‘Black Death’ grave found
Workers building a new railway in London have unearthed 13 skeletons thought to be victims of the Black Death plague that swept through Europe in the 14th century, archeologists said on Friday. The remains were dug up at Charterhouse Square in central London during excavation work for the city’s ￡15 billion (US$22.7 billion) Crossrail project. Archeologists believe the site could be the location of a plague cemetery described in medieval records, where up to 50,000 victims of the Black Death were buried. The plague wiped out a third of Europe’s population between 1348 and 1353. Records refer to a burial ground in London’s Farringdon area, where Charterhouse Square is located, that opened in 1348. The 13 skeletons were found over the past two weeks, laid out in two rows 1m below road level. They will be taken to the Museum of London Archaeology for laboratory testing and carbon-dating to try to establish their burial dates. Scientists are hoping to use the skeletons to map the DNA signature of the plague to help combat modern diseases.
HIV needle ‘healer’ arrested
Police have arrested a self-styled healer after he stopped attending a trial where he stands accused of infecting 16 people with HIV using acupuncture needles. Police said on Friday that they stormed the home of the 54-year-old man, who had barricaded himself inside with a knife and had issued repeated threats. An unidentified woman with him was also arrested. The man had been free on bail since August last year. His trial began on March 6, but he stopped turning up in court on Thursday. The case came to the attention of the Swiss authorities after an HIV-positive patient told a Berne hospital he had traced his infection back to acupuncture treatments carried out by the accused. The man has denied the charges.
Doctor guilty of sex attacks
A doctor pleaded guilty on Friday to using a secret camera hidden in his wristwatch to film himself sexually assaulting female patients. Davinderjit Bains, 45, admitted that he assaulted 30 women at his practice in southern England. The Indian-trained doctor filmed the attacks on his high-definition Tieex Spy Watch, which has been compared to a gadget from the James Bond films. He admitted a total of 39 charges: 13 charges of assault by penetration, 13 charges of voyeurism, 11 charges of sexual assault and two charges of sexual activity with a child. He asked for a further 65 offenses to be taken into account when the judge passes sentence. Police branded Bains a “sexual predator” and said he had covertly filmed more than 100 women.
MP released after bar brawl
A lawmaker, suspended from the opposition Labour Party for fighting in a House of Commons bar, was released on Friday following an alleged brawl in another parliamentary watering hole. Eric Joyce, 52, the member of parliament (MP) for Falkirk in Scotland, who now sits as an independent, told reporters he had not been charged, but had no other comment to make as he left a London police station. The Met Police confirmed they were called shortly before 10:30pm on Thursday to deal with reports of a disturbance at the Sports and Social Club bar. Joyce was convicted of four counts of assault and given 12 months’ community service after headbutting Conservative MP Stuart Andrew, hitting two Conservative councilors and striking Labour MP Phil Wilson last year.