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. A university principal has defended the gender pay gap by arguing that “women have a natural tendency not to have a go”.Professor Paul Layzell, the head of Royal Holloway University London (RHUL), insisted that there is a “transparent and fair pay system” at the institution. He claimed that women and minority ethnic groups are less likely to “put themselves in for promotion” at the university, which has a 10 per cent gender pay gap for full-time professors.At an open staff meeting in November, Prof Layzell said: “There are certain protected groups where there is a natural tendency to not have a go and put themselves in for promotion – sometimes that’s gender, sometimes it’s the BAME [Black and Minority Ethnic] group”.He added that some academics are now using a teaching route into a professorship, which is normally research-led, which would “play to things they’re good at”.Prof Layzell is now facing a backlash over the comments, which were published by the student magazine Orbital after it obtained a recording of the meeting.Hundreds of alumni have signed an open letter attacking Prof Layzell for his comments, saying he showed a “lack of understanding and sensitivity”.“It has been hugely disappointing to discover that Royal Holloway has one of the worst professorial gender pay gaps in the country,” the letter said. “This disappointment has been compounded by your response in which you blamed women rather than institutional sexism for this gap. You then went on to make comments which implied that you felt women were more suited to teaching than research.” The letter says that Prof Layzell’s analysis is “not only crass, but shows a lack of understanding and sensitivity.” Alumni accused RHUL of having “drifted from a progressive legacy of promoting women’s rights”.Joe Rayment, who graduated from RHUL in 2013 and is now a Labour councillor, was one of the authors of the open letter.He said: “I am extremely disturbed by what has happened there in recent months. I hope that our voices are heard and that Professor Layzell will respond to us and explain exactly how he will make us once again proud to be Royal Holloway alumni.”A RHUL spokesman said that the principal’s comments at the meeting were taken out of context, adding: “The Principal has, on a number of occasions, stressed his determination to tackle the gender pay gap. “In the meeting, the Principal explained Royal Holloway’s commitment to supporting colleagues to reach their promotion potential by pioneering a number of initiatives.“Our approach to pay and promotion is both fair and transparent however, we recognise that there is more that we, and the sector, can do to tackle the causes of inequality. “In response, for some years now, Royal Holloway has been making changes to processes and procedures to minimize barriers to promotion.”
Prosecutor Benjamin Greenberg asked a Florida judge to admit into evidence conversations with loved ones where Ms Hellmann is said to have discussed rows over a mooted move to Australia, their dire finances and the raising of their daughter.He argued they show the pair were “consistently” rowing, adding: “With potentially one of the arguments ultimately resulting in the murder of Hellmann.” Handout photo issued by Broward Sheriff’s Office of Lewis BennettCredit:Broward’s Sheriff’s Office /PA A British-Australian sailor murdered his new wife at sea and deliberately sank their catamaran in order to inherit her estate and end their “marital strife”, prosecutors have alleged.Lewis Bennett, of Poole, Dorset, was smuggling rare stolen coins when he was rescued alone off the coast of Cuba without Isabella Hellmann, the mother of his child, last May.Prosecutors in the US have now detailed what they believe to be Bennett’s motives, after the FBI charged him with murder.Court papers filed this week also revealed Ms Hellmann’s family bugged her apartment in Delray Beach, Florida, to listen to Bennett’s conversations because they suspected him in her disappearance.The newlyweds were sailing towards Florida in May last year when Bennett made an SOS call saying Hellman, a 41-year-old former estate agent, was missing and the vessel was sinking. “Hellmann’s murder would remove the marital strife from the defendant’s life, allow the defendant to live his life as he pleased, and would enable him to inherit money from Hellmann’s estate, all of which provide strong circumstantial proof that the defendant had a strong motive to murder Hellmann,” he continued.If Colombian-born Ms Hellmann is presumed dead – as Bennett, 41, has requested – he would inherit her home and the contents of her bank account. Bennett is currently serving a seven-month jail term in Miami’s Federal Detention Center after admitting transporting the coins worth 38,480 dollars (£29,450).Prosecutors alleged Hellmann may have discovered her husband of three months was in possession of gold and silver coins stolen from his former employer in St Maarten, which could have made her an accomplice to smuggling.Mr Greenberg wrote that this “potentially led to an intense argument resulting in Hellmann’s murder”.The FBI accused the British-Australian of intentionally scuttling the 37ft vessel.Ms Hellmann’s body is yet to be found.Bennett is due to go on trail for second degree murder in December. The couple’s catamaran the Surf Into Summer sank last MayCredit:US Coast Guard/PA 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.