News Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and ex-wife Mariam Aziz, pictured in 1999

A former international badminton player who became a bodyguard and close friend to the ex-wife of the Sultan of Brunei abused her position to steal diamonds worth £11.6m from her “extremely wealthy” employer, a court heard yesterday.

it’s undeniable that a growing number of presenters and pundits have headed for the exit door in recent times as the BB C’s portfolio of sporting events continues to shrink

Sport on TV: Alan Hansen says no to extra time as he joins BBC exodus

Suggestions that BBC TV have ordered new signs for their sports studio(s) – whether they have more than one these days is unclear – which read: "Will the last presenter to leave the premises please turn out the lights" are, of course, mere malicious gossip, but it's undeniable that a growing number of presenters and pundits have headed for the exit door in recent times as the BBC's portfolio of sporting events continues to shrink.

Southern comfort: How a remarkable tropical garden sprung up in a corner of Camberwell

Clive Pankhurst has turned the space at the back of the house into a magnificent oasis

Couple conned CPS out of £1m in 'colossal' expenses fraud

A civil servant and her taxi driver lover who conned the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) out of £1m in a “colossal” expenses fraud have both been jailed for six years.

Alain and the chocolate factory: How a celebrated French chef became an unlikely Willy Wonka

What does a chef do once he's conquered the globe? When it's Alain Ducasse, become a chocolatier...

Slovakian teen Adela Copakova

Adela Copakova: Mystery over missing 14-year-old girl in Sheffield

Slovakian teen was last seen on Sunday evening at around 8pm

Accessories in extremis: Frothy femininity to strident and strong - this season's fashion extras prove that opposites are attractive

Whether you go for micro minaudières or jumbo backpacks, featherlight heels or sturdy caterpillar soles, it’s all about polar opposites for the season’s  extras. Rebecca Gonsalves compares and contrasts

Medieval tomb discovered by a... badger

Burial site of 12th century Slavic lords discovered in eastern Germany

Kelly Clarkson shelled out £152,450 for Jane Austen's ring

Jane Austen museum raises funds to buy author's ring off Kelly Clarkson

The US singer paid £152,450 for the gold and turquoise ring

CORSETED BROCADE BALLGOWN WITH TRAIN, FROM GILES DEACON ARCHIVE; LACE-STYLE COURT SHOES, £1,075, BY NICHOLAS KIRKWOOD, NICHOLASKIRKWOOD.COM; WINDSOR DIAMONDS AND AMETHYST NECKLACE, EARRINGS AND BRACELET, ALL FROM A SELECTION BY ASPREY, 167 NEW BOND STREET, LONDON W1, 020-7493 6767; ENGAGEMENT RING, MODEL'S OWN; BABY'S CHRISTENING GOWN, £70, BY JOHN LEWIS, JOHNLEWIS.COM

Mother of all exclusives: The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George* pose for a fashion shoot for The Independent (*OK, lookalikes, at least)

No one was more surprised than the staunchly republican Independent when we landed the scoop of the decade – the world’s first photoshoot with the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George. Take that, Kay Burley!

Petra Ecclestone who was robbed of £500,000 worth of jewellery

Jewellery worth £500,000 stolen from London home of F1 heiress Petra Ecclestone

Earrings and watches discovered missing following house viewing

Charlie Cooper said this picture breached his human rights

Mother knows best: Thief punished by his mum on Facebook

The story represents yet another occasion when a parent has been able to punish their offspring via a social network

The jewels were made by Chopard, which has furnished a host of stars such as model Cara Delevingne

Crime à la Croisette: Cannes becomes the No 1 destination for world’s jewel thieves

When asked why he robbed banks, the legendary American criminal Willie Sutton replied: “Because that’s where the money is?”

The attack happened in the Sunamganj region of Bangladesh, pictured

British woman is killed in Bangladesh during violent jewel robbery

The 43-year-old was visiting relatives when she was attacked for her valuables

Recent Matrushka project, Mulberry Lodge

Wear did you get that mat?

Interiors brand Matruska has a new website that shows off the founder’s fashionable past.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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