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A third bomb ` new claims about a third explosive device planted on
the night of the Birmingham pub bombings. It is fundamentally
significant because it had a controlled detonation so it is
nearly intact so it will have DNA on it.
Commuter frustration over regular delays on London Midlands. I want to
see improvements, not explanations. Six prisoners on the roof of
oak`wood Jail, the second rooftop protest in weeks.
And the last chance for Bulley, the Staffie who has been in kennels for
nine years. And I will have the details of the
weather later on. Good evening. There are new claims
tonight about a third explosive device on the night of the
Birmingham pub bombings, 39 years ago. It comes as police re`examine
thousands of pieces of evidence. At 8:16pm in the packed Mulberry Bush
pub in the city centre, the first bomb went off. It claimed ten lives.
Four minutes later, at the Tavern in the Town nearby, a second device
exploded, killing 11. Now a retired senior policeman has given a
detailed account of a third bomb, timed to go off at 11pm in Hagley
Road. It failed to explode. A more thorough investigation of that
device, he says, might have kept six innocent men out of jail and helped
bring the real culprits to justice. Here is our special correspondent,
Peter Wilson. Heading into the past. On the night
of 21 November 1974 Eric Francis was the night duty inspector for the
whole of Birmingham. Two bombs had exploded in crowded pubs bringing
carnage and horror to the city. But the retired policeman is guiding me
to the scene of a little`known third explosive device, set just off the
Hagley Road. Six Irishmen from Birmingham were jailed for the
bombings. Known as the Birmingham six their convictions were quashed
in 1991. Eric believes that the third bomb proves more than ever
their innocence. You are convinced that the third
bomb proves they could not have been responsible? That is correct. That
they simply did not have time to come back out of town, plant this
bomb and then go to new Street and plant up `` catch a train? No. Eric
Francis claims the time is on the IRA bombs meant that the real
bombers had at most an hour before their devices went off.
The third bomb partially ignited at 11pm, three hours after the
Birmingham Six had caught a train. He says senior officers were not
interested in the third bomb. Not whatsoever. They were set on one
thing. I think they genuinely thought that these were the men.
But tonight campaigners for the 21 victims of the pub bombings say the
third bomb is vital. Brian and Julie Hambleton lost their sister Maxine,
killed in the Tavern in the Town. It is fundamentally significant
because it had a controlled detonation, which means it would
have been pretty much intact, so it would have DNA on it. And the fact
`` as long as they can find that, it could go through the forensics
team. West Midlands Police have spent 18
months going through 10,000 documents relating to the case
looking for new evidence which they say would mean the case could be
reopened. In terms of further enquiries, once
we have gone through all of the documentation and we understand
exactly what is in there, what forensics opportunities there are as
a result of the work being done, we will then be in a position to
accurately make a decision on whether we should put resources into
resuming the investigation. If the investigators can find any
significant new forensic material, the police will have you decide
whether or not to reopen this 39`year`old murder enquiry.
Coming up, independent MEP Nikki Sinclaire talks about why she has
chosen to reveal her previous life as a man.
Energy firm NPower is to cut 1400 jobs across the country. Unions are
concerned about the Fenton base in Stoke`on`Trent, which employs 600
after driver shortages caused major service problems last winter, London
Midland trains are still experiencing regular delays.
NPower is looking to restructure their operations in the UK. Some of
it will be reason `` outsourced to India. The union concerned says it
expects these job losses will lead to the closure of the base in
Stoke`on`Trent, in the Fenton area. It employs around 600 people, mostly
employed in the administration of customer accounts. For a while there
have been concerns about the security of those jobs but it seems
the announcement we are expecting tomorrow has been pre`empted by the
GMB union. Has there been any reaction so far? In the last few
minutes I have spoken to Tristram Hunt, the MP. His reaction is this `
he says this is a real low for Stoke`on`Trent's economy, these are
the kind of jobs the city needs. `` real blow. He says he will be in
talks with NPower tomorrow morning. Thank you.
After driver shortages caused major service problems last winter, London
Midland trains are still experiencing regular delays.
According to the latest official figures, in the last few weeks one
in five trains have arrived late. Many commuters using the service say
it is not good enough. In a moment I will be putting some of your
comments to London Midland but first here is our transport correspondent,
Peter Plisner. A tale of two commuters, both using
London Midland services and both still suffering delays. Gary Hughes
travels from Birmingham to Coventry every day. Commuting every day is a
bit hellish. When it works it takes an hour but when it doesn't it can
be anything up to two and a half hours.
Meanwhile Nick Drew commutes from Birmingham to Worcester. There have
only been a couple of times when it has been really really late or
cancelled. There is just that niggling slight delay, it gets quite
wearing. London Midland had a serious shortage of drivers 12
months ago. Year on you would expect things to be better but according to
official they are actually worse. Latest punctuality data shows that
only 80.2% of trains are arriving on time, down 2.4% on the same period
last year. We never even get an apology. My train was 15 minutes
late because of the delays caused by the previous delays. With delays
increasing we asked London Midland's managing director to meet our
commuters but he refused. Instead the company said its head of
communications. In the last few weeks it has not been good enough, I
hold up my hands to that. A lot of that has been to do with the storm
and infrastructure problems. So what did our commuters think of
their meet`the`manager session? I want to see improvements, not
explanations. It is a difficult franchise to run and I will wait to
see how the service improves. With the worst of the winter weather
still to come, many passengers will probably agree.
I'm joined now by Francis Thomas, head of communications at London
Midland, who we saw in that report. Thank you for coming in. We had
hoped to put viewers' questions directly to the managing director.
Why wouldn't he come on the programme to answer them? I don't
think it matters who from the executive team answers the
questions, the important thing is that we talk to our customers.
Patrick gets a lot of requests to do lots of things and sometimes he asks
one of his deputies to go on a programme. We have had a lots of
comments, this one from Matt Bill. It is typical of the complaints.
Really terrible service, often cancelled because of lack of staff,
seriously overcrowded at peak times because of cancellations. We are
doing a number of things and let me reassure all of our passengers that
first of all we don't like running a service that is not on time. We are
getting over the problem of driver shortages. We have 53 drivers in
training and we have put 17 new drivers in training this year. We
have had ten months of really improving performance at the last
month, the E figures were largely down to infrastructure problems,
which were not helped by the storm. That is the case for all train
operators but you seem to fare a lot worse for customer complaints. I
don't think we do more than others. We do a lot more to talk to our
customers and we are very proud about that. You can take a long time
to come back on complaints according to the latest figures. You are
losing drivers, you train them and then they go elsewhere because they
are better paid. Wouldn't it be better to pay them more? Nobody wins
in a bidding war. The drivers who run commuter services in the West
Midlands eventually progress onto longer distance services. That has
always been the case. Thank you for coming on, hopefully next time we
can speak to the managing director and put more of our viewers'
questions to him. We are always happy to answer our customers'
questions. An underground cannabis farm has
been found by police at Drakelow Tunnels near Kidderminster. 400
cannabis plants worth up to ?650,000 were discovered. A 45`year`old man
was arrested. The tunnels were used to manufacture machine parts during
the Second World War and there has been a campaign to preserve them.
Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell faces a huge ill if he pursues a
libel action against the Sun newspaper. The Court of Appeal today
ruled he can't reclaim ?500,000 of legal fees if he wins. The libel
case follows last year's incident when Mr Mitchell was involved in an
angry exchange with police in Downing Street.
It is just coming up to 19 minutes to seven. Our top story.
New claims about another explosive device planted on the night of the
Birmingham pub warming is. `` meins.
`` bombings. And football coach Frank is up for
an unsung hero award. He is no oil painting but Bulley
would love to find a home after nine years in kennels.
There are calls tonight for a privately run jail in the West
Midlands to be shut down, after another day of protests by inmates.
Six prisoners began a rooftop protest this morning at oak`wood
Jail, just weeks after a similar protest at the jail, outside
Wolverhampton. Here is Joan Cummins. More than 1600 category C prisoners
are held at the privately run jail near feather stone. Today six
inmates decided to stage a rooftop protest. The prisoners have been
playing cat and mouse with our television cameras. They have mostly
disappeared now and it is unclear exactly what AI protesting over but
today's protest follows another last month and it came at the time a
report said the prison was failing in virtually every aspect. The
prison's mission statement says it aims to become the leading prison in
the world. GE for S says it is simply experiencing teething
problems. `` group for security. As with any institution there can be
some early challenges in the operation of the establishment.
Prison campaigners showed that the prison shows private jails simply do
not work. I do not think it is a safe environment for prisoners or
staff. An investigation has been begun into this latest security
breach, with the managing company promising lessons will be learned.
West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire is one of our most colourful and
unorthodox politicians. Politically she has fallen out with UKIP and
formed her own party. Now she has written of the threats of exposure
that led her to reveal she had an operation to change from a man to a
woman. I will be talking to Nikki Sinclaire in a moment but first
political editor Patrick Burns has this assessment of her career so
far. The Liberals, Labour and the
Conservatives do not leave in democracy...
A victory speech like no other. Nikki Sinclaire telling the other
parties exactly what she thought of them. You are nothing better than
fascists and dictators. But just six months later she had parted company
with her own, over UKIP's links with the European Freedom and Democracy
grouping in the European Parliament, which she said included homophobes
and racists. Back home her passionate opposition to High Speed
Two became one of her trademark local issues, now as an independent
MEP. So too the gypsy encampment on green belt land. She stood in
Meriden for the Solihull and Meriden Residents' Association at the last
general election, securing 1.3% of the vote. Or so in 2010 came
allegations about expenses and allowances which led eventually to
Nikki Sinclaire and three others being arrested by West Midlands
police on suspicion of conspiracy to do fraud the European Parliament.
Almost two years after her arrest, Nikki Sinclaire remains on police
bail. She strenuously denies any wrongdoing.
Undaunted, she launched her campaign for an immediate referendum on
Britain's future European Union membership, raising well over the
hundred thousand signatures required to force a Commons debate. The
motion was defeated but not before it had triggered the biggest revolt
against a Conservative Prime Minister on the European issue. No
wonder Nikki Sinclaire sees this as her defining theme. She plans to
stand for her new We Demand a Referendum Now Party in next May's
European elections. Nikki Sinclaire is here now. Good
evening. We are going to get onto the politics in a moment but I am
interested to know why you have chosen to reveal now that you have
had this operation to change from a man to a woman. You have written
about it openly in the book. There are many reasons but there were
threats to disclose my medical history and I wanted to be the
person to tell it and not get a call from a newspaper saying we are going
to run this tomorrow, what is your quote? It took me a long time to put
down in words what happened and how I felt about it from the age of
three. A lot of people watching might find it quite difficult to
understand what you went through and what it was inside view that made
you feel you had to have this operation, that it was not a
choice. It is not a choice. Probably 98% of the people watching this
programme never question their gender. Unfortunately a very small
minority of us from a very early age, three in my case, obviously I
could not understand exactly what it was but I knew there was something
fundamentally wrong with me and it looks `` it took me many years to
solve that Rob Lunn. At what stage did you decide to do something about
it? I could not do anything about it until I was 16 and I went to see a
doctor and she told me to go away and grow up, she said you will end
up living in London as a drug addict and a prostitute. In the 1980s they
said they could not see me until I was 21, which seemed like a life
sentence. Having gone through the operation, did you feel that you had
come home in some way? I just felt like myself. Probably people won't
understand it but until changing at 203I was pretending to be someone I
wasn't. When I get up in the morning I am myself and the only things I
think about are, what are my objectives today? What reaction have
you had since you came out with this revelation? We have had actually
know reaction, not a single question. Twitter and social media
has been fantastic, hundreds of wasn't of messages. I have only had
two or three even slightly negative. There is a you go of poll in the
book saying that 60% of people would see it as no difference but in the
West Midlands that goes up even further. `` YouGov. Without the
backing of a major party you don't stand much chance in the European
elections. I don't agree, I am the only Emmy `` the only MEP in the
country who has a mobile surgery. I have met many thousands of people in
the mobile surgery and in the European Parliament I am listed as
the most active of all seven MEPs so I have really been representing them
and I think that will show. I was the one, not UKIP, that forced that
debate in Parliament. With food banks, with HS2, with debt belief,
or roll affairs I have been at the forefront, International human
rights, which does not get in the media. `` rural affairs. I have
visited prisoners of conscience in Bahrain, for example. Thank you very
much for coming in. All this week we have been hearing
from the finalists in the search for the BBC Midlands Sports Unsung Hero.
Today we meet Frank Holliday, who helped form Droitwich Spa Football
Club 34 years ago. As Dan Pallett has been finding out, he is still
going strong. He is in his element. Frank Holliday
loves his football club. You can see they are all enjoying
it, so it is good. It is good to see the friendships and the success the
club has. Frank helped to form Droitwich Spa
Football Club 34 years and has been involved ever since. And it's grown
to boast 450 players across 27 squads. He just loves his sport. But
Frank's involvement goes far beyond the football. He's opening up the
car parks at 8am every Saturday morning. And once he's got
everything underway in the kitchen he's sorting out the kit bags and
then inspecting the pitches he marked out earlier in the week.
A dog or an animal has decided to bury something in the middle of the
ground. In fact nothing much gets done
without Frank's help. He's even built a link with a German club and
introduced a boot recycling scheme. He has dedicated his life to the
football club and everything going on around here is testament to Frank
because not only is he coaching people he is organising the whole
thing. It was grey and miserable when I visited Frank but it didn't
bother him or the players. But just how long can he carry on?
I am 69 and three quarters at the moment so I am still in my 60s,
just. As long as I can. Everyone at Droitwich Spa Football Club will be
glad to hear it. Getting on a bit, not the
best`looking and hardly a great mixer. Bulley the Staffordshire bull
terrier cross is the dog it seems nobody wants. Staff at the rescue
kennels where he lives have been trying to find him a home for nine
years. And now is probably his last chance, as Sarah Falkland's been
finding out. There are over 80 an unwanted dogs
at Hillbrae Kennels but none have been overlooked as often as Bulley.
He has spent nine years here. He used to go to the front of the cage,
take me, take me, but now he doesn't bother to get out of bed. It is as
though he senses that nobody is going to take him, which is quite
sad, really. But could his own dog blog be his saviour? It is the
brainchild of Julia Kaminski, the dog walker. She has been compiling
daily blogs the Bulley in the hope of finding him a home. Everybody
loves the idea of Bulley being in front of a fire for Christmas with a
roast chicken dinner. If it does not come for Christmas, as long as it
comes some time, that is the main aim. He has a huge character, he is
a really unusual dog, full of fun, he loves toys. He is quite happy dog
considering he has been in kennels such a long time. Bulley now has
nearly 2000 followers who log on every day to wish him good morning
and good night. For weeks all kinds of gifts and toys have been arriving
from all around the world, even from Australia. Look on it is a new
winter coat, but I don't think it will fit you, mate. Maybe one day,
though, Bulley's blog will read like this. Can you believe it? I am so
excited. I have finally got a new home.
And you can find out more about Bulley and his blog on Facebook `
it's at www.facebook.com/bulleysblog. And if
you are thinking you could give him a home, remember, Bulley doesn't mix
well with other dogs. Although the cold is returning
temporarily I think we could see them rising by the end of the
weekend. You can see what is going on at a glance by looking at our air
mass charts. Come Friday the cold air replaces the warm and then we
see the return of the milder air by the end of the weekend. We are
grappling with the cloud at the moment. The thickest cloud will be
to the southern counties, parts of Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.
Light at wrecks of rain or drizzle later in the night and also fog
patches. `` light outbreaks. This cloud is still with us through the
course of tomorrow but the winds are very light so there was not much to
stir it up. We hope for an improvement by the afternoon.
Temperatures are still up to nine or 10 degrees so still fairly mild.
Under the thickest cloud there could be a spot of rain. Then we see this
cold front sweeping in on Friday, bringing colder air, rain and
showers and wind. The headlines from the BBC ` 35 days
to go before Bulgarians and Romanians can start looking for work
here. New claims about another explosive
device planted on the night of the Birmingham pub bombings.
Now, a final chance to get your hands on a ?12 million fortune. An
unclaimed Euromillions raffle ticket, bought in Ladywood in May,
will expire in just over four hours. Camelot went in search of the owner
in Birmingham this week but say nobody has yet come forward. The
winning ticket holder has until just 11 o'clock tonight to claim the life
changing prize. That was Midlands Today. I'll be
back at ten o'clock with more on the continuing problems with London