02/08/2013 Midlands Today


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


headlines tonight: As Daniel Pelka's killers are sentenced to life,


social workers tells us the system is creaking.


Social workers are telling us about the stresses and strains on them.


Also tonight, dismay for Coventry City fans as part liquidation now


looks inevitable. With the football league season


starting tomorrow, it's likely the club will be deducted 15 points.


is a dire financial situation. What we have been trying to do is make


sure that Coventry City football. -- continues at Coventry.


Conned - the 85-year-old who was tricked out of �5,000 of life


savings. Showing off some of the Midlands


finest motors - the Jaguar years on display in their spiritual home.


And it's all change with the weather - an unsettled weekend to come, but


will we see the sun at all. I'll have your full forecast later on.


Good evening. It was the end of an unimaginable cruelty case, one that


left members of the jury in tears. A little boy murdered by his mother


and her boyfriend. Tortured, starved and beaten to


death. Daniel Pelka is the fifth child in as many years to die here


in the West Midlands, unnoticed by the authorities who should have been


protecting him. Tonight we look at what's being done to care for other


vulnerable children. But first we cross to Birmingham Crown Court and


our reporter Ben Ando. There were forceful words from the judge today.


The Justice like the jury some of whom were in tears today has had to


sit through nine weeks of gruelling and often harrowing evidence in a


case that she said involved shocking and deeply disturbing events.


Sentencing the couple she said that details of unimaginable acts of


cruelty and brutality inflicted over many months had exposed a torment


and despair that Daniel must have suffered. The level of cruelty was


reflected in a sentence. A minimum of 30 years before either could be


considered for parole. What considerations did the judge


have to make in setting the jail sentence? The judge had to wait up


aggravating features. In this case, there were many, including the age


of the victim. Daniel was just four years old. The fact there was such a


breach of trust. This was his mother and stepfather who should have been


responsible for him. The sustained level of cruelty. The fact it


continued for so long. In mitigation, there was nothing, said


the judge. We know a serious case review is under way. The final


report will not be published for six weeks. Why is it taking so long?


Hello Makro the serious case review is being overseen by the commentary


safeguarding children board is Makro -- the serious case review is being


overseen by the Coventry safeguarding children board. During


the course of the nine week trial, more evidence has emerged. They say


they need to consider it before they can finalise their report. It will


take them at least six weeks to do that.


Today, two more parents have been charged in connection with their


child's death. A baby Isabella Vallance lived in a house in this


street in Redditch before being taken to Birmingham Children's


Hospital where she died. Tyler Vallance has been charged with her


murder, along with ill treatment or neglect, and her mother Jessica


Wiggins with causing or allowing the death of a child. Child killings are


not common, but in the last few years there have been notable and


shocking cases here in the West Midlands. Bob Hockenhull reports.


Social services - under the spotlight and on the front-line.


Social workers need a real determination and a real conviction


in the work they're doing and the decisions that they're making for


children. But in five years, there have been five high-profile cases of


children being killed by those who should have been caring for them.


Kyra Ishaq died in 2008. The seven-year-old form Birmingham was


starved to death by her mother and her boyfriend. The Serious Case


Review that followed found her death could have been prevented. In the


same year, Ryan Lovell-Hancox from Bilston died from a brain injury on


Christmas Eve. 14 separate agencies had missed chances to intervene in


Ryan's care. In January, 2010, Keanu Williams from Ward End in Birmngham


was beaten to death by his mother. A Serious Case Review into how this


abuse went unnoticed will report in the next few weeks. And in May last


year, 23-month-old Daniel Jones died from a heroin overdose in his home


in Wolverhampton. And now Daniel Pelka - starved and beaten. He was


just four-and-a-half years old. There are undoubted financial


pressures on all council services. The average length of time social


workers spend in the profession is only eight years, far below that of


comparable professionals. Many social workers feel quite


overwhelmed by their caseloads, by the fact that some of the backroom


support has been cut. It has put more bureaucratic tasks on them.


When you make a decision at 3am whether to take a child into care or


not, it is a life changing decision. You have to respect the people who


work in the field. When it goes wrong, we get a scandal. When it


goes right, nobody cares. Today Ofsted said Walsall Children's


Aervices had improved from inadequate to adequate. Children's


lives cannot be put on hold. Our service has to continue to improve


everyday. Elsewhere in the West Midlands, the picture is bleaker.


Ofsted has described children's services in Sandwell as inadequate


for the second time this year. Birmingham's also currently labelled


inadequate. The head of its children's services department quit


last month. Coventry was last described as adequate, but must now


deal with the fall-out from the shocking death of Daniel Pelka.


Often the focus on a particular child somehow gets lost in the


professionals attending much more to what the parent is saying and then


they see the child through the lens of what the parent wants them to


believe. A quarter of council children's services inspected in the


last year were rated inadequate. Clearly there's a lot more


challenges to be met to ensure our vulnerable youngsters are protected.


Earlier I spoke to child protection expert Chris Cloke from the NSPCC


and asked him first for his reaction to the Daniel Pelka case. This is


the most horrific case in many years that we have come across. It is


horrific that a four-year-old could be treated in this way and that his


mother and mother's boyfriend could treat a child in this way.


Systematically tortured over many months. You can just imagine what it


feels like if you are a little for your world, to be denied food, to be


beaten, to be locked away and treated with cold baths as


punishment. We have heard today about the sentences. They are long


sentences. It feels justice has been done. People are outraged that no


one managed to step in when there were so many signs of his suffering.


It is extraordinary. We do need to learn from this case. There is a


serious case review currently being conducted and we owe it to Daniel to


wait and see what has happened. Haven't we been here before? Very


sadly, there have been a series of cases like this over the years and


certainly there are aspects of this case which we are hearing about at


the moment which are very reminiscent of how others were


treated. Going back 40 years, Little Maria which led to the setting up of


the child protection system that we have today. Strong messages come out


of the cases which are very similar. Poor communication, lack of


training, lack of support. We need to know why exactly these cases go


wrong. The serious case review will look at it and ensure that we do all


we can to learn from the cases so that children like Daniel do not


slip under the net again. You think someone somewhere would have got in


touch with the police and the social services, even the teachers. Someone


could have come to you, the NSPCC. message we are wanting to say loud


and clear is that it is really in portent that anybody who has


concerns about a child takes some action Which? really important. we


must either on the side of caution. if you have a concern of any sort,


do something. don't think somebody else will respond. we can together


talk through what the concerns are. the nspcc helpline will say what are


your worries and we can talk through it and decide on the best course of


action. coming up later in the programme:


the police officer said by a judge to have pressed the self-destruct


button after an exemplary career. one of nine men who have appeared


before magistrates in the last two days. he is charged with rape. after


the magistrates had dealt with his case, he had this to say. i am


completely innocent. and maybe was in the wrong house, the wrong place.


others like my cousins have not done it as well. the magistrates heard


the men face a range of charges including conspiracy to traffic,


sexual assault and rape. their cases have all been sent to the crown


court. all of these offences are alleged to have been emitted at


various locations across coventry. the men are accused of exploiting at


least five girls aged between 16 and 18 between may and september last


year. each of the hearings was relatively short with the men


speaking only to confirm their name address and date of birth. they have


not yet entered pleas. they will have the opportunity to do that on


november the 7th when they will appear before the crown court.


police say the alleged victims in this case are all receiving support


from specially trained officers. a judge has told a former


warwickshire police officer with an exemplary 32-year career that he


pressed the self-destruct button when he filmed a naked teenager and


took pictures up women's skirts. robert tedds was given a three-year


community order and he'll have to sign the sex offenders' register.


joanne writtle joins us now from our worcester studio. joanne, what was


said in court about what he did? worcester crown court heard how


58-year-old robert tedds from leamington spa filmed the naked


teenage girl on his mobile phone in june but deleted the file. it was


uncovered forensically after police seized two phones and a computer


hard-drive. when did the offences come to


light? it was when he was spotted taking a picture up the skirt of a


customer at a petrol station in leamington spa. cctv footage


revealed five separate occasions when tedds had taken such pictures.


similar images taken up women's skirts were also found on one of his


phones, taken from different locations - the back of cars, an


office environment and on a train. what do we know about his former


career? he was an admin assistant in the firearms licensing unit when he


committed the offences. prior to that he was a police officer for


more than 30 years. a police spokesman said he'd also carried out


some driving duties for senior officers, but no longer worked for


the force. the investigating officer from a neighbouring force made this


statement. he previously held a position of trust in the community


and we hope this case sends a clear message that no one is above the


law. he was previously a member of staff but no longer works for the


force. judge michael cullum told tedds that he'd lost his job, his


good name and had saddened those who knew him. he said, you will always


be the man who filmed up women's skirts and filmed a naked girl. you


invaded the privacy of a large number of people. tedds admitted


making indecent images of a child and outraging public decency. he'll


now sign the sex offenders' register for five years and attend a


community sex offenders programme. john ledwidge loves nothing better


than watching the grass grow. but not in a boring way. on the


contrary, he's simply passionate about producing the perfect playing


surface. john joined coventry city as an apprentice aged 16. and now,


11 years later, he's head groundsman at the ricoh arena. this morning, as


one man went to mow, praying for a last-minute solution that would see


the sky blues return to the ricoh. john was whisked away to a staff


meeting to be told that the stadium owners had rejected the final deal


at the creditors meeting in london. in short, coventry city were facing


the prospect of liquidation acl who own the ricoh say they rejected the


company voluntary arrangement to keep coventry city football club


playing in coventry and to ensure that the club is financially viable


for the next few years and beyond. it is a frustrating time for


everybody. ultimately, we had earmarked the diaries for coventry


city to come back and play. we still have an asset to look after and we


have a fantastic facility to offer. the pitch is a massive part of that,


whether it be a football club or anything else. the company who own


the ricoh arena say they have rejected the arrangement to keep


coventry playing in coventry and to ensure the club is financially


viable. none of the supporters want us to be back in the situation again


in a year's time. that is why we are pushing very hard to head the


proposals to reflect this. the sky blues reacted with great regret that


a cva has been rejected by acl. it means coventry city football club is


likely to be put into liquidation which is expected to result in a


points penalty for the club going into the new season. the fans


deserve better than what they have got. it is devastating. our home


stadium is in northampton or something like that. disgusting.


ella macro so many promises and they don't seem to happen. gutted. -- so


many promises. like all sky blue fans, john ledwedge has suffered


more than his fair share of frustration in recent years. but


he's the only man in the country who's prepared the finest pitch


never to be seen in league one this season.


ian, the football club have been meeting with the football league.


what is the latest? the football league have issued a statement


saying they are prepared to transfer the golden share, membership of the


football league, two commentary city's owners, provided they are


prepared to accept a ten point penalty deduction from the start of


next season which begins tomorrow. let us talk to the sky-blue trust.


what is your reaction? we are pleased it is only a ten point


reduction but we were hoping they may look into things more deeply as


to ownership and everything that has gone on before. it does not solve


the fact we will still be playing in northampton. we want commentary back


in coventry. the major factor is coventry back in coventry. what has


it been like to be a coventry city fan over the last few months?


lot of fun. their first home game at northampton will be on sunday, 11th


of august. and there's a special sky blues


programme for your views on bbc coventry and warwickshire until 7pm


tonight. stuart linnell will be getting reaction and expert opinion


to today's developments. this is our top story tonight: as


daniel pelka's killers are sentenced to life, a social workers says the


system is creaking. your detailed weather forecast to


come shortly from rebecca. also in tonight's programme: with 12 new


signings in the squad, what are birmingham city's prospects for the


new season which starts tomorrow? and reliving its proud past - jaguar


show off some of their finest historic models going back nearly a


hundred years. an 85-year-old grandmother has been


tricked out of her �5,000 life savings by conmen. cherrie


bartholomew got a phone call at her home in warwickshire from a man


claiming to be a police officer. as lindsay doyle reports, she was told


her card had been cloned and was advised to withdraw all the money in


her account. a victim of her own trusting nature.


at 85 years of age, cherrie bartholomew has been conned out of


her life savings. it began with a phone call to her home in henley in


arden, pertaining to be from the police, telling her that her


barclays bank card had been cloned. i have always hung up and said, no,


thank you, to any of the people on the phone. this time i really


thought it was the police. be very careful. he even gave me the police


number, 101. when she was originally called, the conman hadn't put the


phone down. the line was still open. when she rang what she thought was


her bank, a bogus bank official who said her card had been cloned, money


was due to be transferred the following day, she was advised to


withdraw it. he also said to me, they may query the amount, just say


you are going to buy a car. the scam artists arranged for a courier to


call at her home. later the same day, she handed the money over,


believing her account had already been reimbursed. in a statement,


barclays said, if you are advised not to disclose the reason for the


withdrawal to your local bank staff, this should immediately raise


suspicion. we would never send a courier to collect a card or cash to


be handed over from the home. one of those scenarios where i am


dreaming about it all night and i wake up in the morning and i cannot


believe it is real. i cannot believe how low they would stoop.


additional �300 was withdrawn from an atm in whitechapel in london,


leaving the bank account empty. just hope that nobody else gets


caught like this. it was all my savings gone. no more holidays.


nothing. the football league season kicks off


tomorrow. in the championship, it'll be a very different-looking


birmingham city that takes to the field, with no fewer than 12 summer


signings. but with big names gone and wage


bills slashed, just what are blues' chances? ben sidwell's been finding


out. there were plenty of unfamiliar


faces as birmingham city lined for their team photo. a dozen new


recruits, but not a penny spent. everyone on a free transfer or loan.


all we can do is create a siege mentality. we can be strong


together. i mean me, myself, the staff, the supporters, the fans.


even the manager didn't know everyone in the team photo. taking


his seat next to the boss, mick duffy, a lifeline blues fan who'd


won a competition to be in the start of season snap. at the beginning of


every season, i think, we are going to do something again. over the


years, we have been let down. i am not saying by the players but


circumstances prevail. more often than not, we do not have a great


season. this year we will have a great season. on hand to offer some


advice to new captain paul robinson, 80-year-old fan les clews. you have


got to be optimistic. obviously, they have got a lot of work to do.


there is a lot of talent there. i think they will do ok. the squad may


be young and inexperienced, but they'll still be plenty of hope and


expectation among the fans at st andrews tomorrow afternoon when


blues kick off the season at home to watford.


lots of luck to them. and you can find commentaries,


reports and analysis on all our teams' performance on your local bbc


radio station tomorrow. it is funny how the optimism is the


same at the beginning of the season!


i am guilty of that. historic models from jaguar's rich


history of car making have gone on show in its spiritual home of


coventry. a new gallery has opened at the city's transport museum


featuring 17 of its most famous models, built from the 1920s to the


present day. it comes at a time when jaguar land


rover's expanding in the west midlands and improving sales


overseas. ben godfrey reports. through the years, jaguar has prided


itself on good looks and high performance. as a brand, it doesn't


do modesty. but then this is a brand that's stood the test of time.


is where it all started. this sidecar was established in 1922.


they got a huge order and moved their business to coventry. the


jaguar gallery at coventry transport musuem takes you along a timeline.


here's the famous e-type, which achieved more than 70,000 sales, a


motoring classic of the 1960s. and there's the new kid on the block -


the all-new f-type. this one was first off the production line at the


castle bromwich factory. it will introduce a new generation to the


quality of jaguar and the history of jaguar which has had a major part,


probably with their parents, grandparents and great grandparents.


the car's not always the star. norman dewis was jaguar's test


driver for 30 years. he's driven a million miles for the company. ahead


of his 93rd birthday, he joined a procession of models from solihull


to coventry. i rolled a c type, the deed type. i had a big crash in one


of them. i always got out and was back at work the next morning.


although jaguar stopped making cars in coventry, its engineering hq is


in the city. the cars we are working on at the moment of for about


2015-2017. i cannot tell you what they are. but we have huge


ambitions. today, jaguar land rover sells vehicles in 170 countries.


it's a far cry from the swallow sidecar and the first order of 500.


let's find out what the weekend weather has in store. sunshine or


change. let me take you back to 1990. we got up to 10 degrees higher


than this weekend. we will see some showers. temperatures are going to


be down a little bit. we have seen some showers over the region today.


some have been quite heavy. if you have been caught in them, you have


known about them. over the next few hours, we will continue to see the


showers. some will be quite heavy. there will be drier spells. it will


be quite a bright end to the day. a little bit cooler overnight.


temperatures around 15 degrees. a bit more comfortable compared to


last night. the showers are with us tomorrow. bands of showers moving


through the region. some will be quite heavy. the temperatures are


going to be falling a little bit. back to where we are used to seeing


them around this time of year. the winds are picking up as well.


showers remaining with us saturday afternoon as well. we will continue


to see them a bit heavy in places. then they will start to ease a


little bit. across staffordshire and shropshire, they will remain through


the night. temperatures once again around 14 degrees. sunday is looking


a dry and bright start for most of us. but then we will start to see


the cloud building and we have got the showers starting to move up from


the south. temperatures once again around 20 degrees. low-pressure


sitting over us at the start of the new working week. staying unsettled


so umbrella that be ready for the weekend.


letters recaptured top stories: the mother and stepfather of daniel


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