Saturday, 16 November 2013


Former Borno state governor, Senator Ali Modu Sherrif has added another airplane to his fleet with his latest acquisition being a new Gulfstream jet G650 model that cost him an estimated $72 million (N11.5 billion) and topped the chart of top 10 private jet owners in Nigeria.

Registered in Dubai with special specifications, the aircraft is the fourth in his fleet, as he already has three old Dornier aircraft which he acquired from Aero Contractors at an estimated $3 million (N480 million).

The actions of the former governor, who has been alleged to fund the terrorist Boko Haram sect in North-eastern Nigeria, on the new aircraft, has been described by a Nigerian pilot as unpatriotic.

According to him, by registering the aircraft overseas, Sheriff had denied Nigeria taxes and import duty on the aircraft.

No Nigerian pilot or engineer would also be employed to operate or work on the aircraft because with the foreign registration, only pilots and engineers licensed in the United Arab Emirates would be authorised to operate and service the aircraft.

“By registering the aircraft overseas, he has avoided tax and import duty, which he should pay to a country where he is a citizen and from which he made the money which he now spends on a foreign crew,” he said.

According to US-based Forbes magazine, the Gulfstream G650 has an order book of 200 customers throughout the world.

Gulfstream described the aircraft as ultra-high-speed, ultra-long-range business jet and the gold standard in business aviation.

The model was introduced in 2008 with a capacity for eight passengers and a crew of four on nonstop legs of 7,000 nautical miles (12,964 km) for standard configuration.

“That means it will link Dubai with New York and London with Buenos Aires. With its powerful Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, the G650 will cover shorter distances at a speed of Mach 0.925.

No traditional business jet will take you closer to the speed of sound,” Gulfstream said on its website.

See the list of top 10 Private Jet Owners in Nigeria below:

10. Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. No of Jets: 1. Type: Bombardier 607

9. Folorunsho Alakija. No of Jets: 1. Type: Bombardier Express

8. Governor Aliyu (Niger State). No of Jets: 1. Type: Gulfstream V

7. Pastor E.A. Adeboye. No of Jets: 1. Type: Gulfstream V

6. Governor Godswill Akpabio. No of Jets: 1. Type: Gulfstream V

5. Governor Rotimi Amaechi. No of Jets: 1. Type: Bombardier Global

4. Dr. Mike Adenuga. No of Jets: 2. Types: Falcon 7X, Bombardier 604

3. Aliko Dangote. No of Jets: 2. Types: Bombardier Global Express (2)

2. Bishop Oyedepo. No of Jets: Gulfstream 1, Gulfstream G450, Bomardier 604 & Gulfstream 5 – G550

1. Gulfstream G650, 3 Dornier

Jungle Justice in Ghana!!!!!!!!!!!

A man believed to be in his late thirties was lynched at Ashaiman New Town yesterday after he attempted to rob an MTN sales point at gunpoint. He was in the company of two others during the robbery operation but he was not lucky, as he was grabbed by an angry mob and subsequently beaten and set on fire. The robber, who gave his name as Romeo, claimed to be a resident of Kasoa Barrier in the Central Region.A Nigerian gang member who resides at Ashaiman Tulaku barrier, according to the deceased, gave information about the sales point. A security man, sales personnel and a customer were held hostage by the robbers at the sales point, which had recently experienced two separate robberies, with the robbers taking away thousands of Ghana Cedis. The robbers demanded money and other valuables, while one waited in a blue-black Toyota Corolla saloon car in front of the sales point, after they had entered the place at about 8:30am under the pretext of transacting business. Linda Asamoah, a sales attendant, was in the inner chamber of the sales point which had been divided into two with glass. This prevented the robbers from entering where the money was being kept. Linda made a quick phone call to a friend nearby who promptly raised the alarm which attracted the crowd. The driver of the get-away car, sensing danger, drove off, leaving his colleagues in the office block, upon hearing the alarm. However, one of the robbers managed to jump on top of the bonnet of the vehicle and fled with the driver.While escaping, the driver fired shots, with a bullet hitting a glass door of another shop, Maranatha Photo and Barbering Salon, near the scene. Luck however eluded Romeo, who was not able to catch up quickly with the vehicle, as he was pursued by the mob after he took to his heels from the sales point until he was apprehended. Petrol Blaze He was subjected to severe beatings with clubs, metals, golf bats and cement blocks among other implements before finally being set ablaze and left to burn in the middle of the street. Romeo, however, managed to roll over his body until the fire went out while bleeding profusely, mostly from his head. The incident attracted hundreds of persons who thronged the scene to either unleash their anger on the suspect or catch a glimpse of the deceased after he was killed. Linda Asamoah, the sales girl, narrated to DAILY GUIDE: “I was at the office when one robber came that he wanted to receive mobile money transfer and I told him the network was down so he should go and return later.” According to her, another armed robber came to join his colleague, pulled out a pistol and quickly demanded money and other items. On his part, Romeo jumped over the counter after they had locked themselves in one of the glass apartments. She further narrated: “It was when he was trying to open the glass door to where we kept the money that I called a friend who shouted ‘thief, thief’ before the area boys came around.” Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Emmanuel Tetteh Yarkah confirmed the incident to DAILY GUIDE, and added that the police arrived to find the lifeless body of the suspected robber in a pool of blood. According to him, the corpse had been conveyed to the Police Hospital morgue in Accra for possible identification, further investigations and autopsy. He noted that upon preliminary investigations, the police retrieved a pistol and live ammunition in a bag which was abandoned on the street by the deceased while he was running away from the fuming mob. Ashaiman Newtown and its environs are under frequent siege by armed robbers, putting the area youth under constant alert.

Nigeria's booming illegal oil refineries

Will Ross got a rare look at an illegal oil refinery in Nigeria
The vegetation ended abruptly and the colour of the landscape turned from green to black. I was getting a rare look at the booming trade in refined stolen crude oil in southern Nigeria.
"Here is our business place," a man, who did not want to give his real name but asked to be called Edward, told me as we walked around a remote, heavily polluted palm-tree fringed creek in Ogoniland in the Niger Delta.
"We use these to go and collect our natural resources - our crude oil," he said, pointing to a locally carved boat lying on its side.
In the middle of the night, to avoid detection, they break into the multinational oil companies' pipelines and help themselves.

Start Quote

We settle with the army people. If they see money in your hand they will take that”
EdwardIllegal oil dealer
Dotted along the creek were dozens of large drums used for boiling up the crude oil.
They had pipes protruding from them leading to troughs into which the products are collected; kerosene and petrol for the local market and diesel which is taken away on barges or inland on trucks by traders.
Next to each home-made refinery are pits full of bitumen which is sold to road construction companies.
"Almost 400 people work here and every night we produce around 11,000 litres of diesel," said 32-year-old Edward, adding that his elder brothers had learnt all about the business in Bakassi, near the Cameroonian border with Nigeria.
The work is dangerous.
They have to be extremely careful to ensure the waste product - gas - does not ignite and cause an inferno.
Most people feel they are not benefiting from the oil wealth  Most people who live in the creeks of the Niger Delta do not benefit from the oil wealth
"It is so dangerous but there is nothing else we can do in order to make a living," said a 25-year-old man who asked me to call him Andy.
"Many of our brothers have died and are injured. We also get diseases from it and get rashes on the body."
I was told the last fatality was in 2011.
The military is supposed to be stopping all this and some operations have been disrupted but the effort is seriously hampered by the desire to get in on the action.
"We settle with the army people. If they see money in your hand they will take that," Edward said.
"If not they will take products from you. If we have 10 drums we will give them two," he said, adding, "It's very normal."
Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the London Financial Times recently that the trade in stolen crude had led to a 17% drop in official oil sales in April - equivalent to around 400,000 barrels a day.
That is a whopping $1.2bn (£772m) lost in a month. This includes oil that was not stolen but stayed underground as a result of shut downs due to break-ins.
Shell puts this figure for the entire Niger Delta at around 150,000 barrels per day.
The huge discrepancy is a sign of how difficult it is to get the facts in the murky world of Nigerian oil.
Oil theft is not new here. Before the 2009 amnesty that pacified the Niger Delta, militants used to break into the pipelines to get money to buy weapons.
The peace has enabled the oil companies to significantly increase their oil production - which means much more money for the government.
So for now the oil theft might be seen as a relatively minor irritant.
'False pipes'
But how wise is it to allow lawlessness to continue in an already neglected, fragile region of Nigeria so critical to the nation's economy?
Oil heads in the Niger DeltaThere is concern about the environmental damage oil spills cause to the region
The government is setting up a task force which will also include officials from oil companies as well as the military.
But few analysts expect concrete action - too many people are benefiting, including former militants.
Most of the stolen crude is pumped straight from the pipeline onto barges which then transfer the valuable load onto ships waiting off shore - an operation known as bunkering. These ships then head to refineries around the world.

Start Quote

It is like a business in the community - even some of the chiefs are involved”
Mpaka JackShell official
"It is a huge problem and it is only getting worse," says Philip Mshelbila of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.
"For us we lose somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000 barrels a day to crude theft and this is only what is lost in the metered sections of our pipeline. The large proportion we think ends up in refineries around the world."
The oil companies' hands are tied, as they do not have the power to arrest anyone or to intervene.
They have to rely on the military response, which is clearly ineffective.
It is widely believed that powerful politicians are also involved in the business.
Shell says in an effort to stop the theft it is now constructing its new pipelines 4m underground and is covering them with a slab of concrete.
It is also laying pipes within "false pipes" to make the work of the men with hacksaws harder.
'Quite brilliant'
In addition to the impact on its profits, Shell is also keen to point out the environmental damage caused by the oil theft and illegal refining.
An illegal oil refinery photographed from the airFrom the air, the illegal refineries are more visible
This is an issue for which Shell itself has been lambasted following numerous well-publicised oil spills of its own.
Last week Nigeria's oil regulator proposed fining Shell $5bn over a 40,000 barrel oil spill in the Atlantic Ocean last December.
I flew with officials from Shell over some of the affected areas of the Niger Delta.
From the air you see not only the scale of the oil theft - there are dozens of similar sites to the one I visited - but also the oil sheen on the water and the complex labyrinth of creeks and channels which the men involved in the illicit business use to their advantage.
"They are quite brilliant at it. They are hard to detect because there are so many creeks, you can't block all of them and these guys are native to the area - they know all the creeks," said Mpaka Jack, who is in charge of surveillance of the Shell pipelines.
Soldiers in a boat in the Niger Delta (archive shot)The oil companies rely on the military to police the lawless Niger Delta
The company has contracted more than 9,000 people to keep watch of the pipes but it admits there is a possibility that some of these workers turn a blind eye for a cut of the illegal business pie.
"If the military Joint Task Force is really committed and with help from the communities we can bring this to the barest minimum. But without that commitment it won't happen because it is like a business in the community - even some of the chiefs are involved," Mr Jack said.
Back at the refinery Edward and his brother Andy headed home to get some sleep before another night shift.
Both men said they would like to find a way out of the business but saw no options in an area which has seen little development despite the billions of dollars that were pumped from the now abandoned Shell wells dotted around the village.
"I finished my secondary school with two A grades and seven credits. But I had no financial support to continue my education so I'm just doing this business with my brothers," said Andy.
It seems somewhat ironic that in a place so rich in resources, poverty is trapping people in this dangerous, illegal business.

Rival Libya militias in fresh clashes near Tripoli

People carry a man who injured when Libyan militiamen opened fire into a crowd of protesters in Tripoli 15 November, 2013Many died and hundreds were wounded in fighting following a protest against a militia on Friday
Fresh fighting has broken out between rival Libyan militias on the outskirts of the capital, Tripoli, after at least 43 people died in clashes on Friday.
The latest violence in the suburb of Tajoura pits local militiamen against incoming fighters from Misrata.
Friday's clashes occurred after protesters marched on the headquarters of the Misrata militia to demand that it leave Tripoli, and were fired upon.
The government is struggling to contain militias who control parts of Libya.
'Very tense'
On Saturday Prime Minister Ali Zeidan confirmed that fresh fighting had been taking place in Tajoura.
He urged all sides to "exercise maximum restraint", adding: "No forces from outside Tripoli should attempt to enter the city because the situation is very tense and could escalate further."
Ali Zeidan (L) in Tripoli press conference, 16 NovemberAli Zeidan (left) warned militiamen outside Tripoli not to come into the capital
AFP quoted Mr Zeidan as saying: "The coming hours and days will be decisive for the history of Libya and the success of the revolution."
The BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says Tajoura is seen as the gateway to the capital and the latest fighting was sparked when an armed convoy from Misrata entered it in an apparent attempt to make its way to the centre.
She says armed groups halted the convoy, which retreated 15km (9 miles) away, but that live rounds are still being exchanged.
Government-linked militias have set up checkpoints across the capital as security is tightened for the funerals of many of those killed on Friday.
Officials have updated the death toll from Friday's violence from 31 to 43. About 500 people were wounded.
Friday's fighting began after demonstrators marched on the headquarters of the Misrata brigades in the Ghargour district.
Misrata is about 200km to the east of the capital.
Mr Zeidan said the protest march had been "peaceful and came under fire when it entered Ghargour".
However, Libya's al-Ahrar television quoted Taher Basha Agha, the head of the Misrata militia at Ghargour, as saying that the protesters were armed.
"It was not a peaceful demonstration. They carried light arms and shot at us," he was quoted as saying.
Witnesses said the militiamen had initially fired to ward off the protesters, some of whom were children, but shot at the crowd when it continued to advance.
Other witnesses said armed men returned hours later to storm the militia HQ, with some buildings set on fire.
It is unclear how many casualties were caused at the initial protest and at the later fighting.
It is also unclear whether the attack on the Misrata militia HQ expelled the fighters there or whether they are still in place.
The militia was involved in clashes in the capital last week which left two people dead.
There have been increasing demands from civilians that the militias - which emerged during the 2011 revolution - disband or join the army, in line with an end-of-year deadline set by the interim government in Tripoli.
Some militiamen have been given salaries and taken into the government security forces but many still remain loyal to their own commanders.
Last month, Mr Zeidan was briefly seized by a militia group in Tripoli.
Two years after the overthrow of Col Muammar Gaddafi, Libya still has no constitution and divisions between secular and Islamist forces have paralysed parliament.
Culled from BBC


Newcastle defender Steven Taylor has apologised for any offence caused by a tweet to black teammates which said 'it's always good to see you guys smiling'.
Taylor's message included a picture of four black men, one of whom seemed to be an African tribesman.
It was reported that the tweet, which has now been deleted, was in response to teasing of his attempt to learn French by teammate Massadio Haidara, 20.
Enlarge Tweet: Steven Taylor deleted the tweet and apologised to his followers
Tweet: Steven Taylor deleted the tweet and apologised to his followers
Taylor included the Twitter accounts of fellow Newcastle players Papiss Cisse, 28, Moussa Sissoko, 24, and Vurnon Anita in his reply to Haidara.
The message was met with fury on Twitter by football fans. Dominic Campbell tweeted: 'How, in any world, would that not cause offence? In what reality do you live in where that was acceptable?'
Massadio Haidara's insistence it was just banter fell on deaf ears.
Haidara tweeted: '(It) is just banter. He joked with me two minutes before.'
Taylor, 27, retweeted Haidara's explanation and added 'Apologies if my tweet offended anybody.'
It was thought Taylor will now be reminded of his responsibilities as a Newcastle player by club officials.
Enlarge Apology: Steven Taylor deleted the offensive tweet and sent an apology soon after
Apology: Steven Taylor deleted the offensive tweet and sent an apology soon after
'Foolish': Anti-racism campaigners said Steven Taylor's actions were foolish but not racist
'Foolish': Anti-racism campaigners said Steven Taylor's actions were foolish but not racist
Speaking to the Telegraph, the charity Show Racism the Red Card condemned his actions. 
'Steven Taylor’s behaviour is foolish on his part and while he may have meant it as a joke he clearly does not know how offensive those images are to some people,' said Ged Grebby, chief executive of the Show Racism the Red Card campaign.
'I don’t think Steven is racist. He has been a big supporter of our campaign for years, but he has to understand that things like this are offensive.
'It is a joke between team-mates, but it was an ill-advised one and he is right to apologise for the offence he may have caused people who saw it. We had a big backlash of people offended by the images that Steven tweeted.
'Footballers should always be aware that images and comments that they don’t mean to be offensive, can offend people
'It is the same sort of crude racial stereotyping that is seized upon by the English Defence League and other far-right organisations and it can be very hurtful to those who are on the receiving end of it.
'I’m glad he has removed the picture, but modern technology means it has been seen by thousands of people and there will be kids out there who may now think that sort of humour is acceptable.' 
MailOnline has approached the club for comment.
Enlarge Defence: Massadio Haidara defended his teammate saying it was 'banter'
Defence: Massadio Haidara defended his teammate saying it was 'banter'

Papiss Cisse
Vurnon Anita
Moussa Sissoko
Massadio Haidara
(clockwise from top left) Papiss Cisse, Vurnon Anita, Massadio Haidara and Moussa Sissoko were included in the message which read 'it's always good to see you guys smiling'

Culled from Dailymail


Terrorist Samantha Lewthwaite is wanted in connection with seven murders in Kenya, police have revealed.
The British-born woman, known as the White Widow, is alleged to have ordered the killings of two radical Muslim clerics, two Protestant preachers, and three others with links to terror-group al-Shabaab.
Kenyan security officials have described her as an 'incredible threat' and said they are working 'around the clock' to bring her in.
Samantha Lewthwaite, 29, otherwise known as the White Widow, is wanted for ordering the murders of seven people in Kenya including two radical Muslim clerics and two Protestant preachers
Samantha Lewthwaite, 29, otherwise known as the White Widow, is wanted for ordering the murders of seven people in Kenya including two radical Muslim clerics and two Protestant preachers
Hate preacher Aboud Rogo Mohammed was gunned down in a drive-by shooting while taking his wife to hospital on August 27 last year.
Mohammed was shot 17 times as he drove along, while his wife Khania Said was shot once in the thigh. His father and five-year-old daughter, who were also in the car, were not hit.
Lewthwaite was a disciple of Mohammed's and preached with him at the Masjid Musa mosque in the port-city of Mombasa, converting thousands of Somalis to fight for al-Shabaab.
However the pair fell out and a war of words began, during which Mohammed vowed to 'get rid' of Lewthwaite, who had become too demanding. He was killed nine months after she was last seen.
His successor, Sheik Ibrahim Rogo, suffered the same fate last month when he was also killed in a drive-by along with associates Omar Abu Rumeisa, Salim Aboud and Gadafi Mohammed.
The killings mark a rift between al-Shabaab and Lewthwaite, with security sources saying there is a power struggle between tribal elders and the White Widow.
Samantha Lewthwaite, 29, otherwise known as the White Widow
Aboud Rogo Mohammed was killed as he drove his wife to hospital
British-born Lewthwaite (left) is alleged to have ordered the execution of Aboud Rogo Mohammed (right) a hate preacher from Mombasa who was shot 17 times while driving his wife to hospital last year
Speaking to the Mirror, an intelligence source said: 'Samantha Lewthwaite is fighting for greater control of al-Shabaab which is angering the ­organisation’s hierarchy.
'She has become paranoid and ­unreliable to the group after being on the run for so long. They believe her judgment is clouded and she could find herself out on her own very soon.'
Two Protestant pastors, Charles Matole and Ebrahim Kidata, are also believed to have been killed at the request of Lewthwaite.
The body of Matole, 41, was found in the Redeemed Gospel church in Mombasa on October 19 sitting in a chair and clutching a bible.
He was executed with a single bullet to the head after police questioned him over whether any young men had come to him seeking help after being asked to join al-Shabaab.
Kidata's body was found dumped in bushes in the town of Kilifi, 40 miles from Mombasa, the day before Matole was killed.
Gunmen attacked the Westgate mall in Nairobi in September, killing 67 people including children as young as five. The siege, which lasted several days, ended after soldiers stormed the building and the roof collapsed
Gunmen attacked the Westgate mall in Nairobi in September, killing 67 people including children as young as five. The siege, which lasted several days, ended after soldiers stormed the building and the roof collapsed
The newly-ordained preacher, of the East African Pentecostal Churches, was believed to have been strangled.
East Kenya police commander Aggrey Adoli said: 'We believe Samantha Lewthwaite is behind these killings as well as a gang of others.
'We believe she is involved in ­recruitment of jihadists and propagation of al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda activities in the country with other like minded individuals. Once we apprehend Samantha Lewthwaite she’ll have a lot of questions to answer.
'She is without a doubt an incredible threat to national and ­international security.
'We are working round the clock to bring her in to stop her causing more carnage.'
The officer said she is wanted on charges of 'murder and inciting Muslim youths to violence'.
Interpol issued this international arrest warrant for Lewthwaite after she was named as one of the prime suspects behind the Westgate Mall massacre in Nairobi in September
Interpol issued this international arrest warrant for Lewthwaite after she was named as one of the prime suspects behind the Westgate Mall massacre in Nairobi in September
Seven of Lewthwaite’s ­disciples, including a Tanzanian preacher, a Somali national, a Ugandan and three Kenyans, are also being hunted.
Lewthwaite is the widow of 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay, who blew himself up on a Piccadilly Line train between King's Cross St. Pancras and Russell Square stations.
The mother-of-four was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, and was the son of a former soldier before converting to Islam.
The convert is linked to the Westgate Mall massacre in Nairobi in which 67 people were killed, and is thought to be hiding in Somalia.
Interpol issued a 'Red Notice' warrant for her arrest shortly after the attacks for terrorist offences in Mombasa dating back to 2011

Culled from Dailymail

A Secret Love and a Sex Scandal the Royal Are Trying To Cover Up!!!!!!!!

Every few years, some (usually) deluded soul tries to persuade the newspapers or the courts that he’s a direct descendant of some dead member of the Royal Family or other — invariably from the wrong side of the blanket.
Little wonder, then, that no one paid much attention when Nick Locock took to the law in 2004. Once and for all, he said, he wanted to prove that he was the great-grandson of Princess Louise, the most beautiful — and least conventional — of Queen Victoria’s five daughters.
His claim seemed unlikely, to say the least. If the as yet unmarried princess had indeed given birth secretly to his grandfather, Henry, he was asking us to believe that Queen Victoria — the moral guardian of her era — had colluded to wipe the record clean.
Ravishing: Princess Louise was the fourth daughter and sixth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
Ravishing: Princess Louise was the fourth daughter and sixth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
But Locock, a retired racing commentator from Hampshire, was so convinced that he wanted the court’s permission to retrieve a sample of Henry’s DNA. 
This would have involved drilling a hole in his grandfather’s coffin at the Locock family vault in Sevenoaks, Kent, and removing a sample of bone. 
After that, Nick maintained, Henry’s DNA could conceivably be compared with an existing DNA sample from one of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters. The courts, however, turned down his application, citing ‘the sanctity of Christian burial’.
This left Locock both disappointed and bemused. ‘I wouldn’t mind so much if the very same church hadn’t recently moved about 200 bodies to make way for a coffee shop,’ he said.
And there it all rested, until author Lucinda Hawksley began working on a biography of the lovely Louise — a woman so far ahead of her time that she became a respected sculptor and campaigner for women’s rights.
Nicholas Locock, grandson of Henry Locock
Queen Victoria with Princess Louise and John Brown, her favourite attendant
Family ties: Nick Locock (left) wanted to prove he was the great-grandson of Princess Louise in 2004 (pictured right with Queen Victoria riding on horseback)
Like all researchers into the Royal Family, Hawksley applied to visit the royal archives at Windsor. To her surprise, she was told that Princess Louise’s files were ‘closed’ to the public.
Next, she tried several times to get access to the archives of Louise’s husband’s family — the Argylls — at Inveraray, Scotland, but again she was firmly rebuffed.
Stranger still, she ran against the same brick wall when she asked to see papers connected to people Louise had known — from fellow artists to servants and friends.
And Hawksley wasn’t the only one who wondered what was going on. The archivists she approached at the National Gallery, the Royal Academy and the Victoria & Albert Museum, as well as at various overseas collections in Malta, Bermuda and Canada, were frankly bemused to discover that all the papers she’d requested had been ‘removed’ to Windsor.
By then, Hawksley was all the more determined to get to the bottom of this most tantalising of royal mysteries. 
Why, she wanted to know, had the detailed records of the most popular of Victoria’s daughters been locked away in the archives? What was it about her that was deemed too scandalous or dangerous to be revealed?
Fortunately, enough clues remained to untangle Louise’s remarkable story.  Victoria made no secret of the fact that she was disappointed in her children. As babies, they bored and even revolted her; as children, they were dressed up like dolls to be formally presented to her a few times a day.
By the time her sixth child and fourth daughter, Louise, came along, the Queen had all but lost interest. For the most part, the tall, flaxen-haired child was either belittled or ignored — a misfortune that evidently marked  her deeply.  
She reacted by often misbehaving, which led the Queen to dismiss her frequently in her letters and diaries as ‘backward’, ‘difficult’, ‘awkward’, ‘naughty’ or ‘rebellious’.
The legacy of this treatment was that Louise throughout her life had a desperate longing to be noticed.
Henry Frederick Leicester Locock in his army uniform
Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll. Daughter of Queen Victoria (Died Dec 1939)
Princess Louise's (right) purported son Henry Locock (left). Nick Locock maintained his DNA could be compared with a sample from one Queen Victoria's granddaughters to prove he was related
And, at 18, when she flowered into the type of curvaceous, regular-featured, blue-eyed beauty most admired by Victorian men, she was indeed noticed. But was she also seduced?
Lieutenant Walter George Stirling, of the Horse Artillery, had been hired in March 1866 as the latest tutor for her delicate younger brother, Leopold, who was a haemophiliac.
An important addition to the Royal Household, Stirling also joined various family outings, parties and dinners. Leopold blossomed under his care, and there was certainly no sign that Victoria was anything but pleased with the handsome young officer.
Louise, meanwhile, was spending a great deal of time with both her brother and his tutor. So it came as a shock when Stirling was abruptly dismissed from his post just four months later.
The official explanation was that the Queen had decided Leopold needed a tutor more used to dealing with ‘persons of delicate health’.
But this makes little sense, as the boy was promptly placed in the care of a notoriously brutal servant, who regularly abused the prince — extremely dangerous for a child at risk of bleeding to death.
Siblings: Prince Leopold with his sister Princess Louise
Siblings: Prince Leopold with his sister Princess Louise
So why did Victoria sack Stirling? What we do know is that, shocked at her precipitate action, two of the Queen’s senior advisers — who knew that Stirling was a man of great qualities — suggested she give him an alternative job training another of her sons, Prince Arthur, for the Army. But although Stirling would have been ideal for the job, she refused.
It wasn’t long before the entire Royal Household was in a ferment of gossip about his abrupt departure. But the persistent rumour that he’d actually made Louise pregnant emerged only a year or two later.
Surely, you’d think, someone would have noticed the Princess’s expanding girth? Possibly, but the fashions of the time conspired to make baby bumps all but invisible.
Louise would also have had recourse to one of the special boned corsets for expectant mothers, which were tightly laced to create as small a waist as possible. Muffs and shawls also helped hide a tell-tale bump, as did the fashion for frills, pleats, padding and decoration.
Normally, Louise avoided all of these and, intriguingly, there are many references in 1866 to the fact that her dresses were suddenly highly decorated with ribbons, bows and pleats.
How could the Princess have hidden her pregnancy from her dresser? 
Simple: as Victoria herself noted in her diary for autumn 1866, Louise, at this date, did not require servants to help her dress.
She certainly wasn’t her usual self in 1866. That July, Louise wrote to a girlfriend that she was feeling ‘low and sad’. The letter went on: ‘[I] sit in my room and cry. I cannot write and tell you why, there are so many things ought not to be as they are . . . I am expected to agree with them and yet I cannot when I know a thing to be wrong.’
It’s also notable that Louise made few public appearances in the winter of 1866 — and that, when she did, she rarely left her carriage.
Grave: The Locock family vault in the grounds of St. Nicholas's Church in Sevenoaks, Kent
Grave: The Locock family vault in the grounds of St. Nicholas's Church in Sevenoaks, Kent
If she was indeed pregnant, her baby would have been born towards the end of that year or the start of the next. All that the available records tell us is that she was apparently back to her slim self by February, when she attended the Opening of Parliament in a dress of white satin.
That same month, her brother, Bertie — the future king — and his wife, Alix, provoked Victoria’s wrath by deciding not to name their newborn daughter after the Queen. Instead, they called her Louise. Was naming the young Princess’s niece after her their way of alleviating Louise’s pain at having to give up her own baby? Certainly, she was reported to be delighted at the tribute.
A few months later, her brother, Prince Arthur, included a cryptic line in a letter to her suggesting he’d mentioned a taboo subject. ‘As to the great secret,’ he wrote, ‘I did not know that I could not mention it to you: of course, I would not speak of it to anybody else.’
Meanwhile, Queen Victoria was fretting. Although Walter Stirling had been sent back to the Royal Horse Artillery — and was later posted overseas — she feared he might be indiscreet.
To her friend Lady Biddulph, the Queen wrote: ‘I dread [Stirling’s] indiscretion & thought to wound’ — an odd thing to write about an upright Army officer who’d come to the Royal Household highly recommended.
Yet despite her obvious animosity towards the young lieutenant, she gave him a pay-off: the official title of Royal Groom — without any duties — and a respectable annuity. Given that Stirling had been Leopold’s tutor for only four months, this seemed an outlandishly generous gesture. In return, however, Victoria was rewarded with his silence.
Buried: Plans were being made by Nick Locock to exhume Henry's body and investigate possible royal connections
Buried: Plans were being made by Nick Locock to exhume Henry's body and investigate possible royal connections
So if Louise did have an illegitimate child, what could have become of it?
Naturally, there would have been no question of a Princess of the blood keeping such a baby. And this is  where the Locock family comes into the picture.
Sir Charles Locock was Queen Victoria’s accoucheur — or gynaecologist — who’d attended the births of all her children. No one could have been a more natural person for the Queen to turn to if Louise had become pregnant.
His presence, as a senior member of the Royal Household, would have caused no comment; and if he did indeed deliver the Princess’s baby, absolute discretion would have been assured.
Various events in 1867 support a belief that he took a hand in the affair. In the spring, Frederick, one of Sir Charles’s grown-up sons, suddenly moved into a flat near St James’s Palace, which may have been a grace-and-favour apartment. Then Sir Charles’s wife died unexpectedly.
Victorian convention demanded at least a year of mourning — yet Frederick married his fiancee Mary Blackshaw just six weeks after the death of his mother. Four months later, in December, the couple adopted a baby boy. 
At around the same time, Sir Charles received a visit from a Lady Stirling — the mother of Lieutenant Walter Stirling, the likely father if Louise had given birth. Not only that, in the very month the child — named Henry — was adopted, his new father Frederick Locock began to receive a large and unexplained allowance.
Indeed, when Frederick died in 1911, he left more than £100,000 — a fortune in those days. Yet he’d never earned anything approaching that amount in his lifetime.
So if Louise did give up a son, did she ever see him again?
According to the Lococks, she visited Henry all through his childhood.
As Lucinda Hawksley discovered, the Princess was known to adore spending time at her country home of Dornden in Kent. Was it coincidence that the house next door was owned by Sir Charles Locock — and that little Henry and his adoptive parents were regular visitors?
As he grew up, Nick Locock — the man who later brought the court case — found that he wasn’t the only Locock child to have been told that his grandfather Henry’s natural mother was Princess Louise.
‘Subsequently,’ he told Hawksley, ‘I realised that not only my brother and sister, but each of my 11 cousins had been told the same story by their parents.’
Family: Princess Louise and her younger brother Leopold pictured in 1886
Family: Princess Louise and her younger brother Leopold pictured in 1886
Clearly, Henry had told each of his  own children that his mother was Princess Louise.
If he’d been a fantasist, you’d expect his adoptive father Frederick to have denied Henry’s claims — but he never did, simply maintaining a discreet silence. 
What’s more, the Locock family still have in their possession a number of artefacts from the Royal Family. One of these is a bronze sculpture of a baby given to Sir Charles by Victoria, which may well have been made by the Princess.
There’s also a photograph of Henry as a baby in a special frame, hand-decorated in a style, according to Hawksley, that suggests Louise, an accomplished artist, may have painted it herself.
After Henry grew up, he married and had six children. Sadly, he died young in 1907 after falling out of a train in Canada.
The story was that he’d gone to Canada to buy land. But, by a strange coincidence, Walter Stirling — his possible natural father — had emigrated to Canada: was Henry on a mission to find him?
Six months after Henry’s death, a trust fund of nearly £60,000 was mysteriously set up for his six children — money the Locock family have always assumed came from the Princess.
As for Louise, she’d been bullied by her mother into marrying the son of the 8th Duke of Argyll — who turned out to be homosexual. The couple had no children.
Although Hawksley wasn’t granted access to the Argyll archives, she’s been told by a researcher who has seen them that they contain a letter from Queen Victoria to the duke. Written before the wedding, it states that Louise is ‘barren’.
How could the Queen possibly have known that?
The likeliest explanation is that complications had occurred during Henry’s birth which made it impossible for the Princess to have another successful pregnancy.
For many years, both before and after her unfortunate marriage, Louise enjoyed a sexual relationship with one of the top sculptors of the day, Joseph Edgar Boehm. As Hawksley’s biography reveals, Boehm almost certainly died in the Princess’s arms while they were making love — another affair that was quickly hushed up.
An accomplished flirt, Louise also narrowly avoided being involved in another scandal when she became too close for comfort to the good-looking husband of her younger sister, Beatrice.
In short, there can be no doubt  at all that the Princess’s long life — she died aged 91 — has been deliberately sanitised and edited for public consumption.
Yet with so many papers relating to Louise still under lock and key, there’s still no conclusive proof that she gave birth to an illegitimate child. True, plenty of circumstantial evidence suggests that she did — but, as Hawksley recommends, you must make up your own mind.