21/12/2011 East Midlands Today


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This is East Midlands Today with Anne Davies and me, Dominic Heale.


Our top story tonight: The anguish of a mother who lost


all four of her children in a house fire.


Rachel Henson has spoken of the moment she realised none of the


youngsters had survived. A got to A&E. As that of the doctor, how


many children are alive? He didn't speak, just shook his head.


Also, the horrific attack behind a pub that left a young man burnt and


badly scarred. I was on fire. I thought everything. I knew my eyes


were open. I saw the flames. A bleak midwinter Beckham's as


council's plan more cuts. Join me later for the latest in our


series on collections. Can you Welcome to Wednesday's programme


live from the East Midlands. At this time last year, four children


in Derbyshire were looking forward to Christmas. Weeks later, in


January, they died in a fire at their home. Their mother managed to


get out alive. Today a coroner recorded narrative verdicts on


their deaths. He said a damp log had been put on an open fire. It


had split on hot coals, and burning embers had escaped. There was no


fire guard, and no working smoke alarms. He said either of these


could have saved the children's lives. In a moment, we'll be


hearing from the children's mother Rachel Henson about the night of


the fire. But first Kylie Pentelow reports on what happened at the


inquest in Derby today. 9-year-old Tommy Bowe, 6-year-old


and the Show, and their brothers and sisters. They dead in January


in a fire at 11pm. Their mother, Rachel Henson, got out alive. The


court heard an open fire was put in the home around Christmas time.


Rachel said she had been trying to get a fire guard and had not got


around to it. A partner said it wasn't a priority. There was a


battery operated smoke alarm that wasn't working in the house and


some years before, Rachel had ripped out a hard-wired system


installed. The censors were found in a box. I regret every day we


didn't realise it was broken. Most people turn them off, most people


don't use them, a lot of them don't have them in their house, and you


think would they have made a difference? The coroner said if


there had been a fire guard, the blaze would not have started and


the children would have survived. If there had been working smoke


alarms, they would have got time to get out alive. Rachel spoke outside


the court. It was a very fair hearing. The coroner made some


important points with the importance of fire guards and... It


has been a distressing time. investigating officers said the


blaze was extreme zero visibility. This is where his firefighters


train. I went inside the smokehouse to see what those conditions are


like. Visibility, deteriorating. And that is in seconds. If you woke


up in this situation, even in your own home, you would know which way


to get out of bed, let alone get somebody else out. There are 500


accidental house fires every year in Derbyshire and only about half


have working smoke alarms and the force says simply they save lives.


Well, at the hearing today, there were more questions over how Rachel


managed to get out of the house and the investigating fire officer was


recalled to give evidence. Rachel has always maintained that she


tried to help her son Tommy escape from a bedroom window, which she


then fell out of. The inquest heard she'd drunk almost a bottle and a


half of wine that evening. Earlier this year, Kylie Pentelow spoke to


Rachel about that night and about losing her four children.


Tommy was the eldest, he was nine. Just a mummy's boy, really. Then


Felicia. She was beautiful. And then Apollonia. She was bossy and


in charge. We were a happy family. It all changed on generally 24th.


and Rachel and her four children went to bed. The next thing, I woke


up and the house is full of black smoke so there you couldn't see the


palm of your hand in front of you. I heard Tommy saying, "money, the


house is full of something." I got into the other bedroom where


Apollonia would have been asleep and I got the window open. I was


standing behind Tommy and I picked it up like this, tried to push him


out, but his arms and legs were going like this, and he was


fighting to go through the window. I didn't have enough about me, I


was confused, said, "if you don't go, you will die." the next thing


she knew she was going through the air. I don't believe I jumped, she


said, maybe I've Bell. The coroner said there was no forensic evidence


the window had been opened and he was not able to say how she escaped.


The doctor said how many children are alive? But he shook his head


and I knew. In hospital is -- her partner arrived. She rolled into a


ball. She had bruises everywhere. Horrible scratch down one-arm which


she was staring at where Tommy was holding on to. Every time you get


that smoky smell, that is all we think about. Four small coffins. A


kiss for each. I summoned all my strength up and tried to compose


myself. It was probably the worst day of my life. Rachel is a


hairdresser and her business has helped her cope with the tragedy.


My clients have come in with long hair because they have waited for


me to come back. I have a new home with Clint. We have got friends.


And I miss Apollonia's arms on my neck when I wake up in the morning.


Rachael... Always around my legs, cuddling me. Felecia, I miss her,


and doing girly things with her. I missed Tommy's support and his love.


You're watching East Midlands Today. Still to come on the programme, the


sport and weather. Plus, tea, cakes and TLC. We pop into a cafe in


Derbyshire that's serving up advice and support for a town's local


Before that, a Leicester man has been speaking about the moment he


was attacked with a flammable liquid whilst drinking in a pub.


Russell Banks spent a month in hospital with severe burns and is


now trying to come to terms with what happened. Geeta Pendse reports.


All of a sudden, I was on fire. I felt everything. My eyes were open.


I saw the flames. I could feel it in my mouth. It was a night that


changed this 21-year-old's life. He had been out with friends at a pub


in Leicester when someone threw a flammable liquid into the beer


garden which fell on him and another friend. He spent the last


two months in and out of hospital after severe burns to his arms,


chest, is unfazed. I was scared, lonely, heartbroken. Absolutely


heartbroken because if anybody knew me before, they knew I was a


perfectionist and I loved to look after myself. I like to dress


myself well, get my hair nice, and just to think for a split-second


that was all taken away from me from one thing... I knew we are


severe. This footage recorded minutes after the attack shows a


man running away with his jacket on fire. So far, the police have


arrested and bailed a man. It has changed my whole life. It has me --


it has made me ashamed of my scars, it is not allowing me to go out. I


hate it. The performing arts graduate, he says it was the


support of those around him that has kept him going. When I first


broke up, I felt lonely and I didn't want to be here any more.


And then you realise all of the people that cared for you. It is a


shame it takes this for you to realise how many people care for


you. Speaking out about his experience, Russell Banks says he


is determined to move forward and not let the attack behind him. --


the attack do find him. An inquest has opened into the


death of a pilot killed in a mid- air collision in Leicestershire on


Sunday. 55-year-old Martin Hickin, from Coalville, was taking off from


Leicester Airport when his plane collided with another light


aircraft and crash landed in a field. Tom Brown reports.


Martin Hickin, a man with 30 years of flying experience. He owned his


own plane and regularly flew out of Leicester Airport but on Sunday


afternoon, shortly after taking off, his plane crashed after colliding


with another light aircraft. Paramedics were called but he was


pronounced dead it seemed. The inquest into the death of Martin


Hickin was opened and adjourned at the coroner's office in Leicester.


His partner and five members of the family attended the Kirit and the


55-year-old was described as being an experienced flyer but how his


plane came to collide with another is still unclear. In a statement,


his families spoke of their devastation. Martin was a wonderful,


generous and warm individual who was dearly loved by all his family


and friends and his death has left an enormous gap in our lives.


Martin bereave -- Martin's bereaved family includes two or daughters.


With the police and the air in that -- air Investigation Branch will


try to find out what caused the crash at the inquest will continue


next year. For now, his two daughter as -- his two daughters


prepare for Christmas without him. The Derbyshire chocolate maker


Thorntons has said that it may not make any profit this year. The


Somercotes-based firm says it's seen a drop in sales and a rise in


marketing costs. Last summer it announced it was planning to close


at least a third of its 360 high street stores.


East Midlands Ambulance Service says only 28% of emergency calls it


receives are for life-threatening conditions. Inappropriate calls in


recent months have included a request for help with changing the


batteries in a TV remote control. A Derbyshire man was also given a


suspended prison sentence for making repeated 999 calls without


good reason. This is East Midlands Today.


Council leaders in the East Midlands are warning of further


cuts to local services. Leicester City Council is one of the first


authorities to announce where those cuts are likely to fall. Union


leaders claim services for vulnerable children will be hit.


Here's our Political Editor John It is a pivot Christmas Carol, but


there was a touch of the bleak midwinter about the city's finances.


The headlines tell part of the story. As a result of the cuts, we


are being forced to slash �70 million from our budget. We still


have �40 million of that to find and that is requiring some


difficult decisions. Job losses in children's services and has some


0.2% rent increase. Just two measures towards an immediate --


immediate cuts target of �40 million. Leicester City Council and


the trade unions have been working on his -- on efficiency savings for


many years and we think there is not a lot more that can be taken


out. It is not efficiency savings but cuts to sit -- cuts. There's


not much cash around here and Leicester is one of a few big


council -1 of cuts and expect some other councils to sing from the


same song sheet. So is Leicester's cash difficulties


pretty typical? These are year-on-year cuts ordered


by the coalition Government, and many of our councils are now


running out of wriggle move. Take Leicestershire. It plans to offload


all of its schools, secondary and primary, so they become academies,


directly funded by Whitehall. That in itself means Leicestershire


finding a further �16million in cuts, because the Government has


taken the education funding away from County Hall. This is a further


financial headache for someone like David Parsons, the Conservative


leader in the East Midlands. I asked him what impact he thought


the latest financial squeeze would have on local government.


I think it will have less money. If I were to have a crystal ball. The


stress points will be the services that are provided. Notably for


vulnerable people, for children, roads, for instance. All of those


services we will have to look at. Two things to watch out for - will


some councils like Nottingham and Leicester ignore the Government


line and increase council tax next May? And will the Treasury demand


more spending cuts because the economy is faltering?


Not great news, but, anyway, thank you.


Bryony Balen, the Derbyshire student who's skiing to the South


Pole, will celebrate her 21st birthday on the ice today. She's


hoping to become the youngest Briton to complete the full 700-


mile trek across Antarctica. She's managed to lay her hands on


something for today's celebration but says the big party will have to


wait until she's home. Will she had a tipple to celebrate?


Could it be this? Later we meet the man that has got


A cafe has opened in time for Christmas. Doesn't sound a huge


news story on the face of it, but this is one with a difference. Cafe


Heroes at Heanor in Derbyshire is designed not only to serve the town,


but also to act as a drop-in centre for ex-service people. James


Roberson reports. Michael knows what it is like to be


from Heanor and the military. He was a soldier, as were his father,


grandfather and great-grandfather and became centres like Cafe Heroes


specifically designed to help service people are needed in Heanor


and elsewhere. They are going out there to give their lives for us.


It is about time this country started making a contribution and


helping towards them for. product has been set up by a


Derbyshire based charity which helps people with social and


personal difficulty is. There is more evidence that particularly


young ex-servicemen are finding it hard to resettle into the community


and may or may not have mental problems because of the traumas


they experienced. What we need to do is refer the guys here... There


are experts on hand not only from the Royal British Legion but from


this ex RAF trauma counsellor. There is no particular group that


is isolated from this. It can go across the board. It could be an


event that happened years ago or yesterday. We can signpost to


occupational therapy, or advice about money or house in or benefits.


The charity helps at the Cafe will become popular with local people


thus helping Heanor's regeneration as well as service people.


Nothing like coffee and a cake! Time now for support.


-- for sport. First Nottingham Forest key


defender Wes Morgan has told us tonight he's in talks with Forest


about a new contract. His current deal runs out in the summer and


he's already being linked with other clubs. Wes is also out


injured for six weeks but while giving out presents on a Children's


Hospital Ward today he told me his problems are insignificant compared


to others. So, you will feeling flustered?


Absolutely. I am feeling festive. It is nice to see the children in


hospital because they might be here for the end of Christmas. I am hit


to cheer you up. Eight in his ear. Does this toucher doing this? --


Aden is here. Of course. We love putting smiles on kids' faces.


you need cheering up because you are out for six weeks. Yes. I had a


scan and that. I could be out for up to six weeks. It is not the best


time for me because I am missing a hectic period of football for.


is your message for Forest fans this Christmas? Our performances


have been good but we haven't found the right results. Cheer them up


and tell them you're going to sign a new contract. It is still a long


way to go before we signed it. would you like for Christmas? What


is on your wish-list? Three points, please!


Now onto Derby County and manager Nigel Clough was pleased to see


Nathan Tyson play 65 minutes of a friendly against Burton Albion


today. It means he will figure in some of the festive fixtures. Nigel


himself has been giving his own special Christmas present today as


Jeremy Nicholas reports. There are not many football


managers as community-minded as Nigel Clough, supporting local jobs


and making things better for the people of Derby. There was a


hospital visit and today a bit more. A pint of blood. It is similar to a


Saturday, looking out onto the pitch and feeling pain. Just 25,000


people missing. He has done brilliantly. He was nervous


beforehand but he is a good sport. He has given his donation and it


will help save someone's wife. felt the needle going in, but it


was Pamela's. Times are tough. It has been one


win in a Gwytherin gaze -- home games to come. What is more painful,


watching Derby County or giving blood? Watching Derby County.


Coming here to watch them is very painful, believe you me. Midfielder


Jeff Hendrick limped off in the final minutes of the Ipswich game


and today he has been ruled out of the festive fixtures with ankle


ligament damage but there is better news about Nathan Tyson. He was on


the pitch on Ipswich. He has been friendly, and he will play with


Burton Albion. He looks strong. He is in with a shout. Nigel Clough is


hoping for points but the blood and sweat of the next few games might


be rewarded, like he was today with the biscuit.


One more bit of football news. Leicester City manager Nigel


Pearson says there is a future for striker Steve Howard at the club.


Howard is 35 but Pearson says he will play a part this season


because he is still a big threat in the Championship.


And in rugby the fixtures for the Heineken Cup have been announced


today. The Leicester Tigers will play against Ulster in a must-win


European Cup game in Belfast on Friday, 13th January.


That is all the sport when Nigel Clough was a very good sport.


He has, he was. -- yes, he was.


Now for a drop of the black stuff. And a certain brand of Irish stout


which wasn't always as famous as it is today. Guinness really took off


back in the 1930s and 40s because of its arty adverts, catchy slogans


and striking, collectable merchandise. Well, in the last of


our series about collectors, Jeremy Nicholas meets Steve Tedds who's


not really interested in the stout but the stuff that help to sell it.


He waits. That is what he does. First thing I do, get up, put the


kettle on, and then straight on to eBay. Steve has been collecting in


his memorabilia for five years and, my goodness, he has got below.


There was a guy called John Gilroy, the most famous artist that worked


for a company Benson's, an advertising company, and this guy


used to go around London Zoo just to do paintings and drawings of


animals and then make them into the animals you see behind here.


You have got quite a few of these flying to cans. People ask me why I


have got so many of the same ones. My wife Tommy the kids were not


getting interest on their money. That wasn't the Bank. But these


will make a better return when they reach 18.


The slump comes from an off-licence in the 1960s and when you switch it


on, that he'd from the lamp causes the shade to spin around. It is


worth �800 today. This is a nice item I got from


somebody that phoned me up out of the group. The nice thing is if you


look on the back of the bottle, it gives the names of 70 odd people


that were left at the Park Royal brewery before it closed. You will


not see many of those around are. Steve has paid first for water drew


it. The one that was the rare one had the gold guineas underneath and


the harp on the top. He thought the red jug was great. But when it


arrived, it was crack. Unfortunately, it was smashed.


has locked up to comes and penguins, but which one does he like best?


have no preference. You can go out today and see a poster with the to


come on at. The penguins lost it when they started to do biscuits!


These are from the last 10 years. A good place to stop, so you can, too,


become a collector. To come. You see?


It may not be a white Christmas but it certainly will be a colourful


one across the East Midlands. Yes, it's the season of Christmas lights,


when householders get to vie with each other to produce ever more


elaborate displays of Santas, reindeer, and snowmen. We may be in


the middle of an economic downturn, but that hasn't stopped people


getting into the Christmas spirit. I think they look really nice and


it is nice to see somebody is getting into the Christmas spirit.


The train blew off last year and dented the car, so I type it up now.


I started with a couple of lights. And one of my neighbours thought we


were having a competition. He pulled up -- he brought out a few


more, I brought out a few more, and there we are.


They are lovely. Not a time for subtlety, is it?


It is not going to turn to win these are no trains frying tonight.


-- it is not going to be two windy so no trains flying tonight.


Thank you for sending this picture in, send them into the normal e-


mail address. This area of low pressure, it is going to work


towards us by the end of the week but ahead of that, mainly dry


weather to come. Cloudy skies across the East Midland, but going


through to the rest of that evening, we see the cloud breaking up. For


now, we see just some drizzling spit sunspots, but most places dry.


Around about eight overnight. The cloud will start to break up. We


will see some mist and fog developing by the early hours of


tomorrow morning, but a brighter start compared to this morning and


a better chance of seeing some sunny spells through the day.


Temperature-wise, on the mild side, 11 is your maximum. This time last


year, we were struggling to get above zero. The rain has not


arrived and by the time we get to Friday morning, a drizzly start and


that rain turns persistent, heavy the remark of the date on Friday.


Once it clears by late on, colder air feeding in soap by that time we


get to Christmas Eve, it starts on a chilly note, so a little mild on


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