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  1. Updates for Thursday 16 April 2015
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates return at 08:00 Friday

Live Reporting

By Stephanie Barnard

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

BBC Local Live will be back from 08:00 on Friday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather for Birmingham and the Black Country.

Dry and cloudy overnight

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today Weather

Staying mostly cloudy but largely dry this evening and overnight.

Shefali Oza

The cloud perhaps breaking up later in the night, to allow some clearer spells to develop. Low of 3C (37F).

Ideye doubtful for West Brom

BBC Sport

West Brom striker Brown Ideye is doubtful for this weekend's game with Crystal Palace

due to a knee injury he picked up in training this week.

The Nigerian striker will undergo a late fitness test ahead of the trip to Selhurst Park.

Tony Pulis

West Brom manager Tony Pulis (pictured) says "Browny has got a little bit of a knock so we're not sure if he will be fit to start or not," Pulis said. "We're hoping that he will be."

Primary schools: 84% have reception place

More than half a million families are discovering which primary schools their children will attend, amid a growing places squeeze in parts of England.

Figures in Birmingham show 84.7% of children starting reception have got a place at their first preference, while 94.8% got one of their listed choices.

Around one in 20 applicants - 826 children - were given a school that was not one of their preferred options. A further 3.3% - 532 youngsters - have been offered a school outside the city.

Duran Duran exhibition: 'It's their home'

The renowned

rock photographer Denis O'Regan says it's right that a collection of photos that have never been shown in public before are displayed in Birmingham.

Duran Duran in 1984
Denis O'Regan

Mr O'Regan told BBC WM earlier "Birmingham is their home, it's where it should be".

The collection of images taken in 1984 form part of the collection "Careless Memories" which is displayed at the Malmaison for three weeks from tonight.

Terror charges: Three men due in court

Three men from Birmingham arrested at Dover Port on Good Friday have been charged with Syria-related terrorism offences

Gabriel Rasmus, 28, of Chain Walk Lozells, Anas Abdalla, aged 26, of Fox Hollies Road, Acocks Green and Mahamuud Diini, 25, of Coventry Road, Small Heath are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court tomorrow.

The three are alleged to have been attempting to leave the country to travel to Syria and join Islamic State.

Terror charge


Three men from Birmingham who were arrested at Dover Port on 3 April have been charged with Syria-related terrorism offences,

West Midlands Police says.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

In the news at 17:00 on

BBC WM: Birmingham Metropolitan College says between 200 and 250 staff could be made redundant by the end of the academic year.

The Principal and CEO Andrew Cleaves says it's down to a cut in government funding for the third year running but they hope to achieve the redundancies voluntarily.

Brumvotes: 'Not enough beds'

Noel Phillips

Journalist, Brumvotes

Jade was 16 when she started to experience depression and other mental health problems. At first she didn't tell anyone.


"I was scared, so I just ignored it" says the 29-year-old. She began to hear voices in her head, telling her to hurt herself.

She's one of many young people who say they are having to suffer because there are a shortages of mental health beds in Birmingham. She has been diagnosed with reoccurring borderline personality disorder, psychosis and depression.

Dealing with mental health has become an election issue.

See her story on YouTube. Warning: You may find some of what she says disturbing.

'Kept my promise to Stephen'

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

Jane Sutton promised her son Stephen that she'd run the London Marathon - a race he'd have loved to have competed in.

Stephen Sutton's mum Jane

Stephen Sutton, from Burntwood, raised more than £5m for the Teenage Cancer Trust with his bucket list of 46 things to do before he died, capturing the hearts of thousands of people across the world.

Jane Sutton will be running the 26 mile course later this month and told me: "I'm going to be overjoyed and it'll be such a sense of achievement knowing I've kept my promise to Stephen."

Duran Duran: Unseen photos on display

Never-seen before photographs taken of Birmingham's own Duran Duran at the height of their career are going on show in the city tonight.

John Taylor, Duran Duran
Denis O'Regan

The behind-the-scenes shots were taken by

Denis O'Regan, who was also the official tour photographer for David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Spandau Ballet and Pink Floyd.

Denis says: "It's great to be able to share some of my own personal 1984 Duran Duran time capsule with fans of the band."

A three-week exhibition opens at the Malmaison hotel tonight.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM


the news at 16:00: A man who exploited an old friend for slave labour, before killing him, chopping up his body and dumping it in a Birmingham canal - has been jailed for life.

Excited for Wembley

Ian Winter

BBC Midlands Today

More than 30,000 Aston Villa fans are planning their trip to Wembley this weekend, including

Warwickshire cricketer Chris Woakes.

Chris Woakes and BBC reporter Ian Winter

He's recovering from a foot injury that forced him to miss England's current tour of the West Indies.

Instead, the lifelong fan's hoping to see Villa beat Liverpool to reach the FA Cup final and says he's really looking forward to watching the game.

Law firm hires extra staff for school places

Birmingham Mail

A law firm in Birmingham has been flooded with calls from parents who fear their children will miss out on the

primary school of their choice - days before they have even discovered which place they have been offered.

Match, which has offices in Victoria Square, said it is having to hire extra staff to cope with demand after being inundated with calls from worried parents who are bracing themselves for disappointment with their primary school place offer.

Dry afternoon

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today Weather

Temperatures have dropped slightly by about 3C today compared to yesterday.

Shefali Oza

This afternoon we should see some sunny spells but there's still a good deal of cloud lingering.

Because we've got high pressure in the north the winds are light and cloud is staying which could produce some rain.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

Our top story in the news at 15:00 on

BBC WM: A man from Smethwick has been jailed for life for murdering his housemate last year.

In the bulletin we hear from Det Insp Harry Harrison who investigated the case.


The Birmingham Brummies got their National League campaign off to a great start with a

49-39 victory against Rye House last night.

Canal murder: Body parts found in fire & canal

Smethwick man Lorenzo Simon's been jailed for life for murdering his "long-term friend" and tried to burn some of his body in a fire in his back garden, a court heard.

Suitcases found with body parts
West Midlands Police

Police divers recovered the victim's head, limbs and tools in a suitcase dumped in the canal.

Investigating officer, Detective Inspector Harry Harrison says: "Simon accepted Michael as a tenant on the agreement he used his considerable handyman skills to do up the flat. But he treated him like a slave, working him past midnight and then waking him early in the morning to continue working."

Read more on the police website.

BBC WM election debate

Chris King

BBC WM political reporter

The final BBC WM election debate is in Solihull next Thursday.

BBC WM 95.6 Debates - Join the Audience

We're going to be talking about health and the NHS - if you want to be in the audience and

ask your question contact us here.

Last night we were at Bournville College talking to candidates standing in Northfield.

You can read what happened on the BBC Local Live page which ran coverage.

News on the hour

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

In the news at 14:00 on

BBC WM: A UKIP candidate in The Black Country has apologised after describing Islam as an evil cult on Facebook.

Steve Latham who is standing in West Bromwich East posted the remarks in November but they've just come to light.

Canal murder: Woman helped dispose of body

A Smethwick man, Lorenzo Simon's been jailed for life for murdering his housemate and dumping his body in a canal.

Co-defendant 35-year-old Michelle Bird was cleared of the murder of Michael Spalding.

Officers search canal near Icknield Port Road

She admitted helping Simon dispose of the body and has been jailed for two-and-a-half-years.

Michael Spalding, 39, known as Spud, from Ladywood,

was discovered by men working near Icknield Port Road (pictured) on 12 May last year.

Jailed for life for canal murder

A man from Smethwick has been jailed for life for murdering his housemate last year, dumping his body in a canal.

Lorenzo Simon
West Midlands Police

Lorenzo Simon (pictured) chopped up the body of Michael Spalding before dumping it in the canal in two suitcases. He'll serve a minimum of 19 years.

Stop and searches down says PCC

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson

tweets: Number of stop and searches down and number of resultant arrests up

BBC One from 13:30

Rebecca Wood

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

The mother of the Burntwood teenager cancer fundraiser Stephen Sutton says she's been completely overwhelmed by the support the family has received since his death.


Jane Sutton's now continuing his fundraising legacy by taking on the London Marathon. We'll have more from Ben Godfrey on

the programme from 13:40.

Strength to make the play-offs

BBC WM Sport

Wolves midfielder Michael Jacobs says his team mates have got the mental strength to still make the play-offs.

Wolves midfielder Michael Jacobs
Getty Images

They're three points off the top six after back-to-back defeats but can go level with sixth placed Ipswich with a victory over Mick McCarthy's side on Saturday.

With three games to go Jacobs says they've got the players to do it.

News on the hour


In the news at 13:00: A UKIP candidate in The Black Country has apologised after describing Islam as an evil cult on Facebook.

Waste into power

Rebecca Wood

BBC Weather

Thousands of tonnes of leftover food and human waste is being turned into enough electricity to power 4,000 homes in the West Midlands.

Severn Trent Water anaerobic digester

Severn Trent Water is one of the first water companies to invest in an anaerobic digester.

In Birmingham work is underway to turn waste into power. Simon Farris from the company says the move is saving customers money.

Appeal school place decision

Kath Stanczyszyn

Reporter, BBC News

I'm outside a nursery in Edgbaston where parents have been

coming to find out if their child has a place.

Richi Mital,solicitor

Richi Mital, a solicitor who specialises in the appeal the process. He says "all is not lost" if you don't get the first choice place you wanted.

He says they've seen a year-on-year increase on people wanting information on appealing decisions.

'Overwhelmed' by support

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

On tonight's BBC Midlands Today I'll be speaking to Jane Sutton, Stephen's Mum about taking part in the London Marathon.

BBC reporter Ben Godfrey speaks to Jane Sutton

Jane told me she's been completely overwhelmed by the support for her family over the past year.

Two arrested over fish tank thefts


tweets: "Two in custody for theft of the fish tank this morning... Caught hook line and sinker!!! #fishybusiness"

News on the hour


In the news at 12:00 on

BBC WM: A former head of the NHS in the West Midlands, David Nicholson, says he's concerned that politicians in the election campaign are ignoring what he described as "substantial financial problems facing the health service".

Primary school places

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Did your child get into their first choice primary school? Or have you had problems?

Children walking to school

Either way, BBC News wants to hear your stories. Head to the bottom

of this page to get in touch.

Solar panels

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

A community group in Staffordshire's helping members of the public to get their own solar panels and bring down their electricity bills.

Solar panels on bungalow roofs

Chase Community Solar have raised funds to put panels on the roofs of houses in Cannock and Rugeley.

It follows a successful scheme at St Giles hospice in Whittington.

Duran Duran's 'Careless Memories'

Renowned rock photographer,

Denis O'Regan is opening a photographic exhibition of Birmingham's own Duran Duran in the city tonight.

The never-seen-before photos were taken at the peak of the band's career in 1984, when they were filming their 'New Moon on Monday' video in France as well as touring Europe, Japan and America.

John Taylor, Duran Duran
Denis O'Regan

Speaking on BBC WM earlier, Mr O'Regan said: "The real fun job was staying on tour with them so you don't go home at all - you stay there for six or nine months and then you really live it and really capture it."

The exhibition premieres at the Malmaison tonight.

News on the hour

Michelle Dawes

Journalist, BBC WM

Coming up in

the news at 11:00 on BBC WM : Drivers in Birmingham city centre are being advised to expect longer delays when the next phase of a major regeneration project starts next month.

Paradise Circus Square
Core Marketing

We'll have more on this story with our news editor Chris Blakemore.

Stories we're working on

Hilary McConnell

Producer, BBC Midlands Today

Coming up on BBC Midlands Today will be speaking to Jane Sutton the mother of Stephen Sutton (pictured)

who died nearly a year ago from cancer. He helped raise more than £4m for the Teenage Cancer Trust and donations are still coming in.
Jane is running the London Marathon

Jane Sutton and her son Stephen
Getty Images / BBC

We look ahead to the Aston Villa's FA Cup semi final with some of their famous cricketing fans.

And we meet the one of the oldest pilots in the country, and find out why the sky is the limit for him. Join us for the latest with Mary Rhodes at 18:30 and 13:30 with Rebecca Wood.

Benteke's future plans

Steve Hermon

Journalist, BBC WM

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke says he'll sit down in the summer with boss Tim Sherwood to discuss his future.

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke
Getty Images

He's also praised Sherwood's impact since taking charge helping him score eight goals in his last six games.

But the Belgian says for now he's simply focussed on keeping Villa up and beating Liverpool in

Sunday's FA Cup Semi-Final.

Gridlock warning for Paradise Circus

Birmingham Post

Motorists are being warned to avoid

Birmingham city centre when demolition work on the old Central Library begins next month.

The full impact of the massive Paradise development has only this week been revealed as officials warned of major disruption.

News on the hour

Michelle Dawes

Journalist, BBC WM

In the news at 10:00 on

BBC WM: Drivers in Birmingham city centre are being advised to expect longer delays when the next phase of a major regeneration project starts next month.

Billionaire praises Wolverhampton's New Cross Hospital after pioneering heart surgery

Express and Star

When it comes to his health, self-made billionaire Robert Gaines-Cooper

has been able to pick and choose any hospital in the world.

Now in his late 70s and suffering heart defects, the entrepreneur has just undergone pioneering surgery at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.