07/02/2012 Midlands Today


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Hello, welcome to Midlands Today with Suzanne Virdee and Nick Owen.


The headlines tonight: Facing a lengthy jail sentence - the Roman


Catholic priest found guilty of abusing young boys.


And I am bitter but I also feel sorry because it is help as much as


punishment that he needs. Anger over supermarket plans which


residents and traders say will turn their high street into a ghost town.


We Australia gained this, we want to maintain a market town. Born a


boy but living as a girl - the 10- year-old convinced she was born in


the wrong body now campaigning against transgender inequality.


And how American giant Coca Cola turned to a gaming firm here for


Good evening, welcome to Tuesday's Midlands Today from the BBC.


Tonight - a Roman Catholic priest has been told he'll face a lengthy


jail sentence after being found guilty of abusing eight vulnerable


young boys over an 18-year period. Alexander Bede Walsh, who is 58,


has been convicted of 21 charges of abusing young boys, between 1975


and 1993. The police officer who led the inquiry said Walsh was


supposed to be a man of the cloth but he'd shown no compassion, no


integrity and no humanity. And tonight the Catholic Church has


said proceedings are under way to de-frock Walsh so he can never work


as priest again. Alexander Bede Walsh, here on the


right, was known to thousands of families in the Midlands as Father


Bede. He used his revered status to abuse boys aged between eight and


16 in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Michael Clifford was one of those


victims. The law protects those who have suffered sexual abuse from


being identified. But he's waived his right to anonymity because he


says he feels it's important to speak out. He described how he


feels now towards Walsh, more than 30 years on. I am bitter but I also


feel sorry for the man because it is help us much as punishment that


he needs. From what I can see, to this day, they are my feelings


towards the man. I do want him to be punished but I think he needs


help as well. How do you feel to what the Catholic Church? Very let


down because I was put in an institute through no fault of my


own and they were responsible for my welfare and care my upbringing.


Walsh spent much of his career, here in the Staffordshire town of


Cheadle. But his abuse began in Warwickshire - and later it


continued when he was a parish priest in Coventry. I don't think


you'd get more serious than this. And man to have entered the


priesthood, revered organisation, and has abused his position


massively. This may be only the tip of the iceberg. We may have mothers


out there, and we have, come forward. The investigation began in


2009 when it independently to victims contacted the police.


Following publicity, events T6 more victims came forward. -- eventually


six more victims. Walsh already had a previous conviction for


possessing child pornography. He later resigned from his post at a


parish in Banbury. In North Staffordshire, he'd been a


respected figure - at this church in Stoke on Trent at mass on the


first day of his trial, parishoners were asked to remember him in their


prayers. But tonight the Catholic Church described his crimes as


"horrendous". This is a horrific case which has shocked and appalled


me and it has cast a shadow over the lives of many people. Victims


and their families, fellow priests and the people of the parishes


where he served as a priest. Walsh will be sentenced next month. The


judge has already warned him a long jail term is inevitable.


And you can read more about the background to this case and the


impact it's had on the victims on our BBC Stoke and Staffordshire


website. That's bbc.co.uk/stoke. Thanks for joining us this freezing


Tuesday evening, coming up:. Fighting for understanding and


acceptance, the 10-year-old who was born a boy but lives as a girl says


the media treat her condition as a joke.


The Midlands is one of the worst areas in the country for the number


of empty shops, according to a new report by the Local Data Company.


Wolverhampton is one of the most affected and the city council is


concerned that people are also being put off shopping there


because of "chuggers". Chuggers are paid to collect money for charity


and now the council is introducing a partial ban to allow people to


shop in peace. We have spoken to people in the City and clearly


there is a concern about the level of intervention is that people were


facing a going down Dudley Street, in particular. As a result of that


we have taken this action to try to regulate the number of chuggers


allowed on the streets at any one time. Shop vacancies are also on


the rise as High Street traders are struggling to compete with


superstores and internet shopping. In one Shropshire town, traders are


so worried about the impact of a proposed new superstore development


that they've joined forces to fight it. In the first of our special


High Street in Crisis reports, our business correspondent, Peter


Plisner, has been investigating. The busy high street in Newport - a


market town where until now there's been no real competition from out-


of-town supermarkets. But that could all be about to change.


Sainsbury's is planning a huge new store on the outskirts of the town.


Traders in the High Street are already worried. Anthea Gould runs


a clothes store. It is all bad foot fault. We need the people to come


into town to see what we have good and fast to give them the service.


Meanwhile, at the local bakery the message was clear. The message


would be safest market town, says the independent retailers. But in


the High Street itself, opinions seem divided. We're trying to


support our local traders and it is bad news. I think he will be good


for the town. Retail experts maintain that the biggest threat to


the High Street is from outside town shopping and there is evidence


to suggest that when out of town supermarkets do get the go-ahead,


places like this are far. This area forms part of the car-park and


superstore. This is the land that is to be developed, currently a


greenfield site and local councillors want it to stay that


way. In May to of traffic this is good to create. You can see the


work of the road. We are certain that the infrastructure will not


cater for it. A final decision rests with Telford and Wrekin


Council - although they say they are still considering objections.


We will be taking all of their comments into account, looking in


detail of what they have said. We will also be using our own retail


consultants to look at the, it's we have received and to evaluate


whether the supermarket proposals are justified or not. Councillors


are expected to meeting to discuss the plans, which also includes


houses and a business park, in the next two months.


Live now to Peter, who's in Shirley in Solihull, which has a pretty


busy high street despite having a number of big supermarkets nearby,


so why are some high streets doing OK and others not? In the case of


Shirley there are two reasons. One is that there are already


supermarkets on the High Street, which bring people in and increase


the football. Another reason is that there is free parking. And


there are some niche product sellers and bay, again, mean that


people travel into the area and other shops benefit. What more can


we do to protect the high street? Whitney is Nigel Botterill he was a


small business troubleshooter. What advice would you give to


independent stores that are facing the threat of out-of-town


supermarkets? The shop owners have to adapt or die for. The reality is


that for 17 years you ran on three things, a big ad in yellow paces,


at the local paper and word of mouth. That has no change.


we're working towards social media. Social media is twentieth-century


word of mouth. How many businesses are engage with Facebook and


twitter, are they doing events? These are things they can tap into


to save themselves. How important is social media? I think it is


crucial, it is where the world is right now. Half the population of


the UK today is on Facebook and did you are a business you need to be


there because that is where your customers are. You need to


communicate with them, get offers through. Tomorrow we will be


looking at another issue in the High Street, hype rents and rates,


and the businesses who are going online and abandoning the High


Street. Four people, including two teenage


girls, have been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a


Worcester man who died in an arson attack. Andrew Heath was killed


just before Christmas when his flat in the Warndon area of the city was


set on fire. Police say two men aged 19 and 24, and two girls aged


16 and 17, are being questioned about Mr. Heath's murder.


Police say a 40-year-old man found murdered in Birmingham was soon to


get married. Bakhitar Mirawdali died from a wound to his neck. His


body lay undiscovered for two days at a hostel in Handsworth. He'd


been granted political asylum but was due to return to Iraq to marry


his fiancee. Detectives are appealing to members of the Kurdish


community and local people for help in identifying his killer. It is


important that we understand what happened in the days leading up to


the discovery of Mr Mariawdali. He was a very peaceful manner we know


little about him and his family and we were to urge anybody who knows


to come forward. It was tragedy that left a little


boy orphaned and a family distraught. Terri-Ann Barnett and


her partner Tom Matts were walking down the road when they were


crushed by falling timber after a lorry crashed and lost its load.


Now, a year on, their family are suing the haulage firm that left


the couple's son, Morgan, without a mum and dad and the bright future


they'd planned for him. Amy Harris reports.


Morgan Matts playing happily, blissfully unaware of what happened


a year ago today. Both his parents were killed in an accident.


Morgan's too young to understand he'll never see them again. It'll


be up to his nan and auntie to explain: He has recently started


asking when his money coming back, just said suing because he quarters


of card. And then afterwards we discussed what to say to him when


he asks again and we were going to explain to him that they're in


heaven and that they love him very much. This is one of the last


photographs taken of Morgan with his mum, Terri-Ann, and dad, Tom.


Just weeks later they were dead. They were walking along this


stretch of road in Hereford, moments after dropping Morgan at


nursery, when a lorry carrying roof joists hit the bridge. The load


fell and crushed them. A year on, the bridge still bears the signs of


the accident - there's timber on the wall here. And the driver of


that lorry has been released from prison after serving half of a one-


year sentence. The couple's family believe that wasn't long enough,


but they are pursuing civil action against the haulage company where


he worked. The load hadn't been measured before leaving so they


didn't know the height of his load - so because of that we're going to


sue their insurance company for taking away the 18 years of love


and support that Morgan's going to lose from his parents. The haulage


company, Gammonds, wouldn't comment but if they're successful, the


family want to give Morgan the private education his parents once


talked about. At the scene, Diane and Claire take Morgan to lay


flowers. They're determined to give him the happy childhood his mum and


dad would have wanted and to make sure he never forgets them.


Still to come this evening. A �500,000 windfall that spruced up a


museum in the town which inspired the modern Olympics. And as the


Siberian chill tightens its grip on us - could we be heading for the


A charity which carries out undercover visits to care homes


says it's seen evidence of "chronic neglect" in some of Stoke-on-


Trent's private elderly residential centres. The comments come after


the city council decided to close two of its specialist dementia


units last week. Compassion In Care says local authority run homes


offer a better service and privatisation does not improve care.


BBC Radio Stoke's political reporter, Elizabeth Glinka, joins


us from our Stoke studio. What exactly did the charity find that


warranted so much? What this charity does his pretence to be a


new customer so that it can get into their homes and see how people


are being treated. They have been into eight homes in Stoke-on-Trent


and say they have seen their arrears problems from people not


being given enough food or water to more serious signs of neglect.


have seen all sorts of problems in these homes. One thing there was a


real concern was a resident that was walking around a home totally


emaciated, her curves were dirty and she was distraught and looking


for someone to reassure her. And staff just walked past. That makes


me more concern than ever that they are closing dementia in units.


These undercover visits came just as the city council announced it


was closing two specialist dementia homes. They announced that last


week as part of plans to save �24 million. The charities say that in


their experience of doing these undercover visits across the


country, it is council homes that offer the best care so they say


this authority should think again. The council are saying how


residents are our top priority and of the move people we are going to


monitor them very closely. What is being done to improve the problems?


To put it into perspective, this charity went into eight homes and


there are nearly 300 across this city. The charities say they are


going to be informing the charity watchdog and the watchdog have told


us that they are happy to hear this information and they will be


prepared to look at any problems and investigate further if


necessary. A 10-year-old who was born a boy


but lives as a girl has started a petition against transgender


discrimination. Livvy James has gender dysphoria, which means she


feels she is a girl trapped in a boy's body. She's now campaigning


against what she says are offensive words used in the media when


covering such issues. We first met Livvy and her mum last September


when she went back to school as a girl for the first time. Cath


Mackie has been back to meet them. What unearth are the parents up to?


Livvy James and her mum, Saffy, are visibly upset and angry as they


read through readers' comments posted in response to today's


newspaper reports about them. The family from Worcester have heard


the insults before, but are fighting back with a petition to


stop what they regard as transgender discrimination in the


media. Gender bender, trannie, sex change, gender confused, that is a


good one. They are not confused, the people writing the stories are


confused. I don't like reading stuff like that because we are not


try any or all of that stuff that is put into the newspaper, it is


complete rubbish. We don't want that being put down. I am really


frustrated at the moment. Livvy has gender dysphoria and until recently,


she lived a double life. At school she was a boy. To herself and her


family she was a girl. They have all been pretty calm except for


just a few parents and a few children. But you are much happier?


Yes, definitely. I would not say it was a mistake. She now attends her


primary school as a girl. Livvy says she sometimes feels suicidal


trapped in the wrong body - her mother says she's behaved like a


girl since she was a toddler. frustrates me that people are so


uneducated that they think I could mould a child to be something that


she does not want to be. Livvy will start taking hormone blockers when


she's 12 as part of a new trial, but can't have surgery until she's


18. More than 600 people have signed her petition, she hopes


it'll help other people like her. One of our top gaming firms has


been hired by Coca Cola to turn the stars of their adverts into digital


fans who react to a Superbowl game just like the real American fans.


It's a complicated process, but they've pulled it off, and our


science correspondent, David Gregory, has been to find out how


they did it. The 46th Superbowl between New York


Giants and The New England Patriots. A sporting event, but also a


vitally important advertising event too. So while Coca Cola paid


millions for these painstakingly animated commercials to run on TV


during the game. They wanted to do more with these characters and have


them watch the game with the fans. Live, for four hours. And to do


that they turned to Blitz Games in Leamington Spa. It is something


that had never been done before and it was issued a challenge because


these of furry creatures. He need for hours of performance out of


them, they have to re-read constantly and they have to be


pleasant and engaging. These bears are basically very sophisticated


puppets. Controlled not by strings, but by video game controllers. The


aim is to capture the attention of the 60% of viewers who watched the


game on TV while also surfing the web. People watching these big


sporting events there are watching other information on smart phones,


laptops, and this was where the best lift. They were screened live,


reacting to the show as it went on. And the people watching the bears


during the Super Bowl? They know that a million different devices


were locked on and probably more than one person was watching each


of those computers. Frankly, that is much more than Midlands Today


gets on a very good day. You know these bears are pretty good at this


TV lark - watch the one on the right. After more than four hours


of live reaction to the game and the comments of viewers, the bears


were a hit. It might not be long before we see something similar


here. Curious, to say the least!


In football, Stoke City have lost their appeal against Robert Huth's


sending off on Saturday. It's a big night for Birmingham City and


Cheltenham Town in their promotion campaigns. Birmingham will go third


in the Championship if they beat Portsmouth at St Andrews, while


Cheltenham will be five points clear at the top of League Two if


they win at rivals Crawley. The manager isn't setting any promotion


targets though. We are not in two starts and stops like that. Just


more of the same from the players. It is something like two league


defeats in 21 or 22. If we do that, will be promoted. And there's full


commentary on the Cheltenham game live on BBC Radio Gloucestershire


this evening, coverage starts at just after seven.


On to cricket, and the Warwickshire batsman Ian Bell has been dropped


from England's one-day squad after disappointing in the Test series


against Pakistan. Bell scored just 51 runs at an average of 8 as


England lost the series 3-0. The England coach Andy Flower says Bell


took the news well and that improved form could see him return


to the one-day squad. This summer, all eyes will be on


London for the Olympics, but tens of thousands of people are also


expected to make the trip to the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock.


Its Olympian Games are credited as inspiring the modern Olympics and


today, one of the town's main attractions, its museum, opened its


doors after a major facelift. Ben Sidwell reports.


Followed the 100 years, the Olympic Games have brought the sporting


world together. There is a real possibility that it would not have


happened without Much Wenlock. Today, after a major makeover, the


museum reopened its doors, to tell the story of how it helped shape a


Olympic history. We are thrilled that it has been completed with


this makeover that makes our artefacts, the metals, the cups


that a part of the heritage of the society, now on display for


everybody to see, locally, nationally and internationally.


museum tells the story of William Brookes and how he started the Much


Wenlock Olympian Games. enthusiasm for the collections here


has grown over the last few years. With some of the money that we had


from Heritage Lottery Fund we have been able to get a lot of those


objects conserved so we have been able to make sure that they will


still be here for games to come in the future. �500,000 has been spent


getting the music time for the share's Olympics. But now how row


has broken out over just how often the doors will be open. Despite the


major investment it will only be open for 2.5 days up until Easter


including just a few hours at the weekend. How many days it will open


up to that is still being finalised. Hope he won the new season comes


round at Easter time that the news in will be open full-time.


Otherwise, why have Heritage Lottery Fund given us money for


such a problem thing in a prominent time and it is closed from due for


people. It is a one-off opportunity and we cannot afford to miss it


because of the economy. It is an economy earner for this part of the


world so we have to sort it out. is not all old. The 2012 when lock


my Scott is the latest chapter in the history. With tens of thousands


of people expected to visit this year, it is hoped that the doors


will be able to remain open seven days a week.


This get an update on the weather Let us take a quick look at what is


going on later in the week. On Thursday night into Friday there


has been mention of another clash of cold air with milder which could


potentially gives some snow. At this stage it has done it like it


for us here in the West Midlands. The mild air will win on this


occasion. It is the use Midlands where they could potentially be


some snow. Nothing on the scale that we had at the weekend. Just a


word of warning if you're heading in that direction. Our main concern


tonight is the cold. Temperatures are plummeting and it could turn


out to be the coldest night of the winter so far. That is if we get


what we are expecting, which is a red minus 12 in more remote spots.


We have cloud rolling in from the East later tonight but it will not


have much impact because the air is so cold. Temperatures could move to


minus four 4 minus five intense or cities. Outside the city limits,


temperatures could fall as low as minus eight. It will lead to a


widespread and severe frost but it is a dry night. Eight bitterly cold


start to the day tomorrow. They could be some brightness but this


cloud is moving a little bit quicker. It will stay dry but the


cloud will be in the temperatures down. It will be colder than today.


Once again tomorrow night is looking very cold and frosty, not


quite as cold as tonight. On Thursday, it is looking dry but it


It is could be perishing for football fans tonight.


A look at the main headlines. The Metropolitan Police admit acting


unlawfully over the phone hacking scandal. And a Roman Catholic


priest from Staffordshire is facing a lengthy jail sentence after being


found guilty of abusing young boys. Tomorrow morning, you can have your


chance to ask questions and hear from the movers and shakers in your


area as they put in the hot seat on the local radio station. On BBC WN


from 11 am, they will be joined by their chief constable of West


Midlands Police and BBC Hereford and Worcester will be speaking to


the Vice-Chancellor's of were State University. On Radio Stoke, bosses


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