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A PATRIOTIC ex-soldier who painted a St Georgeâs flag on his front door has been ordered to cover it up by his housing association landlords who claim it could be considered “offensive” and may bring “distress” to neighbours.
Steven Rolfe, 52, painted the red and white colours of the English flag on his rented home in Preston, Lancs, 10 years ago and added hanging baskets to celebrate his love of England and mark his former career in the forces.
But despite being runner up in a council “best kept house” competition, he has now received a letter from an official at property management firm Places for People saying neighbours could be “alarmed” by the symbol.
The letter also warned the design could place him in a category of “nuisance neighbours” and said it could see him being evicted if he failed to cover it up.
In a letter to Mr Rolfe, Neighbourhood Officer Leanne Hardy gave him 14 days to repaint the door saying: “It has been brought to my attention that you have painted your front door in a way that could be considered offensive.”
When he asked for permission to keep the flag, Ms Hardy sent another letter refusing his request and giving him seven days to paint over it in one colour.
She also warned him that failure could see him being in breach of his tenancy agreement.
In her letter Ms Hardy said the flag design fell foul of rules tackling unruly tenants who caused “a nuisance, annoyance, disturbance or harassment” of others.
Ms Hardy also said his conduct breached tenancy conditions concerning those tenants who were “injurious to the interests of neighbours” and those who “cause distress, alarm or interfere with the peace and comfort of any other person.”
Mr Rolfe, who served in Northern Ireland, said: âI couldnât believe it when I got the letter.
“We seem to be losing our values in this country and also losing our sense of identity, all in the name of political correctness.”
The father-of-one said he had never had any problems before and none of his neighbours have ever complained.
He added: “I am far from being racist, Iâm just proud of England thatâs all.
“My neighbours say they would like to see more of the St Georgeâs flag about.”
Mr Rolfe has been supported by Muslim community leader Ali Anwar who said: “As far as Iâm concerned, a manâs home is his castle, and he should be allowed to express himself as he wishes. This is political correctness gone mad.”
Former Labour MP David Borrow, who is now a local councillor, said: “The door has been like that a long time and having spoken to the gentleman, I have no reason to believe that he is anything other than a decent member of the community.
“I do not believe that he has intended the door to symbolise anything offensive, and I have heard no specific complaints.”
John Clemence, vice president of the Royal Society of St George, said: “To say that the cross of St George can cause offence needs to be challenged.
“We are seeing more and more of this kind of complaint, and these jobsworths are causing resentment and inciting racial hatred.”
Places for People, which owns the house and runs 143,000 homes across Britain, has since apologised for calling the flag “offensive” but said Mr Rolfe must still repaint the door because he does not have the proper permission.
Julian Stevenson, 47,Â was arrested on Saturday after the bodies of son Mathew, 10, and Carla, five, were found in his apartment in a suburb of Lyons, eastern France.
He is said to have carried out the double-murder in a fit of rage before fleeing on a pair of roller-skates.
His ex-wife, who is French, had handed over the children on Friday evening, and they spent a night in the old family home in Saint-Priest, around three miles from the city centre.
This was despite Stevenson being a heavy drinker, and having been violent towards his wife before their divorce up to three years ago.
When the mother, an accountantâs assistant also in her 40s, returned to pick up the children from the second floor apartment at around 5pm on Saturday she saw the father looking âpanicked and angryâ, according to a neighbour.
âHe was in the stairwell of the block, and his clothes were covered in blood,â said the neighbour. âHe made off on a pair of roller-skates, leaving his car in the apartment blockâs garage.â
Following a short manhunt, Stevenson was found in Lyonâs 8th arrondissement at around 8pm on the same evening.
A judicial source said that a knife which was thought to be the murder weapon had been found in the flat.
The source said the double murder was âclearly linked to a painful separationâ and âlegal procedures concerning the right to access to the children which the father deemed insufficient.â
Stevenson is expected to appear before a judge in Lyon today for a short hearing, when a prosecutor will officially open an investigation.
The session is expected to go ahead on what is a public holiday in France, owing to the significance of the case.
In 2010, Stevenson had attacked his then wife, leading to these rights of access being withdrawn.
This was the first weekend since then that Stevenson had been allowed to have the boy and girl with him without an adult third party.
The Lyon prosecuting source said Stevenson âadmitted being the murdererâ but âdid not give many more details.â
The father has been living in France for ten years and was married in 2005.
His wife was finally heard by prosecutors on Sunday, providing them with their details of her troubled relationship with her ex-husband.
Investigators were particularly keen to know who gave the father legal authority to look after the children.
It emerged that the couple had been involved in a further legal dispute over the flat, which is worth around 100,000 pounds.
Ahmed Benguedda, a former neighbour of the couple said the couple had divorced âtwo or three years ago.â
Stevenson, who was unemployed, had drinking problems and was violent towards his wife, Mr Benguedda, who still lives locally, confirmed.
She won custody of the children following the divorce and went to live in the Isere region of France, which is just to the south east of Lyon and an easy drive or train journey away.
Mr Benguedda said the children were âwell-balancedâ and often played with his seven-year-old daughter. âThe people who live here are all in a state of shock,â he added.
A Foreign Office spokesman said the matter was being investigated. âWe are aware of the reports and we are urgently looking into them,â said a spokesman.
The man is set to be brought before Lyon prosecutors today, when a formal criminal enquiry will be launched.
On Saturday, the apartment block was surrounded by detectives and forensics teams. A sign across the door contained the single word: âHomicide.â
âWeâve been told to keep away,â said one neighbour, who asked not to be named. âWe used to see the man come and go, but until this weekend hadnât seen him with his children for years.
âThey suddenly turned up out of the blue, and then this. It is deeply shocking. We are all traumatised.â
Other local residents said the man was often seen wandering around nearby shops and bars, and was well known for his âBritish accentâ.
A neighbour who socialised with the man before his divorce said: âHe and his wife used to be like any other young couple â they took the children to the park, they went out for dinner.
âThat all changed with the divorce, however â it was clearly very messy indeed.â
A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘We are in touch with the French authorities and await the outcome of their investigation.
‘We stand ready to provide consular assistance.’
I’ve Been Knocked Back From 450 Jobs, Says Unemployed Man With Buddhist Tattoo On His Forehead (but why is he so shocked?)
A job-hunter claims he has been left unemployable because he is covered in tattoos.
Yusuf Hameed, 40, has been knocked back from dozens of jobs over the last year because of his unconventional appearance.
His body art includes a Buddhism symbol on his forehead, two Thai boxing tattoos on the back of his head, and a yin yang on the back of his head.
He said he has applied for 450 jobs including a car wash attendant and a street cleaner but receives the same feedback – employers cannot hire him because of his tattoos.
Mr Hameed, from Batley, West Yorkshire, said: ‘It is really getting me down and it is so hard to think that these tattoos are such a strong barrier against me getting a job.
‘I came to Batley from Pontefract after being made redundant from a meat manufacturing company.
‘Iâve been doing everything the job centre has told me and attended all my interviews but they take one look at my tattoos and wonât give me a chance.’
Muslim convert Mr Hameed got his first tattoo aged 14 but wishes he had never had them done.
He said: ‘I used to hang around with a lot of lads older than me and they started getting them.
‘I suppose it was peer pressure but as a mature person I would not have got them, especially seeing the reaction from strangers.
‘When I go to interviews I can just see the person opposite me lose eye contact and focus on my tattoos,’ he said.
‘Iâm more than qualified for a lot of the jobs I have been for but they all tell me my tattoos do not fit the company image.’
Mr Hameed is hopeful an employer can look past his ink and give him an opportunity.
He said: ‘People generalise me and think I am not bothered about working and that I am a freeloader.
‘I want employers to judge me on my skills and they will find out Iâve got lots to offer.
‘Even if it is a weekâs trial, I just need that chance.’
The sons of a couple found dead in their flat in an exclusive part of London today paid tribute to their mother, who is believed to have been strangled by her husband.
A note left outside the Bloomsbury flat where Robert Mercati, 63, is said to have attacked his pensioner wife Margaret before kiling himself, pays tribute to a mother described as ‘our strength’ whose lose will ‘leave a hole in our hearts’.
Mr Mercati and his wheelchair-bound wife, who leave sons aged 32 and 29, were found in their flat in Rugby Street, close to Russell Square, on Wednesday afternoon.
The note believed to be from their sons reads: ‘In loving memory of Mum.Â Words cannot express the hole that will be left in our hearts.Â You wasÂ (sic) our strength and the best of us. Weâll love you forever and live for your memory.
‘You’re with your brothers and sisters …and your Mum and Dad..’ and is signed: ‘Your sons and family & the bubbas’.
Another note left at the scene said: ‘We are so sorry to have lost two beautiful, special people. You will always be in our memories.’
Ambulance crews had found the female victim in her 60s, then found her husband’s body elsewhere in their flat.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said it was a murder investigation but at this early stage officers were not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.
Police were called by London Ambulance Service to the flat shortly before 1.45pm on Wednesday, following reports that a woman had been found injured.
The woman was treated at the scene following an apparent assault but was pronounced dead at 2.10pm. The man was pronounced dead one minute later.
They confirmed the deceased are a husband and wife and next of kin have been told of their deaths.
Post-mortem examinations took place yesterday at St Pancras Mortuary and gave the causes of death as strangulation for the woman and injuries consistent with hanging for the man.
In 2011 Robert Mercati was convicted of shoplifting from a designer store in Bicester Village and given a 12-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work.
Oxford Crown Court heard that Mercati stole two Alfred Dunhill coats on January 8 2011, and was also present at an earlier theft when his friend Peter Ladlow, also from London, stole a designer bag from Christian Dior a month earlier.
Mercatiâs lawyer told the court that his client lived on benefits and cared for his wheelchair-bound wife.
Teenager Who Spent Eight Months Plucking Up The Courage To Mention A Lump In His Testicle Died From Cancer Just Two Weeks After Seeing A Doctor
A teenager waited an agonising eight months before finding the courage toÂ mention he had found a lump – and died of testicular cancer just two weeksÂ later.
Now the heartbroken of family of Michael Rushby, known as Mikey, has urgedÂ young men to check themselves after the death of the much-loved 16-year-old.
His mother Patricia, 52, said today: ‘He was my baby. I loved him to pieces. IÂ want other young people to know what we have gone through. I wouldn’t want anyÂ family to go through what we have.’
Mikey, the youngest of six brothers and sisters, was having a drink with olderÂ brother John, 22, at the family home on April 17 when he finally spoke up.
‘He said he had a problem and showed me one of his testicles,’ said John.
‘TheÂ lump was obvious so I took him straight to A&E. The doctor said just by lookingÂ at it there was an 80 per cent chance it was cancer.’
Mikey, of Grangetown, Teesside, went home for the night andÂ went back to Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital the next day forÂ tests.
Testicular cancer was diagnosed and it was also found the cancer hadÂ spread to his abdomen and chest. He was then transferred to Newcastle Royal Victoria InfirmaryÂ for treatment.
Despite the eight-month delay in diagnosis, Mikey was still given a 75 per cent chanceÂ of beating the disease.
He had a week of chemotherapy and was allowed to go home on Friday, April 26 atÂ his own request.
He was due back at the hospital on Monday April 29 and had got himself up, hadÂ a bath, and was heading down the stairs when he lost his strength and collapsedÂ four steps from the bottom.
He was taken by ambulance to James Cook hospital, where he died later that day, it is believed from an infection.
His mother said: ‘I think he knew himself he was dying. He was adamantÂ about coming home and he never complained.
‘I want to say to anyone who ever thinks they might have a problem, go to yourÂ mam, go to your dad, go to someone. Mikey could have come to his mum – IÂ wouldn’t have been embarrassed.’
Mikey is survived by his father Michael Rushby, 61, his sisters Lisa, 30, Jacqueline, 27, Michelle,Â 26, and Leanne, 21, and his six nieces and nephews.
They described him as a ‘little charmer’ who would always play jokes on peopleÂ and had nicknames for everyone.
Jacqueline said: ‘Words can’t describe how much he will be missed. The house isÂ so different, so quiet.’
His brother John said: ‘He will never be replaced. He wasn’t just a brother, he wasÂ a mate as well. A best mate.’
An inquest into his death has been openedÂ and adjourned at Teesside Coroner’s Court.
Plane Crashes As Pilot Tries To Land In Nepal Injuring All 21 Passengers And Leaving Four In A Critical Condition
A plane crashed while trying to land at a mountain airstrip in northern Nepal early today, injuring all 21 people on board.
Four of the injured are in critical condition, police officer Bhim Bahadur Chand said.
No one was killed in the crash.
Nine passengers are Japanese tourists, and the three crew members and the other passengers are all Nepali.
The plane belonging to state-owned Nepal Airlines was trying to land at Jomsom airport, some 125 miles northwest of Katmandu, when it crashed on the banks of Kaligandaki river.
The injured were rushed to the local hospital, and those with serious injuries are being airlifted to nearby Pokhara town for treatment.
The area is popular with foreign trekkers visiting the Mount Annapurna area and Hindu pilgrims visiting the revered Muktinath temple.
Fifteen people were killed last May when a plane crashed while attempting to land at the same airport.
The lure of the Himalayas attracts more than 100,000 trekkers, including 40,000 Brits, each year to Nepal.
Visitor numbers to Everest have doubled since the end of the civil war there in 2006 – but plane crashes have become worryingly frequent in the Asian country.
Pilots and experts in Nepal fear more accidents will happen in a country where political failure and poor regulation are undermining its vital tourist industry.
Pilots say they are under too much pressure from their bosses during busy periods and that the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) isnât capable of addressing the problems undermining safety.
They worry that heavy traffic in the Everest region could lead to a mid-air collision.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has written to CAAN asking what is being done about improving safety.
Some experts believe that one or more of Nepalâs domestic airlines will soon be placed on the EUâs blacklist.
Few love affairs can have been more intense than the one Rick and Leanne Clement shared.
Rick was a soldier, a sergeant in the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, and his relationship with Leanne was punctuated by partings and reunions; by yearning and then passion.
But three years ago, Rick was critically injured while on duty in Afghanistan.
He stepped on a Taliban mine while leading a foot patrol in Helmand Province and lost both his legs.
The injuries to his lower body were, quite simply, catastrophic. Rick, 33, was not only deprived of his sex life and his chance to have children, he also ceased to feel any physical attraction for the woman he still adored.
Even so, Rick and Leanne, 31, were married in a lavish ceremony at Little Singleton, Lancashire in June 2011. Leanne believed optimistically – and wrongly, as it turned out – that, with love and patience, their problems could be surmounted.
But the marriage that started with such hope has disintegrated: Leanne has left Rick and the spacious four-bedroom home they shared in Blackpool. Divorce will follow.
‘The Rick I knew never returned from Afghanistan,’ she says. ‘The man who did was a stranger. The change in him was shocking. He put on a brave face to the world, but when we were on our own, he was an emotional wreck; always crying. The cuddly, caring man I’d known had gone.’
Leanne clung onto the hope she could do without sex as long as she had affection, but never realised how hard their lives would be.
It was a far cry from the early days of their relationship, prior to Rick’s injuries, during which the couple had enjoyed a very passionate love-life. ‘He was an affectionate man, warm, caring, tactile,’ recalls Leanne.
When she reflects now on the tumult of emotions that preceded their marriage – the terror that Rick would die; the heart-lurching relief when he didn’t, and the slow and painful process of his rehabilitation – she realises she had not prepared herself mentally for life with a man who had changed irrevocably.
When they met via Facebook in 2008, she was struck by his caring nature. ‘He was a nice, genuine, easy-going person,’ she recalls.
Rick, who had joined the Army at 17 after leaving Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, was stationed at Catterick barracks, North Yorkshire. Leanne, a carer in a nursing home, lived with the children from her first marriage, Erin, 11, and Kyle, eight, in a flat in Blackpool.
They met at weekends and when Rick was on leave, and as their love affair gained momentum, they planned a life together: marriage and children of their own.
So when, in April 2010, Rick left for a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, they parted with promises that when he returned there would be a wedding. It was a comfort to Leanne, who could barely cope with their separation.
‘We’d spent the day together: Rick, his mum and dad, Kay and Graham, and his sister Katie,’ she recalls.
‘It’s rare for me to cry, but when we hugged goodbye, I thought: âWhat if this is the last time I see him?â We cried and hugged. We didn’t say much except: âI love you, I’ll miss you.â And we promised to write.’
They exchanged dozens of letters. ‘Rick sent me two or three every day, and I wrote back – some long, hand-written ones, some quick typed e-blueys (the email system Army personnel and their families use).
‘I’d send him parcels, too: sweets, crisps, photos. His mates took the mickey, there were so many.’
Then, when Rick had been away for five weeks, the awful news came.
Leanne remembers worrying that his usual stack of letters had not arrived. ‘Then I got home and there were nine of them. I was excited,’ she remembers.
‘I ripped them open, put them in date order and was about to start reading them when Rick’s dad’s number came up on my phone.
‘I remember him saying, âHiya chuck. Are you OK?â and I could just tell from his voice that something had happened to Rick. I screamed, âIs he dead? Tell me, for God’s sake. What’s happened?â
‘Graham told me what had happened. He said I should prepare for the worst. I remember feeling panic, sheer panic. It was like someone had their hands round my throat and I couldn’t breathe.’ Two hours later, Rick was being flown home and Leanne, Rick’s parents and his sister were on their way to the military hospital in Birmingham; they thought it would be to say their last goodbyes.
They steeled themselves for the worst. ‘The doctor briefed us. He said Rick was in a very bad way,’ Leanne says.
‘We went into intensive care. Rick was in a coma but he was almost unrecognisable. The nurse said it was normal. I couldn’t cry at first because of the shock.
‘All I remember was this horrible smell of burnt flesh.
‘His mum said: âWhat have you done, Richard, what have you done?â then I broke down. I was hysterical. We just stood there crying. It broke my heart. I thought: âThis poor woman’s baby is going to die.â
‘But I remember saying, âPlease don’t die. You promised faithfully you’d come home to meâ. It was three days before the extent of Rick’s injuries fully dawned on Leanne: he was now just a head, arms and torso. ‘They took away the table and sheet that was shielding him. I thought, âHe really is half a man.â I was shocked by how little was left of him,’ she says, her eyes blurring with tears.
For the next three months, she remained in Birmingham with him, making only two brief weekend visits to Blackpool to see her children, who were staying with their father.Â ‘My ex-husband said: âBe with Rick. If he dies, you’ll know you did everything. The kids are safe here.â’
So she was at his bedside when, three weeks on, he emerged, confused and rambling, from the coma.
‘His eyes were shut, and he was talking,’ she remembers, ‘he was really confused.
‘He said: âPass me my shoes. I have to get back to work.’ It went on for ten days, this confusion.
Then his dad spoke to an Army officer, a captain, and he told Rick: âYour fight in Afghanistan is over – you’re fighting for your loved ones now.â It seemed to make a difference.
‘Rick knew I was there. I asked: âDo you know who I am?â and he said: âYou’re my girlfriend, Leanne,â and that gave me comfort. But I couldn’t celebrate that he was alive because he had such devastating injuries.’
After four months, in August 2010, he was transferred to the Forces’ rehabilitation centre at Headley Court in Surrey. ‘It gave him hope,’ says Leanne.Â ‘He started to be positive. He saw other servicemen with horrific injuries who had some quality of life.’
Leanne, who had returned to Blackpool, visited Rick every weekend.
They began to discuss their future. ‘We’d made a pact to be together, we’d already planned it,’ she says. ‘I remember thinking: âI love him, I don’t want to lose him.â I could think of no reason to cancel our plans.’
She considered the implications of her decision: not only would she be living with a husband confined to a wheelchair, she would also be giving up any prospect of a normal sex life.
She recalls one occasion: ‘We lay on the bed together and cuddled, and I said: âIt’s OK. It doesn’t matter that we won’t have sex.â And I meant it.
‘I thought: âI’ve got two kids and they love Rick,â and I thought we’d have warmth, intimacy and that I could manage with that.’
And in the blur of activity following Rick’s homecoming in December 2010, Leanne, it seemed, failed to confront how profoundly the man she intended to marry was traumatised.
They bought a large house, specially adapted to his disabilities, using part of the ÂŁ575,000 compensation he’d received, and their June wedding was a euphoric celebration of his survival. A honeymoon in New York and Bermuda followed. But Leanne says the one-sided physical nature of their relationship made her uncomfortable.
‘I felt selfish and guilty,’ she recalls.
A sense of unease remained as they began their new lives together. To start with Leanne, accustomed to her professional role of carer, did everything for her husband: ‘I bathed him, emptied his colostomy bag and his catheter, helped him in and out of his wheelchair and into the car.’
Then, a few months on, Rick changed. ‘He was determined no one would think of him as disabled. He learned to drive an adapted car. He washed himself. He emptied his bag. He became fiercely independent.
‘He’d shout at me if I treated him as disabled and say: âI don’t need anyone!â We rowed a lot and one night he was determined to show me he could get in and out of the car on his own.
‘He wheeled himself out of the house and broke his wheelchairÂ into bits, then he got into the car. He did it out of sheer frustration.’
The relationship began to unravel. Rick – a man whose career had been founded on his physicality, his strength, his masculinity – felt diminished and emasculated.
Leanne, meanwhile, found herself redundant, side-lined, rejected.
As their relationship disintegrated, Rick threw himself into raising money for his charity, A Soldier’s Journey, which helps injured soldiers. He was lionised for his efforts and carried the Olympic torch through Blackpool.
Leanne, meanwhile, coveted a ‘normal life’ – evenings watching DVDs, trips to the park with the children; meals out – but that everyday existence of small, shared pleasures eluded her. Rick, it seemed, swung from euphoric highs when his charity work consumed him, to depressive lows when he barely left the house.
‘In the end I insisted we saw an Army counsellor,’ she says. ‘She came, but Rick said he didn’t want her help. He cried and said he loved me and I said: âI’ve spent 12 months trying to save our marriage but you just won’t listenâ.’
Leanne felt all her hope leach away. She told Rick she was leaving him. ‘I was hoping he’d ask me to stay, but he said: âThis is what you want. I love you so I will let you goâ.’
Their short, doomed marriage had lasted just over a year. Leanne duly moved into the tiny terrace house she shares with her children, who still see Rick.
She has a new man in her life, but chooses not to name him. She has dealt with a torrent of abuse that has come her way for daring to leave her hero husband.
‘People think I’m horrible,’ she says. ‘They assumed I married Rick for his money, but I didn’t.
‘It’s his money, his compensation, and he needs it for the care he will have to have for the rest of his life.
‘They do not know I was there for him in his darkest times. I don’t deserve what happened either.
‘They say the tragedy happened to him. They don’t see that I travelled the journey with him, too.’
Father with financial worries who owed payday loan firms ÂŁ1,600 set himself on fire after being bombarded with phone calls and text messages
A father struggling to cope with mounting debts to payday loan companies died after setting himself on fire, an inquest has heard.
In the hours before his death, Antony Breeze received text messages from three different loan firms reminding him he owed them ÂŁ1,600.
On the day he ended his life, the 36-year-old told his girlfriend, Amanda Lowe, that he was buying petrol for her father’s lawnmower.
Minutes later he went to a secluded alleyway near his home in Horwich, Bolton, where he set himself on fire.
A man who tried to help him told the inquest that before being put into the ambulance Mr Breeze said to him ‘I’ve had enough. I’m in debt’.
He was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, but died a few hours later after suffering burns over 73 per cent of his body.
Miss Lowe said: ‘He had phone calls all night on Thursday night, his phone never stopped ringing, he wouldn’t tell me who it was. He went into the bathroom, I didn’t know who it was.’
She added: ‘I can’t understand why he did it.’
The inquest heard Mr Breeze owed money to several lenders, including Keyes Whitlock and Co, Mobile Money Ltd, 247 Moneybox.com, Cash Genie and Valour Loans.
After his death, the companies’ letters were sent to his fathers home demanding payments.
Mr Breeze worked six days a week to try and earn enough to pay off the debts while also providing for Miss Lowe and their six-year-old daughter, Amy.
However, he often had to borrow money to make ends meet and, despite help from his father-in-law, he lost weight and went to see a debt counsellor.
The inquest also heard he was worried about funding a future wedding and possibly another baby. Mr Breeze’s sister Caroline Hedley also said he appeared worried by possible redundancy and renovating his home.
She added: ‘He worked very hard – he worked six days a week, overtime and did as much housework as he could after work. We were also aware that he had some debts.
‘He said the rug in the house had fleas and I suggested he buy a new one. But he indicated he couldn’t afford one. One day I had found two lamp shades which matched their decor in a charity shop.
‘He said to Mandy, “See there’s nothing wrong with shopping in charity shops, we don’t have to have the best of everything”. I sensed there was a bit of tension concerning money.’
‘The weight-loss struck me hard, he must have lost about a stone in weight within two weeks. When I asked him if he had been trying, he said “yes a little bit” so I just thought he was being conscious about what he was eating.’
The hearing was told how Mr Breeze’s father Alan had asked him if he was OK with money a few days before his death, to which he replied, ‘We’re struggling but we will manage.’
Ms Hedley said he was the sort of person who wouldn’t want to trouble anyone – but he never shared any suicidal thoughts.
Mr Breeze’s girlfriend Miss Lowe said the couple had some minor arguments throughout the week, but they had been resolved.
On the morning of his death, Mr Breeze played with his daughter at breakfast, then went to their their local corner shop to top up their electricity card and withdraw ÂŁ30 from a cash machine. He returned home but later in the morning went out shopping again.
Miss Lowe said: ‘He was fine in the morning. My daughter and I were having our breakfast he said to me I’m going to Iceland are you coming? We can all go together and I said: “but we have no money.”
‘He said, “well we have some” and he just walked out. He had been fine all week. He was quiet on Friday morning.’
After Mr Breeze after left the house, Miss Lowe then called him to find out when he would be home. During the short conversation, Mr Breeze said he was going for a walk.
‘He answered and I asked him where he was. He said he was going for a walk to clear his head. I didn’t ask what was wrong,’ she added.
The hearing was told Mr Breeze was seen by two garage workers as he walked down to a secluded track.
Fifteen minutes later screams were heard and Mr Breeze emerged from the area in a fireball, with electrician Paul Tunnah bravely putting himself at risk by attempting to extinguish the flames which engulfed his body.
Mr Tunnah, who was also seriously burned, said: ‘The flames were high and vibrant. I took my top off to try put out the flames. It is human life and that is what I did.
‘He was conscious throughout – from when I first saw him to leaving in the ambulance.
‘I asked him what had happened and he basically said, “I’ve had enough. I’m in debt.”‘
Recording an open verdict, deputy coroner Alan Walsh said: ‘I am sure Anthony did the act that caused his death, however I am not sure with regard to his intentions.
‘He was a man who worked hard during his life and provided for his family. But he was was a man who himself worried at times about the finances of the family. He was anxious to provide for his family, he was a good man who did provide for his family.
‘He was someone who had never previously planned to harm himself will never talked about harming himself and a man who had everything to live for with his partner and daughter – he was looking forward to future as a family unit.
‘He was helped with his finances by his family who paid off some debts. He was someone who knew that he had support and help behind him.’
The coroner commended Mr Tunnah, who suffered burns to his chest, arms and hands, for his bravery saying: ‘You didn’t think of your own safety and went ahead to save someone else causing injuries to yourself.
‘The family are very grateful. It is important that people such as you are commended. It was very brave and very courageous.’
After the case Mr Breeze’s family said: ‘We are all deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic and untimely death of Anthony. He was a warm, friendly, caring and patient man who loved his family very much.
‘The lives of those people who loved him will never ever be the same again. He is deeply missed and long remembered by everyone.’
A spokeswoman for Valour Loans, one of the companies named as having lend cash to Mr Breeze, told MailOnline he did not have an account with them.
She said: ‘I can confirm that we hold no account for the name mentioned in your article and we confirmed this to the police back in November 2012.’
A TODDLER whose rare disorder caused her head to swell to nearly three times its normal size is recovering after her latest round of life-saving surgery.
Roona Begum was born with hydrocephalus, which results in a build-up of fluid in her swollen skull.
Surgeons believe the weight of water on her brain amounted to HALF her total weight.
Heartbreaking pictures of the 18-month-old girl in The Sun prompted readers to donate thousands of pounds to help her as her parents were too poor to pay for treatment.
Speaking from the operating theatre at a New Delhi hospital in India, surgeon Sandeep Vaishya said: “The surgery went perfectly, much better than expected.
“It’s definitely a success but it’s too early to say what the quality of her future life will be like.â
Roona’s swollen head had put pressure on her brain and made it impossible for her to sit upright or crawl.
She faced a slow death as her dad Abdul, who earns less than ÂŁ2 a day in a brick factory, could not afford her treatment.
But after pictures were taken of the girl in her village in the remote north eastern state of Tripura, a hospital run by the private Fortis Healthcare group offered to treat Roona for free.
So far, doctors have reduced the swelling by over a third from 37ins to 23.6ins by draining fluid from her skull into an external plastic bag, allowing them to perform hour-long surgery.
The operation involved inserting of a shunt to drain the fluid out of her head and towards her abdomen where it can be absorbed easily into the blood stream.
Little Roona will still need “extensive physiotherapy” to allow her to lead a fully functional life.
Vaishya added: “Her neck muscles are very under-developed, so she will need more nutrition and extensive physiotherapy to make her stronger.
âHer body will have to grow strong so she can learn to sit up and move about and live a normal life.”
Dad Abdul, 26, said he had prayed constantly for a “miracle” to save his little girl.
He added: “The day she was born, then itself the doctor said there were no guarantees she would survive.
âI figured we would do our best for as long as we could and Allah would help us with the rest.”
Two Norwegian college students, Jonas Borchgrevink and Nathalie Krantz, saw Roona’s photographs and started an online campaign that raised over ÂŁ34,000 to help her family and fund any future aftercare treatment.
ONE OF Ghanaâs top jazz music icons, Paul Bilson last Thursday, became the toast of hundreds of Ghanaian music fans when he put up a splendid performance at the +233 Jazz Club and Grill located on the Ring Road in Accra.
Paul Billsonâs delighted fans who thronged the venue were entertained with good music, leaving them refreshed and fulfilled.
Paul and his band staged a brilliant performance, proving that when it comes to music, one must work hard to earn the respect and all accolades that come with it.
His stagecraft and creative performance on stage that night earned him the credential as one of the most thrilling jazz music icons.
Paul lived up to expectation and the fans also fulfilled their side of the bargain by thoroughly enjoying every bit of the show.
The Scratch Studios produced event in conjunction with the French Embassy and Alliance FranĂ§aise was wellÂ patronizedÂ by the entire public.
Paul, who was at his best, was consistent and controlled the fans who danced their hearts out to show appreciation to his performance.
During his performance, Paul won the hearts of many with his exquisite stagecraft which left no doubt that he was truly a renowned musical icon.
Paul had shared the stage with so many prevalent bands like Soul Winners Band, the Ghana National Fire Service Band, the Fish Band, Ozimzim Band and great musicians like; Kojo Antwi, Amakye Dede, Daddy Lumba and Pat Thomas on the local scene in Ghana.
Paul has also played and worked with different groups and artistes like Afro Blue, Bad Manners, the Dualers, Alvin Slaughter and the world famous afro rock band, Osibisa.
He is continiously being inspired by great musical intellects such as, Hugh Masekela, Miles Davis, Grover Washington, George Benson, Phil Driscolle, Louis Armstrong and Mac Tontoh of Osibisa among others.
Paul’s debut album recorded at the ubiquitous Scratch Studios is a must- listen-to album.
By George Clifford Owusu