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  1. Updates from Wednesday 3 May 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Our coverage across the day

That's it from the Local Live team on Wednesday.

Please join us again from 08:00 on Thursday for more news, sport, travel and weather updates.

And remember, the polls open tomorrow morning in the election for the first ever West Midlands Metro Mayor.

Coming up on TV

Elizabeth Glinka

BBC Midlands Today

In just over 12 hours time, the polls open in the election for the first West Midlands Metro Mayor. 

There are six candidates in the running for the job, which would make one of them arguably the most high profile politician in the region. 

So who are the candidates and what will the job entail? We will explain it all on the Midlands Today on BBC One from 18:30.

Corrie star meets storytellers for new London show

Satnam Rana

BBC Midlands Today

Actress Shobna Gulati, who's well known for her role on long running soap Coronation Street and Dinner Ladies, dropped by Wolverhampton today.

She met storytellers who've helped form a new piece of theatre which will be performed at the largest UK festival inspired by South Asian culture.

Actress Shobna Gulati

Shobna will be re-telling stories shared by the women here at - the Humjoli Group in Wolverhmapton.

It's all for a new stage production called Mother Tongues from Father Lands as part of the Southbank Centre's Alchemy Festival inspired by South Asian Arts and Culture.

Weather: A cloudy night and more sunshine tomorrow

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

It's going to be overcast again tonight, but we should see some sunshine across the region tomorrow.

Shefali Oza has your forecast
Seven-year-old returns to school with prosthetic aid
A seven-year-old from Shirley in Birmingham shows off her new sports blade to playground pals.

GE2017: Conservatives announce candidate for Walsall North


The Conservatives have selected their candidate to stand against Labour's David Winnick in the Walsall North seat. 

Eddie Hughes, 48, will stand in next month's general election.

View more on twitter

One of the oldest MPs in Westminster, 81-year-old David Winnick (pictured below), retained his seat for Labour in the 2015 general election, with a 2,000 majority against the Conservative candidate.

The Labour MP has already served 38 consecutive years as the member for the Walsall constituency. 

David Winnick

Metro Mayor election: 'A tight race between Labour and the Conservatives'

Rob Mayor

Black Country Political Reporter, BBC WM

As the campaign to become West Midlands mayor enters its final stages, the polling experts suggest it's a tight race between Labour and the Conservatives.

Andy Street’s team are talking about causing a "political earthquake" in Labour’s heartlands.  

View more on twitter

But the Labour team for Sion Simon, appear relaxed and confident, despite the party’s difficulties nationally.

As Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson extolled the virtues of Andy Street in Wolverhampton, Labour leafleted in Birmingham, no high profile party figures visiting for them, "It’s about the West Midlands", they said.

View more on twitter

Bear 1 - Baggies reveal printed shirt for Liam and Cheryl

After the news that 1D star Liam Payne and Cheryl have named their baby son Bear a football shirt has already been printed with his name on it.

Liam Payne, from Wolverhampton, who is a Baggie, will be match ready with his son.

The club have revealed his shirt, hoping he won't be a Magpie.

View more on twitter

Town halls buy back Right-to-Buy homes

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Councils have spent millions buying back homes they sold at a discount under Right-to-Buy laws to meet housing shortages.

council homes

BBC News Online investigated local authority areas where waiting lists rose for four consecutive years since 2011 and made Freedom of Information (FOI) requests of 10 councils at random.  

Islington spent £6.2m on 25 houses it once sold for less than £1.3m.

It comes after Birmingham, one of the biggest councils in Europe, agreed in its budget to buy back Right-to-Buy homes when they became available - up to 200 in total, although it has not re-purchased any yet, according to an FOI response.

The government has vowed to build more affordable houses and in February called the current market "broken".

Severe disruption: M6 West Midlands northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 West Midlands northbound severe disruption, between J5 for A452 and J6 for A38.

M6 West Midlands - One lane closed and heavy traffic on M6 northbound between J5, A452 (Castle Bromwich) and J6 A38(M) Aston Expressway, because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Metro Mayor election: Greens and communist candidates give reasons to vote

Rob Mayor

Black Country Political Reporter, BBC WM

The Green’s James Burn says plans for the West Midlands need to change, as he bids to become the first mayor for the region which covers, Birmingham, the Black Country and Coventry.

View more on twitter

Communist Graham Stevenson says "vote for socialism, not austerity". Yesterday he was speaking to students in Birmingham.

View more on twitter

Whilst many see this election as a two horse race, the supplementary voting system means that the second choices made by the other four candidates supporters are likely to make the crucial difference when the result becomes clear on Friday afternoon.  

Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire southbound severe disruption, between J10A for M54 and J10 for A454.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed on M6 southbound between J10a M54 and J10, A454 (Wolverhampton), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Metro Mayor election: Last day of campaigning as polls open on Thursday

Rob Mayor

Political Reporter, BBC WM

Yesterday was fraught with campaigning as the poll booths prepare to open on Thursday for the West Midlands Metro mayor election. 

A visit to Dudley town centre has become a UKIP election staple and leader Paul Nuttall was there to sing the praises of their mayoral Candidate Pete Durnell.

View more on twitter

For the Liberal Democrats Beverley Nielsen was out leafleting in Wolverhampton yesterday.

Here's why she thinks she should be mayor.

View more on twitter

Read more about the candidates on BBC News. Polls open from 08:00 on Thursday.

Severe disruption: M5 West Midlands northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 West Midlands northbound severe disruption, at J3 for A456 Halesowen.

M5 West Midlands - One lane closed on M5 northbound at J3, A456 (Halesowen), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Victim's daughter and father hear defendant enter guilty plea

Phil Mackie

Midlands correspondent, BBC News

Aaron Barley, 23, has not entered pleas to two other charges he faces of murder.

forensic team outside the house

He is accused of killing Tracey Wilkinson and a 13-year-old boy on the same date, 30 March.

Lydia, the daughter of Barley's victim Peter, was in Birmingham Crown Court along with Peter's father Stephen, when he entered the guilty plea.

The case was adjourned until 19 July, ahead of a possible trial date of 3 October.

BreakingMan pleads guilty to attempted murder of Stourbridge dad

Peter Wilson

BBC Midlands Today Special Correspondent

Aaron Barley, 23, who is charged with the Stourbridge murders has pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Peter Wilkinson.

He has made no pleas for two murder charges.

Bears bowling pair get first contracts

BBC Sport

Warwickshire have awarded professional contracts to seam bowlers Grant Thornton and Mitchell Spencer.

The pair, both 24, have been given three-month contracts with the County Championship Division One side.

Grant Thornton
Sam Bagnall, Warwickshire CCC.
Grant Thornton took 0-34 on his first-class debut against Northamptonshire in April

Thornton made his first-team debut in their One-Day Cup win over Northamptonshire on 27 April, while Spencer is yet to play for the county. 

"They are two very different bowlers and good options for Ian Bell to have as captain." said coach Jim Troughton. 

Warwickshire's sport director, Ashley Giles, had talked about bringing in "new blood" after they made an difficult start to the season.

Contemporary artist shortlist for Turner Prize

BBC Entertainment and Arts

A Birmingham painter has been shortlisted for this year's Turner Prize.

Hurvin Anderson is one of two artists over the age of 50 to be nominated for the first time in more than 25 years.

One of Britain's leading contemporary painters, Anderson takes inspiration from his youth in Birmingham's African-Caribbean community and visits to Trinidad. Barber shops feature regularly - they are places where he says both cultures meet.  

Hurvin Anderson, Is it OK to be black?, 2016

Since 1991, the upper age limit for those eligible to be considered was set at 50 but the rule change was confirmed earlier this year to reflect "the fact that artists can experience a breakthrough in their work at any age".  

Sport headlines: Che Adams available for final match of the season

BBC WM Sport

The top sport stories for Birmingham and the Black Country which we're covering on BBC WM include:

View more on twitter

Railway line closure causes delays to London

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The railway line between Rugby and Northampton is blocked due to an on-going incident, warns London Midland.

Rail passengers are warned to expect delays - London Midland tickets are valid on Virgin train services while disruption continues

View more on twitter

Cricket: Stoke-on-Trent player gets first Warwickshire contract

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A cricketer from Stoke-on-Trent has been offered a first deal by county side Warwickshire. 

General view of Warwickshire's Edgbaston ground
Dave Thompson/Getty Images

The club says seam-bowler Mitchell Spencer, 24, has been given a three-month contract after impressing in 2nd XI games last year along with a pre-season tour in the winter.  

Wayward wandering wallaby winds up in Walsall

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Expect the unexpected in Walsall.

A wandering wallaby was stopped in its tracks after being discovered on a street in Walsall on Sunday.

The RSPCA was called by a stunned member of the public to rescue the 17-year-old nearly blind wallaby who had escaped from a nearby farm.

Wallaby found in Walsall

It really does remind me of how different every day in this job can be. For a moment it felt like I was working in Australia - without the nice weather!

Catherine StrawfordAnimal collection officer, RSPCA
Wallaby found in Walsall

And the Baggies bride wore...

A bride surprised her "Baggies mad" husband-to-be on their wedding day by wearing a dress based on his favourite team.

Bronwyn Beale, surprised her partner Peter by wearing a corset-styled dress which incorporated the team's navy and white shirt stripes and featured an embroidered bird perched in a hawthorn bush.

Bronwyn Beale, surpriseed her partner Peter

The couple married in Las Vegas last month.

Peter said: "I never had a clue... I thought it looked very nice. It was my wedding day, so it all just kind of overawes you."  

West Bromwich Albion wedding dress

See more photos on BBC News.

Severe accident: M42 West Midlands northbound

BBC News Travel

M42 West Midlands northbound severe accident, between J5 for A41 and J6 for A45 Birmingham Airport.

M42 West Midlands - One lane closed and slow traffic on M42 northbound between J5, A41 (Solihull) and J6, A45 (Birmingham Airport), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

'Woakes will benefit from playing in Indian league'

Nicola Beckford

Journalist, BBC Midlands Today

Warwickshire's Chris Woakes will benefit from playing in the Indian Premier League, says the England cricket national selector.

Chris Woakes

He'll be playing in and around world class players with lots of pressure. Players have come back with positive experiences and spread their knowledge to the players in the England team who haven't played in the IPL

James WhittakerNational selector

Woakes has missed the start of the county championship season after signing for the Colkutta Knight Riders.   

He's also been left out of the England squad for a one-day series against Ireland. 

Woakes will then return for matches against South Africa later this month.

Mark Pettini

Mark Pettini hits a career-best 159 from 135 deliveries to help Leicestershire beat Warwickshire in the One-Day Cup.

Read more

BMW workers to stage strike over pensions

Staff at BMW's engine plant at Hams Hall stage the latest of their one-day strikes today in a row over pensions.

A Mini
Getty Images

Members of the Unite union walked out at about 06:00 BST until tomorrow morning. 

They are protesting at the company's decision to close their final salary pension scheme - which they say could cost some workers thousands of pounds.

Search to find prospective HS2 workers begins

BBC Midlands Today

A Birmingham college which aims to produce the engineers needed to build HS2 will open its doors to prospective students today. 

Work began a year ago on the £40m National College for High Speed Rail. 

National College for High Speed Rail being constructed

About 25,000 jobs are expected to be created during the construction of the new rail network. 

The college is hosting an open day to showcase the courses available when it officially opens later this year.

National College for High Speed Rail being constructed
View more on twitter

Family 'will never be the same again' after man dies in suspected hit-and-run

"A kind and loving son who would do anything for anyone" - a family mourn the loss of 36-year-old Benjamin Morse, after he died in a suspected hit-and-run in Halesowen.

A 21-year-old man has been arrested and bailed on suspicion of murder while police inquiries continue.

Benjamin Morse
West Midlands Police

Benjamin was a kind and loving son, brother, uncle and friend who would do anything for anyone. He was sports mad, fun loving and an Arsenal fanatic and has left a huge hole in our lives. Our family will never be the same again

Morse family statement

Two men, aged 32 and 19, were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and also released on police bail.