Newspaper headlines: New laws for 'cowardly killers' over sentencing hearings – BBC

New laws to force offenders to appear in court for sentencing are the lead story for several of the papers. "At last" is the headline in the Daily Mail, next to photos of four convicted murderers who all refused to attend their hearings – including nurse Lucy Letby and the killer of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel, Thomas Cashman. The Daily Express says the change will compel "spineless criminals" to face their victims' families in court. For the Daily Mirror it is a "victory". "We'll see you in court, cowards" is the headline in the Metro.
The Times reports on new powers to sack rogue police officers on the spot, under "zero tolerance" reforms of the disciplinary process. Policing Minister Chris Philp tells the paper that the measures will help restore public confidence in the police – and make sure rogue officers have "nowhere to hide". The paper says the changes "represent a victory" for Sir Mark Rowley, who pledged to overhaul standards when he took over as commissioner of the Metropolitan force last year.
The Daily Telegraph says there has been a sharp rise in the number of patients who have died while waiting for treatment on the NHS. A new analysis of waiting list figures suggests deaths have doubled over the past five years to around 120,000. According to the paper, the total is higher than it was in lockdown and is likely to keep rising.
Elsewhere in the Telegraph, new US fighter jets, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, will be based in the UK by the end of the year. The paper understands that two squadrons of F-35s will arrive at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk "imminently".
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly's visit to China is debated on a number of comment pages. The Times says it was inevitable that the trip would "raise hackles at home" – especially on the right of the Conservative Party. But it suggests breaking off relations with Beijing – while China is still the UK's fourth largest trading partner – would not be in our "best interests". The Financial Times agrees. It argues that the UK has to balance commerce with security and human rights – and the government should "make no apology" for engaging with China or discussing trade.
A refugee charity has told the Guardian that the government is playing "Russian Roulette" with the lives of hundreds of asylum seekers who could soon be housed on the Bibby Stockholm barge at Portland in Dorset. A water company is carrying out plumbing work onboard, but the paper claims that the Home Office plans to move migrants back before "urgent repairs" are completed. Ministers insist the work is "routine" and is not linked to the traces of the legionella bacteria found in the water supply earlier this month.
And the Sun interviews a rugby referee on how he's preparing for the new season – at the age of 87. Nando Di Matteo has been refereeing for 40 years and still officiates at up to four matches a week in Northamptonshire – running up and down the pitch for the full 80 minutes. Asked how he does it, Mr Di Matteo tells the paper: "bananas and a pint of Guinness".
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