19/02/2014 Midlands Today


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you. That is all


Hello, and welcome to Midlands Today.


The headlines tonight: Time doesn't heal.


The parents of murdered teenager Georgia Williams talk of their


anguish. We get further and further away from our daughter. It does not


heal at all. Also tonight, a suspected victim of


domestic violence receives a profuse apology from West Midlands police as


two police officers under investigation after abusive remarks


were left on this teenager's phone. I felt imperative that I express my


shock to the complainant and my unreserved apologies.


Assessing the damage, the clear up gets underway as the flood waters


begin to fall. Too little too late. Nothing is being done.


Have spade will dig. He's volunteering to unblock ditches in


flood hit Herefordshire and wants more of us to do the same. We have


got to the stage now where if we do not do something we will have


nowhere else at all. So, is the weather going to help or


hinder efforts? So far, so good, but with more rain forecast after today,


how bad could it be? I'll have all the details for you later.


Good evening. The parents of murdered Shropshire teenager Georgia


Williams say only the charity set up in her name is keeping them going.


In their first full television interview, Steve and Lynette


Williams thanked the people of Wellington for their support. But


they said the pain of Georgia's loss would haunt them forever.


It gets worse. We get further and further away from our daughter. It


does not heal at all. It's eight months since Steve and Lynette


Williams saw the community of Wellington come together for the


funeral of their 17`year`old daughter, Georgia, who was an air


cadet. Life for them gets no easier. But the charity set up in her name


to help young people enjoy the outdoor pursuits she did has


provided comfort. It has helped us over this past nine months, because


people have been doing semidivine things, and it has made us go out of


the house, where as we were inside these four walls and that was it. In


December, Jamie Reynolds was jailed for life for strangling Georgia with


a noose. Experts said he could have gone on to be a serial killer. The


psychologists that interviewed him have said that he will always be a


danger to women, so he should never be let out, never. Reynolds


handcuffed Georgia and killed her at his family home in Wellington, a


short distance from where she lived. I picture what Georgia's last


moments were like every day and think to myself, no`one should go


through that. She must have been terrified, and I would imagine got


the chance to plead for her life, but Reynolds showed no compassion.


The community of Wellington is still sharing Georgia's loss. And people


like Mike Sheridan are helping to raise money for the Georgia Williams


Trust. He's about to walk from Lands End to the AFC Telford United


football ground, where he and Georgia were match day volunteers.


After her story broke last year, like most people, I wanted to do


something to help, and I was given the opportunity to raise money for


the charity and I jumped at it. Chief Inspector Steve Williams heads


up the Georgia Williams Trust. For many years he has been a colleague


of Georgia's father, who's a detective constable. It has been


phenomenal, the interest and the wicked people have got behind the


trust. We have raised over ?40,000 and we have started to release some


of the money to people. And for Georgia's parents, the


charity has helped them try to look forward. Our home had become a


prison, and people were encouraging us to go out and support the charity


and show our appreciation. We would just like to thank everybody who was


involved in it. You're watching BBC Midlands Today.


Good to have you with us tonight. Coming up later in the programme:


How the on air farmers in the Archers are getting to know the real


life drama in the flooded fields of Worcestershire.


Trust in the police is once again in the spotlight tonight. The West


Midlands force has offered a profuse apology to a suspected victim of


domestic violence after an abusive rant was left on her mobile phone,


apparently by police officers. A senior officer told us she is


shocked and devastated by the allegations.


Teenager Alex Faragher had called the police claiming she was a victim


of domestic violence. Later, two police officers telephoned her. The


call went to answer phone, and it's claimed their highly abusive


comments were then recorded. Because of the poor sound quality we've


transcribed the conversation. For years, the police have given out


the message that women can come forward in confidence and trust to


talk about domestic violence. Today, a senior woman police officer wanted


to talk from the heart. Commander Rachel Jones has personally


apologised to the victim. I was shocked, but also devastated for the


complainant themselves, for other victims of domestic abuse, him and


fearing this will undermine reporting domestic abuse to the


police. You cannot have confidence in the individual. Can you have


confidence in the service? Yes. This is not a reflection of the work and


care and compassion of the police staff across the West Midlands. The


police officers have not been suspended, but while the


investigation takes place, they are not dealing with the public.


Domestic islands is a huge problem. One woman's group spoke out tonight.


To pick the phone up is a real big breakthrough for a woman, and then


to be let down by the system, there is going to be a lot of training for


these officers so they can value what women go through. The woman at


the centre of this controversy has so far spoken only to the police and


the newspapers. To the latest on the floods now, and


with the waters falling, families in Worcester have begun the job of


cleaning up flooded homes. Ben Sidwell reports from a Worcester


street some say they've been abandoned.


This is a familiar sight in Diglis Avenue in Worcester. Every one of


the 24 houses were flooded, not just with river water, but also with


sewage. We are going to be like this for possibly another two or three


months. Hopefully shorter than that. We just do not know at the


moment. A few doors down at number 22, Matt


Beesley's garden is still deep in water. More than a week after the


river came in, he and the other residents are still waiting for


authorities to help. It is frustrating. We have had calls


telling us what people are going to be doing and that is where it stops.


The clean`up has begun here, but most of the is the residents


themselves. You can see, it is a huge task. Many of these people


might still be out of their house in two or three months, and it is


really frustrating, the lack of help.


And it's not just the inconvenience. Manhole covers were lifted by the


floods, meaning the water is also a major health hazard. Is dirty and


contains extra bacteria, and although those materials will


dilate, Windy floodwater lease, we have to make sure things are


properly cleaned up. So just how dangerous is the flood


water in the city? To find out, we've brought in a specialist to


test it. This equipment will tell us how easily harmful bacteria can grow


in each water sample. Firstly, bottled water. Unsurprisingly, the


results are very low. Next, the river itself. With safe levels


between zero and 32, the river water only gives a reading of two. This


shows that the aquatic environment would not really support bacterial


life, which is good. Back in Diglis Avenue, it's time to test the water


in Matt's garden, and here the results are simply shocking. 1007


internet and 74. I never expected it to be approaching 2000. `` 1774.


While we were there, at last what looked like help for Matt.


Representatives from the City Council and a charity. But


incredibly, Matt was told the street had been divided in two and someone


would be along in a couple of days to see him. Too little too late


trying to keep people happy. Nothing is being done. I am seething, I


really am. The water may be dropping on this street, but frustration and


anger among the residents at the response they've had, is definitely


on the rise. And I've got murky looking water


samples, this is some of the River Severn water and this is some of the


water we collected from near the homes we saw in Ben's report. That


is pretty disgusting. Ben Sidwell is in Worcester tonight. Any idea how


long it will take to clear up the residue?


I do not think anyone really knows exactly, but the estimated gas is


that some of the houses, probably two or three weeks to clear up, but


it could be months before the whole city is cleaned up properly. Let's


speak to the man who is in charge of the clean`up here. David, we have


heard from the residence a huge amount of frustration, growing


anger, and they are saying that today is the first day they have had


any contact in ten days. I would like to sympathise with anyone who


has been flooded. We have been in touch with a number of people in all


of the flooded properties over the last week or so I'm including the


fire service in the early stages. `` or so, including the fire service.


From today, we have allocated and environmental professional to each


of the households to give some personal advice. Do you think you


have done enough? It is a big event. There is an enormous amount of


resources being deployed across the agency team. There are difficulties


getting into clean up when there is still wants her on the ground.


Tomorrow morning, we will be up at that particular avenue with a large


resource beginning a full`scale clean`up. The clean`up is the


important thing. Absolutely. The water has gone down from the


houses, and our first priority is to help the householders. You can see


how much the river is still quite high. We would like to get it


cleaned as possibly `` as quickly as the public can. We have to leave it


there. The good thing is, at the river is dropping quite fast now.


The floods have disrupted lives, damaged homes and devastated


thousands of acres of farmers' fields. Against the force of nature,


it can seem there's little we can do. In Herefordshire, though, one


man believes he can make a difference. And as Bob Hockenhull's


been finding out, he wants others to follow his lead.


This is an entirely voluntary road maintenance team. Michael and his


family are out clearing ditches near a remote village. A little bit of a


struggle here. After months of torrential rain, many of the roads


have been flooded, and are in a poor state. With no sign of counsel


repair teams arriving, Michael has decided to take action himself. I


have got to the stage now where I think that if we don't make an


effort, we will have no roads to dry on in these little backwaters here.


I think it is a bit of a joint effort required by all. The general


public, ourselves, the farming community, everyone. If everyone did


a little bit I think we could minimise this problem. Michael is


campaigning for more residents in rural areas to help. He says the


lack of effective drainage is ruining countryside roads. As you


can see, the water is starting to flow away from the road as a result


of the work being carried out here, and it is not just ditches that the


team is attending to. They have also been clearing away debris from


gullies and strain. The number of potholes growing day by day, the


budget is tight, and it is welcoming, the can`do spirit of


Michael. I would love our people to do this sort of work was to their


properties. The council can do some work itself, but we do not have


duties and lots of places to clear roadside date `` drainage. An extra


?20 million is to be spent on highways, but now the garden or's


labour of love will have to continue. We will not have any roads


if it stays like this, so it is better to do it now. Clearly, this


family will not let the flood speak them.


This is our top story tonight. Time doesn't heal, the parents of


murdered teenager Georgia Williams speak of their anguish. Shefali will


be here with the weather forecast shortly. Also tonight: Set up in the


60s to challenge conventional art in Birmingham, the Ikon Gallery turns


50, but is it still cutting edge? There's been another sharp fall in


unemployment in our region. Today's figures show the biggest quarterly


reduction in any region outside South East England. 226,000 people


are now out of work here, that's down 31,000. But at 8.3%. Our


region's unemployment is still more than one percent above the UK


average. Our Political Editor Patrick Burns has been studying the


figures. Patrick, what's the significance of these numbers? They


confirm the virtuous circle between falling unemployment and rising


employment. On the last month, Last month's report by the accountants


KPMG, which showed job creation here was outstripping every other region,


including growth in full`time working. `` there are people who are


working part who wants to work longer hours. But it's not good news


everywhere, is it? The 2,000 job losses announced yesterday by


Wolverhampton City Council more than outweigh the 1,400 that will be


created up the road at the new JLR engine plant. I regret to say there


will be more announcements like that as other spending plans for the


coming year. That is one reason why the unemployment is 1% above the UK


average. The worry is that public sector jobs are being lost, but that


is being outweighed by the creation of jobs in the private sector. What


worries me is youth and long term unemployment concentrated in parts


of Birmingham, Black Country, and North Staffordshire, which have some


of the UK's highest unemployment rates, low skills, poor educational


attainment. And we have important elections coming up. The government


says this confirms that their plan for the economy is working, helping


people into real productive work. But other figures also out today


show that wages are still lagging behind prices. There are predictions


that wages could start catching up in a big way later this year, just


in time maybe for a feel`good factor before the general election.


Interesting. Thank you. More than 50 firefighters are


tackling a fire at a luxury housing complex in Leamington Spa. Eight


crews were called to Blackdown Hall in Sandy Lane this afternoon. An


emergency rest centre has been set up at a nearby school after the


building was evacuated. There are no reports of any injuries.


A 22`year`old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a


Gloucester hairdresser at a salon in the city. Hollie Gazzard, who was


20, was attacked inside Fringe Benefits on Southgate Street just


before six o'clock yesterday evening. She later died in hospital.


It's believed the victim and the alleged attacker knew each other.


This is an isolated incident, an incident whereby the victim and


suspect did know each other, they were in a previous relationship. I


want to ensure people that this is a safe community.


50 years ago the Birmingham made Mini was the car to dry and mini


skirts were causing a sensation on the city's streets. But the art


scene was pretty conventional, until a new gallery opened with a mission


to bring cutting edge exhibitions to Birmingham. And it's still going


strong. Our Arts Reporter Satnam Rana is at the Ikon Gallery for


birthday celebrations tonight. And it's been an eventful half century,


hasn't it? The artwork is continuing today.


Tonight, celebrations are underway for the 50th birthday. The gallery


has had five directors, and here is a taste of what has happened so far.


The bullring shopping centre is symbolic of the new Birmingham.


There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world.


1965. The Rotunda had recently become part of Birmingham's skyline.


And over near the Bullring, a so`called gallery without walls has


been founded by emerging contemporary artists in a glass


kiosk. John Salt, who went on to pioneer the photorealism movement,


painting images that look like photos. He became the first artist


to exhibit at the Ikon. His is work is back on display for its 50th


birthday. I was really pleased to be offered the show there. The first


show there was really making history. The 1970s brought a move to


the Pallasades to get closer to the local audience. It was here that the


Ikon was bombed by the IRA, the likely target being the army and


navy recruitment office next door. The early 70s was a time when we


head a great optimism on the crest of a wave of a can`do attitude, so


it had expanded enormously. Lots of visitors, lots of people who would


not normally go to an art gallery, and that was very intentional. The


1980s and UB40 are making sounds across the city, and the IKon is now


in another home. This time, a disused carpet factory in John


Bright Street. And then, in 1998, a final move to the former Oozells


Street School where it won lottery funding to covert the Grade two


listed building. And it's here where a year long series of exhibitions


and events begin today to mark 50 years of contemporary art in


Birmingham. Tonight there is a great buzz in


this gallery for the opening of the celebratory exhibition by an


artist. I am joined now by the current director of the gallery.


What has the success been down two and the last 50 years. Essentially,


it is the fact that it is such an independent art gallery and it is


quite old. We try to be as relevant as possible. We want to engage with


the local community. You have about 130,000 visitors coming through the


door every year, but what about those people who do not come into


galleries? We like to think of ourselves as outgoing. We are doing


things all the time out and about in Birmingham and in the region. The


most exciting project we have this year is a canal boat which is being


crewed by young people, sailing from Birmingham and around the Black


country, and they are going to meet lots of people along the way and


there will be so many events and performances. This gallery is about


giving emerging artists a showcase. Yes, right from the beginning, the


gallery was there to support young artists. Of course, young artists


get older, and we are celebrating the 50th anniversary, so the young


ones who started it are in their 70s and 80s, and we celebrate them, what


younger ones are coming up all the time. Thank you very much. This is


the start of a year`long set of celebrations. In 1964, at the artist


came up with the idea, and it was in 1965 that the gallery opens to the


public. A final word tonight on floods, and


they've been adding reality to the drama in Radio Four's The Archers.


Millions tune into the programme each day, made in our studios right


here at BBC Birmingham. Episodes have been re`written to reflect the


flooding crisis. To get a real insight into the problem, some of


the cast visited a Worcestershire farmer whose land is under water.


Just a warning, this report from David Gregory Kumar contains shots


of the Archers characters! Fact meets fiction as Archers


actors, Tim Bentinc and Felicity Finch see first`hand the reality of


life on a flooded farm. It is coming up through the floors in the shed.


That isn't any good at all. Farmer Steve Page has lost whole fields to


flood water on his farm near Worcester. He's had no choice but to


bring 1,000 of his sheep inside and that costs. At the moment it will


cost us an extra ?300 a day to keep them in. We have been underwater


since Christmas, and it looks as if we could be for the next month or


six weeks. Ambridge too is preparing for a


flooding storyline. But for the actors confronting the real thing is


a sobering experience. To actually hear their problems and what they


are having to face, it is an extraordinary thing to see it in the


flesh and it pulls you up, no doubt about it. One of the things that


hadn't occurred to me you're talking about when the water recedes, I said


that would be `` what's with the grass be like, and he said it would


be contaminated. Farmers will be coping with this for months. Talking


about this story and the programme is a good way to remind people about


farming after the flood water goes down. The Archers flooding storyline


continues this evening. David and Ruth don't look like that in my


head. We have got some are sunshine and


the way this week, tomorrow, to be precise. This is how the rest of the


week is looking. We have got rainfall followed by showers and


then it turns windy and cold by Friday, followed by the next area of


rain. The track is uncertain as is the timing of that. I do not often


do this, but I am going to skip ahead to next week, because there is


something significant to talk about, the jet stream, which I am


sure you are familiar with. Things always get worse the further south


it goes, and it could slip further south for Monday and Tuesday, going


into Wednesday as well, so we could be looking at more significant


amounts of rainfall. Or the immediate future, let's look at this


rain that is heading our way overnight. We have a few showers


dusted about the region, and then this band of rain moves in from the


west. It is not particularly heavy, and the heaviest outbreaks will be


about ten mm at most, but under that cloud and the winds, the


temperatures should the main well above freezing. We have further


pulses of rain moving through central and eastern parts of the


region through the morning tomorrow, but it clears away to sunnier


conditions, and that is going to take us up to about 11 Celsius


tomorrow morning. A few blustery showers to go with that as well.


Tomorrow night, skies clear and the temperatures start to plummet. That


pesky jet stream! Tonight's headlines from the BBC: The hacking


trial is told Tony Blair advised News International's Rebekah Brooks


on handling the scandal just days before her arrest. Time doesn't


heal, the parents of murdered teenager Georgia Williams talk of


their anguish. And two police officers under investigation for


leaving abusive messages on this teenager's phone.


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