One of London’s most famous music venues has been badly damaged in an overnight blaze.
The dome on the roof of Koko in Camden has been destroyed by fire, according to the London Fire Brigade.
Sixty firefighters helped fight the flames after the blaze broke out just before 21:00 GMT on Monday and no injuries have been reported.
The venue which began life as the Camden Theatre in 1900 has hosted stars including Madonna, Coldplay and Prince.
Station commander Jon Lewis said the fire was brought under control at about 02:30 on Tuesday, adding: “Firefighters’ quick action and hard work in the early stages meant the fire was contained to the roof and saved the rest of the building.”
Koko owner Olly Bengough said he was “deeply saddened” by the blaze, adding: “We’ll be doing our best to get the redevelopment of this iconic building back on track.”
Crews will remain at the scene throughout the day and have warned people to stay away from the area.
Koko which was closed for refurbishment, was also previously known as the Camden Palace and Camden Hippodrome and has been one of the capital’s most iconic live music venues for decades.
The Rolling Stones, The Clash and Ed Sheeran are among other star names to have performed at the venue, which is close to Mornington Crescent underground station.
It was reportedly the last venue where AC/DC’s Bon Scott was seen drinking before his death from alcohol poisoning in 1980.
In the early 80s it served as a major venue for the punk and New Romantic scene, with singer Steve Strange of the band Visage holding club nights.
Members of the public have been sharing their Koko memories on Twitter.
Marc Rustic was “absolutely gutted” having seen his first grime gig at Koko.
“MoStack was performing and it was honestly the best night of my life,” he added.
Veteran DJ Tony Blackburn who held his legendary soul nights Shakatak also tweeted about the fire.
Koko and the nearby Roundhouse effectively “bookended” Camden’s music scene, according to music writer Carl Allen.
In between the two are 60 music venues including the Dingwalls and Electric Ballroom, as well as restaurants and pubs.
On Twitter the Roundhouse said it was “really sad” to hear the news about our Camden neighbours.
Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said: “Heartbreaking watching the Camden Palace/Koko up in flames this evening, a building that holds so many memories and means so much to us in Camden.”
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan thanked the fire brigade for its quick response.
The venue was set to reopen in the spring after a “major state-of-the-art” refurbishment, after the purchase of two adjacent buildings.
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One of the first mixed-sex couples to become civil partners hailed it as a “unique, special and personal moment”.
Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, who won a legal battle for the right to heterosexual civil partnerships, celebrated at Kensington and Chelsea Register Office in west London.
Previously, the law only allowed same-sex couples to be civil partners.
About 84,000 mixed-sex couples could form civil partnerships next year, the government says.
Introduced for same-sex couples in 2005, civil partnerships offer almost identical rights as marriage, including property, inheritance and tax entitlements.
After Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan won their legal bid at the Supreme Court in 2018 for the right to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage, the rules were changed to make them available to everyone in England and Wales.
The Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill is currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament to make mixed-sex partnerships legal north of the border.
And in Northern Ireland, a law which requires the government to legalise same-sex marriage next month also requires it to extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples.
Speaking on the steps of the register office, Ms Steinfeld said their “personal wish” to form a civil partnership came from a “desire to formalise our relationship in a more modern way, with a focus on equality, and mutual respect”.
She said: “So today is a unique, special and personal moment for us, a moment that we’ve been able to affirm our love and commitment to one another in the company of our beautiful children, Eden and Ariel, and close friends.”
Ms Steinfeld said it creates “new, modern possibilities” for thousands of people to express their love and commitment and ends “the unrivalled position of marriage”.
She called for “deeper discussions” on giving legal recognition to other kinds of caring relationships, including those between friends, siblings and co-parents.
Mr Keidan said they succeeded in their legal battle “against all odds” but added that their mental health has suffered under the strain.
Five years after being refused permission to give notice of a heterosexual civil partnership, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan will finally become civil partners today.
Their conscientious objection to marriage and what they saw as its patriarchal associations led to a lengthy legal battle culminating in a unanimous Supreme Court ruling last year that the law was discriminatory and breached their right to a family and private life.
The government changed the law, opening such a union to the majority of the UK’s 3.3 million co-habiting heterosexual couples.
Many believe they are already protected by so-called “common law marriages”, but these do not exist.
As a result, they do not enjoy the same property, inheritance and tax entitlements as married couples and civil partners.
The government estimates as many as 84,000 mixed sex couples could become civil partners this year, giving them greater rights and protections within their relationships, without having to get married.
Cathy Brown and John Grisswell, from Wirksworth, Derbyshire, are another mixed-sex couple to go through the civil partnership ceremony on the day it became possible.
They had been married to other people before and wanted an alternative option.
Ms Brown said she and Mr Grisswell felt “strongly” that “repeating those vows and promises, knowing they hadn’t worked the first time, wasn’t the route we wanted to go down”.
Mary Ann Lund and Gareth Wood, from Market Harborough, Leicestershire, also went through a civil partnership ceremony on Tuesday.
“It’s more about the equality of a partnership rather than a marriage,” Dr Lund said.
“That’s something important to us, that we feel there is a kind of historical, patriarchal baggage in marriage and it’s not particularly something that’s for us.”
Another couple, Julie Thorpe, 61, and Keith Lomax, 70, said they were looking forward to being among the first mixed-sex people to officially enter a civil partnership – but it would not change their relationship “one jot”.
The couple from near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, have been living together for most of their 37-year relationship and have three children.
They will have a civil partnership ceremony at a register office in Halifax.
Ms Thorpe said: “It won’t change our relationship one jot. It will not make any difference to how we behave towards each other when we get up the next day.
“We have had a very successful relationship for 37 years and a bit of paper is not going to make any difference to that whatsoever. It does give us some legal protection within that relationship.”
Mr Lomax, a human rights lawyer, added: “It is a mutual celebration of all of those and also of the people who actually brought the case to court and changed the law in the first place, because that was a very brave and bold thing to do at considerable financial risk.”
Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has been banned from bowling in English domestic competitions because of an illegal action.
He was reported by the umpires after a T20 Blast match between Middlesex and Somerset at Taunton in August.
The suspension was imposed following a Bowling Review Group hearing at Lord’s.
The 39-year-old off-spinner played four T20 games for Middlesex last summer, taking two wickets and hitting 115 runs, with a highest score of 48.
“Despite identifying procedural testing flaws, which have been accepted by the review committee, as well as realising the findings will potentially affect my reputation as a world-proven all-rounder, I accept the Bowling Review Group findings,” Hafeez said in a statement published on Middlesex’s website.
“As per ECB regulations, I am ready to appear for an independent analysis at an ICC-accredited centre so that I become eligible to play in ECB-organised events,” added Hafeez, who does not currently have a contract with an English county for the 2020 season.
Following the umpires’ reports, Hafeez’s action was independently tested at Loughborough University.
“That assessment, which was contested by Hafeez, found that the player’s elbow extension for his off-spin delivery exceeded 15 degrees as defined in the Illegal Bowling Regulations,” said an England and Wales Cricket Board statement.
“The player has been advised to correct his action. Until he is able to pass an independent reassessment of his action the player is not eligible to bowl in ECB competitions.”
Singer Ellie Goulding came to the aid of a driver whose car was being pushed sideways along a road by a lorry.
Footage shows a Volkswagen GTi being pushed down Western Avenue, A40, by a Royal Mail delivery lorry near the Greenford roundabout in west London.
Goulding posted on Instagram to criticise other drivers who got out to film the crash and “shout abuse” at the lorry driver.
The Royal Mail says it is investigating the crash.
The truck driver appears astonished to see the car in front of his vehicle, claiming he did not see it, or know it was there.
He can be heard yelling: “I didn’t see him, I honestly didn’t see him.”
Goulding told her 14.4 million Instagram followers: “On a side note, I can’t believe the first instinct of the other drivers who got out was to instantly start filming on their phones and shout abuse at the poor shocked driver, not even checking the other driver was okay.
“What on earth.”
Goulding told BBC Radio 1 she intervened because “no-one was stopping”.
She said: “I think people were desperate to get to work. All these people were just driving on.
“We just drove up right next to it [the lorry] to be like ‘Mate, you’ve got a car on you!'”
The driver who was shunted along the road later messaged the singer “to just say he was OK,” she added.
The Met Police said there were no reported injuries and no arrests have been made.
A Royal Mail spokesman added: “We are very concerned about this incident. We sincerely hope that no one was hurt. We are investigating as a matter of urgency.”
Road safety campaigner Rebecca Ashton told the Victoria Derbyshire programme she hoped it was not a stunt.
She said: “He must have been able to hear the scraping of the tyres – possibly a feeling of pushing a car.”
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Harlequins number eight Alex Dombrandt would flourish in the international environment, says England scrum-half and club team-mate Danny Care.
The uncapped 22-year-old is thought to be pushing for a place in England’s Six Nations squad after starring for Quins of late.
“He reads the game so well, he’s smart and makes the right decisions all the time,” Care said.
“You put him in an England shirt and he is only going to excel.”
Care believes Dombrandt would provide England with an extra dimension if he made his international debut.
The former university student is on head coach Eddie Jones’ radar after appearing for an England XV in a non-cap game against the Barbarians in May.
There also appears to be an opening at the back of the scrum, with Billy Vunipola the only specialist number eight in the Rugby World Cup squad after Bristol’s Nathan Hughes fell out of favour.
“For me he’s got everything. He’s hungry for it, he’s got the work-rate and the work ethic, and he’s a good boy,” Care told the Rugby Union Weekly podcast.
Dombrandt only broke into the Quins first team a year ago after completing his undergraduate studies at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
But after a breakthrough season last time around, he recently signed a new deal to stay at The Stoop despite firm interest from Northampton Saints.
“He went to uni, did it properly and enjoyed himself, but he’s got a chance to play professional rugby and he’s grasped it with both hands,” Care added.
“I’m not picking the England squad, but 100% [he should be in].
“I just think if you throw him in there, and you have him running lines alongside Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Joe Marler – which attacker is the defender going to take?
“He is different, and there aren’t many of him around. And he can play six [blind-side flanker], seven [open-side flanker] or [number] eight.”
A 12-year-old boy killed in a hit-and-run outside a school has been named locally as Harley Watson.
He was struck near Debden Park High School in Loughton, Essex, at about 15:20 GMT on Monday.
A 51-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of his murder, as well as the attempted murder of four other teenagers and a 23-year-old woman who were hurt in the crash.
One of the victims was described by his mother as “battered and bruised”.
It is understood all the injured children – two 15-year-old boys, a 13-year-old boy, and a girl, 16 – are pupils at the school.
Debden Park’s head teacher Helen Gascoyne, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and all those affected.
“The school will be open [on Tuesday] with a number of counsellors on hand to support our community.”
Christian Cavanagh, executive head teacher, described the Harley’s death as “a young life so tragically lost”.
He said: “This young man had made his mark on the school and was liked and loved by staff and students.
“We will consult with the family and our school community to decide how best to commemorate his life.”
‘I’ve been hit by a car’
Donna Mills, the mother of Alfie Barnes who was one of the 15-year-olds struck by the car, said he was “still in shock… battered and bruised”.
“He remembers the car coming towards him, he remembers getting hit, but it is a bit of a blur. He hit his head and I think he blacked out for a bit,” she said.
“Alfie rang me and said ‘mum I have been hit by a car’, so I shot down there as fast as I could. It was horrendous.
“It was… horrible to see, kids laying on the floor, just terrible.”
Essex Police said officers are looking for a silver Ford Ka that was “likely to have damage to [its] front”.
Earlier, the force took the step of naming Terry Glover, 51, as someone they wanted to speak to in connection with the crash.
A senior police officer convicted of possessing a child abuse video on her phone has been told she faces “immense” career consequences.
A court heard Novlett Robyn Williams failed to report her sister for sending the “disturbing” clip last year.
While jurors at the Old Bailey accepted Williams did not view the material, they rejected her claim she was unaware of its presence on her phone.
She was ordered to carry out 200 hours’ community service.
Williams had denied the charge, saying she “zoned out” when she received the video.
The jury was told she was one of 17 people to receive the 54-second clip via WhatsApp, and prosecutors had argued there was no way she could have missed its arrival in her inbox.
They said a response sent to her older sister Jennifer Hodge, saying “please call”, was evidence that she wanted to discuss the content.
Judge Richard Marks QC, sentencing, told the Old Bailey her “grave error of judgement” was likely to have “immense” career consequences.
The court heard Williams, who was commended for her work after the Grenfell Tower disaster, had an exemplary disciplinary record, was highly regarded for her work and was awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal for distinguished service in 2003.
Judge Marks told her it was “completely tragic you found yourself in the position you now do” considering her “stellar career in the police force over 30 years”.
She was cleared of a charge of corrupt or improper exercise of police powers in failing to report the distribution of an image.
As the prosecuting barrister, Richard Wright QC, noted, this is a “sad” case for all those involved, particularly for Robyn Williams who could well lose the job she cherishes.
She was the only one to be prosecuted of the 17 people who received the child abuse video.
Two individuals reported it, but no action was taken against the other 14, raising concerns among her supporters that she’s been unfairly targeted.
Did it have to end up in a trial at the Old Bailey? Or could the Superintendent have been dealt with through internal misconduct procedures, given her 36 years’ distinguished service?
There is also a wider question for all of us about our legal responsibilities when we’re sent material on social media that we haven’t asked for.
This case has demonstrated the risks of not reporting and deleting footage that contains illegal content.
Williams’ sister Jennifer Hodge, 56, of Brent, was ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service having been found guilty of distributing an indecent image of a child.
The social worker had denied sending the video, which she received from her partner and allegedly depicted a young girl performing a sex act on a man.
Her barrister Andrea Brown also told the court the conviction had “destroyed her relationship” with her police officer sister, who is her only immediate family member.
Hodge’s partner Dido Massivi, 61, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years as well as 200 hours of community service.
The bus driver had denied two counts of distributing indecent photos and one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image portraying a person having sex with a horse.
Prosecutors said there was no suggestion the defendants derived any sexual gratification from the images but all three will be placed on the sex offenders’ register – Hodge and Williams for five years, and Massivi for 10.
Both Hodge and Massivi were also sacked from their jobs following their arrest, the court heard.
Scotland Yard said Williams remains on restricted duties but that would be “reviewed now criminal matters are complete”.
A mother and her two children were among six British nationals killed in the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, an inquest heard.
Anita Nicholson, 42, and her children, Alexander, 14 and Annabel, 11, died instantly in an explosion at the Shangri-la Hotel in Colombo.
Lorraine Campbell, Bill Harrop and Sally Bradley also died in the blast at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel.
All six were unlawfully killed, the coroner recorded.
Mr Harrop, a retired firefighter and his wife, Dr Bradley, had been on holiday from their home in Australia when they were killed in an explosion at the restaurant of their hotel.
The couple, originally from Manchester, had been described as soulmates.
Ms Campbell, an IT director from Greater Manchester, was on a business trip at the time. Her family has spoken of the “enormous void” created by her death.
Ben Nicholson survived the blast which killed his wife and children.
The family had been visiting Sri Lanka from their home in Singapore having previously lived in Upminster, East London.
Mrs Nicholson, a lawyer for mining firm Anglo American, went to college in Thurrock, Essex and had been living in Singapore with her family since 2010.
Senior coroner for Essex Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded that all six were unlawfully killed as she concluded inquest hearings in Chelmsford.
Mr Nicholson described his wife as “a wonderful, perfect wife and a brilliant, loving and inspirational mother to our two wonderful children”.
He said: “Alex and Annabel were the most amazing, intelligent, talented and thoughtful children, and Anita and I were immensely proud of them both and looking forward to seeing them develop into adulthood.
“They shared with their mother the priceless ability to light up any room they entered and bring joy to the lives of all they came into contact with.”
The six British Nationals were among 310 victims of a wave of bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
Two other Britons, brother and sister Daniel and Amelie Linsey, 19 and 15, were killed in the blasts.
A man embarked on a series of “depraved” sex attacks on women and children, one as young as 11, a court has heard.
Joseph McCann is accused of 37 offences against 11 alleged victims, including rapes, kidnap and false imprisonment, over two weeks in April and May.
The Old Bailey heard the 34-year-old snatched two women off London streets and told one he would “never release her” as he raped her multiple times.
Mr McCann of Harrow denies the charges.
The jury was told one 25-year-old woman was abducted as she walked home in Walthamstow, east London, just after midnight on 25 April.
Prosecutor John Price QC said the defendant told her “to stop screaming or he would stab her” then dragged her into a car “and drove off”.
The court heard the woman was raped “many times” in various locations over the next 14 hours and subjected to acts of “shocking depravity and violence”.
“He made her call him ‘daddy’ and say that she was a child. At one point the man parked the car near to a school, saying that he wanted to make her rape a child,” Mr Price said.
Later the same day, and while still holding the woman prisoner, the defendant abducted a 21-year-old woman in Edgware, north London, as she walked along the street with her sister, the court heard.
CCTV of the woman being bundled into a silver people carrier just after midday was played to the jury.
Mr Price said she “suffered a similar fate” to the 25-year-old woman before the pair managed to escape while in Watford where Mr McCann had booked a hotel room for two nights.
He told the jury they would have come to “further harm” but one of the women hit their captor over the head with a vodka bottle and some builders “bravely” intervened to prevent them being recaptured.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has been criticised for saying it would have been “common sense” to flee the Grenfell Tower fire, ignoring fire brigade advice.
The Leader of the House of Commons was appearing on a radio phone-in on the findings of a Grenfell inquiry report when he made the comments.
The Grenfell United group called the MP’s comments “insulting”. Mr Rees-Mogg said he “profoundly apologised”.
Seventy-two people died in a fire at the tower block on 14 June 2017.
Speaking on LBC’s Nick Ferrari Show on Monday, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The more one’s read over the weekend about the report and about the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you’re told and leave you are so much safer.
“And I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building. It just seems the common sense thing to do.
“And it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen.”
On Tuesday, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “What I meant to say is that I would have also listened to the fire brigade’s advice to stay and wait at the time.
“However, with what we know now and with hindsight I wouldn’t and I don’t think anyone else would. I would hate to upset the people of Grenfell if I was unclear in my comments.”
In a statement, survivors’ group Grenfell United said: “The Leader of the House of Commons suggesting that the 72 people who lost their lives at Grenfell lacked common sense is beyond disrespectful.
“It is extremely painful and insulting to bereaved families.”
Former Grenfell resident Joe Delaney told the BBC: “Jacob Rees-Mogg talking about common sense is a bit like my dog talking about wifi. It’s surprising he even understands the concept.”
Grenfell inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said fewer people would have died if the London Fire Brigade (LFB) had taken certain actions earlier.
Sir Martin criticised the LFB for following a “stay put” strategy, where firefighters and 999 operators told residents to stay in their flats for nearly two hours after the blaze broke out.
The advice is designed to prevent hundreds of people descending stairs while firefighters are coming up during a contained fire.
As flames spread around Grenfell’s external cladding, the advice may have prevented some families escaping, the report found.
LFB Commissioner Dany Cotton told the London Assembly on Tuesday that the brigade would respond differently to a Grenfell-like fire in the future.
She told the fire resilience and emergency planning committee: “Knowing what we know now about Grenfell Tower and similar buildings with ACM cladding, our response would be very different.”