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Knife crime keeps rising in West Midlands, figures show

Allen Cook

BBC News

Knife crime in the West Midlands has risen by nearly a fifth, according to the latest figures from police forces.

In the 12 months to the end of June 2019, offences in the region rose by 18%.

Forensic officers at crime scene
Getty Images

The data's from the Office for National Statistics with the whole of England and Wales seeing an increase of 7%.

In the West Midlands, West Mercia Police saw the biggest rise of 30% as the force recorded 578 offences in the year to June.

But the most crimes for the period were recorded by West Midlands Police with 3,560 - an increase of 20%.

The increase for Warwickshire was 25% while both Staffordshire Police and Cheshire Police saw falls in knife crime.

HS2 must be built in full, say business bodies

BBC Business News

Six regional heads of Britain's biggest employers' group have urged the government to build the controversial HS2 rail project in full.

Artist's impression of HS2 train
Siemens/PA Media

The call by the CBI chiefs comes amid a government-commissioned review which could lead to all or part of the high-speed rail network being scrapped.

The CBI regions were the East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, London, the North East and North West.

They said HS2 will bring benefits "far beyond its costs".

Phase 1 of HS2 is planned to run between London and Birmingham. Current designs involve a second Y-shaped phase launching in two stages: Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe followed by phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and Birmingham to Leeds.

BreakingStables murder: Husband jailed for 20 years

A man who battered his wife to death with a crowbar during a row has been sentenced to life with a minimum of 20 years.

Ann Marie Pomphret, 49, was struck 30 times by her husband David, 51, at the stables they owned in Warrington, Cheshire, on 2 November, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

More to follow

Majority shareholder agrees to sell stake in Crewe Alex

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra football club's majority shareholder has agreed to sell his stake in the club.

Crewe Alexandra's stadium

Norman Hassall has held 51% of the shares since 2006, but will now sell them to a group of local business owners and investors.

The Alex have issued a statement saying the move will mean no single shareholder will own more than 12.5% of shares.

Stables murder trial jury retires to consider verdict

A jury has retired to consider its verdict over a husband accused of murdering his wife in a "frenzied" attack with a crowbar.

Ann Marie Pomphret
Police handout

Ann Marie Pomphret, 49, was found dead at stables she owned with her husband David in Warrington, Cheshire, on 2 November.

She had been struck 30 times over the head with a crowbar.

Mr Pomphret, 51, of Winwick, Warrington has pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Liverpool Crown Court but denies murder on the grounds of a temporary loss of control.

However, prosecutors told the court: "It may be loss of temper, but not loss of control."

Mr Pomphret told the jury he "snapped" after his "ranting" wife called him "limp and useless" over his erectile dysfunction and slapped him during a row.

He said he has no recollection of the attack.

BreakingTwo women trapped in car after crash with lorry

Firefighters are working to free two elderly women who are trapped in their car after a collision with a lorry near Nantwich just after 15:00.

The crash happened on Wrexham Road in Burland and North West Ambulance Service is preparing to take them to hospital.

Attempted murder arrests after home attack

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A teenage girl is being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder after a man was attacked at a house in Nantwich.

The 40-year-old victim suffered serious head injuries at the Blagg Avenue property on Monday evening.

Cheshire Police says a 16-year-old girl from Merseyside has been arrested in relation to the investigation.

A 39-year-old man from Nantwich was earlier also arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and has since been released on conditional bail.

Council faces £7.5m budget black hole

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Stephen Topping

Increasing demands on children's services and adult social care has left Cheshire East Council having to find £7.5m in savings to balance its books this year.

Cheshire East Council HQ

The local authority has been reviewing its budget for 2018-19 and currently has a £5.5m overspend in its People department.

That includes coping with a rise in the number of cared-for children from 484 in March, to 510 in August.

There's also a £2.1m overspend in adult social care, £1.1m in the Corporate department and £1m related to employer pension contributions.

However, the council says it believes it'll take enough "mitigating actions" to balance the budget by the end of March.

'Awful' bus station set for makeover

Jodie Looker

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A councillor responsible for regenerating east Cheshire has admitted Crewe's bus station "looks awful".

Crewe bus  station

Last month, BBC Radio Stoke heard from bus users who described it as "dilapidated and dangerous".

It's due to be replaced as part of major regeneration plans for the town centre.

At a meeting yesterday, Nick Mannion from Cheshire East Council said there'll be a further update on those proposals next week.

Man left with serious head injuries after attack

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A man's been left with serious injuries after an incident in Nantwich.

Blagg Avenue, Nantwich

The 40-year-old was assaulted in Blagg Avenue on Monday evening, Cheshire Police said.

Three people, two men and a female, were seen leaving the house shortly after the incident.

The victim is in hospital with serious head injuries and his condition is said to be stable.

Officers said a 39-year-old man from Nantwich has been arrested over the attack and remains in custody but police are appealing for witnesses to get in touch.

Staffless library opening hours considered

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Libraries could open for longer without staff having to be present, under plans being considered by Cheshire East Council.

Nantwich's library

Customers could be let into the buildings at 07:30 until 20:00 by using their library cards, with CCTV being used for security checksm the council said.

The idea is included in a survey about the local authority's library service which is running on its website until 8 November.

Warrington murder: Crimestoppers offer £10,000 reward

A £10,000 reward has been offered in connection with the murder of a father-of-one from Warrington.

Mark Bradbury
Family handout

Mark Bradbury was found dead with head injuries at his home in Station Road South, Padgate, Cheshire, on 4 August.

The 58-year-old had last been seen near his house at 17:00 BST on 1 August.

The Crimestoppers reward is for information leading to a conviction in the case.

The last sighting of Mr Bradbury was on 1 August at about17:00 as he returned with his brother from walking his golden retriever dog.

Gary Murray from Crimestoppers, said: “This murder has devastated Mark’s family who are still waiting to see justice.

“Whilst his murder is still a mystery, it’s believed that people in the local community and beyond may hold clues as to what happened.

“If you have any information, however insignificant it may appear, please contact us."

Flooding closes roads

BBC News Travel

Flooding has closed some roads in Crewe.

Drivers are being warned to avoid the affected areas.

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'I'm held together like Meccano'

Jennifer Meierhans

BBC News Online

Vanessa Smith says she now has "plates and screws like Meccano to hold me together".

The 50-year-old, from Sandbach, was in Kent for a day out when she was hit by a car.

Vanessa Smith

"All I remember is being on the floor and this nurse holding my head and trying to keep me awake because I was just trying to go to sleep."

Having been taken at first to a local hospital where she was stabilised, she was then brought here, to the major trauma centre at Royal Stoke for surgery.

“I cry. I have my good days and bad days. The support here has been amazing, the nurses have been great helping me with my physio."

Homes evacuated after timber yard fire

A fire has broken out at a timber yard in Congleton, Cheshire.

Cheshire Fire Service
Cheshire Fire Service

Residents have been evacuated from their homes close to the scene on Bark Street, off Mountbatten Way.

Cheshire Fire Service

Crews were called out shortly after 00:45 and managed to contain the blaze preventing further spread, said the fire service.

Neighbouring properties are being advised to keep their windows and doors closed.