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Grandmother graduates 70 years after passing degree

90-year-old Gene Hetherington with her granddaughter Rachael as she collects her degree from Manchester University. Credit: PA Wire

A 90 year-old Sutton Coldfield grandmother has finally graduated 70 years after gaining her degree.

Gene Hetherington earned a BA in Commerce in August 1943 but could not attend the ceremony at the University of Manchester due to her involvement in the war.

Following her studies she immediately went to work as an auditor in aircraft factories.

She finally graduated on the same day as her granddaughter, Rachel, 23, picked up her law degree in the same ceremony.

Mrs Hetherington described the ceremony at the university's historic Whitworth Hall as "wonderful", saying she was especially pleased to pick up the award alongside her granddaughter.


Children send their teddy bears to Philippines

Children at a school in Sutton Coldfield have been packing up their teddy bears, ready to be sent out to victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Students and pupils at Bishop Vesey's Grammar School have donated hundreds of cuddly toys, after the Philippine Embassy in London said they wanted people to send toys to the children affected by the disaster - to help cheer them up.

Five-year-old girl in hospital after being hit by car

A five-year-old girl was today recovering in hospital after being hit by a car in Sutton Coldfield.

The youngster was in Little Sutton Road in Four Oaks when she was hit by a black Renault Clio.

Police have now launched an appeal for information about the accident.

The youngster was hit by a car in Sutton Coldfield on Friday Credit: West Midlands Ambulance Service

The child was taken to hospital by ambulance, where police say she continues to be treated for "serious but not life-threatening" injuries.

A 20-year-old woman was spoken to by police.

Sgt Paul Hughes said officers were particularly keen to speak to another driver who stopped at the scene of the accident, which happened at around 6.20pm on November 1, and who may have seen what happened.

Chief Constable surprised by IPCC decision

The Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police has responded to the announcement that the IPCC is to redetermine officers’ misconduct investigation regarding the ‘Plebgate’ row, stating he is surprised by the decision.

Andy Parker also added that he welcomed the recognition of the Home Affairs Select Committee that he had always supported an IPCC investigation.

I have always believed that the IPCC should have conducted an independent investigation into this matter, and welcome the HASC recognition of that, but I am surprised by the decision to redetermine the outcome at this time.

We will, of course, co-operate fully with the IPCC during their investigation.

Whilst the IPCC investigation is ongoing it would be inappropriate for us to make any further comment.

– Andy Parker, Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police

New investigation into Midlands police officers: full report

Midlands police officers accused of lying in the Plebgate scandal, are to be investigated by the police watchdog.

It follows conflicting reports about a meeting with Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, the Home Affairs Select Committee Chairman, said MPs were "appalled" by the officers' original evidence.


West Mercia Police: 'the force accepts there were procedural errors'

West Mercia Police have responded to the findings of the Home Affairs Select Committee report which has ordered a new IPCC investigation into procedures following a meeting between three Midlands Chief Constables and Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell.

While the quality of the original investigation by West Mercia into the conduct of Police Federation representatives on 12 October 2012 remains unquestioned, the force accepts there were procedural errors in the investigative reports provided to the appropriate authorities which they used to make their determinations about the officers’ conduct.

These procedural errors began with a misunderstanding between the IPCC supervising the investigation, and West Mercia Police investigators.

West Mercia has always maintained that the investigation into the events in Sutton Coldfield in October 2012 should have been conducted independently. The force therefore welcomes the IPCC’s decision to change the status of the investigation from an IPCC supervised investigation to an independent investigation using their own staff.The force will co-operate fully with the IPCC’s investigation.

– West Mercia Police spokesperson

Three officers grilled by MPs last month

The three officers being grilled by MPs last month Credit: PA wire

Sergeant Chris Jones, West Midlands Police Federation, Inspector Ken MacKaill, West Mercia Police Federation and Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton, Warwickshire Police Federation, answering questions in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee last month.

It followed a meeting with Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell where they claimed he had failed to give an account of his altercation with officers at the gates of Downing Street.

The officers were later accused of trying to discredit Mr Mitchell, but were spared misconduct proceedings by an internal investigation.

A new investigation will now begin led by the IPCC.

West Midlands Police: reaction to new inquiry into police behaviour

West Midlands Chief Constable Chris Sims says,

The IPCC have now decided they do, after all, have the authority to launch a new inquiry. As I made clear at the very beginning of this process this investigation should always have been run by the IPCC.

The report suggests West Midlands Police put pressure on West Mercia Police to release the report before it was sent to the IPCC. The conclusions of the report suggest the motive may have been because ACC Cann may have been seeking to improperly access the report and seek to change its conclusions. This is a serious inference to draw and I completely refute it.

– West Midlands Chief Constable Chris Sims

Warwickshire Police respond to Home Affairs report: 'The action of the officers which initiated this issue was ill judged'

Ron Ball, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire says:

I have never supported the actions of the officers following their meeting with Andrew Mitchell at his constituency office. They were unwise to get involved in such a political campaign and they have subsequently brought discredit on the Police service and damaged public confidence in the integrity of the Police. I believe that the officers should have apologised to Mr Mitchell and his family for the hurt their actions caused.

In my role of holding the Chief Constable to account and scrutinising his actions I have taken independent legal advice concerning the IPCC’s decision to reopen the investigation. This advice raises concerns in my mind that the legal grounds for the proposed investigation may not be legally sound, with the potential for further legal challenges to follow. All of this can only result in additional public expense.

– Ron Ball, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire
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