The disappearing man: who was the real John Stonehouse?

November 1974 was the month to disappear. On the 7th, Lord Lucan went missing, and a fortnight later John Stonehouse MP dis-appeared from a beach in Miami. Lucan was never found, so remains prominent in our national mythology. Nothing endures like a mystery. Stonehouse, on the other hand, was discovered in Melbourne six weeks later, living under an assumed name. His vanishing trick, so carefully rehearsed, had unravelled — partly due to Lucan, as it happened. Having been alerted to a suspicious Briton by a beady bank clerk, the Australian police thought he might be Lucan. Their first act after arresting their suspect was to lift his trouser leg to

Sacrificing to the false god of gold

Deep in Peru’s Amazon rainforest sits a desolate zone, stretching for miles and pockmarked with chemical-tainted water that glistens orange and blue. This was the centre of the country’s illegal gold-mining operations, where tens of thousands of desperate people dug into the soil in search of a precious mineral that could make the difference between destitution and wealth. For every ounce found in the crime-infested badlands, nine tonnes of toxic waste are thought to be left behind in an environmental catastrophe that will contaminate the region for decades. No wonder Pope Francis, on a visit to the impoverished area, called gold ‘a false god’ when so much wreckage is left