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Summary

  1. Woman jailed for toddler's 'brutal murder'
  2. Government denies its response has been slow to 684 British Gas job losses
  3. Third D'Oliveira scores a century for Worcestershire
  4. Updates for Wednesday 4 May 2016

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening from Local Live for Birmingham and the Black Country

That's it from Local Live on Wednesday. Join us from 08:00 on Thursday for more news, sport, travel and weather updates.

Watch: Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

Tree pollen levels are high at the moment so be warned if you have allergies. Temperatures drop this evening. 

Lows of 6C (43F). Find out more.

Shefali Oza with the weather forecast for the West Midlands

Coming up on TV

Mary Rhodes

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

A mother from Birmingham has been jailed for life, for the murder of an 18 month old. We report on the sentencing.

We have all the latest on a Ladywood murder investigation and news of a UK first - supercars for taxis in Wolverhampton.

Join us for the Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.

Keegan Downer: 'Turning point' was when she stopped going to nursery

Birmingham Crown Court heard earlier Kandyce Downer never once sought medical help and never registered Keegan with her GP. 

She had also previously and unsuccessfully tried to become the legal guardian of the Keegan's older sister, the court heard. 

However, Birmingham City Council later approached Downer to ask if she wanted to take on Keegan herself. The judge said: "They contacted you to see whether you would be interested in caring for another baby girl, and you indicated a willingness to do so." 

Kandyce Downer with Keegan
Getty Images

The toddler attended nursery until June 2015 which was what Mrs Justice Patterson described as "a turning point", because it ended any public scrutiny of the child's care. 

Keegan collapsed at home shortly before 10:00 on the day of her death, after Downer left her alone for more than two hours to take another daughter to a wedding rehearsal.

Anticipation and crowd builds ahead of Peaky Blinders screening

Cath Mackie

BBC News Online

Crowds are gathering outside The Everyman cinema at The Mailbox ahead of a red carpet screening of the first episode of series three of Peaky Blinders, due to hit our screens tomorrow.

Crowds
BBC

New sitcom Barbara Nice to be recorded in Birmingham

A new comedy sitcom series, Barbara Nice, will be recorded in Birmingham and Salford this summer.

Due to be recorded in front of a live studio audience, the 4x30 minute series is about a couple with different ideas on how to spend the golden age of retirement. The pilot programme which was originally broadcast in 2015, will kick off the series, followed by four new episodes.

The sitcom is built around the comedy character Barbara Nice who will be played by Janice Connolly (That Peter Kay Thing, Phoenix Nights).

Barbara Nice
BBC

We couldn't agree more

Love listening to this brilliant/expert guy Patrick Burns, BBC Midlands editor, in our #Elections2016 rehearsal

Love listening to this brilliant/expert guy Patrick Burns, BBC Midlands editor, in our #Elections2016 rehearsal

Signalling problem causing delays

 A signalling problem between Birmingham International and Birmingham New Street is causing delays of up to 30 minutes to trains between these stations and in this direction, the National Rail website reports.

Travel: Severe delay warnings

BBC Travel

There is queueing traffic on the A461 northbound in Walsall, Hallens Drive, from Wednesbury because of a crash earlier.

There are also severe delays on the M42 southbound between J5 for Solihull and J4 for Shirley because of a breakdown, drivers are warned.

Latest: Toddler's killer jailed; Second murder charge; Peaky Blinders returns

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here is a recap of the stories we have been covering so far on Wednesday:

- A Birmingham woman who murdered a toddler has been jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years

- A second person has been charged with the murder of Kenichi Philips, who was shot in Ladywood

- Birmingham-based period drama Peaky Blinders returns to our screens tomorrow

Digbeth First Friday May 2016

Grapevine Birmingham

Digbeth First Friday presents another jam-packed evening of exhibitions, performances, screenings, frolics and food.   

Flash cabs for hire in Wolverhampton

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

It has a five litre engine and a top speed in excess of 200mph, so you might think it's more suited to a race track.

Shoppers in Wolverhampton can now book a super-car - as a taxi. 

The city council is the first in the UK to license a Lamborghini for private cab hire.

View more on twitter

Kenichi Phillips shooting: Second person charged

Police investigating the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old have charged a second person with his murder.

Kenichi Phillips was shot dead while sitting in a car in the Ladywood area of Birmingham in March.

Dean Silvera, aged 37, of Stanford Grove, Perry Barr, was arrested yesterday morning and has been charged with murder.

Kenichi Phillips
West Midlands Police

It follows the charge of a 17-year-old boy who was arrested on suspicion of murder in Smethwick on on 21 April, and who has also been charged with robbery, possession with intent to supply drugs, possession of a bladed weapon and obstructing police.

A 22-year-old man, who was arrested on suspicion of murder the day after the shooting, remains on police bail pending further inquiries, the West Midlands force said.

Football: Morrison fit for Albion but undecided on his future

Long-serving midfielder James Morrison is fit again for the final two games of the season after recovering from a ruptured hamstring in January, says West Bromwich Albion.

The Scotland international is however undecided on his future despite talks, he told the club's website.

James Morrison hobbles off the pitch after getting injured in January against Chelsea
Getty Images

Killer guardian Kandyce Downer 'barbaric, inhuman, evil'

A senior police officer has described child killer Kandyce Downer's treatment of her victim Keegan as "downright evil".

Det Insp Harry Harrison, of West Midlands Police, described the case as "harrowing".  

Keegan was found to have a leg fracture which had gone untreated.

Woman arrested over alleged serious assault in Tamworth

A 50-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of a serious assault in Tamworth which left a man with a serious head injury.

The woman, from Greenheart, was arrested after the incident at around 21:45 on Tuesday. A 63-year-old man was taken to Walsgrave Hospital.

Staffordshire Police is appealing for information while forensic experts remain at the scene.

Preparing for the Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders, a gangster drama set in 1920s Birmingham, returns to BBC 2 on Thursday and the Mailbox is getting ready for a red carpet preview.

Stars of the show will be having a screening in the Everyman Cinema this evening.

The red carpet is almost ready... by order of the Peaky Blinders! #PeakyBrum

The red carpet is almost ready... by order of the Peaky Blinders! #PeakyBrum

MP calls for lessons to be learned in the wake of Keegan Downer's murder

The Downers were constituents and residents of Weoley Castle, in Labour MP Richard Burden's constituency of Birmingham Northfield.

The MP said: “It is now vital that the Serious Case Review set up by the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board gets to the bottom of what happened in the months leading up to Shi-Anne's [later known as Keegan] tragic death. Were any warning signs missed? 

"Was there anything not done that could reasonably have been done that might have prevented what happened? Nothing can bring back Shi-Anne but what lessons can be learned to help keep other vulnerable children safe in the future?

“The Government also needs to look again at how Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) work. Kandyce Downer was trusted with Shi-Anne's care under an SGO. "

Kandyce Downer's 999 call as toddler Keegan died

The 999 call made by Kandyce Downer, who battered to death a toddler under her care and has been sentenced to life with a minimum of 18 years, has been made public.

A post-mortem examination showed Keegan had more than 120 injuries

Watch: Weather for the West Midlands

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

Dry during the day. Highs of 16C (61F).

Find out what we can expect later in the week.

The weather for the West Midlands.

Teenager hit by coach near Tamworth

A teenager has been airlifted to hospital after suffering serious leg injuries after a coach ran over his leg outside Kingsbury School in Tamworth Road, in Kingsbury.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said the boy had just arrived at school by coach before he "suffered serious traumatic injuries to his right foot and leg".

The driver was "very shaken but uninjured", said the service.

'Wrong' to make killer Kandyce Downer a guardian

"It was wrong."

That was the verdict of Keegan Downer's grandmother on the appointment of Kandyce, who went onto kill the toddler, as her guardian.

View more on twitter

Latest: Toddler's murderer jailed; British Gas jobs; Teenager's leg run over by coach

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here is a recap of the stories we have been covering so far on Wednesday:

- A Birmingham woman who murdered a toddler has been jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years

- The government has denied it has been slow to act, after 684 job losses were announced by British Gas in Oldbury

- A 13-year-old boy has been airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after a coach ran over his leg outside a school

Keegan Downer: Authorities will publish a serious case review in summer

Kandyce Downer, who must serve at least 18 years, told Birmingham Crown Court her eldest son had caused the injuries to toddler Keegan.

Keegan died on 5 September 2015. Before calling 999, Downer dumped her blood-spotted mattress, the court heard.

Birmingham Safeguarding Children's Board will conduct a serious case review to look at the role played by a number of agencies, including Birmingham Social Services.

Keegan Downer
West Midlands Police

The jury heard the service supported Downer's application to become Keegan's legal guardian.

It will publish its findings in summer.

NSPCC: Lessons must be learnt from Keegan Downer tragedy

The NSPCC said investigations needed to be carried out into why Kandyce Downer was made guardian of Keegan. 

A spokesman said: “A Serious Case Review must examine in detail the use of the Special Guardianship Order as well as the assessment and long term support arrangements in this case.

“We urge those conducting the review to learn the lessons of this tragic episode.”

How Kandyce Downer became a 'brutal attacker is a mystery'

A post-mortem examination revealed toddler Keegan Downer died from a combination of old head injuries, septicaemia and blunt chest trauma but had suffered a catalogue of injuries in her short life. 

Sentencing Downer to life with a minimum term of 18 years, Mrs Justice Frances Patterson said: "It is a horrible tale of callous conduct and at no stage have you showed any remorse. 

"Why you changed from a loving mother to a brutal attacker of a defenceless child is a mystery."

Kandyce Downer and Keegan
BBC

NSPCC: Keegan Downer did not deserve to be treated "so abhorrently"

The NSPCC said it hopes today's sentence for Kandyce Downer would "serve as a warning to deter others who would subject children in their care to such astonishing cruelty".

A spokesman said "Little Keegan did not deserve to be treated so abhorrently in her short life.

“Questions must be asked about how a woman who was entrusted with caring for Keegan ended up killing her."

Child had more than 150 scars and bruises on body

Phil Mackie

Midlands correspondent, BBC News

Kandyce Downer, a 34-year-old mother of four, was granted guardianship of 18-month-old Keegan by Birmingham social services nine months before she died. 

At the time of her death she had 153 scars and bruises, had suffered multiple fractures, and brain injuries. 

At Birmingham Crown Court this morning Mrs Justice Patterson said it was a "horrific tale" and Keegan had been subjected to a "series of brutal assaults".

As she was being sentenced Kandyce Downer stood with her head bowed. 

BreakingGuardian sentenced to life for Keegan Downer's murder

Amy Cole

BBC Midlands Today

Kandyce Downer has been given a life sentence for the murder of 18-month-old Keegan Downer.

She will serve a minimum of 18 years, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

Obesity-related hospital admissions soaring in the Black Country and Staffordshire

Express and Star

The number of hospital admissions due to obesity in the Black Country and Staffordshire has increased by more than 30%, new figures show.

Elderly woman victim of 'distraction theft'

A 90-year-old woman was a victim of an alleged distraction theft involving four men who swapped her bank card at a cashpoint in Cannock.

The victim entered the Natwest Bank, at Market Place, last Friday at 10:15 and was followed by four men - all described as eastern European in appearance, Staffordshire Police said.

Officers said two men acted as lookouts, while another of the men tapped the female on the arm to distract her, while a fourth man, having seen the woman enter her PIN, swapped her card for a second card.

Police want to speak to the four men pictured.

The four suspects
Staffordshire Police

Speedway: Wolves and Brummies on BBC WM later

Steve Hermon

Journalist, BBC WM

We've got a Speedway double header on BBC WM digital radio tonight. 

The Elite League leaders Wolves are at Poole. While in the National League, the Birmingham Brummies take on Kent.

Coverage starts at 19:00.

Campaign to mark birthday of Walsall youngster with heart condition launched

Walsall Advertiser

A heart-warming campaign to make the birthday of a brave Walsall youngster, born with a heart condition, extra special, has been launched.

Isabell and mum Kimberley
Walsall Advertiser

Football: Evans named Albion fans' player of the year

Steve Hermon

Journalist, BBC WM

Jonny Evans has been named the Player of the Year by the West Bromwich Albion Supporters Club at their annual awards.

He is pictured scoring a stoppage-time winner against Stoke City in January.

Jonny Evans scoring against Stoke
Getty Images

Police officer who prompted bogus IS kidnap alert told to expect long jail term

A West Midlands police officer who sparked a major terror alert through a hoax 999 call has been told to expect a substantial prison term. 

Amar Tasaddiq Hussain claimed a fellow officer was going to be kidnapped by a radical Muslim with links to so-called Islamic State.

The 29-year-old was found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice, along with civilians Adil Bashir, 26, and Muhammad Ali Sheikh, 31.

They are due to be sentenced on 27 May.

PC Amar Tasaddiq Hussain, Adil Bashir and Muhammad Sheikh
BBC

Government denies it has been slow to act after British Gas job losses announced in Oldbury

Louise Hancock

Newsreader, BBC WM

The government's denying it has been slow to act, after British Gas announced plans to close its Oldbury site with the loss of more than 680 jobs. 

In the Commons, a question from Labour MP for Warley John Spellar led David Cameron to promise a ministerial taskforce to help those affected, but it has not appeared yet.

In response, the Business Secretary and Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid said the government was doing all it could.

Hob and a British Gas letterhead
PA

County Championship: third D'Oliveira to hit a century for Worcestershire

BBC Sport

Brett D'Oliveira became the third generation of the same family to hit a century for Worcestershire, inside the afternoon session against Essex.

Following in the footsteps of Basil, his grandfather, and father Damian, D'Oliveira made 128, sharing an opening stand of 179 with Daryl Mitchell (66).

Latest: Murderer to be sentenced; British Gas job losses latest; D'Oliveira's cricket legacy

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here are the top stories on Wednesday so far:

- A Birmingham woman who murdered a toddler is due to be sentenced later

- The government has denied it has been slow to act, after 684 job losses were announced by British Gas in Oldbury

- Brett D'Oliveira became the third generation of the same family to hit a century for Worcestershire yesterday

Legal guardian Kandyce Downer guilty of toddler's murder

A woman has been convicted of murdering a toddler who had suffered more than 150 injuries.

Kandyce Downer, 34, killed 18-month-old Keegan Downer, less than a year after she was appointed her legal guardian.

Keegan was subjected to what police described as "barbaric and evil" treatment, suffering brain and spinal injuries and had 153 scars and bruises.

Keegan Downer
West Midlands Police