Sport David Beckham having his medical at Real Madrid back in 2003

With each prospective signing needing at least a five-hour examination, clubs' physios and local hospitals expect to be busy

Family of armed robber who died after being restrained by customers say they blame no one for his death

The family of an armed robber who died after being restrained by customers as he attempted to raid a betting shop said they hold no one responsible for his death.

Carrot juice tins hide £8m of drugs

One of the biggest ever seizures of liquid cocaine has been made after the drug was detected in juice tins at Gatwick Airport, the UK Border Agency said today.

Smiles ahead: Shelley Rudman enjoys her skeleton win in Winterberg

Skeleton: Rudman eyes Olympics after Winterberg victory

Shelley Rudman hailed her World Cup skeleton win in Winterberg this weekend but said her main objective remains another medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.

Ellen Gandy after winning gold in the women’s 200m butterfly is congratulated by Jemma Lowe (left)

Swimming: Ellen Gandy quits Team GB to take plunge for Australia

World 200 metres butterfly silver medallist Ellen Gandy has announced she is to switch allegiance and compete for Australia.

Police team axed for playing poker

An entire neighbourhood policing team has been axed after an internal investigation found officers had been playing backgammon and poker, watching television and cleaning golf clubs while on duty.

Clockwise from left: 1. Black boots with brown top £150, dune.co.uk; 2. Suede and leather boots£345, Russell and Bromley, 020 7629 6903; 3. Black leather boots £190, cosstores.com; 4. Suede foldover boots £100, asos.com; 5. Studded heel boots £110, topshop.co.uk

Fill your boots

Stock up on fitting footwear to fend off the chills

Blind woman 'abandoned two miles from home by taxi driver who mocked her disability'

A blind woman was abandoned two miles from home by a taxi driver who mocked her disability and laughed at her when she could not identify local landmarks, it has been claimed.

Two held after £6.8m cocaine seized

Two men have been arrested after Border Force officers seized cocaine with a street value of £6.8 million on a lorry at a UK ferryport.

Jury rules that falling masonry death at restaurant was accidental

The death of a man killed by a piece of falling masonry as he sat at a restaurant was an accident, an inquest jury has ruled.

The Spanish Paralympic basketball team with other gold medal winners in Sydney in 2000. The Paralympic committee investigated allegations that the players suffered no handicaps

Learning disabilities: Paralympic 'cheats' no more

One eligibility scandal in 2000 saw all athletes with learning disabilities banned from the Paralympics – but they are set for a glorious return

Teacher loses £5m claim for damages after being paralysed in welly-wanging accident

A teacher who was left paralysed after breaking his neck in a freak welly-wanging accident on a school trip has lost his High Court claim for more than £5 million in damages.

Synchronised swimming duo Olivia Federici and Jenna Randall

In at the deep end

Synchronised swimming is a mystery to most. Rebecca Gonsalves took the plunge

Three charged with Downham stab murder

Police have charged two men and a youth with the murder of a 16-year-old boy stabbed to death just days after his birthday.

Machete hero had just become a British citizen

A hero who wrestled a man armed with a machete to the ground after he broke into a church hall and attacked a group of women's barbershop singers had become a British citizen only hours earlier.

New infestation of 'hazardous' moth identified

A new infestation of a non-native moth which is hazardous to human and animal health and trees has been identified, the Forestry Commission has said.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'