Premier League clubs ‘could halt the season for TWO WEEKS in January’ after surge in Covid-19 cases

Premier League chairmen ‘consider halting the season for TWO WEEKS in January’ after surge in coronavirus cases across English football

  • The Premier League announced a record 18 positive Covid-19 cases on Tuesday 
  • Man City, Sheffield United and Southampton have announced positive cases
  • Ten Football League matches on Tuesday were postponed due to coronavirus 
  • Top-flight chairmen are discussing halting the season for two weeks next month
  • There is serious concern that several FA Cup third round ties will be cancelled

Premier League clubs have discussed the possibility of stopping the season for two weeks in January to prevent a spread in coronavirus cases, according to reports.

Manchester City‘s trip to Everton was postponed on Monday night after five staff members from the visitors tested positive for the virus, with more Covid-19-related on Tuesday. 

The top-flight announced on Tuesday that 18 positive cases were found in their latest round of testing – the highest in a single batch since regular checks began in August. 

Premier League chairmen are discussing stopping the season for two weeks in January

Premier League chairmen are discussing stopping the season for two weeks in January

Several Man City staff members, including Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker, now have Covid-19

Several Man City staff members, including Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker, now have Covid-19

And according to The Telegraph, Premier League chairmen held informal talks about a temporary break next month in order to protect their players, staff members and the remainder of the football calendar. 

The report claims there are fears over widespread cancellation of FA Cup third-round matches at the start of the month, with several Football League clubs postponing matches this week.

The Government could force the FA’s hand when it announces the results of the country’s tier system on Wednesday.  

On Tuesday night, nine matches in League One and League Two were called off as well as Millwall vs Watford in the Championship. 

There is serious concern that several FA Cup ties in January will be postponed next month

There is serious concern that several FA Cup ties in January will be postponed next month

Sheffield United were one of several top-flight teams to announce positive cases on Tuesday

Sheffield United were one of several top-flight teams to announce positive cases on Tuesday

All 64 clubs taking part in the third round of the cup will have to take tests before the round of matches, with the Football Association paying for all checks for sides from outside the Premier League. 

The UK announced that a record 53,135 more Covid-19 cases were detected on Tuesday with 414 deaths. 

Also on Tuesday, Sheffield United confirmed that several members of staff had tested positive for the virus and have been placed into self-isolation, but their Premier League match against Burnley will go ahead. 

Southampton announced that Ralph Hasenhuttl was not allowed to attend his side’s match with West Ham on Tuesday after a member of his household tested positive for the virus. 

Southampton's Ralph Hasenhuttl has to self-isolate after someone in his household got Covid

Southampton’s Ralph Hasenhuttl has to self-isolate after someone in his household got Covid

Furthermore, reports are appearing that Tottenham’s Premier League match with Fulham on Wednesday is in doubt after several positive cases in the Cottagers’ squad. 

Rochdale club doctor Wesley Tensel told Sportsmail on Tuesday that football’s authorities should take strong consideration in stopping the season after a new strand of the virus has been detected.

Dale’s fixture against Crewe Alexandra on Wednesday is not going ahead along with their match at MK Dons this Saturday. 

Dr Wesley Tensel says football faces the prospect of coming down on the wrong side of history

Dr Wesley Tensel says football faces the prospect of coming down on the wrong side of history

‘With everything that’s going on in 2020 and this massive global pandemic, we’re struggling to get on top of things – you can see the numbers are rising. People can’t go on holiday, they can’t do this, they can’t do that,’ Tensel told Sportsmail.

‘If we look back when our kids are at school and they’re doing history of what happened in the pandemic and they see they were still playing football, they were travelling around, it just doesn’t seem to me the wisest thing to be doing.

‘I just feel that, in the grand scheme of things, is football that important in the middle of a pandemic, when I’m seeing lots and lots of people dying with Covid. It doesn’t sit right.’

The Premier League season was halted in the middle of March just before the first coronavirus lockdown and football did not appear again until the middle of July.  

Prince Harry ‘drops Queen’s RP accent for Estuary English’ in Spotify podcast with Meghan Markle

Prince Harry has dropped the Queen’s English accent in favour of a more ‘slurring mid-Estuary’ twang in his new podcast with wife Meghan Markle, a British behaviour expert has claimed.

The Duke, 36, and Duchess of Sussex, 39, today released their first Spotify podcast, calling on famous friends including Sir Elton John, Brené Brown, Deepak Chopra, Stacey Abrams and James Corden to review 2020 – or ‘tweny-tweny’, as Harry pronounced it.

Their debut show as part of the £30million ($40million) deal with the streaming giant is a ‘holiday special’, with the couple entering ‘a whole new world of branding as a double act’ according to Judi James, who likened them to TV pairings Richard and Judy and Holly and Phil.

She added that Harry’s ‘new accent’ is ‘every bit as interesting as Tony Blair’s infamous mockney’, telling FEMAIL: ‘It’s pretty much mid-everything: mid-Atlantic, mid-London and mid-Estuary English.’

Prince Harry has dropped the Queen's English accent in favour of a more 'Estuary' twang, royal commentators have claimed. Pictured with Meghan Markle in March

Prince Harry has dropped the Queen’s English accent in favour of a more ‘Estuary’ twang, royal commentators have claimed. Pictured with Meghan Markle in March

Estuary is an accent associated with the area along the River Thames and its estuary, including London. 

Judi observed: ‘Describing the podcast as “Our tweny-tweny holiday special”, Harry drops the second “t” in “twenty” in a verbal slurring that sounds either American or South London, although the “holiday special” wording probably places it in the US. 

‘He says they “wanna” honour rather than “want to” and he pronounces the word “look” more like “luck”, both of which would probably sound right in the Queen Vic in EastEnders. Although his “meaningful our connections” appears to have more of a US twang.’

Judi added that there’s something ‘newly seductive’ about Harry’s delivery at some points, suggesting ‘the flirting with Meghan during their podcast trailer’ might have ‘brought out his sexier side’. 

‘His “I’m Harry” is full of naïve bounce and enthusiasm, but after Meghan purrs “And I’m Meghan” in a deeper, richer tone, Harry responds by saying “We’re glad you’re here” in a much more of a low purr himself,’ she went on.

‘To match his super-professional wife, Harry has changed his pace as well as his tone. 

Harry and Meghan have entered 'a whole new world of branding as a double act' according to Judi James, who likened them to TV pairings Richard and Judy and Holly and Phil

Harry and Meghan have entered ‘a whole new world of branding as a double act’ according to Judi James, who likened them to TV pairings Richard and Judy and Holly and Phil

‘He normally takes a more leisurely style of delivery with a few thoughtful pauses and verbal fillers, like most of the Windsor men, but here he has upped his pace to deliver crisper messages with no faltering or hesitation. 

‘In doing so he loses much of his authenticity and suggestion of speaking straight from his thoughts rather than a script. There is nothing natural about these clipped and scripted sentiments although the performer skills have clearly been worked on.’

Judi said Harry has gone from a ‘tentative speaker’ to a ‘slicker, more rehearsed-sounding’ podcast pro, and together with Meghan, the pair resemble a ‘professional media double act’.

‘Harry isn’t just chatting here, he is presenting from a tightly timed and choreographed script and instead of the relaxed hand-overs to Meghan he is making timed cut-ins, some times just throwing in two words between her words in the style you would normally hear from professional media double-acts like Richard and Judy (Harry sounds incredibly like Richard Madeley in this clip) or Holly and Phil,’ she explained.

‘So far we have seen Harry marketed as a bit of a royal male on the loose, a tentative speaker who projected his personal brand of charm and charisma by looking and sounding like a keen amateur rather than a polished professional. 

Judi said Harry has gone from a 'tentative speaker' to a 'slicker, more rehearsed-sounding' podcast pro, and together with Meghan, the pair resemble a 'professional media double act'

Judi said Harry has gone from a ‘tentative speaker’ to a ‘slicker, more rehearsed-sounding’ podcast pro, and together with Meghan, the pair resemble a ‘professional media double act’

‘Here, though, he has been fully launched as podcast Harry, a slicker, more rehearsed-sounding speaker who has even adopted a new style of accent to appeal to a demanding audience.’ 

A number of listeners also took to Twitter to comment on Harry’s accent during the podcast, including royal historian Marlene Koenig.

She observed that the Duke ‘spoke Estuary rather than RP [received pronunciation]’. 

In response to a tweet which suggested Harry had adopted a mid-Atlantic accent, Marlene commented: ‘He spoke estuary rather than RP. 

‘Few Brits speak RP. Living in CA would not mean a mid Atlantic accent. I speak with a mid Atlantic American Standard. American Standard is the equivalent of RP. See The story of English.’

BBC presenter Sangita Myska also made the observation, tweeting in response to a post by ITV royal correspondent Chris Ship: ‘Hmm. He’s gone a little Estuary English, no?’

A number of listeners took to Twitter to comment on Harry's accent, including royal historian Marlene Koenig

A number of listeners took to Twitter to comment on Harry’s accent, including royal historian Marlene Koenig

Chris replied: ‘And says “ñew year” rather than “noo year”!’ referencing the moment Harry and Meghan encouraged little Archie to make an appearance at the end of the podcast and wish people a ‘happy new year’ in his distinctly American twang.

The couple, who have fiercely defended Archie’s privacy since his birth in May 2019 and filed a lawsuit in the US this year to fight to protect it, urge their son to talk into the microphone, with Harry telling him: ‘You can speak into it.’ Meghan also asks: ‘Archie, is it fun?’ to which he replies: ‘Fun!’

In a trailer for their Spotify podcast, body language expert Judi James claimed Meghan is copying the Queen’s rhetorical style to make herself sound ‘presidential’.

The Duchess said ‘my husband and I’ when referring to Harry on the recording, in a move reminiscent of the Queen and former First Lady Michelle Obama, who often use the same rhetorical technique.

Judi said: ‘Despite the fact that “just Harry’ has already introduced himself, Meghan switches to a regal-sounding formality when she then refers to “My husband and I…” as though he weren’t actually present with her.

‘This is a phrase famously used by the Queen and adds a royal air to their trailer.’

The Sussexes called on many of their most friends to appear on their first Archewell Audio podcast, which they promise will ‘uplift and entertain audiences around the world’. 

The Duke, 36, and Duchess of Sussex, 39, today released their first Spotify podcast, calling on famous friends including Sir Elton John, Brené Brown, Deepak Chopra, Stacey Abrams and James Corden to review 2020. Their son Archie (pictured) also made a special appearance

The Duke, 36, and Duchess of Sussex, 39, today released their first Spotify podcast, calling on famous friends including Sir Elton John, Brené Brown, Deepak Chopra, Stacey Abrams and James Corden to review 2020. Their son Archie (pictured) also made a special appearance

The couple's newly-formed Archewell Audio project promises to produce programming that 'uplifts and entertains audiences'

The couple’s newly-formed Archewell Audio project promises to produce programming that ‘uplifts and entertains audiences’

Meghan said they asked people who ‘inspire us’ to appear on the podcast and give ‘their thoughts on what they learned from 2020’.

Sir Elton was a friend of Harry’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales and has regularly supported her son over the years, while Corden was a guest at Harry and Meghan’s wedding and was asked by the duke to perform at the couple’s evening celebration.

Other guests include Democrat activist Stacey Abrams, tennis star Naomi Osaka, American filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry, wellness icon Deepak Chopra and teenage activist Christina Adane from London, who campaigns on food issues.

In an apparent nod to the stormy 2020 the couple have had after quitting as frontline royals and moving to Los Angeles via Vancouver, Meghan says: ‘From us I’ll say no matter what life throws at you guys, trust us when we say, love wins.’ 

The podcast ends with the gospel song This Little Light of Mine, which was played at the end of their wedding in May 2018. 

Experts have called the couple’s Spotify tie-up as another big step towards building what experts believe could become a $1billion business empire in the US after a super-deal with Netflix to make documentaries about their pet projects. 

Last week, Meghan and Harry released their first Christmas card with Archie since relocating to Los Angeles earlier this year

Last week, Meghan and Harry released their first Christmas card with Archie since relocating to Los Angeles earlier this year

‘Hi, I’m Harry – and I’m Meghan’: Sussexes launch Spotify ‘holiday special’ with laid-back language and tribute to ‘uncertainty and unthinkable loss’ in 2020

BEGINNING 

Harry – ‘Welcome to our 2020 holiday special from Archewell Audio. I’m Harry,.’

Meghan – ‘And I’m Meghan. Thank you for joining us.’

H – ‘We’re glad you’re here. As we all know, it’s been a year. And we really want to honour the compassion and kindness that has helped so many people get through it.’

M – ‘And at the same time to honour those who have experienced uncertainty and unthinkable loss. Our thoughts have been with you, especially during this holiday season.’

H – ‘And in too many instances, people weren’t able to be at a loved one’s side or say goodbye as they would have wished.’

M – ‘We also want to thank healthcare workers, frontline service workers and so many others for their sacrifices.’

H – ‘Thank you, guys.’

M – ‘Thank you.’

H – ‘As we come to the end of this year and look to the future, let’s hold onto the lessons we’ve learned about how important it is to take care of one another, and how meaningful our connections are, even when they’re physically impossible.’

M – ‘We thought what if we can bring together some people that inspire us, people we admire, and get their thoughts on what they learned from 2020. So we asked a few friends, and a lot of other folks… activists, poets…’

H – ‘Athletes, writers…’

M – ‘… teachers, artists, people from all walks of life.’

[Each guest introduces themselves]

H – ‘We asked them to record audio diaries and send them back to us. We were curious to hear what they’d reflect on when they had a moment to themselves without navigating the sometimes awkward dance of a video chat. Meaning no one having to say ‘You’re on mute’ over and over again, which is probably one of the defining phrases of 2020.’

M – ‘[Laughs] It’s so true. We wanted to know what they’ll remember about this year, how they’d explain it to future generations, what they learned about themselves and what gives them hope. Their responses have given us a lot to think about. And it all came back to one thing – to the power of connection.’

H – ‘We’ll try not to interrupt too often, but we’ll jump in here and there to make some intros. So sit back, grab a cosy beverage if you can. We hope this brings a little warmth, a smile and something to think about.’

CONCLUSION 

M – ‘And from us, I will say, no matter what life throws at you guys, trust us when we say, love wins.’

H – ‘Love always wins.’

M – ‘So true. Thank you to all of our guests, and with that we have something we want to share with you too.’

H – ‘Not a toast per say, but a song which is about a shining a light, and a song that means so much to us.’

M – ‘This Little Light of Mine, played at the very end of our wedding… while we were walking down the steps of the church. ‘

H – [hums the song]

M – ‘It was the music that we wanted playing when we started our lives together, because as we all know, darkness cannot drive out darkness – only light can do that.’

H – ‘The message of this song is one we hold so dearly. It’s about using the power we each have within us to make this world a better place.’

[This Little Light of Mine is played]

H – ‘Happy New Year, everyone.’

M – ‘Happy New Year.’

H – ‘Stay safe out there.’

M – ‘Thanks for listening.’

[This Little Light of Mine continues]

H – ‘You can speak into it.’

M – ‘Archie, is it fun?’

Archie – ‘Fun.’

M – ‘Fun.’

H – ‘After me, ready? Happy.’

A – ‘Happy.’

M – ‘New.’

H – ‘New.’

A – ‘New Year.’

H – [Laughing]

M – ‘Yay.’

A – [Laughing]

Boeing 737 MAX returns to service in first US commercial flight since March 2019


OCT. 29, 2018 – A Lion Air 737 MAX plane crashes in Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board

NOV. 13, 2018 – FAA, Boeing say they are evaluating the need for software or design changes to 737 MAX jets following the Lion Air crash

NOV. 30, 2018 – Boeing is weighing plans to launch a software upgrade for its 737 MAX in six to eight weeks that would help address a scenario faced by crew of Indonesia’s Lion Air, sources told Reuters

MARCH 10, 2019 – An Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crashes, killing all 157 people on board

MARCH 12, 2019 – FAA says will mandate that Boeing implement design changes on the 737 MAX by April that have been in the works for months

MARCH 13, 2019 – FAA joins other major global regulators in grounding the 737 MAX, citing evidence of similarities between the two fatal crashes

APRIL 6, 2019 – Boeing says it will cut monthly 737 MAX production by nearly 20%; U.S. and airline officials say they believe the plane could be grounded for at least two months

MAY 16, 2019 – Boeing says it has completed a software update for its 737 MAX jets and is in the process of submitting a pilot training plan to the FAA

JUNE 27, 2019 – Boeing says it will take until at least September to fix a newly identified problem with software that emerged when FAA test pilots were reviewing potential failure scenarios of the flight control computer in a 737 MAX simulator

JULY 18, 2019 – Boeing says it has assumed regulatory approval of the 737 MAX’s return to service in the United States and other jurisdictions will begin early in the fourth quarter

OCT. 24, 2019 – Boeing says it still expects FAA approval to fly the 737 MAX in the fourth quarter, sending its shares higher despite a slump in quarterly profit. FAA says it will need “several weeks” for review

NOV. 7, 2019 – U.S. and European regulators ask Boeing to revise documentation on its proposed 737 MAX software fix

NOV. 11, 2019 – Boeing says it expects the FAA to issue an order approving the plane’s return to flight in December, forecasting commercial flights to resume in January

NOV. 15, 2019 – The head of the FAA tells his team to ‘take whatever time is needed’ in their review of the 737 MAX

DEC. 11, 2019 – FAA chief Steve Dickson says 737 MAX will not be cleared to fly before the end of 2019

DEC. 12, 2019 – Boeing abandons its goal of winning regulatory approval for the 737 MAX to resume flying in December after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the plane would not be cleared to fly before 2020

DEC. 23, 2019 – Boeing fires CEO Dennis Muilenburg

JAN. 6, 2020 – An audit conducted in December reveals that wiring in the tail of the 737 MAX could short circuit and lead to a crash if pilots don’t know how to respond correctly

JAN. 9, 2020 – Boeing releases hundreds of internal messages between employees to the Congress and the FAA last week, raising serious questions about its development of simulators and showing employees may have covered up issues

JAN. 13, 2020 – Budget airliner Ryanair reveals it could receive its first deliveries of up to 10 grounded 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing by April, but cautions this will depend on the regulators

JAN. 16, 2020 – Committee, appointed by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in April, finds the FAA safety approval process was not at fault

JAN. 21, 2020 –  Boeing announces it does not expect federal regulators to approve its changes to the grounded 737 Max until this summer, several months longer than the company was saying just a few weeks ago.

Energy: Britain on track for ‘greenest year on record’ amid renewables push and reduced power demand

Britain on track for ‘greenest year on record’ amid renewable energy push and reduced power demand due to coronavirus pandemic

  • The National Grid takes measurement’s of the power system’s carbon footprint
  • Last month’s figure was just 215g/kWh, compared to an average of 215g last year
  • This year’s lockdowns have seen energy demand fall as offices and factories shut
  • Meanwhile, the UK’s renewable energy capacity has risen with new wind farms

The push for renewable sources of energy and reduced power demands amid the COVID-19 pandemic has put Britain on track for its ‘greenest year on record’.

According to the National Grid, the electricity system’s ‘carbon intensity’ — a measurement of how much it pollutes — from Jan–Nov has never been lower.

By last month, they added, the measure stood at an average of 181 grams of carbon dioxide emitted for every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced. 

For comparison, the average carbon intensity for 2019 was 215g. The figure has fallen annually since 2013, when it was 529g and coal power was still dominant.

The push for renewable sources of energy and reduced power demands amid COVID-19 has put Britain on track for its 'greenest year on record'. Pictured, an English offshore wind farm

The push for renewable sources of energy and reduced power demands amid COVID-19 has put Britain on track for its ‘greenest year on record’. Pictured, an English offshore wind farm

To reach the goal of net zero carbon emissions by the mid-century, Britain’s power networks will need to be decarbonised by 2035 at the latest, according to the Climate Change Committee, an independent government advisory body.

To date, the reduction in the National Grid’s carbon intensity has primarily been achieved by means of the phasing out of coal-fired power plants.

This has been driven by a combination of environmental legislation, the introduction of the carbon tax and subsidies for renewables such as wind, solar and biomass. 

The record-breaking carbon footprint of Britain’s electricity system this year has been aided by low energy demand brought about by the closure of factories and offices during the coronavirus pandemic.

The first lockdown say electricity usage fall by some 20 oer cent on typical levels — leading to a record 68-day period, ending June 16, in which no energy used was derived from coal-fired power plants.

In that period, the warm weather of May saw the lowest monthly carbon intensity on record — at an average of only 143 grams per kilowatt-hour of electricity — while May 24 provided the lowest day on record, with a carbon intensity of 46 grams. 

The second lockdown, meanwhile, saw energy usage at around 7 per cent lower than it should otherwise have been.

Britain’s renewable energy capacity has also been increasing — largely thanks to the construction of new offshore wind farms — with figures having risen 5.4 percent in the preceding year to reach 48.5 gigawatts at the end of June.

Another record was broken on December 18 this year, when wind power delivered 17.3 gigawatts of power between 1–1.30pm — which was equal to 43.2 per cent of supplies.

‘The grid continues to transform at an astonishing rate as we harness the growth of renewable power sources,’ the National Grid’s Rob Rome told the Times.

He added that December 18’s ‘wind record is the latest to illustrate this changing nature of electricity in Britain.’

‘Reduced reliance on coal and an increase in energy coming from zero carbon sources is a trend we expect to continue as we move towards our ambition of being able to operate the system carbon free by 2025.’ 

HOW DO WIND TURBINES WORK? 

Wind turbines operate on a simple principle- the energy in the wind turns propeller-like blades around a rotor.

The rotor is connected to the main shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity.  

They work in the opposite way to a fan, instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to make electricity.

There are two main types of wind turbine that operate on the same basic principle. 

Off-shore ones are larger and tend to create more energy and are often built in large groups, known as wind farms. 

These provide bulk power to the National Grid.  

Alec Baldwin doubles down on defense of wife Hilaria in ‘faked’ Spanish heritage scandal

Alec Baldwin doubled down on his defense of his wife Hilaria (pictured together in March) after she was accused of misrepresenting her Spanish heritage and faking her accent for years

Alec Baldwin doubled down on his defense of his wife Hilaria (pictured together in March) after she was accused of misrepresenting her Spanish heritage and faking her accent for years

Alec Baldwin has doubled down on his defense of his wife Hilaria after she was accused of misrepresenting her Spanish heritage and faking her accent for years. 

The actor took his latest shot at critics via Twitter on Monday night in response to an post about an opinion essay for People entitled: ‘Why the Hilaria Baldwin Scandal Is Painful for Immigrants — Including Me.’

The essay by Ale Russian slammed Hilaria – who confessed on Sunday that she was born in Boston, not Majorca, and that her real name is Hillary – for the ‘exaggerated’ accent she ‘appropriated as an adult’. 

Alec replied: ‘Fake? Exaggerated? Appropriated an accent as an adult? She lived in Spain for many years as a child. She lived both places.’

His scathing tweet came as Hilaria’s official agency biography was edited to remove any mention of her links to Spain. 

The 36-year-old influencer’s speaker’s page on the Creative Artist Agency’s website had for years misstated her birthplace, claiming: ‘Baldwin was born in Mallorca, Spain and raised in Boston, Massachusetts.’ 

But that line was deleted shortly after Hilaria revealed the truth about her upbringing in a rambling Instagram video, saying: ‘Yes, I am a white girl. I am a white girl. 

‘Let’s be very clear that Europe has a lot of white people in there and my family is white. Ethnically, I am a mix of many, many, many things. Culturally, I grew up with two cultures so it’s really as simple as that.’ 

Alec took his latest shot at critics via Twitter on Monday night in response to an post about an opinion essay for People which slammed Hilaria for the 'exaggerated' accent she 'appropriated as an adult'. Alec replied: 'Fake? Exaggerated? Appropriated an accent as an adult? She lived in Spain for many years as a child. She lived both places'

Alec took his latest shot at critics via Twitter on Monday night in response to an post about an opinion essay for People which slammed Hilaria for the ‘exaggerated’ accent she ‘appropriated as an adult’. Alec replied: ‘Fake? Exaggerated? Appropriated an accent as an adult? She lived in Spain for many years as a child. She lived both places’

Alec appeared exhausted as he ran errands in the Hamptons on Monday after issuing his first defense of Hilaria in an Instagram video the day before

The SNL star was photographed in Amagansett, New York

Alec appeared exhausted as he ran errands in the Hamptons on Monday after issuing his first defense of Hilaria in an Instagram video the day before 

Alec held a piece of paper over his face to shield himself from photographers

Alec held a piece of paper over his face to shield himself from photographers

Hilaria shared never-before-seen snaps of herself in Spain on her Instagram story on Sunday

Hilaria never posts about her being in Spain or visiting family there

Hilaria shared never-before-seen snaps of herself in Spain on her Instagram story on Sunday  – it is not clear how old she is in both pictures – although she is presumably a teenager in the left as she is smoking 

His scathing tweet came as Hilaria's official agency biography was edited to remove any mention of her links to Spain. The biography is shown above before the last line was deleted

His scathing tweet came as Hilaria’s official agency biography was edited to remove any mention of her links to Spain. The biography is shown above before the last line was deleted

The Twitter firestorm that prompted Hilaria’s confession dredged up new photos from her high school years in her hometown of Weston, Massachusetts.

A 2002 yearbook for The Cambridge School of Weston refers to Hilaria by her real name, Hillary Hayward-Thomas. 

Hilaria graduated from the $64,900-per-year school in 2002, a year before she claimed in previous interviews to have moved from Spain to the US to attend New York University when she was 19.  

Several of the photos show a teenage Hilaria dancing on stage in what appears to be a school production. 

The photos were posted on Twitter by a former classmate who reportedly told friends: ‘I’ve been waiting for this for years,’ in reference to Hilaria being unmasked as a Massachusetts native.  

The Twitter firestorm that prompted Hilaria's confession dredged up new photos from her high school years in her hometown of Weston, Massachusetts

The Twitter firestorm that prompted Hilaria’s confession dredged up new photos from her high school years in her hometown of Weston, Massachusetts

The online frenzy over Hilaria’s heritage was sparked on December 21 when a woman tweeted: ‘You have to admire Hilaria Baldwin’s commitment to her decade long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person.’

In the next few days several videos of Hilaria’s past TV appearances resurfaced showing her commitment to a Spanish accent, including one where she seemingly forgot the English word for ‘cucumber’. 

Yet Hilaria appeared to slip out of the accent last week when she took to Instagram Live to react to a prank post from comedian Amy Schumer. 

Several former classmates came forward to confirm that Hilaria was in fact raised in Weston, Massachusetts, by American parents without a hint of a foreign accent.

‘I went to high school with her. Genuinely lovely person, I recall, but fully a white girl from Cambridge,’ one wrote.

Another added: ‘I went to high school with her. She was perfectly nice and serious about ballroom dancing. Her name was indeed Hillary Hayward-Thomas and she did not have her current accent.’ 

Class ratios at the Cambridge School of Weston are six students to one teacher. The exclusive school lists Hillary Hayward-Thomas among its notable alumni, alongside Lion King screenwriter Jonathan Roberts (1973) and American Pie actress Jennifer Coolidge (1979). 

Hilaria revealed the truth about her upbringing in a rambling Instagram video on Sunday, saying: 'Yes, I am a white girl. I am a white girl. Let's be very clear that Europe has a lot of white people in there and my family is white. Ethnically, I am a mix of many, many, many things. Culturally, I grew up with two cultures so it's really as simple as that'

Hilaria revealed the truth about her upbringing in a rambling Instagram video on Sunday, saying: ‘Yes, I am a white girl. I am a white girl. Let’s be very clear that Europe has a lot of white people in there and my family is white. Ethnically, I am a mix of many, many, many things. Culturally, I grew up with two cultures so it’s really as simple as that’ 

Internet sleuths were quick to uncover details about Hilaria’s parents, Dr Kathryn Hayward and David Thomas, who lived and worked in the US for years before retiring to Majorca in 2011, according to Page Six.  

While Hilaria has long described her mother as Spanish, records revealed that Hayward is in fact a fourth-generation Massachusetts resident who spent most of her career practicing medicine in Longmeadow.

Kathryn went on to become an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She have birth to Hillary in January 1984 in Boston.

Dr Hayward’s father and Hilaria’s grandfather, Charles ‘Chuck’ Hayward, was born and raised in Massachusetts, as was his late wife Irene. 

Hilaria’s father’s family has even deeper ties to the US, having lived here since before the American Revolution. He was an active volunteer for the Beacon Hill Civic Association during his ’37 years living in Boston,’ The New York Post reports. 

Her parents also co-founded International Integrators in Boston.  

Internet sleuths were also quick to uncover details about Hilaria's parents, Dr Kathryn Hayward and David Thomas, pictred, who worked in the US for years before retiring to Majorca in 2011

Internet sleuths were also quick to uncover details about Hilaria’s parents, Dr Kathryn Hayward and David Thomas, pictred, who worked in the US for years before retiring to Majorca in 2011

Hilaria's parents only retired to Spain in 2011 when Hilaria was 27-years-old, Page Six reports

Hilaria’s parents only retired to Spain in 2011 when Hilaria was 27-years-old, Page Six reports 

Hilaria finally came clean about her upbringing on Sunday telling fans she spent ‘some of’ her childhood in Spain and ‘some’ of it in Massachusetts. 

‘There was a lot of back and forth my entire life,’ the Mom Brain podcaster explained.

‘And I’m really lucky that I grew up speaking two different languages and I’m trying to raise my kids, so they speak two languages too. And that’s something very important to me especially having my family abroad.’

Hilaria added: ‘Yeah I’m a different kind of Bostonian but that’s who I am, and you kind of can’t change your background – nor would I want to – I’m really, really proud of who I am.’  

She also noted that ’44 people from Spain’ attended her 2012 wedding to Oscar nominee Alec Baldwin, but she hasn’t seen her family since September 2019 because of ‘the pandemic’.

Hilaria finally came clean about her upbringing on Sunday telling fans she spent 'some of' her childhood in Spain and 'some' of it in Massachusetts

Hilaria finally came clean about her upbringing on Sunday telling fans she spent ‘some of’ her childhood in Spain and ‘some’ of it in Massachusetts 

The NYU alum and her 62-year-old husband gave all five of their children Spanish names – daughter Carmen Gabriela, 7; son Rafael Thomas, 5; son Leonardo Ángel, 4; son Romeo Alejandro, 2; and son Eduardo ‘Edu’ Pao Lucas, 3 months.

As for her name, Hilaria said she’d use Hillary in the States and Hilaria in Spain. 

‘My whole family call me Hilaria. It always kind of bothered me that neither name sounds good in the other language. So I would use one or the other one,’ she said.  

Her video sparked a flurry of memes with some jokingly comparing her to Rachel Dolezal and Jessica Krug. 

Krug, a professor of African American history at George Washington University, pretended to be black her entire career. Dolezal, a former NAACP leader, was unmasked as a white woman in 2015. 

Alec Baldwin took to Instagram on Sunday - not to address the allegations, but rather to blast outlets like TMZ and the New York Post for printing claims he called 'spectacularly false'

Alec Baldwin took to Instagram on Sunday – not to address the allegations, but rather to blast outlets like TMZ and the New York Post for printing claims he called ‘spectacularly false’

Alec came out to defend Hilaria in his own video on Sunday.  

Without addressing the allegations directly, the SNL star said Twitter is ‘a lot of s**t’. 

‘You have to kind of hack your way through the debris of Twitter. Twitter is just a vast orchard of cr**,’ he continued. 

‘There’s things that have been said lately about people that I love, that I care about deeply, which are ridiculous. I mean, just ridiculous.

‘They’ve said it about people I love – false things. Untrue things. 

‘And as much as that hurts, the only thing I can do is talk to that half of the public or that portion of the public who understands what I mean when I say: “Consider the source. When you love somebody you want to defend them.’  

On Monday he posted a quote seemingly about the incident to his Instagram page which read: ‘A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its shoes.’ 

A video of Alec on The Late Show in 2013 emerged Monday in which he impersonated his wife’s ‘Spanish’ accent, telling David Letterman: ‘My wife is from Spain.’   

A video of Alec on The Late Show emerged Monday in which he impersonated his wife’s ‘Spanish’ accent, telling David Letterman: ‘My wife is from Spain’

Amy Schumer takes a playful dig at Hilaria Baldwin’s heritage controversy

Amy Schumer, who has since deleted the post, used Instagram to playfully comment on the 36-year-old yoga instructor’s cultural controversy on Sunday.

‘I get it. I went to Spain a couple times and loved it too,’ captioned the comedian, 39, who included a cucumber emoji.

The portion of Schumer’s post that earned her the most praise was the cucumber emoji that she added to the end of her caption.

The emoji was a direct reference to one viral clip of Hilaria pretending not to know the ‘English word’ for cucumber, while conjuring up a recipe on a cooking show.

Emily Ratajkowski, clearly amused by Schumer’s playful dig, wrote: ‘That cucumber emoji really hits!’ The model, 29, also thanked Amy for making the post to begin with. 

Along with her caption, Amy included a dramatic photo of herself wearing a large woven sunhat and a pair of oversized shades indoors.

She had one hand up by her face, while the other delicately cradled a cup of tea. 

Schumer’s hilarious post came just hours after Hilaria took to her own Instagram to directly address accusations that she has spent years misrepresenting her heritage. 

Amy Schumer took to Instagram on Sunday to poke fun at Hilaria Baldwin's cultural controversy

Amy Schumer took to Instagram on Sunday to poke fun at Hilaria Baldwin’s cultural controversy

UK broadband usage more than doubled in 2020 and peaked on Boxing Day

UK broadband usage more than doubled in 2020, largely due to home working in lockdown, live-streamed sport and updates to video games such as Call of Duty, a new report reveals. 

50,000 petabytes (PB) of data were consumed across the country in 2020, compared to around 22,000PB in 2019, says BT subsidiary Openreach.

One petabyte equals one million gigabytes (GB). On average a 4K film stream uses about 7.2GB per hour. 

Boxing Day was named the busiest day of the year for broadband – when a record 210PB was consumed across Openreach’s networks – due to a combination of video calls to catch up with family and the lure of online entertainment. 

This year, network usage on Christmas Day was nearly double that of last year – 181PB compared with 96PB.  

Data released today by Openreach – the UK’s largest broadband network, used by customers of BT, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen – shows that broadband usage more than doubled in 2020

Data released today by Openreach – the UK’s largest broadband network, used by customers of BT, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen – shows that broadband usage more than doubled in 2020 

Call of Duty (COD) and Fortnite video game updates accounted for peaks in broadband usage during the year, as did live rugby on Amazon Prime Video in November and video calls at Christmas

Call of Duty (COD) and Fortnite video game updates accounted for peaks in broadband usage during the year, as did live rugby on Amazon Prime Video in November and video calls at Christmas

Openreach is the UK’s largest broadband network – used by customers of BT, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen – and owns and operates nearly all of the UK’s phone and broadband lines. 

‘It’s been a year unlike any other and we believe that’s played a major part in this huge jump in data consumption,’ said Colin Lees, chief technology and information officer at Openreach. 

‘We know more businesses asked their employees to work from home throughout most of 2020, so connecting remotely has been and continues to be important for everyone.’ 

UK BROADBAND PEAKS IN 2020 

Total data consumed across Openreach’s networks:

Days

December 26 – 210PB

November 14 – 209 PB

August 15 – 195.9PB

Months 

August – 4,894PB

October – 4,850PB

December – 4722PB (as of December 28)

Overall, the busiest months for UK broadband in 2020 were August (4,894PB) and October (4,850PB) and December (4722PB, as of December 28).  

The daily record for broadband use was broken 15 times during the year as home working and video conferencing increased due to the coronavirus pandemic.

January and February saw data consumption at around 2,700PB per month before the pandemic brought about a big increase.

Most months of 2020 were at more than 4,000PB following lockdown and for the rest of the year, Openreach found.  

The average property connected to Openreach’s fibre networks used around 3,000GB of data during the year, or around 9GB per day. 

That’s the equivalent of between two and three HD movies being streamed in every house in the country, every day. 

Live sports streaming on platforms like Amazon Prime Video – which now has a share of the broadcast rights to Premier League matches – were also contributors to the yearly total.

Reasons thought to be driving the big jump in broadband usage include more live sports being screened online by the likes of Amazon Prime Video

Reasons thought to be driving the big jump in broadband usage include more live sports being screened online by the likes of Amazon Prime Video 

After Boxing Day, the second and third busiest days for UK broadband this year were Saturday, November 14 (209 PB) and Saturday, August 15 (195.9PB). 

On November 14, Amazon Prime Video screened two live Autumn Nations Cup rugby matches. 

Openreach’s network traffic charts showing UK broadband usage surged just before 1pm as the first of the two games approached kick-off on that day. 

Video streaming for entertainment purposes, on services like Disney+ – the release of which in the UK coincided with the first lockdown – also played a part. 

But another factor thought to be driving the big jump in broadband usage is gamers downloading large updates for video games and their consoles.

Many of the major data spikes focused around updates to popular PlayStation, PC and Xbox games – namely Call of Duty and Fortnite.

Disney +  launched in the UK on Tuesday, March 24, which may have been responsible for an increase in internet usage in homes in the county

Disney +  launched in the UK on Tuesday, March 24, which may have been responsible for an increase in internet usage in homes in the county 

November this year also saw the release of two hotly-anticipated video game consoles – the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X – that use an internet connection. 

Overall, broadband customers do the most streaming in the evening and at the weekend, Openreach data suggests. 

The busiest day on the Openreach network tends to be a Saturday or a Sunday, while the busiest time of day on the network tends to be between 7pm and 10pm. 

Openreach’s network has continued to cope with the demands placed upon it, with no major outages throughout 2020.   

‘In terms of capacity, our network has coped well during the pandemic. We have a team of tech experts working hard behind-the scenes to make sure there’s enough network capacity for every eventuality,’ said Lees.

‘They’re constantly preparing for things such as major retail events like Black Friday or the release of the latest big ticket TV and film titles on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.’   

Openreach is currently on a mission to upgrade the nation’s biggest broadband network through its £12 billion full fibre programme. 

It aims to reach four million homes and businesses with full-fibre technology by March 2021 and 15 million by the middle of the decade – touted as faster and more reliable.         

BRITS WATCHED MORE THAN SIX HOURS OF TV A DAY DURING LOCKDOWN: OFCOM 

Britons devoured more than five hours of TV a day in lockdown amid a boom in subscription streaming services, Ofcom revealed in August

Staring at screens became a full-time job, with adults spending six hours and 25 minutes – nearly 45 hours a week – on ‘audio-visual content’ in April.

The figures, which also include time spent on computer screens and playing video games, paint a bleak figure for traditional TV channels.

‘Silver streamers’ over the age of 55 have flocked to the likes of Netflix which have already bewitched younger generations.

Ofcom said an ‘accelerated shift’ from TV channels to streaming services is likely to be one of the ‘most significant long-term impacts’ of the pandemic.

It found more than a third of adults ‘can see themselves no longer watching the main TV channels within the next three years’. This rose to more than half of those aged between 16 and 34.

The watchdog’s report said the ‘greatest growth’ during lockdown was enjoyed by streaming services, with existing subscribers watching more and ‘new users embracing [these] services for the first time’.

Ofcom said a staggering 12million adults had signed up to a new subscription service during lockdown, with three million doing so for the first time, including ‘notable rises among older demographics’. 

Nearly a third of those aged 55 to 64 watched streaming services in lockdown, compared with 25 per cent beforehand. 

The figure for over-64s rose by a quarter, to 15 per cent.

The Ofcom Media Nations 2020 report said the BBC, ITV and other traditional broadcasters enjoyed an initial surge in viewing figures at the start of lockdown, driven by news coverage. 

However, this fell away while streaming rivals maintained their momentum.

Manchester deaths: Police refers itself to watchdog after three people found dead in Failsworth

Greater Manchester Police refers itself to watchdog over previous contact officers had with woman, 28, and two men, 41 and 39, days before they were found dead in house in ‘unexplained’ circumstances

  • Three people, a woman and two men, were pronounced dead in Manchester
  • Officers attended the house in Failsworth on December 23, days before deaths
  • Greater Manchester Police referred to Independent Office for Police Conduct 

Greater Manchester Police has referred itself to the police watchdog after officers had contact with a woman and two men days before they were found dead.

Three people, a woman, 28, and two men, 41 and 39, were pronounced dead in ‘unexplained circumstances’ at a house in Failsworth after paramedics responded to a report of concern for welfare at 3.30pm on Monday. 

The force has voluntarily referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct because officers were at the house on December 23. 

An IOPC spokesperson said: ‘We have been notified by GMP of the incident in Failsworth and we will be assessing a formal referral from the force.’

The IOPC must now decide whether to launch a full investigation themselves or let the force do their own internal inquiry.  

Three people, a woman, 28, and two men, 41 and 39, were pronounced dead in 'unexplained circumstances' at a house in Failsworth after paramedics responded to a report of concern for welfare at 3.30pm on Monday. Pictured, investigators at the scene yesterday

Three people, a woman, 28, and two men, 41 and 39, were pronounced dead in ‘unexplained circumstances’ at a house in Failsworth after paramedics responded to a report of concern for welfare at 3.30pm on Monday. Pictured, investigators at the scene yesterday

The force has voluntarily referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct because officers were at the house on December 23. Pictured, the scene today

The force has voluntarily referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct because officers were at the house on December 23. Pictured, the scene today

The IOPC must now decide whether to launch a full investigation themselves or let the force do their own internal inquiry. Pictured, a police officer guards the front door to the property

The IOPC must now decide whether to launch a full investigation themselves or let the force do their own internal inquiry. Pictured, a police officer guards the front door to the property

Police, fire and ambulance vehicles were pictured at the scene on Monday evening as crime scene investigators carried out a search of the house.  

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: ‘Formal identification is yet to take place but it is believed the bodies of two men – aged 41 and 39 – and a 28-year-old woman were found and sadly pronounced dead at the scene.’ 

Flowers were left on railings at the entrance to the house this morning as investigations into the deaths continue

Flowers were left on railings at the entrance to the house this morning as investigations into the deaths continue

Two bunches of flowers were left at the property this morning. An investigator carries a bag filled with evidence out of the house

Two bunches of flowers were left at the property this morning. An investigator carries a bag filled with evidence out of the house

Police, fire and ambulance vehicles were pictured at the scene on Monday evening as crime scene investigators carried out a search of the house

Police, fire and ambulance vehicles were pictured at the scene on Monday evening as crime scene investigators carried out a search of the house

Detectives are not looking to speak with anyone else in connection with the incident, but are working with local agencies to ensure there is no wider risk to the public.  

Detective Chief Inspector James Faulkner said: ‘My thoughts firstly are with the families of the two men and the woman who tragically have lost their lives – we are offering support to them at this awful time.

‘It is important that we are able to establish the circumstances around this tragedy and get the answers for their loved ones through a thorough and comprehensive investigation, and therefore we must keep an open mind at this very early stage until we have the results of forensic examinations in due course.

‘If anyone has any information they think could be linked to this investigation then I encourage them to speak to police or Crimestoppers as it could prove to be significant.’  

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Britain records 53,135 cases in record daily high as health chiefs post another 414 deaths 

Britain records 53,135 Covid cases in record daily high and another 414 deaths

  • Department of Health figures reveal the infection toll is the largest yet recorded in Britain 

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Britain today recorded 53,135 cases of coronavirus in a record daily high and 414 deaths as the second wave of the disease continues to grow with a highly-infectious strain spreading rapidly across the country.

Department of Health figures reveal the infection toll is the largest yet recorded, and is a sharp 44 per cent rise on Tuesday last week when 36,804 cases were diagnosed.

But the true scale of the Covid crisis in the first wave remains a mystery because of a lack of testing, meaning it is impossible to tell if this is Britain’s worst day of the pandemic so far. Top scientists estimate up to 100,000 people were catching the disease every day during the darkest days of the spring. 

The number of fatalities announced marked a 44 per cent fall compared to the same time the previous week, when 691 were recorded. 

Dr Susan Hopkins, the senior medical adviser at Public Health England, said: ‘We are continuing to see unprecedented levels of COVID-19 infection across the UK, which is of extreme concern particularly as our hospitals are at their most vulnerable. Whilst the number of cases reported today include some from over the festive period, these figures are largely a reflection of a real increase.

‘It is essential, now more than ever, that we continue to work together to stop the spread of the virus, bring the rate of infection down, and protect the most vulnerable and the NHS.

‘A critical part of this is each and every one of us abiding by the restrictions in place however hard it may seem at this time of the year. It is critical that we reduce our contacts especially mixing between households. We must observe the basic measures – wash your hands, wear a mask and keep your distance from others.’

The stunning figures come as Boris Johnson prepares to convene a meeting of his Covid-O committee tonight to decide the Government’s latest tiers shake-up, amid alarm that up to two thirds of England including swathes of the North and Midlands could be plunged into Tier 4 – with non-essential shops and gyms ordered to close. 

Covid hospital admissions are rising in every region, with NHS units in England now treating more patients than they were in the first wave.

There are growing fears England could be plunged into ‘Tier 5’ restrictions within days in a desperate attempt to stop the spread of the new variant of the virus.

Scientists guiding the Government through the pandemic are understood to have advised Mr Johnson to impose tougher measures than those rolled out in November’s lockdown.

One of Number 10’s scientific advisers today warned England must be plunged into a third national shutdown to prevent a ‘catastrophe’ in the New Year.

Professor Andrew Hayward, an epidemiologist at University College London and member of SAGE, warned the country is entering a ‘very dangerous new phase of the pandemic’.

He called for ministers to ‘learn the lessons’ of earlier waves, when the Government was criticised for being too slow to lockdown, and to act early this time.

Around 24million people living in London, the South East and the East of England are already under the harshest Tier 4 curbs.

But more regions and local authorities are feared to be set to join them after Number 10’s leading scientists admitted they cannot stop the spread of the highly-contagious mutation that officials believe is to blame for rapidly spiralling cases.

This is breaking news story. 

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Drug-fuelled mechanic guilty of beating his wife and Good Samaritan who confronted him to death

A man who clubbed two women to death with a metal walking stick has been convicted of murder.

A jury decided Daniel Appleton was in the grip of a psychotic episode after taking powerful synthetic LSD.

The naked car mechanic ranted he was God after beating a defenceless pensioner to death with her own walking stick before using the same metal pole to bludgeon his wife in a monstrous attack last Christmas.

Daniel Appleton, 38, was heard shouting: ‘I could murder you,’ before dragging his half-naked wife out of their home and viciously beating her on the driveway.

He then attacked pensioner Sandy Seagrave with her own walking stick when she confronted him wearing just his boxer shorts.

Amy Appleton, 32, (left) and Sandy Seagrave, 76, (right) had suffered catastrophic head injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene

Amy Appleton, 32, (left) and Sandy Seagrave, 76, (right) had suffered catastrophic head injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene

Amy Appleton, 32, (left) and Sandy Seagrave, 76, (right) had suffered catastrophic head injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene after the savage attack by Daniel Appelton

Daniel Appleton, 38, admitted killing the two women but denied taking drugs and instead blamed the incident on stress at work and anxiety over starting a family with his wife Amy

Daniel Appleton, 38, admitted killing the two women but denied taking drugs and instead blamed the incident on stress at work and anxiety over starting a family with his wife Amy

‘You all think I’m crazy – well I am going to show you, this is what I am!’ 

Witnesses described to the jury the moments surrounding the horrific murders.

Neighbour, Ivonne Greenwell, was in her bedroom at around 10.15am on Saturday December 22 when she heard shouting.

She could hear the defendant shouting: ‘I’ve had f***ing enough of this!

‘I’m f***ing done with this!’

Ms Greenwell decided to dial 999 when she heard Appleton shout: ‘I could murder you!’

Neighbour Susan Kipps said she saw Appleton pacing the driveway naked, at around 1030am.

She told police: ‘I realised it was Daniel.

‘He seemed very agitated and angry.

‘He was sort of puffed up and behaving totally differently. His eyes weren’t right.

‘It was as though he had turned into the Incredible Hulk.

‘He looked like he was on another planet, like he had lost the plot.

‘He looked big, bold and scary.’

Janet Spragg was out running with her dog when she saw Appleton beat Ms Seagrave with her walking stick.

He grabbed the walking stick and jabbed the pensioner very forcefully into the very centre of her stomach with it, she said.

Ms Spragg said: ‘He knew I was there but it was almost like there was not a lot going on facially with him, his face was set.

‘There was something almost possessed.

‘I think he enjoyed it because he did it with such force and, it wasn’t even anger, it wasn’t a release but the way he did it you could see it made him feel good,’ she said.

Appleton threw the crutch down before lifting his arms and shouting at the house saying: ‘You all think I’m a f***ing nutcase, you all think I’m crazy, well I am going to show you, this is what I am.’

After brutally beating his wife to death, Appleton told neighbours who gathered outside his house: ‘I know I’ve killed my wife and I know I am going to prison.’

An eyewitness said Appleton enjoyed what he had done, waving the crutch above his head as he stood over her lifeless body before shouting a victory speech to his neighbours.

He turned the same metal stick on his wife and bludgeoned her to death before trying to kill himself.

Members of the public rushed to the aid of the two women but despite their best efforts, and those of emergency services attending the scene, both were pronounced dead. 

Appleton told a jury his memory of the savage killings was like a videotape on fast forward.

He admitted killing his schoolteacher wife Amy, 32, and defenceless pensioner Sandy Seagrave, 76, outside his home in Crawley Down on December 22 last year. 

Police found him naked in a pool of his own blood in the family kitchen.

The jury at Hove Trial Centre took two days to reach unanimous guilty verdicts on both murders.

Appleton blamed anxiety over starting a family and stress at work for the tragic events outside his home at Crawley Down near Gatwick just before Christmas last year.

Police investigating the matter spoke to a number of Mr Appleton’s friends and family who said he had been acting strangely in the period leading up to the incident.

Witnesses at the scene described Mr Appleton’s behaviour as agitated, angry and like he was possessed.

Three psychiatric assessments considered Mr Appleton to have experienced a brief psychotic episode with hypomanic symptoms at the time of the killings.

Police said the level of violence displayed was unusually extreme in this case. 

Samples of his hair and nail clippings later revealed minute traces of a psychoactive substance similar to LSD.

Mr Appleton accepted responsibility for the killings but throughout the trial maintained that he did not use drugs and believed that he had been passively exposed to drugs while on remand in prison, where he was located with known drug users. 

A forensic pharmacologist said Appleton’s behaviour was likely to be as a result of (251) NBOMe – a highly potent synthetic version of LSD.

The jury determined that drug use was a factor in causing the psychotic episode which led to the deaths of the two victims. 

Appleton, who had admitted taking drugs on a trip to Amsterdam in his 20s, told the jury his mental health started to collapse in the days leading up to his brutal assaults.

The 38-year-old was a partner in a successful specialist garage near his Sussex home.

The former businessmen owned two houses and four Audis including two classic cars. 

Daniel Appleton, 38, had admitted killing but denied the murder in February. Pictured with his wife Amy Appleton on their wedding day in 2018. The court heard they were happily married

Daniel Appleton, 38, had admitted killing but denied the murder in February. Pictured with his wife Amy Appleton on their wedding day in 2018. The court heard they were happily married

Phone records showed Appleton searched for information about magic mushrooms 11 days before the killings and traces of powerful synthetic hallucinogens were found in samples taken from him during his treatment and while he waited for trial in prison.

Nicholas Corsellis QC for the Crown asked him: ‘Do you see the overall picture? The fact is there was drugs in your blood and you were searching on December 11 and you had taken them before?

‘It’s therefore a coincidence because you say your psychotic episode was brought on by stress at work.

‘You say you are a self-absorbed person who overthinks things and this led you to commit such horrific, violent acts?’

Appleton said: ‘Yes.’

During the second day of his evidence, Appleton offered an emotional apology to the families of the women he killed from the witness box.

The incident took place outside the couple's  suburban home in Crawley, West Sussex

The incident took place outside the couple’s  suburban home in Crawley, West Sussex

‘Never a day goes by that we don’t miss and think of our beautiful, kind, caring daughter’ 

Amy’s family described her as a ‘strong, positive person who always smiled’.

In a statement issued after the verdict, they said: ‘ It has now been a year since we lost our wonderful Amy.

‘Never a day goes by that we don’t miss and think of our beautiful, kind, caring daughter, sister and step-sister.

‘As time goes by it seems to get harder to understand how we lost her in such tragic circumstances and our family will struggle to move on.

‘Amy will live on in our minds and in our hearts, and will always be missed by the many people, colleagues and school children that she knew and who loved her.

‘We would like to take this opportunity to thank the police investigation team for their perseverance and hard work, together with Nicholas Corsellis and Kerry Broome, to get the justice that our Amy deserved.’

Asked by his counsel, Lewis Power QC, how he felt about the deaths he said: ‘I’m, I’m devastated.

‘Absolutely devastated by what has happened.

‘I don’ know where, if they are here, or where they are, but I just want Amy’s family to know that I’m devastated by what has happened and that I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

‘Amy was very special to us all. She was loving and caring and she was just always so happy.  

‘Devastated for the loss of Mrs Seagrave and I can’t bring myself to imagine the trauma that they have gone through and I’m so very sorry.

‘I know sorry’s not good enough but I haven’t got words for any of this. It’s so very tragic.’

A jury at Lewes Crown Court in Hove heard Appleton describe how he felt a deep attachment to his friends on a night out before he killed his wife and Mrs Seagrave.

He told the court he believed his friends were his guardian angels on the trip to London.

Appleton said he remembered his wife making a hysterical phone call to his parents as he lay silent and motionless on their sofa the night before he killed her.

The following morning he brought her a cup of tea in bed before his mood changed.

‘I seem to remember being in the bedroom,’ Appleton said.

‘Amy was in bed and I said to her, ‘tell me you love me and you wanna have kids with me’ and I said that loud.’

Teacher Amy Appleton pictured at her graduation in 2010 with her husband Daniel Appleton

Teacher Amy Appleton pictured at her graduation in 2010 with her husband Daniel Appleton

He told his wife she had to go out into the street and tell the world she wanted to have his children.

Appleton said he believed he was being watched as he stood at his bedroom window.

The couple went downstairs and Amy went outside, he said.

‘I seem to remember going downstairs and her sort of slipping on her slippers.

‘I was following her down the stairs. 

‘I believe she went to the front door and opened the door and going outside and shouting I love Daniel and I want to have kids with him.

‘I think I remember her shouting that. I shut the door and Amy tried to get back in.

‘A true character’: Sandy Seagrave’s family pay tribute after her killer is convicted

A statement released by Sandy’s family following the verdict said: ‘Sandy was a lady of old-fashioned values who was a true character.

‘She could be intensely private but would happily talk to anyone, and she would not turn away from a situation.

‘She was very well known around Crawley Down walking her dog around the village.

‘Even if people didn’t know her name they still knew her by sight. She had many friends among her lovely neighbours who were always willing to lend her a helping hand if it was needed.

‘We, her family, miss her so much and find it so hard to understand how this tragic event occurred.

‘It has left a hole in our lives as big as her personality, as I am sure it has the community of Crawley Down.

‘It may be a year since she was killed but the memory and pain we all felt then is still just as fresh today.

‘Her tragic death is something that is almost impossible to come to terms with.’ 

‘We were just to-ing and fro-wing at the front door and she said ‘Why won’t you let me in?’

‘I remember her saying that. We were just pushing the door to and from each other.

‘I remember going outside.

‘I remember seeing Amy on the floor and thinking she was hurt.

‘I don’t remember going over to her. I just remember being outside and the car and Amy was there.

‘I just remember being outside and I seem to remember people but I can’t remember where.’

Appleton said he has no memory of Mrs Seagrave or her stick. 

Following his merciless attack, Appleton, 37, tried to take his own life.

He jumped out of the loft at before throwing himself down the stairs.

He used a large kitchen knife to stab himself five times in the chest, slashing both of his upper thighs attempting to cut arteries and cut his neck, head, calf muscle and forearm in what was described by the prosecution as the most determined suicide attempt.

During his arrest, Appleton continued ranting saying: ‘I wanna f**k you so hard, you better get my wife here,

‘I know I’ve only got a small willy.

‘Amy get my car. Got to start my car. Make me hard, I wanna get out and f**k my wife.

‘Fire up the Quattro!’ 

Amy, a much-loved school teacher described as a loving, generous person, died from head injuries.

The court heard there was never any suggestion they were anything other than a loving, happily married couple. 

The couple met in 2006 and had been happily married since 2018.

Sandra Seagrave, 76, maintained an active lifestyle despite needing a stick after injuring her leg in 2018.

She was well known in the community and was often seen walking her dog.

Amy was found lying on the driveway. Mrs Seagrave was left lying in the street.   

Appleton’s father Gary said he was concerned about the behaviour of his son in the days leading up to the deaths, the court heard.

In a conversation with his mother, Marilyn Appleton, on December 22, Appleton said something amazing had happened.

He told his mum; ‘I feel like I’m going to live forever. I feel like Jesus. I feel like God.’

Speaking after the verdict, Det Ch Insp Chris Friday of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, who led the investigation, said: ‘This was a violent and unprovoked attack which claimed the lives of two well-loved women, and our thoughts at this time are with the families of both Amy Appleton and Sandy Seagrave.

‘This has been a highly emotive and difficult case, but they have conducted themselves with bravery and dignity throughout.

‘Mr Appleton turned on his wife that morning with no warning or cause, and attacked her on the driveway of their home. When Sandy confronted Mr Appleton in a bid to get him to stop, she too became a victim.

‘I would like to thank everyone who supported the police investigation, including the witnesses who showed incredible bravery to help Amy and Sandy at the scene before emergency services arrived. Also to all the paramedics and police officers who attended and managed what was an extremely distressing scene.’ 

Appleton, 38, will be given the mandatory life sentence on January 25 next year.

Victim statements from the families of Amy Appleton and Sandra Seagrave are expected to be heard at the sentencing.

Nearly half a million people may have had Covid-19 in Wuhan, study suggests

Nearly half a million Wuhan residents may have been infected with coronavirus – almost 10 times the city’s official number of confirmed cases – a study by China‘s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests.

The research aimed to estimate the scale of previous infections by testing blood serum samples from a number of people in different cities for coronavirus antibodies.

The number of people with antibodies among the sample group from Wuhan is higher than would be expected given the official number of confirmed cases in the city, which was the original epicentre of the pandemic.

The study focused on 34,000 people in Wuhan as well as in other cities to estimate infection rates, CNN reported.

Beijing and Shanghai were included in the study, as well as cities in the provinces of Hubei, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Sichuan and Lianoning.

Among residents in Wuhan, home to some 11 million people, researchers found an antibody prevalence rate of 4.43 per cent. 

Nearly half a million Wuhan residents may have been infected with coronavirus - almost 10 times the city's official number of confirmed cases - a study by China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests. Pictured: A woman walks during a snow shower in Wuhan on December 29

Nearly half a million Wuhan residents may have been infected with coronavirus – almost 10 times the city’s official number of confirmed cases – a study by China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests. Pictured: A woman walks during a snow shower in Wuhan on December 29

The city’s Municipal Health Commission had reported a total of 50,354 confirmed cases as of Sunday, according to CNN. 

China’s CDC said the study had been conducted a month after China ‘contained the first wave of the Covid-19 epidemic’ and that it revealed a much higher prevalence rate found among Wuhan residents.

In other cities in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, only 0.44% of people studied were found to have coronavirus antibodies.

This continued to drop outside the province, where antibodies were only found in two people among the more than 12,000 studied. 

China’s CDC posted the results of the study on social media on Monday. It is not clear whether the research has been published in academic journals. 

CNN reported that Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the study highlights the underreporting of infections during the height of the outbreak.

This was partly due to a failure at the time to include asymptomatic cases in the official count, along with the general havoc of tackling the new virus.

Wuhan’s hospitals were flooded with patients suffering from fevers in January and February of last year, overwhelming staff who lacked the resources to effectively diagnose and treat the large number of patients.

The city's Municipal Health Commission has reported a total of 50,354 confirmed cases, according to CNN. Pictured: A man shops in the Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan, which was linked to a number of early cases of the coronavirus. While the 'wet market' section where the disease is believed to have originated has been shut down, the optics shops on the second floor remain open

The city’s Municipal Health Commission has reported a total of 50,354 confirmed cases, according to CNN. Pictured: A man shops in the Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan, which was linked to a number of early cases of the coronavirus. While the ‘wet market’ section where the disease is believed to have originated has been shut down, the optics shops on the second floor remain open 

Life in the city of 11 million people, which was the original epicentre of the pandemic, is slowly returning to normal. Pictured: A man visits an exhibition called People First, Lives First about China's Covid-19 response at the Culture Expo Centre, which used to be a makeshift hospital in Wuhan, China

Life in the city of 11 million people, which was the original epicentre of the pandemic, is slowly returning to normal. Pictured: A man visits an exhibition called People First, Lives First about China’s Covid-19 response at the Culture Expo Centre, which used to be a makeshift hospital in Wuhan, China

Many were told to self-isolate at home. In some cases this led to other family members becoming infected or even to people dying at home without being included in the toll. 

Huang told CNN the considerably lower rates in other Chinese cities suggest China’s containment efforts ‘were indeed speedy and effective’. 

Wuhan was completely sealed off from the outside world on January 23, with all transport in and out of the city suspended. 

A brutal 76- day lockdown was imposed on the city’s millions of residents who were confined to their homes, unable to even go out to buy essentials. 

Despite the harshness of the lockdown in Wuhan, it has been feted by the Chinese government as having enabled the country to contain the outbreak and return to normal more quickly than most other nations.   

When releasing the results of the antibody study on Monday, China’s CDC also praised the containment efforts. 

‘The results of the study show that our country’s population has a low infection rate. It indicates that China has succeeded in controlling the epidemic with Wuhan as the main battlefield, and effectively controlled the large-scale spread of the epidemic,’ the agency said.

The Chinese government has hailed the brutal 76-day lockdown in Wuhan as a success in containing the virus and allowing the country to return to normal sooner than the majority of others. Pictured: Shoppers in Wuhan on December 28

The Chinese government has hailed the brutal 76-day lockdown in Wuhan as a success in containing the virus and allowing the country to return to normal sooner than the majority of others. Pictured: Shoppers in Wuhan on December 28

While issues around underreporting are not exclusive to China and antibody studies in other parts of the world have also indicated that coronavirus was considerably more prevalent than official figures would suggest, China has faced criticism for its initial handling of the pandemic.

Officials have been accused of a lack of transparency around coronavirus figures, with officials releasing more optimistic data to the public and keeping some negative figures internal, according to CNN. 

A whistleblower provided documents to the broadcaster that showed that health officials were aware of ‘clinically diagnosed cases’ of coronavirus before these figures were revealed to the general public. 

Once officials began including these cases in the daily tally of confirmed infections on February 12, the number increased nine-fold from the previous day. 

Documents also showed that on February 10 and March 7, officials publicly announced a lower case count than they recorded internally.

Authorities in China have also moved to silence doctors and citizen journalists who spoke out about the dire situations in Wuhan’s hospitals.

On Monday, a former lawyer who documented the height of the Wuhan outbreak was sentenced to four years in jail.

Zhang Zhan’s sentence, which has been roundly criticised by the international community, was for ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’. Fellow independent journalists Li Zehua and Fang Bin were also detained for their pandemic coverage.