23/02/2012 Midlands Today


23/02/2012

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Hello, welcome to Midlands Today with Jackie Kabler and Nick Owen.

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The headlines tonight. Compensation for Cerys - a multi-

:00:09.:00:11.

million pound payout for the six- year-old permanently disabled by a

:00:11.:00:15.

dangerous driver. She has got the money she needs to

:00:15.:00:18.

pay for the round-the-clock care, nurses and carers for the rest of

:00:18.:00:22.

her life. Arrested on suspicion of conspiracy

:00:22.:00:25.

to defraud - West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire is questioned by

:00:25.:00:31.

police. I do not know about a mistake, but

:00:31.:00:34.

I do not think she would do anything deliberately because she

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is an honest person who tries to get on with her life.

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The specialist police team seizing millions of pounds worth of

:00:39.:00:43.

cannabis from illegal drugs farms. And still no manager for Wolves as

:00:43.:00:53.
:00:53.:00:59.

Good evening and welcome to Thursday's Midlands Today from the

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BBC. Our top story tonight. �5 million compensation for a six-

:01:03.:01:10.

year-old girl left paralysed by a speeding teenage driver.

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Cerys Edwards suffered a broken neck and severe brain damage, and

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now needs 24-hour care. It was November 2006 when a Range Rover

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collided with the Edwards' family car in Sutton Coldfield as they

:01:20.:01:26.

returned from a trip to feed the ducks. Cerys was thrown from her

:01:26.:01:31.

car seat. The 19-year-old driver was

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sentenced to 21 months in April 2008. He served just six in jail,

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leading to a campaign for longer sentences. Although Cerys has made

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some progress, her life expectancy is limited. Here's Ben Godfrey.

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Cerys Edwards is only six years old. But for most of her life, she has

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been unable to breathe without a ventilator. She suffered extensive

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brain injuries after this head-on crash. Her parents were told she

:02:01.:02:05.

would not survive. Teenager Antonio Boporan was doing

:02:05.:02:09.

more than 70 miles an hour in a 30 zone. At the High Court today, a

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settlement of �5 million was approved, paid for by his insurers

:02:12.:02:22.

as compensation for Cerys's catastrophic injuries.

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No amount of money is going to turn the clock back. They are pleased

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the case is finished and that Cerys' financial needs are assured.

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:02:38.:02:44.

She has got the money she needs for the round-the-clock care. It is

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appalling. Currently there's a maximum

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sentence of two years for anyone causing injury through dangerous

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driving. Now the Government wants a new offence of causing serious

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injury by dangerous driving, with a maximum term of five years.

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Midlands Today has followed the Edwards family as they have

:03:01.:03:03.

campaigned for tougher penalties. Today, for legal reasons, their

:03:03.:03:10.

solicitor spoke on their behalf. They got a petition of something

:03:10.:03:16.

like 30,000 people to sign it, they took that to Parliament and the

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Home Secretary agreed to change the law. That Bell is now going through

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Parliament. So what about the speeding driver?

:03:28.:03:31.

Antonio Boporan now heads up a charitable trust. The website says

:03:31.:03:33.

it offers financial support to disadvantaged children. The High

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Court heard he had offered an unreserved apology. The judge said

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this is one of the saddest cases I have ever come across. As well as a

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lump sum of �5 million, Cerys Edwards has also been awarded

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�500,000 for every year of her life to fund her ongoing medical care.

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Cerys Edwards is paralysed and unable to speak to her parents.

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Despite it all, she is a girl who is full of smiles. Ben Godfrey, BBC

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Midlands Today, at the High Court. We're joined now from our London

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studio by Amy Aeron-Thomas from Roadpeace - the national charity

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for road crash victims. What is your reaction to the compensation

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package Cerys Edwards received? am glad it was finally completed.

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It takes of the worry away from the family. It has taken over five

:04:28.:04:33.

years for it to be settled. It took them almost two years before they

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even got an interim payment. These may seem it like a large a mines,

:04:40.:04:43.

but the family has been given a life sentence and no amount can

:04:44.:04:48.

compensate for what they have suffered.

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There are new government proposals on compensation which mean that

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future victims similar to Cerys are unlikely to get such big payouts.

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That is right and it is worrying us. Under the proposals being discussed

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in Parliament now, victims would have to pay for solicitor's fees.

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Right now, it is the wrong doer, the one who caused the haar who has

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to pay. The we heard about the new charges that will be brought them,

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serious injury by dangerous driving. Also, tougher sentences for those

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drivers. Is that a good thing? is. They have been talking about

:05:40.:05:50.
:05:50.:05:53.

that since 2003. It is long overdue. What worries us however is that the

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Government is talking about restricting it to life the encases

:05:57.:06:07.
:06:07.:06:07.

when it should be extended to all serious injuries -- a life-

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threatening case. Thanks for joining us here on

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Midlands Today. Later in the programme.

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Moved to tears. How 10,000 children have been warned about the horrors

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of knife and gun crime. An MEP has been arrested on

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suspicion of conspiring to defraud the European Parliament. Nikki

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Sinclaire is accused of submitting false expenses. She has totally

:06:28.:06:30.

denied the allegations. Three other people were also

:06:31.:06:33.

arrested as part of the police investigation, as Bob Hockenhull

:06:33.:06:43.
:06:43.:06:54.

reports. You are nothing better than dictators. Nikki Sinclaire's

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officers, looking for law today, there is a low point. -- For lawyer.

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One of her fellow MEPs was quick to defend Nikki Sinclaire. I do not

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think she would do anything it deliberately because she is an

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honest person. I cannot believe she has taken anything. She is no

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stranger to controversy air. She was expelled by UKip. Her campaign

:07:31.:07:36.

to get the UK out of Europe force a referendum debate in the Commons.

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She had been bailed by police along with three other people who were

:07:39.:07:49.
:07:49.:08:00.

also arrested. Her office has She goes on to say that the

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allegations are old and come from a disgruntled ex-employee he. She

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feels it would be inappropriate to comment further because of the

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ongoing police investigation, but that is frustrating to her because

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she has nothing to hide. With us now is our political

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reporter Susana Mendonca. Will it make any difference to her work as

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an MEP representing the West Midlands in Strasbourg? Essentially

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not, because she has not been charged with anything. She wants to

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clear her name. If she had been charged, there are disciplinary

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procedures in place that the European Parliament can use.

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She stands as an independent and does not have the backing of a

:08:47.:08:50.

party machine any more. Does that make things more difficult for her?

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It makes it quite difficult for her in terms of having influence. In

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the European Parliament, parties form in groups. Nikki Sinclaire was

:09:03.:09:13.
:09:13.:09:15.

expelled from UKip and focuses on single issues, campaign issues. Her

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major campaign issue is the idea of removing Britain from the European

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Union. She took a petition to Downing Street last year. It is

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quite difficult for somebody who is not going to a partly -- who is not

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linked to a party to have any influence.

:09:37.:09:40.

A man charged with the murder of retired Worcestershire school-

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teacher Betty Yates has appeared in court. Stephen Farrow who is 47 is

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also accused of killing a vicar at his home in Gloucestershire. Cath

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Mackie reports. The prison van manoeuvred its way

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swiftly passed the newspaper photographers waiting outside

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Northavon Magistrates Court. Hidden from view behind the blacked-out

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windows was Stephen Farrow who is facing two counts of murder.

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The 47-year-old, who is 6 foot 4, wore a grey fleece and trousers in

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court and spoke only to confirm his name, birth date and that he has no

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fixed address. Stephen Farrow is accused of

:10:08.:10:12.

murdering Betty Yates at her home on the banks of the River Severn in

:10:12.:10:17.

Bewdley. The 77-year-old retired schoolteacher had been stabbed and

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beaten with her own walking stick. Her body was found on January 4th.

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Six weeks later in the town of Thornbury in Gloucestershire, the

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Reverend John Stubbards was found stabbed to death in his vicarage.

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Police launched a nationwide manhunt and arrested Stephen Farrow

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on Sunday in Kent following a tip off from the public. In Bewdley,

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where Betty Yates was regarded as a pillar of the community, a memorial

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service will be held later this year.

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Police involved in this inquiry have thanked the public for their

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continued support and for their courage in coming forward. And

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they're still urging anyone with information to contact them.

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Stephen Farrow was remanded in custody. A trial is due to take

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place at Bristol Crown Court in June. Cath Mackie, BBC Midlands

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Today. A specialist team has recovered

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more than �22 million worth of cannabis from illegal farms in the

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West Midlands in the last year alone.

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Almost 600 raids have taken place across the region, seizing and

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destroying hundreds of thousands of plants. We sent our reporter Joan

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Cummins to join the team today, as they cleared another illegal

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cannabis farm. Noisy and necessary, a daily

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occurance in the destruction of illegal cannabis farms across the

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region. Today's target - a rented house in Oldbury. A specialist team

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working in the West Midlands are now dismantling cannabis farms on a

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:11:44.:11:48.

regular basis. This is job number 585. Everything that has been put

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him out for safety has been bypassed to steal electricity.

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Neighbours say they did not know that anybody was living here.

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Inside his house, 300,000 cannabis plants. The house has been turned

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into a virtual death trap. You can see how it is set up. There is

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water running round the house as well. Not only are they exposed

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electricity cables, there are hosepipes and running water.

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The regional cannabis disposal team was set up initially as a trial,

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but the inhouse team has saved the police budget �1 million. The team

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is also being used by other forces in the region, but are they winning

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the drugs war? I think we will always be one step behind, but it

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is a very short step at the moment. There is a lot more of them than

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there is of us. But we are doing our best to keep up with them. We

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are doing a lot of these cannabis farms and taking a lot of drugs of

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the street. Cannabis is now classified as a

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class B drug. Operating a factory like this could result in the man

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arrested here last night facing 14 years in prison. But the team has

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no doubt that cannabis is part of organised crime. It is not the same

:13:18.:13:24.

as it was in the 1970s. It is not a mellow draw be any more. It is very

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potent, there are different strains and varieties. There are links with

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illegal immigrants, money laundering and all the other things

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have got money from crime goes into. Much of the paraphernalia is

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recycled whilst the plants end up in landfill. The continuing message

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to communities though is report anything suspicious before you find

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yourself living next door to a cannabis factory.

:13:49.:13:52.

The head of the Care Quality Commission who failed to spot poor

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care at Stafford Hospital has resigned. Cynthia Bower was chief

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executive of the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority when the

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appalling failures at Stafford occurred. Ms Bower was criticised

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at the Stafford public inquiry for disbanding the investigations team

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and presiding over a bullying culture.

:14:11.:14:14.

Police are to carry out fresh searches around the Herefordshire

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village of Orlton for a pensioner who has been missing for more than

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four weeks. 63-year-old Alethea Taylor was last seen in January.

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Around 80 local people have been helping to look for her, but

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there's been no trace so far. Air support will help ground teams with

:14:27.:14:33.

the new search which will take place later this week.

:14:33.:14:35.

A climber from Kidderminster has died after falling more than 1,000

:14:35.:14:39.

feet from Ben Nevis. 32-year-old Paul Guest was climbing the UK's

:14:39.:14:42.

highest mountain on Sunday when he fell. A fellow climber was injured

:14:42.:14:52.
:14:52.:14:54.

but survived. Still ahead this evening. We're

:14:54.:14:58.

live with Stoke City fans hoping their team can reign in Spain.

:14:58.:15:03.

was always going to be tough, but a goal down it makes it all that much

:15:03.:15:08.

harder. And there's no need for the fans

:15:08.:15:12.

back home to feel left out - it's been exceptional today. Sun and

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sangria weather with record highs. I'll be telling what they were in a

:15:15.:15:25.
:15:25.:15:29.

More than 10,000 schoolchildren in the West Midlands have taken part

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in a programme aimed at taking any idea of glamour out of guns and

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crime. They have come face to face with the impact guns and gangs can

:15:36.:15:40.

have on families and they have sat through a film which left some in

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tears. Latest figures show that nearly 90

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children in this region were charged with possessing a firearm

:15:44.:15:47.

between April 2008 and March 2010. Louise Brierley reports.

:15:47.:15:51.

Captured on CCTV, two teenagers are walking down a street. But look

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closely and one is holding something in his right hand. It

:15:59.:16:02.

appears to be a gun. Moments later, armed police are on

:16:02.:16:06.

the scene. Pointing their weapons at the youngster in Erdington High

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Street. It turned out it was a toy gun and he threw it down just in

:16:10.:16:20.
:16:20.:16:21.

time to save his life. We close the film with what the alternative

:16:21.:16:24.

could have been, and knock on the door to your mother saying your son

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has been shot. It's one of many real life incidents being shown to

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pupils like these as part of a project by West Midlands Police to

:16:31.:16:34.

tackle gun and knife crime. So what do they think? It is about

:16:34.:16:39.

the consequences. It is not just the victim. It is the family as

:16:40.:16:43.

well. The way that everything is brought to life and how realistic

:16:44.:16:48.

it is. People might see this and think twice. The tragic case of

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teenagers Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare, who were the

:16:51.:16:54.

innocent victims of a gangland shooting in Aston in 2003, is also

:16:54.:16:56.

featured in the video presentation. Letisha's mother Marcia is a guest

:16:56.:17:01.

speaker. It is so important to speak to people, do not make their

:17:01.:17:08.

parents be in the same position as I was. It is important because the

:17:08.:17:11.

situation is so negative that something positive has to come out

:17:11.:17:21.
:17:21.:17:22.

of it. The project has reached 85 schools across the West Midlands.

:17:22.:17:25.

It is hoped this sort of early intervention will make Young people

:17:25.:17:31.

think twice before carrying a knife or gun. And after their close shave,

:17:31.:17:34.

it is doubtful these boys will pick up an imitation firearm again.

:17:34.:17:37.

Louise Brierley, BBC Midlands Today, Wolverhampton.

:17:37.:17:40.

The former Rangers and Scotland manager Walter Smith is the latest

:17:40.:17:43.

to rule himself out of becoming the new boss of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

:17:43.:17:46.

The club sacked Mick McCarthy ten days ago vowing to have a new man

:17:46.:17:50.

in charge for Saturday's game at Newcastle. But that's now being

:17:51.:17:55.

left to caretaker Terry Connor. Dan Pallett reports.

:17:55.:18:00.

He looked like the one, but now he's gone. Walter Smith is just the

:18:00.:18:03.

latest manager to say thanks, but no thanks, to Wolves. He was

:18:03.:18:06.

offered the post of manager, but turned it down. And he's far from

:18:06.:18:10.

the first. Alan Curbushley was thought to be the club's first

:18:10.:18:14.

choice, but he ruled himself out at the weekend. Brian McDermott is now

:18:14.:18:17.

off the radar after signing a new deal at Reading. And Gus Poyet is

:18:17.:18:20.

happy at Championship Brighton. So today caretaker Terry Connor had to

:18:20.:18:23.

face the media and will run the team on Saturday. But he knows his

:18:23.:18:30.

13 years at the club could end any day. If that is the case, that is

:18:30.:18:40.

the case. I know what happens. When I signed the contract, I knew their

:18:40.:18:49.

ups and downs. Ryan Leister is on the fans' parliament and constantly

:18:49.:18:52.

takes the fans' pulse. He says the club should do the same over the

:18:52.:18:57.

new manager. It is hard to ignore all the comments on Twitter and

:18:57.:19:06.

Facebook. They need to make the right decision and putting someone

:19:06.:19:14.

in that the fans are not keen Ellen could be detrimental. Work

:19:14.:19:17.

continued on the ground today, but fans are less impressed by the work

:19:17.:19:22.

finding a new manager. I was disappointed when Alan Curbishley

:19:22.:19:29.

said it was not right for him. thought that their new manager

:19:29.:19:33.

would be in place by the game against Newcastle. Mick McCarthy

:19:34.:19:37.

was a big character at Wolves. It seems it's not easy trying to fill

:19:37.:19:47.
:19:47.:19:53.

his shoes. A big night for Stoke City fans. 5,000 of them have

:19:53.:19:57.

headed for Spain. But many more had to stay at home. Nick Clitheroe is

:19:57.:20:01.

with some of them in Stoke on Trent. Plenty of people have made the trip

:20:01.:20:07.

out of Valencia for the game. But on the pitch, nothing to cheer

:20:07.:20:12.

about so far. Stalker did get off to a good start in the game. Plenty

:20:12.:20:22.
:20:22.:20:28.

of early pressure. -- Stoke. But Valencia have scored and it is a

:20:28.:20:38.
:20:38.:20:42.

mountain to climb for it -- Stoke. They got off to a good start. It

:20:42.:20:46.

should have been a free kick on the edge of their area but Valencia

:20:46.:20:51.

went up to the other end and scored. It will be difficult from here. Can

:20:51.:21:01.

they get back into this? I can see Valencia coming out of the second

:21:01.:21:06.

half and having two or three more goals. But it has been a great

:21:06.:21:10.

adventure? Yes, it has been brilliant. A good experience.

:21:10.:21:15.

Better luck next time. Do you think they could get out of this one?

:21:15.:21:22.

Maybe. They would have to be market. They could do, but it is going to

:21:22.:21:29.

be tough. -- the would have to be lucky. We will bring you the full

:21:29.:21:36.

story in the late bulletin. Thank you very much.

:21:36.:21:38.

It's nearly 40 years since the Birmingham soul singer with the

:21:38.:21:42.

huge voice, Ruby Turner, first took to the stage. She was born in

:21:42.:21:44.

Jamaica, but came to this country as a child.

:21:44.:21:48.

Her early days in the showbiz world were a tough slog, but it was not

:21:48.:21:51.

long before she was performing with the likes of Mick Jagger, Boy

:21:51.:21:54.

George, Brian Ferry and UB40. A far cry from the day she arrived here

:21:54.:21:57.

after travelling from Montego Bay, all alone, with a name tag on her

:21:57.:22:07.
:22:07.:22:11.

coat. Her talent was yet to emerge! That talent has taken her around

:22:11.:22:16.

the world as an actress and a singer. As a new British tour gets

:22:16.:22:23.

under way, I went with her to the theatre where it all began. It is

:22:23.:22:27.

very special to me because this is where it all started. I came you

:22:27.:22:36.

when I was 16 years old and it changed my life. Her family it was

:22:36.:22:40.

part of a wave of new arrivals from the Caribbean who came to

:22:40.:22:50.

Birmingham in the 1960s. I was just nine. I was looking for the trees

:22:50.:22:58.

and wondering what all these walls were. There was a nice gentle

:22:58.:23:08.

breeze, but no smell of the sea, no mangles. No coconut palms waving. -

:23:08.:23:18.
:23:18.:23:20.

What is it about people with a Caribbean background, those big

:23:21.:23:27.

voices that? My grandfather was a lead singer in a gospel group.

:23:27.:23:32.

your mother has sung with you recently? She has. I put out a

:23:32.:23:39.

gospel album about two years ago. I thought my mum would be great on it.

:23:39.:23:48.

It was so moving for me. What strikes me is you keep your feet

:23:48.:23:56.

for a -- keep your feet firmly on the ground. I can tell that. I

:23:56.:24:01.

think it is growing up and that Midlands. And you are still happy

:24:01.:24:08.

to live here? I am still happy to be here. I love coming home. I of

:24:08.:24:14.

the quiet, I can relax here. A love being with my family and friends.

:24:14.:24:18.

She has always struggled with her weight, but tries to keep in trim

:24:18.:24:28.
:24:28.:24:39.

playing badminton. I do play badminton. Thank you. Pleasure. I

:24:39.:24:42.

loved every minute of that. And, besides appearing throughout

:24:42.:24:45.

the year with Jools Holland, Ruby is performing this Sunday at the

:24:45.:24:55.
:24:55.:25:05.

Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry. It's been an exceptional day in

:25:05.:25:09.

every way. The winds were lighter. The sunshine made an early

:25:09.:25:11.

breakthrough in spite of yesterday's indications to the

:25:11.:25:14.

contrary and so the temperatures just kept rising and rising. These

:25:14.:25:17.

were the final numbers - not only was Coleshill in Warwickshire the

:25:17.:25:20.

warmest spot in the region, it broke its own February record of

:25:20.:25:30.

16.8, although records were only started there in 1997. -- 18.7.

:25:30.:25:36.

Even elsewhere, we exceeded expectations. A really lovely day.

:25:36.:25:39.

Now we're still in a warm sector, so it'll still remain quite warm

:25:39.:25:42.

overnight. Although compared to today's temperatures, the drop is

:25:42.:25:45.

quite steep - nine or ten Celsius overnight and turning cloudier from

:25:45.:25:48.

the North. And then the rain comes through tomorrow. It's a weak front

:25:48.:25:50.

that'll be crossing the region. Once it's gone through, the

:25:50.:25:53.

temperatures will start to fall. So feeling cooler tomorrow with a

:25:53.:26:03.
:26:03.:26:19.

maximum of between 10 to 13 Celsius. There's a brisk breeze too. And for

:26:20.:26:24.

the weekend - cooler but mostly dry with some sunshine. Could be some

:26:24.:26:34.
:26:34.:26:37.

rain later in the day on Sunday, but a frost on Saturday night.

:26:37.:26:40.

A look at tonight's main headlines. RBS - the taxpayer-funded bank -

:26:40.:26:43.

records its fourth straight year of losses, and it's double the

:26:43.:26:48.

previous year. And �5 million compensation is

:26:48.:26:51.

awarded to a six-year-old girl left paralysed by a teenage speeding

:26:51.:27:01.
:27:01.:27:07.

driver. A Muntjac deer got more than he

:27:07.:27:10.

bargained for when he was scavenging for food in Sutton

:27:10.:27:13.

Coldfield. He tried to take a short cut through some railings but got

:27:13.:27:15.

stuck. Eventually Warwickshire Fire and Rescue service were able to

:27:15.:27:18.

free him. The deer had only suffered minor grazes and was

:27:18.:27:20.

immediately released back into the wild.

:27:20.:27:28.

Poor little thing. Tomorrow, we will be at the launch

:27:28.:27:34.

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