The Spectator

Barometer | 27 September 2018

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Beastly crimes

Police in Croydon stopped investigating a series of cat killings after concluding that foxes were likely to blame. Other crimes which turned out to be the work of animals:

— In 2016 a crow named Canuck swooped down and took a knife which Vancouver police had been guarding as evidence. A year later Canuck attacked a postman.

— In 2008, a vandal was suspected of repeatedly fusing the lights at an aquarium in Coburg, Germany, putting many creatures at risk. In fact it was an octopus called Otto who found he could extinguish the light on his tank by squirting water at it.

— Novelist Michael Peterson served eight years in jail for murdering his wife in North Carolina in 2001. He was freed after experts said marks on her scalp were consistent with the talons of an owl, which may have attacked her and caused her to slip on stairs.

Red and blue cities

As Conservatives head to Birmingham, in which of the usual conference cities would they feel least unwelcome, according to the 2017 general election result? Figures show the number of Labour votes for every Conservative one across all constituencies:

Liverpool

8.27

Manchester

7.03

Birmingham

2.52

Brighton

1.47

Blackpool

1.01

Bournemouth

0.68

Femmes fatales

The Met Office began its sixth season of named storms with Storm Ali. In the US, a study at the University of Illinois found that over six decades female-named storms were more deadly than male storms:

MALE

MPH

Dylan

96

Conor

94

Ali

91

Henry

90

Barney

85

Brian

85

Fionn

85

Frank

85

Angus

84

Jake

83

Desmond

81

Ewan

75

Average

86

FEMALE

MPH

Katie

106

Gertrude

105

Eleanor

100

Clodagh

97

Imogen

96

Doris

94

Caroline

93

Georgina

85

Abigail

84

Aileen

83

Barbara

83

Eva

83

Average

92

Lease resistance

New rules will make it easier for leasehold owners to acquire the freehold or a share of it. How many properties are leasehold?

Detached houses

4%

Semi-detached and terraces

8%

Flats

93%

In total

15%

In a 2016 survey, 57% of leasehold owners said they regretted their purchase.

Source: MHCLG