18/03/2014 Midlands Today


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worth up to ?2000. That is all from us,


Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight:


An apology to Jeff Astle's widow from the Football Association for


the way she's been treated since the footballer died from brain damage.


We feel very let down. The tpset we've felt I think is reallx


starting to turn to anger. Laraine Astle also tells us she


still wants the FA to carry out research into brain injuries among


players. An investigation's under wax into


why 86 miscarried and abortdd foetuses were kept for up to four


years at Walsall Manor Hosphtal Abandoned and neglected ` a surge in


the number of horses rescued from appalling misery. It is beyond bad.


Every year it's got worse btt this has been the worst year ever.


Making a bit of twit of himself ` the tawny owl recovering from a


325`mile journey clinging to the front of a train. Tawny owls are


very funny owls, and they'rd very hardy owls, so, again, I thhnk it


just got on there, clung on, and that was it!


And it's all looking calm rhght now, deceptively so. In fact, if


anything, tomorrow could be warm. But by the time we get to Thursday


and the rest of the week, that's quite a different story, whhch I'll


have for you later. Good evening. The Football


Association today apologised to the widow of Jeff Astle for the way


she's been treated since he died from brain damage caused by heading


heavy leather footballs. Laraine Astle says there's been virtually no


contact since a landmark inpuest 12 years ago into the death of the West


Bromwich Albion legend. Although the dry weight of footballs has remained


unchanged, the old leather balls became far heavier when wet, risking


serious injury. Here's Ben Godfrey. To West Bromwich Albion supporters,


Jeff Astle was known simply as the King. He was a prolific goal`scorer


for the Baggies and won fivd caps for England. His death in 2002 at


the age of 59 sent shock waves through football. We have h`d no


closure with it. There's bedn no closure because the FA won't accept


what killed him, you see. Tdsts showed that Jeff Astle died from a


catastrophic brain injury c`used by years of heading leather balls. The


Football Association told L`raine Astle they would conduct a decade of


research into the effect on players but it hasn't been done. Ond of my


daughters said, do they just not think my dad's life was worth


anything? Two of my daughters have suffered, you know, in the last 12


years. One of my daughters had a nervous breakdown. In a statement,


the Football Association sahd: We deeply regret any upset caused to


the Astle family due to our lack of contact during this period, and we


apologise to them for this". We understand the FA did begin a


research project but it has not been completed because the youngsters


selected to take part droppdd out. This is after failing to make it as


professionals. Then surely hf it is going to help and save lives and


front all these problems in later life, that has got to be worthwhile.


This neurologist says even though today's footballs don't get heavier


in wet conditions, they could still cause injury. Even mild injtry is a


risk factor these days. Jeff's family, including his 14`month`old


grandson, Joseph, are going to West Bromwich Albion's match at Hull City


on Saturday. They're asking supporters to honour the Baggies


legend by applauding after nine minutes to recognise their campaign


for justice for Jeff. Coming up later in the programme,


the peril of potholes. A former world cycling champion says the


roads he rides have become potential death traps.


An investigation's under wax after miscarried and aborted foettses were


kept in storage at Walsall Lanor Hospital. They were retained because


paper work wasn't filled in properly. There are around 700


miscarriages or abortions every year at the hospital and it's now emerged


that 86 foetuses were kept for up to four years. Of those, 73 were under


12 weeks old. Here's our he`lth correspondent, Michele Padu`no.


At 12 weeks, the foetus is `round six centimetres long and wehghs just


14 grams. The vast majority of embryos, 73, were smaller than this.


This is a foetus at 20 weeks. Some remains were as late as 21 weeks'


gestation. Walsall Manor Hospital has admitted that embryos wdre kept


up to four years in two casds because forms weren't compldted or


were incorrectly completed. We are sincerely sorry for any distress or


concern we might have caused. We have had a problem with our internal


process which has meant that in a small number of cases, the


authorisation to dispose of what is remaining after miscarriages and


terminations has not happendd as it should have done. Around 700 embryos


from abortions and miscarri`ges in Walsall are cremated here at the


Streetly Crematorium. The mhssing embryos only came to light following


a Freedom of Information repuest asking how many foetuses were kept


more than a month. Once the paperwork is completed, the


remaining 86 foetuses will be brought here for cremation. Some


with their parents present. The hospital says it has reviewdd all of


its other procedures and thdre are no other problems with the lortuary.


In a statement, the Human Thssue Authority said: "We are currently


reviewing how this happened at Manor Hospital in Walsall, includhng


inspecting next week. It is important that the issues are


investigated thoroughly, action is taken, and lessons are learned by


Walsall and others to avoid similar incidents happening again".


No`one has been disciplined for the error but the hospital has


commissioned an investigation into why this was not discovered sooner.


And the hospital has set up a dedicated information line for


people who think they may bd affected by what's happened ` the


number to call is 0345 835 7626 It's the Budget tomorrow, and


companies will be looking for further incentives to boost the


region's economy. Although there are signs of recovery, particul`rly in


manufacturing, unemployment remains stubbornly high. Our business


correspondent Peter Plisner is in Aston in Birmingham tonight. Peter,


what are the key things bushnesses will be looking out for frol the


Chancellor? I think as you said they are looking for reasons or


incentives to grow. This colpany no exception. Here they make plastic


mouldings for a variety of things. This is a wheel arch for a


Caterpillar and this is somdthing for a JCB. And this is for ` wheel


arch of an Aston Martin! With me is the managing director. You have


expanded quite rapidly and paid the price in increased business rates


and presumably you don't want the Chancellor to be putting opdrates


any more? Absolutely. The r`tes really have not gone down. For the


last five years, really. It is quite a deprived area and obviously we


want to employ more people `nd that has prevented us from doing that.


Energy costs are quite high because basically you are warming lots of


things up so you possibly w`nt the Government to do something on the


increase in that? Very much so. We are spending about ?12,000 ` month


on electricity alone and th`t prevents us from entering a global


market, so any help on that would be very welcome. What else werd July to


see the Chancellor give you? We would like to see him keep or raise


the annual investment allow`nce We are looking at investing in


machinery because our custolers are asking us to do that and we need


help in being able to do th`t. `` what else would you like to see The


Chancellor will deliver his speech at lunchtime tomorrow and tomorrow


night we will be back to find out if Dave and the company he man`ges


actually got what they were asking for. It will be interesting to see.


Thank you. A Birmingham woman has been jailed


for life in Pakistan after being convicted of trying to smuggle drugs


out of the country. 26`year`old Khadijah Shah, seen here attending


court with her two children, was arrested at Islamabad Airport in May


2012. She was carrying 63 khlos of heroin worth nearly ?3 millhon.


She's always denied the charges The children have since returned to the


UK. Charities are warning that the


number of abandoned horses hn the Midlands is reaching critic`l


levels. Rescue centres say irresponsible breeders and rising


costs are behind a surge in the number of animals being neglected.


The RSPCA wants tighter controls to keep track of owners. BBC Hdreford


and Worcester's Pam Caufield has been investigating.


Hello, scruffy lot! Dumped on roadsides, car parks and fidlds


These are some of more than 120 horses rescued by one small


Worcestershire charity. It has reached crisis point. It is beyond


bad. Every year has got worse but this has been the worst year ever


that I've experienced in 30 years. I'm having to turn horses away. Sue


picks up animals like these almost every day. Cheap to buy but


expensive to care for, many suffer appalling neglect, are abandoned and


left for dead. Don't buy it if you can't afford to keep it. Don't


advertise it free thinking someone else will want it, because ht'll be


like the Christmas puppy, end up on the heap six weeks later. The RSPCA


blames the problem on years of overbreeding by irresponsible owners


who graze them illegally on different plots of land. It wants


tighter controls to keep tr`ck of who owns each animal. Every horse


should have a passport, it should be traceable and it should be


microchipped. Unfortunately this isn't enforced, so it's hard if we


do have a neglected animal or a group of fly`grazed horses to


actually trace the owner, and that's one of the big issues. In W`les


there's a new law to target such breeders ` the Control of Horses


Act. It allows local authorhties to seize horses which are eithdr


abandoned or left grazing on land without permission. That's great for


Wales but it's going to import the problem into England a lot lore


because the same legislation isn't being brought into effect over here.


Now, this young lady is called Whisper. It's taken us four months


to get through to her that nobody's going to hurt her. Whisper nearly


starved to death. Her owner was convicted of cruelty to anilals


Charities want more punishmdnts and tougher laws, but until that


happens, they'll carry on the struggle to find good homes for


horses like Whisper. Helen Gough is an agricultural


solicitor who is campaigning to get the law changed to protect horses.


She joins us now. Good evenhng. What's the current law? How often


are people prosecuted? Therd are three principal pieces of


legislation that eel with horses being abandoned. Over the p`st two


years there has been a signhficant increase in the number of


prosecutions, nearly double. But the RSPCA have been berated for that aim


to many when I don't think ht is nearly enough. If people ard being


prosecuted, why do we need to change the law? We have the passport


regulations which were introduced in 2009 but they are not being complied


with and they are not being enforced, so non`compliance is


becoming a real issue. But the real problem is in actually getthng the


horses removed from land whdre they have been abandoned, so it hs the


1971 animals act which is l`cking. What changes do you want? Do you


want to keep the tubing and passports in place or make sure they


are in force? That is cruci`l because we have to have a mdthod of


identifying the owners. We `lso need to have a centralised unit so that


each local authority has responsibility for somewherd so we


can have the area monitored, how many horses we have there and where


they are going, and the cost implications of this absolutely


huge. It could be severely `nd significantly reduced if we just


worked together on this but everybody takes the attitudd that it


is not their problem, somebody else will deal with it. How big ` problem


is it? We saw examples in that report but how widespread is it It


is all across the country. @ll of the century is fit to burst and they


really have no more capacitx to take in any more horses. `` all of the


centuries. We know many havhng problems and that is another issue


with the animals act of 1970. It does not enable us to deal with the


welfare issues being caused here in being able to get the horses removed


sooner rather than later. Thank you for your time.


Our top story tonight ` an `pology to Jeff Astle's widow from the


Football Association for thd way she's been treated since thd


footballer died from brain damage. Your detailed weather forec`st to


come shortly. Also in tonight's programme, the


race to get Worcester's grotnd ready for the start of the cricket season


after flooding that left it with more than a soggy outfield.


And find out how this littld owl survived to journey of more than 300


miles clinging to the front of a freight train!


A widow who won a legal battle to preserve her late husband's sperm


wants a change in the law so other women don't have to go throtgh what


she did. Beth Warren's husb`nd died of a brain tumour two years ago


They'd always planned to have children. But she had to go to the


High Court to overturn Human Fertilisation and Embryologx


Authority rules, which would have meant the sperm was destroydd. She's


been talking to Joanne Writtle. Heading to the gym where shd


teaches, Beth Warren is looking to the future. Think about your


posture... Think about your breath. And people there are delighted she's


won her case. I think it is absolutely fantastic. I'm so happy


for her. Seeing her so happx afterwards is amazing. At the


Birmingham apartment she sh`red with her husband, Beth still somdtimes


feels down. But she hopes hdr fight to preserve his sperm withott time


limits will save others frol the two`year legal fight she's had. To


me it feels amazing that I've not only won this for myself and it s


given me back my future and that choice Warren left me, but H'll also


know it will force changes hn the law that will stop this happening in


the future. Beth and Warren were soul mates. He wanted to give her a


choice about whether to havd his children. He died two months after


her brother was killed in a car accident. At a time when I had just


lost my brother and my husb`nd, that is not a time when you have a broken


heart, you are feeling very lonely and emotional and you start having a


family, so it is about loving myself up and of course I know havhng a


child without a father isn't ideal but in a perfect world, my husband


and brother would not have died It is not a perfect world. For now


Beth adores her nieces, and is concentrating on her new


physiotherapy career after putting her studies on hold to care for


Warren. If I am to become a single parent, need to make sure I can


provide for that child as wdll, so that's definitely the main point,


but besides that it is just living life and loving life and not


fighting cancer like I was doing for two years, and then the next two


years with a legal battle. Ht is just about being a normal young


person and embracing what lhfe has to offer. Beth has countless happy


memories of her husband, who was a ski instructor. And life now is


about embracing the future whilst not forgetting the past. Thd main


reason she chose Warren's fhrst name as her surname? For EE is, ht was


Warren and Beth, Beth and W`rren, and I knew he was going to die


within days, weeks or months, and a new I would not hear his nale as


much, and that was really dhfficult so I spoke to him about it `nd asked


what he thought and that is why I took it on. I cannot remembdr now


being Beth Warren. It feels so natural. `` for eight years. And


staying with names, Beth revealed they'd even discussed what to call


their children. I would certainly never tell people the names because


we would with wanted to be ` surprise but we did discuss names.


A former world champion cyclist says potholes are making roads in the


Midlands among the worst in the world. There are three millhon


cyclists on Britain's roads. Last week, the Government said it was


giving ?140 million to councils to fix potholes caused during the wet


winter. But with 245,000 miles of road in Great Britain, the loney


will be spread pretty thinlx. Nadine Towell has been looking at how


dangerous our roads have become for those on two wheels.


He has won seven world cyclhng titles and covers more than 250


miles a week in training around his home in Warwickshire. But Mhck Ives


says the road conditions here are now so bad, they are becoming


lethal. This one down here was a massive one. And you can sed it now.


I am just going to go around it At least three feet long. It is not


just standard potholes that drivers are used to which cause problems for


cyclists. Smaller holes and channels can be just as dangerous. You have


to take evasive action. If xou don't, this is what happens. We ll


end there, over the handleb`rs, formally finish up in the


middle`of`the`road. `` wheel in there. We all know what can happen


when we hit a pothole on tyres at speeds in your car. But imagine what


can happen when your tyre is only this wide. At this cycle shop and


repair centre, they deal with a constant stream of punctures,


buckled wheels and worse. All bikes damage on the region's roads. ``


damaged. Whether they are more sporting riders all leisure riders,


they are hitting potholes and it can create quite a significant hmpact on


the bike and rider. `` or ldisure riders. We have inspectors that go


out and they do everything to inspect the roads every year but we


do rely on people phoning up the council and telling us accurate


information about where the potholes are located. With more than 120


race victories to his name, Mick won't allow potholes to put him off


the sport he loves, but he does know cyclists who have abandoned their


hobby because they feel ridhng on the region's roads has becole too


risky. I think I'll recognise some of those


roads as a keen cyclist mysdlf! I can certainly relate to that. `` I


recognise. Worcestershire County Crickdt Club


say they're confident they'll have New Road ready for the start of the


season, despite last month's floods. Pre`season games have been loved to


Kidderminster but the ground staff are working hard to ensure they can


host their first League gamd on 13th April, as Dan Pallett reports.


Blue sky overhead. But don't be fooled. Life's been anything but a


beach for Worcestershire. That's why, with 26 days until thehr first


home game, the New Road pitch looks like this.


It's a race against time to get everything ready but they'rd


confident it's one they can win We had an inspection from the DCB


yesterday just to see that they were OK with it and they're happx and


comfortable. A bit of warm sunshine, ironically a little bit of rain


might help as well, with sole warm weather to make the grass grow.


That's the key bit. Cleaning up is not a problem for us. But the


cricket ground was an island at the peak of last month's floods. Thanks


to the hard work of the grotnd staff here at New Road, everything's on


course to host league crickdt in just under four weeks' time.


Incredible, then, because four weeks ago, the water was lapping tp here,


above the guttering. Even the road outside was only passable bx bus


when the main bridge was closed to traffic. The water's now subsided,


but for the time`being, the squad have moved to Kidderminster for


pre`season. But that means dven more work for heads groundsman Thm


Packwood and his team. Todax's biggest problem was merely ` few


showers. This'll be my 25th season at New Road, so, yeah, when a flood


comes on, although people look at it and think, "oh, no, they must be


pulling their hair out", it happens all the time. We're used to it and


we mop up and go again. Thex tend to clean up as soon as a flood goes


down, and another one comes up and that means another clear`up


operation, and again they jtst get on with it, so the resilience of all


the staff to bounce back and just keep sorting things out is `mazing.


Worcestershire have done thdir bit to be ready in time. Now thdy just


need nature to work with thdm for a change, not against them.


That is a pretty impressive clean`up job!


As train journeys go, this one was high on excitement and pretty low on


comfort. But at least a tawny owl, who's now been named Lucky for


obvious reasons, survived over 00 miles clinging to the front of a


freight train. He's now recovering at the Nuneaton and Warwickshire


Wildlife Sanctuary. Ben Sidwell is there. A pretty incredible journey,


Ben! Yes, it is one heck of a journey, I have to tell you But to


be honest, many of the anim`ls here at the Sanctuary have had a tough


and long journey to get herd. Since they opened in 2001 they have looked


after 24,000 animals. There are owls, a goose behind me and


somewhere around there is a dear animal as well. But none of them


have faced quite the journex that Lucky had! He decided to go for a


rest on the front of a freight train in Glasgow. More than 300 mhles


later, clinging on for his life he arrived at a depot in


Northamptonshire where he w`s spotted. Thankfully, he is now


recovering here in this hospital unit. So let's go and meet this most


aptly named owl. First of all, what we want to know, how is he doing? He


is going to be fine. He had a bitter race brained wing but in ten days


time he will great. `` he h`d a sprained wing. He should have died


after this but it is a miracle where he happened to leap survived. It is


probably his plumage which kept warm. `` he happened to havd


survived. What about that phone call? You get it from the train


depot and it must be one of the weirdest you have had? Yes. I had to


ask the gentleman to repeat it twice. When he said and owl from


Scotland, I thought he was drunk! But he wasn't! What will happen to


Lucky? We will keep him for about ten days and then released him. And


the nice thing is, especially for Lucky here, he does not need to go


on a long journey back on the train, certainly not on the front of


it, anyhow! Because he will be released into the woods with other


tawny owls in Warwickshire, and I'm sure we will keep a check on him if


we can. We all wanted. `` wd all want to adopt him! The owl, not Ben!


A much cooler feel in the ahr today. A sign of things to come, Shefali?


Yes, we are in for a treat tomorrow, though, before thd windier


and cooler conditions set in on Thursday. This warm front whll be


followed by the cold front `nd that will bring in the rising


temperatures. After that, wd start to see this cold front on Thursday.


It turns into a cold front `nd slips southwards, bringing with it the


rain and the increase in winds. But you will notice those are a bit of a


feature throughout the next few days, with those tightening isobars.


Today, we saw a few showers, fairly well scattered, but also sole


sunshine developing through the latter part of the day, and that


will leave us with clear skhes overnight, said temperatures could


dip lower than they did last night, to around six or seven degrdes. That


will keep any frost at bay. It is because of the breeze that the


temperatures will stay well above freezing. However, because we have


the clear skies tonight, it will be quite beneficial to us tomorrow in


that we get to see quite a bit of sunshine first thing, but


particularly the further east you travel, and in the West, we could


hang onto more in the way of cloud. That will break through the day and


send temperatures up very nhcely to around 15 degrees in the sotthern


counties, maybe 14 elsewherd. I think we will reach 15 tomorrow


which is higher than most d`ys last week, where we saw 12 to 13. Quite


respectable for the time of year. But competing with that bredze so it


could feel cooler than that. Tomorrow night we are going to see


the cloud thickening up and this is a head of that frontal systdm


slipping southwards on Thursday So that cloud and the combinathon of


the winds tomorrow will, ag`in, hold the temperatures up to six or seven,


so at this stage, not seeing those night temperatures dropping by much


but they will do by the weekend That is when we could possibly see


some showers turning a bit wintry with night frosts returning.


Thursday, wet and windy, cooler with temperatures beginning to slip, and


that will be followed by lively showers and heavy ones on Friday.


Tonight's headlines from thd BBC: Russia formally takes over the


Crimea, the first time it's expanded its territory since the Second World


War. A new scheme to help working parents


with a child care subsidy worth up to ?2,000.


An apology to Jeff Astle's widow from the Football Association for


the way she's been treated since the footballer died from brain damage.


And an investigation's under way into why 86 miscarried and `borted


foetuses were kept for up to four years at Walsall Manor Hosphtal


That was the Midlands Today. I'll be back at 10pm, when we'll be


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