Tributes have been paid to three British nationals who died when a Ukrainian plane crashed in Iran.
Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, who owned a dry cleaners, BP engineer Sam Zokaei and PhD student and engineer Saeed Tahmasebi were all on board the flight.
They were among the 176 people from seven countries who died in the crash.
Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed just after taking off from Imam Khomeini airport at 06:12 local time (02:42 GMT).
The airline said the plane underwent scheduled maintenance on Monday.
A Downing Street spokesman said the UK was “working closely with the Ukrainian authorities and the Iranian authorities” over the crash, and there was “no indication” the plane was brought down by a missile.
As well as the three Britons, the victims in the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians – including all of the crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans and three Germans, Ukraine foreign affairs minister Vadym Prystaiko said.
Rescue teams have been sent to the crash site but the head of Iran’s Red Crescent told state media that it was “impossible” for anyone to have survived the crash.
Tributes were paid locally to Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh, 40, who ran a neighbourhood dry cleaners in Hassocks, West Sussex, and had a nine-year-old daughter.
Steve Edgington from the pet shop next door said he had known Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh for 14 years, and described him as a lovely, hardworking man who was good at his job and loved by staff.
Savvas Savvidis, 36, who rented a room in Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh’s home in Brighton, said he was a “super-nice person”.
“It’s so sad. Before he left we had a conversation, he told me that he spent all his life working, working really hard, and now finally he wants to start to enjoy life a bit more.”
Mr Savvidis described Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh as a humble man who loved his daughter very much.
The dry cleaners closed on Wednesday, with neighbouring businesses telling the BBC that staff were too upset to stay open.
Meanwhile, in a statement, BP said “with the deepest regret” that its employee Mr Zokaei, 42, from Surrey, was among the passengers.
Mr Zokaei had been on holiday. He had worked for BP for 14 years and was based at the company’s site in Sunbury-on-Thames in Middlesex.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic loss of our friend and colleague and all of our thoughts are with his family and friends,” BP said.
A friend of Mr Zokaei, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC they were “still in shock”.
“He was a highly accomplished person. Very clever and very friendly. Always smiling and full of positive energy. He will be sorely missed.
“He was always trying new adventures. He cycled and toured Europe on bikes a few times. He also loved travelling to interesting far out places.”
Also killed was Mr Tahmasebi, 35, who worked as an engineer for Laing O’Rourke in Dartford.
Last year, Mr Tahmasebi married his Iranian partner, Niloufar Ebrahim, who was also named as having died in the crash.
“Everyone here is shocked and saddened by this very tragic news,” said Laing O’Rourke.
“Saeed was a popular and well respected engineer and will be missed by many of his colleagues. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult time and we will do all we can to support them through it.”
‘Humble and generous’
Mr Tahmasebi – whose full name was Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi – was also a part-time PhD student at Imperial College London’s Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation.
A spokeswoman for the university said: “We are deeply saddened at this tragic news. Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi was a brilliant engineer with a bright future.
“His contributions to systems engineering earned respect from everyone who dealt with him and will benefit society for years to come.
“He was a warm, humble and generous colleague and close friend to many in our community. Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Saeed’s family, friends and colleagues, as well as all those affected by this tragedy.”
At Prime Minister’s Questions earlier, Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn both said their thoughts were with the families of those killed.
A UK Foreign Office spokesman has said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in the plane crash in Iran overnight.”
They said it was “urgently seeking confirmation” about how many British nationals were on board and would be supporting any families affected.
Melinda Simmons, British ambassador to Ukraine, said her thoughts are with those affected.
Ukraine’s state aviation service has forbidden its national airlines from using Iranian airspace from Thursday, with the restrictions in place until an investigation into the cause of the crash has concluded.
Ukraine’s embassy in Tehran and Iranian state television both initially said technical issues caused the crash.
But the embassy later removed this statement and said any comment regarding the cause of the accident prior to a commission’s inquiry was not official.
Ukraine said its entire civilian aviation fleet would be checked for airworthiness and criminal proceedings would be opened into the disaster.
The country’s president warned against “speculation or unchecked theories regarding the catastrophe” until official reports were ready.
Ukrainian International Airlines said the flight disappeared from radar just a “few minutes” after take-off.
The Ukrainian national carrier said according to preliminary data there were 167 passengers and nine crew members on board but its staff were “clarifying the exact number”.
“The airline expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the air crash and will do everything possible to support the relatives of the victims,” a statement said.
The airline, which is investigating the crash, said the aircraft – a Boeing 737-800 – was built in 2016 and had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday.
There was no sign of any problems with the plane before take-off and the airline’s president said it had an “excellent, reliable crew”.
A statement from Boeing said its “heartfelt thoughts” were with all those affected following the “tragic event”.
There are several thousand Boeing 737-800s in operation around the world which have completed tens of millions of flights. They have been involved in 10 incidents, including this crash, where at least one passenger was killed, aviation safety analyst Todd Curtis told the BBC.
This is the first time a Ukraine International Airlines plane has been involved in a fatal crash.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh said he has started 2020 “in the best way possible” after his spectacular overhead kick earned Brighton an unlikely point against Chelsea at the Amex Stadium.
The Iranian substitute, who scored his first goal for the club on Saturday, brought the home support to their feet in the 84th minute with an early contender for goal of the month.
“When I was about to go on, I had a feeling I could have an impact on the game,” he told Match of the Day.
“When I saw the ball, I just tried to hit it as hard as I could and the bicycle kick was the only option. I’m going to watch it a couple more times.
“It has been a really tough time for me. I have been training well and working hard to get my chance. Luckily, it has gone the way I wanted.
“2019 didn’t go as well as I wanted. I tried to end the year as well as I could and I’ve started 2020 in the best way possible.”
Cesar Azpilicueta gave the Blues the lead with his third goal of the season when he fired in from close range after Tammy Abraham’s shot was blocked by Aaron Mooy.
Brighton’s attacking threat was largely nullified by Chelsea’s defence, although aside from the goals they produced the clearest chances – both thwarted by the brilliance of keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The Spaniard produced a one-handed stop to deny Aaron Connolly and then saved Neal Maupay’s low drive with his feet.
The point extends fourth-placed Chelsea’s advantage over Manchester United in fifth to five points. Brighton move up a place to 13th, above Burnley on goal difference.
Big blow for Lampard’s side
This result is another setback for Frank Lampard and his side, who looked assured of an eighth league win on the road this season.
Prior to Jahanbakhsh’s goal his defence had suffocated Brighton’s attack.
Having been accused of being sloppy at times this season, Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger, Reece James and skipper Azpilicueta were at their dogged best – rarely allowing an opposition ball to find its way into the six-yard area.
Youth graduate James shone the brightest, and manager Lampard has a potential diamond. Aside from providing support for his centre-backs, the 20-year-old was exceptional as an attacking force down the right.
Brighton’s Dan Burn will not want to face him too soon having left the pitch with a fractured collarbone in the 22nd minute following a collision with the England Under-21 player.
The Blues, however, were as poor as Brighton in attack, and keeper Mat Ryan had less to do than his opposite number. The only time he was called into action in the second half was to make a routine low save from Christian Pulisic.
Jahanbakhsh steals the headlines again
Tears of joy to a look a disbelief – what a week it has been for Jahanbakhsh.
A lack of first-team opportunities had frustrated the Iranian since he made a £17m move from AZ Alkmaar in July 2018, so the outpouring of emotion when he opened his Brighton account against Bournemouth last weekend came as no surprise.
Manager Graham Potter did not reward the 26-year-old winger with another start, but having watched his other attackers fail to make much of a dent in the Chelsea defence he threw on Jahanbakhsh in the 68th minute.
Connolly came close to beating Arrizabalaga with a low drive before Jahanbakhsh tried the more unconventional method and, with his back to goal, he found the Chelsea bottom right with a superb acrobatic effort.
Man of the match – Reece James (Chelsea)
‘Lack of consistency is a concern’ – reaction
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard: “It was frustrating for different reasons.
“In the first half, the game was there to be won. We weren’t ruthless enough. We got the goal and we had the possession, but we just didn’t kill the game off.
“We allowed them to stay in the game. In the end it was a wonder goal but we were lucky not to lose the game.
“In the end, the tactics matched up for both teams but they were better than us. We have to take that on the chin.
“[The lack of consistency] is a concern. It’s something we absolutely have to look at.
“We have to look at the game today. It’s a point, but I’m not happy with the performance.”
Brighton manager Graham Potter: “I thought our play was really brave and we got our reward.
“Everyone is delighted for Jahanbakhsh. He’s worked so hard and waited so long, and to have his freshness off the bench was the thinking and he popped up with a great strike.
“He’s had to be patient, but he’s got qualities and he’s getting his reward.
“I’m really proud of the performance. We need to carry that forward and get some more points.”
Brighton’s super subs – the stats
- Brighton earned their first ever point in a league game against Chelsea in what was their 10th match against them.
- This was Chelsea’s first away Premier League draw this season – the Blues had won seven and lost three of their 10 previous games on the road this term.
- Chelsea have scored more goals in 11 Premier League away games this season (25) than they managed on the road in the whole of 2018-19 (24).
- Azpilicueta has scored three goals in his last 11 games in all competitions for Chelsea, as many as he had in his previous 118.
- Jahanbakhsh became the fifth different Brighton player to score a Premier League goal as a substitute this season, more than any other side in the competition.
- Despite only coming on as a 68th-minute substitute, no Brighton player had more shots (three) or created more chances (three) than goalscorer Jahanbakhsh.
Brighton are at home to Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup on Saturday (15:01 GMT) and the following day Chelsea host Nottingham Forest in the competition (14:01 GMT).
Christmas dinners have been served to Londoners who are reliant on the city’s homelessness services.
Hairdressers and opticians were also made available at City Hall before guests were given a three-course meal.
Last year, 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London, an 18% increase since last year, and more than double the number in 2010.
“Events like this help bring a sense of community back in to London,” Claire, a former rough sleeper, told the BBC.
Claire, who spent 30 years either living on the streets or in prison, said: “It’s the type of event that does matter. It forms partnerships and builds bonds.
“If it wasn’t for the support of St Mungo’s, I’d either be dead or doing what I was before.”
Guests were chosen from the thousands of Londoners that currently receive assistance from services funded by City Hall and delivered by charities St Mungo’s and Thames Reach.
But Claire said services were still “hit and miss”.
“Where I live I’m still waiting for support with my mental health,” she added.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “St Mungo’s and Thames Reach are struggling with finances.
“Since I became mayor we’ve more than doubled the amount of money we’ve spent on rough sleeping and the size of our outreach team.
“But we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve not got the money or the resources to do much more – as it is I’m criticised for going outside my remit and my power.
“It is both heartbreaking and shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do.”
Last year 15,470 people were accepted as being homeless by London councils.
There were 55,000 families living in temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and hostels.
Hundreds more people are estimated to be sleeping on London’s night buses.
Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper Services at St Mungo’s, said: “It’s wonderful that the Mayor has opened the doors of City Hall for this festive event.
“Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for clients in our services and our staff work hard to support those who stay with us over the holiday period.”
A man has been jailed for murdering a 14-year-old boy in a targeted “violent and frenzied” attack.
Jaden Moodie was knocked off a moped and repeatedly stabbed by rival gang member Ayoub Majdouline in Bickley Road, Leyton, in January.
The drug dealer was found guilty of the murder on 11 December after his DNA was found on the murder weapon.
Majdouline, 19, of Wembley, was sentenced at the Old Bailey to life with a minimum term of 21 years.
As Jaden’s family left court, his father Julian Moodie said he was happy with the sentence, adding: “British justice has been done.”
Sentencing Majdouline, Judge Richard Marks said he could not “ignore the evidence” about Jaden’s drug dealing and other criminal-related history.
“That he became so involved starting at the age of 13 is truly shocking but none of that means he deserved to die, still less in the circumstances in which he did,” he said.
Majdouline was one of five men linked to the stabbing who drove around east London in a stolen Mercedes looking for members of a rival gang to attack on the night of 8 January, the court heard.
The group, linked to drug gang the Mali Boys, had covered their faces and two of them, including Majdouline, wore yellow rubber gloves to avoid being identified.
The killing was caught on graphic CCTV, which was shown at the trial.
Once the group spotted Jaden, he was knocked off his moped by the car.
Gang members then got out of the car and stabbed him while he lay on the ground.
Jaden, who was dealing drugs for rival gang the Beaumont Crew, suffered nine stab wounds and bled to death in the road as the attackers ran back to the car and sped off, the court heard.
In a victim impact statement, Jaden’s mother Jada Bailey said her son was a “loving and caring, family-orientated little boy” and described his murder as “barbaric”.
Ms Bailey said she felt “let down” by organisations she had turned to for help.
She told the BBC she had complained to social services about her son being groomed by gangs, and moved 140 miles from Nottinghamshire to Waltham Forest in east London to escape trouble.
“I feel like all this could have been avoided,” she said.
“No parent should have to bury their child before themselves.”
Majdouline had a “non-existent childhood” and was particularly traumatised by the murder of his father, the court heard.
Three years after his father’s death, Majdouline was identified by the National Crime Agency as a victim of “modern slavery”.
His lawyer James Scobie QC told the court: “He had significant disruption by experiences of trauma and exposure to certain ideologies that no-one of any age should be exposed to.”
Giving evidence in the trial, Majdouline said he had turned to county lines drug dealing “to survive”.
A Premier League footballer accused of crashing his Bentley into a coffee shop and driving off is to face trial.
Jordon Ibe, 23, is alleged to have crashed into The Pantry on Plaistow Lane in Bromley, London, on 30 July.
At a court hearing, the AFC Bournemouth midfielder denied failing to stop after an accident but did not enter a plea to a second charge of careless driving.
Bromley magistrates ordered him to attend a trial at Bexley Magistrates’ Court on 10 February.
George Crivelli, prosecuting, said Mr Ibe’s white Bentley Bentayga 4×4 was significantly damaged in the crash, at about 04:50 BST.
‘Car part in rubble’
He said: “The defendant has been involved in a collision – his vehicle has left the road, collided with a parked car and crashed into a shop front.
“The vehicle remained for a short period before driving off.”
Part of the car was left behind in the rubble, while the coffee shop’s front had to be removed from its foundations to be made safe, the court heard.
Jonathan Morrissey, defending, said the player had waited at the scene for a reasonable length of time but no-one was available to exchange details with.
Mr Ibe was charged by postal requisition on 29 October.
He signed with the Dorset club from Liverpool in 2016 for a reported £15m fee.
Former England captain Bob Willis has died at the age of 70.
The fast bowler took 325 wickets in 90 Tests from 1971 to 1984, claiming a career-best 8-43 to help England to a famous win over Australia at Headingley in the 1981 Ashes.
He captained England in 18 Tests and 29 one-day internationals before his retirement from all cricket in 1984.
Willis subsequently worked as a summariser on BBC TV before joining Sky Sports as a commentator in 1991.
He continued to work for Sky and was part of their coverage of this summer’s Ashes series.
Willis represented Surrey for the first two years of his professional career before spending 12 years at Warwickshire, finishing with 899 wickets from 308 first-class matches at an average of 24.99.
In a statement on Twitter, Surrey said the club was “devastated” by the news of Willis’ passing.
The Sunderland-born bowler made his international debut aged 21 in the 1971 Ashes after being called up to replace the injured Alan Ward and played the final four Tests of the seven-match series as England won 2-0.
Despite needing surgery on both knees in 1975, he became one of the finest fast bowlers of his generation, playing another nine years and claiming his 325 wickets at an impressive average of 25.20.
At the time of Willis’ retirement, only Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee had taken more Test wickets.
James Anderson (575), Stuart Broad (471) and Ian Botham (383) are the only England bowlers to have since surpassed Willis’ tally.
|Bob Willis career record|
The pinnacle of Willis’ international career was arguably the stunning 18-run victory against Australia in the third Test of the 1981 Ashes at Headingley.
England, trailing 1-0 in the series, were forced to follow on and needed Botham’s spectacular 149 not out to force Australia to bat again, setting them 129 to win.
With his Test career on the line, Willis produced a devastating spell, taking a Test-best 8-43 as Australia were dismissed for 111.
England went on to win the series 3-1 and Willis finished with 29 wickets at 22.96 in six matches.
He was appointed captain for the 1982 India tour of England after Keith Fletcher was sacked.
Willis oversaw a weakened team during his tenure, after the likes of Graham Gooch, Geoffrey Boycott and Derek Underwood were banned from international cricket for three years from 1982 for taking part in a rebel tour to South Africa.
He finished with a record of seven wins, five defeats and six draws from his 18 Tests in charge before he was sacked and replaced with David Gower prior to what proved to be Willis’ final Test series against West Indies in 1984.
In 29 ODIs under Willis, England won 16 and lost 13.
Willis made his ODI debut in 1973 and played in the 1979 World Cup but sustained a recurrence of his knee injury in the semi-final win over New Zealand and missed the final, which West Indies won by 92 runs.
He captained England at the 1983 World Cup where his side were beaten by eventual winners India in the semi-finals.
Willis played his final ODI in 1984, finishing with a record of 80 wickets from 64 matches at an average of 24.60.
Willis moved into commentary soon after his playing career ended and worked alongside former team-mates Botham and Gower.
After moving away from live commentary and summariser duties in 2006, Willis continued to work as a pundit on Sky Sports programmes such as The Debate and The Verdict.
He was frequently firm in his criticism of current players, which was seen by some as being unfair.
Yet Willis also played up to his persona and had a humorous side, telling current captain Joe Root he would “have you back in the dock” with bared teeth after the England batsman’s impersonation of Willis during the 2015 Ashes.
More to follow.
Middlesex have re-signed Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman for next season’s Twenty20 Blast campaign.
The 18-year-old took seven wickets in 10 games last season and will be available for all 14 of their group stage matches in 2020.
Mujeeb made his debut for his country at the age of 16 and featured in this year’s World Cup.
“I enjoyed my time at Middlesex so much, so I am very pleased to be coming back,” he said.
Meanwhile, the club have awarded England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan a testimonial year in 2020.
The 33-year-old made his debut for the county’s first XI in 2005.
A man was stabbed to death in a fight outside a block of east London flats in a “particularly vicious attack”.
The 19-year-old was found by police responding to reports of a disturbance outside Owen Waters House, in Fullwell Avenue, Ilford, on Tuesday night.
The victim died at the scene and his next of kin have been informed.
No arrests have been made but the Met said “the possibility that the murder is gang-related is a very strong line of inquiry”.
Police are establishing if the stabbing is linked to a fire at some nearby garages where a car was found burnt out.
The Met said fire crews had been called to the blaze at about 22:20 GMT while traces of blood had also been found around the vehicle.
Det Ch Insp Chris Soole described the killing as a “particularly vicious attack” and appealed for witnesses.
A Section 60 Order – giving police stop-and-search powers – was put in place for the whole of the Redbridge borough until 06:30.
There have been five murder investigations in the borough in 2019 – three of which have been as a result of fatal stabbings.
Homicides in London since 2008
Annual homicides in the Met Police area
So far this year, almost 130 murder investigations have been launched in the capital.
Three investigations have been carried out by British Transport Police and 124 have been investigated by the Met.
At the scene – Greg McKenzie, BBC London
A forensic tent is outside the tower block marking the spot where the teenager died.
Residents have been telling me about rising tensions in the last few weeks. The block – just off a main road in Ilford – is known as a meeting point for drug dealers and people said the issue is “rampant”.
They have also described a lot of “youth disturbance and violence” in the area and expressed their fear, anger and shock.
Officers have been coming in and out of the flats and they are trying to work out whether a burnt-out car is linked to the fatal stabbing.
An “angry pig” confronted engineers in a London street, delaying their repair of a burst water main before it was led away with a bag of crisps.
The pipe burst on Lamberts Road, Surbiton, damaging nearby railway equipment, which caused train delays.
Thames Water said their efforts to reach a valve to cut the water were initially hindered by “a large pig” which was “acting aggressively”.
It is not known what flavour crisps were used to lead it away.
Damage caused by the flooding of tracks and signalling equipment meant limited trains have been able to run along the line.
Disruption is currently expected to last until 16:00 GMT although Network Rail said engineers were carrying out inspections.
Thames Water said engineers “were quickly on site” to deal with the burst 120cm (48 in) pipe, but they had been unable to initially carry out the work because of the pig, which is thought to be someone’s pet.
A second man has admitted trying to rob Arsenal footballers Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac in a moped ambush.
Jordan Northover, 26, pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to attempting to steal watches from the pair in Hampstead, north-west London.
His co-accused Ashley Smith, 30, of Archway in North London, admitted his role in the crime in October.
CCTV footage showed Bosnian defender Kolasinac chasing off the two masked attackers on 25 July
In the video, that circulated on social media, 26-year-old Kolasinac is seen fighting off two men who are wielding knives.
He can be seen jumping out of a vehicle to confront the masked men who had pulled alongside the car on mopeds.
In the footage, both carjackers were seen to be armed and were filmed brandishing knives at full-back Kolasinac.
World Cup winner Özil can also be seen in his black Mercedes G class jeep before he reportedly took refuge in a Turkish restaurant.
Kolasinac and Germany midfielder Özil were left out of the Arsenal side ahead of the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign after the incident.
Judge Rosa Dean said Smith would be sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday.
Northover will be sentenced at a later date.
Özil told the Athletic sports site that he was scared for his wife Amine as the attackers pursued his car.
“Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers,” he said.
“I tried to move the car, block them, escape, but each time they would be there. My wife was extremely scared.”