Geoffrey Carter murder accused denies flat fire death

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A woman has denied murdering a man who died after a fire at a flat in Walsall on Christmas Day.

Susan Buckley, 57, pleaded not guilty at Wolverhampton Crown Court to the murder of Geoffrey Carter.

Ms Buckley, of South Street Gardens in Palfrey, Walsall, was remanded into custody and will appearing for trial at the same court in June.

Mr Carter, 58, was taken to hospital after emergency services were called to the fire in South Street Gardens.

He died in hospital after suffering severe smoke inhalation.

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Min. Night 9 °C

BBC Local Live

    18:00: Good evening

    We'll be back from 08:00 on Tuesday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    17:51: Tonight's forecast

    It will remain cloudy and windy across all areas with patchy rain or drizzle, mainly in the north and west.

    Charlie Slater

    Another mild night's forecast, despite the strength of the wind. Lows of 9C (48F).

    17:41: Bent does not want return to bench BBC Sport

    Striker Darren Bent says he would be happy to stay at Brighton if there is no prospect of starting for parent club Aston Villa.

    He told BBC Sport: "There is only so much someone can take. If I'm going to go back and sit on the bench I would rather stay."

    17:35: Christmas tip Midlands Today

    Visitors to a recycling centre in Birmingham have been enjoying the efforts staff have made to transform it into a Christmas wonderland. See more pictures on Facebook.

    Tip in Birmingham with Christmas decorations
    17:24: Motorcyclist 'travelling at high speed' Stourbridge News

    A Wordsley motorcyclist involved in a fatal collision was travelling at "high speed", an inquest heard.

    17:21: Wolves press conference BBC WM Sport

    tweets: #wolves Kenny Jackett talking ahead of Watford game. All apart from Scott Golbourne fit and available.

    Kenny Jackett being interviewed

    Keep up to date with the latest sports news by following @BBCSport on Twitter and BBC WM Sport.

    17:16: More Dubai flights planned Peter Plisner BBC Midlands Transport Correspondent

    Airline Emirates has announced it's increasing the number of flights from Birmingham Airport, running three flights a day to Dubai.

    The airport has also recorded its busiest November ever, with almost 650,000 passengers. The last highest November was in 2008.

    17:14: Toddler's parents jailed Birmingham Mail

    The parents of tragic Levi-Blu Cassin have been jailed for nine years each for causing or allowing his death.

    17:07: Feedback Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

    17:05: No white Christmas Charlie Slater Weather Presenter, BBC East Midlands Today

    It should be cold and frosty on Christmas Day, but there'll be no white Christmas this year in the West Midlands. Here's the outlook.

    Charlie Slater

    Keep up to date with the latest forecast on BBC Weather.

    17:01: All eyes on New Year's Eve Trystan Jones BBC News

    The government has spent £700m this year to tackle "unprecedented demand" and try to take pressure off A&Es - including £50m specifically for ambulance services.

    But with 999 calls so high in the run up to Christmas, all eyes will be on New Year's Eve, traditionally the ambulance service's busiest time.

    16:54: News on the hour Alice Rosenthal Journalist, BBC WM

    In the news at 17:00: The parents of a toddler who was found dead in Smiths Wood with injuries consistent with being hit by a car have been jailed for nine years each.

    We'll hear from Levi-Blu's family, who gave their reaction to the sentencing, and more from our reporter Giles Latcham who was in court.

    16:52: Rise in 999 calls Trystan Jones BBC News

    About 6,500 999 calls were made to West Midlands Ambulance Service at the weekend, making it one of the busiest of the year.

    It still doesn't match the near-record figures of a fortnight ago, but is yet another busy weekend for an ambulance service that like others across the country says it's facing huge pressures.

    16:48: Mailbox hides underground secret Birmingham Post

    The Mailbox, with its bold red façade, alludes proudly to its Royal Mail heritage. In actual fact, beneath the surface, most of the original fabric of the 1970s letter and parcel sorting office still exists.

    16:46: Serious case review

    A serious case review by Solihull Council children's services is due to be published in the spring following the sentencing of Levi-Blu Cassin's parents, who were convicted of causing or allowing the death of their young son.

    16:42: Man seriously hurt in crash

    A man is in hospital with serious injuries after a crash involving two cars in Solihull this morning.

    A man, believed to be in his 20s, was treated at the scene and taken to hospital with what are believed to be life threatening injuries.

    Police say the crash involving an F-type Jaguar and a Land Rover Freelander happened on Holly Lane, in Balsall Common.

    16:39: WW1 Christmas Bob Hockenhull Reporter, Midlands Today

    A hundred years ago Midlanders would have been sitting down to their Christmas dinner, with many family members away fighting in World War One.

    World War One Christmas at the Black Country Living Museum

    But what exactly would have been on their plates and how have things changed over the decades? I've been to the Black Country Living Museum to find out more.

    See my report on BBC One at 18:30 on Midlands Today.

    16:28: Baby's miraculous escape Birmingham Mail

    A nine-week-old baby miraculously escaped unscathed when a car overturned and smashed into the 7ft-high wall of a shop in Handsworth before landing in the store's car park.

    16:25: Council budget consultation

    Wolves City Council tweets: Got five minutes? Complete our online budget consultation survey #ManagingReality

    16:21: Goodbye Christmas market Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    Today's the final day of the Frankfurt Birmingham Christmas Market.

    Birmingham city centre ice rink

    Thousands of people have flocked to the city to sample sausages, beer and Birmingham's cold air. So for another year it's auf wiedersehen.

    You can read more about the rise of German Christmas markets in the UK on BBC News.

    16:17: Stoke have upper hand Nick Clitheroe Sports editor, BBC Midlands Today

    After West Brom's game against Manchester City on Boxing Day they'll take on Stoke City, who have traditionally had the upper hand in their meetings.

    In fact Albion have beaten them just once in 15 attempts over the past 10 years.

    They follow that with a trip to the surprise package of this season West Ham, who are currently fourth in the Premier League.

    16:05: Baby unscathed after car overturns Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    A woman and a nine-week-old baby have been taken to hospital after the car they were in crashed and overturned in Oxhill Road, Handsworth.

    Car crash in Handsworth

    Fire service watch commander Russell Edwards says because the car was fitted with the correct type of infant seat, the baby wasn't seriously hurt in the crash, at about 12:00.

    15:58: News on the hour Alice Rosenthal Journalist, BBC WM

    In the news at 16:00 on BBC WM: A man's due in court today after a a series of robberies in east Birmingham on Saturday.

    15:47: Dudley bin collections

    Dudley Council tweets: Don't forget to check when your Christmas bin collections are ;-)…

    15:37: Mother sobbed Giles Latcham Reporter, Midlands Today

    Mr Justice Goss told Danielle Cassin and Mark Piper in court they were "selfish, neglectful and manipulative".

    The judge said: "You both deliberately flouted the agreement (with Solihull Children's Services) prohibiting Marcus Piper from living at the flat."

    Danielle Cassin sobbed throughout the hearing. Mark Piper remained impassive.

    15:28: Plan for HS2 site Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    There are concerns a delay in developing the old LDV-Alstom site in Washwood Heath could mean the area is missing out on jobs.

    HS2 will mean a maintenance depot will go there - but not for a decade.

    A group of MPs led by Liam Byrne, who represents the area, are putting forward a plan they say would see 2,300 private sector jobs coming to the site sooner.

    15:18: Cain loan deal extended

    Walsall have extended the loan of midfielder Michael Cain from Leicester City.

    The 20-year-old will remain at the Banks's Stadium until 17 January, the club announces.

    15:06: 'Stamped on or kicked' Giles Latcham Presenter, Midlands Today

    During the hearing Mr Justice Goss said Levi-Blu Cassin had been "stamped on or kicked" with "very significant force required" to inflict the injuries that killed him.

    Levi-Blu Cassin

    "Levi would have been in pain, very upset and distressed."

    He added Levi's family must "live with the anguish of not knowing what happened to him".

    14:56: News on the hour BBC WM

    In the 15:00 bulletin: The parents of a toddler who was found dead with injuries consistent with being hit by a car have been jailed for nine years each.

    14:44: 'Make sure it doesn't happen again' Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    We've been speaking to the NSPCC after a Chelmsley Wood couple whose son died from severe stomach injuries were jailed for nine years each.

    Levi-Blu Cassin was nearly two years old when he was found dead in February last year at a flat near Solihull.

    The charity's head of child protection awareness Chris Cloke says: "This case has all the ingredients of neglect, physical abuse, domestic violence and drug taking. We need to makes sure that cases like this never happen again."

    14:35: Stories we're working on Dave Hart Producer, BBC Midlands Today

    The pressure is on West Bromwich Albion coach Alan Irvine. The next few fixtures are looking very tough, with The Hawthorns hosting champions Manchester City on Boxing Day.

    Many of us are likely to take a trip to the tip to get rid of the rubbish our bins can't handle. One tip in Birmingham is putting a smile on users' faces and bringing some festive cheer in perhaps one of the most unexpected of places.

    Find out more on Midlands Today at 18:30 this evening.

    14:25: BBC Weather bloopers

    BBC Weather tweets: Working today? This should make you smile... BBC Weather 2014 funny moments & bloopers: Jo

    BBC Weather's Carol
    14:14: Musician seeking lost friend Dudley News

    A Dudley musician hopes retelling a heartbreaking story for charity at Christmas will help him find a lost friend.

    14:08: Baby survives supermarket crash

    A nine-week-old baby has survived after their car hit a wall and landed on its roof on a pavement at the entrance to a supermarket in Handsworth, West Midlands Fire Service tweets.

    13:58: News on the hour BBC WM

    At 14:00, our top story is a Chelmsley Wood couple whose son died from severe stomach injuries have been jailed for nine years each.

    13:49: Critical time for Baggies Nick Clitheroe Sports editor, BBC Midlands Today

    The next two weeks feel potentially critical for both West Bromwich Albion and their head coach Alan Irvine (pictured).

    Alan Irvine

    Many fans were furious that they failed to hang on to a two goal lead at QPR on Saturday and their forthcoming fixtures offer little cause for optimism.

    They entertain Manchester City on Boxing Day followed by two very difficult away games.

    13:40: 'Special boy'

    Outside court, Levi-Blu Cassin's grandmother and family paid tribute, saying "Levi was a special little boy who brought joy".

    Levi-Blu Cassin's family

    Kirsty Cassin (pictured second left) says: "All he suffered was heartbreak and pain and nobody is paying. How many more kids need to die?"

    13:33: Woman killed in crash named Express and Star

    A grandmother killed when she was hit by a car in Staffordshire was named today.

    13:24: BBC One at 13:30 Joanne Malin Presenter, Midlands Today

    The family of a 22-month-old found collapsed at his home in Chelmsley Wood last year say the jailing of his parents for nine years each for their part in his death is not justice.

    We'll get the latest from our reporter Giles Latcham who has been in court for us.

    Join us for the latest on BBC One at 13:30 this lunchtime.

    13:20: Search for man after stabbing

    Police say they're in the process of trawling through CCTV to find a man following a Wolverhampton shopkeeper being stabbed.

    Det Sgt Paul Cook, from Wolverhampton's violent crime team, says: "No arrests have been made as yet, but we are determined to find the person responsible for this and need people to come forward with information."

    Anyone with information is urged to dial 101.

    13:07: Thousands use airport Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    More than 340,000 people are expected to travel through Birmingham Airport during the Christmas period, a 7.4% increase compared to the same period last year.

    It comes after its sixth record-breaking month of the year - as 650,000 passengers used Birmingham in November.

    12:59: News on the hour Alice Rosenthal Journalist, BBC WM

    In the news at 13:00 on BBC WM: A Bilston road is cordoned off after a shopkeeper was stabbed multiple times.

    12:44: Project to 'transform' treatments Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is to be one of the first hospitals in England to take part in a "world leading" DNA project.

    The NHS says the three-year project "will transform diagnosis and treatment for patients with cancer and rare diseases".

    As well as coverage on BBC News you can also read more about the scheme on the NHS website.

    12:30: Grandmother 'disgusted'

    Outside of court the grandmother of Levi-Blu said she's "absolutely disgusted" by the nine-year sentence.

    Angela Cassin

    Angela Cassin says: "Nine years for a baby's life, that's absolutely disgusting.

    "That is not justice, we don't even know what happened to him. It's not justice."

    12:07: Differing accounts

    The couple gave differing accounts of what happened in the hours leading up to Levi-Blu Cassin's death and effectively blamed each other for his injuries.

    Danielle Cassin, 27, and Mark Piper, 31
    11:56: News on the hour BBC WM

    In the 12:00 bulletin: A Chelmsley Wood couple whose son died from severe stomach injuries have been jailed for nine years each.

    11:49: Pair denied fatal blow

    Danielle Cassin, 27, and Mark Piper, 31, both denied delivering a fatal blow to their 22-month-old son at their home in Chelmsley Wood, Solihull, in February 2013.

    Levi-Blu Cassin

    Levi-Blu Cassin (pictured), died from "catastrophic" internal injuries.

    At Birmingham Crown Court on Friday, the pair were cleared of his murder and manslaughter.

    11:44: Parents jailed for toddler death BREAKING NEWS

    A mother and father convicted of causing or allowing the death of their toddler son Levi-Blu Cassin have each been jailed for nine years.

    11:28: Shopkeeper stabbed in city BREAKING NEWS

    A Wolverhampton shopkeeper is in hospital after being stabbed multiple times last night.

    Police say the 51-year-old man's injuries are serious but not thought to be life threatening.

    The attack happened at Atwal Wines, in Bilston Road, at about 21:40.

    11:18: Fire treated as suspicious

    The fire service says a blaze overnight at a Birmingham school is being treated as arson.

    West Midlands Fire Service says a large amount of equipment has been destroyed following the blaze at North Birmingham Academy, in Erdington.

    The school closed on Friday for the Christmas holiday and will reopen on 5 January, according to its website.

    11:07: Judge considering sentence Giles Latcham Reporter, Midlands Today

    I'm at Birmingham Crown Court following the Levi-Blu Cassin case.

    His mother and father were cleared of the toddler's murder, but convicted of causing or allowing his death.

    Today they will be sentenced and the judge is now retiring to consider them.

    10:57: News on the hour BBC WM

    In the news at 11:00: The West Midlands is going to be one of 11 places where experts in genetics will treat people with cancers and rare inherited diseases.

    10:48: Street light cuts

    Street lights are being switched off or dimmed to save money in three-quarters of England's council areas, according to Labour Party research.

    A street light

    They've been dimmed at times in Birmingham for years and Dudley Council is planning to switch some off in 2016.

    It comes after councils warned of "huge financial challenges" after next year's government grants were announced.

    10:35: Have your say Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you news, sport, travel and weather updates in one place. We'd like to find out what you think.

    10:17: Rubbish boss to have assets seized Joanne Malin Presenter, Midlands Today

    The boss of a waste firm who was jailed for failing to clear a rubbish pile in the Black Country is to have his assets seized.

    Rubbish piling high in Brierley Hill

    Robert McNaughton, the director of Refuse Derived Fuel, was jailed for six months for repeatedly failing to clear a 42ft (13m) tall pile of rubbish in Brierley Hill.

    Now a High Court writ's been granted, allowing for his and the firms assets to be seized.

    09:58: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    In the news at 10:00 on BBC WM: A man has died in Staffordshire after being shot with a Taser by police.

    09:33: Rowett wants keeper to stay BBC Sport

    Birmingham manager Gary Rowett plans to keep hold of Darren Randolph in January, despite interest in the in-form goalkeeper.

    Darren Randolph

    Rowett says: "Every player in my team has ambition and I want them to be ambitious.

    He adds: "If a Premier League club comes in for Darren, then fantastic, but I want to keep him."

    09:13: 'Vicious attack on family man'

    Police are appealing for witnesses after a 40-year-old man was hit over the head with a brick in Stechford.

    Det Insp Neil Postins says: "This was a vicious attack on a local family man. It's an outrageous response to a verbal spat in the street. It's also a cowardly act to grab whatever he could lay his hands on and use it as a weapon.

    "The attacker may well have spoken about the incident to someone. If so, I'd ask them to do the right thing and get in touch."

    08:55: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    Our top story at 09:00 on BBC WM: We'll hear from the NSPCC's head of child protection awareness, as a Birmingham couple are due to be sentenced for causing or allowing the death of their son in 2013.

    08:48: Birmingham joins DNA scheme

    A new genetics project could help "unlock a series of secrets about devastating diseases", the NHS says.


    Eleven Genomics Medicine Centres, including one in Birmingham, are being set up in English hospitals to gather DNA information to help devise targeted treatments for a wide range of diseases.

    The scheme is focusing on cancer and rare genetic diseases.

    08:38: 'Severe' fire at school Caroline Gall BBC News

    Firefighters have been tackling a "severe" fire at a Birmingham school, believed to have been started deliberately.

    Fire at North Birmingham Academy, on College Road in Erdington

    Arsonists are thought to have set fire to two shipping containers outside the school, which led to lots of equipment being destroyed, West Midlands Fire Service said.

    Crews were sent to North Birmingham Academy, on College Road in Erdington, at 04:15 and say the fire was dealt with by about 06:00.

    08:29: Man struck in head with brick

    A man is in an induced coma after being hit over the head with a brick as he walked to the shops.

    Stud Lane, at the junction with Church Lane in Stetchford

    The 40-year-old father, from Birmingham, was attacked in Stud Lane, at the junction with Church Lane (pictured) in Stetchford, at about 12:00 on Saturday.

    Police say it is understood the victim had a row with another man before he was struck with the brick and left unconscious in the street.

    08:20: Couple due to be sentenced

    A couple are due to be sentenced later for causing or allowing the death of their son in 2013.

    Danielle Cassin, 27, and Mark Piper, 31

    Birmingham Crown Court was told Levi-Blu Cassin died from "catastrophic" internal injuries in February 2013.

    Danielle Cassin, 27, and Mark Piper, 31, of Chelmsley Wood, had both denied delivering a fatal blow to the 22-month-old and were cleared of murder.

    08:07: Today's forecast Charlie Slater Weather Presenter, BBC East Midlands Today

    It will be windy, dull and cloudy for most of the day with a few showers thrown into the mix for good measure.

    Charlie Slater

    Very mild with highs of 12C (54F).

    08:00: Good morning Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    It's feeling quite mild this morning in Birmingham city centre, if not a little windy.

    I'm in the BBC WM newsroom bringing you the very latest news, sport, travel and weather.



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