31/10/2011 Inside Out West


31/10/2011

Steve Brodie reports on the conclusion of the Jo Yeates murder trial and David Whiteley investigates a man who claims he can help West Country pensioners to avoid care home fees.


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Transcript


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Hello. Tonight we're in Bristol, a city that finds itself in the

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national spotlight once again as the Jo Yeates murder trial reaches

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its conclusion. Vincent Tabak guilty of murder. And

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following the case new revelations about his shady background.

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It is a manipulative man, very cunning, he watched this

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investigation unfold. Also in the programme, this man says he can

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help you avoid paying for care in your old age. I'm here to show you

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how you can avoid care fees. good to be true? And should this

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man be allowed to seek help from his wife to end his life? I don't

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be -- I don't think people realise what an awful thing it is, you

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cannot relieve their pain. This is all I can do for him. With

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surprising stories from familiar places you're watching Inside Out

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This is Canynge Road in Bristol, a street we've all become familiar

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with after the events of the 17th December last year. It was here

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that Jo Yeates met her death at the hands of her next door neighbour

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Vincent Tabak. After the jury delivered its verdict, additional

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evidence emerged that Tabak had accessed violent pornography on his

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computer. Our home affairs correspondent Steve Brodie has been

:01:28.:01:38.
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investigating the secret life of Tabak thought his cleverness and

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deceit would prevent him being convicted of a brutal murder. He

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was wrong. He is a manipulative man, very cunning, he watched this

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investigation unfold. We fully expected him to lie when he went

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into the witness box Jo Yeates' killer is behind bars. Vincent

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Tabak. Guilty of a murder that's dominated the news for weeks.

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Tonight I talk exclusively to the man in charge of his defence, and

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ask why the judge wouldn't admit evidence about Tabak's contact with

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prostitutes and his use of violent pornography. It proved very little

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as to what actually happened in the fatal few minutes in Joanna's flat.

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Jo Yeates was murdered here days before Christmas. But after a

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three-week trial, we're no closer to knowing the truth of those

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fateful minutes. Tabak said he was invited in. Jo was his neighbour.

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That he misread the signs. And he didn't mean to kill her. No-one

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believed him, especially the man who caught him. We believe that

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Joanna was killed very shortly after she arrived home. The only

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two people who know what happened that night, one is Jo and

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unfortunately, she was killed. And it's Vincent Tabak. So who is

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Vincent Tabak? I sat in this court day after day for three weeks

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watching him, he was always calm and collected. He would sit with

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his head in his hands, only feet away from Jo's parents and her

:03:24.:03:30.

boyfriend, Greg Reardon. And even when the judge sent him down for a

:03:30.:03:35.

minimum of 20 years, he again showed little, if any emotion. I

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was there when they discovered Jo's body on Christmas Day, left by the

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side of the road and covered in leaves and snow, and when the

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missing person's inquiry turned into a murder hunt. That would

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ultimately bring out Tabak's lies and an interest in prostitutes and

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hardcore, violent pornography that Tabak's story starts in Holland

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where the police first really interviewed him and the people who

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knew him. People that we spoke to there describe almost a social

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inadequate, couldn't put it in any different words to that. Someone

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who was probably not particularly comfortable around woman,

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comfortable in social circumstances, even amongst his peers. This is a

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view shared by some of those who knew Tabak here, Uden, Holland,

:04:32.:04:42.
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where he grew up. Sometimes, he say something, sometimes he was in his

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own and he didn't see you and he didn't say anything. There was home,

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old parents, a little boy only in the house, older brother and

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sisters were out of the house, so, I think he was perhaps a little

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lonesome. But it was back to that family in Holland that Tabak

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travelled for the New Year, calmly, coolly, with his girlfriend, days

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after killing Jo. As her parents laid their flowers in the snow,

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Tabak was online, already looking to keep one step ahead of the

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investigation. He researched details of the unsolved murders of

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Melanie Hall and Anni Dewani, looked up how he could get rid of

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evidence and even watched a time lapse video of a body decomposing.

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You've heard the evidence from his internet use of how he was

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monitoring media reports. He'd also researched around the definitions

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of murder and manslaughter, so he was fully aware of what we, the

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prosecution, had to prove for murder, and likewise, what was

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necessary for manslaughter. But it was the other websites he was

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looking at that really concerned the police. On the morning of the

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murder he was looking at pornography but more chillingly

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days after strangling Jo, he was watching violent hardcore images of

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men choking women during sex, images of women tied up in car

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boots, and others being bound and gagged. But the judge ruled this

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information couldn't be put before the jury, even Tabak's girlfriend

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and her father knew nothing about it, and told us it was depraved.

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Neither could the jury hear that Tabak had contacted prostitutes

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while in the US on business, including at this hotel, where he

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checked in under a false name. The judge said none of this could prove

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the killing was premeditated. And Tabak's defence lawyer, who spoke

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exclusively to me just two hours before the verdict, agreed.

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Sometimes people think because there is some bad character, or

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reprehensive behaviour, it must go in. It doesn't follow that it has

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to go in. It has to go in to prove a point. Even if it had been

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admissible, there's then the further test as to whether it would

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be prejudicial and derail a fair trial, we didn't actually get to

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that. But it clearly in my view would've been prejudicial. It

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didn't actually go to what actually happened in that period of time.

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But Tabak's lawyer admits they never claimed that Tabak was an

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innocent. Whilst the material may well have been considered

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reprehensible in many respects. What the judge did say is that Mr

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Tabak could not promote himself effectively before the jury as a

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man of good character. Mr Clegg who conducted the defence for Mr Tabak

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was at pains to ensure we did not go down that path. We were very

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neutral when it came to Mr Tabak's character. Jo's family have mixed

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views. Her brother Chris told us the jury should have known about

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Tabak's character, but no-one wanted a prejudiced trial, or an

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appeal. Her father said it was right the jury didn't know and

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wasn't certain the pornography had contributed to the murder. This

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barrister and member of the justice select committee acknowledges that

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had Tabak got away with murder, there could've been public outrage

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The public will rightly ask questions and be concerned. But I

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think they need reassuring that the law has been changed, that material

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is capable of being admitted before a jury, but only on a very strict

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test of relevance. And let's imagine for a moment, that it's you

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or me in the dock, or any of our friends and family, we would expect

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fairness, we would expect strict tests to be applied when it comes

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to previous material relating to bad character that may have

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happened years ago, which may not have any relevance in the case, but

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which if it went in before a jury, could unfairly prejudice a

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defendant in their eyes. I'd rather have safe convictions and fair

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trials than witch hunts and a general blackening of character

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which is irrelevant to the issue in the case. I think we've got the

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Jo Yeates' father David has told the BBC he was still trying to come

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to terms with what he felt, he's still got a lot of unanswered

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questions, but at least he's got a starting point for the rest of his

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life. As far as Vincent Tabak is concerned, we still don't know

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everything about his secret life. The police are still questioning

:09:39.:09:47.

him and there could be further Steve Brodie on the trial of

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Vincent Tabak who was found guilty of murder on Friday. Later in the

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programme the Wiltshire man hoping that a change in the law will allow

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his wife to assist in his death. Some days it this life gets too

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much for me and a break down and Needing care when you're older

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could cost around �50,000 a year. So, when someone tells you that he

:10:17.:10:20.

has a way of getting someone else to foot the bill, well, that sounds

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like a tempting offer. David Whiteley's been investigating a

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company targeting pensioners here in the West with just such a

:10:26.:10:36.

promise. One in four of us will need long-

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term care and if you have more than �23,000 in savings and property you

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will be expected to pay for your care. That is a worry for some

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people who would rather keep their assets in the family. I am a co-

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founder of the Universal Group and I am here to show you how you can

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avoid care fees. This man claims he knows how you can avoid fees. He

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says he is better than a solicitor. Your local solicitor wouldn't be

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able to do this. They come to us to do it. Five years ago Bernard and

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Christine wanted new wills. They went to Steve long. Earlier this

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year he phoned Bernard unexpectedly. His business had a new product, to

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avoid care fees. He said you could get out of paying care home fees by

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setting this trussed up that would stop the council getting their

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hands on your money. -- setting this trussed up. It would be �3,000.

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It is a lot of money. Our first reaction was, we would have to

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think about that. In the end he managed to talk us into agreeing

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with him, but I have since found that if a trust was set up for that

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sole purpose, that would disqualify itself. Beryl also had a visit from

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Steve long. He said the money would all be ring-fenced that you

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couldn't, the government couldn't get hold of it. For care home fees.

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He suddenly says there is a fee you have to pay, and if possible we

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would like to have it tonight. It was �3,500. We have asked several

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solicitors and they have told us similar trusts would cost between

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712 hundred pounds. Care home fees cannot run to thousands of pounds

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he year so it is only natural to worry about these costs. Steve runs

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seminars to explain his solutions to these concerns.

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We went to some of his seminars and listened to whose claims about

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himself and his products. This one was in Bristol. We do seminars like

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:13:21.:13:21.

this for solicitors. You have the whole room of solicitors

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specialising in elderly client care and not one of them knows how to do

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:13:34.:13:35.

it. It is a specialist niche stop - - specialist niche. Caroline is a

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solicitor specialising in wills and Administration of Estates. Perils

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of professional lawyers who undertake wills and trusts, and

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membership of solicitors for the elderly will have many thousands of

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members together he would be able to set up these sorts of trusts.

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But also they have to have a very good working understanding of

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social care assessments and funding. She wants to make sure that Peter's

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inheritance... The man behind the group is Stephen long. In his

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seminars he makes many claims that make him and his companies and

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well-connected and important. work with a top barrister in the

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country, we do seminars with solicitors. We have spoken to the

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Bar Council and they told us no one would claim to be the country's top

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barrister. He doesn't seem to be quite as well connected as he

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claims, but he does sound well qualified. And a qualified

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accountant and a lawyer. He isn't. We have checked with the UK

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accountancy organisations and the solicitors Regulation Authority. He

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is a member of the Society of trusts and Estate Practitioners.

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How accurate are his crimes? An undercover producer asked him if

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the elderly person who isn't well could use one of the trusts to

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avoid care fees. Provided he hasn't already been assessed or receiving

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care, it is straightforward. local authority will look at the

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reasons for trust was actually created, and if they feel it was

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done for the purpose of putting the asset beyond their reach, then of

:15:27.:15:31.

course they could take it into account in an assessment and treat

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the person as if they still have the asset. If the motive is to

:15:37.:15:40.

avoid paying care home fees the trust may end up doing precisely

:15:41.:15:48.

the opposite. That is exactly how Steve Long markets his product.

:15:48.:15:52.

am here to show you how you can avoid fees. In the end it is the

:15:52.:15:56.

local authority who decides so we asked the local government

:15:56.:15:59.

association which represents local authorities just what the rules are.

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They told us if you put your assets into a trust deliberately designed

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to avoid care fees the local authority can treat you as they

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used still own the assets. That seems clear. So we wrote to Mr Long

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to explain why he gives misleading statements in his seminars. His

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office told us he was out of the country until the end of the week.

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Then is of his claim some of his mistakes were due to an ear

:16:24.:16:27.

infection. I hope his hearing is better now because he is still in

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the country and giving a seminar at this hotel here in Gloucester and

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they do hope his hearing is better. I have got a few questions for him.

:16:38.:16:43.

His office said universal asset protection is totally committed to

:16:43.:16:48.

excellent customer care and that their fees are not excessive. But

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he has not given specific answers to most of our questions. I have

:16:55.:16:59.

got to rescue a question. Why is it you are selling a product called

:16:59.:17:02.

How to avoid care fees when by marketing it as that you are in

:17:02.:17:07.

fact possibly, could be, rendering it useless. That is not the advice

:17:07.:17:11.

we have received. Nice of you to have come unannounced into a

:17:11.:17:16.

seminar. We have been in touch, asked you a few questions about the

:17:16.:17:20.

validity of what you're doing with these trusts. Actually wear

:17:21.:17:24.

advertising ourselves as how to avoid care fees you are shooting

:17:24.:17:27.

yourself in the third. It is not the advice we have received.

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have you received it from, this is from the government?

:17:32.:17:37.

When we look at the cases we dealt with and you have put me on the

:17:37.:17:41.

spot... A we have been trying to get in touch with you, your office

:17:41.:17:46.

told us you are the country. I am not prepared to discuss and

:17:46.:17:49.

television the intellectual property we have, all I can say is

:17:49.:17:55.

the trust that we used as 100% track-record, we have documentary

:17:55.:17:58.

evidence of local authorities except in the trust works.

:17:58.:18:03.

market yourself as one of only five companies but specialises in this

:18:03.:18:08.

kind of the elderly care trusts and that is not true. We say we are one

:18:08.:18:11.

of five specialist providers that we know of their provide these for

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other people. Any firm of solicitors who knows and

:18:15.:18:18.

understands the rules around this would be able to do that. Strange

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that he said the opposite when he didn't know he was being recorded.

:18:23.:18:28.

Your local solicitor will not be able to do this. It is a specialist

:18:28.:18:33.

niche. So which Mr Long should we believe and what, I learn? If you

:18:34.:18:37.

are thinking of putting your property into a trust to avoid care

:18:37.:18:40.

fees remember, they are not suitable for everyone and they may

:18:40.:18:50.
:18:50.:18:50.

not work. My first reaction was to say no. But he continued and

:18:50.:18:56.

eventually wore a stand. If you have put him you'll know he is a

:18:56.:19:06.

pleasant man and obviously a good And if there's something you'd like

:19:06.:19:09.

us to investigate then why not get in touch? Our email address is

:19:09.:19:18.

It is one of the most difficult ethical questions of our time is it

:19:18.:19:24.

ever acceptable to assist in the death of a loved one? In the next

:19:24.:19:27.

few weeks, the Commission on Assisted Dying is due to present

:19:27.:19:30.

its recommendations on what system, if any, should be set up to allow

:19:30.:19:40.

Like most people I didn't give suicide a thought despite being

:19:40.:19:44.

able to do it legally. Then I had my stroke and the choice of life or

:19:44.:19:48.

death was taken away from me. It certainly is true that you don't

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know what you have until you no longer have it. Tony Nicklinson

:19:51.:19:55.

would like to end his life. Six years ago, a massive stroke left

:19:55.:20:02.

him paralysed below the neck and unable to speak. His condition is

:20:02.:20:05.

called locked in syndrome. He is rarely able to leave his home in

:20:05.:20:11.

Melksham. Right from the word go, when he was still in intensive care,

:20:11.:20:15.

I said to the doctors, he won't want to live like this. We knew it

:20:15.:20:20.

would come. But because of his disabilities,

:20:20.:20:25.

Tony needs his wife Jane to help him to end his life. For this, she

:20:25.:20:29.

could face a murder charge. So together, they are trying to change

:20:29.:20:36.

the law. I can't see how anybody could think it's right that Tony's

:20:36.:20:44.

right to take his own life has been taken away. Jane has told her

:20:44.:20:47.

husband's story to a commission set up to explore whether people should

:20:47.:20:51.

be given assistance to die. The commission has been contacted by

:20:51.:21:01.
:21:01.:21:03.

over a thousand people since it launched a year ago. In the coming

:21:03.:21:06.

weeks, it'll report its suggestions to Parliament. Something in excess

:21:06.:21:09.

of 80% of the population in the UK would like some change in

:21:09.:21:11.

legislation. But the work of the commission has enraged those

:21:11.:21:15.

campaigners who don't want a change in the law. There's no chance of it

:21:15.:21:18.

producing any worthwhile conclusion at all. It's purely a publicity

:21:18.:21:28.
:21:28.:21:33.

Tributes have been paid to the husband and wife from acrobat who

:21:33.:21:39.

travelled to a Swiss euthanasia clinic. More than 150 people have

:21:39.:21:42.

ended their lives by travelling from the UK to countries where

:21:42.:21:44.

assisted suicide is legal. Nobody has yet been prosecuted for

:21:44.:21:47.

accompanying them. But assisting somebody to end their life is

:21:47.:21:51.

illegal in the UK, which means Tony Nicklinson must continue to live a

:21:51.:21:57.

life that's unrecognizable from the one he enjoyed before his stroke.

:21:57.:22:00.

He was the life and soul of the party type. An ex-rugby player, a

:22:00.:22:05.

real alpha male, bit of a daredevil. You know, he went sky diving, did

:22:05.:22:10.

all sorts of crazy things. Tony could outlive Jane. His condition

:22:10.:22:17.

might not cut his life short. But now, being unable to speak, move or

:22:17.:22:25.

do anything for himself life has become unbearable for him. He

:22:25.:22:31.

communicates using a computer that recognises his eye movements.

:22:31.:22:35.

case, I awake with dread, knowing that I will have to endure another

:22:35.:22:38.

session of being manhandled by the carers as they shower and dress me

:22:38.:22:41.

to get ready for yet another tedious day. Some days, this life

:22:41.:22:51.
:22:51.:22:51.

gets too much for me and I break down and cry. He knows that a time

:22:51.:22:54.

will come when he says enough is enough, and really his only option

:22:54.:22:57.

is Switzerland, which he might possibly consider eventually, if

:22:57.:23:00.

our legal case doesn't pan out, or starvation, which is a very nasty

:23:00.:23:05.

way to go. It seemed critically important to all of us, that we

:23:05.:23:08.

went out to see how those countries that had changed legislation, how

:23:08.:23:13.

the change was managed in practice. But I think it's unlikely we'd be

:23:13.:23:15.

able to import any particular system in a country straight into

:23:15.:23:23.

England. But some pro-life campaigners think they've already

:23:23.:23:30.

won the debate and the commission is a waste of time. Most of the

:23:30.:23:33.

reputable people who would normally give evidence have refused to do so,

:23:33.:23:36.

because the subject has been thrashed to death in the House of

:23:36.:23:40.

Lords fairly recently, eight hours of debating. What has happened all

:23:40.:23:43.

over the world, is that pro- euthanasia societies have spoken a

:23:43.:23:46.

lot about the very rare, but very emotive cases of people who could

:23:46.:23:52.

not kill themselves and seriously want to. This is a tiny proportion

:23:52.:23:55.

really, of people, and one has to be sympathetic, but it's very

:23:55.:23:58.

important to make sure people understand that disabled people are

:23:58.:24:01.

very opposed to any change in the law that protects them at the

:24:01.:24:10.

moment. Michael Wenham has motor neurone disease, a degenerative

:24:10.:24:16.

condition that damages the nervous system. He is also worried that a

:24:16.:24:19.

change in the law could affect how society views people with

:24:19.:24:29.
:24:29.:24:45.

disabilities. People begin to judge Michael relies on his wife Jane to

:24:45.:24:51.

help him. There may be a time when, like Tony, he is unable to do

:24:51.:24:56.

anything for himself. Michael decided not to give evidence to the

:24:56.:25:00.

commission, and Tony relies on his wife to speak on his behalf during

:25:00.:25:06.

debates. So Michael agreed to come to Tony's home to discuss face to

:25:06.:25:13.

face, how legalising assisted dying might affect society. Welcome,

:25:13.:25:17.

please make yourself comfortable. Thank you for agreeing to this

:25:17.:25:27.
:25:27.:25:37.

But you can determine your own fate, because you can commit suicide

:25:37.:25:39.

without assistance whereas some people cannot. Why deny them the

:25:39.:25:49.
:25:49.:25:49.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 65 seconds

:25:49.:26:55.

That isn't the issue. It's about Both Tony and Michael await the

:26:55.:26:58.

recommendations the Commission on Assisted Dying will make in the

:26:58.:27:04.

coming weeks. But Jane Nicklinson is determined to keep fighting for

:27:04.:27:09.

the right to help her husband. Obviously nobody wants to give

:27:09.:27:13.

their husband a lethal dose of something, under any circumstances.

:27:13.:27:18.

If I had to do it, would I be able to do it? I don't know until the

:27:18.:27:27.

time comes. I like to think that I would. It's what he wants and if

:27:27.:27:30.

you love someone, you'd do anything to help them. What more can I do?

:27:30.:27:35.

There's nothing I can do. I don't think people realise what am awful

:27:35.:27:39.

thing it is to see the person that you love in there, and you can't

:27:39.:27:48.

relieve their pain. This is all I And if you'd like details of

:27:48.:27:51.

organisations which can offer help on strokes and locked in syndrome

:27:51.:27:59.

then you can call the BBC action line. The number is 08000 566 065.

:27:59.:28:03.

Your call is free from a landline but mobile operators will charge.

:28:03.:28:08.

The lines are open 24 hours a day. Well, unfortunately that's where we

:28:08.:28:11.

must bring things to a close tonight but you can continue a

:28:11.:28:20.

conversation about the programme on Twitter using #insideout.

:28:20.:28:23.

In next week's programme unhappy campers, we meet the protestors

:28:23.:28:33.
:28:33.:28:33.

who've pitched their tents in the And Britain's Got Talent winner

:28:33.:28:36.

Home Affairs Correspondent Steve Brodie reports on the conclusion of the Jo Yeates murder trial as Vincent Tabak is found guilty of murder. Should the jury have been told about Tabak's habit of accessing violent pornography on his computer?

Plus, David Whiteley investigates a man who claims he can help West Country pensioners to avoid care home fees.

And as the Commission for Assisted Dying considers whether to recommend changes to UK law, we meet a Wiltshire man who wants help from his wife to end his life. Tony Nicklinson is paralysed from the neck down after a stroke. As things stand, his wife Jane could face a murder charge if she assists in his death.


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