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We're so proud, say family of Royal Marine killed fighting IS

Syria: The family of former Royal Marine Konstandinos Erik Scurfield say they are "devastated" that he has been killed while fighting against Islamic State in Syria.

Mr Scurfield (25), from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was reportedly shot dead on Monday while fighting alongside Kurdish forces in the frontline village of Tel Khuzela.

In a statement issued through the Foreign Office, his family said: "We are devastated to confirm the death of our son Konstandinos Erik Scurfield in Syria where he went to support the forces opposing Islamic State.

"His flame might have burned briefly but it burned brightly with love, courage, conviction and honour and we are very proud of him."

Mr Scurfield, who was an expert in battlefield medicine, is the first Briton to be killed while fighting IS in Syria.

He is believed to have travelled to Syria three or four months ago hoping to provide medical and humanitarian support.

Mr Scurfield was said to have been "horrified by the atrocities being carried out by IS".

His family asked for privacy as they grieve for him at their detached former farmhouse in the village of Royston, South Yorkshire.

Neighbours described their shock at the news of his death.

David Miller said Mr Scurfield's parents Chris and Vicci are archaeologists and his sister Georgianna is a student.

Dr Miller described Mr Scurfield's death as "tragic", adding: "The children moved away and I'm not sure how Erik got involved in Syria but it would be in keeping with their sense of duty and honour. They are good British people and it would make sense that he would go all the way to Syria to fight against Isis."

Mary Jane Hemmings said the news was "heartbreaking".

She said: "It doesn't surprise me that he went because he seemed to do everything 100% and he seemed to have deep feelings.

"He was very conscientious, he was a lovely person."

She added: "He was a very strong-willed man, I would say, and he knew what he was about. I am sure he knew what he was doing."

Mr Scurfield's parents had recently spoken to Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis about their fears for their son's safety.

The Labour MP, who raised the issue in Parliament last month, said their "worst fears had been realised".

Women face jail over torture death 

London: A woman and her lesbian partner are facing years behind bars for torturing, abusing and finally killing her eight-year-old daughter while in the grip of a “sophisticated web of lies and deceit” on Facebook and in text messages.

Polly Chowdhury (35) and Kiki Muddar (43) were on trial at the Old Bailey for the murder of Chowdhury’s daughter, Ayesha Ali, at their home in Chadwell Heath, east London, in August 2013.

The jury deliberated for more than 31 hours before clearing them of murder but finding them guilty of manslaughter by a majority of 10-2.

Both women held their heads in their hands as the verdicts were delivered, while Ayesha’s father, Afsar Ali, looked tearful.

Afterwards, he said he could not forgive his ex-wife for falling under the spell of Muddar after she created a set of fictional characters to seduce Chowdhury and turn her against her own daughter.

Mr Ali, who described Ayesha as his “sunshine” and “closest friend”, said: “The child you gave birth to — to take her life away — that is something I can never forgive. There are only two people I blame — that’s her and Kiki.” Both will be sentenced tomorrow.

Boston marathon bomber admission

United States: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has gone on trial for his life over the Boston Marathon bombing, with his own lawyer bluntly telling the jury he did it — but arguing that he had fallen under the evil influence of his older brother.

“It was him,” Judy Clarke, one of America’s foremost death penalty defence lawyers, said of Tsarnaev in a startling opening statement in the US’s most closely watched terrorism trial since the Oklahoma City bombing nearly 20 years ago.

Laying out an argument clearly aimed at saving Tsarnaev from the death penalty, Ms Clarke said that the defence will not try to “sidestep” his guilt for the “senseless, horribly misguided acts carried out by two brothers”.

“The evidence will not establish and we will not argue that Tamerlan put a gun to Dzhokhar’s head or that he forced him to join in the plan,” Ms Clarke said, “but you will hear evidence about the kind of influence that this older brother had.”

Three people were killed when two bombs exploded near the finish line on April 15, 2013.

Probation for woman who threw football boot at Hillary

Arizona: A woman who threw a football boot at Hillary Clinton during a speech the former US secretary of state made in Las Vegas last April has been sentenced to one year of federal supervision in her home state.

Alison Michelle Ernst (37), of Phoenix, also was sentenced to undergo mental health treatment at the discretion of probation officials, according to a deputy federal public defender.

US district court magistrate Judge George Foley Jr told Ernst to have no contact with Ms Clinton or anyone protected by the Secret Service.

Ernst served six months in federal custody last year after throwing the shoe, raising her arms and walking to the back of a ballroom at Mandalay Bay.

Stillborn babies wrapped in linen sent with laundry

Las Vegas: A hospital mistakenly sent two stillborn babies wrapped in linen to a laundry facility, leading to a horrible shock for the cleaners.

The remains were in found a load that Spring Valley Hospital sent to the medical laundry company Angelica in nearby Henderson.

Henderson police said the incident was a mistake and was not considered suspicious.

A hospital spokeswoman said a woman who suffered a miscarriage had arrived at the hospital by ambulance with the dead twins already wrapped in linens.

Putin describes murder of rival a ‘disgrace to Russia’

Moscow: Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that the killing of a key opposition figure is a “disgrace” to Russia.

In televised remarks to interior ministry employees, Mr Putin condemned the death of Boris Nemtsov, who was shot near the Kremlin.

It was his first public remark on the subject.

“The most serious attention must be paid to high-profile crimes, including those with a political motive,” he said. “We must finally rid Russia of the disgrace and tragedy of the kinds of things we recently saw and experienced.”

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