Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Marston Green church invites people to see their knitted nativity

OLD-FASHIONED YARN: The team at St Leonard's spent a
year knitting the nativity figures.
A KNITTED nativity scene - created by the congregation at a local church  - has proven hugely popular with parishioners.
The talented team at St Leonard's, Marston Green, have spent the past 12 months creating the child-sized characters for the traditional tableau.
Inspired by a similar installation at a church in Bristol, St Leonard's set to work on Mary, Joseph, the Baby Jesus, Shepherds and the Three Wise Men. A donkey and sheep were also painstakingly purled and placed in a specially-constructed stable.
The figures were unveiled at the Christmas Eve crib service and will remain at the parish church until the end of next month.
And to mark Epiphany - the day when the Three Kings arrived to pay tribute to Jesus - a special open day will be held on January 6. Visitors are welcome to come and see the scene for themselves between 10am-4pm. Refreshments will be available.

Smith's Wood residents left without heating on Christmas Day

TENANTS in one local tower block have slammed the council after they were left without hot water or heating on Christmas Day.
Residents of Bedford House, in Smith's Wood, said they had to rely on electric heaters over the festive period and some have already demanded compensation from the authorities.
Solihull Community Housing has admitted that 18 out of 58 flats were affected when a temporary boiler - installed nearby - failed.
The system was in place because the local authority is in the process of replacing ageing storage heaters in 21 high-rise blocks with new biomass heating.
Solihull Council told BBC WM that the heating and hot water was now working again at Bedford House. A full investigation has been launched in conjunction with British Gas to determine what caused the fault.
  • North Solihull has recorded its coldest temperatures of this year in the last few days. Flurries of snow late on Boxing Day have been followed by freezing conditions. The mercury fell to -4 on Sunday night and residents have woken to white frosts the last couple of mornings. It is expected to become milder over the next few days, with the Met Office predicting that overnight temperatures will climb to 7 degrees by New Year's Eve.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Carols by Candlelight in Chelmsley Wood

FESTIVE FAVOURITES: The traditional carol service is
organised jointly by St Andrew's and Chelmsley Baptist Church

IF you’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit, a Carols by Candlelight event will be taking place in Chelmsley Wood this evening (Sunday).
The event will be held at the new St Andrew’s Church, Craig Croft from 5-6pm. All welcome.
Call in for more details or visit www.cwbaptistchurch.com

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Toddler's parents cleared of murder

TRAGEDY: Levi-Blu Cassin died last year. He was just 21-months-old
A COUPLE accused of killing their young son were this week cleared of murder, but found guilty of causing or allowing his death.
Danielle Cassin, 27, of Frensham Close, Chelmsley Wood, and Mark Piper, 31, of no fixed abode, were convicted yesterday (Friday) following a four week trial.
Their son, 21-month-old Levi-Blu Cassin, had died at an address in Nightingale Avenue, Smith’s Wood after suffering “catastrophic” internal injuries.
In the early hours of February 20 last year, Danielle had dialled 999 and told emergency services her son had stopped breathing. Paramedics arrived at the flat but could do nothing to save the little boy.
A post mortem found that Levi-Blu had suffered severe abdominal injuries and a police investigation was launched. His parents had given conflicting accounts of the hours leading up to their son’s death, but both denied knowing how he had been injured.
Jurors took less than a day to return their verdict, clearing the pair of murder and manslaughter charges but concluding that they had caused or allowed their son’s death.

AWAITING SENTENCE: Mark Piper and Danielle Cassin

Insp Bob Sutton, from West Midlands Police, said: “The death of any young child is a tragedy and Levi-Blu lived for just 21 months.
“He should have had a full life ahead of him but this was taken away by parents who failed to provide the necessary care or a safe environment, finally subjecting him to a violent attack and ultimately failing to seek medical attention.
“Throughout the investigation and trial they have continued to conceal the truth and evidence gathered over 18 months by a dedicated team of investigators has led to a successful prosecution.
“As parents they were in a unique position of trust and care, they did not meet their responsibilities. There remains great sadness; it is small consolation that justice has now been done in regard to Levi-Blu.”
The NSPCC said it had been an “extremely distressing” case.
Sandra Mcnair, head of the charity’s regional branch, said: “We may never know the full story of what happened to Levi-Blu.
“However, we do know that he lived in a home where domestic violence and drug use was common place.
“The family was known to local agencies, so it is vital that questions are asked as to whether more could have been done to keep him safe from harm.”
The pair will be sentenced on Monday (December 22), while a report into the case is expected to be published by the Solihull Local Safeguarding Children Board in the spring.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Man "exploded" cash machine at Castle Brom bank

BLOWN IT: Constantin Alexandroaia (inset) targeted the
Castle Bromwich bank on April Fool's Day
A CROOK who blew up a cash machine at a Castle Bromwich bank - causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage - has been jailed for more than 13 years.
Constantin Alexandroaia pumped gas into the hole-in-the-wall outside the Barclays branch in Chester Road.
He then ignited the fumes, blowing open the front of the dispenser in an attempt to access the cash vaults.
But the audacious crime came to nothing, after security glass stopped Alexandroaia and an unknown accomplice from getting to the money.
Birmingham Crown Court heard that the masked men had already caused a similar explosion the previous month, at a branch in Alcester Road, Druids Heath.
On April 15, the pair tried the tactics a third time, targeting a Barclays in Birstall, Leicester. This time the attempt was successful and they escaped with £27,000.
But a stolen BMW, left abandoned in Morris Croft, Smith’s Wood, helped police to track the unscrupulous scrap dealer – a trace of blood in the getaway car linked him to the crime.
Alexandroaia was arrested by officers on April 24, after he attempted to board a flight to his native Romania, although he denied any part in the crimes.
However, at Birmingham Crown Court last Thursday, he changed his plea to guilty and was convicted of three burglaries and causing explosions.
The 33-year-old, from Sparkhill, Birmingham, was said to be “ashamed” of his actions, claiming he had resorted to the desperate offences after falling into financial difficulties.
Justin Hugheston-Roberts, defending, said: “He could not cope here in this country, which is why he undertook the request from others to become involved in organised crime.”
Det Con David Bailey, from West Midlands CID, said: “His reckless actions posed a serious risk to the public, to police officers and to himself and significant structural damage was caused to the Barclays banks on all occasions.
“The gas cylinders could have exploded at any point which would have resulted in serious harm to the attending officers and potentially to any passing members of the public.”