20/01/2014 Midlands Today


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the windscreen first thing in the morning. That is


Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight:


A holiday of a lifetime which turned to tragedy, family and friends pay


tribute to the Warwickshire couple viciously attacked on holiday in the


Caribbean. Losing somebody is bad enough but when it is murder, we


were just completely knocked sideways.


We'll have the latest from St Lucia on the death of Roger Pratt, killed


while trying to protect his wife. Also tonight:


An horrific attack in a Birmingham street. Police hunt the thugs


involved and the drivers who passed without stopping.


The dangers of a cold home, how thousands are putting their lives at


risk because they can't afford the energy bills.


The history behind the hype ` James Turner Street before the cameras


came in and rebranded it Benefits Street.


And there has been a wintry fail to things but it is not just the


temperatures dropping, visibility is also. Fogg could cause major


disruption. Find out more later. Good evening. Friends and family of


a Warwickshire man killed on his yacht in the Caribbean say his widow


was badly beaten in the attack. A postmortem examination is being held


today on Roger Pratt. His wife, Margaret, found his body floating


near their boat, Magnetic Attraction. Three men are being


questioned by police in St Lucia. Joan Cummins has the latest.


75,000 British tourists visit St Lucia in the Caribbean every year.


For Roger and Margaret Pratt from Moreton Paddox near Warwick it was


another stopover on their world trip on board their treasured yacht


Magnetic Attraction. They arrived in St Lucia on New


Year's Eve before heading south 14th January to Soufriere and the


volcanic world heritage site the Pitons. They were delayed by customs


so decided to continue to Vieux Fort, far from the main tourist


trail. It was there they were attacked just before midnight on


Friday. A postmortem is being held today to establish the cause of


death. Today we will continue our investigation. The officers will be


on the ground in view fought to interview possible witnesses, this


is the `` maybe conduct searches. They spent ten years planning this


trip of a lifetime. On social media, Margaret had said it was like taking


a leap into the unknown. Nobody would have expected it to end so


tragically. Neighbours told me that Mr and Mrs


Pratt had decided to sail westwards, rather than around Africa with its


known piracy threat. They would not have taken any risk. Very cautious


and he is so meticulous in everything he has done. I remember


chatting with him on the drive before they left here, about two


years ago. Just a genuinely nice man.


Throughout the trip, Margaret Pratt diaried the couple's progress


online. " Roger went to a session on piracy, it makes sense. " In


Martinque, Margaret wrote how they'd been concerned about youths.


"Roger stayed up until midnight to protect the boat". The flag was


flying at half mast at the Royal Yacht club in Norfolk, where the


couple were members. "Roger stayed up until midnight to


protect the Fellow sailors said piracy advice to skippers was very


clear. The instructions are not to take them on, so to speak.


Typically, it is to have as many of the female members of group below


deck and as many of the male members on deck, as a show of strength, if


you are approached. It is one of those things that you do not expect


to happen. They were really enjoying themselves, doing what they have


always wanted to do and it has ended like this.


Mrs Pratt, who was beaten in the attack, has been released from


hospital and is now helping police establish exactly why their dream


ended in tragedy. Well, the BBC's Michelle Fleury is


on St Lucia. I spoke to her a few minutes ago to find out the latest


developments. The postmortem into Roger's death has just begun. This


will help determine the exact cause of death because up until now,


details have been fairly sketchy. The medical chief supervisor here in


Fife told me earlier that he could confirm that the body had been


brought on Saturday and he was dead upon arrival. `` in Vieux Fort. His


wife sustained soft injuries and was later released. I am standing in the


fishing port of Vieux Fort and you can see beyond me the commercial


block and beyond that you dog. That is where their boat was murdered


when this tragic incident happened. `` you want that the dock. And you


tell me more about the men being held? The investigation is ongoing


so people are fairly unwilling to dock. Plenty of speculation ongoing.


What we do know is that three men have been held in custody. No


details or charges have been brought. Certainly something


everyone will be keeping an eye on in the years ahead `` the days


ahead. Coming up later in the programme:


Felling hundred of trees all in the name of nature. Restoring Kinver


Edge in Staffordshire to its historic heathland habitat.


Police have released shocking CCTV images of a man who was mugged on


the street in Birmingham as he walked home from a party. The


51`year`old was knocked unconscious by one of his attackers, another


repeatedly kicked him while he was being robbed. More than a dozen cars


drove past without stopping. A warning ` Sian Lloyd's report


contains images you may find distressing.


It was the early hours of the 15th of December and the CCTV footage


shows the victim turning round after an odd checked, later found to be a


plate, was thrown. A second man appears from the shadows and punches


him, which knocks into ground unconscious. As the 51`year`old lies


help was on the street, the man rifled through his pockets, stealing


a watch and mobile phone. `` lies helpless. Then, in an act of


violence that is too sickening to show, the first attacker begins


kicking the victim in the head. It is no more than one month since that


horrific attack was carried out on this street in Birmingham. West


Midlands police say they need the public's help. More than a dozen


cars passed by as they assault took place and they urgently want the


drivers of those vehicles to come forward. Police say their latest


figures show the number of robberies in this area of the city has fallen


but that this was a particularly vicious attack. A collapse of that


nature, let alone the punch that precedes it, could have easily


resulted in this being a murder investigation. A passer`by


eventually called the emergency services. The man was the Jews the


injured and needed stitches to his face and head. He is still too


shaken to speak about his ordeal. Walsall Manor Hospital has been


closed to visitors after an outbreak of Norovirus. Eight wards were


closed on Saturday but the Trust has now taken the precaution of


restricting admission to all wards. It says two of the outbreaks have


been caused by people visiting who have unknowingly brought the


infection into the hospital. We all will have noticed how the


cost of energy has risen. Many, particularly the elderly, face a


daily struggle to keep warm. This time last year, almost 40 people a


day were perishing in our region as the overall figure for excess winter


deaths rose by a third. As the frost starts to bite again, Anthony


Bartram reports from Stoke on Trent on the health risks of a cold home.


Getting cold when you're old can be dangerous. Last winter saw death


rates rise by a third, most of them pensioners. We have one or two


neighbours that have died too early, if you know what I mean, through not


being able to have the heating on an extra hour at night.


These high rises in Stoke on Trent are draughty and hard to heat. Reg


Shaw and Beryl Shaw have lived here for 32 years and worry about the


headlines they read. 31,000 people were ambushed and killed by the cold


in Britain last year ` 3,400 of them here in the West Mids ` which was up


by a third on the previous winter. It was a big jump. Pensioners'


charities say it's about time something was done about it.


Health professionals say the difference between life and death


among the most vulnerable can be measured by a few degrees. Think


about it. A very cold spell, and elderly may have a stroke or a minor


stroke due to the spike in blood pressure. They will call the


emergency services, get into the stroke unit, that is costing


thousands of pounds, less than ?30 for that night to be get warmer.


On the other side of Stoke, Lawrence and Sheila Cooper also keep a close


eye on their thermostat and go to some pretty extreme lengths to keep


warm. This is what I wear when I am really cold. I cannot see you! This


is something else. We have been on a low wage for as long as they can


remember. There are loads of people that cannot cope with that. As the


evening draws in, neither homes are as warm as the professor would like


but there are far worse cases of course. Your bedroom was 15 degrees,


far below what should be recommended. The blood pressure


handled very well so personally, on this occasion, we do not see a major


problem that is happening to your blood pressure.


Pensioners are being urged to keep warm this winter but charities


supporting them want more help so they can afford it.


When it comes to energy costs, people in rural areas face a limited


choice of fuel. With no mainline gas, oil is a common option. But


that can bring its own problems, as our reporter Laura May McMullan has


been finding out. High in the Staffordshire Moorlands, she caught


up with Christine Staples who had a tank of central heating oil stolen.


Staffordshire Police investigate around 40 similar fuel thefts a year


in the area. Living in the Staffordshire


Moorlands, Christine Staples knows all about winter weather and about


how vital it is to keep her home warm. She's got two children and a


husband to care for. That was made harder when they were completely


stranded with no heating because thieves stole their central heating


oil. We were totally snowed in. There was no way that you were


getting in or out with anything. There was no chance of a lorry


coming and we could not get out, you have to wear it out. A rural crime


survey showed that fuel is the third most attractive commodity for


thieves targeting rural properties, especially with a 23% hike in oil


prices over the last five years. All theft is a crime `` Oil theft is


a crime that the CLA, Country Land and Business Association want the


Police and Crime Commissioners to put high on their agendas. We find


that this is taking place across every county in our region. We have


6000 members in the Midlands region and there are very concerned about


rural crime. Rural homeowners are being warned to


be vigilant. Christine knows first hand how costly and cold the effects


of oil theft can be. So what about your energy costs? How


can you go about reducing your bills? Many of us will have thought


about that. But how about zero bills? That's what one couple have


achieved at their home in Birmingham, after a conversion that


sounds too good to be true. Before the conversion, the energy bills at


this house would have been ?1250 a year. Today, they pay nothing. In


fact, the electricity company pays them about ?2500 a year for the


green electricity they generate. Well, to find out more we can join


our reporter Joanne Writtle at the house in Balsall Heath. How does it


work, Joanne? It is completely airtight. This is synthetic door is


full of air pockets to keep the air and it can only be opened after the


front door is closed. This is the original Victorian wall, because the


whole house has doubled in size. From the outset, this Victorian


house powers above its neighbours, with solar panels on the roof to


catch the maximum amount of sunlight. There are mirrors to


reflect light. It really does cut a striking figure in this street. I


joined by the homeowner, John, who is also an architect. Tellers what


people want to know. How much does it cost for you to do all of these


measures and how long will it take to be give your money? The green


measures cost about ?47,000 and that covers the triple glazing of the


whole house, the insulation, they would warning stove and all those


over panels. The key point is that they will pay for themselves in


about eight years and we have been here four years, we are already


halfway there. Give us some examples of a gun. The insulation is really


important. This is the cellulose chewed up a newspaper insulation,


which is used in the roof and much of the walls. I have got here part


of the airtight membrane. The whole house is wrapped up in a membrane


like this, which keeps drafts out the whole time. Fantastic. If this


house was transported to the Arctic, what would happen? There has been an


amazing views of research and this houses better than zero carbon. It


is actually carbon negative in the UK. The amazing thing is that if it


was transported into the Arctic Circle, where there is much less


sunlight and it is colder, it would still be carbon negative. That is


fantastic. The error here is constantly monitored. It is amazing.


's thank you very much. And Inside Out West Midlands has a


special programme looking at the whole subject of rising energy bills


and their impact here on BBC One at 7:30 this evening. It is 640 parts


per million. `` 6:43pm. Our top story tonight:


A lovely couple ` family and friends pay tribute to the Warwickshire man


killed in St Lucia and his wife who was badly beaten.


Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly with Rebecca. Also in


tonight's programme: Tributes pour in for the Wolves and


England goalkeeper Bert Williams, who died at the weekend aged 93.


It is Albion's new head coach's debut and he would like to make a


winning start tonight. A charity which runs a school on


James Turner Street in Birmingham has written to the Education


Secretary, claiming pupils are being stigmatised. It's become one of the


best`known addresses in the country, since Channel 4 started making its


Benefits Street series there. The programme makers insist it's a fair


and balanced documentary. But critics have branded it poverty


porn. Giles Latcham reports on a street with a proud history now


mired in controversy. A little girl outside her parents'


home 100 years ago. A wedding party any street built by the Victorians


to house the aspiring working classes.


And here is Channel 4's snapshot of the same place. Did he swear? At the


school at the end of the road, they say their pupils are being


stigmatised and their complaint to the Education Secretary and Ofcom.


It is disrupting our children. We have to make sure that they are


getting the best education that they can and this programme is hindering


that. The reputation that there is no legal for the area is not one


that we want our children to be associated with.


We have kept her distance from James Turner Street. Since Channel 4 has


begun airing the programme you might be surprised to learn that there is


a degree of hostility towards the media among some residents. Monday,


day of transmission, a degree of transmission also.


A local pastor says the production team told him the programme was


about community spirit. People here, he says, feel betrayed. Everybody is


feeling that they are all part with the same brush. That is the problem.


It causes a bitterness, hurt and distrust because when somebody says


something, you expect them to do that. This is a map from 1888 which


shows James Turner Street have built. There was no welfare stayed


them. The street offered tradesmen and Artisans a optimiser. You would


only have to look around the corner to see the other world, the prison


down the road, the Asylum, the workhouse, to see why it was... You


were remaining employed and working hard! Hard`working families.


Modern`day James Turner Street was never so famous. They are even


talking about it in France. Nearly 60,000 people have signed a position


calling for it to be taken off air. Channel 4 say it is a fair


portrayal. The Italians called him the Cat and


Gordon Banks said he was the best ever. Tributes have been paid from


around the world today to the former Wolves and England goalkeeper Bert


Williams, who died yesterday at the age of 93. Williams began his career


at Walsall before the war, but it was with Wolves that he made his


name. He made 420 appearances for the club and was part of the team


which won the FA Cup in 1949 and the League Championship five years


later. Williams also won 24 caps for England and was their goalkeeper at


the 1950 World Cup. One of the 1966 World Cup winners, Gordon Banks,


grew up idolising Williams. He called him the most agile goalkeeper


ever. Matt Murray was one of Bert's successors in goal at Molineux. He


described him today as a proper legend but, more importantly, a true


gentleman. Wolves chairman Steve Morgan said today that Williams was


a fantastic footballer for both club and country. The club opened a book


of remembrance at the ground today and the flags were flying at half


mast. They'll have a minute's applause before kick`off on Saturday


and are planning a memorial service at which fans will be able to pay a


final tribute to their hero. As a young lad, I thought he was


fantastic. He seemed to stop everything. I stopped seeing him


when he retired but I think he was the best goalkeeper at this club I


ever saw. Awarded the MBE for services to


football and charity in 2010, Bert Williams was a true Wolverhampton


Wanderers legend. Our sports reporter Ian Winter got


to know Bert well. He's at the Hawthorns tonight, where West Brom


play Everton this evening. We'll talk about Albion's game in a


moment. But first, Ian, what's your outstanding memory of Bert Williams?


Mary, Bert Williams once told me that for all his medals, his cups


and his international caps, the two things he valued most were lots of


good memories and lots of good friends. Bert was a top`class


goalkeeper and yet so modest and unassuming. He was fiercely proud of


his Black Country roots. And he always said he felt so lucky to play


for his beloved Wolves that he would have played for nothing. That was


Bert, a true gentleman. So tonight, the spotlight falls on Albion


against Everton. And more developments today in the ongoing


row surrounding the Albion striker Nicolas Anelka? Yes. Just to recap,


Anelka performed a controversial gesture after scoring during


Albion's 3`3 draw at West Ham just after Christmas. Although Anelka


argued it wasn't racist, it did receive a lot of publicity and it


infuriated members of the Jewish community. Today, Albion's main club


sponsor Zoopla have decided to not renew their sponsorship, which was


due to run out at the end of the season. Meanwhile, the FA have yet


to decide what action, if any, they'll take against the Albion


striker. Tonight, all eyes on the new head


coach Pepe Mel. His first taste of the Premier League against Everton.


Albion are currently lying 14th, just three points above the


relegation zone. If Albion win, they'll go tenth, just above Aston


Villa? `` TRANSLATION: Martinez is having a good campaign but West Brom


are going to approach in a positive frame of mind and do not intend to


be aggressive. If they win, they will go tents,


just above Aston Villa? Yes. Villa now have 24 points after their 2`2


draw at Liverpool. Let's look at the action from that. It was probably


their best first`half performance of the season. They raced into a


two`goal lead thanks to Andi Weimann and then Christian Benteke, who


looked really sharp again. That was ten minutes later. But they had to


settle for one point instead of three, after Liverpool fought back


to level the score. But tonight, it's all about the Baggies. And


we'll have all the goals in our late news at ten.


Thank you very much. Almost 1000 trees are being felled


at a Staffordshire beauty spot to try to recreate a lost landscape.


Kinver Edge near Stourbridge, famous for its ancient rock houses, was


once covered in lowland heath ` a habitat that's declined by 80% in


the UK in the last 200 years. Bob Hockenhull has been finding out


about plans to restore the Edge to how it once looked.


Kinver Edge, once private farmland, was given to the nation in 1917.


With the First World War still raging, its previous owners wanted


it to be a landscape fit for heroes. Move forward nearly a century and


the casual observer might wonder if that wish is being met. Acres of


trees are being torn down by giant machines. I know it looks a lot like


a war zone and people wandering through will be wondering what we


have been doing. It is part of a clearly planned, very much thought


about Management plan to return this area to lowland heath so we have


started to fail all of the Scots pine that is here. What you can see


are the remnants of the job trees. These are all going to be removed,


chipped and of the area will become nice and clear to let the heathland


developer. Lowland heath, consisting of


heathers, gorses and fine grasses, dates back to the Iron Age on Kinver


Edge. The habitat is recognised as being internationally important. But


it needs managing with the help of grazing animals and in the last


century, woodland has taken over. Because it has been seen as


wasteland in the past, it has all was been subjected to agricultural


improvement, housing developments and this has led to a loss of


species. We are obliged for future generations to take care of these


important cultural and ecological landscapes.


The work is being carried out in the winter months so as not to disturb


any birds or other species. If all goes to plan, in a few years' time,


this area will be teeming with wildlife.


And where the trees have been felled, there's already signs that


nature is taking over once again. It felt like January today. Is cold


and bright the theme of the week, It felt like January today. Is cold


and Rebecca? Not so much cold and bright.


Definitely cold but dull is the theme. The Met Office has issued a


weather warning for fog. Plenty of fog around and right the way


through. Tomorrow morning it could cause some disruption to your travel


and allows extra time you're driving because it is going to be quite


dense tomorrow morning. It will be a faulty start to the day but we will


get some spells of brightness as they make way through the day. As we


move into tonight, we have already got temperatures falling away


rapidly. There is going to be some widespread fog starting to develop


and a frost also, as those temperatures dropped down to below


freezing. We could see them getting even lower. So some freezing sports


by the time we wake up tomorrow. Tomorrow, it is a cold start but


then it is going to all change because we have got this band of


rain working its way through. Ahead of that, we will see list thing


before goes about. `` see it lifting the fog a little bit. Be aware of


those icy stretches tomorrow morning. We will start to see the


wind lifting it and will get some spells of brightness, the best of


those in the East. Further west will keep some cloud and it will be quite


dull. The course of those dull conditions, it is going to hamper


the temperatures. Those winds will take the edge of the values. Then we


see the next band of rain moving through. It makes its way across,


right the way through the evening. There will be some heavy bursts in


there also. It is only going to add to the flooding we have seen


recently, eventually clearing away behind it as we make our way through


into Wednesday morning. Temperatures helped a little bit by all that rain


and cloud. Then we have more rain to come through Wednesday. Either time


we make it to Thursday, temperatures are continuing to follow little


bit. It is turning more wintry towards the end of the week.


Thank you, Rebecca. The headlines: The Lib Dems in crisis. Its former


election mastermind Lord Rennard is suspended over the sexual


harrassment grow. Mikaeel Kular's murder is charged


with his murder. His body was discovered on Friday.


A lovely couple, family and friends paid tribute to the Warwickshire man


killed in Saint Lucia and his badly beaten wife.


A horrific attack in a Birmingham street and the drier who passed


without stopping. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be


back at 10pm. Have a great evening. Goodbye. `` the drivers who passed.


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