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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.