The number of killings in London has topped last year’s total and is the highest annual number for more than a decade, police figures show.
The fatal stabbing of 47-year-old James O’Keefe in Hornsey on Monday took the capital’s 2019’s homicide rate to 142.
The figure, which includes murders and manslaughters, is the highest number since 2008, a year when the Met investigated 154 deaths.
The force said a total of 133 homicides were recorded in 2018.
This year’s figure includes 137 homicide investigations by the Met, two by British Transport Police and the two fatal stabbings at London Bridge last month, investigated by City of London Police.
More than half of 2019’s victims were stabbed to death and 23 were teenagers – the highest number of such victims for more than a decade – figures collated by the BBC shows.
“Each one of these cases is a tragedy, not just for the victims, their families and friends, but also for our wider communities who are left reeling by these acts of senseless violence,” a police spokesman said.
“Tackling violence is the number one priority for the Metropolitan Police Service. One homicide, one stabbing, one violent incident, is simply one too many.”
Jaden Moodie, 14, was the youngest person to be killed in the capital, in 2019.
Ayoub Majdouline, 19 and from Wembley, is currently on trial for his murder.
Jodie Chesney, who was stabbed to death in east London, was another teenager to die this year.
The 17-year-old was knifed in the back as she sat with friends in Harold Hill, on 1 March.
Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and Arron Isaacs, 17, of Barking, were both convicted last month of her murder, following an eight-week trial at the Old Bailey.
Danny Shaw, BBC Home Affairs correspondent
When Dame Cressida Dick took over as Metropolitan Police Commissioner in 2017, she said her priority was to tackle violent crime.
But the number of cases of murder and manslaughter in London has continued to rise.
With almost three weeks of the year remaining, there have already been 142 killings, nine more than last year and the highest number since 154 people died in 2008.
Most of the cases are being investigated by the Met. The force said it was working “tirelessly” to help bring offenders to justice and take weapons off the streets.
Lib Peck, Director of the Violence Reduction Unit at City Hall, says the number of those aged in their 20s, who are injured by knives, is beginning to drop.
“We are really determined to route out the causes this terrible phenomenon and the importance is that we are really investing in preventative measures.”
London Bridge attacker Usman Khan attended two counter-terrorism programmes that had not been fully tested to see if they were effective, BBC News has discovered.
Khan, who was convicted of a terrorism offence in 2012, killed Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, on Friday.
He had completed two rehabilitation schemes during the eight years he spent in prison and following his release.
The government says such programmes are kept “under constant review”.
Three others were injured after Khan launched the attack at a prisoner rehabilitation event inside Fishmongers’ Hall near London Bridge.
Inquests into the deaths of Mr Merritt and Ms Jones were opened and adjourned at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.
The court heard that both of them died after being stabbed in the chest. The date for the full inquests is still to be decided.
During his time in prison, Khan completed a course for people convicted of extremism offences and after his release went on a scheme to address the root causes of terrorism.
The first course Khan went on, the Healthy Identity Intervention Programme, was piloted from 2010 and is now the main rehabilitation scheme for prisoners convicted of offences linked to extremism.
Last year, the Ministry of Justice published the findings of research into the pilot project which found it was “viewed positively” by a sample of those who attended and ran the course.
However, the department has not completed any work to test whether the scheme prevents reoffending or successfully tackles extremist behaviour.
There has also been no evaluation of the impact of the Desistance and Disengagement Programme, which Khan took part in after his release last year.
Government officials pointed out that the schemes have not been operating for long enough for the results to be assessed, but a spokesperson said all offender behaviour programmes were kept under constant review.
The spokesperson said: “All our offender behaviour programmes are monitored, evaluated and kept under constant review to ensure that they are effective in reducing reoffending and protecting the public.”
The Home Office “fact-sheet” on the Desistence and Disengagement programme contains eight pieces of “key information”.
But it omits the really key bit – that the programme has never been evaluated. In other words, we do not know if it works.
The same is true of the Healthy Identity Interventions course. Although the Ministry of Justice conducted a “process evaluation”, to check the pilot version was being run properly, we will not know for another two years if it is achieving results.
So, these schemes, like many other offender behaviour projects, are, in essence, experimental.
Some say the only way of knowing if they are any good is to try them out. Others argue the risks of doing that are too high, pointing to the once-flagship Sex Offender Treatment Programme, which was used for 25 years until research showed that it increased the likelihood of reoffending.
Rehabilitating convicted terrorists is as complex and challenging as it gets – but a little more openness and honesty is required about the methods that are being used.
A man who recently went through the same Desistence and Disengagement programme as Khan says the London Bridge attacker “shouldn’t have been let out of prison”.
The man – who asked to remain anonymous – was acquitted of terror charges but was required to wear an electronic tag.
Speaking to Sima Kotecha on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “I had a mentor who came to see me at least twice a week.
“As time went on the authorities saw a change within myself.”
Asked why such mentoring worked for him but not for Khan, the man said: “I wanted to make a change.
“Other people may think that [terror] is the only route because they’ve been radicalised and that’s all they know.”
He added that “anybody can manipulate” when asked whether people could convince their mentors that they have moved away from extremism.
He said: “I don’t know his character, but anybody can manipulate.”
Khan, 28, was arrested in December 2010 and sentenced in 2012 to indeterminate detention for public protection with a minimum jail term of eight years, having pleaded guilty to preparing terrorist acts.
He had been part of an al-Qaeda inspired group that considered attacks in the UK, including at the London Stock Exchange.
In 2013 the Court of Appeal quashed the sentence, replacing it with a 16-year fixed term, and ordered Khan to serve at least half this – eight years – behind bars.
Since his release from prison in December 2018, Khan had been living in Stafford and was required to wear a GPS tag.
Khan was armed with two knives and was wearing a fake suicide vest during the attack at Fishmongers’ Hall in the City of London on Friday.
He was tackled by members of the public, including ex-offenders from the conference, before he was shot dead by police.
Porter ‘acted instinctively’
Among those praised for their bravery during the attack was a porter – known as Lukasz – who tried to fight Khan at Fishmongers’ Hall.
He issued a statement through Scotland Yard on Tuesday, saying that contrary to some reports, he had used a pole to tackle Khan while someone else used a narwhal tusk.
“The man attacked me, after which he left the building,” he said. “A number of us followed him out but I stopped at the bollards of the bridge. I had been stabbed and was later taken to hospital to be treated.”
He said he was “thankful” that he had now returned home.
“When the attack happened, I acted instinctively,” he said. “I am now coming to terms with the whole traumatic incident and would like the space to do this in privacy, with the support of my family.”
He wanted to express his condolences to the families who had “lost precious loved ones”, he added, as well as sending his best wishes to “everyone affected by this sad and pointless attack”.
Two women were also injured in the attack. They remain in a stable condition in hospital.
A police ban on Extinction Rebellion protests in London last month was unlawful, High Court judges have ruled.
The Metropolitan Police imposed the ban, which prevented two or more people from the group taking part in protests, under the Public Order Act.
But judges have ruled that police had no power to do this because the law did not cover “separate assemblies”.
Activists say the police could now face claims for false imprisonment from “potentially hundreds” of protesters.
The Met said it would “carefully consider” the ruling.
The protests cost £24m to police and led to 1,828 arrests, with 165 people charged with offences, the Met says.
During the court hearing, the force had argued that the ban was the only way to tackle widespread disruption.
Announcing their judgement, however, Lord Justice Dingemans and Mr Justice Chamberlain ruled in favour of Extinction Rebellion.
Lord Justice Dingemans said: “Separate gatherings, separated both in time and by many miles, even if co-ordinated under the umbrella of one body, are not a public assembly within the meaning of… the Act.
“The XR [Extinction Rebellion] autumn uprising intended to be held from October 14 to 19 was not therefore a public assembly… therefore the decision to impose the condition was unlawful because there was no power to impose it under… the Act.”
The judges noted that there are powers within that act which may be used lawfully to “control future protests which are deliberately designed to ‘take police resources to breaking point”‘.
During 10 days of climate change protests last month, activists shut down areas around Parliament and the Bank of England, and targeted London City Airport.
Police had previously warned protesters to keep demonstrations in Trafalgar Square, or risk arrest – before issuing a city-wide ban on 14 October, under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.
The court was told that the ban was issued on the same day as a message posted online by London activists.
It told protesters to adopt the “be water” tactics used by demonstrators in Hong Kong.
“Be water, crowds split up into fast moving groups and pairs, that network via phones,” it said.
“You gather at particular spots in large numbers, until the police response building then you move to a new disruptive site.”
The ban was lifted four days later, with officers saying that it was no longer necessary because demonstrations had ended.
BBC home affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford
This was a radical tactic adopted by the Metropolitan Police on 14 October – banning all future Extinction Rebellion protests across London for several days.
But it has backfired. No police force likes to have their actions described as “unlawful”.
Today’s High Court ruling takes away from officers the ability to impose a city-wide ban of future protests, which means demonstrators wanting to be “like water” – where they split into fast-moving groups – will be difficult to control if they are trying to disrupt a whole city.
So police will have to deal with what is in front of them.
If a specific protest in a specific place gets out of hand they will be able to close it down, but it will have to be a decision made by an officer on the spot, and not by someone sitting in a police station worrying about what protests may happen the next day.
Responding to Wednesday’s ruling, Extinction Rebellion UK tweeted “we won’t be silenced”.
Green Party peer Jenny Jones – who was among those to bring the legal challenge – described the ruling as “historic” and criticised ministers for speaking out in favour of the ban.
Met Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said the decision to impose the ban had been “reasonable and proportionate” and “was not taken lightly”.
He added that the police “would not and cannot ban protest” and that the ruling was made specifically on whether officers could arrest demonstrators for assembling in central London.
“There is no criticism from me of the decision to impose the condition, which was made with good intent and based upon the circumstances confronting the command team at the time,” he said.
“It did in fact result in the reduction of the disruption. Nevertheless, this case highlights that policing demonstrations like these, within the existing legal framework, can be challenging.”
What does Extinction Rebellion want?
Extinction Rebellion’s legal victory follows two weeks of protests in the UK last month.
The group (XR for short) wants governments to declare a “climate and ecological emergency” and take immediate action to address climate change.
It describes itself as an international “non-violent civil disobedience activist movement”.
Launched in 2018, organisers say it has groups willing to take action in dozens of countries.
It uses an hourglass inside a circle as its logo, to represent time running out for many species.
A dentist whose patient bled to death when she had five teeth removed has been suspended for misconduct.
Tushar Kantibhai Patel, of Purley, south London, operated on the woman, known as Patient A, despite her telling him she was taking an anti-clotting drug for a rare blood disorder.
The General Dental Council found he should have sought further advice prior to carrying out treatment.
Patient A died in July 2017 from severe bleeding from her mouth.
She had gone to Mr Patel who had removed her teeth in order to be fitted with dentures.
On 18 July 2017 she had five teeth extracted but that evening was admitted to the emergency unit at King’s College Hospital, London, with severe bleeding from her mouth.
This was stopped by gauze, pressure and local anaesthetic and she was advised not to rinse for 24 hours before being discharged.
But she collapsed at home early the next day after the bleeding in her mouth resumed.
She was taken by ambulance to the hospital where she died the following day.
A subsequent inquest found the cause of death was haemorrhage from tooth extraction site, brought on by Warfarin (anti-clotting drug) treatment and dental extraction.
Her dental records showed no bleeding risk assessment was carried out at any of her five appointments with Patel, who had also failed to record any discussions about her complex medical history.
Patel, a dentist of 30 years, admitted to all the allegations, and expressed his “sincere remorse” over Patient A’s death.
It was found that since the death he had undertaken a self-audit of 15 extraction cases, reported to a supervisor on a monthly basis as well as observed the management of medically compromised dental patients at a hospital.
His suspension will run for 12 months.
In a quiet corner of London, one of India’s most venerated “founding fathers” continues to leave his mark.
The city’s affluent Primrose Hill neighbourhood has been home to generations of celebrities, from model Kate Moss to actor Daniel Craig.
But hundreds of visitors – including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – have flocked from around the world to one particular townhouse.
“Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Indian Crusader of Social Justice, lived here 1921-22,” proclaims a blue plaque outside the house.
Step through its doors, past a bust of Dr Ambedkar draped in garlands, and guests can see rooms reconstructed in his memory, with legal documents strewn across a dining room table. His glasses lie next to dog-eared books on the bedside table.
But there’s a problem: two neighbouring residents are opposed to the museum which, according to the local council, should not exist.
Next month, the fate of the museum will be decided at a council hearing. Its owners could be forced to convert it back into a residential property and close its doors to visitors, diluting the legacy of a man whose influence still reverberates in India to this day.
Known as Ambedkar House, the building was bought by the government of Maharashtra, a state in western India, for more than £3m ($3.65m) in 2015.
Since its inauguration by Prime Minister Modi in 2015, it has operated as a free-to-visit attraction, dedicated to Dr Ambedkar, who is known as the architect of India’s constitution.
The home has attracted hundreds of guests, and three neighbours told the BBC that during this time, visitors have come and gone without any disturbance. One resident, who lived across the road, said they did not even know it existed.
But in January 2018, Ambedkar House was reported to Camden Council for a planning breach, and the council found that the building did not have permission to operate as a museum.
In February 2018, the property’s owners retrospectively applied for permission to use the building as a museum. But in October 2018, the council rejected the claim, arguing that it would amount to an “unacceptable loss” of residential space.
Two residents have also complained to the council, in north-west London, about alleged disturbances caused by “coach loads” of visitors making “noise day and night”.
The government of Maharashtra has appealed against the decision and a public inquiry is scheduled for 24 September.
Maharashtra’s government refused to comment on the case. But in a statement to the BBC, India’s High Commission – its embassy in the UK – said the property “holds a special significance for a huge section of Indians”. It said a planning application was submitted to Camden Council to convert the house into a memorial.
Dr Ambedkar – a Maharashtra native who died in 1956 – was a legal scholar, a passionate civil rights activist and the man tasked with drafting the country’s constitution after its independence in 1947. He was also India’s first law minister.
He was born a Dalit – one of the so-called “untouchables” of India’s caste system – and became the most important and revered political leader for the community, which has faced social and economic discrimination for centuries.
He fought for women’s rights, an end to caste discrimination, and reserving jobs in government and schools for disadvantaged groups. He is widely regarded as one of India’s greatest political leaders.
Before his his political career, Dr Ambedkar briefly lived in Primrose Hill, from 1921-22, while studying for a doctorate degree in economics at the London School of Economics.
That’s why, at the suggestion of the Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations (FABO), the government of Maharashtra bought the property in 2015.
When the house came up for sale, former UK civil servant Santosh Dass, who lives in Hounslow, west London, convinced the state to buy it.
She told the BBC that the property was in a dilapidated state at the time, and said the renovation work had given the home, and the community, a new lease of life.
“We’ve done the neighbourhood a favour,” said Ms Dass, president of the FABO.
She said that discussions had been held about getting permission to turn the house into a formal museum, but organisers “underestimated how much time the whole thing would take”.
“We really want it to be a proper memorial so people can come and visit,” said Ms Dass. “Some people see it as a pilgrimage.”
About 50 people are estimated to visit Ambedkar House every week, including enthusiasts who travel from far away. Outside the building, one family told the BBC they had travelled from India to visit the home, which was top of their sightseeing agenda in London.
C Gautam, a FABO committee member, was sanguine about the future of the property as a museum because “eminent people support us”.
A letter in support of the museum has been written to the borough council by Lord Richard Harries, a former bishop of Oxford. Some neighbouring residents, however, do not share his enthusiasm.
One local resident, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC: “It’s supposed to be residential, not a museum.”
The resident claimed that Ambedkar House “went ahead with the renovations without permission”, adding that “crowds of people come here now”.
During Camden’s public consultation, one resident also complained that visitors “arrive in coach loads, taking photos and making noise”.
Bonnie Dobson, who lives on King Henry’s Road, told the BBC she considered the objections “puzzling and upsetting”. The 78-year-old Canadian folk singer said she had lived in Primrose Hill since 1969 and made a concerted effort to know her neighbours.
“To the best of my knowledge, no-one has ever been disturbed by the fact that the house is now a little museum,” she said.
Ms Dobson said she liked the idea that tourists were coming to see Ambedkar House but disputed ever seeing “coach loads” of visitors. “If there were coaches coming up and down my road I’d know it,” she added.
Ultimately, it is the Planning Inspectorate – an independent agency working for the UK government – that will make a judgement on the planning appeal.
If Ambedkar House lost the appeal, its owners “would be required to return the property to its lawful use as residential”, a council spokeswoman told the BBC.
In a report on the planning application, the council said the conversion of the building into a museum was, in theory, permissible. However, it was the loss of residential space that breached policy and led to the rejection, the council said.
“In terms of balancing the loss of residential floor space against the cultural benefits, there is nothing to suggest that an alternative site could not be found,” the council said.
Mr Gautam insisted that most neighbours had been supportive of Ambedkar House.
“They tell us that some of their relatives remember when Ambedkar lived there 100 years ago,” he told the BBC. “So they seem really happy that a unique thing is happening here.”
Inside the building, a quote from Dr Ambedkar is printed on one of the walls. “Democracy is essentially an attitude of reverence towards our fellow men,” the quote reads.
The council’s reverence for Ambedkar House, it seems, remains an open question.