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  1. Gabby Agbonlahor suspended by Aston Villa
  2. Politicians urge Wolves to rethink their new shirt sponsor
  3. Calls for M6 Toll charges to be scrapped
  4. A man is jailed for life for murdering his partner in Tipton
  5. Updates on Tuesday 19 April 2016

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

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Good evening from Local Live for Birmingham and the Black Country

That's it from Local Live on Tuesday. Join us again for more news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Wednesday.

Coming up on TV

Nick Owen

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

There have been renewed calls for the M6 Toll to be made free for drivers at times of heavy congestion. 

Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club are meanwhile coming under increasing pressure to drop a so-called payday lender as its main sponsor. 

And we find out about a West Midlands love of Desi pubs which is saving many watering holes from closure.

More on the Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.

Lane closures and slow traffic

BBC Travel

M42 lane - a lane is closed on the exit slip road southbound at J4, A34 (Shirley), because of a broken down vehicle and there's slow traffic and a lane closed on M6 northbound between J6 A38(M) Aston Expressway and J7, A34 (Great Barr), because of emergency repairs.

There's also slow traffic on M5 southbound between J2, A4123 (Oldbury) and J3, A456 (Halesowen), because of earlier police incident.

D-Day veterans honoured in Wolverhampton

Second World War veterans were honoured for their bravery in the D-Day landings when they received the Legion D'Honneur from the Honorary Consul for France during a ceremony in Wolverhampton earlier.

They were recognised for their efforts during and after D-Day, 6 June 1944 – the biggest seaborne invasion in history when the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy and started to break through the German army's defences.

Veterans Geoffery Ensor and Wesley Russell were among those who received the Legion D’Honneur medal during a ceremony at the Civic Centre
City of Wolverhampton Council

They included William Baron, Leonard Beddow, Christopher Collier, Geoffrey Ensor, Brian Fellows, Albert Gallear, Arthur Jones, Cyril Jones, Albert Mobbs, Ronald Pearce, Wesley Russell, Charles Sharples, Horace Smith, Desmond Spruce, Francis Swann and George Waterford.

Relatives of veterans Joe Davies, Syd Harthill, John Joyce and William Pope, who had recently died or who were unable to attend, were also present to receive the award on their behalf.

County Championship: Trott narrowly missed out on new career-best

Richard Wilford


Warwickshire's Jonathan Trott scored his first Championship century since 2014 and then doubled up against Middlesex as he took the Bears to what had seemed earlier in the day to be unlikely - a lead of 16 runs after both sides' first innings.

Trott finished 219 not out at Lord's - just eight runs short of a new career-best. Follow the action.

Jonathan Trott
Getty Images

Operation Freeway: Tolls can be suspended

Charges can be suspended on the M6 Toll in the event of major infrastructure failure, the chief executive of M6 Toll says.

Responding to calls to scrap the charges when the motorway network becomes gridlocked Andy Pearson said it was up to the Secretary of State for Transport to choose when to invoke Operation Freeway.

The M6 Toll company is happy to discuss amending the terms of the agreement, he added.

Watch: Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

Through the evening and overnight, quite a cold night again. Lows of 5C (41F).

Find out what else is in store for us later.

Sara Blizzard with the afternoon weather forecast for the West Midlands

M6 Toll: Never envisaged to ease M6 congestion

The M6 Toll was never envisaged to ease congestion on the M6, its owners say.

M6 Toll chief executive Andy Pearson said the M6 would fill back up with local traffic when the through traffic moved across to the toll.

Responding to calls to scrap the charges when the motorway network becomes gridlocked he said: "The real benefit of the M6toll is to relieve congestion on the local road networks as a result of taking through traffic from the M6, allowing the M6 to absorb more local traffic."

Jenny Gunn: England all-rounder moves to Edgbaston from Nottinghamshire

BBC Sport

Warwickshire have signed England all-rounder Jenny Gunn from Nottinghamshire for the 2016 domestic season.

Gunn joins up with fellow England players Becky Grundy and Amy Jones, to play in the One-Day Cup and for the Birmingham Bears in T20 matches.

England all-rounder Jenny Gunn
Getty Images

Gabby Agbonlahor suspension opinion: Why Aston Villa must sack him now

Birmingham Mail

Gabby Agbonlahor has become the poster boy for everything that is wrong with the club and the current decline as a whole.  

Tributes paid to Tipton murder victim Barbara Baraniecka

Tributes have been paid to a murder victim after her killer was jailed for life with a minimum 20 years.

Barbara Baraniecka's daughter Dzesika (pictured) discovered her mother in her bedroom after a "sustained and brutal attack" by Cezary Sobiewski, at their Tipton home.

One of Ms Baraniecka's two daughter's, 25-year-old Dzesika
West Midlands Police

Her daughter Dzesika, aged 25, said in a statement issued by West Midlands Police: "It is so hard to live without her, our whole life is upside down now and we live with sadness day by day. 

"We loved her so much and we miss her."

Calls for M6 toll charges to be scrapped

Calls to scrap charges for drivers on the M6 Toll when serious accidents are causing gridlock elsewhere are being debated in Westminster today.

MP for Solihull Julian Knight is behind the discussion.

Calls for M6 toll charges to be scrapped during congestion

A fatal crash in February shut the M6 near Birmingham for 24 hours, causing tailbacks for 10 miles. Highways England admitted it should have declared a major incident.

BBC WM today revealed figures for the past month which showed daily problems in both rush hours on the M6.

Travel: M42 delays warning

BBC Travel

On the M42, between J9 where it meets the M6 Toll and J10 for Tamworth, three cars have crashed, causing severe delays.

Travel: M6 vehicle fire

BBC Travel

Two lanes blocked and very slow traffic on the M6 northbound between J6, A38(M) Aston Expressway and J7, A34 (Great Barr)  because of a vehicle fire.

BBC Travel is reporting congestion to J5, A452 (Castle Bromwich).

Black Country Chamber of Commerce to recruit new chief and board members

A group of leading businessmen is on the hunt for a new chief executive and three more board members.

Black Country Chamber of Commerce President Adrian Wright has announced changes in the executive and board after Keith Bryan, appointed as interim chief executive in January 2016, concluded a review of the organisation and stepped down from his position.

Adrian Wright
Black Country Chamber of Commerce

Mr Wright said: "We are looking for business leaders who have the gravitas and skills required to take us to the next level: to become the best chamber in the UK in 2017. 

"We need specialists in legal, manufacturing and sales & marketing."

​Family's update on former Walsall FC boss forced to cancel club event on medical grounds

Walsall Advertiser

A former Walsall FC manager who was forced to cancel a club event on medical grounds has vowed to return when "fully fit".

Ray Graydon
Walsall Advertiser

Council leaders call for re-think on Wolves new shirt sponsor

Adrian Goldberg

Presenter, BBC WM

The leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, Roger Lawrence, and the leader of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council Pete Lowe have written a joint letter calling for Wolves to end its deal with The Money Shop as its shirt sponsor for next season.

The club's CEO Jex Moxey has previously said the firm had stuck with the club "through thick and thin" and was a "legitimate" lender.

The council leaders' call comes as Wolverhampton Labour MPs Rob Marris and Pat McFadden wrote similar, open letters.

Tipton man stayed in house drinking cider after killing partner

A man who stabbed his partner to death then sat in the house in Tipton drinking cider, leaving her daughter to discover the body.

Judge John Wait at Wolverhampton Crown Court told US citizen Cezary Sobiewski: "Having killed Barbara Baraniecka in the course of a sustained and brutal attack, you went out to the supermarket, bought cider and sat at home drinking it, leaving Barbara's daughter to find her mother's body and call the emergency services."

Sobiewski admitted murder and was sentenced to life with a minimum of 20 years.

Pupils asked to tell MPs about growing problem of sex assaults in schools

Birmingham Mail

Pupils, teachers and parents have been asked to tell a panel of MPs - including Birmingham Yardley's Jess Phillips - about the problem of sexual harassment and sexual assaults in schools.

Aston Villa board resignations: Analysis

Mark Regan

BBC WM Sport

The subtext of the resignations of David Bernstein and Lord King from Aston Villa's board - and the reasons given - was that chairman Steve Hollis's work is being undermined by Randy Lerner in America.

Lerner never comes to any of these football games but clearly is making all the decisions.

It has left Hollis looking very high and very dry and like the puppet he said he was not going to be.

Latest: Villa suspend striker; re-think urged for Wolves sponsor; M6 lane closures daily

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here is a recap of some of the top stories on Tuesday:

- Aston Villa suspend striker Gabby Agbonlahor and will conduct an investigation following allegations concerning his conduct

- MPs and two Black Country council leaders call for Wolves to rethink their choice of new shirt sponsor

- M6 lane closures are happening every day in rush hour, according to figures for the past month

Tipton man Cezary Sobiewski jailed for life for murdering partner

Caroline Gall

BBC News Online

A man has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years after admitting murdering his partner because he could not accept their relationship was over.

Barbara Baraniecka was found by her daughter covered in blood on her bed last November. She had been stabbed 13 times by Cezary Sobiewski.

Cezary Sobiewski
West Midlands Police

She told Sobiewski a month before that she wanted to end their relationship.

At Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday, the 40-year-old from Tipton in the West Midlands admitted murder and he was sentenced today.

Travel: Train fault hits Redditch trains

The problems are on the line between Lichfield and Redditch.

View more on twitter

Gabby Agbonlahor suspension: Busy days for the club's PR team

Today's suspension of Gabby Agbonlahor follows the resignations with immediate effect yesterday of David Bernstein and Lord King from the Aston Villa board two days after the club were relegated.

Former FA chairman Bernstein joined in March as part of a boardroom shake-up that included ex-manager Brian Little.

Chairman Steve Hollis brought in life-long fan Lord King, the former Governor of the Bank of England, in February.

Gabby Agbonlahor suspension: Latest internal inquiry by Aston Villa into the striker

Aston Villa had already said striker Gabriel Agbonlahor would be unavailable for two weeks as he underwent a personal fitness programme.

The 29-year-old missed the home defeat by Bournemouth with a virus after a club suspension had ruled him out of the previous match with Chelsea.

Gabby Agbonlahor
Getty Images

His suspension, which the club today said was "pending an internal investigation", comes after he was cleared following an investigation into his conduct on a recent trip to Dubai where he was pictured appearing to hold a shisha pipe.

BreakingAgbonlahor suspended by Aston Villa

BBC Sport

Aston Villa suspend Gabby Agbonlahor and will conduct an investigation following allegations concerning the striker's conduct.

The Sun newspaper reported the striker went on a laughing gas and booze binge on the day his club were relegated from the Premier League.

Breaking news

Trott at his best

Warwickshire 198-6 v Middlesex 452

BBC WM's Richard Wilford at Lord's:

"Jonathan Trott's first Championship hundred since 2014 has been immaculate - his six boundaries this morning have all been crisp and well-timed. But can any other Warwickshire batsmen help as they look to reach the follow-on target of 303?"

Child snatch attempt in Smethwick

A woman attempted to snatch a two-year-old child from the arms of a mother on Harry Mitchell Park, Smethwick, last Thursday morning.

Extra police patrols have been introduced and officers have been talking to nearby schools, dog walkers and neighbours to see if the suspect, described as dark skinned and in her mid 20s, can be identified.

Cat-astrophe averted as kitten rescued from children's toy

Express and Star

A cat-astrophe has been averted by firefighters in Dudley who managed to free a four-week-old kitten after he got himself trapped in a children's toy.

Frosty the cat
Dudley Fire Station

Shropshire footballer remembered

One of the county's footballing greats is being commemorated in the village where he grew up. 

Hitchens Way, on a new housing estate in Highley, remembers the former Aston Villa and Inter Milan player Gerry Hitchens (pictured with the ball), who also scored five goals for England in the 1962 World Cup. 

England squad
Getty Images

Hitchens, who started out as a miner down the pits, died after a charity match in 1983 at the age of 48.

MPs to debate waiving M6 Toll charges in emergencies

James Bovill

Political reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Calls to waive charges for motorists on the M6 Toll when serious accidents are causing gridlock elsewhere will be debated in Westminster today.

The MP for Solihull Julian Knight is behind the event which is due to happen later this morning.    

M6 Toll

A fatal crash in February closed the M6 near Birmingham for 24 hours, causing tailbacks for 10 miles. Highways England admitted it should have declared a major incident. 

The Government is now looking at lifting the charges on the M6 Toll in such circumstances.

Any old iron? Well, yes this one is 65 years old

Daz Hale


Earlier on we were talking about the Queen Mother's fridge that lasted her 62 years- Megan Forrester from Halesowen got in touch to say she has had the same iron for 65 years.

Any old iron? Yes this woman still uses her 65-year-old Morphy Richards

West Midlands known for its Desi pubs, says celebrity chef

Adrian Goldberg

Presenter, BBC WM

An arts project is under way to celebrate the growing number of Sikh-run pubs in the Black Country. 

So-called Desi pubs, where curry and Bhangra music accompany beer and darts, are credited with saving many bars from closure. 

Celebrity chef Cyrus Todhiwala has been on a two-day tour of them and told us they were unique to the West Midlands.

Inquiry into sexual violence in schools

Jess Phillips - the MP for Birmingham Yardley - is on a committee of MPs which will begin to hear evidence on the scale and impact of sexual harassment and violence in schools.

The inquiry - the first of its kind - comes amid signs that teenagers' behaviour is becoming increasingly sexualised.

Preliminary research commissioned by the Women and Equalities Committee suggests pupils are often bullied into sexual activity and many assaults go unreported.


Driver missing after car hits house in Tipton

Police are searching for the driver of a car that crashed into a house in the Black Country.

The vehicle ploughed into the property in Barnett Street, Tipton, at about 16:00 yesterday. There were no reports of any injuries, the fire service said.

West Midlands Police said officers were trying to find the driver to check on his well being.

The crash scene
Tipton Fire Station

MPs call for re-think on new Wolves shirt sponsor

Two of Wolverhampton's MPs have written to the Wolves Chief Executive Jez Moxey asking him to reconsider the club's sponsorship deal with The Money Shop. 

It was announced last week that the payday loan company will sponsor the team's shirts next season. 

Almost 3,000 fans have now signed an online petition calling for a re-think. Labour MPs in the city, Pat McFadden and Rob Marris, have penned open letters to the club.  

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Smethwick stabbing: Victim named, as man charged with murder

Police were called to Cape Hill, in Smethwick, at about 12:50 on Saturday. 

The 36-year-old victim, who police have formally identified as Horace Williams of West Bromwich, died of a single stab wound, a post-mortem examination has revealed. 

A 39-year-old from Birmingham, Douane Brown, of Bickington Road, is due before Sandwell magistrates today. 

Brown is also charged with possession of a knife in public, said West Midlands Police.

BreakingMan charged with murder in Smethwick internet cafe

A man has been charged with murdering a man who was stabbed to death at an internet cafe.

The cafe

Latest: U-turn calls for Wolves on sponsor; M6 lane closures every day; driver who hit house sought

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here are the top stories on Tuesday:

- Calls from politicians for Wolves to rethink their new shirt sponsor, lender The Money Shop

- M6 lane closures are happening every day in rush hour, according to figures we have seen for the past month

- Police are searching for a driver who ploughed into a house in Tipton