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  1. Updates on Monday 18 April 2016
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Tuesday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Good evening from Local Live for Birmingham and the Black Country

That's it from us on Monday. Join us for more news, sport, travel and weather updates from 08:00 on Tuesday.

Archers' domestic abuse plot 'inspired by Thomas Hardy novel'

The outgoing editor of The Archers, which is recorded in Birmingham, has revealed that Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles partly inspired its contentious domestic abuse subplot.

The novel tells the tale of a milkmaid who murders a man who, it is implied, rapes her in her sleep.

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House on Sunday, Sean O'Connor said he was also influenced by the Victorian play Gaslight.

Louiza Patikas and Timothy Watson

Bullring owner to build giant retail park in Oldbury

Birmingham Mail

Plans for a giant retail park by the owner of Birmingham's Bullring and Grand Central shopping centres have been given the go ahead by council chiefs.  

Birmingham shows steel with festival's cup commission

More than 200,000 cups made from stainless steel in Birmingham will be handed out to revellers at Glastonbury Festival.

The cups are being tried out as part of organisers' efforts to reduce the amount of waste produced on the site.

Organiser Michael Eavis shows off a steel cup
Glastonbury Festival

Festival-goers will pay a deposit for one of the cups to use throughout the event before returning, donating or keeping it at the end of the weekend.  

Watch: Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

Staying largely cloudy with some bright spells at times. Where the cloud is thick enough, it may lead to the odd spot of light rain or drizzle.   

Lows of 7C (45F). Find out what else is in store for us tomorrow.

Coming up on TV

Nick Owen

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

Tonight: Crisis at Aston Villa as two high profile directors Mervyn King and David Bernstein hand in their resignations with immediate effect.

Their departures come as the club counts the soaring cost of relegation from the Premier League. 

More on this story and others in the Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.

Travel: M6 northbound delays

BBC Travel

There's a fuel spillage causing problems at the M6 northbound at J6 for the Aston Expressway, drivers are warned.

Aston Villa resignations: Sale could be imminent

Rob Gurney

BBC WM Sport

For the club to release this detail about the progress of the sale talks around the club, suggests it is imminent.

Latest: New Villa board members quit; man killed his partner at their home; arrest over Smethwick stabbing

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here is a recap of our headlines on Monday:

- Aston Villa board members David Bernstein and Mervyn King quit

- A man has admitted murdering his partner in Tipton because he could not accept their relationship was over 

- A man is arrested on suspicion of murder following a fatal stabbing in Smethwick

Aston Villa resignations: New dawn or false dawn?

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Aston Villa announced former Manchester City chairman David Bernstein and former Governor of the Bank of England, Lord King, had joined the board - in March and February - as a sign of the club's commitment and recognition of its need to change the club's structure.

Their resignations with immediate effect will leave fans questioning whether that apparent new dawn was more of a false one.

Aston Villa resignations: 'Regret' at duo's departure but sale talks 'extensive'

Aston Villa has issued a statement on the resignations in the past few minutes, expressing its "regret" at the resignations of Mervyn King and David Bernstein.

In it, the club stressed its chairman, Steve Hollis, was "engaged in extensive negotiations in relation to the sale of the club" and that fellow recent addition to the board Brian Little would "continue to advise the chairman on all football-related matters".

It said the search for a new manager "remained a priority".

Aston Villa relegation fallout: Bernstein and King resign

Here's the resignation letter from David Bernstein in full. In it he writes: "The issues at the club are fundamental and the solutions are radical and do not lend themselves to compromise."

Resignation letter from Bernstein

BreakingAston Villa's relegation: Bernstein and King leave club's board

Breaking news

Recent appointments David Bernstein and Mervyn King, Baron King of Lothbury, resign from the Aston Villa board with immediate effect.

Aston Villa relegation: Echoes of 1987

History has repeated itself at Aston Villa as a 1987 interview with former chairman Doug Ellis has shown.

Villa's 1987 relegation

County Championship: Bears' Bell bowled by one that kept low

Richard Wilford


Captain Ian Bell's innings has been cut short by a ball that kept low from Tim Murtagh as Warwickshire reply to Middlesex's 452 all out.

Thousands of Cannock homes hit by multiple power cuts

Cannock Mercury

More than 2,000 homes in Cannock were plunged into darkness after a faulty cable cut electricity supplies – the second such power problem faced across the district in just over a week.  

Latest: Cost of relegation; man killed partner; Smethwick stabbing arrest

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

If you are just catching up on Monday's news, here are our top stories so far:

- Aston Villa's relegation 'could cost £200m'

- A man has admitted murdering his partner in Tipton because he could not accept their relationship was over 

- A man is arrested on suspicion of murder following a fatal stabbing in Smethwick

Super-gonorrhoea: Sexually-transmitted infection which can cause infertility found in West Midlands

Doctors have expressed "huge concern" that super-gonorrhoea has spread widely across England - including cases in the West Midlands - and to gay men.

The new superbug prompted a national alert last year when it emerged in Leeds, as one of the main treatments had become useless against it.


Public Health England acknowledges measures to contain the outbreak have been of "limited success".

Doctors fear the sexually-transmitted infection, which can cause infertility, could soon become untreatable.

Villa relegation: Fanzine editor condemns players

Dave Woodhall, editor of Aston Villa fanzine Heroes and Villains, has some strong words for the players involved in the club’s relegation from the Premier League.

Fanzine editor condemns Villa players

Watch: Car theft gang members ram police

Seven men from Birmingham and the Black Country have been given prison sentences for their part in a car theft ring that stole high-end vehicles totalling £500,000 in the space of a month, police say.

The West Midlands force said the gang, also linked to burglaries, stole cars in the Black Country, Staffordshire and Warwickshire.

Two members, when spotted in a car by police, rammed officers' unmarked vehicle in a bid to evade capture, driving through red lights and on the wrong side of carriageways before being forced to stop. Here's the video:   

View more on youtube

To see or not to see: Shakespeare sculpture in the eye of a needle

Jennifer Meierhans

BBC News Online

A microscopic sculpture of William Shakespeare - placed in the eye of a needle - marks the 400th anniversary of his death.

Artist Willard Wigan said he had to control his own heartbeat as he concentrated on capturing the playwright in a celebratory pose.

The sculpture
Daniel McClane

Smaller than a full stop in a newspaper and only viewable with a microscope, the piece took four weeks to complete.

"To See or Not To See" forms part of the Homecoming exhibition at the Light House Media Centre in Wolverhampton.

Man admits the murder of his partner in Tipton

A man has admitted his partner's murder after she was found stabbed at their Black Country home. 

Barbara Baraniecka, 43, was declared dead at the scene in Standbridge Way, Tipton, in November last year. She'd been stabbed "13 times", said Emily Lenham, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands CPS.

Her partner, Cezary Sobiewski, 40, of the same address, was arrested shortly afterwards and today pleaded guilty to murder at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Cezary Sobiewski
West Midlands Police

Coming up on TV

Amy Cole

BBC Midlands Today

Aston Villa's chairman Steve Hollis says the new manager must deliver immediate promotion. We will have more on the impact of the club's relegation.

And a tiny sculpture of William Shakespeare has been created in the eye of a needle to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death. 

More on these stories and others on Midlands Today on BBC One at 13:30.

Aston Villa: David Moyes still keen on managing relegated club

Pat Murphy

BBC Midlands football reporter

David Moyes is interested in the Aston Villa manager's job but has not yet been contacted by the relegated club.

Nearly six months after being sacked by Real Sociedad, Moyes is keen to get back into football and is attracted by the challenge of reviving Villa.

He has seen them live recently and would be receptive to talks but is aware doubts over next season's budget at the club could delay the process.

David Moyes
Getty Images

Man with a van caused woman's death by careless driving - without being at wheel

A delivery driver has admitted causing death by careless driving – despite not being in his van when it hit a pensioner.

Matheeb Iqbal’s refrigerated van rolled across a car park in Southam, Warwickshire, and killed 65-year-old Susan Collins.

It’s understood the 23-year-old, from Lime Grove, Birmingham, did not leave the handbrake on properly.

Iqbal pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court on Friday and will be sentenced on May 13.

Latest: Villa's relegation fallout; longer school days complaints; arrest over stabbing

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here is the recap of our stories so far today:

- Aston Villa's relegation 'could cost £200m'

- Parents have complained about the impact on children of longer days at Great Barr's Q3 Academy

- A man is arrested on suspicion of murder following a fatal stabbing in Smethwick

Villa relegation: Legend Spink on the club's current plight

Adrian Goldberg

Presenter, BBC WM

Former Aston Villa goalkeeper Nigel Spink, who won the European Cup with the club, said its problems began when it failed to improve the squad with income generated from the sales of Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph.

On the club's owner Randy Lerner, he said he felt some of his critics' thoughts were rooted in his absence from games but in defence, he said Lerner had "put a lot of money in"; the recruitment of players, he said, however, had been "catastrophic".

He spoke to us as we met fans in Shanahan's cafe in Aston earlier this morning. 

Nigel Spink was Villa's 'keeper in 1987, the last time the club played in England's second tier.

Adrian Goldberg and Nigel Spink

Woman taken to hospital after car overturns in Shelfield

A female casualty has been taken to hospital in a stable, conscious condition, say firefighters.

View more on twitter

Birmingham man bailed after airport arrest by counter-terror police

A man arrested at Manchester Airport on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences has been released on bail.  

The 18-year-old from Birmingham was detained by officers from West Midlands counter terrorism unit on Saturday after arriving in the UK.  

West Midlands Police said it was not connected to five arrests on Friday in connection with attacks in Europe.  

Police jacket

County Championship: Sam Robson century makes Bears suffer at Lord's

BBC Sport

Middlesex opener Sam Robson became the latest England contender to stake his claim for a Test recall with an excellent unbeaten century at Lord's against Ian Bell's Warwickshire.  

Play resumes today.

Doug Ellis 'hopes to be alive' for Aston Villa Premier League return

Former Aston Villa chairman Sir Doug Ellis hopes to live long enough to see the club return to the Premier League.

The 92-year-old sold Villa to Randy Lerner in 2006 and was at Old Trafford on Saturday to see them relegated for the first time since 1987 - a drop which happened under Ellis' watch, five years after the club won the European Cup.

"We are going to have great difficulty in returning in one year but I've seen some encouraging signs and we've a reasonable chance," Ellis told the BBC.

Former Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis
Getty Images

Controversy over long days at Great Barr academy

Louise Hancock

Newsreader, BBC WM

Parents of students at a Great Barr school have told us they are worried about their children's health, claiming they're being forced to do nine-hour days. 

They say Year 11 students at Q3 Academy are expected to start extra lessons at 08:00 and stay after school until 17:00.

In a statement, the principal said every student deserved to have additional time to support their studies and staff were voluntarily giving generously of their time to help them succeed.

Watch: Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

Staying largely cloudy with some bright spells at times. Highs of 10C (50F).

Find out what else is in store for us.

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Latest: Villa's costly relegation; complaints over longer school days; arrest after fatal stabbing

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here are the top stories on Monday morning:

- Aston Villa's relegation "could cost £200m" says a football finance expert

- Complaints over longer days at Great Barr's Q3 Academy

- A man is arrested on suspicion of murder following a fatal stabbing in Smethwick

Aston Villa's relegation 'could cost £200m'

Adrian Goldberg

Presenter, BBC WM

Aston Villa's relegation from the Premier League could cost around £200m in lost revenue. 

Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Manchester United confirmed Villa's exit from the top flight for the first time since 1987 and means they will miss out on the new Premier League television deal. 

Dr Andrew Jones, a football finance expert from Coventry University, says it's vital that Villa use their parachute payment to win promotion.

Aston Villa: How club went from Europe to relegation

In an open letter to supporters, chairman Steve Hollis said Saturday was the "culmination of an unacceptably fractured season both on and off the pitch". We're live at Shanahan's Cafe in Aston getting fans' reaction.

Smethwick stabbing: Man 'died from a single stab wound'

The man arrested on suspicion of murder following a fatal stabbing at an internet cafe in Smethwick is 39 and from Birmingham, says the West Midlands force. 

A post-mortem has revealed the 38-year-old victim died as a result of a single stab wound. He has not been formally identified at this stage, say police.

the cafe on a BBC news background

BreakingMan arrested over internet cafe stabbing in Smethwick

Police have revealed this morning a man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a fatal stabbing at an internet cafe in Smethwick on Saturday.

Travel: Aston Expressway delays clearing

BBC Travel

Traffic appears to be clearing after a lane was blocked earlier on the A38(M) Aston Expressway northbound because of a broken-down vehicle.

Man killed in Smethwick internet cafe stabbing

A manhunt is under way after a man was stabbed to death at an internet cafe in broad daylight.

Police were called to Smethwick in Sandwell at about 12:50 on Saturday.

A 38-year-old man, who has not been formally identified, was pronounced dead at the scene in Cape Hill.

Police tape generic