Sunday, April 20, 2008

Do you think his mum knitted this?

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A chihuahua takes on the Karate Kid

Australian criminal too fat for jail says lesson learnt

A man considered too fat to be jailed has spoken out after escaping time behind bars because of his weight.

Shepparton man Claude Jackson was ordered to do community service for smashing a glass over another man's head at a Shepparton bar on January 14, 2007.

The victim, Tim Kirkman, received a 4cm cut to his neck in the incident and required hospital treatment. Jackson pleaded guilty to recklessly causing serious injury and affray.

A medical report submitted to the County Court sitting at Shepparton said Mr Jackson, who weighed 190kg, had suffered three heart attacks earlier in life and suffered from ongoing arthritis, sleep apnoea and other weight-related ailments.

It said he had once weighed up to 234kg and that "morbid obesity" had been present all his life. The medical report also warned that a jail term would "create great problems" for his health.

While reluctant to talk about the incident, the 21-year-old said he was deeply sorry and had been keeping out of trouble since the bar brawl. "I would like to say sorry to (Mr Kirkman)," Mr Jackson said yesterday. If I could take back everything that happened on the night, I would. But unfortunately it happened and I have to deal with it. I have definitely learnt my lesson."

Italian man convicted for staring at woman on train

An Italian man was given a suspended jail sentence for staring too intensely at a woman sitting in front of him on a train.

A judge sentenced the man in his 30s, whose name was not revealed, to 10 days in prison and a 40 euro fine after a 55-year old woman filed a complaint for sexual harassment.

His lawyer said on Friday he would appeal the sentence. The court will explain its verdict later.

The two met on two separate occasions in 2005 on a commuter train going from Lecco, a town in northern Italy, to Milan.

The first time, the man sat next to the woman but she felt he had moved too close for comfort. The next day, the man sat in front of the same woman and according to her complaint, stared at her for the whole journey.

The two did not speak.

Sheriff charged with using inmates as sex slaves

Authorities have charged a western Oklahoma sheriff with coercing and bribing female inmates so he could use them in a sex-slave operation run out of his jail.

Custer County Sheriff Mike Burgess resigned on Wednesday just as state prosecutors filed 35 felony charges against him, including 14 counts of second-degree rape, seven counts of forcible oral sodomy and five counts of bribery by a public official.

Burgess, the top officer in the county of 26,000 since 1994, was released after posting $50,000 bail.The crimes are to have occurred between October 2005 and April 2007.

He could be sentenced to 467 years in prison if convicted on all counts, special prosecutor James Boring said, though a lesser sentence would be more likely.

Many thanks Casey!

Mother duck in panic over lost ducklings

Commuters in Salt Lake City on Wednesday stopped their vehicles on Highland Drive - not for traffic, but for a mother duck who lost her babies in a storm drain.

A commuter saw the mother duck hysterically walking across the street, and decided to stop and help. Another passerby soon joined and the two spotted several baby ducks stuck in a nearby storm drain.

Rescuers pulled the baby ducks up from the storm drain, but catching the hysterical mother was a bit tougher because it kept running out into the street - where cars passed.

The mother duck was eventually captured and reunited with her ducklings. The birds were later taken to a pond - far from the dangers of rush-hour traffic.

Woman takes her beloved ducks on holiday to cheer them up

A female Doctor Dolittle loves her pet ducks so much she took them on holiday.

Donella Fernyhough, known as Donella Dolittle to pals, wanted to cheer the pair up after another died.

So she and husband Bernard whisked them off to Scotland from their Leeds home - taking the birds' portable house, bath and mounds of hay to play in.

Feathered pair Bruce and Eilean got over pal Coirie's death on the shores of Loch Laggan in the Highlands.

Donella, 45, said: "We could tell Coirie's death had hit them hard. They were really sad and calling out for her. They are so much happier than before we went away."

The pampered poultry had the back seat of the car to themselves on the trip - with regular stops for them to walk and splash in puddles.

There's a video interview with Donella Dolittle on this page.

Guide dog barred from train ... in case it had fleas

A blind man was stranded miles from home after being prevented from boarding a train – because his guide dog "might have fleas". Mark McClenaghan, who was unable to board the sleeper from Aberdeen to Edinburgh with his dog Friday, wants an apology and compensation from rail bosses.

He had to catch a later train to Perth on Tuesday evening, and then pay out £95 for a taxi to his home in Dalry. First Scotrail is investigating his complaint. The firm says it has clear guidelines for staff and guide dogs are welcome on all trains.

Mr McClenaghan, who has a free travel pass for Scotland as he is registered blind, said: "The guard told me I couldn't get on because my dog was a health risk. It might pass on fleas, germs or mites.

"She said this was the only seated carriage on the train, and if someone was allergic or afraid of dogs, they couldn't move to another one. She even said they would have to book a deep cleaning team to clean the train afterward.

"I couldn't believe it. I said this was a guide dog, not a pet. It's certified by the Health and Safety Executive to enter any establishment as a mobility aid. I shouldn't be penalised.

"I asked to speak to the station manager, but he reiterated what the guard had said. He even questioned my disability. I'm 95 per cent blind and Friday was clearly wearing a harness. I couldn't believe the sheer ignorance."

There's a news video here.

Man locked his grandmother in a shed before burgling her home

A 21-year-old man imprisoned his grandmother in a freezing cold shed and then went into her home and stole her cash, Mold Crown Court has heard.

Dorothy Harrison, 62, who had taken Richard Harrison into her Welshpool home when his mother turned him out, feared she would be there all night.

Judge John Rogers QC told the defendant he had been guilty of wicked offences. "Your grandmother, who gave you a home and fed you, is a lady with mobility problems and who suffers from asthma," the judge said. On this night you lured her out of her own home into the shed, which you locked. You ignored her pleas to be released.

"You then went back into her home, smashed her china cabinet and stole £15 in cash. Had it not been for neighbour Geoffrey Meredith, your grandmother might well have spent the whole night in that shed which could have had a fatal effect on her health. Only prison is appropriate."

It was freezing cold, she used a plastic pram cover which was to try and keep warm to no avail, and broke the door handle while trying to open it. It was so cold that the window had frozen over.

Harrison admitted false imprisonment, damage and theft and was jailed for 18 months.

Hypnotist 'put himself into trance for surgery'

A hypnotist stunned medics by snubbing anaesthetic and sending himself into a trance before undergoing surgery.

Mind-bender Alex Lenkei, who could hear the cracking of bones as the surgeon sawed at his hand but felt nothing, is thought to be the first person in the world to perform the feat.

Mr Lenkei, 61, has told of how he felt "wonderful" as he showed off his bandaged and swollen hand, fresh from the 83-minute surgery he underwent on Wednesday at Worthing Hospital, West Sussex.

Mr Lenkei, a father-of-one from Worthing, told how he could hear his surgeon talking as he slit a four-inch cut in his right wrist to chisel out a walnut-sized chunk of bone and move a tendon.

He said: "It took me about 30 seconds to put myself under and I wasn't aware of any part of my body apart from my arm. I could feel the surgeon pulling and manipulating me - then I heard the cracking of bones. I heard him say, 'can I have the saw please?', and imagined him holding this great big thing in his hand. But fortunately he then said' 'I think we'll use the smaller one.'

"He used a hammer and chisel at one stage and I could hear him hammering away at the bone. I heard everything he was saying to his assistants and anaethetist, but there was no gossip. It was a shame - I was hoping to hear something juicy."

There's a news video on this page and some gory photos of the operation in progress on this.

Naked ram-raider robbed supermarket before police chase

A naked ram-raider ransacked a supermarket before leading police on a high-speed car chase.

David Ball, 31 – wearing just Ugg boots and a bed sheet – grabbed £1,500 of cigarettes after driving into security shutters.

Later a policeman spotted him doing double the 40mph limit.

Ball was caught after ignoring red lights and hitting two cars. He was twice the drink limit, Solihull JPs heard.

He told police he could not remember the raid.

Ball, of Kenilworth, admitted burglary, aggravated vehicle taking, drink-driving and driving with no insurance. He was refused bail and will be sentenced next month.

Disabled man given ASBO after bombarding council with 10,000 calls in just four months

A disabled man has been given an ASBO – for bombarding council staff with 10,000 phone calls in four months.

Wheelchair-bound Robert Bullough, 59, made 681 calls in just one day and 5,000 over a five-week period – causing some harassed staff to consider quitting.

A court has now banned him from all council buildings and from threatening staff or ringing officials, except in an emergency, for two years.

He accepted the number of calls had been “a nuisance”, but said they did not cost him a penny – they were free under his broadband package.

But moaning Bullough, who called to complain about the cost of home helps, now says he will write instead.

After the AntiSocial Behaviour Order was made, Bullough said: “If they had helped me in the first place I wouldn’t have had to contact them so many times.” He added: “This ASBO doesn’t stop me writing letters – I can write as many as I like.”

Wedding number four for woman, 24, who's mother ran off with her husband

Serial bride Alison Smith wed for the fourth time yesterday - at the age of 24.

It was the latest in a bizarre series of marriages for the young mum.

Alison's ex-husbands include a man who eloped with her own mum, a bigamist and a pal who stood in for her fiance when he jilted her the night before the wedding.

Yesterday, Alison tied the knot with Alexander Shepherd at Arbroath register office.