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A van thief who murdered a delivery driver has been sentenced to life in prison.

Christopher El Gifari will serve a minimum term of 32 years.

A jury at Cardiff Crown Court last week found the 31-year-old guilty of murder and robbery.

On Friday, he was also sentenced to 10 years for robbery which he will serve concurrently with his life sentence for murder.

Mark Lang, 54, was fatally injured after he was dragged by his own vehicle as it was stolen.

Mr Lang had left his van on Laytonia Avenue in the city to deliver a parcel on 28 March.

The courier was fatally injured when he tried to stop El Gifari from getting away.

Handing down his sentence, Mr Justice Griffiths said El Gifari had taken “a son away from his mother” and “bereaved his partner of 23 years”.

“You deprived his two daughters of their father, a sister of her brother, and his partner’s children of their father figure,” he added.

Mr Lang was “well-known and well-liked as a driver who had for 15 years been delivering parcels to Cardiff residents,” Mr Justice Griffiths said.

“You were determined to drive over Mr Lang and get away with his van contents, come what may.”

Mark Lang died in the early hours of Sunday morning
Image:
Mark Lang

By the time the vehicle came to a stop on New Zealand Road, El Gifari had driven “a total of 743 metres since first hitting Mr Lang”.

“All that time, he was being battered and suffocated, sustaining horrible and painful injuries, as his body was dragged under the front of the van and between the front wheels,” he said.

“The pressure on his body was so great, that his hi-vis jacket ground visible yellow marks into the road.”

A passer-by spoke to El Gifari through the window and pointed to Mr Lang’s body underneath him.

“You gave no sign of being surprised Mr Lang’s body was there, or of caring about Mr Lang at all,” Mr Justice Griffiths said.

“All you wanted was to get away with what you had done. So you jumped out of the van and ran away, as fast as you could.”

Mr Justice Griffiths said El Gifari “did not care whether Mr Lang lived or died as along as [he] got away”.

The trial heard Mr Lang, from the Cyncoed area, had suffered head injuries and was taken to the University Hospital of Wales where he died on 15 April.

Prosecuting, David Elias KC, said Mr Lang had been “performing a public-facing service as a delivery driver” at the time of the incident.

The court heard a victim impact statement from Mr Lang’s partner, Caroline, who said most of his family now “cannot drive along North Road as it is too upsetting”.

She said her “whole world was turned upside down” and she had felt “a whole rollercoaster of emotions”.

“Having to relive all of this through the trial has been really difficult,” she added.

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In mitigation, Mark Graffius KC, said El Gifari had used the van “to escape, without premeditation and without an intention to kill”.

The court heard he “broke his leg very badly in 2022”, was “laid off work” and his relationship broke down.

“A succession of truly unfortunate incidents have led him to the point where he’s homeless with little or no income,” Mr Graffius said.

The offence was described by the mitigating lawyer as “opportunistic”. He said El Gifari had seen a “chance to sell the contents of the van for money”.

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Lee Anderson suspended from Conservative Party after ‘Islamophobic’ comments

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Lee Anderson has been suspended from the Conservative party after ‘Islamophobic’ comments.

A spokesperson for Chief Whip Simon Hart said: “Following his refusal to apologise for comments made yesterday, the Chief Whip has suspended the Conservative whip from Lee Anderson MP.”

Speaking on GB News this week, Mr Anderson, MP for Ashfield, said: “I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London… He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”

Earlier today Sadiq Khan accused the prime minister of being “complicit” in racism for failing to condemn Mr Anderson‘s comments that “pour fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred”.

Mr Khan said the claim by the former deputy chairman of Tory party were Islamophobic and sent the message that Muslims were “fair game” when it came to racism.

The remarks prompted criticism from Labour and some Tories, including former cabinet minister Sajid Javid who branded them “ridiculous”.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

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King Charles shown chuckling at get well card featuring dog in a head cone

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King Charles shown chuckling at get well card featuring dog in a head cone

The King has been shown having a chuckle at cards sent by well-wishers, including one of a dog with the caption “at least you don’t have to wear a cone!”.

The 75-year-old monarch has been sent around 7,000 messages of support from around the world since his cancer diagnosis.

Newly released images and footage show King Charles looking through some of them at his desk in Buckingham Palace’s Belgian Suite.

King Charles III reads cards and messages, sent by wellwishers following his cancer diagnosis.
Pic:PA
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The photos show the King in Buckingham Palace’s Belgian Suite. Pic: PA

He seemed particularly tickled by a card featuring an illustration of a terrier-like dog in a head cone, recovering from medical treatment.

Pets often wear plastic collars after an operation, to stop them aggravating a wound or stitches.

Other cards spread out in front of the King include one that reads “Your Majesty Get Well Soon”, while a number appear to be hand-drawn by children.

Many have related their own experience of cancer, with messages such as: “Chin up, chest out, remain positive and don’t let it get you down.”

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“Never give up. Be brave. Don’t push your limits. Get Well Soon,” says one note from a child.

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Messages ‘reduced me to tears’

The King was pictured reading the cards on Wednesday – the same day he met the prime minister for their weekly audience.

He told Rishi Sunak that he’d been “reduced to tears” by the public’s support.

The monarch was speaking to Mr Sunak in their first face-to-face meeting since it was announced he had a “form of cancer”.

“I’ve had so many wonderful messages and cards, it has reduced me to tears most of the time,” King Charles told the prime minister.

He added: “I hear there has been a lot more potential attention on those main, wonderful cancer charities, many of which I have been a patron of for years.”

The King had been mostly staying at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk following his first round of treatment in London.

Buckingham Palace announced on 5 February that cancer had been discovered while undergoing a procedure for an enlarged prostate.

The Palace has not released details about the type of cancer or the treatment.

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Professional golfer Georgia Ball can ‘see the funny side’ after ‘mansplaining’ TikTok video goes viral

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Professional golfer Georgia Ball can 'see the funny side' after 'mansplaining' TikTok video goes viral

Professional female golfer Georgia Ball has said she can “see the funny side” after a video of an amateur player “mansplaining” to her about her swing went viral.

Ball, a certified PGA pro and instructor, also told Sky Sports she did not put the man in his place during the “awkward” conversation because she is a “humble person”.

The TikTok video of the incident she shared earlier this week has had more than 10 million views and over 26,000 comments, with many social media users mocking the man for “mansplaining”.

In the clip, Ball, who regularly shares instructional videos on her account, is seen practising her swing at a driving range near Liverpool.

A man off camera then says: “Excuse me, what you’re doing there, you shouldn’t be doing that… swing and follow through.”

He goes on to tell her that she is “too slow on the way up”.

Ball explains she is going through a “swing change” – something golfers regularly do to improve their technique.

However, the man continues: “I know, but what you’re doing there is you’re coming back too slow.

“I’ve been playing golf for 20 years, what you need to do is follow through a lot quicker than what you’re doing there right now.”

She explains again that she is going through a swing change, but the man continues to advise that she needs to move her club quicker.

Ball then cleanly strikes the ball into the distance before the man says: “See how much better that was?”

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The professional golfer explains once again that she is practising a swing change, before the man repeats that he “has been playing for 20 years” and that she should carry on playing the way he has advised her to.

Ball then laughs, before sarcastically adding: “Thanks for your advice.”

Asked by Sky Sports how she felt during the interaction, Ball said: “It was an awkward conversation at the time but I was just concentrating on what I was doing… I am glad I can look back on it now and see the funny side to it.”

When asked if she was ever tempted to put the man in his place, she said: “To be honest, I am a humble person, it is not in me to call him out or say I am a PGA pro, it is just not in me to do that.”

Ball added that she never got the chance to see the man hit a ball, so was unable to pass comment on his swing.

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