Gladys Knight says she's here to 'give the Anthem back its voice' after announcing Super Bowl performance

Gladys Knight said she’s here to ‘give the Anthem back its voice’

Legendary soul singer Gladys Knight said she is here to ‘give the Anthem back its voice’ after announcing Thursday she will perform the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at the Super Bowl in her hometown of Atlanta. The longtime civil rights activist faced heat for accepting the gig after many performers and fans are opting to boycott the NFL due to their treatment of Colin Kaepernick.

Following the news that Atlanta-native soul singer Gladys Knight will perform the national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl, the star is speaking out about Colin Kaepernick's kneeling and the slew of controversy surrounding the NFL in recent years.

Knight provided a lengthy statement to Fox News in which she explained her decision, as a performer and civil rights activist, to sing the national anthem after several artists turned down appearing alongside Halftime Show act Maroon 5, following backlash from the NFL’s treatment of Kaepernick and other controversial issues.

As previously reported, the former 49ers quarterback was essentially banished from the NFL after taking a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner in an effort to protest police violence in black communities.


“I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice,” she wrote in part. “It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone. I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good — I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII.”

The San Francisco 49ers former quarterback weighed in on the Super Bowl Halftime Show controversy.

The star concluded her statement saying she hopes the confusion of the two messages can blend into one lesson of unity for America, which she hopes to kickstart when she sings the anthem at the Super Bowl.

Representatives for Knight did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.


Kaepernick has played a part in the ongoing Super Bowl debate, even from outside the NFL. It was previously revealed that he spoke with rapper Travis Scott before he agreed to perform alongside Maroon 5 at the Atlanta game.

Scott, 26, reportedly consulted with Kaepernick before confirming the appearance. The two didn’t agree on Scott performing but came away with a mutual understanding over why he would be performing.


Meanwhile, a petition on calling for both Maroon 5 and Scott to withdraw from the show has amassed more than 85,000 signatures.

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Megan Barton Hanson says she's 'jealous and selfish' and is sick of Wes Nelson's sexy Dancing On Ice routines because he's 'too tired for her' after training

The Love Island star hit headlines earlier this week after blasting Wes’ skating partner Vanessa Bauer for not introducing herself to her, "tactically breaking-up" with her boyfriend and also for not inviting her to watch them train.

Appearing on Loose Women yesterday, Megan confessed she was feeling pushed out by Wes spending 12 hours a day with Vanessa, but thought it was only natural that she reacted like she did.

She said: "The first year of living with someone is hard anyway, whether you have nine to five jobs or work in the public eye.

"So, to have Wes three hours a night when he's exhausted after doing 12 hours a day training, I think it's normal … It's not insecurity.

"I'm jealous, I'm selfish, I want to have him, I want to have the best bits, I want to be parading around on the ice dressed in sexy Lycra dancing with him, not have the tired Wes at night."

However she said she should not have put out the public message, telling the panel : "I hold my hands up, I should have messaged her, I should have got her number from Wes and said, 'babe, I want to be friends with you, I want to be on the same team'. I was angry, I saw all these headlines and felt attacked and backed into a corner."

She went on to say that she was trying to make amends with Vanessa following her online outburst.

Asked where they stood currently, Megan admitted: "I sent her a message last night so we're working on it."

But the reality star failed to reveal if she's received a reply for fear of fanning the flames of their feud.

The heartbroken model, 24, was livid when Dancing on Ice skater Vanessa Bauer announced she’d split from her boyfriend the night before her first performance with Wes, 20, over the weekend.

Ranting on Instagram stories, Megan said: "@Vanessabauer_skates love that you decide to announce your breakup with your boyfriend on the night of your 1st performance with my boyfriend!

"You've never reached out to me once or invited me to watch you train, it pained you to introduce yourself to me last night, you didn't even look me in the eye LOL.

She later told The Sun: "It’s funny or a coincidence that Vanessa’s break-up came out the night they performed, she clearly wanted to get more hype around their performance.

"She knows the score; she did the show last year. She’s 22-years-old."She knows questions are going to be asked about her and Wes and me being worried about them spending time together.

“Every woman will tell you it’s not ideal to have your boyfriend spending 12 hours a day with another woman – a little introduction from Vanessa would have gone a long way."

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Welsh Remainer, 73, speaks after ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’ row

‘I thought it was going to turn into a proper scrap!’ Staunch Welsh Remainer, 73, says he’ll be ‘the talk of the bowls club’ after heated Brexit row with Brexiteer became TV hit

  • EXCLUSIVE: Gwilym Ballinger said he was ‘too old’ to get involved in a ‘scrap’
  • Mr Ballinger had said South Wales received a large amount of EU cash 
  • Then compared local people voting for Brexit to ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’  
  • Leaver hit back: ‘Don’t call people from the Valleys turkeys. I’m a Valley boy’ 

A feisty Welsh pensioner whose hilarious TV interview on Brexit went viral has said he will be the ‘talk of the bowls club’ as he revealed he feared the confrontation could turn into a brawl. 

Staunch Remainer Gwilym Ballinger, 73, was being interviewed for the BBC when he was heckled by a Leave voter who was passing by.

The chance meeting them turned into what the BBC described as a ‘Brexit ding dong’ as both men from the village of Pontyclun, near Pontypridd, arguing their very different points of view.

Grandfather Mr Ballinger said Brexiteers from the South Wales Valleys were ‘like turkeys voting for Christmas’.

But the Brexiteer shot back: ‘Don’t call people from the Valleys turkeys. I’m a Valley boy’.

The extraordinary live TV bust up was sparked when an staunch Remainer Gwilym Ballinger said Brexiteers were just like ‘Turkeys voting for Christmas’

A Brexiteer (left) was outraged by the comparison by Mr Ballinger (right in red) and was offended because he is from the Valleys

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He added there should be ‘no fear’ of quitting the EU without a deal on March 29 because ‘this country fought a world war – we raised from the ashes – we don’t need Europe’. 

Mr Ballinger told MailOnline he would be the ‘talk of the bowls club’ after the row went 

Father-of-two Mr Ballinger told MailOnline: ‘The idea crossed my mind that it could turn into a proper scrap but I’m a bit too old for that.

‘To me it was just a chat, I was putting my opinion across.

‘I was making an analogy with the turkeys voting for Christmas but he took it the wrong way.

‘My view is that I’m amazed that Welsh people voted for Brexit because the valleys in particular have been in receipt of a lot of EU cash over the years – more than they have put in.’

Retired civil servant Mr Ballinger was on his morning walk around Pontyclun when he was stopped by BBC reporter Nick Servini.

His stormy encounter with the Brexiteer was broadcast by BBC Wales but soon went viral on social media.

The warring pair have been compared to Brenda from Bristol, a 75-year-old who became an unexpected celebrity in 2017.

Mr Ballinger said he was saying that the voters were ‘like turkeys’ – not actual turkeys

The Leaver took exception to the slight on Valley boys who decided it would be best if Britain left the EU

BBC Wales published the video online and admitted it was a serious ‘Brexit ding-dong’

She exclaimed on live TV: ‘Oh no, not another one’ when told Theresa May was calling a snap election – summing up most of the country’s reaction.

Proud Welshman Mr Ballinger said: ‘I don’t know the fellow but a pal of mine called me to say he’s a retired National Coal Board worker who lives in the village.

‘I’ve had lots of calls, my mates and my sons’ mates have been on the phone.

‘They were quite amused by the reaction, so am I but that’s the world we live in now I suppose.’

Prostate cancer survivor Mr Ballinger, who lives in a bungalow in the village with wife Oenwen, says he stands by every word of the TV interview.

Brenda from Bristol, 75, who became an unexpected celebrity in 2017 when she exclaimed: ‘Oh no, not another one’ when told Theresa May was calling a snap election

He said: ‘I voted to remain but I didn’t do that for me, I was thinking of my five grandchildren, it’s their future, not mine.

‘I can’t for the life of me see why you would put yourself in a position where your standards of living will drop.’ 

Cardiff City fan Mr Ballinger revealed he didn’t shake hands with the Brexiteer who muscled in on the BBC interview.

He added: ‘I was in the middle of telling the BBC journalist that we are totally bereft of any political leadership in this country when this other guy chipped in.

‘It has made me briefly famous and I will be the talk of the bowls club when I go down there next.’

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Study says men find women with a lower voice more attractive

As a study says men find women with a lower voice more attractive, MARIELLA FROSTRUP dares admit: Seductive? All my husband hears is a moaning wife!

  • A University of Sussex study claims men find lower tones more attractive 
  • Mariella Frostrup has received a flood of compliments for her ‘seductive’ voice
  • She says it conjures up nights of hard drinking, chain smoking and debauchery
  • Her voice had a starring role in Johnny English Reborn and she does voice overs
  • Mariella spoke to an expert to uncover why her voice has a huskiness
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On the whole, it is men who comment on the way I speak. If women ever say anything, it’s to tell me that their boyfriend, brother, father or male colleague loves the sound of my voice.

I’m the vocal equivalent of a beautiful photograph of the Maldives, seductive and enticing, but a pipe dream.

Back in the old days, one of my dating rules was never to go out with a man who spoke lasciviously about my dulcet tones. It made me suspicious that they might be after something terribly exotic which I wouldn’t be able to provide.

So it tickled me to discover my voice was referenced in a recent dating study from the University of Sussex which found that men find a lower tone more attractive.

Mariella Frostrup’s voice was referenced in a recent study which discovered men find a lower tone more attractive, she shared how the huskiness of her voice has impacted her career and personal life 

When I speak, it apparently conjures up nights of hard drinking, chain smoking and old-fashioned debauchery.

The reality, especially these days, is I’m in bed as early as possible, with an eye mask on to block out the light.

But my voice has long had this glamorous, independent life all of its own. It’s been described — variously — as the ‘sexiest in the world’, ‘famously husky’ and ‘honey-on-gravel’. But I can’t say that the way I talk reflects what I’m really like. It’s just an accident of genetics.

To what do I attribute this fluke of nature? Well, actually, I’ve never bothered to find out.

My voice has been both a blessing and a curse from childhood, though not quite for the reasons you’d think. I was certainly bullied for the way in which I spoke when growing up in Seventies rural Ireland. But the teasing was more about my Norwegian accent than my gravelly tones. I was certainly not renowned as the husky-voiced eight- year-old of Kilmacanogue!

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The first time the huskiness became a topic of conversation was when I made my debut appearance on television in the mid-Eighties. The reaction to what was, to me, simply my voice came as a bemusing surprise.

All I knew was that, like many, I loathed the sound and tone of my own voice when I called up my answering machine to pick up messages.

Yet the first review of music show Big World Cafe — the programme I presented on Channel 4 in 1989 — focused more on my voice than on my words.

And it was after this that my voice took on a life of its own for a while. I suppose the zenith of my voice’s popularity was being lampooned as a Spitting Image Puppet, with vast red lips, fine blonde hair, a silver evening dress and — of course — an insanely gravelly voice. (It was a man who provided this, because no woman could emulate my late night-sounding vocal range.)

Mariella (pictured) revealed despite the compliments she has received for her voice, her husband doesn’t like the sound of it 

I’m amused that science suggests how we speak is supposed to represent how we look. I’m sure people are often disappointed on meeting me. A study at Nottingham Trent University showed the majority of us can accurately match how someone looks with how they sound.

But I beg to differ. In my experience, those who have the most seductive voices only too often disappoint hugely in person (this may, of course, be the case with me). They sound youthful and vibrant, but on meeting I often rethink my first impressions!

Another downside is that a distinctive voice is hard to conceal. On many an occasion I’ve got in a black cab and the driver has said, without even looking at my face: ‘So, you’re that Mariella Frostrup then?’ I would be — for any number of reasons, but that one in particular — an absolutely appalling spy.

Does my husband like the sound of my voice? Of course not. What husband stops and listens, as though to a nightingale’s song or the sweet sound of children singing, to their wife moaning about how busy they are? I am the person harassing the children to eat their breakfast and worrying about logistics and school timetables.

Why do we hate the sound of our own voice?

Hate your own voice? On a recording you don’t hear low frequencies that occur when sound travels through our bones, so it sounds higher than we’re used to

As for the children. Well, they’re teenagers and as I’m their mother, I’m just white noise, the crackling sound of an untuned radio interspersed with the word ‘no’. I’m not a husky voice, I’m just interrupting their adolescent frequency.

But I can hardly complain about a feature which has been responsible for a bit of income. My voice has been quite commercially viable, though not necessarily the path to untold riches.

To date, it has had a starring role as the voice of Johnny English’s car in Johnny English Reborn. But then Rowan Atkinson swapped my car and that was the end of me.

I also do voiceovers. The problem is that although my voice is distinctive, it’s the only one I have. I’m no actor. So I can only do those infrequently; once you have a big advertisement that’s it. They don’t want you purring about toothpaste on another radio station.

Perhaps it’s important at this point to say that I don’t put it on for performances, and talk in a strong Irish brogue the rest of the time. Neither have I had any vocal training.

Surgeon David Howe told Mariella (pictured) the huskiness of her voice is likely related to how she naturally articulates and controls her vocal cords

I am aware there are masses of impersonators out there. Although of course I can recognise my own voice talking about, for example, No7 Lift and Luminate or Walkers Baked Crisps, sometimes people will say: ‘Oooh, I heard you talking about laxatives or feminine hygiene,’ and it’s one of the many would-be-mes.

I don’t necessarily come off best here, by the way. The difference between me and these actresses is that they can change their voices and do hundreds of marvellously lucrative adverts.

I can’t even do a convincing Northern accent. Sometimes, first thing in the morning, I simply don’t speak at all.

I have wondered whether my huskiness is caused by a sinister underlying throat condition which will flare up at some point and cause early retirement or untimely death.

I asked consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon David Howe at Spire Parkway Hospital, Solihull, whether this might be the case, and thankfully he thinks not. ‘The way in which we speak is a physical process,’ he says. ‘The vocal cords are two folds of tissue forming a slit in the larynx, the structure of muscle and cartilage at the top of the trachea, or windpipe.

‘As we breathe in, air is trapped beneath this slit. As we breathe out, the edges vibrate to produce the voice. Ideally, the vocal cords are smooth, in order to produce a pleasant sound.’

Mariella (pictured) claims you can’t be over 50 and have anything alluring about you including your voice 

My huskiness is, he says, likely to be related to how I naturally articulate and control my vocal cords. ‘You may also have slightly thicker vocal cords than the average female,’ he suggests. And the voice ages too. ‘As the vocal cords thin a little, female voices become deeper and weaker.’

Other reasons for huskiness can be polyps, smoking or acid reflux. ‘At early stages a smoker’s voice can be a little sexy, like yours,’ he says.

Ten years ago, I was deemed to be only one-third of the perfect voice in a survey conducted by Post Office Telecoms.

They came up with an actual formula — the perfect female voice, they said, would be spoken at 164 words a minute, at low frequency and with falling intonation, with the conclusion that the ideal female voice mixes my tones with those of Dame Judi Dench and Honor Blackman. (The perfect male voice, apparently, was judged to be an Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons and Michael Gambon hybrid.)

In recent years, the furore has died down somewhat. Once I reached the benchmark age of 50 I instantly lost all sexual appeal, as is the way of the world. You can’t be 50-plus and have anything alluring about you — even your voice.

And so it’s no surprise, as I have learnt to my slight sadness, that it can also droop, in just the same way as other parts of the body.

But the voice is not ready for retirement yet, and neither am I.

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Farage says Brexit majority will be BIGGER if there is new referendum

‘The lion will roar!’ Nigel Farage says majority for Brexit will be BIGGER if there is a second referendum as he accuses Theresa May of ‘surrender’

  • Theresa May fell to catastrophic defeat on her Brexit deal in Commons last night
  • Nigel Farage warns majority for Brexit will be bigger if there is a new referendum
  • He accused the PM of ‘surrender’ during the Brexit negotiations with Brussels 

Nigel Farage today warned there will be a bigger majority for Brexit if Remainers force a second referendum.

The former Ukip leader told the European Parliament that the ‘lion will roar’ if another national ballot is held.

He also accused Theresa May of ‘surrender’ in negotiations with Brussels – and said she should quit after her deal was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs.

The PM has been left scrambling to find a way forward after suffered the biggest Commons loss ever for a government, with an extraordinary 118 Tories rebelling against the plan. 

A clearly shattered Mrs May also faces a no-confidence battle tonight, after Jeremy Corbyn insisted the government had come to the ‘end of the line’ and demanded an election.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage told the European Parliament that the ‘lion will roar’ if another national ballot is held

The escape routes for the premier appear to be closing, with the EU signalled a tough line. A senior German minister this morning dismissed the prospect of delaying Article 50 unless there is a clear ‘path’ for getting an agreement implemented. 

And the EU’s chief negotiator Mr Barnier goaded Mrs May by demanding she respond by abandoning her long-standing negotiation positions, such as ending free movement, ruling out a permanent customs union, and ending the jurisdiction of EU law. 

Remainers from across parties have been stepping up their calls for a second referendum, despite Mrs May ruling the prospect out. 

But speaking to MEPs in Strasbourg, Mr Farage said he believed the margin for Brexit would be bigger than the 52-48 in 2016. He has pledged to make a comeback to frontline politics if the Brexit vote is re-run.

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He said: ‘The British may be a very placid people, very laid back but I promise you: if they get pushed too far it’s a lion that will roar. 

‘We will be even more defiant if we have to fight a second referendum and we will win it by a bigger majority.’ 

Interviewed on ITV’s GMB earlier, Mr Farage called for the PM to quit.

‘If the Prime Minister had any sense of honour she would resign this morning having led us to this debacle, but of course she won’t,’ he said.

Describing Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement as like ‘a surrender document of a nation that had been beaten in war’, Mr Farage added: ‘Brexit is not the problem, this Prime Minister is, she needs to go.’

He said he now expected the two-year Article 50 process leading to Brexit to be extended beyond March 29.

But speaking to MEPs in Strasbourg, Mr Farage said he believed the margin for Brexit would be bigger than the 52-48 in 2016

The PM has been left scrambling to find a way forward after suffered the biggest Commons loss ever for a government



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Jeremy Clarkson, 58, says he's 'a lot fatter since quitting smoking' as he looks loved up with girlfriend Lisa Hogan, 46, at The Grand Tour launch

The 58-year-old posed up with his 46-year-old partner as they joined James May and Richard Hammond on the red carpet at London’s The Brewery.

The car lovers are launching the third series of their Amazon show and were their usual jovial selves.

According to the Mail Online Jeremy joked that he had put on weight after giving up smoking.

He said: “I’m a lot fatter. I gave up smoking, anyone here given up smoking? Anyone else get fat, like unbelievably fat, as a result of it? It’s just terrifying.”

James replied: “So, why were you fat when you were smoking?”

Hitting back, Jeremy added: “Same reason as you James, same reason as you. Exhibit A, the smoker James May.”

James and Lisa went public with their romance in February 2017.

It is Jeremy’s first relationship since his marriage to second wife Frances Cain ended in divorce in 2014.

The TV star has three children from his marriage to Frances, and Lisa is mum to three kids with her former husband Baron Steven Bentinck.

Lisa separated from her former husband in 2005.

Jeremy recently revealed that his girlfriend has told him off for being horrible to the guests on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – which he now hosts.

Writing in his Sunday Times column, he said:  “I always said if I'd been in Tarrant's shoes, I'd snarl and snap at hopeless contestants for wasting everyone else's evening.

“I tried it on the first show and afterwards my girlfriend was cross with me because I'd been "horrid".”

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The Bachelor’s Demi Says Elyse Is ‘So Brave’ for Opening Up About Being 31

Wait a minute — is 31 old? Elyse, who is the oldest contestant in The Bachelor Opens a New Window. house at 31, made her age the center of discussion during the Monday, January 14, episode.

The makeup artist from Alaska explained to Colton Underwood Opens a New Window. that the six contestants who were over 27 were bunking in the same room, calling it the “cougar den.” She later referred to the group as “Colton’s Cougars.”

When she landed a spot on the first group date, each contestant had to talk about their “firsts.” Elyse revealed this was her first time dating a younger man, adding to Colton, “Now it’s my turn to teach you a thing or two.”

After her speech, Demi chimed in during her confessional, saying that Elyse was “so brave” for talking openly about her age. “I thought that was so bold of her,” the 23-year-old said. “I mean, there’s no advantage to being an older woman here.”

For more on The Bachelor, including the “Strip Down Moment of the Night” presented by Bioré®, watch our recap video above.

The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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Warnock says 'to hell with the rest of the world' – but views on Brexit backfire spectacularly for the Cardiff manager

But the Bluebirds boss’ pro-Brexit rant comes as a surprise as Cardiff are owned by a Malaysian millionaire and have players representing 10 different nationalities.

Cardiff are embroiled in a relegation battle this season and, after Saturday's goalless home draw to Huddersfield, sit 17th in the Premier League.

Warnock's irritation has already boiled over this season as he laid into Manchester United players for diving and labelled Liverpool "disgraceful" over Nathaniel Clyne’s transfer.

And now the outspoken 70-year-old coach weighed in on Brexit negotiations, dismissing claims it will curb the influx of foreign players into the Premier League.

He also said he was looking forward to leaving the European Union, insisting Britain would be better off "in every aspect" after the divorce.

He said: "I think once the country knows what they're doing and we get an agreement and move on, I think it will be straightforward [to sign players].

"But I don't know why politicians don't do what the country wanted if I'm honest. They had a referendum and now we see politicians and everyone else trying to put their foot in it.

"I think we'll be far better out of the bloody thing. In every aspect.

"To hell with the rest of the world. Football-wise as well."

Warnock’s comments strike as surprising considering Cardiff City's cosmopolitan identity.

The Bluebirds are owned by Malaysian millionaire Vincent Tan, who has overseen the club’s two Premier League promotions.

Cardiff’s squad also consists of players representing 10 different nationalities from all over the world.


The Welsh side’s back line is orchestrated by Sol Bamba of Ivory Coast.

And among Cardiff’s best scorers this season are Spaniard Victor Camarasa and Canadian Junior Hoilett.

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker expressed disapproval of Warnock's comments on Twitter and wrote: "Oh Colin" alongside a frustrated emoji.

One Twitter user also added: "Missing out on Nathaniel Clyne has really got to him."

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Peter Andre says he was hospitalised with panic attacks and secretly battled anxiety for TEN years

The 45-year-old Mysterious Girl singer said: "I ended up in all sorts of hospitals, on medication and with different therapists."

Speaking on to Irish chat host Ray D'Arcy, he explained: "When you talk to people now and you talk about anxiety and you talk about breakdowns and things like that, some people look at it like a weakness.

"Some people look at it like a taboo – but the truth is, it's so real. So many people are going through it.

"I went through it for years. It was a moment, it was in 1998. I was at the top of everything and all of a sudden it just hit me like a tonne of bricks."

He added: "I couldn't function. I couldn't think straight. I was having panic attacks. I ended up in all sorts of hospitals, on medication, different therapists.

"My parents didn't know anything, I didn't want them to know anything because they're worriers. I got through it. It took me 10 years."

However, Peter added that the ordeal turned out to be "the best thing that ever happened to me", because it gave him a sunnier outlook on life.

He explained: "I remember praying and saying, 'Please, if I get another chance, if I can get through this period I will never take it for granted.'

"So when I did get through it and things came back and I got to do all these wonderful things, I don't take it for granted."

Pete also spoke out about the enduring appeal of his hit song Mysterious Girl, explaining: "I'm so lucky.

"How many people can say they've got a song that just won't die? Actually, each year it grows."

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Probation officer says thug who murdered man should have been in jail

Probation officer says violent criminal who stabbed young father to death after early release from jail SHOULD have been put back behind bars before the killing

  • Timothy Deakin, 21, stabbed Michael Hoolickin, 27, to death in Manchester, 2016 
  • Deakin was on licence having served almost five years for another brutal attack 
  • Inquest into death determined if Deakin should have been in jail before stabbing
  • Probation officer said she believed the threshold for recall had been ‘firmly met’
  • Deakin previously found guilty at trial and given a minimum of 27 years in prison

Probation officer Natalia Atkinson (pictured)  has said the violent criminal Timothy Deakin, 21, who brutally stabbed a young father Michael Hoolickin, 27, to death  should have been behind bars before the killing

A probation officer has said the violent criminal who brutally stabbed a young father to death outside a pub in a frenzied attack should have been behind bars before the killing.

Timothy Deakin, 21, who was on licence from prison having served almost five years for a separate savage attack, knifed Michael Hoolickin five times in October 2016, after the 27-year-old told him off for beating a woman. 

An inquest into Mr Hoolickin’s death was dramatically halted in June last year after the coroner called for an investigation into whether Deakin should have been recalled to prison before the fatal stabbing.

As the inquest resumed today, Deakin’s probation case manager Natalia Atkinson told the court that she believed the threshold for recall had been ‘firmly met’. 

Ms Atkinson described Deakin at one of ’50 high risk offenders’ she was dealing with at the time. 

The violent thug was suspected of carrying weapons, dealing drugs, mixing with a defendant from his previous conviction and had even failed 11 of his 15 drugs tests – testing positive for cocaine and cannabis. 

Yet despite Ms Atkinson claiming to have alerted senior probation officers about increasing concerns over Deakin’s risk of harm, he had not been sent back to prison.

Having been at large for eight months, Deakin stabbed the father-of-one and was ordered to serve a minimum of 27 years in prison.   

Savage attack: Deakin (left), who was on licence from prison having served almost five years for a separate savage attack, murdered Michael Hoolickin in October 2016 after the 27-year-old told him off for beating a woman. Having been at large for eight months, Deakin stabbed the father-of-one (pictured right) and was ordered to serve a minimum of 27 years in prison

The inquest heard Deakin was let out of prison on February 23, 2016, and was subjected to ten conditions – including that he initially stay at a hostel for newly-released offenders and abide by a curfew.

‘My case load was excessive – I believe the evidence suggests at times it was 170 per cent capacity,’ Ms Atkinson said. 

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‘The number of previous convictions and sanctions on record were indicative of someone who was effectively lawless,’ she told the court.

She described Deakin’s behaviour as ‘feral’ and ‘animalistic’ and said she felt he had enjoyed the ‘reputation’ his original offence had given him among his peer group. 

She admitted she was unaware at the time that Deakin had in fact been testing positive for cocaine, as she was ‘not aware’ where to look for drug results. 

Lawless and feral: Ms Atkinson described Deakin’s behaviour as ‘feral’ and ‘animalistic’ and said she felt he had enjoyed the ‘reputation’ his original offence had given him among his peer group. By June 2016, Deakin had been seen carrying weapons and spending time with his co-defendant from his previous offence

By June 2016, Deakin had been seen carrying weapons and spending time with his co-defendant from his previous offence.

Ms Atkinson said she then decided all options had been ‘exhausted’ and believed he should have been recalled to prison.

‘If it was my job to keep the public safe, then Mr Deakin wasn’t engaging in any of that,’ she said.

The court heard that for recall to be granted, a case manager’s recommendation has to be approved by a senior probation officer, before being signed off by a higher level manager. 

Ms Atkinson said she sent an email to a senior probation officer highlighting the intelligence from police about Deakin carrying weapons in June 2016, but received no reply.

Speaking at the earlier inquest hearing, Michael’s father Garry Hoolickin, a retired footballer with more than 200 appearances for Oldham Athletic, said: ‘As a family we want a definite change. We don’t want this to happen to another family. It’s nearly killed myself and my wife. It’s absolutely disgraceful, I think, what’s going on’

By that time, Deakin had already received a final warning from the probation service, the court heard.

Ms Atkinson said that after receiving no reply, she emailed a duty senior probation officer, David Rhoden, for advice following ongoing pressure from police about Deakin’s case.  

Speaking at the earlier inquest hearing, Michael’s father Garry Hoolickin, a retired footballer with more than 200 appearances for Oldham Athletic, said: ‘As a family we want a definite change.

‘We don’t want this to happen to another family. It’s nearly killed myself and my wife. It’s absolutely disgraceful, I think, what’s going on.’

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