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Guy Fawkes today would get six years in jail and a laptop like London Bridge terrorist



IN the early hours of November 5, 1605, an anonymous letter led the authorities to search under Westminster Palace, where they found Guy Fawkes with a stockpile of gunpowder.

After being tortured, he confessed to plotting to blow up the House of Lords and was executed two months later.

 London Bridge jihadi Usman Khan had got six years in jail and a laptop for a previous terror plot


London Bridge jihadi Usman Khan had got six years in jail and a laptop for a previous terror plotCredit: AP:Associated Press

Fast forward 414 years and he’d probably serve around six years in prison before being released early and given a laptop.

Because that’s exactly what happened with 28-year-old Usman Khan after he plotted to blow up the London Stock Exchange.

Torture and death isn’t the answer but there’s a middle ground.

After being released early “on licence” Khan took an unescorted day trip to the city he was supposedly banned from visiting and callously took the lives of two immensely promising and altruistic young people — Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23.

It has prompted widespread bewilderment about how someone could commit an act of such evil on those who were actually trying to rehabilitate him, but that’s to afford the killer some level of rationale or humanity where clearly there was none. He and his terrorist ilk are a moral void, the absolute worst kind of ideological, dead-eyed psychopaths with no thought for who their victim is nor the devastation their murder will wreak on their family.


The burning question is: Were they born that way? Or are they the creation of a country that has for too long been running scared of tackling extremism at the grass roots stage for fear of being branded racist?

Khan, who hails from a normal, hard-working family, reportedly became radicalised when he was still at school. At 14 he was spotted laughing at videos of the 9/11 terror attacks with other religious fanatics, and had a photo of Osama Bin Laden on the front of an exercise book.

At 15 he started preaching Islamic extremism in Stoke-on-Trent on behalf of Anjem Choudary’s banned group al-Muhajiroun and, by 17, his distribution of disturbing pamphlets led to his family’s home being raided by anti-terror police.

So the clues were there from a young age that he was on the path to extremism. Yet despite a 20-month investigation by police in 2008, the Crown Prosecution Service decided there wasn’t enough evidence to take Khan to court — a decision that emboldened him to become even more inflammatory and dangerous.

In New York, they embarked on the “broken windows” campaign to stop crime — based on the theory that if you’re tough at the petty criminal stage, you might prevent a youngster from becoming a more serious threat to society.

But Britain’s pre-occupation with political correctness seems to have stopped this rationale being applied to the grooming of disenfranchised young men as potential jihadis.


On Monday’s show, my Loose Women colleague Stacey Solomon pointed out that when her partner Joe Swash was a schoolboy, he saw classmates repeatedly allowed to leave classes early so they could attend the mosque where hook-handed Abu Hamza (now imprisoned in the US for supporting terrorism) preached his hate.

The school allowed it “for religious reasons” — that get-out-of-jail-card often used to quash rational thought — when it should have been empowered to, for example, allow vetted, genuine Islamic preachers in to the school, rather than let the pupils out unchecked.

After all, what better way to radicalise kids than to lure them with the prospect of leaving school early then pump their malleable minds full of jihadist propaganda?

The rehabilitation of criminals in general can, and does, work. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all concept and the same doesn’t necessarily apply to terrorists who have been brainwashed in to such a brutal ideology from a young age.

Making men such as Khan safe for the rest of society takes something more than a relatively brief spell in prison and attending a couple of rehabilitation conferences.

It takes empowering schools to tackle any sign of brainwashing, it takes greater numbers of police, it takes tougher laws, the serving of full sentences and a strict system of checks to ensure the prisoner has truly changed and isn’t — like Khan did — just ticking the right boxes to be released.

If not, more innocents will die.

Give Lukasz the George Cross

THE George Cross for bravery recognises, “acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger”.

There can be no worthier recipient than Polish chef “Lukasz”, who left the safety of the kitchen to tackle Khan face to face and drive him out of the building – becoming injured himself in the process.

Have Sum of that, Paul

SUMMER Monteys-Fullam – aka Paul Hollywood’s ex-girlfriend – posted a photo on Instagram of her applying fake tan while draped in white, lacy lingerie.

Which, as any ardent self-tanner will tell you, is a stain waiting to happen.

 Paul Hollywood's ex Summer Monteys Fullam is showing the telly baker what he's missing


Paul Hollywood’s ex Summer Monteys Fullam is showing the telly baker what he’s missingCredit: Instgram

Leading me to believe that the unwritten subtext was: “Hey Paul, look what you’re missing.”

Give us a break

THE Duke and Duchess of Sussex have posted to Instagram, “an inspiring quote that encourages people to do good”.

Aren’t we supposed to be having a six-week break from them?

Throw in towel, Monique

FORMER masseur Monique Giannelloni says she was booked to give Prince Andrew a massage in the summer of 2000.

Apparently, she felt uncomfortable that the massage took place in a bedroom at Buckingham Palace (would she have preferred the corridor?) where he said: “Hello”, then took off his robe to be massaged while naked but for a strategically placed towel.

 Masseuse Monique’s tale detracts from the very serious issue of whether a 17-year-old girl was trafficked for sex


Masseuse Monique’s tale detracts from the very serious issue of whether a 17-year-old girl was trafficked for sexCredit: Facebook

And, er, that’s it.

In other words, just like every other massage that takes place in a private room – be it in a spa or at home.

Monique’s over-egging of a perfectly innocent scenario simply serves to detract from the very serious issue of whether a 17-year-old girl was trafficked to have sex with a member of the British Royal Family.

FOBO off

A NEW acronym is doing the rounds – FOBO.

It means “Fear Of A Better Offer” and describes those who stall on saying yes to an invite in case something more appealing comes along.

Perhaps it’s my age, but these days I find myself embracing a different acronym. JOMO – the Joy Of Missing Out.

Shelby is Little Miss PC

STUDENT Shelby Judge finds herself irritated by the children’s book Mr Men In Scotland.

Why? Because Mr Clever is explaining to Little Miss Curious how the Forth Bridge got its name – a scenario that 24-year-old Shelby, from Glasgow, captioned “Mr Mansplain”.

 Children's book Mr Men character Mr Clever has been dubbed 'Mr Mansplain'


Children’s book Mr Men character Mr Clever has been dubbed ‘Mr Mansplain’Credit: check copyright

Alternatively, given that Mr Clever is wearing a top hat and is clearly an adult, and Little “Miss” (there’s a bit of a clue) Curious is obviously a juvenile, perhaps it could simply be interpreted as an adult educating a child.

But then that would rob Ms Judge (nominative determinism?) of the chance to virtue-signal her PC credentials.

I love my toy boy

WHEN I was a child, a neighbour gave me a second-hand teddy bear that I named “Teddy Robinson” and cherish to this day.

His head is held on by a nail (so he pre-dates “health and safety”) but I have no idea of his actual age.

 This teddy bear 'joined' the British Army and travelled in an M10 tank destroyer as the Allies liberated occupied Europe in WW2


This teddy bear ‘joined’ the British Army and travelled in an M10 tank destroyer as the Allies liberated occupied Europe in WW2Credit: BPM Media
 My teddy bear Teddy Robinson's only journey in the past 53 years has been at my side


My teddy bear Teddy Robinson’s only journey in the past 53 years has been at my side

Perhaps he’s a peer of “Tanky”, who resembles him and – alongside his soldier owner, who used him as a pillow – travelled in an M10 tank destroyer as the Allies liberated occupied Europe during the Second World War.

Tanky is being auctioned on December 9 and is expected to go for around £600.

Teddy Robinson’s history is unknown, he’s been patched up several times and his only journey in the past 53 years has been at my side. But to me, he’s priceless.

Quality idea

THIS Christmas at John Lewis, you can buy a Quality Street tin and fill it with your favourite of the brand’s choccies.

Toffees for me, thanks.

Last Christmas I posted a photo of the Moore Towers tin of QS with only the unloved orange and strawberry cremes languishing in the bottom.

It garnered 500 comments and turned out to be as polarising as Brexit.

John Lewis is clearly on to something.

Sun top picks for alcoholic advent calendars of 2019


WA heatwave threatens emergency level bushfire




WA heatwave threatens emergency level bushfire

A bushfire burning north of Perth is entering its fourth day burning at an emergency level. Hundreds of firefighters are trying to gain the upper hand on the blaze which is threatening homes and lives. An emergency alert is in place for a 45 kilometre stretch of coast including the towns of Two Rocks, Guilderton and Seabird. The inferno has ripped through 12,000 hectares, destroying one home and several structures, as a heatwave grips the state. Image: Getty

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Presidents Cup live: Final day’s play at Royal Melbourne




Late on Saturday morning with a scoreboard being dominated by black and gold – which is not uncommon in Melbourne – there’s one United States pairing who don’t need any help, writes Adam Pengilly.

Tiger Woods is hanging with them. The earpiece is in, the message he’s projecting is muffled. Read more here.

The Ryder Cup had the Miracle at Medinah, but how about the Presidents Cup’s own Miracle in Melbourne, writes Adam Pengilly.

It wasn’t quite the mass-scale final-day heroics which helped Europe snatch victory over the United States in 2012, but this was an unlikely comeback as you will see an individual match. Read more here.

Patrick Reed’s caddy has been banned from the final day of the Presidents Cup over a heated altercation with a fan.

Tiger Woods will tee off first at Royal Melbourne this morning, up against the in-form Abraham Ancer.

Match 19: Abraham Ancer v Tiger Woods

Match 20: Hideki Matsuyama v Tony Finau

Match 21: C.T. Pan v Patrick Reed

Match 22: Haotong Li v Dustin Johnson

Match 23: Adam Hadwin v Bryson DeChambeau

Match 24: Sungjae Im v Gary Woodland

Match 25: Joaquin Niemann v Patrick Cantlay

Match 26: Adam Scott v Xander Schauffele

Match 27: Byeong Hun An v Webb Simpson

Match 28: Cameron Smith v Justin Thomas

Match 29: Louis Oosthuizen v Matt Kuchar

Match 30: Marc Leishman v Rickie Fowler

Good morning and welcome to the final day’s play at Royal Melbourne.

There will be 12 match points up for grabs, with the Internationals taking a 10-8 lead into day four. They’ll need to win at least five-and-a-half matches today to win the Presidents Cup.

Play is expected to start just after 10am.

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Printed photos making a comeback




Printed photos making a comeback

Printed photos continue to make a strong comeback, led by a younger generation seeking a physical connection to their memories. Sky News tech expert Djuro Sen chats Polaroid-like prints and printing on-the-go, for some last-minute Christmas gift ideas. Image: Getty

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