NEWS: 18 year old arrested on suspicion of murder after fatal stabbing of man on Chudleigh Road

Words & pics by Ed King

West Midlands Police have arrested an 18 year old male following the fatal stabbing of a 25 year old man on Chudleigh Road yesterday.

In a statement made today, WMP confirmed: “We’ve arrested a man on suspicion of murder after another man was stabbed in Erdington.

“A 25-year-old was discovered with serious injuries in Chudleigh Road at around 4.15pm yesterday (29 November). He was rushed to hospital but sadly died a short time after his arrival.

“An 18-year-old man was arrested in the Erdington area on suspicion of murder. He is currently in custody for questioning.

“A cordon remains in place near the junction of Reservoir Road this morning while we investigate what happened and why.”

Emergency services were called to Stockland Green yesterday after a man was found in ‘critical condition’ following reports of a stabbing on Chudleigh Road.

Alerted to the incident just after 4pm, police, ambulance, and air ambulance all attended – with paramedics administering advance trauma care at the scene. A member of the public had been administering CPR before emergency services arrived.

A statement from West Midlands Ambulance Service this morning confirmed: “We were called at 4:20pm to reports of a stabbing in Chudleigh Road, Erdington.

“We sent two ambulances, a paramedic officer, the West Midlands CARE Team and two Midlands Air Ambulance critical care cars with two critical care paramedics and two BASICS doctors onboard. On arrival, crews found a young male in a critical condition with bystander CPR already in progress.

“Crews took over and administered advanced trauma care at the scene and continued treatment enroute to hospital with a critical care paramedic travelling onboard.”

Police blocked off the entrance to Chudleigh Road from Reservoir Road, down to Coniston Road, asking local residents to stay away from their homes until forensics could be taken.

Working at the scene until late at night, investigating officers erected two tents – one over the ground where the victim was found and the other around a vehicle on the opposing side of the road.

Investigations continue at the scene today as police are gathering evidence following an arrest.

Concerns for the victim spread quickly across the area, with some people gathering around the corner of Chudleigh Road and Reservoir Road.

One local resident saw emergency services at the scene at around 4:15pm. They told Erdington Local:

“I didn’t see much, so I couldn’t tell you exactly what happened – but I saw paramedics at the scene administering CPR to someone on the ground. My heart sank, I just hope the person is OK.”

Another Erdington local drove past a couple of hours later.

They added: “I saw a police van and a police car, with uniformed officers keeping people off the street.

“There was police tape blocking off the top of Chudleigh Road, with a small crowd, possibly 10 or so, gathered by the shop. It wasn’t tense, everyone just seemed really concerned about what had happened.”

Detective Inspector Wes Martin, from West Midlands Police Homicide Unit, added: “A young man has tragically lost his life and we’re doing all we can to support his family at this awful time.

“We’ve made some quick progress by arresting a suspect on suspicion of murder.

“However, we remain keen to hear from anyone who may have information. Anyone who may be able to help us needs to contact us.

“We’re reviewing all CCTV possibilities and we’re asking people in the area to check any dashcam or doorbell footage which can help us fully establish what has happened during this terrible incident.”

If you have any information that may help police with enquiries, please contact West Midlands Police via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk or call 101 – quoting the reference 20/1673163/21.

Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

NEWS: Two arrested over suspicion of attempted murder after attack in Springthorpe Green

Words by Ed King / Pics by Lisa Smith & Estelle Murphy

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following a vicious attack in Springthorpe Green, Tyburn, at around 5.20pm on Saturday 28th August.

The quiet Erdington suburb became filled with emergency services yesterday afternoon, as armed police and ambulance crews responded to an alert – alongside Dog Control Units and a police helicopter circling above the local area.

West Midlands Police reported a 30-year-old was attacked with a knife and suffered serious wounds at the scene.

After being receiving ‘emergency first aid’ from responding officers the victim is now in a stable condition in hospital – his injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

The offenders reportedly fled the scene in a vehicle.

Following some ‘quick-time enquiries and intelligence checks’, investigating officers later spotted a van that was believed to be linked to the stabbing.

West Midlands Police further report the van ‘failed to stop for our officers before being abandoned in Chester Road. Two men ran from the vehicle but were arrested following a foot chase.’

Residents were told to stay in their homes as West Midlands Police blocked off the garages at end of The Feldings, Sprinthorpe Green – beginning an immediate investigation into the attack.

Locals trying to drive home were asked to leave their cars outside of the crime scene.

Eyewitnesses and local residents saw a body on the floor and what appeared to be bank notes strewn across the ground, with police on the scene unable to give further information.

Local resident, John Dale, told Erdington Local: “The guy had been… well he’d been stabbed, when we came here. And he was at the top there, and the armed police, they followed us to… where they’re parked up now.

“There was money all over the floor. £20 notes. But they seemed to think it was counterfeit or something, but they was all over the floor.”

Jean, another local resident, who was drying her hair at the time but looked out of here window to see the disturbance, confirmed there seemed to be bank notes on the floor.

Two men aged 22 and 23 remain in custody for questioning, having been arrested for attempted murder.

Superintendent Paul Minor from West Midlands Police said: “The victim has suffered serious wounds from what is believed to be a knife and is lucky to be alive.

“Our armed police attended the scene and performed emergency fast aid (an advanced from of first aid) to stem the bleeding before paramedics arrived.

“Our enquiries quickly led us to identify a vehicle we believe was connected to the stabbing and around an hour later we had arrested two suspects. That’s brilliant work from all the officers involved.”

West Midlands Police are e appealing for witnesses who’ve not yet spoken to them to come forward.

Anyone with information can message West Midlands Police on Live Chat via www.west-midlands.police.uk/contact-us/live-chat

People can also call 101 quoting crime ref 20/1708818/21 – or the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

NEWS: Police swarm on The Feldings, Springthorpe Green as residents told to say in their homes

NEWS: Police swarm on The Feldings, Springthorpe Green as residents told to say in their homes

Words and pics by Lisa Smith & Estelle Murphy – reporting from the scene.

Following an incident this afternoon, police and emergency services swarmed across The Feldings, Sringthorpe Green investigating a potentially serious crime committed earlier today.

At around 5-6pm on Saturday 28th August, the quiet Erdington suburb was awash with uniformed police officers and Dog Control Units all attending the scene, along with local ambulances crews and a police helicopter circling above the local area and Pype Hayes Park.

Residents were told to stay in their homes as West Midlands Police began investigating an unconfirmed incident that had taken place at the scene – blocking off the garages at end of The Feldings, that neighbour the grounds of the Hollyfield Sports and Conference Centre.

Motorists who were trying to return home were stopped by officers still investigating the scene.

Eyewitnesses and local residents saw a body on the floor and what appeared to be bank notes strewn across the ground, with police on the scene unable to give further information.

Local resident, John Dale, told Erdington Local: “The guy had been… well he’d been stabbed, when we came here. And he was at the top there, and the armed police, they followed us to… where they’re parked up now.

“There was money all over the floor. £20 notes. But they seemed to think it was counterfeit or something, but they was all over the floor.”

Jean, another local resident, who was drying her hair at the time but looked out of here window to see the disturbance, confirmed there seemed to be bank notes on the floor.

Speaking to an Erdington Local correspondent as events unfolded at the scene, Jean witnessed: “There are now what look like incident police at the scene… the helicopter has left, I’m not sure on (the status of) the victim.

“Another neighbour was with him before the police or the ambulance came.”

According to a motorist driving up the Chester Road during the time, armed police were also seen stopping someone in a white Audi near the scene – although it remains unclear if the incidents are related.

Erdington Local contacted West Midlands Police who were unable to comment at the time, with no further reports issued by emergency services.

COURT REPORT: Coton Lane hit and run murderer, Tony Green, sentenced to 20 years behind bars – report from the courtroom

Words by Adam Smith / Crime scene pics by Ed King, profile pic & video courstesy of West Midlands Police

Tony Green has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years for murdering Shkelzen Taka outside an Erdington brothel in the early hours of Boxing Day morning.

The entire incident was captured on CCTV and West Midlands Police have released harrowing footage of the final moments of Mr Taka’s life – which helped the jury convict Green of murder.

At Birmingham Crown Court this morning Judge Melbourne Inman told 27-year-old Green, of Suffield Grove, he had used his car as a “lethal weapon” to kill Mr Taka who sustained catastrophic head injuries when a road sign Green’s car crashed into landed on his head.

Judge Inman said: “The injuries caused to Mr Taka were truly horrific. The pole struck him with such force it split his head into two. His brain was recovered separately.

“You continued to drive over him in reverse and back over him to get away. You drove away.”

The court heard Green and Taka, 28, had exchanged brief words outside Ayurveda Health Spa Sauna, Coton Lane, at around 6am as Green was leaving and his victim and friend were entering. From this moment Green, who had been drinking brandy and wine throughout Christmas Day, was then intent on seriously injuring his victim.

Green, hoping Taka would leave the brothel so he could attack him, then jumped on Taka’s car’s bonnet and smashed his windscreen.

The commotion caused Taka to leave the brothel, get a metal bar and try to hit Green’s Skoda. Green then reversed as fast as he could at his victim, escaping the scene after killing him.

Green denied being responsible for destroying evidence after his car was found on fire later that day saying the blaze was “bad luck”.

He also claimed he reversed by mistake after having had problems with the gear box.

The jury took just an hour to convict Green of murder.

Mr Taka’s siter Sonila said: “Shkelzen was a much-loved brother and partner and his family are devastated at his loss.

“The pain we feel is not easily cured – pain in the soul that breaks me into a thousand pieces.”

Judge Inman paid tribute to the victim as he began sentencing. Addressing the defendant, who was dressed in an Adidas tracksuit and had several family members in court, he said: “Shkelzen Taka was only 28 years of age when you killed him.

“He had his life before him. He had come to this country from Albania and supported his family.

“No-one listening to the statements of friends and family could fail to have been moved by the love clearly held by those who knew him and the depth of their grief. They are clearly going to find it difficult to ever come to terms with their loss.”

Judge Inman outlined several points when Green could have left the scene but was instead in a “highly aggressive state of mind” and was intent on murder.

Referencing Green’s previous convictions as a drug dealer the Judge said he was “not of good character” but took into account he had not been in court for violence before.

The minimum sentence the judge could have handed down was 15 years but he instead he sentenced Green to a minimum of 20 years behind bars.

Green shook his head when told the sentence and there were gasps of anguish from his family, one of whom said: “disgusting”. When led away to the cells Green gave his family a thumbs up.

Three family members of the victim sat in silence throughout the proceedings.

Detective Inspector Wes Martin, from the force’s Homicide Unit, helped build the case against Green.

He said: “This is a tragic case where a chance encounter has led to the death of a family man and the imprisonment of another for life.

“All too often impetuous acts of violence lead to tragedy as we have seen here.”

He added: “My thoughts remain with Shkelzen’s family who continue to mourn his loss.”

Mark Heywood, defending, said: “He is still a comparatively young man. He has a supportive family split between two parts of the country. This has been a terrible experience for all of them but I am sure nothing compared to the family of the unfortunate Mr Taka.

“He has always been deeply affected by the death regardless of how he chose to conduct the trial.”

CCTV footage of Tony Green damaging car and attacking Shkelzen Taka

Report crime, get prevention advice, and see the latest news from West Midlands Police at www.west-midlands.police.uk

NEWS: Coton Lane Boxing Day death could be deliberate hit and run

Words and pics by Ed King

A man was killed in a what is believed to be a deliberate hit and run in the early hours of Boxing Day morning, on Coton Lane off Erdington High street.

The victim, who is unidentified at the time of writing, is believed to be from outside of Erdington according to sources from the crime scene.

Attending police could not issue too much information as the investigation is underway but were able to assure local residents that they were not expecting more violence.

When Erdington Local asked officers on the scene about public safety, our reporter was told: “there is no concern of that nature.”

Officers from across the city were called in to help protect the crime scene, many who have been on site since 6am on Boxing Day.

Police cordoned off the High Street entrance from Six Way down to the corner of Harrison Road, with forensics concentrating on the murder scene on Coton Lane.

A blue tent had been erected around the victim’s body whilst forensic teams and investigating officers combed the area for clues – with the victim’s body eventually moved by coroners at around 3:30pm on Boxing Day.

One local shop owner, who wished to remain anonymous, told Erdington Local: “I closed up and left the shop at half two in the morning and nothing had happened. People are saying it happened at 3am; my neighbours live up the road and they could see some of what was going on.”

Detective Sergeant Nick Barnes, from West Midlands Police homicide team, said: “My thoughts are with the family of the man who tragically died this morning.

“We’re in the early stages of our investigation and I’d urge anyone who witnesses anything who hasn’t yet spoken to us, or anyone with any information or dash cam footage to get in touch as soon as they can.

“A family have lost a loved one and we need to find out what took place and who is responsible.”

If you have any information please contact West Midlands Police via live chat on our website or call 101 quoting log number 688 of 26 December.

 

NEWS: New police figures show 49% increasing in Erdington hate crimes during Covid

Words by Adam Smith

Hate crimes in Erdington have increased by 49% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inspector Haroon Chughtai revealed 130 more people were victims of hate crimes between April and December, compared with the same period last year.

In his December email to Erdington locals, Inspector Chughtai said: “Around hate crime, there has been an increase of 49% which is around 130 extra victims of crime.

“There are no clear patterns or highly concentrated geographies – rather it is a real mixture of neighbour disputes, road rage incidents, abuse of retail staff and police officers.”

He added: “Hate crime is deplorable and something I will talk about in more detail in future messages.”

Hate crimes are those incidents in which the victims feel their race, sexuality, disability, or religion were the motivating factor for the preparators.

The shocking increase coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic and two lockdowns.

Inspector Chughtai has previously outlined the sharp increase of domestic abuse and violecne as relationships were put under extra strain due to lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions. As the year draws to a close, the shocking amount of victims of domestic abuse in Erdington proves another the human cost of Covid.

He said: “Domestic abuse has seen the most significant increase this year, around 45% – which is an extra 600 victims of crime and equates for just under one quarter of all the crime in Erdington.”

There has been a 17% increase in overall crime which equates to 1,400 more victims of crime in the area compared to last year. 

However, 2020 will be remembered for how the pandemic affected everyone and how police officers have had new challenges to face.

Inspector Chughtai said: “2020 has been a year I guess none of us will ever forget or truly get over, we have all had our lives changed and suffered in different ways and like all major events it has brought both the best and worst out in people.

“When I think of the best, I draw out people like the Erdington Task Force who have been extraordinary in how they have stepped up, the Stockland Green Action Group who have come together and in a short space of time played a big part in holding us and our partners to account and making the community safer.

“Places of worship who have stepped up and started food banks and other services to support their congregations and the wider community to get through this.”

Erdington’s top cop had a further message for offenders who have used the coronavirus lockdowns as cover for their violence and bullying.

He said: ”For me, the worst is the perpetrators of domestic abuse – who have taken advantage of the restrictions and made life unbearable for their victims, we will continue to everything to bring them to justice.”

 

If you believe you are a victim of domestic abuse or violence, call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 – for help online, visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk or www.refuge.org.uk

To make an anonymous report about any crime, effecting yourself or others, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org

To receive updates from the Neighbourhood Policing Teams in your area, visit www.neighbourhoodalert.co.uk  

To find out more about Erdington’s police force, visit www.west-midlands.police.uk/node/2710

For a list of support services, as compiled by members of the Erdington Task Force, visit www.erdingtonlocal.com/covid-19-local-support

LOCAL PROFILE: Inspector Haroon Chughtai

Words by Jobe Baker Sullivan / Pics supplied by West Midlands Police

(First published in Erdington Local’s Nov/Dec ’20 newspaper)

Haroon Chughtai is the West Midlands Police Inspector responsible for Erdington and Sutton Coldfield, overseeing both constituencies. Erdington Local caught up with the area’s top cop, to find out more about the man behind the badge.

Now 41 years old, Haroon Chughtai joined the police force in 2003 – straight after completing his degree in Business and Computer Science at Birmingham University. Being made Police Inspector for Erdington and Sutton Coldfield in January 2020, Haroon manages the neighbourhood teams and police staff across the two constituencies.

He cites his reasons for joining the police as “wanting to give back to the community,” as well as wanting to be an example of diversity in the force.

“I knew nobody who was a copper, I had no family members who were police officers. At that time, there was more of a drive to get the police force more representative – more black and Asian people.”

This literal ‘bobbie on his bike’ cycles to work regularly, operating out of Erdington Police Station, and bemoans the fact that he rarely gets out the office. Instead, Inspector Chughtai spends much of his time in the office overseeing “70-80” cops.

“I’m lucky if I get out once a month,” Haroon says, but thinks that “sometimes it’s important that I go out and see something for myself.”

When asked about changes in his career during his 17 years in the force, Haroon says that he is impressed with the “technological changes” the police have embraced and in the way it helps them operates. And in the days of cyber-crime and Internet criminality, the police now have to “operate online more, with social media.”

Inspector Chughtai also believes that huge government cuts during his time have caused the police to make “difficult decisions” such as being unable to deal immediately with “petty theft and crime.” Police departments across the country have been pushed to make substantial changes over recent years, with 16% of spending declining between 2010-2019 nationally.  

On the other hand, Haroon says that “The police force is much better at prioritizing things – based on risk and vulnerability. We deal with what needs to be dealt with immediately.”

During 2020, one of the biggest challenges for the local police force and for Haroon has been “the rise in domestic abuse”, with the Erdington Inspector estimating that domestic abuse accounts for “approximately a quarter of all Erdington’s crime.”

Victims are “predominantly women” with most offenders being male. This is also reflected in the rise of domestic abuse across the entire country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many violent relationships exacerbated during the national lockdowns. 

Inspector Chughtai found policing during the first lockdown “really challenging”, noting the “really poor understanding of what the restrictions were. The compliance wasn’t as good as it is now [to the rules].” This included non-essential businesses remaining open illegally.

When asked by Erdington Local to predict the immediate future of his role in the area, Haroon said that “Sadly, I think COVID is here to stay – the enforcement around COVID will have to continue”.

Haroon is also committed to reducing “under 25 violence”, especially referring to young people leaving school, hanging around streets and bus stops, and causing violent crime.  “In the past these sort of things might not have been recorded as crimes. Behind the bike-sheds a couple of lads have had a fight, nobody would remember – but nowadays, it’s officially reported.” Haroon and his officers work with parents and teachers to keep track of these crimes.

“I’m using all the overtime I have to tackle under 25 violence. We don’t want to criminalize kids, but we want to put some interventions in really early on.”

Asking Inspector Chughtai what he’d like to see changed in Erdington, he responds “a rebalance of housing market, especially with the sheer number of HMOs and hostels. It’s got more than anywhere else in the city – over 1000 in one concentration”. He wants HMOs to be “spread across the city, rather than being concentrated in small areas.”

Haroon’s regular monthly updates on the West Midlands Police website often report crime in neighbouring Sutton Coldfield as decreasing, whilst general crime rates increase across Erdington. But when asked about his own personal impressions of Erdington, he says that “Erdington’s got a real strong community spirit. You can see with the Erdington Task Force, and the Stockland Green Action Group.”

He says that Erdington is “unique” and that other inspectors from other parts of the city are surprised at hear how active the community is.

“During COVID there’s been a load of people that have stepped up to help people that are needy, that are vulnerable,” explains the Erdington Inspector. “It’s volunteers that do that work – it’s really selfless.”

To receive updates from the Neighbourhood Policing Teams in your area, visit www.neighbourhoodalert.co.uk

To find out more about Erdington’s police force, visit www.west-midlands.police.uk/node/2710

NEWS: Erdington residents ‘not as positive’ about police support following burglaries – compared to neighbours in Sutton Coldfield

Words & pics by Ed King

Erdington residents are ‘not as positive’ about the support they received from their local police Neighbourhood Team (NHT) following up burglaries, as compared to those in neighbouring Sutton Coldfield.

After a survey of over 200 victims of residential burglaries was conducted by officers from Erdington and Sutton Coldfield Neighbourhood Teams, responses show a chasm of concern between victims of break ins across the two districts.

In Sutton Coldfield, the survey found ‘the majority of residents received a visit from a NHT representative… (finding) these visits helpful and reassuring, with most feeling safer in their home following the visit.’

Whist for residents in Erdington, which suffers from around 1-3% more residential burglaries per month, the police’s survey found ‘their experiences were not as positive, particularly about the visits or contact they received from the NHTs.’

Despite rates of residential burglaries falling across both districts, with home break ins dropping by 76% in Sutton Coldfield and 16% in Erdington – as compared to the same time in 2019, investigation into police support following the crime has shown alarmingly mixed results.

Local resident, Sue Bicknell, has experienced two burglaries in the past few years. “The first time, I came home and there was a man standing in my hallway,” explains Sue. “I immediately slammed the door shut and called the police, who arrived in a couple of mins. Their response was excellent – they sent about five officers to my home and had cars scouring the streets.

“Then last year I was burgled again – I came home to find every draw and every cupboard had been turned over. The forensic team arrived a few hours later, with the Neighbourhood Team coming the next day – offering advice and links to Victim Support. No suggestions were made about improving my home security, but again I felt their response was good.”

Another Erdington resident, who wants to remain anonymous, called the police after she disturbed a violent gang trying to break into her home.

The nine masked men were messing with the key hole in the door,” explains the local mum, “I thought it was my brother in law, but it wasn’t.

As I opened the door they kicked it into my belly, I was seven months pregnant at the time, then went to hit me with a bat. I ran off into the bathroom shouting to my partner, as he came down they ran off.

I phoned the police and it took them 45 minutes to get to my home. They knocked on my neighbour’s doors, checked if the men had dropped anything, asked me questions and then left.

I didn’t hear anything from the police for about a month, so I went to Jack Dromey MP who wrote and asked the police why they hadn’t come back and checked up. Or even just rung us. The police replied that they were dealing with better investigations.”

But according to the recent survey, the police are taking steps to improve their response to burglaries in Erdington and to address the imbalance between the districts – examining how the Neighbourhood Teams can ‘be as effective in Erdington as it is in Sutton Coldfield.’

After contacting the police directly, Inspector Haroon Chughtai – who oversees the police teams in both Erdington and Sutton Coldfield – told Erdington Local:

I am convinced that while we play a part in investigating, patrolling , managing persistent offenders around burglaries the biggest contribution to reducing burglaries will come from focused work around prevention – whether that is target hardening individual homes through security measures such as alarms, CCTV, to simple things like making sure windows are not left open, being part of an active Neighbourhood Watch Team.

This survey was done to try and see what changes victims of burglary made post the offence and whether our visits helped them make positive changes.

We are trying to understand if the officers in Sutton and doing anything different to those in Erdington and if they are, how we can replicate it.”

To find out more about the police teams in your area, click here and enter the name of your location. Or for direct updates from West Midlands Police, visit www.wmnow.co.uk

To find out more about the police team in Erdington, visit www.west-midlands.police.uk/node/2710

For more on the Neighbourhood Watch schemes in your area, visit www.ourwatch.org.uk

For help and advice as a victim of crime, to contact Victim Support visit www.victimsupport.org.uk