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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Southampton await news on whether strikers Shane Long and Michael Obafemi will be available after suffering with injury and illness respectively.
Defender Yan Valery is again doubtful due to an infection.
Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho has Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko available again after they missed the draw with Norwich due to suspension.
However, Heung-min Son is still banned and Ben Davies, Hugo Lloris and Danny Rose remain on the injury list.
MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
Some felt Ralph Hasenhuttl was more likely than Pochettino to be out of a job first following Southampton’s 9-0 annihilation against Leicester, but he has since steered them clear of the relegation zone and reckons that awful evening has actually been the catalyst for their recent upturn in form.
Defensive issues have been an unexpected feature of Jose Mourinho’s spell at Spurs, although the club struggled at the back on their travels throughout 2019, having gone a year without an away clean sheet in the league.
VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl: “We are a much more competitive team at the moment.
“We have found a way that works and it is not a coincidence now that we are continuously taking points and we are able to force problems for every opponent.
“The level is now clear, the benchmark is clear. We will not lean back; we will go further forward and try to extend our performances.”
I feel Tottenham have so much quality that if they get it right against Southampton, who are on a nice little run, then they will win comfortably.
- Southampton’s 2-1 victory last season ended a run of six consecutive home league games without a win against Spurs.
- Tottenham have won 11 of the 15 league meetings since Southampton returned to the top flight in 2012 – their most victories in that period against any Premier League club.
- Southampton’s tally of 13 points from the past seven rounds of fixtures is only bettered by Liverpool and Manchester United.
- Their only two Premier League home wins this season were against the current bottom two sides, Watford and Norwich City.
- Saints are looking to avoid equalling their club top-flight record of 16 consecutive home fixtures without a clean sheet, set from March 1998 to January 1999.
- Danny Ings has scored half of his team’s 24 league goals this season, the highest proportion of any player in the top flight.
- Since Jose Mourinho took over as head coach, only Liverpool have won more Premier League points than the 16 by Spurs.
- It is a year to the day since Tottenham last kept a clean sheet away from home in the league, in a 3-0 win over Cardiff.
- They have conceded a goal in 17 successive away league matches, their longest top-flight run without a clean sheet since April 1976 to April 1977.
- Spurs haven’t lost their first league game of a calendar year since 2009, winning eight and drawing two.
- Harry Kane has scored in six consecutive league appearances against Southampton – only three players have had longer streaks versus a single Premier League opponent, led by Robin van Persie’s eight-match run against Stoke.
A 60-year-old man has been stabbed to death in a residential street in south London.
Police and ambulance crews were called to reports of a stabbing in Woodcroft Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon, at 21:30 GMT on Monday.
The victim was found outside a property with knife injuries and was pronounced dead at 21:49, the Met Police said.
A 50-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and taken into custody.
The suspect became unwell while in custody and was transferred to hospital where he is in a stable condition, police said.
Det Ch Insp Simon Harding said: “The victim was found injured in a residential street. While it is not a heavy footfall location, there may have been members of the public travelling through Woodcroft Road who saw something.
“I urge those people to come forward and speak to my officers without delay.
“No matter how insignificant you think it may be please do make the call.
“We are building the sequence of events leading up to and immediately following this attack which has led to a man’s death, your call could complete the picture.”
Inquiries into the circumstances continue.
Love Island host Caroline Flack has stood down from the show after being charged with assault by beating.
“I feel the best thing I can do is stand down for series six,” she said, describing ITV2’s Love Island as “the best show on telly”.
Police were called to the 40-year-old’s home in Islington, London, last week, where she lives with her partner, tennis player Lewis Burton.
She was bailed and will appear before magistrates on Monday.
“There have been a significant number of media reports and allegations into my personal life,” she said in her Instagram story on Tuesday.
“While matters were not as have been reported, I am committed to working with the authorities and I can’t comment further on these matters until the legal process is over.”
The star, who was due to present the forthcoming winter edition of the popular ITV2 show – which is expected to start on 12 January – added: “However, Love Island has been my world for the last five years, it’s the best show on telly.
“In order not to detract attention from the upcoming series I feel the best thing I can do is stand down for series six. I want to wish the incredible team working on the show a fantastic series in Cape Town.”
Flack began presenting Love Island in summer 2015, having fronted the 12th series of The X Factor alongside Olly Murs, and winning Strictly Come Dancing in 2014.
An ITV spokesperson said: “ITV has a long-standing relationship with Caroline and we understand and accept her decision.
“We will remain in contact with her over the coming months about future series of Love Island.”
On Monday, Burton wrote on Instagram that his girlfriend had been subject to a “witch hunt” since being charged, describing her as “the most lovely girl”.
“I’m tired of the lies and abuse aimed at my girlfriend. This is not a witch hunt, this is someone’s life,” he wrote.
The TV star mentioned him personally online, writing: “My boyfriend Lewis… I love you.”
London’s tallest landmark has been lit up in the lead up to the end of 2019.
Between 16:00 and 01:00 the next morning until 30 December, the top 20 floors of The Shard will be illuminated as part of three nine-minute sequences.
The designs have been created by the school children.
Commuters are facing disruption as workers on South Western Railway (SWR) begin a 27-day strike.
It comes after talks between the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and SWR over a long-running dispute over guards on trains broke down.
The operator called the action “unnecessary” and said “more than half” of weekday trains would run, but warned of queues at stations.
The union said the strike is “in defence of passenger safety”.
The RMT said SWR had “point-blank refused” to show any serious movement at talks held at the conciliation service Acas.
The union has been demanding that guards should oversee the operation of doors and perform other safety functions in dispatching trains.
It said the company’s proposals would leave guards as “glorified porters” without any safety responsibilities.
As the strike got under way earlier, disruption was compounded when a man seen carrying an air rifle led to a train being evacuated.
Elsewhere, Sophia Griffiths, who travels from Earlsfield station into central London, said: “Usually when they strike the station is not too bad but today was just nuts.
“I saw the queue outside and thought ‘no way’ – I’ve never seen it that long so I took the bus to Tooting and got the Tube from there.”
She said she was supportive of the striking workers and said it was “crazy they (SWR) would let it get to this”.
The communications officer at Nuffield Council on Bioethics said she was considering cycling to work during the prolonged action and working from home more.
Charlotte Burnell said it took almost an hour to travel from Claygate, Surrey, to Waterloo – a journey which usually takes 34 minutes.
“You can manage a couple of days of strike action but the thought of it going on for 27 days is pretty overwhelming,” she said.
“It’s physically uncomfortable. I was forced to stand awkwardly and my back was killing me.”
Steve Nagioff described passengers “rammed” into a carriage on his commute from Whitton in south west London.
“A woman next to me said that she couldn’t breathe. The train stopped at Richmond and I fell out – luckily other passengers got off the train so I got back on it again.
“It’s just not right – I pay full ticket prices. If the service is going to be like this then it should be free,” he added.
Becky Bartlett, from Wokingham in Berkshire, said she was an hour late for work in London after her regular train was cancelled.
“I have various theatre and gig plans for the month, plus Christmas parties and events, which I have either had to cancel, some at loss of the ticket price, or I’m going to have to pay for a £30+ taxi from Reading just to get home.
“This whole experience is going to be horrific. I’m one day in and I’ve already had enough.”
RMT assistant general secretary Steve Hedley said members were “absolutely furious” with SWR following the Acas talks.
“Of course our members don’t want to lose a month’s money running up to Christmas but they’re prepared to do that to show that safety and accessibility for disabled people is non-negotiable.”
Regional organiser Mick Tosh said the union would consider financial support for any members who suffered particular hardship because of the strike.
SWR said it had offered “a guard on every train, and a safety critical role for that guard”.
Managing director Andy Mellors said the action was “unnecessary” and the issue needed to be settled before a new fleet of modern suburban trains was introduced next year.
“Our assessment is that by having drivers opening and closing doors, that will actually optimise the performance of the network by getting more trains to Waterloo on time.
“We’ve been very clear that we’re committed to keeping a guard on our trains and those guards will have safety critical competencies. Our proposals will make guards more customer facing and improve safety, security and accessibility.”
By Paul Clifton, BBC South transport correspondent
At Chandler’s Ford station this morning, the ticket office door was locked. The platform was empty and all the signs were blank.
It’s going to stay that way for a month. The next train isn’t due until 2 January 2020.
It’s the same story at Swaythling, Millbrook, Dean, Dunbridge and a few other small stations popular with children heading to school as well as daily commuters.
The two sides are trading insults and blaming each other. They haven’t budged in more than two years of strikes.
I don’t think many passengers have any goodwill left at all for either the RMT or South Western Railway – because this month-long strike is going to cause real hardship for hundreds of thousands of people each day.
SWR released a revised timetable and said it would provide longer trains to increase capacity where possible.
The operator runs services between London Waterloo and Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth as well as Reading, Exeter and Bristol. It also operates suburban commuter lines in south-west London, Surrey, Berkshire, and north-east Hampshire.
Strike days are as follows:
- From 00:01 GMT on Monday 2 December until 23:59 on Wednesday 11 December
- From 00:01 on Friday 13 December until 23:59 on Tuesday 24 December
- From 00:01 on Friday 27 December 2019 until 23:59 on 1 January
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A second cinema chain has pulled the gang-themed film Blue Story after seven police officers were injured during a brawl at an entertainment complex.
It comes after youths, some armed with machetes, sparked a police operation at the Star City multiplex in Birmingham.
Vue has banned the film from its 91 UK and Ireland venues and Showcase has also dropped the movie.
The move has prompted a backlash on social media with some labelling the ban as “racist”.
Five teenagers including a girl, 13, were arrested in connection with the disturbance, which involved up to 100 young people in a public area of the multiplex, on Saturday night.
In a statement, Vue said the film opened in 60 of its sites across the UK and Ireland on Friday.
“But during the first 24 hours of the film over 25 significant incidents were reported and escalated to senior management in 16 separate cinemas,” it said.
“This is the biggest number we have ever seen for any film in a such a short time frame.”
A spokeswoman for Vue confirmed police had been called to some of the incidents, but could not confirm exactly how many times.
The Odeon chain says it is not withdrawing the film, but “a number of security measures are in place” for Blue Story screenings, though it refused to elaborate on what they are.
In Birmingham, a note on the door of the Odeon cinema at the Broadway Plaza said staff would be carrying out bag searches throughout the day.
Blue Story’s writer and director, Andrew Onwubolu, said Saturday’s disturbance in Birmingham was “truly unfortunate”.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, the rapper-turned-filmmaker wrote: “Sending love to all those involved in yesterday’s violence at Star City in Birmingham.
“It’s truly unfortunate that a small group of people can ruin things for everybody.
“Blue Story is a film about love not violence.
“I hope that the blame is placed with the individuals and not an indictment of the film itself.
“I pray that we can all learn to live with love and treat each other with tolerance and respect.”
An online petition has been launched calling for the film to be reinstated at Vue cinemas. It attracted more than 6,700 signatures in 18 hours.
The Vue chain has stressed the decision to pull the film was prompted only because of the risk of further violence.
“This decision is not, as some have alleged, based on biased assumptions or concern about the content of the film itself,” it said.
On Saturday, West Midlands Police officers drew Tasers and used a dispersal order to clear the Star City venue.
Footage from inside the multiplex appeared to show fights and people on the floor screaming.
The five teenagers – two girls aged 13 and 14 and three 14-year-old boys – have all now been bailed alongside a 19-year-old man.
Four were held on suspicion of assaulting police and one of the boys was detained on suspicion of obstructing police.
Another of the boys was arrested on suspicion of violent disorder after an image circulated on social media showing a number of youths, with one carrying a machete.
West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson said the unrest was “very worrying and very disturbing”.
“Some of these children were so young,” he said. “I think parents have a role if they see those sorts of [weapons] in the home, to discipline their own children.”
The teenagers’ bail conditions ban them from leaving home at night, as well as from Star City and any cinema in the UK, police said.
Announcing it was following Vue in cancelling all screenings, Showcase said: “Due to the recent incidents tied to screenings of the film Blue Story, after careful consideration with the film’s distributor, Showcase Cinemas has immediately removed the film from all of our participating cinemas.
“Any guests that have purchased tickets in advance can receive a full refund at the cinema box office. We remain in discussions with the distributor with regards to the possibility of reintroducing the film in due course.
“We apologise for any inconvenience but guest safety remains our top priority.”
Blue Story, which was developed from a YouTube mini-series, follows the life of Timmy who lives in Lewisham but goes to school in Peckham – two parts of south-east London that have a notorious rivalry.
“That part of it was based on my life – it made my school experience very difficult,” director Onwubolu told Radio 1 Newsbeat.
He said he wanted the audience to see past crime statistics and headlines about knife crime, to understand how a “good kid” can lose their way.
“They didn’t come from child abuse or neglectful mothers. What kids go through in the school playground is so intense, it all starts there.”
BBC Films, which developed and co-financed the film, said it was an “outstanding, critically acclaimed debut feature which powerfully depicts the futility of gang violence”.
“It’s an important film from one of the UK’s most exciting new filmmakers which we’re proud to be part of,” it added.
Distributor Paramount Pictures said it was “saddened” by events at Star City but said the movie had had an “incredibly positive reaction and fantastic reviews”.
However, Errol Lawson, a reformed gangster from Birmingham, said the film was “stirring up” violence.
“The spirit behind it is stirring up this undercurrent, or supporting or fuelling this undercurrent, this narrative of violence, youth violence and disregard for life,” he said.
West Midlands Police has not asked for or recommended the film be pulled following Saturday’s violence.
Ch Supt Steve Graham said: “I understand there is a lot of speculation on social media and people are citing that film.
“At this stage we are not jumping to any conclusions. That will form part of our investigations as it carries on.”
Police were called to the complex, in Nechells, at about 17:30 GMT and cleared the area by 21:00. The officers hurt during the disorder suffered minor facial injuries.
Supt Ian Green said: “This was a major outbreak of trouble which left families who were just trying to enjoy a night out at the cinema understandably frightened.
“We worked quickly to move the crowds on, but were met with a very hostile response and officers had to draw Tasers to restore order.
“It’s clear that some of those who went to Star City were intent on causing trouble.”
In Sheffield on Sunday evening, there was an increased police presence around Centertainment on Broughton Lane ahead of the showing of the film after disorder was reported outside the Cineworld within the complex on Saturday.
“Officers carried out patrols of the area to ensure everyone’s safety,” police said in a statement, adding that they would “be liaising with Cineworld over the coming week to discuss further screenings of this film”.
Cineworld has confirmed that it will not be pulling the film.
Two teenagers have been jailed for life for murdering a 17-year-old girl in an east London park.
Jodie Chesney was stabbed in the back as she sat with friends in Harold Hill on 1 March.
Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and Arron Isaacs, 17, of Barking, were both convicted earlier this month after a trial at the Old Bailey.
Ong-a-Kwie, of Romford, will serve a minimum of 26 years while Isaacs was detained for at least 18 years.
Explaining the sentences, Judge Wendy Joseph QC told the court she was “satisfied” Ong-a-Kwie had stabbed Jodie while Isaacs was a “willing supporter”.
“When that knife was driven into Jodie, that intention was to kill,” she said.
She added that her death “was part of a series of tit-for-tat attacks” which had been “increasing in ferocity”, and “although the target was not Jodie… there was a degree of planning”.
During the trial, each of the defendants blamed each other for the attack but a jury took less than six hours to find them both guilty of murder.
In an impact statement read before sentencing, Jodie’s father Peter Chesney said the death of his daughter “has destroyed my life”.
The 39-year-old, who was not in court, described how a year ago he had started a new job as a salesman in the City “and I was about to take over the world in a promising career.
“Now I sit here in the cabin in my garden writing this statement. I have left that job, the relationship with my wife has fallen apart and we are now getting divorced. I must sell my house, and above all, I have lost the most precious human being I will ever know,” he said.
Following the stabbing, Jodie collapsed into the arms of her boyfriend Eddie Coyle who told the court he had been “completely changed” by the events of that night.
“I find it hard to sleep most of the time. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD from this, and it keeps me up most nights so I don’t sleep,” he said.
The court had heard drug dealer Ong-a-Kwie and his runner Isaacs had been looking to take revenge on rivals but had killed Jodie by mistake.
She had been socialising with friends that evening when two figures emerged out of the dark and one plunged a knife in her back.
The two defendants fled in another drug dealer’s car but were arrested together days later as they fled from a house linked to Isaacs, the jury were told.
Ong-a-Kwie had convictions for possessing and supplying drugs and had admitted being in breach of a six-week suspended sentence for handling stolen jewellery.
Two other people – Manuel Petrovic, 20, of Romford, and a 16-year-old boy – were both cleared of murder and manslaughter.
Met Police officer Det Insp Perry Benton described the investigation as “one of the hardest I’ve ever dealt with”, adding that the defendants “have shown no remorse from day one”.
Speaking following the sentencing, Jodie’s uncle Terry Chesney said the family were “happy” with the jail terms and would now “try” to get on with their lives.
“Today was justice. We’ll never get her back, but we’ve got justice,” he said.
The Green Party has stood down its candidate to help Labour try to unseat former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.
Mr Duncan Smith has been MP for Chingford and Woodford Green since 1997, and has a majority of 2,348.
The Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru formed an electoral pact earlier this month. Supporting Labour in Chingford does not form part of that pact, the Greens said.
The Conservatives have been contacted for comment.
In a statement the local Green Party said the decision for John Tyne not to contest the election was made with the “ultimate hope of favouring the campaign of the Labour candidate” Faiza Shaheen.
A Green Party spokesperson it “was a decision taken by the local party”.
However, they added: “If Labour were serious in their concern for the environment they should reconsider their isolationist position on arrangements.”
Ms Shaheen, head of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies, said she was “so grateful” for the decision.
She said: “I will continue to fight hard for climate policy and democratic reform.”
The Liberal Democrats have selected Dr Geoffrey Seeff as their prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency.
Mr Duncan Smith has been MP for the area since 1992, representing Chingford until 1997 when the boundaries were re-drawn to include Woodford Green.
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Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is back in the squad for Tuesday’s Champions League Group H game with Ajax.
Kante, 28, has made just five starts in an injury-hit season, most recently suffering a groin problem.
“We’ve been able to get some work into him, he’s in the squad and he’s available,” said manager Frank Lampard.
Midfielder Ross Barkley (ankle) and defender Andreas Christensen (thigh) are also in training after injury lay-offs last month.
Victory at Stamford Bridge would see Chelsea go three points clear of Ajax in Group H and put them in a strong position to progress to the quarter-finals, with games against Valencia and Lille remaining.
“I said at the start that this group would be tight because all the teams could take points off each other. That has been proved to be correct,” said Lampard.
“After losing the opening game against Valencia, which was disappointing, we have shown a great reaction from that.
“I have to accept it’s expected of Chelsea to go through and that is no disrespect to any other teams. I have said already how hard the group is but it is more about our own expectations.
“That is maybe why we had that reaction. We wanted to prove ourselves, we wanted to go to Ajax and Lille and get results, and we did.
“But we won’t get carried away with ourselves in this group.”
Can Chelsea maintain 100% record against Dutch sides? – the stats
- Ajax have never lost an away Champions League match in England (W1 D3 L0), winning most recently away at Spurs in April 2019. Their last away European Cup defeat on English soil was in April 1980, a 2-0 semi-final defeat against Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest side.
- Chelsea have a 100%-win record in Champions League matches against Dutch opponents, beating Feyenoord twice in the 1999-2000 season and Ajax this season.
- Ajax have won their last five away Champions League matches – prior to this run, the Dutch side had won just four of their previous 38 away games in the competition (W4 D13 L21).
- Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has managed more away UEFA Champions League games without losing than any other manager (seven games), winning five and drawing two. Only two managers have lost none of their first eight away games in the competition – Louis van Gaal (first 14 games) and Pep Guardiola (first 11 games).
- Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi has scored one goal every 47 minutes for the Blues in the Champions League (3 goals in 141 minutes) – the best minutes per goal ratio of any Chelsea player in the competition.
- Dusan Tadic has been directly involved in eight of Ajax’s last 14 goals scored in the group stage of the Champions League (five goals, three assists), including six of their last seven away from home (three goals, three assists).