25/04/2012 Midlands Today


25/04/2012

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

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The headlines tonight: New revelations about the murder of a

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Shropshire peace campaigner 30 years ago.

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Facing relegation - Aston Villa on the edge after another defeat.

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totally and utterly a shambles. The manager needs to go. There's a good

:00:21.:00:25.

chance we could go now. I can't see us getting many points in the last

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three games. Save this traditional high street -

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the protesters trying to stop a new superstore.

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And a permanent memorial for generations of miners who worked in

:00:33.:00:43.
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Good evening, welcome to Midlands Today from the BBC this Wednesday

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evening. Tonight: Calls for a 30- year-old murder case to be re-

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opened. There are fresh demands for a new investigation into the murder

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of an anti-nuclear campaigner in the mid-1980s. Hilda Murrell's

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death led to extraordinary conspiracy theories, among them

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that M15 agents had kidnapped her from her home in Shrewsbury. But

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seven years ago, a local man, Andrew George, was jailed for

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murdering Miss Murrell during a burglary. In an exclusive BBC

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interview, though, a former prisoner claims four other men were

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also involved and remain at large. Mr A, who can't be identified for

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legal reasons, says the full story has yet to come out. Here's Giles

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Latcham. For seven years he kept quiet but,

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now, Mr A has decided to break his silence. In prison, he befriended

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Andrew George, the only man convicted of killing Hilda Murrell.

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But he's convinced George was part of a gang. He did burgle the house,

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it was a burglary that went wrong. He did stab Hilda, he did drive her

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to the copse, he did put the body there, but there was more people

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involved, he didn't do it alone. Hilda, a renowned rose-grower from

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Shrewsbury, was murdered in 1984 - abducted, stabbed, driven into the

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countryside and left to die. Police were convinced they were looking

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for a local burglar but theories emerged claiming she was killed in

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a botched MI5 operation. Then in 2005, labourer Andrew George was

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jailed for life. His DNA was found on Hilda's clothing. In prison, he

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confessed to Mr A but named others too. I wrote those names down on a

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piece of paper and I put them underneath my shoe, in the sole of

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my shoe, so the next time I saw the police, I could give them those

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names because I believed those names to be quite important. I give

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them the police but from that moment on, they told me to stop

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talking to George and that was when the trigger happened to move him

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out of that prison. According to the MI5 theories, Hilda was under

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surveillance either because of her anti-nuclear views or because she

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might have got information from her nephew in naval intelligence, Rob

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Green, about the controversial sinking of the Argentine warship

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the Belgrano in the Falklands war. In reality, Mr A says it was Andrew

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George and his pals after money for drugs. He always went back to the

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fact that he used to inhale gas and aerosols. It was glue and other

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things like that. It was his circle of friends, they wanted money for

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drugs, they wanted money for other bits and bobs. It was just the

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local delinquents in the area. It wasn't the Government. In a case

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full of unanswered questions, one of the most curious is why would

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Andrew George drive Hilda Murrell six miles out into the countryside

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before leaving her to die in those woods over there. The conspiracy

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theorists would have it that this was an abduction so that she could

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be questioned by intelligence agents. Less colourfully, speaking

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to Mr A in prison, Andrew George said the feisty Hilda put up a

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struggle in the house and they wanted her out of the way. They

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wanted to clean the house of all the valuables and they wanted her

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gone so they sent George away and the journey didn't go as planned.

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Um, crashed the vehicle and he stabbed her. When he got back to

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the house XXX had arranged a van, in his words, to clean the house,

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to get everything they possibly could. Hilda's nephew Rob Green

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continues to campaign for the case to be re-opened. In a new book, he

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reveals that more DNA belonging to someone other than Andrew George

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was found beneath his aunt's fingernails. The people Mr A names

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still live just a few miles from the spot where Hilda died. But the

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names never formed part of the evidence put to the jury at Andrew

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George's trial. Mr A has a new life now, his own criminal history

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behind him, but this chapter he cannot close. I've never been able

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to talk to anybody about this. I've had nightmares about it. It just

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never, ever goes away. And if it's going to stay in the public eye and

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it's going to stay where it is, I think the truth needs to come out.

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A little earlier, I spoke by phone to barrister and legal campaigner

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Michael Mansfield QC who's taken a close interest in the case. What

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was his reaction to the day's developments? It is perfectly clear

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others were involved in it. The jury at the trial were not made

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aware of this, as far as I know. The other avenues are to ask the

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judicial inquiry. It is in Andrew George's hands and he has showed no

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inclination to reveal the truth. It is his own fault he will be in

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prison. There are other ways the matter can be investigated without

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his help. The major suspect in this are the security services. It seems

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to me that it is time that there was an investigation into their

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role in this matter. It is incredible that one should be asked

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to believe that they had no knowledge or played no part or at

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least deny it given Robert Green's position in the war and also won

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campaigning against the nuclear industry.

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In a statement, West Mercia Police tell us the allegations were fully

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investigated during the original inquiry. They say any decision to

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re-investigate the case would be made by the Criminal Case Review

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Commission. Aston Villa could lose an estimated

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�40 million pounds if they're relegated from the Premier League.

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That's the stark reality for a club that's spent the last 24 years in

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the top tier of English football. Last night, the Villa manager Alex

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McLeish was on the receiving end of a torrent of abuse from fans after

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they were beaten by Bolton at Villa Park. And the heated debate

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continues. Ian Winter is live in the radio studios of BBC WM. Ian,

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the fans are clearly very upset. The football phone-ins are always

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feisty affairs on BBC WM. But tonight, sports editor Mark Regan

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and his studio guest Richard Sneekes are very busy indeed. As

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you can see, the switchboard is lit up like a Christmas tree. How busy

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are you? We have had a record and out of course. And no wonder

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because Aston Villa fans are worried. And that's because Aston

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Villa fans fear the worst after last night's 2-1 home defeat by

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last night's 2-1 home defeat by Bolton.

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Feel the noise, taste the anger, touch the frustration. 30,000 Villa

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fans let rip on the the final whistle. And their torrent of abuse

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was aimed at one man. The man they'd never wanted as manager ten

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months ago. The same man who's now three games away from relegation.

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couldn't see it coming. I am ready shattered by the 7 1/2. A couple of

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hours earlier. The April showers had captured the mood of the moment.

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Dark clouds hovered above the ground. And outside the ground, a

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quiet moment to reflect on the fanzine humour that keeps the

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diehards coming back for more, to watch their Heroes and Villains

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stumbling towards the worst home record in the club's history. But

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record in the club's history. But the League table isn't upside down

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and it could get even worse before the middle of May. Villa are now

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just three points above the third relegation place, occupied by

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Bolton who've got a game in hand. Bolton who've got a game in hand.

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Yet, it could all have been so different. Villa played so well in

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the first half without taking the lead they deserved. And they paid a

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heavy price. Stephen Warnock's well-taken goal was the only

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highlight for the home fans. But no-one guessed that within two

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minutes 45 seconds of the ball hitting the back of the net, Villa

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would concede a penalty converted by Martin Petrov... And then fall

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apart at the back, to allow David Ngog to settle the match at 2-1.

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Sheer agony for Alex McLeish. Unbelievable. I just couldn't

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believe what happened to us. It was the worst nightmare. After a couple

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of minutes of looking so comfortable in the game. It leaves

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a bitter taste in your mouth, watching the game. It is a total

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and utter shambles. No words can describe it, sorry. Can you believe

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it? No, no. There is a good chance we can go. I can't see us getting

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many points in the last three games. And those last three games start at

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West Brom on Saturday followed by Spurs at home and Norwich away.

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have nine points to play for. It is in our own hands. We need to go to

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West Brom and get the points. the Villa fans fear time is almost

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up for a team that's won only one of their last 13 games. And the

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prospect of relegation from the Premier League is far too close for

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comfort. Mark, sorry to interrupt. You're

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now live on Midlands Today. What's the overriding emotion of your

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the overriding emotion of your Aston Villa callers this evening?

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They are pulling together. Last night, Alex McLeish had all sorts

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of stick, particularly after the full-time whistle and we have had

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many calls saying Aston Villa fans were discussed with the behaviour

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of other fans. The defeat crystallised everything. Anyone who

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has been bigger we are too good to go down, they've realised they

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could go down. That is the overriding message. With a taste

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dead than from the football club. They openly acknowledged the

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frustration, and this is from the chairman and the chief-executive.

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We continue to be in control of our own destiny, they said. Well that

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as by the fans are you station tonight? I think it will. If you

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asked me last night, I would have said it won't. I do think there is

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any mileage in getting rid of the manager, they have to stick

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together and get the point. Will they be in the Premier League next

:10:58.:11:08.
:11:08.:11:09.

season? Yes they were. The debate continues until 7pm on BBC WM

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95.6FM. Still to come this evening: The

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footballing nations who'll be fighting for Olympic gold in

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Coventry in three months time check out what the stadium has to offer.

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Well, let's hope it's stopped raining by then or else, we could

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be breaking a few records of our own. The weekend's not looking too

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promising either. For those of you with outdoor plans, I'll have the

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Other news now. The company which runs Warwick Castle says it's

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disappointed after being fined �350,000 and made to pay �145,000

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in costs following the death of a visitor. George Townley from

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Berkswell near Coventry died after falling 15 feet into a dry moat at

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the castle in 2007. Merlin Attractions Limited was found

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guilty of failing to protect the health and safety of visitors. It

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says millions of visitors have used the bridge safely.

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Protesters are tonight attempting to stop the building of a

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superstore on the edge of a Shropshire market town. They

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believe Newport town centre, boasting one of the widest high

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streets in the country, would not survive. Supporters of the plan,

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though, say it would be a shot in the arm for the local economy. Our

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reporter Ben Godfrey is in Telford. Ben, there's a planning meeting

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going on right now. Has there been a decision yet? The no decision yet

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but as you can see, protesters are here and about 50 or 60 are already

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inside. Standing room only really. This is why they're here. Newport

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High Street, they say, it could be damaged by the building of an out-

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of-town shopping centre by Sainsbury's, which could be built a

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couple of miles south of Newport. Here are the details of the

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superstore's plans which the councillors have been recommended

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to approve. 50,000 scare -- 50,000 square feet of retail space.

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Sainsbury's would be required to pay around �2 billion to fund local

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amenities as part of this deal. Let's talk to one of the objectors.

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Why are you opposed? This is neither needed nor wanted. This is

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Eric councils strapped for cash which has been recommended to sell

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greenfield space on the outskirts of Bath bodies hypermarket.

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Sainsbury's says it is creating 400 jobs. A lot of people do go out of

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town for their food. Three under and 50 of those jobs, low-paid,

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minimum wage. -- 350 of those jobs. We don't need those kind of jobs

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for the community and especially our young people. If you lose, you

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have lost the battle of the High Street? No, we have lost one stage

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of that. After that, we will be contacting Eric Pickles, Secretary

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of State, and taking it to a national level. The meeting will

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continue later. Telford officers and councillors have recommended

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approval. They say a scheme like this wouldn't damage the vitality

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of the High Street like Newport. The objectors think differently.

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A former water mill dating back to Saxon times could become a source

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of power once again with plans by a community co-operative to harness

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the force of water to generate electricity. The mill could provide

:14:26.:14:36.
:14:36.:14:41.

the village of Neen Sollars in Shropshire with 20% of its needs.

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The water from this river was first harnessed 1,000 years ago. This

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mill was lasting news just before the First World War. Today, the

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giant water wheel has gone and it has become a handsome family home.

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Plans are afoot to bring it back to life. Basically, we are trying to

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take the water power that is in this river, and you can see here

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now it is flowing over the Weir, and converting it to electricity.

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new automated sluice gate will be built and is that of a water wheel,

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a modern turbine will be installed. It should generate a 12 1/2

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kilowatts of energy. That is one 5th of the needs of the surrounding

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village of Neen Sollars. What about the man who lives it? Have you feel

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about your home being turned into a power station? It will be

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remarkably in intrusive. Nevertheless, it is good, you know.

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After 100 years, a mill that have packed up from grinding corn is now

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going to turn itself into a rather more useful generation of power for

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the present century. If this project comes to fruition, the

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story of this mill will have come full circle with the fast-flowing

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waters of the river once again being harnessed as a valuable

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source of local power. To achieve that goal, the co-operative group

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behind the project needs to raise �150,000. So far, they have 90,000.

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If enough investors can be found to bridge the gap, this mill could be

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up and running again as soon as this autumn as the wheels of

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history go into reverse. It's perhaps the greatest love

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story of all and Romeo and Juliet will be a cornerstone of the World

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Shakespeare Festival in Stratford upon Avon. But audiences have seen

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nothing quite like the latest production. Actors are using

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experiences from their own country's troubled recent history

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to help bring to life the bard's timeless tale of love and hate.

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Joan Cummins reports now on the Iraqi Romeo and Juliet that will be

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playing at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

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It's an image that went around the world when Saddam Hussain was

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deposed by American forces in 2003. War and conflict have continued in

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Iraq with thousands of lives affected by the turmoil. Now, the

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background of strife between the Capulets and the Montagues has been

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adapted to sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia. The play

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has been commissioned for the World Shakespeare Festival and it's hoped

:17:20.:17:28.

it will build help build bridges between the two cultures. It is a

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really unique insight into a different culture and an

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illumination of how important Shakespeare's plays are, have they

:17:36.:17:42.

speak to different cultures. famous balcony scene doesn't appear

:17:42.:17:45.

as you would expect it and there are many more dramatic changes. The

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Iraqi theatre's version of Romeo and Juliet is performed in Arabic

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with English subtitles. Gunfire and suicide bombers are ever present in

:17:51.:17:54.

this classic love story set in Bagdad. But despite this, the

:17:54.:18:00.

director insists the message is one of peace. We need to learn, to

:18:00.:18:08.

teach our children have to love life, how to live life. I asked

:18:08.:18:11.

visitors to the theatre if they thought the language barrier would

:18:11.:18:21.
:18:21.:18:22.

affect their enjoyment. I think other people should have the

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pleasure of Shakespeare. Who owns Shakespeare is the question.

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Everybody. The actors say they're honoured to be working in Stratford

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and hope their interpretation will help Western audiences have a

:18:33.:18:40.

clearer understanding of the reality of life in Bagdad.

:18:40.:18:42.

Three months from today, the Olympics will kick off and Coventry

:18:42.:18:48.

will be at the heart of the celebrations. Because two days

:18:48.:18:50.

before the official Opening Ceremony, the women footballers of

:18:50.:18:54.

Japan and Canada will get their games underway. And the organisers

:18:54.:18:57.

are hoping the Olympic excitement that's starting to build will bring

:18:57.:19:06.

a big crowd to watch them. Nick Clitheroe reports. This report

:19:06.:19:10.

contains flash photography. It's finally starting to feel close

:19:10.:19:15.

for Coventry. The official tournament ball is here and so too

:19:15.:19:18.

are representatives of the teams who'll play in the city during the

:19:18.:19:21.

Olympic Games. After yesterday's draw, we know that at least 16

:19:21.:19:23.

different countries will be involved in games at the rebranded

:19:23.:19:30.

City of Coventry Stadium. facilities are brilliant. This

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stadium is nice and we went to the hotel before and everything looks

:19:35.:19:40.

very good. We are very satisfied. The Canadian women will be the

:19:40.:19:43.

first to play here against the world champions Japan. They have a

:19:43.:19:49.

second match as well against South Africa. It is a beautiful place. I

:19:49.:19:52.

love the intimate setting. It is a home away from home so we are

:19:52.:19:56.

looking forward to the opportunity to play here and hopefully, we will

:19:56.:20:01.

have a lot of eggs hatred Canadians and fans coming from London and we

:20:01.:20:07.

will... Expats. Monday's test event at the stadium when Senegal beat

:20:07.:20:10.

Oman to claim the final qualifying place was generally judged a

:20:10.:20:13.

success although a few problems with security checks still need

:20:13.:20:15.

attention. Coventry has been one of the better-selling football venues

:20:15.:20:19.

but there are still tickets left so cue a Sky Blue star to bang the

:20:19.:20:26.

drum. So, Dion, there are three big questions the public want answered.

:20:26.:20:30.

1.5 million tickets go on sale in early May. We want all of those to

:20:30.:20:36.

go, we want the stadium to be full. If you have a charge to his �10, --

:20:36.:20:42.

who is 10, you pay �10, if it charges five, you pay �5. I think

:20:42.:20:47.

it is a great idea. There are five double-headers. A game in the

:20:47.:20:54.

afternoon, a game in the evening. You get to pay one fee and you get

:20:54.:21:00.

to stay to watch two games. Everyone will be hoping for a big

:21:00.:21:07.

improvement in the British weather. He won't be playing in the Olympics,

:21:07.:21:11.

I don't think! Coal mining was once a way of life

:21:11.:21:14.

in parts of the Midlands. Not any more. It's nearly 20 years since

:21:14.:21:17.

three centuries of mining history came to an end in the Cannock

:21:17.:21:20.

coalfields. But thanks to a campaign, many of the miners who

:21:20.:21:23.

worked in the pits will now be remembered by future generations. A

:21:23.:21:26.

memorial made up of more than 2,600 bricks, each bearing a miner's name,

:21:26.:21:36.
:21:36.:21:38.

will be dedicated this coming Miners preparing to descend the pit.

:21:38.:21:41.

Once a common sight with 48 collieries scattered across Cannock

:21:41.:21:45.

Chase employing tens of thousands. But scenes like this have long been

:21:45.:21:49.

obliterated from the landscape. Mick Drury became a miner aged just

:21:49.:21:54.

15. Now, his is one of hundreds of names inscribed on this brick

:21:54.:21:57.

memorial at Hednesford in Staffordshire. Relatives have paid

:21:57.:22:07.

up to �20 for each brick to remember a miner - living or dead.

:22:07.:22:12.

I'm very privileged to have worked with these blokes. They were the

:22:12.:22:18.

best set of blokes. This, to me, is great. I can look at blokes that I

:22:18.:22:22.

have forgotten about. The bricks are the brainwave of Mike Mellor.

:22:22.:22:25.

He promised his uncle he'd make sure the miners weren't forgotten.

:22:25.:22:27.

On Saturday, generations of pitmen will be remembered when the

:22:27.:22:35.

memorial is dedicated by the Bishop of Manchester. This memorial be

:22:35.:22:39.

carried on because there are families involved. It is not just

:22:39.:22:42.

the people whose names are on the bricks. They have families who have

:22:42.:22:47.

children, grandchildren, and I am sure this will be a lasting memory

:22:47.:22:52.

and will fulfil my promise to my uncle Horace to say that we will

:22:52.:23:00.

remember the miners. More than 500 miners lose their job so much

:23:00.:23:04.

growth --... Littleton Colliery was the last mine to close on the Chase

:23:04.:23:10.

in 1993. This is what the site looks like today. A new housing

:23:10.:23:17.

estate will be built here. Once, hundreds of miners worked here. At

:23:17.:23:24.

least this epic -- brick memorial paid tribute to that legacy.

:23:24.:23:29.

Well, it's a familiar story. You've been hearing it for the last week

:23:29.:23:33.

and a half. A lot of wet weather and more of it to come. Rain and

:23:33.:23:36.

showers - windy with it at times for the remainder of the week.

:23:36.:23:39.

We've got a couple of yellow warnings for both tonight and

:23:39.:23:42.

tomorrow of more heavy rain that could cause disruption due to some

:23:42.:23:52.

localised flooding. A build-up of that surface water. Now, we've had

:23:52.:23:54.

squally showers through the afternoon - they'll continue for a

:23:54.:23:57.

time this evening. As the winds begin to ease, they'll turn into

:23:57.:24:00.

slow-moving downpours, although the tendency for those begins to shift

:24:00.:24:07.

to the North later in the night. And we're looking at temperatures

:24:07.:24:12.

no lower than seven Celsius. But no sooner is the sun up, the showers

:24:12.:24:15.

start germinating from the South. So, we'll see another rash of them

:24:15.:24:22.

developing through the afternoon. They will be joining up to spell

:24:22.:24:26.

longer spells of rain. They'll be slower moving because it won't be

:24:26.:24:34.

as windy tomorrow. But any sunshine could trigger some hail or thunder.

:24:35.:24:44.
:24:45.:24:47.

Top temperatures tomorrow - 13 Celsius. More wet weather to come.

:24:47.:24:50.

It really is like a conveyor belt of rain with the showers continuing

:24:50.:24:53.

into tomorrow night, merging to form longer spells of rain in the

:24:53.:25:02.

South. More heavy rain on Friday and Saturday. Thanks for that

:25:02.:25:09.

drought update! A look at tonight's main headlines: Britain slips into

:25:09.:25:12.

recession again - we're back where we were four years ago. The economy

:25:12.:25:15.

shrunk over the last six months. It's officially a double dip

:25:15.:25:17.

recession. And calls for the investigation

:25:17.:25:19.

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