12/02/2014 Midlands Today


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end of the week? No. Had Russia heading our way and wet and windy


again. That is Hello and welcome to Midlands Today.


The headlines tonight: Fifty residents rescued from sheltered


accommodation in Worcester as the flood waters continue to rise.


Yesterday I could get to work through the laundrette, and we were


all right. But this morning when we tried to go to work there was no way


to get out. Families and businesses across the


region are feeling the force of the floods this evening.


In Herefordshire, families have been trapped as the River Wye continues


to rise. In Shropshire, flood barriers may be doing their job, but


businesses are still feeling the impact.


Of the ten museums we have had to close two.


While farmers across the region have stepped in with animal feed to help


farms submerged in floods on the Somerset Levels.


And this is what we so desperately need and what I'm sure we're all


dying to see. Believe it or not, it is still possible this week. But


will it make any difference against the backlash of rain? Find out later


how much more we can expect. Good evening. The River Severn


reached its highest recorded level in Worcester today matching the peak


in the floods of 2007. At Barbourne in the city, it hit 5.65 metres and


there are fears it could rise further. The Wye's also giving


concern. In Ross on Wye, the river's reached 4.32 metres ` still below


2007 levels but expected to rise. Across the region, there are 42


flood warnings tonight and 40 flood alerts. We've four reports tonight `


from Herefordshire and from our reporters along the Severn, in


Goucestershire, in Shropshire and first from Ben Sidwell in Worcester.


Being led to safety. The residents of these sheltered housing flats in


Worcester usually have a beautiful view of the River Severn. Today that


view was too close for comfort. Around the 43 flats 2`3 feet of


water. It is a worry. You are living next to the River Severn. We can't


get flood insurance. I have no insurance. But I have put everything


up off the floor. Specialist Water Rescue Teams from


Hereford Worcester Fire Service called in to help evacuate the 50 or


so residents. Yesterday I could get out to work through the laundrette.


But this morning when we tried to go to work there was no way we could


get out. The situation is untenable. We are moving around the corner.


Behind me there are sandbags around the wooden structure, that is a


small electricity substation. If that goes, part of the city will its


power. From the air the extent of the flooding was even more clear.


Roads, paths and fields all now just an extension of the River Severn.


And for commuters travelling around Worcester became a battle in itself.


This is the only way to get from one side of Worcester to the other. The


main bridges closed, this road is over a foot underwater. The only way


people can get from one side to the other is now by shuttle bus.


It is absolutely crazy. I've never seen anything like this. The queues


this morning were horrendous. We have got them all across. Good job.


Some did just manage to get through using another form of transport, but


with the waters still rising those crossing the bridge had fears they


may not make it back. I am worried. I have come from


Stratford`upon`Avon. I hope I can get home tonight. We will get back.


It doesn't worry us. We can stay for coffee. At least these residents


will be able to stay somewhere safe and dry now, but they're unlikely to


be the last people rescued from rising waters in Worcester this


week. Well, Ben is in the centre of Worcester now, a city of 100,000 cut


in two when the main bridge over the Severn was shut. Ben, what's the


latest? Well, the bridge remains closed. It will do for some time.


Other problems in Worcester, West tellers there are 4000 homes without


power, 10,000 homes across the West Midlands with no electricity at all.


Dave Hudson is from the Environment Agency. We are 50 metres from where


the bank should be. The worst floods we have seen. Yes, the river levels


are high. An important difference from this and 2007 is the


high`intensity rain. Tens of thousands of properties were


flooded. We are talking about 1400 properties, we have protected 10,000


or more. It is a lot, I got the numbers wrong. What about the


barriers? People are saying will it hold because there is more rain


tonight. We are confident the barriers will be OK. I was up at one


of them is morning. There was a good way to go yet. We have seen nothing


forecast that will imply anything getting to that seriousness. The


weather here is dry at the moment, very windy but it looks like there


may be some rain later. This water is still rising in the city.


Getting about is a major problem in flooded areas and roads can rapidly


become impassable, leaving families cut`off. Sarah Falkland reports on


coping with the floods in Herefordshire.


It isn't often people are quite so delighted to see a film crew but


Dave has not had any visitors for a week. Bad drainage means the roads


to his home has become a river. Horrendous. At the moment it has


reduced six inches in depth. This is the end of the lane where it is the


shallowest. At the bottom it is two feet plus. While Dave can hop over


the fields, his mother`in`law can not. She needed a first responder


team to get her to hospital. I am fed up with it. This year is worse


than last year. We went down in the 4`wheel drive and it was really


really frightening. And it must have been for anyone near the river. The


roads were all but impassable and nearby drivers had to content with


flash flooding. You have to be very very careful. I am taking it easy.


Are you OK in the floodwater? I am not hanging around. The flood water


caused problems on the main road as well. And at the farm they were


repairing the worst. The farmer is expecting cattle to be flooded out


by the morning. So much for the country but inner`city it is pretty


much business as usual. The River Wye is behaving itself, not too


menacing, only one flood warning in place but that is further


downstream. Further along the River Wye, at least one inhabitant is


oblivious of the drama. Divina the seal spotted near Monmouth. Well,


Shefali is in the newsroom. More rain to come. And lots of reports of


storm damage tonight. Virgin Trains suspending most services we've been


told. And at least 30 roads blocked in Shropshire alone? It is grim.


Yesterday we mentioned amber warnings, strong gusts of 60 miles


an hour and as you will see later, it has been confirmed by the figures


and wind speed. We haven't managed to record any huge amounts of rain


but the potential was there for an inch of rain. So expect the same


later this week. More low pressure is moving up. Gloucestershire


suffered some of the worst flooding in 2007. The worry now is that the


latest heavy rain could see some homes flooded for the first time


since then, as Steve Knibbs has been finding out.


This was a riverside caravan park ` now part of the river. The


electrical hook ups poke out of the water in the distance. With the


Severn expected to rise, the owners are once again on edge. Just packing


an overnight bag in case we have to move out. The moment we think we are


safe, not 100% certain, you have to take each day and each hour as it


comes. This is an area used to battening down the hatches. In


Longford, people are ready well in advance. People know the score, they


all have televisions. They experienced 2007.


And the sandbags keep on coming ` well over 1500 have been delivered


this week in Tewkesbury Borough alone. It is important the sandbags


are going to the right people in the right way. We deliver sandbags to


vulnerable people. But not all of them seem to be


staying put. There were two tonnes of sandbags and there was a time


taken away. The emergency services are ready


too. Today fire crews trained to launch one of their boats in the


choppy swollen river at Gloucester with serious discussions taking


place to make sure the county is ready. The local resilience Forum is


meeting, they are looking at contingency measures to be put in


place. It is an opportunity to reassure people we are doing


everything we can to make sure they stay safe. This van driver was


rescued after thinking he could make it along a flooded road. The risk


took up valuable time from the Welsh fire crews sent in to save him.


Rising river levels are posing a real threat to life and property


tonight, but so far flood barriers are doing their job. There has been


an impact, though, on businesses and tourist attractions, as Joanne


Writtle's been finding out along the River Severn in Shropshire.


Ironbridge in Shropshire ` flood barriers holding back water. But not


everywhere's escaped. A short distance away museums have been hit.


Of the ten museums through the site, we have closed two. At the antiques


and craft centre volunteers and business owners have moved stock


from the ground. This is the one thing that is put into people, to


help one another in dire need like this.


The water has seeped in once this week. They fear it'll return soon.


We are quite worried because we have 75 traders in here which is a lots


of stock and we have been moving the stock to try to protect it because


it is their businesses as well as ours.


Hit hasn't stopped raining ours and we headed further downstream where


the water is causing yet more problems. The town's golf course has


been closed for days. A few holes beside the river were initially


closed, but now swathes of the course have been affected by


constant rain. Gutted. The club is losing money obviously. We are


hoping for some fair`weather to get members back on the course playing


again and we can generate revenue. Pitches at the riverside Bridgnorth


Rugby Club are submerged. And the neighbouring children's play area


out of action. The River Severn is wild right now. And all this water


is heading to Worcestershire. Well, amidst all the concern about


rising river levels here, farmers in Somerset have been coping with


dreadful floods for a month now. Many can't get on their land and


they're struggling to find the money to feed livestock. Our Rural Affairs


Correspondent David Gregory`Kumar reports on how food aid from our


farming community is helping them survive.


Another load of donations arrives at Morton Bagot in Warwickshire. Last


Wednesday, we watched the news in the evening, watching him loading


his cattle up in the water. He was talking about where will his life be


from now on? Will he be a bit carry on farming? He is a large farmer. If


he is struggling, the smaller farmers will be struggling even more


so. So the word went out on social media and internet forums and this


is the response, tonnes of food and bedding but this is half the battle,


next you have to get it to the Somerset floodzone. Few down to


Somerset will be ?200 and that is just one cost but it is for a good


cause and if we can do our bit, we will. This help is welcomed by the


Somerset farmers. It is wonderful however one has chipped in to help


us. This donation will become feed for cattle and in the longer term


farmers will be looking to donate grass seeds so they can help farmers


in Somerset reseed the land when the water levels go down to grow grass


for cattle and sheep. When the puddles dry up on the levels they


are likely to have no grass for months and months. They are going to


be desperate for forage for a long long time. We are in this the long


haul. This help will continue long after the waters have disappeared.


We'll have the latest on the flooding a little later. But, to


keep right up to date with conditions close to you, the best


advice as always is to tune into your bbc local radio station.


The accomplice of a triple murderer has been found guilty of aiding her


sadistic killing spree. Joanna Dennehy killed three men in


Cambridgeshire and Gary Stretch helped get rid of the bodies. They


then drove to Herefordshire where Stretch used to live. In Hereford,


Dennehy stabbed two men at random ` both survived. Giles Latcham has the


background to a shocking case. Strolling hand in hand at motorway


services in Worcestershire, the odd couple ` cold`eyed killer Joanna


Dennehy and her giant sidekick seven foot three Gary Stretch. She with


three murders already to her name ` he her faithful driver and helper


and the orgy of violence was far from over. If the police in Hereford


had not intervened when they did, where this trail of destruction


would have ended is anyone's guess. She is seen with friends buying, ``


tobacco. At random she selected her first victim. It was here the car


driven by Gary Stretch pulled up, Joanna Dennehy let out and launched


a ferocious attack on a local man, a postman, walking his dog. That man


was stabbed twice in the back and shoulder. The man in the shop, Mark


Lloyd, was in the car as the attack took place. He has spoken


exclusively to the BBC. She had a knife in her hand and a smile on her


face. Is it me or is it you? She got in the car, the knife in our hand,


she kissed Gary on the cheek and said, thanks for that. Another


victim was attacked at random, a dog walker stabbed 40 times. She said


something to the effect of luck, you are bleeding, I had better do some


more. I think I said, leave me alone, please. Please leave me


alone. But she carried on. In Cambridgeshire, she had stabbed


three men and Gary Stretch helped dispose of the bodies they headed to


Herefordshire a neighbour remembers them turning up. I saw them once in


a car. It is the only time I saw her. Gary came in for breakfast and


we caught in the gentle giants because he was so polite and I can't


believe this has happened. Over the road, other neighbours remember him


differently. He played loud music late at night into the early hours


and when my dad asked him politely, he would get aggressive and


eventually it ended with him throwing potatoes across our drive


and at the windows. In April they visited a friend and took pictures,


a macabre pose with an ornamental knife and handcuffs on the


waistband. Those pictures were taken in Herefordshire. They visited the


same day they went to Hereford. She with murder in her mind. In a phone


call from prison, Gary Stretch told his ex`wife Joanna Dennehy was off


her head, something that turned him from small`time burglar to willing


accomplice in murder. Friends or lovers, the true nature of their


relationship remains their secret. But together, to a city wholly


unused to it, they brought horror both random and extreme.


Birmingham City Council's to put up its council tax by 2% as it


struggles to save ?822m by 2018. The new city library has a ?1.3m funding


gap and could have its opening hours cut. It's been confirmed 1000 jobs


will also be lost across the council. The council leader says a


survey of Birmingham people showed that they backed the increase.


It puts more money into the budget, someone said a million but it


multiplies up to three point for in subsequent years. It is a way of


avoiding further cuts. A knife surrender started in


Birmingham today in response to a number of killings. But the mother


of a teenage rapper fatally stabbed last year says she's bitterly


disappointed that she and her son's fans aren't playing a bigger part.


Our special correspondent, Peter Wilson reports.


A photo call after months of waiting the secure knife bins were on the


streets. The young the great and the good all in the spotlight. But this


woman was not invited. Alison Cope was due to play a big part in the


anti knife campaign ` her son 18`year`old Joshua Ribera was


stabbed and killed last September. Known as Depzman his music had a


growing fanbase but today his Mum felt left out in the cold. The


amount of people that loved his music and who care he isn't here,


they could reached out to all of those people by using his name with


my permission. But they have chosen not to and it is frustrating.


The New Crime Commissioner wants this initiative to be community led


getting everyone on board will be essential to its success. We hope a


second wave in South Birmingham and we need to publicise those. We are


hopeful to be able to fully involve those in the future.


For a decade knife crime in Birmingham has fallen by 75% but now


its rising again ` the police say the word amnesty is wrong there's


never a reason to carry a knife. All weapons should be surrendered. One


young musician has taken that message into local schools. A child


that feels they need to get rid of something, it is easier for them to


drop it off rather than answering to somebody. These pins alone don't


prevent knife crime, everyone says education is needed to change


attitudes and to achieve that, everyone will have to work together.


Onto football now and West Bromwich Albion's one`all draw with Chelsea


means they're now out of the bottom three. The Premier League leaders


went in front just before half`time at the Hawthorns. But Pepe Mel's men


fought back. And three minutes from the end, Victor Anichebe scored to


earn a valuable point. The perfect tonic before West Brom fly off to


Spain for six days warm`weather training. Aston Villa were denied


victory by the Cardiff City goalkeeper David Marshall. It


finished 0`0. You can see all of the goals on Match Of The Day tonight.


Storm damage causing major cancellations on Virgin Trains and


many roads are blocked. It is looking dreadful. Yes, the north and


west of the region has borne the brunt of the damaging winds and the


wind speed we have seen across the western fringes would seem to bear


that out. They have exceeded 60 mph. Onto the rainfall totals and


those have not been as impressive. The totals began to mount up after


48 hours. A few saw that, Hereford seems to have been the wettest place


in the region without 290 millimetres of rain. We could see


more of that by Friday. When the low pressure system is out of the way,


we have one days grace and then this next system, and Atlantic glow


rattled up. It is coupled with strong winds with wraparound


occlusion. Yellow warnings for the rain coming on Friday, it will


amount to an inch of rain. It is all totting up and river levels are


getting higher. Not great news and more flooding is on the way. For the


time being, we are running the risk of some strong gusts across northern


and western parts, this is one of the windiest spells of the day this


evening and night. After that, they will start to ease but we are


looking at a dry periods towards the end of the night but a few showers


running across the south and they could turn wintry. Lows of around 12


Celsius in towns and cities but lower than that in rural spots.


Tomorrow, a dry day, a few showers around the region and tomorrow will


be a cold day but some sunshine and the respite from the rain until


Friday. Staying with the flooding here and a report now from Sian


Lloyd in Bewdley. She's spent the day in the picturesque


Worcestershire town on the banks of the River Severn where families are


waiting nervously tonight and hoping that the flood barriers will keep


the rising waters at bay. The defences have never been tested to


this extent. The River Severn is continuing to rise with another peak


expected on Friday. Without these defences, Bewdley would be


underwater. The town has suffered severe flooding in the past and the


people who live along the river are taking chances. Flood barriers and


sandbags and it is just a precaution really because I know the river can


come up. We have never had it this high before but we never had the


defences before. This is trying the defences out. Lindsay is feeling the


effects of the weather. She has cancelled bookings for her holiday


cottage but a pump is keeping the worst at bay. It is the water table


levels. There is so much water in the ground it has to go somewhere so


it comes to the floor and it takes the access waterway otherwise I


would be knee deep. People here tell me they have never seen the river so


high. It matches the peak of the record`breaking floods of 2007. This


barrier currently is 1.65 metres high, it is keeping back the River


Severn. But it needs to go higher. Bewdley had its big investment in


flood defences that other communities are now calling for.


Contingency plans are in place, rest centres will be set up should


evacuation be needed. Fingers crossed for everybody there. Live


now to Worcester. How is the city coping? Well, Worcester is a city


used to flooding but even by their standards this is pretty bad. The


town has been split into, many roads including the river bridge are


closed. Those people living around the river whose properties have not


flooded will spend most of the night battling to keep properties dry. And


with these levels still rising, it will be a tough night and a very


long few days for the people of Worcester.


That was the Midlands Today. I'll be back at ten o'clock with the very


latest on the floodwaters. Have a good evening. Bye for now.


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