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Two remanded in custody over Nicola Payne murder

Nicola Payne with her baby son before she went missing in 1991 Credit: Family handout

Two men have appeared in crown court today accused of murdering young mum Nicola Payne, who went missing 23 years ago.

Nigel Barwell and Thomas O'Reilly, both 50 and from Coventry, appeared via videolink at Birmingham Crown Court this morning charged with murdering the 18-year-old between December 13 and 16 1991.

Asked by Judge Burbidge QC if they had anything to say before being remanded, Barwell said: "I just want to say we're both innocent men and we sit here, in custody, as innocent men, Sir."

Barwell, of Copperas Street, and O'Reilly, of Ribble Road, were remanded in custody to next appear at Birmingham Crown Court on April 23 for a plea hearing.

Ms Payne has not been seen since disappearing in Coventry in December 1991 after leaving her boyfriend's house to set off for her parents' home. She left behind a son, who was seven months old at the time.

Her family, including father John Payne, sat at the back of court throughout today's 20-minute hearing.

Political leaders lay wreaths in Winston Churchill's honour

The Prime Minister and members of the House of Commons have taken part in a special wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral.

David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband were among the politicians who gathered in the Members' Lobby at the House of Commons this morning to pay their respects to the wartime hero:


At least 20 dead in Pakistan mosque blast

Shikarpur in Pakistan Credit: Google Maps

At least 20 people have been killed when an explosion ripped through a packed Shi'ite mosque in the Pakistani city of Shikarpur on Friday, officials said.

"At least 20 dead bodies and more than 50 wounded people have been brought to the hospital," Shaukat Memon, a doctor at a nearby hospital told Reuters.

'More physical activity' needed in childrens' lives

More needs to be done to build physical activity back into children's lives, British Cycling's campaigns manager has said.

Martin Key said: "Building physical activity back into our children's lives would go a long way to tackling this problem.

"Less than 2% of children cycle to school compared with the Netherlands, where half of all kids cycle to school and obesity rates are significantly lower.

"A focus on building accessible and segregated cycle lanes near major school routes would provide the incentive for parents to ditch the car and inspire their children to be more active."

Read more here: Over a third of children in England overweight


Apartheid death-squad leader Eugene de Kock paroled

Eugene de Kock - the Apartheid death-squad leader dubbed 'Prime Evil' for his role in the torture and murder of black South African activists in the 1980s and early 1990s - has been granted parole after 20 years in prison.

Eugene de Kock an apartheid-era assassin nicknamed Prime Evil Credit: Reuters

Justice minister Michael Masutha told a news conference that de Kock would be released "in the interests of nation-building" and because he had expressed remorse at his crimes and had helped authorities recover the remains of some of his victims.

Churchill would be 'thrilled' by commemorations

Winston Churchill's great grandson Randolph Churchill in Parliament Square this morning Credit: PA

Sir Winston Churchill's great-grandson said the former Prime Minister would be "surprised but thrilled" by today's commemorations of the 50th anniversary of his funeral.

Randolph Churchill said it was a "proud day" as laid a wreath to begin a day of events paying tribute to the wartime hero.

Speaking at the statue honouring Churchill in Parliament Square, he said: "It was a time when people said that the nation came to a halt and people on the streets stood and paid their respects to the great man passing.

"I think he would be extremely surprised but thrilled that we are a country that thrives on its parliamentary democracy, where we have our freedoms and liberties, that we cherish them, and he would be thrilled that modern Britain has achieved so much in its own way."

He also said it was also a chance to remember the heroes who fought for Britain in two world wars.

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