The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.
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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.