A woman disguised herself as a teenage boy to sexually assault girls after grooming them online.
Gemma Watts posed as 16-year-old “Jake Waton” on social media and swapped intimate photos with victims before meeting at locations across England.
Watts, 21, of Enfield, has pleaded guilty to sexual offences involving four girls. She is due to be sentenced at Winchester Crown Court later.
Police believe she may have assaulted up to 50 victims in total.
Scotland Yard said Watts had used her own picture on Snapchat and Instagram accounts as “Jake” and targeted girls aged 14 to 16 by liking their profiles.
She used teenage slang, sent flattering messages and shared intimate photographs before travelling to meet them in person.
Her disguise included tying her hair back in a bun and wearing a baseball cap, jogging bottoms and a hoodie.
Police said all of her victims believed they were in a relationship with a teenage boy until officers revealed Watts was actually an adult woman.
She was so convincing she even spent time as “Jake” with some of the girls’ parents.
The offences she has admitted relate to a 14-year-old from Hampshire and three 15-year-olds from Surrey, Plymouth and the West Midlands.
Det Con Phillipa Kenwright said the victims “all believed they were in a relationship with a male” and had been “completely taken in” by Watts.
She added: “It’s been life-changing for all of the victims involved.”
The officer said she believed Watts could have duped “20 to 50” victims in total.
A doctor in Hampshire first raised concerns to police in March 2018 after a young patient revealed she was in a relationship with an older boy.
In July that year Watts admitted to Met officers she had been sexually active as “Jake” with the first three victims.
She was released under investigation and arrested again in October 2018 by British Transport Police who found her on a train with a fourth victim.
In November 2019, Watts pleaded guilty to one count of assault by penetration, three counts of meeting a child following sexual grooming and three counts of sexual assault.
Three energy firms are to pay a total of £10.5m following August’s power cut that left over a million people without electricity and caused travel chaos.
Although the power cut lasted for less than an hour, it affected homes, businesses and hospitals, while rail services were disrupted for days.
RWE Generation, Orstead and UK Power Networks will pay into a redress fund run by the UK’s energy watchdog, Ofgem.
Ofgem says it will continue to look into the role National Grid played.
The power cut stuck just before 17:00 BST on Friday 9 August, and blackouts spread across the Midlands, the South East, South West, North West and North East of England, and Wales.
Following Ofgem’s investigation, RWE Generation, which runs Little Barford Power Station, and Orstead, which runs Hornsea offshore wind farm, have both agreed to pay £4.5m. Distributor company UK Power Networks has agreed to pay £1.5m.
The money will be put into a redress fund, which will be overseen by Energy Savings Trust, a charity.
Energy watchdog Ofgem launched its investigation in August.
It found that after a lightning strike, Hornsea offshore wind farm and Little Barford Power Station both went down.
Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem’s incoming chief executive, told the BBC’s Today programme that the simultaneous outage was an “exceptional event”.
He said the equipment within the generators should have “ridden through” the lightning strike and it should not have resulted in a countrywide power failure.
Mr Brearley said the Ofgem report recommended three sets of actions for UK energy companies.
The part of National Grid that gives Britain power needs to be set up “the right way”, and he said new forms of generation – such as wind power – needed to be a more secure source of supply.
Finally, Mr Brearley added, “if we do ever have to disconnect people we want to make sure we protect our critical infrastructure and the most vulnerable”.
Will National Grid be broken up?
Analysis by Rob Young, BBC business reporter
National Grid bore no responsibility for the August power cut. But the company’s bosses can’t heave a sigh of relief just yet.
Ofgem says it has identified a number of issues with the Grid’s processes and procedures which need to be addressed to reduce the risk of future power cuts.
The regulator has ordered the company to review and change how it operates. But that’s only half the story.
Ofgem is widening its own review into National Grid’s role as electricity system operator (ESO), partly as a result of its findings in to August’s power cut.
The regulator says the structure and governance of National Grid ESO should be considered and “enforcement action remains an option”.
That’s a hint that radical surgery could be coming National Grid’s way.
The function of system operator is already a legally separate entity within the National Grid company. Ofgem sources are clear that one of the options under consideration will be a break-up of the company, stripping the Grid of its role operating the system.
Some in government are open to that idea. National Grid is far from in the clear.
National Grid says that it has begun its own review and will update an industry standards panel in April.
In a statement, it said it would work with regulators and “colleagues across the industry, to address the issues raised and make sure that lessons are learned, and any changes made are in the best interests of the consumer”.
Hornsea One, the wind power station that went down, said in a statement that it took the interruption “very seriously”.
“We have co-operated with Ofgem throughout their investigations and conducted a thorough internal review of the events in order to prevent a situation like this from happening again,” it said.
Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “The disruption caused to people and businesses by the power cut in August was unacceptable.
“However, customers can be confident that we have one of the most robust energy systems in the world and today’s report will help us reduce the risks of it happening again and ensure our energy sector is better prepared in the future.”
Although power was out for less than an hour, essential services such as hospitals experienced disruption when their safety systems reacted to voltage fluctuations affecting the network.
Some of the power companies began to switch services back on for customers before they were certain that this would not shut down power to other parts of the grid.
Thameslink trains that had only been added to the fleet in 2014 suffered a software glitch from systems sensitive to power fluctuation.
Though some trains could be re-started, many required an engineer to travel out to where the train was stranded for a manual restart.
London’s Underground service also saw station power interrupted and signalling was lost.
Four hospitals were also affected by the cut. While two were able to switch to back-up generators, two saw their back-up generators fail.
A second man has been arrested over the killing of a 60-year-old man who was stabbed in a street in south London.
The victim was found injured in Woodcroft Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon, at 21:30 GMT on Monday and died minutes later.
A 41-year-old was arrested on Boxing Day on suspicion of murder.
A 50-year-old man who was arrested at the scene on Monday remains in a stable condition in hospital after he became unwell, police said.
Detectives have asked for anyone with information to come forward.
Former Chelsea and England midfielder Karen Carney, who retired after helping the Lionesses reach the World Cup semi-finals this summer, is writing columns for the BBC Sport website, working on Radio 5 Live and featuring on BBC TV this season.
I will be very, very surprised if Jose Mourinho doesn’t win a trophy with Tottenham.
Spurs need trophies and if there is somebody available who is an absolute winner and gets trophies wherever he goes, then why wouldn’t you get him?
The results from Mauricio Pochettino were not in his favour. He was underperforming and Spurs needed to change. It was not a surprise really.
It’s a breath of fresh air to see Mourinho back in the Premier League and it will be interesting to see how he gets on against his former club Chelsea on Sunday (16:30 GMT kick-off).
I go to business conferences and they talk about certain people being used in transitions of the business and it’s the same in football clubs. Mourinho is that next phase of transition for Tottenham and his aim will be to win a trophy within a few years.
He was not going to go to Spurs without knowing he will have the resources to help make it happen.
He needs to earn his worth though. He’s not under pressure but after the disappointment at Manchester United – where he spent nearly £400m on 11 players and still fell way short of rivals Manchester City and Liverpool – he needs to deliver.
Old Mourinho is back, looking refreshed
Mourinho has gone back to his old ways, like when he first came to Chelsea between 2004 and 2007 and won back-to-back league titles. He is trying to win the players over.
I think he was worn out when he went to Manchester United because he went from club to club with no rest. He looked like a tired man. He has had time off and now he looks really refreshed.
He is saying all the right things and protecting his players. He is talking in the way that made people fall in love with him in his first spell in the Premier League. He is not the rash manager we saw at Manchester United.
Players can be fragile and you have to manage them really well. That was the thing people noticed about him and was his biggest strength at Chelsea.
Everybody spoke about it. As time went on, he lost his way a little bit. But what makes a good manager is the ability to reflect and because he has that ability to get the best out of players.
Spurs will change a lot under him. He has inherited a group of players so it will take time but I think they will become more solid.
They are leaking goals for fun – conceding 12 goals in their past seven matches – but as long as Mourinho is getting results I don’t think he will be too bothered at the moment.
I don’t think Mourinho has all the players he wants right now either. He will want to tighten things up and buy in the midfield areas during the January transfer window.
Chelsea need to buy in January
After Liverpool, Leicester and Manchester City, I think it will be between Tottenham and Manchester United for the fourth spot in the league. I think Chelsea will fall short. But it all depends on the January transfer window.
Now their transfer ban has been lifted, Chelsea can bring players in.
Manager Frank Lampard always refers to “taking your chances” in his post-match interviews so they probably want to bring in attacking players, but they are leaking too many goals too.
I think he needs to look at an experienced centre-back and a full-back as they need to defend the wide areas better in order to keep more clean sheets. They also need someone to back up top-scorer Tammy Abraham.
They lost Eden Hazard in the summer – who contributed to 31 goals in the league last season – so they need someone who can replace that.
Chelsea have a greater pool of younger players and that seems to be working, but you never know what you are going to get from them. So now it is about getting the right kind of players in to complement that.
The club is still a business though. They won’t want to spend unless they have to and I don’t think they will throw money away. There is no point in spending £100m on someone for the sake of it.
In the past they have looked at bringing in all the big attacking players, like Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain, and it hasn’t worked out. All that time, they had Abraham waiting in the wings. You can spend all the money in the world but you have to get it right.
Karen Carney was speaking to BBC Sport’s Emma Sanders.
Former mayor of London candidate Zac Goldsmith has lost his seat as an MP for the second time in three years.
Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney, who beat Tory Mr Goldsmith at a 2016 by-election but lost to him in 2017, won a 7,766 vote majority over the environment minister.
Ms Olney, 42, said her party “will be holding this government to account”.
Labour has won 40 of the announced seats in London. The Conservatives have won 14 seats, and the Lib Dems three.
Jeremy Corbyn won his Islington North constituency but announced he would step down as leader before the next election, following a “very disappointing night” for his party.
He said he would stay on as leader during a “process of reflection” on the result.
But Siobhain McDonagh, Labour’s MP for Mitcham and Morden, said: “Jeremy Corbyn should stand down immediately.”
If you cannot see the graphic above, click here.
Elsewhere Labour made the party’s only gain of the election in Putney, overturning a 1,554-vote majority in the formerly Conservative-held seat.
Labour’s Fleur Anderson called her victory “a bright light in a dark night”.
The Conservatives won back the marginal constituency of Kensington by 150 votes.
The seat was gained by Labour in 2017 with only a 20-vote majority, and was seen as a target for three main national parties.
New Conservative MP Felicity Buchan thanked constituents for putting “their faith and trust in me”.
“I want to be the MP for the whole of Kensington – whether that be the north, south or the middle,” she said.
Boris Johnson was re-elected as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, with an increased vote share – taking 25,351 votes.
Speaking in his acceptance speech, the prime minister said: “It does look as though this One Nation Conservative government has been given a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done.”
A scuffle broke out as shadow chancellor John McDonnell made his acceptance speech in Hayes and Harlington.
Police had to intervene after Mr McDonnell was heckled with cries of “liar” and “terrorist”.
Mr McDonnell, who won the seat with a reduced 9,000-vote majority, said: “It is quite clear that there are fears also now for our democracy and the rise of the extreme right.”
A 14-year-old boy was among two people to be arrested on suspicion of murder after a man was stabbed to death in east London.
The victim, aged in his 20s, was pronounced dead in Clarence Mews, Hackney, at 14:30 GMT on Thursday.
Police believe he was killed during an “altercation” involving several people and “at least two other suspects remain outstanding”.
The boy and a 26-year-old man remain in custody at an east London.
Speaking about the killing, Det Ch Insp Paul Considine said “another young man’s life had been tragically cut short due to the violent actions of others”.
“I would urge anyone who was in the area and witnessed this incident to come forward and speak to police,” he said.
A senior Met Police officer is facing an inquiry over his contact with another officer prior to her conviction for possession of an indecent image.
Supt Robyn Williams was sentenced this month after failing to report her sister for sending a “disturbing” clip of child abuse on WhatsApp.
It has emerged she contacted Ch Supt Simon Ovens for advice.
The Met says it is alleged he may have failed to disclose information that could have helped in an investigation.
Williams’ conviction caused controversy, with The National Black Police Association saying it was “stunned and shocked” by the sentence, calling it “institutional racism”.
She had denied the charge, saying she “zoned out” when she received the video.
The 54-year-old was sentenced to do 200 hours’ unpaid work and could be sacked.
The BBC has learned Ch Supt Ovens, the chair of the Met Police Superintendents’ Association, is himself the subject of an inquiry by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) connected to the case.
A statement issued by the IOPC said it received a referral from the Met in June 2018.
It added: “At that time we advised the officer that we had started a criminal investigation into those allegations.
“The officer was served with a notice informing them they were subject of a misconduct investigation. It should be noted that the serving of a notice in no way indicates disciplinary proceedings will follow.
“We suspended our investigation in November 2018 because of linked criminal proceedings which have now concluded, meaning the IOPC investigation has now resumed.”
The Met Police said Ch Supt Ovens was on “restricted duties”.
Ch Supt Ovens declined to comment.
“I couldn’t focus on schoolwork because I was focused on surviving.”
Rapman is a musician and director whose debut film, Blue Story, tells the story of friendship, love and postcode wars in south-east London.
It follows the life of Timmy who lives in Lewisham but goes to school in Peckham – two areas that have a notorious rivalry.
Rapman – real name Andrew Onwubolu – tells Radio 1 Newsbeat: “That part of it was based on my life – it made my school experience very difficult.”
The film’s message is backed up by its soundtrack, with lyrics like: “I’m not trying to justify, I just want to show you what these young boys are fighting for.”
Rapman says he wants the audience to see past crime statistics and headlines about knife crime, to understand how a “good kid” can lose their way.
“I want people who see the film to learn that these kids are not all spawns of Satan.
“They didn’t come from child abuse or neglectful mothers. What kids go through in the school playground is so intense, it all starts there.”
He believes that more provisions should be put in place to support children who have problems at school, and mentoring should be given instead of “waiting until they’re 17, feeling alone and end up picking up a weapon.”
The rapper-turned-film-maker’s work first went viral in 2017 when his YouTube series, Shiro’s Story, amassed more than 20 million hits.
The three-part drama tells the story of a character whose world is turned upside down when he gets involved in drug dealing and violence, while coping with the news his best friend is the biological dad of the daughter he thought was his.
The story is told mainly through music, Rapman’s bars to be specific, and it got him noticed by Jay Z, who signed Rapman to his label RocNation in 2018.
After the success of Shiro’s Story, the rapper was able to start creating the film script he had been sitting on for a while. He partnered with the BBC and Paramount Pictures, and Blue Story was made.
“My casting director went to all the top agencies to find actors but I also wanted to use raw talent.
“I put a casting call out on social media, I wanted new faces.”
One of those new faces was Stephen Odubola.
Stephen, 23, emailed Rapman after Shiro’s Story won an award, saying he would love to work with him – but got no reply.
A few months later, after trying his luck at the open audition, he was cast as the protagonist in Blue Story.
Stephen tells Radio 1 Newsbeat: “I walked into that audition and didn’t think I would get it. There were so many people.
“I prepared so much, and now watching it back is like an out of body experience. Watching the greatness we have created.”
Rapman is clear that Blue Story, which also stars Top Boy’s Micheal Ward, is a film for everyone.
“Mothers, kids in gangs, kids who aren’t in gangs, politicians.
“It’s the most authentic journey you’re going to see.
“I love when I go to the screenings and see people who look like they’ve had no connection to that world – people who are upper class, wealthy, and are just curious.
“I’m hoping that everyone who can’t relate to that world, but understands human emotions, goes to watch it.”
The family of a 15-year-old who was stabbed to death in east London have said he was a talented and loving boy.
Baptista Adjei, from North Woolwich, was killed on Stratford Broadway on his way home from school in October.
A 15-year-old boy has been charged with murder.
Do we inherit loneliness from our parents in the same way we inherit our hair and eye colour? Two women explain how loneliness has played a part in their lives – and how it relates to their parents and children.
“Loneliness for me is constant. No matter where I am, it just doesn’t go away. It’s almost like you can feel it in your bones, this deep feeling of wanting to fit in and wanting to be around people you know and love, but you can’t.
“I do think I have inherited it. It’s kind of been passed on to me.”
Angel Kissi and her mum Hayley, both struggle with anxiety, depression and loneliness. For her mum, the latter was sparked by severe post-natal depression. For Angel, it started when she was a child.
“My family stood out in Peterborough. Everyone knew who we were because we looked different. I’m really tall and mixed race and I stood out,” says the 20-year-old. “When I went to university, things were good but I still felt like I didn’t fit in. I thought moving to London would change that and it didn’t.
“I still felt like I was quiet and awkward. I really struggled to connect with people and make friends straight away. Everyone was going out for drinks after class and I was never invited. I felt like I was doing something wrong.
“Eventually I stopped going to my lectures. I would get up, get ready to go and then go back to bed. I would avoid going to shared areas of my flat, I shut myself away and isolated myself. I went into the loneliness and let it take over.”
Unable to cope, Angel left university before the first year was over. Although she felt a strong desire to go home and be close to her mum, she rented a room close-by.
“It’s good we don’t live together because we would be bringing each other up and down all the time. She has definitely helped me with some aspects [of my mental health] but other times I didn’t want to speak to her because I didn’t want to make her worse.
“If she was different, then maybe I’d be different. I don’t blame her at all, she didn’t choose to be like this, it’s not her fault. It’s probably something that I have got from her. Personality traits or attitudes that I’ve learnt from her without meaning to.”
According to Age UK, loneliness is defined as feeling a lack of affection, closeness or social interaction with others.
The charity Mind says it is not a mental health issue but research suggests it is associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and stress, and can be triggered by major life events such as bereavement, relationship break-ups, retirement, changing jobs and moving.
Dr Rebecca Nowland, who has researched the subject of loneliness, says it can be passed down in families.
“I don’t think we’re going to find a gene for loneliness but it’s about how we respond to an experience of loneliness that might be genetic,” she said.
“There has been a number of studies that have indicated that loneliness is certainly hereditary, that it might run in families and there might be associations between a parent’s loneliness and a child’s loneliness.
“Being parented by someone who has been in a lonely state for some time means we might transmit some of those negative feelings. It’s the transmission of negativity that might be happening rather than the experience of loneliness itself.”
Kirsty McGrath thinks loneliness became a problem for her after her son was born five years ago. She tried going to a number of mother and baby groups to make new friends but struggled to organise play dates and found herself increasingly isolated.
Although her husband supports her in the evenings, she finds daytimes difficult because she is often alone and has no-one to talk to. The 33-year-old teacher, who lives in Eltham, south London, says she is worried that not being able to socialise her children will have an effect on them and she might pass on her own feelings of loneliness, which she describes as a “grey cloud”.
“I am paranoid of passing it on to the kids, I wouldn’t be surprised if I did. It’s something I am very aware of. I just want them to feel comfortable around others and not feel like they don’t fit in.
“My son has come home from school and said to me that he doesn’t have any friends and that he hasn’t played with anyone. I’m worried he is like this because of me, that I haven’t put him in enough social situations to know how to mix with others.”
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Loneliness is a common experience among new parents and finding groups with shared interests, as opposed to those just focused on parenting, is one way to cope, says Dr Nowland.
Dr Faruq Fazal, a GP who has worked in mental health services, says loneliness comes about when people don’t have a support network and believes teaching coping skills in school could help.
“Nobody really teaches you how to cope through life’s challenges. For those suffering from loneliness, it’s not just about physically having people around you, it’s when you feel you’re not able to talk to people and you don’t have any emotional support,” he says.
“I see people who don’t have a support network and their coping strategy has gone.”
Mind suggests a number of ways to manage loneliness, including peer support and talking therapies.
Dr Nowland says seeking professional advice can also help those stuck in a cycle of behaviour brought about by loneliness.
“Loneliness leaves you with this emotional feeling that is quite painful and distressing. If someone is lonely and they have felt it for a long time, it’s realising that it’s ok and that you might have developed negative thought patterns.
“You might need some help with cognitive behaviour therapy to help you think and reframe things.”
Angel has had counselling but says although it has helped with her anxiety, it hasn’t helped with her feelings of loneliness.
She returned to university briefly but has since decided to focus on her mental health, work, and learning to drive.
“Loneliness is really different from anxiety and it’s different from not being able to make friends,” she says.
“Anxiety can isolate you, but the loneliness that I felt at university was separate from that – it’s about being around people, but being in your own little world.
“I’m in a relationship and I’m close to my family but that loneliness is still there. Overall, things have improved a lot, but I don’t know if it’s ever going to go.”