27/11/2013 Midlands Today


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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


Midland trains.


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