Kenneth Eugene Smith: Alabama carries out first US nitrogen gas execution
Alabama has executed a convicted murderer, Kenneth Eugene Smith, using nitrogen gas, marking the first time this method of capital punishment has been used in the US. Smith had lost all of his final appeals, arguing that the execution would be a cruel and unusual punishment. The use of nitrogen hypoxia as an alternative method of execution has been approved in Alabama, as well as two other US states, due to the difficulty in sourcing the drugs used in lethal injections. Smith was convicted in 1989 of murdering Elizabeth Sennett, a preacher's wife, as part of a killing-for-hire scheme. Nitrogen gas causes cells in the body to break down, leading to death. Smith's execution lasted around five minutes, during which he was observed writhing and breathing heavily. His death was confirmed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, who noted that Smith had "answered for his horrendous crimes."
Post Office plan to sack Horizon reviewer kept secret
Documents obtained by the BBC reveal that senior figures at the Post Office secretly decided to sack forensic accountants in 2014 who had found flaws in their Horizon IT system. The minutes from two Project Sparrow meetings in April 2014 indicate that a Post Office board sub-committee, led by Post Office chair Alice Perkins and including then-CEO Paula Vennells, decided to bring the investigation of sub-postmasters' cases under the control of the Post Office, thereby removing Second Sight from its independent role. Former sub-postmaster Alan Bates has described the documents as evidence of a "total cover-up". The Horizon system generated false evidence of cash shortfalls at sub-post offices, leading to wrongful prosecutions of sub-postmasters. The scandal is now estimated to cost over £1bn in compensation. The Post Office declined to comment.
Nottingham attacks: Triple killer's sentence to be considered for review
The attorney general is considering whether to review the sentence of Valdo Calocane, who was given an indefinite hospital order for the murders of two students and a school caretaker in Nottingham last June. Calocane fatally stabbed students Barnaby Webber and Grace O'Malley-Kumar, before killing school caretaker Ian Coates. He pleaded guilty to the killings and was sentenced to a high-security hospital for the rest of his life. The attorney general's office has received a referral arguing that the sentence was unduly lenient. Under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme, anyone can ask for a crown court sentence to be reviewed if they think it is too short. In 2022, officials were asked to look at almost 1,200 cases, resulting in longer sentences for 95 people.