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Local authority defends decision to prosecute parents

The decision to prosecute a couple who took their children on holiday to Australia during term time has been defended by the local authority.

Our schools follow the guidance set down by the Department for Education in trying to maintain good levels of attendance.

Schools decide whether to authorise leave based on whether they think there are exceptional circumstances.

Penalty notices are issued by the council at the request of schools for various reasons including where the school has felt there were no exceptional circumstances to justify absence.

– Coventry City Council statement

Read: Criminal record for parents who took children on holiday during term time

Criminal records for term-time holiday couple 'damaging'

A court decision to hand a couple criminal records for taking their children on holiday during term time has "done a lot of damage to the family", an MP has told ITV News.

John Hemming MP, who heads the group Parents Want a Say which campaigns against rules preventing parents from taking their children on holiday during term time, said the parents "may have to end up accepting this unjust decision" because of financial limitations.

John Hemming MP heads the group Parents Want a Say. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

He said: "It is sad that the courts take the view that a parent doing the best they can for their children in difficult circumstances is guilty of a criminal offence even though the parents got a conditional discharge.

"This case has done a lot of damage to that family and the costs of arguing in court have ended up as prohibitive.

"The difficulty for the mother is that she probably cannot take the financial risk of taking this case to judicial review and may have to end up accepting this unjust decision merely because of the financial limitations.

"The secrecy applied to this case does not to me seem to be justified and seems to be driven by a desire to keep the publicity to a minimum. I will be speaking further to the mother in the days to come."

Read: Criminal record for parents who took children on holiday during term time

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WATCH: Brutal attack on pensioner caught on video

Mobile phone footage shows the moment teenager Coral Millerchip began kicking and hitting an 80-year-old man in Coventry city centre.

The video shows the man try to defend himself against the attack, but she kicks him and pushes him to the floor as friends cheer her on.

The man later died in hospital.

Millerchip, aged 19, was today jailed for a total of 44 months.

Central

Teen girl jailed for sickening attack on 80-year-old man

A teenage girl has today been jailed after a sickening attack on an 80-year-old man in Coventry city centre.

Coral Millerchip, aged 19, was caught on CCTV in Trinity Street kicking Joginder Singh and pushing him to the ground.

Coral Millerchip's attack was caught on camera
Coral Millerchip's attack was caught on camera Credit: ITV News Central

She was sentenced to two years behind bars for the assault, plus 20 months for a burglary.

She has already been behind bars for nine months, and will have to serve half of the remaining 35 months.

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Doctor spoke out because trust 'ignored his complaints'

The heart doctor turned whistleblower who won his unfair dismissal case said he felt he needed to speak out because the trust repeatedly ignored his complaints about the treatment of patients.

Dr Raj Mattu told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

I was rather concerned that the reason I came into medicine, which was to care for patients and to hopefully save lives, was not a priority or certainly a primary aspect of what managers in the hospital in Coventry were focused on.

Patient safety was regularly put at risk and patients were dying that I felt would not have died at other hospitals I had worked at.

– Dr Raj Mattu

Read: Heart doctor 'vindicated' after winning unfair dismissal case

Doctor 'vindicated' after winning unfair dismissal case

A heart doctor turned whistleblower who exposed NHS safety fears said he felt "vindicated" after winning an unfair dismissal case following a long dispute with hospital bosses.

Cardiologist Raj Mattu. Credit: Matthew Cooper/PA Archive

Cardiologist Raj Mattu claimed there was not enough protection available for whistleblowers in the NHS and added that he wants a meeting with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to address his concerns.

Dr Mattu exposed fears for patient safety and overcrowding at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry in 2001, claiming there may have been avoidable deaths as a result.

He was then "vilified and bullied" by the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust during a years-long "witch hunt", according to his lawyers Ashfords LLP.

Children's services still 'inadequate' after Pelka death

Children's services in Coventry, which promised rapid improvement after the death of four-year-old Daniel Pelka, remain "inadequate", according to Ofsted inspectors.

The services were heavily criticised after Daniel died of a head injury in March 2012 as a result of a campaign of abuse by his mother and stepfather, who have both been jailed.

Six months after a serious case review, a three-week Ofsted inspection found caseloads remain too high at Coventry Children's Services and up to 4,500 children are "at risk of harm", as ITV News reporter Sejal Karia reports:

Read: 'Rapid improvement' demanded in Coventry Children's Services

DfE: Actions needed in Coventry after critical report

The Department for Education will consider what further actions are needed to ensure "vulnerable children in Coventry are sufficiently protected" following the publication of another critical report of children's services in the city.

A Dfe spokesman said the measures introduced at Coventry City Council in the wake of four-year-old Daniel Pelka's death were "simply not good enough".

"While we accept securing sustainable improvement takes time, today's report shows that the pace of change in Coventry has simply not been good enough.

"We will now consider what further actions are needed to ensure all vulnerable children in Coventry are sufficiently protected," the spokesman added.

Read: 'Rapid improvement' in children's services needed

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