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  1. Driver faces jail over girl's road death
  2. Man and guide dog 'refused rides by Uber drivers'
  3. Hijab row councillor steps down from cabinet
  4. Man sentenced for coffee shop killing
  5. Female boxer making history
  6. Villa's Bacuna receives six-match ban
  7. Updates from Friday 3 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Gareth McAuley

Defender Gareth McAuley - the oldest outfield player in the Premier League - signs a new one-year deal with West Brom.

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Jonathan Kodija

Aston Villa ease to their third straight win to heap more misery on Championship bottom club Rotherham.

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Yann Kermorant and Paul McShane

Reading strengthen their Championship play-off hopes as they extend Wolves' losing run to five league matches.

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Wilfried Zaha

Saj Chowdhury

BBC Sport

Brilliant strikes from Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend earn Crystal Palace victory at West Brom as they move out of the Premier League bottom three.

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Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire northbound severe disruption, between J12 for A5 and J13 for A449.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed on M6 northbound between J12, A5 (Gailey) and J13, A449 (Stafford South), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Chris Wood and Kalvin Phillips

Ged Scott

BBC Sport at St Andrew's

Chris Wood scores twice as Leeds move to within a point of third place in the Championship after winning at Birmingham.

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Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire northbound severe disruption, between J12 for A5 and J13 for A449.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed on M6 northbound between J12, A5 (Gailey) and J13, A449 (Stafford South), because of debris on the road. Traffic is coping well.

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

Our live coverage across the day

That's it from us this Friday. If any news breaks tonight it will be posted here as normal but otherwise please join us from 08:00 on Monday for the usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather updates.

Football: West Midlands winning streak - can it continue?

BBC WM Sport

The Baggies are aiming to pick up a fourth home win in a row against Crystal Palace in the Premier League tomorrow.

Aston Villa go to Rotherham looking to make it three victories on the bounce for the first time since 2010.

Walsall could secure a fifth home victory in succession if they beat Oldham. 

That would be their best run at the Banks's Stadium for four years.

Watch: Weather for the evening and the weekend

Rebecca Wood

BBC Weather

Outbreaks of rain will continue for many this evening and for a time overnight, but there will be some drier interludes too

Rain will clear during the early hours. 

Cloudy skies will keep temperatures up overnight, preventing an overnight frost.  Lows of 6C (43F).

Weather for the West Midlands.

Coming up on TV

Nick Owen

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

A blind man from Birmingham says taxis operated by the online firm Uber have repeatedly refused to pick him up because he travels with a guide dog.

The three-part series Extremely British Muslims was filmed in Birmingham and last night's first episode was all about how young people balance looking for love with their faith. We have been to meet some of those involved and to gauge reaction to the show.

Tomorrow evening, Lauren Johnson will become Birmingham's first female professional boxer, and we have been to meet her.

More on these stories and others on the Midlands Today on BBC One from 18:30.

Replacement named for headscarf row councillor who has quit Birmingham's cabinet

Waseem Zaffar stepped down from his role as Birmingham City Council's equality chief, a day after it was reported government integration tsar, Dame Louise Casey, said his accusations against a Catholic school - which we reported earlier - had been "grossly unfair and undue".

Waseem Zaffar

Mr Zaffar said he has also asked the council to set up a "review into all current and historical speculation against me". 

Councillor Ewan Mackey, his opposite number on the city's Conservative opposition group, has now called on the authority to publish all correspondence between councillors and officers relating to the row. 

Mr Zaffar said: "After careful consideration and in light of continued media and social media speculation, I have discussed the situation with the leader of the council and I have decided I will step aside." 

Councillor Tristan Chatfield was appointed as the council's new cabinet member for transparency, openness and equality on Friday.

Ralph Clarke: 101-year-old paedophile bids to cut his jail term

A 101-year-old man jailed for a string of 30 child sex offences is contesting the length of his sentence.

Ralph Clarke, of Erdington, Birmingham, is thought to be the oldest person convicted in British legal history.

Ralph Clarke

Judge Richard Bond QC said in December Clarke had been guilty of "systematic abuse" between 1974 and 1983.

He was found guilty of 21 counts of abusing two girls and admitted nine charges relating to a boy during his trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

The former RAF serviceman's lawyers urged five senior judges at London's Court of Appeal to find that his punishment was excessive because the judge at the original trial did not take enough account of Clarke's extreme old age and the likelihood he would die in prison.

A decision on the appeal will be given at a later date.

Pub crawl team complete 20,000th ale house

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A team of devoted charity pub-crawlers have reached their 20,000th ale house in Stafford, after three decades of touring pubs. 

The West Bromwich-based Black Country Ale Tairsters - Black Country dialect for tasters - began visiting establishments listed on a map, issued by Wolverhampton brewer Banks's, in 1984.

The Black Country Ale Tairsters pictured in 2013
Peter Hill

They arrived to complete their latest milestone in a minibus at the Knot and Plough in Stafford. 

Several veterans of the group, including co-founder Peter Hill, went to the event where they were given free beer.

Man found next to moped and a wall dies

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A man has  died after being found lying next to a moped and a wall. 

West Midlands Ambulance Service say they were called to Main Street, Clifton Campville in Tamworth, this morning . 

They say they found a moped stuck between a lamppost and a wall. 

Paramedics found the man lying on the other side of the wall, trapped, but he died at the scene.

Birmingham school cook named among the best in the country

BBC Midlands Today

A Birmingham school cook has been named among the best in the country at the national School Chef of the Year competition.

Jose Kochakkadan

Jose Kochakkadan is a former professional chef who joined Marston Green Infants Academy so he could spend more time with his own children.

He finished in the top three in yesterday's final at Stratford College after being highly commended for his dessert - mango frangipane with mango lassi and salsa.

'Trojan Horse': Witnesses anonymity will be protected, council says

Lisa Wright

Journalist, BBC News Online

The identity of witnesses who gave evidence in the so-called "Trojan Horse" inquiry will be protected, Birmingham City Council has said.

Park View Academy

The authority had argued for identities to be protected after fears were raised they  may be revealed

It said the National College for Teaching and Leadership has agreed witnesses should retain anonymity. That ruling was issued before teaching misconduct proceedings for former staff at Park View Academy.

This is unless they have consented to be identified, or in four cases are already known to defendants.

Football: Albion stalwart McAuley set to continue playing

The oldest outfield player in Premier League is in talks over a new deal to keep going .

Gareth McAuley
Getty Images

West Bromwich Albion centre-back Gareth McAuley is close to signing a new contract, keeping him at the club next season, according to Baggies boss Tony Pulis.

The 37-year-old, whose deal expires in the summer, is Albion's  joint leading scorer this season .

"He has been fantastic and we are very close to agreeing a new deal," said Baggies boss Tony Pulis. 

"He has continuously put in performances which are special for someone of his age."

Uber drivers refuse to pick up man with guide dog
Saleh Ahmed said he was turned down 14 times by drivers with the private hire firm.

Severe disruption: M6 Warwickshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Warwickshire southbound severe disruption, between J2 for M69 and J1 for A426 Rugby.

M6 Warwickshire - Queuing traffic and one lane closed on M6 southbound between J2, M69 (Coventry) and J1, A426 (Rugby), because of an incident.

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

Villa's Leandro Bacuna given ban after Rams match

BBC Derby Sport

Aston Villa's Leandro Bacuna has been given a six-match ban following his sending off against Derby County last month.

Leandro Bacuna
Rex Features

Severe accident: A41 West Midlands northbound

BBC News Travel

A41 West Midlands northbound severe accident, between A461 Great Western Way and A4037 Leabrook Road.

A41 West Midlands - A41 Black Country New Road in Greatbridge blocked and queuing traffic northbound between Navigation Roundabout and Parkway Roundabout, because of an accident.

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

Magic moments from FA People's Cup


Cheeky chips, celebrations and managerial sackings - watch 10 magic moments from the first round of the FA People's Cup...... 

More than 6,000 teams signed up for the 2017 FA People's Cup, which has 16 separate categories

You'll be able to watch a highlights programme from the first round of the nationwide five-a-side competition on the iPlayer from 06:00 GMT Saturday, 4 March and on the red button from 14:10 GMT on Saturday and throughout the weekend.

Severe accident: M42 Warwickshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M42 Warwickshire northbound severe accident, between J3A for M40 and J4 for A34.

M42 Warwickshire - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M42 northbound between J3a M40 and J4, A34 (Shirley), because of an accident.

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

'Lucky escape' after 50ft fall from tree

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A man's had a "lucky escape" say paramedics after he fell around 50ft (15m) from a tree into the garden of a house in Cannock. 

West Midlands Ambulance Service say it happened this morning on Watling Street, near the OK Diner. 

OK Diner, Watling Street

They say the man, thought in his 30s, suffered injuries to his left arm, lower back and head and was taken to hospital.

Paramedics say he was wearing a helmet and protective equipment without which he could have been more seriously hurt.

Driver admits killing young girl on pelican crossing in Sutton Coldfield

A driver has admitted killing a three-year-old girl as she walked across a pelican crossing in Sutton Coldfield with her mother.

John Place (left) and Poppy-Arabella Clarke (right)

John Place admitted causing the death by dangerous driving of Poppy-Arabella Clarke and causing serious injury by dangerous driving to her mother in Chester Road on 6 July.

A judge at Birmingham Crown Court told Place, 72, from Bakers Lane, in Sutton, his offences were so serious he faced an "inevitable" jail term.

The girl's parents described their daughter as the "the brightest, kindest, most caring" little girl, who was "simply a joy to be around".

The couple said they were now unable to have any more children, which made them "thankful for every second we had with her". 

Wolverhampton council tax rise and £13m cuts get go-ahead

Express and Star

A 3.99% council tax hike as well as £13.5m cuts to tips, car parks and roads as well as other services in Wolverhampton have been rubber-stamped by councillors .

West Midlands mayor should be paid £79,000 salary, councillors agree

Rob Mayor

Black Country Political Reporter, BBC WM

Council leaders in the West Midlands have voted to agree a salary of £79,000 a year for the region's first elected mayor.

Birmingham skyline

An independent panel, which consists of representatives from the seven authority members, said when it recommended the figure it should be reassessed after a few years, when the responsibilities of the role had become clearer.

Coming up on TV

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

A blind man from Birmingham says he has repeatedly been refused taxis operated by the online firm Uber because he travels with a guide dog. 

And when Lauren Johnson took up boxing to lose weight and get fit, she never dreamt that one day she would turn professional. When she steps into the ring at Walsall Town Hall tomorrow, it is believed Lauren will become Birmingham's first female professional boxer. 

Join us for more on these stories and others on  Midlands Today on BBC One from 13:30.

Sajid Javid considers rates discount plan

BBC Business News

Plans to help nearly 100,000 small businesses due to be hit by changes to rates next month are being considered by Communities Secretary and Bromsgrove MP, Sajid Javid.

Out of those, some 25,000 firms face a "cliff edge" under the new revaluation of business rates, according to ratings agency CVS.

It presented a number of proposals to Mr Javid during a meeting on Wednesday.

Sajid Javid
Getty Images

The government is trying to come up with some additional help for small firms after an  outcry from  businesses.

Ministers have said that the revaluation - the first since 2010 - will mean three-quarters of firms will see their rates stay the same or decrease.

But Mr Javid and chancellor Philip Hammond have come under pressure to act to help businesses facing large rises in areas where rental values have increased dramatically.

Critics claim the situation favours large retailers and online firms over high street shops.

Councillor in school hijab row steps down from Birmingham's ruling cabinet

A Birmingham city councillor has stepped down from the ruling cabinet after he was criticised for accusing a school of breaching anti-discrimination laws when it told a four-year-old Muslim pupil she could not wear a headscarf.


St Clare's Catholic Primary School, in Birmingham,  received a complaint from the pupil's family .

Waseem Zaffar, whose cabinet role put him in charge of equality and openness, was related to the pupil but did not make that public,  the Birmingham Mail said .

He said speculation about him was a distraction for the council at a time when it had important work to do. 

Leandro Bacuna

Aston Villa midfielder Leandro Bacuna is banned for six games following an altercation with an assistant referee.

Read more

Severe accident: M69 Leicestershire southbound

BBC News Travel

M69 Leicestershire southbound severe accident, between J1 for A5 Hinckley and M6 J2.

M69 Leicestershire - One lane closed on M69 southbound between J1, A5 (Hinckley) and M6 J2, Coventry, because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

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

Why are Premier League footballers recreating classic album covers?

It's a fair question.

Well we all know that top footballers really wanna be rock/rap stars deep down. And vice versa.

Stormzy and the world's most expensive footballer Paul Pogba will tell you that.

Now, Premier League side West Bromwich Albion have been re-working some classic album covers on their matchday programmes this season.

The Midlands club have paid homage to the likes of David Bowie's Aladdin Sane, Oasis's Definitely Maybe (scroll down for more on that beauty) and Genesis' I Can't Dance.

BBC Music sent bona fide pop stars The Vamps down to the club's grounds to find out more (and to guide the players through how to look mean on a band photo-shoot).

Birmingham's first professional female boxer in 150 years.
Lauren Johnson is making history as Birmingham's first female professional boxer in 150 years.

Severe accident: M5 Worcestershire northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Worcestershire northbound severe accident, between J4 for A38 Bromsgrove and J3 for A456 Halesowen.

M5 Worcestershire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M5 northbound between J4, A38 (Bromsgrove) and J3, A456 (Halesowen), because of an accident.

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