The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.
Browse content similar to 08/07/2011. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Hello, welcome to Midlands Today, with Suzanne Virdee and Nick Owen.
The headlines tonight: A grieving mum tells how she was
wrongly arrested over the death of her son. Just to think they would
even think I did that to my child, who was my world, my everything.
"Give him the maximum punishment", says the father of a Warwickshire
teacher killed in Japan. Hundreds attend the funeral of a
soldier shot dead in Afghanistan. And over 1,000 years-old and more
popular than ever with tourists. We Good evening, welcome to Friday's
Midlands Today, from the BBC. Tonight, a mother accused of
murdering her three-year-old son speaks out to clear her name.
Police arrested Abby Podmore after her son died following a harrowing
series of events earlier this year. Alfie Podmore first became ill on
2nd February and was sent home from nursery. The following day he was
taken to Birmingham Children's Hospital with a high temperature,
shoulder pain and a rash. Alfie was sent home after being diagnosed
with a virus. But on 6th February, his mother found him dead in bed.
To her horror, Abby was in police custody within hours, on suspicion
of killing her son. Joanne Writtle has this report.
I was devastated about losing my little boy. I was crying my eyes
out, saying, this isn't real. Maesteg mum was sitting with me and
even said, you must be joking. The officer lent into her face and said,
we don't joke about these things. Abby Podmore describes the moment
she was arrested, falsely accused of murdering her toddler. She was
held at Bournville Lane police station in Birmingham for 18 hours.
They took photos of me, fingerprints, cut my nails. They
did that and then obviously, I was kept in the cell. All I had was
Alfie's picture. A postmortem later revealed Alfie Podmore had died of
natural causes, after suffering from pneumonia and septicaemia.
Abby says she tried to tell police that he'd been ill. I even showed
them the medication and everything I was sent home with with Alfie. My
worst nightmare came true. All I have wanted was to see my little
boy... And then they would not let me see him for 10 days. By that
time, Major had taken its course and it did not look like him any
more. -- nature had taken its course. Alfie's bedroom in Quinton,
in Birmingham, is still full of toys. But Abby, a trainee dental
nurse, has only just moved back home, worried about false rumours
and bad memories. Is there a message you would like to get out
your community? I never heard my little boy. He died of natural
causes. -- I never hurt my little boy. He was taken to hospital with
what he had and then I had to deal with finding him and then getting
arrested. Abby and her family have consulted a solicitor. There are
grounds for concern and we are waiting for the police to try to
establish whether there is any justification at all as to why Abby
was taken into custody. He was amazing. He was always smiling,
singing. He always liked cuddles and kisses. Just so bright... He
was my world. Our reporter Joanne Writtle joins
us now from Bournville Lane police station in Birmingham. What have
the police had to say about this? It was here last February that Abby
Podmore was bought by officers and West Midlands Police have issued a
statement to us saying that the complaint is being looked into by
their professional standards And what have Birmingham Children's
Hospital said? They have also given us a statement saying, quite simply,
investigations are ongoing, but it has become clear that there was
more they could have done to help Alfie. We are devastated by what
happened to him and would like to express our deepest sympathies to
his family. Meanwhile, an inquest is due to be heard at Birmingham's
Coroner's Court, when the family says they hope to learn the answers
to many of the questions they still have.
Thanks for joining us. You're watching Midlands Today, from the
BBC. Later in the programme... be, or not to be, that is the
question... Which of these boys will make it into the Shakespeare
competition? The father of the murdered
Warwickshire teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker has asked a judge in a
Japanese court to impose the maximum sentence allowed on the man
accused of murdering his daughter. Bill Hawker was giving evidence
today in the trial of Tatsuya Ichihashi in Chiba, in Japan, who's
already admitted raping and strangling Lindsay Ann. Earlier, I
asked our correspondent Roland Buerk what happened in court today.
There was an extraordinary emotion to the day. Bill Hawker spoke in
court. He began by stopping near the man accused of murdering his
daughter, Lindsay Ann Hawker, and that was Tatsuya Ichihashi. He said
their lives had been torn apart by her death in March 2007. Her body,
of course, was found in a bathtub full of soil and sand in a Tatsuya
Ichihashi's flat. He did ask for the maximum sentence possible for
Tatsuya Ichihashi if he is found guilty. Bill Hawker said the court
should show no mercy because Tatsuya Ichihashi had shown none
too Lindsay. At what is the maximum punishment in Japan for this kind
of defence? It does retain the death penalty. That phrase did not
pass Bill Hawker's lips. In the past, when Lindsay Ann Hawker's
flatmate was called to give evidence, she said he -- she felt
Tatsuya Ichihashi should get the full sentence. It would be unusual
for that tour happened. In Japan, it is normally reserved for those
who have committed multiple murders, not just one. And there is the
possibility that the family could question Tatsuya Ichihashi
themselves. Do you think that could happen? I think it is pretty
unlikely because there is a new judicial system that gives families
more save. The lawyer did get a question Tatsuya Ichihashi today
and he was asking the accused about plastic tags and ties he had used
to bind the wrists and legs of Lindsay Ann Hawker. The defence in
this case is saying that although Tatsuya Ichihashi has admitted to
raping her, he killed her unintentionally. The defence say he
should be facing a lesser charge, one of inflicting injury causing
death. What happens now? What we are expecting is more evidence from
Bill Hawker on Monday. He will be questioned by the defence lawyers.
A verdict in this case is expected on 21st July. Thank you.
Missing girlfriend and boyfriend Charlotte Ford and Luke Jarvis have
been found safe and well in North Wales. Following an appeal from
their parents, a member of the public called police saying they'd
seen the 15 and 16-year old in Rhyl. They were last seen at Dudley bus
station almost a fortnight ago and are being brought home to their
families in the Black Country. Hundreds of mourners have paid
their respects at the funeral of a soldier killed in Afghanistan.
Private Gareth Bellingham, who was 22, was laid to rest with full
military honours. He served with the 3rd Battalion the Mercian
Regiment, the Staffords. He is one of 375 British soldiers to have
lost their lives in the conflict so far, 32 of them from our region.
Liz Copper reports. His coffin, bourne by his comrades,
Private Gareth Bellingham was described as a soldier who was a
fearless and loyal friend. He was shot whilst on patrol last month in
Helmand province. He was 22 years- old. Members of his regiment say
his loss has created a gulf. Somebody said he was able to make
friends in an empty room and he is just that sort of character who
would come out, go anywhere and meet people. He just had a bubbly
personality which people used to warm to. Hundreds of mourners
packed St George's Church in Newcastle-under-Lyme. They heard
how Private Bellingham was held in high esteem, not just by his
regiment, but also by the Afghan forces he was working alongside.
Closer to home, his death has been felt keenly by the entire community.
There is a pride about our young men who still feel called to be
there for their country. And, yes, this will draw people together. And
in a way, make it more real to people. About the dedication of
these young men. After the funeral, a committal ceremony with full
military honours, including a And as the cortege made its way
through the streets, applause, on a day when a town came together to
pay tribute to bravery and self- The Culture Secretary has said he
wants to see small local TV stations set up across the country,
and already in Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent people are working
to make that idea a reality. It's inspired by the American system,
where viewers often have four or more local news programmes to chose
from. David Gregory has been in America to find out more.
Visiting America, you notice they have a lot more local TV than we do.
Like CBS 42, Birmingham Alabama. So we're spending the day here.
Looking at this potential running order, this could be an edition of
Midlands Today. We have travel, weather and budget cuts. And where
we have cattle in Herefordshire, they have armadillos with rabies.
There are four stations providing local news in this part of country,
all funded by advertising. So who wants to advertise on local TV?
you drive through town you will see 17 different fast food restaurants.
They are all interested in advertising with us. So... Everyone.
We take it. This is one argument for local TV in the UK. That
there's an untapped, under-served pool of potential advertisers. But
one Midlands agency has crunched the numbers... And doubts that.
Because I cannot see that there would be any real demand from the
consumer, I cannot see who would be watching local TV. And if the
television station doesn't have an audience, they haven't got anything
to sell. But others who have already expressed an interest in
local TV disagree. I am chairman of a theatre company. We and 40
theatres around the country. We cannot afford, by and large, to
advertise on regional television. We would love to advertise on local
television. But we are not trying to bring the whole American
television system to the UK. The idea is to graft additional things
on top of it. The question is, well that work?
Armadillos with rabies! That is different, isn't it?
So what can we learn here from America's experience of local
television? Our political editor, Patrick Burns, is here with us.
Patrick, it does seem to work over there? It does. Most of the
successful local channels there have the backing of the big US
networks. That is definitely not the route the Government one to go
through here. It is very much rooted in local communities and
there is no shortage of people coming through with business plans
for it and a warning for the regional press. I would be worried
if I were a local newspaper but we can work with them because we know
them. ITV and BBC, they deliver local news. But they do not deliver
it in the style that city television world. -- City TV will.
Local TV in Great Britain failed to make money, when for most people
there for only five television channels. So why would now work
when people have the choice of 500? Does Gary Hudson have a point?
We've seen local stations here in the past and they all failed.
what is different now is that the BBC can help prime them with a
budget of �40 million. Today, the BBC put out his statement
confirming its commitment to plurality. When can we expect these
new local stations to start going on the air? The Government of
forcing the pace. Would you believe, in a year from now, some of these
channels could start going on air. You can find out more from my blog.
And there's more on this, including the man who's planning a station in
South Warwickshire, on this Sunday's Politics Show at the
earlier time of 11am, here on BBC One.
Now, we all learned it at school, but apart from some very famous
lines how many of us can recite a passage or a whole Shakespeare
sonnet? Well, students are being asked to do just that to win the
title of Schools Shakespeare Champion. It's for a BBC Programme
which will coincide with the RSC's World Shakespeare Festival next
April. Here's Satnam Rana. If you tickle us, shall we not
laugh? A final rehearsal for George from
King Edward VI School in Stratford- upon-Avon. He's one of 18 boys
competing to take part in Off By Heart Shakespeare, a BBC contest to
find a Schools Shakespeare Champion. I would like to get far in this
competition. It would be very nice. I am sure I can if I put my mind to
it. The setting - the school hall, but not any old school hall. This
is where the Bard himself was educated. Speak not! Reply not! Go
now, mauve. The battle of the words gets underway. Have you not hands,
organs, dimensions? How was it for George? I think I did quite well.
The decision now lies with these judges behind me. They will pick
three boys who will make it to the regional heat of the Off By Heart
Shakespeare, which takes prays in the autumn. -- which takes place.
To get this far has been an achievement for many of these
thespians. The whole contest so far has challenged the boys' perception
of Shakespeare. And then the winners. As these three get ready
for their Autumn run, you, too, could be joining them. If you know
a school that would like to take part, you can get details on our
website. Take a bow! It is a long time since
I remember doing any Shakespeare. Thanks for joining us this Friday
evening. Still to come in tonight's Midlands Today, Genelle's got all
the details on the weekend weather. Mixed weather over the weekend, but
it is a slowly improving picture. Find out all the details later in
the programme. Dan's here with the sport now, and
it's a big weekend of athletics. Birmingham stages its own mini-
Olympics on Sunday. The city hosts its first ever Diamond League
athletics meeting at the Alexander Stadium. And it's attracted some of
the world's finest athletes, including the world's fastest man
and woman so far this year. This report contains flash photography.
A woolly hat? In July?! Well, I suppose if you're the world fastest
man in 2011 and you come from Jamaica, you can get away with it.
And he remembers the weather from his last visit. I think it was
raining! It went OK in the 200. There was a good crowd and good
support. You know, once you have the support, everything else can
work. Asafa Powell has yet to win a world or Olympic gold in the 100
metres. But he became the fastest man in the world this year, with
9.77 seconds. Could he win this year's title? And those lucky
enough to have tickets for Sunday's sell-out will also see the world's
fastest woman, Carmelita Jeter. She's become a regular visitor to
Birmingham. I am very pleased to be back here in Birmingham. You treat
me so well so I will always return. We you respond to that with a good
performance on Sunday? I really her pan prayer I give a good
performance for the fans. I will compete to the best of my ability.
The one thing that's changed since her last is the improvement of the
Alexander Stadium. Jeter and Powell both plan to use it next year as
their 2012 Olympic training base. But if the weather's bad, they'll
have to bring their own woolly It has many different names and it
is guaranteed to be one of the most popular sports in the Olympic Games.
Earlier, I headed over to Birmingham, where 55 Tennis Table
tables appeared. And I say to the world, ping-pong
is coming home. He was talking about London 2012. But if only
Boris had been in Birmingham today, because the city's just gone table
tennis-tastic. And everywhere you looked, people were itching to have
a go. It is good. I like playing it. It is good exercise. I saw this
when I came down to the library and I started playing. I love it.
a game everyone can play. No matter whether you are a to or 80, you can
pick up a bat and play. Fitting neatly into that age range, I
grabbed a bat and went to pick up a few tips from the experts. Danny
Reed and Chris Doran are ranked amongst the top five in England.
They both play professionally in Europe. And next month they're off
to China to train for next summer's Olympics. In amongst the crowd, a
couple of familiar faces gave the royal seal of approval. I have won
a few games but maybe we will take it a bit more professionally.
is competitive as well. everybody saw the funny side but it
was the Victorian upper classes who made table-tennis popular. You can
now play ya in St Paul's Square, one of the 55 tables dotted around
the city. -- now play here. It is great fun and great to get people
involved. It is great to see people you haven't played before getting
on the tables in random places and enjoying it. Back in May, two of
the most powerful men in the world decided to take part. They found
they might just have met their match in these two.
With the royal couple playing table tennis in Birmingham, who are those
impostors who went to Canada? know! A fabulous name.
It's longer than Hadrian's Wall and is a truly demanding long distance
walk. We're talking about Offa's Dyke. The 177-mile footpath is 40
years-old and more popular than ever. It follows an 8th-century
mound and ditch built by King Offa. Despite its success as a tourist
attraction, there are fears the upkeep of the path might be
affected in the future by spending cuts. Bob Hockenhull reports.
Britain's longest scheduled ancient monument passes through beautiful
and remote countryside in Shropshire and Herefordshire.
Offa's Dyke, a ditch built by the King of Mercia to keep the Welsh
out, may be 1,200 years old, but the long distance footpath next to
it has only existed since 10th July 1971. And to celebrate the 40th
anniversary, this halfway Fingerpost has been elected on the
hills above Newcastle, telling walkers they are exactly midway
between these two places. The grand opening made national headlines.
Since then, tens of thousands of walkers have enjoyed the scenery.
People who have walked it have said they did not know we had such
countryside in Britain. It is old- fashioned countryside, lots of
small trees, hedgerows and pathways. But the path comes at a price.
Eight different authorities contribute to its upkeep, so could
funding be a problem in the future? We do not know yet but there are
cut left right and centre, and the management of the path are both
funded from the public purse. funding is available, work is being
carried out to improve accessibility. It's estimated
visitors have increased by 25%. have been working very hard with
the landowners and manager of authorities to try to move as many
styles as we can and it makes the trail as accessible as possible to
everybody. Is there great danger the place might lose its
tranquillity? I don't think so, because we have a 177-mile trail
here, and like today, there is a few people walking and it is never
going to be like the Lake District and his other places. Even so,
people travel from all over the country to take on the challenge.
What I appreciate about it is that it is so unspoilt. We have been
elsewhere but here, the people and scenery make-up for it. Those who
live near the path largely don't seem to mind the attention it
brings. They are very important to our tourist trade. This Sunday, at
the Offa's Dyke Centre in Knighton, there'll be a fair to celebrate
By Sunday, we are expecting to have some fairly decent weather. This
evening, we are expecting any showers to be scattered. That is
because they were quite prominent today and quite heavy, but we're
expecting they will be fewer and further between. We will actually
have some sunshine next to him between the scattered showers for a
nice end to the week. From this radar picture, you can see how many
showers have gone through in the day. One minute we had sunshine and
the next, it was chucking it down! We should have more brightness
tomorrow and drier spells overnight. The temperatures are the same as
last night. Those carry through to tomorrow's so there will be fewer
showers and a bit more sunshine. We are looking at times of 22 degrees
Celsius on Saturday, so if you are in the sun, it will feel very
pleasant. By Sunday, those showers should fade away completely. Sunday
night, fairly mild, just a touch cooler than tonight. High pressure
begins to build and takes charge and we see temperatures rising as
we go into Monday. Still a few showers, but mainly sunny.
That is lovely. Let's have a look at tonight's main headlines. The
Prime Minister's former spin-doctor is arrested in the phone-hacking
inquiry. And here, a grieving mother tells