The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.
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Hello, welcome to Midlands Today with Suzanne Virdee and Nick Owen.
The headlines tonight: forced to watch as the other was killed, a
jury's told that's what happened to a frail couple murdered in their
home. More serious failures in care at
Stafford Hospital and fears it's in dire financial difficulties.
Dangerous and on the loose: warnings over a second escaped
prisoner, jailed after a vicious attack in Coventry. It smacks of
something which has been planned well in advance and with associates
on the outside. And they thought they had no future
and no chance of a career, the new course helping to turn young lives
around. I got a chance to perform in front a bunch of great people
and since then, they've helped me a Good evening, welcome to Thursday's
Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight: forced to watch as the
other was savagely beaten and killed, a jury's told that's what
happened to an elderly couple murdered in their home.
Guiseppe and Caterina Massaro were found dead lying side by side on
their bed. The jury was told to put aside all emotion in the case and
to concentrate on the facts. A 22-year-old Polish man denies the
two charges of murder. Lindsey Booth arrived at court
today with her family. Last April on Good Friday she discovered her
grandparents lying dead in their home in Wolverhampton. The house
they'd lived in for more than 50 years had been ransacked. Guiseppe
Massaro who was 80 and his wife Caterina who was 77, had been
killed in a savage attack with a hammer and a knife. In the dock
today 22-year-old Bartnofski listened to the evidence through an
interpreter. Last year he arrived next door to the pensioners to stay
with his sister. The prosecution claim he entered the frail
pensioners home, attacked them and stole their property. The
prosecution claimed that forensic scientists found a wealth of
material inside the house. His blood was found on the murder
weapons, a knife and a hammer. His fingerprints were found on property
and documents. It is also claimed that his DNA was discovered inside
the clothing of the pensioner. The prosecution say that he must have
placed his hand inside a pocket, either while he was dying of war
shortly afterwards. Guiseppe and Caterina Massaro left Naples in
Italy and arrived in Wolverhampton in 1960 to make a new life for
themselves. After they were murdered, two TV sets were taken
from their home and sold for �200. Their Peugeot car was also stolen.
A 32-year-old man from Wolverhampton Wojciech Ostolski is
accused of selling the televisions. The defendant denies the two counts
of murder. The trial is expected to last three weeks.
Still to come: lessons from the Americans on how to bring up our
There've been more serious failures in patient care at Stafford
Hospital and tonight there're fears it's in dire financial difficulties
too. The details come just weeks after a
public inquiry was held into high death rates and appalling standards
of care at the hospital. Jeffs life now revolves around
trains. In the bad old days, his wife suffered terribly in Stafford
hospital. Jeff was horrified that this happened �10 this year. These
things... That hospital is not learning from mistakes. They are
not doing it. Is it the staff? Is that the management? I don't know.
Stafford hospital is also being investigated for its hip fracture
or repairs. It is not operating quickly enough and too many
patients are having to go back in. The trust board heard there were 19
see that if a seal cases when the ship home the have been two. There
were still -- for serious incidents last month. One patient later died.
We are seeing 3% fewer falls this year than previously. The fact that
we have had one which was very serious and has resulted in a
person dying during the latter part of last year is a serious concern.
The board was told of their efforts to reopen accident and emergency
overnight. Staff are being recruited but the earliest it will
happen is made. Compared to where it should be, it's got an awful
long way to travel. Compared with where it was, it has made some
improvements. Some people have put a lot of working. It is clear that
management are doing their best to turn things around and they have
been improvements. But it was also made clear today that some senior
members of staff are not doing enough to help that. And there is
still a big mountain to climb. But with for finances slipping, will
they be given time to get to the top?
We're joined now from Westminster by the Conservative MP for Stafford,
Jeremy Lefroy. Thanks for talking to us, Mr Lefroy. This sounds
simply outrageous, why isn't it being sorted out? There are many
events happening which should not be happening. Many people are
suffering stress because of that. We also need to stress that we are
in advance of where we were a couple of years ago at the hospital.
There are improvements being made but I don't want to downplay the
seriousness of each case which affects somebody and the family.
your election ticket was based around solving the problems that
stuff a hospital. Things seem to be getting worse on the face of it.
was about restoring confidence and we have got a huge way to go. I
believe we have come a fair distance but clearly, there are
many things to do. Firstly, we need to see A&E open 24 / 7. That has
been put back for reasons of safety. The trust is not going to take a
chance on this. Then there is the serious financial problems you have
referred to with a deficit of something like �20 million this
year. Are you banging on the Health Secretary's door about this?
Absolutely. The trust board has been working hard. I understand
there is a meeting next week with the Department of Health over this
very issue. I hope we will see a resolution soon have a this.
don't see how things are so bad after all. If to understand that,
we have to see what we've come from. The outgoing chairman said this was
the worst situation he had seen in his long experience. He said things
have come on a way but there is a long way to go. That is what we are
looking at the moment. I am confident that we will get there.
Thank you very much. Police in Warwickshire say a post mortem
examination on a body found in a burning car has proved inconclusive.
They were called to a field in Aston Cantlow near Alcester
yesterday morning. Officers believe they now know who the person was
but say formal identification is likely to take some time.
The chief constable of Gloucestershire has said policing
in the county could be taken to a cliff edge if more funding cuts are
imposed. The police authority wants the force to find extra savings,
above the �24 million it's already been told to make. In an
unprecedented move, Tony Melville has said this would threaten
services at the heart of frontline policing.
There are calls tonight since those seconds dangerous prisoner escaped
from custody. Andrew Farndon from Coventry was freed by a gunman
whilst being transferred to hospital. His escape comes just
days after John Anslow's prison van was ambushed by an armed gang on
Monday. The Ministry of Justice insist the
escapes aren't connected but Labour's front bench say the
incidents reveal flaws in the prison system and those responsible
should be held to account. This man first Prom today manhunt
when he leapt from the Doglost on trial at Coventry Crown Court in
2007. He received an indeterminate sentence for a hammer attack on a
motorist in the city. After receiving a knife injury at High
Point Prison in Suffolk, he was transferred to hospital by taxi
with two prison officers but awaiting gunman threatened the
prison staff and he escaped. He had been convicted of causing grievous
bodily harm in 2007. It was an incident in the West Midlands
Police area. He has been in custody ever since. He clearly presents a
potential risk to members of the public should they tried to
intervene. Our advice would be that if you see this man, or you have
any information about where he might be, contact us immediately
and allow us to deal with the incident. A police in Coventry have
been alerted that he could return to this area. It was an issue which
didn't concern people from his neighbourhood. He is probably
trying to hide. He doesn't want to go back to jail. He will keep his
head down. As long as they catch him, it will be all right. Respect
someone who grew up with him in Coventry. He felt that he was
actually a good lad although he did have temper issues. But he was very
clear that he blames the authorities for not keeping him in
prison. The categorisation of prisoners is now under scrutiny.
The man was considered unlikely to attempt an escape, a decision
considering his history, that is now going to be raised in the House
of Commons. We need to know what has happened, we've got to get to
the bottom of this quickly. Two in one week suggest there is a
loophole or something is going wrong somewhere. We cannot wait
longer with more prisoners escaping. It the prison overcrowding and the
situation we are finding ourselves in at the moment, will be a closed
operational capacity, the prisoners -- and prisons are becoming a
warehouse. Then prisoners are put into categories they may not be
suitable for. Regardless of the outcome, the public want to know
that too dangerous prisoners of Almost 5000 children in the region
are in local authority care. The NSPCC says it will provide
support for vulnerable families and spot the crucial signs of abuse.
This role play shows how a neglected child might be identified.
We need to be hoping for mother born with a child. These NSPCC
charity workers are about to meet some of the most vulnerable
families in Birmingham. They would be called in where social workers,
for example, have preferred a parent for urgent support.
Parenting classes, now widely used in America, would be offered in
their own home. Some parents have had neglecting parenting themselves
and struggled to understand how best to form relationships and
protect children in the home, how best to support children and in
people as they grow through their developmental stages. He here, in
2010, there are almost 5000 children of all ages on child
protection registers. Well over half Or in Birmingham and the Black
Country. Zoe was brought up in an abusive home in the West Midlands.
If my dad got bored, he would get the belt and had a house across the
hands with it because... He would literally put our hands in hot
water until the veins became clear. The NSPCC opened a new centre today,
with staff working in partnership with the remote city council. Many
of the agency's present here today so there will also be cases which
go under the rates are. They may remain behind closed doors. The
death of this killing 2000 and it was just one of 26 cases where
children have died or seriously injured because of abuse or neglect.
What changes for the good are you making all is the sort of thing a
talking shop? It is much more than a talking shop. In the last year or
so, we've made significant changes in Birmingham City social services.
We've completely remodelled how we are organised. We've offered much
greater and better training to our staff. A victims of abuse like Zoe,
who now has her own family, are being told tonight, your voice will
be heard. It has taught me how 0 to bring up my kids but the mental
Thanks for joining us this Thursday evening, picture perfect, but will
the children's efforts get the royal seal of approval? And back in
the grip of winter. Night frosts and fog return. We even had a hint
of snow today but what will it be tomorrow and over the weekend? All
in the forecast later. The family of a man murdered in his
home are appealing to the public to help find his killer. Andrew Heath
died in an arson attack. His murder is one of three high profile cases
from Worcestershire which will feature on the BBC's Crimewatch
programe this evening. It's December 14th, and Andrew
Heath's home in Worcester is set alight. He calls 999 and
frantically tries to escape but his pathway is blocked by the flames.
The reconstruction will be shown on the BBC's Crimewatch, as police
continue to hunt his killer. Six weeks on and flowers still deck the
walkway into what was the 52-year- old's home. His family say he was a
kind and caring man. People like to be around 10. He was a big chap
with a big personality. He had been was there for quite a long time, he
liked it. It felt as if someone had eradicated them. There was very
little left. We adopted him, we brought him into our home, he was
caring and kind. Police are due to reveal later today how the fire was
started. His case will be one of three to be featured on tonight's
programme. They'll be renewed appeals over the murder of retired
school teacher Betty Yates who was found beaten and stabbed at her
home in Bewdley earlier this month, and calls too for help to find
suspected killer John Anslow who escaped from a prison escort van in
Redditch. What in fact is that having? Obviously it has an issue
on resources. We are put the money to one side so have something
happens we can do your bit. �10,000 reward's on offer in all
three cases. Police hope the Crimewatch appeal will prompt more
people to come forward with information.
And you can see the full appeals on Crimewatch tonight on BBC One at 9
o'clock. The families of wounded soldiers
being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
will soon be offered free accommodation at a pioneering new
facility - from an idea that originated in America. It's called
a Fisher House and building work will begin in April. The BBC's
correspondent in Washington, Steve Kingstone, has been finding out how
the scheme works on that side of the Atlantic. I was injured in Iraq
in 2006. I have had a 66 surgeries since 2006, I am still in recovery
mode. 27-year-old Brent tells a story
that's all too familiar among a new generation of veterans. He's
recovering in Washington, hundreds of miles from home. But in a place
where patient's families are encouraged to come and stay. Words
can't describe the feeling that soldiers have when they know that
their family members can be flown here and have a place to stay on a
military base. It's called a Fisher House, with space for up to 20
families visiting wounded relatives. They have their own rooms. But the
lounge and kitchen are shared. And it's all free. Cherica has come
here from Ohio - so baby AJ can spend time with his Dad, Anthony.
It's a trip she simply couldn't have paid for herself. It would be
devastating financially. We are already having trouble, I'm just
thankful we have these types of facilities here. The first picture
house was built in 1991. For families here it is all about
convenience. And now, the winning formula is being exported to
Britain - where wounded soldiers are treated here, at the Queen
Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. A Fisher House will be built where
this car park currently stands. Staff say it'll bring huge benefits
for patients as well as their families. I think it will be vital,
families come from all over the country to visit their loved ones,
and if the the soldier knows that his family is being looked after
that will speed up the process. It's all costing �4m, almost half
of which will come from America's Fisher House Foundation. And while
"recovery" is a relative term, the lesson here seems to be that
journey back is more bearable when it's shared.
Turning their talent into a career - young singers, dancers and
designers from disadvantaged backgrounds are being encouraged to
get creative. They're being given training, advice and the contacts
thanks to a Birmingham based company. Many of them are at a
showcase event in the city this evening and Ben Sidwell is there
Welcome to Birmingham, this is Charlie, like so many people here
she is trying to carve out a career in music. Many of those people have
become disengaged from society, I have been finding out their stories.
They are turning their lives around. Before they won Talent 2011,
Pressurize were just a group of young friends with a passion for
dancing. Since then, thanks to the help of Birmingham based company
Aspire 4U, they've started to try and turn their skills into a full
time career and have already performed in front of thousands of
people at the Clothes Show. These type of projects are there to
support new talent coming up, and to give them the opportunity to
showcase their talent to people like myself who why in the industry.
Ashley Henson is a great example of how the scheme can work. After
winning in 2007, he was given training in event management. Now
Ashley is combining work, with a career as an up and coming comedian,
as well as putting on various events across Birmingham. A lot of
people who put on events only deal would end -- only deal entertainers
who are out there. He gives a chance to up and coming people.
Like many of those who entered the 2011 compettion, Luke Truth from
Redditch was unemployed. He's now getting support, direction and most
importantly exposure. I got a chance to perform in front of a
bunch of great people, and they have helped me a lot. I have done a
couple of other things through them, it's really good. And then there's
Benjamin Blake. Thanks to the contacts made, he's about to start
a course at university. Now that I can go to university and do
something I really like and enjoy, I want to say thank you to them,
because I probably wouldn't have gone to university without that.
The hope is this year they'll be able create more success stories,
starting tonight. Let's speak to the chief executive.
You started this whilst US university, why did you do it?
think it's very important that everyone takes responsibility for
empowering young people in the community, instead of sitting back
and complaining. We wanted to provide a platform for young people
to be empowered, and to do something with their talent and
their community. Something like this, many would say it's very
worthy, but as a businesswoman, you're not making huge money, you
could do that as they then scored an 80? I think it's important that
I work with the young people, and other people see what we are doing
and higher rus -- other people will see what we're doing and high-rise
to work. Are you finding that people are turning their lives
around? We have had some fantastic people coming through our programme.
People have gone into university and full-time employment. We have
had some fantastic stories. It makes it all worthwhile.
showcase start at 7:30pm tonight -- the Showcase will start. Many
people are desperate to get into the arts, hopefully they'll be more
success stories here. We enjoyed that. We liked that a
lot. I will remember them before they become famous.
Thousands of schoolchildren across the Midlands are creating self-
portraits as part of a national art project which, it's hoped, will
break a world record. Each child's picture will be combined into one
giant image which will be shown at Buckingham Palace as part of the
Queen's Jubilee celebrations. A self portrait of four year old
Scarlet. This is Isaac. Here's 6 year old Ewan. And this one is
Bella. Every pupil at Lapworth Church of England Primary School is
taking part in the Face Britain project, their artwork will become
part of the UK's celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the
London Olympics. As a small primary school, with only got 140 children.
Taking part of this project is a good chance to become part of the
celebrations. It's the biggest art project the country has ever seen.
The Face Britain organisers are setting their sights on an
ambitious world record. The record for most artists working on the
same installation is over a thousand, we are aiming to break
out. -- break that. So far around ninety of the region's schools are
signed up. Here in Lapworth Class 4's creations are starting to take
shape. The eyes and the skin. It's got blonde hair. It is different to
everyone else's. Every image will end up here at Buckingham Palace.
The children's self-portraits will be turned into a giant mosaic of
the Queen's face which will then be projected onto the wall, like this!
More than 100 works of art created in Lapworth, soon be seen by
millions in London. Let's find out what's happening in
the weather. Well there was no mistaking it's
winter today. The cold is now here to stay for the next few days but
it is looking largely dry, quite sunny but with night frosts and fog.
Just a degree uncertainty still surrounding Sunday's forecast as
this warm front heads in from the West with wetter milder conditions
competing with the colder, drier competing with the colder, drier
Easterly winds. It looks as though it'll stay to the West. If the line
between wet and dry is blurred it's most likely to be in Western parts
of the region. This evening and we still have quite peppering of
showers across us but they will gradually die out as the night goes
on and then under clearer skies, temperatures dip to 2 C. We start
off sunny and dry tomorrow - but even though high pressure is going
to kill off most of the showers, there is line of then spilling in
through the Cheshire Gap and running a diagonal line from
Northwest to Southeast. It'll feel the same as today though with a
noticeably breeze and highs of 5-6 C. And then it's tomorrow night
that winds finally drop and as the temperatures fall away to freezing
or just below a there'll be a fairly widespread frost and some
fog tomorrow night. Into Saturday morning, a chilly one this weekend
but plenty of dry weather and some sunshine.
A look at tonight's main headlines: Numerous warnings ignored, a school
in Somerset has been criticised for failing to protect children from a
paedophile teacher employed for more than a decade. And forced to
watch as the other was killed, a jury's told that's what happened to
a frail couple murdered in their home.
And, before we go, a reminder that the secrets of the Staffordshire
Hoard of anglo-saxon gold will be unravelled tonight. It was found in
a farmer's field in 2009 and sheds new light on life in the Midlands
1400 years ago. TV historian Dan Snow has pieced together some of
the clues to paint a colourful picture of the Dark Ages.
And the programme, called Saxon Hoard: A Golden Discovery, will be
Hoard: A Golden Discovery, will be on BBC Two, tonight at 8pm.