16/08/2013 Midlands Today


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


headlines tonight, dismay from relatives of firefighters killed in


a warehouse blaze as a coroner decides not to hold full inquests


into their deaths. We have got to continue fighting for the truth, and


I will do that until I am satisfied I have done everything I can in his


memory. Also tonight, we're live at Weston Park as thousands head for


the V Festival on the Shropshire—Staffordshire border.


Heavy rain adds to the chaos on the motorways, 14—mile queues on the


M54. We have been travelling since six


o'clock, stuck in traffic for three or four hours.


The street pastors who are helping keep the revellers and homeless


people of Shrewsbury safe. Using the Shropshire countryside to


fool German bombers in the Second World War to think it was a city.


And after a taste of summer today, it will feel distinctly different


tomorrow. Good evening. The families of the


four firefighters killed in a warehouse blaze in South


Warwickshire say they are bitterly disappointed by a coroner's decision


not to hold full inquests into their deaths. Darren Yates—Badley, Ashley


Stephens, John Averis and Ian Reid died in the fire in Atherstone on


Stour in November of 2007. Three senior firefighters were cleared of


manslaughter by gross negligence following a lengthy trial last year.


Today a coroner told the families that, while it was only right that


the men's deaths be fully and fearlessly investigated, the police


had done their job and full inquests were unnecessary. Sarah Falkland


reports. Some of the firefighters' relatives


had kept away, perhaps knowing what was in store. Within minutes they


had been handed a decision they didn't want to hear. We pinned our


soaps on an inquest, haven't we? Yes, disappointed. To put it mildly.


Because we thought having an inquest, everything would come out.


Coroner Sean McGovern said he'd read 24 files of evidence about the


events of November second 2007, details of how Darren Yates—Badley,


Ashley Stephens, John Averis and Ian Reid had gone inside the vegetable


packing warehouse, which had been targeted by arsonists. He said it


was plain to him that the families feel bitterly let down by the


verdicts in the Crown Court and that the whole truth did not come out.


But he said it wasn't clear to him what further investigation could be


made that would throw significant new light on the mens' deaths. The


families are now uniting to try and get to the full truth of what


happened. That is absolute nonsense, and the decision should have been


based on the facts. He should not have taken any consideration of the


Judge's ruling of the trial at Stafford Crown Court. The family say


they will fight to get to the full truth. They're looking at their


chances of a judicial review or a public inquiry. We have just got to


continue fighting for the truth, and I will do that until I am satisfied


that I have done everything I can in his memory. Warwickshire Fire


Service said in a statement that they respect the coroner's decision


today not to hold full inquests. Coming up later in the programme,


saving the NHS thousands of pounds by keeping people at home and out of


hospital. An 80—year—old man suffered a


bloodied nose and a black—eye after a sickening attack by a young woman


in Coventry city centre. Our reporter Liz Roberts has more


details, so what actually happened? Well, the video is very shocking and


shows the man being confronted by a group of young people in Trinity


Street near Millennium Place. It happened around half past eight last


Saturday night. The girl appears to punch him in the face and knock him


to the ground. And then she spits on him. But we've only chosen to show


this section, as the rest of it is too violent. The victim suffered a


bloody nose and a black eye. West Midlands Police say it was a


despicable attack on an elderly man in broad daylight. The attack has


also been condemned by people who have viewed it on the social


networking site, who have left comments saying it's disgusting and


disrespectful. What else do the police say? Detectives in Coventry


are fast—tracking the investigation and are doing everything they can to


arrest the man's attacker as soon as possible. They're encouraging the


woman to make contact with West Midlands Police as they say it is


only a matter of time before they catch up with her. They're asking


witnesses to call them on the 101 number or Crimestoppers anonymously.


Heavy rain and thousands of people heading to Weston Park for the V


Festival caused 14 miles of traffic queues on the M54 this morning.


Organisers had to divert traffic away from one of the car parks after


a flash flood, which added to the problems. From there, Ben Sidwell


sent this report. There was not much of a festival


spirit heading to Weston Park this morning. Torrential rain led to long


delays into the V Festival. How has the Jenny Bean today? Terrible!


Awful! We have been stuck in traffic for three or four hours. The weather


has been terrible. We have sensed the guise up to bring the tense. I


got stuck in my car, just getting into the car park. Traffic was down


to a walking pace as the weather led to diversions. The South car park


was flooded, so as a contingency we opened one of the West car parks


instead, and started filling that first. So a slight delay, but we


overcame it anyway. But the mood changed by the afternoon when the


sun came out and the festivalgoers came as well. It seemed everyone was


here to see one lady. Beyond say. Beyond say!


The line—up is dominated by women this year.


Goal power, we have been coming four years, we would not miss it, but


there is more girls. It is good to have a woman headliner. Backstage,


while dressing 's Beyonceroom was under wraps, frail preparations were


being made for the other artists. This dressing room is still being


done out, plenty of water, cranberry juice, information, including masses


and hairdressers, very nice. And of course a bit of alcohol. With the


stage set for 90,000 festivalgoers, the hope is that the worst of the


weather has already made its appearance.


No doubt people are there to see Beyonce this weekend, but what is


the state of the parkland after all that rain? You can see that it is


seeing all right behind me, it is pretty firm, which is good news for


one man, the festival organiser, it was a worst—case scenario this


morning. It certainly was a challenge with heavy rain


overnight. It did mean we have to change our plans slightly and move


things around, but we got back up and running with a great team. Now,


everyone is talking about Beyonce, her only summer festival date in


Europe, a heck of a coup. Absolutely, we so proud to have


Beyonce, it is going to be fantastic, I can guarantee a superb


show. A lot of people are talking about the line—up, an awful lot of


women have bought tickets, probably 70%. It is quite female oriented at


this year. It has not been planned that way, it is just the acts that


we have booked, the things that are popular at this present time. We


have not planned it, but it is that way at the moment. Your 15th year


here, it is worth £6 million to the council, it has been a really good


relationship. Oh, it is fantastic, we are in a beautiful place, we do


feel this is our home, and we love it here. It is not just ladies who


are playing here. The stage tomorrow night, it will be Kings of Leon


headlining, fingers crossed the weather stays dry.


As we mentioned, there were 14 miles of queueing traffic on the M54 this


morning, our reporter Liz Copper is at the Highways Agency traffic


control centre. How's it looking now, Liz? Well, they have been


keeping a very close watch on things since first thing here. We always


expect delays around the V Festival, but this year things have


been particularly severe. We joined by Frank from the Highways Agency,


and a number of things seem to combine this morning that led to the


14 miles of delays. Yes, that is right. We put our plans into place


from four o'clock this morning, and we were already into a ten hour


deluge of rain, causing an enormous amount of surface water, and that


was then swiftly followed by a tree, which fell onto the side of the M6,


and later, at around about nine o'clock, we had quite a serious


incident at junction two on the motorway 54. What is the picture


this evening? It is very good, everything has returned to normal,


and it is what you would expect for a normal Friday evening. Some people


had to stay in their cars for three hours. That was on the motorway 54.


The good news is that they are having major improvements this


evening. And BBC Radio Shropshire and BBC


Radio Stoke will have regular updates on the travel situation


around the festival throughout the weekend.


Police investigating the robbery of a security van at Hopwood Services


on the M42 yesterday have revealed the van driver was kidnapped and


bundled into another vehicle. The cash van was driven to Barnt Green


and unloaded, but officers traced one of the vehicles involved to


Alvechurch, while another car was later found in Birmingham. The van


driver was not hurt. Officers are hoping to trace two witnesses.


Nearly £11,000 has been donated to a children's charity following the


case of Daniel Pelka. The NSPCC said more than 600 people donated the


money in memory of the four—year—old who was killed by his mother and


stepfather. Daniel had been starved and beaten by Magdelena Luczak and


Marius Krezolek. They were sentenced to a minimum of 30 years


The BBC has discovered that Warwickshire and West Mercia Police


are considering a full merger of the two forces. Warwickshire Police says


it is looking at a range of ideas for the future, including having


just one chief constable for both, but insists there are no firm plans.


At the moment, the two forces have formed a strategic alliance to save


£30m, but they still remain two separate forces. Sian Grzeszczyk,


BBC Coventry and Warwickshire's political reporter, is here, so


what's being discussed exactly? They are talking about two ideas, either


a full merger, which would mean one chief constable, one force, and one


police and crime commissioner, or something that falls just one step


short of that and going for one chief for both forces. Now the


police and crime commissioner for Warwickshire says he'd veto any


plans to merge before 2016. That is the year for the next police and


crime commission elections. But this is the first time we've got it on


the record that these sorts talks are taking place. I think for us and


the chief constable to be having these discussions, I think it's


important that the public know that we're having them because I think it


would be wrong for the public to find out in a year's time that


discussions were taking place and they weren't aware of it.


What does the chief constable for Warwickshire have to say? He says


he's happy with the alliance they have at the moment, but says both


forces need to look at options for the future and he can see the


benefits of single leadership, having one chief constable for both


forces. The Chief Constable for Warwickshire is saved a need to look


at potential options for the future, and he can see the benefits


of single leadership. The full merger is something I don't think we


could achieve before 2016 but single leadership we could. And we are in


debate now with the PCC about that, and I do think there are some


advantages to single leadership. There are some disadvantages as


well, that's why we need to have that wider debate, but it is


something we need to consider and something that may happen before


2016 Could there be a merger before 2016?


Well, the commissioner is promising it wouldn't happen and he'd veto the


idea if it came up, but technically even if a proposal was brought


forward today, something like this would take a long time to


Health managers are monitoring two schemes in Staffordshire which have


helped save thousands of pounds by keeping patients out of hospital.


Both could now be developed nationally. But despite their


success, pressures on local health budgets remain, and new money—saving


ideas will continue to be needed. Our health correspondent, Michele


Paduano, reports. After falling and fracturing her hip


six weeks ago, 92—year—old Olive Spurway was taken to Stafford


Hospital. She didn't need an operation, so she was moved to a


specialist bed in a care home and then back home for physiotherapy. I


had tests, and then I had my x—ray, and I had an operation, and then I


was at the house in my room, and that was all within four hours. I


thought that was really good. Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent


Community Partnership has formed one team out of NHS and council care


staff to simplify looking after patients like Olive. Both budgets


have seen big cuts. We can make decisions much more quickly about


Health and Social Care Act, and we can absorb more of the activity, and


by that is working in a smarter way. At this doctors' surgery in Gnosall,


they have been carrying out local clinics for dementia and frail


elderly. They claim to have saved £1m from an £8m budget. All over—75s


are screened, and Professor David Jolly runs a regular dementia


clinic. It is likely to be rolled out locally. Nobody from the


practice was using mental health services at all! And very few, or


fewer, compared with other practices, were using the general


hospital system at all. So we have been surprised, really. Surgeries


like this are going to be more important as the NHS try to save £30


billion going forward. The reality is we do not pay for another


hospital beds and this is seen as the best chance for the NHS to


survive. And with more people living to a ripe old age, the NHS needs


fresh ideas. Our top story tonight: Dismay from


relatives of firefighters killed in a warehouse blaze as a coroner


decides not to hold full inquests into their deaths.


Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly from Rebecca.


Also in tonight's programme, the Premier League kicks off tomorrow.


Will West Brom still be the region's top dogs come next May?


And fields of deception, how magicians used the Shropshire


countryside to fool German bombers in the Second World War.


A—level students have spent the past 24 hours recovering from getting


their results, some celebrating, others commiserating. For some that


meant a long night out, and in Shrewbsury a team of street pastors


were watching over them. They patrol the streets nightly, not


just helping those the worse for wear, but also looking out for the


town's homeless people. Our special correspondent Peter Wilson spent the


night with them. Are you celebrating or


commiserating? Out on the streets of Shrewsbury.


The town was busy as students drank to celebrate or to drown their


sorrows. But the street pastors were offering help and advice. They were


a surprise to many but others had been helped before. I was very


drunk, they guided me to where I should be going. I did not know


where I was, and they helped me. The team of five are all committed


Christians but they say not bible bashers. Hard—nosed security staff


claim they've made a big impact. The street pastors are just doing a


great job, they are looking after vulnerable people, easing pressure


on the door staff, and taking problems away, making sure they get


home. One of the reasons for starting the street—pastor scheme


was the number of deaths in the river at night. Before the street


pastors began their operations in Shrewsbury, more than 26 people had


died in the previous six years, since these patrols began no—one has


drowned in the River Severn during the night time. People who are any


berated and trying to walking on the towpath as a short cut to where they


live, and there are no barriers, so they are just toppling into the


river. But since we have been here, since 2011, there have been no


deaths were we patrol. The police may be the professionals but the


pastors are trained, too, and they know all the rough sleepers in the


town. They get food for Becky, who's just left hospital. We actually met


her on the very first night we patrolled, and she is a regular


rough sleeper in Shrewsbury. We found out that, this year, she is


developing health problems now. It is the first time I have ever seen


her really upset and tearful. I think she is in a pretty bad place


at the moment. Kelly is concerned about her own vulnerability, a woman


sleeping rough on the streets. Knowing that they are about,


especially on a weekend, we get idiots, drinking people and that, so


they are quite handy. The charity is part of a national network. More


volunteers are joining, and the pastors appear to be winning hearts


and minds on the streets. Midlands swimmers have hit the gold


trail at the IPC World Championships in Canada. Worcestershire's Clare


Cashmore was part of the successful 100m freestyle relay team.


Hereford's Sasha Kindred defended his world 200m individual medley


title for a fourth time. And there's been a second gold medal at the


championships for Ellie Simmonds. The 18—year—old from Aldridge broke


her own world record in winning her 200m individual medley title.


The Premier League football season gets under way tomorrow, and


thousands of fans, as always, start the season full of hope and


expectation. Don't we always? Last night we


focused on Stoke City. Tonight it's the turn of West Bromwich Albion and


Aston Villa. Nick Clitheroe reports. They're near neighbours and


increasingly fierce rivals. Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion


couldn't be separated on the pitch last season, but there were seven


places and eight points between them in the final table. West Bromwich


Albion finished top dogs in the West Midlands at the end of last season,


so what are the fans expecting this time around? They were knocking on


the door of the Europa League, so a European place is not out of the


question. We can get even better this season, is because we have got


more players, like more better players. Top five would be


possible. Really?!Yes, I am positive, I am Dutch! There's no


doubt that the signing of this man has played a large part in the


pre—season optimism at the Hawthorns. Nicolas Anelka has won


major trophies in four countries, and his shirt is the hottest


property in the club shop. The one to come back to England to play. He


felt he still had enough left in his body to be producing in the Premier


League, and luckily for him I agreed! He is a player that I know


well from a short spell together at Chelsea, but over the years you see


the quality of the player. Darren Bent scored for Aston Villa against


Albion last season, but he won't be able to repeat that in this campaign


after joining Fulham on loan today. But it's the striker who stayed,


Christian Benteke, who has made the Villa fans believe this won't be


another season struggling against relegation. I think we will do


better than last year because we kept Christian Benteke, very


positive, very optimistic. Hopefully this season will be a lot better


than last season. That is football fans, and this club has got a


history and tradition of winning that demand is that we win more


games than not. Any club that wins a European Cup has always got that.


They don't meet on the pitch until the end of November. By then, we'll


know whose optimism has managed to outlast the autumn chill.


Nothing like it! And you can follow your football team this weekend by


tuning into your local station for match coverage and reaction.


It's not widely known but a secret operation was carried out in


Shropshire during the Second World War to fool German warplanes. Decoy


fires were lit on Whixall Moss near Whitchurch to give the impression of


burning streets down below. The strategy was used to divert


enemy bombers away from urban areas. Now a tourist trail through these so


called fields of deception has been created, as Bob Hockenhull reports.


Whixall Moss, two and a half thousand acres of lowland raised bog


that proved invaluable to the war effort. The army placed burning


baskets on the ground at night to try to trick German warplanes. Now


the secrets of the operation have been unveiled as part of a new


tourist trail. This is a strategic starfish sight. It is a site which


was going to draw enemy bombs away from urban areas. When we were


compiling a book about this, the people connected with the site would


not speak about it, because they said they were sworn to secrecy.


This is what the fake fires looked like. They were meant to replicate


streets were incendiary bombs had been dropped by the Germans. The


burning streets below would then attract waves of bombers. From


10,000 feet, one of these ablaze would look like a street of houses


on fire. They proved to be very successful. There were 237 of these


in Great Britain at the height of the war. And it was something like


700 bombing missions bombed the sites rather than the real targets.


That probably saved quite a few lives. Jim identified where the


baskets would have been from this German aerial photograph during his


investigations he also found other remnants of the operation. We one


mile away at the battery shed, from where the baskets were lit. Once


they got the word, all the soldiers would have to do is press a switch


attached to a wire and the fires would start. People living nearby


used to cut peat here for a living. Those who survive are glad the


landscape is slowly unveiling its war secrets to the public. People


want to come on trails. You could spend all day year, virtually seeing


nobody. Later this year, these replica baskets are to be ignited


again so the so—called fields of deception can burn once more.


God, that is something, isn't it? How is the weather looking for the V


Festival, the cricket at Edgbaston and anything else outdoors? Rebecca?


It is waterproofs at the ready! Temperatures made it into the 20s


for some of us, but tomorrow has an autumnal feel. We are going to see


those winds picking up, rain to come as well. It will eventually brighten


up, but tomorrow is feeling very unseasonable. We have got a little


bit of sunshine still to enjoy tonight, and then some clear skies


to come overnight, and because of that temperatures will fall away,


dropping down to single figures in rural spots. In urban spots, staying


more into double figures, but then we start to see the cloud moving


into the early hours of tomorrow morning. That signals the arrival of


a weather front, and that weather front is bringing with it some


patchy rain through the day, but most places will see it at some


point. On top of that, the winds picking up, and that will make


things feel rather an seasonable. Temperatures only really getting up


to 18 — 19 Celsius. Feeling quite chilly under that rain. If you are


heading to the V Festival, it looks like tomorrow will be a rather wet


day at Weston Park. Sunday does look better. Having said that, tomorrow


afternoon will see the rain moving off eventually, and through the


evening things will start to brighten up a little bit and we will


see some clear skies overnight once again, but those showers never


really too far away. Milder tomorrow night as well. We start Sunday with


some short, sharp showers to come, but eventually it will start to


brighten up. Temperatures not much higher than we will see on Saturday,


but because those winds are a little bit lighter, it will feel a little


bit more pleasant. Coupled with the sun, not feeling too bad at all.


Through Sunday into Monday, high—pressure starting to move in,


so things are starting to turn a little bit more settled as we move


into the new working week. So we have got a bit of a clip to content


with tomorrow, then, a little bit of rain through the day, but eventually


it is an improving picture through midweek.


A B cap of the top stories: More bloodshed in Egypt, at least 50


people have been killed in clashes between protesters and security


forces. Dismay from the relatives of


firefighters killed in a warehouse blaze as the coroner decides not to


hold inquests into their deaths. Mary will be back at ten o'clock,


have a good evening


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