22/01/2014 North West Tonight


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Sunday. Make the most of Saturday because Sunday looks pretty filthy.


Good evening. Welcome to North West Tonight with Annabel Tiffin and


Roger Johnson. Our top story: The jury in the William Roache trial


hears of the soap star's disbelief after he was arrested on suspicion


of rape. "It's against my nature", he told


the police. Also in tonight's programme: Actor Ricky Tomlinson's


40`year fight to prove he was wrongly jailed in the 1970s moves to


Parliament. A Wembley final against Manchester


City is the price for Ayr United tonight. Anything less, and the


pressure really will be on. And, meet the 81`year`old double


European champion who's hoping to pedal his way to further glory.


The jury at the William Roache trial has been hearing how he reacted when


first arrested on suspicion of rape. The actor told a police officer "I


am absolutely surprised and amazed. " The Coronation Street star denies


allegations of rape and indecent assault dating back to the 1960s.


Dave Guest has been following developments at Preston Crown Court


and joins us now. From the start, William Roache has


maintained he has done nothing wrong, and that was the message he


gave to detect this during a series of police interviews. Time after


time he said he did not know the people he who were accusing him of


indecent assault, and he said the incident of which they spokesman


Simkin never happened. The Coronation Street star arrived


today, as he has done on everyday, surrounded by his family.


He denies all the charges made by a total of five women, who all said it


happened whilst they were under 16. Today, the court heard that when the


police arrived at his home last May, the actor said he was absolutely


surprised and amazed to be told he was being arrested on suspicion of


rape. The accusation dates back to the 1960s. A woman, who is now in


her 60s, said he raped her on two separate occasions at two properties


he used to own in Lancashire. Interviewed at the police station,


William Roache said he had no knowledge of the woman and had never


raped her. Asked why someone should make up such an accusation, he said:


The court heard that when he was arrested at a later date on further


charges of indecent assault against four other women, the staff denied


any wrongdoing. At one point during the interview, he said: He said


youngsters held no attraction for him. This afternoon, the QC for Mr


Roach was questioning a detective involved in the investigation. He


wanted to know why the detective had interviewed one of the claimant in


the presence of her husband, who was himself to become a witness in the


case. She also queried why the 0th live had taken the alleged rape fit


Tim to the scene of the alleged crime, but had not actually recorded


that officially. She will continue her cross`examination of that


detective in the morning. Ricky Tomlinson has been on our


screens for decades ` Brookside the Royle Family ` he's one of the


region's best known actors. But in 1973, he was a trade unionist and he


was in jail for conspiracy, along with several colleagues, following a


building industry strike. The so`called "Shrewsbury 24" have


always protested their innocence. Tomorrow, ministers will be asked in


the Commons to release documents which could prove the men were


framed. Arif Ansari reports. 40 years after being jailed, Ricky


Tomlinson is still trying to clear his name and extract secret


documents locked away in Whitehall. It has certainly surprised me, and a


lot of other people, particularly the pickets. This case goes to the


heart of government. It goes to the heart of the Cabinet. Summer 19 2,


and building labourers go on strike over pay and safety conditions.


Conditions were appalling, absolutely appalling. I think we had


every right to go out for better health and safety, and better


conditions to work in. Documents uncovered by campaigners suggest the


Home Secretary wanted prosecutions. He ordered a review of what happened


during the 12 week strike. At the end of August 1972, the Area Strike


Committee, which included Ricky Tomlinson, met at this pub in


Chester as picketing spread. What was actually discussed? According to


the authorities, they were plotting violence, and were subsequently


charged with Conspiracy to Intimidate. But those who were here


remember it very differently. I have never been a member of the Communist


Party. You weren't trying to undermine the British state? I


consider myself a patriot. Of the 24, 20 to convicted. Ricky Tomlinson


got two years. We have got to have our names cleared. Have got have


everything squashed. But, why the big campaign for documents


continues, ministers have already decided to keep them secret for


another decade. A Sri Lankan politician, charged


with murdering a Red Cross worker from Rochdale, has been arrested by


Sri Lankan police, two weeks after jumping bail. Sampath


Vidana`Pathirana, has now been remanded in custody until the end of


his trial which starts in two months. He and five other men are


charged with murdering Khuram Shaikh.


Police on Merseyside are appealing for witnesses after a man was shot


in the face when he opened his front door to someone last night.


The attack happened in the Bootle area. The victim's injuries are


serious, but not thought to be life threatening. Police say it was


targeted. Five boys have answered their bail


in connection with a huge fire which devastated a school in Lancashire


last year. The youths, who are all under the age of 15, were arrested


on suspicion of arson after the blaze at St Mary's Roman Catholic


Technology College in September Students returned to the site in


December. Unemployment in the North West has


dropped by nearly 8%. Figures show that, between September and


November, ?270,000 people in the region were unemployed. That's


24,000 fewer than in the previous three`month period.


Three of the region's councils are facing tough choices after


announcing they need to make tens of millions of pounds in savings.


Preston, Cumbria and Wigan councils have all announced decisions for the


budget for the ahead. In some areas it means cuts, but in other areas,


they are looking for a more imaginative way around the problem.


Our local councils have some difficult decisions to make as they


set their budgets for the year ahead. In Preston, the authority


says every service will have to be cut, as it tries to save an extra


?3.6 million. That includes the iconic Guild Hall, which may close


if a private company can't be found to run it. Cumbria County Council


says it's received around 2000 responses to a public consultation


on how to tackle what it calls its "toughest ever financial challenge."


?24 million needs to be saved. The authority says that equates to 1 in


every ?4, which used to be spent on local services.


In Wigan, another ?15 million will be cut from the budget. So the


council's proposing a new contract with residents called the Wigan


Deal. Instead of cutting back services, it's been stepping in to


help communities run them instead, as I've been finding out.


It costs ?200,000 a year to keep this pool in Tyldesley open, but


none of that's coming from Wigan Council any more. For the last two


years, it's provided the building, and the rest has been up to the


community. Few of the staff are paid ` most, like Grace, are volunteers


doing it for free. Although I'm not getting paid, I'm getting experience


through it, which will look good on my CV. I learned to swim here. My


family did as well, so it is my community. When you think you are


going to lose it, it makes you realise we need people like me to do


things. It's a model the council thinks could save some services that


would otherwise disappear with cuts. So, it's offering residents the


Wigan Deal ` a freeze in Council Tax if they get involved in running more


facilities. Just like Beech Hill Library. The charity Book Cycle took


over when the council moved out two years ago. We are completely run by


volunteers and rely on donations, everything from furniture to the


books and the computers they have all been donated by the community.


Flowers by the roadside might brighten your day, but few


authorities can afford to make them a priority. Projects like this in


Courage committee is to take ownership of their local areas, and


try to make a difference. It is hard for us because we were constantly


active. But it is something we like to do. It will just turn up. I can't


see any reason why they can't do this anywhere else. Not everyone


will want to lend a hand, but Wigan Council hopes that civic pride will


spur on many to do their bit. Earlier I spoke to the authority's


deputy leader, Councillor David Molyneux, and asked him if the


scheme would really save that much money.


When you start to look at the level of cuts that local government are


facing, we have got to be realistic about what we can deliver. What we


do know is that we can build on projects already going, and you have


just given a good example with the swimming pool. I think that is the


way the going to have to look all of our services. You are using


volunteers, and that is relying on the good nature of the people of


Wigan. That can only last so long, can't it?


Well, I don't think any council campaign you how long the government


cuts are going to hit us. In Wigan, we have got a very good volunteer


sector who have stepped into the breach on a number of projects that


are going across the authority. They have proved very worthwhile. It is


about delivering services that people expect us to deliver. We have


got to help them deliver it themselves. I feel that with the


Wigan Deal we can do that. We have got some fine examples already, and


we can build on them, looking closely with volunteer groups to


deliver the services that people expect. Once you have gone into


libraries and swimming pools, how much further can you go? Are you


talking about volunteers going into social services and so on? We have


already got a project running in part of the borough where people are


doing just that. Some people need the support of a friend or


neighbour, where previously they have been relying on home helps and


this is now proving a very worthwhile organisation that is in


the community, giving the support it requires. I am sure we can spread


this across the borough. Still to come on North West Tonight:


Find out what 14th century Liverpool looked like, when the city's


official seal was created. And, we go out for a jog with the


81`year`old who's outrunning all the competition.


Student fees are still a sore subject for many. But, how about


paying for them with a virtual currency? The University of Cumbria


has become the first public university in the world to accept


Bitcoins. The digital money will be accepted for two finance`based


courses only. Alison Freeman explains how it works.


You can't hold it in your hand, and it is not considered legal tender,


but the virtual currency bitcoin can be used to pay for a wide range of


things, and that now includes education. As of next year, the


University of Cumbria will accept the online payments for two


financial courses where the role of new kinds of money are being


studied. They are the first public university in the world to access


this payment. Bitcoin and other cryptographic currencies have really


taken off in the last 12 months so we need to include it in our


analysis of comp entry currencies, which also includes local


currencies, Time banks, or local pounds like in Bristol. Bitcoin is


run from a central database which can be accessed by all bitcoin


owners. You can either buy your Bitcoins, or you can earn them by


processing data for that database. The system runs itself, meaning no


one can profit from sitting on transactions. Business students can


see both the pitfalls and the benefits. It is probably the way


forward, but for the moment, in this current economic world, it is very


volatile and I think it is a bit risky and everyone is unsure. This


particular type of currency is more popular with those who understand


it, and I think it is quite complex. I imagine people would prefer to use


the money in their pocket or in the bank. Bitcoin could challenge the


financial world in the same way file sharing challenged the music


industry, but it seems people need a better understanding of the system


before that can happen. Maybe it will catch on.


In Medieval times, Liverpool was just seven streets and not much


else. But it did have an official seal. The one copy is normally kept


at the British Museum in London but it's now been brought back to the


city which created the original One man reckons it holds the answer to


why the city's symbol is a Liver Bird and there's now a campaign to


get it housed in Liverpool permanently. Here's our Merseyside


Reporter Andy Gill. It's rather small, and we couldn't


take it out of the glass to film it. Luckily, they made a bigger version


so we can show you it clearly. It's a 19th century copy of the seal of


Liverpool from 1352, on display here for the first time. In those days, a


seal and a visual symbol was as important at times as the writing,


so any important document would have needed that authentication from the


sale attached to it. A local historian tracked down the seal to a


drawer in the British Library in London. And he reckons the modern


symbol of the city, the Liver Bird, started here. This seal shows pretty


good evidence that the original live bird was, in fact, an eagle of St


John, which was the emblem of King John, who granted the city its first


Charter in 1207. These imagined pictures are as close as we can get


to what Medieval Liverpool might have looked like when the long lost


original seal was in use. But there would have been a Water Street then,


as there is now. One of just seven streets. Almost a rural community,


but next to the sea. So, fishing and ship repair down on the foreshore


would have been common sites. It took two letters for the British


libel to agree that this could come here on loan until the end of March.


Now there is a campaign to get it on display here permanently. The


British Library says it's not allowed to lend out items


permanently. But it's happy for it to come back in the future.


On to sport, and can United make it an all`Manchester League Cup Final


tonight? City cruised through to Wembley last night, but the Reds


have it all to do against Sunderland at Old Trafford later. Richard Askam


is there live for us. There is a bit of transfer talk


there? Yes, Manchester United have approached Chelsea with a view to a


35mm and offer for one of their stars will stop he is the sort of


player that United needs. They have to overturn a 2`1 deficit against


Sunderland if they are to reach the final at Wembley, which would be a


boost for David Moyes and perhaps ease things financially as well It


has been a little volatile recently and is caused people to ask the


question, is this the beginning of the end of the United Empire, or


just a blip? Few predicted an easy transition from Sir Alex Ferguson to


David Moyes. But on the pitch, one win in five


tells its own story. Manchester United are making more money than


ever. Revenue for this financial year is estimated at ?400 million.


But, the slump on the pitch has led to a large drop in the share price


that has wiped about ?300 million off the club's market value. In


order to get back into the Champions League, they will probably have to


spend big. Sir Alex Ferguson wore United's crown for so long that he


was allowed to be king maker and choose his successor. He left behind


a team that had won the Premier League title, but one that needs


significant reinforcement. Chelsea and Spain star Juan Mata could be


about to move to Old Trafford. An indication perhaps that the owners


are willing to loosen the purse strings. United have not invested


big in the last five years. Their net spend is less than Stoke, for


example. If you look at sales less money coming in from purchases,


Manchester United have not been spending the same amount of money as


their competitors. However, United's worldwide fan base is enormous and


numbers hundreds of millions. Supporters from all over the world


regularly come to Old Trafford in large numbers. But, with the likes


of Manchester City and Chelsea increasingly powerful, is the future


of Asian Premier League support likely to turn from red to blue If


you go to some of these overseas markets, English football is


Manchester United, as far as many overseas fans are concerned. Do you


see that changing? In the short term, probably not. What is clear is


that one of football's most in during empires now needs to find a


way to strike back. Manchester City have already booked


their place at Wembley after completing a 9`0 thrashing of West


Ham in their semi final last night. Already 6`0 up from the first leg,


it took City just three minutes to pile on the misery for Sam


Allardyce's side when Alvaro Negredo scored for the eighth time in six


games. Sergio Aguero doubled their lead on the night midway through the


first half while Negredo made it nine from six after the break to


secure City's first League Cup Final appearance in 38 years.


We are very proud. I think that the plate five games here, we won the


five, we scored 19 goals, we just conceded one goal.


Rochdale staged an amazing comeback to stay second in League Two,


scoring twice in injury time to draw 2`2 away to promotion rivals


Chesterfield. Trailing 2`0 in added time, Dale were awarded what looked


like a consolation penalty for handball. Ian Henderson converted


from the spot to set up a frantic finish. The visitors earned their


point with just seconds remaining when Peter Vincenti headed home from


a corner. As for tonight, we will see how


United go. BBC Radio Manchester will have full coverage for you. You also


get highlights on the League Cup show on BBC One at 11:15pm. From Old


Trafford, back to you. Richard, thank you.


After a life of hard work, I dare say most people in their eighties


would like to relax and take it easy. But not Brian Forster from


Ashton Heyes in Cheshire. Brian suffered a stroke in 2006. As part


of his recovery, the lifelong runner and cyclist pushed himself harder


and harder until he became a European duathlon champion ` not


once but twice. Now he's got his eye set on a third title. Our Cheshire


reporter, Mark Edwardson's been trying to keep up with him.


Twice a European champion, eager, enthusiastic and 81. Me meet Brian


Forster and his wife Alison. Preparing for another day pounding


the paths around Delamere Forest. I thought no, I will go back to


racing, and I am not going to give up until I have two. He is very


obsessive. If he doesn't train, he is as miserable as sin. Whenever he


can get out, gets out on his right and goes riding. He is pretty


active. Due Avalon is to five kilometre runs


with a 20 kilometre ride in between. After the army, he was a motorcycle


racer, a road cyclist and a marathon runner, before his/ eight years ago.


All the money the NHS wasted on me, or the people who encouraged me I


was letting them down. I knew that if I didn't start again... You feel


like you have had a second chance? Yes. Brian was crowned champion for


his age group in 2012, and again last. I liked it so much the first


time, I was determined to do it a second time. So, the European


champion in 2012 and 2013. If it's probably fair to say that his


confidence of a treble is high this year. I better get on with my


training. I don't think you would bet against


him getting that trouble. It is looking very unsettled. We


have got plenty of whether coming your way over the next few days


Lots of rain to talk about. When it is not raining, we will see plenty


of showers. Some showers tonight which will not last. They will leave


some clear skies behind. Maybe some frost and fog forming. It will be a


bit breezy around the coast, and another line of rain lines up for


breakfast tomorrow. Overnight, we could see some hail and thunder


Temperatures possibly down to three Celsius in Cheshire, where we may


also see some frost. The rain will move through quite quickly. The


westerly winds pick up, but there will be some good spells of


sunshine. Perhaps some snow on high ground. It will not be warm. A


breezy afternoon, just five or six Celsius tomorrow. Tomorrow night, we


start off with plenty of cloud around initially, but again, heading


into dawn, we see the next band of rain lining up for Friday morning.


It falls as snow on higher ground. More rain on Friday. On Saturday,


maybe a bit of a respite. Maybe some snow flurries, and on Sunday, we are


going to see some very wet and windy conditions. Enough rain for The Met


Office to issue an early weather warning for rain. Lots of rain and


showers coming your way. Considering we are almost towards


the end of January, we haven't had much snow.


We don't know mine `` we don't mind. It will come, don't worry about


Good night. We all have hopes and fears


for the future and for the lives our children


and grandchildren will lead. I want to build a Britain


where everyone feels secure, so our long-term economic plan


is building a stronger, more competitive economy


and securing our country's future. We're reducing the deficit


so we deal with our debts,


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