13/04/2012 Midlands Today


13/04/2012

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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today, with Nick Owen and Mary Rhodes. The

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headlines tonight: Beaten senseless in his own home -

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a family's fury after an 86-year- old man is attacked and left

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unconscious by masked men. Very frightening. I've never known

:00:15.:00:21.

anything like it, really. I thought they were going to kill us.

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Mystery solved after the bang that rocked parts of Coventry and

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Warwickshire last night. It was just the fact that it sort of went

:00:27.:00:31.

"bah-boom" very quickly, and I thought, what can it be?

:00:31.:00:35.

His life was saved by a helicopter - a pop legend on why the Air

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Ambulance is so important. And can Cheltenham Gold Cup winner

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Synchronised make it a historic double in tomorrow's Grand

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:00:51.:00:57.

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

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BBC. Tonight, the moment masked intruders assaulted an 86-year-old

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man and ransacked his home. Tommy Reid was left with bruising and a

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dislocated shoulder. Today his relatives have been describing

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their horror at the attack. Mr Reid's 80-year-old brother Bill

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arrived at the scene soon after the incident but suffered an angina

:01:16.:01:20.

attack and had to be taken to hospital in the same ambulance. He

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says he's never felt hatred before but he now despises the men who

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attacked his brother, as Joanne Writtle reports.

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Just so worried about my eldest brother... Whether he is OK. I am

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worrying about him. May Spence speaks out after her

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brother Tommy Reid was knocked to the floor by three masked men who

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burst into the home they share in Aston in Birmingham. I was shaking.

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I couldn't stop shaking. And then the family, they all came over.

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Nieces, nephews, all of that. Very frightening. I've never known

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anything like it, really. I thought they were going to kill us. As if

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things couldn't get worse, May's other brother Bill arrived on the

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scene soon after the men had fled. But he suffered an angina attack

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and had to be taken to hospital in the same ambulance. Last night, I

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went to bed... Excuse me. I cried all night. Thinking of, how can you

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just turn around and forgetting anything like that? You can't. You

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think it will happen again. I was never born with paid in me. Never.

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None of them was ever born with hate in me. We have got it now.

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Back inside, this is the mess left by the raiders, who escaped with

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cash after beating Tommy with metal bars and baseball bats. He's now in

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hospital with a dislocated shoulder as his family try to sort through

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the mess. It just makes you feel angry. Last August, there was a

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burglary here when May was in hospital after breaking her hip.

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This time, though, she's finding it difficult to cope. Every little

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noise I have heard, due jumper. You know, do think they are coming back.

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It is terrible. -- you jump. spokesman for West Midlands Police

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said it was a particularly nasty attack on a vulnerable member of

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the community. They've urged anyone with information to contact them.

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And we've just heard that Tommy Reid has now come home from

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hospital. His family says he is confused and very shaken.

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Still ahead this evening, the centenary of the sinking of the

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:03:51.:03:51.

Titanic. How much to blame was the Infighting between MPs, national

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newspaper coverage and a city divided, all over a mayoral

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campaign which hasn't yet got the go-ahead. Birmingham doesn't go to

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the polls to decide whether it wants an elected mayor for another

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three weeks. But the arguments between those for and against are

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already raging. A warning this report contains flash photography.

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The referendum to ask Birmingham residents if they want a directly

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elected mayor won't happen till 3rd May but the issue's already steeped

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in controversy. Labour MPs Liam Byrne and Gisela Stuart, plus ex-MP

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Sion Simon, all want to be Labour candidates. If the ex-MP won, no

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problem, but the others would have to resign as MPs, which would mean

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a by-election. But in last month's by-election in Bradford West,

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Labour lost out to the Respect Party's George Galloway. This, the

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most sensational result in British by-election history. Now Labour is

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said to be thinking of banning MPs from standing as mayor, though a

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spokesman said: These reports are highly speculative and therefore

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we're not going to comment. will find the Labour MPs in this

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city are with in touch of their constituents and the George

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Galloway thing was a very small strange effect, which I don't think

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would be repeated here. But whether sitting MPs should be allowed to

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stand or not is not the only controversial issue. Outside the

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city centre, residents have other concerns. In Perry Common,

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residents have knitted a vegetable plot for an exhibition. But while

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all is sunny in the garden, they feel out here in the suburbs

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they're being left in the dark about the mayoral campaign. We know

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that as with the normal election, there is not a high percentage of

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people here prove vote. This is like, you have got to vote for

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another thing you are uninformed about. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe

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people don't know about it. But I don't think so. They're not alone.

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In a Populus poll commissioned by BBCWM last month, 59% of 500 people

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questioned didn't even know a referendum was taking place. The

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issue's made the national papers. Another hot topic - the cost.

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they would do the same salary as the chief executive, that would be

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about �200,000. -- if they went for the same salary. Nobody is

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explaining the costing. But others, like those building a new mosque in

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Ward End, argue a mayor would help attract money to the city.

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Pakistani communities and Asian communities, we will welcome this

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system with a mayor. It is my feeling this will improve the

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community. And all this controversy over something which may not even

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happen. Birmingham decides in three weeks' time.

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Our political editor, Patrick Burns, is outside Birmingham's Council

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House now, from where a directly elected mayor would run the city.

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It really is a phoney war at the moment, Patrick? It would certainly

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be phoney of that referendum results -- if that referendum

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result would go with the usual council leader system. That would

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render this conversation beside the point. But many political observers

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are saying there is nothing phoney about the tension this reveals

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within the Labour Party. On the one hand, in previous parliaments,

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members of the Brownite camp, like Sion Simon, who Reno's stood down

:07:29.:07:35.

from his seat to campaign for mayor and his close colleague, -- who we

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nose to down, and the deputy chairman of the Labour Party, who

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is thought to be behind his barring of MPs. And on the other hand,

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former Blairite MPs Gisela Stuart and Liam Byrne. So some history to

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this and may be a settling of scores. If there is an election,

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will it be about party politics or personal charisma? Obviously there

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is a real possibility that big individual independent candidates

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will emerge but there is something inherent to the job, even for party

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politicians. Think of Ken and Boris in London. They are rather removed

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from their parties. Many people say this is an Americanisation. That is

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why they don't like the role. It has been said the Mayor of

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Birmingham could be more powerful than half the people in the Cabinet.

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And none of the major parties have so far decided on their candidate

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for Mayor of Birmingham if it goes that far, although two independent

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candidates have already said they'll run.

:08:43.:08:45.

Two teenage boys from the West Midlands are being questioned over

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claims they recorded calls made to a police anti-terrorist hotline.

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The phone line at Scotland Yard was bombarded with hundreds of calls a

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hacking group claims it recorded a conversation between officers. The

:08:56.:09:06.
:09:06.:09:17.

youths, aged 16 and 17, were arrested last night.

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An inventor who hoped to turn fallen leaves into green energy

:09:20.:09:24.

says a series of problems meant he couldn't make a go of it. One of

:09:24.:09:27.

the problems involved the basic raw material. The council contractor in

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charge of waste removal wouldn't give him the leaves from

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Birmingham's parks. Here's our environment correspondent, David

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Gregory. Like all the best inventions, it's

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an obvious idea. Take leaves, process them and turn them into

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logs you can burn. And Birmingham's parks are full of leaves, so

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getting the raw material should be no problem. We were soon put right

:09:41.:09:44.

and told that whilst the leaves were on the trees, they belong to

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the city council, but we obviously needed them once they have fallen

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off of the trees, and then they belong to the area. They are in

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charge of street cleansing. We had to try to negotiate and that is why

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we had the problem. Despite broadening his product range and

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getting leaflogs into big DIY stores, Mr Morrison couldn't get

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enough leaves and the leaflog disappeared from the shops.

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Obviously for those who invested money in the company, this was very

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bad news. And Mr Morrison will be the first to admit there were other

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problems and mistakes made. But in the end, not being able to get hold

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of leaves from the parks was clearly the big issue. Was it just

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the fact you could not get hold of the leaves? It was a combination of

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things. But not being able to... Confirm and contract the amount of

:10:39.:10:49.
:10:49.:10:50.

feedstock we needed in the year had a massive impact on our ability to

:10:50.:11:00.
:11:00.:11:08.

confidently sell leaflogs into the Mr Morrison says he still gets

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emails from all over the world asking about his invention. And he

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hopes to make leaflogs again, preferably in the UK.

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David joins us now. Why was it so hard for Leaflog to get hold of the

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:11:32.:11:34.

leaves it wanted? Yes. The company had said that they think composting

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the leaves from the parks to make compost for gardens is greener than

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turning them into logs to burn, which on a small-scale release

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greenhouse gases. This was a young company as well and other mistakes

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were made. But we might still have leaflogs on the shelves if they had

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made their position clear. compare the problems faced by

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leaflog with plans for Ironbridge Power Station in Shropshire to

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import millions of tonnes of wood from America to burn? Yes. You have

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this small-scale thing with Leaflog taking Leeds from trees in the

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local area for people to burn at home and then you have this 2

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million tonnes of wood coming in for power stations from the USA.

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They will get green subsidies for it. So the rules and regulations

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seem to encourage a mince -- unexpected consequences. We will be

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:12:37.:12:39.

exploring back on the Sunday, it -- Sunday Politics this weekend.

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We ended last night's programme with early reports of a big bang

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which echoed across parts of the South Midlands. It's been confirmed

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that two military jets caused a sonic boom. The Ministry of Defence

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says they were responding to an emergency alert and were acting

:12:51.:12:53.

within guidelines. Baffled residents jammed switchboards as

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they called to report the big bang, as Giles Latcham reports.

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It was still, it was quiet, as Warwickshire settled in for the

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evening, when... Emergency switchboard lit up across

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Warwickshire when residents reported hearing a large bang. Some

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thought it was a gas explosion and others an earth tremor. I thought

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somebody had thrown a brick at the house! We thought something had

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happened to the House or a lorry had crashed. It has cracked my

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window! In Harbury near Southam, homes shook and frying pans were

:13:26.:13:32.

dropped as the bang sent villagers running into the street. We were

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saying, what happened?! What happened?! We thought a house had

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blown up or a caravan had gone! Or a lorry had crashed! In Kineton,

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the Beaumonts feared ammunition had exploded at the nearby Army base.

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My grandson with us thought there had been an earthquake or a tremor,

:13:51.:13:57.

so it was quite exciting. I thought somebody had crashed their car and

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so I went home. It wasn't scary. It was more puzzling. A bit more

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mysterious. Today the explanation, and amateur footage showing one of

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two RAF Typhoons dispatched to investigate when a civilian

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helicopter accidentally sent a signal on an emergency frequency.

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They were authorised to break the sound barrier. Underneath the path

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of the aircraft you will get this big grumble following the aircraft.

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It turned out a civilian helicopter had signalled an emergency

:14:29.:14:33.

frequency by mistake. The shockwaves are shocking

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Warwickshire were a false alarm. That has just about explained

:14:37.:14:40.

everything! Later in tonight's programme, Aston

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Villa's young Austrian striker Andreas Weimann on why he deserves

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a chance to keep banging in the goals.

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And if you're a gardener you might have enjoyed this week of April

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showers, but beware! The frost is making a return. I'll have all the

:14:52.:15:02.
:15:02.:15:02.

weekend weather details you need to 27 years ago, Duran Duran frontman

:15:02.:15:07.

Simon Le Bon almost lost his life in a yachting accident. He was

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trapped under a capsized boat until he was plucked to safety by a

:15:10.:15:15.

helicopter. Today, at the end of an exhaustive world tour with his band,

:15:15.:15:18.

the pop legend visited Coventry to give his support to the Air

:15:18.:15:21.

Ambulance Service and their plans to expand their vital work, as Ben

:15:21.:15:31.
:15:31.:15:33.

Godfrey reports. Pop stars Simon Le Bon and the crew

:15:33.:15:37.

of his capsized yacht have been saved from the seas of the South

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Coast... It was 1985. Simon Le Bon, one of

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music's biggest stars, almost drowned in a freak accident. His

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life was saved by a Royal Navy helicopter rescue. I was below

:15:48.:15:52.

decks at the time. I was sleeping and woke up. Today, Simon became an

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ambassador for the Air Ambulance Service. Based at Coventry Airport,

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this helicopter responds to emergencies across Warwickshire and

:15:57.:16:05.

Northamptonshire. I grew up with watching Thunderbirds and

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International rescue, and I think as a kid, you have this idea that

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if anything really bad happens, somebody will come and get you. And

:16:13.:16:18.

this is the closest thing we have to that. This is said to be one of

:16:18.:16:22.

the fastest air ambulances in service, but also the most

:16:22.:16:27.

expensive. I found out it cost almost �2 million to run it a year,

:16:27.:16:37.
:16:37.:16:38.

which is why we need to keep the money the running in. Despite the

:16:38.:16:40.

financial challenges, this service has ambitions to launch the

:16:40.:16:44.

country's first dedicated air ambulance for children. We want to

:16:44.:16:48.

set up a paediatric intensive care unit and we want to curb the

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travelling times. Their latest high-profile supporter has just

:16:52.:16:54.

completed a 70-date world tour,and Duran Duran aren't about to rest

:16:54.:16:58.

for long. They're heading to Brazil next month for more international

:16:58.:17:08.
:17:08.:17:10.

dates. I love what I do. And I do it with friends as well. I am very

:17:10.:17:15.

lucky. So the frontman is now a wingman, but the Air Ambulance

:17:15.:17:19.

Service isn't the only charity in the skies. The separate Midlands

:17:19.:17:25.

Air Ambulance Charity is also appealing for donations.

:17:25.:17:29.

That brings back some memories! It's Grand National day tomorrow,

:17:29.:17:36.

but it's also a big day for young Villa striker Andreas Weimann.

:17:36.:17:38.

There's nothing more dangerous than a grizzly bear that's just been

:17:38.:17:42.

wounded. And that's why Manchester United's shock defeat by Wigan

:17:42.:17:45.

midweek could mean bad news for Aston Villa. But Sunday's game at

:17:45.:17:48.

Old Trafford will be a dream come true for their young Austrian

:17:48.:17:54.

striker, Andreas Weimann. Ian Winter has been to meet him.

:17:54.:17:57.

Just when mums and dads were running out of ideas for the school

:17:57.:18:01.

holidays, a long queue formed outside the Aston Villa shop and

:18:01.:18:05.

plenty of went along to see which of their heroes was inside. The

:18:05.:18:10.

same fans who have known for weeks that Aston Villa need one man up

:18:10.:18:15.

front, and his name is Andreas Weimann. The number 26 show it has

:18:15.:18:24.

suddenly become a very trendy fashion statement. -- 26 shirt.

:18:24.:18:27.

Three things you never knew about him. His parents were both Austrian

:18:27.:18:32.

hurdle champions. He moved from Rapid Vienna to Aston Villa at age

:18:32.:18:42.
:18:42.:18:48.

16. And he has scored two hat- tricks against Wolves. If only he

:18:48.:18:52.

could repeat the trick on Sunday at Old Trafford. The young Austrian

:18:52.:18:57.

striker would be guaranteed cult status with the fans. I am really

:18:57.:19:00.

looking forward to it because I have never been to Old Trafford

:19:00.:19:04.

myself. Not as a player or as a fan, so obviously looking forward to

:19:04.:19:10.

that. What would it mean to score against United? Unbelievable! I

:19:10.:19:15.

can't describe it. Probably the happiest moment of my life. He has

:19:15.:19:19.

definitely got the potential. He is all over the pitch, he works hard,

:19:19.:19:25.

plays with his heart. I think he will do very well. Good talent in

:19:25.:19:31.

him and good goalscoring. exciting player? Yes. Andreas

:19:31.:19:37.

Weimann doesn't turn 21 until August. Aston Villa fans have high

:19:37.:19:41.

hopes for the partnership and Alex Ferguson will also be aware of

:19:41.:19:44.

their goalscoring potential at Old Trafford on Sunday.

:19:44.:19:47.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised will be trying to make

:19:47.:19:50.

history tomorrow by winning the Grand National in the same year.

:19:50.:19:55.

It's only been done once before and that was 78 years ago. So can the

:19:55.:19:58.

Festival hero defy the stats and bring the National trophy back to

:19:58.:20:02.

Gloucestershire? Dawn at Jackdaw's Castle. It's

:20:02.:20:06.

usually a quiet time. But when you've won a Gold Cup then not

:20:06.:20:09.

every morning is peaceful. Synchronised and the girl who rides

:20:09.:20:17.

him every day have been much in demand this week. How we see taking

:20:17.:20:26.

to the fuss? And how I do? -- how is he taking? I don't like it, to

:20:26.:20:30.

be honest. He doesn't mind. He will have his photo taken for a while.

:20:30.:20:36.

He knows when he has had enough and he will let you know. If and there

:20:36.:20:40.

is good reason for the interest. Synchronised is bidding to become

:20:40.:20:50.
:20:50.:20:51.

the first horse in many years to win the Grand National and the Gold

:20:51.:20:55.

Cup in the same year. It was 1934 when Golden Miller won both the

:20:55.:20:59.

Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same year. And he's still the

:20:59.:21:02.

only horse to manage it. But this year there's been a four-week gap

:21:02.:21:05.

between the races instead of the usual three, and the stable say

:21:05.:21:08.

he's recovered completely from his exertions at Cheltenham. He has

:21:08.:21:13.

come off the race really well. Jumping is the same for all of them.

:21:13.:21:17.

You don't know who will take to the track until you get there. He is in

:21:18.:21:22.

great shape himself, in good form, he might never be in as good as

:21:22.:21:26.

form again. And Jonjo knows what he's talking about. He won the race

:21:26.:21:28.

with Don't Push It, and Synchronised represents the same

:21:29.:21:34.

combination of jockey Tony McCoy and owner JP McManus. In fact,

:21:34.:21:38.

McCoy had the choice of Jonjo's three National runners. White-faced

:21:38.:21:41.

Synchronised will be joined by Arbor Supreme in the middle and

:21:41.:21:44.

Cheltenham Festival winner Sunnyhill Boy. But Synchronised has

:21:44.:21:47.

won the Midlands and Welsh Nationals before taking last

:21:47.:21:50.

month's Gold Cup. And McCoy, the 15-times Champion jockey, knows

:21:50.:22:00.
:22:00.:22:00.

winning on Synchronised really would be history in the making.

:22:00.:22:03.

If the Gold Cup Grand National double hasn't been done for all

:22:03.:22:06.

those years, what chance has Synchronised got? Well the stats

:22:06.:22:12.

say no chance. Golden Miller in 1934 is only horse to achieve it.

:22:12.:22:16.

He'd also have to become the first top weight to win since Red Rum in

:22:16.:22:19.

1974. On the plus side, he's been defying the experts all season with

:22:19.:22:29.
:22:29.:22:29.

his improvement. The distance is no problem. I'll just slightly worried.

:22:29.:22:35.

He isn't the biggest but his jumping is great. At the time when

:22:35.:22:38.

people will have an annual flutter using an umbrella up to work out

:22:38.:22:44.

the winner, is it a lottery? It can be. Garisson Savannah in 1991 was

:22:44.:22:48.

first and then second. Rough Quest in 1996 came second and then first.

:22:48.:22:51.

The last three winners have weighed 11 stones or more and three of the

:22:51.:22:55.

top four in the weights have run in the Gold Cup. The other is last

:22:55.:22:57.

year's winner, Ballabriggs. It could be an important factor.

:22:57.:23:00.

heard it here first. This weekend marks the 100th

:23:00.:23:02.

anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, when 1,500 people lost

:23:02.:23:06.

their lives. Among the memorial events taking place will be one in

:23:06.:23:09.

the Potteries, the birthplace of the Titanic's captain, Edward Smith.

:23:09.:23:11.

Our Staffordshire reporter, Liz Copper, has been looking behind the

:23:11.:23:14.

history of the man in command when disaster struck.

:23:14.:23:17.

Edward John Smith was the most respected officer on the White Star

:23:17.:23:20.

line, which owned the Titanic. He was known as the millionaire's

:23:20.:23:24.

captain. He hailed from Hanley in the Potteries. This plaque, to be

:23:24.:23:27.

unveiled this weekend, is a permanent memorial to the captain

:23:27.:23:36.

in the city of his birth. How many sea captains can you name? What

:23:36.:23:42.

names can you think of? Captain Smith of the Titanic. He is known

:23:42.:23:46.

internationally and he came from here. This house lays claim to be

:23:46.:23:49.

the place where Edward Smith spent his early years. It's currently on

:23:49.:23:51.

the market and is attracting international interest because of

:23:52.:23:57.

its Titanic connections. Just yesterday, we had a film crew come

:23:57.:24:00.

from Russian television and they were here for quite a while. They

:24:01.:24:06.

said there is a lot of interest in Russia in the Titanic and Captain

:24:06.:24:10.

Smith. That will go out on evening television in Russia. We have also

:24:10.:24:15.

had interest from Germany, particularly from a Titanic museum,

:24:15.:24:20.

and they are very interested in possibly buying a property. Edward

:24:20.:24:25.

John Smith left the streets of a crisis when he was just a teenager.

:24:25.:24:29.

Eventually, she was to mix with high-society. As captain of the

:24:29.:24:33.

Titanic, he has been blamed for the huge loss of life. But a debate

:24:33.:24:37.

here this weekend will challenge whether you should be held

:24:37.:24:44.

completely responsible. -- whether he should be held. He acted

:24:44.:24:48.

extremely calmly. He told people what to do. He got women and

:24:48.:24:53.

children in the lifeboats first. Many will say, he was in a

:24:53.:24:56.

difficult position. He had risen up through the ranks and he did what

:24:56.:24:59.

any but the odds would have done in those very difficult circumstances

:24:59.:25:08.

when faced with a human charity. -- tragedy. -- he did what any body

:25:08.:25:11.

would have done. Captain Smith's final actions were never accurately

:25:11.:25:14.

recorded. All that's known for certain is that he perished as the

:25:14.:25:17.

Titanic sank. But his place in history is being commemorated a

:25:17.:25:20.

century on. And you can take part in the

:25:20.:25:23.

recording of the special BBC Radio Stoke debate on Captain Edward

:25:23.:25:26.

Smith on Sunday night from 7pm at the Mitchell Arts Centre in Stoke-

:25:26.:25:36.
:25:36.:25:36.

on-Trent city centre. No tickets Now for the weather. A typical week

:25:36.:25:41.

of April showers but at times this weekend, it will feel more like

:25:41.:25:46.

February, because it will be very cold and frosty as well.

:25:46.:25:53.

Particularly troublesome for gardeners. This is the picture

:25:53.:26:00.

earlier on today. It is in the South West where we will keep a few

:26:00.:26:06.

showers at times through tonight. Further north, the cloud will break

:26:06.:26:09.

a bit and temperatures will drop underneath the clearing skies.

:26:09.:26:16.

Getting down to minus one degree. Any early showers in the South

:26:16.:26:21.

tomorrow will move a way quite quickly. Then we have this edge of

:26:21.:26:28.

fine weather. More cloud starts to move in from the North later and it

:26:28.:26:34.

will feel noticeably colder with a brisk wind. As the skies clear

:26:34.:26:39.

tomorrow night, the pampered us are going to plummet. Down to freezing

:26:39.:26:45.

in Birmingham. -- the temperatures are going to plummet. A very cold

:26:45.:26:50.

start on Sunday. Do watch out for those tender plants. More in the

:26:50.:26:54.

way of sunshine developing for Sunday and in the sunshine, not too

:26:54.:26:59.

bad. The more settled weather is not an end to last. This is next

:26:59.:27:09.

week the Plough -- next week's weather system moving in. Heavy

:27:09.:27:15.

rain on Monday into Tuesday, so a very unsettled story for next week.

:27:15.:27:22.

And the frost returns for this A look at tonight's main headlines:

:27:22.:27:25.

A historic visit - David Cameron becomes the first British Prime

:27:25.:27:28.

minister to visit Burma. And an 86-year-old man is attacked

:27:28.:27:34.

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