this is bbc news. i'm martine croxall. the headlines at 11pm: the investigation in to alleged russian meddling — president trump's former national security advisor michael flynn pleads guilty to lying to the fbi. one of the prime minister's closest political allies, damian green, strongly denies fresh allegations he looked at pornography on his office computer. the key to brexit talks — the eu warns britain trade negotiations won't start until ireland is satisfied there'll be no hard border. and on newsnight, the man that wanted to lock up hilary clinton could be about to go to prison. we're live in washington. good evening and welcome to bbc news. one of president trump's closest confidants,
his former national security advisor, michael flynn, has pleaded guilty to lying to fbi agents about his contacts with russia during last year's us presidential election. mr flynn is the most senior former official to be charged in the investigation so far. but the white house says the guilty plea doesn't implicate anyone else except him. from washington, here's our correspondent aleem maqbool. it has sent political shock waves through washington. general michael flynn, donald trump's former national security adviser, turned himself in to the fbi, and to a judge admitted lying about his contacts with russian officials. in court, he was asked if he wished to plead guilty to making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements, to which michael flynn answered simply, "yes, sir". well, we now know general flynn had conversations with
the russian ambassador about the possibility of lifting sanctions against moscow. but given barack obama was still in the white house, he was just unauthorised to do that. but he now says, crucially, that he was directed to have those conversations by a senior official in the transition team of donald trump. michael flynn developed a close relationship with mr trump during the election campaign — at one point, even being talked of as a potential vice—president. a truly great general. right here. mike, thank you. at the republican national convention, he famously led chants for hillary clinton to be imprisoned. yeah, that's right, lock her up! it was revealed michael flynn had previously had contacts with vladimir putin, but he made his costly mistake late last year, after president obama had just imposed more sanctions on russia for interfering in the us election. on the 29th of december,
michael flynn spoke to the russian ambassador on the phone. on the 15th of january, vice president mike pence said that sanctions were not discussed by michael flynn in those calls. only after the ninth of february, when a newspaper revealed general flynn did discuss sanctions when he wasn't authorised to do so did pressure increase and michael flynn lost his job. michael flynn then became one key focus of the investigation into russia's attempts to influence the 2016 election and potential collusion with the trump campaign. the white house is now trying to distance itself from general flynn's actions and the lies he told the fbi, but there is no question that this latest development brings the russia investigation ever closer to the president himself. aleem maqbool, bbc news, washington. theresa may's deputy, damian green, is under renewed pressure tonight after claims that he accessed pornography on his commons computer. a retired detective says he found thousands of pornographic images on a computer in mr green's office nine years ago
and that it was ridiculous to suggest that anyone else could be responsible. mr green, the first secretary of state, has again insisted that the allegations are false. our home affairs correspondent danny shaw has this exclusive report. he's theresa may's oldest and most trusted political ally, now battling for cabinet survival over claims he watched pornography on his work computer. can i ask you to leave? the allegations, which he denies, centre on computers seized in this police raid over leaked documents from the home office. now a detective involved in the enquiry has given his account of what he discovered. neil lewis spent 25 years in the metropolitan police before retiring due to ill health. he has multiple sclerosis. in 2008, was given the task of examining damian green's work computer. the shocking thing was that as i was viewing, i noticed a lot of pornography thumbnails,
which indicated web browsing. but a lot. there was a lot of them. how many images did you see on that? thousands. thousands of pornographic images? thumbnail images. this is the one note that you kept. neil lewis still has his notebook from the time, detailing what he saw on the computer. there's a reference to briefing officers about pornography. he claimed two other detectives also saw the material. it was legal and not extreme, he said. similar images were also seen on a laptop, he claimed. how can you be sure that it was damian green who was accessing that pornography? there's a sort of phrase, "you can't put fingers on the keyboard". so i can't say that. but the computer was in mr green's office, on his desk, logged in, his account, his name.
in between browsing pornography, he was sending e—mails from his account, his personal account. reading documents, writing documents. and it was just impossible. it was sort of exclusive and extensive, that it was ridiculous to suggest that anybody else could have done it. outside his home in kent today, damian green protested his innocence. a cabinet office enquiry has been examining his conduct. mr green... i've said that i'm not commenting any further while the investigation is going on. i've maintained all along, i still maintain, it is the truth, that i didn't download or look at pornography on my computer. but obviously while the
investigation is going on i can't say any more at the moment. one of mr green's colleagues in parliament rallied to his defence, saying the detective‘s account didn't add up. the pattern of behaviour he describes seems to me entirely inconsistent with the normal pattern of behaviour of an mp in parliament. we simply do not have hours to sit in front of our computers and browse leisure websites of whatever variety. did you look at pornography at all? there are now questions about how apparently confidential information about damian green's computers was made public. scotland yard is looking into it. danny shaw, bbc news. the european council president, donald tusk, has warned theresa may that the eu will not begin discussing trade in the brexit talks until ireland is happy with the uk's offer on the future of the irish border. it comes as the head of the world trade organization has told the bbc that the uk faces a very bumpy and long road to secure a trade deal.
our economics editor kamal ahmed reports. on the banks of lake geneva, the organisation that holds the rule book for trade around the world and is helping both sides, britain and the eu, as they tread their way gingerly towards separation. the man in charge told me that a hard, disruptive brexit would carry costs. i don't think this is going to be an easy negotiation, to be frank with you. i think it's going to be very tough because of the number of elements and variables involved in this conversation. trade negotiations are extremely complex. they are very sensitive politically. people have talked about what has been described as a hard brexit. would that be a disaster for the british and european union economies? clearly, this is not going to be a situation where all trade stops. there is collapse in terms of the economy as a whole.
so that, for me, is the end of the world. but it's not going to be a walk in the park. it's not like nothing happened. there will be an impact. the tendency is that prices will go up, of course. you have to absorb the costs of that disruption. that question of disruption affects so much in these negotiations. what about the irish border and how to keep it open once brexit happens? in dublin, the eu offered the irish prime minister what amounted to a veto. if the uk offer is unacceptable for ireland, it will also be an acceptable for the eu. this is why big key to the uk's future lies, in some ways, in dublin. is there any example we can look to which could solve this irish problem? i can't think of a close parallel anywhere else. it's challenging, i have to tell you. to the extent that there is no longer a customs union.
no easy solution comes to the mind. here in geneva, and a warning — no free trade deal with the european union would be costly for the uk. next week, the focus moves 500 miles north the brussels, where a lunch may be frosty between theresa may and the president of the european commission will try and unravel some of these difficult issues. kamalahmed, bbc news, geneva. a 71—year—old man has beenjailed for murdering his toddler stepson almost 50 years ago. david dearlove swung the one—year—old child by his ankles and hit his head on a fireplace in 1968. for decades dearlove lied about what had happened, but then a photo posted on facebook led to the investigation being reopened as danny savage explains. this picture triggered a murder trial. it shows a man called david dearlove with his stepson, paul booth. when this image was posted on facebook, paul's now adult
brother went to police, telling them dearlove had murdered the toddler and he had witnessed it. the 21—year—old dearlove in the photo is now 71. almost 50 years later, he was today convicted of murder. back in the late 1960s, he lived with the boys' mother in this house in stockton. on the night he killed his stepson in the living room, he claimed the boy's injuries were accidental, but his three—year—old brother, peter, saw what really happened. he'd crept downstairs for a drink, and through a gap in the living room door saw dearlove swinging paul violently by the ankles and cracking his head against the fireplace, causing fatal injuries. nearly half a century later, what peter booth sawjust before his fourth birthday has convicted his stepfather of murder. dearlove said paul had received the injuries by falling out of bed. had he fallen out of bed and fractured his skull,
that would have resulted in a straight line fracture. in this case we had a fracture that was a z shape and crossed two places in the skull, and that wasn't consistent with him having simply fallen and hit his head against an object such as a hard floor. a lot of the lines of enquiry we are used to in this day and age, digital enquiries, phone works, forensics, stuff like that didn't exist. we didn't have a body in this case, we didn't have a scene, a lot of the witnesses were dead, so it was quite challenging. paul booth‘s brother and sister had to relive childhood ordeals and trauma to getjustice for him. thejudge said dearlove made the children's lives a misery, and jailed him for a minimum of 13 years. danny savage, bbc news, teesside. nearly 200 natwest banks are to close along with more than 60 royal bank of scotland branches. the move means 680 jobs will be lost. royal bank of scotland, which owns both banks, says online banking means fewer customers are using the branches. prince harry and his fiance megan markle have carried
out their first official public engagement since they announced they were getting married earlier this week. the couple were greeted by crowds of well wishers in nottingham as they visited a world aids day charity fair and then met local teachers and children at a school nearby. from nottingham, here's our royal correspondent nicholas witchell. as an actress, she's been used to a public stage. she's accustomed to meeting crowds and dealing with fans. little surprise, then, that meghan markle handled her first official public appearance in her new role with considerable confidence. husband—to—be was on hand, solicitous and supportive. there was a lot of eye contact between them and supportive arms going around each other‘s backs. at times they met the crowds together, but then meghan branched off on her own, stopping and taking time with people. while harry did the same thing on his side of the street. moments later they were reunited,
the queue for more back—rubbing. the couple heard about the work of the terrence higgins trust, the charity which has worked for years to help people suffering ffgm' ﬁfﬁiﬁ'!’§§?= in tribute to his late mother. and at a local college, they heard about the effort to help young people keep out of trouble. serious issues to which harry, through a charitable trust, is devoting serious attention. but for all that, there was no doubt who sparkled the most today — the woman with the diamond.
i saw her ring and the diamond is massive! it's absolutely gorgeous. just knowing that you're sitting near meghan and prince harry, it'sjaw—dropping, it's really nice. a glittering future then? it certainly seems to augur well. nicholas witchell, bbc news, nottingham. now it's time for newsnight with emily maitlis. tonight, the net tightens around trump. michael flynn, his former national security advisor pleads guilty to lying to the fbi. was he ordered to do so by the president's son—in—law? and where does this take the mueller investigation now? we're live in washington with those who can explain. also tonight, ten years ago, police raided damian green's office