Skeleton of French man found in bed after 15 years

The skeleton of an elderly man has been discovered laying in bed still wearing his pyjamas at least 15 years after he died.

Piles of unopened post dating back to 1996 were also found at the seemingly abandoned house in Lille, northern France, giving investigators an early indication of the year the man died.

Police are yet to formally identify the body, but it is believed to be that of the elderly homeowner who lived alone and had no close relatives.

‘The state of the house suggests it was a peaceful death of someone who died in his bed,’ public safety official Didier Perroudon said.

He added that no concerns had been raised about the man’s absence…‘He was in his bed, in his pyjamas.’

Mr Perroudon said: ‘There was no mess. The house was locked from the inside. Nothing suggests a criminal act.’

The man’s skeleton was found last Friday after a health and safety inspector was sent to examine the ‘abandoned’ house.

Good luck with that autopsy. I don’t doubt identity can be confirmed as the elderly man from Spain who lived there for years.

Cause of death is a different story. Some ailments leave trace on skeletal structure. Others — nothing.

Man proposes to lover on trial for trying to murder him — WTF?


Glutton for punishment?

A man who almost died when his girlfriend stabbed him in the back, turned up at court with a diamond ring and asked her to marry him.

Gregory Todd, 48, had been planning to go down on one knee and pop the question to Tiffany Baillie, 32, when she appeared in the dock to admit attacking him as he slept in December last year. But the chef, who spent months in hospital after Baillie plunged a 12 inch kitchen knife into his back, was forced to propose through her lawyer after the judge remanded her in custody to await sentencing.

Mr Todd, who is unable to visit Baillie in prison until after Easter, is now desperately waiting to hear if she has accepted his marriage offer…

The judge heard how Baillie stabbed Mr Todd in the back in December last year as he slept at their home in Hessle, Humberside.

The attack came around the anniversary of the death of Baillie’s ten-week old son and also came shortly after she had suffered a miscarriage.

Her lawyer said she had been struggling to deal with the grief at the time and could not explain why she had stabbed Mr Todd.

The blade pierced Mr Todd’s liver, spleen and pancreas and doctors said he would have certainly died had it not been for the swift medical intervention…

Judge Michael Mettyear said he recognised the fact that Mr Todd had forgiven Baillie and wanted to continue with their relationship, but said that may not influence his final decision.

He said: “I want some time to think about it. If he had died, this would have been a life sentence. The minimum term would have been 25 years. If she had been convicted of attempted murder the sentence could have been the order of 15 years. This is a difficult case and the guidelines suggest a prison sentence of some length.”

C’mon, judge. Give them a chance to sort it out. What’s the worst that could happen? 🙂

Factbox: Conclusions of U.S. financial crisis panel


CFO of Goldman Sachs on TV monitor on the floor of NY Stock Exchange during testimony

A divided U.S. investigative panel released on Thursday a wide-ranging assessment of what caused the financial crisis that rocked global markets from 2007-2009.

The 10-member Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was created by Congress to deliver a bipartisan report on the origins of the crisis, but it failed to deliver a consensus view.

The main report was endorsed only by the commission’s six Democratic members, undermining its impact as the post-crisis Dodd-Frank banking reforms of 2010 are being implemented.

I hope no one out there in citizen-land actually expected Republicans to participate in naming their primary sources of income as bearing responsibility for the financial crisis and the Great Recession.

Below are the main points of the…majority report:

* We conclude this financial crisis was avoidable.

* We conclude widespread failures in financial regulation and supervision proved devastating to the stability of the nation’s financial markets.

* We conclude dramatic failures of corporate governance and risk management at many systemically important financial institutions were a key cause of this crisis.

* We conclude a combination of excessive borrowing, risky investments, and lack of transparency put the financial system on a collision course with crisis.

* We conclude the government was ill prepared for the crisis, and its inconsistent response added to the uncertainty and panic in the financial markets.

* We conclude there was a systemic breakdown in accountability and ethics.

* We conclude collapsing mortgage-lending standards and the mortgage securitization pipeline lit and spread the flame of contagion and crisis.

* We conclude over-the-counter derivatives contributed significantly to this crisis.

* We conclude the failures of credit rating agencies were essential cogs in the wheel of financial destruction.

If you’d like to peek at the beginnings of analysis, try this article over at Bloomberg.com.

Tokyo’s ‘oldest man’ dead for 30 years

A man listed as the oldest living male in Tokyo died some 30 years ago, city officials said after his body was found mummified in his bed.

Police visited the home of Sogen Kato at the request of ward officials updating their list of centenarians ahead of Respect for the Elderly Day in September. Kato was born July 22, 1899, which would have made him 111.

Japanese welfare officials have tried to meet Kato since earlier this year, but his family members repeatedly chased them away, saying Kato was well but didn’t want to see anyone, said Tomoko Iwamatsu, an official at Tokyo’s downtown Adachi Ward, where Kato lived.

Officials grew suspicious and sought an investigation by police, who forced their way into the house Wednesday. Police said the mummified body believed to be Kato was lying in his bed, wearing underwear and pyjamas, covered with a blanket.

His granddaughter told investigators Kato holed up in his room about 30 years ago after declaring he wanted to be a living Buddha, police and Tokyo officials said. They believe Kato died soon after that.

Tokyo police were investigating possible crimes on suspicion Kato’s family received pension money of the man and his dead wife.

Uh, OK. Usual reasons. But, still – that’s a long time to keep the hustle rolling.

A Mother, a sick son – and his father, the priest


Father Henry Willenborg baptising his son, Nathan, in 1987

With three small children and her marriage in trouble, Pat Bond attended a spirituality retreat for Roman Catholic women in Illinois 26 years ago in hopes of finding support and comfort.

What Ms. Bond found was a priest — a dynamic, handsome Franciscan friar in a brown robe — who was serving as the spiritual director for the retreat and agreed to begin counseling her on her marriage. One day, she said, as she was leaving the priest’s parlor, he pulled her aside for a passionate kiss.

Ms. Bond separated from her husband, and for the next five years she and the priest, the Rev. Henry Willenborg, carried on an intimate relationship, according to interviews and court documents. In public, they were both leaders in their Catholic community in Quincy, Ill. In private they functioned like a married couple, sharing a bed, meals, movie nights and vacations with the children.

Eventually they had a son, setting off a series of legal battles as Ms. Bond repeatedly petitioned the church for child support. The Franciscans acquiesced, with the stipulation that she sign a confidentiality agreement. It is now an agreement she is willing to break as both she and her child, Nathan Halbach, 22, are battling cancer.

With little to lose, they are eager to tell their stories: the mother, a once-faithful Catholic who says the church protected a philandering priest and treated her as a legal adversary, and the son, about what it was like to grow up knowing his absentee father was a priest.

Uh, a heck of a tale. RTFA.

None of it is surprising – to anyone who reads beyond the pap served up in the bulk media or Sunday sermons. But, it’s a well-told tale and should arouse questions and dissent within the flock.

It should also raise real political questions among ordinary citizens who must be tired of giving tax-free perks to organized religion.