Monday, November 11, 2013
A face of Africa in Britain
A DJ who murdered his girlfriend's 'outgoing, chatty' three-year-old daughter when he was supposed to be looking after her was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years today.
Delroy Catwell attacked Lylah Aaron because he was jealous of the attention she was receiving from her mother.
When Lylah died she was found to have bruises on her body from being punched, kicked and slapped, and had three broken ribs.
Catwell, 31 was told by Mrs Justice Nicola Davies: 'It is difficult to conceive of a greater abuse of trust than that which you perpetrated in killing this vulnerable and defenceless young girl.'
He had denied murdering Lylah, but was found guilty by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday.
Ms Chibanda, who found it too upsetting to attend much of the trial, broke down in tears as the verdict was read out.
The court had heard from medical experts that the force used to break Lylah's ribs was similar to that seen in a car crash or a fall from a tall building.
As well as a 'sustained and forceful attack' on Lylah hours before she died, the jury was told that Catwell also slammed the tot’s head against a bedroom wall damaging the plaster three weeks previously - claiming he hit the wall because he was trying to kill a spider.
Seven months before she died, Lylah was found with a bruised neck which Catwell said was caused when she banged her head on a sink.
Paramedics were called on February 8 when Ms Chibanda found Lylah was not breathing when she returned from work at Derby Royal Infirmary.
She asked Catwell to help but he did not respond. She said: 'He looked like he was in shock. He was just frozen.'
Paramedics discovered Lylah’s body was rigid and attempted resuscitation. She was rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hosptal but later died.
Poignant: Tributes are left outside Lylah Aaron's family home after she died from head injuries earlier this year
Public shock: Floral tributes were left outside the toddler's Sheffield home after the murder in February
Prosecutor Bryan Cox QC said: 'There were numerous bruises over her body.
'There was substantial bruising to her head and fractures to her ribs. 'The injuries indicated she had been subject to a sustained and forceful assault that had occurred within hours of her admission to hospital.'
Mr Cox had told the court: 'The couple’s relationship was generally good but sometimes he would complain he felt sidelined and she gave too much to Lylah.'
Catwell, an unemployed DJ, told police the girl was full of energy and he found it hard to deal with her demands while trainee nurse Miss Chibanda said 'he at times mentioned that I perhaps smothered her.'
Lylah’s mother had gone to work on the day her daughter died but Catwell failed to take Lylah to nursery where staff described her as 'bright' and a 'confident, bubbly little girl'.
He claimed the girl was tired and had been ill for a few days so after watching cartoons he put her to bed that afternoon. He told police: 'I have never hit Lylah. I didn’t cause any injuries whatsoever.'
Experts said he must have inflicted the fatal injuries before Miss Chibanda returned from work at about 4.30pm.
A pathologist reported that the bruises to Lylah’s head were 'typical of non-accidental injuries' and bruising in and behind the left ear 'suggested impact from a hard object with a straight linear surface.'
He went on: 'Other bruises could have been caused by kicks, slaps or punches.' All the bruises had been caused within 24 hours of her death.
Medical experts found scar tissue on the brain indicating a three-week-old injury and four rib fractures, one of which was about three weeks old.
The other three fresh breaks had been caused by 'squeezing or compression'.
The medics concluded Lylah died from repeated impacts causing fatal bleeding to the brain.
The court was told that Catwell had a previous conviction for sexual assault against a 13-year-old girl in August, 2005
Andrew Robertson QC, defending, said the attack on Lylah was not pre-meditated and although he admitted there were as number of impacts the court could 'never be sure in this case that there was an intention to kill.'
Judge Justice Nicola Davies, heard pre-sentence submissions from both barristers who agreed that Catwell will receive a life sentence with a minimum term to be fixed by the judge.
Both lawyers also agreed the judge's starting point for fixing the minimum term was 15 years but she could increase this by taking into account aggravating factors.
Mr Cox said these factors should include the vulnerability of the victim, the abuse of a position of trust, the previous violence towards Lylah, the fact he tried to blame his partner for the murder and his previous conviction.
After the verdict investigating officer Det Supt David Barraclough said: 'This murder was a forceful and sustained attack on a defenceless three-year-old girl.
'It was both deliberate and violent and perpetrated by Catwell the man who should have been caring for her. 'It is clear his vicious acts left Lylah with injuries that later were to prove fatal.'
Scandal of prisoners who strike again: How hundreds of victims are suffering serious violence and sex attacks within a year of criminals leaving British prisons
Hundred of innocent victims are suffering serious violence and sex attacks at the hands of criminals who have just walked out of prison, a Minister will warn today.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling vowed ‘enough is enough’ as Ministry of Justice figures showed the scale of reoffending by those given short jail terms.
In 2011, 356 adult offenders committed serious violent or sexual offences after release from a sentence of less than a year, while a further 2,482 committed serious ‘acquisitive’ crimes such as robbery within 12 months of being released.
There were also 37,804 thefts and 15,355 lower-level violent assaults by reoffenders.
Mr Grayling wants all those given short prison sentences to have a year’s supervision after they are set free – but much of the work will be done by charities and private firms. That has sparked protests from probation officers.
The Justice Secretary said: ‘We currently have a situation where each year thousands of crimes are being committed by offenders who have already broken the law.
‘It is little surprise when those on short sentences walk out the prison gates with little or no support. Enough is enough.’
The Kids Are "Amazing"
For many American children, the floor has become their closet. This drives me crazy. I walk into a room where an urchin resides, and there are clothes scattered everywhere. Believe me, I know the passive-aggressive tactics that kids use to torture their parents, but something else is going on here.
More than a few times, I've heard parents describe their offspring as "amazing." If you look up that word, you will see this meaning: "To cause great wonder or astonishment." That's what "amazing" means. So occasionally, I will ask the parent of an "amazing" child to tell me exactly why that word applies to their tyke. What is the "great wonder" associated with him or her?
"He just is" comes the usual reply, along with a look that could kill a cactus.
Many children fully realize their parents see them as astonishing creatures and incorporate that into their daily presentations. That is, they throw their stuff on the floor because if you are truly amazing you can pretty much do what you want. Right?
When I confront the urchins about strewn clothing, I sometimes get a blank look. So I read their minds. And the brain waves come back this way: "Why are you bothering me? This is interfering with my texting. Someone will pick up my clothes. And if they don't, so what?"
American children are being done a great disservice by adult society. For reasons only Dr. Phil understands, many parents have decided to attach their own self-image to their children. So if the kid is amazing, that means the father or mother is amazing, as well. That's what's going on.
The huge downside is that it takes a lot of work and perseverance to become amazing, and most human beings never reach that status. But children are generally not told that. They are rarely confronted with the fact that life is tough and that to succeed you have be honest, industrious and disciplined. The discipline part kicks in when you hang up your clothing.
The disturbing thing about childhood these days is that some parents and grandparents excuse a lot of questionable behavior because they want their kids to approve of them. It all goes back to "amazing" again. If your extra-special kid doesn't like you at the moment, maybe you aren't topnotch.
Americans whose parents were raised during the Great Depression or World War II understand how drastically things have changed on the home front. My father did not care a whit whether I liked him, and it would have been unthinkable for him to pick up my stuff. There were rules in the house, and they were enforced.
So today, as an adult, I still pick up my stuff and recycle and keep a neat house. That is routine and not at all amazing. But I'm not sure that tradition will survive the next generation.
NY Town Enters Debate on Public Prayer
The Supreme Court will hear arguments this week about prayers in public life, this latest deliberation revolving around a case from Greece, N.Y., and the recitation of prayers during town board meetings. The board used to begin each of its meetings with a moment of silence. When that moment of silence was replaced by spoken prayers, they turned out to be overwhelmingly Christian, and a suit was filed. Last year a federal appeals court ruled, according to The Washington Post, "...that such a 'steady drumbeat' of Christian invocations violates the Constitution's prohibition against government endorsement of religion."
The Court, not to mention the country, has long struggled with the First Amendment, which simultaneously prohibits Congress from establishing an official state religion, while protecting its "free exercise."
In one of its more precise cases about government and religion, a majority ruled in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) that any government connection to religion must have a "secular legislative purpose," must not have the "primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion" and must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion.
In Greece, N.Y., in response to the court ruling, the town board made an attempt to solicit other faiths for invocations -- the local chairman of the Baha'i congregation concluded his prayer with "Allah-u-Abha," a Jewish prayer ended with "the songs of David, your servant" and a Wiccan priestess prayed to Athena and Apollo. Still, the prayers were mostly Christian.
The two women who filed suit, Susan Galloway (described by the Post as "uncomfortable with the sectarian prayers") and Linda Stephens, "an atheist," objected to sitting through the faith-based invocations. The women, represented by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, claim in their legal brief that prayers before legislative bodies are required to be nonsectarian, which those in Greece, N.Y., clearly were not.
According to the Post, Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit conceded that the town board had made an effort to diversify their invocations, but that "By not reaching out to a more diverse group of prayer-givers or making clear that the prayers did not represent the town's beliefs, the judges found, 'the town's prayer practice must be viewed as an endorsement of a particular religious viewpoint.'"
The desire by the faithful, especially Christians, to see their faith expressed in the public square has been a part of America's "civil religion" since the founding of the country. The idea that America is especially chosen by God for some purpose greater than those of any other nation is a type of idolatry that violates the very Scripture in which Christians claim to believe. Isaiah puts it succinctly as to how God views nations: "Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing (Isaiah 40:17)." One must conclude from this passage that "all" includes the United States.
During the recent partial government shutdown, Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black received national attention when he used his opening prayer to chastise lawmakers, saying, "Enough is enough." Black asked God to "Cover our shame with the robe of your righteousness." It was fine oratory, but the political devils triumphed, and the shutdown continued until the president and congressional Democrats used their secular powers to prevail.
That is the point, isn't it? What do these public prayers accomplish? How does tossing in minority faiths advance a kingdom Christians believe their Leader taught is "not of this world"?
If individual members of the Greece, N.Y. town board, or any other legislative body, wish to pray silently to their God before their meetings, no law or court decision prohibits them from doing so. Why would God be more impressed and more likely to respond to a public prayer than to a private one? Indeed, Jesus commanded His followers: "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:6).
That seems more definitive than any ruling by the Supreme Court.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.