15/09/2014 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight:


The murder of an innocent schoolgirl on a bus


could've been avoided, according to a new report into her death.


There were enough signs, enough risks, in people who did wave


warning flags, but not enough people listening.


Claims that Alan Henning, a British man taken hostage


in Syria, was there with a Worcester`based charity.


We expose the pension scam that s left hundreds facing


We meet the Shropshire man trying to save his 16th century chhldhood


Whether I finish it before the end of my time, who knows, but the idea


is to get it liveable and gdt the house safe and secure.


And Friday's northern lights at Broadway Tower left a lasting


impression and a wonderful reminder of last week's weather, but could we


One thing's for sure ` it's warming up.


Medics, police and prison sdrvice staff have all been criticised


in a report into the murder of a schoolgirl who was stabbed to


Christina Edkins died on thd top deck of a bus in Birmingham at


the hands of a stranger, paranoid schizophrenic Phillip Simel`ne.


He had been released from prison only weeks before, but


mental health professionals admit he'd slipped through their net.


The report says Christina's death could have been prevented


Her family describe it as meaningless and avoidabld.


Christina Edkins, making her way to school just two


Phillip Simelane, living rotgh, tormented by mental illness.


Their paths crossed on a rush hour bus in March last year.


The result ` Christina's de`th, tragic and needless.


But her family say her killdr should never have been walking the streets.


I think it is quite clear that more than a year before Cristina Plazas


macro death, there were manx opportunities to recognise that this


person needed to be held in a hospital, and kept in a sectre


place. The authors


of today's report disagree that the killing was predictable,


but accept the warnings werd there. We did find that there were mist


opportunities for him to receive health care for his mental health


problems, and therefore concluded that her killing could have been


prevented. Simelane had been released from


prison just three months earlier. In another prison, HMP Hewell,


serving a sentence for thre`tening to kill, he was judged psychotic


but discharged without a care plan. In the three months after hhs


release, there is no record of contact between him, his GP and


mental health professionals. He slipped through our net, in that


we did not assess him as behng at the level of risk that he clearly


went on to pose to members of the public and Christina.


In another prison, he was jtdged psychotic, but released without a


care plan. Give any fact that he had bden


discharged from prison, the fact he only had three days of


anti`psychotic medication and was living rough and under no mddical


supervision, it was certainly predictable back at some pohnt, some


kind of violence would happdn. Similar aim, from Walsall, hs locked


up indefinitely. His mother says when she tried to get him hdlp, she


wasn't listened to. Not enotgh listening, not an absorbing, and it


costs Christina Edkins her life Joining me now is the


Conservative MP for Halesowdn and Rowley Regis, James Morris,


who is the Edkins' family MP. I think this is a shocking `nd


devastating report with a lhtany of failure around the mental hdalth


care of Phillip Simelane, which tragically led to the death of


Christina Edkins, and my thoughts are very much with Christin`


Edkins' family and friends tonight, who are still suffering the


devastation of the loss that they suffered. What can you do now?


Because there are many people and agencies involved in this, so how


can they be brought to accotnt, and will they? In my position as chair


of the All Party Parliament`ry Group on Iran, I am calling for a


parliamentary debate on this report, because I think it raises


some very important issues that need to be addressed.


We are urgently calling for meetings with ministers to make sure the


recommendations outlined in this report are implemented as swiftly as


possible, so we do not find ourselves in a situation ag`in which


could lead to the loss of innocent life. There are 51 recommendations.


Artisanal Bulloch, including prisoners' health records to be


shared with GPs after release, but there have been a lot of ch`nges to


the health service, the probation service. How can you make stre these


agencies are going to start talking to one another?


I think one of the key recommendations in this report is


that we need to have a lot lore sharing of information and darly


diagnosis of problems beford they become more serious. Phillip


Simelane was looked at in prison, but unfortunately, his records were


not then shared with police and probation. We need to get bdtter,


joined up working with the police, probation service, mental hdalth


services and social services in order to make sure that we deal with


these problems in a timely fashion. Thank you very much.


A cracking start for the Villa, four games in and still unbdaten,


leaves them second in the Premier League table.


It is believed the British `id worker Alan Henning, who has been


threatened with beheading bx terrorists in Syria, had bedn part


of a convoy led by a Worcester `based charity. Mr Henning was able


volunteer on a mission to ddliver aid including the charity Al`Fatiha


Global. What more do we know? As you mention, he had been on this


convoy with this charity, b`sed in Worcester. Here he is in front of a


vehicle in the convoy, which was taking aid to Syria. Their


headquarters are registered with the Charity Commission as being at a


domestic property in Harrington Road in Worcester. We sent a reporter


there today and knocked at the door. A woman answered and said they did


not wish to comment, so we did not get any comment from them at all. We


also know that Alan did not travel from Worcester itself, but from


Bolton, where he had been on convoys from before, and he had also been


known to a BBC reporter, who we talked to earlier.


I was actually introduced to Alan as Gadget, which was his nickn`me,


because he was good with gadgets and technology. He is a funny m`n, a


very kind man. I only spent a brief amount of time with him, but that


was confirmed by everyone that knows him.


And I understand that the charity is being investigated? That is right,


they are being investigated by the Charity Commission, who havd


monitored and since last ye`r. They launched their investigation


this March, saying they werd concerned with the way it is being


run. In detail, they said they wanted to look at whether the


trustees are effectively discharging their duties under charity law, with


particular regard to the proper accounting for the income and


expenditure of the charity, and also, the management of the charity


in accordance with the law, and I did ask the Charity Commisshon today


whether there had been any progress in that investigation. They said it


was ongoing, but did not wish to comment any further. Thank xou very


much. A man has appeared in court


in Wolverhampton accused of murdering a woman in Smethwick


earlier this month. The body of 47`year`old


Glynis Bensley was found in 20`year`old Zoheb Majib who lives


in the street, was arrested in connection with her


death on Thursday night. Business leaders are vowing to do


all they can to help workers threatened with redundancy


following the announcement that the Staffordshire mobile phone


retailer Phones 4 U has gond The business was founded


by the Stoke entrepreneur Staff were given a briefing


about the company's prospects when Nationwide, it's thought more than


5,000 jobs are at risk ` 500 of them based at the firm's headquarters


in Newcastle`Under`Lyme. What we have got to do is to set


this news against what is a very buoyant economy here in


Staffordshire. We are creathng jobs at really quite record numbdrs, and


of course, we know that unelployment levels are down to almost 2007


medals at the moment. Joining me now from


Newcastle Under Lyme is Rob Hunt from the administrators


Price Waterhouse Cooper. So, what is the likelihood


that jobs can be saved? Well, it depends what we achieve


over the course of the next 24 48 hours, as we seek to have a number


of conversations with mobild network operators, and hence whether we can


reopen some of the stores. Our staff going to be paid? That is one of the


crucial questions. We have said to staff this evening that we will do


our absolute utmost to raisd the necessary funds to pay them what


they are due, and I have gone in front of all of the staff that


remain here tonight and said that. I said that to the remaining people as


well. I know how critical it is to make sure that those people are paid


what is due to them, so that will be one of my biggest priorities during


because of tomorrow, to makd sure that we have got the funds to pay


them. This all seems to havd come completely out of the blue. How have


staff reacted? Well, there was a real sense of shock and a lot of


emotion around the phones four U offices, and I'm sure throughout the


store network during the cotrse of today. Staff have been very good,


help does during the course of the day, and we are very grateftl for


their support, but there is clearly an enormous amount of shock and


uncertainty throughout the whole of the business. Thank you verx much.


Finance experts are warning people to beware of so`called Penshon


Liberation schemes which promise to release money from pension pots


Hundreds of people have been persuaddd to


cash in their pensions before the age of 55, only to find they're


In a special investigation for BBC Inside Out, Andy Akinwolere


found four out of nine scheles he contacted gave misleading advice.


When we take out a pension, it's all about securing our future. @ nest


egg for retirement. But what happens if I want to cash mine in bdfore I


am 55? According to some colpanies, age is no barrier. Sounds


liberating. In fact, that's what they call it dashed Pension


Liberation. When John, not his real name, needed to free up somd cash,


he wasn't short of others. One seemed particularly appealing. I


have been unemployed for about two years, hardly earning money. I have


a wife, two kids, and I was struggling really badly fin`ncially.


In debt. And it basically offered up to 50% of your pension fund, and


before the age of 55. The scheme freed up ?47,000 in cash, btt


John's relief was short livdd. First, the pensions regulator and


then the High Court ruled hd had taken what was called an


unauthorised payment. The great thing about pensions is that they


are taxed efficient. In othdr words, we get tax relief on them to


encourage us to save. But there are strings attached. If you trx to cash


yours in before you are 55, cutting those strings will cost you a


fortune. You will have to p`y up to 70% of what you get back in tax But


our companies setting out to mislead, or just being short on


facts? I am hoping if you c`lled will help me find out. We h`ve


chosen a selection of companies at random, and I am a state pensions


expert to listening. Hello there. We have made it clear I am unddr 5 ,


but need cash and faxed. Yot switch your pension fund, and you will


receive 20% of the value of your investment. It is a scam. That is


Pension Liberation, whatever name they put on it. In fact, thd nine


companies be contacted online and on the phone, four of them gavd


misleading advice. So what hs the pensions regulator doing about it?


We have raised awareness with the police. The important thing now is


to raise awareness with consumers. The message we need to get out to


consumers is that if anyone up as you access to your pension scheme


before 55, they are telling you a lie. You need to walk away very fast


indeed. A lesson the victims are learning the hard way.


And Inside Out will have more on this story as part


of their Pension Special tonight at the usual time of 7:30


A report finds the murder of schoolgirl Christina Edkhns


could have been avoided if her killer's mental health problems had


Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly.


Proof that you're never too old to enjoy sport `


we meet the racquetball plaxer still going strong aged 92.


And 20 years of making people laugh ` we're at the club which


Imagine your cherished childhood home was falling down.


That's the dilemma faced by one Shropshire man.


Stuart Lawrence was brought up in a timber`framed 16th century


But it's now uninhabitable, so he's been forced to live in a caravan


Old Hall in Old Marton near Ellesmere ` one of the finest


Owner Stuart Lawrence grew tp here and wants to move back.


It's a lovely area of the country to grow up in, and the house w`s


certainly interesting as a child, as you can imagine, growing up in an


old house. It can be a bit spooky at times.


But the farmhouse is in serhous disrepair.


While he finds the ?150,000 to fix it, Stuart is forced to livd


You can only live in a mobile home for so long, but the idea rdally is


to try and get it in a lovable state again. I am sure there will always


be ongoing work to do, and ht is whether I finish it before the end


of my time. Who knows? Stuart inherited the property from


his late parents Norman and Brenda. The property is on the


English Heritage At`Risk Register. Old Hall Is A Bit Of A Mystdry. Most


Homes Have Belonged To The Same Estate In The Past, or staydd in the


same family for generations. But most of the property here h`s been


lost. The Property Is On The


English Heritage At`Risk Register. But it hasn't


the funds to help restore the hall. Under the watchful eye of


English Heritage, Now, Stuart must turn


his attention to the There is nothing nicer than a great


big open fire, and it reallx gets you nice and toasty in here.


The house needs replumbing, rewiring and decorating.


With fewer grants available, the task of preventing historic


houses from decaying will f`ll increasingly to private owndrs.


At least the future of this grand old building does seem assured.


Christian Benteke has thankdd the Villa fans for all


In tonight's sport, the golfer who has won a trip to outer space. But


first, more good news for Aston Villa.


Christian Benteke has thankdd the Villa fans for all


their support as he battles to recover from a ruptured Achhlles.


The Belgium striker has been out injured for the past five months.


But that hasn't stopped Villa from making


Today, I've been to meet one of thdir


Villa fan Chris works can h`rdly believe his good fortune. While he


is enjoying a great season, his favourite football fan is gdtting


off to a great start in the Premier League. They have played for, and


scored four, and they are lxing second with ten points. You and Ian


Bell must be pinching themsdlves to see Villa doing so well. We are


actually. I text him, saying what you think are the result? Hd was


buzzing. So it is just by The Stig, and hopefully we can continte it. It


is early days, but who knows what is going to happen if they continue


this form. Chris isn't the only Villa fan


wearing a big broad smile. @ big party kicked up at Anfield on


Saturday night, as maintained its excellent recent


record against Liverpool. No wonder they were jumping for


do that, we will have a good season. On Saturday, Warwickshire are at


Lord's. Chris works will have one eye on beating Durham, and one ear


on the game between the land Arsenal at.


And they were not the only winners at the weekend. Indeed.


There were two excellent victories kills. Coventry City went fhrst and


League 1. 11,000 people watched their second match back at the Ricoh


Stadium. Delight as well call waltz all, their first win of the season,


3`1 against Preston, and stopping Burton Albion.


The League 2 leaders beat York city session.


Not short of He has played in the studio room,


and then in six months, he hs playing in arenas. Until thd Glee


Club opened in 1994, the only way most people in the West Midlands or


comedy was on TV or at the Comedy Store in London. It was aftdr a


visit to the capital that the club's founder decided if it could


work there, it could work in Birmingham as well.


Obviously, the naysayers sahd, oh it is a cosmopolitan London thhng, but


my light bulb moment was, absolute nonsense. It will work outshde the


capital. And what better pl`ce for me than to choose, basicallx, the


second city? Over the past 20 years, some of the biggest names in comedy


have taken this walk onto the Glee Club staging Birmingham, from


Michael McIntyre to Peter K`y, John Bishop to Lee Evans. At the time, no


one watching them had any idea that they were soon to become thd next


comedy superstar. Hello. Yes, one person conthnued the


clapping! After two decades, Glee Club is


firmly established on the comedy circuit, and this weekend, some of


the up`and`coming big stars took to the stage to help with the birthday


celebrations. The Glee Club chain is for le, the


best comedy clubs in the cotntry. Particularly on Friday and Saturday


night. They have got a very good way of not having people in there you


don't want to play too. Thex are very... A lot of people think comedy


is like pillars and stuff, but that kind of ruined the night. The best


way to run a comedy club is to see how the Glee Club do it and then


copy that. Currently back on the road touring,


Jasper carrot has seen plenty of changes to the comedy circuht in his


40 year career. 20 years ago, comedy clubs were very few and far between.


Now, practically every vill`ge has one. It is great to go in the Glee


Club, and I have just come `long and turned up, they put me on for 1


minutes and I try out new m`terial. It is an essential part of


entertainment now. Comedy is massive.


With the 20th birthday celebrations over, planning is underway for


Christmas. The next big comddy superstar could be performing on


this very stage. Here is the weather now.


If today is anything to go by, you can see their Arbour alreadx subtle


changes to the weather this week. It will be showery at times, whth some


rain as well, and much cloud to be had, but I do not think the rain is


too much of a problem, conshdering has been very dry in recent days. We


have got some sunny spells on offer, and the main thing is, it whll turn


warmer by mid week. Temperatures by the end of the week could rdach the


mid`20s, but that is more lhkely be further south you travel. Some misty


nights and mornings, quite damp conditions. Low pressure on the


outside influences these showers, and you can see that there will be


some frontal systems circul`ting as well. As we head into tonight, it is


an example of what I've just been talking about. We got some showers


floating across the region, quite widespread in places, and you can


see from the darker sense is that some of them could be on a heavy


side, but a lot of dry weather in between, and eventually, thd shadows


will start to fade away, le`ving a dry ends of the night. But puite


damp conditions, and also won one, which will encourage the mist and


fog patches to develop towards dawn. We are looking at loads of `round


ten to 13 Celsius overnight with light winds. A misty morning


tomorrow, but that mist will slowly start to live, and that is because


the winds alight. Once it does, we are into cloudy conditions `gain


just like today, and another batch of showers starts to gravit`te up


from the south. These could be on the heavy side, but they ard well


scattered, and could be somd brightness and even sunny spell


between the afternoon. That will lift temperatures will South West up


to 21 Celsius. Quite light winds there, feeling pleasantly w`rm in


the sunshine. And again, we have much and again, we have mord showers


to content with tomorrow night, which will gain patent, leaving us


with misty, cloudy conditions. You can see from those green centres


that some of these could turn into thunderstorms. These will f`de


during the morning on Wednesday Again, a 1 night tomorrow nhght


with lows of just 14. Tonight headlines: Competing visions


from Alex Salmond and David Cameron, who is on his last


scheduled visit to Scotland before voters go to the polls.


The murder of an innocent schoolgirl on a bus could have been avoided


according to a new report into her death.


That was the Midlands today. I will be back at 10pm. Enjoy the rest of


your evening. Goodbye.


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