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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