NEWS

2011-05-30

Police officers caught snooping

ROGUE POLICE officers are using official police computer systems to snoop on their loved ones for personal reasons.

Over 50 West Midlands Police officers have been disciplined for using the high-tech systems to check up on people outside of their working lives.

Some officers have been sacked, fined, or handed written warnings, and others have been reduced in rank after being caught obtaining information for private use between 2005 and 2010, while others have been punished for passing on the confidential information to third parties.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show 51 officers have been disciplined during that time.

Of the 13 cases finalised last year a Detective Constable, a PC and three PCSOs were all dismissed without notice.

Five PCs were given written warnings while another was given a final written warning. Two special constables were also given “management advice”.

The figures show that 11 cases were finished in 2009, seven in 2008, 10 in 2007, seven in 2006 and three in 2005 – including an Inspector who was given a fine.

West Midlands Police spokesman Billy Corrigan said the action was taken as soon as possible to protect the public's private information.

“West Midlands Police demand the highest standards of behaviour from its officers and staff," he said.

“In addition to civil and criminal law, a range of disciplinary sanctions are available to senior officers.

“The fact that these incidents have been investigated shows that the force has a robust policy on information management and that we will thoroughly investigate any alleged breaches of data protection rules.”

Nine cases involving improper disclosure of information have been reported at neighbouring Staffordshire Police over the last year.

Police chiefs there say they “vigorously audit” data systems to ensure they are only being used for legitimate reasons.

Most cases in Staffordshire are dealt with by an apology or by actions agreed with the person who has complained. In more serious cases, formal disciplinary action can be taken.

The force has seen a drop in the number of complaints over the last three years.
West Midlands Police force has 12,500 staff including 8,500 full-time officers, 800 special constables and 750 community support officers.

West Midlands Police is the third largest force in the UK after the Met in London and the police service of Northern Ireland.
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2011-05-29

Vandals steal plates from war memorial

SHAMELESS thieves have stolen two metal plates bearing the names of dozens of war heroes from a memorial.

The memorial, in Wolverhampton, bore the names of dozens of soldiers who died during the First and Second World Wars.

It is thought that the vandals stole the metal plates over the weekend, before furious locals alerted the police to the thefts.

The plates were removed from the Wednesfield Village Memorial, in Wednesfield,  Wolverhampton, sparking outrage from veterans’ associations.

The latest thefts were announced by Wednesfield South Police on Twitter on Saturday evening.

The incident has been condemned by the Wolverhampton United Ex-Services Council, Wednesfield Royal British Legion and staff at nearby St Thomas’ Church, also in Church Street.

Ex-services council chairman John Mellor said: “I hope when those who have done it appear at court they are made to realise what a heinous crime it is.

"I am confident that they will be brought to justice."

Angry locals reacted with disbelief and were quick to condemn the theft.

Pensioner Elsie Brown, 68, from Wednesfield, said: "How can they do something like this? The war memorial is supposed to be a celebration of people who laid down their lives for this country, and for them to be repaid in this way is disgusting.

"When they were fighting fifty years ago for the freedoms that young people enjoy today, I very much doubt that they expected them to be abused in this way.

"It's a disgrace, and even more so when you think that whoever took the plaques is probably just going to try and sell them on for a quick buck.

"I hope no-one is unscrupulous enough to give them any money for them."

The attack comes seven months after members of the city’s Burma Star Association were left in tears after a 14-year old female vandal from Dudley sprayed obscene pink graffiti on the cenotaph, in the grounds of St Peter’s Church.

Speaking on Twitter, local government officer Kate Goodall simply said: "I hope their bits drop off."
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2011-05-28

Letter reaches destination despite no address

A COUPLE were amazed when a letter landed on their doormat - despite the sender forgetting their address.

The letter was just addressed to Roy and Meg York Irthlingborough, the town where they live in Northamptonshire, but still managed to reach the couple just a week after it was posted.

The envelope carried the message: "Sorry! Mislaid the address - hope it can reach its destination" on the front as an apology.

The couple said Royal Mail and their local postman deserved a pat on the back for their good work, having managed to deliver the letter despite being sent without a house number, street name, or even a postcode.

Fortunately quick thinking posties managed to source the address and the letter reached the delighted couple safe and sound, despite Irthingborough no longer having its own sorting office.

Mr York, 67, said he was delighted to receive the letter as it was from a former pupil of his from his time as the deputy headteacher at Avondale Junior School in Kettering.

The letter was special because Roy and Meg had only recently managed to get in touch with the former pupil through a mutual friend and she was writing to tell him the happy news that she had just become the mother of a baby boy.

Roy believes this shows that the postal service get too much criticism while they do a good job.

“Over the years we have read articles in the local paper which have recorded the shortcomings of the postal system with accounts of letters and cards arriving at their destination weeks, months or even years after being posted," he said.

“But we received delivery of the letter, which had been posted in north London on May 14 – some achievement by the staff and Royal Mail.

“I think it’s absolutely wonderful that they managed to get the letter to us, especially bearing in mind that they don’t sort the mail locally in Irthlingborough any more.

“I think that it is a very good achievement and we were very impressed, and all of our friends have been very impressed.”

A spokesman for the Royal Mail said: “This is yet another example of how our postmen and women go the extra mile to deliver for their customers.

“They use their knowledge and skills to get mail to its destination even against the odds.”

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2011-05-26

111 year-old women celebrates birthday

ONE of the country's oldest people celebrated their astonishing 111th birthday this week.

Victoria Southam, known as Vicky, is the fourth oldest living person in the UK and amazingly is still enjoying life living in her own home in Streetly, West Midlands.

And whereby a tot of brandy or plenty of vegetables are usually attributed as some of the secrets to a long, healthy life - for Vicky it's simply drinking lots of water.

She received a telegram from the Queen today/yesterday (TUE) to celebrate the special milestone.

The plucky pensioner enjoyed a party at Alrewych Court Day Centre in nearby Aldridge with her friends and family and toasted her birthday with champagne and a sing-song.

She has come a long way since she faced death aged 50 following complications during an operation.

Vicky, who suffers from arthritis, said: "I am having a really good day. Everybody is so friendly."

She attends the centre twice a week and enjoys nothing more than doing her exercises and going out with her friends.

"I enjoy the exercise to keep my legs going," she added.

But according to Vicky - who was born on Queen Victoria's birthday - her longevity is simpy down to drinking lots of water.

Vicky, who walks using a zimmerframe, continued: "They said at the hospital if everyone drank as much water as I did they would live a lot longer."

Hard-working Vicky left school at the tender age of 12 and went straight into work at a factory manufacturing bullets during the First World War.

After marrying and having one child, she went to work at the City Hospital in Birmingham nursing wounded soldiers.

Her husband Walter died in 1994 after his health declined through Parkinson's disease.

Talking about her mother, daughter Jean Adams, 75, from Streetly, West Mids, said:  "She is a very strong, determined lady. She has had a hard life in her early life but she is still going strong. Her blood pressure is good and her heart is good - she is fairly strong.

"It is amazing."

Jean was told her mother's life hung in the balance when she went into hospital for a hysterectomy when she was 50 when Jean was a schoolgirl.

"I was taking my school certificate and I was called out because they didn't think she was going to pull through," Jean said.

"I would like to meet the doctors and surgeons who 61-years ago thought she was not going to pull though.

"It is astonishing. I never imagined she would still be going strong at the age of 111.

"It is a great achievement still living at home at her age. She is stubbornly independent.

"Her secret is moderation in all things but she also used to drink a lot of water."

Vicky's granddaughter Lynn Adams, 42, who also lives in Streetly, West Mids, added: "I can't believe it. I look at her and I think, I can't believe she is 111.

"I love her so very much. She is my world. "

Lynn visit's her grandmother every week and does her hair and nails.

"I spend time with her and give her some love," she said. "She is an inspiration but she is a worry as well."

In 2000, Vicky was one of 15 centenarians invited to St Paul's Cathedral to celebrate the Queen Mother's birthday.

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2011-05-25

Physio Room Injury Table

MANCHESTER United have taken a lot of criticism in recent weeks, with many people giving them the unwanted accolade of being the poorest title winning side for many years.

However new injury statistics have been released that reveal the Red Devils may deserve a lot more credit than they have received.

United suffered the third most injuries of any club this season, having players out on 52 separate occasions. This was only beaten by Tottenham (61) and Arsenal (58).

Despite suffering so many injuries, their medical team were able to keep the average time out per player down to 21.75 days, the second lowest in the league behind West Brom (18.78).

The analysis carried out by PhysioRoom.com, who collate the injury database for the Premier League, showed that Sunderland suffered the most, having players miss a total of 2001 days throughout the season. Blackpool and Bolton had the least injuries (20 each) with West Brom’s cumulative figure the lowest at 432 days.

The most notable figure arose from looking at each team’s key players. West Ham suffered with this having them absent for a total of 292 days.

Of the other relegated teams Birmingham had top players missing for 243 days and were suffering the most amount of injuries in the final weeks of the season, whilst Blackpool only suffered this fate for 16 days.

In West Ham and Birmingham’s case, this may well have played a key part in their relegations, experts claim.  

Stuart Mills from PhysioRoom.com said: “This has been a phenomenal season with twists and turns right up to the death.

"When we break down the statistics at the end of the season we always see some clear factors that have influenced the table as well as some surprises.

"Man Utd have done extremely well to push on despite their injury list, although a bigger squad always helps.

"When you look at the players West Ham have had out, you realise what a tough task they were up against.”

The full injury table is available to view at www.physioroom.com

ENDS...

Club No. of injuries

Tottenham Hotspur   61
Arsenal   58
Manchester United   52
Liverpool   47
Aston Villa   46
Sunderland   45
Everton   42
Newcastle United   40
Blackburn Rovers   39
Manchester City   38
Birmingham City   35
Wolverhampton Wanderers 34
West Ham United   32
Fulham   28
Stoke City   28
Chelsea   27
West Bromwich Albion   23
Wigan Athletic   22
Blackpool   20
Bolton Wanderers   20

Club   No. of days off

Sunderland   2001
Newcastle United   1643
Arsenal   1587
Tottenham Hotspur   1528
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1162
Manchester United   1131
Fulham   1128
Everton   1116
Liverpool   1109
West Ham United   1093
Bolton Wanderers   1071
Blackburn Rovers   1042
Aston Villa   1027
Birmingham City   960
Stoke City   922
Manchester City   895
Blackpool   843
Chelsea   785
Wigan Athletic   556
West Bromwich Albion   432

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2011-05-24

Cemetery Vandal

A CONVICT has been jailed for causing over GBP100,000 worth of damage to gravestones during a cemetery wrecking spree.

Twisted Jason Griffiths targeted the graves of prison officers and laughed upon arrest boasting 'how sick am I', a court heard.   

A judge told Wolverhampton Crown Court Griffiths destroyed 30 headstones in total at Thimblemill Lane Cemetery, in Smethwick, West Midlands, and was 'obsessed' with smashing graves.  

The court heard how the 40-year-old brought "enormous" hurt to the families who had erected the gravestones including one belonging to a baby.  

At his first hearing back in March, Griffiths was heckled in court by furious mourners after smirking in the dock.

He was confronted by a 20-strong group of angry mourners whose relatives' graves had been damaged at Warley Magistrates who shouted, "Scum", and "Watch your back"  from the public gallery.

Yesterday/on Monday he was sentenced to four years in prison.   

Sentencing Griffiths, Judge John Warner said: "This was not just a random act of vandalism.

"It was clearly premeditated, deliberate and planned."

Griffiths, from Oxford, who had downed a cocktail of heroin and alcohol before the wrecking spree, was picked up by officers after he left a rucksack in the graveyard that contained a number of personal letters.

He admitted causing criminal damage. Mark Rees, prosecuting, said police also found his fingerprints and footprints on the smashed graves.

He told the court that Griffiths destroyed up to 30 headstones in the cemetery after he had been released on licence from prison in Oxfordshire.

Mr Rees said Griffiths had written a letter to one prison officer in Birmingham's Winson Green Prison, making a reference to smashing the graves of men employed in the Prison service.

Then, when he was being transported by police after his arrest, Griffiths said he had damaged the gravestones of dead prison officers adding: "How sick am I?
Ha! Ha! Ha!. I am getting to you guys."

The Judge ruled only a substantial sentence was appropriate for such a serious crime.

Tim Harrington, defending, said Griffiths accepted there was no excuse for his behaviour adding: "He did not realise the distress, anxiety or hurt he was causing. He wants to apologise for what was appalling offending."

June Hanley attended court after discovering the GBP10,000 marble headstone for her late husband Brian had been completely smashed beyond repair.

June, 67, from Smethwick, West Mids, said: "It was very difficult coming here today - but I used to go to Brian's grave every day for the past four years until this happened."

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2011-05-23

Man dies downing vodka

A MAN died after downing a bottle of vodka in a GBP200 bet with his best friend, an inquest heard.

Factory worker Zdenek Lin finished almost all of a 70cl bottle after placing a wager with Michael Casey that he was strong enough to drink it.

The following morning, the 28-year-old was found dead on the living room floor of the home he lived at with his friend, in Blakenhall, Wolverhampton.

The inquest at Wolverhampton Coroner’s Court heard that on October 24 last year, Mr Lin and Mr Casey were out drinking at a pub in Wolverhampton before returning home.
Mr Casey told the inquest that the pair then decided to get alcohol from a nearby garage and carried on drinking back at the house.

While at home, Mr Lin drank “most” of the 70cl bottle of vodka after having a bet with Mr Casey, before drinking Malibu and then Red Bull. “He stopped when there was nothing more to drink,” said Mr Casey.

Mondays inquest heard that shortly after, Mr Lin, from the Czech Republic, had fallen asleep in the bathroom and was helped downstairs by his friend.

Mr Casey said: “I had to help him from the bathroom to the living room because he was not able to walk.

“I left him in the living room lying on his side and gave him a sleeping bag and blanket.” The court was told that the next morning, Mr Lin’s dead body was discovered by Mr
Casey’s wife and daughter, lying face down on the living room floor.

Having carried out a post mortem examination, Dr Manel Mangalika said that in her view,

Mr Lin’s airway had been blocked by his tongue because of the position he slept in.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Coroner Richard Allen said: “It seems to me from the evidence that the root cause of his death was the amount of alcohol he consumed that evening.”
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2011-05-20

Super animal hospital

WITH it's sterile white walls, flat screen televisions and glass doors this could easily be a flagship new NHS super-hospital - but in fact it is a vets surgery.

Run by renowned vet Dr Noel Fitzpatrick, who recently featured in the recent BBC1 series The Bionic Vet, the spotless state-of-the-art surgery is described as "the world’s first luxury animal wards" by its owners.

In an age where people in human hospitals have to disinfect their hands with alcohol when moving between wards, the new wards boasts bacteria resistant walls and floors, underfloor heating, radios and air conditioning optimised designed to minimise the possibility of infection.

A spokesperson for Fitzpatrick Referrals, said: "The practice aims to provide a holistic approach to pet recovery, from diagnosis and treatment through to rehabilitation, and these new state-of-the-art animal wards demonstrate the practice’s ongoing commitment to providing the very best level of care."

Instead of the normal gates or bars found on the front of kennels, glass doors allow the animals a wide field of view for the animals designed to make them feel more at home and less like they are in a small cell.

While their human counterparts tend to have to pre pay for their entertainment systems, or rely on visits from there relatives during visiting hours, the animals will find each kennel has a radio installed and many are equipped with televisions to provide auditory and visual stimulation.

The surgery - based in Surrey - say this is to provide a more homelike environment for the patients.

The flatscreen TVs, mounted on the walls of the kennels sit alongside plush carpets to leave cats and dogs in the ultimate comfort.

Windows and night time dimmers provide a daily rhythm to help comfort anxious animals and help those with separation anxiety to settle.

Loved ones can rest assure that their pets will be constantly monitored, with webcams installed in every kennel, allowing round the clock monitoring, while those on an NHS ward often rely on the rounds of a nurse to check on their comfort.

While many kennels can look like mini prisons, with those looking after the animals sorting through a mound of keys to open cells, the new kennels are opened by a simple push of a button.

The amazing wards were opened yesterday/on Monday by singer and actor Michael Ball, along with his dog Freddie, who is himself recovering from a revolutionary hip operation.
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2011-05-19

Man tries to take pony on a train

A MAN has been captured on CCTV bizarrely attempting to board a train with a PONY.

The unknown man was unsurprisingly refused two tickets for himself and his four-legged companion at Wrexham General train station on Saturday.  

He was caught trying to board the train at Welsh station with the white pony in tow as shocked staff looked on.

Extraordinary pictures show the pony pictured in a lift at the station, walking along the platform and the counter of the ticket office.

Katrina Tzannis, a spokeswoman for Arriva Trains Wales, said "Horses and ponies, which may pose a risk to the general public are not permitted to travel.

"I think he believed he had a right to catch the train because he turned up with the animal and queried the refusal to board at the ticket office.

"I think staff at the station were very surprised and also very confused.

"We're used to having guide dogs and other small pets but I've never heard of anything of this magnitude turning up at our stations.

"I have no idea who he is or where he was going to but it was certainly very unusual."

After a conductor refused him entry, the man returned to the ticket booth where he tried to buy two tickets - for himself and the animal.

The pony is caught on CCTV waiting behind the man as he tries to buy the fares to travel on Saturday's 1902 BST service to Holyhead on Anglesey - a two hour journey.

The ATW spokeswoman added: "Arriva Trains Wales allows dogs and small animals to travel on-board trains.

"All animals, except dogs, must be conveyed within a fully enclosed basket or pet carrier with dimensions not exceeding 85 x 60 x 60cm."

She said the man later left the station with the animal, adding: "I'm not aware that anything like this has happened before."

A spokesperson for the RSPCA,said: "This is something we might well look into because this is clearly not the way horses or ponies should be transported.  

"There's a lot of hustle and bustle on passenger trains which could prove stressful for the animal or cause injury.

"Even an injury like a broken leg can be fatal for a pony.

"Horses and ponies should be transported in horse boxes so they do not get injured."

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2011-05-18

Precious sheep rescued

WITH her frail frame, bones sticking out and unkempt fleece - this poor little lamb looked destined for the slaughterhouse.

But after being rescued 'Precious' has been amazingly brought back from the brink of death and is now happily running around an animal sanctuary with a spring in her step once more.

The one-year-old lamb was just one of 26 victims of a neglected flock of 250 sheep.

Undersized, underfed and riddled with worms, heartbreaking pictures show how Precious could not even stand on her feet and flopped her head to one side like a rag doll.

Her condition was so bad that her fleece came away in clumps, revealing every vertebrae, and she was only the size of a six-month-old lamb.

She was rescued after the Warwickshire farmer responsible for her horrific condition was
banned from keeping sheep and other farm animals.

He had grown so found of his flock he wouldn't send them to slaughter, leading the size of the flock to grow.

When cute Precious was rescued, she had to live in a house at the sanctuary on a drip to prevent dehydration and was fed a nutritional supplement every hour from a syringe.

Maureen Lawless, who runs the Farm Animal & Bird Sanctuary Trust in Tardebigge, near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, said: "Her hip bones and ribs stuck starkly out from her skin –she was virtually a living skeleton.

"The breeding was indiscriminate. He never castrated the ram lambs and allowed them to rampage through the flock. Then because he hated sending them for slaughter the size of the flock grew and grew and he could not afford to feed them."

A supporter of the charity, a lawyer, stepped in to save the flock after discovering the weak, old and sick rams would be put down and the fit ones sent to market, heading for slaughter.

She took over their ownership while the sanctuary fed them until homes could be found at other charities across the country.

Precious and her pals are staying at the sanctuary but it is desperately appealing for funds to help re-home 80 other sheep which need safe, permanent homes.

Maureen added: "We are desperate to relocate them as you will see and the cost of transporting them all over the country is astronomical."

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2011-05-17

IMF chief sent to Rikers

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF chief has been refused bail following his arrest at the weekend.

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has been charged with trying to rape a hotel maid.

Given basic bedding in a bare 3.5 x 4 metre cell, Strauss-Kahn has been separated from other inmates at New York's notorious Rikers Island jail for his own safety. A mere three nights previous he was sleeping in a $3,000 a night hotel suite, the same hotel suite he has been accused of attacking the hotel maid in.

This sudden fall from grace has left his reputation and career in tatters, his lawyer's say he is innocent but it is unlikely he will keep his job as head of the International Monetary Fund, which oversees the world economy.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, aged 62, was moved to Rikers Island following a New York judge denying him bail. He has been moved to the smallest of ten jails in the huge prison complex:

"This is not about isolating the inmate from any human contact," said a spokesman for New York's Department of Correction. "This is about preventing the inmate from being victimised or harmed in some way as a result of his high profile."

The IMF chief looked tired and worried in his first court appearance early yesterday as prosecutors detailed his alleged attack against the maid:

"He sexually assaulted her and attempted to forcibly rape her. When he was unsuccessful, he forced her to perform oral sex on him," assistant district attorney John McConnell told the court.

If convicted Mr Strauss-Kahn faces up to 25 years in prison.

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2011-05-16

Chairman admits plundering

A FOOTBALL club chairman has admitted pocketing more than GBP276,000 from the life insurance and pension policies of a murdered father - that he helped set up.

Bill Williams, chairman of non-league Tipton Town, betrayed the family of company director Andrew Diack - just days after he was stabbed to death in a Black Country pub.

Williams listed himself as an executor of a life insurance and pension policy he helped to set up for Mr Diack while working as his accountant.

He then went on to clean out the policies, worth more than GBP276,600, after the murder.

Williams, of Chester Road, West Bromwich, appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court today to admit two counts of fraud.

Devastated relatives of Mr Diack, who co-owned Featherstone-based firm Spray Tanker Services, today said they had never been able to properly grieve while the fraud investigation was ongoing.

When Bill Williams visited the devastated partner of Mr Diack she thought she had no reason for concern.

Williams had worked as an accountant for the company which Mr Diack part-owned and Rachel Evans assumed he had the family’s best interests at heart.

But in the months that followed, the sinister reason for Williams arriving at the family home on that day in February 2009 became clear.

He had not been there to offer help and support, but to get his hands on documents that would net him an insurance payout from a policy he had helped to set up.

As well as coming to terms with the violent death of her partner at the hands of a knifeman at the Flying Dutchman pub in Wolverhampton, Miss Evans has now had to deal with the knowledge that the man she once trusted went on to steal more than GBP276,000 from her dead partner.

Miss Evans, who was days away from giving birth to the couple’s first child Megan when Williams visited her home, said: “Bill was really nice when he came to the house, telling me not to worry about a thing and that he would sort out all the financial arrangements.
“I was heavily pregnant with Megan so it was a weight off my mind.

“He collected a load of documents and that was it. He said things like the mortgage or any bills I had would be taken care of by him and that I didn’t have to worry about any of it.”

Just a few days after the visit from Williams she gave birth to Megan, now aged two.

As she concentrated on looking after her newborn baby and her young son Reegan, Tipton Town Football Club chairman Williams was setting in motion plans to pocket life insurance and pension policies worth more than GBP276,000.

Yesterday (THURS) Rachel, was in court to see Williams admit the charges today.

She said: “He’s admitted the crime, but he’s never once said sorry. Even today, he couldn’t look us in the eye.

“He kept his head down, which tells you a lot about the type of person he is.

“In a way, we are pleased that he has pleaded guilty but on the other hand we know he has only done that so he will get a lesser sentence.

“To be honest, I’m just happy it is all coming to an end.

“This has been hanging over us two-and-a-half years. When he is sentenced it will finally be finished so we can move on with our lives and forget everything that has gone on.”

Today, it was revealed that it is not the first time Williams has committed fraud offences.

He was previously jailed for three years on two separate occasions in 1986 and again in 1996 for committing frauds totalling more than GBP200,000. In one case, he took GBP100,000 from an Anglican priest.

He used the money to employ semi-professional footballers for Harrisons FC of Great Wyrley, a team he used to manage.

Mr Diack, 29, from Wolverhampton, died after a friend’s birthday celebration at the Flying Dutchman pub in Merry Hill, Wolverhampton, in February 2009.

He was stabbed to death by Michael Brown, who had gone out for the night armed with a butterfly knife.

Brown hunted down his victim in the darkened pub using a mobile phone as a torch before he knifed Mr Diack once through the heart.

19-year-old Brown, of Langley Road, Merry Hill, was jailed for life in February last year with a minimum of 16 years for stabbing Mr Diack, whose daughter, Megan, now two, was born days after the killing.

Earlier this season, Midland Alliance club Tipton Town won a place in the First Round of the FA Cup for the first time, banking in the region of GBP20,000 along the way.

Today 58-year-old Williams kept his head down in the dock and spoke only to plead guilty to the two charges.

He was given unconditional bail by Judge Helen Hughes and will be sentenced on June 6

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2011-05-15

Bum Rage

THIS unlucky motorist seems to have paid the ultimate price for making the error of telling his partner she wasn't as attractive as Pippa Middleton.

The red-faced driver of the Peugeot 206, was caught on camera driving through Birmingham with 'Is Pippa's Bum Still Better Than Mine???' daubed across the side of it in white paint.

It appears the scorned woman took revenge on the unknown man, who looks to have made the mistake of expressing his admiration for the royal maid of honour's most talked about asset.

The scruffy message was painted in bright white letters down the passenger side of the blue vehicle which was spotted in the Highgate area of the city on Wednesday afternoon - much to the delight of nearby residents who revelled in the unfortunate man's misery.

Builder Clark Butler, 39, from Digbeth, Birmingham, said: "We've probably all thought it but never had the guts to admit it to our wives and girlfriends.

"It looks like this guy has made the number one mistake of being way too honest.

"Everybody knows if your girlfriend asks you whether someone is more attractive than them - never say yes, even if it's true."

His colleague Derek Bushell, 50, added: "We all had a good laugh about it but I can't imagine he is too pleased about it.

"Its a slight over-reaction because Pippa's bum is better than most women's, she just couldn't handle the truth by the looks of things.

"I wonder where he was driving too, because I wouldn't be seen dead in that."

Photographer Mathew Growcoot, who captured the moment, said: "It all happened so quickly because the driver wasn't hanging around. He was shielding his face by the looks of it because everybody was pointing and laughing at him.

"I just whipped out my camera as quick as I could, I would have loved to have had a chat to him but he was gone in a flash."

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2011-05-14

Cliff Richard fans queue

DIE-HARD Cliff Richard fans have began queuing for tickets for one of his shows - almost a WEEK they have even gone on sale.

The first fans appeared on Monday camped outside Birmingham's NEC ahead of tickets going on sale on Sunday.

Despite this, a small group have turned up on the car-park of the arena armed with sleeping bags and thermals determined to secure the best seats.

Among them is 35-year-old security guard Alison Hadley, from Walsall, West Midlands.

The mother-of-one, who set up camp at 9am on Sunday, was one of the first to arrive and intends to buy the maximum allocation of six tickets for her and five friends.

"Camping out is all part of the experience," she said.

"You have the excitement of being with other fans. You're talking about it and, as it gets closer to Sunday, the excitement grows.

"I've seen Cliff about 30 times over 11 years and every time it gets better.

"I might be able to get a ticket if I came Sunday but there is a better chance if I queue now."

Wife and husband Sally and George Rab also set up their small tent at 9am on Sunday after travelling from their home in Fradley, near Lichfield, Staffs.

Not wanting to damage the concrete, they have used bricks to keep their tent down to ensure it does not blow away.

Mrs Rab, 52, said she has seen Sir Cliff in concert hundreds of times in locations including France, Germany and the Netherlands.

She has camped on virtually every occasion to buy tickets, once in thick snow outside the Royal Albert Hall in London and once for three weeks.

"The reason I do it is because I want to be in the front row," she said.

"If you try and buy tickets on the telephone or over the internet, there is a much smaller chance of getting a good seat.

"Once I tried to get a ticket for one of his concerts over the internet and I was in tears because I could not get through. I can't risk it."

Mother-of-two Paula Parker, 42, from Nuneaton, said she remembered her first concert at the NEC in 1989.

"There were hundreds of screaming fans," she said.

"I was screaming the place down.

"The crowd was fabulous. He opened with We Don't Talk Anymore and it has been my favourite song ever since. I only have to hear the tune and I get really emotional. It takes me back to when it all started.”

She added: "For me to see Cliff, I'll do anything.

"Spending a week in a carpark is nothing. I would not risk waiting until Sunday. I've been there. Computers crash, phone lines jam. This is the only way you can guarantee walking out with a ticket."

Produced and directed by David Gest, The Soulicious Tour will see Sir Cliff perform a selection of his greatest hits as well as duets with his soul guests.

He will be at the LG Arena on October 22 and 23.

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2011-05-13

CCTV wil be removed

THE REMOVAL of dozens of TV cameras which 'targeted Muslims' began today/yesterday (MON), following complaints from civil liberties campaigners.

Over 200 cameras had been installed in the predominantly Muslim areas of Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath, Birmingham to monitor pedestrian and traffic movement around the districts.

But, after it was revealed that the cameras were funded with a GBP3m national counter terrorism grant, red-faced cops were forced to cover all the cameras with plastic bags to prove they were not being used.

Since the massive public outcry last July, the cameras have remained unused, covered by the garish blue bags.

Dubbed 'Project Champion', the details of the secretive plan were kept secret from local councillors, who were not made aware of its funding source.

The network of 218 cameras included secret units concealed from public view, prompting outrage from anti-surveillance campaign groups.

Now, police have promised that all the cameras will be removed before the end of May, before a second phase to remove the infrastructure begins.

A report to the Police Authority on Project Champion in Decembers last year revealed it would cost an estimated GBP630,000 to remove all of the cameras, support poles and cabling to totally disable the network.

Acting Chief Constable Sharon Rowe, who has been leading the project to remove the cameras said: “The work starting today shows that we have listened to what our communities wanted and acted upon those wishes.

“We have liaised closely with our communities to keep them informed of developments and when they can expect cameras to be removed from actual streets.

“I would like to stress that the cameras have never been operational.

“We accept that mistakes were made and we are keen to learn the lessons that emerged from the review into Project Champion. The removal of the cameras is part of that learning process.

“Our neighbourhood teams will now focus on forging closer links with local communities across the affected areas.

"Winning  back the trust of the community is worth the cost of the project."

Birmingham City Council carried out its own review into the handling of Project Champion.

Councillor Ayoub Khan, cabinet member for local services and community safety, said: "I am pleased that the recommendations of that report and the voice of the local community has been heard."

The final decision over the future use of the removed cameras will be made by the Police Authority.

It has been reported that the cameras may be used as part of the London 2012 Olympics security effort.
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2011-05-12

Woman attacked on a train

THIS is the bruised and beaten face of a brave woman who dared to stand up to a vicious thug who had stolen her handbag on a train.

Petite Letitia Murphy was on her way home after a long day at work when she was violently assaulted after challenging the mugger who had tried to steal her bag.

The 40-year-old was repeatedly battered in the face by the brutal thief who left her with a fractured cheek and requiring surgery to insert metal pins into her face.

Now the quietly spoken interpreter has now called for the man -described as a 'punching machine' - to be caught 'before he kills someone'.

"I thought I was going to die," she said. "He just would not stop punching me. The doors of the train opened and I just collapsed onto the platform.

"His first punch was like being hit by a car, he was so strong, it just smashed the bones in my face. All he seemed to want to do was smash my face.

"When the doors opened someone shouted at him and he ran away, if they hadn't he could have carried on punching me like a robot until I was dead. It was like a punching machine. The attack was so vicious.

"I try not to think about it and remember that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I live in fear sometimes, he needs to be caught before he kills."

Mrs Murphy caught a train at 11.40pm from Tame Bridge station in the West Midlands at the same time as her attacker, who had been dropped off at the station by a silver Audi A4.

Police believe the man may have lived in Aston and appealed for the driver of the car to come forward to help with their investigation.

Brian Price, from the British Transport Police said: "When the train pulled into Aston station in Birmingham at midnight she felt a tug on her handbag. The offender grabbed her it and made to run off.

"Letitia grabbed hold of him as he ran off the train,  and chased him down the platform. He turned and assaulted her, causing severe damage to her face.

"He was spotted by the station manager who chased the offender before he dropped the bag on the station step."

The CCTV images released by the police show Letitia crawling out of the train and immediately collapsing on the platform.

Mrs Murphy has since had to undergo extensive surgery to rebuild her face following the attack, including the insertion of metal plates.

"They had to put these plates in my face," said Letitia, a police interpreter. "They are in there to push the bones back into place."

Det Con Anne Joyner, also from the British Transport Police, said: "This was an opportunistic attack by a dangerous offender, we need to catch him as soon as possible and bring him to justice.'

The suspect is described as a black male, in late teens to early twenties, about 5ft 10in, of medium build. He was wearing a black shiny jacket, red hat and was carrying a bag.
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2011-05-11

UK's most wanted

ANXIANG DU, the man being hunted for the brutal murder of a family-of-four from Wootton, has now been listed as the most wanted man in the UK.

Mr Du is being sought by police on suspicion of stabbing to death Manchester Metropolitan University lecturer Jifeng ‘Jeff’ Ding, his wife and teacher Helen Chui, and their two popular children Xing, aged 18, and Alice aged 12, at their home in Pioneer Close, Simpson Manor, on Friday, April 29, the day of the Royal Wedding.

The Chinese businessman, who police believe travelled from his home in Coventry, via his shop in Birmingham, to Northampton, has now been listed on the Crimestoppers website as the most wanted man in the UK.

A mugshot of Mr Du has been uploaded onto the website, along with a description of the 52-year-old and a rundown of the shocking killings he is accused of clinically carrying out.

A spokesman for Crimestoppers yesterday said anyone who gave information to the charity that leads to a successful arrest and conviction of the killer could be in line for a cash reward.

Meanwhile, police said they have now been able to trace family members of the Dings in China and America following their horrific killings.

They are not believed to have other family in the UK.

The family are thought to have been targeted by Mr Du after a bitter fall-out over a number of businesses they ran together.

Mr Du and Helen Chui, who was also a part-time Mandarin tutor at Caroline Chisholm School, had run a Chinese herbal shop together in St Peter’s Walk, off Gold Street, in Northampton, and in Birmingham, where police found a note from Mr Du saying “goodbye” to his family before the Dings were killed.

A police spokesman yesterday said officers were in contact with relatives of the Dings through the Chinese embassy.

Officers meanwhile were yesterday still trying to trace a silver Vauxhall Corsa, thought to have been used by Mr Du to flee the scene.

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2011-05-10

Pensioner's battles knotweed

WITH the current hot weather and heavy rain making weeds a talking point for any homeowner - spare a thought for this pensioner who is having to deal with gigantic 14FT knotweed engulfing his house and back garden.

Frail Joe Halford is at loggerheads with his local authority since the enormous weeds made his garden look more like a jungle.

And the arthritis-riddled pensioner claims the council have ordered him to personally remove the 'frightening' weeds himself.  

Mr Halford, from Dudley, West Midlands, says a Dudley Council official originally told him the Japanese knotweed at the bungalow he moved into three weeks ago would be cleared by the environmental department.

But now, he claims they told him he must get rid of the notoriously tough weeds himself – a job he can’t do because he suffers from osteoarthritis.

“Six blokes couldn’t do this job in a fortnight so it’s unbelievable to think that a 72-year-old man with osteoarthritis in his knees could do it,” said Mr Halford, a retired road surface layer.

"It's all over the garden and almost coming into my bedroom window. It's huge, you really have to see it to believe it."

Joe says that when he was shown round the one-bedroom council bungalow in Dudley before moving from his old council flat, the garden gate was locked so he could not see the state of the back of the property.

And when he moved in he was shocked to see that the fast-growing knotweed had invaded the garden, dwarfing his own 5ft 6in frame.

"There were shutters down at the back and sheeting over the windows and I couldn't see anything," he said. "The lady who showed me round said I had a bit of knotweed but the council were dealing with it.

"When I got here and saw it I was amazed. I had some council men round a few days after to remove some rubbish and they got a phone call from the council telling them they weren't allowed to work around the weed.

"I've been told it's up to the tennant to deal with this, which is of course me. I dread to think how much it would cost. I wrote to my MP and they told her the same thing.

"It can either be removed fully, which involves digging down four or five metres into my garden, or dealt with using special injections. The injections would take five years to work.

"Either way it's going to take a huge amount of work and time to sort out and it'll disrupt my life massively."

In the UK it is an offence under section 14(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside act 1981 to "plant or otherwise cause to grow in the wild" any plant listed in the Act, which includes Japanese knotweed, due to it's ability to undermine the foundations of buildings.

Over GBP150 million is spent every year across the country to control the plant, leading the government to launch a trial of Japanese insects that kill the plant last year.

The weed cannot be destroyed without costly work to eradicate all the plant's mass of roots.

“I’ve chopped it down on my patio with a shovel but it’s growing back already,” Joe said.

“I moved into this bungalow because I could no longer climb steps up to my flat and I was looking forward to having a garden.

"I wanted to have my own lawn, I had loads of plans for vegetable patches which would have required just a little work and would have helped keep me moving.

"In my old flat all I saw was sky and I was so excited about having my own garden to look after.

“But now I just feel like crying, I have no idea what's going to happen now.”

Dudley Council today said they had been in contact with Mr Halford about clearing the knotweed but the treatment of it took time.

Spokeswoman Louise Kavanagh said: “"As discussed with the tenant the council will monitor and treat the Japanese Knot Weed in his garden.

"As it is currently in the growing stage, it cannot be treated at the moment as it would not be effective but it will be treated by our experts in specific stages of growth every six months."

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2011-05-09

Surgeon punches patient

A CARDIAC surgeon has been suspended from a hospital for allegedly punching a sleeping patient, it was revealed today.

Sources at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton say the specialist had previously operated on the man and saved his life.

He was today facing a disciplinary hearing and the sack if the complaint is upheld.

The surgeon is accused of punching the patient to the side of his body in front of at least 11 witnesses It is understood the patient did not suffer any serious injury.

Police have been informed although it is believed the alleged victim does not want to take any further action.

Hospital sources say the surgeon has been suspended pending an investigation by The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust.

Witnesses to the alleged attack, which happened on March 31, have been interviewed and it is thought the specialist will be questioned by hospital bosses within the next two weeks.

A disciplinary hearing will then be convened to decide his fate. The surgeon is also likely to be referred to the General Medical Council, where he could be struck off.

Today New Cross chief executive David Loughton would only say an investigation had been launched into an allegation, adding: “I am unable to comment any further at this stage."

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2011-05-08

Body found in a suitcase

A PRETTY blonde girl was found murdered and wrapped in cling film inside her own suitcase, a court has heard.

Details about the grim discovery of 24-year-old Sylwia Ciapcinska's body were revealed as the trial of the man accused of her murder began yesterday/Tuesday at Birmingham Crown Court.

Tomasz Sobczak, 29, is charged with killing the young woman who was found bound in tape and placed in the foetal position inside her black suitcase, a jury were told.

Christopher Hotten QC, prosecuting, described the moment that a group of youths found the body in undergrowth near the Stapenhill Viaduct in Burton, Staffs, on September 17 last year.

He said: “Between 5.30pm and 6pm, three young men were walking in an area known as The Washlands.

“While walking up a ramp, Robert Brown looked over and saw a black suitcase in the undergrowth.

“He jumped over the railing and pulled it out. It was very heavy — he thought heavy enough to contain a body.

“The young men went to a nearby pub to collect some more friends.

“One of the men unzipped the case and they were all overpowered by the smell.
“Another of the group, named Ashley Cox, unzipped the case fully to reveal the body of Sylwia.

“It was found in the foetal position with her legs drawn up to her chest and head. She was wrapped in cellophane and bound with tape.”

Sobczak appeared in court wearing spectacles, a green T-shirt and blue hooded top after previously pleading not guilty to her killing last year.

During the opening of the prosecution case, more details also emerged about the day of Sylwia’s disappearance.

At 10.20am on July 20, Sobczak was seen at Tesco in Burton, buying a packet of condoms.

Then, at 11.58am the defendant telephoned Sylwia and the call lasted 18 seconds, it was alleged.

Later, at 3pm, a friend of Sylwia’s tried to contact her but there was no answer.

At 5.30pm, Sobczak told the friend, Ola, who also lived with Sylwia and the defendant in the same house in Ash Street, that he had seen Sylwia and she had told him she was going out to meet friends.

An hour later, Sylwia’s cash card was used to withdraw money from the Burton branch of Lloyds TSB.

The card was used again the following day to withdraw more cash from the same branch.

On July 21 Sobczak was seen in a park near Burton taking several pictures on his mobile telephone.

Three days later, a friend of his asked why he had scratches under his eyes and on his neck.

The court was told the defendant’s wife and child were living in Poland but were in the process of joining him in Burton as Mrs Sobczak was six months’ pregnant.

The trial continues.

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2011-05-07

Jaguar unveiled costing £5 million

THE WORLD’S most expensive Jaguar E-Type has been unveilled worth a staggering £5 million after almost 50 years of restoration work.

After crashing on a French raising circuit in 1964, it was believed the unique lighweight E-Type was destined for the scrap-heap.

But following 7,000 hours of work – the car has been restored to its former glory using more than 90 per cent of the original parts.

Four years ago Peter Neumark through his Classic Motor Car business, CMC, in Bridgnorth, started the restoration from a large box of mangled metal parts.

Mr Neumark, the chairman of the company, said: “This is one of the most major restorations ever to take place in the world. Many said that it could not be done but we have proved them wrong.”

Driver Peter Lindner lost his life in the famous crash. Another driver and two marshals also died and the car was impounded for 10 years by the French authorities.

At the time cynics said the bulk of the parts had been so badly damaged it would be impossible to use them again, but Mr Neumark was determined to prove them wrong.

Some 7,000 hours later he and his team of dedicated restorers at CMC have put the car back into the condition that it was just before the crash.

The restoration was assisted by members of Lindner’s own family, who provided old photographs and cine footage of the car.

More than five thousand hours went into restoring the body alone.

Each panel was flattened, repaired, reformed into the original shape and then the structure was riveted and spot welded together as per the original construction method.

“We tested the metal to see if it would weld and once we were sure it would we took the decision to completely restore the original body. It was a bit loopy really but it has all worked out and it was very definitely a labour of love,” added Mr Neumark.

“In fact I had to install more than GBP30,000 worth of welding equipment just for this one job.”

Experts say the importance of the all-aluminium car cannot be over estimated. It was one of only 12 lightweight E-Types built by Jaguar in 1963 and in 1964 it was returned to the factory in Browns Lane, Coventry.

In its preparation as Jaguar’s unofficial entry for Le Mans that year, Malcolm Sayer designed a special low drag body and work to the engine ensured that it was the most powerful Jaguar the competition department had ever produced.

It became the last competition car prepared by the factory.

Taking part in the unveiling was Norman Dewis, Jaguar cars’ famous test driver, one of the original driver’s nephews, the Frenchman who found the car in a garage ten years after it crashed together with the team that have dedicated their lives to putting it back together.

Mr Neumark said so much hard work had gone into restoring the car it was a vehicle he would never sell.

“This car’s restoration is a testament to the remarkable skills of very talented people in my own company and others in the West Midlands,” he added.

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2011-05-06

McCann ‘haunted’ by Maddie images

THE MOTHER of missing Madeline McCann cut a lonely figure as she attended a church service on the eve of the release of her new book telling of her daughter’s disappearance.

Kate McCann left her home in Rothley, Leicester on Sunday morning to attend the one-hour service at the Church of the Sacred Heart RC church just a short drive from her home.

In her book, Kate has revealed how she has been haunted by visions of her missing daughter Madeleine.

In an extract from the book, Madeleine, to be published on May 12th, Kate, from Rothley, Leicestershire, tells of how since Madeleine disappeared she has endured a slideshow of vivid pictures of her daughter being attacked by an evil monster.

Kate who used her diaries to pen the book also admits she wanted to kill the kidnapper.

The book also criticises the Portuguese authorities, who shelved their inquiries into Madeleine’s disappearance in July 2008, for failing to investigate other alleged child abductions thoroughly.

It also painfully documents how the the former GP, who had been dining with her husband and seven friends at a tapas restaurant 100 yards from the youngster’s room, discovered her daughter had vanished from their apartment in Praia da Luz in Spain.

Proceeds from the 384-page book will go towards rebuilding the fund to continue the search for Madeleine.

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2011-05-05

Neighbour rescues entire family

A HEROIC neighbour braved deadly smoke to repeatedly plunge into a burning house to save the lives of four people.

Courageous Ali Hasan, 28, smashed his way in to his neighbour’s house in Millfield, Peterborough, Cambs, to find a woman lying on the kitchen floor with her arms on fire, screaming for help.

He said: “I dragged her out and she told me there were others in the house.”

Pausing only to alert the fire service, Mr Ali charged back into the house and frantically searched for other survivors.

He found another man collapsed by the front door and pulled him outside before racing upstairs where he discovered two other men, who he helped out separately.

As Mr Ali, an assistant manager at fast food outlet KFC in Peterborough, brought the fourth victim out of the house, firefighters arrived to take over and found another two men in the building, who they brought out.

Mr Ali said: “The fire started about 11pm on Sunday.

“I heard an alarm go off and went outside and there was no one around.

“It all happened so quickly, I panicked and didn’t know what to do but I couldn’t do nothing. If I hadn’t managed to break the door down they could have died.

“When I got inside I saw this lady with burning arms but I couldn’t understand what to do. I just put her in my arms and ran out."

Despite barely being able to breathe himself, Ali - who shrugged off suggestions that he is a hero - returned to the house to help the other people inside.

“The smoke was so thick and painful I couldn’t even open my eyes properly.

“I had to keep running in and out to breathe.

“I am not a hero but I couldn’t let another human being die.”

The whole ordeal lasted about six or seven minutes and countless trips inside before firefighters arrived.

Mr Ali’s heroics left him shaken and with burning lungs but he refused treatment and returned to work yesterday morning at KFC.

He said: “It was pretty bad. I had painful lungs. It was quite stressful so I didn’t sleep, my head was buzzing all night.”

Two people were taken to Peterborough City Hospital for smoke inhalation and a third suffering from second degree burns as well as the effects of smoke but none were thought to be in a serious condition.

Police were treating the incident as a crime scene while fire investigation officers established the cause of the blaze.

Officers threw up a cordon around the scene, closing off the end of the street to preserve any evidence.

A spokeswoman for the fire service said the investigation into the cause of the fire was ongoing.

Ward councillor Nazim Khan, who witnessed some of the incident, said: “I believe the residents were asleep at the time but Mr Hasan has saved their lives. He should be commended in some way for his efforts.

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2011-05-04

Chinese family found dead

THE wife of a man wanted by police in connection with the stabbing of a family-of-four has revealed how the two feuding families were locked in a financial battle.

Mrs Du, who would not give her first name, said she and her husband Anxiang Du had been involved in a court case three years ago with the Ding family after they went into business together.

Although she wouldn't elaborate on the case, she claims four years ago they were successful in winning the court case brought against the Ding family but they had not received any money from them, which they were owned.

Mrs Du, who runs Natural Care, in  Birmingham's Pavilions shopping centre, said: "It is horrendous what has happened to this family. I do not know what is going on or where my husband is.

"I am so worried and so shocked that this has happened.

"We have been under a lot of pressure. The business dispute has been very stressful and we did not get paid by the family when they owed us money.

"We went into business together in 2001 with a 50/50 share of the business - but they were keeping more than their share.

"So we took them to court and in 2007 and we won. We were told that they would owe us 60 per cent of the profits. But we get nothing.

"My husband has been in a very difficult place. He has been acting strangely. I'm not well at the moment."

The 52-year-old business associate of Helen Chui, 47, left a suicide note at his house in Coventry, West Midlands, after he went missing on Friday.

Du's unassuming semi detached home sits in a new development in Coventry.

Neighbours today talked of a happy normal family who didn't talk to anyone but were regularly seen walking a small white dog.

One neighbour, who lives across the street but did not want to be named in the hunt for a possible murderer, said: "For maybe 4 it 5 days there was police activity around here.

"I didn't know them at all, but he always wore a flat cap and went out every day with a little white dog, he seemed friendly and said hello to me."

Detective Superintendent Glyn Timmins, of Northamptonshire Police,  warned the public not to approach Du.

He said: "He is our suspect in this murder enquiry. We would seek the public's assistance to trace both the car and Mr Du however what I will say is that the public should ring 999 either if they sight the car or Mr Du and let the police continue their enquries.

"My advice would be that neither Mr Du or the car should be approached.

"We have no idea where Mr Du maybe at the moment and that is why we are seeking assistance from the public to perhaps give some indication as to where he may be."

Mr Du, was reported missing by his family on Friday and had left a suicide note at the store, police revealed.

"When Mr Du left home to his business premises he did leave what appeared to be a suicide note of some description written his his native language, which I believe is Mandarin.

"It appeared to be saying good-bye," Det Supt Timmins said.

Mr Du's business interests were predominately with Helen. Police said he is a businessman with interests in the West Midlands. They will focus their hunt for him on the rail network.

The parents were from the Hang Zhou province of China

Post mortems into the four victims have been completed and confirmed the family died as a result of stab wounds. A murder weapon is yet to be recovered by police.

Mr Du may be wearing a baseball cap and a rucksack.

Det Supt Timmins added: "I can say he is likely to be frightened and desperate and anxious and nervous and I think the prudent thing to do....is that Mr Du should not be approached if sighted.

Meanwhile tributes continued to flood in from friends and colleagues of the popular family.

Sarah Dixon, Headmistress of Northampton High School, said: "We are all devastated at the news of Xing’s death.

"Xing was a wonderful girl, greatly talented in all areas and very popular with girls and staff alike.

"She will be very much missed and a huge loss to the school community. We have many happy memories of Xing: as a brilliant student; a distinguished musician; a superb public speaker and, most of all, as a loving and generous person.  

"Naturally, our main concern now is to help all our girls at this difficult time and we have put in place arrangements to support them.;

"Northampton High School is a strong community and we will all work together to make sure our girls are given the help they need as they return to school.

"Our thoughts are with her friends at this sad time.”

Gareth Hollyman, spokesperson for Manchester Metropolitan University, said: "We are shocked and saddened by the news of the death of Dr Jeff Ding.

"As a senior lecturer, Jeff was a popular and dedicated member of staff who joined the University in 2004.

"Dr Ding taught chemistry and was also active in schools liaison and led a successful chemistry admissions team.

"He was also a respected hall warden where he provided pastoral support and guidance to many students.

"Jeff will be very sadly missed by all his colleagues in the Division of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, all our staff, students and his friends at Manchester Metropolitan University and by the wider academic and research communities.

"The University is offering counselling and support to Jeff’s students and colleagues at this time."

Tony Downing, Principal of Caroline Chisholm School, were Helen worked and Alice attended, said in a statement today: “The loss of young lives is always very difficult to bear and to lose a whole family from our community is particularly hard for everyone.  

"Our thoughts are with relatives, friends and neighbours of the family.  Some of our children are understandably distressed by these events and we will be offering support and counselling for them now and in future.”.
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