from BBC News for Birmingham and the Black Country
A police chief has said he is “deeply sorry” for failings that led to a nurse’s rape and murder.Chief Constable Dave Thompson said West Midlands Police “failed to protect” Lisa Skidmore before she was killed. Ms Skidmore, 37, was killed by convicted sex offender Leroy Campbell at her home in Bilston, Wolverhampton.Her sister Alison Parker has said “a lack of competency” and “catastrophic failings” by agencies contributed to her death, in November 2016.Campbell raped and murdered Ms Skidmore before attacking her 80-year-old mother and setting fire to the property in an attempt to destroy evidence, four months after he was released from prison.He had “disclosed to probation he was experiencing low mood, negative thoughts and feelings that had led to his previous offence,” but this “key information” was not shared, Ms Skidmore’s inquest heard.Sex offender manager Sgt Sophie Clement also told the hearing she alerted police about her concerns after a visit to Campbell a month before the murder.An inquest jury concluded she was failed by police and the probation services.One probation worker has been sacked for gross misconduct over the case.Mr Thompson apologised to Ms Skidmore’s brother and sister during a Strategic Policing and Crime Board, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.He said her death, and the identification of her attacker, was among the “saddest” days in his 29 years of policing.’Our sister should still be alive'”West Midlands Police and the probation service are here to protect the public, and it’s very clear that didn’t happen in this case and your family weren’t protected,” he said.”Lisa should not have been murdered, or her mother attacked. Leroy Campbell should never have been in the position to repeat this crime.”Latest news from the West Midlands”What I want to say to Lisa’s family is that I am sorry that we as West Midlands Police failed to protect your family, deeply sorry,” he added”Nothing can change what’s happened, but we must ensure the police and probation service work together to ensure cases like this are prevented.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.
Uber is expected to have its licence extended in Birmingham next month amid uncertainty over the private hire firm’s future in London.Transport for London (TfL) told Uber in November it would not be granted a new licence after repeated safety failures.The licence in Birmingham is due to expire at the end of January, but the city council says it is likely to be renewed.The authority said it would however be monitoring the situation in London.TfL revoked Uber’s licence in London after claiming unauthorised drivers uploaded their photos to other Uber driver accounts. It meant at least 14,000 fraudulent trips were made in London in late 2018 and early 2019.Uber has previously said the decision to revoke its London licence was “extraordinary and wrong.”The company has been allowed to continue operating in London while it appeals against the banning order. A case is expected to be heard at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this summer.Uber, which has operated in Birmingham since 2015, currently has a licence in the city until 31 January.A final decision is yet to be made, but a council spokesman said it is “likely to be renewed.”The spokesman added that if Uber loses its appeal and the banning order comes into force in the capital then it would be a “matter of concern.”The BBC has contacted Uber for comment.TfL said the taxi app was not “fit and proper” as a licence holder despite making a number of positive changes to its operations.Helen Chapman, director of licensing at TfL, said: “While we recognise Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.”Uber initially lost its licence in 2017, but was granted two extensions.Latest updates from the West MidlandsFollow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.
Aston Villa defender Easah Suliman is set to sign for Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes after a medical on Tuesday.The 21-year-old was part of the England side that won the European Under-19 Championship in 2017.He was the first player of Asian heritage to captain an England football side, having done so at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-19 levels.
Suliman is set to sign a four-and-a-half-year contract with Vitoria, who are sixth in the Primeira Liga.He made one senior appearance for Villa, as a sub in the Carabao Cup against Wigan in August 2017.In the past four years, Suliman has played on loan at Cheltenham Town, Grimsby Town and Dutch side FC Emmen.So far in January Villa have signed striker Mbwana Samatta from Genk for £10m, as well as goalkeeper Pepe Reina on loan from AC Milan and midfielder Danny Drinkwater on loan from Chelsea. Forward Jonathan Kodjia has moved to Qatar side Al-Gharafa for an undisclosed fee and reserve goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic has joined French Ligue 1 club Toulouse on loan until the end of the season.
Rock star Ozzy Osbourne has revealed he has Parkinson’s disease.The Black Sabbath singer, 71, told US TV show Good Morning America he has a “mild form” and found out about it after suffering a fall last February.Wife Sharon said: “It’s not a death sentence but it affects certain nerves in your body. You have a good day, a good day, then a really bad day.”Ozzy added it was hard to tell whether the numbness symptoms he had were from the Parkinson’s or the fall.The singer said: “It’s been terribly challenging for us all.”I did my last show [on] New Year’s Eve. Then I had a bad fall. I had to have surgery on my neck, which screwed all my nerves.”He said he was now on medication for Parkinson’s and nerve pain following the surgery he had after his fall.Rumours had been circulating about his health, but Ozzy said: “I’m no good with secrets. I cannot walk around with it any more ’cause it’s like I’m running out of excuses, you know?”He added that he was grateful to his fans. “They’re my air, you know. I feel better. I’ve owned up to the fact that I have… a case of Parkinson’s. And I just hope they hang on and they’re there for me because I need them.”It was his son Jack and daughter Kelly who first realised that something wasn’t right with their dad. “The hardest thing is watching somebody that you love suffer,” Kelly said.What is Parkinson’s disease?The three main symptoms are involuntary shaking, slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles
A person with Parkinson’s can also experience a wide range of other physical and psychological symptoms, including depression and anxiety, balance problems, loss of sense of smell, problems sleeping and memory problems
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra
Exactly what causes it is unclear – most experts think a combination of genetic and environmental factors is responsible
Around one in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease
Although there’s currently no cure, treatments including medication and physiotherapy can help reduce the main symptoms
With advances in treatment, most people with Parkinson’s now have a normal or near-normal life expectancy
Source: NHSJack, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012, said he could relate to his father.”I understand when you have something you don’t want to have – but if he wants to talk… and if not, I try to slip in information,” said Jack.Ozzy said his health was improving. “I’m a lot better now than I was last February. I was in a shocking state.”Sharon said the next step was to consult doctors outside the US and explore other possible treatments.”We’ve kind of reached a point here in this country where we can’t go any further because we’ve got all the answers we can get here,” she said. “So in April, we’re going to a professional in Switzerland. And he deals with… getting your immune system at its peak.”It was revealed back in 2007 that Ozzy had a condition called Parkinsonian syndrome – not Parkinson’s disease – which also causes tremors.Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email email@example.com.
Aston Villa have completed a £10m deal for Genk striker Mbwana Samatta.The 27-year-old Tanzania international has signed a four-and-half-year deal, subject to a work permit and international clearance being granted.He has scored 10 goals for Genk in all competitions this season including a goal at Anfield against Liverpool in the Champions League.
“I’m really pleased we have managed to bring Mbwana to the club,” said Villa manager Dean Smith.”He has scored goals throughout his career and I’m looking forward to working with him.”Samatta will be the first Tanzanian to play in the Premier League but he won’t be available for Villa’s home match against Watford on Tuesday.”I’m so excited,” Samatta said. “It’s a huge step for me in my career. It’s a big step for the country too. Everyone was looking for a Tanzanian to play in the Premier League.”I know a lot about Aston Villa. I used to watch [Villa’s record Premier League scorer] Gabby Agbonlahor when he was here.”Villa have played their last three games without a recognised striker after after losing Brazilian forward Wesley for the rest of the season with a knee injury sustained at Burnley on New Year’s Day.Earlier, Villa forward Jonathan Kodjia completed a move to Qatar side Al-Gharafa for an undisclosed fee.The 30-year-old Ivory Coast international, who would have been out of contract at the end of the season, has made only nine appearances in the current campaign, with his only two goals coming against an under-strength Liverpool side in December’s Carabao Cup quarter-final.Samatta is Villa’s third acquisition of the transfer window following two loan signings – midfielder Danny Drinkwater from Chelsea and goalkeeper Pepe Reina from AC Milan.Meanwhile, Villa reserve goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic has joined French Ligue 1 club Toulouse on loan until the end of the season.
A 15-year-old boy has been “seriously injured” in a stabbing in Birmingham.West Midlands Police said officers were on Grantham Road, at the junction with Webster Close, in the Sparkbrook area of the city.The boy was hurt just before 15:00 GMT and taken to hospital, according to the force.No arrests have been made and police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.The force said inquiries into the attack were under way and described the boy’s injuries as serious.Latest news from the West MidlandsFollow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.
Kyle Bartley believes his performances this season show he “deserves a place” in West Bromwich Albion’s team after a tricky start to his Baggies career.The defender joined in 2018 but divided opinion with his form last season. But the 28-year-old has helped Albion top the Championship this term.
“If I’m playing in a position that I feel comfortable with and I’m healthy and at full fitness, I believe that I deserve a place in this team and I’ll stand out in this league,” he said.”I’ve continued doing what I do and working hard off the pitch, so hopefully I can keep performing on the pitch,” Bartley told BBC WM 95.6.”It’s a massive motivation when you can hear the fans cheering along.”It kind of gives that hostile atmosphere, it really does make a difference to us, to me especially, and hopefully they can be like that on Monday (against Stoke) and throughout the rest of the season.”The centre-back had a difficult beginning to his Albion career, after a suspension saw him fall out of favour, with him not featuring in the squad for a total of nine games across November and December 2018.He made 34 appearances in all competitions during the 2018-19 campaign; this season he has made 25 so far.Baggies bidding for boost in formAlbion are hoping to extend their one-point lead at the top of the Championship, despite a run of four draws and one loss in their past five games.”We had a really good start to the season,” said the former Arsenal youngster. “We know we’re going through a bit of a tricky patch at the moment, but we’ve got enough experience in the dressing room to know that these things happen.”It’s a time to stick together, work a little bit harder and the results will soon change.”Things seem to go against you a bit, but we work harder than anyone and keep doing what we’re doing. The staff come up with great game plans.”Albion are hoping to avoid a repeat of last season, which saw them lose on penalties to local rivals Aston Villa in the semi-finals of the play-offs.”It’s not something I want to go through again, that’s for sure,” said Bartley.”Our sole focus is on automatic promotion and I don’t think anyone has hidden that throughout the season.”We’re in that spot at the moment, and it’s our job now to keep doing what we’ve been doing throughout the season and be focused after the festive period and get back on track.”
The government is examining whether to move the House of Lords out of London, the Conservative Party chairman has said.James Cleverly told Sky News the idea was among a “range of options” being considered to “reconnect” politics with voters outside of the capital. According to the Sunday Times, York and Birmingham have emerged as contenders to permanently host the upper chamber.But Labour MP Nadia Whittome described the idea as “superficial”. According to the newspaper, a decision on whether to relocate the chamber will be determined as part of a constitutional review being launched in the spring. It reported that disused land near York railway station has been identified as a possible site to host the chamber, which houses 795 peers.The House of Lords is already due to temporarily relocate out of the Palace of Westminster as part of refurbishment plans due to begin in around 2025. A parliamentary committee has previously recommended the chamber should move to the government-owned Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster whilst works are under way. The venue would only be a short walk from Richmond House, the former home of the Department of Health, which has been proposed as a temporary home for the House of Commons. Asked to comment on the proposals in the Sunday Times report, Mr Cleverly told Sky’s Sophy Ridge: “It’s one of a range of things that we are looking into.”What we are looking at is a whole range of options about making sure every part of the UK feels properly connected to politics,” he added.”Fundamentally what this is about is demonstrating to the people that we are going to do things differently.”Analysis by Peter Saull, BBC political reporter For many reasons, ‘The Lords of the North,’ as some are calling it, appears far-fetched.However, the fact that it is being considered at all highlights the government’s desire to address a perceived disconnect between politicians and voters.The subject has also featured heavily in the Labour leadership contest, with several of the candidates calling for our democracy to be far less London-centric.Large swathes of the Midlands and the north of England turned Conservative in the election – and the government wants to bring Westminster closer to the voters it represents; perhaps literally. Whether or not it actually comes to pass, the idea of moving the second chamber north fits in nicely with Downing Street’s “levelling up” agenda.Sending peers to work hundreds of miles away from MPs would, though, present logistical as well as constitutional challenges. What would happen, for example, on the day of the Queen’s Speech? Would Her Majesty have to travel to York? Would Black Rod take a train to London, only to have the door of the Commons ceremonially slammed in her face? Would MPs go on a coach trip up the M1 to hear the government’s plans? International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said he was not involved in discussions about a Lords relocation but was “supportive” of the idea. He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “As a principle it’s a perfectly good thing that we are connecting government to all parts of the country.”I think it’s absolutely right that if you want to be a government of the people, you must reach out to people across the country.”But Nadia Whittome, the newly-elected MP for Nottingham East, told the programme: “Working class people whether in the North, the Midlands or the South don’t care about the unelected House of Lords.” “We want jobs, we want proper investment and meaningful decentralisation of power,” she said.”Replace the House of Lords with an elected chamber and move it to the North and then we’re talking – but this is superficial, it’s tinkering around the edges.”
Line-upsMatch StatsLive TextLine-upsB’ham City Women1Hampton2Mayling3Scott25Holloway15Jordan7Arthur37Staniforth20Walker19Whipp11Grant8WilliamsSubstitutes6Harrop10Visalli13Brooks16Brougham21KellyMan City Women26Roebuck11BeckieSubstituted forStanwayat 45’minutes4Bonner6Houghton3Stokes19Weir8Scott24Walsh9Bremer18White15HempSubstitutes7Coombs10Stanway16Park17Lee25Wullaert34Benameur35Veiga Santiago FidalgoReferee:Helen ConleyMatch StatsHome TeamB’ham City WomenAway TeamMan City WomenPossessionHome42%Away58%ShotsHome2Away7Shots on TargetHome2Away2CornersHome1Away6FoulsHome0Away4Live TextPosted at 47′ Attempt saved. Rachel Williams (Birmingham City Women) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.Posted at 46′ Corner, Birmingham City Women. Conceded by Demi Stokes.Second HalfPosted at Second Half begins Birmingham City Women 0, Manchester City Women 1.SubstitutionPosted at 45′ Substitution, Manchester City Women. Georgia Stanway replaces Janine Beckie.Half TimePosted at 45’+2′ First Half ends, Birmingham City Women 0, Manchester City Women 1.Posted at 45′ Corner, Manchester City Women. Conceded by Hannah Hampton.Posted at 45′ Attempt saved. Keira Walsh (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.Posted at 45′ Corner, Manchester City Women. Conceded by Claudia Walker.Posted at 44′ Corner, Manchester City Women. Conceded by Rebecca Holloway.Posted at 44′ Attempt blocked. Pauline Bremer (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.Posted at 44′ Corner, Manchester City Women. Conceded by Harriet Scott.Posted at 43′ Corner, Manchester City Women. Conceded by Rebecca Holloway.Posted at 42′ Foul by Demi Stokes (Manchester City Women).Posted at 42′ Harriet Scott (Birmingham City Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.Posted at 39′ Attempt missed. Ellen White (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.Posted at 38′ Foul by Ellen White (Manchester City Women).Posted at 38′ Claudia Walker (Birmingham City Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.Posted at 35′ Foul by Jill Scott (Manchester City Women).Posted at 35′ Adrienne Jordan (Birmingham City Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.Posted at 35′ Attempt missed. Ellen White (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from very close range is too high.Posted at 30′ Attempt missed. Pauline Bremer (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the left.Posted at 26′ Attempt missed. Pauline Bremer (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high.Posted at 23′ Attempt saved. Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City Women) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.Posted at 12′ Corner, Manchester City Women. Conceded by Lucy Staniforth.Posted at 11′ Foul by Keira Walsh (Manchester City Women).Posted at 11′ Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Goal!Posted at 1′ Goal! Birmingham City Women 0, Manchester City Women 1. Ellen White (Manchester City Women) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jill Scott.Kick OffPosted at First Half begins.Lineups are announced and players are warming up.goalMatch report to follow.
“The edge of inappropriate is the spiritual home of the best stand-up comedy,” proclaims Frank Skinner in the programme notes for his new West End show, Showbiz.It’s also, he jokes, “the name of my country house in Gloucestershire”.The 62-year-old, who has made a pretty good living walking the tightrope of comedic taste, is about to ride the bus (using his over 60s travel card) to London’s Garrick Theatre, as he speaks to the BBC, for the first night of a five-week residency, having road-tested it around the UK last year.Loosely-based around celebrity anecdotes he’s acquired over the past 25 years working as one of the country’s most cherished comedians, Skinner’s show is littered with poetic and funny filth about his decaying body, lessening libido and late arrival to fatherhood in his mid-50s.In an era when critics have called “wokeness” – the modern day political correctness – the death knell for comedy, the veteran stand-up still trusts his instincts.”Sometimes when you start improvising on stage, which I do a fair bit of, obviously you haven’t planned it. But to be honest, it’s not like I’m one of these blokes who is sitting at home pouring it all out and then does a different thing on stage.”I think the line between me on and off is fairly blurred”.In other words, if a joke is good enough to tell down the pub, then it’s fit for the stage too.’Lightness of touch’The Royal family, Bruce Forsyth and the ahem, “cursed” Strictly dancers all find themselves on the receiving end of Skinner’s dry wit in the show, which The Guardian said finds the “statesman of stand-up shows” showing “no sign of stiffening”.”It’s rare to see such fast-thinking wit deployed with such a sense of joy,” added The Times’ Dominic Maxwell.Skinner declared on-stage during Wednesday’s press night that “a lightness of touch” is required when tackling certain topics (mostly genitalia). He allayed the fears of an apparently worried-looking audience member named Linda that she needn’t worry about an accent he was about to attempt.”When I started doing comedy,” he adds, “We were very much what was then called ‘alternative comedy’ and the two great centrepieces of that was non-sexist, non-racist.”That was the big thing, which now seems absolutely basic, page one, but then was revolutionary.”I did mainstream working men’s clubs in Birmingham, and you would not believe the racism, for example, was absolutely the norm [for] friendly middle-aged entertainers.”We were at the beginning of that and I think we started to expand it. So then you think, ‘Well what about homophobia?'”While he jokes woke culture means he’ll no longer help attractive young women with their heavy suitcases, Skinner believes the new normal parameters are “a sort of a militaristic approach to kindness”.”Unless you force people to do stuff, most people won’t do it. So I think you can make a few interesting dramas about sexual predators, but the best way to stop it is to say to people, they’ll lose their job.”So I’m all for a bit of moral menace, as it were”.US President Barack Obama recently spoke of his distrust of righteous online trolls, while US comedian Dave Chappelle made a whole stand-up special about cancel culture. Satirist Armando Iannucci said last week he thinks people are “losing the appetite to engage in argument” for fear of causing offence.”I think it can be annoying at times,” Skinner goes on, “It can empower idiots on occasion, and when it becomes like a parlour game where people sit around saying, ‘Oh, you said that, and you shouldn’t have said that…”I grew up going to football matches where people threw bananas at black players and we didn’t have to sit around and debate whether it was racist or not. But I think it’s one of the major social advances of the last 60 years.”He believes that in the age of Twitter, it would be hard for any comedian harbouring suspect personal views to fake it for long anyway.”I got in one night and my partner said to me, ‘What were you doing in Superdrug?’ And I thought, ‘This is it now, this is East Germany!'”All my philandering in the past would be impossible in the modern generation”.Fellow British comedian Ricky Gervais criticised celebrities at the Golden Globe Awards for mere virtue signalling and Skinner would tend to agree, noting “there’s only one thing more embarrassing than the celebrities talking about politics; and that’s politicians talking about anything other than politics”.’Best shot’The working class millionaire confesses to have started preaching from the pulpit himself lately, to an audience of one: Seven-year-old son Buzz.”The other day I gave a little speech at home about the fact that we shouldn’t see Frozen 2 as girl film, that there’s no such thing as a girl film.”I don’t know whether I really believe that or not, but I felt it was important to say so!”Dad and lad recently went on a history-themed trip to Rome, where the Catholic comedian managed to wangle front row tickets for an audience with the Pope at The Vatican. This time through his church connections, not his showbiz ones.Another family trip saw Skinner make a deal with his partner of 19 years, Cath Mason, not to swear for the first five minutes of his set at Latitude Festival so the youngster could see his old man at work.The star, who suffered a bad bout of pneumonia in late 2018 (“it’s great for the cheekbones!”), says he’s giving the late dad thing his “best shot”, mindful of how many younger men have made mess of it.”If I’d have had kids in my 20s it would have been nightmarish”.Skinner was in his 30s when he decided to give stand-up a shot, while working as an English lecturer, and he soon found himself winning the coveted Perrier Award at Edinburg Fringe Festival in 1991.In the 1990s he became a household name, flying the flag for the (slightly) more intellectual end of lad culture alongside David Baddiel on the cult TV show Fantasy Football League, en route to getting his own chat show.The teetotaller admits he used to live it up when he first got famous but says the effects soon wore off, and as a result he now has few actual showbiz friends as a result.For this he blames his “lack of Class A drugs credentials” during an era of mass hedonism in British pop culture.Although he didn’t fully large it up like the Gallagher brothers he did have similar chart success thanks to the England Euro 96 football anthem Three Lions, which he wrote with Baddiel and Lightning seed Ian Broudie (both of whom stepped out to see their old pal perform this week).As his beloved England made it to the 2018 World Cup Semi-Finals, the song broke a chart record by returning to the top for a fourth time. Sadly though it broke another one soon after, by becoming fastest-falling number one of all-time, dropping to number 97 after Gareth Southgate’s men were knocked-out by Croatia.Through bleary eyes, Skinner – who thinks England’s Euro 2020 forwards look “deadly” – was at least equipped to see the funny side.”It’s beautiful that it was by 96 places. Couldn’t be better.”Frank Skinner’s stand-up show Showbiz runs at London’s Garrick Theatre until 15 FebruaryFollow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email firstname.lastname@example.org.