13/12/2013 North West Tonight


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Good evening. Welcome to NorthWest Tonight with Annabel Tiffin and


Stuart Flinders. Our top story: The Government welcomes a fall in gang


related violence, but some community workers here say nothing's changed.


Two years after the riots is enough being done to break down gang


culture? Also tonight: A rough ride on high speed rail ` HS2 protestors


target George Osborne in Cheshire. The Prime Minister reveals a range


of road and rail projects for the north west. David Cameron joins us


live here in the studio. The Lancashire builder who's a real


Christmas Star for Sarah. And the Lancashire aerospace worker


giving his mates a lift. Soon he'll be competing against the strongest


men on the planet. It's crazy. It's my second year. I am still a bit


starstruck. A gang from Merseyside involved in


drugs, arson and firearms conspiracies has this afternoon been


sentenced to a total of nearly a 100 years in jail. The court heard that


in one gun attack a child narrowly avoided death. The sentences came as


new figures show a marked fall in the number of gang`related murders


in the North West. It follows the setting up of a Government programme


to tackle the problem in the wake of the 2011 riots. But some groups


working with young people say there's still a serious problem on


the streets. Andy Gill reports. A gunman fires at a house in St


Helens in a dispute between drugs gangs. You can see the flash of the


discharge. In the same case shots were fired at a caravan where two


children were sleeping. Both were unharmed. Today the gang leader


Eugene Price got 25 years. Total sentences were just under 98 years.


Things moved on, things moved to arson attacks against vehicles and


firearms being discharged at houses. But took it to another level


so we took our activities to another level as well. To bring the gang to


justice the Merseyside Police used an approach using all kinds of


agencies and authorities. It is an approach being launched after the


2011 riots. Today, the government said that scheme is working. After


the riots, the Government provided money to help police and other


organisations tackle gangs in five North West areas: Manchester,


Salford, Oldham, Liverpool and Knowsley. A report published by the


Home Office today says gang`related violence is now falling in those


areas. Before the project, there were four murders in the five North


West areas with a gang`problem. In the past year, there have been none.


The situation with knife attacks is more mixed. In Liverpool woundings


has remained unchanged ` 54 in 2010. And 54 in the past year. In


Manchester the picture's more positive. Woundings have gone down


from 59 to 40. But one man working with young people on estates in the


North West is sceptical. Categorically, nothing has changed.


There have been no new ideas, no new inch tips. New asking somebody who


lives on an estate, have I noticed a difference? The answer is no.


Today's report says anti`gang organisations are concerned about


uncertainty over funding next year. Police have confirmed that one of


the victims who died in a house fire in Bolton earlier this week had been


stabbed to death. The three people who died in the blaze were all from


the same family. Police have confirmed they're investigating a


murder and that they're not looking for anyone else. Mark Edwardson


reports. The fire on Albert Road West in the


Heaton area of Bolton started in the early hours of Monday morning.


Firefighters described the scene as amongst the worst they'd ever seen.


An Iranian couple Hassan and Mahnaz Rafie died, as well as Mrs Rafie's


mother. The couple's children have paid tribute to them saying, "our


parents would have been celebrating their 25 years of marriage through


which they worked through the greatest difficulties to build a


successful life from scratch.". Police have been investigating the


possibility that what happened here was murder followed by an act of


suicide. The details released today seem to support that. Mahnaz Rafie,


known to her neighbours as moaner, died from stab wounds, her husband


from smoke inhalation and burns Mrs from smoke inhalation and burns Mrs


Rafie's mother also died. It is believed the fire started after the


gas supply in the house had been tampered with.


The Dean of Lancaster Cathedral has been jailed for 12 months after


being convicted of three historical sexual offences.54`year old Canon


Stephen Shield had denied indecently assaulting a young man between 985


assaulting a young man between 1985 and 1992. The Crown Prosecution


Service said he had abused his position of trust.


Police in Merseyside have confirmed the body recovered from Albert Dock


yesterday is that of missing postman James Bennion. The 20`year old was


last seen early on Sunday after a night out. A postmortem examination


will be carried out to establish the cause of death.


A jury in the trial of the Isle of Man's Attorney General has been


discharged after failing to reach verdicts on two charges. Stephen


Harding denied perjury and acts against public justice at Douglas


Court House. The jury of five men and two women was sent home after


failing to reach unanimous verdicts. Councillors in Lancashire have


backed controversial plans for more than a thousand new homes in the


Ribble Valley. A committee voted last night to allow the scheme `


opposed by Clitheroe Town Council ` to go ahead. It's estimated the


development on the outskirts of the town will take more than 15 years to


complete. The Prime Minister and the


Chancellor have been in the North West ` both talking about transport.


While one ` David Cameron ` had some news about road and rail investment,


George Osborne was in his home patch, Cheshire, taking flak over


the HS2 rail link. We'll have more from Mr Cameron shortly. He's live


with us here in the studio, but first lets cross to Naomi Cornwell


who's been at that HS2 meeting in Macclesfield where Mr Osborne met


local politicians. There were protesters outside the meeting and a


lot of people unhappy that they could not put their views to the


Chancellor? Yes, Mr Osborne came here to meet parish councillors from


inside his constituency will start they represent areas which will be


affected by the HS2 route through Cheshire. There are also a number of


other local politicians here. Crucially, it was a closed meeting,


it was not open to members of the public. That has angered some.


Around 25 disgruntled constituents gathered outside for a protest with


banners. They say they do not feel that Mr Osborne is listening to


them. One protest the South Mr Osborne has refused to meet them


face`to`face. He says he does not hold constituency surgeries and they


should put questions in writing He should put questions in writing He


is not providing the service that we expect from a constituent MP and


really, we are at a quandary now, how to get to speak to our own MP on


our national concerns and local concerns about HS2. He said he will


answer specific questions about HS2 will impact on us but in writing if


we put them to him, and he will help out, but we would like to talk to


him face`to`face. We have not been able to put those claims to Mr


Osborne tonight because he managed to slip in and out of the meeting


without being spotted by anyone. to slip in and out of the meeting


without being spotted by anyone But without being spotted by anyone. But


the protesters say they will continue to get that meeting. Thank


you. For the Prime Minister it was a trip


to north Lancashire after the announcement of regional investment


for rail and road. We'll be speaking to Mr Cameron live in the studio in


a moment. First this report from our political editor Arif Ansari.


The Prime Minister wanted to see the M6 today. Really, he wanted us to


see him investing in the region's see him investing in the region s


roads. The long delayed plan is to build a link road from the port of


he shunted EN six. It will speed up journeys, support business and cost


124 million pounds. David Cameron arrived at one of the haulage firms


which should benefit. We can introduce new vehicles, better


equipment but we are still constrained by the confined is of


the road networks. Something like this is a real boon to ask, it


really makes a difference. He was flanked by two Lancashire MPs who


will need to keep voters on side. How well would you say the


government is doing at the moment? I cannot answer that! People like


working class people, they are not helping people like us. I think they


are doing OK. They took on the big debt, we have still got a big debt,


and if they do not do anything we will have to pay for it. I feel


there is still a north`south divide but I am extremely happy. I think we


are all struggling a little bit and finding it hard and we are not


getting a lot of support. Big infrastructure projects might be


important but they don't sway most voters.


Well, we're joined now by Mr Cameron. Thank you very much for


coming in. There were some mixed views there about what the


government is doing. Obviously, you have announced improvements to road


and rail today which will be welcomed by a lot of people but that


is quite long`term. For now, the Northwest is still struggling.


Unemployment is going up. What will you do for people? Actually,


recently, unemployment came down. There are 35,000 fewer people


claiming unemployment benefit today than there was a year ago. We are


making progress on jobs. 44,000 people in private sector employment


compared with three years ago. The economy is growing but I totally


agree with people quoted on your programme that we need to do more.


We need the whole country to be included. We need a recovery for


all, for North and South. That is where this transport schemes matter.


If you can connect up the country better, improve people's journeys to


work, that brings growth and jobs everywhere. We are spending half ?1


billion on rail electrification mostly in the North of England which


I think will make a big difference. Let's talk about HS2, because that


is one of the big infrastructure programmes coming our way. Today,


the transport committee said they would like the North face and South


faced to be joined together and done at the same time, do you agree with


that? It is something we can look at but it is a very good programme and


we have to build it in the most commercially workable way. It is


important for those people who are sceptical about HS2 to understand


that while it is a very big investment, we will be spending


three times as much in other road and rail schemes including in the


Northwest. I think HS2 will be an excellent thing for connecting up


the country. Do you think you are convincing a lot of people. There


were people unhappy that he would not meet them face`to`face. Always,


when you are building these big infrastructure projects, you get


opposition and it is difficult. When we built the first high`speed rail


line which linked London to the Channel Tunnel, there was a lot of


opposition. Now, everyone thinks it is a brilliant thing. It has


transformed the economy in Kent and it will do the same with HS2. You


will see jobs and investment and growth. It will really transform our


country. When it is finished it links eight of the ten biggest


cities in Britain. We will have to wait a lot longer for it and if you


did it at the same time, we would benefit earlier. The Northwest is


not having to wait. For HS2. We have to build it in the most commercially


attractive way, otherwise the costs will go up higher and people will


complain about that. We are only able to do any of these things,


whether it is HS2 ordinands and made today, we have only been able to do


that because we have looked after the nation's finances properly. We


have got the economy growing. We inherited a mess where it was not


possible to spend this money and we are now spending it wisely. Can I


ask you about fracking. It is something which affects this region


in a large way. The companies which will be doing the fracking, you have


offered them a reduction in the tax they will pay, how will it benefit


people in the Northwest? Will we see cheaper energy bills? If you look at


America that gas prices are half of hours and I want this cheap green


energy to be available for people in Britain. It will be good for


households and the economy. If a well starts, a fracking well starts,


they should be immediately a payment of ?100,000 to the local community


and then 1% of the revenues which could be tenderly on pounds for the


local community. A bit like HS2 I believe once the starts and once


these wells get under way, you will see as we have in America, local


support for fracking because you will see cheaper gas prices and


community benefits at the same time. When we did our series, even people


who are in favour of it, 70% of people have concerns that it is not


necessarily green, there would be water pollution and tremors, even


those who agree with it in principle have real concerns. We have to go


through those concerns one by one. We have to make sure there is a good


process for the environmental checks which we have in this country. You


cannot just dig a well. I think we can answer all of those. We need to


look in other countries, in America, where fracking is taking place, gas


prices are lower, households are benefiting and we have not seen many


of the problems which get written about. Politics is about taking


people with you. Just of high`speed rail can transform Arab colony north


and south, then fracking can help with gas prices `` which can


transform our economy. Are you concerned that with austerity cuts,


rising and planning, concerns over fracking, concerns of HS2, that you


could lose people up here? First of all, unemployment is lower in the


Northwest than it was at the election. If I can bring you up on


that point, we spoke to the employment Minister Esther McVey and


she said this region was a different picture to the rest of the country.


It is but I want to get the figure is right for your viewers. There are


8000 fewer unemployed people today than there were at the last


election. There are 44,000 more people in private sector jobs. There


are 35,000 fewer people claiming an employment benefit. If you say we


need to go further and faster here in the Northwest, I completely


agree. That is why I have announced these transport schemes here in the


Northwest. In terms of helping people with the household budget,


that is what this is about. I want people to have greater security and


stability in their lives. We are going to be exempt in the first


?10,000 that people learn from paying tax. That is a big help


combined with the freeze in the fuel duty and the other steps we are


taking. David Cameron, thank you for joining us.


Still to come on North West Tonight: He's one of the Premier League's


greatest ever goalies `what does he think of the current crop at the


region's big clubs? And muscling in on a world title `


could the strongest man on earth be from Lancashire?


Builders sometimes get a bad press with complaints if they don't turn


up on time, do a shoddy job or overcharge customers. But tonight's


Christmas star is a true gentleman of the trade who went the extra mile


for one of clients, as Dave Guest explains.


To say the past year has been tough for Sarah Melville is an


understatement. She was rushed into hospital last Christmas Day with


meningitis and her life was changed forever. By New Year's Day, they had


put her on a ventilator, she could not breathe for herself. In January


she had to have her lower legs amputated. I have lost part of my


left hand, my thumb, my right hand as well. It was clear there would


have to be major adaptations to the family home before Sarah could come


back. The meningitis Trust provided a lift for the front door and a


local council group provided work. But this builder decided to do far


more than he was being paid for He has built me a completely new


kitchen, flooring, carpet and he bought Sarah a new bath, a complete


suite with a door which opens out. None of this was part of the


contract? Not at all. I am a father myself and I thought how horrific it


would be for your child to go through what Sarah has had to go


through. Sarah only arrived home a week ago and her verdict on the


changes? It was brilliant. He did not have to do it. Bob tyre is our


latest Christmas star. Sarah, I know you are only just getting used to


your prosthetic legs but you wanted to hand it to him so there you go.


A heart`warming story, and we'll be bringing you more as Christmas


approaches. If you know anyone you think deserves a Christmas Star


contact us via email at [email protected] or drop us a line on


our Facebook page. Richard is here now with the sport


and some big news involving one of the north west's big names.


Yes, Robin Van Persie is the name and a four`week injury lay`off is


the news for the Manchester United striker. It's turning into one of


those seasons for the Dutchman who has already missed matches because


of toe and groin injuries. Now he'll miss up to eight more games after


hurting his groin again taking the corner that led to his side's goal


in the Champions League on Tuesday. Despite United's testing campaign so


far, Old Trafford legend Peter Schmeichel is urging the fans to


keep calm. He was at Manchester's Arndale Centre, along with the


Barclays Premier League trophy to give out free tickets as a thank you


to some dedicated fans. He was definitely in demand, as you can


imagine. But I did manage to sit down with him for a few minutes to


talk north west goalkeepers. Many would say the big Dane is the best


ever in the Premier League era. So how does he rate the men currently


between the sticks at our four top`flight clubs? The fact that no


one talks about him any more shows that he has progressed and settled


in. He performed to a level which kept Manchester United in the


Championship. The way that Liverpool wants to play, I am not sure how


good he is with his feet but he is an outstanding shot stopper, no


doubt about that. Are you surprised that Brendan Rodgers decided to


replace Pepe Reina? I have no idea what his motivation was for changing


that position but he has made that choice and he has got someone very


special and who has a fantastic start to his Liverpool career. A new


lease of life, a new manager, new everything. Sometimes that inspires


a player. With Tim, is it six or seven years he has been at Everton


now? Is vastly experienced and experiences the most important thing


in goalkeeping. I did not think Joe Hart should have been dropped. Do


you think he is better than Costel Pantilimon? Joe Hart is better. They


have really good goalkeepers in the Northwest. I could not pin him down


to who he thought was the absolute best.


The Uwe Rosler regime at Wigan Athletic started with a defeat last


night and their exit from Europe. Needing a win in Slovenia to keep


their Europa League campaign alive, The Latics made a great start when


Jordi Gomez scored from the spot. But hosts Maribor equalised straight


after a harsh red card for Chris McCann and they won the game thanks


to this fine goal from Jilliko Filipovitch.


What was Peter Schmeichel like? He was really pleasant. I do not know


if I should say surprisingly humble. One of the guys who was pictured


with him, was chosen to have his photo taken because he had a


Manchester United tattoo on his arm to raise money for charity but he is


eight Manchester City fan. Say he will have that forever? That is what


they told me. That is dedication to charity.


Now to a story that might make many of us feel rather inadequate. A


Lancashire aerospace worker is one of two men from the county who've


earned the right to challenge for the "World's Strongest Man" title.


Graham Hicks, whose day job is helping build the Eurofighter


Typhoon aircraft, has travelled the world in his quest to become one of


the strongest men on the planet. Peter Marshall has been to meet him.


He is five feet ten and weighs 21 stones. He can deadliest 400 kilos,


that is 60 stones. A design support engineer at BAE Systems in Warton


with the ambition to become one of the strongest men on the planet.


with the ambition to become one of the strongest men on the planet. But


it will not be. I do look quite out of place when I stand next to these


guys. At work here everyone thinks I'm big but I go there and everyone


thinks I am small. The 28`year`old from Morecambe will battle it out in


this year's world 's strongest man competition along with another local


lad, Mark Felix, a building worker from black urn. Does your strength


ever come in handy at work? I do not use my strength at work because


there are health unsafe restrictions to follow. You are not allowed to


pick up heavyweights? To media tool boxes are not heavy but we put them


on wheels to make sure no one gets hurt and that sort of procedure. He


hurt and that sort of procedure He trains four days a week and feels


his body by eating at least a kilo of chicken every day. I like it


because it is a challenge. There is always a challenge to get stronger


and better. The competition will be shown on Channel five over Christmas


and the New Year. A perfect Christmas pick me up.


I would have liked to see Peter Marshall do some arm wrestling with


him! I know someone who could probably beat him!


Is that a backhanded compliment or a compliment complement? !


Good evening. It will be very unsettled over the weekend. Saturday


will be particularly wet and windy. Sunday could be the better day of


the weekend. Here we have the two frontal systems which brought the


rain. There is this deep area of low pressure easing into tomorrow. It


will be gone by Sunday. We will see some more rain from Sunday night


into Monday. Tonight, the picture looks better. We will see the odd


rogue shower sneaking into the Cheshire gap. Temperatures in


Cheshire will drop close to freezing. I think we will see some


frost in one or two spots. Tomorrow morning we start off dry but it will


not last. We have a weather warning for wind. Very strong wind tomorrow.


If you look at the wind arrows tomorrow you can see they are


increasing as we head into the afternoon. The rain edges in


midday. The wind is really begin to pick up. We are likely to see gales


of 50, 60 or 70 mile an hour winds gusting through the Isle of Man,


gusting through the Isle of Man Cumbria and parts of Lancashire.


Cumbria and parts of Lancashire Plenty of heavy rain accompanying


that wind. A miserable afternoon. Ten or 11 selfless and the rain


eases away and hopefully, Sunday will be windy but hopefully drier.


`` ten or 11 selfless. I was not meaning to insult you Do


I was not meaning to insult you! Do you remember in the day of Geoff


capes when they did the telephone directory. If we had more notice me


end you could have gone in for that. It is easy! Have a good weekend




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