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Hillsborough Inquests: David Birtle 'always had a ball at his feet'

David Birtle was 22 and from Cannock in Staffordshire.

Jennifer Birtle was in tears as she read out her statement about son David William Birtle, 22 from Cannock, Staffs, who died at Hillsborough.

He was born in 1966 at her parents' home in West Bromwich. Six months later they moved to Cannock where he almost died from gastroenteritis.

When he recovered and he began to walk.

"Once he could run there was always a football attached to his foot. He never walked. He ran everywhere. Trevor Francis was his hero at that time."

David was described as quiet and a happy little boy. He spent a lot of time with his grandparents: "It broke their hearts when he was killed."

His younger brother Daniel was only 4 when David died. "He missed out by not having David in his life. Daniel is very much like him in many ways."

David's step-father went to work in Oman and enjoyed the culture and climate on visits there. He lived with his grandparents when his mother moved out there."He became an ardent fan of Liverpool Football Club. Sadly that decision was going to cost him his life."

"David wan’t perfect, none of us are, but he was just getting his life together."Jennifer Birtle told the jury that somebody broke into her son's car at Hillsborough and stole his radio.

She said his scarf was still inside so the thief knew why the vehicle was still there.On hearing the news of his death three weeks short of his 23rd birthday, she flew back to the UK.

"I had to listen to two expats reading a local paper and saying ‘The police said it was hooligans’ as if it was ok and it was their own fault.""I tried to explain it all to Daniel... David wouldn't be at Grandma's because he had gone to live in the clouds with the care bears."

"None of us will ever be the same again. We've all changed and not for the better I'm afraid.""David was loved deeply by all his family and is missed every single day buy us all."

We were robbed of a son, a brother, grandson and now uncle. David did not get the chance to have a family but we know he would have been a wonderful father."

"I've asked myself a million times if only I’d been at home but I know David would still have gone to Hillsborough that day and he was at his happiest watching Liverpool.""As a family we are owed an explanation sooner rather than later as to how and why David died that day."


Cannock gas leak: emergency teams update from the scene

Emergency teams, including West Midlands Ambulance Service, are tweeting updates from the scene of a gas leak in Cannock. Locals have been told to avoid the area, after a car crashed into a sub-station, causing gas to leak.

Cannock gas leak: latest road closures

Roads closed so far because of the gas leak exclusion zone in Cannock include:

  • A460 Eastern Way from the Orbital Way island to the Voyager Drive island

  • Orbital Way from the Eastern Way island to The Cley Road island

  • Voyager Drive from the Eastern Way island to Orbital Way

The A5, M6 and M6 Toll are unaffected, but local officers are urging people to stay away from the area until the incident is resolved.

Gas leak after car crashes into sub-station

Staffordshire Police and Fire and Rescue Service are urging people in Cannock to stay away from the Orbital Retail Park after a car crashed into a gas sub-station.

The collision, which involved a red BMW 3 series, happened around 7.10 this evening near the Sainsbury's petrol station.

A 300-metre exclusion zone has been set up around the area after gas was found to be leaking from the sub-station. People working nearby have also evacuated.

Gas engineers are on-site assessing the damage. Officers have arrested a man from the Brownhills area in connection with the incident.


Driver fined £700 for throwing cigarette butts from car

Man given £700 fine for throwing cigarette butts out of car window Credit: Clive Gee/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Paul Smith from Wolverhampton was seen throwing two cigarette butts from his car window in Cannock by a council enforcement officer.

He was issued with a fixed penalty notice but failed to pay.

Legal proceedings were then started and he was convicted and ordered to pay £200 for each cigarette, £310 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Cllr Carl Bennett said:

Anyone caught not disposing of cigarette ends correctly can expect to receive a Fixed Penalty Notice of £75, and the Council will bring cases before the court if they are not paid.

Notorious child killer Raymond Morris dies in prison

Notorious child killer Raymond Morris has died in prison at the age of 84, prison bosses have confirmed.

Morris, who is believed to have been responsible for killing a number of schoolgirls in the 60s, died yesterday of natural causes at HMP Preston, where he was serving a life sentence.

Raymond Morris Credit: ITV News Central

He was jailed for life in 1969 after being convicted of the abduction and murder of seven-year-old Christine Darby from a street in Walsall, and murdering her in Cannock Chase.

Christine Darby, from Walsall, was murdered by Morris in the 60s Credit: ITV News Central

He was also prime suspect in the killing of six year-old Margaret Reynolds, from Aston in Birmingham, and Bloxwich schoolgirl Diane Tift, aged five, though those cases were left on file.

M6 body: road closures for next two hours - police

West Midlands Police says road closures on the M6 southbound will be in place for the next two hours after a body was discovered this morning.

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