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Summary

  1. Man admits trying to murder a pregnant woman
  2. Robber jailed after victim recognised him on Facebook
  3. Deadline to buy Tata Steel's UK operations
  4. Drivers warned of dangers of using mobile phones at wheel
  5. Updates on Monday 23 May 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Latest weather for the West Midlands

Latest weather for the West Midlands
Lorna Moore

The father of a County Tyrone woman jailed for failing to tell the authorities her husband had gone to join IS in Syria has said she was wrongly convicted.

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Chris Woakes

Warwickshire's Chris Woakes takes 9-36 as he warms up for a possible England Test recall by bowling out Durham.

Read more
Babur Raja

A man admits attempting to murder a pregnant woman who was repeatedly stabbed in a street attack.

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Our coverage across the day and into tomorrow

We'll be back in the newsroom from 08:00, bringing you our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather. Until then, keep an eye out here for updates this evening and into the morning.

Moseley make double signing

Relegated Moseley have made two signings from Championship side Rotherham in a bid to boost their hopes of promotion from National 1 next season.

Openside flanker Jack Preece will be joined at Billeseley Common by tighthead prop James Elliot.

New Moseley signing James Elliot
Moseley RFC
New Moseley signing Jack Preece
Moseley RFC

Statues plan for three former Devon and Dorset Army regiments

Three statues honouring the Devonshire, Dorset and combined Devon and Dorset Army regiments are being planned for the National Memorial Arboretum.

It is hoped models of three soldiers - each depicting one of the old regiments - will be cast in bronze and displayed at the Arboretum in Staffordshire.

The Devonshire and Dorset Regimental Association said a "substantial amount" of the £140,000 cost had been raised, but an appeal has now been launched to raise the remaining money.

The models for the three bronze sculptures which will represent the Devonshire Regiment, the Dorset Regiment and the Devon and Dorsets
BBC
Models for the proposed bronze sculptures

'Bee careful' when you return to your car

Birmingham is a hive of activity but this is a bit extreme.

View more on twitter

Walsall group jailed for terror offences

A group of friends from Walsall who planned to bring up their children under the so-called Islamic State in Syria have been jailed.

Mother-of-three Lorna Moore was jailed for two and a half years after failing to tell the authorities her husband was about to join the militant group.

Her husband Sajid Aslam, 34, was part of a large network that heeded the militants' call for volunteers in 2014.

More follows.

Lorna Moore
PA

Gaming tech shows text-and-drive risk

Police are using gaming technology to simulate the hazards of driving while texting on a mobile phone. 

Central Motorway Police Group in the West Midlands has fitted a car with the equipment and is inviting motorists to see for themselves how dangerous it can be.  

Gaming tech shows risks of using phones behind the wheel

It marks the start of a nationwide police campaign to clamp down on the illegal use of phones behind the wheel. 

BBC reporter Joanne Writtle was among the first to try out the simulator.  

Travel: M54 delays warning

One lane is blocked on the M54 eastbound between J2 for the A449 and J1 for the A460 near Wolverhampton because of a breakdown, drivers are warned.

Watch: Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

There are some showers around through the first part of the night. There is potential for the odd rumble of thunder.

Lows of 8C (46F). Find out more.

Afternoon weather forecast for the West Midlands

First tram for decades arrives at Birmingham New Street Station

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

The first tram has arrived at Birmingham New Street Station.

The last part of the line was expected to open in February but Centro announced technical issues had delayed it until May and it was delayed for a second time last week.

View more on twitter

Latest: Man admits trying to murder pregnant woman; Tata bid deadline; robber identified on Facebook

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here is a recap of the top stories on Monday:

- A man has admitted the attempted murder of a pregnant woman stabbed in Sutton Coldfield  

- Tata in India is expected to decide this week which bidders will go forward in the sale process for its UK steel operations

- A robber is jailed after a victim recognised him on Facebook

The system supplying Birmingham's water is showing wear and tear

David Gregory-Kumar

Science correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

All of Birmingham's water comes from the Elan Valley in Wales. 

In a triumph of Victorian engineering, the system has pumped water to the city for over a century, but now it's showing signs of wear and tear and today a £65m scheme gets under way to replace a section of the tunnel and make sure Birmingham continues to get the water it needs.

The system at the Elan Valley
BBC

Fraudster from Sutton Coldfield and his dad who conned the taxman out of £500k jailed

Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer

A conman from Sutton Coldfield who fraudulently claimed more than £500,000 in tax rebates for homes that were never built has been jailed.

Father and son fraudsters, Timothy and James Bentley
Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer

RHS Chelsea: Talk about grass roots sport

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Birmingham City Council is promoting its free sport activity programme at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Wicker versions of Mo Farah, rhythmic gymnastics and Usain Bolt are among those highlighting free athletic activities in the city that include rowing and zumba.

One Small Step - Birmingham City Council's submission at RHS Chelsea 2016
BBC

All the featured plants have been grown in Birmingham

For those not heading to the show, the display - the council's competition entry - will move to Cannon Hill Park next month.

Victim weeps as attacker admits he tried to murder her

Here's more:

Babur Karamat Raja, from Sutton Coldfield, also admitted a charge of attempted child destruction, possession of a knife in public, and the wounding and assault of two passers-by.  

Raja's victim, who cannot be identified because of a court order, was in court and broke down in tears as he entered his guilty pleas.    

Appearing at Birmingham Crown Court by videolink, Raja, who will be sentenced in June, made notes with a pen and remained impassive as his QC passed on his apologies for the offences. 

The scene of the stabbing in Sutton Coldfield
Warwick Kay

BreakingMan admits stabbing a pregnant woman

A 41-year-old man has admitted attempting to murder a pregnant woman who was repeatedly stabbed in a street attack in Sutton Coldfield. 

Thousands of pharmacies in England 'at risk of closure'

BBC News Health

Thousands of local pharmacies in England are at risk of closure because of cuts by the Department of Health, a campaign group has said.

Pharmacy Voice, which represents High Street chemists, says that without access to a community pharmacist one in four people would visit their busy local GP instead.

Pharmacy
Science Photo Library

The government says outlets in some areas are too close together.

It proposes giving more people access to a community pharmacy.

RHS Chelsea: How's Birmingham doing?

Will Birmingham take gold at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show? Judging has taken place today and we find out the winners and losers tomorrow.

Birmingham City Council at RHS Chelsea
Jas Sansi

BBC Midlands Today's Sarah Falkland is there looking at this season's colourful blooms. See her report on BBC One at 18:30 tonight.  

Robber jailed after victim recognised him on Facebook

An armed robber from Birmingham - who was caught when one of his victims recognised him on Facebook - has been jailed for 17 years, say police.

Omar Famuyide, aged 21, from Wrentham Street, Highgate, was one of two men who burst into city centre venue Ambassadors Relaxation Suite last summer - assaulting the women inside and threatening them with a metal bar and handgun. He also stole a BMW at gunpoint a month later.

 But the net closed on the robber when one of his victims contacted police after spotting him on the "people you may know" section of the social media site.  

Omar Famuyide
West Midlands Police

Police said it "was the final piece of the jigsaw" for which they were looking. 

Using a phone at the wheel 'more dangerous than drink-driving'

BBC Midlands Today

Driving while texting or talking on a handheld mobile phone can be "more dangerous than drink-driving", according to police.

This week, police across the Midlands start a campaign targeting illegal use of phones behind the wheel.

man texting at the wheel
BBC

Central Motorway Police now has a simulator which it'll take to events and colleges to demonstrate just how dangerous the practice can be.

Studies have found that driver reaction times when using a mobile are 30% slower than someone who's just above the drink drive limit.

Dudley Zoo's youngest snow leopard heads to India for breeding programme

Dudley zoo's youngest snow leopard, Makalu, is getting ready to move to India – the native region of the big cat species - as part of an global breeding programme. 

The two-year-old will soon be leaving the Castle Hill attraction for Darjeeling Zoo, almost 5,000 miles away, in a scheme that could potentially see Makalu’s descendants released into the wild.

Zoo curator Richard Brown said: “He'll be playing an important role in securing the future of their endangered species."

Makalu
Dudley Zoological Gardens
David Moyes

David Moyes rules himself out of the running to be Aston Villa's new manager after being interviewed last week, BBC Sport understands.

Read more

Coming up on TV

Joanne Malin

BBC Midlands Today

A model who was bullied online over her size has been back to her old school to teach pupils about body image and we'll catch up with our local entrants at this week's RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Join us on BBC One from 13:30.

Fancy sharing your home with lions, rattlesnakes and an alligator?

Animals including lions, tigers, crocodiles, rattlesnakes and zebras are being kept legally on private property across the UK, figures have revealed.

More than 100 councils have issued licences to people who keep undomesticated animals at home, a freedom of information request by the Press Association news agency found.

They include three tigers and two lions in Cannock Chase District Council's area, while in Walsall there is one Chinese alligator, 25 puff adders, rattlesnakes and cobras.

King Cobra snake
Science Photo Library

Latest: Tata bid deadline; questions over Villa owner's millions; drivers warned of mobile phone danger

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here is a recap of the top stories on Monday:

- Today is the deadline to submit bids to buy Tata Steel's UK operations

- Questions are raised over the extent of the new Aston Villa owner's wealth

- Drivers are being warned of the dangers of using a mobile phone at the wheel

England v Sri Lanka: Chris Woakes called up for second Test

BBC Sport

Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes has been called up to the England squad for the second test against Sri Lanka.

He's been added to the side after Ben Stokes picked up an injury in the win in the first test.

Chris Woakes
Getty

Woakes will vie with pace bowler Jake Ball for a place in the final XI for Friday's match at Chester-le-Street.  

He'll leave at the close of play against Durham today in order to join up with the England squad tomorrow  with Warwickshire permitted to name a replacement.  

RHS Chelsea: Through the eye of a needle

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

A micro artist from Birmingham is at the heart of the city council's competition entry at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower show.

Willard Wigan (pictured) has created a number of tiny sculptures that can fit inside the eye of a needle for One Smell Step - the council's entry in the Floral Marquee category.

Willard Wigan at RHS Chelsea
BBC

It's hoped the display will inspire people to take part it grass-root sport as wicker athletes feature throughout the design. Judging is taking place today and the show will open to the public tomorrow.

We tend to disregard the little things that we can’t see but my sculptures have a very big impact and I am looking forward to seeing how they will work in this design.

Willard WiganMicro artist

Drivers reminded of mobile phone danger

BBC Midlands Today

A week-long campaign begins today to remind drivers of the dangers of using a handheld mobile phone while driving.

More than 7,500 motorists in the West Midlands have been fined in the last three years for the offence. 

Central Motorway Police now has a car fitted with gaming technology to simulate the hazards of driving while texting, which it hopes will educate people on the risks.

Driver using a mobile phone at the wheel
BBC

Rugeley Power Station to be demolished within three years

Cannock Mercury

The iconic sight of the Rugeley cooling towers will be no more within three years it has been confirmed.  

Cooling towers
Cannock Mercury

Green-fingered guru takes hundreds of Hepaticas to Chelsea Flower Show

BBC Midlands Today

A gardener from the West Midlands is presenting a display of Hepaticas at the Chelsea Flower Show today.

The woodland flower blooms in late February but John Massey has used his green-fingered skills to make 800 of these beautiful plants look their best for the judges in May. 

John Massey
BBC

Woman remains critical after Stourbridge bus crash

Louise Hancock

Newsreader, BBC WM

A woman remains in a critical condition in hospital after she was hit by a bus in Stourbridge. 

Emergency services were called to Church Street on Friday afternoon. 

The 55-year-old sustained serious head injuries.

British Muslims facing jail over plan to join so-called Islamic State

A group of British Muslims from Walsall who allegedly wanted to bring up their children under the so-called Islamic State in Syria are facing jail today. 

Lorna Moore, aged 34, was accused of planning to take her three young children - including an 11-month-old baby - to the war zone and after a trial was found guilty of failing to tell authorities her husband, 34-year-old Sajid Aslam, was about to leave for Syria to join IS.

Lorna Moore and Ayman Shaukat
West Midlands Police
Lorna Moore and Ayman Shaukat

The jury also convicted 28-year-old Ayman Shaukat of preparing terrorist acts by helping Aslam and Muslim convert Alex Nash. 

Moore, Aslam and Shaukat will be sentenced later alongside 22-year-old Nash and 24-year-old Kerry Thomason who was pregnant when she was stopped from flying to Syria with her two children to join her husband, who is believed to have been killed in the summer of 2015, although his death is unconfirmed.

Seven bidders in running as Tata deadline looms

Formal bids for Tata Steel's operations in the UK have to be submitted today

Up to seven offers are expected to be made for the firm which employs just under 800 people here in the West Midlands.

Port Talbot
Getty Images

Tata put its British business up for sale in March. 

It's losing an average of £1m a day because of collapsing steel prices. The timetable for the sale is unclear.

County Championship: Andy Umeed hits century on Bears debut

BBC Sport

Warwickshire and Scotland batsman Andy Umeed
Getty Images

Warwickshire youngster Andy Umeed made a maiden century on his Championship debut against Durham at Edgbaston.

The 20-year-old Glaswegian hit 101 as the Bears reached 273-8 on a day reduced by rain to 77 overs.