The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.
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Welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines: Our hearts have been
broken forever. The family of the couple murdered
in their home bake for help in catching the killers. I beg of
you... Catch this person. Who has taken two of my special people away.
Fears for the future of jobs for almost 100 disabled people.
A big rise in petrol theft. Cases are up 50% in the last year. They
don't care. They even look straight into the camera.
And Aston Villa complete the loan signing of Wales favourite Robbie
Good evening. Welcome to Thursday's Midlands Today. Tonight, our hearts
are broken forever. The despairing words of two of the children of a
couple found murdered at their home. Just a day after out -- Avtar and
Carole Kolar were found by their son, a serving police officer, at
two of the children spoke at a press conference this afternoon.
Our lives and our hearts have been broken forever. They were the
sweetest and kindest people. hardest thing anyone can ever do is
tell the children that they are never going to see their
grandparents again. I have a baby, one week old, and I really do not
know where to start. We are all hurting so much inside because they
were so special. Catch this person who has taken two of my special
people away from us. Avtar and Carole Kolar had been married for
40 years. Their friends and neighbours in Handsworth Wood in
Birmingham are finding it almost impossible to comes to terms with
what has happened. There is flash photography in the report.
As the forensic Search widens around the family home, a community
began to mourn. Neighbours were struggling to find the words.
bad. Very bad. There appeared to be more police in Handsworth Wood
today, walking the streets to reassure people that this most
brutal of crimes is almost a rare one -- is a rare one. Avtar and
Carole Kolar have been described as quiet, sweet people. Daljeet Bilkhu
went to score with Carole and has known the family for 40 years.
very good people, both of them. Very soft-hearted. Very friendly
people. It is very sad to see them go. He also lives on Friary Road,
an area he says has seen recent burglaries and thefts of Asian gold.
We have been burgled twice on that road. It was a delight beggary and
luckily no one was at home. West Midlands Police -- it was a
daylight burglary. West Midlands Police are keeping an open mind.
The couple's son Jason is a police officer but the police say they do
not see a link between that and the deaths. It is something we would
consider. No cause of death has been identified yet. Key to the
investigation could be the support of the local, largely Sikh,
community. I would urge anybody who knows anything, any little
information, no matter how small, to come forward. It could be
important in solving this crime. arrests have been made but as the
Kolar family are spread so powerfully of their loss this
afternoon., police say they are following a number of new lines of
inquiry. The sense of grief in this community is seen in these floral
tributes laid throughout the day today, including this bunch of red
roses from the couple's eight grandchildren. The True Brit reads,
grandmother, We Love You To the Moon and back. -- this tribute
reads. For police say postmortem
examinations on Avtar and Carole Kolar will be completed by tomorrow.
Other news. People with learning difficulties fear for their
livelihoods after Birmingham City Council announced a review of the
factory they work in. Around 90 people work for Shelforce, a
council owned door and window manufacturer in Erdington. The city
council says it does not envisage compulsory redundancies but the
factory might not be able to carry on running as it has been. A public
meeting is being held tonight at the Jaguar Sports and Social Club
nearby. Our reporter is there. Workers and families must be very
worried. They are deeply concerned. There
has been a cloud of uncertainty hanging over Shelforce for 18
months now. Just behind me, through those double doors, is around 70 or
80 people, mainly Shelforce workers, and I watched them sit stony-faced
as they were told by Unison that there is a distinct possibility
that they could be significant redundancies. You have to remember,
if they lose their jobs at Shelforce, because of their
learning difficult -- disabilities, they could never get a job again.
Amongst the family's here tonight, Shashank Khanduri's family. He is
30 and has watched -- worked for Shelforce for eight ears. His
mother told me this afternoon that the slowdown in work at the factory
has caused him anxiety. When he is sitting, he will worry. You do not
have to worry, everybody is in the same boat. That sort of thing he
does not understand, and he worries. I can see panic building up on him.
Birmingham City Council tell me that Shelforce has been running at
a loss for several years now and it has been having to subsidise the
business. One possibility, it says, is that it may amalgamated into
another part of the council, or perhaps go into partnership with an
outside firm, what it calls an organisation close to us, in its
statement. With me now is the Labour MP for Erdington, Jack
Dromey. Fighting talk from you this evening. What realistically can be
done? The Birmingham City Council should be ashamed. For 27 years
Shelforce has been a lifeline for the most for Cannes in Birmingham.
The men and women in there, for them work is at the centre of their
lives. -- the most vulnerable in Birmingham. The council has been
running down Shelforce. We need to build up that fine facility and
that means spending some of the hundreds of millions of pounds that
Birmingham spends on capital works on the windows, the doors that have
made by Shelforce. If Labour were in power, you had unprecedented
cuts to make. Something has to go, doesn't it? The unkindest cut of
all is to close or run down a facility employee in the most
vulnerable in our community. They are not responsible for the budget
crisis hitting Britain. It is bankers that are responsible. Why
should the disabled pay the price? It looks like these proposals will
go before the next full council meeting, on February 7th. They are
ending here tonight with a very clear message from the workers and
families. If there is bad news to come, they want to know sooner
rather than later. We will keep you up-to-date.
There has been a significant rise in fuel thefts across the West
Midlands, mostly involving drivers filling up at petrol stations and
driving off without paying. The crime is known as building. In a
new twist, they often switched numberplates to avoid
identification. -- the crime is known as bilking. Last year there
was a 50% rise on the crime compared to the year before.
These women are about to commit a crime. They fill their BMW with
fuel, belt up and drive off. It is known as bilking and it is on the
rise. They do not care. They even look straight into the camera.
number of recorded bilkings across the West Midlands has risen from
3,600 offences to more than 5,000. Police say it is linked to rising
fuel prices. Seven years ago, petrol pump prices across the UK
averaged 87p per litre. Today it is one pan 32. Rising fuel prices make
web more tempting and thieves more sophisticated. This is how it works.
They changed number place so when they are caught on CCTV they cannot
be identified, and many are getting away Scot free. This centre in
Wolverhampton has come up with a solution, tamper-proof screws.
have been offering members of the public a free fitting service so
that our security screws on those numberplates prevent them from
being stolen. Back in Wolverhampton, this garage owner says it is too
little, too late. Last year he lost �6,000 to fuel theft. It is not
something I can claim from an insurance policy. Neither am I able
to claim the due to from the Government, so I have to bear it.
This morning, police released this CCTV image. This man drove off
without paying for �45 worth of This is the car registration.
Anyone with information should contact police.
An inquest has been told that take a retired schoolteacher from
Worcestershire was killed by being a Chris Tapp in the net. 77 you
will Betty Yates -- 77-year-old Betty Yates was found last week at
her home in Bewdley. I know I was recovered at the scene.
The Transport Secretary has dismissed suggestions that high-
speed trains will be exclusively for business customers. Justine
Greening was answering questions in the Commons following her decision
to approve a high-speed rail network between London and
Birmingham. A political editor has been taking it all in Forest. What
exactly have they had to say about these fares on H S two? Philip
Hammond, the former health secretary, got himself into bother
when he suggested that rail services were increasingly likely
to be seen as a rich man's toy. A Birmingham MP invited his successor
as Transport Secretary to distance herself from any suggestion that
High Speed Two would become the exclusive preserve of wealthy
businessmen and women. Can the Secretary of State reject the
previous Secretary's comments that high-speed rail would only be
affordable for business customers? The business case works on an
assumption of standard rail fares, as we have on the current network.
I am absolutely clear in my mind that the way to make high-speed
rail successful is to have as many people use it as possible. We have
been hearing High Speed Two will provide an important to Birmingham
Airport. What we have to remember here is that High Speed Two is also
an integral part of the Government's strategy for UK
aviation. They see it as a way of replacing a lot of the domestic air
services that so many people up and down Britain used to connect into
international routes. So the Transport Secretary was challenged
over the fact that the high-speed link to Heathrow airport will not
be completed until 2030s. second phase will seek a route to
Heathrow. It is wise to point out that the first phase was the
Birmingham Airport also connected - - effectively connected as well.
There are many criticisms of High Speed Two. One of the biggest is
that it will not do much for the wider West Midlands as a Birmingham.
Did anybody raise that? Yes, the Labour MP for Dudley North asked if
she would consider modifying further the route so that it could
actually serve the Black Country. No, she said, flatly. Her decision
on the Reid announced on Tuesday was final but she did say that
places like the Black Country and other areas would benefit because
congestion on existing railway lines would be eased.
Still ahead tonight, a Premier League makeover for Molineux. We
speak to the chairman about his vision for Wolves.
And it has been so mild wizardly, you could be forgiven for thinking
it was spring, but winter bites We will talk about grit and the
grit set off I'll vote could save councils millions of Pounds because
it is aware of recycling. It will prevent more than 30,000 tonnes of
waste going to landfill sites every year.
Burnt wood near Lichfield, one of the areas where sweeping the roads
is no longer just about keeping the neighbour had tidy. It is about
saving money and the environment. 2000 tonnes of this road debris is
sent to landfill every year. If you consider the Midlands, that is an
awful lot of waste that could be recycled. Now the region has the
technology to make it happen. A process that described by its
operators as a giant washing machine has been built at the site
near Wolverhampton. It has cost three-quarters of a million pounds
and is able to separate different components of the waste. It comes
in on a daily basis, fed into the plant and from that we will be able
to derive aggregate score. It is the first time that road sweeping
recycling has been done on such a grand scale. Seven councils in the
West Midlands have teamed up to send their waste here for recycling.
It works out far cheaper than burying it as landfill taxes are
rising steeply. If we can make maximum use of that material, we
will save money to pay years. Four Warwickshire a loner we are looking
at recycling some �10,000 and that is about �800,000. It is estimated
�10 million in total will be saved over seven years, proving the old
adage that where there is a market, there is brass.
That is really good news. It has been another of bad wigs for the
high street with more stores going into administration but when an
independent bookstore announced it was to close after 23 years,
residents decided to do something. They formed a co-operative and are
about to open a bookshop of their own.
The hills and Edward Elgar - just two of the reasons tourists come to
visit Malvern and it is that at the trade that has helped many of the
shops survive during the economic downturn. Not all are so lucky.
This bookstore has had to call it a day after 23 years. Disheartened by
the news, book loving friends decided to start their own shop.
And formed a co-operative. We have all got very varied backgrounds, a
huge range of expertise and interest and we can bring all that
into the one bookshop. Not one of the seven members of the co-
operative has any retail experience, but they already have the premises
and work on their new shop is under way. It is a lot of hard work to be
done and decisions to be made, but we have very different skills to
bring to it and a lot of knowledge. We will all work together and it
will be a success. Malvern has more independently owned shops than most
towns and many like this one are doing well. Open six years ago,
they have had their best Christmas trading figures ever. So can the
co-operative be successful? The man behind the shop believes they have
a chance. The large retailers cannot offer at that level of
service the independent retailers can. If they get that right, they
can do quite well. The bookshop will include a cafe and whole
community events did boost income. Be a co-operative, the financial
risk is spread and all of those involved are being realistic about
the future. We are conscious of the risk but we think it can work. We
will never make a lot of money, but we think we can have an exciting
project that will benefit the town centre. If everything goes to plan,
they hope to open the doors in March.
We can call that the Big Society. Sports time. Robbie Keane can -- 11
years after he almost signed for them, he became an Aston Villa
player today for two months. The record goalscorer has agreed and
loan spell from LA Galaxy and could make his debut against Everton on
Saturday. A warning, this report does contain flash photography.
Robbie Keane posing with an Aston Villa shirt. Many of us expected to
see this in the summer of 1999. But the Villa would not meet the asking
price and he has travelled the world playing football since. Only
now will he put on a Villa kit. will try my best to put on a big
impact and help the team push for what up the table. With my past
experience and knowledge, I can pass it on to younger players.
wonder kid joined Coventry instead all those is ago to become the most
expensive teenager in the Premier League. He scored twice in his
debut for the Sky Blues and has been prolific ever since from Milan
to London and California. Robbie Keane has made a habit of scoring
against Villa, now the fans want to know can he do it for them?
scored over 50 goals for Ireland, he is a very good player. I think
the gold will go flying. He is a top player and proven that over the
years. I look forward to playing with all of them. His arrival
caught the imagination of the media and if he finds the golden touch
again on the pitch, everyone will be happy.
Is Robbie Keane the answer for Villa? Called BBC WM football
phone-in at 7pm. The Wolves chairman Steve Morgan says the team
must do better but he says he will not succumb to the hire and fire
culture with managers. He admits it has been hard redeveloping Molineux
alongside developing his team but he is determined the new ground
will be hosting Premier League football next season. Welcome to
the future. This is how Wolves new �16 million stand well that from
the inside. This impressive computer-generated video was
launched today by the club chairman Steve Morgan. The show's fans the
news facilities. There will be a bar, pub and restaurant and with
building work on course it will be ready for next season. There is no
doubt this news-stand is impressive but some fans feel it is costing
them on the pitch and ultimately the price to pay could be
relegation. It is a juggling act and it is not easy, but it is one
we have to live with. The board is determined to take this club into
the 21st century to offer the facilities it should have a go with
that. That balancing act sea walls one. Out of the Premier League
relegation zone. But Morgan is standing by manager Mick McCarthy
and money is available in the January transfer window. It has
been disappointing. We expected to be better off than we carry our and
we have to do better in the second half. This isn't a hire and fire
club, it is not the way I won any of my businesses. But we do say
what we have to say behind closed doors. One the new will look
It is good to hear a German fronting up. All that has happened
at Birmingham City, we had never heard anything from the board, it
is a shame because they do not talk to us. But it is nice to hear that
from Steve Morgan. Before you go, tell us about
Coventry City. Striker Lukas Jutkewicz is on the
way to Middlesbrough for �1.5 million. Nikola Zigic scored two
goals for Birmingham City last night beating Ipswich 2-1, but he
Scientists, inventor, artist, Leonardo da Vinci's dinners
resonates through history. An exhibition of his work in London
has been a sell-out and there is expected to be a similar buzz when
it comes to Birmingham. It is the first time any of his work has been
shown in the city. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
is the first venue for a national tour of 10 drawings by Leonardo da
Vinci to celebrate the Queen's diamond jubilee. It is expected to
attract huge attention. It is the first time we have had works by
Leonardo in Birmingham, so it will create a lot of interest. We think
probably 25,000 potentially, maybe more. The drawings are from the
World Collection at Windsor Castle and the senior curator says it is
amazing to imagine the master holding them 500 years ago.
drawings illustrate all aspects of Leonardo's activity. He was a
painter, sculptor, architect, scientist. I have tried to select
in these drawings examples of every aspect of that. A major exhibition
of Leonardo's work has attracted crowds to the National Gallery in
London with tickets selling out. This display in Birmingham is
smaller and more intimate and free. Visitors will be able to get up
close to some of the work of this world famous artist, architect,
engineer and scientist, engaging at first hand with perhaps one of the
greatest minds of all time. For the last 15 years of his life, Leonardo
regarded himself as a scientist incorporating research in art. This
is how Leonardo looked with a reputation for arrogance. But one
drawing thought to be one of his last is a self portrait of how he
felt as he aged. Kind of grotesque but also a rather pathetic. It is a
study of decay and Leonardo was conscious of his own body failing.
It captures something of Leonardo's sense of imminent death. All the
finishing touches are being made ready for when the doors open to
the public for three months. It will be busy. He was pretty
amazing. That exhibition of those drawings opens at Birmingham Museum
and Art Gallery tomorrow and it is free. Now take a look at the
free. Now take a look at the weather.
For a few days we had experienced way above average temperatures but
because of that the drop will appear more drastic as things
appear more colder. It applies during the days and nights.
Temperatures starting to dip to below average. The reason for that,
we saw a cold front coming through today. Because this high-pressure
positions itself over us, the winds will be lighter, perfect conditions
for frost and fog. All of those elements tonight. Skies clearing
right across the board and temperatures dipping down to minus
one Celsius in raw parts. A frost developing across most parts and
also some fog developing mostly in the south-west of the region. That
could linger because of the light winds tomorrow and if it does so,
temperatures will struggle to lift. Generally a nice day with a lot of
sunshine and it will be dry. It is the temperatures that are the main
concern. Temperatures of six Celsius. Tomorrow night will be
even colder. Skies clearing once again and light winds and
temperatures dropping down to minus one Celsius. For the weekend, at we
pave the way for much colder conditions. Highs of only four
Celsius. But it is looking sunny at least. Thank you.
least. Thank you. Just one main had line tonight: our