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Wagner chief sensationally agrees to END his mercenary group’s march on Moscow

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Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin will be exiled to Belarus and face no charges for his group’s failed mutiny against Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin has said, after he gave a sensational order to his army to halt their march on Moscow and retreat.

Coup accusations against the mercenary chief have been dropped, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed tonight, adding that there will be no change of military leadership within Russia despite the humiliating crisis.

Prigozhin’s men will not be charged, Moscow said, while the fighters who did not participate in the uprising will sign contracts with the Ministry of Defence – in a clear attempt to remove the feared fighting force’s influence once and for all.

A deal was struck with Wagner, ‘avoiding bloodshed, internal confrontation, and clashes with unpredictable results was the highest goal,’ Peskov said.

‘We are turning our columns around and going back to field camps,’ an audio message on Prigozhin’s Telegram feed said after a meeting between him and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. 

Prigozhin announced that while his men were just 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Moscow, he decided to turn them back to avoid ‘shedding Russian blood.’ 

Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has confirmed he has ordered his mercenaries to halt their march on Moscow to avoid shedding Russian blood

Huge crowds gathered in Rostov-on-Don as Wagner-owned tanks rolled out of the city

Huge crowds gathered in Rostov-on-Don as Wagner-owned tanks rolled out of the city

Huge crowds gathered in Rostov-on-Don as Wagner-owned tanks rolled out of the city

People gather to bid farewell to fighters of the Wagner private mercenary group as they pull out of the headquarters of the Southern Military District and return to their bases

People gather to bid farewell to fighters of the Wagner private mercenary group as they pull out of the headquarters of the Southern Military District and return to their bases

People gather to bid farewell to fighters of the Wagner private mercenary group as they pull out of the headquarters of the Southern Military District and return to their bases

Onlookers said Wagner troops were being cheered out of Rostov-on-Don after their chief agreed to withdraw

Onlookers said Wagner troops were being cheered out of Rostov-on-Don after their chief agreed to withdraw

Onlookers said Wagner troops were being cheered out of Rostov-on-Don after their chief agreed to withdraw

In the shock announcement Prigozhin did not say whether the Kremlin has responded to his demand to oust Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and there was no immediate comment from the Kremlin.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that he had negotiated a deal with Prigozhin, but it is still not clear what the Wagner boss has been offered.

Prigozhin accepted Lukashenko’s offer to halt the Wagner group’s advance and further steps to de-escalate the tensions, Lukashenko’s office said, adding that the proposed settlement contains security guarantees for Wagner troops. It did not elaborate.

Wagner forces – many of whom are still said to be disgruntled about Prigozhin’s retreat – were later seen leaving the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, where they had earlier captured military headquarters and civilian buildings.

A Russian Police officer guards the Red Square near the Kremlin as forces brace for an attack before the sensational retreat of Prigozhin's forces

A Russian Police officer guards the Red Square near the Kremlin as forces brace for an attack before the sensational retreat of Prigozhin's forces

A Russian Police officer guards the Red Square near the Kremlin as forces brace for an attack before the sensational retreat of Prigozhin’s forces

A Russian soldier mans a machine gun post in the south of Moscow earlier, ahead of the expected arrival of Prigozhin and the Wagner troops. But Prigozhin has confirmed he has ordered his mercenaries to halt their march

A Russian soldier mans a machine gun post in the south of Moscow earlier, ahead of the expected arrival of Prigozhin and the Wagner troops. But Prigozhin has confirmed he has ordered his mercenaries to halt their march

A Russian soldier mans a machine gun post in the south of Moscow earlier, ahead of the expected arrival of Prigozhin and the Wagner troops. But Prigozhin has confirmed he has ordered his mercenaries to halt their march

Belarus President and key Putin ally Alexander Lukashenko (pictured) said Yevgeny Prigozhin has accepted his proposal to stop the Wagner Group’s advance toward Moscow

Machine gun outposts are hastily constructed on the outskirts of Moscow prior to Prigozhin's shock statement

Machine gun outposts are hastily constructed on the outskirts of Moscow prior to Prigozhin's shock statement

Machine gun outposts are hastily constructed on the outskirts of Moscow prior to Prigozhin’s shock statement

‘We left on June 23 for the march of justice,’ Prigozhin added in his audio messaged.

‘In a day we travelled, not reaching 200 km, to Moscow.

‘During this time, we have not shed a single drop of the blood of our fighters.

‘Now the moment has come when blood could be shed, therefore, realising all the responsibility for the fact that Russian blood will be shed on one of the sides, we turn our columns around and return in the opposite direction to the field camps, according to the plan.’

Residents Several authorities across Russia said they were lifting restrictions on residents following the now disbanded threat.

An uneasy calm has now prevailed on the streets of Moscow in a city that had been preparing for war. The capital had braced for the arrival of forces from the Wagner Group, a private army led by Prigozhin that has been fighting alongside regular Russian troops in Ukraine, by erecting checkpoints with armored vehicles and troops on the city’s southern edge. Red Square was shut down, and the mayor urged motorists to stay off some roads. 

Putin had earlier vowed harsh consequences for organizers of the armed uprising led by his onetime protege, who brought his forces out of Ukraine, seized a key military facility in southern Russia and advanced toward Moscow.

In a televised speech to the nation earlier, Putin called the rebellion a ‘betrayal’ and ‘treason.’

‘All those who prepared the rebellion will suffer inevitable punishment,’ Putin said. ‘The armed forces and other government agencies have received the necessary orders.’

It wasn’t immediately clear what concessions, if any, Putin may have made to persuade Prigozhin to halt his march.

Prigozhin, 62, made his money providing catering services and eared himself the nickname 'Putin's chef'

Prigozhin, 62, made his money providing catering services and eared himself the nickname 'Putin's chef'

Prigozhin, 62, made his money providing catering services and eared himself the nickname ‘Putin’s chef’

Putin earlier described the group's actions as a 'criminal adventuristic campaign' that is 'equivalent to armed mutiny'

Putin earlier described the group's actions as a 'criminal adventuristic campaign' that is 'equivalent to armed mutiny'

Putin earlier described the group’s actions as a ‘criminal adventuristic campaign’ that is ‘equivalent to armed mutiny’

In the shock announcement Prigozhin did not say whether the Kremlin has responded to his demand to oust Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (right), pictured with top Russian military commander in Ukraine,Gen. Sergei Surovikin (left)

In the shock announcement Prigozhin did not say whether the Kremlin has responded to his demand to oust Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (right), pictured with top Russian military commander in Ukraine,Gen. Sergei Surovikin (left)

In the shock announcement Prigozhin did not say whether the Kremlin has responded to his demand to oust Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (right), pictured with top Russian military commander in Ukraine,Gen. Sergei Surovikin (left)

If he accedes to Prigozhin’s demand to oust Shoigu, Prigozhin would emerge from the crisis as a clear winner in a major blow to Putin’s authority.

If Prigozhin agrees not to press the demand, Putin could award him with more lucrative government contracts like those on which he has built his fortune in the past.

However, it would be awkward and politically damaging for Putin to backtrack after branding Prigozhin a backstabbing traitor.

Some observers speculated that Prigozhin could make concessions such as putting the Wagner Group under federal authority, or he could shift the force’s activities back to Africa, where his mercenaries have been active in recent years.

Early Saturday, Prigozhin’s private army appeared to control the military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, a city 660 miles (over 1,000 kilometers) south of Moscow that runs Russian operations in Ukraine, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said.

Wagner troops and equipment also were in Lipetsk province, about 360 kilometers (225 miles) south of Moscow, where authorities were ‘taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the population,’ said regional Gov. Igor Artamonov, via Telegram.

Authorities declared a ‘counterterrorist regime’ in Moscow and its surrounding region, enhancing security and restricting some movement. On the southern outskirts, troops erected checkpoints, arranged sandbags and set up machine guns. Crews dug up sections of highways to slow the march.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, had earlier declared that a ‘counter-terrorism regime’ was in force, before the leader of the Wagner private militia announced that his fighters would turn back to avoid bloodshed.

A local resident walks past members of Wagner group in Rostov-on-Don earlier today

A local resident walks past members of Wagner group in Rostov-on-Don earlier today

A local resident walks past members of Wagner group in Rostov-on-Don earlier today

Russian police stand at a checkpoint on a road entering on Moscow earlier today

Russian police stand at a checkpoint on a road entering on Moscow earlier today

Russian police stand at a checkpoint on a road entering on Moscow earlier today

A member of Wagner group stands guard in Rostov-on-Don with a machine gun today

A member of Wagner group stands guard in Rostov-on-Don with a machine gun today

A member of Wagner group stands guard in Rostov-on-Don with a machine gun today

Yevgeny Prigozhin had said he wanted to oust the army’s top brass and ‘restore justice’, while Putin had promised to crush the mutiny.

One Moscow resident who gave his name as Nikolai – declining like others to give his surname – watched the military take up positions to protect the city.

‘It’s frightening of course – you sit at home thinking about what might happen,’ he told Reuters. ‘It’s disturbing, both for you and your loved ones.’

Some residents were finding it hard to grasp the scale of events.

‘… It’s really tough news, really unexpected. I’ve just come back from university. I’ve just done my last exam – and the news was really unexpected as I was prepping (for the exam) last night,’ said Vladimir, a student. ‘I don’t really know how to react. I haven’t really got my head around it yet.’

A woman called Galina said she thought what was happening was some kind of ‘provocation’.

‘It doesn’t frighten me at all,’ she said. ‘I have confidence in our president and our people.’

One man who declined to be named at all said he thought it was just politics playing out.

‘They might cancel a few events, and I make my living from events. I have an event going on now, so I could lose out because of this,’ he said.

‘But otherwise, it’s their business, it’s politics – let them get on with it.’

 

A fighter of Wagner private mercenary group flashes a victory sign in a street near the headquarters of the Southern Military District in Rostov-on-Don

A fighter of Wagner private mercenary group flashes a victory sign in a street near the headquarters of the Southern Military District in Rostov-on-Don

A fighter of Wagner private mercenary group flashes a victory sign in a street near the headquarters of the Southern Military District in Rostov-on-Don

A group of Wagner fighters pictured on Rostov-on-Don street on Saturday morning

A group of Wagner fighters pictured on Rostov-on-Don street on Saturday morning

A group of Wagner fighters pictured on Rostov-on-Don street on Saturday morning 

A Wagner fighter on guard duty close to the Southern Military District HQ

A Wagner fighter on guard duty close to the Southern Military District HQ

A Wagner fighter on guard duty close to the Southern Military District HQ

The United States said this evening that it intends to postpone the imposition of new sanctions against Wagner against the backdrop of the situation in Russia.

Who is Yevgeny Prigozhin, the man nicknamed ‘Putin’s chef’ who is behind the Wagner Group ?

Nicknamed ‘Putin’s chef’ due to owning a number of restaurants and catering firms that supply the Kremlin, Yevgeny Prigozhin is the oligarch founder of the notorious Wagner Group.

Prigozhin was born in the Soviet Union on June 1 1961, before spending a period of time in jail for numerous crimes including fraud and robbery, during his teens.

After spending 9 years in prison, Prigozhin launched a number of businesses following the collapse of the Soviet Union, including grocery and gambling firms.

In 2014, Prigozhin founded Wagner Group during Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine. The mercenary group has since become notorious for doing the Russian military’s dirty work, leaving behind trails of brutal violence, rape and war crimes.

Prigozhin long denied any affiliation with the group until September 2022, when he admitted to founding the mercenary force.

He is often seen on the frontlines of the conflict with Ukraine, criticising Russian military leadership and accusing them of starving Wagner troops of supplies.

The US administration fears that by imposing new sanctions against Wagner, it may ‘take the side’ of the Russian leadership, the Wall Street Journal reported. ‘Washington doesn’t want to look like it’s on one side or the other in this [situation],’ the source quoted the WSJ as saying.

According to the newspaper, the US State Department planned on June 27 to impose new sanctions against PMC Wagner because of its activities in Africa.

The surprise reported development comes after a day of complete chaos in Moscow as the city was preparing for war by battening down the hatches as soldiers built outposts and military vehicles flooded the streets.

A total of 5,000 Wagner forces were reportedly advancing toward the capital before the U-turn, and were set to reach as far as Lipetsk this evening.

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is said to have a total of 25,000 men at his disposal and a further 5,000 of them were in Rostov-on-Don, the southern city key to Russia’s war in Ukraine that Prigozhin said he had taken control of.

As the convoy earlier inched towards Moscow it was said to be led by senior Wagner commander and neo-Nazi Dmitry Utkin. A source said Wagner’s plan for Moscow was to take up positions in a densely built-up area prior to its retreat.

A number of restrictions were introduced around the Russian capital following a decree from the governor amid the threat as people were told to refrain from travelling round Moscow.

It comes after Prigozhin initiated a military coup against the Kremlin leaders overnight, which saw the group take key cities and threaten the President, who called them ‘traitors’.

Putin earlier addressed the Russian people amid the Wagner group’s threat, warning that Prigozhin had ‘stabbed him in the back’. Moscow subsequently entered into a lockdown, with troops digging in in preparation to defend the city.

A spokesperson for the Russian president said Putin was still at work in the Kremlin and had not fled Moscow amid the earlier threat. However, two presidential jets were seen flying from Moscow in the direction of St Petersburg this afternoon. They were reported to have switched off its transponder to prevent tracking the route.

Armored vehicles are seen as security measures are taken in Moscow

Armored vehicles are seen as security measures are taken in Moscow

Armored vehicles are seen as security measures are taken in Moscow

Russian police man a checkpoint on a road leading to Moscow on Saturday

Russian police man a checkpoint on a road leading to Moscow on Saturday

Russian police man a checkpoint on a road leading to Moscow on Saturday

Trucks are lined up, thought to be for defensive purposes, on the outside of Moscow as Russian troops begin building road blocks

Trucks are lined up, thought to be for defensive purposes, on the outside of Moscow as Russian troops begin building road blocks

Trucks are lined up, thought to be for defensive purposes, on the outside of Moscow as Russian troops begin building road blocks

Russia's National Anti-terrorism Committee announced on Saturday that a counter-terrorist operation regime has been introduced in Moscow city (pictured), the Moscow region and the Voronezh region

Russia's National Anti-terrorism Committee announced on Saturday that a counter-terrorist operation regime has been introduced in Moscow city (pictured), the Moscow region and the Voronezh region

Russia’s National Anti-terrorism Committee announced on Saturday that a counter-terrorist operation regime has been introduced in Moscow city (pictured), the Moscow region and the Voronezh region

Heavy, reinforced vehicles are being deployed at checkpoints across Moscow

Heavy, reinforced vehicles are being deployed at checkpoints across Moscow

Heavy, reinforced vehicles are being deployed at checkpoints across Moscow

Police search vehicles at a checkpoint in the outskirts of Moscow

Police search vehicles at a checkpoint in the outskirts of Moscow

Police search vehicles at a checkpoint in the outskirts of Moscow

There is a heavy armed police presence on roads across the capital city

There is a heavy armed police presence on roads across the capital city

There is a heavy armed police presence on roads across the capital city

The shock announcement from Prigozhin comes after his feared 25,000-strong Wagner militia took control of the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don Saturday, saying they are ‘ready to die’ for their ‘march of justice’, and have been heading north in a hundreds-strong convoy of armoured vehicles.

The unit earlier passed through the halfway city of Voronezh and are soon approaching Lipetsk on their way to Moscow, seeing negligible resistance on their way. 

Before Prigozhin’s announcement, a message posted on the Wagner Telegram channel on Saturday said: ‘Putin made the wrong choice. All the worse for him. Soon we will have a new president.’

Footage on social media earlier showed large convoys of troops heading north from Voronezh, thought to be Wagner mercenaries. They were also said to be on their way to other key cities including Krasnodar and Volgograd.

Russia responded by increasing security in Moscow, mobilising troops who are set to defend against the incursion, and calling for the military to rally around President Putin. 

All public events had been cancelled and Monday had already been declared a non-working day, as Putin called close ally Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko to brief him on the situation. 

Moscow’s mayor had earlier urged people not to take trips across the city, saying the situation is ‘difficult’ and ‘city services are on high alert’. 

Sergey Sobyanin also told residents not to go to work on Monday in order to ‘minimise risks’. It came as part of the announcement of a ‘counter-terrorist operation’ in the city. 

A line of armoured vehicles are seen as Russian forces prepare to launch a defense of the capital

A line of armoured vehicles are seen as Russian forces prepare to launch a defense of the capital

A line of armoured vehicles are seen as Russian forces prepare to launch a defense of the capital

A traffic police officer checks a car next to an armoured personnel carrier (APC)

A traffic police officer checks a car next to an armoured personnel carrier (APC)

A traffic police officer checks a car next to an armoured personnel carrier (APC)

Russian troops were seen establishing positions at a bridge across the Oka River

Russian troops were seen establishing positions at a bridge across the Oka River

Russian troops were seen establishing positions at a bridge across the Oka River

Prigozhin c laimed to have also shot down a Russian military helicopter in the city - home to the Kremlin's headquarters for the war in Ukraine

Prigozhin c laimed to have also shot down a Russian military helicopter in the city - home to the Kremlin's headquarters for the war in Ukraine

Prigozhin c laimed to have also shot down a Russian military helicopter in the city – home to the Kremlin’s headquarters for the war in Ukraine

Armored cars blockade a street in the city of Rostov as the sun began to rise on Saturday

Armored cars blockade a street in the city of Rostov as the sun began to rise on Saturday

Armored cars blockade a street in the city of Rostov as the sun began to rise on Saturday

Russia's defense military in Moscow is pictured as dawn breaks on Saturday. Anti-aircraft artillery are pictured on the roof

Russia's defense military in Moscow is pictured as dawn breaks on Saturday. Anti-aircraft artillery are pictured on the roof

Russia’s defense military in Moscow is pictured as dawn breaks on Saturday. Anti-aircraft artillery are pictured on the roof

Armored vehicles were seen on the streets of Moscow on Friday night outside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior amid fears of a coup

Armored vehicles were seen on the streets of Moscow on Friday night outside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior amid fears of a coup

Armored vehicles were seen on the streets of Moscow on Friday night outside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior amid fears of a coup

An armored personnel carrier (APC) is seen on a street of the southern city of Rostov-on-Don on Friday night

An armored personnel carrier (APC) is seen on a street of the southern city of Rostov-on-Don on Friday night

An armored personnel carrier (APC) is seen on a street of the southern city of Rostov-on-Don on Friday night

Armored vehicles trawl through the street of the southern city of Rostov-on-Don amid coup fears in Russia on Friday

Armored vehicles trawl through the street of the southern city of Rostov-on-Don amid coup fears in Russia on Friday

Armored vehicles trawl through the street of the southern city of Rostov-on-Don amid coup fears in Russia on Friday 

Pro-Putin forces on the outskirts of the city were meanwhile seen digging in against the now disbanded Wagner coup heading towards the capital.

Russian troops were pictured establishing positions at a bridge across the Oka River. They deployed barrage equipment, machine guns and grenade launchers, as military helicopters flew across the city.

Other photos showed soldiers setting up barricades and machine gun nests a little way out of the city, as Putin signed into law a measure which allows people to be detained for up to 30 days in areas where marshal is imposed – not that this has yet happened. 

Russian officials had earlier ordered roads to be blocked by large, heavy trucks in the path of the convoy in an effort to slow it down.

Travel had also been restricted in regions closest to Moscow, most recently in the Kalugia area. Movement on the region’s roads will be restricted near bordering regions Tula, Bryansk, Oryol and Smolensk

Eyewitnesses also reported air strikes on the Wagner convoy heading north. 

Shortly after this emerged, Prigozhin claimed it was hit by Russian strikes and fire from helicopters. 

‘We were fired upon: first artillery strikes, and then from helicopters,’ Prigozhin said in a Telegram post. Video footage online purports to show an artillery strike on an armoured vehicle in the Wagner procession.

Prigozhin was once known as 'Putin's chef' - now the Wagner boss appears to be waging war on the Kremlin

Prigozhin was once known as 'Putin's chef' - now the Wagner boss appears to be waging war on the Kremlin

Prigozhin was once known as ‘Putin’s chef’ – now the Wagner boss appears to be waging war on the Kremlin

Police officers stand guard on roads approaching Moscow amid the ongoing military coup

Police officers stand guard on roads approaching Moscow amid the ongoing military coup

Police officers stand guard on roads approaching Moscow amid the ongoing military coup

Russian soldiers loyal to Putin dig in on the edge of Moscow

Russian soldiers loyal to Putin dig in on the edge of Moscow
The soldiers could be seen rushing to defend the capital

The soldiers could be seen rushing to defend the capital

Pro-Putin forces on the outskirts of Moscow were seen digging in against the Wagner coup army heading towards the capital

Russian policemen guard the Red Square in Moscow on Saturday morning

Russian policemen guard the Red Square in Moscow on Saturday morning

Russian policemen guard the Red Square in Moscow on Saturday morning

Russian servicemen stand guard on a street in downtown Moscow

Russian servicemen stand guard on a street in downtown Moscow

Russian servicemen stand guard on a street in downtown Moscow

Policemen guard the Kremlin, home to Russian President Putin, on Saturday

Policemen guard the Kremlin, home to Russian President Putin, on Saturday

Policemen guard the Kremlin, home to Russian President Putin, on Saturday

Russian forces are pictured in the Lipetsk region, just a few hours from the gates of Moscow near the town of Yelets

Russian forces are pictured in the Lipetsk region, just a few hours from the gates of Moscow near the town of Yelets

Russian forces are pictured in the Lipetsk region, just a few hours from the gates of Moscow near the town of Yelets

Pictures also showed the Wagner forces in the Lipetsk region – less than four hours to the outskirts of Moscow – before the surprise retreat.

The column of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s coup armed force is heading north for a showdown with troops still-loyal to dictator Vladimir Putin amid rumours he has absconded from the capital.

The Wagner forces were some 200 miles from Moscow – facing an evening or nighttime showdown with Russian regular forces.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed he had spoken to western allies about the armed rebellion led by the Wagner mercenary group in Russia, which UK defence officials have described as ‘the most significant challenge’ to the Kremlin in recent times.

Mr Sunak spoke to US president Joe Biden, French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday afternoon ‘to discuss the situation in Russia and reiterate their continuing support for Ukrainian sovereignty’, Downing Street said. 

A senior Kremlin official had warned that a successful rebellion by the Wagner group would mean the mercenaries getting hold of Russia’s vast nuclear arsenal and raise an existential threat to the entire world.

A military column of Wagner private mercenary group drives along M-4 highway, which links the capital Moscow with Russia's southern cities

A military column of Wagner private mercenary group drives along M-4 highway, which links the capital Moscow with Russia's southern cities

A military column of Wagner private mercenary group drives along M-4 highway, which links the capital Moscow with Russia’s southern cities

A truck transporting a military vehicle of Wagner private mercenary group drives along M-4 highway, which links the capital Moscow with Russia's southern cities, near Voronezh

A truck transporting a military vehicle of Wagner private mercenary group drives along M-4 highway, which links the capital Moscow with Russia's southern cities, near Voronezh

A truck transporting a military vehicle of Wagner private mercenary group drives along M-4 highway, which links the capital Moscow with Russia’s southern cities, near Voronezh

A still from video footage which purports to show a Russian attack on the Wagner's armed convoy

A still from video footage which purports to show a Russian attack on the Wagner's armed convoy

A still from video footage which purports to show a Russian attack on the Wagner’s armed convoy

There have been no reports of further attacks upon the convoy as they headed north

There have been no reports of further attacks upon the convoy as they headed north

There have been no reports of further attacks upon the convoy as they headed north

Fighters of Wagner private mercenary group walk around a vehicle during a stop on M-4 highway

Fighters of Wagner private mercenary group walk around a vehicle during a stop on M-4 highway

Fighters of Wagner private mercenary group walk around a vehicle during a stop on M-4 highway

An oil depot in Voronezh region was 'blitzed by a pro-Putin strike helicopter'

An oil depot in Voronezh region was 'blitzed by a pro-Putin strike helicopter'

An oil depot in Voronezh region was ‘blitzed by a pro-Putin strike helicopter’

‘The history of mankind hasn’t yet seen the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons under control by bandits,’ Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies. ‘Such a crisis will not be limited by just one country’s borders, the world will be put on the brink of destruction.’

He added that ‘we won’t allow such a turn of events.’

Medvedev has frequently used hardline rhetoric since Russia sent troops into Ukraine, regularly reminding the West about Russia’s nuclear arsenal in a bid to discourage the U.S. and its allies from ramping up weapons supplies to Kyiv.

Medvedev described the rebellion as a ‘well-planned operation aimed at seizing power in the country.’ He claimed that some veterans of elite Russian military units and foreign actors could have been involved in it

Away from Russia, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom on Saturday as the mutinous mercenaries barrelled towards Moscow

‘The leaders discussed the situation in Russia. They also affirmed their unwavering support for Ukraine,’ a readout said.

The leaders ‘affirmed their unwavering support for Ukraine,’ the White House statement added.

A White House spokesman also said Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were briefed by their national security team Saturday morning on the Russian crisis and will continue to be briefed throughout the day.

Vladimir Putin (center) speaks with Chief of the General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov (left) and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (right)

Vladimir Putin (center) speaks with Chief of the General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov (left) and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (right)

Vladimir Putin (center) speaks with Chief of the General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov (left) and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (right)

Military personnel and equipment in the center of Moscow and near the Russian MoD

Military personnel and equipment in the center of Moscow and near the Russian MoD

Military personnel and equipment in the center of Moscow and near the Russian MoD

Prigozhin said that the Russian Armed Forces launched a missile attack on PMC Wagner forces

Prigozhin said that the Russian Armed Forces launched a missile attack on PMC Wagner forces

Prigozhin said that the Russian Armed Forces launched a missile attack on PMC Wagner forces

An armoured personnel carrier (APC) is seen next to a shopping mall in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don on Friday night

An armoured personnel carrier (APC) is seen next to a shopping mall in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don on Friday night

An armoured personnel carrier (APC) is seen next to a shopping mall in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don on Friday night

It comes after pro-Putin forces earlier today raided the Wagner unit’s HQ in St Petersburg, after Prigozhin captured the Southern Defense Command in Rostov-on-Don, which plays a major role in the invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian Security Service said it had found $47 million in cash on the premises, which Prigozhin claimed is for salaries and other expenses for his men.

Putin described the group’s actions as ‘equivalent to armed mutiny’, and urged those involved to cease any armed resistance.

Multiple reports claimed Putin had left Moscow on Saturday afternoon, despite officials denying it and saying he was working in the Kremlin.

A presidential plane linked to Vladimir Putin flew north from Moscow towards Tver before switching off its transponder, live flight data showed.

Other business jets were seen making an exodus from the capital towards St Petersburg, with senior backers of Putin allegedly fleeing to Turkey.

Prigozhin, who was once a confidant of Vladimir Putin before declaring war on Moscow’s military leadership last night, said in a video that the highest ranking officer at the command post had fled as soon as he learned that Wagner forces were approaching.

A military vehicle appeared to be on the streets of Moscow on Friday evening as Prigozhin called on the Russian National Guard to join his side

A military vehicle appeared to be on the streets of Moscow on Friday evening as Prigozhin called on the Russian National Guard to join his side

A military vehicle appeared to be on the streets of Moscow on Friday evening as Prigozhin called on the Russian National Guard to join his side

A Russian security source said Wagner fighters had also taken control of military facilities in the city of Voronezh, about 500 km (310 miles) south of Moscow. 

A huge oil depot was seen bursting into flames in the city, thought to be an attack on Wagner forces by the Russian military. 

This is significant as it marks the halfway point between Rostov and Moscow.

The governor of Russia’s Voronezh region said on Saturday that the army was taking ‘necessary military measures’ in the region as part of a counter-terrorist operation declared after an armed mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group. 

It is also being claimed that Wagner troops are on the outskirts of two other southern cities, Krasnodar and Volgograd – but this has not been verified. 

The Lipetsk region is so far the closest location to Moscow where Wagner columns have been spotted. 

‘Hardware of the Wagner mercenary group is moving across the territory of the Lipetsk region,’ Governor Igor Artamonov said on Telegram.

‘I remind you that residents are strongly recommended not to leave their houses or to make trips on any mode of transport.’

He did not say exactly where in the region the Wagner fighters were seen.

Prigozhin said he had 25,000 troops under his command and would punish Russian military boss Shoigu in an armed rebellion, urging the army not to offer resistance: ‘This is not a military coup, but a march of justice.’

Residents have been told to stay in their homes by government officials, but some were seen out observing what was happening, even live-streaming the action on their cell phones.

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It’s surely the world’s fanciest food court.

I’m sitting in a one-Michelin-star restaurant looking directly across at a two-Michelin-star restaurant, with a three-Michelin-star eaterie to the left.

Talk about paradise for foodies.

These six Michelin stars are all under one roof, fanned around the ‘Marble Courtyard’ at the hyper-luxurious, ‘palace-rated’ Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris, which surely has bragging rights for the best hotel fine-dining offering in the world.

Our first taste of what the property’s culinary wonderland tenders is at the one-Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, Le George, where Chef Simone Zanoni sets the bar stratospherically high.

MailOnline Travel's Ted Thornhill checks in to the hyper-luxurious, 'palace-rated' Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris. Above is the 'blissful' indoor pool

MailOnline Travel's Ted Thornhill checks in to the hyper-luxurious, 'palace-rated' Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris. Above is the 'blissful' indoor pool

MailOnline Travel’s Ted Thornhill checks in to the hyper-luxurious, ‘palace-rated’ Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris. Above is the ‘blissful’ indoor pool

The Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris has an amazing flower-filled lobby

The Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris has an amazing flower-filled lobby

The Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris has an amazing flower-filled lobby

Amid gloriously opulent surroundings – think dazzling chandeliers, mesmerising marble floors and elegant white chairs – and with the almost-full restaurant buzzing with exhilarated diners, we are treated to a tour de force of gastronomic treats, fashioned from the freshest of fresh ingredients.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are supplied all year long to Le George from the chemical-free Domaine de Madame Elisabeth, a vast lush estate that once belonged to the sister of King Louis XVI that lies 20 kilometres (13 miles) southwest of Paris in Versailles.

Refreshingly for a Michelin-star dining room, there are multiple menu options – eight-course tasting (155 euros/£132/$165), three-course set lunch (80 euros/£68/$85) and a la carte, with a whole page dedicated to crudo (raw) options.

We don’t think our six-year-old daughter will stay compliant for the full-fat ‘menu degustation’ experience, so we go for the semi-skimmed set lunch, which is still a mini banquet.

We feel like we’ve been transported to a rustic seaside Italian village with gorgeous focaccia, sublime slices of yellowtail kingfish crudo with mandarin vinaigrette, speckled with dots of pureed lemon and roasted garlic, and delectable fried baby shrimps to nibble on.

Chef Simone keeps our taste buds enlivened with veal and oyster-mushroom bites drizzled with an oxtail and red wine jus. They resemble little flying saucers. They taste out of this world.

The hotel's three main restaurants are grouped around the Marble Courtyard, above

The hotel's three main restaurants are grouped around the Marble Courtyard, above

The hotel’s three main restaurants are grouped around the Marble Courtyard, above

The hotel's Italian restaurant, Le George, 'where Chef Simone Zanoni sets the bar stratospherically high'

The hotel's Italian restaurant, Le George, 'where Chef Simone Zanoni sets the bar stratospherically high'

The hotel’s Italian restaurant, Le George, ‘where Chef Simone Zanoni sets the bar stratospherically high’

The piece de resistance is the lip-smackingly delicious wood-fire-roasted Aveyron lamb with a lemon zest and shizo vinegar sauce.

A smoky slab of perfection.

To finish, it’s a lovely baba al limoncello with mint sorbet and Amalfi lemon marmalade.

As for the service, I wish I could bottle the waiting staff’s passion and enthusiasm.

At one point, my partner drops a knife – it is replaced fuss-free in almost the blink of an eye by a waiter whose feet appear not to touch the ground as he glides across the dining room in emergency response mode.

While special mention goes to our excellent Italian sommelier, who picks out some corking wines by the glass, including a terrific textured red from the Barolo region of Italy, a lip-smackingly moreish Monteraponi Chianti Classico and a beautifully buttery white by the Eduardo Torres Acosta winery in Sicily.

The restaurants around the Marble Courtyard have six Michelin stars between them - Le Cinq has three, L'Orangerie has two and Le George has one

The restaurants around the Marble Courtyard have six Michelin stars between them - Le Cinq has three, L'Orangerie has two and Le George has one

The restaurants around the Marble Courtyard have six Michelin stars between them – Le Cinq has three, L’Orangerie has two and Le George has one

The 244-room hotel proudly boasts of its location 'in the heart of the city's Golden Triangle designer shopping district'

The 244-room hotel proudly boasts of its location 'in the heart of the city's Golden Triangle designer shopping district'

The 244-room hotel proudly boasts of its location ‘in the heart of the city’s Golden Triangle designer shopping district’

By Le George, I’m keen to return.

For our evening meal, we rotate to the opposite side of the courtyard – via a cocktail at the hotel’s ooh-la-la-inducing bar – and take a seat at the two-Michelin-starred L’Orangerie.

Here the cooking is artier, the service more earnest (with a slightly intimidating sommelier) – and the atmosphere more intimate, with just six tables occupying an elegant conservatory extension to the hotel’s gorgeous all-day dining lounge, La Galerie.

The overall experience? Unforgettable, with full marks dispatched from this diner to Chef Alan Taudon for a series of virtuoso dishes, with some that are how-on-earth-did-he-make-that amazing.

L'Orangerie, where Ted experiences 'a series of virtuoso dishes, with some that are how-on-earth-did-he-make-that amazing'

L'Orangerie, where Ted experiences 'a series of virtuoso dishes, with some that are how-on-earth-did-he-make-that amazing'

L’Orangerie, where Ted experiences ‘a series of virtuoso dishes, with some that are how-on-earth-did-he-make-that amazing’

La Galerie, Four Seasons George V's 'gorgeous all-day dining lounge'

La Galerie, Four Seasons George V's 'gorgeous all-day dining lounge'

La Galerie, Four Seasons George V’s ‘gorgeous all-day dining lounge’

Amuse bouche at L'Orangerie - 'buckwheat pancakes' with lobster condiment and yogurt tartlets with horseradish, peas, and red currant

Amuse bouche at L'Orangerie - 'buckwheat pancakes' with lobster condiment and yogurt tartlets with horseradish, peas, and red currant
L'Orangerie's 'citrus garden' dessert

L'Orangerie's 'citrus garden' dessert

LEFT: Amuse bouche at L’Orangerie – ‘buckwheat pancakes’ with lobster condiment and yogurt tartlets with horseradish, peas, and red currant. RIGHT: L’Orangerie’s ‘citrus garden’ dessert

Chef Taudon’s repertoire is drawn from two sources – plants and fish – and he offers a seven-course tasting menu at 235 euros (£200/$250) and a five-course ‘Discovery’ menu at 180 euros ($190/£200).

Given our earlier indulgencies we opt for the Discovery experience. And discover it’s plenty of food for the money – and a feast for the eyes (and smartphone lenses). Some of the dishes resemble miniature sculptures, and each is presented on its own bespoke, uniquely designed plate.

After a palette-cleansing celery, apple, and ginger cocktail, delicate amuse bouche arrive – ‘buckwheat pancakes’ with lobster condiment and yogurt tartlets with horseradish, peas, and red currant – served in a giant shell of a dish with dry ice wafting theatrically around them; spider crab with caviar has us ooh-ing and aah-ing, as does the green asparagus with cloudy rice fermentation and truffled mousseline.

Chef Taudon’s seaweed and plankton butter is almost orgasmic – I could eat it out of a cone – but it’s his signature dish of grilled sea bream with a wavy strand of pasta and jalapeno pepper sauce that takes the home the gold star – to take something so simple as a slice of fish and elevate it to an unadulterated taste sensation takes some skill.

Le Cinq (above) is where breakfast is served to guests. Ted unfortunately missed out on breakfast due to an early train, but a receptionist fetched him a croissant for the journey

Le Cinq (above) is where breakfast is served to guests. Ted unfortunately missed out on breakfast due to an early train, but a receptionist fetched him a croissant for the journey

Le Cinq (above) is where breakfast is served to guests. Ted unfortunately missed out on breakfast due to an early train, but a receptionist fetched him a croissant for the journey

French designer Pierre-Yves Rochon has redesigned the hotel's duplex city-view suites (above)

French designer Pierre-Yves Rochon has redesigned the hotel's duplex city-view suites (above)

French designer Pierre-Yves Rochon has redesigned the hotel’s duplex city-view suites (above) 

Ted describes the bedrooms at the hotel as 'sumptuously regal, with mindblowingly comfortable beds'

Ted describes the bedrooms at the hotel as 'sumptuously regal, with mindblowingly comfortable beds'

Ted describes the bedrooms at the hotel as ‘sumptuously regal, with mindblowingly comfortable beds’ 

There’s also some skill involved in the ‘citrus garden’ dessert – twirls, strands, slices and little tubes of rice pudding, lemon caviar, fried rice chips and pink grapefruit sorbet.

Wine-wise I savour a Saint-Aubin premier cru that’s about as close to homemade ice-cream a wine can ever come.

We sadly miss breakfast, which is served in the three-star dining room, as we head out before sunrise to catch a TGV to the Alps. The look of horror on the face of the receptionist when she learns of this omission to our itinerary sums up the dedication to guest happiness here – off she whizzes to fetch us a pain au chocolat and croissant for the journey.

A oui bit special: The image above shows the elegantly appointed Four Seasons Suite

A oui bit special: The image above shows the elegantly appointed Four Seasons Suite

A oui bit special: The image above shows the elegantly appointed Four Seasons Suite

Le Bar, which Ted describes as 'ooh-la-la-inducing'. He stopped by there for a cocktail, in between his Michelin-starred dining experiences

Le Bar, which Ted describes as 'ooh-la-la-inducing'. He stopped by there for a cocktail, in between his Michelin-starred dining experiences

Le Bar, which Ted describes as ‘ooh-la-la-inducing’. He stopped by there for a cocktail, in between his Michelin-starred dining experiences

Ted writes that 'wandering the magnificent public spaces... is a joy'. Above - La Galerie

Ted writes that 'wandering the magnificent public spaces... is a joy'. Above - La Galerie

Ted writes that ‘wandering the magnificent public spaces… is a joy’. Above – La Galerie

Pictured above is the hotel's Eiffel Tower Suite. Rooms at the hotel start at around £1,600 ($2,000) a night

Pictured above is the hotel's Eiffel Tower Suite. Rooms at the hotel start at around £1,600 ($2,000) a night

Pictured above is the hotel’s Eiffel Tower Suite. Rooms at the hotel start at around £1,600 ($2,000) a night

The Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde and Eiffel Tower are just moments away from the property

The Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde and Eiffel Tower are just moments away from the property

The Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde and Eiffel Tower are just moments away from the property

It’s a painful departure, for this is a hotel that bewitches like no other, and not just on the food front.

Wandering the magnificent public spaces, with their incredible flower displays, is a joy, the elegant subterranean pool with its mosaic tiling is bliss – and the bedrooms are sumptuously regal, with mindblowingly comfortable beds.

I feel like I’m in the arms of angels after lights-out.

The 244-room hotel proudly boasts of its location ‘in the heart of the city’s Golden Triangle designer shopping district’, with the Champs-Elysées, Avenue Marceau and Avenue Montaigne bordering the property and the Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde and Eiffel Tower just moments away.

It’s a worthwhile brag – but I’d argue the hotel is an attraction in itself.

Ever wondered how good a hotel can get? Step this way.

TRAVEL FACTS 

Ted was hosted by Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, where rooms start from around £1,600 ($2,000) a night.

Visit www.fourseasons.com/paris. 

French designer Pierre-Yves Rochon has redesigned the hotel’s duplex city-view suites, the Parisian Suite and the Grand Premiere Suite. For more information about the hotel’s suites visit www.fourseasons.com/paris/accommodations/#suites and and www.fourseasons.com/paris/accommodations/#signature-suites.

The hotel has launched a brand new ‘lunch at potager’ experience ‘an authentic experience’ with Le George’s Michelin-starred chef Simone Zanoni ‘that takes guests outside of Paris, guiding them to discover a vegetable garden where they will pick vegetables, prepare simple and unpretentious dishes, and share a lunch in a rustic yet chic atmosphere’. 

For more information visit www.fourseasons.com/paris/experiences.

For more information on the hotel’s dreamy spa, visit www.fourseasons.com/paris/spa. 

PROS: Incredible trio of world-class restaurants, gold-standard service, regal rooms, luxurious throughout, superb location, blissful swimming pool. A hotel that aims for the summit of perfection and just about gets there.

CONS: Don’t be silly. 

Rating out of five (as if you had to ask): ***** 

GETTING THERE

The best way of reaching Paris from the UK is via the high-speed Eurostar train service. Standard tickets cost from £39, standard premier from £70 and business premier from £275.

Eurostar operates 17 trains a day from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare Du Nord. The fastest London to Paris journey time is 2hrs 16 minutes, with each train able to carry up to 894 passengers.

Visit www.eurostar.com/uk-en.

Want to arrive at the hotel in style? Then book a Blacklane chauffeur

Blacklane chauffeurs are extremely courteous, drive carefully and will transport you in a luxury car. The drivers, all trained at the Blacklane Chauffeur Academy, will always provide bottled water, Wi-Fi, and a multi-charger cable.

The ‘First Class’ service allows clients to travel in ‘true luxury’, with a fleet of vehicles including Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 or EVs such as Mercedes-Benz EQS.

Chauffeurs will wait up to one hour to allow for delays, and clients can cancel their ride up to one hour before their booking time.

Visit www.blacklane.com/en.

 

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What will Britain’s Rwanda Act mean for Afghan asylum seekers?

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Doctors said my excruciating back pain was down to a slipped disc – but the truth was much worse: Agony of gym-loving father, 46, diagnosed with blood cancer which could come back at any point

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A father’s excruciating back pain that was dismissed as a slipped disc by doctors actually ended up being cancer. 

David Windle, from Camberwell in south London, was at one point unable to move because doing so would leave him in agony. 

Despite numerous trips to his GP, osteopath and physiotherapist in December 2021 and January, the 46-year-old was still in crippling pain. 

Mr Windle assumed it was a nasty flare-up of a twinge that he suffered years earlier at the gym but was desperate for relief. 

On two occasions before his eventual myeloma diagnosis, he was even sent to A&E. Medics there ruled he likely had a slipped disc – when soft tissue between bones in the spine pushes out — that was pressing on nerves.

David Windle, 46, who kept fit by going to the gym, running and cycling, dismissed his back pain for almost four years putting it down to a gym injury

David Windle, 46, who kept fit by going to the gym, running and cycling, dismissed his back pain for almost four years putting it down to a gym injury

David Windle, 46, who kept fit by going to the gym, running and cycling, dismissed his back pain for almost four years putting it down to a gym injury

Mr Windle’s pain progressed to the point where he’d ‘crawl across the floor from the bed and lie there’. 

During the February 2022 half-term, he needed his mother to help look after his two children, Sylvie, 9 and Otis, 6.

Recalling the extent of his pain, Mr Windle, a deputy headteacher, told MailOnline: ‘I was supposed to look after my kids.  

‘I had to call my mum and say I can’t move, you need to come and look after kids.

‘I would just get out of bed every day and crawl across the floor from the bed and lie there.’

The deputy headteacher, pictured with his wife Emma Smith, 49, was told his back pain could be a slipped disc

The deputy headteacher, pictured with his wife Emma Smith, 49, was told his back pain could be a slipped disc

The deputy headteacher, pictured with his wife Emma Smith, 49, was told his back pain could be a slipped disc

In February 2022 aged 44, Mr Windle was diagnosed with myeloma, a type of blood cancer that can affect your bones

In February 2022 aged 44, Mr Windle was diagnosed with myeloma, a type of blood cancer that can affect your bones

In February 2022 aged 44, Mr Windle was diagnosed with myeloma, a type of blood cancer that can affect your bones

When Mr Windle went back to work after half-term, he would ‘find an empty office to lie in’ just to help him get through the day. Eventually, he found himself working from home propped up by cushions. 

His osteopath suggested getting an MRI scan, although he wasn’t able to get one on the NHS.

Mr Windle, who paid to get one privately, said it ‘revealed the disaster which was the next year and a half of my life’.

Scans revealed one of his vertebrae had disintegrated with no known cause – but he was told it could be a cancer.

He said: ‘It was a terrible moment. I was sitting there and the world just disappeared around me.’

WHAT IS MYELOMA? 

Myeloma is a blood cancer that arises from plasma cells. 

It affects 24,000 people in the UK at any one time and about 4,500 people are diagnosed annually.

It mainly affects those over the age of 65, however, it has been diagnosed in people much younger. 

Myeloma develops when DNA is damaged during the development of a plasma cell. 

The abnormal cell multiplies and spreads within the bone marrow and releases one type of antibody – known as paraprotein – which has no useful function. This can cause the bones to easily break.

Myeloma affects where bone marrow is normally active in an adult, such as in the bones of the spine, skull, pelvis, rib cage, long bones of the arms and legs and the areas around the shoulders and hips. 

The most common symptoms include:

  • Bone pain
  • Fatigue
  • Recurring infection
  • Kidney damage
  • Peripheral neuropathy

 Source: Myeloma UK

 

He rang his wife Emma, 49, and explained he needed to get to hospital urgently.

Once at A&E, doctors looked at Mr Windle’s MRI scans and asked if he had been in a car crash or had any trauma. He said: ‘They all looked a bit worried.’

He spent a fortnight in the hospital’s spinal unit, undergoing several scans and blood tests.

Recalling the day he found out his diagnosis, Mr Windle said: ‘I had decided to go for my daily walk from my bed on the hospital ward, so I’d struggled into the back brace I had to wear and set off for my circuit of the hospital.

‘I was on the ninth floor, so I’d got into the habit of walking up and down the stairs to keep fit.

‘But on the way out the ward I walked past the space where the doctors and nurses gathered around the computers. I heard a doctor chatting to a nurse and I heard him saying, “well, myeloma at 44, that’s a bit s***, isn’t it?”

‘I just thought, “yes that does sound a bit s***”… “oh s*** I think they’re talking about me”. So I sort of backed away, just out of their view, and I listened, I listened to them talk about it. And I thought, okay, that is me. That’s my diagnosis.’

Myeloma is an incurable blood cancer which strikes around 6,000 Brits every year. It develops from plasma cells in bone marrow – the spongy tissue inside large bones – multiplying uncontrollably.

Symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from other illnesses, with pain and fatigue being tell-tale signs of the illness.

Mr Windle was diagnosed with a rare type of myeloma called ‘light chain’ myeloma, which only affects about 20 per cent of patients with the blood cancer. Because of its characteristics, it can be even harder to detect.

For Mr Windle, the cancerous cells cluttered up his bone marrow, meaning it didn’t make the useful cells that make and regenerate the bone, causing his vertebrae to disintegrate, doctors believe. 

Mr Windle added: ‘As soon as I was in the treatment pathway, everybody acted very quickly. 

‘There’s no one looking at a 44-year-old man who goes to the gym runs, cycles and is fit. No-one’s thinking this is an incurable cancer.

‘The only issue is people aren’t aware of myeloma or looking for it. I had to wait for my spine to fall apart before I had any sort of test to reveal what it is.’

Once his results came back he had a bone marrow biopsy, which involves a needle being stuck into the pelvis.  

Mr Windle, pictured wearing his back brace was diagnosed with a rare type of myeloma called 'light chain' myeloma, which only affects about 20 per cent of patients with the blood cancer

Mr Windle, pictured wearing his back brace was diagnosed with a rare type of myeloma called 'light chain' myeloma, which only affects about 20 per cent of patients with the blood cancer

Mr Windle, pictured wearing his back brace was diagnosed with a rare type of myeloma called ‘light chain’ myeloma, which only affects about 20 per cent of patients with the blood cancer

Mr Windle said: ‘I had to wait six weeks to find out what stage my myeloma was. 

‘But the good news I had in that first two months was the myeloma was officially standard.’

He had four months of chemo and was given the cancer-fighting drug bortezomib alongside tablets of the steroid dexamethasone.

Mr Windle added: ‘I was already emotionally all over the shop and dexamethasone heightens your emotions, I was crazy, I was really devastated and struggling. 

‘I couldn’t be at home I just used to go out and walk around the streets crying every night.’

But eventually his dose of dexamethasone was reduced which helped his symptoms and ‘made a huge difference’. 

Me Windle admits his young children Sylvie, 9 and Otis, 6, pictured with his friend James Harvey still don't really understand his Myeloma diagnosis

Me Windle admits his young children Sylvie, 9 and Otis, 6, pictured with his friend James Harvey still don't really understand his Myeloma diagnosis

Me Windle admits his young children Sylvie, 9 and Otis, 6, pictured with his friend James Harvey still don’t really understand his Myeloma diagnosis 

After a two month break from medication, in November 2022 Mr Windle had a stem cell transplant followed by two more months of the same treatment. 

Now, Mr Windle is taking the cancer drug lenalidomide and zoledronic acid, which can prevent problems with the bones caused by the myeloma. 

Recalling how he broke the news of his diagnosis to his family, he admits his young children still don’t really understand. 

Mr Windle, whose life is almost ‘back to how it was before’, said: ‘I told all my adult friends and family but my kids still don’t really know. 

‘They just knew at the time I had had a really bad back and I had to go to hospital. I was in hospital for Sylvie’s seventh birthday, so that was pretty rubbish.

Mr Windle has since found 'hope' by building a community of friends with myeloma who also have the blood cancer and have had it for 10 to 20 years. Here, he is pictured with his friends Chris Buckingham (left) , James Harvey (centre) and Neil Gordon (right) who is currently running 1000Km to raise money for Myeloma UK

Mr Windle has since found 'hope' by building a community of friends with myeloma who also have the blood cancer and have had it for 10 to 20 years. Here, he is pictured with his friends Chris Buckingham (left) , James Harvey (centre) and Neil Gordon (right) who is currently running 1000Km to raise money for Myeloma UK

Mr Windle has since found ‘hope’ by building a community of friends with myeloma who also have the blood cancer and have had it for 10 to 20 years. Here, he is pictured with his friends Chris Buckingham (left) , James Harvey (centre) and Neil Gordon (right) who is currently running 1000Km to raise money for Myeloma UK

‘The weeks I got diagnosed were the weeks I was supposed to be interviewing for a headteacher job. 

‘But I don’t go for that anymore, I don’t have the energy. I am trying my best but I can’t keep going, it’s very demanding work. 

‘The main issue is you are just always wondering when it is going to come back. It doesn’t go away it comes back for everyone.’

It can be months or years before the myeloma becomes active again, but at some point patients do relapse, according to Myeloma UK. 

It comes after UK health chiefs this week approved Nexpovio, a cancer treatment designed for myeloma patients who have become resistant to other drugs. 

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Revealed: Ferrari are DITCHING their iconic red colour – with a surprising switch coming to Formula One in Miami next month

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  • Ferrari will ditch their traditional red livery in Miami 
  • The Scuderia cars will be decked out in blue for the race weekend
  • The special livery celebrates Ferrari’s 70-year presence in North America 

Ferrari will ditch their traditional red livery for ‘fresh and unexpected colours’ at the Miami Grand Prix next month.

The Scuderia cars will be decked in blue for the race weekend to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Ferrari’s presence in North America.

The design change will be a one-off and will feature two shades of blue – Azzurro La Plata and Azzurro Dino – in place of the traditional Rosso Corsa, the red livery synonymous with the Scuderia.

Azzurro La Plata – a lighter shade of blue, similar to that featured on Argentina’s national flag – is a nod to the colour worn by the legendary Alberto Ascari.

The Italian, Ferrari’s first Formula One world champion, wore a blue racing suit and a blue helmet as he stormed to the title in 1952 and 1953.

Ferrari will ditch its traditional red livery for the Miami Grand Prix next month

Ferrari last raced in blue and white at the US and Mexican Grand Prix at the end of the 1964 season, in which John Surtees won the title

Ferrari last raced in blue and white at the US and Mexican Grand Prix at the end of the 1964 season, in which John Surtees won the title

Ferrari last raced in blue and white at the US and Mexican Grand Prix at the end of the 1964 season, in which John Surtees won the title

Ascari was a trailblazer for Ferrari drivers, with John Surtees, Chris Amon, Lorenzo Bandini and Ludovico Scarfiotti all wearing light blue racing suits during the 1960s.

Ferrari last ditched its traditional red back in 1964, when it was replaced by a white and blue livery for the final two rounds of the championship – the US GP at Watkins Glen and the Mexican GP in Mexico City. 

And Surtees became the only Ferrari driver to win a Formula One world title in a colour other than red, as he finished second in Mexico to pip Graham Hill to the title by a point.

The late Niki Lauda also donned the colour on his debut season with Ferrari in 1974, before switching to red the following season.

The livery was also used on other Ferrari racing cars by the North American Racing Team, which was founded in 1958 to promote the marque in the US and mostly competed in endurance racing. 

Azzurro Dino, meanwhile, is a darker shade of blue, which was most recently worn by the late Clay Regazzoni in 1974, before Ferrari drivers regularly began wearing Rosso Corsa suits.

Surtees wore a light blue, known as Azzurro La Plata, racing suit throughout his time at Ferrari

Surtees wore a light blue, known as Azzurro La Plata, racing suit throughout his time at Ferrari

Surtees wore a light blue, known as Azzurro La Plata, racing suit throughout his time at Ferrari

Niki Lauda wore a blue racing suit in his debut season with Ferrari in 1974

Niki Lauda wore a blue racing suit in his debut season with Ferrari in 1974

Niki Lauda wore a blue racing suit in his debut season with Ferrari in 1974

Clay Regazzoni wore a darker shade of blue, known as Azzurro Dino, in the same season

Clay Regazzoni wore a darker shade of blue, known as Azzurro Dino, in the same season

Clay Regazzoni wore a darker shade of blue, known as Azzurro Dino, in the same season

The monicker Dino is a homage to Enzo Ferrari’s first son Alfredo – who was nicknamed Dino – and died aged 24.

The special livery that will adorn the SF-24 cars is to be revealed in Florida in the build-up to the Miami race, as part of a week-long celebration of Ferrari’s presence in North America.

While a launch date is yet to be announced, the Scuderia have released a video of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz donning the light blue racing suits on Instagram and X, the platform previously known as Twitter.

Ferrari unveiled a one-off livery at the Las Vegas GP last season to pay homage to its old red and white colour scheme

Ferrari unveiled a one-off livery at the Las Vegas GP last season to pay homage to its old red and white colour scheme

Ferrari unveiled a one-off livery at the Las Vegas GP last season to pay homage to its old red and white colour scheme 

The Miami GP will mark the second time in as many years Ferrari have unveiled a one-off colour change for a race in the US. 

Last season, the Scuderia ran a red and white livery at the Las Vegas GP, to pay tribute to one of its iconic colour schemes of the past.

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Former Labour minister Frank Field dies aged 81: Crossbench peer passes away following two-year battle with terminal cancer

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Former Labour minister and crossbench peer Frank Field has died aged 81 following a two-year battle with terminal cancer.

The veteran politician who served as an MP for Birkenhead for 40 years and as the minister of reform under Tony Blair’s government was well respected across the parliament benches. 

He joined the House of Lords in 2020 as a crossbench peer after serving as an MP since 1979

A statement from Lord Field of Birkenhead’s family, issued by his Parliamentary officem, read: ‘Frank Field has died at the age of 81 following a period of illness.

‘Frank is survived by two brothers.’

Former Labour minister and crossbench peer Frank Field has died aged 81

Former Labour minister and crossbench peer Frank Field has died aged 81

Former Labour minister and crossbench peer Frank Field has died aged 81

Frank Field quite the Labour whip in 2018 after he had a row with then leader Jeremy Corbyn

Frank Field quite the Labour whip in 2018 after he had a row with then leader Jeremy Corbyn

Frank Field quite the Labour whip in 2018 after he had a row with then leader Jeremy Corbyn 

Lord Field (pictured in 1973) served as an MP for 40 years from 1979 to 2019 before joining the House of Lords in 2020

Lord Field (pictured in 1973) served as an MP for 40 years from 1979 to 2019 before joining the House of Lords in 2020

Lord Field (pictured in 1973) served as an MP for 40 years from 1979 to 2019 before joining the House of Lords in 2020

Tributes have been flowing for the much-love politician since the news broke, with former home secretary Priti Patel MP he was a ‘kind and compassionate man and a great Parliamentarian’.

She wrote on X: ‘My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Frank Field. Frank was a kind and compassionate man and a great Parliamentarian. 

‘His unwavering moral compass, commitment to working cross-party and unshakable principles defined him and will be greatly missed.’

Piers Morgan said: ‘RIP Frank Field, one of the most genuinely principled, decent, intelligent & caring politicians Britain’s ever had.’

Labour MP for Kent, Rosie Duffield said: ‘RIP dear Frank Field. He was a wonderful Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, compassionate and incredibly kind with a great sense of humour and always a twinkle in his eye…’

In October 2021, it was revealed in the House of Lords that veteran politician has recently spent time in a hospice and that he was not well enough to attend debates.

Throughout his career, Lord Field built a reputation an one of the most effective backbenchers with curbs on EU immigration and campaigns against poverty. 

In 2018, he quit the Labour whip in Parliament after a row with then leader Jeremy Corbyn, who he said was’ a force for anti-Semitism in British politics.

The Conservatives made him a non-affiliated crossbench peer by the Conservative government in 2020 after he campaigned in favour of Brexit. 

Back in October 2021, the former minister revealed he was terminally will as he urged the House of Lords to ease the law to allow assisted dying. 

At the time, Lord Field was too ill to attend Parliament as peers debated changing legislation to enable adults with no hope of recovery to legally seek assistance to end their lives. 

In a message read out in the House of Lords at the time, he admitted he had spent time in a hospice and urged them to change the law, citing a friend who had gone through the ‘full horror effects’ of cancer.

The news came as a shock to many in parliament at the time with Tory former housing secretary Robert Jenrick hailed him as ‘one of the politicians I have most admired and respected’.

Baroness Meacher read out the message from the peer, whom she said was ‘dying’, in which he said: ‘I changed my mind on assisted dying when an MP friend dying of cancer wanted to die early before the full horror effects set in, but was denied this opportunity.

Frank Field revealed to the House of Lords in October 2021 that he was diagnosed with a terminal illness

Frank Field revealed to the House of Lords in October 2021 that he was diagnosed with a terminal illness

Frank Field revealed to the House of Lords in October 2021 that he was diagnosed with a terminal illness

The veteran politician was well respected across parliament. Tory former housing secretary Robert Jenrick hailed him as 'one of the politicians I have most admired and respected'

The veteran politician was well respected across parliament. Tory former housing secretary Robert Jenrick hailed him as 'one of the politicians I have most admired and respected'

The veteran politician was well respected across parliament. Tory former housing secretary Robert Jenrick hailed him as ‘one of the politicians I have most admired and respected’

The Conservatives made Frank Field a non-affiliated crossbench peer by the Conservative government in 2020 after he campaigned in favour of Brexit

‘A major argument against the Bill is unfounded. It is thought by some the culture would change and that people would be pressured into ending their lives.

‘The number of assisted deaths in the US and Australia remains very low – under 1 per cent – and a former supreme court judge of Victoria, Australia, about pressure from relatives, said it just hasn’t been an issue.

‘I hope the House will today vote for the Assisted Dying Bill.’

In an interview in January last year, Lord Field said it was ‘a strange experience taking so long to die’.

He said: ‘I’m pretty tired. It’s a strange experience taking so long to die. But there we are. 

‘It’s affected my mouth, as you can see. It began about 10 years ago, when I was told I had prostate cancer. 

‘The hospital said, we must keep a watching brief on this. And they didn’t. It spread everywhere.’

Of his stay in hospice in 2021, Lord Field said he ‘expected to be gone in weeks’.

He said in January last year: ‘Yes, it was jolly good. They sorted out my medicines. And I wanted to go and see what the place was like. 

‘I expected to be gone then, within weeks. And the doctors that spoke to me did as well. But life has gone on.’

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Voyager 1 starts transmitting useable data again for first time in five months after appearing to be broken nearly 50 years into its journey into outer space

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The decades-old NASA Voyager 1 spacecraft has begun sending readable communications again after months of transmitting gibberish.

Voyager 1 has been sending data from interstellar space back to Earth for nearly fifty years after being launched in 1977. 

However, in November a glitch occurred that made the spacecraft’s data about its environment and the health of its own systems unintelligible to the NASA scientists monitoring it.

Then on April 20 Voyager 1, that began by visiting Jupiter and Saturn before venturing further into space, returned readable communications, confirming it is still safely cruising outer space. 

NASA’s official Twitter account for the craft posted a light hearted tweet in celebration: ‘Hi, it’s me. – V1’.

The decades-old NASA Voyager 1 spacecraft has begun sending readable communications again after months of transmitting gibberish

The decades-old NASA Voyager 1 spacecraft has begun sending readable communications again after months of transmitting gibberish

The decades-old NASA Voyager 1 spacecraft has begun sending readable communications again after months of transmitting gibberish

The account also shared a tweet from the official account for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory showing an image of the elated scientists clapping with joy at Voyager 1’s latest data set. 

‘Sounding a little more like yourself, #Voyager1’ the account wrote.   

‘For the first time since November, Voyager 1 is returning useable data about the health and status of its onboard engineering systems’ it explained.

Adding: ‘Next step: Enable the spacecraft to begin returning science data again.’

The Voyager flight team traced the November glitch back to a single chip malfunction in the flight data subsystem  the part responsible for sending its data back to Earth.

The broken chip held some of the computer code necessary for transmitting workable data. 

‘The loss of that code rendered the science and engineering data unusable,’ NASA said in a statement on Monday.

‘Unable to repair the chip, the team decided to place the affected code elsewhere in the FDS memory’ the agency explained. 

A photo taken by a Voyager 1 spacecraft - as part of Nasa's mission in the summer of 1977, two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 ¿ identical in every detail ¿ were launched within 15 days of each other

A photo taken by a Voyager 1 spacecraft - as part of Nasa's mission in the summer of 1977, two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 ¿ identical in every detail ¿ were launched within 15 days of each other

A photo taken by a Voyager 1 spacecraft – as part of Nasa’s mission in the summer of 1977, two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 — identical in every detail — were launched within 15 days of each other

The distance makes fixing problems on the craft a challenge. 

Voyager is now so far from Earth it takes twenty-two-and-a-half hours for a signal to cover the 15 billion miles. 

However, the team’s code experiment worked and the data began to be readable once more.

‘Finding solutions to challenges the probes encounter often entails consulting original, decades-old documents written by engineers who didn’t anticipate the issues that are arising today,’ NASA said in December after the discovery of the glitch. 

‘During the coming weeks, the team will relocate and adjust the other affected portions of the FDS software,’ NASA said in its updated statement on Monday. 

Adding: ‘These include the portions that will start returning science data.’ 

The Voyager was the first human-made object to leave our solar system and enter the space between stars. 

The radio antenna, protruding from the central circular dish like the antenna on a robotic insect, is equally archaic, emitting as many watts as a refrigerator lightbulb

The radio antenna, protruding from the central circular dish like the antenna on a robotic insect, is equally archaic, emitting as many watts as a refrigerator lightbulb

The radio antenna, protruding from the central circular dish like the antenna on a robotic insect, is equally archaic, emitting as many watts as a refrigerator lightbulb

NASA had acknowledged that the might Voyager mission cannot continue forever. 

Yet the team hopes to keep the instruments needed to transmit data about its environment going until at least 2025.

It also hopes the spacecraft will keep travelling through space with NASA able to track its whereabouts until around 2036 when its nuclear batteries are likely to die, after which it will drift on aimlessly. 

Some of the systems are indeed becoming dated. It’s internal computers for a start have 240,000 times less memory than an iPhone.

The radio antenna, protruding from the central circular dish like the antenna on a robotic insect, is equally archaic, emitting as many watts as a refrigerator lightbulb.

As for the onboard tape recorder, which is constantly on, it differs little from the one in a typical 1970s car. 

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We lost our £300,000 life savings to an investment fraudster who spent it on jet set lifestyle

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September 3, 2018, is a date that will stick forever in my memory. It was not marked by some joyous occasion — the date one of our two daughters got married, or the safe arrival of a beloved grandchild.

Nor was it the date on which Gareth, 70, my husband of more than 40 years, retired from his job as a ship’s chief engineer.

No, it was the day we discovered our life savings — £300,000 — had been stolen. Our world fell apart.

Gareth has worked for decades in a high-pressure job on the ocean to provide a good life for me and our two daughters. His job means he has missed so much time at home with us in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.

So, in early 2017, we started to think about his retirement, which would allow us to see more of our daughters and grandchildren.

Court fight: Gareth and Marilyn Hamblin lost their £300,000 life savings to a heartless fraudster and were forced to take his bank to court to recoup some of their cash

Court fight: Gareth and Marilyn Hamblin lost their £300,000 life savings to a heartless fraudster and were forced to take his bank to court to recoup some of their cash

Court fight: Gareth and Marilyn Hamblin lost their £300,000 life savings to a heartless fraudster and were forced to take his bank to court to recoup some of their cash

We decided to invest our nest egg to help make these retirement dreams a reality. Gareth was browsing online when a company called CEX Markets popped up.

He filled out an application form and by April that year was in regular contact with a man who called himself Paul Kingsley from CEX. Paul talked the talk, but wasn’t at all pushy. We found this reassuring.

We were told our investment, which would be in foreign exchange, would generate monthly returns of around 1.48 per cent, tax-free.

Gareth knew the foreign exchange market is volatile, but thought the return was favourable while not being so high as to be unrealistic.

We decided to test the water by depositing £5,000. We were satisfied with our access to the account, the fact we had a point of contact with CEX, and that they weren’t aggressive salesmen. 

Happy with the return on our investment, we invested a further £300,000 by the end of the year in two large deposits.

Although Gareth has always been more comfortable dealing with our major financial issues, I decided to do my own research, including into Moorwand — the company named on our invoices from CEX and to which we transferred our funds.

I searched for Moorwand on Companies House and didn’t like what I saw — the business had grown rapidly and had a number of named executives, which made me worry there could have been too much change at the top.

I expressed my concerns to Gareth and he contacted Mr Kingsley at CEX, who assured us the account was regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

This apparent air of legitimacy, I admit, gave us peace of mind.

We were further satisfied when Gareth arranged to meet Mr Kingsley in London on shore leave. 

The CEX headquarters appeared to be in a swish, shiny office block in the heart of the City, the representatives wore expensive suits, they were knowledgeable and well spoken. Everything had the veneer of respectability.

Fraud kingpin: Jonathan Arafiena squandered his victims' savings on cars, watches, gold bullion and expensive property rentals

Fraud kingpin: Jonathan Arafiena squandered his victims' savings on cars, watches, gold bullion and expensive property rentals

Fraud kingpin: Jonathan Arafiena squandered his victims’ savings on cars, watches, gold bullion and expensive property rentals

Gareth was told Mr Kingsley had been called away on urgent business in Copenhagen — we knew the company had links to Denmark, so it did not seem suspicious. 

Anyway, a colleague was able to contact Mr Kingsley on the phone from the office, and all seemed well.

Over the next few months, Gareth continued to monitor the account. Our nest egg was growing, and our retirement dream was edging closer.

But on September 3, 2018, when Gareth had a break while at sea, he tried to log on to the account but could not get on to the website.

CEX then refused to return telephone calls and emails. Our life savings had been stolen. I remember the urgent, frantic phone call from Gareth. ‘We’ve been scammed’, he said. I could sense the quiet panic in my usually calm husband’s voice.

He was so distraught that I was concerned for his safety — especially as we were separated by 6,000 miles. Initially I was too traumatised to believe it could be true. ‘It must be a mistake,’ I thought. I felt helpless.

But I knew I had to calm down sufficiently to think straight.

Then questions began flooding my head: if it is a scam, what avenues do I have open to me to recover the money? Who should I contact first?

That’s when I decided we were not going to take it lying down. We needed to fight back. And so began a battle for justice.

Scam victims normally go to their bank to ask for reimbursement. But we didn’t because we didn’t think we would have a case as we could not remember whether we had been given scam warnings by our bank NatWest before we transferred our money. 

We also thought it would not be an option because the bank could argue that we transferred our money of our own accord.

We contacted Action Fraud, giving them as much evidence as we could.

We then went to our family solicitors to ask for help. They had no experience in this field, but put us in touch with law firm BrookStreet des Roches and its expert Philip Shaw, who soon recruited his long term counsel, Alex Hill-Smith.

High roller: Arafiena's £205,000 Rolls Royce. He also spent £250,000 to pay off his parents’ mortgage

High roller: Arafiena's £205,000 Rolls Royce. He also spent £250,000 to pay off his parents’ mortgage

High roller: Arafiena’s £205,000 Rolls Royce. He also spent £250,000 to pay off his parents’ mortgage

At last, there was a breakthrough. Action Fraud began to sense we weren’t alone, and that there were dozens, scores — hundreds even — of people with a similar experience at the hands of CEX. City of London Police began investigating.

The case was complicated, so it was in February this year, nearly six years after we realised we had been scammed, that we finally got a taste of justice. 

Three men were convicted of their role in a sophisticated boiler room fraud, where cold callers coaxed would-be investors into parting with their life savings on the promise of handsome returns.

At least 350 people across the UK were known to have invested in the scam, although police believe others have not come forward due to embarrassment or having died.

Some of us got to know one another, sharing awful stories of how the ordeal has affected us — there was talk of marriage collapse, bankruptcy and suicidal thoughts. Our experiences couldn’t have been further away from the lifestyle of the fraud kingpin Jonathan Arafiena.

Those of us who went to Southwark Crown Court to see Arafiena jailed for five years and nine months were aghast to learn that millions of pounds of victims’ money was blown on expensive cars, luxury holidays and penthouse apartments. He even spent £250,000 to pay off his parents’ mortgage. Our money was gone.

Looking at the face of Arafiena, it was hard to believe such a seemingly innocuous character, raised in a good family, could be leading a gang of fraudsters who had caused suffering to the lives of so many hundreds of hard-working, honest people.

Arafiena was able to swindle us by giving the impression of running a reputable company. But in reality, investors’ identities were being used to open sham companies, which would then open bank accounts, to launder the money.

Most banks have robust procedures to prevent this type of fraud. But we felt Moorwand, with whom £160,000 of our money was banked and then withdrawn without our knowledge, did not have an adequate system in place. So we sued them. This was our last chance to get our money back.

We were aware of the scale of the task. We were two pensioners, with little knowledge of the law.

Trinkets: Some of Jonathan Arafiena's collection of expensive watches. In total the fraudster was found to have stolen millions of pounds from around 350 victims

Trinkets: Some of Jonathan Arafiena's collection of expensive watches. In total the fraudster was found to have stolen millions of pounds from around 350 victims

Trinkets: Some of Jonathan Arafiena’s collection of expensive watches. In total the fraudster was found to have stolen millions of pounds from around 350 victims

So it was with trepidation that we filed into courtroom 57 at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in central London over three tense days this month. This claim related to £160,000 that we lost when we invested in the fraudulent scheme operated by CEX Markets. 

The sum was paid into an account in the name of RND Global — a sham firm run by fraudsters, and held with Moorwand. It was then withdrawn by the fraudsters, leaving us with nothing.

Our case was that the loss occurred as a result of a breach of duty by Moorwand in what we said were failures to make reasonable inquiries before permitting withdrawals, and that Moorwand was therefore liable to restore the account to the state in which it would have been had the withdrawals not been made.

That would have meant it could refund us the money. When our solicitor first approached Moorwand, its attitude was that we were not a direct customer and so it had no liability for the money we had entrusted to it via CEX. 

Tranches of documents were submitted to the judge, His Honour Mark Raeside KC, with both our lawyer Alex and Moorwand’s representative directing him to previous cases and areas of law.

What to do if you’re hit 

Report it immediately. 

Sometimes people choose not to because they are embarrassed or fear there is no help available. 

But anyone can fall victim to a scam – and there is a network of support and information for victims. 

Tell Action Fraud by visiting actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040. 

If there is a crime being committed right now or you are in danger, call the police on 999. 

If debit or credit cards, online banking or cheques are involved, your first step should be to contact your bank or credit card company. 

Your bank or card provider has a responsibility to help recover any money lost to fraud. 

If your bank refuses to reimburse you, you can complain. 

You can also escalate the issue to the Financial Ombudsman. 

No witnesses were called save for me and Gareth. At times it almost felt like we were on trial, the way Moorwand’s courteous but forensic lawyer picked holes in our argument.

Neither of us would consider ourselves stupid, but we left the courtroom at the end of that first day feeling deflated, as though we had done something wrong when our only error was our perceived ‘foolish naivety’, as our own counsel put it.

Our lawyer told the court that Moorwand had behaved in a way which was ‘blind to dishonesty’, and said that if there was any justice, it belonged to Gareth and me. Ultimately, the judge ruled yesterday that there was no breach of duty of care by Moorwand and dismissed our claim.

We are of course disappointed. This battle has been stressful, depressing and costly. We believe dirty money is rife in this country and it has to stop.

Going after our own money was always going to be a high-risk strategy, financially.

We were able to have our day in court after our legal team kindly decided to take this case on the basis that we would not pay them if we lost. Before we brought the claim, we knew what the possible outcomes could be. Now, we stand to be charged an enormous sum for the other side’s costs.

Sadly, this means bringing this type of action is beyond the reach of many fraud victims as the costs are just too high.

For now, I think, the fight is over. Gareth still plans to retire. And after six years of pain, sleepless nights, self-blame, anger and frustration, we are ready to put this horrid chapter of our lives behind us and enjoy life again.

As told to Ryan Hooper

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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