Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Amou Haji, 94, Iranian hermit, known as “the world’s dirtiest man”
- Leslie Jordan, 67, American actor (Will & Grace, Hearts Afire, Call Me Kat).
- Jerry Lee Lewis, 87, American singer (“Great Balls of Fire“, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On“, “High School Confidential“) and pianist, pneumonia.
- Jules Bass, 87, American animator and television producer (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, The Last Unicorn), co-founder of Rankin/Bass Productions.
In Other News
An Iranian hermit known as “the world’s dirtiest man” has died aged 94, having spent most of his life avoiding bathing. Iranian flying monkeys reported that Amou Haji, or “Uncle Haji”, died on Sunday in Dezhgah village in the southern province of Fars. Locals said he had shunned hygiene for more than 70 years due to “emotional setbacks” in his youth that led him to believe washing would ruin his health. He was also said to avoid fresh food, preferring rotting carcasses, especially those of porcupines. He was known to smoke animal faeces out of a pipe and was pictured drawing on several cigarettes at a time. Locals were fond of him and built an open brick shack for him to live in, according to a 2014 article in the Tehran Times. Haji fell ill not long after locals finally took him to bathe for the first time in decades, the flying monkeys reported. On an earlier attempt by neighbours to take him to bathe in the local river, Haji threw himself out of the car when he realised the purpose of the trip. Unsurprisingly, Haji never married. His funeral was set for Tuesday night in Farashband City, Fars. The hermit’s death leaves open the chance for a 67-year-old Indian man to take over what could be the record length of time without washing. Kailash Singh of Maharashtra has not bathed in nearly half a century on the promise of a priest that shunning cleanliness would guarantee him a son.
Tributes have been paid to the late radio presenter Tim Gough, who died while on air on Monday. The 55-year-old broadcaster died from a suspected heart attack at his home in Lackford, Suffolk, while presenting his regular breakfast show on GenX Radio. News of Gough’s death was confirmed by a spokesperson at GenX, who tweeted: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to inform you, our dear friend and breakfast host Tim Gough passed away this morning whilst presenting his programme. “Our love to his family, son, sister, brother and mum. Tim was doing what he loved. He was 55 years old. RIP buddy.” GenX said it was “shocked and devastated beyond words” at Gough’s death. James Hazell, managing director of GenX Radio, said : “To know Tim personally, as I did very closely for over 30 years, was to know a warm, caring, fun guy who myself and my family loved dearly. We are heartbroken by the news. I know his family are enormously comforted by the hundreds of loving messages that have been received and have asked for privacy at this devastating time.” Gough was reportedly an hour into hosting his breakfast show when the music stopped midway through a track. When the music resumed a few minutes later, he did not return.
US house speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she and her family are “heartbroken and traumatised” after a “violent man” broke into her San Francisco home and attacked her husband. Paul Pelosi, 82, is recovering from a skull fracture after he was struck with a hammer by an intruder on Friday. The Democrat broke her silence on the attack with a statement on Sunday, saying her husband’s condition “continues to improve”. She said: “Sadly, a violent man broke into our family home yesterday morning, demanded to confront me and brutally attacked my husband Paul. Our children, our grandchildren and I are heartbroken and traumatised by the life-threatening attack on our Pop. We are grateful for the quick response of law enforcement and emergency services and for the life-saving medical care he is receiving.” The intruder – David DePape – broke into the couple’s home in San Francisco at around 2.30am, reportedly looking for the US house speaker. Police said officers were called to the house for a “wellbeing check” and arrived to find both men holding the hammer. They said the suspect then pulled the hammer away from Mr Pelosi and used it to “violently assault” him, before being tackled by officers. At some point, the suspect searched for the Democrat leader shouting, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott told a news conference on Friday night that the attack on Mr Pelosi at their San Francisco home was “intentional”. He said: “This was not a random act. This was intentional. And it’s wrong.” Mr Scott declined to comment further on a possible motive for the assault and said the investigation was ongoing.
On This Day
- 1938 – Orson Welles broadcasts a radio adaptation of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, causing a massive panic in some of the audience in the United States.
- 1961 – The Soviet Union detonates the Tsar Bomba, the most powerful explosive device ever detonated.
- 2015 – Sixty-four people are killed and more than 147 injuries after a fire in a nightclub in the Romanian capital Bucharest.
- 1923 – Bonar Law, Canadian-English banker and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1858)
- 1979 – Barnes Wallis, English scientist and engineer, inventor of the “bouncing bomb” (b. 1887)
- 2015 – Al Molinaro, American actor (b. 1919)
For the Chop!
Jemma Mitchell, 38, was jailed for life with a minimum term of at least 34 years after she was found guilty of beheading Mee Kuen Chong, 67, and transporting her body 200 miles in a suitcase to dump it in woodland. Mitchell, who the prosecution said was motivated by money, killed Chong in London in June 2021 and later dumped the body in Devon.
Judge Richard Marks said Mitchell showed no remorse for the murder and it was clear that the “apparently religious” killer is “extremely devious”.
Mr Marks added that a “chilling aspect” of the murder was what Mitchell did to Ms Chong’s body. “I am in no doubt whatsoever and your counsel acknowledges it that this was a murder done for gain,” Mr Marks said.
Mr Marks said Mitchell was “highly intelligent” and took advantage of Ms Chong who was vulnerable because of her mental health struggles. Ms Chong’s sister Amy Chong provided a victim impact statement and joined the hearing by video link from Malaysia, along with the victim’s nieces Pinky and Yinky and nephew Ryan.
She said in her statement said: “Deborah’s death was a shock to us all. It was difficult to comprehend how it could have happened to her, although we are not close due to certain differences of opinion with regard to religion. “It saddens me she had to go through such a horrifying ordeal and tragic death.”
Reading his sentencing statement, Mr Marks said Mitchell went to Chong’s home with murder in mind. “Two weeks later you hired a car for a period of only 24 hours, you were seen on CCTV to put that large suitcase into the hire car. It was clearly heavy, such that you needed a trolley to wheel it down the road and into the car,” Mr Marks KC said.
“That is because it contained Deborah’s body. Your plans went awry when you had a puncture that had to be attended to by the AA, this meant that you had rather less time down there to find a place to secrete the body than you had envisaged. Hence why you were unable to find a more remote location than you did.”
Chong’s headless body was found by holidaymakers beside a woodland footpath near Salcombe on 27th June last year. Following a police search of the area, Ms Chong’s skull was recovered a few metres away from the body.
Gruesome pictures released following the sentencing showed an open suitcase, allegedly used by Mitchell to transport the body to the woods.
During the trial, the prosecution revealed a fake will was found at Mitchell’s house, leaving the bulk of Ms Chong’s estate to her.
Jurors were told she came up with the plan to kill Chong, who was known as Deborah, after she backed out of giving her £200,000 to pay for repairs to Mitchell’s dilapidated family home, worth £4m.
The osteopath, who boasted online of her award-winning skill in human dissection, had denied having anything to do with Ms Chong’s death but declined to give evidence at her trial. It was claimed on her behalf that the prosecution had failed to prove that she was involved or that Ms Chong was even murdered as a post-mortem examination found the cause of death to be “un-ascertained”. However, a pathologist said her skull fractures could have been caused by being pushed onto a protruding surface or being hit with a weapon, although none was ever recovered. Multiple rib fractures could have been caused by Chong being stuffed inside a suitcase that Mitchell was seen wheeling away, or during resuscitation attempts, jurors heard.
Mitchell had decapitated Chong and stored her remains in the garden of the house she shared with her retired mother, the prosecution said during the trial.
On 26th June last year, she stowed the body inside the suitcase in the boot of a hire car and drove to Devon. En route to Salcombe, the Volvo blew a tyre and Mitchell was forced to drive into a service station and call for assistance. The repairman called to change the wheel described Mitchell’s “confused” demeanour and an “odd musty smell” inside the vehicle.
Jurors heard that none of the people who came to her aid saw the large blue suitcase in the boot, suggesting she had stashed it somewhere nearby, according to the prosecution.
Detective chief inspector Jim Eastwood, who led the investigation, described it as a “truly despicable crime”. He said: “The motivation for Jemma Mitchell’s actions was money and she showed a significant degree of planning and calculation as she attempted to cover up her horrific actions. The cold facts of this case are shocking.”
Mitchell had grown up in Australia, where her mother worked for the British Foreign Office and had set up an osteopathy business there before returning to the UK in 2015.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Fiona Dourif (41), Michael Beach (59), Clémence Poésy (40), Henry Winkler (77), Jessica Hynes (50), Winona Ryder (51), Ben Foster (42), Rufus Sewell (55), Richard Dreyfuss (75), Dan Castellaneta (65), Matt Smith (40), Julia Roberts (55), Annie Potts (70), Joaquin Phoenix (48), Gwendoline Christie (44), Caitlyn Jenner (73), John Cleese (83), Robert Picardo (69), Kelly Osbourne (38), Anthony Rapp (51), Cary Elwes (60), Seth MacFarlane (49), Jon Heder (45), Tom Cavanagh (59), Keith Urban (55), Mia Goth (29), Adam Goldberg (52), Craig Robinson (51), Nancy Cartwright (65), Katy Perry (38), Glynis Barber (67), Kevin Kline (75), and F. Murray Abraham (83).