Fred Davis, the Washington Redskins’ tight end who was suspended once by the NFL for violating its drug policy, was suspended indefinitely Thursday, a move that could mark the end of his career.Davis is set to become a free agent next month, and there would hardly be a team interested in signing a suspended player who has a history of issues.The 28-year-old Davis claims the suspension stems from a supplement he took that contained a banned substance.“In the past, I made the mistake of knowingly ingesting a banned substance,” he said in a statement. “For over two years, I’ve worked very hard to eliminate marijuana from my life, and I have not had a positive test for it since 2011. Unfortunately, a couple of months ago I took a supplement that contained a banned substance. I now know that supplements are not regulated by the FDA and may contain banned substances.“The NFL policy is strict, and not knowing that a supplement might contain a banned substance doesn’t excuse a violation of the policy. I’ve worked closely with the NFLPA and NFL to resolve this violation, and I will be permitted to apply for reinstatement in the fall. I look forward to staying in football shape, remaining in compliance with the NFL policy and having a chance to get back on the field to contribute to a team’s success next season.”Davis is the second player associated with the Redskins who has been suspended indefinitely. Safety Tanard Jackson received the same penalty in August 2012 and has yet to be reinstated.Davis failed multiple drug tests in 2011 for marijuana and was suspended for four games. In May 2012, he told reporters, “You can’t cry over spilled milk. The worst part of my day was losing those four games and having to sit and not help my teammates. So the worst is over, something I can learn from and something that’s not going to come up again.”This is the third straight year Davis was set to enter free agency only to have a personal issue cost him. He tore his Achilles tendon during the 2012 season and re-signed with Washington on a one-year deal, rejecting a two-year contract offer from the Buffalo Bills that would have paid him about $700,000 more. Davis gambled that he would return to form and cash in this offseason.But he caught only seven passes last season and was replaced as a starter by rookie Jordan Reed. Davis, a second-round pick in 2008, has 162 career receptions, with a career high of 59 in 2011.
Derek Jeter, a regionally popular player for a local New York ball club, announced his retirement in February, presaging the end to 20 seasons in Major League Baseball.I’ll leave it to the sports desk to discuss the actual performance of Jeter, but one effect the announcement had was a meteoric rise in the price of tickets to both his last game at Yankee Stadium, this Thursday, and his last, last game, in Boston this Sunday.And while they’re not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the Yankees are what we in the statistics community call “pretty boned, all things considered.” So, it’s reasonable to expect that Sunday will be Jeter’s final game in the majors.We’ve seen a steady increase in recent weeks in the price of tickets sold on the secondary market StubHub. Here’s the day-by-day average sale-price data it sent us, starting Dec. 1 and going through the spike in February and up to Friday:Here’s the game in Boston:
The Seattle Seahawks rarely have a hard time stopping any opposing offensive player. During last year’s playoffs alone, over the course of three successive games they shut down New Orleans’ star tight end Jimmy Graham, short-circuited San Francisco’s entire passing game, and humiliated Denver’s Peyton Manning (arguably the best quarterback ever). But on Sunday, the “Legion of Boom” had no answers for San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, who caught three touchdown passes in an upset victory over the defending Super Bowl champs.Seattle shouldn’t feel too bad, though. Gates has been doing this kind of thing for 12 NFL seasons now, practically since he made the transition from being the second-leading scorer on Kent State’s 2002 Elite Eight basketball team1Astonishingly, Gates didn’t play a down of football in college. to being an All-Pro NFL tight end. Yet, for all of his accomplishments — by Pro-Football-Reference’s Approximate Value system, he’s the second-best tight end ever — Gates’s career remains under-appreciated. That’s what happens when you play in the long shadow of Tony Gonzalez.Gonzalez, a former tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons, was a contemporary, a fellow converted basketballer and usually a division rival. Unfortunately for Gates, Gonzalez is also generally considered the greatest tight end the game has ever seen. That has often rendered Gates the position’s second banana within the AFC West alone, much less the whole league or all pro football history. But Gonzalez retired at the end of last season, and Gates (albeit a diminished version of the player he once was) showed Sunday he can still produce feats worthy of our full attention.It’s a quirk of timing that Gates followed Gonzalez’s script almost line for line. In college, Gates had real NBA aspirations but lacked a true position; at 6 feet 4 inches, he was too small to bang inside against pro-sized power forwards, but he also didn’t have the quickness to chase small forwards around the perimeter.2If Gonzalez started the trend of jumping from hoops to the NFL, Gates solidified it as a legitimate career option; in recent years, Julius Thomas, Jimmy Graham and Jordan Cameron became elite tight ends after playing basketball — and not football — in college. Gates’s agent, realizing his client’s lack of a future at basketball’s next level, scheduled him for a workout in front of NFL scouts and coaches, one of whom was Chargers tight ends coach Tim Brewster. San Diego signed him as an undrafted free agent.Ever since Kellen Winslow redefined the position while playing in Don Coryell’s Chargers system of the 1980s, coaches have been consumed with finding tight ends who check off enough boxes to create mismatches with opposing defenses. Now, when NFL scouts evaluate tight ends, they look for a combination of size, strength, speed and soft hands. In fact, because of the role’s versatility, a tight end can be an offense’s ideal all-around chess piece.Gates possesses an absurd mix of height, quickness, speed and eye-hand coordination. Even his instincts for the game are superior, despite not having the formative experience of playing in college. He runs routes, for instance, with skill and precision, smoothly changing direction and picking out holes in zone coverages, and shows a preternatural ability to adjust to the ball in midair (witness the transcendent one-handed catch he made on his third touchdown against Seattle).The incorporation of such talents in one package made Gates nearly impossible to cover in his prime,3Especially considering he frequently lined up against hopelessly overmatched linebackers or safeties. and puts him very much in the conversation for the most productive pass-catching tight end of his era — Gonzalez included.4Note that I said “pass-catching tight end.” For what it’s worth, neither Gates nor Gonzalez provided much value as a blocker; in the years for which Pro Football Focus’s play-by-play grades are available (2008-13), both were rated as significantly below average in that area, particularly in the running game. Among NFL tight ends over the past 10 full seasons,5So, the decade between 2004 and 2013. only Gonzalez produced more True Receiving Yards (TRY), and none came close to matching Gates’s Approximate Value.Gonzalez hit the scene first, though, and has had the advantage of longevity. Gates started his NFL career slightly later6Gonzalez was a rookie at age 21; Gates began playing in the league at 23. and his production began to slide due to injuries by age 30, while Gonzalez’s numbers were amazingly consistent throughout his 30s (including a remarkable second act with the Atlanta Falcons in which he was named to four consecutive Pro Bowls in his final four NFL seasons).That’s why, if we zoom out to consider the entirety of NFL history, Gonzalez’s body of work is plainly superior to that of Gates — and every other tight end who ever played the game.As football has evolved to the point where first-class tight ends argue (for salary purposes) that the league should simply consider them wide receivers, there’s a case to be made that Gates and Gonzalez should be side by side on the position’s Mount Rushmore.While the decades leading up to the 2000s saw occasional statistical aberrations like Winslow, Ozzie Newsome of the Cleveland Browns and Shannon Sharpe of the Denver Broncos, the best tight ends of the era were still more like Jay Novacek of the Dallas Cowboys or Brent Jones of the San Francisco 49ers — sure-handed receivers who mostly ran underneath routes and could block when needed. Between 1983 (Winslow’s final 1,000-TRY season) and 2000 (Gonzalez’s first), only twice did a tight end crack 1,000 True Receiving Yards in a season: Todd Christensen of the Los Angeles Raiders in 1986, and Sharpe in 1996.But the arrivals of Gonzalez and Gates signaled a change in the position. They ran routes like wide receivers, adding an invaluable dimension to their offenses, and in turn their style of play directly helped spawn today’s generation of supercharged receiving tight ends. There have been more 1,000-TRY seasons by tight ends since 2000, when Gonzalez opened the floodgates, than in the previous 27 years, and more than half of those were by either Gates or Gonzalez.Because they emerged at nearly the same time, in the same division, Gates will probably never truly escape the comparison to Gonzalez. That’s unfortunate; it’s one that Gates can’t possibly win. But if you compare him to every other tight end in history, it’s hard to find another career that stacks up to his, at least in terms of pass-catching prowess. At age 34, Gates is only intermittently capable of the types of outbursts we saw from him on Sunday, but his legacy as a trendsetter — and one of the very best tight ends ever — should nonetheless be secure.
OSU senior goalkeeper Chris Froschauer (32) kicks the ball during a game against Cleveland State on Oct. 21 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU won 1-0. Credit: Christopher Slack, Lantern PhotographerThe Ohio State men’s soccer team rebounded after a slow start to win the regular-season Big Ten title. Now, two of its players have received a personal accolade to go along with the team title. On Friday, it was announced that OSU senior defender Liam Doyle was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, while senior goalkeeper Chris Froschauer was awarded Goalkeeper of the Year for the conference.Doyle and Froschauer, along with a fellow Buckeye in senior forward Kyle Culbertson, were voted onto the first-team all-Big Ten, as well.After transferring to OSU from Cincinnati State, Doyle has made his mark on the program. The Isle of Man, United Kingdom, native started every game last season before being named a co-captain for the 2015 season.Doyle, who was also first-team all-Big Ten in 2014, was a critical cog to the OSU backline that surrendered just six conference goals this season. The senior, who was a unanimous first-team selection, also chipped in two goals of his own— one of which was a game-winner against Indiana on Oct. 10 — while registering six assists.After leading the Big Ten in save percentage with a mark of .805 and tallying eight clean sheets in 2015, the Goalkeeper of the Year award is a fitting way for Froschauer to cap off his final collegiate campaign.Like Doyle, Froschauer also began his career elsewhere. The Union, Kentucky, native transferred to OSU after being the starting goalie for Dayton for three seasons. Froschauer won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week four times during OSU’s run to capture the regular-season title.The top-seeded Buckeyes are set to kick off play in the conference tournament on Sunday at 4 p.m. on the turf of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU is scheduled to face the winner of No. 8 Michigan State vs. No. 9 Penn State.
OSU sophomore forward Lauren Spring (27) controls the puck during a game against Minnesota on Oct. 16 at the OSU Ice Rink. OSU lost 7-2.Credit: Courtesy of OSUThe Ohio State women’s ice ice hockey team (10-25-1, 6-21-1) was swept by Minnesota (31-3-1, 24-3-1) in the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s playoffs over the weekend, putting an end to its tumultuous first season under coach Jenny Potter.The Buckeyes entered the series with some momentum after splitting their final regular-season series against No. 10 North Dakota. Minnesota countered with some mojo of its own entering the series as the Golden Gophers finished the regular season by sweeping the No. 3 Wisconsin Badgers.In the regular-season matchups between the teams this season, Minnesota swept OSU twice. The Golden Gophers outscored the Buckeyes 30-5 over the four games.The No. 2-ranked Golden Gopher offense proved to be too much for the Buckeyes in the first-round series, as the home team topped the Buckeyes 5-2 on Friday and 5-0 the following evening.On Friday, the Gophers and Buckeyes battled in the first period, but neither team was able to break through. Junior forward Dani Cameranesi scored her conference-leading 32nd goal of the season to put Minnesota up halfway through the second period. Three minutes later, freshman forward Maddy Field put OSU on the board and evened the game. However, the Buckeyes were unable to hold that tie before the second intermission, as Minnesota added another goal with less than two minutes remaining.The Buckeyes tied the game once again in the beginning of the third period when Claudia Kepler, the team’s leading goal scorer, netted her 14th of the season.With the lock on the scoreboard, the idea of a stunning Game 1 upset began to creep into the minds of the Buckeyes.But it was not meant to be.Minnesota answered with three more goals, the last coming on an empty net, to make the close game look lopsided and give the Gophers the 5-2 win and a 1-0 lead in the series.On Saturday, Cameranesi once again started the goal scoring for the Gophers. This time she found the back of the net about halfway through the first period. Minnesota then dominated the second period by outshooting the Buckeyes 10-5 and knocking three goals past OSU goalie Alex LaMere.Despite leading in shots in the third period 9-8, OSU was never able to capitalize on its goal-scoring chances and come anywhere close to mounting a miraculous comeback. The Golden Gophers added another goal with less than seven minutes remaining to finish the scoring and end the Buckeyes’ season.The No. 2 seed now moves on to the WCHA Final Face-off and is lined up to face No. 4-seeded North Dakota in the semifinals. The other semifinal will be top-seeded Wisconsin facing off against No. 6 seed Minnesota Duluth, which upset Bemidji State in the first round.
OSU sophomore Kyle Snyder gets his hand raised during a meet against Nebraska at St. John Arena on Jan. 17. OSU won 21-17. Credit: Muyao Shen | Asst. Photo EditorNEW YORK CITY — It was a rowdy and loud environment in Madison Square Garden as the NCAA wrestling national championships got underway. Ohio State began its title defense by winning six of its first eight matches and advancing five competitors into the quarterfinals.The Buckeyes are sitting well in second place as a team at the end of Day 1.OSU started things off with a defending individual national champion in redshirt sophomore Nathan Tomasello. Tomasello picked up a technical fall over Kyle Larson of Iowa State.In his next matchup, the Parma, Ohio, native drew an opponent he faced earlier this season in Elijah Oliver of Indiana. Much like before, Tomasello dominated the match after a slow start, and the 125-pound champion from last year moved on to the next round.Redshirt senior Johnni DiJulius attacked early against Robert Deutsch of Rider. A fall with just under a minute left in the first period got the Scarlet and Gray fans on their feet.DiJulius did not produce the same kind success in the next round, though. The underdog against Eric Montoya of Nebraska, the redshirt senior fought hard but dropped a 2-0 decision and moved to Friday’s consolation round.Both redshirt freshman Micah Jordan and redshirt sophomore Bo Jordan pinned their first opponents. The brothers kept things the same in the next round, as both Jordans won by way of decision.“I didn’t quite finish the way I wanted to wrestling-wise, so that’s something to take into my next match,” Bo Jordan said after his first bout. “But it was a good first match and I had some fun, so looking forward to the next round.”Freshman Myles Martin earned a major decision in the first round before picking up a second-round upset. His win over Cody Walters of Ohio put him in the quarterfinals in his first NCAA tournament.To finish out a dominant morning, sophomore Kyle Snyder did something he had never done before at the college level: win by fall.Snyder earned an early pin in the second over Antonio Pelusi of Franklin and Marshall. He did not slow down, picking up a 26-10 technical fall in the next round, which was his sixth match of 20 or more points on the year.Two Buckeyes were eliminated from contention on the first day, as redshirt freshman Jake Ryan and redshirt senior Kenny Courts lost in the consolation rounds.Action is scheduled to continue on Friday, beginning at 9 a.m.Correction: An earlier version of this story said Friday’s action marks the semifinals of the championships, when in fact it is the quarterfinals.
On a day in which play was suspended twice due to inclement weather, three players found the conditions to be quite nice at the Memorial Tournament’s first round, each posting rounds of 65 (-7), good enough for first place.While Justin Rose sat alone atop the leader board for most of the afternoon, both Geoff Ogilvy and youngster Rickie Fowler were able to match Rose’s 65 to create a three-way tie for the lead.“You always hear guys saying the course fits my eye. It certainly does,” said Rose, the 2008 Memorial runner-up. “I like all the tee shots, and the greens are so pure here that, if you do get a putting stroke going, you’re going to make some putts.”Despite each player posting the same score, Fowler’s performance was especially impressive having played the course for the first time ever just two days ago.“It’s the first time I’ve been inside the gates. Tuesday morning I played 18. Played nine on Wednesday morning,” said the PGA rookie. “So I’m pretty stoked to go out the first tournament round and put up that number.Following the leading threesome are five different players tied for second including World No. 2 Phil Mickelson who has a chance to claim the No.1 spot with a win this weekend.Absorbing much rain over the past few days, the greens at Muirfield have become much softer, giving players the opportunity to challenge the pin locations.And that’s exactly what they did on the sixth toughest course on tour from a year ago.“I felt like the course was in great shape and without much wind and soft conditions,” Mickelson said. “There were a lot of birdies out there. But it was a good start.”While Mickelson is sitting pretty at 5-under, current No. 1 Tiger Woods struggled to get much of anything going, shooting even par, seven shots off the lead, on a course he has dominated over the years.“Wish I could have been lower,” Woods said. “I played the par 5s terrible today. I played them even par. You can’t play these par 5s even par. You’ve got to take care of the par 5s.”However, in the 30-plus year history of this tournament a first round leader has only gone on to win once. So with three rounds remaining and low scores to be had, it still seems to be anyone’s tournament to win.
After nearly a month on the road, the No. 9 Ohio State men’s volleyball team was happy to finally be back home at St. John Arena this weekend. The Buckeyes (20-6, 11-2 MIVA) returned from the long road trip and swept Princeton (3-17) in the two-game series. On Friday, OSU jumped out early over the seemingly overwhelmed Tigers in the first two sets, 25-17, 25-18, to take a 2-0 lead. Although many of the fans expected the Buckeyes to complete the sweep, Princeton would not go down easily. The Tigers rallied to take the next two sets, 22-25, 22-25, to stun OSU and send the match into a deciding fifth set. “Princeton played a pesky game of volleyball,” OSU coach Pete Hanson said. Hanson, who had gone with a deeper-than-normal rotation for the match, looked back toward his senior leaders to get the job done. “We had some older guys and fifth-year seniors to fall back on,” Hanson said. “Ultimately we were stronger at the end.” The Buckeyes jumped to an 8-2 lead and ultimately to the set and match with a 15-9 victory. OSU was led by fifth-year senior Jason Tobkin, who had nine kills and an OSU-record eight aces for the match, and junior Shawn Sangrey, who also contributed nine kills. “I wouldn’t say that happens too often,” Tobkin said of his performance. “It was more serves of frustration and determination to keep momentum on our side.” OSU outhit Princeton .357 to .266 and had a 63-52 margin in kills for the match. OSU rebounded from its close call the previous night with a 3-0 sweep of the Tigers on Saturday. The Buckeyes opened up the match by taking the first two sets, 25-18, 25-20, with relative ease much like the night before. But instead of letting Princeton get back in the game, the Buckeyes came out with a fiery determination. OSU rolled over the Tigers, 25-12, in the third set, completing the sweep for the day and the weekend. A big difference for the match was OSU’s play at the net, where it outblocked the Tigers, 10-2. Fifth-year senior Kevin Heine led the effort with a match-high five blocks to go along with his 10 kills. For the match, OSU outhit the Tigers again .548 to .087 and had a 39-28 margin in kills. The Buckeyes’ success came to end on Sunday. OSU fell 3-1 (25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 25-9) to No. 10 Penn State. The Buckeyes are back on the road again this weekend as they travel to George Mason and St. Francis to close out their regular season.
Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell (3) takes the ball down the court in the game against Penn State on Jan. 31. Ohio State won 94-64. Credit: James King | Sports DirectorA day after the Ohio State women’s basketball team clinched the outright Big Ten title with a win against Penn State, the Big Ten honored the main reason for its success the past four seasons.The conference’s coaches selected Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell as the Big Ten Player of the Year for the third time in four years. She was also named conference player of the year in 2015 and 2017.The media selected Iowa forward Megan Gustafson as Big Ten Player of the Year instead of Mitchell. Gustafson tore up the Buckeyes in a win on Jan. 25, dropping 29 points.In the regular season, Mitchell averaged 24.4 points per game, the second most in the conference behind Gustafson, on 46.1 percent shooting and 40.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc. She also managed 4.1 assists per game and 3.2 rebounds per game.She maintains the longest streak in the history of the NCAA — 86 games — in which she knocked down a 3-pointer. Mitchell has both knocked down and attempted more career 3-pointers than anyone in NCAA history.On Sunday, she passed former Baylor forward Brittney Griner to have the third-most points in NCAA history. Mitchell has scored 3,286 points and is within 108 points of passing former Southwest Missouri State guard Jackie Stiles to become the second-highest career scorer.A preseason All-American, Mitchell has a chance to become the first four-time All-American in program history. She was a first-team All-American in 2016 and a second-team All-American in 2015 and 2017.Best in the Big TenMitchell also earned a spot on the first-team All-Big Ten team. She was joined by redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga, who became a first-team All-Big Ten selection by both coaches and media after earning a spot on the second team last year. Mavunga averaged a double-double in the regular season for the second year in a row with 16.2 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.Both the coaches and players selected redshirt senior guard Linnae Harper as a second-team All-Big Ten selection. She also earned a spot on the conference’s All-Defense team. The 5-foot-8 guard averages 15.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.Senior guard Asia Doss and redshirt junior guard Sierra Calhoun were named honorable mention by the coaches.The Buckeyes will begin their postseason when they take on the winner of Rutgers/Purdue at noon Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.
Ohio State sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins (2) carries the ball downfield in the fourth quarter of the game against Minnesota on Oct. 13. Ohio State won. 30-14. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorWalking out of the locker room after Ohio State’s 52-51 overtime win against Maryland on Nov. 17, J.K. Dobbins was not sore. He was just tired.But the sophomore running back was visibly pleased, knowing he made a significant impact, an impact similar to the one he had made in the first game of his collegiate career. More than doubling his normal carry count during the 2018 season, he recorded a career-high 37 touches for 203 yards, scoring his eighth touchdown of the season on a one-yard rush late in the second quarter. With a brimming confidence normally carried by a featured back, Dobbins said after his performance he knew how to carry a load. He wanted the Ohio State offense to continue to rely on his success. “When you can play more than one drive at a time, you can get in a groove,” Dobbins said. “I’m an energetic guy, so whenever I get in a groove, I get pretty energetic.” For the remainder of the season, Dobbins did not have the opportunity to get into that groove. The sophomore back recorded 114 yards on 29 carries in the next two games combined, scoring his ninth touchdown of the season on a two-yard rush in the first quarter against Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship game. The carries with Weber became proportionate again, with the redshirt junior recording 30 carries and 147 yards with a touchdown in the next two games, returning to the “A1 and A2” offensive approach offensive coordinator Ryan Day set at the beginning of the season. “I am not a selfish person. I am a team player first,” Dobbins said. “Whatever the team needs to do to win a game, that’s what we’re going to do. If it’s him getting 30 carries and I get five, and if we win, I’m fine with it.” The split carries helped Weber this season, saying that playing in the Big Ten conference — what he considers as a rough conference with a lot of physicality — is something he felt both he and Dobbins got used to. But it is still not an approach that gives an opportunity for one player to shine. “I know my potential and I still haven’t reached it yet,” Weber said.Weber announced Sunday he will forgo his final season of eligibility and enter the 2019 NFL Draft, leaving that potential to be possibly achieved for a professional team.But for Dobbins, that potential is achievable, becoming the featured back for the Ohio State offense in what many consider to be a “contract year” for the upcoming junior, who will have a chance to enter the draft after the 2019 season. Without knowing whether Weber would return, Dobbins said he was excited about possibly getting the nod as the back the Buckeyes will depend on. “It was great having him here,” Dobbins said. “If I am the only guy next year, then I’ll be excited for that.”But it will be an experience that Dobbins has not had in his college career. Ever since the departure of Ezekiel Elliott after the 2015 season, Weber has always been a major part of Ohio State’s plan for the running game, whether that was him as the featured back during the 2016 season or even after the emergence of Dobbins against Indiana in 2017. Despite two consecutive seasons as a 1,000-yard back, recording 16 touchdowns in two seasons with Ohio State, Dobbins has never been considered the featured back at Ohio State. After the Rose Bowl, the running back room will be Dobbins’. And the expectations remain high, if not higher with the departure of Weber. No Ohio State running back has ever recorded a 2,000-yard season, with Eddie George recording 1,927 yards in 1995. The talk surrounding Dobbins, whose career high is 1,403, is that with the offense that has been run, with him as the featured back, 2,000 yards seems feasible. When asked if he thinks that is achievable, Dobbins smiled and laughed with that same brimming confidence he had after the Maryland game, raising his arms in a full shrug, reminiscent of former Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa. “We’ll see about that,” Dobbins said.
December will be epic. A second drink before driving doubles your chances of being in a fatal collision & missing out on it all #FOMOpints pic.twitter.com/NEMibKlj9d— THINK! road safety (@THINKgovuk) December 1, 2016 Road safety minister Andrew Jones said the crime, which kills five people every week, “destroys families and ruins lives”.”This Christmas we are specifically targeting the biggest perpetrators of this devastating crime – young men. But our message to everyone remains the same: don’t drink and drive,” he said.The campaign coincides with a month-long police operation to combat drink and drug driving during the festive period.Forces around the country will target known hotspots to detect people who are on the road illegally.In December last year, police forces administered 110,226 breath tests, of which 5,543 were positive, failed or refused, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).Some 1,888 drug screening tests were conducted during the same period, with almost half turning out positive. “Don’t #drive under the influence of #drink or #drugs. Even a very small amount can affect your ability to drive safely.” @ChiefGlosPolice— NPCC (@PoliceChiefs) December 1, 2016 Drink-driving is fuelled by the “fear of missing out”, the government has suggested, as it launches a campaign targeting young men who commit the crime to avoid not being able to go on a night out.Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of all drink-drivers who die in collisions are young men, according to Department for Transport figures that also showed that 20 per cent of the age group had driven after having two or more drinks, despite this doubling their chances of being involved in a fatality.Their “fear of missing out” – or FOMO – will be targeted in a new advert that will be released every day on Facebook, Twitter and Spotify during the month-long THINK! campaign launched on Thursday.The adverts, which show a pint of beer with FOMO written on it, aim to make it clear to young men that they have plenty to live for the following day, which they may not see if they choose to have a second drink. Research by price comparison website MoneySuperMarket found that for the second year running Crewe has the highest proportion of motorists with drink or drug driving convictions.The Cheshire town has a rate of 1.66 convictions per 1,000 drivers, according to the study. Llandrindod Wells, Powys, was ranked second, followed by Hereford in third.London dominated the list of postcodes with the lowest conviction rates, with the north west of the capital having just 0.53 drink or drug drivers per 1,000.CORRECTION: This article originally attributed to MoneySavingExpert.com the finding that Crewe in Cheshire has the highest proportion of motorists with drink or drug driving convictions. In fact, this was a finding of research by Moneysupermarket.com. MoneySavingExpert.com is a consumer personal finance website, not a “price comparison site”, as originally stated. We have amended the article accordingly. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Several stars of the film paid tribute to their former co-star Carrie Fisher, who died aged 60 last December having already begun filming.Mark Hamill thanked fans of the franchise for helping him come to terms with the death of the “one-of-a-kind” actress. Could this be Princes William and Harry as Stormtroopers?Credit:Jonathan Olley John Boyega, who plays Finn in Rian Johnson’s sequel, which marks the 40th anniversary of the series, let the cat out of the bag about the royals’ involvement in the summer.Tom Hardy, the actor, and Take That singer Garuy Barlow are also believed to be in the same scene, all four said to have squeezed themselves into Stormtrooper outfits.The four appear together, guarding Boyega’s character, Finn, in an elevator, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Prince William tries a light sabre against his brother Prince Harry during a visit to the Star Wars film setCredit:ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP If rumour is to be believed, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry make a clandestine appearance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.The pair, both “huge fans” of the legendary sci-fi series allegedly donned Stormtrooper outfits and filmed scenes during a private tour of Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire last year.The royals joined a host of well-known faces were on the red carpet on Tuesday night for the European premiere of the latest movie at the Royal Albert Hall but if they spotted themselves on screen, their lips were firmly sealed.The siblings met the cast and crew before the screening, hosted in aid of The Royal Foundation and attended by more than 400 young people, military veterans and volunteers who have taken part in the charity’s programmes.Among those who braved the harsh December chill were Daisy Ridley, who gave a nod to her character Rey with a space-inspired black gown, singer Myleene Klass and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Alexandra Burke. The pair – who played brother and sister duo Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa in the original 1970s and 1980s trilogy – reprised their roles in the latest instalment. Boyega joked that sharing a scene with the royals and Hardy “wrapped in Stormtroopers costumes” made for a “strange contrast of a weird family.”He told BBC Radio 4 in November: “I’ve had enough with those secrets. They came on set. They were there. I’m sick of hiding it. It think it was leaked, anyway.” Hamill told presenter Edith Bowman: “Everywhere I go people are helping me deal with it. I shouldn’t be upset she’s not around, I should be grateful for all the time I had with her.”She was hilarious, adorable, as tough as she acted she had a vulnerability; I criticised her all the time but if anyone else did I’d get my back up and say ‘Don’t you do that’.”She was so much fun. She’s great in the film.” Prince Harry takes a closer look at a robotic mask during a tour of the Star Wars setCredit:ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
A total of 600 sex cases are under urgent review as it emerges that a catalogue of errors by a single detective mean a student is in line for a £100,000 payout after he was wrongly charged with rape.The Metropolitan Police and senior lawyers have personally apologised to Liam Allan, 22, after he spent nearly two years on bail and endured three days on trial before it was discovered his accuser had pestered him for “casual sex”.The case triggered a review of 600 “live” rape and sex assault cases by the force and thousands more across the country with “some” giving cause for concern. And since Mr Allan’s case came to light at least three other rape trials collapsed over police failings to disclose key information to defence lawyers. He added that the force had drafted in 120 officers to help review the 600 sex offence cases. The review found the officer had not properly searched data on the woman’s phone or listed it on a disclosure form to lawyers, who then failed to check why phone records had not been properly scoured.Although the review found that information was not purposely withheld, it said a “combination of error, lack of challenge, and lack of knowledge” led to the disclosure problems.Mr Azariah wrote to lawyers in the case explaining how “because of the volume of analysis of phone downloads I deal with, I had wrongly assured myself that I had looked through this entire download” which contained 57,000 pieces of data.Criminology ‘student alleges convictions are chased ‘like sales targets’The Met’s Commander Richard Smith and Claire Lindley, chief crown prosecutor for London South, told a press conference that they had met with Mr Allan to apologise for the errors.Mr Smith said: “Claire and I met Mr Allan where he received a personal apology from us both and I was really pleased to have that opportunity to meet with him face-to-face, allow him to read the report and apologise for the errors that were made.”Although the errors were not caused by a lack of resources, Mr Smith said that the officer felt his workload of around 20 cases contributed to mistakes he made. Ms Lindley added: “During the review some cases have given cause for concern. Some cases are discontinued in the normal course of events.”Mr Smith said Mr Azariah is not currently working on sexual offences, adding “which is not to say that don’t have faith in him. He made an error and we should have systems in place to spot that.”After the case collapsed in December 2017, Mr Allan announced that he planned to sue the Metropolitan Police Service over its failure to disclose vital evidence that could have proven his innocence. In the past, the force has paid out £100,000 for a bungled police operation. Both Lord Bramall and Lady Brittan received that payment after their homes were raided as part of the disastrous Operation Midland child sex abuse investigation. Those payments were made after lawyers admitted the searches of their homes should never have taken place. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Liam Allan, who spent almost two years on bail, has alleged that rape convictions are chased ‘like sales targets’Credit:Nicholas Razzell A joint review by the force and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) into his case found that Detective Constable Mark Azariah repeatedly failed to properly examine messages on the phone of the woman who falsely accused the criminology student of rape. It was only during the trial that it emerged she had sent phone messages to a friend saying she had fantasies of being raped and having violent sex. The trial collapsed at Croydon Crown Court last month after details of the records emerged on the third day of evidence.
Ian Huntley, the Soham killer, has reportedly been recorded on tape in prison saying he wanted to admit the killings of the schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.The 44-year-old, who was jailed for life in 2003, said he is “terrible sorry” for what he did, adding: “I think about them every day.” The recordings – obtained by The Sun – are the first time his voice has been heard for a decade.Huntley was given two life sentences in 2003 for the murders of the girls at his home in Soham, Cambs, in August 2002, and he has never revealed his motive for the killings.But in the tapes, he says he deliberately killed Jessica to stop her telling others that Holly had died in the bath, in circumstances he insists were accidental.He said: “I maintain that the first one was a genuine accident. OK, the second one I panicked and once she tried leaving the house I realised I could not leave the house.“And whilst I said in court that I just acted instinctively, I knew I had to stop her leaving the house.” Show more During the search for the girls, Huntley was filmed on television saying he was likely to be the last person to have seen them on the day they disappeared, and expressed sympathy to the families.According to The Sun, he says on the tape: “I can’t change anything. I cannot remove that day from history; what I have done.”I know those girls would be 26 this year with families of their own, jobs and lives. I thought about them when they were turning 21 and when they were turning 18.” He is reportedly filmed saying he wanted to admit murdering Jessica and the manslaughter of Holly, but added: “That was never going to happen as I wanted to be able to say what happened in court. It was something I thought very long and hard about because I did not want families through that trial, I did not.” Holly Wells, left, and Jessica ChapmanCredit:CAMBRIDGESHIRE POLICE/PNS Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Detectives believe that the children may have been dead by 6.46pm – the time when Jessica’s mobile phone was switched off.Though he initially claimed the pair had left his house alive, he eventually confessed to dumping their bodies in a remote ditch, cutting off their clothes and torching their corpses in a bid to cover his tracks. The missing girls were dressed in identical red Manchester United football shirts and a photo of the two, taken shortly before they disappeared, quickly became the image associated with the case.During his trial, Huntley told jurors the two girls went into his house because Holly had a nosebleed, insisting she drowned in the bath and that he killed Jessica as he tried to silence her screams.
Rolo, left, was allegedly attacked by a dog belonging to Joan Wragg, pictured right with an unknown deerhound “They were huge, two great big shaggy, grey things. The lady that was holding them was looking at something.”We had gone to walk past them and the dogs got up, pulled her across the path and one had picked up my chihuahua in his mouth.”They just lunged over and grabbed him and luckily my boyfriend managed to get him off.”I grabbed my dog and curled up in a ball around him in case it tried to get him again. When approached at her home in Huntworth, Somerset, Mrs Wragg denied her pets were off the lead or out of control. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Business analyst Miss Tramonte, of Witney in Oxon, said: “We were there for not even ten minutes and then there were these two dogs lying down to the side of the path with their owner. Ella Tramonte with her pet Chihuahua RoloCredit:Triangle News She said: “I’m a responsible dog owner and immediately apologised for my dogs turning on the chihuahua.”But Miss Tramonte added: “She was completely unaware of the severity of the situation. She said it was a stressful day for everyone but she didn’t seem to be stressed by it at all.”An experienced dog handler should not be allowing their animals to pull them along. I would never have taken one of those dogs out, let alone both.”A police spokeswoman said: “We are currently looking into a report of an incident at Mottisfont Abbey on April 20 between 1.25pm and 1.35pm.”A 25-year-old man was scratched by two dogs as he intervened to separate the dogs from his dog.” A senior judge at Crufts has been accused of failing to control her deerhound after it picked up a Chihuahua in its mouth in an alleged attack. Police are investigating the incident on April 20 at a National Trust beauty spot where it is claimed Joan Wragg’s dog left the smaller pet with a puncture wound.Ella Tramonte and her boyfriend Elliot Hills, both 25, were out walking their Chihuahua Rolo at Mottisfont in Romsey, Hampshire, when they say two large dogs lunged at them.The couple claim Rolo, aged seven, was picked up by a deerhound and Mr Hills was forced to prise open the dog’s mouth to free his own pet.Mrs Wragg was said to have been dragged down the footpath and Miss Tramonte reported her for owning an out-of-control dog and the Chihuahua was left with a wound to the side of its body which required emergency vet attention. The Crufts judge, who also breeds dogs, agreed to pay the £314.55 bill and said she was “mortified” by what happened. “It was so quick. I honestly don’t know what would have happened if Elliot hadn’t been there.”The only reason her dog got off Rolo was because my boyfriend got in there. She just stood there. She didn’t even seem that shocked.”Mrs Tramonte checked Rolo over and initially didn’t think he was hut, but when she noticed her Chihuahua was bleeding, the 25-year-old confronted Mrs Wragg.”We asked why she was taking these dogs out if she obviously couldn’t control them,” Miss Tramonte said. “She’d been pulled half way across the path. Why were they not muzzled? She just said they were gentle and we were like ‘Clearly not. Look at my dog.'”Elliot was so upset as he said it could have been a baby or toddler.”
Police investigating attack on ‘Syrian refugee’ at Huddersfield school (pictured) as £30,000 raised for bullying victimCredit:Google Responding to a tweet by Jake Humphrey, urging people to donate to the fundraising effort as opposed to directing anger at the alleged attacker, the Dane said he would like to “show his love”. The incident is said to have taken place on playing fields at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield on October 25.In statement West Yorkshire Police said: “Regarding the assault on a 15-year-old youth in Almondbury, which featured in a video posted on social media yesterday and has been widely reported in the media, a 16-year-old youth has been interviewed and reported for summons, for an offence of assault. He will appear at Youth Court in due course.”The incident occurred on 25 October this year and has been subject to thorough investigation since it was reported to us the day after. The victim and his family are receiving ongoing support from police and other agencies.”Media are reminded that proceedings are active and involve a juvenile. We would advise not to share the video on websites or social media sites as it could prejudice future criminal proceedings. Safeguarding measures have been put in place for the victim and his family. Footballer Jonas Lössl, who plays as a goalkeeper Huddersfield Town, expressed his sympathy with the boy in the video, and invited him to a Premier League game as his guest. “A previous unconnected incident on 7 October, in which the victim suffered a wrist injury, was also fully investigated at the time. Three youths were interviewed. There was no further police action and the matter was referred to the school.” In a letter to parents on Wednesday, Almondbury Community School headteacher Trevor Bowen said: “The safety and welfare of students is our number one priority and I can assure you that this situation is being taken extremely seriously.”Mr Bowen said: “Since the incident occurred in October, the school, the local authority and the police have all taken action. We must allow the legal process to take its course, but I want to be absolutely clear that we do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour of any sort in our school.”I can also assure you that we are working very hard to ensure it is ‘business as usual’ across the school and that there is no disruption to the children’s education.”Dr Lisa Doyle, Director of Advocacy at the Refugee Council, said: “We are utterly shocked and appalled by the attack on a 15-year-old boy who came to the UK in search of safety.”The idea that someone escapes war and brutality, only to be met with violence here, is truly awful. We have been heartened by the fantastic outpouring of support from many members of the British public who are sending a clear message that nobody in our community should be treated in this way.” Police are to charge a 16-year-old boy with assaulting a 15-year-old boy after a violent video caused outrage on social media.The alleged victim, who is reported to be a refugee from Syria and has his arm in a cast, is seen to be dragged by his neck before being “waterboarded”.A clip that appeared online on Tuesday purports to show an assailant aim a headbutt at the victim, who is stood by himself on what appears to be Almondbury Community School’s playing fields in Huddersfield. The alleged aggressor repeatedly taunts the boy, named as Jamal, by getting in his face and saying, “say it now, then,” over and over again, according to the video.Eventually, the alleged attacker grabs his much smaller victim’s neck with both hands and throws him to the ground and held on his back. As a group gathers to watch, the alleged bully takes a water bottle and appears to force its contents into the boy’s mouth, saying, “I’ll drown you”. The alleged victim then walks away, without reacting, as the attacker and others can be heard continuing to verbally abuse him.In an outpouring of support, a fundraising page received more than £50,000 in donations in a day for the boy shown in the video.The incident sparked fury on social media, with some media outlets reporting the attacker’s mother had appeared in court last year on a charge related to racist abuse. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. He appears not to have been the only victim, with a fresh video emerging of a hijab-wearing girl pushed down a grass verge and shoved by a group.The family’s lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, said it is the boy’s 14-year-old sister and she was attacked on Tuesday morning.West Yorkshire Police said: “We have been made aware of a video showing a girl being assaulted at Almondbury Community School yesterday (27/11).”The incident had not previously been reported to the police but we are now liaising with the girl’s family who we are continuing to support.”Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact Kirklees District CID via 101.”Barry Sheerman, MP for the town, said he had been supporting the boy and his family.He tweeted: “Video of assault against one of my constituents absolutely shocking. Have been supporting the family since it was first brought to my attention.” Jonas Lossl’s tweetCredit:Jonas Lossl/Twitter
The Gin Guild has gone to war against ‘fake gins’, arguing that the popularity of the drink has lead to the market being flooded with bottles of drink that do not meet the criteria.Because of the “gin boom”, leading to a record number of distilleries opening in England, dozens of companies have sprung up hoping to capitalise on the nation’s growing love of the drink.According to new figures from HMRC, export sales in of British gin reached a record £612 million in 2018, meaning that they have doubled in value since 2010, and increased by 15 per cent on last year. British people consumed 66 million bottles of the spirit, which is a 41 per cent increase on last year.The Gin Guild has reported scores of bottled spirits calling themselves “gin” or “gin based liqueur” to Trading Standards. To count as gin, the drink must be at least 37.5 per cent ABV and taste strongly of juniper. Many drinks on sale as “gin” are as low as 18 per cent ABV and taste mainly of an ingredient that is not juniper, including chocolate and marshmallow.Nicholas Cook, director general of the Gin Guild, told The Telegraph: “They aren’t gins at all, the problem is that gin has become incredibly popular but the problem with that is a lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon. “This means people are sticking the word gin on any liquid that they fancy because gin is sexy and it sells.”They sell the product in the full knowledge that it isn’t gin but it misleads the consumer, who thinks it is gin.”Customers find out when they buy it and take it home and it’s 18 per cent ABV and tastes very sweet and it’s not gin.”He said that Trading Standards was “frankly a bit overwhelmed” by the number of “fake gins” which have flooded the market.Around Valentine’s Day, sweet “gin” drinks are sold in the supermarkets in pink bottles. However, Mr Cook argued that these flavoured drinks are not gin. He said: “It’s supposed to taste predominantly of juniper. There are some brands out there where juniper is mainly hidden. “They are a flavoured spirit drink and if they are a low ABV they are a juniper spirit drink. That is as far as you can go – you cannot use those three magic letters ‘G.I.N’ on a product that is not gin.”I have reported all these very odd products to trading standards but they are always cropping up.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Mr Lyon, who joined the air force aged 23, said there was a “terrible aftermath” to the breakout as 50 prisoners were subsequently shot.He said: “We were allocated a position and told not to move until called. It was going to be a long night. After an hour or so of this, air raid sirens sounded and all the camp lights went out. “We were left in total darkness until I heard a single shot. We guessed that probably meant the tunnel had been discovered so we did everything we could to destroy anything incriminating – there were maps, documents.”“In a mass breakout, with nationwide hue and cry and bad weather, I would say they were virtually nil,” Mr Lyon added.Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, chief executive of the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “Jack belonged to a generation of servicemen we are sadly losing as time goes on.“His legacy and those of his brave comrades who planned and took part in the audacious Great Escape breakout are the freedoms we enjoy today. Their tenacity and determination spoke volumes about the values and bravery of the entire RAF, in helping to win the fight against the Nazis.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Mr Lyon, who lived in Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex, died shortly before the 75th anniversary of the breakout, which is on March 24Credit:Adrian Brooks/ Imagiewise/ RAFBF/PA A Second World War pilot who was involved in the Great Escape mission has died aged 101, according to an RAF charity.In 1941 Jack Lyon’s bomber plane was struck by flak near Dusseldorf in Germany, the RAF Benevolent Fund said.Although all of the members on board survived the crash-landing, they were soon captured by the Nazis and taken to prisoner of war camps.Mr Lyon, who was a flight lieutenant, was brought to the Stalag Luft III camp, where he was recruited by fellow prisoners to carry out surveillance of the compound ahead of the notorious 1944 Great Escape breakout.However, the plot was uncovered by guards before he was able to complete his escape.The veteran, who lived in Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex, died shortly before the 75th anniversary of the mission, which is scheduled for March 24.In what is understood to be his last interview, which he did with the RAF Benevolent Fund in October ahead of the anniversary, he labelled the mission “a success, but at great cost”.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A cyclist is in a critical condition after being kicked off his bike into a parked car by another rider in an incident captured on CCTV.The 30-year-old victim was riding his bike in Wallis Road, Hackney, east London, on Sunday March 10 at around 12.45pm when another cyclist caught him up and began to cycle alongside him.Scotland Yard said his attacker then kicked the victim off his bike before riding away in the direction of Berkshire Road.The victim was taken by ambulance to an east London hospital, where his condition is critical.The motive for the attack is not known, according to police, who have released footage of the incident.The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s or 30s and police also want to hear from anyone who may have been threatened or assaulted by him in and around Hackney.
Police are investigating and alleged robbery under arms committed on a 49-year-old dental surgeon attached to the Ministry of Public Health earlier today, resulting in the loss of cash, mobile phones and other valuables.The victim has been identified as Dr Debra Skeete of Jasmine Avenue, Eccles Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara.According to police information, the incident occurred at around 10:45hrs.Skeete left her place of work at 10:00hrs in her car and went to a local bank where she reportedly deposited some money.The woman then travelled to the Bounty supermarket in Grove on the East Bank of Demerara and made purchases.Thereafter, enroute to her home, Skeete drove west into the two way street and parked facing north on the northern bridge.It was then that she reportedly observed an unmasked male approaching her with a gun tucked into his waist.The perpetrator reportedly walked up to the victim’s driver side door and demanded that she hand over her hand bag.Upon seeing that the woman was hesistating, the suspect allegedly whipped out his gun, opened the car door and snatched her bag containing local and foreign currency, two cellphones, her bank, ID and NIS cards, among other things.The bandit then reportedly ran to a waiting motorcycle driven by a masked man. The duo then made good their escape in an eastern direction.INews was informed that the area was checked and persons were questioned but thus far, no useful information was received. (Ramona Luthi) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMan who murdered GPHC employee turns self inNovember 25, 2015In “Crime”Taxi Driver charged with GPHC worker’s murderNovember 30, 2015In “Crime”Bagotstown businesswoman robbed by armed gang of 4July 25, 2018In “Crime”