Houston25233330%2%<1% Utah12152118%6%<1% TCU84237%31%11% Baylor610132%31%13% USC—20530%4%1% Alabama42614%41%11% Oklahoma St.14111415%6%1% North Carolina—262323%<1%<1% LSU25822%30%8% Memphis13143621%6%<1% The first College Football Playoff rankings are out, and the selection committee ranked Clemson, LSU, Ohio State and Alabama as the top four teams, in that order, worthy of the playoff were it held today. But we at FiveThirtyEight want to look into the future. Our model (outlined in the table below) simulates the rest of the season to project which teams the committee will let into the playoff when it releases its final selections on Dec. 6. It expects that Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama and TCU, in that order, are most likely to make the cut. If you want to read more about how the model works, here’s Nate Silver’s explanation of its methodology. If you just want to get to the rankings, here they are: Read more: Our preview of this week’s college football games Florida1091241%18%4% Michigan State731915%22%3% Wisconsin—18245%<1%<1% Clemson17756%51%12% Penn State—2741<1%<1%<1% Florida State16131513%5%<1% RankingProbability of … Oklahoma1516315%14%5% Notre Dame589—25%5% Iowa9122925%7%<1% Mississippi St.201917<1%3%<1% Mississippi18171020%8%2% Arkansas—3926<1%<1%<1% Texas A&M193016<1%<1%<1% Toledo24244328%<1%<1% Ohio State31447%61%16% Northwestern214257<1%<1%<1% Temple22324541%<1%<1% Michigan1722187%6%<1% UCLA2321225%1%<1% Oregon—2532<1%<1%<1% Stanford1161346%19%3% TeamCFPEloFPIConf. TitlePlayoffNat. Title
Former Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson is running amok with his mouth these days. First he said that African Americans are strong athletes because they are descendants of slaves and have a genetic advantage. He followed up that unfounded claim with a dose of total insensitivity.The world-record holder in the 400 meter race said South African sprinter and double amputee Oscar Pistorius should not be allowed to participate in the Olympics. Before he shot down Pistorius, Johnson prefaced his venom by calling the running “a friend.”“I consider Oscar a friend of mine, but he knows I am against him running,” Johnson told the London Telegraph. “Because this is not about Oscar; it’s not about him as an individual. It is about the rules you will make and put in place for the sport which will apply to anyone, and not just Oscar.”Huh?Pistorius, also known as “The Blade Runner,” has garnered a lot of attention since being approved to compete in the London Games. The South African sprinter lost the lower part of his legs as a child and uses blade-like prosthetic limbs when he competes on the track.Johnson isn’t the first to broach the subject of whether a disabled runner whose limbs have been rebuilt with modern technology be allowed to compete with able-bodied athletes? But Johnson was far from eloquent in explaining his position.Meanwhile, Pistorius finished second in a 400-meter race in Italy on Tuesday, his final tuneup for Olympics. He clocked 46.56 seconds – well off the personal best of 45.07 he ran at the same meet last year. Calvin Smith of the United States won in 45.52.“My time wasn’t among the best. But I’m good physically and mentally,” Pistorius said. “I’ve used a lot of energy in these past few days, both in training and with the media because of my participation in the Olympics. The race went well, I felt fine, I just lost a bit of acceleration halfway through.”Pistorius will become the first amputee track athlete to compete at the Olympics after being selected by South Africa. He’s set to compete in the individual 400 and the 4×400 relay, although the team hasn’t decided which leg he will run.
Africa’s last two hopes take the field Monday, but neither of them have much of a shot. Can one (or both) of them shock a European power?France vs. Nigeria: 12 p.m. EDTGermany vs. Algeria: 4 p.m. EDTIN BRIEFSee our World Cup predictions for the latest probabilities.IN DEPTHDespite losing its final match of the group phase to Argentina (yielding a pair of goals to the incomparable Lionel Messi), Nigeria was still able to qualify for the World Cup’s knockout round by way of an Iranian defeat against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Now it has to face France, which ranks as the world’s fifth-best national team in ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI). Do the Super Eagles have a chance?Our current projections give Nigeria only a 24 percent probability of toppling a tough French side that’s as balanced as it is talented (France ranks sixth in SPI offense and fifth in defense). Nigeria will need to keep particular tabs on Karim Benzema, France’s all-universe forward. In the tournament’s round-robin phase, he terrorized Group E with three goals and two assists, and has been one of the best players of the World Cup thus far. He was a big reason why France scored eight total goals in its first two group-stage matches (before being held scoreless by Ecuador in a match France didn’t really need in order to win the group).Nigeria’s best hope to shut down France lies in its defense. Before Messi menaced the Super Eagles in the group-stage finale, they had kept clean sheets in each of their first two matches. According to the metric of individual contribution I computed here, five of Nigeria’s six most instrumental performers during the group stage were defensive-minded players — goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Efe Ambrose, and holding midfielders John Obi Mikel and Ogenyi Onazi. Life won’t be easy for them Monday (our model says there’s a 56 percent chance France scores at least two goals during regulation time), but it will be tough for Nigeria to prevail unless they keep France’s offense in check.In the other matchup of the day, Germany faces Algeria in what looks to be one of the Round of 16’s most lopsided affairs. I wrote about the Germans at length when they faced the United States last Thursday, so I won’t belabor the point. They’re one of the best sides in the world, incredibly dangerous offensively and composed almost entirely of players in their soccer primes. It’s going to be a tall order for the Algerians to stop them, especially since Algeria has (by far) the worst defense of any team to advance to the knockout round, according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI) numbers.Algerian attacking midfielder Sofiane Feghouli enjoyed a good start to the tournament, racking up a goal and an assist in his first two group-stage appearances, but the pressure will be on him to perform against Germany as one of the few Algerian players of world-class quality. Then again, Algeria’s defense is so porous (and Germany’s offense so potent), that it may not matter. With just an 17 percent probability of victory according to the FiveThirtyEight model, it would be the upset of the tournament thus far if Algeria somehow manages to topple the German juggernaut.YESTERDAYFor 87 minutes, Mexico looked ready for el quinto partido. It took just seven minutes for crushing defeat to set in.Wesley Sneijder’s goal in the 88th minute and a penalty kick by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the fourth minute of added time brought Mexico’s tournament to an abrupt end.In the first half, El Tri matched the Netherlands touch-for-touch in possessions in the attacking third (50-46 in favor of the Dutch). The Mexicans held the Dutch to one chance created and one shot on goal, both tournament lows for the Oranje.But the Netherlands exploited a Mexican weakness to score the latest equalizer in Dutch World Cup history. Mexico leaves the tournament having allowed opponents eight chances created off set pieces, tied with South Korea and Uruguay for most of any country. Holland’s first goal came off a corner kick, as Huntelaar’s back-post run left him open to head the cross back to the center of the box. As Sneijder struck the ball just inside the penalty area, the closest Mexican defender in front of him was just outside the 6-yard box. That was more than enough room for Sneijder.Miguel Herrera, whose team had been in almost constant attack throughout the tournament, became conservative over the last 90 minutes. Before the 61st minute (when Dos Santos subbed off), the Dutch had a 75-62 lead in attacking-third touches, a respectable margin for Mexico against the Oranje. But after Dos Santos left for midfielder Javier Aquino, the Dutch had a 63-30 advantage in attacking-third touches.More important, they translated that advantage to two goals and extended the drought for that elusive quinto partido. — John Parolin, senior stats analyst, ESPNOFF THE PITCHTrying and failing to colonize Nigeria in the early 18th century hasn’t stopped France from holding influence in the country. According to AidData, France provided Nigeria with $4.5 billion in aid between 1973 and 2011. The bulk of the aid ($4.2 billion) was distributed for debt alleviation in 2005 and 2006, after Nigeria was overlooked for debt relief in 2004 due to its oil revenues. More recently, France hasn’t provided as much aid, but it’s been allocated more broadly. Six of the 18 projects to which France contributed in 2011 were for building education infrastructure, three were for building technical expertise in education, health and government, and one was for developing agriculture. — Hayley MunguiaFURTHER READINGWorld Cup Players to Know: Costa Rica’s Keylor NavasWere the Billions Brazil Spent on World Cup Stadiums Worth It?
OSU redshirt junior linebacker Craig Fada (38) celebrates during OSU’s 49-28 victory over Maryland on Oct. 10.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorBefore Ohio State’s 49-28 victory over Maryland, The Lantern’s sports editors Ryan Cooper and Kevin Stankiewicz gave the five things they would be looking for on Saturday. Here is what came of those five items.Can OSU convert on third down?Coming into Saturday, OSU had successfully converted just 23 of 66 third-down attempts — a mark that ranked 103rd nationally.OSU coach Urban Meyer said during the week that the Buckeyes would have to improve their third-down opportunities in order to run a more efficient offense — and they did just that against Maryland.The combination of redshirt junior Cardale Jones and redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett at quarterback combined to convert five of 11 third downs, plus a fourth down.Early in the game, OSU was tested with a 3rd-and-16 after Barrett came in for Jones near the red zone. Barrett threw his first pass attempt of the game with a strike to redshirt junior receiver Michael Thomas for 20 yards and a first down.That conversion ended up leading to a touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7, and is even bigger when considering that redshirt senior kicker Jack Willoughby has missed all three of his kicks from more than 31 yards away, including a wide-left 44-yarder on Saturday.PenaltiesGetting flagged for mistakes due to both over-aggressiveness and lack of discipline was another item Meyer said concerned the coaching staff on both offense and defense.While an improvement over the eight penalties for 109 yards the week before against Indiana, the coach likely still wasn’t pleased with the performance in avoiding the laundry.The Buckeyes were flagged six times for a total of 45 yards on Saturday, including four by the offensive line.Redshirt senior Chase Farris, redshirt sophomore Billy Price and redshirt sophomore Evan Lisle were whistled for false starts. Additionally, senior center Jacoby Boren was called for a hold, which negated a positive run and led to Willoughby eventually missing the field goal.The other two penalties came on the defensive side of the ball, namely by junior defensive end Joey Bosa. First came an offsides penalty on Maryland’s first drive, then a nearly critical one on the first drive of the second half.Bosa flew in with a late two-handed shove to the helmet of Maryland redshirt junior quarterback Perry Hills, immediately drawing a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer. That wasn’t all, however, as Bosa was also tabbed with targeting, meaning a possible ejection from the remainder of the contest.An automatic review of the targeting call led the referees to overturn it, allowing Bosa to stay in the game. The Terrapins ended up finding the end zone and tying the game at 21.Will Curtis Samuel factor in more?After having only one touch against Indiana, sophomore H-back Curtis Samuel equaled that low number on Saturday.Meyer said after the Indiana game that Samuel was limited in practice leading up to the game because of back spasms. It remains unclear if that ailment resurfaced or if he was just unable to generate any offense.A carry for one yard on OSU’s second possession marked the extent of Samuel’s offensive day.With just two runs for five yards making up the last two games for the Brooklyn, New York, product, it is possible that he is simply falling out of the offensive picture for the time being.Red zoneAgainst Indiana, the Buckeyes did not score a touchdown in any of their three trips to the red zone. They came away with two field goals and a turnover, dropping their scoring rate to just 75 percent overall and 37.5 percent of trips resulting in touchdowns.That negative statistic turned completely on its head Saturday.The Buckeyes went to the red zone six times, and came away with 42 of its 49 points by scoring touchdowns every time.A big reason for that success was the implementation of a quarterback system that saw Barrett check in for Jones when OSU got near or in the red zone. Of the Buckeyes’ six red-zone scores, five came with Barrett at the helm — three rushing touchdowns by Barrett and two by junior running back Ezekiel Elliott.In the postgame press conference, Meyer was asked about the team going six for six in the red zone. Meyer asked for the question to be repeated, only to quip, “I heard you the first time. I just wanted you to say it again.”It truly was music to the coach’s ears, and should be an enormous difference-maker for the offense if it keeps up at anywhere near that success rate.Total turnoversThough OSU and Maryland came in as two of the worst teams in the country in terms of coughing up turnovers, each kept it mostly clean on Saturday.Maryland — which came into the game with 17 turnovers including 15 interceptions, both the worst in the nation — did not allow any turnovers until toward the end of the game.At that point with the game already out of reach, the wheels came off, as Hills was intercepted on consecutive possessions.Redshirt junior safety Tyvis Powell grabbed the first on an errant throw right into his lap for his second interception of the year and seventh of his career. Four plays into the Terrapins’ next possession, redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Hubbard dropped into coverage and snagged his first collegiate interception.To the Buckeyes’ credit, they did not allow a single turnover after coming into the game with 13, the ninth-most through five weeks.The only major mistake came late in the game, when a shotgun snap flew over Barrett’s head and traveled 25 yards downfield back into OSU territory. Barrett fell on the ball to avoid a turnover, but it took the Buckeyes out of field-goal range. Had the scoreboard not read 49-28, it could have stood as a costly error. Regardless, Saturday’s contest was a big step for multiple facets of the heavily scrutinized OSU offense.
The spotlight was on the 13 feet and 1 inch of All-American candidate centers in the Ohio State-Michigan State women’s basketball game Saturday, but 5-foot 7-inch Samantha Prahalis stole the show in the Buckeyes’ 65-62 win.Allyssa DeHaan, at 6 feet 9 inches, and Jantel Lavender, at 6 feet 4 inches, didn’t have much of a battle in the paint like anticipated. Prahalis had a huge game, leading the Buckeyes to victory with a career-high 32 points — 16 in each half — and five assists. She never had a cold spell in the game, scoring the team’s first seven points and seven of its last nine.“When I saw that [the shots] were falling, I just kept shooting,” Prahalis said. Although their matchup wasn’t the highlight of the game, Lavender and DeHaan each played a major role.DeHaan’s size allowed her to take away Lavender’s ability to post-up and made every OSU player think twice before attempting a shot in the key. She had three blocks in the game along with 12 points.Lavender had a more profound impact on the stat sheet than DeHaan did. Lavender had 20 points and 13 rebounds — her ninth double-double of the season.She had a slow first half, however, succumbing to MSU’s defensive game plan to keep her out of the paint on both ends, but she came alive in the second half, using her speed to get around DeHaan and not allow her to challenge her shots.“My focus is trying to get to the basket,” Lavender said. “The taller you get, the slower you get, no matter how athletic you are. I just need to get her off her feet and drive her to the basket.”Both Lavender and DeHaan are largely considered All-American candidates this year and have been since before the season began. This game may have vaulted Prahalis into the same arena.Prahalis has been ranked in the top 10 in assists most of the season and is currently ranked second with 8.2 per game, behind only Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot, an All-American Honorable Mention last season.“We have two great players [in Lavender and Prahalis],” coach Jim Foster said. “They are very competitive, they want to win games and they’re going to put their responsibility into the game.”Prahalis has now been the difference for OSU in the last two games. She hit the game-winning shot against Michigan Jan. 3 and Saturday she scored nearly half of OSU’s points against MSU. “I think she’s an amazing player,” Lavender said. “She can shoot, she can drive, she can pass … she can do it all.”
The NBA is changing. For one, there is an imminent lockout. Owners want to find ways to make even more money. Players are quite happy with the current collective-bargaining agreement, and who can blame them for wanting to keep a system that can net Travis Outlaw a four-year, $28 million contract and Amir Johnson $34 million over five years? That’s highway robbery. But the association is also seeing a changing of the guard in terms of its upper echelon of teams. The San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, who have combined to win 10 of the past 12 NBA titles, are officially in decline. Their championship dreams have been locked out. The No. 1-seeded Spurs were stunned by the upstart No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies in the opening round. The wheels on their Tim-Duncan-Manu-Ginobili-Tony-Parker machine have significant wear and tear. Rarely are all three healthy at once, and their roster lacks young talent. The Lakers were embarrassed in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks. Kobe Bryant, L.A.’s fading superstar, must find away to reinvigorate himself, his team and the organization, especially considering the Lakers’ legendary coach, Phil Jackson, appears to have paced the sidelines for the last time. Boston’s loss at home to the Heat in Game 4 sealed its fate, as this was its last legitimate shot at another ring. Its bench has been transformed into an infirmary and it, too, probably will lose its title-winning coach, Doc Rivers, after the season. Of course, everything is cyclical in the NBA. Magic’s Lakers and Bird’s Celtics gave way to Isiah’s Pistons, who were eventually topped by Jordan’s Bulls. The Spurs started their run the year after Jordan’s second retirement in 1998, ironically after a lockout shortened the regular season to 50 games. So, who are the teams next in line to carry the NBA’s mantle? I give you the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Heat, spearheaded by their 2 1/2 superstars, will continue to attract other talented teammates to South Beach. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are just hitting their peak years and should be even better in the future, after going through mutual struggles in year one of their grand experiment. Derrick Rose, the MVP, will continue his ascent to stardom and attempt to lead his defensive-minded Bulls back to their former glory, reached under His Airness. And finally, the Thunder, who not only play as if they love one another but perform in a town that loves them back. The parts are all there for a title run, but one question remains: Can Kevin Durant, the NBA’s scoring champ and the anti-LeBron, coexist with his headstrong, ultra-athletic point guard, Russell Westbrook? Fans may have to wait to see all of this unfold. It’s virtually certain there will be a lockout. Let’s hope it doesn’t last long enough to rob fans of seeing a new era of great basketball teams.
Michael Nodianos is no longer an official Buckeye.The Steubenville High School graduate with a role in a video at the heart of an alleged rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, is “no longer a student at The Ohio State University,” according to the school’s Facebook and Twitter pages Monday.OSU spokeswoman Gayle Saunders confirmed to The Lantern Nodianos was no longer enrolled, but would not disclose the terms of his leave, citing Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations.OSU released a statement Friday that said “the student in question was in attendance only through Dec. 12,” the last day of the university’s final examinations. Saunders reiterated that statement to The Lantern Sunday, as well.“Find People,” the school’s faculty, staff and student directory, showed Thursday that Nodianos was a student in electrical and computer engineering.Nodianos, who has not been charged criminally, did not respond to The Lantern’s request for comment.Nodianos’ involvement in the Steubenville case, a town of about 18,000 along the Ohio River, has pulled OSU into a situation that’s increasingly garnered national attention in recent weeks.The video taken from an August night of back-to-school parties where, allegedly, 16-year-old Steubenville High School football players Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays raped a 16-year-old girl, shows him talking and laughing about the alleged rape for more than 12 minutes.Some found the video so offensive that it prompted a Facebook group titled, “OSU expel Michael Nodianos ‘Rape Crew’ member,” which amassed about 3,000 “likes” by Monday evening.The video itself, which can be found on YouTube under various names, shows Nodianos, wearing an OSU T-shirt, talking and laughing about the alleged incident.Nodianos makes several analogies that the alleged victim was “deader than” or was “raped harder than” as most voices off-camera laugh at his comments. Some rebuke him for his choice of words.Nodianos is reportedly being represented by Dennis McNamara. The attorney, according to multiple sources, held a press conference with members of the media in Steubenville Monday. He did not immediately respond to The Lantern’s request for comment.According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, McNamara said, “there was no excuse or justification” for Nodianos’ comments.The Plain Dealer wrote that Nodianos attended OSU on an academic scholarship.McNamara, according to the paper, said his client was interviewed by Steubenville police not long after the incident and that he was elsewhere at the time of the alleged assault.McNamara told reporters, according to the Plain Dealer, that Nodianos was “ashamed and embarrassed” at his actions in the video.It appears, though, some OSU students are confused as to whether or not Nodianos left on his own terms. While there is no confirmation that the university kicked Nodianos out, some students seemed to carry that impression.Samantha Arrowsmith, a second-year in psychology, applauded Nodianos’ departure from the university, but was also under the impression that the Steubenville High School graduate was forced out.“The kid that got kicked out of Ohio State, I’m happy about that … I wouldn’t want someone here that was like that,” she said.There is, however, no known evidence to suggest that Nodianos was expelled by OSU nor is there any formal indication that he will be charged with criminally.“I wasn’t aware that a student here had been involved at all … If he hasn’t officially been arrested or charged with anything, it might be a little premature for them to permanently expel because I guess, innocent until charged or proven guilty,” said Nathan Cotton, a first-year in public affairs.According to The New York Times, Richmond and Mays are under house arrest and awaiting a trial that has been set for Feb. 13.Dan Hope contributed to this story.
He told the audience he was once dining at City Social – Jason Atherton’s restaurant in central London, where one bottle of wine can cost £2,990 – when he caught out a waiter, who did not know details about some of the establishment’s wines because its list was “stratospheric”.“I asked the waiter if he could find me a bottle of Pinot Noir for under £50,” he said. “He looked at me as if I was some kind of scum on his heel and he couldn’t so I then called him back and said, ‘there’s one for £49, you didn’t even know your own wine list’.” Wine lists are fraught with problems but mostly because of the b——- spouted by wine connoisseursJay Rayner Diners should only buy house wine in restaurants in protest at complex and overpriced wine lists, Jay Rayner has suggested.The critic, 50, recommended that customers buy the “cheapest bottle on the list” due to the snobbery of wine connoisseurs.He went as far to say that expensive wines should only ever be bought in shops and enjoyed at home. Jay Rayner hit back at the snobbery of wine connoisseurs Credit:Clare Molden for The Telegraph I do not hold to being intimidated by anything in this lifeJay Rayner Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, he said: “I refuse to be intimidated by a wine list.“Wine lists are fraught with problems but mostly because of the b——- spouted by wine connoisseurs. They irritate me profoundly.”He added: “I do not hold to being intimidated by anything in this life and if a wine list irritates you just buy the cheapest on the list and tell them all to p— off.” During the talk, Rayner also hit out at those who criticise others for eating takeaways.“There is a group out there who will make an assumption and wag their finger at you and say ‘if you don’t cook everything from scratch you will be unhealthy’,” he said.“The evidence based on all the academic papers I have looked at is not conclusive on that and it is the home cooks, the ones who absolutely love cooking at home, who can also turn out to be the greedy b——-. So you just can’t make an assumption.”The Telegraph has contacted City Social for comment. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
You were to trade on this brief acquaintanceship putting it around that you and he were going to open a pub in NorfolkJudge John Pini QC Porter, who had a criminal record for dishonesty going back 40 years, has been jailed for five years and four months after admitting six charges of fraud amounting more than £270,000 over a period from 2011 to 2013.The charges include the missing stock and money owed to a string of creditors as well as an electrical export scam.Martin Hurst, prosecuting, told the court how even when his new shop was raided Porter of Corby, Northants, simply refused to accept his true identity forcing police to prove it with identity parades.“Those who consigned their goods to him did so because they trusted him because he was running what looked like a smart shop on the High Street,” he said.“These were principally elderly people in possession of property they had owned for many years. Show more Stuart Porter set up his antiques centre in the historic Georgian market town of Stamford, LincolnshireCredit:Dave Porter /Alamy Antiques worth more than £120,000 went missing from Stuart Porter Antiques in Stamford Police eventually tracked him down a month later in the North Yorkshire town of Yarm where he was using the name Alan Johnson and had started a new business called “Lovejoy Antiques”.The name carries echoes of the television series which ran in the 1980s and early 1990s in which Ian McShane played a charming but unscrupulous antiques dealer.Among his stock were items the Stamford shop. “The sad reality is that a very large number of people were persuaded by the attractive way in which the shop was displayed.“It appeared to be above board and proper. He was able to play the role of the knowledgeable antiques dealer.“He always had plenty of cash, generally drove nice cars and was living in nice houses but didn’t pay the rent.“He sent his children to private schools but didn’t pay the fees. He was someone living beyond his means at everyone else’s expense.”Mr Hurst said that almost £60,000 worth of antiques taken from the Stamford store were eventually recovered and returned to their owners.The court was told that Porter was first convicted of dishonesty back in 1974. In the early 1980s he received an 18 month jail sentence for theft and deception and was sent to prison again in1991 for similar mattersJudge John Pini QC, passing sentence, told him: “You are a plausible and engaging conman.“You have brought about very widespread distress to a great many people.“This was a sustained abuse of trust with many people losing treasured items. I accept entirely that you started this business legitimately but when things started to go wrong you reverted to type.”Lee Masters, defending, said that Porter had problems in the past with alcohol as well as various personal difficulties. A crooked antiques dealer disappeared with £126,000 worth of his customers’ valuables to open a new shop 150 miles away named after his roguish television counterpart Lovejoy, a court has heard. Stuart Porter, 57, an electrical engineer who reinvented himself as an antiques expert, played on an acquaintance with the chef Marco Pierre White to bolster his claim to celebrity connections, Lincoln Crown Court aws told.He invited the Michelin-starred restaurateur to cut the ribbon when he opened an upmarket antiques shop in Stamford, Lincs, in 2012 and later claimed the pair were about to go into business running a gastro-pub in Norfolk.When his business began to unravel the following year – facing mounting debts including unpaid rent and school fees for his children – he disappeared overnight, clearing out the stock and leaving a sign saying simply: “Sorry for the inconvenience but we are closed today.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.