UK news

Firefighters have been put on standby to deliver school meals in Oxfordshire, following the collapse of service provider Carillion.

The firm is to go into liquidation after losing money on big contracts and running up huge debts.

Oxfordshire County Council is to take over services provided by Carillion, including meal provision in 90 schools.

The authority said the fire service had been ready to deliver meals on Monday, but had not needed to.

Property director Alexandra Bailey earlier said 250 school catering and cleaning staff employed by Carillion should come to work as normal.

 She said the council would ensure the staff were paid.

Oxfordshire County Council signed a 10-year contract with Carillion in 2012 to provide a range of services including property management and building new schools.

All of the contracts were due to have transferred back to the council by the end of March because of the authority's "changing property and estate needs", the council said.

A former friend of Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, who harassed her for two decades, has been jailed for contacting her from prison.

Edward Vines, 47, breached a restraining order by writing to the BBC journalist while he was behind bars and later out on licence, a court heard.

Judge Peter Ross, who sentenced Vines to 45 months, said the repeated contact amounted to "psychological torture".

Ms Maitlis said she had been left "jumpy around strangers".

The presenter first met Vines, of Clarkes Row, Oxford, when they were students at Cambridge University.

He was first convicted of harassment in 2002.

'Scared and let down'
He was issued with an indefinite restraining order in 2009, which he was convicted of twice breaching last year.

As well as contacting her while in prison for those offences, Vines wrote again while living in a bail hostel and subject of licence conditions.

Judge Ross described this as "wholly unsatisfactory" and gave the Probation Service and the governor at HMP Bullingdon 10 days for a written explanation.

In a statement read to Oxford Crown Court, Ms Maitlis said she had felt "scared and let down" after she heard Vines had breached the restraining order "even from within the prison system".

She said it had affected her relationship with her husband, and scared her children, "who thought the threats had gone away... while he was behind bars".

'Constant threat'
"It has affected my ability to do my work, what time I feel able to come home at night (I work late nights often). It also makes me jumpy around strangers for no reason as I fear any advance might be him," she wrote.

"Altogether the breach has been a reminder for me that this man remains a constant threat in my life and my family's life and that my ability to do my work, hang out with my children and lead a normal family life without constant sense of suspicion and fear has been badly damaged."

Ms Maitlis said her husband had been left "frustrated that we cannot get to the bottom of this problem even though we have been tackling it through the CPS and the court for over 20 years".

Vines's sentencing was delayed after his application to alter his plea was refused by the court.

At the time, his lawyer, Michael Gould, told the court he could no longer represent his client as he had been "professionally embarrassed".


He's been a doctor, a detective, a king and a prince. Now Benedict Cumberbatch has become the president - of the drama school where he learned his craft.

The Sherlock star succeeds Timothy West as the president of Lamda (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art), from which he graduated in 2000.

Cumberbatch said it would be "an honour to watch the next generation of actors, directors and technicians blossom".

West, Lamda's president for the last 31 years, welcomed the appointment.

"Lamda's president now should, I feel, be a visible and potent power in our profession," said the veteran actor.

"When I heard that Benedict Cumberbatch had accepted our invitation to take over the presidency, I was overjoyed."

Based in west London, Lamda is the UK's oldest drama school and recently opened a new building containing three performance spaces.

Other famous alumni include Jim Broadbent, Chiwetel Ejiofor, David Oyelowo and Dame Harriet Walter.

Jenny Joseph, whose poem Warning was twice voted Britain's favourite poem, has died at the age of 85.

It is perhaps best known for its opening lines: "When I am an old lady I shall wear purple / With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me."

Despite it being about old age, Joseph was in her 20s when she wrote it.

She wrote several poetry and prose collections, the most recent being published in 2009. Joseph died earlier this month after a short illness.

'One of best-loved poets'
Born in Birmingham, Joseph studied at the University of Oxford and went on to work as a newspaper reporter, pub landlady and lecturer.

Her agents described her as "one of Britain's best-loved poets".

Warning was voted Britain's favourite modern poem in 2006 - having previously been named the nation's favourite post-war poem 10 years previously in a BBC poll.

It went on to inspire the launch of the Red Hat Society - a women's group whose members wear purple, accessorised with a red hat.

However, the success of the poem is said to have annoyed Joseph, according to her publishers Bloodaxe Books.

"At the same time, she was delighted that it had been translated into numerous languages and was known throughout the world," they said. "What she disliked most was that this early poem written in her 20s overshadowed the rest of her work, which was largely concerned with the duality of existence...

"She viewed her poems as attempts to present 'how things work' at the core, at the edge."

'New ways of telling stories'
Joseph was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999 and won the James Tait Black Prize for fiction for her work of prose and verse Persephone. She had previously won the Cholmondeley Award for her second poetry collection, Rose in the Afternoon.

She also had work published with Enitharmon Press. Its director Stephen Stuart-Smith, who worked with her on 2009's Nothing Like Love, described that last collection as "exploring a wide range of literary forms, new ways of telling stories, and demonstrating her skill in introducing cadences and everyday speech into the lyrical movement of her verse.

"As a person and as a poet she was warm and witty, as a friend loyal and supportive, as a performer entertaining as well as unpredictable."



Eliza Dushku has reiterated claims she made about being abused at the age of 12 while working on the film True Lies.

In a Facebook post, the now 37-year-old alleged that stuntman Joel Kramer sexually molested her.

Following the allegations, however, Kramer has issued several denials, calling the claims "entirely untrue".

In response, Dushku, best known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has posted again saying she "stands by" her claims, and is telling "the truth"

The actress, who played Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, shared on Facebook an article reporting her alleged abuse and said: "I stand by what I said here. His denials are not accurate. What I wrote is the truth. I won't let him victimize me again."


Dushku's original post, which she shared on Facebook on Saturday, alleged Kramer had "groomed" her and went on to "sexually molest" her in a hotel room.

She added that Kramer, who was the stunt co-ordinator on the 1994 film True Lies, purposely injured her after he was confronted by an adult friend in whom she had confided.

Dushku wrote: "I remember how... later that very same day, by no small coincidence, I was injured from a stunt-gone-wrong on the Harrier jet. With broken ribs, I spent the evening in the hospital...

He continued: "I understand the culture in Hollywood has been historically unfair to women and I applaud and support women who are standing up and pointing out these injustices.

"It is unfortunate, however, that this new culture allows a person to destroy the life and livelihood of a person with false accusations."

'Inappropriate sexual behaviour'
A number of people have come forward supporting Dushku's account - including her mother in a Facebook post of her own.

Judith Dushku says she partially knew what is said to have happened to her daughter - but claims she "was afraid of Joel Kramer, too".

Sue Booth-Forbes acted as the 12-year-old actress's legal guardian while on the set of True Lies and says Dushku is "telling the truth".

In a statement sent to Deadline, Booth-Forbes says she reported "the inappropriate sexual behaviour towards 12-year-old Eliza to a person in authority," but was met with "blank stares".

She claims she "had the sense that I wasn't telling that person anything they didn't already know," and says the complaint did not go any further.

Writer and professor Peter Conti, who is a long-time friend of Eliza Dushku, has also corroborated the story, writing on Facebook that the actress confided in him "a few weeks after it happened".

Conti says he confronted Kramer at the opening of True Lies but claims "security got in the way".

"I certainly regret not handling [it] in a more direct way - I was much younger and I thought: If the producers of the film aren't doing anything, who the hell is going to believe me?"

Kramer's talent agency has confirmed to BBC News it has stopped working with him.

In a statement Worldwide Production Agency said: "WPA has elected to part ways with Joel Kramer based on the allegations of misconduct now being reported.

"Such behaviour is unacceptable and entirely at odds with the the standards of conduct we demand of ourselves, and expect from our clients."

'No mercy'
Meanwhile, Jamie Lee Curtis - who starred in True Lies as Dushku's mother - has written a column for the Huffington Post, claiming she found out about the allegations "a few years ago. I was shocked and saddened then and still am today," she writes.

The actress added: "All of us must take some responsibility... Many of us involved in "True Lies" were parents... What allegedly happened to Eliza, away from the safety net of all of us and our purview is a terrible, terrible thing to learn about and have to reconcile."

True Lies director James Cameron has commented on the claims saying: "Had I known about it, there would have been no mercy. Now especially, I have daughters. There's really no mercy now."

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