LeBron James put Jason Terry in a poster Monday night, punctuating the Miami Heat’s 23rd straight victory, the second-longest streak in NBA history, with one of his all-time greatest dunks. According to James, the spectacular jam could not have happened on a better guy.You see, James expressed a problem with Terry’s penchant for brash talk. So, catching an alley-oop pass and colliding midair with Terry before hammering home the dunk – and then staring down a sprawled-on-the-floor Terry for so long he received a taunting technical – was serendipitous.“I’ve had a chance to [review] it, and it was one of my better ones,” James said. “The fact that it happened to J.T. made it that much sweeter. Because we all know J.T. and he talks too much sometimes. And I’m glad it happened to him.”Hardly do players pile on after slamming on an opponent. There usually is a “feel-sorry” element to embarrassing a foe.Not this time. James took it as some form of restitution toward a good player who talks better than his game.Recall, if you will, Terry in 2011 saying said James wouldn’t be able to guard him effectively for the entire NBA Finals when the Heat challenged the Dallas Mavericks. Terry played well and the Mavs defeated Miami in the seven-game series, 4-2.“I’m welcoming the challenge,” Terry said then. “We’re going to see if he can do it for seven games.”Last week, Terry said he wasn’t impressed with the Heat’s then-21-game winning streak.“[I’m] not really impressed with it or anything that they do,” Terry said.No word on if he’s impressed with James’ memorable throw down over him.
How about a Big 4 in Miami instead of the championship trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh? Reports indicate as the Heat officials focus on winning a third straight NBA title, their thoughts linger on wooing the impending free agent and New York Knicks star forward.Sources told ESPN.com that Heat officials and the team’s leading players have already started to explore their options for creating sufficient financial flexibility to make an ambitious run at adding this summer in free agency.The mere concept would require the stars James, Wade and Bosh to all opt out of their current contracts by the end of the month and likely take further salary reductions in new deals that start next season to give Miami the ability to offer Anthony a representative first-year salary.The Heat also are prevented from making any formal contact with Anthony until July 1 and can do so then only if he opts out of the final year of his current contract. Anthony has until June 23 to notify the Knicks of his intentions, according to sources.With cooperation from their stars and role players Udonis Hslem and Chris Anderson, who also have player options for next season, the Heat could open up in excess of $50 million in cap space this summer and have the most financial flexibility in the league. The only Heat player locked into place for next season is Norris Cole at a salary of $2 million, although team president Pat Riley will have to contend with a handful of cap holds for pending free agents as well as their upcoming first-round pick (No. 26 overall) in the draft later this month.
For years sabermetrics has theorized that pitchers can’t control what happens after a batter strikes a ball. Whether it bloops in for a hit, rockets its way to an outfielder’s glove or lands just inches outside the foul line, it’s a consequence of the batter and the defense, but not the pitcher. That argument is what led to Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), a statistic that attempts to quantify a pitcher’s performance only for the events for which we know the pitcher has definite responsibility (walks, strikeouts and home runs — in sabermetrics parlance, the “Three True Outcomes”). FIP throws out base hits completely on the basis that they are partially a product of the defense.But now we have Statcast. The new technology that collects data on the position and velocity of the ball and the players on the field is beginning to change what we know (or thought we knew) about all sorts of things — pitching included. And that’s raising new questions about how much effect a pitcher can have on a ball once it’s put in play. The answer might be: a lot.But first, let’s talk batters. Last week, I used Statcast to show that harder-struck pitches tend to fall for hits more often. That, generally, makes hard contact good for the hitter and bad for the pitcher. Obviously, some hitters are better at hitting the ball hard. What Statcast tells us is that some pitchers are better at making batters hit the ball softly.That’s not to say pitchers hold the upper hand. In my models1Specifically, I used a linear random effects model with the R package lme4. The model was specified as follows:Batted ball velocity ~ (1|hitter) + (1|pitcher) + (1|ballpark).In total, batter explains 3 percent of the variance in batted ball velocity, while pitcher explains 0.6 percent and park 0.03 percent. of batted ball velocity that incorporate the pitcher, batter and ballpark, the batter’s effect dominates the pitcher’s. A ball’s exit velocity after a bat strikes it is about five times more the batter’s doing than the pitcher’s. This fact seems to partially vindicate FIP — batters really are the ones in control.At the same time, the pitcher’s effect is not negligible.2Deriving a p-value in a random effects model is tricky. However, the random effect for pitchers significantly improves the model by AIC, improves out-of-sample prediction accuracy, and is larger than expected under a null distribution derived from permutations. While the best batters increase batted ball velocity by as much as 7-8 mph, the best pitchers suppress it by 1.5 mph compared with the average pitcher.That has real significance: Such a decrease roughly equates to a 13-point decrease in batting average on balls in play (BABIP) for a given batted ball.3This number comes from a logistic regression of exit velocity for each batted ball. Over the course of a game, the pitchers who can best decrease exit velocity save about a quarter of a run (on average). A quarter of a run doesn’t sound like much? Multiplied over a season, all those quarters of a run add up to about one win of value.4Run expectancy numbers are derived from a linear regression of linear weights value per pitch on batted ball velocity. Linear weights values come from Pitch Info.So that means FIP is flawed as an overall value metric, at least for some pitchers. Who are those pitchers? Here’s a table of all 485 pitchers with batted ball data this season as of the writing of this article.5This amounts to 17,768 batted balls. You may notice that most relievers are close to zero on this list. That’s because the model does not have enough data per reliever to be certain that they are altering velocity heavily, so it regresses their readings to the mean. Search for your favorite pitcher and see how many miles per hour he takes away from or adds to the average batted ball. The five best pitchers in the league: the Baltimore Orioles’ Wei-Yin Chen (balls leave the bat 1.63 mph slower than average when Chen pitches); the Chicago White Sox’s Chris Sale (1.56 mph); the Los Angeles Angels’ Garrett Richards (1.53 mph); the St. Louis Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright (1.46 mph, before he experienced a season-ending injury April 25); and the Houston Astros’ Dallas Keuchel (1.40 mph). Many of these pitchers are bona fide aces, most obviously Sale, Richards and Wainwright (Clayton Kershaw also lurks in ninth place). These players are not only adept at managing contact, they are also skilled strikeout artists. FIP accurately tabs them as great pitchers even without information about their contact-controlling abilities.These pitchers control their opposition’s quality of contact partly by driving the hitters into bad counts. In pitcher’s counts, hitters tend to put weak, defensive swings on the ball, resulting in glancing contact. About 15 percent of pitchers’ exit velocity suppression comes from controlling the count.6This estimate is derived by incorporating count into the model as a fixed effect and then determining how much the pitcher’s estimated random effect decreased. Richards, for example, has reached two-strike counts in 92 of his opponents’ plate appearances, compared with three-ball counts in only 38; in the former, hitters have a .271 BABIP, whereas in the latter, they have a .333 BABIP.7The league difference is a bit smaller, but still significant: .291 BABIP with three balls, .281 with two strikes.Chen is an intriguing case. The best at suppressing batted ball velocity, Chen also has the largest gap between ERA and FIP among qualified starters. In fact, Chen has put up a sizable gap between his ERA and FIP in three of the four years in which he’s pitched in MLB. Lacking batted ball velocity in years prior, we cannot say that his skill is consistent, but his results appear to be.FIP doesn’t only fail to credit the pitchers who manage their opponent’s batted ball velocity, it also fails to blame bad ones who consistently get hit hard.The league’s bottom five in that respect: the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Vance Worley (1.43 mph added to a ball’s exit velocity, compared with average); the Tampa Bay Rays’ Nate Karns (1.39 mph); the San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum (1.16 mph); the Kansas City Royals’ Yordano Ventura (1.11 mph); and the San Diego Padres’ James Shields (1.06 mph). Just as the best pitchers tended to be better than average even by FIP, these five are worse. And while the aces use the count to their advantage, these pitchers are liable to find themselves in hitter’s counts, which causes some of their problems in the first place.Their exit velocity stats are also worse because they serve up pitches down the middle of the plate. Batters crave these meatballs and can punish them for extra-base hits and home runs. When I took pitch location out of the model, the pitchers’ effects on batted ball velocities fell by 20 percent on average.8Location was added into the model with a quadratic term for horizontal and vertical coordinates after adjusting for the count.Ventura, the Royals’ young flamethrower, is a conspicuous member of this worst-in-the-league list. Like Worley and Karns, he tends to throw his four-seam fastball more often than the league average.9Using pitch tags generously supplied to me by Pitch Info. That’s significant because fastballs tend to get hammered the hardest (even adjusting for count and location). Ventura, and other fastball-heavy starters, run the risk of allowing harder contact and more hits.The idea that pitchers can, in fact, influence their BABIP is not new. Shortly after the initial publication of DIPS, Tom Tippett (currently employed by the Red Sox) wrote about how the best pitchers seemed to be able to control the probability that their struck pitches would fall for hits. Tippett had only anecdotal examples such as Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux, so the sabermetric community coalesced on the idea that they could be exceptions to a very reasonable rule.Now that we have Statcast’s data, we can see otherwise. No one will mistake Wei-Yin Chen for Pedro Martinez, but it appears that Chen can repeatably depress his opponent’s batted ball velocity, and a statistic such as FIP will fail to credit him for that skill.10Fortunately, new statistics such as Baseball Prospectus’ DRA (Deserved Run Average) do take into account all the events in which a pitcher plays a part. In fact, individual pitchers’ DRAs better correlate with the velocity suppression effects I calculated than their FIPs do, indicating that DRA is capturing some of this skill. Statcast’s data is beginning to challenge not only our views of specific players, but also some of the fundamental precepts of sabermetrics.Special thanks to Baseball Savant for the batted ball data; Pitch Info and Harry Pavlidis for the use of pitch tag data; and Jonathan Judge, Greg Matthews, Harry Pavlidis and Dan Turkenkopf for helpful comments and feedback.CORRECTION (May 22, 11:38 a.m.): An earlier version of this article stated that Wei-Yin Chen had a sizable gap between his ERA and FIP all four years in which he pitched in the league. That wasn’t true in 2013, when his ERA was slightly higher than his FIP.
Braxton for Heisman?Through the first nine weeks of the season, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer declined to consider his star sophomore quarterback, Braxton Miller, a candidate for this year’s Heisman Trophy. Following the team’s ninth consecutive victory on Saturday at Penn State, Meyer’s response changed.“I do believe Braxton’s a Heisman candidate,” Meyer said. “He has to play much better, however, from just sheer production on a team that’s 9-0, it puts him in that category.”Miller ranks 10th nationally with 2,620 yards of total offense and ranks fifth nationally with 1,093 rushing yards. The OSU quarterback has also 12 passing and 12 rushing touchdowns this season.Meyer said Miller’s progression as a quarterback this season is “on schedule.”“Somebody would say he should be a better thrower by now, and he should be,” Meyer said. “But there’s other areas of his game that have really improved.”Meyer said he does not know who the other candidates are but mentioned Kansas State senior quarterback Collin Klein and West Virginia senior quarterback Geno Smith when discussing the award.Meyer also named Miller as OSU’s offensive player of the week. Miller completed 7-of-19 passes for 143 yards with one touchdown and one interception against Penn State but also ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns.Miller also received recognition on a national level. Miller was announced on Monday as one of 16 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, an award recognizing the collegiate player of the year.Praise for Penn State performanceMeyer said he was proud of his team’s overall performance in their 35-23 road win in State College, Pa., on Saturday.“Our guys responded well in a very tough situation,” Meyer said. “Overall, very good team win … our best team win we’ve had.”Meyer said his Buckeyes are a “special” team.“They’re fighting for each other,” Meyer said. “It’s a refuse-to-lose type atmosphere.”Wide receivers coach Zach Smith said he did not foresee the Buckeyes starting out the season with a 9-0 record.“I think it’s a testament to just the commitment of a group of guys that refuse to lose a game,” Smith said. “I wouldn’t say that we are an undefeated football team that is sitting here just dominating people … There’s a lot of stuff we can improve at every position in every phase, but what you love to see is that teamwork and that cohesion of players that go out and win the game because they have the passion for each other and this university and ultimately the team.”Awards all around for BuckeyesSophomore outside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who had eight total tackles, two sacks, an interception returned for a touchdown and a forced fumble in Saturday’s win, was named the Big Ten co-defensive player of the week on Monday.In addition to Miller, two other Buckeyes were named as national semifinalists for major college football awards. Junior defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins was named one of 16 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which is awarded to college football’s outstanding defensive player of the year. Redshirt sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby, who was credited with four pass breakups in Saturday’s game, was also named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which recognizes the nation’s best defensive back.Meyer said Monday that Shazier and Roby were named OSU’s co-defensive players of the week. Sophomore wide receiver Devin Smith, who had two special teams tackles, was named special teams player of the week.Redshirt junior left tackle Jack Mewhort, junior left guard Andrew Norwell, senior right tackle Reid Fragel, redshirt senior tight end Jake Stoneburner, sophomore wide receiver Evan Spencer and junior running back Carlos Hyde were named as offensive champions along with Miller.Additionally, Meyer awarded redshirt sophomore Adam Griffin a “Scarlet Shirt” award for his efforts on special teams, which included a pass breakup on a fake punt pass.Griffin said being recognized for his effort “means a lot” to him.“It just lets you know that all the hard work you put in throughout practice and throughout camp is paying off,” Griffin said.Injury reportMeyer said redshirt senior outside linebacker Etienne Sabino, who has missed the last three games with a broken right fibula, is questionable for Saturday’s game versus Illinois.Aside from Sabino, however, Meyer said the team has a relatively clean bill of health.“Our trainers say we’re as healthy as we’ve been,” Meyer said.
OSU sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe (10) and freshman outside hitter Luisa Schirmer (5) go for a block during a game against FGCU on Sept. 5 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-1.Credit: Emily Yarcusko / For The LanternThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team is set to hit the road to continue a series of 10 consecutive away games.The Buckeyes are scheduled to travel to Oxford, Ohio, this weekend to compete in the Miami (Ohio) University Invitational.OSU (6-3) is scheduled to play the University of Alabama-Birmingham (3-8) on Friday at 4 p.m., followed by a doubleheader on Saturday with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (5-7) at 10 a.m. and tournament host Miami (Ohio) (5-4) at 7 p.m.Once the Buckeyes finish the final non-conference tournament of the season, they’ll be set to start Big Ten play. However, the Buckeyes aren’t scheduled to play a Big Ten opponent at home until Oct. 8 against Illinois.But senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger said she’s grown to like playing on the road throughout her career.“We look at it as road warriors,” Sekinger said. “It’s a different atmosphere and you get the crowd chanting against you, which gives you more motivation to play better.”Sophomore setter Maggie Heim added that playing more road games in front of “brutal” away crowds at the beginning of the year helps the team prepare for the season.OSU coach Geoff Carlston said the women are getting more comfortable with their offensive and defensive performances, but they cannot make the small errors like they did last weekend in the Millennium Hotel Invitational. OSU finished the tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, with two wins split by a loss to the Ohio Bobcats.“We made some untimely errors against Ohio, but we made some really great, really big plays against (Syracuse and Xavier),” Carlston said. “You can’t give points away. Teams are too good to be missing serves. We have to be aggressive, so we’re going to miss some serves, but we’re not missing back-to-back serves and serves at the end of games.”Once the Buckeyes conclude non-conference play, they are set to head to Minnesota and Wisconsin to open the Big Ten season. The Minnesota match is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m., while the Wisconsin match is set for Sept. 28 at 2 p.m.
Chris Packham has promoted the Big Tick ProjectCredit:Rex Features “As there seems to be a rise in tick numbers, we need to be concerned and be aware of the potential for increasing problems.”Pet owners in urban areas need to be as concerned as people walking dogs in more rural areas.”We did a survey recently where we looked at tick abundance in parks in cities and we found about 30 per cent of parks had ticks.”Particularly where there is woodland or areas of areas of long grass, there is a risk.” The Ixodes ricinus tick carries Lyme diseaseCredit:Scott Camazine /Alamy The team of scientists also identified a number of Dermacentor reticulatus ticks, which can transmit the potentially fatal disease canine babesiosis. These were collected from dogs in Wales and South West England.TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham, who has championed is part of the project, said: “The first thing that is striking about the results is that almost one in three dogs that were taken into vets and randomly tested were carrying ticks, which is shocking.”Also, these ticks were not just found in isolated parts of the UK, but all over the UK. “I would say that this is a tremendously significant project. It’s the largest of its kind ever conducted in the UK and it has been extensive. Dogs can become very unwell with babesiosis Pet owners in urban areas need to be as concerned as people walking dogs in more rural areasProfessor Richard Wall The number of dogs suffering tick bites has doubled in a year as vets warn 90 per cent could carry Lyme and other deadly diseases.Vets taking part in The Big Tick Project studied more than 12,000 dogs over a 16 week period in Spring 2015. Almost one third of the dogs, 31 per cent, were found to be carrying a tick, up from 15 per cent on a study in 2014.In the study, 89.2 per cent of the dogs with ticks were found to be infested with the species Ixodes ricinus which is the principal carrier of Lyme disease and Anaplasma. I’m on @WimbledonCommon tomorrow to launch #Tickawarenessmonth with @BigTickProject – https://t.co/seDyv4lTOS pic.twitter.com/hA7BcD0KcX— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) September 1, 2016 “It was well supported by vets and dog owners too and the data has been rigorously analysed by the University of Bristol.”This is good solid hard data which revealed some very shocking and surprising things about the distribution, the population and potential that ticks have to give diseases to our pets and ourselves.”The advice is very clear, go to your vet and speak to them about the most effective tick control for your pet.”Lyme disease in dogs can lead them to being lethargic, have swollen joints and nodes and can result in fatal kidney disease. Professor Richard Wall, from the University of Bristol said: “The work that we have carried out shows that ticks are extremely widely dispersed.”Everywhere across the UK we are likely to get a fairly high abundance of ticksat particular times of the year.”The records that we have got appear to show that we have had an increase intick numbers right across the country.”What we are primarily concerned about is the diseases that ticks carry. In the UK we have relatively low rates of the prevalence of these pathogens at the moment and in contrast in continental Europe they have much higher rates of disease. Symptoms for babesiosis, which is more serious, include lethargy, lack of appetite, fever, anemia, pale gums, an enlarged abdomen, weight loss and jaundice.Dogs which had died from babesiosis had previously been abroad, but the disease has now hit animals which haven’t left the British Isles. One of the dogs checked by vets during the study had 200 ticks.As part of The Big Tick Project, scientists from the University of Bristol mapped the ticks collected to build a picture of the current geographical spread of ticksin the UK and the resulting interactive map, searchable by postcode, shows the risk across the country on a scale of one to five.The data shows the highest prevalence of tick infestation is in South West England, East Anglia and Scotland, but levels are high throughout of Central and Northern England. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Ms Purcell, of St Albans, Hertfordshire, spoke in court only to confirm her name and indicate a not guilty plea to causing death by careless driving.She left court with two male companions using a newspaper to cover her face.Ms Purcell was released on unconditional bail and will next appear at Southwark Crown Court on October 11. Gail Purcell left Westminster magistrates’ court with two male companions using a newspaper to cover her faceCredit:Jack Hardy/PA Michael Goodwin, prosecuting, said it was a “serious” and “complex” case that should be heard in the crown court.The CDF and Cycling UK brought the private prosecution following donations from more than 1,600 supporters, who helped raise more than £60,000 towards case costs.The CDF, a campaigning body that defends the rights of cyclists, was set up in 2001 by Cycling UK in response to the case of Darren Coombes, a nine-year-old cyclist who suffered brain damage from a collision with a motorist.Duncan Dollimore, a CDF spokesman, said: “This is an important step towards what we hope will be justice for Mick Mason’s family.” A woman is to stand trial accused of causing the death of a cyclist after a crowdfunding appeal by the victim’s family raised £60,000 to fund a private prosecution.Gail Purcell, 58, allegedly hit cyclist Mick Mason from behind on February 25, 2014, causing a traumatic brain injury.The 70-year-old teacher was cycling home on Regent Street from Oxford Circus, in central London, at rush-hour when he was involved in a collision with Purcell’s Nissan Juke.Mr Mason suffered a serious brain injury and never regained consciousness, dying 19 days later after being taken off life support on March 14. Ms Purcell had stopped at the scene. The Metropolitan Police twice decided not to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.Mr Mason’s family members – including his daughter, BBC journalist Anna Tatton-Brown – decided to go ahead with a private prosecution. It is believed to be the first in a case of its kind.Ms Tatton-Brown attended the hearing at Westminster magistrates’ court on Tuesday supported by friends and colleagues, including BBC entertainment reporter Lizo Mzimba.A JustGiving page was set up by charity Cycling UK’s Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF) – a campaigning body which, in part, focuses on providing legal assistance to cyclists – to raise money for the legal costs. This is an important step towards what we hope will be justice for Mick Mason’s familyDuncan Dollimore, Cyclists’ Defence Fund Mick Mason was cycling home on Regent Street in central London when he was struck. Library imageCredit:Google Street View Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
A police dashcam filmed the dramatic moment a heroic police officer skillfully stopped an unconscious driver on a motorway.The driver was a mother who collapsed unconscious behind the wheel of a car with her baby in the back.PC Danny Pattison was on patrol when he got the call to say a Peugot 206 had been spotted driving erratically along the A42 and M1.The officer arrived close to junction 23 where he saw the runaway car weaving across all three lanes.In the video, the dashcam shows how PC Pattison skillfully rammed the car off the motorway before driving in front to stop it. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “I knew the only thing I could do is try and slow the car down but I also knew that could end badly.”But during the bit on the footage were she went towards the curb I felt helpless and my heart sank, which is why I made the decision not to wait for the other police cars to come to me and I had to force her into the barrier.”I gently pulled up alongside and began to push the car against the barrier and then as it slowed I pulled across the front of it.”The woman was still unconscious and her foot was on the accelerator but I managed to get it to stop.”After the dramatic rescue, PC Pattison’s colleague brought the woman out of her coma with a bar of chocolate he had with him for his lunch.Paramedics checked over the mother and child but either had any injuries. Pc Pattison said: “My colleague Tom, who was in the car behind, had effectively stopped any other cars passing me, giving me an open road in front.”I pulled up alongside and saw the woman with her head completely back, staring at the roof of the car. She was out, she was obviously unconscious.”Then I saw the child in the back, about 18 months old.”I thought: ‘This is going to end up with her and the baby getting killed’ so I ran through in my head all the options I had.
Right wing documents and books in the home of Thomas MairCredit:West Yorkshire Police A Nazi eagle found on Thomas Mair’s bookcase containing books about the Third ReichCredit:West Yorkshire Police Show more Emergency services at the scene of Jo Cox’s murder in Birstall, West YorkshireCredit:Ben Lack for The Telegraph He told jurors: “The comprehensive nature of the evidence does not mean the defence case is bereft of points to make.”We submit to you that those points have no sufficient substance to cause any dent to the prosecution case.”Defending Mair, Simon Russell Flint QC said the killing of Mrs Cox as she carried out her “public duties” had been “truly shocking and appalling”.He told the court: “She was brutally and callously murdered and there is no issue or dispute about that.” Mr Whittam went on to say it was fitting that the case had been held before another woman – whose statue holding the scales of justice adorns the Old Bailey.At the conclusion of the evidence, the scales were “weighted only one way”, he said.Mr Whittam said there was a “comprehensive” catalogue of evidence against Mair, including CCTV footage, the testimony of eyewitnesses, DNA and gunshot residue, ballistics and physical evidence. A gun that was presented in evidence during the trial of Thomas MairCredit:West Yorkshire Police The two extremes of humanity came face to face when far right fanatic Thomas Mair brutally murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, jurors have been told.The 53-year-old allegedly shot and stabbed the mother of two as she arrived at Birstall library, in West Yorkshire, for a surgery on June 16, a week before the EU referendum.The defendant, who allegedly shouted “Britain first”, had a stash of neo-Nazi material at his home and had collected a dossier on his 41-year-old Remain campaigning MP, the Old Bailey heard.On Tuesday afternoon, the judge, Mr Justice Wilkie, adjourned the case until 10am on Wednesday when he said he would finish summing up expert, medical and forensic evidence before asking the jury to retire to consider its verdict. At the conclusion of the prosecution case, his lawyer Simon Russell Flint, QC, called no evidence on behalf of Mair, of Lowood Lane, Birstall.In his closing speech, prosecutor Richard Whittam QC told jurors: “At 13.48 on the 16th of June in Market Street outside the public library in Birstall, the democratically-elected MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox, was murdered as she carried out her duties on behalf of her electorate.”Constituents were waiting to speak to her in the library.”The sheer brutality of her murder and the utter cowardice of her murderer bring the two extremities of humanity face to face.” Despite having the “element of surprise”, Mair failed in his first attempt and came back to shoot and stab Mrs Cox again, the court heard.Mr Whittam said: “Perhaps he underestimated Jo Cox’s tenacity and courage.”He said that all the evidence “compellingly establishes Thomas Mair was her murderer”. A knife that was presented in evidence during the trial of Thomas MairCredit:West Yorkshire Police Mair denies Mrs Cox’s murder, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon – a dagger.He also pleads not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to pensioner Bernard Kenny when he tried to stop the attack on Mrs Cox.The judge, Mr Justice Wilkie, said he would sum up the case for the jury this afternoon. Mr Russell Flint said: “Mrs Cox’s death, you know, has touched many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people, some who knew her and knew her well – her parents, her sibling, her husband, her children, not forgetting her friends and her colleagues who will forever be scarred by what happened to her in the street of that small West Yorkshire town on that June afternoon and will forever mourn her passing.”Addressing the jury, he said: “It is you and you alone who have been charged with the responsibility of determining what are the true verdicts on each of the counts on the indictment.”He added: “You and you alone will determine whether Thomas Mair can return to his quiet and solitary existence or will be forever remembered as the man who assassinated Jo Cox.” Mrs Cox was a hard-working MP and mother of two young children.Mr Whittam said her attack “brought out the best of the people who were with her” – the two members of staff and Birstall residents who came to her aid.They came from all walks of life, he said, including a taxi driver and a 77-year-old man who was wounded as he tried to intervene.Mr Whittam had suggested in his opening address that Mair’s assault was “cowardly”.He told jurors: “Now you have heard the evidence you may have no doubt that it was.” Show more Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Hundreds of people gather at Slapton Sands in Devon to get a glimpse of the Humpback Whale seen in the sea in the areaCredit:Paul Slater Images Ltd “I am convinced the adult whale is not well – it is too far south, and it’s in completely in the wrong place.”It should be in the middle of the Atlantic, and it’s rare to see one on its own.”I was really hoping it was a Minke whale, as we occasionally see them off the coast here, and they move through and they’re fine. But this is a humpback and it is obviously in trouble.”There is nothing we can do for it unfortunately, and the last thing we need is people going out in boats to take photos of it.”She fears the whale will ‘beach’ and get stranded.”At that point it would be game over. If that happens, the best thing would be for someone to go and put it out of its misery, anything else is just prolonging its suffering and stressing the animal out.” She said it is being harassed by boats after moving to Start Bay from Slapton Ley where it was sighted in mid-week.Harassment of whales can result in a £5,000 fine or even a prison sentence through the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.The Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority promised to be on scene shortly to police the area.It’s feared Storm Doris has blown the gentle giant and her calf to the West Country coast. Humpback whales are one of the biggest creatures on the planet.They can grow up to thirty tons and stretch to 50ft in length, but it seems her strength wasn’t enough to withstand Dotty.She was first spotted floundering in the storm-lashed waves 100 yards off the coast at Slapton Ley earlier this week.Though its cavernous mouth could swallow a car, it is totally harmless – it loves to hoover up a ‘soup’ of millions of micropscopic plankton with every gulp.Humpbacks cover vast distances – often spending part of the year in Antarctica then deserting the South Pole to swim up towards the seas around the North Pole, sometimes pitching up in Beitish waters. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Police have warned whale enthusiasts to stay away from a humpback spotted off the south Devon coast. Dozens of sightseers have been scrambling aboard boats to get close enough to take photos of the whale after she was swept towards the shore with her baby.Crowds have been drawn to the area, but a police spokesman said: “Please do not go anywhere near it on a boat”.Wildlife expert Linda Hingley, from Brixham Seawatch, said she believes the mother whale is is lost.She said the noise from boat engines will add to the mother whale’s distress and disorientation and reduce their chances of survival. Concerns are growing for a rare whale and its calf which has been spotted close into shore at a British beauty spotCredit: MIKE LANGMAN/APEX