Man fined for hate crime after filming pug’s ‘Nazi salutes’

Mark Meechan Image copyright PA
Image caption Mark Meechan’s clip was viewed more than three million times on YouTube

A man who filmed a pet dog giving Nazi salutes before putting the footage on YouTube has been fined £800.

Mark Meechan, 30, recorded his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as “Sieg Heil” by raising its paw.

The clip was viewed more than three million times on YouTube.

Meechan, of Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, was sentenced at Airdrie Sheriff Court after being found guilty of committing a hate crime last month.

He had denied any wrong-doing and insisted he made the video, which was posted in April 2016, to annoy his girlfriend.

But Sheriff Derek O’Carroll found him guilty of a charge under the Communications Act that he posted a video on social media and YouTube which was grossly offensive because it was “anti-Semitic and racist in nature” and was aggravated by religious prejudice.

Image copyright Press Team
Image caption Meechan with his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha

Fining Meechan £800, the sheriff told him: “The centrepiece of your video consists of you repeating the phrase ‘Gas the Jews’ over and over again as a command to a dog which then reacts.

“You use the command Sieg Heil, having trained the dog to raise its paw in response and the video shows a clip of a Nuremberg rally and a flashing image of Hitler with strident music. You say the video was only intended as a joke to upset your girlfriend, whose dog you used, and nothing more.

“On the whole evidence, including your own, applying the law as made by Parliament and interpreted by the most senior courts in this land, I found it proved that the video you posted, using a public communications network, was grossly offensive and contained menacing, anti-Semitic and racist material.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Meechan waved to supporters as he emerged from court

He added: “You accepted that the phrase ‘Gas the Jews’ was anti-Semitic though not, you said, when used as part of a joke. You said you used the phrase ‘Gas the Jews’ because it was so extreme.

“You said the video content was horrific, but not when used as a joke. You intended the video to be as offensive as you could make it and you posted it on your own unrestricted publicly accessible video channel which on your own description “provides offensive social comedy and skits that get people thrown in prison”.

Menacing language

“The evidence before this court was that the video was viewed as grossly offensive within Jewish communities in Scotland and that such material tended to normalise anti-Semitic attitudes and provoke further unpleasant anti-Semitic messages and as such, this video using menacing language, led to great concern.

“The fact that you claim in the video, and elsewhere, that the video was intended only to annoy your girlfriend and as a joke and that you did not intend to be racist is of little assistance to you.

“A joke can be grossly offensive. A racist joke or a grossly offensive video does not lose its racist or grossly offensive quality merely because the maker asserts he only wanted to get a laugh.”

Image caption A small group staged a free speech protest outside court

Meechan was supported in court by by Tommy Robinson, former leader of far-right group the English Defence League (EDL).

Speaking after being fined, Meechan said he would be appealing the sentence.

He defended the video, saying the whole point of the “joke” was “the juxtaposition of having an adorable animal reacting to something vulgar”.

Meechan said: “This is a really dangerous precedent to set – for people to say things and their context to be completely ignored and then they can be convicted for it.

“You don’t get to decide the context, other people don’t get to decide the context, the court decides. That’s dangerous.”

There was a small demonstration outside court by protesters claiming the case went against the principle of freedom of speech.

Comedian Ricky Gervais had taken to Twitter to comment on the case after guilty the verdict.

He tweeted: “A man has been convicted in a UK court of making a joke that was deemed ‘grossly offensive’.

“If you don’t believe in a person’s right to say things that you might find ‘grossly offensive’, then you don’t believe in Freedom of Speech.”



‘TSB gave me access to someone’s £35,000’

Matthew Neal Image copyright Matthew Neal
Image caption Matthew Neal got a shock when he logged onto his TSB account

A TSB customer was given access to someone else’s £35,000 savings account, £11,000 Isa, and a business account when he logged onto his account last night.

Matthew Neal had simply wanted to check how much he’d spent at the pub the night before.

He’s just one of potentially millions of TSB customers affected by a massive computer failure.

The bank’s upgrade to its banking systems has caused chaos for customers.

The bank warned its users that it was carrying out upgrades at the weekend between 16:00 BST on Friday and 18:00 on Sunday.

But a number of customers reported they were still facing problems on Monday morning, with many worried about being able to pay bills or even get cash to pay for essentials.

TSB apologised and claimed it had fixed the issue. In a statement on Monday it said: “We’re really sorry that some of our customers experienced problems accessing our mobile app and internet banking yesterday evening. Both of these services are now up and running again.”

Many customers took to Twitter to complain of being unable to access their accounts despite the bank’s claim. The bank’s social media staff simply repeated the line: “Unfortunately, there are some intermittent problems affecting this service so please bear with us. We’re working as hard as we can to resolve this.”

‘I had access to a £35,000 savings account, £11,000 ISA and a business account’

Image copyright Getty Images

Matthew Neal from Hertfordshire checked his TSB app after 6pm on Sunday evening to find out his balance and see how much he had spent at the pub the night before. But he got a shock.

“I could see all my accounts, but on top of that also three accounts belonging to someone else: a £35,000 savings account, an £11,000 Isa and a business account,” he told the BBC.

“I could see their account numbers, sort codes and transaction histories and I had access to transfer money too, if I was that way inclined.

“The thing that was worrying me most was: what if someone can see mine too?”

He tried to ring the bank to alert it to the problem but after 45 minutes on hold, gave up.

Since then he has been unable to access his accounts at all.

What caused the problems?

When TSB split from the Lloyds Banking Group, it continued to rent a banking platform from its former owner while it developed its own “state-of-the-art” platform.

That was ready to go live at the weekend and TSB moved its customers’ data from the Lloyds’ platform to its own. This was a long-planned disruption to the service and the bank said it informed customers of the change and that it would lead to them being unable to use online banking or payment systems at the weekend.

That led to two problems. First, many customers said they were unaware of the changes and so were caught out. Second, customers experienced difficulties long after the 6pm deadline on Sunday evening that TSB promised that things would be sorted by. In fact many were still complaining of being unable to access services on Monday morning.

My balance showed £13,000 despite me being in the red

Laim McKenzie, from Paisley, in Scotland, signed into his app shortly after 6pm on Sunday evening to discover the problem.

The 20-year-old said: “I saw the details of one other account holder, as well as my own.

“My balance, because of my overdraft, is in minus, but my balance was showing at £13,000.

“I closed the app and went in again at 19:00 and only my account was showing – but my balance was showing at zero.

“I’ve closed the app again and have not been able to access it since.”

Social media storm as angry customers take to Twitter

Many customers took to Twitter to complain about issues, including being unable to log into their internet banking accounts, being unable to transfer funds and not being able to make payments.

TSB has issued a statement apologising to customers for the problems.

A spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately, there are some intermittent problems affecting these services.

“Both the app and internet banking should be up and running again soon.”

Do you bank with TSB? Are you experiencing any problems with your online banking? Email [email protected].

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

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London Marathon: Masterchef semi-finalist Matt Campbell dies

Matt Campbell Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Matt Campbell on the right was running his second marathon in two weeks

A Masterchef finalist has died after collapsing during the London Marathon, it has been confirmed.

Matt Campbell, 29, collapsed at the 22.5 mile mark and died later in hospital.

He reached the semi finals of Masterchef: The Professionals in December 2017, and had been running the race – the hottest ever on record – for his father who died 18 months ago.

Mr Campbell posted on Twitter that it was his second marathon in a fortnight.

The Kendal chef was running the race for The Brathay Trust in honour of his father Martin.

His target of £2,500 for the Trust which helps vulnerable children and young people, stands at more than £2,600.

On 8 April Mr Campbell completed the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon.



Brexit: Government insists UK will leave customs union

Woman checking goods in lorry Image copyright PA
Image caption Goods can move tariff-free within countries in a customs union

The government has restated its commitment to leaving the EU’s custom union – ahead of a symbolic vote on the issue this week.

Last Wednesday, the government suffered defeat on the EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Lords on the issue of staying in a UK-EU customs union after Brexit.

And MPs will get their own chance to debate the issue on Thursday.

But a senior Downing Street source told the BBC the government’s position would not change.

“We will not be staying in the customs union or joining a customs union,” the source said.

BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said Downing Street’s move was an attempt to reassure Brexiteers worried about a U-turn following the Lords defeat and pressure from the EU.

A customs union is when countries agree to apply the same taxes on imports to goods from outside the union.

This means when goods have cleared customs in one country, they can be shipped to others in the union without further tariffs being imposed.

If the UK remains part of the customs union, it would be unable to strike trade deals with countries around the world.

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Your guide to Brexit jargon

But supporters say it would help to keep an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Labour has called for the UK to join a new customs union post-Brexit, saying it would leave the current one but negotiate a treaty afterwards that would “do the work of the customs union”.

Brexit-supporting former minister John Whittingdale told BBC News Thursday’s non-binding vote would be “a piece of theatre” but would have “no significance at all”.

But he predicted pressure for the government when the EU Withdrawal Bill returned to the House of Commons in the coming weeks, saying reversing peers’ amendments could prove “more challenging”.

More crunch votes are expected when Remain-supporting MPs try to amend the trade and customs bills to put more pressure on the government to negotiate a customs union.


By Eleanor Garnier, BBC political correspondent

Image copyright PA

Theresa May has made leaving the customs union central to her whole approach to Brexit.

Downing Street’s decision to reiterate its long-held position demonstrates concern at the top of government.

This week’s debate will be purely symbolic and will not tie the government’s hands.

But it could give an indication of the opposition the prime minister might face in a crunch vote on the issue next month.

With sabre-rattling from both sides of the argument, Downing Street felt sufficiently worried to clarify its position overnight.

The House of Lords is continuing its examination of the government’s key EU Withdrawal Bill this week.

Last week’s amendment would not necessarily keep the UK in the customs union – but would commit ministers to reporting on steps to negotiate a continued union.

Meanwhile the Times reports that Theresa May is facing pressure from Brexit-supporting ministers on the customs issue.

The report focuses on one of the two possible options put forward by Mrs May last month that would involve the UK imposing the same checks as the EU when goods arrive at its borders that are destined for the EU.

The Times said Brexit Secretary David Davis, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson were concerned this would “encourage Brussels to press for Britain to stay in a customs union after Brexit”.

Mr Fox is due to speak about the opportunities of Brexit in a speech to the financial industry on Monday.

In comments released beforehand, he said: “We will work with old allies and new partners across the world, utilising the UK’s economic strength and diplomatic prowess to forge new trading relationships.

“Ultimately, our task is to remove the unnecessary regulation, bureaucracy and red tape that inhibit the free trade in services.

“Whatever one’s view on the referendum result, it must be acknowledged that, outside the EU, this country will enjoy a new degree of economic agility.”



Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam jailed in Belgium

Images of Salah Abdeslam Image copyright Belgian/French police

Salah Abdeslam, the sole surviving suspect from the 2015 Paris attacks, has been jailed for 20 years in Belgium over a gunfight that led to his arrest.

Abdeslam, 28, and co-defendant Sofien Ayari were both convicted of terror-related charges of attempted murder.

Ayari, 24, was also given a 20-year sentence. Both fired on officers who raided a flat in Brussels in 2016.

He is being held in a jail in France and is due to face trial there over the Paris attacks themselves.

He had refused to answer questions from the judge in the trial in Brussels, and eventually refused to attend the hearings.

Neither he nor Ayari, 24, was in court as the verdict was read out on Monday. Both received the maximum 20-year term requested by prosecutors.

The judge, Marie France Keutgen, said that “there can be no doubt” about the two men’s involvement with “radicalism”.

She added: “Their intention is clear from the nature of the weapons they used, the number of bullets they fired and the nature of the police officers’ wounds. Only the officers’ professional response prevented it being worse.”

What happened during the shootout and its aftermath?

On 15 March 2016, Belgian police hunting Abdeslam carried out a raid in the Forest area of Brussels.

They targeted a flat believing that the suspect – who by then had been on the run for four months – had been there.

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Media captionDamian Grammaticas reports from the scene of the raid

When they moved in they exchanged fire with the three occupants. One of the three was killed and three officers were wounded.

Abdeslam and Ayari managed to escape, but Abdeslam’s fingerprints were found in the flat, confirming his presence there.

He was picked up days later in a raid in the nearby Molenbeek area, and later transferred to France.

  • Is Molenbeek a hotbed of extremism?

What do we know about Abdeslam?

He was born in Brussels from Moroccan parents who also had French nationality. This allowed him to become French himself.

He was involved in petty crime in Belgium as a youth, and is believed to have become radicalised along with his brother Salim around 2014.

Both then reportedly joined a French-Belgian network linked with the Islamic State group (IS), which later claimed the Paris attacks.

The network was involved in both the Paris attacks and bombings that struck the Brussels metro and airport on 22 March 2016, just days after Abdeslam’s arrest, killing 35 people.

In Monday’s ruling, the court denied a request by victims from those attacks that they be regarded as a civil party to the case, saying no link had been established with Abdeslam and Ayari.

How has Abdeslam been linked to the Paris attacks?

He is believed to have played a key role on 13 November 2015 – when militants targeted a concert hall, stadium, restaurants and bars, killing 130 people and injuring hundreds more.

French prosecutors believe Abdeslam helped the jihadists by hiring cars, flats and hotel rooms – although his role in the actual shootings and bombings is unclear.

His brother Salim was among the attackers and blew himself up outside a cafe.

Salah Abdeslam and two associates drove from Paris to Brussels the next day. They were stopped by police at a border check, but were allowed to travel as he had not yet been identified as a suspect.

French and Belgian authorities released Abdeslam’s photo and name a day later – by which time he was one of Europe’s top fugitives.

Several flats were raided by Belgian police over the next few months. He was finally picked up on 18 March 2016.



Royal baby: Duchess of Cambridge goes into labour

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their two children Image copyright PA

The Duchess of Cambridge has gone into labour with her third child.

Catherine and the Duke of Cambridge travelled to the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, in central London on Monday morning.

Catherine has been on maternity leave since making a last royal visit to a charity lunch in London on 22 March.

The baby will be fifth in line to the throne and the Queen’s sixth great-grandchild.

The birth will be announced with an email to the press and a celebratory tweet posted on the Kensington Palace Twitter feed.

There will also be the traditional custom of placing a framed paper proclamation on an ornate gold stand behind the iron railings of Buckingham Palace.

As with her first two children, Kate is hoping for a natural birth and does not know whether she is having a boy or a girl.

Consultant obstetrician Guy Thorpe-Beeston and consultant gynaecologist Alan Farthing are the two senior royal doctors overseeing the birth.

Both were called in for the arrival of Prince George in 2013 and Princess Charlotte in 2015.

The baby’s title will be HRH Prince or Princess of Cambridge.

Favourite names at the bookmakers include Mary, Alice, Alexandra, Elizabeth and Victoria for a girl and Arthur, Albert, Frederick, James and Philip for a boy.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The world’s media is already gathering outside the private Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital
Image copyright PA
Image caption Some royal fans have been waiting outside the hospital since early April

The duchess’s pregnancy was announced in October.

If, as expected, the child is born on Monday, St George’s Day, they will share their birthday with Lady Gabriella Windsor – the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, who was born at the Lindo Wing on 23 April 1981.

The baby has just missed arriving on the Queen’s birthday, which was on Saturday.

At the scene

Kate Whannel, BBC News Online

Image caption Sharon McEwan used to read about the royal family while growing up in Jamaica

Already the streets outside St Mary’s Hospital are awash with royal fans, curious tourists and journalists from around the world.

Sharon McEwan from Kilburn, north-west London, has been coming to the hospital every day for more than a fortnight.

“I love the royals – I read about them growing up in Jamaica,” she says. “My wish was that I could one day come to England to see the Queen.”

John Loughrey, 63 from Streatham, has been camping outside the hospital for 15 days.

“This is my temporary home,” he says. “The hospital have been so good to us. They brought us porridge for breakfast, let us use the showers and on the Queen’s birthday we got champagne.”

Image caption French au pairs Eleonor Ollieric and Constance Denis came to the hospital as soon as they could

Eleonor Ollieric, 20 and Constance Denis, 21, are au pairs from France.

“We dropped the kids off at school and came straight here,” says Ms Denis.

“We love the Royal Family in France. If it’s a girl we think it’ll be called Victoria and Albert if it’s a boy.”

As with her previous two pregnancies, Catherine, 36, has suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness.

The condition affects about one in every 200 pregnancies and results in severe nausea and vomiting – with one of the main dangers being dehydration.

The last third-born monarch

Image copyright Reuters

To become King or Queen as the third-born royal child is rare – and has yet to happen within the current House of Windsor.

But the third child of George III and Queen Charlotte, William IV, took on the task and ruled from 1830 to 1837.

The Hanoverian king acceded to the throne aged 64 when his older brother, George IV, died without an heir.

He became next in line when he was 62 and his other older brother, Frederick, Duke of York, died.



Missing stag do man Liam Colgan’s body ‘found in river’

Liam Colgan Image copyright PA

The body of missing Inverness man Liam Colgan has been found in the River Elbe in Hamburg, according to a charity which helps his family.

The 29-year-old was on his brother Eamonn’s stag weekend in the German city when he vanished on 10 February.

His disappearance sparked major searches in the city and widespread appeals on social media.

The Lucie Blackman Trust, which helps families of people missing abroad, thanked those involved in the search.

In a statement, the trust said the man found in the River Elbe had been wearing the same clothes as Liam, and had his driving licence in his pocket.

However, formal identification has still to be carried out.

Major search effort

The trust has asked that Mr Colgan’s family “be given space and privacy to grieve at this difficult time”.

The charity’s chief executive, Matthew Searle, said: “An astonishing amount of support has been apparent in this case – the search for Liam has been joined by thousands of people, both German and British, and we would like to thank all of them for their support.

“Our thoughts are of course with Liam’s family and friends today.”

Image caption Eamonn Colgan has previously spoken of Liam being a ‘very proud and doting uncle’ to his children

His disappearance had sparked a major search effort in the German city.

Thousands of leaflets were distributed in Hamburg during the attempts to trace Liam, a postman and keen musician.

Dundee-based police officer Eamonn and his fiancée Susan Dolan postponed their wedding while searches took place.

‘Help from strangers’

Liam’s family had been preparing to widen their search to other German cities, working on a theory that he injured his head in a fall and was suffering from amnesia.

In an interview with BBC Radio Scotland last month, Eamonn described his brother as a “very laid back, very positive, a very proud and doting uncle to my two children”.

Image copyright is LBT/G&J
Image caption CCTV images of Liam at the time of his disappearance

He also thanked those involved in the search for his brother.

Eamonn said: “It’s incredible the help we’ve had from strangers. If they can be hopeful, then I can be that way as well.

“We’ve been told the efforts by ourselves and others in trying to find Liam in Hamburg is unprecedented. That makes me feel confident that we are doing everything we can to find him.”

Eamonn added that the family were finding “constant reminders” of his brother.



Woman ‘fined $500 over free Delta Air Lines flight apple’

A Delta jet taxis on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport, New York City on August 8, 2016 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Crystal Tadlock was given the free apple on a Delta Air Lines flight to the United States.

A woman says she is facing a $500 (£357) fine from the US customs agency after a free apple she was given as a snack on a plane was found in her bag.

Crystal Tadlock, travelling to the US from Paris, said she was saving the fruit for her onward flight to Denver.

But the apple was revealed in a random search by US border agents after her first flight landed in Minneapolis.

US Customs and Border Patrol would not comment on the case, but said all agricultural items should be declared.

The apple was handed out in a plastic Delta Air Lines bag. Ms Tadlock said she did not remove it from the bag, instead putting it in her baggage for the second part of her journey to Denver, Colorado.

When the apple was found, Ms Tadlock told the agent that she had just received it from the airline and asked whether she should throw it out or eat it.

Instead the agent handed her a $500 fine.

  • Why you should listen to flight safety demos

Ms Tadlock now has the choice of paying the fine or fighting the penalty in court. She told the Denver-based broadcaster KDVR she wanted to take the case to court.

“It’s really unfortunate someone has to go through that and be treated like a criminal over a piece of fruit,” Ms Tadlock said.

A Delta Air Lines spokesperson refused to comment specifically on the incident.

However, the company issued a statement saying that “we encourage our customers to follow US Customs and Border Protection protocols.”

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Arsenal: Arsene Wenger leaving like ‘a star has dropped out of the sky’ – David Dein

Arsene Wenger: Match of the Day 2 pundits discuss ‘dig’ at Arsenal fans

Manager Arsene Wenger’s decision to leave Arsenal feels like “a star has dropped out of the sky”, says former vice-chairman David Dein.

Frenchman Wenger, 68, said on Friday he will step down at the end of the season after almost 22 years in charge.

Dein recruited Wenger to become Arsenal manager in October 1996 before leaving his post as vice-chairman in 2007.

“He will undoubtedly go down in history as the greatest Arsenal manager ever,” said Dein.

“His style of football, the way he has conducted himself, his honesty, integrity, the way he handles players, the way he is concerned with youth development – what he has done for the club is immeasurable.

“It’s not just for Arsenal. His legacy is for global football.”

‘No shortage of offers’ for Wenger

When Wenger’s Arsenal became invincibles

Following Arsenal’s 4-1 league victory over West Ham on Sunday, Wenger said he was unsure whether he will retire, manage elsewhere or take a director of football role.

Dein expects Wenger to continue in the game and said “there will be no shortage of offers”.

He added: “I personally had calls from various people [on Saturday], saying, ‘Can I speak to him?’ The question is does he want to do it any more?

“Over the last few years, I know for a fact that he has been approached by some of the biggest clubs in the world – Real Madrid, Paris St-Germain and even the England national team wanted him at one stage.

“He’s going to be 69 in October but he’s extraordinarily fit. He is the same weight as when I met him – 75 kilos. He’s got a very active mind and such a knowledge of the game.”

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said Wenger will feel there is “another opportunity” for him as a manager and that Ligue 1 champions PSG would be a “perfect fit”.

“He’s a day-to-day man. I don’t see him being an international manager – he needs to be in the thick of it every day,” Keown told BBC Radio 5 live.

“He’s very close to the PSG owners and that seems a perfect fit – he goes back to France and spends a few years managing there.

“He has an incredible amount of energy and he’ll want to make an effect.

“PSG haven’t been able to do well enough in the Champions League. There is something missing for them, and he might feel he can put that together for them.”

‘A very difficult two years’

Arsene Wenger: Big games and great goals from the Arsenal manager’s seven FA Cup wins

Wenger won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, including the Double in 1997-98 and 2001-02.

The Gunners are sixth in the league and set to miss out on a top-four spot for the second straight season, with their hopes of reaching next year’s Champions League resting on winning the Europa League. They face Atletico Madrid in a two-legged semi-final on 26 April and 3 May.

Dein said the past two years have been “very difficult” for Wenger, who will depart a year before his contract was due to expire.

Some fans have criticised Wenger in recent years, holding up “Wenger out” signs at matches. Wenger said on Sunday that the lack of unity has been “hurtful” to the club.

“At the end of last season I was discussing with him: ‘Arsene, what do you want to do? Are you going to stay or leave?'” said Dein.

“He was a bit undecided. In the end, I told him that he loved the club too much.

“He made his own mind up and decided to stay. The last couple of weeks, it has been getting more difficult for him, particularly with the team’s results, so I felt it was unlikely on a personal level that he was going to stay after the end of this season.”

Dein appointed the little-known Wenger from Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight in 1996 before they oversaw the move from Highbury to Emirates Stadium in 2006.

Dein said Arsenal “managed to get financing” for the Emirates on the back of the ‘Invincibles’ team that won the 2003-04 league title and ended the season unbeaten.

“When you go to the stadium today and you see that magnificent singing and dancing stadium, you have to say ‘thank you Arsene Wenger’, because we managed to get it through because of the team’s achievement,” Dein added.

“He has absolutely revolutionised the club. It was ‘boring, boring Arsenal’ at one stage. Now we’re playing pretty football.

“He is a football purist, so that is one of his legacies, and always year-on-year making a profit. He’s very astute; he can read a balance sheet.

“He is honourable, honest and an extremely reliable guy. The shareholders have probably tripled or quadrupled under Arsene Wenger and they should thank him.”



Nashville Waffle House: James Shaw denies heroism

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Media caption‘I was completely doing it to save myself”: James Shaw Jr disarmed the gunman

A customer who wrestled a gun from a naked attacker who killed four people at a Waffle House in Nashville, Tennessee on Sunday has described his deed as a “selfish act”.

James Shaw Jr was hailed as a hero by the mayor of Nashville for wrestling the assault rifle out of the gunman’s hands.

But Mr Shaw has been more modest, saying he did it “just to save myself”.

A manhunt is currently under way for suspect Travis Reinking, 29.

Mr Reinking was arrested last year after entering a restricted area near the White House, Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said.

The Waffle House attacker burst into the restaurant at 03:25 local time (08:25 GMT) on Sunday in the suburb of Antioch and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle.

Two other people were wounded. Mr Shaw wrestled the weapon from the man, who then fled the scene on foot.

“I was completely doing it just to save myself,” Mr Shaw told reporters at a news conference. “I did save other people, but I don’t want people to think that I was the Terminator or Superman or anybody like that.”

The four victims were:

  • Akilah DaSilva, 23, who was wounded outside the restaurant and died in hospital. His girlfriend, Shanita Waggoner, was reportedly injured
  • DeEbony Groves, 21, a Belmont University student who reportedly went to the Waffle House with friends from her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta
  • Joe Perez, 20, who was getting food at the Waffle House and died outside, according to police. In a Facebook post his mother said his family was “broken” with the loss
  • Taurean Sanderlin, 29, who worked at the restaurant and was fatally shot outside, police said

How did Mr Shaw intervene?

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police examined the scene for clues

Mr Shaw said he had heard gunshots and glass smashing as people ran for cover.

He then hid in the restaurant’s toilet area but the gunman shot through the door, injuring his arm.

“It was at that time that I kind of made up my mind – because there’s no way to lock that door – that if it was going to come down to it he was gonna have to work to kill me,” he said.

When the firing stopped and the gunman was looking at his weapon, Mr Shaw rushed him and a scuffle ensued.

“I hit him with the door and the gun was kind of jammed up,” he said. “I grabbed it from him and I threw it over the counter top.”

He then forced the gunman out of the restaurant.

Waffle House CEO Walth Ehmer praised Mr Shaw’s actions and hugged him after the news conference.

“You don’t get to meet too many heroes in life but you are my hero,” he said.

How did the attack unfold?

Arriving in a pick-up truck, the killer shot two people outside the restaurant, before firing more shots inside, Mr Aaron said.

Image copyright Nashville Police Department
Image caption The shooting occurred in the small hours of Sunday in a suburb of Nashville

Three victims died at the scene and the fourth in hospital.

Police say he was naked except for a green jacket, which he removed as he left the scene.

The suspect was later spotted in woodland wearing black trousers but no shirt, police say.

Murder warrants are being drawn up against Mr Reinking.

The suspect was previously held for breaching the security barrier at the White House in 2017. He told Secret Service officers that he had a right to “inspect the grounds” and that he wanted to meet President Donald Trump.

Authorities confiscated weapons from Mr Reinking after the White House incident, giving them instead to his father. One of those weapons was reportedly an AR-15, which was the gun used in the Waffle House shooting.

Mr Reinking reportedly suffers from mental health problems, and has had run-ins with the police related to these issues.

A CNN article reports police were called to a public swimming pool after Mr Reinking dived into the water wearing a pink women’s coat, before exposing himself to the lifeguards.

And a year before the White House incident, Mr Reinking allegedly told officers his belief that Taylor Swift was stalking him and hacking his phone.

“Travis stated he did not want to hurt Taylor Swift or anyone else, he only wanted the harassment to stop,” the police report read.

Other “heroic” interventions

In September 2017, John Ogah foiled an attempted armed robbery in Rome. He was baptised by the Pope over Easter.

Ian Grillot was shot in the hand and chest after trying to defend two Indian men in a Kansas bar, one of whom was killed.

US Army veteran Chris Mintz rushed a gunman in an Oregon community college, taking five bullets in the process. The gunman killed nine before turning the gun on himself.

Aymen Derbali meanwhile was left paralysed after protecting others during a 2017 Quebec Mosque shooting in which six were killed and 19 injured.

And France’s then-president Francois Hollande thanked three Americans for overpowering a gunman on a train in 2015 before anyone could be killed.