How a British teenager’s summer holiday in Cyprus turned into rape case nightmare

It was intended to be a sun-soaked working holiday, a rite of passage between finishing school and starting university. Instead, it turned into a nightmare.

When a British teenager arrived in the hedonistic party town of Ayia Napa in Cyprus in early July, her plan was to get a job, have fun and – in her own words – do some “growing up”.

Hoping to find work in a bar or handing out flyers for the resort’s raucous nightclubs, the 18-year-old found accommodation at the two-star Pambos Napa Rocks Hotel in the heart of Ayia Napa.

It was arranged through a company called Summer Takeover, which promises “heavy nights” and “madness” for youngsters who sign up.

The low-rise hotel, which packs in hundreds…

British caver ‘a hero’ and should have won libel case against Elon Musk, friends say

A British caver who last year helped in the rescue of a Thai football team remains “a hero” and should have won his libel case against the “publicity-seeking” Elon Musk, his friends and fellow rescuers have said. 

Vernon Unsworth sought £145m in damages from the Tesla founder, arguing in court that his “defamatory” tweet calling him a “pedo guy” after the rescue of the 12 boys and their football coach damaged his reputation.

However, a Los Angeles jury on Friday unanimously ruled in favour of Mr Musk, worth an estimated £18 billion, as the judge said that the comments did not meet the legal standard for defamation.

The pair became embroiled in a row after Mr Unsworth, an experienced cave explorer,…

British orphans rescued from Islamic State ‘in good spirits’ as they return home

British orphans rescued from Syria have had an emotional reunion with relatives in the UK and appear to be in “good spirits” after four years trapped in Islamic State’s caliphate.

The children were greeted by family members at the airport in London and slept in the car on the way home, said to be tired after a long journey. 

The children, whom The Telegraph is not identifying for legal reasons, boarded a plane from Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan to London on Thursday night, escorted by officials from the Foreign Office.

A day earlier they were retrieved from Syria with the help of British special forces.

“They immediately recognised the family members and family home on their arrival,” according to an account provided to a court hearing an order relating to their case.

They had breakfast with their families on Friday and seemed to be upbeat.

“They have settled into the home and appear to be as happy as they possibly could be given the circumstances of their return,” it was heard. 

They were discovered earlier this year alone in a camp for the families of suspected Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) members.

Speaking mostly in Arabic, they remembered little about their family and could not give their surname.

Their parents and siblings were killed earlier this year in air strikes on the last of Isil’s territory in eastern Syria.

The repatriation marked the first by the Government of British nationals out of the war-torn country and followed pressure by the US and partner forces on the ground. It is not yet clear whether any further evacuations will follow, however, dozens of British women and their children remain stranded in camps across Kurdish-held north-east Syria.

Speaking during a campaign stop in Workshop, Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to indicate that he was open to more repatriations, where possible. 

"I think the situation in Syria is very difficult and very dangerous and I think it has been a great success that some orphaned children have been brought back," he said.

"But I think it would be over-optimistic frankly to say that we could do it in every single case – the military, logistical difficulties involved are very considerable but what I’ve said is that where the Government can help then it should help."

The women been held with their children in the camps for months, and in some cases, years without charge. The mothers, who are in the custody of Western-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), stand accused of travelling to the war-torn country to join Isil.

The SDF has refused to try them, while the UK Government is blocking their return, making it unclear whether they will ever have their day in court. They exist in limbo in al-Hol camp, which is home to some 68,000 women and children, and nearby Roj camp, which is home to around to around 4,000.

One British woman, Naseema Begum from east London, whom the Telegraph spoke to during a recent visit to Roj camp, said she had been there since 2017. Others, including Bethnal Green schoolgirl Shamima Begum, since February. The majority arrived earlier this year after escaping from Isil’s final pocket of Baghuz.

Aid agencies with access to the camps say they are no place for children. In summer, temperatures can reach 50 degrees, in winter into the minuses. The hastily built tents barely protect them from the wind and rain.

Aside from the physical hardships, the children in the camps continue to be exposed to Isil’s violent ideology.

 

Jeremy Hunt says Simon Cheng should be given full UK residency rights and British passport

The British embassy official who says he was tortured by the Chinese secret police should be given full UK residency rights and a British passport, former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.

Mr Hunt, the foreign secretary in Theresa May’s Government until July, said that he had been following the case of Simon Cheng Man-kit, who disappeared in China for more than two weeks in August. 

Mr Cheng told the Daily Telegraph that Chinese state security locked him in an iron chair, threatened to charge him with espionage and demanded he confess that the UK government was instigating protests in Hong Kong. 

Mr Hunt said: "I hope we are going to give him a full British passport with full resident’s…

British Army veteran Andrew Neal cleared after spending year in UAE jail on drugs charges

A British Army veteran has been cleared of supplying drugs in the United Arab Emirates after more than a year in detention, his family has said. 

Andrew Neal, a 44-year-old father of two, was arrested in Dubai in October 2018 on what advocacy group Detained In Dubai called “baseless drug charges”. 

Mr Neal, who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia, is waiting to hear when he will be released. 

The group claims that Dubai police searched Mr Neal’s car and flat, but did not find any drugs in his bloodstream or in his possession.

He was arrested solely on the basis of an informant’s statement, which was later retracted. Police took him straight to the home of a Dutchman and asked him to ring the doorbell, the group said.

The apartment was immediately swarmed and two people were arrested for drug possession. 

Mr Neal, who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia, is waiting to hear when he will be released

The police prepared a statement for Mr Neal in Arabic, which he does not read, and made him sign by fingerprint. He later discovered that the document was a confession saying that he had purchased drugs from the Dutchman and sold them, despite his repeated denials of any involvement.

Mr Neal was kept in a Dubai prison for five months before being transferred to a prison in Abu Dhabi where he has been held since, despite promises of release.

His parents, Sue and Maurice, said they were relieved he was being freed.

"We would like to thank everyone for their support (and) we just want him home," they said.  “We are ecstatic that Andy has been acquitted, but this should never have happened,” said Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai, who represents Mr Neal.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who have been supporting Neal, said, “Our staff continue to offer advice and support to [his family], and remain in close contact with his legal team and the UAE authorities.”

Mr Neal earned 14 medals throughout his 24-year service. He moved to Dubai in 2015 with his family to run a dog-training company. 

The British tea growers in Kenya facing ‘Zimbabwe-style’ land grabs

It seemed like a sensible way out of a spot of local bother. With a querulous clan of local mystics threatening the social order of Kenya’s tea country back in the 1930s, the colony’s British overlords thought they had hit on the obvious solution: deport the lot of them.

Decades after the end of Empire, that decision is now threatening to unleash Britain’s gravest tea-related crisis since a group of American bootleggers tipped chests of the stuff into Boston Harbour in 1773.

The forced eviction of the Talai people in 1934 lies at the heart of a simmering dispute over colonial-era land grievances that could lead to severe tea shortages in Britain if a powerful regional politician in western Kenya gets…