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  1. Updates on Tuesday 12 April 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 08:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

By Stephanie Barnard

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

That's it for live updates today. We'll be back from 08:00 on Wednesday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

Police appeal for 'callous' attackers of disabled man to hand themselves in

Police are calling on two young men who befriended and attacked a disabled man in Wolverhampton in the early hours of last Friday to hand themselves in.

A 20-year-old partially sighted man, who also suffers from cerebral palsy, was pushed to the ground and beaten before the men stole his mobile phone and money.

CCTV Wolverhampton disabled man attack
West Midlands Police

Walsall's Henry on Young Player of Year shortlist

Gerald Scott

BBC Sport Online

Walsall's highly-rated teenage left-back Rico Henry has been nominated as a contender for the Football League's Young Player of the Year award.

Dean Smith gave Rico Henry his competitive debut at Tranmere in the JPT in December 2014
Daniel Briggs - Walsall FC

Henry,  who's 18, has been nominated along with Leeds United midfielder Lewis Cook, 19, and Fulham's 19-year-old French striker Moussa Dembele.

Since making his Saddlers' debut under Dean Smith in December 2014, Henry has flourished this season.

His early season form, scoring the winner in the League Cup victory over Brighton, earned him September's Young Player of the Month award. The boyhood Birmingham City fan is now just five games short of 50 career appearances and understood to be on the radar of a lot of top clubs. 

Video: Puppy stabbed and dumped in park

The RSPCA says it's horrified by the attack on the seven-month-old female Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was found stabbed to death.

The dog was found by members of the public in Walker Heath Park, in Druids Heath, Birmingham, on Saturday.  

May polls offer first test since general election

Patrick Burns

Political editor, Midlands

A year on since the general election, voters across the West Midlands will be going to the polls to elect their local representatives.

Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Tamworth, Walsall and Wolverhampton will all be electing new councillors next month, but how will the political landscape look after a busy year?

Read my blog for more analysis.

Silhouettes of people at lecturns

Watch: Calls for action over the "eyesore of Tamworth"

BBC Midlands Today

It's been dubbed the "eyesore of Tamworth" - an empty house that's fallen into a state of disrepair over a decade.

It's one of more than 3,000 homes in Staffordshire currently sitting unoccupied.  

Neighbours are demanding action from their local council, after potential sales of homes around the property fell through.

Snowdonia death fall walker named

A walker who died after falling from a mountain in Snowdonia has been named as Kenneth Steven Hands, from Oldbury.

Mr Hands, who was 35, was killed when he fell while descending the narrow Crib Goch ridge at about 11:00 on Saturday.

An inquest will be held in future, but a date has not been confirmed.

Crib Goch ridge
David Johnston/Geograph

Travel update: Delays after M6 accident

BBC Travel

The latest news on the roads in the West Midlands:

- An accident between junctions 7 and 8 of the southbound M6 carriageway has led to one lane being closed, with congestion stretching back to junction 10 at Wolverhampton

- Congestion is affecting the northbound A38 Suffolk Street Queensway between Holloway Circus and the A4540 Newtown Middleway junction

- Traffic is slow along the outbound A38(M) Aston Expressway between Dartmouth Circus and the junction 6 of the M6 (Spaghetti Junction) due to a tidal flow fault

Moors on alert to celebrate

Ged Scott

BBC Sport

Solihull Moors could be on course to celebrate promotion to English football's fifth division tonight. 

If second-placed rivals North Ferriby United fail to win at Stalybridge Celtic, then the Moors would be National League North champions.

Damson Park stadium
Solihull Moors

That would promote them into the National League next season. And, if as expected, they swap places with Kidderminster Harriers, it would make Marcus Bignot's side the highest-ranked non-league side in the Midlands. 

Higher than Tamworth, Nuneaton Borough, Telford and Hereford - not bad for a club only created in 2007 by the merger of Solihull Borough and Moor Green.

View more on twitter

Tunisia terror attacks: Memorial service for British victims


The prime minister and Prince Harry have attended a memorial service to commemorate the British tourists killed in terror attacks in Tunisia last year.  

The service for survivors and victims' families was at Westminster Abbey.

The family of Sue Davey, from Tamworth who was killed alongside her partner, Scott Chalkley, while on holiday in June, went to the private service.

Prince Harry lays wreath

David Cameron and Prince Harry both read Bible passages at the service, which was conducted by the Dean of Westminster.  

Latest: Puppy found stabbed to death; police appeal over attack on disabled man; Tunisia attacks remembered

Corinne Wheatley

BBC WM, Journalist

BBC Midlands Today: Stories we're working on

BBC Midlands Today

Anthony Bartram, Producer

We had a big response to the story of Telford’s Chris Master, who suffered a heart attack while on holiday in Thailand, and today we’ve got a major update for you. He’s on his way home at last. 

After a long campaign by his family, who were told there were no NHS beds available to bring him back to Telford, he is in the air as I write being med-evac’d back to the UK. We’ll hear more about their ordeal and the wider implications of this story on tonight’s programme. 

Also, is there an empty home eyesore in your street? We’re off to see a Tamworth mum who’s launched a petition to get the council to buy the run-down house next door to her (pictured) and put it back to good use. 

Derelict house in Tamworth

And Mary Rhodes will be talking Dudley’s newly appointed Children’s Commissioner to find out how she plans to keep children safe after a highly critical Ofsted inspection.  

Join us on BBC One at 18:30 for more on those stories.

Photos: Rushall Manor house fire

Bloxwich fire crews have tweeted photos of the house fire in Rushall Manor from which a woman in her 70s was rescued.

A number of firefighters remain at the scene, the fire service says.

Rushall Manor house fire
West Midlands Fire Service

Match previews: Walsall and Blues

BBC WM Sport

Walsall have a crucial game at fellow League One promotion contenders Gillingham tonight, as they look to revive their hopes of making the top two.

Back-to-back defeats at Sheffield United and Oldham have put the Saddlers down to sixth, eight points off second place, but a win this evening would move them above the Gills, who are fifth.

You can hear the whole game live on BBC WM 95.6FM and Saddlers' legend, Jimmy Walker, will be part of the commentary team.

There's also full match coverage of Birmingham City's game at home to Leeds United, which you can hear on DAB digital radio in Birmingham.

Motorcyclist dies in Birmingham crash

A biker has died at the scene of a crash in Birmingham. 

West Midlands Ambulance Service says it received several 999 calls to Weoley Avenue in Selly Oak at about 01:40.

The man, who has not yet been named, died at the scene.

Whole lotta trouble: US judge rules Led Zep founders can face copyright trial

A district judge in Los Angeles has ruled Led Zeppelin founders Jimmy Page and West Bromwich-born Robert Plant will have to face a trial over the copyright of their iconic track Stairway to Heaven.

Gary Klausner said a jury could find "substantial" similarity between the first two minutes of Stairway and the song Taurus by Spirit.

Led Zeppelin
Getty Images

While it is true that a descending chromatic four-chord progression is a common convention that abounds in the music industry, the similarities here transcend this core structure."

Gary KlausnerUS district judge

Frustrated homeowner starts petition over derelict house

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

A woman from Tamworth says a derelict house on her street is stopping her from selling her home.

Tamworth derelict house

Susan Bates, from Coton Green, has started a petition calling on Tamworth Council to clear up the mess.

The council said it carried out work on the property five years ago, but is looking at the situation.

Watch my report on BBC Midlands Today, on BBC One at 18:30.

Samuel L. Jackson move to Birmingham rumours

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Is the Hollywood actor Samuel L. Jackson considering a move to Birmingham?

WMAC News reports that he told a magazine he is considering moving to the city because "the people are real".

But the Birmingham Mail has quashed the rumour saying it's one of many social media hoaxes.

Samuel L Jackson
Getty Images

Latest: Woman rescued from living room fire; police appeal after disabled man attacked; Led Zep founders in copyright court case

Corinne Wheatley

BBC WM, Journalist

Here are some of the top stories this Tuesday for Birmingham and the Black Country:

- Police are appealing for information after two young men kicked and punched a disabled man before stealing his phone in Wolverhampton

- Thirteen firefighters are tackling a "severe" blaze at a house in Rushall Manor

- Led Zeppelin founders Jimmy Page and West Bromwich-born Robert Plant are set for a trial over the copyright of Stairway to Heaven

Puppy found stabbed to death in Birmingham park

A puppy has been found dead with suspected stab wounds and a broken leg in a Birmingham park.

The seven-month-old female Staffordshire Bull Terrier was found in Walkers Heath Park in Druids Heath.

She did not have a microchip or collar.

Walkers Heath Park

Whether she died before being dumped or died in the spot where she was found, we do not know. But it is likely that she suffered before her death."

Jonathan RatcliffeRSPCA

Woman in her 70s rescued from living room fire

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Thirteen firefighters are tackling a "severe" blaze at a house in Rushall Manor.

A spokesman for West Midlands Fire Service says a woman in her 70s was rescued from the blaze, which started in the living room of the detached house on Rushall Close.

The ambulance service is treating the woman for the effects of breathing in smoke.

Walsall house fire: One person treated

Firefighters are dealing with a fire at a house in Walsall.

West Midlands Fire Service says one person is being treated after breathing in smoke at a property in Rushall Manor.

View more on twitter

Foster carers speak out against payment changes

Adrian Goldberg

Presenter, BBC WM

A pair of experienced foster carers from the West Midlands say they have stopped taking in children because they claim the amount they're being paid to look after them is being cut by a third. 

Solihull Council says it believes most carers would either not be affected or be slightly better off under the changes which were introduced in 2014. 

The couple, who want to remain anonymous, told BBC WM the changes are "immoral".

The living wage legislation should be applied in our case - it should not be an exception."

Foster carer

Stairway to lawsuit: Led Zep founders face US copyright trial

BBC Entertainment and Arts

Led Zeppelin founders Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, who was born in West Bromwich, must face trial in a copyright row over the song Stairway to Heaven, a US court has ruled.

A Los Angeles district judge said there were enough similarities between the song and an instrumental by the band Spirit to let a jury decide.

The trial has been scheduled for 10 May.

Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and Jimmy Page

Disabled man befriended and attacked

Police have described two youths who kicked and punched a disabled man before stealing his phone as "cruel and cowardly".

The 20-year-old partially sighted man, who also suffers with cerebral palsy, was initially befriended by the two, who then led him from a takeaway and attacked him

The man was pushed to the ground and beaten, before his attackers made off with some cash.

The assault took place in a Wolverhampton subway in the early hours of last Friday morning.  

CCTV images of men the police want to talk to
West Midlands Police

This was a callous attack on a vulnerable man and I am appealing to anyone who recognises the pair to come forward."

DC Simon WilliamsWolverhampton CID

Son to light candle for mum killed in Tunisia terror attacks

The son of Sue Davey, who was killed alongside her partner while on holiday in Tunisia last year, has spoken about the death of his mother.

Hundreds of people gathered in Tamworth last year for the funeral of the 43-year-old, who was killed alongside her partner Scott Chalkley in the mass shooting on a beach in Sousse in June.

Conor Fulford is to light a candle in memory of his mother at a service in Westminster Abbey later today and says today is "a big coming together for all the people who have been affected by what happened".

Sue Davey and Conor Fulford

We try and be upbeat and positive during the tough times. You have different stages of being down and it's nice that the family just tries to pull through it the best way we can. I don't think we're ever really going to get over this. You just have to learn to live with it and adapt."

Conor FulfordSon of Sue Davey, killed in Tunisia beach attacks

Prince Harry will be among those attending and will lay a wreath on behalf of the Queen at Westminster Abbey's memorial service for innocent victims.  

'250 more' footballers with brain disease

The family of footballer Jeff Astle, who died from brain trauma caused by heading footballs, say they know of 250 more players who have suffered from degenerative brain disease.

The former West Bromwich Albion forward, who died, aged 59, in 2002, was killed by chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

The victorious England team at the 1966 World Cup
Getty Images

Any research and study done into the possible implications of heading footballs clearly has to be a good thing. But they could have done all this 14 years ago, when they had the coroner's verdict for my dad. 14 years is a damn long time."

Dawn AstleDaughter of Jeff Astle

Minute's silence for Darren Cooper

Elizabeth Glinka

BBC Midlands Today

A minute's silence will be held at Sandwell Council House today in memory of its late leader, Darren Cooper.

Today is the first full council meeting since the Labour leader died two weeks ago.

Darren Cooper
Sandwell Council

Tributes will be made by colleagues and friends of the councillor, who'd served the borough for 25 years. 

The 52-year-old became ill while watching a football match on 26 March. He leaves a wife and three children.  

Aston Villa staff face redundancies

BBC Sport

Aston Villa's staff could face compulsory redundancy as the club prepare for relegation from the Premier League to the Championship.

Saturday's loss to Bournemouth all but sealed Villa's fate.

Villa fans hold signs saying "proud history - what future?"
Getty Images

These changes will result in a headcount reduction but every effort will be made through a voluntary scheme, to mitigate as much as is possible, the need for compulsory redundancies. The objective is to secure a sound financial platform from which the club can rebuild for the benefit of the fans, staff and sponsors."

SpokesmanAston Villa

Memorial service to be held for Tunisia terror attacks

A memorial service is to be held to commemorate the British tourists killed in terror attacks in Tunisia last year.

Thirty Britons were among 38 tourists (pictured) killed by a gunman at Port El Kantaoui in an attack on 26 June. A UK tourist was one of 22 killed in a separate attack at a museum in Tunis in March.

30 Britons were killed in the attack at the Tunisian resort of Port El Kantaoui

Conor Fulford will be lighting a candle in memory of his mother, Sue Davey, from Tamworth, during today's service at Westminster Abbey.  

She was lovely - so caring and a very good person."

Conor Fulford

Latest: Man in critical condition after being stabbed in the back; Villa staff could face compulsory redundancy

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Good morning from the BBC WM newsroom - the top stories we're looking at today include:

- A 28-year-old is in a critical condition after he was stabbed in the back on a street in Chelmsley Wood yesterday morning

- A minute's silence will be held at Sandwell Council House today in memory of its leader, Darren Cooper who died last month

Aston Villa's staff could face compulsory redundancy as the club prepares for relegation from the Premier League to the Championship