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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