Sunday, April 19, 2015
Unemployed multiculturalist used his friend as a slave then chopped him up and dumped remains in canal
A man who killed his friend, stuffed the body into a suitcase and threw it into a canal has been jailed for 19 years.
Lorenzo Simon, 34, of Smethwick, West Midlands, and his girlfriend Michelle Bird used their friend Michael Spalding for slave labour before Simon killed him and dismembered his body.
The 39-year-old's remains were stuffed into two suitcases before Simon and Bird threw them into Birmingham Canal, a court heard.
Police have now released CCTV video footage showing the pair dragging the cases along a pavement.
Simon was found guilty of murder at Birmingham Crown Court today and Bird, while being acquitted of the same charge, was convicted of assisting an offender and sentenced to two and a half years.
At a sentencing hearing, Mrs Justice Thirlwall told Simon: 'You had no thought for him at all. Your focus, as so often in your life, was on what was best for you.'
Simon initially denied knowledge of Mr Spalding's death, claiming he threw him out following a row over a car crash, but later admitted assaulting him during a fight after police found tiny blood droplets on the flat's lounge wall.
Neighbours reported seeing a bonfire in the rear garden following Mr Spalding's disappearance - a heat so intense it melted UPVC guttering fascias - and forensic examination of debris from an oil drum showed it to be part of the victim's humerus bone.
Police divers recovered the second case - containing the victim's head, limbs and tools - below Pope Bridge, Smethwick, on May 16 and further searches of the canal bed uncovered a hacksaw.
Using futuristic 3D scanning technology - developed through a pioneering project with Warwick University - experts were able to show a perfect fit between the charred bone and a severed limb found in the suitcase.
And the same scanning proved a link between the hacksaw and lacerations found on other bones.
Drag marks were also found on the towpath near where the pair dumped the suitcases into the canal.
Detective Inspector Harry Harrison from West Midlands Police said: 'Michael was exploited in life by Lorenzo Simon and Michelle Bird and they afforded him no dignity in death. On the contrary, they treated him in the most despicable manner in order to conceal their crime.
'Simon accepted Michael as a tenant on the agreement he used his considerable handyman skills to do up the flat. But he treated him like a slave, working him past midnight and then waking him early in the morning to continue working.
'They were only allowed out with his say-so and given just one meal a day - usually pizza and chips.
'Michael finally broke and complained at their treatment - we believe that, combined with a car accident where Simon accused him of being responsible for damaging his VW Passat, led to the fatal attack.
'Simon said he hit Michael in the back and that he fell to the floor dead within seconds and claimed to have disposed of the body in panic.
'Bird said she was on an errand to buy alcohol at the time of the killing but later admitted helping her boyfriend in the aftermath.
'However, we were able to provide compelling evidence to the jury that this was a vicious murder and that Simon went to considerable lengths to try and cover his tracks.'
Mr Spalding had been living at the Oxford Road address for almost three weeks and was under the impression a good renovation job would help him land his own tenancy with the landlord.
However, Simon blamed the father-of-three for a collision in mid-April that left his VW Passat with front end damage - and told him the crash ended his hopes of securing his own place and jeopardised their own tenancy arrangement.
Mr Spalding last spoke to his partner, who moved out to be with family in Tamworth, at 10pm on April 25 and police suspect he was murdered later that night or the following day.
The black suitcase containing the victim's torso was first spotted on May 5 floating in the water near Pope Bridge by a narrow boat owner.
It was seen on several subsequent occasions by canal users before a contractor, suspecting the case contained a dead animal, towed it to Icknield Port yard on May 12.
Unemployed Simon - who has convictions for robbery, burglary, theft and drug supply - moved to Derby in a bid to evade police when news of the body find broke - but was arrested with Bird on May 19 and charged two days later.
Detectives later heard accounts from neighbours in Oxford Road who told of 'aggressive, nasty' arguments coming from the flat.
One recalled Simon saying: 'I want this place finished - I've got to live here, you are taking the p**s' to which Mr Spalding replied 'I'm tired, I'm hungry, I want to go home. I've been at it all day'.
A pathologist deemed a number of weapons were used to dismember the body, including knives, a saw and possibly a heavy bladed weapon like an axe.
The post mortem examination was unable to confirm the precise cause of death but it is suspected Mr Spalding died from a stab wound to the neck, evidence of which was subsequently destroyed.
MD: Montgomery County CPS oversteps again in handling of the Meitivs' 'free-range' children
The last time we talked about the case of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, the couple said that despite a finding of “unsubstantiated neglect” by Montgomery County’s Child Protective Services, they would still allow their 10- and 6-year-old children to walk the mile to a park close to where they live in Silver Spring.
The children, Rafi, 10, and Dvora, 6, had been picked up by police after they had been reported wandering alone. That “unsubstantiated neglect” charge was an extraordinary case of government overreach by an agency stretching their interpretation of a vague area of law in an attempt to paint these parents as negligent, we argued then. After the bad publicity and criticism thrown at CPS, we didn’t think Montgomery County government could be even more incursive and even more insensitive to parents’ wishes.
We were wrong.
On April 12, Alexander and Danielle once again allowed their children to visit the park. This time, they dropped them off there at 5 p.m. on a sunny Sunday after a drive home for a visit to Ithaca, New York, relatives, according to a story Tuesday in The Washington Post. The children were expected home at 6.
It was 5½ hours before they saw them again. Acting on an anonymous report of the children walking alone, a police officer collected Rafi and Dvora just a few blocks from their home in Woodside.
Here’s the Post‘s timeline from then on:
“The police officer notified CPS at 5:16 p.m. At 6:10, he called another CPS employee. At 6:41, the officer was told a CPS decision had yet to be made. So at 7:18, the officer decided to take the children to the CPS offices in Rockville.”
It’s unclear why the officer didn’t just walk the few blocks home with the children, who said they weren’t lost. It’s also not clear why he didn’t contact the Meitivs immediately, or why he decided to take the children — hungry and needing the restroom — 20 minutes away to child protective services.
CPS finally called the parents at 8 p.m. Three hours. That’s an unconscionable delay.
We can only imagine the panic the Meitivs were experiencing. Except rather than some predator abducting their children, it was the police, and, compounding the situation, child protective services, who finally handed the children back to their parents at 10:30 p.m. CPS, of course, isn’t talking or explaining itself, content to use the excuse that their investigations are confidential — despite the fact that the Meitivs are talking publicly.
Were the children in danger? The Post cites the police report, which says the children were in a parking garage being eyed by a “homeless subject.” That’s a vague, scary bogeyman we wouldn’t be surprised to hear was completely concocted as a justificatory afterthought. We’re not the only ones who are dubious about how the office handled this situation.
“This is a ‘What were they thinking?’ moment,” Marc Elrich D -at large, chairman of the Montgomery County Council’s Public Safety Committee, told the Post of the police failure to notify the parents.
Indeed — what were they thinking? If an investigation is needed here, it’s into CPS procedures, not the Meitivs’ parenting.
Yes, some serious questions need to be raised here. This case has received national attention and ignited a debate about how much independence children should have. This is a valuable debate worth having — among parents, not a government agency that apparently wants to raise our children for us.
Free-Range' Parents Will Sue CPS for Grabbing Their Kids: The Meitivs get a lawyer
The Meitivs are lawyering up, and will file some kind of lawsuit against Montgomery County, Maryland, officials who took their children while the youngsters were walking outside by themselves.
Matthew Dowd, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP, will represent the Meitivs free of charge, according to this statement on Danielle Meitiv's Facebook wall:
Matthew Dowd, a partner with Wiley Rein, states: “The Meitivs are rightfully outraged by the irresponsible actions of Maryland CPS and Montgomery County Police. We must ask ourselves how we reached the point where a parent’s biggest fear is that government officials will literally seize our children off the streets as they walk in our neighborhoods.
The Meitivs intend to fully vindicate their rights as parents and their children’s rights, and to prevent this from happening to their children again. The CPS investigations and actions here are premised on a fundamental misapplication of the law and are contrary to the constitutional rights of these parents to raise their children as they see best.”
The actions of Maryland CPS and Montgomery County Police violate the fundamental rights parents have in raising their children. In Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 75 (2000), the Court explained that “the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.” This fundamental, constitutional right of parents cannot be infringed simply because certain governmental employees disagree with a parent’s reasoned decision on how to raise his or her children.
The Meitivs are troubled by the county’s discretionary use of power to subject this happy, healthy and independent family to invasive, frightening and unnecessary government oversight, when there are other pressing challenges for county families in need.
Quick question: Aren’t prisoners allowed one phone call, or is that just on TV? Because the Meitiv kids weren't able to contact their parents in the six hours they were held by the authorities.
Good boobs, bad boobs: how feminists police women’s bodies
If you want to be a good feminist today, it seems you must have an opinion on breasts.
You would expect the two main sides in the contemporary feminist bra debate – Free the Nipple and No More Page 3 – to be in permanent conflict. After all, one is about exposing nipples, the other about covering them up. But actually, they seem to be the breast of friends.
As a piece in the Huffington Post put it, ‘#FreetheNipple and No More Page 3 share the same feminist goal: greater equality for women’. This schizophrenic attitude to nudity, this marriage of a breast-exposing campaign with a breast-hiding campaign, seems baffling. The impossibility of wanting to bin your bra and strap it on with moral zeal at the same time doesn’t seem to register with young feminists.
The claim that the acts of baring and censoring boobs are equally effective in arguing for women’s equality seems to be making a statement about the purpose of the bosom. It suggests that sometimes it’s okay for boobs to be on display, and other times it isn’t. Another Huff Post article argued that ‘nobody can surely say they open Page 3 to see what nature has created to feed children?’. Err, no, of course not - for the same reason that I don’t eat chocolate because it is supposedly a source of calcium, but rather because I enjoy it. The implication here seems to be that when breasts are a source of food for babies, they’re good; but when they are displayed in a more sexual way, they are bad.
This sinister celebration of boobs as udders is actually regressive. It sets back women’s equality by prioritising the biology of the female over her autonomy as a free-thinking individual able to decide what she likes and what she doesn’t like.
Its The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of boobs. Good, clever, middle-class breasts are acceptable; bad, fake, Essex-girl breasts are not. And The Ugly would have to be that array of obsequious male nipples appearing under the #FreetheNipple hashtag on Instagram. Feminists who support both #FreetheNipple and No More Page 3 reveal themselves to be not only embarrassed by their fellow females who choose to get their knockers out for cash rather than retweets, but also openly prejudiced about a working-class girl’s ability to make her own decisions about her body.
So the likes of Katie Price are seen as a dangerous influence on women because they aren’t puritanical about their chests. When, a few years ago, Price said she decided to bottlefeed her kids because ‘I think only a certain person could handle my knockers!’, there was uproar. A woman who prefers her chest to be sexual rather than maternal? The horror!
So, what constitutes a good, wholesome, feminist pair of tits? Well, showing them to other good, wholesome feminists is a good start. The specification of where and when women should be allowed to bare all - on Instagram, yes; in the Sun, no - is really about censoring who is allowed to look at breasts. For feminists, it is okay for like-minded females, babies and men who have pledged their support via Twitter to see breasts, but gruff builders, young lads and pretty much anyone who finds tits titillating cannot be allowed to glimpse a freed nipple.
Both the No More Page 3 campaign and #FreetheNipple speak to a deep-seated class prejudice within contemporary feminism. Whether they are encouraging women to whip out a lactating nipple in restaurants (good breasts) or forbidding men from pinning a perky pair on the wall of their garages (bad breasts), today’s middle-class feminists are really only interested in enforcing a top-down puritanism about nudity and control of working-class behaviour.
What this boob-obsessed bunch can’t face up to is that no one outside of their tiny cliques really cares about what happens to our chests. The world of Page 3 is old-fashioned, yes, but hardly worth getting your bra strap in a twist over. Many young women have over the years flashed for a few photos and then walked away with heavy wallets and light hearts – I don’t see any problem with that at all. Scour Instagram, and you will see the hypocrisy of #FreetheNipple: this hashtag campaign contains promiscuous selfies and shots of casually pierced nipples, all accompanied by token lines about the need to be nice to women. These breast barers are just as keen for attention as those who pose for tabloids, but they think they are involved in a good cause because their ‘likes’ come from middle-class professional Instagrammers rather than oiks in a greasy spoon.
True supporters of women’s equality should reject both these campaigns. If you believe that women have the right to do whatever the hell they want with their bodies, then for God’s sake talk about something other than tits. Yet young middle-class feminists see it as their duty to educate stupid men and stupid women about the parameters of breast-baring, about acceptable and unacceptable boobs. Women have a far better tool, above the chest, so can we please engage it? And could feminists please stop being such fun sponges and quit using tit tape to censor women’s freedom.
The denigration of men: Ridiculed, abused, exploited - the triumph of feminism has made today's men second class citizens
Men are brilliant. Seriously, we are. We invented philosophy, medicine, architecture, cars, trains, helicopters, submarines and the internet. Not to mention the jet engine, IVF, electricity and modern medicine.
We’ve led all the industrial revolutions and sent rockets into Space. We’ve fought wars with tin hats and bayonets and won them. The world we live in would be nothing without Alexander Graham Bell, Sigmund Freud, Horatio Nelson, Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein. The geniuses Leonardo da Vinci, Stephen Hawking, Michelangelo, Beethoven, Charles Darwin and Michael Faraday have all contributed immeasurably to our modern lives.
So why is it that, today, there has there never been a worse time to be a man? Rubbishing the male of the species and everything he stands for is a disturbing — and growing — 21st century phenomenon. It is the fashionable fascism of millions of women — and many, many men, too. Instead of feeling proud of our achievements, we men are forced to spend our time apologising for them. When people chide us for not being able to multi-task or use a washing machine we join in the mocking laughter — even though we invented the damned thing in the first place.
If ever we do manage to do something well we’re told it’s because our achievements were handed to us on a plate — probably at the expense of women — and not because we’re skilled and work hard. And, naturally, the problems of the world are all our fault.
In 2013 the [brainless] Labour MP Diane Abbott made a damning speech about Britain’s men and boys, smugly announcing that masculinity was ‘in crisis’. The then shadow Public Health Minister declared that male culture is a ‘celebration of heartlessness; a lack of respect for women’s autonomy and the normalisation of homophobia’.
She sneered that men were choosing to stay in ‘extended adolescence’ by living at home with their parents — which has nothing to do with rising house prices, of course, but everything, according to Ms Abbott, with men being ‘resentful of family life’. If it weren’t so tragic it would be funny.
As it is, this kind of stiletto sexism — popularised by an army of female media commentators such as Julie Burchill, Suzanne Moore and Barbara Ellen — has become a depressingly familiar feature of modern British life. And it shows no sign of going away.
Consider the statistics. If you become a father to twins — one girl, one boy — current data proves that your son will die younger, leave school with fewer qualifications and be less eligible for work than your daughter.
Our universities and further education institutions are dominated by women at a proportion of ten to every seven men, with the Royal Veterinary College formally identifying boys as an under-represented group.
Across the Russell Group of Britain’s leading 20 universities, just three have a majority of male students.
This means your son will be more likely to join the ranks of the unemployed, the majority of whom are now — yes, you’ve guessed it — men.
The Office of National Statistics noted that in the summer of 2014 a total of 1,147,511 British men were out of work, compared with 887,892 women.
Psychologically, your son will be more likely to suffer from depression and attempt suicide than his sibling, but there’ll be less support in place to save him.
He’s also more likely to endure everyday violence than women, with the latest crime statistics for England and Wales noting that two-thirds of homicide victims were men.
If he’s seduced by his female teacher, she’ll leave court with a slapped wrist thanks to a legal system which is frequently lenient with women. But if your daughter has an affair with her male maths teacher he’ll be chalking up numbers on a prison wall before you can say: ‘burn your bra’.
By the time your son is 18, he will probably have absorbed the social message that his dad is much less valuable as a parent than his mother — that fathers in families are an added bonus, not a crucial cog.
Then, if he starts his own family and his relationship doesn’t last, he may become one of the four million UK men who have no access to their children, yet are forced to fund them.
To cap it all, he’ll be progressively neglected by British healthcare despite being more likely to get — and die from — nine out of the top ten killer diseases. You know, the biggies: these include cancer, heart conditions, strokes, pneumonia, diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver.
Fifteen years ago the UK Men’s Health Forum showed that, for every £1 spent on men’s health, £8 was spent on women’s. Since then little has changed, for no good reason. Or rather, one very bad reason: we live in a medical matriarchy. In other words, male life is cheap. Bargain basement, last-day-of-the-sale cheap.
The ultimate insult? It’s all done at our expense. The National Health Service is funded by the public purse, but it’s men — yes, men — who pay a whopping 70 per cent of UK income tax. Yet we are thrown nothing but crumbs in return.
Currently, women are screened for breast cancer, ovarian and cervical cancer. This is great, but excuse me if I don’t jump for joy. There’s still no screening programme for prostate cancer, even though it kills four times more men than cervical cancer does women.
And while we’re on the subject of statistics, we men will die five years earlier than our wives, sisters, daughters and girlfriends in a life expectancy gap that’s increased 400 per cent since 1920.
Oh, and if we are lucky enough to survive the NHS long enough to be able to go on holiday and sit next to a child on a commercial airline such as British Airways, he’ll be moved in case he sexually abuses them. Your grown-up daughter won’t, even if she has previous form.
All in all, the outlook for your son is pretty bleak, isn’t it? Sadly, he will accept the way things are because over the past couple of decades or so it’s what men have done.
In our anxiety to support women’s emancipation — which men agree with, by the way — we have allowed our intellectual ability, our emotional intelligence and our capacity for commitment to be endlessly ridiculed.
Obviously, this isn’t to say that girls are having a brilliant time of it. Most of society is well versed in the problems and pressures faced by women — the same women who have spent years trying to prove their worth beyond motherhood and housework.
But, unlike us, they get column inches and air time. They get government funding and MPs. They have a vocal community who will stand in their defence.
We men, on the other hand, have nobody. We are of no interest to MPs, UN panels or charities. If we want somebody to fight our corner, we are going to have to do it ourselves.
And fight it we must, before it’s too late. We don’t want to undo or compete with feminism — far from it. But we urgently need our own version of women’s lib to stop our sons being permanently deflated, downgraded and disenfranchised. Remember the suffragettes? We are the suffragents.
So here are my suggestions for a new, improved approach to masculinity. It may not be politically correct, but look where political correctness has got us.
Let’s start by ditching a few of those everyday myths about being a bloke in the 21st century. First up, the wage gap. For years men have been guilt-tripped over a supposed discrepancy in pay that apparently sees women lose thousands of pounds every year compared with their male colleagues.
The great news? According to experts who understand it, this simply isn’t true.
The claim has been debunked by leading economists, including Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, both professors of economics at Harvard University, and Christina Hoff-Somers of the American Enterprise Institute.
‘The wage gap myth has been repeatedly discredited but it will not die,’ says Hoff-Somers. ‘The 23 per cent gap is the difference between average earnings for all men and all women, but it does not take into account differences in occupation, expertise, job tenure and hours worked. When it does, the so-called wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.’ Essentially, this means a woman who works as a primary school teacher isn’t going to be paid the same as a man who works as a brain surgeon. Which is how it should be. This is about salaries structured on skill, difficulty and reward.
Many women work fewer hours than men. Many choose comfortable, low-paying jobs that fit in with their many other commitments, perhaps to children and ageing parents rather than strenuous, dangerous and life-threatening ones. These naturally bring higher pay for men, but — according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health — also put male workplace fatalities at 94 per cent of the total.
Which suddenly makes women’s career choices look very much more sensible, whatever the pay difference. And make no mistake about it, a choice there has to be. When it comes to careers and families, something has to give. But that’s as it should be.
It’s a mathematical fact there aren’t enough hours in the day for anyone, male or female, to work 60-hour weeks all year, raise children and run a house full-time. So the idea that it should be split down the middle to prove some political point might sound right-on, but in reality it’s the cause of so much unnecessary marital conflict.
Instead, let’s be realistic. Whether it’s an unwelcome truth or not, most new mothers like to nurture the baby they’ve been carrying for nine months, while fathers typically return to work and help bankroll it. This is absolutely OK.
Think about it: women carry life. That’s the ultimate. We men can’t compete with that, so our purpose is to provide for that life. That’s our identity as fathers and what we bring to the table. It’s been this way since time immemorial because it’s cost-effective, practical and sensible.
Recent legislative changes tried to rewrite this fact when the Coalition brought in extended paternity leave in 2011, taking it beyond the standard two weeks. But it failed miserably. Fewer than one in 50 used it. In fact, for various reasons, a quarter of new fathers took no leave at all. This is also absolutely OK if it’s what both partners want.
Eventually, in every relationship, somebody will need to take the bulk of childcare responsibility, while the other manages the rest. Personally, I don’t care who assumes the traditional breadwinner role, but unless you can afford a nanny (or manny) to do the child rearing for you, it can’t be both of you.
Whatever the outcome, just remember: it’s not a choice that must be adjudicated by feminist harridans. I say this because whenever working fathers are discussed in the media, the insinuation is that they don’t pull their weight.
Actually, the opposite is true: aside from proving we can multi-task just fine, research collated by the Fatherhood Institute shows that British dads work the longest hours in Europe — an average of 46.9 hours per week, compared with 45.5 hours in Portugal, 41.5 hours in Germany and 40 hours in France.
Around one in eight UK fathers works excessively long hours — 60 or more — while almost 40 per cent graft more than 48 hours each week. Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t leave the house every morning for the sole purpose of jumping into bed with our secretaries. And when we do get home to spend time with our children we’re no slackers either.
In the late Nineties, fathers of children under five were devoting an average of two hours per day on child-related activities, compared with under 15 minutes in the mid-Seventies.
Today, fathers’ time spent with their children currently accounts for one-third of total parental childcare, even though many of them are working full-time as well.
So we’ve established that men are, in fact, pulling their weight at home, and that the pay gap is not what it’s cracked up to be.
Indeed, in many cases it’s going the other way: the Chartered Management Institute found recently that female managers in their 20s are now bringing home 2.1 per cent more than men of the same age.
So why, I ask, are men still expected to pay for nights out? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sat in restaurants observing men financing lavish dinners while their glamorous guests freeze at the sight of the credit card machine — even though, dripping with jewellery, they could clearly afford to cough up.
Don’t get me wrong. Plenty of women do go Dutch. Plenty more settle the tab themselves. We like these women. We like them when they allow us to treat them — and likewise, we enjoy it when they spoil us. What we’re after here is a mutually beneficial sharing of bills, as well as minds.
That’s not to say we should throw out chivalrous behaviour altogether. There are plenty of aspects of it — otherwise referred to as ‘being nice’ — that are worth keeping. Holding a door open for a woman, for example, just makes the minutiae of daily life a bit easier for everyone. It’s a kind and respectful thing to do.
All I’m asking for is that we men get a bit of respect in return. Because at the moment we’re being exploited and abused — not least, when it comes to our most important roles of all: as husbands and fathers.
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.