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Birmingham-born actress on her journey from Bournville to the big screen - with the story of Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is the famous Physicist who wrote the mind-boggling A Brief History of Time - which covers Black Holes, the Big Bang and the possibility of time travel. He also has one of the world's most distinctive voices - thanks to a computer programme which speaks for him - after treatment for Motor Neurone Disease robbed him of his voice.

They say behind every great man is a woman - and a film released on New Year's Day explores the love story between Stephen and his first wife Jane. It's based on her memoirs and Jane's played by Felicity Jones - who grew up in Birmingham and got started in acting thanks to Central TV.

Hannah Stokes went to meet her.

Man found guilty of drugging and strangling to death estranged wife

Credit: BPM Media

A man from Sutton Coldfield has been found guilty of murdering his wife of 22 years, because he could not accept the end of their relationship.

Andrew Leigh, a telecommunications engineer from Kennedy Close, Sutton Coldfield, strangled Luan Leigh at their former home in Pype Hayes on the evening of June 28, 2014.

Luan Leigh was found dead in an upstairs bedroom. A post-mortem revealed she died from ‘compression to the neck.’

The court heard that Luan found her ex-husband controlling and suffocating.

Despite this, the couple remained on friendly terms. On the night of the murder the court heard that Andrew Leigh had gone round to the house after inviting himself for dinner.

He phoned his wife’s family to say he had found her dead in bed and the emergency services were called.

Andrew Leigh will be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court tomorrow morning.

"Andrew Leigh was controlling and overbearing and he did not accept that his marriage to Luan was over. He has, through his actions, deprived Luan’s family of a much loved daughter, sister and friend. I very much hope that today’s verdict will in some small way allow Luan’s family to start rebuilding their lives after the terrible events of June this year."

– DI Warren Hines from Force CID Homicide

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Thieves distract elderly couple and steal money meant for Christmas presents

The video shows one of the thieves asking an elderly man for directions, while an accomplice steals his wife's purse from her handbag.

The theft happened on 25 November in Coventry as the couple loaded shopping into their car parked on Thamley Road.

The thieves had previously followed the couple around a bank and seen them withdraw £700.

In a Christmas gesture, the bank has agreed to refund the couple their money.

Credit: West Midlands Police

“This was a well-planned theft in which the suspects coldly and deliberately targeted the elderly couple...

...I will not rest until these despicable thieves are identified and brought to justice...

...I’d also like to urge people to be on their guard against such tactics and if a stranger approaches you in the street, make sure you keep an eye on your belongings and report any suspicious activity to police."

– Detective Sergeant Dave Faries
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