11/04/2012 Midlands Today


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Welcome to Midlands Today. Tonight... 22 cars set alight in


two weeks in just one town. Police arrested six people as a community


leads in fair. It is just senseless. -- lives in fear. The family of a


baby that died after being accidentally smothered feel let


down by social services. A father looks for answers after finding his


teenage son dead under the M6 motorway. Nobody understands


exactly what has happened or how to deal with it. Outrage at a campaign


poster warning meat eaters are Good evening. Welcome to


Wednesday's Midlands Today. Tonight, the hunt continues for members of a


gang of arsonists are leaving destruction across a town in


Shropshire. 22 cars had been torched in Telford in two weeks.


Residents are worried that if culprits are not caught, somebody


could be seriously injured, or killed. Six people have been


arrested but police are still hunting other suspects. The charred


remains of one of 22 cars set alight in an arson attack in


Telford. This taxi was torched in the early hours of Good Friday of a


private driveway. The owner was awoken by police and escaped with


his family as the flames caught his home cracking the windows. We could


tell it was cracked because of the fire. It had easily caught on fire.


This has broken. It has damaged my livelihood. I have got nothing.


apparently senseless attacks led to a trail of damage in Telford in the


past two weeks. The cars, park close to houses in the middle of


the night. Tina's may be that the vehicle was burned. -- mobility


difficult. She has now left a vehicle to miles away at her


parents''s home. -- at her mother and father's house. I was worried


and I have had advice around the area. His family became the latest


victims in the early hours of yesterday when they found that


their Vauxhall had been set alight. I have worked every day since I was


16 and I did not deserve it. Nobody deserves it and I did not know how


I will get to work tomorrow and get home. It is putting people out when


you do not want to be inconvenienced. Many people do not


have a spare car these days. Police are patrolling the streets and


working closely with the emergency services. The neighbourhood is a


little bit frightening. I talked to a lady in one of these houses and


she said that she was scared. She said that she was worried that if


they was a fire, -- there was a fire, she could not get out. Police


are appealing for information as the community is getting worried.


Here is our correspondent from Telford. It appears that the


Community are understandably quite scared. Yes, they really are. We


have seen this car in my report. It will set alight on the same night


and on the same street. It is next in another burning car and the


owners are standing side by side watching in horror. I am joined by


a chief inspector from West Mercia police. I understand you have made


six arrests. We have made another arrest. We have got a suspect in


custody and it is being dealt with by my colleagues. But we have not


had any charges. Six have already been arrested but on strict bail


conditions. That has helped us to sort out these offences but we have


not got any charges at the moment. What about the motives? We do not


seem to have any. They are different makes and models.


Individuals are not being targeted and not groups of individuals. This


is pure vandalism and criminality and we do not understand why it is


happening. It is just for kicks. The cars are Kate -- close to


people's homes. How concerned are you? We have not had this in the


entire year and to have had 22 since 27th March is very serious.


We are concerned that they are part close to addresses and we have to


be conscious about where these vehicles are parked. The police


have appealed for witnesses. You can contact Crimestoppers or


contact the non-emergency number. Coming up... Hopes and dreams.


Tears and laughter. We meet the prize winning grandmother that has


been asked to write a special poem for the Olympics. We feel let down


by social services. That is the message of the family of a baby boy


that have -- that has died after an accident in Staffordshire. Eight-


month-old Alfie Smith died after being accidentally smothered by his


sleeping father. The coroner said police and social services had made


mistakes in the run-up to his death. His grave in Stoke-on-Trent is full


of family tributes. He died before his first birthday. But the tragic


circumstances of his accidental death have led to questions about


his care during his life. The coroner heard that he died after


his father rolled on top of him in his sleep. But in the months before


his death, social services and the police had been involved with the


family because they were facing difficulties. The coroner said that


difficulties. The coroner said that it appears that people in high


positions at the council had not appreciated the failings which


existed and put a system in place to avoid what happened. He


He had been placed in the care of Patricia Owen, his grandfather.


Other members of the family said they had raised concerns because


she struggled to cope. They made mistakes all along the way. I


thought that he was just dumped there. It did not take anybody with


a degree to realise that that poor lady was going to suck up with the


consequences for the rest of her light. -- suffer. She could not


cope. The case highlighted communication problems between


agencies that had come into contact with the family. Part of my role is


to make sure these actions did not disappear into the distance. That


we assessed periodically and make sure that we have got proper


systems in place. Following the inquest, the council and the police


had said that lessons had been learned by all agencies involved.


The coroner said ultimately that these mistakes and failures did not


affect the outcome for Alfie Smith. He recorded a verdict of accidental


death. But he said he was frustrated to see the death of a


child sleeping alongside an adult and said that was fraught with


danger. The message cannot be emphasised enough for parents. The


man convicted of murdering a teacher from Warwickshire in Japan


has lost his appeal against a light sentence. The body of Lindsay


Hawker, aged 22 and from Brandon, was found in his flat five years


ago. Tatsuya Ichihashi had argued that he had not intended to kill


her. Five people from the Walsall area have been arrested in


connection with the theft of antique china from the University


of Durham's Oriental Museum. An 18th century jade bowl and


porcelain worth �2 million were taken after a hole was made in an


outside wall on Thursday. Four people have been arrested on


conspiracy to commit burglary and a 5th has been arrested in connection


with assisting an offender. A father has been speaking about the


moment he found the body of his son under the M6 motorway in Birmingham


are. He had been out with friends and was found dead on waste ground


underneath the flyover. His family said that they have been left with


many unanswered questions. His death is being treated as


unexplained. Thomas Healy has been described as a gifted student.


Somebody that would do anything for anybody. His father made a


discovery nobody should ever make. It's was like your worst nightmare.


I walked along the motorway and I saw something in the distance just


lying down. It was my son. On Good Friday the 19-year-old met up with


friends and reminisced about his days in Bishop Vesey's Grammar


School in Sutton Colefield. They hired a taxi for a night out in


Birmingham before going back to university. What happened? We


understand that just before midnight the taxi pulled on to the


hard shoulder and he got out. His body was found the following day


below the fire there between junctions five and six. -- flyover.


If anybody has seen him and knows what happened, please contact the


police. The taxi company involved said that the driver stopped on the


hard shoulder for safety reasons because a passenger was trying to


open the door. Police are not taking further action. Friends had


gathered at the site to lay tributes. They are too distraught


to talk about what happened. They said it was still sinking in but


they like many others are trying to work out what happened on Friday


night. The family is waiting for the results of post-mortem


examinations. I would not wish that on anybody, to go through what we


are going through. And... Everybody is going to miss him. Here is our


correspondent. Are the police closer to understanding exactly


what happened? Tonight we have had the results of post-mortem


examinations, confirming that he died because of injuries consistent


with a fall. Police have a officially said it is not explained


but they have said is not suspicious. They are appealing to


drivers that might have witnessed it to come forward. But it does not


answer the family's questions. What happened in the taxi? Why did


Thomas depart from the vehicle? How did he fall from the fire that? The


family might not actually get these answers. -- flyover? Speaking to


his father, he said that he does not apportion any blame. He just


wanted the full facts and then he would be able to properly mourn his


son. A vegan campaign group has targeted Gloucester and said that


meat-eating can lead to an early death. They have come up with a


slogan called Fight Obesity - Go Vegan. They said they had chosen


Gloucester because a mortuary has opened that can take bodies that


way up to 50 stone. Health services have adapted to an obesity epidemic.


We have got special ambulances for headier patients, wider wheelchairs


and stronger operating tables. A mortuary has opened in Gloucester


that can cope with bodies weighing up to 50 stone and that is why it


has been targeted by this campaign. Some have been torn down but people


from the ethical treatment of animals have said that meat-eating


can lead to an early grave. We want to make people aware that eating


meat can be detrimental to health. We have seen an obesity crisis


already in this country. It is detrimental to the environment and


causes immense animal suffering. The campaign has not gone down well


with an industry that depends on eating meat. Chris Butcher is for


an healthy diet but he said that they are scared to mongering. --


scaremongering. That to my mind is very good for you and I do not


understand. Nobody argues that obesity should not be tackled but


it appears that this poster is not getting the message across. But a


recent study indicated that a diet high in red meat can shorten life


expectancy. Is a vegan diet the way forward? A plant-based diet can be


a healthy approach to preventing cancer and obesity and more


wholegrain is better. But meat and dairy have got used all nutrients


like calcium. Have low-fat dairy and lean meat for nutrients but did


not make it the whole part of the diet. The company has not decided


whether or not to replace the poster or if it will be the start


of a wider campaign to fight to be city with a meat-free message. --


You do not like this poster? Why? It is extremely insulting to people


who may for no particular reason become obese. Either through


genetic problems or medical problems that they may have. The


second thing is that eating meat is not a passport to an early death,


it is the quantity that you meet and that is the real killer.


Particularly... You have just heard about red meat with the disposition


to heart disease. I think it is sending out the wrong message and I


am delighted that part of it has been torn down. In it is medically


wrong, are you saying that? It is radically wrong, yes. There are


things that people find real difficulty sometimes with regarding


their weight. It is an insult to those people and they really will


be extremely annoyed at this poster. Why are you so glad it has been


torn down? I understand parts of it has been -- have been torn down and


I hope PETA do not repeated. They do have a point about the danger of


pies? They do have a point. No smoke without fire. But I think


that as your dietician pointed out, a rounded diet which is a little


from all of the food groups is what you should be aiming for rather


than basing your intake particularly on meat. Thank you.


Still to come: once a hospital, later a school and now it is


derelict. But there is a lifeline for one of the region's historic


buildings. Do not be caught out by the showers.


More heading our way and they are A little way off the grass court


tennis season but we have some news. For 30 years, many of the world's


top women tennis players have made a beeline for Birmingham to warn


that for Wimbledon. Last year the Edgbaston Priory was almost


stripped of the AEGON Classic. Since then it has received a


facelift. 19-year-old Heather Watson is the


British No. 3. Who better to inspire young children from the


Community Programme at the Edgbaston Priory Club? My ranking


night now is 115 in the world. -- right now. I am working hard to get


back inside the top 100. Last year she made her debut at the AEGON


Classic, the traditional stop-off point before Wimbledon. I love


playing this tournament. I had a lot of fun here last year. There is


always a great atmosphere playing here and I love the home crowd


support. It could have been very different. After 30 years of


staging the AEGON Classic, the club was under pressure to improve its


facilities or lose the tournament. Now the work is reaching completion.


Edgbaston Priory Club was not fit for purpose for major international


tournaments. We sat down with the City Council and the Lawn Tennis


Association to come up with a plan to provide the facilities the


players' required. News will get around on a tour to say, at bow to


the AEGON Classic, it is a great tournament with great facilities.


It is not just about the tournament. It is about the community and


investment in local parks and making sure this is a world-class


community facility as well. first big test will come in June.


The Worcestershire pace bowler Alan Richardson says he is honoured to


have been chosen as one of Wisden's top five Cricketers of the year. He


will be 37 next month and was the highest wicket-taker last season in


the county championship. His coach says he is an inspiration to the


younger players. I love watching him bowl. He is in the best years


of his life. He had an awesome achievement last year. He runs in


hard, as a good rhythm. He can do a little bit in the air and his


tremendous to watch. She was born in Jamaica and raised a family in


Birmingham and she has always loved expressing her emotions on paper.


Now Ita Gooden has won a competition linking poetry with


sport. She is one of a dozen poets chosen to compose an original verse


to celebrate the Cultural Olympics 2012.


Life is like a road. Leading to everywhere and sometimes know where.


Poetry is have passion and now that passion is about to be given a


voice at the Cultural Olympiad. Ita Gooden has won a national


competition to find 12 poets to celebrate London 2012. Hopes and


dreams, tears and laughter, happiness and disaster, loyalty and


betrayal. In search of inspiration, Ita has popped into the Alexander


Stadium in Birmingham to meet Nathan Douglas, one of Britain's


top athletes. I am very intrigued to see what she comes up with.


you're a poet? Not really. I wish I was! Five years ago, he won silver


at the European Indoor Championships. He went on to


produce a top 20 finish in Beijing and now he is training hard for


London 2012 at Birmingham's High Performance Centre. Poetry in


motion for Ita Gooden. Look at that! The speed that he is going


at! Some inspiration there for a poem. Goodness gracious, yes. I do


not think my pen will ever go as fast! Ita was born in Jamaica so no


wonder she is looking forward to seeing the world's finest athletes


training in Birmingham. How about a poem for Usain Bolt to welcome him


to Birmingham? Is that a challenge? I will definitely do that.


Cultural Olympics are funded by almost �70 million of lottery money


and suitably inspired Ita Gooden is itching to start work on her


celebration poems of London 2012. I cannot wait to hear it Ita's poem


about Usain Bolt. Six straight defeats for the Wolves and only six


games left. They start tonight at home to Arsenal. The last time they


met in December, Steven Fletcher and a valuable point from a 1-1


draw. Time is fast running out if Wolves are to survive in the


Premier League next season. BBC WM will have regular reports


from Molineux and full match commentary on West Brom's game away


to Manchester City. You can see all of the goals on Match Of The Day at


10:25pm. We have a message saying, they are


not in a relaxed state of mind. He is not the only one!


Where were we? One of the region's most important historic buildings


has moved a step closer to being saved. The 14th century former


grammar school has been derelict for more than 20 years.


Dating back to 1340, Coventry Grammar School as it is now known


first opened as an infirmary before becoming a hospital chapel and then


a school. It is a scheduled ancient monument on English Heritage's at


risk register. You can see why. Signs of rodents are one thing and


the abandoned state of some of the rooms another. The main hall is


pretty much intact with authentic furnishings. One of the most


interesting things in here are these wooden pews. Nobody knows


exactly how old they are but we can reference some kind of date because


there is some graffiti. If you look closely, you can see it is dated


17th 72. We have built around it without considering how important


it is. Let us repeat, it is probably the largest by far oldest


buildings still standing in the City. That is by about 200 years.


Now the Heritage Lottery Fund has earmarked the building for a grant.


It would be incorporated into the city's Transport Museum and used to


display this collection of artefacts from the car industry


which are currently kept in storage. All sorts of things, trophies,


magazines, books, a wards... A huge heritage for the city. Schools will


be able to come and see the objects and they will be able to see them


and see what sort of things we have on offer. The museum is now drawing


up detailed plans and hopes to get full approval early next year.


Let us find out more about the It was not a day to be caught


without an umbrella. You will find you will be ducking and diving over


the next couple of days. Quite a few showers around. By the weekend,


they will start to die out. Now, we have got quite a lot of fronts


hovering so that is why we have got showers over the next couple of


days. By Sunday, there will be one front heading in from the north.


You can see the isobars starting to tighten indicating strengthening


winds. Right now, it is looking quite bright because the showers


are beginning to die away. We still run the risk of thunder and


lightning until about 9pm. After that, much of more dry and more


clear. Down to two degrees which will give rise to a slight frost.


Also, some mist. That will clear by the morning. A cracking start to


the day with a lot of sunshine but not for long. The showers will


start to roll in and get there and congregate from the north-west.


They will be quite heavy once again. With lighter winds, a good


quantities of rain. Again there is the risk of thunder and lightning


and possibly even Hale. Top temperatures in the sunshine of


around 11 degrees. The skies will clear and the temperatures will


fall even lower through the night so head. More of a frost tomorrow


night. And again on Friday night. The winds will pick up and the


temperatures will drop. By the weekend, few are showers but it


will be colder. The headlines: jailed for 11 years,


the man who set fire to a furniture store in London during last


summer's riots. 22 cars set alight in just two


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