20/01/2012 Midlands Today


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Welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines: guilty, a council admits


breaking health and safety laws after a blaze which killed four


fireman. That plea is entered on a limited


basis. We should make it clear that we do not accept many of the


allegations made by the prosecution. The anonymous letters which could


hold vital clues in a murder of a retired schoolteacher in Bewdley.


They are typed letters and give differing information. I do not


believe they have been written by the same person.


Residents complain of a rubbish tip that is powering over their homes.


Join me at the cinema that is flickering back to life after lying


Good evening. Tonight, a council admits breaking health and safety


laws after a fire killed four firemen.


The council admitted the charges following the fire four years ago


which destroyed a vegetable packing warehouse. Despite pleading guilty,


a council spokesman said they do not accept many of the allegations


against them. The case against three fire service managers charged


over the deaths has been adjourned. It is more than four years since


fire raged through a vegetable packing plant at Atherstone on


Stour in November 2007. Ian Reid, Ashley Stephens, John Averis and


Darren Yates-Badley all died. Relatives of the men who died and


the present Chief Fire Officer were in court today to hear Warwickshire


County Council plead guilty to failing to ensure the health and


safety of employees at work. Warwickshire County Council has


today entered a guilty plea to the charge it faces in connection with


the fire. That plea is entered on a limited basis and we should make it


clear that we do not accept many of the allegations made by the


prosecution. We believe it is very important that we say nothing that


in any way prejudices the legal proceedings about these tragic


events so we will not be saying anything further except that our


thoughts today are with the families and friends of all of


those affected. Paul Simmons, Adrian Ashley and Timothy Woodward


or face charges of manslaughter by gross negligence. On the night of


the fire, they all acted as incident commanders at different


points during the evening. Supporters of the fire service


managers say the length of time the case has taken to come to court is


taking its toll on everyone. I feel very sorry for all of the families


that have had four years to wait for this day to come. It is


important to show the three who are here that they are supported.


court was packed today with relatives of the deceased on one


side of the court and supporters of the three managers who are


currently charged on the other. The High Court judge has adjourned


today's hearing for a date to be fixed.


You can read more about that case on the BBC Coventry and


Warwickshire website. Later: the Missing Link, a new


campaign to build a motorway junction to benefit people and


businesses in Shropshire. Detectives investigating the murder


of retired teacher Betty Yates say they have received anonymous


letters which may hold vital clues about who killed her.


Mrs Yates was found beaten and stabbed at her remote cottage in


Worcestershire two weeks ago. Our reporter is in Bewdley now. The


police think the letters are highly significant?


They are significant to the police. They are keen to talk to the people


who wrote them. We do not know what is in the letters. They were typed


and are not thought to be from the killer. Police told us about them


when they lifted the cordon around the house behind me. They allowed


us in the garden. Her hat is still hanging in the summer house. Police


say these letters have given them new lines of inquiry in the hunt


for her killer. Inside Betty Yates's House, the frenzied search


continues, more than two years after her murder. -- two weeks. She


had been beaten with her walking stick and stuck with a knife.


Police investigating her murder say they have received two anonymous


typed letters, one was posted to them and one handed in by a third


party. They are both typed letters, they give differing information. I


do not believe they have been written by the same person. I am


keen for both of those individuals to come forward. Police believe


Betty Yates was murdered on January 2nd in the evening. It was more


than 36 hours before her body was found. Teams of officers have


surged 16 acres of land around her home. It is only when you get here


that you realise how remote it is. To get here what, we have come off


the road, down a track for about a mile. The remoteness is adding to


the complexity of the case. Police say they are keen to trace a white


man in his 20s with dark hair wearing a thigh-length dark jacket


who was seen here on the night of the murder. I would appeal for


those individuals who know what happened to come forward to speak


to us. They can speak to us in confidence. We are absolutely


grateful for the information we have already got. I want as much


information as I can get. former chief superintendent who now


lectures on crime says that these types of cases can be difficult to


solve. They are very rare, these types of events. They will be


appealing for witnesses and ultimately it will be a complicated


-- combination of winners and forensic evidence that will solve


this crime. The motive for the brutal murder is not clear. When


her body was found, the house was locked up and there was little sign


of a break-in. Police say they are not ruling out the possibility that


she may have known her killer. There is the possibility that she


may have disturbed an intruder. Police say they are still looking


for a black pencil case size purse with Turkey's attached to it. That


is missing. They are also carrying out a trawl of CCTV footage. That


is going to be a long and laborious process. They have said tonight


that they are stressing that the people who wrote the letters, if


they come forward, they will be spoken to in complete confidence.


In other news, Poundland say its Christmas sales were up nearly 6%.


The company has its headquarters in Willenhall in the Black Country


served a record 5.5 million customers, sold 24 million


Christmas cards and 10,000 miles of wrapping paper.


Jaguar Land Rover says it has received more than 20,000


applications for 1000 vacancies at its Solihull plant. They are


creating the new jobs to cope with increased production. They have


also had more than 10,000 applications for its graduate


recruitment scheme this year, five times the number it received three


years ago. Incredible figures!


Astonishing. Security cameras to stop


unscrupulous carers stealing from disabled people could be put into


homes free of charge. Birmingham City Council says it is


considering the move after Michelle Warburton was given a suspended


prison term for trying to steal hundreds of pounds.


She was employed privately to care for Trevor Thomas. His family say


security cameras well help protect the vulnerable.


These CCTV images show care worker Michelle Warburton trying to steal


hundreds of pounds from a safe. She tried desperately to punch in a key


code, even disguising her attempts with a bit of hoovering. Trevor


Thomas is 45 and has a form of cerebral palsy. His mum employed


Warburton to help in his care. He thought he could trust have. Today


Warburton, a mother of two, received a prison sentence,


suspended for a year. I did not take Michelle Warburton to court


for Trevor Thomas because I could have just sacked have. I took her


to court to protect other vulnerable adults that she may have


moved on to his. The Thomas family believe that without their evidence


Warburton may have avoided a conviction. She was a private carer


and was not employed directly by Birmingham City Council. The


authority has told the BBC that this case shows it must look at


providing CCTV to protect vulnerable adults. We have already


begun a dialogue with a supplier of CCTV. We want to look at how we can


work, in the light of what has happened to date, to extend that as


a way of safeguarding people in the future. We have to build the


confidence of disabled vulnerable people to have the confidence to


name perpetrators of crimes against them. Some of them are scared.


Warburton must do 150 hours' community service. She had no


comment believe in court. -- no comment leaving court. The Thomas


family only installed CCTV as a last resort. Tonight, the images


they captured could lead to a significant change in the way care


is monitored at home. A mountain of rubbish, poorer than


a house, is causing problems for residents who say it is a health


hazard. They say it is also an eyesore but


repeated demands to force the firm responsible to move it have been


ignored. Now the Environment Agency says it


may stop the firm trading if it does not clear up the mess.


This is the view that Sally Round wakes up to every morning. A cross


from her flat in Brierley Hill, an enormous pile of rubbish is taller


than nearby buildings. Your windows get black in the summer. The


thought of waking up and looking at the tip is just disgusting.


waste arrives here in skips. It is a combination of household and


industrial rubbish, soil, and rubble. Residents have made


repeated complaints. Last summer, the moment Agency stepped in. The


company responsible for this huge pile of rubbish has been given


seven deadlines to meet to reduce the impact the site has on the


local area. So far, it has failed to meet five deadlines and the next


one is just a few weeks away. The managing director of the firm


responsible, RDF Ltd, refused to appear on camera but but he


acknowledges the rubbish is causing a problem but says he needs more


time. The Environment Agency says he has had plenty of opportunities.


The appliance has been their report to date. We were hoping to see the


level of waste on the site slowly to come down. The compliance has


been terrible to date. Once the deadline passes, the Environment


Agency has the power to stop the people operating and clear the


rubbish from the site. For now, most would agree that the view in


this part of Brierley Hill is simply rubbish.


Not the best, is it? There has been a sharp fall in the number of


people making donations to the arts in the region. They are down by a


quarter. An MP is calling on the rich to


fill the gap. Will we ever buy into the idea of


Of the Staffordshire Community Trust supports good causes like


this disabled riding centre. The trust has convinced wealthy locals


to donate money. People are always being asked for money so what we


say to people is if you letters help you give money to charities,


or to charity and -- charitable causes, we can make sure that you


get value for money. The government is looking at various incentives to


increase charitable giving. But there are concerns that it will not


be enough. There has been a sharp decline in donations to the arts


industry. Across England, there has been a drop of 11 %. The report


says that the region here has some of the those contributions from


businesses, trusts and foundations and individual giving. One MP is


concluding that the rich need to do more. The poor give more of their


money in terms of percentage income than the rich. The middle classes


and the rich need to give more of their money in terms of


philanthropy. Philanthropy is nothing new. Do today's super rich


share a sense of duty? Aston Villa's former owner was recently


knighted for his work. I would love of a more people to become involved


in charity in some form or another. It does not matter what they give


as long as they feel they are contributing to a good cause.


question some will be asking is whether the big society will be big


enough. Let's talk to our political editor.


That is his huge fall. Arts organisations across the region


must be very worried. This and region You would think would be


inspired by its cultural institutions. I think real concern


focuses on the smaller, more community based operations which


will not have quite such sophisticated fund-raising


operations. That is why the Arts Council in our region is focusing


so much of its attention on this region's share of the government's


hundred million pound match funding Investment Scheme. There are


various different strands to it. Warne is about increasing endowment,


that is for more experienced fundraisers. But there is also a


strand about building capacity and finding innovative ways of making


What are the chances of a new era of charitable giving in a time like


this? Whereas the rising generation of Cadbury's? But that is what my


bloggers about this week. It is part of the government's greater


gender on responsible capitalism. There will be more about this on


the Politics Show hero BBC One with me and Andrew Neil from 12:00pm on


It's a missing link in our motorway network and it's said to be


damaging the town of Telford. Ever since it was built, the M54 in


Shropshire has only connected with the southbound carriageway of the


M6. Those travelling to or from the north have had to make an


inconvenient detour. Now though, a campaign's begun to build a new


link road to bridge the gap. Andy Newman reports.


The M 54 on a quiet, damp Friday. It is Shropshire's only motorway


but there is a vital link missing. This a sign gives it away. There is


no connection with the M6 north. I am on the M 54 eastbound add I want


to get onto the M6 north, but because the junction will not allow


that I have either to get onto the M6 south and go to the next


junction and do a U-turn, or I get off the M 54 earlier and use a


roads to get to the M6 north. It is not ideal. It is not ideal for


Telford based businesses. They reckon the missing motorway link


cost of them time and money. Staff had to leave earlier and they get


back later sometimes. It costs us in overtime and fuel. Gathered on a


motorway bridge today an alliance of interested parties asking for a


proper motorway intersection. M6 north is a dog's dinner. You


have to go through minor roads and it takes about 20 minutes. That is


not on for local businesses. This was not only the opening shot of a


campaign, when and even if that link gets built is still an open


question. But it cannot come soon enough for motorists and businesses


and -- in Telford. Still to come in tonight's


programme, Sarah Cruickshank will be here with the latest details on


the weekend weather and it's not looking very promising!


We've had a good dose rain today, but it looks like we're in for a


blustery weekend as the winds pick up tonight. I'll have all the


A busy weekend of sport with two Premier League derbies to look


forward to. Dan's here with all the details.


15 years ago, Robbie Keane scored two goals on his Wolves debut. He


was 17 at the time and he's never looked back. Tomorrow, Robbie


returns to Molineux with Aston Villa. He's 80 to 1 with the


bookies to get a hat-trick. But if he does score a goal, he won't be


celebrating in front of the home fans. Ian Winter has been to meet


someone who knows him very well indeed.


Winner takes all. Just one frame. On an old gold table, against an


old Wolves favourite to chat about the new Villa striker. No-one knows


Robbie Keane better than Matt Murray. Matt was best man at


Robbie's wedding, Robbie is godfather to one of Matt's


daughters. And this is where they shoot pool to relax away from


football. I was 16 and he was 17. He was playing and I was on the


bench. Even though I am bigger than him, he looked after me. He was


more streetwise. Remember Paul Newman against Minnesota Fats in


the Hustler? Well, our match was nothing like that. But as the balls


slowly disappeared, we reminisced about the day Robbie received a


hero's welcome on his return to Molineux. It was September 2010,


half-time in the Wolves-Villa game. An emotional moment for Matt


because injury had cut short his goalkeeping career, and all his old


pals turned out to wish him well. How much is he looking forward to


playing at Molineux? I said if you do sign, the second game will be at


Molineux. He has got a lot of time for the club and there are still


people there that he knew when he was a young lad. It is a great club


with a massive fan base and a great stadium. I look forward to it. It


is only for a couple of months, but it is something that I am relishing.


I want him to score for Aston Villa, but I wanted to happen after this


weekend. Robbie's shirt is one of Matt's prized possessions. Luckily,


he didn't gamble it away on our one-frame challenge. No way! That


is unbelievable. You played that in a former life.


Well, Robbie Keane might be looking forward to visiting the Wolves. But


the same can't be said about Albion fans going to Stoke tomorrow


because of their awful record against them. The Baggies have


beaten the Potters just once in the league since 1965. For fans, the


sinking feeling starts way before the kick-off.


No hope for the Baggies! This might be an old match report but it sums


up the mood. When Albion meet Stoke there's only one winner. It even


seems to influence the choice of programme cover. For lifelong fans


like Terry Wills the suffering just goes on and on. While he'll travel


with an air of gloom the Stoke fans will be delighted to see him and


the rest of the Albion fans. They will quite happily chat and asked


if we have come for our annual defeat. We just say that one of


those days we will win. Whether I will still be alive to see it, I do


not know! Let's hope the drought starts tomorrow. Yes, the stats


don't lie. In the last 28 league meetings stoke have won 19, there's


been 8 draws, but just one Albion victory. Stoke score early goals,


they score late winners. It's no laughing matter for Albion fans.


But Why does it keep happening? throws itself up regularly in


certain circumstances. Certain clubs seem to have a say over


another club, I do not know why. But we will go into the game with


no pretensions at all. Of course, Albion fans will try not to start


downbeat, but the sight of celebrating Stoke fans is one


they've got used to. And you can keep up to date with


both those derby games and the matches where you live over the


weekend on your BBC local radio They say football is a labour of


love but how about this, taking on a derelict art deco cinema and


lovingly restoring it to its former glory at a cost of more than 2


million. That's been the all- consuming task of a father and son


who're still working as we speak on the finishing touches before it re-


opens tomorrow morning. Ben Sidwell reports on the former cinema that


When I last visited this him and up in Evesham in 2009, the place was


in a sorry state. -- this cinema. Now, this Grade 2 listed building


is back to its art-deco best. For me, there is something really


special about this cinema or reopening. I used to go clear as a


child. 10 years ago, I thought it had gone for good. Tomorrow, the


projectors will roll once again. The restoration project has been a


labour of love for Lawrence a wife Pat and his father. The team behind


the rebuild are about to see their dream become a reality. It has been


a long road and a struggle all of the way. The economic climate over


the past three years has made it even more difficult. But we are


finally there and tomorrow we reopen. A few miles down the road


is a community arts centre which opens its doors in 2004. Part of


their success has been the decision to regularly turn dead 250 seater


theatre into a cinema. There is enough of an audience out there for


both of us to thrive. Anything that adds to the variety of what is on


offer for people and gets people into film and live events is a good


thing. Back in Evesham, the films are ready to roll. There is still a


huge amount of work to do before the cinema reopens. The Regal has


fond memories for people around here. We want to get that heartbeat


pumping again. When the first film is shown at 10am tomorrow, this


Sarah Cruickshank is here now with a look at what the weekend's


a look at what the weekend's It was a miserable day today, but


we will have some respite tonight. We will have cloud and it will


become windy. This is the weather front that brought the rain today.


In behind on this mile their air for the night period. Overnight


tonight, it will be cloudy with outbreaks of rain. And then it


tries and we will see it staying cloudy. The temperatures will not


get a chance to fall. It will become windy overnight tonight. The


winds will be westerly indirection. It will turn cooler as we go


through the weekend. We will see just a few showers, especially


tomorrow morning. It will be a very mild start tomorrow, nine to 11


Celsius. Then we will see things turning brighter, clouds break up


in the afternoon. Temperatures, though, seven and eight Celsius for


tomorrow afternoon. It will feel cooler because the winds will pick


up and they will be north-westerly. Overnight on Saturday, but cloud


starts to increase from the self. Sunday-morning will be cloudy.


Another cloudy start, outbreaks of rain through the morning and then


A look at tonight's main headlines: Guilty, a dissident Republican is


jailed for life for murdering two soldiers in Northern Ireland.


And a council admits breaking health and safety laws after a


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