Daily Archives: July 10, 2007

FDA Agrees with New Study Approving Aspartame’s Safety

Nutrition Horizon | Jul 11, 2007

Aspartame has been safely consumed for nearly a quarter of a century and is one of the most thoroughly studied food ingredients, with more than 200 scientific studies confirming its safety.

The findings of a new rat study conducted by Italy’s Ramazzini Institute are contradictory to the extensive scientific research and regulatory reviews conducted on aspartame. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has stated they are not recommending any changes in the use of aspartame.

In April 20, 2007, FDA issued a statement that it has completed a review of the Ramazzini study, concluding that the study data made available to them by the European Ramazzini Foundation (ERF) “do not appear to support the aspartame-related findings reported by ERF.” FDA added, “These data do not provide evidence to alter FDA’s conclusion that the use of aspartame is safe.” Also, the European Food Safety Authority and other experts recently dismissed an earlier aspartame rat study by the Ramazzini Institute.

In its statement, available at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/fpaspar2.html, FDA noted: “Based on our review, pathological changes were incidental and appeared spontaneously in the study animals, and none of the histopathological changes reported appear to be related to treatment with aspartame.” The statement further noted, “Based on the available data, however, we have identified significant shortcomings in the design, conduct, reporting, and interpretation of this study. FDA finds that the reliability and interpretation of the study outcome is compromised by these shortcomings and uncontrolled variables, such as the presence of infection in the test animals.”

The Calorie Control Council agrees that FDA should review the findings from Ramazzini. Unfortunately, the FDA said that repeated requests for additional information on the study from Ramazzini, including pathology slides, were never honored.

Local DC Fox affiliate reports on Nutrasweet aka Aspartame

Local Washington DC Fox News affiliate reports on Aspartame. It will never be shown by the national networks because it is too truthful. My only complaint is that they leave out Donald Rumsfeld’s pivotal role in aspartame’s approval and mareketing to the public.

PW

Lyn Nabors, president of the Council questioned, “If Ramazzini researchers are so confident in their findings, why will they not share their slides with regulatory agencies and subject their findings to the internationally recognized standardized review process to validate pathology findings?” The National Toxicology Program (NTP) and other organizations have established guidelines for pathology peer review in order to provide scientific consensus that study conclusions are valid. Unlike the Ramazzini findings, the aspartame studies required for regulatory approval underwent extensive audit and data validation.

The U.S. NTP has recently completed three animal studies designed to evaluate whether aspartame is capable of causing cancer. The results of these cancer studies unequivocally indicated that “there was no evidence of carcinogenic activity [cancer] of aspartame.” These studies were conducted using mice bred to be more sensitive to developing cancer.

“It is unfortunate that some scientists associated with NTP are lending credibility to the Ramazzini Institute and questioning the safety of aspartame when government institutions such as the NTP, the National Cancer Institute, the FDA and others have found no relationship between aspartame and cancer,” noted Nabors. Further, according to Nabors, it is difficult to understand why Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), a publication of the National Institute of Institutes of Environmental and Health Sciences (NIEHS) published the Ramazzini study when the design and execution did not follow guidelines set up by the NTP (the U.S. government toxicology initiative administered by NIEHS).

Ramazzini researchers have repeatedly provided their findings to the media prior to publication a highly unscientific and unacceptable way of disseminating research. For most reputable journals, this would jeopardize publication. However, Nabors said, EHP continues to publish findings from researchers more interested in attention-grabbing headlines than allowing their research to be reviewed and audited by independent scientists.

The allegations made by Ramazzini are at complete odds with the wealth of scientific literature demonstrating that aspartame is safe and not a carcinogen. A recent study conducted by Italian and French researchers in humans and published in the Annals of Oncology in 2006 demonstrates no association between aspartame and cancer. The researchers noted, “In conclusion, therefore, this study provides no evidence that saccharin or other sweeteners (mainly aspartame) increase the risk of cancer at several common sites in humans.” The Italian Association for Cancer Research contributed to the study.

Similarly, a 2006 epidemiology study from the US National Cancer Institute, found no adverse effects linked to aspartame consumption. The study evaluated more than 500,000 men and women and found that there was no evidence of an increased risk of leukemias, lymphomas and brain tumors among those who use aspartame (compared with those who did not consume aspartame).

After thoroughly reviewing Ramazzini data from a previous study, the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (AFC) stated in May, 2006, “In its opinion published today, the Panel concluded, on the basis of all the evidence currently available, that there is no need to further review the safety of aspartame nor to revise the previously established Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for aspartame (40 mg/kg body weight).”

Aspartame has been safely consumed for nearly a quarter of a century and is one of the most thoroughly studied food ingredients, with more than 200 scientific studies confirming its safety. In addition to the FDA, the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, the Scientific Committee on Food of the European Union and regulatory agencies in more than 100 countries have reviewed aspartame and found it to be safe for use.

Aspartame is composed of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, as the methyl ester. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are found naturally in protein containing foods, including meats, grains and dairy products. Methyl esters are also found naturally in many foods such as fruits and vegetable and their juices. The body handles the components from aspartame in the same way it handles them when derived from other foods.

“An examination of the animal and human research findings by regulatory bodies in countries around the world has led repeatedly to the conclusion that aspartame is safe. In consideration of these facts, it is difficult to accept a new claim of carcinogenesis in rats ingesting large amounts of the sweetener, particularly given the extensive database that already exists showing the absence of carcinogenic effects,” notes Dr. John Fernstrom Professor of Psychiatry, Pharmacology and Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Related

Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World 1 of 10

Rumsfeld and Aspartame

DONALD RUMSFELD AND ASPARTAME
http://www.newswithviews.com/NWVexclusive/exclusive15.htm

Aspartame Toxicity Information Center
http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/

Sweet Poison.com
http://www.sweetpoison.com/

ASPARTAMEKILLS.COM
http://aspartamekills.com/

Aspartame Truth Information
http://aspartametruth.com/

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‘Ring of steel’ plan to protect New Yorkers

Telegraph | Jul 10, 2007

cctv_array

By Tom Leonard

America’s deep-seated sensitivity about the privacy rights of its citizens is being challenged in New York where police want to set up a London-style “ring of steel” to protect the city against terrorism.

Officials say that 116 licence-plate reading cameras will have been installed in Lower Manhattan by the end of the year, the initial phase of a $90 million (£45 million) surveillance programme that will be the first in the United States.

The Lower Manhattan Security Initiative will resemble the security surrounding the City of London, with cameras and pivoting gates at key intersections that could isolate suspicious vehicles. The usefulness of CCTV cameras in helping police track the movements of the July 7 London bombers and the terrorism suspects last month impressed many US police chiefs who previously had reservations about introducing them.

Raymond Kelly, the police commissioner of New York City, said Lower Manhattan, which includes the Wall Street financial district, was “very critical to the lifeblood of this nation … we want to make it less vulnerable”.

Under the plan, 3,000 surveillance cameras would be installed below Canal Street by the end of next year, some of them owned by local businesses. Critics believe the NYPD will struggle to finance the plan.

Police are still considering whether to use face-recognition technology.

Police let the July 21, 2005 bombers slip the net

Telegraph | Jul 10, 2007

By Duncan Gardham

Police missed a string of opportunities to intercept four terrorists months before the botched suicide bomb attacks on July 21, 2005 it became clear last night.

Four men who were given sanctuary in Britain after leaving their war-torn countries were yesterday found guilty of a plot that would have killed hundreds of people on the London transport system two years ago.

Muktar Ibrahim, 29, the leader of the suicide gang, was seen by officers on at least four occasions before the bombings, Woolwich Crown Court had heard and was on bail after being arrested on suspicion of extremism.

Despite having a criminal record, he was given British citizenship even as he plotted the potentially murderous attacks.

Ibrahim had been in Pakistan at the same time as the leaders of the July 7 plot – Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shezhad Tanweer – and the devices his team employed were remarkably similar to those that killed 52 travellers and four bombers in the first attacks.

The later bombs were designed to cause an atrocity “bigger and better” and failed only because the devices had been put together wrongly.

Yesterday, as Ibrahim was found guilty of conspiracy to murder, alongside Yassin Omar, 26, Ramzi Mohammed, 25, and Hussain Osman, 28, questions were asked how he had been permitted to travel abroad.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: “This trial has revealed that the ringleader in the 21/7 plot was allowed to leave the country to train at a camp in Pakistan and return to plan and attempt the attack.

“This was despite the fact that he was facing criminal charges for extremism.

“When will the Government answer our call to establish a dedicated UK border police force to secure our porous borders?”

All four of the terrorists were refugees from East Africa living in council dwellings across London.

They had been given leave to stay in the country because their own were too dangerous for them to go back.

The jury is still considering verdicts on two other defendants, Manfo Asiedu, accused of being the “fifth bomber” who lost his nerve, and Adel Yahya.

The four would-be bombers, who all came to Britain in the 1990s, stocked up on large quantities of hydrogen peroxide from hairdressing suppliers to act as the bomb accelerant.

Omar’s eighth-floor flat in New Southgate, north London, became a bomb factory.

Mohammed targeted a train at Oval station in south London, Omar was on board a train at Warren Street in central London and Osman travelled on a Hammersmith and City line service to Shepherds Bush in west London.

Ibrahim boarded a bus in Shoreditch, east London.

The men thought they were going to die and take dozens with them but they fled when the devices failed to go off.

Their escape triggered the country’s largest ever manhunt.

Their movements were captured on thousands of hours of CCTV film, with seven hours of it shown to the jury.

Mohammed and Ibrahim, who was believed to have undertaken jihadi training in Pakistan, were captured a week later after armed police surrounded a flat in west London. Omar was arrested in Birmingham after travelling there disguised as a woman in a burka.

Osman was detained in Rome and extradited to Britain, where he had been granted asylum in 2004.

The fact that they came so close to causing carnage when they had been known to the police will raise fresh questions over the value of the intelligence available to the security services and whether it was properly acted upon.

In January and August 2003 Ibrahim was seen with Mohammed on police surveillance video at Finsbury Park Mosque, where Omar and Osman also attended regularly.

In May 2004, police watched all four bombers on a camping trip at a farm in Langdale in the Lake District running up and down carrying rucksacks. In October the same year, Ibrahim was arrested by police for breach of the peace while handing out extremist literature in Oxford Street.

He jumped bail and a letter was sent to his flat saying: “Come to us before we come to you.”

In December, Ibrahim was stopped by Special Branch officers at Heathrow airport before boarding a flight to Pakistan. They found his luggage included cold weather clothing, a sleeping bag and a video camera along with £2,000 in cash. One of his companions had £2,200, a military first aid kit and a manual on how to deal with ballistic injuries.

A Port Stop Request form recording the incident was filled in but the three men were allowed to go on their way.

Ibrahim flew to Pakistan, where he is said to have learned his bomb-making skills alongside Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shezhad Tanweer.

The self-proclaimed “emir” of the group, Ibrahim confessed to making the bombs but claimed that he had learnt how to do so on the internet, rather than in Pakistan.

Osman was found guilty after Mr Justice Fulford offered the jury a majority verdict of 10-2.

As the guilty verdicts were read out, Ibrahim closed his eyes and looked down at his hands.

Woman Arrested for Not Watering Lawn

KSL-TV | Jul 9, 2007

by Sam Penrod

Comment: The BBC reports that Perry was hit in the face with handcuffs, though that detail is completely dismissed in this report, claiming perry “tripped”.

A widow and grandma spent the morning in jail, arrested for refusing to give a policeman her name when he tried writing her a ticket for failing to water her yard. The woman hasn’t watered her lawn in more than a year, and the condition of her yard violates an Orem zoning ordinance.

Tonight, the woman says she is traumatized and shocked that she was hauled to jail, just because she says she can’t afford to water her lawn.

Betty Perry says, “I never thought they would ever do anything like that to a person that is 70 years old. I’ve never bothered anybody, I’ve never hurt anybody.”

She says the policeman who brought her home tonight was very courteous, even held open the door for her. But there were no gentlemen there when she was taken from her home this morning and booked into jail.

When Betty Perry heard a knock at her door and saw a police officer standing outside, she never imagined she would end up in jail. That’s what happened, though, when the officer tried enforcing Orem’s nuisance ordinance against neglected yards.

“I didn’t want to tell him anything until I talked to a lawyer or my son. I wanted to see what he’d tell me to do. I’ve never had any experience before with the law, ever in my life,” she said.

As the enforcement officer started writing her a ticket, she tried going back in her house. That’s when the officer tried to handcuff her for refusing to give her name and resisting the ticket. She tripped on the steps, scraping up her nose and elbows, leaving blood on her door, her porch and her clothes. Perry was handcuffed, fingerprinted and put in a jail cell, where she sat for more than an hour.

“I laid down in there. I never seen the inside of a jail before. I didn’t know how it looked, I was really scared,” she says.

When police brass learned what happened, she was immediately released.

Orem police spokesman Lt. Doug Edwards said, “Every officer in his career has situations they find themselves getting into, at the end of it they scratch their head and say, ‘gosh, how did this happen?’ Today, I think, was one of those days. Clearly there were some other options available.”

After being arrested, Perry is now scared of the police. She says, “Don’t ever say no when the police tell you do to something. You better do what they tell you no matter what, even if you don’t have anybody to help you. You’ve got to do what they tell you or they will hurt you.”

The officer was sent home for the day and placed on paid administrative leave. Police are not pressing any charges against Betty Perry for either neglecting her yard or resisting the ticket.

New York Plans Surveillance Veil for Downtown

New York Times | Jul 9, 2007

by CARA BUCKLEY

By the end of this year, police officials say, more than 100 cameras will have begun monitoring cars moving through Lower Manhattan, the beginning phase of a London-style surveillance system that would be the first in the United States.

The Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, as the plan is called, will resemble London’s so-called Ring of Steel, an extensive web of cameras and roadblocks designed to detect, track and deter terrorists. British officials said images captured by the cameras helped track suspects after the London subway bombings in 2005 and the car bomb plots last month.

If the program is fully financed, it will include not only license plate readers but also 3,000 public and private security cameras below Canal Street, as well as a center staffed by the police and private security officers, and movable roadblocks.

“This area is very critical to the economic lifeblood of this nation,” New York City’s police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, said in an interview last week. “We want to make it less vulnerable.”

But critics question the plan’s efficacy and cost, as well as the implications of having such heavy surveillance over such a broad swath of the city.

For a while, it appeared that New York could not even afford such a system. Last summer, Mr. Kelly said that the program was in peril after the city’s share of Homeland Security urban grant money was cut by nearly 40 percent.

But Mr. Kelly said last week that the department had since obtained $25 million toward the estimated $90 million cost of the plan. Fifteen million dollars came from Homeland Security grants, he said, while another $10 million came from the city, more than enough to install 116 license plate readers in fixed and mobile locations, including cars and helicopters, in the coming months.

The readers have been ordered, and Mr. Kelly said he hoped the rest of the money would come from additional federal grants.

The license plate readers would check the plates’ numbers and send out alerts if suspect vehicles were detected. The city is already seeking state approval to charge drivers a fee to enter Manhattan below 86th Street, which would require the use of license plate readers. If the plan is approved, the police will most likely collect information from those readers too, Mr. Kelly said.

But the downtown security plan involves much more than keeping track of license plates. Three thousand surveillance cameras would be installed below Canal Street by the end of 2008, about two-thirds of them owned by downtown companies. Some of those are already in place. Pivoting gates would be installed at critical intersections; they would swing out to block traffic or a suspect car at the push of a button.

Unlike the 250 or so cameras the police have already placed in high-crime areas throughout the city, which capture moving images that have to be downloaded, the security initiative cameras would transmit live information instantly.

The operation will cost an estimated $8 million to run the first year, Mr. Kelly said. Its headquarters will be in Lower Manhattan, he said, though the police were still negotiating where exactly it will be. The police and corporate security agents will work together in the center, said Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the police. The plan does not need City Council approval, he said.

The Police Department is still considering whether to use face-recognition technology, an inexact science that matches images against those in an electronic database, or biohazard detectors in its Lower Manhattan network, Mr. Browne said.

The entire operation is forecast to be in place and running by 2010, in time for the projected completion of several new buildings in the financial district, including the new Goldman Sachs world headquarters.

Civil liberties advocates said they were worried about misuse of technology that tracks the movement of thousands of cars and people,

Would this mean that every Wall Street broker, every tourist munching a hot dog near the United States Court House and every sightseer at ground zero would constantly be under surveillance?

“This program marks a whole new level of police monitoring of New Yorkers and is being done without any public input, outside oversight, or privacy protections for the hundreds of thousands of people who will end up in N.Y.P.D. computers,” Christopher Dunn, a lawyer with the New York Civil Liberties Union, wrote in an e-mail message.

He said he worried about what would happen to the images once they were archived, how they would be used by the police and who else would have access to them.

Already, according to a report last year by the civil liberties group, there are nearly 4,200 public and private surveillance cameras below 14th Street, a fivefold increase since 1998, with virtually no oversight over what becomes of the recordings.

Mr. Browne said that the Police Department would have control over how the material is used. He said that the cameras would be recording in “areas where there’s no expectation of privacy” and that law-abiding citizens had nothing to fear.

“It would be used to intercept a threat coming our way, but not to collect data indiscriminately on individuals,” he said.

Mr. Browne said software tracking the cameras’ images would be designed to pick up suspicious behavior. If, for example, a bag is left unattended for a certain length of time, or a suspicious car is detected repeatedly circling the same block, the system will send out an alert, he said.

Still, there are questions about whether such surveillance devices indeed serve their purpose.

There is little evidence to suggest that security cameras deter crime or terrorists, said James J. Carafano, a senior fellow for homeland security at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group in Washington.

For all its comprehensiveness, London’s Ring of Steel, which was built in the early 1990s to deter Irish Republican Army attacks, did not prevent the July 7, 2005, subway bombings or the attempted car bombings in London last month. But the British authorities said the cameras did prove useful in retracing the paths of the suspects’ cars last month, leading to several arrests.

While having 3,000 cameras whirring at the same time means loads of information will be captured, it also means there will be a lot of useless data to sift through.

“The more hay you have, the harder it is to find the needle,” said Mr. Carafano.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip will be spared grilling over Diana’s death

Telegraph | Jul 7, 2007

queen_phillip

The Queen and Prince Philip will not have to answer questions from Mohamed Fayed about Diana, Princess of Wales, “at this stage”, a coroner decided yesterday.

Lord Justice Scott Baker, who will be holding the inquests later this year into the deaths of the princess and her companion Dodi Fayed, was responding to a request from a lawyer representing the Harrods owner.

Michael Mansfield, QC, for Mr Fayed, wanted the Queen to be asked about a conversation she allegedly had with the former royal butler Paul Burrell, in which she was said to have mentioned “other forces, powers at work within the state”.

Mr Mansfield told the coroner: “At this stage we ask that Her Majesty be approached as a witness or potential witness to see if this material is right.”

Counsel said the Metropolitan Police had not asked the Queen about these matters as part of Operation Paget.

Mr Mansfield also raised questions about letters allegedly sent to the princess by Prince Philip.

“Obvious inquiries are, firstly, whether he was aware of any of the fears she has expressed and, two, whether he did send letters of the kind described in the Paget report.

“One witness called them nasty letters,” Mr Mansfield said. “Were any of the letters returned to him?”

Counsel now understood that the prince had indicated, in a telephone message, his “unwillingness” to speak to the Paget inquiry into the deaths.

Mr Mansfield told the coroner: “You may be able to approach him on behalf of the inquest and inquiry into truth.”

But Lord Justice Scott Baker, sitting as assistant deputy coroner for Westminster, said: “It doesn’t seem to me that any further inquiries at this stage would be appropriate or necessary. Obviously, I will keep the position under review as we proceed to the hearing.”

It emerged yesterday that the original note sent to Mr Burrell by the princess in which she claimed “my husband is planning an accident in my car” had finally been obtained for the inquest.

The letter was written on five sheets of paper, covering all 10 sides. But Mr Mansfield said there was reason to believe that there may have been an additional covering sheet, which was now missing. He asked if the first page could be tested for indentations using electrostatic document analysis. The so-called ESDA test helped clear the Birmingham Six in 1991.

Lord Justice Scott Baker is planning to open the inquests in October, more than 10 years after the princess and Dodi Fayed were killed in a Paris car crash. The Harrods owner claims that the princess was pregnant with his son’s child and that they were murdered in an establishment plot masterminded by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Lord Justice Scott Baker said the inquests, before a jury, must be completed within six months. For that to happen, the various expert witnesses will have to meet in advance and agree on their evidence where possible.

Since there is limited seating in the courtroom at the Royal Courts of Justice reserved for the hearing, a temporary annexe will be made in a courtyard with seats for 300 members of the press and public.

The next preliminary hearing will be on July 27.

• Prince Harry started training this week with the Gurkhas while he waits for his own troops to return from Iraq, it emerged yesterday.

The cavalry officer, more used to the interior of a Scimitar tank, is said to be marching over the Brecon Beacons on a four-day exercise.

He will be in the company of the Royal Gurkha Rifles who have a reputation as the Army’s most fearsome fighters.

Epileptic died after months of torture

Telegraph | Jul 7, 2007

kevin-davies

Kevin Davies was kept in a shed for almost four months until his death

Video: Epileptic prisoner’s forced recording

Three friends held an epileptic “hostage” in a garden shed for four months until he eventually died, a court heard yesterday.

Kevin Davies, 29, was repeatedly beaten, burnt and humiliated during his time in captivity in the Forest of Dean.

At one stage his tormentors made a hostage-style video of him. One of them also kept a diary in which she logged the punishments she meted out and made notes about his cries for help.

A judge at Bristol Crown Court heard that the three were initially charged with murder. However, the charge was dropped because experts were unable to rule out the possibility that Mr Davies’s illness had contributed to his death.

human_trash

Guilty: Amanda Baggus, 26; David Lehane, 35; Scott Andrews, 27

David Lehane, 35, his girlfriend, Amanda Baggus, 26, and a friend, Scott Andrews, 27, pleaded guilty to charges of false imprisonment and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Lehane and Baggus, from Gloucester, were each jailed for 10 years and Andrews, who lived nearby, for nine years.

The court heard that Mr Davies was locked inside the shed in Bream, Glos, on May 27 last year, apparently as a punishment for failing to pay a minor debt. He remained there – fed on scraps, routinely tortured and generally treated “like a dog” – until he died. Paramedics found his body in the kitchen, a few yards from the shed, on Sep 26.

Ian Pringle, acting for the prosecution, said Mr Davies suffered from severe epilepsy and was regarded by health officials as both “gullible” and “vulnerable”.

Baggus was left out of pocket when Mr Davies overturned a car. She decided to reclaim what she was owed by confining her victim in the shed and helping herself to his social security money. She and Lehane kept him bolted inside his makeshift prison. On numerous occasions they would take turns to beat him. When Andrews moved in with them he joined in the abuse.

One entry in Baggus’s diary, dated Aug 5, read: “He was playing up last nite [sic], banging in the shed. So later that nite [sic] both Scott and Dave hit Prick until quite late, cause Prick made a load of shouting.”

Later the trio made what Mr Pringle described as “an extraordinary video” in which they filmed their terrified captive. Lehane and Andrews can both be heard in the footage bullying Mr Davies into telling them he was being treated well.

The injuries he suffered were extensive. Mr Pringle said Mr Davies had suffered bruising to his arms, legs and jaw, as well as broken ribs and a fractured larynx. Burns, apparently caused by hot knives and by a corrosive liquid, covered 10 per cent of his body, and traces of his blood were found in the shed, kitchen, and lounge, and a pole found in the house.

Despite it being “highly unlikely” that he had died as a result of his epilepsy, the Crown was unable to rule it out. When arrested, each of the defendants blamed the others for leading the abuse. Mr Pringle told the court: “He had effectively been held captive at the home of the defendants for a period of nearly four months.

“He had been assaulted, he had been beaten, and he had effectively been kept like a dog in a locked garden shed at night. In short, the last few months of this man’s life must have been utterly miserable and inhumane.”

Outside the court, Mr Davies’ mother, Elizabeth James, said: “I just can’t believe that anybody could be so cruel. I just still can’t get my head around it. It just seems unreal.”