned sex at birth.

But McLaughlin’s sexual identity was ‘not the main  focus’ of the clemency request, her attorney, Larry Komp, said. 

In 2003, long before transitioning, McLaughlin was in a relationship with Beverly Guenther. After they stopped dating, McLaughlin would show up at the suburban St. Louis office where the 45-year-old Guenther worked, sometimes hiding inside the building, according to court records.

Guenther obtained a restraining order, and police officers occasionally escorted her to her car after work.

Guenther’s neighbours called police the night of November 20th 2003, when she failed to return home. Officers went to the office building, where they found a broken knife handle near her car and a trail of blood. A day later, McLaughlin led police to a location near the Mississippi River in St. Louis, where the body had been dumped. Authorities said she had been raped and stabbed repeatedly with a steak knife.

McLaughlin was convicted of first-degree murder in 2006. A judge sentenced McLaughlin to death after a jury deadlocked on the sentence. Komp said Missouri and Indiana are the only states that allow a judge to sentence someone to death. A court in 2016 ordered a new sentencing hearing, but a federal appeals court panel reinstated the death penalty in 2021.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Christina Ricci (43), Darren Aronofsky (54), Josh Brolin (55), Michael Ironside (73), Arsenio Hall (67), Annette Crosbie (89), Jennifer Aniston (54), Natalie Dormer (41), Damian Lewis (52), Taylor Lautner (31), Thomas Turgoose (31), Sheryl Crow (61), Elizabeth Banks (49), Chloë Grace Moretz (26), Laura Dern (56), Keeley Hawes (47), Robert Wagner (93), Philip Glenister (60), Holly Willoughby (42), Michael B. Jordan (36), Rose Leslie (36), Tom Hiddleston (42), Ciarán Hinds (70), Joe Pesci (80), Mia Farrow (78), Mary Steenburgen (70), Seth Green (49), Nick Nolte (82), John Williams (91), Ashton Kutcher (45), James Spader (63), Deborah Ann Woll (38), Eddie Izzard (61), Chris Rock (58), Mike Farrell (84), Kevin Whately (72), and Axl Rose (61).

Dead Pool 5th February 2023

Short and sweet this week, no points to award. Biggest news of the week was the sad passing of the talented Annie Wersching at the young age of 45 and that Michael Myers of Halloween fame is now properly dead, well, one of the actors that played Myers is, so maybe he’s not. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Paul Burrell, former footman to Queen Elizabeth II and butler to Princess Diana, has revealed that he is currently receiving treatment for prostate cancer. Appearing on Lorraine, the 64-year-old disclosed how the treatment for his cancer is affecting his emotional wellbeing. “I’m tired because I’m on hormone therapy at the moment and it’s sort of robbing me of my testosterone,” he said. “My beard isn’t growing like it should, I’m tired, I’m emotional, I get hot flushes.” Explaining his diagnosis, Burrell said: “In the summer I had to go for a medical for a TV programme I was doing and I had a full MOT. Out of that came a surprisingly high PSA test [a chemical released by the prostate gland]. I had no idea what a PSA test was.” He continued: “So I went to my GP, he said, ‘This is unusual’ and he examined me and sent me for an MRI scan. And the MRI scan of course was the window in which they looked through and saw a shadow on my prostate.” On the aftermath of his diagnosis, Paul shared that he is on an “emotional” and “educational” rollercoaster. He added: “Having a biopsy itself and finding the cancer, wrapping Christmas presents this year thinking, ‘Am I going to be here next year? I need to tell my boys.’” Burrell revealed that he went to the US during the festive period and told his sons. “They sat with me and held me and said, ‘Dad, we need to spend more time with you,’” he said. Burrell noted that he aims to raise awareness of prostate cancer and encourage all men to get checked. “You realise that there are thousands of men like me that had no symptoms, I didn’t realise what was happening and it could be too late,” he said. “So my message is: I was lucky, I was really lucky they caught it at the beginning. Men out there can go to their GP and ask for a PSA test, men over 50 and especially if you have history in the family. I don’t think men are particularly good at going to the doctors so if you love them, push them out of the door and get checked.” Paul later shared that he will be having his first operation on 27th February and he will be documenting his journey on Lorraine.   

Ozzy Osbourne has been seen for the first time since cancelling his UK and Ireland shows, and retiring from touring for good. The Black Sabbath legend, 74, recently had extensive spinal surgery following a fall at his home in 2019, which had further aggravated injuries from a near-fatal quad bike crash in 2003. The music legend released a statement earlier this week, revealing that he is ‘not physically capable’ of performing. On Friday, Ozzy was seen for the first time since cancelling his tour – and he appeared in high spirits as he flashed a peace sign at the cameras which snapped him using a walking stick. The rocker used the walking aid to help him up some steps as he emerged from a private car. Although he is in ill health, Ozzy appeared to be in good form as he entertained the cameras – waving and holding up a peace sign following his sad tour cancellation and early retirement. As always, Ozzy was dressed in an all-black ensemble as he wrapped up warm in a long-lined coat to beat the Spring chill. Announcing the sad news of his tour retirement to fans, Ozzy said that it was “probably one of the hardest things he’s ever had to share” and that he “never would have imagined that his touring days would have ended this way”. Explaining that his body is “still physically weak” and shared his despair at “disappointing” fans.

On This Day

  • 1869 – The largest alluvial gold nugget in history, called the “Welcome Stranger”, is found in Moliagul, Victoria, Australia.
  • 1907 – Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland announces the creation of Bakelite, the world’s first synthetic plastic.
  • 1924 – The Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal.
  • 1958 – A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb is lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered.


Rules of Life

Madam Jeanne Louise Calment, who had the longest confirmed human lifespan: 122 years, 164 days, was born in Arles, France, on February 21st 1875. The Eiffel Tower was built when she was 14 years old. It was at this time she met Vincent van Gogh. “He was dirty, badly dressed, and disagreeable,” she recalled in an interview given in 1988.

When she was 85, she took up fencing, and still rode her bike when she reached 100. At the age of 114, she starred in a film about her life, at age 115 she had an operation on her hip, and at age 117 she gave up smoking, having started at the age of 21 in 1896. She didn’t give it up for health reasons; her reason was that she didn’t like having to ask someone to help her light a cigarette once she was nearly blind.

In 1965, Jeanne was 90 years old and had no heirs. She signed a deal to sell her apartment to a 47-year-old lawyer called André-François Raffray. He agreed to pay her a monthly sum of 2,500 francs on the condition he would inherit her apartment after she died. However, Raffray not only ended up paying Jeanne for 30 years, but then died before she did at the age of 77. His widow was legally obliged to continue paying Madam Calment until the end of her days.

Jeanne retained sharp mental faculties. When she was asked on her 120th birthday what kind of future she expected to have. Her reply, “A very short one.”

Here are the Rules of Life from Jeanne Louise Calment:

“I’m in love with wine.”

“All babies are beautiful.”

“I think I will die of laughter.”

“I’ve been forgotten by our Good Lord.”

“I’ve got only one wrinkle, and I’m sitting on it.”

“I never wear mascara; I laugh until I cry often.”

“If you can’t change something, don’t worry about it.”

“Always keep your smile. That’s how I explain my long life.”

“I see badly, I hear badly, and I feel bad, but everything’s fine.”

“I have a huge desire to live and a big appetite, especially for sweets.”

“I have legs of iron, but to tell you the truth, they’re starting to rust and buckle a bit.”

“I took pleasure when I could. I acted clearly and morally and without regret. I’m very lucky.”

“Being young is a state of mind, it doesn’t depend on one’s body. I’m actually still a young girl, it’s just that I haven’t looked so good for the past 70 years.”

At the end of one interview, the journalist said, “Madame, I hope we will meet again sometime next year.” To which Jeanne replied, “Why not? You’re not that old; you’ll still be here!”

Last Week’s Birthdays

Jennifer Jason Leigh (61), Michael Sheen (54), Christopher Guest (75), Charlotte Rampling (77), Tony Jaa (47), Gabrielle Anwar (53), Alice Cooper (75), Jim Jefferies (46), Warwick Davis (53), Isla Fisher (47), Morgan Fairchild (73), Gemma Arterton (37), Brent Spiner (74), David Jason (83), Shakira (46), Sherilyn Fenn (58), Harry Styles (29), Michael C. Hall (52), Jonathan Banks (76), Minnie Driver (53), Justin Timberlake (42), and Dexter Fletcher (57).

Dead Pool 29th January 2023

Deaths were a bit thin on the ground last week but plenty to read as always. I’ll be closing the donations page next week, last chance to chip in you feel you need to. Big thank you to everyone who did! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

A man has died after he was crushed by a telescopic public urinal he was working on in central London, just yards from the Harry Potter theatre. Emergency services raced to the scene in the West End on Friday to attempt to free the maintenance worker, who become trapped underneath the unit. A rescue operation was launched just after 1pm between Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road, near the capital’s busy theatre district. The London Fire Brigade sent four fire engines and around 25 firefighters, and with the help of police and paramedics at the scene managed to free the man but he was pronounced dead soon after. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “We’re sorry to have to update that, despite the efforts of emergency services, the man who was critically injured in Cambridge Circus was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin have been informed. Cordons remain in place at the location.” The man had become trapped underneath the hydraulic urinal, a toilet stowed below ground which is brought to street level at night for people to use. A crane was brought to the scene as part of efforts to lift the entire structure out of the ground. Road closures were in place through Cambridge Circus during the attempted rescue, while buses were diverted away from the area. 

If you are stuck for a Maverick next year, you could choose this 45-year-old software developer. Bryan Johnson has opened up about his quest to regain his youth through a rigorous plan that involves a strict diet, medical procedures, and treatments, and which costs him around $2m a year. Johnson made his wealth when he sold his company, Braintree Payment Solutions, to Ebay’s PayPal in 2013 for $800m in cash. Since then, the 45-year-old has turned his attention inward and is now focused on reversing the ageing process. To reach his goals, which include achieving the “brain, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, tendons, teeth, skin, hair, bladder, penis and rectum of an 18 year old,” Johnson employs a team of more than 30 doctors and health experts who monitor his “every bodily function”. The treatment plan, which is overseen by Oliver Zolman, a 29-year-old regenerative medicine physician, and required an investment of “several million dollars,” also meant building a medical suite in Johnson’s Venice, California home, according to the publication. As for what “Project Blueprint” entails, Johnson revealed that he wakes up each morning at 5am and takes two dozen supplements and medicines, including zinc to supplement his diet and a micro-dose of lithium for “brain health”. He also follows a strict vegan diet of 1,977 calories a day, works out for an hour each day, and goes to sleep at the same time each night. He also wears blue-light glasses for two hours before bed. Each month, the millionaire tech entrepreneur also “endures dozens of medical procedures, some quite extreme and painful, then measures their results with additional blood tests, MRIs, ultrasounds and colonoscopies. He’s taken 33,537 images of his bowels, discovered that his eyelashes are shorter than average and probed the thickness of his carotid artery. He blasts his pelvic floor with electromagnetic pulses to improve muscle tone in hard-to-reach places and has a device that counts the number of his nighttime erections.” Johnson also undergoes weekly acid peels and laser therapy, and has fat injected into his face to build a “fat scaffolding”. He claims that the procedure is different from regular fillers because, as he “regenerates,” the new fat will “create fat on its own”. “The body delivers a certain configuration at age 18,” Johnson told the flying monkeys. “This really is an impassioned approach to achieve age 18 everywhere.” Who wants to tell him he looks like he’s 45?

Dame Esther Rantzen has said she is remaining “optimistic” after revealing she has been diagnosed with lung cancer. The 82-year-old broadcaster, long-time activist and founder of charities Childline and The Silver Line, confirmed the news on Sunday. Dame Esther said in a statement to the flying monkeys: “In the last few weeks I have discovered that I am suffering from lung cancer which has now spread. At the moment I am undergoing various tests, to assess the best treatment. I have decided not to keep this secret any more because I find it difficult to skulk around various hospitals wearing an unconvincing disguise, and because I would rather you heard the facts from me. At the age of 82, this diagnosis has prompted me to look back over the years, and I want to express my profound thanks to everyone who has made my life so joyful, filled with fun, and with inspiration. First and foremost my family. My three children Miriam, Rebecca and Joshua have been the most wonderful support, company, and source of love and laughter and I am deeply grateful to them. My friends have been amazing and have created memories which sustain me and give me strength. My colleagues with whom I have worked, and continue to work with in broadcasting, journalism, the voluntary sector, and in many other organisations have been a constant pleasure, and have amazed me with their tolerance of my wild ideas and awful jokes. I have been continuously inspired by the courageous children, older people and viewers who have trusted me with their life stories. I have always tried to live up to that trust. As I am sure you will understand, while I am awaiting the results of the tests, I am unable to answer questions. Thanks to the extraordinary skills of the medical profession there are wonderful new treatments, so I am remaining optimistic.” Dame Esther, who was a trailblazer for female broadcasters, became a household name during her career at the BBC. She is best-known for presenting That’s Life! – a programme featuring a mix of investigations, topical issues and entertainment – from 1973 to 1994.

Jay Leno is in the hospital again. The former host of The Tonight Show was previously hospitalized in November for burns sustained while working on one of his vintage cars, but he’s now receiving treatment for new injuries. Ahead of his return to performing in Las Vegas in March, the comedian revealed in a new interview with the flying monkeys that he got into a motorcycle crash on Jan. 17th and required medical care for broken bones. “Just last week, I got knocked off my motorcycle,” Leno said. “So I’ve got a broken collarbone. I’ve got two broken ribs. I’ve got two cracked kneecaps.” The good news is that Leno says he’s “okay” and “working this weekend.” Leno was test-driving a 1940 Indian motorcycle, one of his many prized vintage vehicles, when he noticed the smell of leaking gas and decided to pull over and figure out the problem. “So I turned down a side street and cut through a parking lot, and unbeknownst to me, some guy had a wire strung across the parking lot but with no flag hanging from it,” Leno said. “So, you know, I didn’t see it until it was too late. It just clotheslined me and, boom, knocked me off the bike. The bike kept going, and you know how that works out.” Leno compared his recent predicaments to another accident-prone celebrity: Harrison Ford. “You know, after getting burned up, you get that one for free,” Leno said. “After that, you’re Harrison Ford, crashing airplanes. You just want to keep your head down.” Leno should have plenty of time to recuperate. Sadly for Leno, CNBC has canceled Jay Leno’s Garage, his long-running series about vintage vehicles and the stories behind them. The network cites a renewed investment in its “core content of business news and personal finance.” So basically it was shit. 

On This Day

  • 1845 – “The Raven” is published in The Evening Mirror in New York, the first publication with the name of the author, Edgar Allan Poe.
  • 1886 – Karl Benz patents the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.
  • 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic: The Trump administration establishes the White House Coronavirus Task Force under Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.


Funeral fun

Have you ever wondered what your own funeral will be like, or who might turn up? Well, a curious Brazilian man has faked his own death to find out. Baltazar Lemos, 60, from Curitiba, Paraná, announced his death on social media and set up a hoax funeral for his friends and family.

Lemos frequently conducts funerals, and has overseen hundreds of ceremonies commemorating the life of other people. He recounted how saddened he had been after conducting a service with just two people in attendance compared to other services where more than 500 were present.

So, just like the episode in Friends where Ross Geller held a fake funeral to see which of his old college mates would attend, Lemos pulled the hoax to see who would show up. Unfortunately for the 60-year-old Brazilian, his funeral produced similarly disastrous results to that of the fictional palaeontologist. 

Lemos told our Brazilian flying monkeys ‘I had the idea five months ago. I wanted to make it look like I really died. People interpreted it in their own way. The truth is that I wanted to know who would come to my wake.’ 

He also apologised for his antics. ‘I didn’t tell anyone, because I hoped it would work out. I had no intention of hurting, offending, or causing any harm to anyone. I truly apologise to these people.’

Social media users quickly learned of the disastrous funeral. One wrote: ‘You got what you wanted Baltazar, to draw attention. In all the groups of event photographers, people are talking about your ‘death’. Everyone was mourning. What a ridiculous joke! I think you should take a picture with everyone who mourned your supposed death. I don’t know you personally and I hope I don’t ever meet you.’

Another of his friends said: ‘I’ve known him since 2001. I thought the story was horrible. I spent one day sad and the other very indignant. For me, he died on the 17th [the day the fake death was announced], when I found out everything. It was in very bad taste.’ 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Tom Selleck (78), Heather Graham (53), Katharine Ross (83), Marc Singer (75), Oprah Winfrey (69), Adam Lambert (41), Tim Healy (71), Will Poulter (30), Ariel Winter (25), Elijah Wood (42), Tom Hopper (38), Alan Alda (87), Frank Darabont (64), Alan Cumming (58), Bridget Fonda (59), Patton Oswalt (54), James Cromwell (83), Scott Glenn (84), Deep Roy (74), Ellen DeGeneres (65), Volodymyr Zelenskyy (45), Matthew Lillard (53), Mischa Barton (37), Kristen Schaal (45), Nastassja Kinski (62), Michael Ontkean (77), Adrian Edmondson (66), Neil Diamond (82), and Gil Gerard (80).

Dead Pool 22nd January 2023

We’re finally up and running!!! With the passing of the worlds oldest person, Lucile Randon, I can award 182 points to Abi, Ceri, Dave, Paul C. And 82 points to Laura and Julia. Well done all of you for maximising the points available, she was only worth 32 points unless you listed her as one of your Big Three, plus the 1st Death of the Year bonus really boosted your scores. Commiserations to Martin, with the death of David Crosby, he missed out on the 1st Death Bonus by one day! However 69 points, better than a kick in the teeth! 

Also a very big thank you to all of you who have donated to keep us up and running for another year, we have hit our goal, and for the first time ever broken even 🙂 If anyone else feels the need to contribute, the donations page will be open until the end of January, no harm in being in profit for once! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Julian Sands, a prolific actor with more than 150 screen credits, has gone missing while hiking. The British star is believed to have been somewhere on the popular Baldy Bowl Trail in California, which climbs 3,900 feet over 4.5 miles to the highest summit in the San Gabriel Mountains. His phone appears to show he was on the move heading into the mountainous area on the day he was reported missing. The search has been ramped up of late as officials use mobile phone forensics to help pinpoint the location of the actor. Sands, 65, was reported missing during a hiking trip in the Baldy Bowl area last Friday, as searches by local authorities continue by “helicopter and drones when weather permits”. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department previously said that phone pings showed the British actor to be heading to the Mount Baldy area two days after he was first reported missing. It comes after The Flying Monkeys revealed images sent from Sands to his grandson Billy in September, which show the father-of-three mountaineering. The Flying Monkeys understands that Sands’ son Henry joined the search, retracing the route his father took, with the assistance of an experienced climber.  

Christy Dignam, the lead singer of Irish rock band Aslan, is receiving palliative care at home, his family has confirmed. The 62-year-old Dubliner is being treated for amyloidosis, which causes an abnormal protein to build up in the body, triggering organ failure. He was admitted to hospital in July 2022 and received six months of treatment. His family shared an update on Monday “in response to the large number of media enquiries received”. A statement read: “Since December, Christy has been at home and is being cared for lovingly by family, with the support of a palliative care team. The Dignam family thanks everyone for keeping Christy in their thoughts and prayers and asks for privacy at this time.” Aslan formed in Dublin in 1982 and had several hit records including Crazy World and This Is. The band was due to tour the Republic of Ireland this summer as well as performing in Londonderry’s Millennium Forum on 15th July. But in statement on their social media pages, the other Aslan members said they were “devastated that all future shows will be cancelled” due to Dignam’s ill-health. “As always, Christy’s health has been, and is, our priority. It has been a tough road for all of us but most of all Christy,” they said. “There are no words to describe how we are feeling with the update that has been shared by Christy’s family.” Over the past few years, Dignam has spoken openly about his physical and mental health struggles. Prior to be being diagnosed with amyloidosis, he was treated for heroin addition. It contributed to Dignam being fired from Aslan in the late 1980s. The group reformed for a one-off gig in 1993 and ending up recording several more albums and regularly touring around Ireland.   

The death of a farmer who appeared on BBC documentary This Farming Life will be  probed by a sheriff after he was killed by one of his own cows. Derek Roan, 71, died in hospital after a horror incident at his family farm in southern Scotland last year. Emergency crews were called to the scene at Barnbarroch Farm, near Dalbeattie, Dumfries and Galloway, on June 18th and took the grandfather-of-six to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, but he died from his injuries. A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) will now examine the circumstances around Mr Roan’s death. His loved ones confirmed his death and spoke of their shock in a statement issued via the family firm Roan’s Dairy, saying he was a ‘beloved husband’ to wife Kathleen and a ‘devoted father’ to their three children. They said: ‘We are totally devastated and still in shock at what has happened and it will take some time for us to come to terms of not having him around. ‘All Derek’s hard work was for his two passions in life – his family and his farms. ‘Derek was well known within the farming community and many other circles. He will be sadly missed by all.’ Mr Roan, who appeared in the BBC documentary about farming, was chairman of Colvend and Southwick Community Council. Vice-chairman Simon Pain said at the time his friend had died from a ‘stock-related injury’ and said the farmer was ‘well liked and well respected in our community’, describing him as a ‘leading light’. The Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation following the tragedy. Police Scotland said they were not treating the death as suspicious, and a report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.  

Jeremy Renner has shared more about the extent of his injuries from his snowplough accident, as he revealed that he broke more than 30 bones earlier this month. On 1st January, the Marvel star was airlifted to hospital with “blunt chest trauma and orthopaedic injuries”, after he was accidentally run over by his own plough machine. Renner, 52, has posted a number of updates to Instagram from his hospital bed since then. On Saturday, he shared a photo showing a masked man handling his leg during treatment. “Morning workouts, resolutions all changed this particular new year,” he wrote. “Spawned from tragedy for my entire family, and quickly focused into uniting actionable love.” Renner went on to thank his fans for their “messages and thoughtfulness for my family and I”, adding: “Much love and appreciation to you all. These 30-plus broken bones will mend, grow stronger, just like the love and bond with family and friends deepens. Love and blessings to you all.” His Marvel co-star Chris Hemsworth commented: “You’re a champion mate! We love you.”

On This Day

  • 1879 – The Battle of Rorke’s Drift, during the Anglo-Zulu War results in a British victory.
  • 1901 – Edward VII is proclaimed King of the United Kingdom after the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.
  • 1905 – Bloody Sunday in Saint Petersburg, beginning of the 1905 revolution.
  • 1915 – Over 600 people are killed in Guadalajara, Mexico, when a train plunges off the tracks into a deep canyon.
  • 1924 – Ramsay MacDonald becomes the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  • 1973 – The Supreme Court of the United States delivers its decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalising elective abortion in all fifty states.
  • 1984 – The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularise the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, is introduced during a Super Bowl XVIII television commercial.


Last Week’s Birthdays

Linda Blair (64), Geena Davis (67), Martin Shaw (78), Emma Bunton (47), David Lynch (77), Rainn Wilson (57), Tom Baker (89), Bill Maher (67), Katey Sagal (69) Dolly Parton (77), Tippi Hedren (93), Rob Delaney (46), Michael Crawford (81), Dave Bautista (54), Kevin Costner (68), Mark Rylance (63), Jason Segel (43), Jane Horrocks (59), Samantha Mumba (40), Jim Carrey (61), Zooey Deschanel (43), James Earl Jones (92), Kelly Marie Tran (34), Lin-Manuel Miranda (43), John Carpenter (75), and Sade (64).

Dead Pool 15th January 2023

Afternoon all, another busy week, including the shocking death of Lisa Marie Presley! Although she did have a family history of early deaths, nobody could have predicted her passing. 

On another note, the donations page is still open, we’re still slightly short of breaking even, so if anyone could spare a couple of quid before the end of the month, it would be appreciated. And of course, thank you to everyone who has donated so far, you’re all legends!  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Adele Roberts has updated fans on her recovery from bowel cancer. Posting a selfie to Instagram on Monday, the radio host posed with a thumbs up from a hospital bed. The 43-year-old announced that she was undergoing treatment for stage two bowel cancer in October 2021. Eight months later, in June 2022, she revealed she was cancer free. In her most recent update, Roberts shared her reasons for undergoing “post bowel cancer surgery”. “Today was the first step in hopefully getting my colon working again (post bowel cancer surgery),” she wrote in the caption. “I may be down a rectum but I think there’s enough left to blag it and get things moving again.” The former Big Brother contestant  went on to praise the NHS and the team who looked after her during her surgery. “Yet again, the level of care I’ve received from the @nhs angels is awesome. Dr Bhan and team I love you,” she said. “The fabulous Bola along with the nurses and porters who looked after me post surgery thank you for helping me and I hope my anaesthetic chat wasn’t too random”. She continued by thanking those who are making advances in medical sciences in the UK. “Thank you to everyone who helps make that happen,” she said. “You do us proud.” “The fact I can recover from bowel cancer, have a stoma, start getting my life back on track and today a balloon up my bum to sort out my stricture is just marvellous. What a time to be alive?!” The BBC Radio 1 DJ gave a special mention to her stoma – who she has nicknamed “Audrey” – for keeping her ”happy, healthy, alive and kicking”. A stoma allows urine and faeces to be diverted out of the body through an opening in the abdomen into a collection bag. “I think there’ll be a few more surgeries for me this year… but do you know what, I’m just so happy they can help me and there’s hope,” continued Roberts. “I might be able to go to the toilet the ‘old fashioned way’ one day in the future. Might even get inspired by all the balloons and have a grand re-opening party.”

Dancer and choreographer Michael Flatley, famous for his Irish production Riverdance, has had surgery for an “aggressive form of cancer”. A post on his Instagram page said he was “in the care of an excellent team of doctors”, adding no further comments would be made. Flatley, 64, shot to fame with Riverdance, which first appeared during the 1994 Eurovision interval in Dublin, lasting seven minutes. Its success at Eurovision, where it teamed Irish dancers with music by Bill Whelan, saw it extended into a full-length show which opened at Dublin’s Point Theatre the following year. The Riverdance 25th anniversary website suggests that since its debut, more than three billion people worldwide have seen the show on television. Flatley, born to an Irish-American family in Chicago, has also created, produced and directed productions including Feet Of Flames and Celtic Tiger. He has previously had a diagnosis of facial skin cancer which he was treated for in 2003. He also directed and starred in the spy thriller film Blackbird, which did not receive many positive reviews. The film also stars Eric Roberts, Patrick Bergin and Ian Beattie, Flatley plays former MI6 operative Victor Blackley, who returns to the world of espionage, having left it behind. Last year Flatley also launched a Lord Of The Dance tour, which helped raise money for the humanitarian effort in Ukraine. 

Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro was admitted to a hospital in Florida with intestinal discomfort due to a stabbing he suffered during the 2018 election campaign, his wife Michelle Bolsonaro said on Monday on Instagram. In Brazil, Dr. Antonio Luiz Macedo, who has been treating Bolsonaro since the stabbing, said he has an intestinal subocclusion, or blockage, but was unlikely to need surgery. “It is not a serious case,” he told the Flying Monkeys. Earlier, a source close to his family said Bolsonaro’s condition was “not worrying.” Brazilian newspaper O Globo had reported earlier in the day that Bolsonaro had been suffering from abdominal pain. Bolsonaro has undergone six surgeries since his stabbing, four of them directly linked to the attack. He also has had cases of bowel adhesions and obstructions in the last few years. On Sunday, Bolsonaro supporters in Brazil’s capital launched the worst attack on state institutions since the country’s return to democracy in the 1980s. His successor as president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who took office on Jan.1st, blamed Bolsonaro for inflaming his supporters with a campaign of baseless allegations about election fraud. Bolsonaro flew to Florida 48 hours before his term ended.  

Only Fools and Horses star Patrick Murray has revealed that he has had part of his liver and a tumour removed following his second cancer diagnosis. The 66-year-old actor, best known for playing Mickey Pearce in the hit BBC comedy, previously opened up about how his lung cancer had been cured in May last year. However, he took to Twitter to share the news that he had another form of cancer and that he had half of his liver and a tumour removed. He tweeted: “I am going home today. Minus half a liver and a tumour that the wonderful Prof Heaton removed last week. I kept this under my hat that they’d discovered another primary cancer last year. I am a two person, that’s for sure. High fives to all at Kings College Hospital.” It comes after Patrick revealed last year that he had discovered a cancerous lung tumour in its early stages and underwent surgery to remove it, as well as undergoing chemotherapy. More scans found another tumour in his liver that was treatable. He received transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (Tace), a minimally invasive procedure performed in interventional radiology to restrict a tumour’s blood supply. Sharing a health update on Twitter, Patrick explained at the time: “Thanks again for all your lovely messages. As you may know, I was diagnosed with lung cancer last July. After an op in Oct to remove the tumour I had chemo to help prevent the cancer returning. During this chemo, another tumour was discovered in my liver. Luckily for me this cancer was unconnected to the lung cancer and was also treatable. I had a procedure called Tace to deal with this. Last Friday l saw my oncologist. She told me the lung cancer was cured and that the tumour in my liver was shrinking. It’s not over yet, but as you can imagine I am over the moon with this latest news.” He went on to thank the ‘brilliant’ doctors and nurses of the NHS for all that they have done. “I will hopefully be there at next years convention,” he said of the annual Only Fools And Horses convention.    

On This Day

  • 1559 – Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England and Ireland in Westminster Abbey, London.
  • 1867 – Forty people die when ice covering the boating lake at Regent’s Park, London, collapses.
  • 1919 – Great Molasses Flood: A wave of molasses released from an exploding storage tank sweeps through Boston, Massachusetts, killing 21 and injuring 150.
  • 1947 – The Black Dahlia murder: The dismembered corpse of Elizabeth Short was found in Los Angeles.
  • 1976 – Gerald Ford‘s would-be assassin, Sara Jane Moore, is sentenced to life in prison.
  • 2001 – Wikipedia, a free wiki content encyclopaedia, goes online.
  • 2009 – US Airways Flight 1549 ditches safely in the Hudson River after the plane collides with birds less than two minutes after take-off. This becomes known as “The Miracle on the Hudson” as all 155 people on board were rescued.
  • 2019 – Theresa May‘s UK government suffers the biggest government defeat in modern times, when 432 MPs voting against the proposed European Union withdrawal agreement, giving her opponents a majority of 230. It doesn’t get any better…


The Gruesome Story of The Black Dahlia 

The 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short, also known as the “Black Dahlia,” is one of the oldest cold cases in Los Angeles. Not only was it a horrific crime, but it’s also proven notoriously difficult to solve.

In the decades since the Black Dahlia murder, police, the press, and amateur sleuths alike have all delved deep into this unsolved crime and developed several convincing theories. 

Though we may never know who killed the Black Dahlia, poring over the evidence of this case is just as darkly fascinating today as it was in 1947. 

On January 15th, 1947, Elizabeth Short’s dead body was found in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Leimert Park. The first person who reported the grisly sight was a mother out for a morning walk with her child. 

According to the woman, the way Short’s body had been posed made her think that the corpse was a mannequin at first. But a closer look revealed the true horror of the Black Dahlia crime scene.

The 22-year-old Short had been sliced in two at the waist and completely drained of blood. Some of her organs — such as her intestines — had been removed and neatly placed underneath her buttocks. Pieces of flesh had been cut away from her thighs and breasts. And her stomach was full of faeces, leading some to believe that she’d been forced to eat shit before she was killed. 

The most chilling mutilations, however, were the lacerations on her face. The killer had sliced each side of her face from the corners of her mouth to her ears, creating what’s known as a “Glasgow smile.” 

Since the body had already been washed clean, Los Angeles Police Department detectives concluded that she must have been killed elsewhere before being dumped in Leimert Park.

Near her body, detectives noted a heel print and a cement sack with traces of blood that had presumably been used to transport her body to the vacant lot.

The LAPD reached out to the FBI to help identify the body by searching their fingerprint database. Short’s fingerprints turned up rather quickly because she had applied for a job as a clerk at the commissary of the U.S. Army’s Camp Cooke in California back in 1943. And then her prints turned up a second time since she had been arrested by the Santa Barbara Police Department for underage drinking — just seven months after she’d applied to the job.

The FBI also had her mugshot from her arrest, which they provided to the press. Before long, the media began reporting every salacious detail they could find about Short.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Short’s mother Phoebe Short didn’t learn of her daughter’s death until reporters from The Los Angeles Examiner telephoned her pretending that Elizabeth had won a beauty contest.

They pumped her for all the details they could get on Elizabeth before revealing the terrible truth. Her daughter had been murdered, and her corpse had been dismembered in unspeakable ways. 

As the media learned more about Elizabeth Short’s history, they began to brand her as a sexual deviant. One police report read, “This victim knew at least fifty men at the time of her death and at least twenty-five men had been seen with her in the sixty days preceding her death… She was known as a teaser of men.”

They gave Short the nickname, “The Black Dahlia,” due to her reported preference for wearing a lot of sheer black clothing. This was a reference to the movie The Blue Dahlia, which was out at the time. Some people spread the false rumour that Short was a prostitute, while others baselessly claimed that she liked to tease men because she was a lesbian.

Adding to her mystique, Short was reportedly a Hollywood hopeful. She had moved to Los Angeles just six months before her death and worked as a waitress. Sadly, she had no known acting jobs and her death became her one claim to fame.

But as famous as the case was, authorities had tremendous difficulty figuring out who was behind it. However, members of the media did receive a few clues.

On January 21st, about a week after the body was found, the Examiner received a call from a person claiming to be the murderer, who said he would be sending Short’s belongings in the mail as proof of his claim.

Shortly thereafter on the 24th, the Examiner received a package with Short’s birth certificate, photos, business cards, and an address book with the name Mark Hansen on the cover. Also included was a letter pasted together from newspaper and magazine letter clippings that read, “Los Angeles Examiner and other Los Angeles papers here is Dahlia’s belongings letter to follow.”

All of these items had been wiped down with gasoline, leaving no fingerprints behind. Though a partial fingerprint was found on the envelope, it was damaged in transport and never analysed.

On January 26th, another letter arrived. This handwritten note read, “Here it is. Turning in Wed. January 29th, 10 a.m. Had my fun at police. Black Dahlia Avenger.” The letter included a location. Police waited at the appointed time and place, but the author never showed.

Afterward, the alleged killer sent a note made of letters cut and pasted from magazines to the Examiner that said, “Have changed my mind. You would not give me a square deal. Dahlia killing was justified.”

Yet again, everything sent by the person had been wiped clean with gasoline, so investigators couldn’t lift any fingerprints from the evidence.

At one point, the LAPD had 750 investigators on the case and interviewed more than 150 potential suspects linked to the Black Dahlia killing. Officers heard more than 60 confessions during the initial investigation, but none of them were considered legitimate. Since then, there have been more than 500 confessions, none of which led to anyone being charged.

As time went on and the case went cold, many people assumed that the Black Dahlia murder was a date gone wrong, or that Short had run into a sinister stranger late at night while walking alone.

After over 70 years, the Black Dahlia murder case remains open. But in recent years, a couple of intriguing — and chilling — theories have emerged.  

Shortly after his father’s death in 1999, now-retired LAPD detective Steve Hodel was going through his dad’s belongings when he noticed two photos of a woman who bore a striking resemblance to Elizabeth Short.

After discovering these haunting images, Hodel began using the skills he had gained as a policeman to investigate his own deceased father.

Hodel went through newspaper archives and witness interviews from the case, and even filed a Freedom of Information Act to obtain FBI files on the Black Dahlia murder.

He also had a handwriting expert compare samples of his father’s writing to the writing on some of the notes sent to the press from the alleged killer. The analysis found a strong possibility that his father’s handwriting matched, but the results were not conclusive.

On the grislier side, the Black Dahlia crime scene photos showed that Short’s body had been cut in a manner consistent with a hemicorporectomy, a medical procedure that slices the body beneath the lumbar spine. Hodel’s father had been a doctor — who attended medical school when this procedure was being taught in the 1930s.

Additionally, Hodel searched his father’s archives at UCLA, finding a folder full of receipts for contracting work on his childhood home.

In that folder, there was a receipt dated a few days before the murder for a large bag of concrete, the same size, and brand as a concrete bag found near Elizabeth Short’s body.

By the time Hodel began his investigation, many of the police officers who originally worked on the case were already dead. However, he carefully reconstructed conversations these officers had about the case.

Eventually, Hodel compiled all of his evidence into a 2003 bestseller called Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story. 

While fact-checking the book, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez requested official police files from the case and made an important discovery. Shortly after the murder, the LAPD had six main suspects, and George Hodel was on their list.

In fact, he was such a serious suspect that his home was bugged in 1950 so the police could monitor his activities. Much of the audio was innocuous, but one chilling exchange stuck out:

“8:25pm. ‘Woman screamed. Woman screamed again. (It should be noted, the woman not heard before the scream.)’”

Later that day, George Hodel was overheard telling someone, “Realise there was nothing I could do, put a pillow over her head and cover her with a blanket. Get a taxi. Expired 12:59. They thought there was something fishy. Anyway, now they may have figured it out. Killed her.”

He continued, “Supposin’ I did kill the Black Dahlia. They couldn’t prove it now. They can’t talk to my secretary anymore because she’s dead.”

Even after this shocking revelation, which seems to support that George Hodel killed Short — and possibly also his secretary — the Black Dahlia case still hasn’t been officially closed. However, this hasn’t stopped Steve Hodel from investigating his father.

He says he has found details from dozens of other murders that could possibly be connected to his father, implicating him not only as the Black Dahlia murderer but also as a deranged serial killer.

Hodel’s research has even garnered some attention from law enforcement. In 2004, Stephen R. Kay, the head deputy for L.A. County’s district attorney office, said that if George Hodel was still alive he would have enough to indict him for the Elizabeth Short murder. 

Though we still don’t know for certain who killed the Black Dahlia, recent theories present compelling cases. And it’s possible that the truth is still out there, just waiting for the right investigation to finally bring it to light.

Last Week’s Birthdays

James Nesbitt (58), Claudia Winkleman (51), Eddie Hall (35), DJ Jazzy Jeff (58), Jason Bateman (54), Kevin Durand (49), Faye Dunaway (82), Carl Weathers (75), Mark Addy (59), Grant Gustin (33), Dave Grohl (54), Ruth Wilson (41), Liam Hemsworth (33), Orlando Bloom (46), Michael Peña (47), Bill Bailey (58), Rob Zombie (58), Howard Stern (69), Melanie C (49), Pixie Lott (32), Jemaine Clement (49), Evan Handler (62), J.K. Simmons (68), Joely Richardson (58), Imelda Staunton (67), James Acaster (38), Catherine Princess of Wales (41), Michelle Forbes (58), and Amber Benson (46).

Dead Pool 8th January 2023

Buggeration! With the deaths of almost all celebrities known to mankind last week, nobody has scored a bean. I’m also kicking myself for de-listing Gianluca Vialli at the last minute, he’d have scored me 142 points as the first death of the season! Anyhow, let’s crack on…. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Shane MacGowan of the Pogues has given fans an update on his health after he was rushed to hospital in December. In early December, MacGowan, 65, was admitted to hospital due to an infection. His wife Victoria Mary Clarke later announced that the singer had been diagnosed with encephalitis, an uncommon condition that causes the brain to swell and can be life-threatening. Those with serious cases can be left with problems such as seizures, hearing loss, and blindness. Hours before midnight on New Year’s Eve, the “Fairytale of New York” musician gave fans an update on his condition. “Hi friends, I’m sitting here suffering from encephalitis,”said MacGowan in a video. He was wearing sunglasses and a cross necklace in the clip. The light is killing me,” he said, explaining his choice of eyewear. “But I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year and Happy Christmas and many more. All the luck in the world and all the love. Happy Christmas and Happy New Year, love Shane.” He captioned the clip: “Happy New Year. Have as much fun as you can when you can!!! Thank you.” Reflecting on when MacGowan became ill in early December, Clarke told the flying monkeys: “I noticed it on his face. His eye was getting red and began to close over. I called the doctor and the doctor said it was very dangerous so we had to get him to the hospital straight away. The hospital explained to me that shingles can go into your brain and that’s what happened to Shane so now they want to keep him on a drip for two weeks.” Clarke, 56, said that MacGowan appears “perfectly normal now” but “pissed he can’t drink in the hospital”.  

Jeremy Renner has thanked staff at his intensive care unit for “beginning this journey”, as he continues to recover from a serious snowplough accident. The Marvel actor, who celebrated his 52nd birthday on Saturday, shared a picture from hospital of himself with staff and members of his family on his Instagram story. “Thank you Renowned Medical ICU team for beginning this journey,” he wrote. The actor, who plays the bow and arrow-wielding Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), was admitted to hospital after the incident last weekend. Local police said the actor was helping a family member free a car from heavy snow when he was accidentally run over by his own six-tonne ploughing machine. He was airlifted to hospital on Sunday after suffering “blunt chest trauma and orthopaedic injuries” in the accident, a statement provided to the Flying Monkeys from his publicist said. The incident took place near the Mount Rose highway, which links Lake Tahoe and south Reno, straddling the Nevada-California border. The post is the latest in a series of updates that Renner has shared on his progress while being in hospital. On Thursday, he shared that his mother and sister had treated him to a “spa day”. “A ‘not no great’ ICU DAY, turned to amazing spa day with my sis and mama. Thank you sooooo much,” he wrote. One of his family members was seen in the clip massaging his head. Immediately after the incident, Renner posted a picture of himself from his hospital bed, thanking fans for their support, but saying he was “too messed up to type”.Scores of famous faces, including his Marvel co stars, praised the actor for his bravery and sent well wishes in the aftermath.  

Former 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova has announced that she has been diagnosed with throat and breast cancer. Many from the tennis world expressed their support to one of the greatest players in tennis history. “Needless to say my phone and twitter are both blowing up so I will say again- thank you all for your support and I am not done yet,” Navratilova tweeted. In her statement, Navratilova revealed that she caught the disease in the early stages. Also, Navratilova vowed to fight with everything she has got. “The double whammy is serious, but fixable, and I’m hoping for a favourable outcome. It’s going to stink for a while, but I’ll fight with all I have got,” Navratilova said. Following the diagnosis, it has also been confirmed that Navratilova won’t be at the Australian Open. Since retiring, Navratilova has been working as a tennis analyst and commentator during Grand Slams. The prognosis is good and Martina will start her treatment this month. The cancer type is HPV and this particular type responds really well to treatment,” a statement read. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Navratilova was diagnosed with cancer as she was also diagnosed with breast cancer 13 years ago. “I was so shocked that there was anything going on with my body. But you can be the healthiest person on the planet and still get cancer. You are definitely improving the odds by being healthy, but you’re not totally eliminating the possibility,” Navratilova said of her first diagnosis. Fortunately, Navratilova was able to beat the disease over a decade ago. Now, Navratilova is again fighting the same battle and hoping for the same outcome.  

Jackass’s Bam Margera revealed he had a close brush with death after experiencing five seizures while suffering from Covid and pneumonia. Last month, it was reported that the stunt performer and skateboarder had been rushed to hospital with a “very serious” case of pneumonia. Appearing on fellow Jackass star Steve-O’s Wild Ride podcast last Thursday, Margera told his friend that “basically, I was pronounced dead on 8th December”. “I did not know that I had gnarly Covid and my body was shutting down,” he said. “I went into four seizures, each one lasting 10 to 20 minutes. On the fourth one, I bit my tongue so hard it was nearly fallen off. It got so swollen and puffy it wouldn’t fit in my mouth. I was drinking the infected blood, which gave me pneumonia as well.” Margera continued: “I went to the hospital and had my fifth seizure and then couldn’t breathe without a tube down my throat. I woke up five days later thinking I was there for just a couple hours. I spent eight days in there. When they took that tube out I felt like I sucked on Darth Vader’s dick.” Alongside Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O and Margera were two of the original members of the Jackass crew-members, performing stunts in the MTV series and subsequent film adaptations. However, Margera did not feature in the recent sequel, Jackass Forever, claiming that he had been fired partway through production after failing a drugs test. He initiated a lawsuit against Knoxville, as well as the film’s director Jeff Tremaine and producer Spike Jonze, and the film companies Paramount Pictures and MTV Networks. The lawsuit was eventually settled, with Margera telling the Flying Monkeys that he was “happy with the outcome and feels vindicated”.

On This Day

  • 1940 – World War II: Britain introduces food rationing. Highly likely to be implemented in 2023.
  • 1989 – Kegworth air disaster: British Midland Flight 92, a Boeing 737-400, crashes into the M1 motorway, killing 47 of the 126 people on board.
  • 1994 – Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov on Soyuz TM-18 leaves for Mir. He would stay on the space station until March 22, 1995, for a record 437 days in space.
  • 2011 – Sitting US Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is shot in the head along with 18 others in a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords survived the assassination attempt, but six others died.
  • 2020 – Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashes immediately after take-off at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport; all 176 on board are killed. The plane was shot down by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile!


Last Week’s Birthdays

Michelle Forbes (58), Nicolas Cage (59), Jeremy Renner (52), Erin Gray (73), Linda Kozlowski (65), Eddie Redmayne (41), Norman Reedus (54), Rowan Atkinson (68), Angus Deayton (67), Bradley Cooper (48), Diane Keaton (77), January Jones (45), Robert Duvall (92), Clancy Brown (64), Hayao Miyazaki (82), Vinnie Jones (58), Marilyn Manson (54), Julia Ormond (58), Graham McTavish (62), Lenora Crichlow (38), Matt Frewer (65), Julian Sands (65), Florence Pugh (27), Mel Gibson (67), Victoria Principal (73), Sarah Alexander (52), Greta Thunberg (20), Tia Carrere (56), Kate Bosworth (40), Cuba Gooding Jr. (55), and Frank Langella (85).

Dead Pool 2022 in Review

The past year saw a number of unexpected deaths of much-loved celebrities, along with the loss of veterans from the entertainment industry.

Here are some of those who were mourned during the past 12 months.


Sidney Poitier: The Bahamian-American Hollywood star, known for films including In the Heat of the Night, Blackboard Jungle and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, died aged 94. He was the first Black man to win the Oscar for best actor and US president Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey were among those who paid tribute to the “trailblazing” actor.

Meat Loaf: The American singer, known for hits such as “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” died at the age of 74. Meat Loaf, who was born Marvin Lee Aday but was also known as Michael, sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and starred in more than 65 movies during his career which spanned six decades. 

Barry Cryer: The veteran comedy writer and performer died aged 86 following a seven-decade career which saw him appear on stage, screen and radio. He penned jokes for legends of British comedy including Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett, Sir Billy Connolly and Tommy Cooper and had a long-running partnership with Sir David Frost, with their collaborations including BBC’s The Frost Report. 


Ivan Reitman: The influential filmmaker and producer behind beloved comedies from Animal House to Ghostbusters died aged 75. He also directed the 1979 summer camp flick Meatballs and a number of films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger including Twins, Kindergarten Cop and Junior.  

William Hurt: The actor, who starred as General Thaddeus Ross in several instalments of the Marvel Comic Universe, died aged 71. He also won the best actor Oscar and Bafta for Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1985 and was nominated for the Oscar for his roles in 1986’s Children of a Lesser God and 1987’s Broadcast News.

Anna Karen: Actor best known for playing the put-upon wife, Olive, in the 1970s sitcom On the Buses and its three spin-off feature films. Sadly she died in a house fire aged 85. 

Bamber Gascoigne: Writer, documentary-maker and broadcaster who was the popular quizmaster of University Challenge for 25 years. The polymath was ever irked by the fact that he was best known to the British public for the phrase: “Fingers on buzzers … your starter for 10,” although he never showed it. 


Taylor Hawkins: Hawkins, who had played in Foo Fighters, the band fronted by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, for more than two decades, died aged 50. Musical stars from around the world paid tribute and a special concert featuring a star-studded line-up was held at Wembley Stadium and the Kia Forum in Los Angeles in his memory.  

Tom Parker: The Wanted star died at the age of 33 after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. The singer died surrounded by his family and bandmates – 17 months after being diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma.

Shane Warne: The legendary Australian spin bowler, considered one of the greatest cricketers of all time, died aged 52 of a suspected heart attack while in Thailand. England Cricket paid tribute to Warne on Twitter, writing: “One of the greatest of all-time. A legend. A genius. You changed Cricket. RIP Shane Warne.” 

Peter Bowles: Veteran stage and screen actor who starred in the popular BBC TV sitcom To the Manor Born. Bowles died aged 85 of cancer, ruefully admitted that he wasn’t a “star” until, aged 43, he played Richard DeVere in the hit series. 

Dai Jones: Welsh broadcasting legend Dai Jones ‘Llanilar’ died at the age of 78. Jones was a TV favourite on S4C and hosted popular farming show Cefn Gwlad for more than 35 years, as well as other Welsh language shows including Noson Lwen, Rasus, and Sion a Sian.  Despite being one of the faces of Welsh television for a generation, Jones was actually born in London in 1943. 


June Brown: The EastEnders star, best known for her role as chain-smoking Dot Cotton, died at the age of 95. A spokeswoman for the soap said: “There are not enough words to describe how much June was loved and adored by everyone at EastEnders, her loving warmth, wit and great humour will never be forgotten.”

Cynthia Plaster Caster: Cynthia Albritton was a pop artist known for her casts of rock stars’ penises. She was a young art student at the University of Illinois Chicago when she got the idea for her lifelong art project. Her dream was to meet rock musicians and hoped to lose her virginity to one. Jimi Hendrix agreed to be her first celebrity client! 


Dennis Waterman: The actor, who starred in TV shows Minder, The Sweeney and New Tricks, died at the age of 74. Waterman starred as bodyguard Terry McCann in Minder and he first found fame as tough nut cop George Carter in The Sweeney opposite John Thaw. 

Ray Liotta: The actor, best known for his portrayal of Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas opposite Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, died at the age of 67. He found fame playing ex-con Ray Sinclair in 1986 black comedy Something Wild and also starred as Shoeless Joe Jackson in the 1989 film Field of Dreams. 

Anne Heche: The Hollywood actor was “peacefully taken off life support” nine days after suffering a “severe anoxic brain injury” in a car crash in which her vehicle hit a building and burst into flames. Heche, 53, was among the biggest film stars of the late 1990s, starring opposite actors including Johnny Depp and Harrison Ford, and was also the former partner of US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Lester Pigott: died aged 86, was regarded by many as the finest jockey ever to ride on British turf. His record in major races is unlikely to be surpassed. In all, he rode 4,493 winners in Britain and more than 850 elsewhere during a career that spanned 47 years. 

Vangelis: The Greek composer died aged 79, and always avoided becoming a trained, academic musician. His work ranged from pop, jazz and classical to the Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire soundtrack. Equally significant was his score for Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner.


Hilary Devey: The former Dragons’ Den star died aged 65 after a long illness. She joined the BBC Two programme in 2011 and left in 2012, going on to present Channel 4’s The Intern. 

Julee Cruise: Singer, songwriter and actor acclaimed for her work with the film director David Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti, took her own life at the age of 65 after a long period of illness and depression. 


James Caan: US actor and star of The Godfather, Stephen King adaptation Misery and Christmas film Elf died aged 82. While the actor was initially cast as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, he had his heart set on Sonny and successfully suggested that Al Pacino play the role of Michael instead. He eventually faced his co-star alongside another Godfather actor, Robert Duvall, in the Best Supporting Actor category at the 1973 Oscars; all three lost to Joel Grey, who won for Cabaret.

Bernard Cribbins: The children’s TV star and entertainer died aged 93. The veteran actor starred in the Carry On films, Doctor Who and the 1970 film The Railway Children.

David Warner: Stage and screen actor hailed for his 1965 Hamlet at the RSC who went on to have a distinguished film and TV career. A highly divers actor who starred in The Omen and the Star Trek franchise. 


Dame Olivia Newton-John: Dame Olivia was best known for her starring role as Sandy in the 1978 film Grease, in which she acted opposite John Travolta as Danny. The British-born singer died “peacefully” at her ranch in Southern California aged 73, surrounded by family and friends. 

Raymond Briggs: The author and illustrator, best known for the 1978 classic The Snowman, died aged 88. The Snowman has sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world, and Briggs also created the beloved children’s books Father Christmas, Fungus the Bogeyman, The Man and When the Wind Blows.

Darius Danesh: The singer and actor who rose to fame on Popstars and Pop Idol died at the age of 41. He was found dead in his US apartment, in Rochester, Minnesota. The death was ruled an accident by the medical examiner.

Nichelle Nichols: The actor who blazed a trail for black women on American TV in the 1960s in the role of Lt Uhura in Star Trek. She was also involved in the US’s first small-screen kiss between a black woman and a white man, Uhura and Captain Kirk (played by William Shatner), in 1968. 


Queen Elizabeth II: Britain’s longest-serving monarch died aged 96, with her son Charles succeeding her as the nation’s new king. The Queen died “peacefully” at Balmoral, having spent 70 years as head of state, outlasting her predecessors and overseeing monumental changes in social and political life. 

Bill Turnbull: The TV presenter and journalist died at the age of 66. The BBC Breakfast presenter died “peacefully” at home in Suffolk after a “challenging and committed fight against prostate cancer” which had been diagnosed in November 2017. 

Dame Hilary Mantel: The author, best known for the Wolf Hall trilogy, died aged 70. The British writer won the Booker Prize twice, first for her 2009 novel Wolf Hall and again for its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, in 2012.  

Coolio: The famed Nineties rapper died aged 59. Real name Artis Leon Ivey Jr, he was best known for his 1995 Grammy Award-winning hit single “Gangsta’s Paradise”, which was released as the soundtrack for the Michelle Pfeiffer film, Dangerous Minds. The song spent three weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 list.

Jean-Luc Godard: The revered filmmaker, regarded as a giant of the French New Wave movement, died at the age of 91. He was known for directing a run of radical, medium-changing films throughout the 1960s, including Breathless and Alphaville.

Mikhail Gorbachev:  The last leader of the Soviet Union, he was ousted as his reforms pointing to the end of the USSR spiralled out of control. Almost singlehandedly he brought an end to 40 years of east-west confrontation in Europe and liberated the world from the danger of nuclear conflagration. 

Louise Fletcher: American actor who won an Oscar for her role as Nurse Ratched in the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. As Nurse Ratched, who instils fear into the patients in a mental institution without ever raising her voice, she was calmly terrifying. 


Dame Angela Lansbury: The Irish-British and American actor was best known for her portrayal of Jessica Fletcher in the drama series Murder, She Wrote. A Broadway icon who excelled as Mrs Lovett in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, she died “peacefully” in her sleep five days before her 97th birthday. 

Robbie Coltrane: The Harry Potter and Cracker actor died aged 72. The Scottish star, whose real name was Anthony Robert McMillan, was best known for playing both McGlone brothers in John Byrne’s Tutti Frutti (1987), beloved Hogwarts gamekeeper Hagrid and for starring as criminal psychologist Dr Eddie “Fitz” Fitzgerald in ITV’s crime drama Cracker. 

Jerry Lee Lewis: Founding father of rock’n’roll who took the world by storm with Great Balls of Fire and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On. His career was blighted after the press found out he’d married his 13 year old cousin. 

Kitten Natividad: Francesca “Kitten” Natividad, the go-go dancer who became a cult pop culture figure when she was cast by sexploitation film director Russ Meyer in Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens. 


Leslie Phillips: The veteran actor, famed for starring in the Carry On films, died at the age of 98. He spent eight decades in the spotlight and became well known for his suggestive catchphrases, which included “Ding dong”, “Well, hellooo” and “I say!” 

Christine McVie: The Fleetwood Mac star died following a short illness at the age of 79. The British-American rock band, founded in London in 1967, sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the most successful groups ever. 

Wilko Johnson: Musician with Dr Feelgood whose stark chords and pin-sharp riffs made him one of the most distinctive of British rock guitarists.

Irene Cara: American actor and singer best known for her role in the film Fame and co-writing the 1983 hit Flashdance … What a Feeling. Cara died unexpectedly aged 63, topped the British singles chart with Fame, which also went to No 4 in the US. 


Kirstie Alley: The US actor died from cancer at the age of 71. She was best known for her breakout role as Rebecca Howe in the NBC sitcom Cheers from 1987 to 1993 and received both an Emmy award and a Golden Globe for the role in 1991. 

Terry Hall: The lead singer of The Specials and Fun Boy Three died aged 63. The singer-songwriter rose to fame as part of the band, who were pioneers of the ska scene in the UK. 

Pele: The legendary Brazilian footballer passed away aged 82. Widely considered one of the greatest players of all time, Pele is the only man to have won the World Cup on three occasions, as he helped Brazil to success at the 1958, 1962 and 1970 tournaments, also winning the Golden Ball for best player at the latter. During a 21-year playing career, he is said to have scored 1,283 goals in 1,363 senior matches for clubs and country. 

Dame Vivienne Westwood: The iconic British fashion designer died aged 81. Dame Vivienne emerged from the British punk scene of the late 1970s and quickly became known for her androgynous designs, slogan T-shirts and irreverent attitude towards the Establishment, later making waves as an activist on causes close to her heart. The Victoria and Albert Museum described her as a “true revolutionary and rebellious force in fashion”.

Maxi Jazz: Frontman of Faithless whose thoughtful, life-affirming lyrics were in contrast to the usual hedonistic banalities of dance music. Sold an estimated 15 million albums and score a string of Top Five singles including such guaranteed dance floor fillers as Insomnia, God Is a DJ and We Come 1. 

Ruth Madoc: The stage and screen actor died after a fall aged 79. She cemented herself in the memories of TV sitcom viewers as Gladys Pugh, chief yellowcoat and Radio Maplin announcer in Hi-de-Hi! 

Pope Benedict XVI: In the annals of papal history, Joseph Ratzinger, who has died aged 95, will be remembered principally as the first pope in 600 years to retire, rather than to die in office. 

Dead Pool 31st December 2022

Jeez! What a final week! So many late in the year deaths and changes to peoples 2023 lists. Obviously a few points do dispense, so… With the passing of the football great Pele, Neil and myself get 68 points; however Debbie gets 168 points as she had him down as her Cert. A further 57 points awarded to Laura for the passing of Barbara Walters. Surprisingly, only one of us had Pope Benedict, and that was Sarai, finally breaking her duck on the last possible day, 55 points. Which does mean everyone scored this year! Yay! 

So, if nobody else decides to rock the boat between now and midnight, I think we can hopefully pronounce Lee as our winner of 2022! An astounding 740 points in total with seven deaths to his name. Well done that man, the trophy will be with you at some point in the New Year. Commiserations to Paul C, for coming in second with 674 points and an unbelievable nine deaths!!! The rest of us weren’t even close to the top two, but well done everyone for scoring this year, even I did quite well, finally made it into the top ten this year.

Thank you all for taking part, especially those of you who have already donated towards the running costs, even more so as technically I’ve not yet begged for contributions. For full transparency there is a list of paid invoices in the members area and the budget will be uploaded when all donations are in by the end of January. To date we’ve never reached the goal and the remainder always comes from my own pocket, including all the time and effort I put in to keep the pool running. 

Here’s to a successful 2023, may the flying monkeys swoop upon your choices. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Yet another Russian tycoon has been found dead in mysterious circumstances. Sausage tycoon Pavel Antov was found dead at at an Indian hotel, two days after a friend died during the same trip. They were visiting the eastern state of Odisha and the millionaire, who was also a local politician, had just celebrated his birthday at the hotel. Antov was a well known figure in the city of Vladimir, east of Moscow. Last summer he denied criticising Russia’s war in Ukraine after a message appeared on his WhatsApp account. The millionaire’s death is the latest in a series of unexplained deaths involving Russian tycoons since the start of the Russian invasion, many of whom have openly criticised the war. Reports in Russian media said Mr Antov, 65, had fallen from a window at the hotel in the city of Rayagada on Sunday. Another member of his four-strong Russian group, Vladimir Budanov, died at the hotel on Friday. Superintendent Vivekananda Sharma of Odisha police said Mr Budanov was found to have suffered a stroke while his friend “was depressed after his death and he too died”. The Russian consul in Kolkata, Alexei Idamkin, told the Tass news agency that police did not see a “criminal element in these tragic events”. Tourist guide Jitendra Singh told reporters that Mr Budanov may have “consumed a lot of alcohol as he had liquor bottles”. Pavel Antov founded the Vladimir Standard meat processing plant and in 2019 Forbes estimated his fortune at some $140m (£118m) at the top of Russia’s rich list of lawmakers and civil servants. He played an important role at the legislative assembly in Vladimir, heading a committee on agrarian policy and ecology. The assembly’s deputy chairman Vyacheslav Kartukhin said he had died in “tragic circumstances”. Late last June he appeared to react to a Russian missile attack on a residential block in the Shevchenkivskyi district of Kyiv that left a man dead and his seven-year-old daughter and her mother wounded. A WhatsApp message on Antov’s account described how the family were pulled out of the rubble: “It’s extremely difficult to call all this anything but terror.” The message was deleted and Antov then posted on social media that he was a supporter of the president, a “patriot of my country” and backed the war. The WhatsApp message had come from someone whose opinion on the “special military operation in Ukraine” he strongly disagreed with, he insisted. It had been posted accidentally on his messenger and was a highly annoying misunderstanding, he said. Several high-profile Russian tycoons have died in mysterious circumstances since the war began. In September the head of Russia’s oil giant Lukoil, Ravil Maganov, apparently fell from a hospital window in Moscow.  

Bob Marley’s grandson has died at the age of 31. Jamaican-American reggae artist Joseph Mersa Marley was found unresponsive in a vehicle in the United States on Tuesday, according to the Flying Monkeys. The initial announcement did not specify a location. The artist – who went by his stage name Jo Mersa – had reportedly suffered from asthma his entire life, and the Flying Monkeys claimed he died of an asthma attack. Bob  Marley tragically died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 36, and is widely considered one of the pioneers of reggae music. The late star had 11 children with seven different partners. Joseph Mersa Marley spent his early years in Jamaica, where he attended Saints Peter and Paul Preparatory School. He then moved to Florida where he was a student at Palmetto High School. When at Miami Dade College he studied studio engineering. In 2014 he released the EP called Comfortable and in 2021 he came out with Eternal.  

The owner of an internet-famous dog who inspired the “doge” meme says she has received a global outpouring of love since revealing her popular pooch was suffering from leukaemia. Kabosu, a 17-year-old Shiba Inu, shot to internet stardom in 2010 after social media users began sharing a photo of her posing with a quizzical expression and crossed paws. The meme was typically overlaid with scattered comic sans text depicting what could be Kabosu’s inner monologue, and internet users started referring to the image as “doge”. It later inspired the creation of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency in 2013. Kabosu’s owner Atsuko Sato, a kindergarten teacher from Sakura, Japan, revealed she was in “a very dangerous condition” after being diagnosed with a form of blood cancer in a series of Instagram posts this week. Ms Sato said Kabosu had stopped eating and drinking just before Christmas and was on antibiotics after vets determined she was suffering from acute cholangiohepatitis, a type of inflammation in the digestive system. She posted an update on 27th December to say Kabosu’s appetite had returned and she was drinking water again. “It’s going to be alright. Because we get our power from all over the world!” Ms Sato wrote on her Instagram page. The doge meme initially found popularity on sites such as Reddit and Tumblr, with internet users photoshopping Kabosu’s face onto famous landmarks and pastries. Her image was later used in marketing by Oreo and on Stockholm subway stations adverts. Kabosu’s face later appeared on the sleeves of players from English Premier League team Watford under a Dogecoin sponsorship deal. An NFT featuring Kabosu’s famous furry face sold for $4m in 2021.  

On This Day

  • 1759 – Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000-year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness. 
  • 1879 – Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time, in Menlo Park, New Jersey. 
  • 1955 – General Motors becomes the first U.S. corporation to make over US$1 billion in a year.  
  • 1999 – The first President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, resigns from office, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President and successor. 
  • 2000 – The last day of the 20th Century and 2nd Millennium. 
  • 2019 – The World Health Organisation is informed of cases of pneumonia with an unknown cause, detected in Wuhan. This later turned out to be COVID-19, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic.  


  • 192 – Commodus, Roman emperor (b. 161).   
  • 1691 – Robert Boyle, Anglo-Irish chemist and physicist (b. 1627). 
  • 2013 – James Avery, American actor (b. 1945). 
  • 2015 – Natalie Cole, American singer-songwriter and actress (b. 1950). 
  • 2015 – Wayne Rogers, American actor (b. 1933). 
  • 2016 – William Christopher, American actor (b. 1932). 
  • 2021 – Betty White, American actress, comedian and producer (b. 1922). 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Val Kilmer (63), Anthony Hopkins (85), Ben Kingsley (79), Jane Badler (69), Faye Marsay (36), Eliza Dushku (42), Caity Lotz (36), Tracey Ullman (63), Jude Law (50), Jon Voight (84), Ted Danson (75), Danny McBride (46), Michael Cudlitz (58), Patrick Fischler (53), Lilly Wachowski (55), Denzel Washington (68), Noomi Rapace (43), Maggie Smith (88), Sienna Miller (41), Joe Manganiello (46), John Legend (44), Timothée Chalamet (27), Olivia Cooke (29), Gérard Depardieu (74), John Amos (83), Wilson Cruz (49), Jared Leto (51), Kit Harington (36), and Temuera Morrison (62).

Dead Pool 25th December 2022

Welcome to the not very Christmassy edition. Make  sure you’re not flying today, from collating ‘things that happened on this day’ it seems like a very deadly plane day. 

You now have six days to hand in your lists, and as you will be bored shitless over the coming days, you will have no excuse but to research and get them in! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

A Glaswegian chef credited with inventing the chicken tikka masala has died, aged 77. Ali Ahmed Aslam is said to have come up with the dish in the 1970s when a customer asked if there was a way of making his chicken tikka less dry. His solution was to add a creamy tomato sauce, in some versions of the story a can of tomato soup. His death was announced by his Shish Mahal restaurant which closed for 48 hours as a mark of respect. Known to friends and customers as “Mr Ali” he was born in Pakistan but moved with his family to Glasgow as a young boy before opening Shish Mahal in Glasgow’s west end in 1964. In an interview with the Flying Monkeys, he would later describe the moment he came up with one of Britain’s favourite dishes. “Chicken tikka masala was invented in this restaurant, we used to make chicken tikka, and one day a customer said, ‘I’d take some sauce with that, this is a bit dry’,” he recalled. “We thought we’d better cook the chicken with some sauce. So from here we cooked chicken tikka with the sauce that contains yogurt, cream, spices. It’s a dish prepared according to our customer’s taste, usually they don’t take hot curry, that’s why we cook it with yogurt and cream.” While it cannot be proved with certainty that this is the origin of the dish, chicken tikka masala is widely regarded as a curry that has been adapted to suit Western tastes. Former Glasgow MP Mohammad Sarwar once tabled a motion in the House of Commons calling for it to be recognised as a Glaswegian delicacy. Hundreds of customers paid tribute to Mr Ali on social media, many recalling visits to his restaurant and describing him as a true gentleman. Surveys have often found chicken tikka masala to be Britain’s favourite curry, although chicken korma has also tried to claim that mantle.   

Brazilian football icon Pele will remain in hospital over Christmas after a medical report showed that his cancer has advanced. Doctors say he now needs care for cardiac and renal dysfunction. Pele, 82, has been battling colon cancer since September 2021 and was admitted to the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paul hospital on 29th November for doctors to re-evaluate his treatment. His daughter said in an Instagram post that the support of his fans was a “huge comfort” to him. Kely Nascimento wrote: “Your love for him, your stories and your prayers are a HUGE comfort because we know we are not alone’. Relatives said at the beginning of December that Pele was in hospital for treatment for a respiratory infection aggravated by COVID-19. Pele, whose name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, had a tumour removed from his colon in September 2021 and has since been in and out of hospital for treatment on a regular basis. The football legend has been undergoing chemotherapy in his fight against cancer. Pele is considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time. He burst on to the global scene as a 17-year-old at the 1958 World Cup, helping Brazil to the first of their record five successes. He also won the 1962 and 1970 World Cups with the national side.  

Jonnie Irwin has said his cancer has come back “so violently” that even doctors are surprised, in a new interview about spending what could be his last Christmas with his family. The A Place in the Sun presenter, 48, disclosed in November that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2020. He initially kept his illness private, but said he decided to make the news public after learning it had spread from his lungs to his brain. “I don’t know how long I have,” he said at the time, adding that doctors gave him “six months to live” a week after he flew back from filming when he experienced blurry vision while driving. “We try to carry on as normal,” Irwin said in a new interview with a Flying Monkey. “We made a decision not to mourn and to make the most of every day. I’m still working… I try to manufacture positive thoughts. People say, ‘How do you stay so upbeat?’ It’s a bit of an act, really.’” The presenter explained that he had been given a “wonder drug” after initially being told he had six months to live: “They hoped it would keep it at bay for a bit longer, but it’s come back so violently, it’s even surprised the doctors. I’ve been told I’ve got months to live,” he said. “We’re hurtling towards where we don’t want to be.” Irwin’s wife, Jess, said the sadness she feels approaching “scares her”. “Everyone says, ‘You’ll manage. You’ll be surprised.’ I’ve never had dark thoughts for myself but I wonder now: ‘How will I cope with the sadness?’” she said. “I know I’ll have to, for the boys. I’ll have to put a smile on my face. But it worries me, the great grief that will hit me.” The couple share a three-year-old son, Rex, and two-year-old twins, Rafa and Cormac.

On This Day

  • 336 – First documentary sign of Christmas celebration in Rome. 
  • 1758 – Halley’s Comet is sighted by Johann Georg Palitzsch, confirming Edmund Halley‘s prediction of its passage. This was the first passage of a comet predicted ahead of time. 
  • 1914 – A series of unofficial truces occur across the Western Front to celebrate Christmas. 
  • 1962 – The Soviet Union conducts its final above-ground nuclear weapon test, in anticipation of the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.  
  • 1989 – Romanian Revolution: Deposed President of Romania Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena, are condemned to death and executed after a summary trial. 
  • 1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as President of the Soviet Union (the union itself is dissolved the next day). Ukraine’s referendum is finalised and Ukraine officially leaves the Soviet Union. 


  • 1946 – W. C. Fields, American actor, comedian, juggler, and screenwriter (b. 1880). 
  • 1957 – Charles Pathé, French record producer, founded Pathé Records (b. 1863). 
  • 1977 – Charlie Chaplin, English actor and director (b. 1889). 
  • 1995 – Dean Martin, American singer and actor (b. 1917). 
  • 2006 – James Brown, American singer-songwriter (b. 1933). 
  • 2008 – Eartha Kitt, American singer and actress (b. 1927). 
  • 2016 – George Michael, British singer and songwriter (b. 1963). 

The 12 Murders of Christmas

Sorry, but there’s no partridge in a pear tree to be found here. In fact, this Christmas countdown might not leave you with too much festive spirit at all.

This time of year should be all about fun and laughter, shouldn’t it? About friends and family… Roaring fires, roast potatoes and red-nosed reindeer. And for most of us it is. But, as regular visitors to this site will know only too well, Death doesn’t take a holiday. Ho ho ho! 

Christmas isn’t immune to crime. Murder doesn’t take a fortnight off at the end of December. In fact, some of the most shocking killings have happened over the Yuletide period down the years.

As we bring you our 12 Murders of Christmas, listen carefully. That noise you can hear in the background? It’s slay bells… 

1. A grim ‘gift’ left under the Christmas tree

When 37 year-old Patty White offered down-on-her-luck Michele O’Dowd a place to stay over the festive period, Michele was delighted at the Christmas spirit being shown to her. But White had an ulterior motive. One involving stealing all of her new housemate’s credit cards, killing her and leaving her among a trashed Christmas tree to look like a bungled burglary.

The scene was discovered by Michele’s twin brother Phil who went to check in on her after she failed to show for work. There, amongst a pile of wrapped Christmas presents, he saw his sister’s foot. Patty White had beaten and strangled the 67 year-old and left her among the gifts. She would receive a 45 year sentence from a South Carolina judge for her troubles. 

2. Couple stab man in face, bash in his skull and set light to him on Christmas Day in ‘Kill Bill’ plot

Victoria, Australia. It’s Christmas Day 2013. But instead of spending the day with his loved ones, William ‘Bill’ Stevenson pays the ultimate price for keeping poor company as his ‘friends’ – meth addicts Danielle Kerr and Darren Lewis – kill him in one of the most violent ways conceivable.

Their motives not entirely clear, the pair drove Stevenson out to bushland and began beating him about the head with a large rock. Kerr then stabbed the man to death while cackling about their ‘Kill Bill’ plans. The couple then set the car alight and casually walked home. Thankfully they would both be arrested, charged and convicted soon afterwards. 

3. ‘Marvallous’ Teen gang indulge in sickening festive killing spree

There were four of them and they called themselves ‘The Downtown Posse’. To the police and courts, though? They were simply Laura Taylor (16 years old), DeMarcus Smith (17), Heather Matthews (20) and Marvallous Keene (19). Between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day 1992, the gang went on a murder spree in Dayton, Ohio that would see five innocent people die and four seriously injured. Murdered for not liking a gift enough…

Led by Keene, the gang’s primary motive was robbery, but things soon got out of hand as Marvallous Keene grew paranoid about ‘snitches’ and effectively turned the holiday season into hunting season. For his central role in ‘The Christmas Killings’, Keene would go on to become the 10,000th American convict to be executed since the death penalty was reinstated back in 1976, while his cohorts would receive life sentences. 

4. Search for missing Bristol woman turns to hunt for her killer

Joanna Yeates’ disappearance a week before Christmas in 2010 made local news in Bristol almost immediately. Soon, the search and appeal broadened and her whereabouts were of national interest. On Christmas Day her body was found in the snow, three miles from her home.

The case achieved notoriety for the media’s handling of the first suspect, Joanna’s eccentric landlord, Christopher Jefferies. Hounded and effectively labelled the murderer without proof, UK tabloids The Mirror and The Sun were later found guilty of contempt of court for their poor coverage. Jefferies was later vindicated when Ms. Yeates’ Dutch neighbour Vincent Tabak was arrested and charged with her murder.  

5. The infamous ‘child beauty queen’ murder

JonBenét Ramsey’s Christmas Day/Boxing Day 1996 murder (police could never officially ascertain the precise date) caused an enormous storm across America and the wider world. Years on and the six year-old’s callous killer or killers have still not been identified. True crime buffs the world over have studied and obsessed over the case of the young girl killed apparently during a botched kidnapping. Countless documentaries, movies, books and articles point fingers, but the mystery’s never been solved.

Many people accuse JonBenét’s parents. Some look to her older brother. Accusations of a stalker are rife and local child molestors have – somewhat understandably – been treated with suspicion. In fact, few people in Boulder, Colorado have evaded suspicion. Perhaps the eeriest suspect though is Bill McReynolds, a local man hired by the Ramseys to play Santa Claus at a large party held at the rich family’s house that year. McReynolds died in 2002, swearing innocence. It’s a case that will, perhaps, never be solved. 

6. Edinburgh woman stabs neighbour 29 times over ‘Christmas present’ dispute

Murdered for not liking a gift enough…? Well, that was the excuse that 37-year-old Melissa Young gave police when she was arrested for the brutal killing of her next-door neighbour Alan Williamson on Christmas Day 2013. Young later claimed diminished responsibility and that mental health issues were behind the sustained attack. At the time, though? Her motive was given as rage due to Williamson dismissively rejecting her Christmas present of a pair of unisex trainers and a copy of The Sun newspaper’s slightly raunchy 2014 calendar.

Young pleaded guilty to culpable homicide in 2014 and was sentenced to a minimum twenty-year sentence. Since being jailed at the women’s prison HMP Cornton Vale in Stirling, she has seriously assaulted two female prison officers. 

7. A Christmas rampage

December 28th, 1987. Ronald Gene Simmons walked into a law firm in Russellville, Arkansas and shot dead a receptionist who he was infatuated with but who had spurned his advances. Then he went into the office of an oil company and shot two executives, killing one and injuring the other. He then drove to a convenience store and former place of work and shot two more people, who would both survive. Finally, he would do the same in at the Woodline Motor Freight Company, shooting and wounding a woman. He then sat down and waited for police to arrest him.

The spree killing rocked the state. But the murders were merely a bookend to Simmons’ evil festive period. Six days previously he had shot and strangled his wife, two sons and four daughters. It doesn’t end there, either. Simmons then sat in the house, among the bodies, for FOUR DAYS – leaving only to visit a local bar. On Boxing Day, NINE more relatives turned up to visit the Simmons family, including Ronald Simmons’ grandchildren. All were killed. In total, he took 16 people’s lives that Christmas.

On the 25th of June 1990, then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton signed Simmons’ execution warrant and he was killed by lethal injection. 

8. ‘Twas the night before Christmas and fire tore through the house

On Christmas Eve, December 24, 1945, a fire destroyed the Sodder residence in Fayetteville, West Virginia, United States. At the time, it was occupied by George Sodder, his wife Jennie, and nine of their ten children. During the fire, George, Jennie, and four of the nine children escaped. The bodies of the other five children have never been found. The surviving Sodder family believed for the rest of their lives that the five missing children survived. 

The Sodders dedicated their lives to trying to find out what happened that Christmas, but died in later life without finding out. 

9. The first and last family photograph the Lawsons would ever have taken…

North Carolina tobacco farmer Charles Davis Lawson made his wife Fannie and their seven children put on their Sunday best for Christmas Day morning, 1929. For they were to go into town and have a professional family photograph taken, a rare treat for such a poor family. Later that day, after settling back home, Charles would set about methodically beating and shooting his wife – along with six of the seven children – until they were dead. The child spared? The Lawsons’ eldest, 16-year-old Arthur, who Charles had sent on a needless errand before his vicious massacre. Charles Lawson’s motive was never determined. 

10. A murder so sick and twisted

Kristy Bamu was just 15 when he was tortured and drowned in a bath by his own sister Magalie and her twisted boyfriend Eric Bikubi. It was Christmas Day 2010 when the couple finally killed poor Kristy, after a sustained and brutal four-day torture session at their flat in Newham, London. When his body was found, more than 130 separate injuries were counted. The twentysomething Congolese couple’s excuse? They believed Magalie’s younger brother was ‘a witch’. Eric was ordered to serve at least 30 years in prison, while Magalie received a minimum of 25 years for the unimaginably horrific killing. 

11. ‘Stagger Lee’ and the seasonal showdown

Lee Shelton was a known criminal and pimp who went by the nickname ‘Stagger Lee’. Famous now because of the folk song he would inspire, Shelton wasn’t a man to be trifled with. As William “Billy” Lyons would discover to his cost. This murder took place on Christmas night 1895, in St. Louis, Missouri. Stagger and Billy were drinking and playing cards together in the Bill Curtis Saloon when, wouldn’t you know it, they got into ‘a dispute’. Lyons snatched Stagger’s Stetson hat and, well, you’ve seen westerns… Stagger Lee drew his gun, shot Lyons dead and the rest is history. History and song. 

12. The Santa suit slaughter

It was Christmas Eve of 2004 in the small city of Covina, just outside of LA. Parties dominated the neighbourhood. 1129 East Knollcrest Drive had around 25 close friends and family enjoying each other’s company. At around 11.30pm, a knock at the door came. Standing on the other side of the door? Santa Claus. At least that’s what the eight-year-old girl who answered the door thought. But it wasn’t Saint Nick, it was a man called Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, the unstable and violent ex-husband of one of the women at the party. He was holding a 9mm pistol in one hand and a flamethrower in the other. He had a further three handguns in his possession. Cruelly and methodically he went about shooting everyone in his sight, before setting alight to the house. Nine people would die and three would be badly injured. Pardo left, driving to his brother’s house some thirty miles away. He had planned to detonate a series of handmade explosives and then make his escape to Canada, but the fire had caused his Santa suit to melt onto him, causing severe third degree burns. Instead, Pardo decided to put a bullet in his head. 

I hope I didn’t put you off your mince pies too much… Merry Christmas everyone.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Sissy Spacek (73), Shane MacGowan (65), Helena Christensen (54), Annie Lennox (68), Finn Wolfhard (20), Harry Shearer (79), Ralph Fiennes (60), Vanessa Paradis (50), Hugh Quarshie (68), Samuel L. Jackson (74), Tom Sturridge (37), Jane Fonda (85), Kiefer Sutherland (56), Michelle Hurd (56), Phil Donahue (87), Jonah Hill (39), Jenny Agutter (70), Nicole de Boer (52), Jake Gyllenhaal (42), Jennifer Beals (59), Kristy Swanson (53), Alyssa Milano (50), and Richard Hammond (53).