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Hundreds of children under 10 'committing sex crimes'

Hundreds of children under 10 have been reported to the police for sex offences including rape, according to figures obtained by the Sunday Mirror through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request.

Data from the Met Police appears to show a four-year-old was investigated for a sexual offence. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Data from 33 police forces across England and Wales showed 776 children aged up to nine had been investigated for sex crimes.

Information from the Metropolitan Police also appeared to show a four-year-old was recorded as suspected of committing rape between January and September 2014 according to the paper.

NSPCC spokesman Jon Brown told the Sunday Mirror: "These figures may seem hard to believe but, unfortunately, there are cases of children as young as three committing sexual offences.

"There should be no cases like this. These children are not paedophiles - they are victims themselves."

The paper said the number of children committing sex crimes had doubled from 128 in 2012 to 254 last year and the figures could be higher as several forces did not respond to its FoI request.

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360,000 people scramble to meet tax return deadline

Hundreds of thousands of people rushed to meet the tax return deadline. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Nearly 360,000 people have filed self-assessment tax returns in a last-minute rush to meet the deadline.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said the forms were received between midnight and 9pm on Saturday and almost 10.2 million had been filed in total.

The deadline for submitting an online self-assessment tax return and paying any tax due was midnight on Saturday 31st January.

Those in self-assessment who fail to meet this face an initial fixed penalty of £100, even if there is no tax to pay, plus interest on any tax not paid by the due date.

All tax returns which are still outstanding must be submitted online, as the deadline for filing paper returns passed on 31st October last year.

On last year's deadline day, 557,000 people scrambled to get their returns in online.

Chemist behind birth control pill dies at the age of 91

Professor Carl Djerassi, the chemist widely considered the father of the birth control pill, has died at the age of 91.

Professor Carl Djerassi has died at his home in San Francisco at the age of 91. Credit: Horst Galuschka/DPA/PA

Professor Djerrasi died of complications from cancer at his home in San Francisco, Stanford University spokesman Dan Stober said.

He was most famous for leading a research team in Mexico City that developed norethindrone, a synthetic molecule that became a key component of the first birth control pill in 1951.

'The Pill', as it came to be known, radically transformed sexual practices and women's lives.

In his book, 'This Man's Pill', Professor Djerassi said the invention also changed his life, making him more interested in how science affected society.

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Police issue crackdown warning to Old Firm fans

Celtic and Rangers will face each other for the first time in almost three years today, with police warning supporters they will crackdown on any signs of trouble.

Celtic and Rangers will face each other for the first time in almost three years. Credit: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

The League Cup semi-final match at Hampden Park in Glasgow is a sell-out and will have an international TV audience with 54 countries screening the game.

Tensions are set to be high in what is the first game between the clubs since Rangers' liquidation in 2012 and both clubs have been visited by Police Scotland to remind players and management of their responsibilities in a bid to minimise any possibility of trouble.

Officers have said they will be monitoring social media as well as having an increased presence on streets in and around Glasgow.

Police will be deployed at the stadium, in Glasgow city centre and at major transport hubs before, during and after the match.

Chief Superintendent Andy Bates, the match commander, said: "I am sure that most supporters will enjoy the sporting occasion, however a minority may choose to cause disorder and my message to them is clear: anyone involved in disorder will be arrested."

Hostage's mother praises his 'kindness and courage'

Kenji Goto's mother Junko Ishido spoke about her son's 'kindness and courage'. Credit: APTN

Kenji Goto's mother Junko Ishido has spoken of her grief after Islamic State released a video apparently showing the murder of her son.

Speaking to reporters after the video was released Ms Ishido broke down several times.

"I am too upset to find the words to express myself. My son's last act was to go to Syria to help a fellow Japanese. So I want people to understand my son's kindness and courage."

– Kenji Goto's mother Junko Ishido

Mr Goto's brother, Junichi, also paid tribute to the journalist. He said: "I had hoped to give thanks for his return alive. But, as his brother, this outcome is very regrettable."

Government launches new reforms to help offenders

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announcednew plans to rehabilitate offenders. Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

Details on new reforms to help rehabilitate offenders including support at the prison gate when they finish their sentence have been outlined by the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling.

Mr Grayling said for the first time all offenders will be given "a proper chance at rehabilitation, instead of just leaving them to wander the streets and get on with it."

"For too long we have released prisoners back onto the streets with £46 in their pockets and little else than the hope that they would sort themselves out. It's little wonder things haven't improved - but now all this will change", Mr Grayling added.

The reforms include extra support for short-term prisoners under previously announced plans to boost rehabilitation, with a focus on helping them to beat drug and alcohol addictions and finding them jobs and homes.

Figures released by the MoJ show around 86,000 further crimes were committed by offenders released from sentences of less than a year in 2012, including more than 600 violent offences, just one month after release.

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