03/04/2012 Midlands Today


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Welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines: jailed for four years,


the former leader of Worcestershire County Council is convicted of sex


attacks. We would like to apologise for any


anxiety felt by either of the victims.


The man who diffused the Birmingham riots insists it was self-defence.


Businesses talc then Secretary that the government must do more to


boost manufacturing. We are going to take time to get things back in


order. Children get ready for the first


Good evening. Welcome to Tuesday's Midlands Today.


A senior politician and a church minister is jailed for sexually


abusing two teenagers. George Lord was leader of


Worcestershire County Council and to all appearances a pillar of the


community. His standing gave him power and influence.


A judge said today that the 79- year-old had abused his position by


assaulting one teenager in a council chamber and later admitted


three similar offences involving a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s.


Found in his office before his fall from grace, George Lord, the one-


time leader of Worcestershire County Council was harbouring a


dark secret. The secret was exposed at Birmingham Crown Court where he


was jailed for four years for sexually abusing two teenage girls.


The first phase was 40 years ago when Lord now 79 was a church


minister. The court was told that he started crooning the victim in


the 1970s when she was 11. Heat started indecently assaulting her


three years later. He told her that they had a special and secret


relationship that she could not discuss with anyone. The judge told


him he had abused his position. You should have been her protector, he


said, not her abuser. As the leader of the county council


he held the enormous power. He abused the power to prey on a 19-


year-old woman at County Hall in 2010. It is a position of authority


and trust which is being manipulated and broken and it can


lead to difficulties for victims and their ability to trust people


in the future. The victim's parents were in court and they are unhappy


with the county council's handling The council is now holding an


inquiry chaired by an independent official. They say that the


sentencing of George Lord draws a line under what they say is a


difficult matter. The chief executive said that employee


welfare is of the utmost importance and the council has a


whistleblowing policy which applies to everyone in the organisation no


matter what their position. After sentencing, George Lord's solicitor


read that a statement. He would like to apologise for any anxiety


felt by either of the victims. He feels it was appropriate for him to


resign as the leader of the Worcestershire County Council in


order to preserve the good reputation of the council. George


Lord will be placed on the sex offenders' register indefinitely.


The judge told Lord from Brahms wrote that he was about to half of


the four-year jail term before being eligible for all release on


licence -- from Bromsgrove. Still ahead: the Mercury plummets


so it must mean that cricket is Barrack -- cricket is back. Why


Warwickshire believe this could be their season.


A father who has appealed for calm and ended the Birmingham writes


told a court today how he punched a man in self-defence. Tariq Jahan


allegedly assaulted Sajjad Ali last July after an argument on a street


in Handsworth in Birmingham. Tariq Jahan is the man credited


with helping to stop the Birmingham riots after his appeals for calm.


I lost my son. Step forward, do you want to lose your son's? Otherwise,


calm down and go home. He came to national prominence after his son


and two other young men died when they were hit by a car in Winson


Green last August. A month before that it is alleged he punched 34-


year-old Sajjad Ali to the ground and fractured his jaw in an


unprovoked attack. Today Tariq Jahan gave evidence. He said the


attack in Factory Road, Handsworth was entirely in self-defence and


that he was head-butted by Sajjad Ali after a disagreement and


punched him once to protect himself. Tariq Jahan told the police that he


had lied to police about the incident and said that he had been


elsewhere at the time and that he continued to live as recently as


last week when he finally made a statement admitting it. He said


that he lied may need to protect his wife. He told the court that


when you start with a lie, you have to make up at the 1000 miles to


cover the live. He said that when he has started there was no turning


back. Tariq Jahan's wife Tahira Yasmin also gave evidence


confirming what her husband had said. The court was told he had


several previous convictions including one for actual bodily


harm for his stepmother. He said it had been an accident. He said he


deeply regretted what had happened with Sajjad Ali and that it was not


how he normally behaved. The very significant part back


Tariq Jahan played in the Birmingham riots was mentioned in


court today? It was. Tariq Jahan had told the court when he was


giving evidence that he had been trying to calm Sajjad Ali down


before the alleged assault. His barrister then said that it was


similar to what he had done in the Birmingham riots when he appealed


to the community for calm. When that was mentioned, Tariq Jahan got


a set and broke down in tears and was so upset that the court had to


take a break because he felt he could not continue. The prosecution


said that while everyone has huge sympathy for what happened to him


during the riots, back must not cloud their judgment. -- that must


not cloud their judgment. What will happen tomorrow? The defence will


give their closing arguments and the judge will send the jury out to


consider its verdict. The judge has told the court that it is expected


that the trial will not finished until Thursday.


Leading businesses have been expressing concern about the state


of the economy to Vince Cable. That is despite a survey today from the


British Chambers of Commerce which suggests some companies are slowly


recovering. Mr Cable spent the day in


Worcestershire visiting manufacturing firms. Our business


correspondent reports on whether the talk was more about recession


or recovery. Hand-made in the Malvern's and a


perfect place for the Business Secretary to gather intelligence


about the state of the economy and more.


Despite being highly desirable, even this man has found the


recession challenging and with conflicting surveys on whether the


economy is recovering, the company's MD is still cautious.


think in the UK things are extremely tight. Money is tight and


a demand in the UK for luxury products is static at the moment.


What we are trying to do at the moment is look for alternative


markets particularly in the emerging economies like China.


Things are not so bad that they cannot invest in its future. The


Business Secretary also met one of the company's apprentices. The


skills this man is learning are vital if production of such


specialised vehicles is to continue. We learn the old methods of folding,


Metal finishing techniques. We do not use many modern tools. He is


one of 10,000 so-called mid- sized businesses here in the UK


collectively representing 0.2% of all firms in the UK. They employ


around 20% of all private sector workers say it is vital that


companies like this are encouraged to grow. Not surprising that the


message from government then this does is go for growth. If Britain


is going to get right on to the fitting economic League, we have to


get on to exports. It has got to come through business investment.


Growth is not a problem that it was the based company, the biggest


provider of computerise metal cutting equipment. Here exports are


soaring and even UK sales rose by 60% last year. The recession was


tough for us and business dropped by 80%. Since then things have


picked up well. We are pretty optimistic. What about growth? How


busy are you? We are now back to manufacturing about 80% of the


levels we were prior to the recession. A chance to test drive a


Morgan product and the state of the economy. By all accounts, the


Business Secretary left to the region in a more positive mood


about money factoring and when he arrived.


What do you think is the main message Mr Cable will have taken


away? I think he was fairly encouraged. We are in the workshop


where they make the new Morgan car. Already 800 of them have been sold.


With me tonight is Charles Morgan. Tell me, how well is it more been


doing? You said in the film that you are cautious. Where is the


company going? A if you can produce a new product that is innovative


and has tradition rather like this model, you will have a worldwide


market. We are finding that markets like Germany are really taking off


on us. We are hoping to go to America with this. The motor market


generally has been powering ahead. By using map? This is quite an


expensive car to buy. -- are you seeing that? We are seeing a


revival of innovation in British manufacturing. In the old days, we


would end ties foreign companies to set up factory here and create jobs.


Now the innovation is coming from British companies themselves.


Jaguar Land Rover up the road is a perfect example. They have got new


technology. They have also got the tradition of the 4x4 car up a bit


like we have got the sports car traditions. We sought in the film


an apprentice. How important are they to you? Incredibly important


because they are the energy for the future. Education and the young


people's attitude means that they are combining technology and hand-


crafted. You have got the best of both worlds. Computer-aided design


and also a real skill in terms of the assembly. You cannot have one


without the other. Many thanks. Looking good. Let us hope it is a


good sign for elsewhere in the economy.


Police investigating the murder of a 92-year-old Black Country man to


say he died as a result of severe head injuries. The former seaman


William Davis was discovered at his home collapsed in Willenhall on


Sunday evening. Saying goodbye to a neighbour and a


friend, just one of a number of floral tributes left outside the


home of 92-year-old William Davis. If the pensioner died from severe


head injuries after being attacked at his home in Hobley Street in


Willenhall on Sunday afternoon. is highly likely that the person or


persons responsible may have left the address heavily bloodstained.


We are appealing to any body that has any information at all about


friends, relatives, neighbours, who may have been heavily bloodstained,


who may have been concealing bloodstains on their clothing on


Sunday afternoon, to please come forward. This afternoon, roads


remain sealed off in Willenhall as forensic searches continued. Mr


Davies was last seen at 3pm on Sunday afternoon when neighbours


went granted depends and tea. They became concerned after not hearing


from their -- they went round to give him some tea. They found him


collapsed and call the police just after 6pm. William Davis was a


veteran at war but to at -- restaurant of the war. He was


described as fiercely independent. Cliff Shelley who owns the garage


at the end of the road knows him well. He has been shocked by his


murder. I used to stop and talk to him and sometimes he would show me


the medals from when he was in the Navy. He was a really nice guy. I


am shocked. Police said that initial investigations so no sign


of a break-in or for Stent -- forced entry. They expect the area


around his house to remain sealed off for two to three days while


A campaign to clear the names of 24 building workers charged with eight


-- charged with conspiracy after a strike 40 years ago stepped up


today with a fresh appeal. The Shrewsbury Pickets Campaign is


being led by a group including actor Ricky Tomlinson, who was


jailed after a trial in 1973. They are claiming a miscarriage of


justice, arguing the original case was political and an abuse of power


by the government. Today was the last chance for


people to comment on the planned changes to parliamentary boundaries.


The government wants to reflect changing demographics and ensure


each constituency has the same number of voters. But for towns


such as more than, it could mean they are split into two consistent


-- constituencies. Just a week ago we were getting


temperatures around the 20 degrees. Very different today, with the


gritters on standby and warnings of snow on the way.


A freak event is another way to put it. We have currently got a very


cold air moving in as I mentioned yesterday, combined with a heady


period of rain tonight which could produce a fair covering of snow. It


is going to feel bitterly cold with strengthening wind and a plummeting


temperatures. I will have a full round-up later.


Also on a programme, digging for Olympic glory, could your garden


play a part in separate -- The government is facing yet


another court hearing objecting to the plans for a high-speed rail


link between Birmingham and London. More are expected before the


deadline at the end of the week. Protesters say the government has


failed to conduct a proper environmental assessment and made


mistakes with its compensation programme. We are joined by David -


- David Gregory. While these cases appearing now?


The government said yes to HS2 at the start of the year, but there is


a three-month window for people to get everything together and push


for a judicial review over certain parts of the decision. That is what


is happening now. I talked to a group earlier who have raised


�200,000 to pay for a judicial review. That has come from


individual contributions. May-June a group of councils such as


Warwickshire and commentary who have got together to launch a


similar challenge. -- they join. I would expect a more before the end


of the week. What are the grounds for objection?


It falls into two groups, environmental concerns, they are


saying that the government has not played -- paid any attention to the


environmental impact, and the other one is more complicated, it is


about compensation payments, saying that the government's compensation


scheme is not clearly set out. That is where things are happening.


Later challenges might focus on the route as well.


When will these cases be heard? The government gets 21 days to look


at what people have objected to him, put their side of things, and the


paperwork goes away to a judge. Four months from then, a judge will


either say no to a judicial review or they will say yes and people can


have their day in court. But then is a blockade on this at the moment,


so it may take some time. It is just 115 days until the start


of the Olympic Games, and if you are not lucky enough to have a


ticket, there are still ways to be involved.


Dennis the Olympic torch relay, reaching Cheltenham on may 23rd.


There will be road closures which means that some schoolchildren may


have to be at their desks at 6am. You can brush up on your


Shakespeare during Stratford's World Shakespeare Festival. On the


same day, Dancing for the Games will begin in Birmingham. On that


30th June, contrary's pedal-powered Godiva Awakes puppet heads to the


capital. -- Coventry's. And Olympic football starting commentary on


25th July. We report on how you can get


involved from your own garden. Gardening for the games? Yes, that


is what I said. Phil offers a few tips on some patriotic planting to


this young audience. How about a red, white and blue window-box? And


it is not just about flowers. The idea of having London 2012


vegetables foray shed barbecue or salad on the opening night or


whatever weekend you cannot manage, or the closing ceremony, the idea


has come together with these plants are to create eight celebration of,


and it is very exciting bus-stop the event focused on gardening, but


it is about more than getting green fingered for the Games.


The question is what can you do to get your community in the Olympic


mood? They need people to get motivated. It is about waving the


flag for Britain and waving it for your community. This is a dress


rehearsal for an Olympic qualifying football match at the Ricoh Arena


in Coventry later this month. We want to encourage more and more


people who have the confidence and the desire to make the Olympics and


Paralympics, live in whatever way works for them. It could be about


having a party in the street for the opening ceremony, getting the


community together and having some gains. -- games.


No such shortage of enthusiasm here are. They are aiming to sow the


scenes for a rich harvest of community events later this year


across the Midlands. -- so the seeds.


Let's stay with the sporting scene. News of Stiliyan Petrov?


Yes, Randy Lerner has been to visit Stiliyan Petrov to miss him well in


his battle to overcome leukaemia. He attended Saturday's game with


Chelsea, and received a standing ovation from both sets of fans. He


is now being treated in London, where Alex McLeish about him in


amazing spirit. He is determined to meet it head-on,


and he was talking really positively, and could not wait to


get started to try and clear up this illness. I do not know what he


is thinking in his head, but he is the captain of Aston Villa and has


shown the commitment on the pitch. He is a great leader and he wants


to get himself a through this. It does sound as if he is in a


positive frame of mind. That is the impression you get from


Alex McLeish. He thanked supporters from across the country, saying he


has been overwhelmed. But the clubs say they do not be able to give


day-to-day bulletins, and they should respect him and his family.


We will bring you update as and when the club replace -- release


more. Birmingham City can take a step


closer to the end-of-season play- offs tonight, they are away at


Burghley hoping to repeat their 2-1 victory from earlier in the season.


There one of four teams on 63 points, lying 4th in the


Championship on goal difference. And we will have full match


commentary from 7pm on BBC WM. On to cricket, and Warwickshire say


the lessons they learnt from finishing second in last year's


County Championship will be crucial in their attempts to go one better


this time. The Bears missed out on the title on the final afternoon of


last season. The new season starts on Thursday.


The Bears have emerged from hibernation, and they are not


grumpy. But it is not like Warwickshire's players have been


dormant since the summer, pre- season started on November.


This time around, they are determined to win the title.


It was a big knock for all of us, that last day at Hampshire, and we


were very tired and it was a very difficult run-in. But it gave us


real impetus going into this year in terms of thinking how we can


improve a little bit too maybe get over the line and win it this year.


They have already got injury problems. Chris Woakes damaged


ankle on a book -- ankle ligaments in Barbados. They will also have


other high-profile absentees. Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott orange


rancour with England at the moment, and their availability will be


limited this summer. Preparation has been meticulous. They have even


had check-ups for skin cancer and a sun damage. Now they are raring to


The guys were already thinking about next season at the end of


last season. We are eager to get back on the pitch, and we are


playing a university site this week, but next week it is Somerset.


Troughton expects the title race to be wide open, but if Warwickshire


are in contention come August, they know exactly what it takes to


become champions. I do try and get down and watch


their season. They will have fresh impetus this


year. I am going to ask you to lay your cards on the table. Will they


do it this season? I am worried about them losing


Chris Woakes. But they have got new players, and that may compensate.


Ashley Giles said the one silver lining is that maybe Chris Woakes


will have a break, as cricketers often play all year now. I saw them


trudge of the pitch on that last afternoon, and they look to 10


years older than last year of -- than today. They want to win it and


will not leave anything on the pitch.


Their spirit is really good. They had just come back from Barbados


where Chris Woakes did his ankle, as they are very much buzzing this


time. This time last year they were


tipped for relegation, so they are looking in a good way.


There are rumours that winter is about to return! Let's find out the


Yes, there is snow on the way. We have had snow in June it, and you


will find since last week, we will have seen a drop in temperature of


around 15 degrees, largely due to a combination of Nordic air and a


heady period of rain. We have had a combination of fronts coming


through from the north today, and the first has gone through this


afternoon and is still there this evening. You can see the last of


the rain clearing the east of the region, but you will find that


tonight and it through the early hours, the next one will come


through from the north. It is more active and will produce heavy rain


in the northern part of the patch. It will also bring snow over the


highest ground, but the 200 metres. So the Peak District and the


Pennines could see some. The Met Office has issued a yellow warning.


Arts where it is rain and maybe some sleet and snow. -- elsewhere.


It will be a cold night, temperatures down took roughly zero


degrees. So they could be some ayes somewhere. -- ice. The snow is


confined to to the highest ground, again about 200 metres. Tomorrow


will be a bitterly cold day with a lot of Gamestation and higher wind


speed. -- a lot of cloud. A huge drop in temperatures, last week we


saw 21 Celsius. By Thursday it will Run thousands of students could --


thousands of students could see tougher A-levels. And the former


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