03/05/2012 Midlands Today


03/05/2012

The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.


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

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The headlines tonight: Big investment and a thousand new jobs

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for Jaguar Land Rover in Birmingham if unions accept new terms.

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thought that Tata will invest in the Castle Bromwich site is

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excellent news for the region. relief in sight at last for

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residents in despair over a rubbish tip that towers over their homes?

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The court has made it be clear that there might well penalties if they

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don't comply with this. Counting the cost: concern for farmers as

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crops and livestock are threatened by rising flood waters.

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And how the resplendent yellow fields of Worcestershire have

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:00:53.:00:59.

become a magnet for tourists from Good evening, welcome to Thursday's

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Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight: new jobs, new investment

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and a big extension to Jaguar's main factory - but only if unions

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agree to new working practices. Jaguar Land Rover is to invest �200

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million in its Castle Bromwich It's hoped the new money will

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create up to 1,000 jobs. It follows the decision to build the new

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Jaguar F-type sports car there. As part of the deal to release the new

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money, workers are being asked to agree to an "efficiency drive"

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which includes Saturday working plus drug and alcohol tests. Here's

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our Transport Correspondent Peter Already busy making the highly

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successful XF and XJ models, now Castle Bromwich looks likely to get

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another big investment and jobs boost. JLR's Indian owners Tata are

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putting over a billion pounds into the company, and for Castle

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Bromwich that's expected to mean a new body shop. There'll also be new

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models, including this car unveiled at the Frankfurt motorshow last

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year. It's already been announced that what's being called the Jaguar

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F-type will be built at the Birmingham plant and a further

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model, dubbed by some the 'baby Jag' could also come here. It's yet

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more good news for a factory that less than two years was threatened

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with closure, and JLR looked at ways of cutting cost. Now as a

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result of strong sales abroad, the company needs all the capacity it

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can get. I think it is great news for the region. You cast your mind

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back to October pit 1010, we were all concerned that the Castle

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Bromwich site may not be open for much longer. So the thought that

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Tata will invest up to �200 million in the site is excellent reason for

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the region. -- excellent news. to secure the investment, it's

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understood that the workforce will have to agree to new working

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practices including Saturday working, drugs and alcohol testing

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and widespread cost savings. Local people have welcomed the news.

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it is short term heartache for the long-term investment, then so be it.

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The area needs the investment. see that it is for them and not a

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loaded gun, then take it. I think it is good news, and it is showing

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a very grown-up relationship between management and unions. It

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is significantly better than it was 20 years ago, when there was a

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confrontational style between the two. The company currently employs

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around 20,000 people across the UK - 5,000 at its factory at Lode Lane

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in Solihull - And, 2,600 at the Castle Bromwich plant - A new

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engine plant on the i54 site near Wolverhampton will create a further

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750 jobs. JLR itself has refused to comment on the investment plans,

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saying only that what's being said is pure speculation.

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Our Transport Correspondent Peter Plisner is here now. We've just

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entered a double dip recesssion, unemployment in the region is close

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to quarter of a million. How are Jaguar Land Rover managing to

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thrive in these difficult economic conditions? The basic answer is

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emerging markets, China, India, Brazil, they are growing economies.

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People have more disposable income and they want a quality product,

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and JLR products are seen as quality brats. The companies cannot

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make enough of the cars. But this does actually rely very much on new

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conditions for workers, them accepting new conditions, increased

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productivity, drinks and drug testing and working on Saturdays.

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What is the Union's position? have been in talk -- talks of for a

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long time, and they have recommended Dees. Drugs and alcohol

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testing is not unusual in some plants, especially when there is

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heavy machinery involved. We are expecting a result from that ballot

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tomorrow, and I think most workers If this all goes ahead as planned,

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what will it mean for the future of the Castle Bromwich plant? I think

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the future -- this will help secure jobs and create new jobs. Not very

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far away is one of the worst places for unemployment in the UK. Thank

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you. A recycling business has been told

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to cut down the size of a rubbish mountain which is towering over

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homes in part of the Black Country. The Environment Agency took legal

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action against Dudley-based RDF Limited after they repeatedly

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ignored demands to reduce the 12 metre high eyesore, despite

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protests from residents. Nadine Towell reports.

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The view here is as bad today as it was when we filmed in January. For

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residents it is a view they are forced to live with. You will hear

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mechanical noise constantly, the smell is far worse in the summer,

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and the dust is all over the property, over the cars, the doors,

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the bricks. The estate are worried about how it will impact on the

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value. A few doors down, one of his neighbours' shares is can

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frustration. We have had rats in the garage, we have got rid of them,

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but they were in the walls as well, they have gone now, but I presume

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they came from there. The company responsible, RDF Limited, failed to

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meet and about deadlines to reduce the pile, so the Environment Agency

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has taken them to court. They wanted a judge to impose an

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injunction printing more waste being taken onto the site. But

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before the agreement was reached,... They have to get it down to 80

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metres high by 15th June, that is six weeks away, we think it is

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about golf metres high now. managing director of RDF Limited

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:07:22.:07:28.

refused to appear on camera, but People living he told me they will

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believe it when they see it. Buses at the -- bosses must now spend the

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next six weeks keeping their promises, or they will face legal

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action, a fine or even being sent to prison.

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It's been another soggy day, following a week of heavy rain,

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which has caused flooding in parts of the region. There are six flood

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warnings in the Midlands - all of them on the lower reaches of the

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Severn in Worcestershire and There are also 13 flood alerts in

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Among those hardest hit are our farmers. They're counting the cost

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after rivers burst their banks, leaving crops waterlogged and

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forcing livestock to be moved. Cath Mackie joins us from a farm in

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Worcestershire. Things looking any drier tonight? Whoever said this

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was a glamourous job?! IM in an asparagus field, you can see some

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lovely looking dry asparagus underneath, but I am afraid the

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rest of the field is struggling. It is not just crops, but animals as

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well, as I discovered earlier today. Dairy farmer David Goddard watches

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his herd munch their way through what should be their winter feed.

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The incessant rain has forced him to bring the cows indoors at his

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farm in Tewkesbury. There is a cost implication and a work implication.

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We are struggling to do all the work. It is generally a nice time

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of the year, and here we are, back in as a bit his winter again!

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is more, some of the cows are in calf. These two little ones arrived

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just this morning - and at the farm they are fast running out of

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bedding straw. You tend to buy all your us draw stocks in the autumn,

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and that has been used up. Believe it or not this is grazing

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land and this is where the cows currently in that barn ought to be,

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but as you can see, it's under water." The National Farmers' Union

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say that for many, the rain it is a welcome relief. We were in a

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difficult situation a few weeks ago, the talk was about drought and

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extended periods of drought and what the impact might be, but

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having had some rain, it certainly has helped. Back in Tewkesbury, the

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cows not eating grass, are producing less milk - at a time

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when dairy farmers are facing cuts in milk prices. And the

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unseasonable rain is causing other problems. It is crucial this time

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of the year for silage making, and mainstream, please Lord, get a new

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appeal for your computer and get your whether distribution sordid!

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There'll be plenty of farmers saying Amen to that. Ion with one

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of those farmers now. I can see the damage the rain is doing. How much

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is this costing? It is costing us in yield. It is a very slow start

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to the season. We are not getting any growth, we could be looking 20%

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of our yield, because we are missing out on the short season we

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have come to that. Demand for British asparagus is huge. What are

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you saying to the people who supply? Just be patient, when the

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weather warms up, we will have the crop. There is plenty waiting to

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come, we need to win if -- wait for the weather to warm up, we have had

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enough, it is coming at the wrong time of year. It is ironic, too

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much rain, too little, which is worse? I would rather avoid the

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rain at this time of year. It is getting in the wake of what we

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really want to be Devon, which is harvesting asparagus. We need a

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warm soiled -- warm soil conditions. We always want things perfect, we

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never get it, they should have come in the winter, we're getting that

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rainfall now. It is soul-destroying, looking at this? It doesn't make

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for a happy life, does it? Customers are desperately wanting

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to find that when we are going to be ready, and every day we are

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looking at updated weather forecasts, it is not doing what we

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want. This is stopping us from doing our job. Thanks for talking

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to us in the pouring rain. company which owned to be my baby

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has announced it may be forced to close. They have failed to find a

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buyer for the airline. Flight between Birmingham and Belfast, not

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and Amsterdam, will be stopped on June 11th. No flight anywhere on

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their network are being offered beyond September tent.

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Inquest into the death of Kate Prout has been told her husband

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just snapped when he strangled her. At his trial, Adrian Pratt denied

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killing her, but years later, admitted burying a body on their

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farm. Their family said that the apology has come too late. Kate

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Pratt simply disappeared on bonfire night, 2007. They had a tempestuous

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relationship. Despite being convicted of her murder, her

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husband protested his innocence, but last November, he finally

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confessed. He showed police where he had buried his wife. At all of

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that brings us to debate. The inquest into her death. It -- its

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aim, to discover how she died, something which hasn't been

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revealed until now. The coroner was told that in his confession, Adrian

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told the police he was arguing with his wife when he just snapped and

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thrust his hand into her neck. She didn't struggle, and fell to the

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ground. Realising he had killed a, he wrapped her body in a curtained

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and put it in burqa. He even went to the pub to appears everything

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was normal. When he took us to the site, he was very tearful, very

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remorseful, and you did actually apologised to the family and

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friends -- he did. He says he knows now that he should have told them

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right from the start. Now we can reflect on what he has done in the

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18 years prison sentence he received for her murder. In their

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own interview today, Kate's family said that his remorse was too

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little too late. I'm glad he did confess, but it took him a four

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years, and it was four years of agony. We have lost Kate forever.

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He is locked up for 18 years. It took a long time for him to come

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forward and say. It has caused the family a lot of stress. With the

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investigation into her murder now complete, her family said they were

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now concentrate on plans for a memorial service to celebrate her

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life. Putting behind them the focus Still to come: We'll be meeting the

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Midlands gymnast who is battling it out for a place in Britain's

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Olympic squad. And we've had slate grey skies and

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almost constant rain till now, could we do any better for the bank

:15:02.:15:12.
:15:12.:15:14.

Or last year, the government pledged to a try of a military

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Covenant into law. Today, civic leaders in

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Staffordshire a sign of their own version in a ceremony at the

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National Memorial arboretum. It pledges help to up soldiers but it

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into a county after serving overseas.

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Dignitaries from across Staffordshire gathered today to

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witness these special signing of the Covenant. In all there are 22

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signatories all pledging to help ex service men and women with things

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such as finding a new home or job, and also for any other issues they

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may face. The covenants were introduced by the Ministry of

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defence to redress disadvantages faced by former Armed Forces staff.

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Nikki Peterson knows what it's like. As well as serving herself, she's

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also been an army wife to her husband, Steve, who's just de-

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mobbed after 22 years. Today you are sold here, tomorrow you are a

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civilian. Today you've got health care, to worry you've got to

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register with a doctor. Those kind of changes in your status, which

:16:26.:16:36.
:16:36.:16:37.

will happen now have to once, can present huge problems. The ceremony

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was completed with a wreath-laying. We will bring back people... Many

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of those people will want to leave the Services in due course and

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finish up in that the community. Transferable skills... Whilst

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symbolic money is being made available for some of the

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organisations involved, to help them help those who've served their

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country. Voting's been underway since seven

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o'clock this morning in this year's local elections. There are also two

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referendums taking place over directly elected mayors. The

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polling stations will be open for just over a further three hours.

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BBC WM's Political Reporter Elizabeth Glinka joins us now.

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Remind us first of all, Elizabeth, what's at stake today?

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We have elections taking place at 18 local authorities across our

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region. That means 351 council seats are up for grabs today. As

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well as those elections, we've also got to referendums taking place,

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one or Coventry and one in Birmingham, to decide whether these

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cities want to be run by elected mayors.

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When will we get the results? The polls close at around 10

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o'clock tonight. For the majority of our councils, they will start

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counting out that point. We hope to get the results towards the early

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hours of tomorrow morning. Five of our councils, Newcastle-under-Lyme,

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Wolverhampton, Redditch, rugby and Solihull, have decided they will

:18:15.:18:18.

count tomorrow. We will not be getting those results until Friday

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afternoon. And because of the referendums, in Coventry, they will

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be counting tonight. -- in the case of the referendums. In Birmingham,

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they are not going to start counting until about 2 o'clock

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tomorrow afternoon, which means we are hoping to get a result of that

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referendum, perhaps by late afternoon, early evening tomorrow.

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And you can keep right up to date with all those results as they come

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in on your BBC local radio station and the BBC website.

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There'll also be a special election programme on BBC One this evening,

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starting at 11.35pm, including round-ups from of what's happening

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:19:11.:19:21.

Now with a look at the sports news. Warwickshire's Ian Bell returned to

:19:21.:19:24.

form today completing his first century of the season despite a

:19:24.:19:27.

frustrating rain affected day at Edgbaston. And it's not the only

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sport he's been playing this week. The Bears have been to Villa Park

:19:30.:19:33.

to show their support for the Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov and his

:19:33.:19:35.

battle with leukaemia. A warning, my report contains some flash

:19:35.:19:38.

photography. Don't you just hate them? They're

:19:38.:19:40.

former and current Warwickshire players who've all played

:19:40.:19:43.

international cricket. And guess what - they're all good at football

:19:43.:19:46.

too. How annoying! But this wasn't just a kickabout at the Villa Park

:19:46.:19:49.

Academy. The Warwickshire players and coaches were signing a wall to

:19:49.:19:54.

support Stiliyan Petrov and his fight with Leukaemia. Warwickshire

:19:54.:19:58.

already support this charities so it is no surprise they stepped in

:19:58.:20:02.

to support the Aston Villa captain. It to be here today is special

:20:02.:20:08.

because no one of his good mates. Am happy to be helping him. How is

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

he getting on? To have spoken to him. He is a strong character. You

:20:20.:20:25.

wouldn't know he had this illness, he is just normal. The other fight

:20:25.:20:29.

Villa have at the moment is to stay in the Premier League. And on

:20:29.:20:32.

Sunday they host Tottenham. It'll be tough but a win would make them

:20:32.:20:36.

safe. And Villa fans Ian Bell and Chris Woakes wil be glad if the

:20:36.:20:41.

relegation fears are eased. I am more optimistic now. The side is

:20:41.:20:44.

picking up points which is nice to see. I'm optimistic we will stay up.

:20:44.:20:48.

There is a big game this weekend and hopefully we will pick up a

:20:48.:20:51.

couple of points there. You are always going to be a little bit

:20:51.:20:55.

concerned but hopefully we will have enough to get through. We like

:20:55.:21:00.

to think we will get the result we want. Villa fans are being urged to

:21:00.:21:03.

sign Stan Petrov's wall at Sunday's game. They hope it can help inspire

:21:03.:21:09.

the club in more ways than one. And BBC WM is backing a family fun

:21:09.:21:15.

run in Birmingham as part of its Red Alert Appeal for Cure Leukaemia.

:21:15.:21:18.

It's on Sunday May 27th at Sutton Park. Further details are on the

:21:18.:21:28.

charity's website. Kristian Thomas was a teenager when

:21:28.:21:32.

London was awarded the Olympic Games. But in less than three

:21:32.:21:36.

months time he's hoping to compete for Britain in the mens' gymnastics.

:21:36.:21:40.

And the pressure is on to book a place in the team.

:21:40.:21:43.

It's one of the most graceful sports. But also one of the

:21:43.:21:51.

toughest. But the British team are starting to reap the rewards of

:21:52.:21:54.

their intensive training at Lilleshall because the men will

:21:54.:21:57.

have a team at the Olympics this summer for the first time in 20

:21:57.:21:59.

years. And Kristian Thomas from Wolverhampton is desperately keen

:22:00.:22:04.

to make sure he's on that team. is what I have worked 18 years

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towards and what my main ambition and goal is to be they competed for

:22:09.:22:16.

Great Britain. I really am looking forward to it. He's been selected

:22:16.:22:19.

for the European championships in France later this month, two years

:22:19.:22:22.

after holding his nerve to win European silver for Britain in

:22:22.:22:24.

Birmingham. I think his performances have continued to grow

:22:24.:22:30.

over the last few years. He has gone from strength to strength. He

:22:30.:22:33.

put in a strong performance in Croatia last week as well. I think

:22:33.:22:38.

he will do a good job and Montpellier. A and the pressure is

:22:38.:22:42.

on for these gymnasts. Six were in the European team. Only five will

:22:42.:22:46.

make it to the Olympics. We are all aware of the situation. We've known

:22:46.:22:50.

for a few years that this will be the case. We will all be fighting

:22:50.:22:54.

for a play such training hard. It will be difficult for a person who

:22:54.:22:57.

doesn't make it but at the end of the day, everyone will say they

:22:57.:23:00.

have tried their hardest to make the team. Hopefully I will not be

:23:00.:23:04.

the one out of the team. The 23- year-old learnt his trade at the

:23:04.:23:07.

Earls club in Halesowen. They won't be the only ones hoping he makes

:23:07.:23:17.
:23:17.:23:18.

the cut to carry the Midlands hopes into this summer's Olympics.

:23:19.:23:23.

I don't know how they do it! We're used to hearing about coach

:23:23.:23:25.

loads of tourists descending on places like Stratford-upon-Avon.

:23:25.:23:29.

But an unlikely location's becoming a big draw for the Japanese.

:23:29.:23:32.

A farmer's oilseed rape fields in the picturesque Cotswolds are now

:23:32.:23:38.

attracting hundreds of visitors from the Far East.

:23:38.:23:46.

They've done London and Bourton-on- the-Water. Next stop, some

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quintessential English fields of gold. This sea of oil seed rape at

:23:51.:23:54.

East Lodge Farm at Stanton is becoming a must see for Japanese

:23:54.:23:57.

tourists in the same way we might be fascinated by Mount Fuji.

:23:57.:24:01.

think it is wonderful and it is quite beautiful. This is a most

:24:01.:24:11.

beautiful place. It's fantastic. Farmer Charlie Beldam has planted

:24:11.:24:13.

1,000 acres of the crop on the Worcestershire/Gloucestershire

:24:13.:24:15.

border. He's set up his own processing business making cooking

:24:15.:24:18.

oil. But was taken by surprise when a tour company contacted him,

:24:18.:24:21.

asking if they could bring the Japanese visitors to his fields.

:24:21.:24:27.

They don't grow rapeseed in their country. It's an eye-opener to have

:24:27.:24:34.

49 Japanese turn up to see the flowers, a completely different

:24:34.:24:42.

thing to what they expect and something that is so normal to us.

:24:42.:24:48.

Charlie gets �1 per visitor. The Japanese get their pictures. It's

:24:48.:24:53.

very beautiful. A it's a yellow, lovely sea. A But not everyone

:24:53.:24:57.

closer to home is as enthusiastic about the crop. They gave the hay

:24:57.:25:02.

fever, it's the wrong colour for the countryside. We live by �1 it

:25:02.:25:06.

can be a bit overpowering. Some people think that it shouldn't be

:25:06.:25:11.

in this country. It is a really important crop for us to grow. It

:25:11.:25:14.

allows for soil to have a break from cereal crops, helping prevent

:25:14.:25:19.

disease and pests. And of course it brings a welcome tourist boost to

:25:19.:25:23.

the Cotswold. In a month's time, this car that of the other will be

:25:23.:25:28.

gone. On other fields in the farm, crops of linseed will be blossoming,

:25:28.:25:32.

creating carpets of blue. 14 coachloads of Japanese tourists

:25:32.:25:42.
:25:42.:25:49.

have already been booked in to see There is hope on the horizon but

:25:49.:25:56.

are not overly impressed with the weather at the moment. All things

:25:56.:26:02.

considered, we should consider ourselves lucky felt it is not

:26:02.:26:06.

going to be a complete washout over the weekend. We are getting at the

:26:06.:26:09.

rain out of the way before then because we can see a pair of France

:26:09.:26:13.

heading down for the North. The rain sandwiched in between will

:26:13.:26:16.

affect us tonight and tomorrow. The emphasis this weekend is going to

:26:16.:26:20.

be on colder weather. Colder for Saturday and Sunday with night

:26:20.:26:26.

frosts, widespread frosts. Then the rain returns on bank holiday Monday.

:26:26.:26:29.

Back to the seething under overnight, we are covered in cloud

:26:30.:26:35.

and we saw the rain in the south of the region. We will see this band

:26:35.:26:40.

of rain having another go at us tonight. It will be heading out

:26:40.:26:43.

from the north and then it will become patchy towards the early

:26:43.:26:49.

hours. But a lot of Claus left behind. Misty and murky as

:26:49.:26:53.

temperatures down to seven orate. However, this all overlaps into the

:26:53.:26:56.

morning to Morris and it is going to be a grim, dreary start to the

:26:56.:27:00.

day. That rain will become patchy through the afternoon, perhaps

:27:00.:27:04.

meeting up this and showers are heading down from the north. The

:27:04.:27:07.

afternoon will definitely be drier than the morning and it will not be

:27:08.:27:10.

as wet as today. If there is any brightness during the afternoon,

:27:11.:27:14.

that will be enough to boost those temperatures slightly, otherwise it

:27:14.:27:18.

will feel like today with highs of around nine to 11 Celsius. 12

:27:18.:27:23.

Celsius in places. As for tomorrow night, it will start to clear and

:27:23.:27:33.
:27:33.:27:33.

those guys will give us some Documents and letters received...

:27:33.:27:40.

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