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Dad trapped in his home after council refuses to build wheelchair ramp




Wheelchair-bound Alex says he feels like a prisoner in his own home after council refused to build him a ramp (Image: Media Scotland)

An Edinburgh father says he feels like a prisoner in his own home after council refused to build a ramp from the stair door of his apartment building to the pavement.

Alexander French, 54, started using a power wheelchair after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and losing the ability to walk – but because of the steep step to his apartment door, he is unable to get out of his house on his own.

Alex says he doesn’t like relying on his family for boarding and boarding, resulting in being stuck indoors and unable to socialize all week, which has impacted his mental health.

“I’m a wheelchair user and I live in a ground floor flat in north Edinburgh,” he said.

Alex lost the ability to walk after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia (Picture: Getty)

“I recently contacted City Council to request a wheelchair ramp and was told I would need an NHS issued wheelchair, but I use an electric wheelchair as I don’t have the strength to push a manual chair.

“I received an NHS chair a couple of weeks ago and have again contacted City Council but have been told I have been given the wrong information and I am not entitled to a ramp as I own my home.

“I can’t afford to pay for a ramp and so I can’t leave the house unless my son or wife is home.

“However, they both work during the day and cannot help.”

He continued: “We have owned our house for 20 years but all the other apartments belong to the council and it is a main stair door.

“I’ve been using the wheelchair for years, my son used to come here and built me ​​a ramp so I could go out of the house by myself, but it’s not there anymore.

“My son is now 29 years old and he is on the road all the time. He needs his own life and it’s not fair of me to rely on him getting out of the house.

“I used to go to different groups throughout the week to meet and socialize with people, but now I can’t. Due to the lack of lowered curbs in the area, I often have to use the road and my wheelchair is not roadworthy.

“I’ve fallen out of my wheelchair twice – once trying to get onto a curb and another time because garbage cans were in the way and I had to try to avoid them.

“I am stuck in my house Monday through Thursday because my son is now volunteering and my wife is working. My best friend lives just down the road and he’s in a wheelchair too, but I haven’t seen him in years because I can’t get out of the house.

“It’s been my life for years now.”

Alex continued: “I wanted to go to the gym to strengthen my legs at Ainslie Park but I can’t do that anymore. It’s taken a huge toll on my mental health — it’s really bad right now.

“I sit alone with the dog all day with no one to talk to.”

It also affected his health. Alex said: “I can’t make or keep appointments during the day and it’s having a huge impact on my mental health. I often feel like a prisoner in my own home.

Finally he said: “I’m just worried about others who might be in similar situations and can’t speak for themselves.

“A ramp doesn’t cost much, but it would change my life. The council just doesn’t listen to people who need help.”

A neighbor has offered to build a ramp for Alex but he still would like answers from the council on how to deal with his situation, having complained several times but received no help.

A spokesman for the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We can reassure that where our occupational therapy services are in place, assessment decisions are always aimed at ensuring the right level of support and rehabilitation whilst maximizing individual independence as possible after personal abilities and circumstances.

They added, “Additionally, we work with individuals to connect them to broader community services and groups that can further enable and support overall wellbeing.”

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Man who stabbed his sleeping boyfriend to death jailed for life




Jason Brockbanks (left) was stabbed by Aaron Ray (right) over Grindr news (Image: North News/NNP)

A killer who stabbed his lover after a sex chat argument and left him to die alone has been sentenced to life in prison.

“Obsessed and jealous” Aaron Ray, 21, stabbed Jason Brockbanks, 24, in September as he slept after seeing Grindr messages on his phone.

The killer, who had previously slit the cockatiel’s throat for his family, left Mr Brockbanks to bleed to death in his bathroom at Mansion Tyne in Newcastle.

It was three days before the body of the Northumbria University student was discovered.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he could have survived had medical help been sought.

Ray, from Sunderland, denied murder but was convicted by a jury after a trial.

Mr Justice Spencer sentenced Ray to life behind bars and said he must serve a minimum of 22 years.

The judge said the evidence showed Ray had been “violent” in previous relationships and said he was “cheating, dishonest and when drunk very dangerous”.

Mr Brockbanks was a third year student at Northumbria University (Image: North News & Pictures Ltd)

The two men had been enjoying a night out together at Newcastle’s Pink Triangle before Ray saw the Grindr news on Mr Brockbank’s phone.

The judge said it was likely Mr Brockbanks fell asleep, after which Ray recorded video of himself scribbling through the phone, retrieving a knife from the communal kitchen and launching the fatal attack.

Mr Brockbanks was cut across the back before being stabbed in the side while lying in bed under his covers.

Judge Spencer told Ray: “I think when he was attacked Jason was asleep under his covers, defenseless and unable to defend himself against your attack.

“You have shown no remorse for your actions. You didn’t call 911 to help Jason.

Ray denied murder but was found guilty by a jury (Image: North News & Pictures Ltd)

“He was bleeding profusely from the wounds, blood dripping through his comforter and sheet. He fell to the ground next to his bed, the covers falling to the floor, covering his phone. That’s why I don’t think he called for help himself.

“He tried to get up, found his way to the bathroom, collapsed in the shower stall and bled to death.”

After the stabbing, Ray took the knife he used in the killing back to the communal kitchen and then left the shelter.

Three days later, on September 27, the manager of the university’s hall of residence received an email asking if she could check on Mr Brockbanks’ well-being because his parents were concerned.

She entered his room and found him “obviously dead.”

Police in the halls of Mansion Tyne where Mr Brockbanks was stabbed (Image: North News & Pictures Ltd)

Mr Brockbanks’ father, Chris, said his son “hated violence” and had a “great passion for life”.

He said: “Knowing that Jason died slowly and alone will haunt us for the rest of our lives.

“It is truly heartbreaking for us to hear that his death may have been preventable if help was sought.

“We believe Jason spent his final moments looking for his mobile phone to call for help but he was unable to locate the phone as the defendant was the last person to use it.

“I will never understand how a human being could walk away from Jason who is so cruelly and callously injured in his room.”

Prosecutor David Lamb KC had told the court that the Grindr messages on Mr Brockbank’s phone were the “trigger and motivating factor” for the murder.

A post-mortem found Mr Brockbanks had a stab wound to his right abdomen, which was fatal, and two knife wounds to his back.

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NYC: Cop rappels down skyscraper to arrest FBI fugitive threatening to jump




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New Yorkers watched in horror Wednesday morning as a man threatened to jump in front of a broken window of a Midtown skyscraper.

NYPD officers rushed to the scene around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, when bystanders reported a man hanging from the 31st-floor window of CitySpire, a 72-story skyscraper on 56th Street.

The man was identified as Ian Mitchell, 35, and was served with an arrest warrant by FBI agents. He was wanted by the agency on white-collar crime charges.

“They responded there and found the man in a crisis,” New York City Police Department Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said. “He was wanted there by another agency and instead of going peacefully with that agency, he considered taking his own life.”

Detective James Tobin abseiling from the 32nd floor (Image: NYPDPC/Twitter)

The standoff lasted about eight hours on Wednesday as negotiators tried to lure the man off the ledge.

Just before 5 p.m., the NYPD Emergency Services Unit made the decision to rescue the man. A group of officers entered the apartment while another officer abseiled from the 32nd floor.

The rappelling officer was later identified as Detective James Tobin. After Tobin blocked the window frame, another officer at the Mitchell apartment snapped his way back into the building.

The entire encounter only lasted about a minute. Video footage was later released by NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell meets with Detective James Tobin at a post-standoff press conference (Image: NYPDnews/Twitter)

“You all saw the video and witnessed the tremendous bravery of Detective Tobin, who climbed out of a 32nd floor window in Midtown Manhattan to push this man back in the window for the rest of the team to grab him and bring him to safety Chief Maddrey said at a news conference later that evening. “What they did today was beyond brave. All New Yorkers should applaud their bravery.”

Mitchell was then escorted to an ambulance and taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he will undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

It’s not clear why the FBI investigated Mitchell. However, he was previously indicted in 2019 for allegedly posing as an investment banker to defraud investors out of over $100,000 New York Post.

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NFL: Hockey team refuse to wear Pride jerseys due to Russian law




The NFL has at least one team that will not wear Pride pre-match jerseys due to Russian laws – the Chicago Blackhawks (Image: AP)

A professional ice hockey team decided not to wear Pride jerseys because one of their players is Russian.

The Chicago Blackhawks will not wear their Pride Night commemoration pre-match jerseys on Sunday as a Russian law expands restrictions on activities deemed to promote LGBTQ rights.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation in December significantly tightening restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBTQ rights in the country. It builds on a 2013 law and bans advertising, media and theatrical productions deemed “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations”.

There are safety concerns about wearing the Pride jersey in the game against the Vancouver Canucks.

Some National Hockey League teams have already worn Pride jerseys (Image: AP)

Blackhawks defender Nikita Zaitsev hails from Moscow.

The National Hockey League and Dan Milstein, who represents teams like the Blackhawks, declined to comment.

But Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said he and the players are disappointed.

“It’s an unfortunate situation, but that’s what we have to deal with,” Richardson said.

The Chicago Blackhawks will not wear Pride pre-match jerseys ahead of Sunday’s Pride Night game against the Vancouver Canucks (Image: AP)

“I don’t think we can control world problems, so it takes that out of our hands. We’re just making decisions as best we can as an organization and for everyone.’

The Blackhawks have previously worn Pride pre-match jerseys. The team has other programs planned to honor the pride. LGBTQ DJs will be DJing before the game and the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus will sing during an intermission.

“We don’t want the shirts to represent the whole night,” said Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones.

“We still do a lot for the LGBTQ community and we as players respect that. We just thought this was the best thing for our team. We know the organization puts the players first.’

Russian players from other teams have already opted to wear Pride jerseys, including Nikolai Knyzhov and Alexander Barabanov, who play for the San Jose Sharks.

Pride Nights are coming up for the Canucks and Buffalo Sabers. The Canucks have yet to announce their plans and the Sabers are still in talks about it.

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