Newspaper review: Dementia cash, coma conman, and Pistorius jailed

An NHS scheme which would see GPs paid £55 for each case of dementia they diagnose features prominently in several of Wednesday's papers.

It is the front-page lead in the Daily Telegraph, which reports the scheme - dubbed "cash for diagnosis" - forms part of an NHS England drive to improve the identification of people with dementia.

But the paper finds opposition from doctors and patients' groups.

One GP, Dr Iona Heath from north London, is quoted as saying the scheme is "an intellectual and ethical travesty", while the Patients' Association said the payments represented "a bounty on the heads of certain patients" and could be "rewarding poor GPs".

The Sun quotes a representative of the group Patient Concern describing the payments as "a bribe".

According to the Times, doctors will be required to identify those patients at risk from dementia - "such as people over 60 who smoke, drink or eat too much, and give them memory tests".

George McNamara of the Alzheimer's Society told the Daily Mail they welcomed "any step towards improving diagnosis", but payments were "only part of the answer".

But the Daily Express offers a cautionary tale in the form of 88-year-old Winnie Hill, who it says was wrongly diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Having sold her house to pay for care, Mrs Hill's family sought a second opinion after her condition showed no sign of worsening. The Express says she was found to have a "mild cognitive impairment" from which patients can make a full recovery.


Fallen idol

The jailing of South African athletics star Oscar Pistorius attracts plenty of coverage in the UK papers. The amputee sprinter known as the Blade Runner was sentenced to five years in prison by a judge in Pretoria after she found him guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

"The Last Lap" is the Guardian's front-page headline, above a picture of Pistorius inside a police van as he is transferred from the court to begin his sentence.

He killed the 29-year model by shooting four times through a locked toilet door at his home last year having mistaken her for an intruder.

Image copyright AFP

On the inside pages, David Smith charts the downfall of the 27-year-old - "from the adulation of an Olympic stadium to sobbing on the witness stand of his own murder trial".

Several papers remark on the length of the sentence. The Daily Mirror reports that Pistorius could be free after serving one-sixth of the five years - 10 months.

It quotes Miss Steenkamp's cousin Kim Martin as saying the jail term was not enough because "I just think Reeva's life was worth more than that".

The Sun believes the runner was "let off". "If Oscar Pistorius served five years in jail for killing Reeva Steenkamp, we'd think it about right," the paper says. "The fact the he could do just 10 months is a mockery of justice", the editorial adds.

Yet the Daily Mail explains Miss Steenkamp's father Barry "felt 'very glad' it was over and was 'satisfied' with the punishment meted out to his daughter's killer".

The Daily Telegraph says Pistorius has been put in a single cell in the hospital wing of Pretoria Central Prison, which houses 7,000 prisoners "including the apartheid death squad leader Eugene de Kock, known as 'Prime Evil'".

The Independent describes the prison as a "hell hole", and that if Pistorius does serve 10 months there, it will be "only a little longer than the course of his trial".


Image copyright AFP

The Duchess of Cambridge's resumption of public duties having suffered severe morning sickness while expecting her second child is seized on gratefully by tabloid and broadsheet alike.

"I've been looking forward to getting out of the house - that's for sure" the duchess is reported by the Daily Mirror as having told Singaporean President Tony Tan, who is on a state visit to the UK.

The Daily Telegraph says Catherine "looked happy and relaxed - despite the blustery conditions" as she greeted the president and his wife at their hotel close to the royal couple's home at Kensington Palace in west London.

Many of the papers show the duchess in a blue Jenny Packham dress she wore to a function on Tuesday evening at the Natural History Museum in London. The sharp-eyed Daily Express believes it saw "the first tiny signs of a baby bump in a figure-hugging outfit".

The Daily Mail though chooses an arguably less flattering picture of Catherine in a suit and hat taken earlier in the day - with the front-page headline "after seven weeks of morning sickness, the face of a three-month pregnant Kate".


Coma conman

Several papers report on the case of a conman who managed to evade justice for two years by claiming to be in a coma.

The Daily Mirror leads with the story of 47-year-old Alan Knight from Swansea, who has admitted stealing more than £41,000 from an elderly neighbour.

Image copyright Wales News Service

"For two years the conman had pretended to be a quadriplegic so ill that he would frequently drift off into a coma," the paper reports.

"All along he was trying to avoid a court case for fleecing his dementia-suffering neighbour," the Mirror adds.

The Times says Knight was living off benefits after claiming to have been left with no movement from the neck down "after falling backwards while pulling down a garage door, snapping his neck".

But he also claimed to be caring for his 85-year-old neighbour Ivor Richards, adds the Times, while draining £41,570 from his accounts between 2008 and 2011, "spending the money on a caravan and holidays in Dorset and Cardigan".

Yet Knight was finally caught out when "he was captured on CCTV walking in Tesco stores 'from Cardigan to Christchurch'", reports the Sun.

The Daily Express says Knight appeared before Swansea Crown Court "in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace". The judge trying the case told the jury he did not believe "the symptoms are genuine".

Knight admitted theft and forgery, says the Daily Telegraph, and was remanded in custody. He was told he was "likely" to be jailed.


Pictures have been snapped up by the some of the papers which show the cast of the new Dad's Army movie filming on location in Bridlington, East Yorkshire.

The Daily Express says the "ramshackle ranks of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard went into action" on Tuesday, nearly 50 years after the sitcom first aired on the BBC.

The Times provides its readers with pictures of modern-day cast members and their original series counterparts. So we see Toby Jones (here on the right) playing bumbling platoon leader Capt Mainwaring with an inset of the original actor, Arthur Lowe (here on the left).

The Daily Telegraph is more interested in Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, saying she is the "pick of the bunch" among a cast including Tom Courtenay as the town's butcher Cpl Jones and Inbetweeners star Black Harrison as "silly boy" Pte Pike.

But there is some confusion at the Daily Mail as to why Sir Michael Gambon - playing Pte Godfrey (he of the sister Dolly) - "is on parade in flowers and a grass skirt".

"Perhaps he might not have fully understood an order from Capt Mainwaring", the paper concludes.


Gonzalo's aftermath

Ex-Hurricane Gonzalo is not front-page news for all the papers, but it is for the Daily Express, which headlines "100mph killer storms", saying that forecasters are warning "more wind and rain is on the way".

Image copyright Various

"Three are killed as 108mph Gonzalo bludgeons Britain", says the Daily Mail. It also reports that two children aged five were taken to hospital with head injuries after concrete blocks fell though the ceiling of their primary school in Surrey.

The Guardian reports one woman was killed by a falling tree in London, while two others deaths were attributed to the weather; a man died in Essex when the van he was repairing fell on top of him; and a 63-year-old man was killed when a car hit a bridge in Merseyside.

With a picture of a Dash-8 turboprop aircraft making a crabbing approach to Leeds-Bradford airport in West Yorkshire, the Daily Telegraph says many trees were brought down because they "had more leaves than usual following the mild autumn".

Gusts of up to 88mph were recorded in Oban, western Scotland, says the Independent, with the strongest winds recorded at Blackpool, Lancashire.

The forecast for Wednesday is for gales in the north and rain moving east across northern parts, reports the Times.


Story with bite

As many a parent will attest, getting children to brush their teeth properly is no easy task, even if you give them toothbrushes shaped like crocodiles.

With 12% of three-year-olds showing signs of tooth decay, the Independent says nursery-age children should be given lessons in how to brush their teeth "to counter a worsening dental health crisis in the most socially disadvantaged sections of the population".

Image copyright PA

"Parents are not doing a good enough job", reports the Times. Supervised brushing schemes are needed, according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The Daily Telegraph says the proposals would require schools to help their pupils brush their teeth at the start and end of each day.

The Independent quotes Prof Mike Kelly of NICE: "As a society we should help parents and carers give their children the best start in life and act now to stop the rot before it starts."

The Daily Mail is not convinced, deeming the proposals redolent of the "nanny state", but goes on to quote a professor of dentistry who has "personally seen a three-year-old have a 'clearance'... where every tooth is taken out" as a result of decay.

And the Daily Express reports a study from July which found rotten teeth was "the top cause of hospital admissions among young children in the previous year".


Making them click

The Times - British couple die after 'overdose' at Agra hotel

Daily Telegraph - Renee Zellweger: what has happened to her face?

Daily Mail - What HAS Renee Zellweger done to her face? Bridget actress looks utterly unrecognisable as she steps out with her boyfriend in LA

Daily Mirror - Renee Zellweger's changing face: Actress has 'fillers, botox and eye bag removal' according to leading plastic surgeon

The Guardian - Nothing is wrong with Renee Zellweger's face. There's something wrong with us

The Independent - Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'