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Former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens has admitted to the kidnap and rape of Sarah Everard at the Old Bailey.

Sarah, 33, vanished while walking home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, in March.

Couzens, 48, appeared at the Old Bailey on Tuesday morning when he entered the guilty pleas.

Appearing via video link from Belmarsh Prison, he wore khaki trousers and a grey sweatshirt.

Members of the Ms Everard’s family where in court to hear the defendant make the pleas.

There is set to be another hearing on 9 July.

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Charity boss Ngozi Fulani says she felt abused and ‘trapped’ during Buckingham Palace exchange with Lady Susan Hussey

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Charity boss Ngozi Fulani says she felt abused and 'trapped' during Buckingham Palace exchange with Lady Susan Hussey

A black domestic abuse campaigner who was repeatedly asked where she “really came from” by Prince William’s godmother said she felt abused, verbally attacked and “trapped”.

Ngozi Fulani, founder of the charity Sistah Space, works as an advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and described the exchange as a “violation”.

“I was not giving the answer that she wanted me to give. And so we could not move on,” Ms Fulani told Sky News.

“And it was when she said ‘I knew you’d get there in the end’ – that proved to me, you were determined to prove that I had no right to British citizenship.

“Now, that reminds me of the Windrush conversation, where 50 or 60 years on people who were born here, worked here or you know, have given so much, can just be thrown out.”

Lady Susan Hussey resigned from her role in the royal household and apologised over the incident at an event at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday hosted by the Queen Consort.

Ngozi Fulani and Lady Susan Hussey. Pics: PA/David Fisher/Shutterstock
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Ngozi Fulani and Lady Susan Hussey. Pics: PA/David Fisher/Shutterstock

Describing how Lady Hussey touched her hair to see her name badge, the charity boss said: “Now, abuse doesn’t have to be physical. But if you move my hair without permission, to me, that’s abuse.

“When you verbally attack, because that to me is what it is – you are determined that the answer that I gave you is not one you want to hear, you do not recognise me as British.

“And until I acknowledge that I’m not, you’re not going to stop. What do I do? What do I do at that point? So I become silent. And I hoped she would go away and she eventually did.”

Asked how she felt about the conversation, she said: “I was the victim if you will, of an offence, of racism.

“When this happens, and it’s so direct, and in a space like that, I kind of felt trapped in that space.”

Asked if Buckingham Palace had contacted her, she said: “I haven’t heard anything from anybody. Maybe they’ve attempted to but they haven’t got through to me or to Sistah Space.”

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Hussey ‘interrogated’ Fulani – witness

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Harry and Meghan’s documentary trailer released
Lady Susan Hussey resigns from palace duties
Who is Lady Susan Hussey?

‘Institutional racism in palace’

Pressed if there was a deeper problem, she replied: “So institutional racism, racism is a problem all over the UK. It’s in the police. It’s been established. It’s in the fire brigade/department, that’s established. It’s even in parts of the NHS. It’s a problem. And it’s in Buckingham Palace, one person isn’t responsible.

“They need to review their whole policy on equality and race. They need to have a conversation with the people who say they are affected.”

She said it had been a “difficult couple of days for various reasons”.

“One is, I’m still processing what happened at Buckingham Palace and the outrage that has followed has been interesting,” she said.

“Racism has no place in a venue that’s supposed to be a safe space for everybody, regardless of their background.”

William distances himself from race row

Buckingham Palace said it took the matter “extremely seriously” and had investigated immediately.

Prince William, who is on a three-day US visit with his wife Kate, is understood to agree it was right for Lady Hussey to step down from her honorary role as Lady of the Household with immediate effect.

Before he had landed in the US, the prince was told about his godmother’s comments.

A Kensington Palace spokesman told reporters in the US before the Prince and Princess of Wales’ Boston trip – which has been overshadowed by the palace controversy – that Lady Hussey’s comments were “unacceptable” and “racism has no place in our society”.

Later, during an NBA game William and Kate attended, the royal couple were booed by some members of the crowd, and at an Earthshot Prize event, they heard a speech on race equality by a black reverend.

Lady Hussey, who served as the Queen’s lady in waiting for more than 60 years, has offered her “profound apologies for the hurt caused”.

However, the monarchy has faced allegations of institutional racism since Ms Fulani revealed what had happened.

William and Kate at a basketball game during their visit to Boston
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William and Kate at a basketball game during their visit to Boston

Lawyer ‘also asked about ethnicity’

Nazir Afzal, the University of Manchester chancellor, who was also at the palace reception, said he too was questioned by Lady Hussey about his origins.

The former chief crown prosecutor for the North West, tweeted: “I was at the Buckingham Palace reception at which Lady Hussey questioned the heritage of a brilliant [domestic violence] expert Ngozi Fulani.

“She only asked me my heritage once and seemed to accept my answer – Manchester currently!

“Racism is never far away though.”

Downing Street declined to comment on the incident.

Pressed on whether the prime minister believed it was right for Lady Hussey to quit, Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said: “It’s not one I’ve spoken to him about.

“It is a matter for the Palace and you’ll know they have issued a statement on it.”

Last year the Duchess of Sussex claimed that a member of the royal household asked her about what colour skin her son Archie would have before he was born.

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Who is Ngozi Fulani – the domestic abuse charity founder subjected to racism at Buckingham Palace?

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Who is Ngozi Fulani - the domestic abuse charity founder subjected to racism at Buckingham Palace?

The charity boss at the centre of the Buckingham Palace racism row and her six siblings grew up in the 1960s as the “only black family on our road.

Ngozi Fulani, now 61, said her parents, who had moved to Britain from Barbados as part of the Windrush generation, “embraced everybody” and never allowed the “barriers we faced outside” to be brought into the house in Kilburn, northwest London.

In an interview with Future Hackney, Ms Fulani said her father would take them to house parties because “black people were not allowed” in pubs.

She was once “shooed” away by a white teacher at school, while her brothers would “come home with their faces swollen” having been bullied by their peers or attacked by the police, she added.

And when her sister gave birth at the age of 17, her white social worker used a racist term to describe her baby.

“We were very aware from the get-go that even though we were born here, we were not welcome,” she wrote.

The interview concluded with Ms Fulani saying: “Nothing has changed. It’s just different. The racism is just as intense, the hate is still there.”

‘Couldn’t stay silent’ about Meghan racism accusations

When the Duchess of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey in 2021 that a member of the royal household had concerns about the colour of her son Archie’s skin before he was born, Ms Fulani tweeted: “I can’t stay silent about this. I admire Meghan for speaking out.

“According to clear definition, it seems Meghan is a survivor of domestic violence from her in-laws.”

At the time Buckingham Palace said that issues raised by Meghan, “particularly that of race”, were “concerning” and would be “addressed privately”.

On Tuesday, as the chief executive and co-founder of Sistah Space, a charity that supports domestic abuse victims of African and Caribbean heritage, she attended a reception at Buckingham Palace.

File photo dated 29/11/2022 of Ngozi Fulani (2nd left) at a reception at Buckingham Palace, London. The prominent black advocate for survivors of domestic abuse has revealed how she was repeatedly asked by a member of the Buckingham Palace household at the Queen Consort's reception where she "really came from". Issue date: Wednesday November 30, 2022.
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Ms Fulani pictured with Camilla, Queen Consort at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday

The event, part of the United Nations’ 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, was also attended by first lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska and former Spice Girl Mel B.

There, Ms Fulani was approached by Lady Susan Hussey, one of the late Queen’s longest-serving ladies in waiting.

In a Twitter post afterwards, she revealed how the 83-year-old had repeatedly asked her “where she really came from” and “what part of Africa” she was from.

Lady Hussey, who is Prince William’s godmother, has since resigned from her palace duties.

Learning about Africa from white teachers sometimes felt ‘traumatic’

Although her parents came from the Caribbean, after leaving home and moving to Hackney at 18, Ms Fulani says discovering an African dance group was the “day her life changed”.

The “connection with Africa” it gave her was a “pivotal moment” that, she says, “became her lifelong story”.

Five years after joining the class, she began to teach herself – eventually running the Emashi Dance ensemble, which in December 1997 saw her meet King Charles at an event for the Prince’s Trust.

Ngozi Fulani and her two-year-old daughter with King Charles at a Prince's Trust event in December 1997
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Ngozi Fulani and her two-year-old daughter with King Charles at a Prince’s Trust event in December 1997

At that time she was studying for a Master’s degree in African Studies at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

She says that although she had a small number of black teachers, there were only four other black students in her class.

“We had to learn about our culture from middle class white people,” she wrote. “It did not feel authentic and at times I found it traumatic.

“It was at this point I realised how much trouble we were in and how far we had to go.”

Murder of woman and her baby sparked charity

Years later, in 2014, when Ms Fulani was working as a marriage registrar, a 45-year-old woman called Valerie Forde was murdered alongside her 22-month-old daughter by her ex-partner in Hackney.

Six weeks before he killed the pair with a machete, Ms Forde had reported him for threatening to burn down her house with her and their daughter inside.

An independent investigation later found the victims were badly let down by police, with two detective sergeants found guilty of misconduct and given written warnings.

Valerie Forde’s story drove Ms Fulani to train as an independent domestic violence advocate and in 2015 set up a charity specifically for African and Caribbean domestic abuse survivors in the area.

Sistah Space supports survivors in “whatever way they need”, Ms Fulani says – whether that is helping them to flee abuse or accompanying them to court.

The organisation works to “ensure cultural factors are not only considered but understood” and that “cultural barriers and biases are removed”.

Ngozi Fulani, CEO of Sistah Space
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Pic: Sistah Space

She and her co-founder Rosanna Lewis also offer training on cultural competency and best practice.

This includes abuse injuries not being as visible on darker skin tones and a reluctance to report abusers to police.

“Women want the abuse to stop but we know what happens to black men in police custody,” she told The Guardian in 2020. “These women do not want to risk their abusers being hurt or murdered.”

Read more:
William and Kate booed over race row
Analysis – pressure is on King Charles over racism accusations

In an interview with Sky News, she added: “There are so many things that women like us have to consider before we access mainstream services.

“We are often met by people who see black women as not in need of protection, we often get things like ‘strong woman like you, I can’t believe anybody would do anything to you’.

“So this tendency to brush off domestic abuse and sexual abuse is so inherent that most black women don’t see the point in reporting domestic abuse to a system that doesn’t see them and doesn’t listen.”

Ms Fulani told LBC in an interview on Wednesday that she would be “happy to have a conversation to bring about a positive solution” with the royals, but that she felt “violated” and “interrogated” by her experience at the palace.

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Number of patients in hospital with flu jumps 40% in a week as NHS top doctor says service hit by ‘perfect storm’

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Number of patients in hospital with flu jumps 40% in a week as NHS top doctor says service hit by 'perfect storm'

The number of people in hospital with the flu has jumped by 40% in the past week, according to official figures.

An average of 482 patients a day were in hospital with the flu last week, compared to 344 the week before.

Adult norovirus cases also jumped by more than a quarter with 157 beds taken up each day last week, up from 126.

Norovirus is often called the “winter vomiting bug” because it makes patients very sick for a short period.

The news comes amid reports of a ‘perfect storm’ of pressures set to hit the NHS this winter, with overall general and acute adult bed occupancy rates remaining high for the time of year.

Some 95.4% are currently full compared to 93.8% at the beginning of December 2021.

The numbers are being compounded by an increase in the number of patients filling beds who are actually fit to be discharged.

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More than 13,000 beds were filled nearly every day last week by patients who did not meet the criteria to reside in hospital.

On average 13,364 patients who could be discharged were still in hospital – up from 13,179 over the previous seven days and more than a quarter higher than the most comparable data from last year.

Industrial action is also blighting the health service as union bosses threaten to co-ordinate strike action across the NHS for “maximum impact”.

The new data comes on the same day the NHS announced that more than more than 40 healthcare ‘traffic control centres’ are now active.

The centres, which have been dubbed ‘war rooms’, were announced in October as part of a wider plan to cope with the pressures of winter.

The plan also includes the rollout of a national response team service, new hubs dedicated to serious respiratory infections and additional bed capacity.

The centres use data to respond to emerging challenges and can divert ambulances to another nearby hospital with more capacity as well as identify hospitals that need extra support.

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