18 06 2008

Eight-pints disabled man in assault on officer

18 June 2008

The Evening Telegraph



Disabled Rob Stevens, assaulted a police officer from his wheelchair after sinking eight pints of lager and half-a-bottle of Scotch, a court heard.

Stevens (19), of The Apex, Oundle Road, Peterborough, spat on one policeman and called another a racially offensive name after going on the bender to celebrate a 21st birthday.

At Peterborough Magistrates’ Court yesterday, he avoided jail for the spitting incident after District Judge Ken Sheraton heard he had been making progress while under a community order for another similar offence.

Prosecuting, Anthea Harris said at 7:10pm on March 12, an officer was waved down by a member of the public while travelling from London Road into Oundle Road.

He complained Stevens, who was nearby, was a noisy neighbour.

Stevens shouted and swore at the police officer, and began spitting on the floor, which hit the officer’s trouser leg.

He was arrested and taken to Thorpe Wood police station, where he called another officer the offensive name.

Stevens appeared for sentence yesterday after pleading guilty earlier to assaulting an officer, being drunk and disorderly, using threatening words or behaviour, and a racially aggravated count of using threatening words or behaviour.

Defending, Angela Holland said Stevens was “pretty sozzled” at the time and was very apologetic once he came to his senses.

District Judge Sheraton gave Stevens a six-week jail term, suspended for 18 months, with an 18 months’ supervision requirement. He also ordered Stevens to do 100 hours unpaid work, pay £75 costs, and £100 compensation to the assaulted officer.


18 06 2008

Businesses Face Push to Expand Disabled Access

by Elizabeth Williamson and Kris Maher

17 June 2008

The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. is moving on two fronts this week to expand businesses’ obligations to accommodate disabled people, in a legislative and regulatory push that risks a backlash from millions of businesses worried about costs.

On Wednesday, two House committees will finish crafting a bill that broadens the population entitled to employment rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, reversing Supreme Court decisions narrowing it. The bill could come to a vote before the July 4 recess, if lawmakers reach agreement. Also this week, the Bush administration will begin seeking public comment on 1,000 pages of proposed rules — covering issues …

17 06 2008

Deputies: Man Tied Disabled Girlfriend To Wheelchair

Woman’s 8-Year-Old Daughter Escapes Unharmed

16 June 2008



Madison, N.C. — A man who tied his disabled girlfriend to her wheelchair Saturday afternoon at a home in Madison, N.C., was arrested after the woman’s 8-year-old daughter escaped and called 911, Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Dean Venable said.

Police said 34-year-old Darlene Brown had left to visit relatives, but returned to find her boyfriend of 10 years, 46-year-old Thomas Pruitt, drinking alcohol and upset with her.

Deputies said the two got into a verbal argument, then Pruitt tied her to the chair with a pair of underwear and kicked her after she fell over trying to escape.

Deputies said when they arrived at the home they found Brown partially naked, lying face down on the porch.

“She was attempting to break away when she fell over,” Venable said.

A K-9 unit was brought in to assist in the search for Pruitt, who was located a short time later.

He was charged with communicating threats, kidnapping, assault on a female, assault by strangulation, resisting a public officer, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was also charged with interfering with emergency communication after deputies said he had destroyed the couple’s telephone.

Venable said Brown’s daughter, who was not injured, was able to call 911 from a neighbor’s house.

Pruitt is being held in the Rockingham County Jail on a $150,000 bond.

Venable said deputies had responded to the couple’s home earlier in the evening but found no evidence that any crimes had been committed.

17 06 2008

Disabled man robbed in town centre by thug

16 June 2008

by Dave Burke

Dunstable Today


Police appeal for information after West Street attack

A man with cerebral palsy was grabbed and robbed in the centre of Dunstable by a cowardly thief brandishing a bottle of whiskey.

Although a Good Samaritan managed to retrieve the man’s stolen wallet, police are appealing for any information which can help catch the robber, who they fear may continue to prey on vulnerable victims.

The attack happened outside the HSBC bank in West Street at 11:20pm on Friday, June 6.

The victim, who is in his 40s, was grabbed from behind and dragged by his attacker, banging his head on nearby iron railings.

His wallet was stolen, but a pub doorman bravely chased the robber along High Street North and retrieved it. The thief managed to jump into a cab and escape.

The disabled man suffered a concussion as a result of the terrifying ordeal.

His attacker is described as black or mixed race, aged about 20, around 5ft 5ins tall and dishevelled looking. He was wearing a black tea-cosy style hat, a dirty beige jacket, dark trousers with side pockets and a gold neck chain. The thief was carrying a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.

This week PC Jenny Buckley, investigating, said: “Although the doorman managed to get the property back, it is important we apprehend the offender, who deliberately targeted a vulnerable victim.

“It is a very busy junction and we would urge anyone with information, or recognises the offender from the description, to get in touch.”

Anyone who can help police should contact PC Buckley, in confidence, on 01234 841212, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

17 06 2008

Apartment owner arrested over deadly blaze at disabled facility

Mainichi Daily News

16 June 2008


Yokohama — The owner of an apartment gutted by a fire that killed three of its disabled inhabitants was arrested Monday for starting the blaze, saying she had been involved in a spat with the residents, police said.

Keiko Shimura, 64, the owner of the Haimu Himawari apartment in Ayase, Kanagawa Prefecture, was arrested for murder and arson of an inhabited structure.

Shimura, who owned the apartment used to house intellectually disabled residents, admits to the allegations.

Three bodies believed to have belonged to residents were unearthed from the charred remains of the apartment after it burned down early on the morning of June 2. Another man remains in a serious condition following smoke inhalation from the fire, which also destroyed the adjacent home.

Police said Shimura was spotted in the area at about the time the fire at Haimu Himawari broke out, yet she failed to report the blaze and nobody could make contact with her until the afternoon of the same day. Police suspected Shimura may have known something about the fire and took her in for questioning. At first, she explained her failure to report the fire as being a result of having been disturbed by the blaze, but later admitted to lighting it, police said.

Haimu Himawari was used to communally house intellectually disabled patients trying to lead independent lives. Shimura owned the apartment, which she rented out to a welfare organization based in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture. She had been the caretaker at the apartment until about 2004.

The fire at the apartment broke out just before 2:30 a.m. on June 2. The fire destroyed the apartment and three bodies, two men and a woman, were found in the remains. The other male inhabitant was seriously injured through smoke inhalation. The house next door to the apartment was also destroyed by the fire.

Police could not find anything that could have started the blaze spontaneously, so began to suspect arson and set up a task force to investigate the case on June 4. They later raided Shimura’s home in a search for evidence to support their case.

17 06 2008

Seeking a safe place: Disorder puts Warren man at risk in own home

Christina Stolarz / The Detroit News

16 June 2008


Warren — Jason Dunn’s home is an obstacle course.

The 30-year-old Warren man, who has a debilitating neurological disorder, must take care at every turn because of involuntary muscle spasms that can cause him to abruptly fall to his knees or bang his head against walls and door frames.

Family and friends say the small, aging Warren home isn’t suited to someone like Dunn, who eats meals while lying down on the living room floor because it gives him a better sense of balance.

His advocates have called on Warren city officials and others to try to help make repairs to Dunn’s home. It shows evidence of black mold and asbestos contamination that could make him sick. The ultimate goal is to get Dunn, who can’t afford the repairs, on ABC-TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” but, at the very least, they want to bring national attention to his plight and the incurable disorder he’s had since age 6.

“It’s just amazing what he goes through in life, and I never hear him complain,” said friend Mike Delise, who spearheaded the effort. “I do this to give Jason a voice.”

Helping hand

Mayor Jim Fouts said he was affected when he saw Dunn smiling and “literally crawling on the floor” of his office when they met recently. He said he considers Dunn’s attitude about his condition inspiring.

Fouts learned that Dunn doesn’t have control over his body because his muscles regularly contract, forcing him from a standing position to a kneeling position or even one where he lies on the floor.

And though Dunn can no longer talk, he uses a handheld device called a lightwriter to communicate about his disorder and share the problems with his home.

“He is able to do a lot of things I don’t think I could do with the severe limitations he has,” said Fouts, noting that was the first time he had heard of dystonia. “Whatever we can do, I’m willing to do. His home is not made for this kind of devastating illness.”

Fouts said he wants the city’s cable station to do a segment on dystonia to educate the public, and may also contact local charities to see whether they’d be willing to volunteer to help fix up his home.

It will take nearly $5,000 to make all the improvements to Dunn’s Campbell Avenue home, according to an estimate he received in January. A friend of Dunn’s caregiver, Debra Girling, is a handyman who does home inspections; he inspected the home as a favor.

The inspector made several suggestions that range from installing new windows and doors to putting in a new line for the electric stove and installing a new stairwell railing. The inspector also spotted black mold on the ceiling of the only bathroom, which doesn’t have any air vents. However, no one has analyzed any samples for confirmation, Girling said.

Dunn has lived in his home for close to 20 years; his mother, Diane Frizzell, recently turned the deed over to Dunn and his older brother, whom he lives with.

Dunn doesn’t have the income to cover the steep repair costs because his physical condition makes it impossible to hold a job. He receives $650 a month between his Social Security and disability income, and $110 a month in food stamps.

A childhood altered

As a young boy, Dunn loved to play catch with his brother, Brian, in the backyard because baseball is his favorite sport.

He’d ride his bike down the street and pretend to be “The Hulk,” jumping back and forth from his dresser and bed, roaring like the comic book hero.

“It was fun. But it’s kinda hard 2 remember having full control over my body,” wrote Dunn on his lightwriter. The first signs of dystonia — although they didn’t know what it was at the time — were apparent when Dunn and his family went to get a family portrait, said Frizzell, who now lives in Alabama. Dunn kept moving his head backward, as if looking up at the ceiling. When they told him to stop goofing around, Dunn told them his head was moving on its own.

The biggest shock — which ultimately led to diagnosis of dystonia — was when they took a trip to Alabama, she said. Dunn was asleep in the car when they stopped at a rest area, but when he woke up, “he was bent over, and couldn’t walk. It was real scary.”

Dunn’s condition worsened through the years: Between elementary school and junior high, his body was twisted like a pretzel and he used a wheelchair to get around. Doctors prescribed multiple medications before they found one that straightened his body out enough for him to walk on his own. Now Dunn — whose right hand stays curled up tight — only uses a wheelchair in instances when he walks long distances.

Oral medications are the first line of treatment for children, but the results aren’t permanent since doctors haven’t found a cure, said Jessica Feeley, editor and special projects coordinator with the Chicago-based Dystonia Medical Research Foundation. Dystonia affects about 300,000 Americans and is the third most common movement disorder after tremor and Parkinson’s disease. Dunn also used to receive Botox injections to his vocal chords to help relax the muscles, but he stopped — and now can’t talk — after complications to his jaw. He’s also undergone four unsuccessful deep brain stimulations: it’s a few-weeks-long procedure where a battery is implanted in the patient’s chest and connected to a wire that runs inside to the electrodes in the brain, Feeley said. The battery produces a signal that travels from the battery to the electrodes to mimic the effects of leisioning, when a part of the brain is permanently disabled to reduce unwanted movement.

“I have hope that 1 day doctors will fix me,” Dunn typed with his left hand while lying on the floor, legs curled up behind him. “In till then just try 2 stay positive and make as many friends as I can. U should see my MySpace (page).”

Life’s daily dose of obstacles

Dunn accepts and embraces the life of a dystonia patient.

He says he owes that optimistic outlook to his friends, who take him to baseball games, the casino and to just hang out.

He has a vast network of friends on his MySpace and Facebook pages that “help me battle the tough times. I’ll just say it has made me more (determined) in everything I do.”

He’s learned to take care of himself through the years, including microwaving his own meals and doing laundry. However, he has a caregiver who comes five days a week to do some cooking.

But, Girling also tries to get him out of the house to go to the grocery store and the gym because it’s important to strengthen his muscles.

People watch as he walks — sometimes with one foot on tippy toe, the other flat-footed — from the passenger seat to a business’s front door.

One man looked over his shoulder at the gym as Girling uncurled Dunn’s right hand and wrapped it around the bar to do push downs to exercise his arms and chest.

A woman completely ignored Dunn — while he stood at the meat counter of a grocery store — while she placed her order; another woman said “poor dear” and “sweet boy” to the cashier as she looked in his direction.

Dunn doesn’t mind the attention he draws because he knows people are just curious and don’t understand. And he noted that no one has ever been hurtful.

“I’ve adjusted to my life with dystonia. I have no other choice,” wrote Dunn in an e-mail, another mode of communication he relies on. “This is the way I live, just try your best and see what happens.”

You can reach Christina Stolarz at (586) 468-0343 or cstolarz@detnews.com.

16 06 2008

Finnish man kills 2 adult daughters, wife, self

15 June 2008

Associated Press


Helsinki, Finland (AP) — An 88-year-old man on Sunday killed his two disabled adult daughters and shot his bedridden wife before turning the gun on himself in northern Finland, police said.

The man’s wife, also in her 80s, later died at a hospital, police said.

The mentally handicapped daughters, both in their 50s, died immediately from gunshot wounds at home in Ylitornio, about 500 miles north of the capital, Helsinki, police said.

After shooting his daughters, the man went to a local health center and shot his wife before returning home, talking briefly with police on the telephone, and then killing himself, police said.

“He ended the conversation quite soon and then we heard a shot,” Ylitornio police chief Seppo Kinnunen said, but gave no details of the conversation.

Police said they knew of no motive and were investigating the case. They declined to give further details.