16/12/2013 Midlands Today


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arrives on Friday. Can't wait! That's all


Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight:


Wrongly imprisoned. A Redditch man jailed for 17 years for attempted


rape, talks of his fight for justice. It has been an emotional


roller`coaster. I am prepared to go on that journey because I need


questions and served. After nine people are stabbed to


death this year in the Midlands, harnessing the grief and energy of


one victim's fan base to help with a knife surrender. It is about giving


up knives. This might make people stop and think about not carrying


them. Breaking the cycle of delays. The


ambitious plans of one of our biggest hospital trusts for


emergency departments. I'm at the Hawthorns where the


search is underway for a new head coach to replace Steve Clarke.


And thanks to Paul Hillcox from Great Barr for this stunning


photograph of a sunset over West Bromwich. A far cry from today's


weather but could be a sign of things to come? Find out later.


Good evening. Police are to review a case of attempted rape, involving a


former postman whose conviction's been overturned after he spent 17


years in prison. Victor Nealon was arrested in August 1996, when a


young woman was attacked after leaving a Redditch night spot. He


was jailed for life. Twice, in 1998 and 2002, his legal team were


refused leave to go to appeal. Then last Friday Victor Nealon walked


free, after the Court of Appeal accepted new DNA evidence showing he


wasn't responsible for the crime. He has been talking to our reporter.


Three days ago, Victor Nealon from Redditch was sat in his prison cell.


Today he was sitting in a BBC Hereford and Worcester studio being


interviewed a free man. It has been an emotional roller`coaster. But I'm


prepared to go on that journey because I need questions answered.


More appropriately, the victim in this case needs questions answered.


It has been a 17 year wait for freedom. His ordeal began in 1996


when this gym in the town was a nightclub. A young woman who had


been on a night out was sexually assaulted on her way home. Victor


Nealon was questioned by police because he had a criminal record in


Ireland. Victor Nealon told police he'd never even been to the


nightclub. He'd been at home. But despite his repeated claims of


innocence he was convicted at Hereford Crown Court and got a life


term. It was big news in the local press at the time. The Court of


Appeal quashed Mr Nealon's conviction for attempted rape after


hearing crucial DNA samples from the victim's clothes weren't tested


until more than a decade after he was jailed. And then, traces of a


different man were found. I think there was a danger in the past of


wanting to secure a conviction. As a result of that, mistakes were made.


In this case, material which should have been sent for DNA testing for


the original trial was not sent. You have a very calm exterior. On than


that, are you bit here `` are you bitter or angry? Now, I am on a


journey just now. I have been released. I hope that fate will take


me in a positive direction. At Wakefield Prison Mr Nealon continued


to claim his innocence. As a result, although he'd been sentenced to a


minimum of seven years, he ended up serving ten more. I wonder how many


more people there are in jail who will not admit guilt and actually


turns out they are innocent. West Mercia Police have said they're


reviewing the case. Do you want the case reopened? I am asking for it to


be reopened. Not for my sake but for the victim. Victor Nealon is now


hoping for answers and a chance to pick up the pieces of his life.


And our reporter is here now. How did he come across to you? I think


he was overwhelmed. Naturally he was tired. I met him at 9am and already


he had done some radio interviews. He sat down for a TV interview with


me. Until three days ago, he had been imprisoned for 17 years. You


told me he thought he was lost in a concrete jungle. Think of the


difference in technology over the last 17 years. His mother died when


he was in prison and was not allowed to go to the funeral. He has won his


innocence but he has a lot to get through. Will he get compensation?


Well he had just ?46 when he left prison and at the moment is relying


on state benefits and the goodwill of some supporters. I think there


might be a tendency to think that compensation happens automatically


but it doesn't. It's up to the discretion of the Justice Secretary.


The MP John Hemming says he's certain Victor Nealon will qualify.


Because he has spent more than ten years in prison he could be entitled


to a maximum of ?1 million. But it's not a fast process. He's not going


to get a cheque anytime soon. He says his immediate concern is what


he's going to do for money and a place to live over Christmas.


Coming up later in the programme: from boom shack a lack to giving


something back. The pop star helping aspiring musicians from the part of


Birmingham where he grew up. A knife amnesty in the West Midlands


is to draw on the memory and music of a teenage rapper who was stabbed


to death in September. Joshua Ribera, known as Depzman, was on the


brink of becoming a music star, before he was killed outside a night


club in Birmingham. It's hoped the grief and energy of his fans will


help make a success of what's being called a knife surrender. Our


special correspondent has this exclusive report.


Joshua Ribera killed with a knife to his heart. One of nine people


stabbed to death in the west midlands this year. He had been on a


crest of a wave. His music career taking off. Known as Depzman, his


album two Real had just become a number one on a download chart. His


mother has met with the Police and Crime Commissioner. They both hope


her son's legacy will help in the fight against knife crime. It is


about giving up knives, but even if they don't carry knives, it might


make them stop and think. They need support. Can't tell people to do


things. We can advise them, guide them and give them alternatives.


We've seen knife amnesty's before. But this will be a knife surrender.


Using places of worship and youth centres. It'll be led not by the


police but young people. With Joshua Ribera's fame playing a part. The


immense potential Joshua had to become a real worldwide performer


and the fact that that opportunity has been tragically snuffed out


really went on to people the dangers of carrying knives and the dangers


of youth violence. Joshua Ribera died after a attending


a fund raiser for his friend Kyle Sheehan who was himself stabbed to


death in Birmingham twelve months ago. I met one of Joshua's friends


close to where he died and where graffiti messages have started to


appear. I think people have started to realise it could happen to


anyone. It could happen to your friend, your cousin, anyone. A


stranger. It has broken many peoples hearts. Depzman was a role model.


Some people might not have had fathers role models and they looked


up to him. Although just 18, Joshua Ribera's lyrics have been an


inspiration to many teenagers. Hundreds visit his home in Moseley


every week. One idea is to have a knife surrender point at a memorial


site for the teenage rapper. They need to make sure there is somewhere


for these young people to go. Especially with Christmas coming up.


They are grieving. Every single person that has been killed in


Birmingham has a site. The only person who does not is Josh. Over


the next few weeks, the slogan will be put down the knives. His mother


says it is not only weapons that should be put away, it is also


attitudes which need to be changed. A school in Birmingham has had all


SATs test results cancelled for its 11`year`old pupils. Donnington


Academy in Perry Barr was excluded from the national league table of


primary school results which were published last week. The Department


for Education says the results were scrapped because of


maladministration. The school has declined to comment.


All three of the helicopters used by the Midlands Air Ambulance are


flying again following engineering checks. They were grounded at their


bases in Staffordshire and Worcester on Thursday following concerns about


the fuel gauges. A 22`year`old man has died in a hit


and run accident in Broad Street in Birmingham. He was knocked down


outside the Solomon Cutter pub on Sunday morning. A 21`year`old man


has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.


Pubs and clubs in Cheltenham are going to be asked to pay a late


night tax to help with the costs of policing the town. Councillors voted


in favour of the levy, despite a petition signed by 1,000 people


opposed to the scheme. It could cost individual businesses more than


?4,000 a year. A hospital trust has started


'flooding the wards with extra doctors, after struggling to cope


with demands on its Accident and Emergency units. Heart of England


NHS Trust has some of the worst A E response times in the country.


Last week, it managed to see only 88% of patients within four hours,


across its three sites. Here's our health correspondent.


Roy Tufft is an example of how tough it is. The 77`year`old has been in


three times in the last month with heart problems. The area that


Heartlands Hospital covers has a lot of deprivation and is very busy. Roy


is very positive about his experience. When I came on in the


afternoon, it was pretty bad because I was stuck in the corridor for an


hour or so. But this morning I was quickly dealt with. I have no


complaints. Outside their were eight ambulances at lunch time. The


Ambulance Service says that more than half its vehicles were stuck


outside this A E for more than the statutory 30 minutes last month,


compared to 19% at its busiest accident and emergency,


Stoke`on`Trent. The Secretary of State for health has been calling


Chief Executive directly to address this issue. In this hospital, they


are bringing in a new system called breaking the cycle. There is a


degree of pressure. It is an important performance standard and


it reflects the whole health care system. It's not just patients


coming through the emergency department, it is about long`term


hospital bed and discharging into the community. I understand doctors


held an extraordinary general meeting two weeks ago concerned


about the direction the hospital was moving in. Patients in this waiting


room knew all about waiting. I have waited for over an hour. My friend


broke her arm and was here for three hours. Not having met its waiting


targets since May, accident and emergency is being closely monitored


this week. Doctors want the public to stay away unless they really need


a hospital. And BBC News has set up a website


dedicated to winter health with a particular focus on how A


departments will cope. To find out how your local hospital is


performing, visit the BBC website. Our top story tonight: Wrongly


imprisoned. Police to review the case of a


former postman jailed for 17 years for an attempted rape in Redditch.


Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly from Shefali.


Also in tonight's programme: Go West young man! Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the


former Man United striker, now the top manager in Norway, is one of the


favourites to land the big job at the Hawthorns.


And brought together to help save the rare Sumatran tiger. But how are


they getting on in the dating jungle?


If you have a story you think we should be covering on Midlands


Today, we'd like to hear from you. Stephen Kapur was the first Asian


artist to achieve real chart success in the UK. He's better known by the


stage name Apache Indian, with records that have gone platinum and


a successful career stretching back 20 years. Now, the Birmingham born


musician has opened a music academy in his home city to help others get


into the business. In the early '90s Apache Indian took


the UK charts by storm. His record Boom Shack`a`lac was a worldwide


smash. Now, the Birmingham born artist is giving youngsters from the


same area the chance to join his new AIM music academy. I work with lots


of young people. It had to be in Handsworth in Birmingham. I'm doing


this for the youth. We have been brought up listening to his music.


Means a great deal. We have a couple of singers, musicians and producers


here. He can help others. I would love people to look up to me. If I


could walk in his footsteps, I would be very happy. The reggae legend has


sold millions of records and next year celebrates 25 years in the


industry. He's also toured the world several times and has seven UK top


40 hits to his name. Recently he's won an award for his new TV show at


the Asian Music Awards. We have already changed lives and made a


difference. It is working. Music is a fun way of doing that. That is how


we get people together. He will mentor of them not just about


singing, but also about life skills. `` we will. There is a whole team of


people here ready to support them. People from Handsworth have appeared


as guests on his successful music chat show called Real Talk on a


satellite channel. He hopes to use it as a platform to give other local


musicians their big break. Now the sport. It seems to be the


season for sacking managers in the Premier League. Steve Clarke from


West Bromwich Albion has been given the sack. How much of a surprise of


`` was this? The calendar year of 2013 has not


matched up with the early promise. On Saturday evening, the board of


directors said enough was enough and they sacked the head coach, Steve


Clarke. Not long now. Only seven shopping


days to Christmas. But patience is in very short supply in the Premier


League. How times have changed since West Brom appointed Fred Everiss


back in 1902. He must have done a good job, because Fred was still the


Albion manager 46 years later. These days, you'd be lucky to last 46


months. According the League Managers Association. The average


shelf`life in the Premier League is just under two years. But Steve


Clarke got the bullet after only 18 months in the Hawthorns hot seat.


Saturday's 1`0 defeat at Cardiff was Albion's fourth in a row. And the


board wasted no time in taking decisive action. I think it is very


harsh. I think the over achieved last year. That puts pressure on


you. So who'll be next on the throne? Former caretaker manager


Michael Appleton is an outsider at 33/1. Baggies old boss Roberto di


Matteo is 9/1. And Martin Jol, recently sacked by Fulham is 9/2.


The former England manager Glenn Hoddle is 10/1. And the bookies


favourite tonight at 4/1 is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Currently a huge


success in Norway Albion fan Terry Wills watched his first game in


1940. Hopefully he can translate his previous success as a player.


It is not a decision that has been taken lightly, but any news when an


appointment might be made? The club have said the important


thing is not the timescale, it is getting the right person. At


Christmas, there are lots of games very close together. The talk is


about young people who have been linked with the club before. Roberto


Di Matteo is one. Mike Phelan is has been linked to the job. In the last


hour or so, Gianfranco Zola has resigned as head coach of Watford.


He has walked away from that. His odds have changed from 50`1 to 9`1.


Yesterday, Manchester United one 3`yl full they keep coming in their


numbers. And Aston Villa fans were full of


Christmas cheer before kick` off. That's despite their disappointing


home form. And the visit of Manchester United meant more home


discomforts. Danny Welbeck scored twice in the first 18 minutes. And


Tom Cleverly made it 3`0 in the second half. United's recent record


at Villa Park is better than Villa's! Have thought we started as


well as we have done for several weeks. We looked very threatening.


The first goal was poor. Like Villa Birmingham City have been struggling


at home. But they've now won their last three Championships games away


from St Andrew's. Andrew Shinnie opened the scoring a Bournemouth


after three minutes. And Nikola Zigic helped the Blues to a 2`0 win.


They're now unbeaten in six and upto 14th. The resilience of every single


man was brilliant. Blocking shots, winning headers in the box, winning


tackles and been committed to the cause. They helped us get a


brilliant result against a tough opponent. The honours in the League


One Midlands derby went to Walsall. Milan Lalkovic scored the game's


only goal as Walsall move back to the fringes of the play`off places.


All of our other league teams drew. But the team who were most grateful


of a point were Port Vale. Tom Pope's 89th minute equaliser gave


them a 2`2 draw with Stevenage. It is all about tiny margins. Steve


Clarke has been sacked, but perhaps if a few more strikers had scored


goals, they would have got some extra points and it could all have


been very different. You may remember that last month we


filmed the arrival from Germany of Joah, a rare Sumatran tiger. There


are just a few hundred left in the wild. The hope is that he'll breed


with Daseep, Dudley Zoo's female Sumatran tiger. The zoo has been


taking things quite slowly, but it now appears the pair are getting


along. After Joah was allowed a little time to get over the trip.


He's one of the rarest creatures on the planet, 21`month`old Joah, a


Sumatran tiger. Some estimate there are just 140 of this sub`species


left in the wild. So they're hoping Joah will breed, and last week he


was introduced to his new partner Daseep. It has taken time. But it is


lovely to see them together. They're getting on well together. The young


animals. They have been touching each other's noses which is


fantastic. We hope that will continue and we get tiger cubs. Joah


was born at a Zoo in Germany and arrived at Dudley last month after a


long journey on the back of a lorry. He wasn't in the best of moods when


we first saw him but now he's settling in well. At first, he was


quite feisty. He was scared of his new surroundings. Now he has calmed


down. He is very gentle to the other tiger. He accepts food from us very


well. It is all going well. Daseep occasionally show's who's boss and


this is apparently is just playful behaviour. The female tiger comes


into season every six weeks. Aeronautics making any tiger cubs


for a year or so because conceiving is a bit hit and miss. And both


tigers are not quite fully mature, although they are growing fast and


eating well. Joah will soon be on a diet of about 65 pounds of meat


every week. He is very impressive already. He will bolt out even more


when he grows. Today was the first time the public could see Joah and


Daseep together, and Dudley Zoo hope they'll help build on an impressive


year in which they've attracted more than a quarter of a million


visitors. Some pretty hefty downpours today.


Anything drier on the horizon, Shefali?


There is indeed. But I'm afraid there is just a narrow window of


opportunity for you to take advantage of that. We have quite


unsettled conditions this week. Today is indicative of what we will


get. Lots of wet and windy weather about. Tomorrow being the driest day


of all. Temperatures will rise and fall as the rain ebbs and flows.


This is the beast we have to watch out for. Heading in from the West on


Wednesday. A deep area of low pressure with an occluded front


which will bring wet and windy conditions. We have a lot of rain


and strong winds around on Friday. It is not exactly dry just now. We


have a lot of rain across southeastern parts of the country.


Fairly heavy rain over the next few hours. This will clear way to the


south`east to leave most of the region drivers clear spells later on


tonight. Also some fairly dense patches of fog. Temperatures will


drop to about one degree, just below freezing. The Frost will clear. It


is looking drier with decent sunshine developing by the


afternoon. This will take temperatures up to around seven


Celsius in the south`west, but still fairly chilly in the north`west.


Light winds. We are facing a similar sort of set of circumstances


tomorrow night. It is looking really drive a clear spells. I came some


mist and fog developing a touch of Frost in rural spots. Around


freezing in the countryside. Turning wet and windy for Wednesday.


Temperatures will be rising. Looking much drier for Thursday, but there


will be some showers. Because it is called, they could be wintry over


higher ground. Tonight's headlines from the BBC:


The Prime Minister declares it will be mission accomplished in


Afghanistan when troops leave next year.


Wrongly imprisoned. Police to review the case of a former postman jailed


for 17 years for an attempted rape in Redditch.


And harnessing the grief and energy of a stabbing victim's fan base to


help with a knife surrender. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be


back toight when I'll be asking the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner


for the West Midlands about how the he intends to support the knife


surrender in the region.


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