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Good evening, welcome to Friday's Midlands Today from the BBC.
Tonight: a suspended nine month jail sentence for the MP's wife
found guilty of stealing a love rival's kitten. I had no
recollection of taking the cat. In fact, I didn't realise I had a
Gunther life returned to their house and there it was, in the back
of the car. As long as we don't come under
attack, there is nothing to worry about.
They called it the Chancellor to cut the tax on flying.
And is a statue of the captain of the ill-fated Titanic on its way to
his home town, which once did not Good evening, welcome to Friday's
Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight: a suspended nine month
jail sentence for the MP's wife found guilty of stealing a love
rival's kitten. Christine Hemming, who's married to
the Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, was captured on CCTV
stealing the pet from the home of her husband's mistress Emily Cox.
She was found guilty of burglary by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court
last month. Before being sentenced, Mrs Hemming
said she still had no recollection of stealing the animal. Mr Hemming
said his wife should have pleaded guilty to the offence. Liz Copper
reports. Christine Hemming emerged from
court without commenting after avoiding a jail term for burgling
her rival's home. The love triangle involving her husband, the MP for
Birmingham Yardley, and his former personal assistant, Emily Cox was
described by the judge as an unconventional relationship. The
jury had been played this CCTV footage. It showed Mrs Hemming
crawling around the garden of the home her husband shared with Emily
Cox and their daughter. Mrs Hemming is then seen breaking into the
house. And three minutes later, leaving, clutching a kitten.
Speaking before she was sentenced, Mrs Hemming described the episode
as a blur. I did not deliberately take the catch. I went to the
property purely to give my husband his post and to then return to my
house. The events that transpired, I have no recollection of taking
account. In fact, I did not realise I had it until I returned to the
house and there it was, at the back of the car. Mrs Hemming later said
she'd tried to return the kitten, which was called Beauty, by putting
it under a fence. But the animal has never been recovered. Speaking
after his wife had been sentenced, Mr Hemming, together with Emily Cox,
gave their reaction. The judge said she was dedicated to her family and
had been under considerable emotional pressure. The sentence is
not surprising in the circumstances. She should have pleaded guilty. Had
she, she would have had a discharge. I think it has been worse for my
daughter, she has lost her cat. She has seen her parents dragged
through the courts and by the media in not a very nice way. But the end
of the day, nobody knows where the cat is full Stock -- where the cat
is. Mrs Hemming will be required to carry out 150 hours' upaid work as
part of her sentence. She's said the case has had a lasting impact
on her life. And you can see more of that
interview with Christine Hemming and read more about the case on our
website. Later in tonight's programme: An
Autumnwatch report on why hedgehog Leave us alone and there won't be
any trouble - that's the message from the leader of the English
Defence League ahead of a demonstration tomorrow in
Birmingham. It's one of three protests taking place in the city.
Hundreds of EDL supporters will gather in Centenary Square where
they're campaigning against Islamic extremism. Across in Chamberlain
Square at about the same time, there'll be a gathering of anti-
racists including trade unionists and local faith groups, while in
Victoria Square an anti-capitalist protest is continuing in front of
the Council House. Our reporter Holly Lewis joins us
now from Victoria Square. Holly, is this going to disrupt Birmingham
City Centre tomorrow? Depending on who you believe, there
could be several hundred protesters here tomorrow or several thousand.
The police say there will be a vastly increased police presence.
There have also moved the EDM event. It will now be in Centenary Square.
They are not very happy about it. The question is, when it put people
off visiting the town centre? Three squares, three separate
protests and one major challenge for West Midlands Police. Firstly
in Centenary Square where members of the English Defence League are
due to gather. Police are keen to avoid a repeat of 2009 when there
were 90 arrests following clashes between EDL members and anti-
fascists, but organisers say they aren't looking for trouble.
last 15 demonstrations have been peaceful. As long as we are left
alone to peacefully protest, and don't come under attack, there is
nothing to worry about. A short walk through the Forum will lead to
the next protest event, set up as a counterbalance to the EDL. In the
Chamberlain Square, a loose coalition including faith groups
will be gathering at the same time. They say they want to celebrate the
diversity and multiculturalism in the city. This is a very diverse
city and we are really proud of that. That is a good thing. Our
differences a dressing, a strength. It is something to celebrate. --
Allah differences are a blessing, a strength. Lastly in Victoria Square
anti capitalists have been given an eviction order for next Thursday,
but they'll still be there tomorrow. Business leaders say no one should
be put off coming into the city centre. The location of the protest
and the way we understand he was doing it, the policing around it
means that the rest of Birmingham probably will not notice and the
shopping and retail side of been there will be business as usual.
But many shoppers said they'd be playing safe. People have the right
to protest but it could be chaotic with three groups. The recent
history of protesting makes you wary. I would come in by myself but
could be wary of keeping -- bringing children in. A key part of
the way. It cannot kick-off. -- I will be keeping out of the way, it
can kick-off. All three protests have to be static, police hope
they've done enough to make sure they all go of peacefully.
Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion are also playing at home.
The police say they do not welcome the English Defence League protest,
saying they recognise it makes people feel insecure, coming so
soon after the August riots. They have also told them they can only
protest for two hours and the peaceful event here has also been
given four hours. A post mortem examination has revealed that a 49-
year-old woman found dead in Stafford died from a shotgun wound.
The body of Susan Gray was found in Oxford Gardens in the town. A 22-
year-old man has been arrested and is currently in custody. Police
have been unable to question him as he's being assessed under the
Mental Health Act. The number of seats available on
Virgin trains between Birmingham, London and Manchester is to be
increased by 25% to ease overcrowding. Three new trains will
be added to the fleet and some existing trains will have extra
carriages. It's expected to create 28,000 additional seats. Passengers
should see the benefits from next April.
Severn Trent has stepped in to help people in south Shropshire who've
been without water for months. Wells and springs around Clunton
have run dry after a severe lack of rainfall. Now the company's made a
goodwill gesture by sending water bowsers to the village.
Birmingham Airport has joined a campaign to urge the government to
cut the amount of tax paid by passengers. Air Passenger Duty
currently raises�2 billion a year in revenue.
Birmingham is one of eight airports lobbying the Chancellor to use his
Autumn Statement to reduce the tax. It's hoped this will encourage
airlines to use regional airports with spare capacity instead of
London. Here's Our Political Editor, Patrick Burns.
Dark days at the departure door. Like every other major airport
outside London, Birmingham's passenger numbers have been falling
for two years now and airport passenger duty doesn't exactly help
to win them back. It is scandalous. It is what you pay taxes for.
a great deal of money to put on top of the ticket price. To get an idea,
let's look at three of the flights on the destination screens this
morning. Belfast City, at 8:35am. Then New York. At 9:15am, Cancun in
Mexico. My 225 mile flight to Belfast is taxed at the basic rate
of �12. But for that flight to New York it's �60 and the for nearly
5,000 miles away, it's Cancun it's �75 per person, quite a
consideration for a long-haul family holiday. But
environmentalists think it's only fair for aviation to offset what is,
in effect, a generous tax break from the Chancellor. The aviation
industry pays no VAT on fuel that it uses. That is unlike anyone who
drives a motor car. Did pays no VAT on of the sale of planes, nor on
the sale of tickets. The aviation pays its fair way in tax. We pay
all the things that we do. The one area that is different is on fuel
VAT. The Chancellor more than covers the environmental impact
through the air passenger duty, which is set to raise �2.5 billion
next year. So stemming the flow of a significant revenue stream would
be a tough call for our cash- strapped Chancellor.
There must be a long line of people queuing up to lobby George Osborne.
Would he pay any attention to this? He is listening to Northern Ireland.
They had a situation where Continental Airlines threatened to
switch their services from New York to Belfast, to Dublin. That could
be so that passengers could escape UK airport duty. As you can imagine,
the political and business communities lobbed -- lobbied
George Osborne and the result of that is that from Tuesday of next
week, if you or I want to fly from Birmingham to New York, we paid out
�60 duty but for people flying to New York from Belfast, the duty is
�12. Of course, you can imagine that for the airlines here, there
is a chorus of, well, if it applies to Northern Ireland, it applies to
us as well. Oddity expecting to say?
The contents of the Autumn Statement are very closely guarded
but what we do know is that there will be a package of measures for
growth. Put that together with the fact the government is determined
not to build a third runway at Heathrow with George Osborne as
oft-stated commitment to rebalancing the economy and the
idea of a redistribution of routes from London to the regions fits
together with that logic. There is more about this on the website.
Significantly, David Cameron was recently asked in the Commons about
the effect of Airport passenger duty on regional airports and he
said that this was something which the government was, keeping its eye
And there'll be more on this plus a report on the high levels of fuel
poverty in the region on this Sunday's Politics Show which is
here on BBC One at 12 noon. A campaign's begun to try and move
a statue of the captain of the Titanic back to his hometown in the
Potteries. The monument to Captain Edward John Smith currently stands
in a park in Lichfield. It's believed it was originally put
there because the authorities in Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent didn't
want to be associated with the world's most famous maritime
disaster. Laura May McMullan reports.
A monument to honour Captain Edward John Smith stands in Beacon Park in
Lichfield. Yet it was 40 miles away in Hanley, where he was born and
bred. The only tribute to him though is here inside Hanley town
hall in the form of a plaque. One man hoping to change all that
though is campaigner Phil Ball. He's written to over 100
councillors in Stoke-on-Trent and Lichfield to get the statue moved.
Standing outside this house in Hanley where Captain Smith was born
in 1850, even the commemorative plaque has been stolen. He is one
of our greats. We have of the statues in the City. He is missing.
Why is there statue -- So why IS the statue of Captain Smith in
Lichfield? Will the statue ever be moved? No, we have no intention of
the statue moving from here. It is loved by local people. These
pictures dating back to 1911 show Captain Smith, the deck of the
Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic, six months before the doomed maiden
voyage. It is amazing that the son of a potter, born into a town which
is as far away from the sea as you can get, becomes the top sea
captain of the Atlantic. We have great talent here. We can make a
new statue if we wanted a statue. And people in Hanley agree. They
should be something. It was a point in history which we should
commemorate because so many people's lives were lost. With no
visual public memorial in Stoke-on- Still to come in tonight's
programme. Ben Rich is here with a look at what the weekend's weather
has in store. Rewind the clocks back an hour on
Saturday night. It is the end of British Summer Time but with a mild
weekend ahead, we will not be plunging headlong into winter just
Hedgehog numbers have plummeted over the last decade with the
population down by a quarter. In our final Autumnwatch report this
week, our Environment Correspondent David Gregory looks at the problems
they face. And while traditionally at this
time of year we're told to check our garden bonfires for hibernating
hedgehogs, it turns out there's In their garden the quinces are
ripening in the warm autumn sun but inside animal rescue centre is
working hard to get their hedgehog guests fit and ready to tackle
winter in the wild. Hedgehogs that have warned late in the year will
not survive hibernation through the winter so here, they have got some
babies that they will be keeping here and releasing next year. Let's
try and films on with our special camera. -- Film some more with our
But these youngsters face an uncertain future. Because the
British hedgehog population has decreased sharply in the last
decade. 25 % in 10 years is a pretty steep decline and it is
concerning. They have recently been added to for biodiversity action
plan which is a Schedule that highlights species which may be in
trouble and need extra protection. So hedgehogs are in trouble and one
of the problems they face is these red rubber bands that are often
used by postal workers to hold together bundles of letters. Once
dropped on the ground they can become potential death traps for
hedgehogs. This rubber band was surgically removed from this
hedgehog. He went on to make a full recover. This is a hedgehog that is
going back tonight. If you look at their spines, they are if... It
will be impossible for them to get it out themselves. They getting
quite a tangle. In paintings and pictures, they are organised, but
in actual fact, they are quite criss-crossed. It is free difficult
to get off. Important as it is not to drop litter, there are plenty of
other problems for our shrinking hedgehog population. One of the
biggest ones as loss of habitat and fragmentation of Habitat, where
gardens that used to be linked up on our high fences and walls,
securing the gardens. Unfortunately, they stop hedgehogs trundling
through. They will war and mile or two in a night so they need a lot
of fathers. Fees babies might enjoy better prospects when they recover
next year. -- these babies. David joins us now, on a street
where they are determined to help hedgehogs.
In this community, they are trying to help her shots. Martin Harrison
knows more about it. What are you trying to do? We are trying to ways
a rareness for these prickly man was to get local people involved in
looking after them and improve their habitat. What can people do
in their gardens? There are a few things in their gardens. A lot of
you cartons of very fenced off and there are no holes anywhere. --
gardens. Hedgehog needs -- Hague togs need holes in the fence. If
you've got a pond, they need someone -- somewhere to get out, a
round perhaps also Pichon also feed than some dog or cat food,
preferably not cow's milk. Also put some freshwater out for them.
and if people do all that, it is a lot of extra work? Not really.
Another thing I didn't mention is to leave a messy area, so they can
use the decaying leaves to foraged for food -- forage for food. Thank
you very much. If you want to learn how to make a garden more friendly,
I have rarely enjoyed and watching the wildlife this season.
Let's crack on with the sport now. There's nothing like a wining team
to drum up the punters. So after two derby wins the Albion club shop
was doing brisk trade today. traditional blue-and-white striped
shirt. Now there is a new shirt for sale. Like when you score a goal.
Paul Scharner was booked for displaying the new t-shirt designed
by his children at Villa Park last week. The rule is you cannot pull
your shot over the head. You are a naughty boy. Absolutely, yes.
the fans we spoke to love it. What you make of the shot? I would like
one myself. I think we will be getting a few of those for the kids.
Yeah, I think it's great, shows a bit of passion for the club and
that is what you want from your players. We've adopted him. It is
great for her man for us. He is one of those people that takes the club
to their heart. Fair play to him. Next week, the famous shirt is
going on sale in aid of DEBRA a charity to help children with a
rare skin disease. Likewise players shirts embossed with poppies will
be auctioned for the poppy appeal. But to keep sales bouyant they just
need to beat Liverpool and that means stopping in-form striker Luis
Suarez. He has had a magnificent start and at the moment, we must be
aware that he will be a key figure in their attacking play. We will
have to do our very best to keep him quiet. It will not be easy
because he is a quality player. Albion did indeed beat Liverpool in
April. Chris Brunt's penalties gave Albion a 2-1 win that day, and he's
likely to keep the duty despite missing one at Villa Park last week.
Albion have their tails up and they hope that's how it'll stay when
their charity shirts hi the shops. Birmingham City fans are meeting
tomorrow to form a supporters' trust. They're unhappy with how the
club's being run by the current board. And they hope the trust will
give the fans a greater say. They're meeting at the Phoenix
Community Hall, Towpath Walk at 11.30am tomorrow morning and
they've urged fans to get involved. And you can keep in touch with how
your team gets on this weekend with the build-up, full match commentary
and reaction on your BBC local radio station.
Now a reminder that you've only got until Sunday to nominate your BBC
Midlands' Sports Unsung Hero. You can send in your nomination to
recognise those individuals who dedicate their life to helping
He brought us blockbuster movies such as Alien and Blade Runner but
now the film director Ridley Scott is teaming up with the BBC to make
a brand new film about life in Britain.
Britain In A Day will feature and be filmed by members of the public.
James McDonald's been to Coventry meet some of the film's potential
stars. In Coventry, a class for budding
film makers. On November 12th all these people will be grabbing a
camera and recording a snapshot of whatever's going on. They, along
with many others across Britain are hoping their clips will eventually
be used in the finished feature. I'm toying with the idea of me
taking some bread. I'll have to a rope some volunteers in to hold the
camera. We had loads of great suggestions here today and it is
about what is important to individual people in this country.
By Mike that a lot. Many of these people have never picked up a
camera before. For them, it is a first experience of film-making.
Fortunately, they will get a little Last year the Production Company of
film Director Ridley Scott made this film, pieced together from
dozens of clips capturing everyday life around the world. The film has
provided the inspiration for Britain In A Day, which will be
broadcast on BBC Two next May in the build up to the Olympic Games.
People with no experience can bring something really special away from.
One of those things the spontaneity, capturing emotional moments on
camera. Life isn't perfect and if your material is rough around the
edges, those edges might be really interesting. Presenters including
Dan Snow will be joining in but the message from the film's makers is
that absolutely anybody can take And if you'd like to join in with
the film, take a look at the website: there are more details on
A mixed bag is a fairly over-used expression in weather forecasts but
this weekend, it really does apply. The elements are throwing
everything possible at us over the next couple of days. If we had to
some things up, we can say it will be milder, quite breezy, there will
be a little rain around but at the same time, there will also be a
little bit of brightness. A mixed bag, as I say. The can see this
weather front out to the West. That is eventually going to reach us. It
will bring us a little rain that later on Saturday. Behind it, rain
will come in or from the south-west. Ahead of that were the front, it in
the clear tonight. And it is clear skies, we will see mist and fog
patches forming. It will be a fairly cold night with the lows of
5-7 Celsius. Any early mist and Merck should clear away quickly
tomorrow morning. Things will brighten up, particularly for
further east you are. Parts of Staffordshire, down into
Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, we should see some sunshine. Out
west, as that weather front approaches, it will thicken up and
bring outbreaks of rain. Highs of 12 to 14 Celsius and you will
notice that brisk south-westerly breeze. If you are often end of the
football matches tomorrow, if you're heading to Manchester for
the game, we could see that light, patchy rain getting in here by the
end of the afternoon. In Sunderland, it should be fine. The card would
increase for all of us through tomorrow evening and eventually, we
will bring this rain across. It will fizzle out so becoming light
and patchy. Some of that will hang around as we go into Sunday morning
as well, particularly across southern and western parts of the
region. Further north and east, things will brighten up a little.
By this point, things feeling mild, at 216-17 Celsius. Sunday could be
a very pleasantly feeling day. Over the weekend, it will be quite mild,
often rather cloudy but with some brightness. Also a little bit of
rain at times. He starts next week on a dry and settled note but
things will go down hill as we head into mixed -- midweek. One more
thing to mention, the clocks go back an hour on Saturday night.
Don't forget to wind them back. It means an extra hour in bed but it
A look at tonight's main headlines: Vincent Tabak is sentenced to life
for the killing of Joanna Yeates. And a suspended jail sentence for
an MP's wife, found guilty of stealing a kitten from her
husband's mistress. That's all from us this evening but
on Monday's Midlands Today we'll be investigating the impact of the dry