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Dead biker named as investigation dropped By Richard Gurner
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The Independents Police Complaints Commission will not investigate Sussex Police after the death of a motorcyclist.
Thomas Pickthall, 24, from Springfield Close, Lavant, died shortly after falling from his motorcycle on Easter Monday after being pulled over by traffic police.
Mr Pickthall and his crashed motorcycle were found by officers searching the area for him after he rode off when they initially pulled him over.
Officers then found the rider and his crashed motorcycle in Chalkpit Lane, Lavant, near Chichester at about 10.11pm on Easter Monday.
The rider had sustained serious injuries and was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene.
Police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission was notified that evening, but has decided not to investigate the force.
A Sussex Police spokesman said that anyone who saw the incident or who has information about Mr Pickthall's movements earlier in the evening can should call 0845 6070999.
Leave your tributes to Mr Pickthall here or call the news desk on 01273 544519.
5:10pm Wednesday 26th March 2008 Print Email this Comment Posted by: Dave, At home on 9:50am Thu 27 Mar 08 A very sad loss to all concerned, I see more information is appearing now but still the picture is very cloudy, probably will never know the full story now. RIP mate.
Quote | Report this post Posted by: Elaine, Lavant on 4:47pm Thu 27 Mar 08 Tam was not pulled over by the police we have been told he was sitting on his bike with the engine off probably knowing him, having a cigerette. There had been no complaints of motorbike noise. He was due to start his army training and would have known that any trouble with the police could hinder this. His bike had to be pushed to make it start so he obviously wasn't making a quick getaway. Missing you so much Tam ****
THE man who died after falling from his motorcycle in Lavant has been named. Thomas Pickthall (24), from Springfield Close, Lavant, died after falling from his motorcycle in Chalkpit Lane shortly after 10pm on Easter Monday (March 24).
Mr Pickthall and his crashed motorcycle were found by police who were searching the area after he had made off from them several minutes earlier; he was not being pursued.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission was notified that evening, but has decided that the matter will be investigated locally by a Senior Investigating Officer from Sussex Police's Road Policing Unit.
Anyone who witnessed the incident, or can provide any information about Mr Pickthall's movements earlier in the evening, is asked to ring 0845 6070999 quoting Operation Haversham, for the attention of Inspector Phil Clarke, RPU Brighton and Hove.
Last Updated: 27 March 2008 11:35 AM
This post has been edited by indisguise on Mar 28 2008, 02:35 AM
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QUOTE (indisguise @ Mar 28 2008, 02:25 AM)
"Mr Pickthall and his crashed motorcycle were found by police who were searching the area after he had made off from them several minutes earlier; he was not being pursued."
In the midst of everything, this seems to be the glaring anomaly. One would presumably think that someone "making off" from the police would immediately draw attention to themselves and result in a pursuit!
A FAMILY’S faith in the justice system has been shaken after a Cardiff businessman who changed tyres on a van involved in their son’s fatal crash walked free from court.
Tiler Darren Pole, 37, a director of Thornhill Ceramics admitted intending to pervert the course of justice and was sentenced to 150 hours unpaid community work and ordered to pay £290 costs.
He said he had changed two tyres but only because he thought they might be illegal and he was trying to protect his company.
But he didn’t know at that time that the accident involving one of his drivers was serious and that teenager Marc Morgan, had died.
His guilty plea on that basis was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service at Cardiff Crown Court and the judge Recorder Christopher Lewis QC said he would have to pass sentence on those facts.
He told Pole who was said to have been in fear of being jailed and losing his business: “If there was any suggestion you had been actually trying to stop an investigation into this sad death, prison would have been inevitable.”
Marc’s grieving mother Kim Morgan said outside court: “We will never know whether that van was roadworthy or whether if things were different it may not have hit Marc.”
Pole also admitted he had changed the number plates on the white van – replacing the incorrect ones which had been on it with the correct ones.
He later co-operated with the police when they traced the vehicle to his business but accident experts were never able to examine the original tyres.
Pole’s barrister David Leathley said he knew people would morally condemn him but he had only been trying to “make his company legal” and had learned a bitter lesson.
Recorder Lewis said: “He didn’t try to make it legal – he tried to conceal evidence from the police because the company wasn’t legal.”
The van driver later appeared before magistrates accused of failing to stop after an accident and driving without a licence.
Debbie Evans, whose daughter Sian had been Marc’s girlfriend for 15 months until his death, was in tears at the court.
She said: “Pole was said to have a good character because he only had two convictions as a teenager and a County Court judgement against him last year for harassment involving a tenant.
“But what sort of an upright businessman uses a van with the wrong number plates and employs an unlicensed driver?”
Marc’s father Rhys Morgan said the loss of his son had been made worse by the way things were handled.
He said the police had been “fantastic” for tracing the white van but the family’s faith in the criminal justice system had been shaken.
Pole, of Page Drive, Pengam Green, Cardiff, was said in court to be remorseful.
Mrs Morgan said: “He didn’t even come forward after the accident which was in the paper every night. He has shown no respect at all for our feelings.”
THE family of Marc Morgan say they will never come to terms with their loss.
The 17-year-old, from Penarth, brother to Gareth, 21, Jennie, 16, Katie, 14, and Georgia, 10, had a promising future and was looking forward to becoming a sound engineer.
A St Cyres school pupil, he was devoted to his girlfriend Sian Evans and his main hobby was computers.
Mum Kim, 45, who works at Llandough Hospital, said: “Losing Marc has devastated the whole family. Marc was a wonderful son, a caring, considerate young man who always put others before himself. The pain of losing him doesn’t get any less. This has left a huge void in our lives that can never be filled.”
Dad Rhys, 45, a taxi driver, added: “It’s been a terrible year. He had everything to live for.”
This post has been edited by indisguise on Apr 1 2008, 12:54 AM
April 5, 2008 Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, has died
STEVE Sinnott, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, died early on Saturday morning of a possible heart attack.
Politicians and union colleagues were left shocked by the news. Sinnott, aged in his mid-50s, was a regular cyclist and did not smoke or drink heavily.
Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families, said he was "deeply shocked and saddened".
"Steve was a passionate advocate for teachers and a great believer in the power of education to transform the life chances of children and young people," said Balls.
"I know from our many meetings that he believed strongly that every child matters and deserves the best. We did not always see eye to eye on every issue. But we never had an angry word."
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said: “Steve’s death comes as a great shock. He was a friend and a colleague who was deeply committed to the best of trade unionism and the British education system. Teachers, parents and students have lost a doughty fighter.”
Chris Keates, general secretary of the rival NASUWT teaching union, said she was “deeply shocked” to hear of Sinnott’s death.
“This is a great tragedy for his family, for his union and for the trade union movement,” she said.
“Steve will be greatly missed by his sisters and brothers in the trade union movement at home and internationally.
“The thoughts of his colleagues at NASUWT are with his family and members of the NUT at this very sad time.”
Sinnott was about to lead teachers in England into the first national strike for 21 years.
NUT members were firmly behind the industrial action over pay, scheduled to take place on April 24, with a ballot showing 75% in support of the action.
Sinnott was said to have been in a “buoyant” mood in recent days about the strike and was pleased with the strong backing he had from union colleagues.
He had been the union’s general secretary since 2004 and leaves a wife, Mary, two children and two grandchildren.
Born in Liverpool, Sinnott was the first president of the NUT to have attended a comprehensive school.
He graduated from Middlesex Polytechnic in 1974 with a degree in social sciences, and a PGCE at Edge Hill College in Ormskirk in 1975.
In the same year he began his first teaching post at Shorefields, a comprehensive in Toxteth, Liverpool, where he taught humanities.
Four years later, he moved to Broughton High School near Preston, Lancashire, where he became head of economics and business studies until his election as NUT deputy general secretary in November 1994, in the middle of his year as national president.
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Steve Sinnott, as the NUT's general secretary, wrote to Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, to complain about a lesson plan produced for the MoD by an organisation called Kids Connections [Marketing Consultants & Services (Other) ] that focused on “the ongoing occupation of Iraq by British Armed Forces”, but did not mention civilian casualties etc.
Sinnott received a lot of flak for this - his article of March 31 2008 Going over the Top from the NUT website is quoted below.
Going over the top Posted on Site: Monday March 31 2008
I told this story at a press briefing I gave ahead of the Easter Conference season and again this week in response to the debate at the NUT’s Manchester conference. My intention was to make clear that the involvement of the Ministry of Defence in our schools was clearly legitimate.
At the same press conference I pointed out that the NUT was not anti-military. I have visited Sierra Leone and I’ve seen for myself the valuable work the Army did to restore peace to that country. An anti-military stance would be an absurd position to hold. The military ensure the security of our country. But I also made clear in the press conference that any MOD role in our schools should conform to the expectations rightly placed to offer balance in teaching.
Some commentators who were neither at the press conference nor with us in Manchester have gone over the top. Balance has deserted them. So let me set the record straight.
Earlier this year the Joseph Rowntree Trust published a report on military recruitment in schools. It is well written and its conclusions are sound. It is clear from the Rowntree report that the MOD is encouraging a number of very questionable practices which teachers have expressed concerns about for some time. At this year’s NUT conference those concerns were expressed. Indeed, at least one ex-member of the military took part in the debate. Professional concerns were articulated.
It has to be a concern that apparently the MOD focus disproportionately on schools in the most disadvantaged areas in what is clearly a marketing exercise to stimulate interest in a career in the military. It is proper for teachers to raise for public debate the fact that youngsters with some of the most limited career opportunities are being targeted for careers which may turn out to be the most risky.
It must also be legitimate for teachers to say – when it comes to explaining what life is like in the Army, Royal Navy or the RAF- tell it straight; tell it like it is; not focus solely on the glamour, the excitement and the travel.
In October of last year I wrote to the Government explaining that materials which were being sent into schools by the MOD on the war in Iraq were not balanced. I highlighted the professional and legal responsibilities of teachers as set out in Sections 405 and 406 of the Education Act 2006. These make it plain that it is unlawful for teachers to adopt anything other than a balanced approach when handling controversial issues in the classroom.
It was only when I questioned the materials publicly six months later that the MOD said they would talk to the NUT.
In my view any teacher using solely the MOD materials would be failing to meet his/her legal obligations. These issues have recently been tested in the courts in a case brought by a local councillor in relation to the use of Al Gore’s video “An Inconvenient Truth”.
I hope something very constructive can come out of this fracas. I would like to work with the MOD to ensure that all materials used are balanced, well put together and meet teachers’ legal, professional and moral obligations. Very soon I will also be writing to the MOD inviting them to a summit of teachers and other interested parties on military marketing and recruitment activities in schools. I hope we can assist in constructing the protocol that is called for in the Rowntree report – one that serves educational purposes and is ethical.
Man found in Lady Bird Lake was teacher, FBI target Police said that victim, who taught at a Southwest Austin middle school, may have committed suicide.
By Tony Plohetski, Sue Banerjee AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF Friday, April 18, 2008
Austin police said Thursday that they are leaning toward a ruling of suicide in the death of a middle school teacher and activist whose body was found Wednesday in Lady Bird Lake with his hands and legs bound and tape over his eyes.
Police identified Riad Hamad, 55, at a news conference Thursday and said the binding of his limbs and the placement of the tape was consistent with Hamad having done it himself.
Austin police homicide Sgt. Joe Chacon said family members told investigators that the Clint Small Jr. Middle School teacher had "several stressors" in his life and had talked about possibly killing himself. Police said that they think Hamad walked from his car to the lake, based on evidence they gathered at the scene.
"The car was found on the south shoreline with no signs of mysterious activity," Chacon said.
Police said that they found Hamad's car along Lady Bird Lake on Tuesday and searched but did not find him.
Joggers found Hamad's body about 2 p.m. Wednesday near Comal Street and Nash Hernandez Sr. Road. Investigators said they found no signs of trauma or a struggle.
Debbie Russell, president of the local American Civil Liberties Union chapter, sent an e-mail Thursday to dozens of activists throughout the city saying that Hamad's death had been ruled a homicide. Russell said in a later interview that she wrote that e-mail after she thought she had heard media reports that Hamad had been killed.
She said in the e-mail that Hamad had recently been under investigation by the FBI — federal officials confirmed the investigation — and described him as "NOT a terrorist but a peaceworker." Hamad was serving as an official for the Austin chapter of the Palestine Children's Welfare Fund.
FBI spokesman Erik Vasys said that Hamad had been a "person of interest" in a criminal investigation but that he could not elaborate.
Austin police said Hamad's family reported him missing Monday. Family members released a statement Thursday saying that he disappeared after going to pick up a prescription at a local pharmacy.
Hamad's body was taken to the Travis County medical examiner's office for an autopsy. The office did not respond to an open records request Thursday for information about the case and would not confirm that Hamad's body was there.
According to the family's statement, which was released through an attorney, Hamad was a University of Texas graduate and had taught in the Austin school district for a decade.
The family's statement described him as a "peace activist who worked tirelessly on behalf of those less fortunate than him and was loved and admired by many members of the local, as well as international community."
"Mr. Hamad's family and friends are obviously devastated over their loss," the statement said.
Hamad had taught at Austin Community College but was fired in June 1998 after officials said he violated the school's nondiscrimination policy by making "sexist and off-colored jokes" in class, school officials said.
Small Middle School Principal Sheila Anderson sent a letter to parents at the Southwest Austin school Thursday informing them of Hamad's death and saying that grief counselors were available for students and teachers.
"Mr. Hamad was a longtime and valued member of the Small Middle School faculty, and his love and passion for education touched us all," Anderson said in the letter.
Additional material from staff writer Molly Bloom.
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