NEWS: Erdington to get permanent police Inspector as Rachel Derby leaves Birmingham force

Words & pics by Ed King

Erdington is set to get a permanent police Inspector, as the constituency’s temporary ‘top cop’ Rachel Derby will be leaving Birmingham to join the Staffordshire force.

After Erdington’s previous Inspector, Haroon Chughtai, left the constituency in January 2022 – being promoted to Chief Inspector to work in Counter Terrorism – Rachel Derby was the police’s trusted pair of hands who took over whilst a long-term placement was being found.

Nearly a year later and following a “robust HR process” from West Midlands Police, Erdington is about to welcome a full time Inspector to take over the Neighbourhood Police Unit (NPU) and deliver the on-street strategy for combatting crime in the area.

In the final recruitment stages, West Midlands Police will be announcing the name of the new Erdington Inspector “imminently”.

Currently on annual leave, Temporary Inspector Rachel Derby worked her last shift in Erdington on Friday 14 October – handing over to Police Sargeant Frances Clark, who stands as the coordinator for the local NPUs and has a proven track record in community policing.

A spokesperson from West Midlands Police told Erdington Local: “Temporary Inspector Rachel Darby developed excellent relationships with communities in Erdington during her time policing the constituency.

“Rachel is going to Staffordshire Police on promotion next month and is currently on a two-week period of annual leave before she officially transfers.

“In the meantime, Sergeant Fran Clark has oversight of Sutton & Erdington constituency as the coordinator supported by the senior leadership team which is not unusual when Inspectors are on leave.

“This includes a dedicated local policing Chief Inspector and Superintendent who have ownership and responsibility for Birmingham East Neighbourhood Policing Unit.

“We have robust HR processes in place to fill Rachel’s post. This work is currently being done and Rachel’s successor will be starting imminently.”

Since 2010, the West Midlands has seen £175m pulled from its policing budget – losing around 2000 officers, 25% in active service and over 50% allocated to community policing.

Erdington suffers from one of the highest crime rates in the city, with regular calls for more police presence from Erdington residents, community groups, and constituency stakeholders.

In December last year, a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) was reinstated around Erdington High Street – giving local police the power to forcibly remove anyone from the ‘Restricted Area’ they suspect to be intoxicated or causing anti-social behaviour.

Despite being widely welcomed by many who live and work in the Erdington ward, since the PSPO came back into being – having previously operated until 2018 – some local residents feel the extended police authority has made minimal impact.

One Church Road resident, who lives a short walk form Erdington High Street, told: “I thought the idea of the PSPO was great, but it doesn’t seem to have made a difference.

“Earlier this year a man was nearly beaten to death outside Greggs. Things like that shouldn’t be allowed to happen on a busy High Street with a police station five minutes away.

“I can see the High Street from my kitchen window and I hear fights and drunken arguments nearly every night.

“We need more police on the street, plain and simple – at the moment the High Street is basically policed by the Street Warden and some very dedicated Community Support Officers.”

Paulette Hamilton MP has had tackling crime in the constituency high on her agenda since taking office in May this year.

The Erdington Member of Parliament will be bringing the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, to discuss issues over crime with local partners in January 2023 – at her regular ‘Big Conversation’ event.

Simon Foster previously came to Erdington for a tour of the High Street with the late Jack Dromey MP in November 2021, and to meet with the newly formed Street Pastors.

During the visit he told Erdington Local: “My key campaign pledge is to rebuild community policing in the West Midlands because I think dismantling it was a big mistake; it was counterproductive, it’s a false economy.

“It’s really important that we have community initiatives like the Street Pastors, like Neighbourhood Watch, like Street Watch, Speed Watch, Street Wardens,.

“All of those different projects play a really important role in providing that help, reassurance, and support to local communities.”

NEWS: 18 year old in ‘critical condition’ after being attacked in Pype Hayes Park, two teenagers arrested on suspicion of robbery

Words by Ed King

An 18 year old man is in “critical condition” after being stabbed in the chest and back in Pype Hayes Park on Monday 4 July.

Ambulance and police were called to the scene just before 6pm yesterday, after the man had been attacked by a group of ten teenagers whilst walking through the park – seriously wounding him and stealing two phones and his car keys.

A spokesperson from West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed: “We were called to reports of a stabbing at Pype Hayes Park on Chester Road at 5.49pm.

“One ambulance, a paramedic officer and a MERIT trauma doctor attended the scene. On arrival we discovered a teenage male who was treated for potentially serious injuries before being taken to hospital.”

After police arrived at the scene, they deployed drones to scour the area for the man’s attackers – with the National Police Air Service helping officers on the ground.

Two teenagers, aged 14 and 15, were found hiding in “dense shrubs” and arrested on suspicion of robbery. Both have been released on bail pending further enquiries.

West Midlands Police confirmed: “Officers have arrested two teenage boys after chasing them through undergrowth in Erdington following a stabbing in a park yesterday (4 July).

“An 18-year-old man was attacked by a group of around 10 youths at around 5.30pm in Pype Hayes Park. They stabbed him in the chest and back with a knife before stealing two phones from him and his car keys. He remains in hospital in a critical condition.

“We deployed our drone and the National Police Air Service assisted officers on the ground in locating the youths, who ran off in different directions.

“Two of the youths tried hiding in undergrowth in the park, but officers chased them, careering into the dense shrubs to arrest the pair – boys aged 14 and 15 – on suspicion of robbery. They have been released on police bail as our enquiries continue.”

A well used area by families, dog walkers, and people exercising, Pype Hayes Park is an important open-air facility for thousands who live in neighbouring Erdington and Sutton Coldfield. It also houses a popular golf course and gym, used by many local residents.

West Midlands Police have sent extra officers to patrol the park, looking for further evidence and hoping to restore public confidence.

They added: “We understand this incident is worrying, and we have officers patrolling the park and surrounding areas working to identify those involved.

“If you have any information about the incident – including CCTV or mobile phone footage taken in or around Pype Hayes Park, Erdington at the time – please drop us a message via Live Chat at www.west-midlands.police.uk and quote investigation number 20/613404/22.”

NEWS: Fire engine robbed whilst tackling Dulwich Road house explosion

By Erdington Local editorial team

Heartless thieves stole lifesaving equipment from a fire engine as its crew battled the blaze caused by the recent gas explosion in Kingstanding.

Grandmother Doreen Rees-Bibb died during the blast at the house on Dulwich Road, Kingstanding, on Sunday, 26 June, which left another man fighting for his life in hospital and destroyed or damaged six houses.

West Midlands Police revealed today whilst heroic residents and fire crews tried to save lives, someone prised open a cabinet on a fire engine at the scene and helped themselves to vital safety equipment.

A pump, cutters, a hose, and bolt croppers were taken from the fire engine and detectives are combing through footage from the area to identify the offenders.

Chief Inspector Kelly Monaghan said: “This is a despicable act during a serious incident when other members of the public were acting so heroically and selflessly.

“The items stolen are essential for firefighters to act quickly and save lives when it matters most, just like we saw in Kingstanding on Sunday.”

She added: “A side shutter was prised open and a pump, cutters, a hose and bolt croppers were taken. We’re already looking at footage from the area to identify the offenders.

“If anyone has any information please contact us via Live Chat on our website quoting 20/591089/22 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

The outpouring of support for families affected by the blaze was praised by the police, fire service, and Birmingham City Council.

Kind-hearted residents swamped the Kingstanding Inn, Second City Suite, and The Beggars Bush with donations of clothing, essentials and food for the families made homeless due to the blast, which was “most likely” caused by faulty pipework in the property.

A GoFundMe campaign was also set up by Kingstanding resident Sam Wellings, who lives on Birdbrook Road. At the time of writing over £2,500 had been raised in donations.

A vigil was also help one week after the fatal explosion, to remember Doreen Rees-Bibb and show support for those affected.

If you have any information regarding the theft from the fire engine, please contact West Midlands Police via Live Chat at: www.west-midlands.police.uk/contact-us/live-chat quoting 20/591089/22

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

For more on the GoFundMe ‘Kingstanding house explosion’ campaign visit: www.gofundme.com/f/kingstanding-house-explosion

NEWS: Dulwich Road house explosion “most likely” caused by faulty pipework

By Erdington Local editorial team

The gas explosion which destroyed a house in Kingstanding and damaged six other properties, leaving a grandmother dead and a man fighting for his life in hospital, was “most likely” caused by faulty pipework West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) have stated.

West Midlands Fire Service came to the conclusion after four days investigating the cause of the devastating explosion on Dulwich Road on Sunday 26 June.

A WMFS spokesman said: “We would like to take this opportunity to again extend our sympathies to everyone affected by Sunday night’s events in which, tragically, a woman lost her life.

“The man who was rescued remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital.”

The spokesman added: “Extensive investigations at the scene of the explosion are now complete.

“Demolition work on Tuesday enabled investigators to safely access and test sections of the property’s internal gas piping.

“They have concluded that the explosion was most likely caused by the accidental and inadvertent ignition of a large escape of gas from a joint in the pipework.”

West Midlands Police officers are also gathering evidence for HM Coroner and family liaison officers continue to support those most directly affected.

The Health and Safety Executive will continue to make enquiries as to whether any work-related activities contributed towards the incident.

The WMFS spokesman added: “We are extremely grateful to the families involved, and to the local community, for their understanding and patience throughout the initial emergency response and the subsequent investigation.

“The community has been fantastic in the aftermath of this tragedy, offering support and shelter to those affected, and we would like to thank everyone involved in that effort.”

The Kingstanding Inn has stopped accepting donations of items for those affected by the blast after being deluged by people bringing clothes and food.

Kingstanding Councillor Rick Payne said: “On behalf of those who have done a stellar job of collecting items for the Dulwich Road relief I just want to make everybody aware they there has been an overwhelming response.

“Thank you everyone that has donated for your generosity, The Kingstanding Inn has been absolutely inundated and has asked me to inform residents that they are no longer taking any donations.

“There was a massive surplus and as a result, following a meeting of the charities who have been working within the community over the past few days, a decision has been made to donate the surplus items to local schools and charities.”

A GoFundMe campaign was also set up by Kingstanding resident Sam Wellings, who lives on Birdbrook Road. At the time of writing £2,365 had been raised in donations.

For more on the GoFundMe ‘Kingstanding house explosion’ campaign visit: www.gofundme.com/f/kingstanding-house-explosion

NEWS: Community vigil to be held one week after Dulwich Road house explosion

By Erdington Local editorial team

A vigil is being held on Dulwich Road on Sunday 3 July, marking a week after the tragic gas explosion.

At 7pm the community will come together to mark the moment the blast ripped through the Kingstanding home, killing Doreen Rees-Bibb and seriously injuring a man who remains in hospital.

Several people were made also homeless from the incident, and the Kingstanding community rallied round this week by raising money, giving donations, and offering support.

Sunday’s 7pm vigil will be to remember Doreen, age 79, who was killed in the blast, and to show solidarity for the man still fighting for his life. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Kingstanding resident Cassie Harker said:  “Everyone is going at 7pm we are all lighting the candles at the time the explosion happened.

“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone represent our community and come together as one.”

There has been a massive outpouring of grief for “fun-loving grandmother” Doreen, who died at the scene.

Her daughter Karen led the tributes to her mother saying: “We are so devastated that me and my sister have loss our mother Doreen in a fire, it’s the most terrible way to die. We miss her so much.”

Doreen was a popular figure around Erdington and Kingstanding and friends who remember her enjoying nights in The Acorn and the former HQ, now the Pheasant Plucker, on High Street, flooded social media with fond memories.

Former karaoke DJ at HQ Gary Neale said: “She was my friend, and a lovely lady.”

Several people who she had helped in the past by giving sage advice and support also mourned her loss.

Maureen Harwood said: “I’m so sorry, she was such a good friend to me, and helped me.”

Alex Stanley said: “I can’t believe it is true, Doreen was such an angel, I am absolutely heartbroken. She was always asking about me, telling me to get out of Birmingham saying “Alex you are better than this place”. RIP and party hard up there.”

Eight families were forced out of their damaged houses and there have been several fundraising drives to help them, with the Kingstanding Inn, Second City Bar and Lounge, and the Beggars Bush all accepting donations.

Kingstanding resident Sam Wellings, Birdbrook Road, also set up a Go Fund Me which has so far received over £2000 in donations.

Rachael Pike-Franklin said last night (Tuesday):  “We are working alongside some of the families in our community at the Kingstanding Inn the clothes donations have been phenomenal and we are truly grateful for everyone who has been a part of collecting and donating .

“For now we have been asked to not accept anymore clothes donations but are looking for fresh food products to help feed the families in our community at this tragic time.”

Investigations into the cause of the explosion are still ongoing. However, gas suppliers Cadent have confirmed their role in the investigation is over.

Elliott Nelson, Cadent network director for the West Midlands said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those impacted and everyone in this close-knit community.

“Since the incident, our engineers have been on site working with the emergency services.

“Following a thorough investigation, we can confirm that the gas mains and service pipes in the area are sound and were not the cause of the incident in Kingstanding. The matter now lies with other agencies for further investigation.”

A for sale advert for the house posted two months ago included information about the boiler, which “needed replacing”.

West Midlands Fire Service investigators remain at the scene trying to find the exact cause of the explosion.

In a recent public update, WMFS told: “Wed 29 June, it is likely that demolition work will be needed at the scene, following which the next stage of investigations can be planned.”

For more on the GoFundMe ‘Kingstanding house explosion’ campaign visit: www.gofundme.com/f/kingstanding-house-explosion

NEWS: ‘Bravery and generosity’ – Kingstanding community rally round to support victims of Dulwich Road explosion

Words by Erdington Local editorial team – pics from West Midlands Fire Service

The bravery and generosity of the Kingstanding community has shone through following the tragic house explosion last night.

In the minutes after the blast, 15 local residents tried to save those trapped in the rubble of the burning Dulwich Road house.

And within hours, donations for the families in the houses destroyed or damaged began pouring in and a JustGiving page fundraising page started.

One woman died during the gas explosion; she is believed to be a pensioner who lived in the destroyed house. A man is being treated in Queen Elizabeth Hospital for serious injuries and another four people were treated for minor injuries at the scene.

One house was totally destroyed, three were seriously damaged, and several cars were hit by flying debris. West Midlands Fire Service confirmed 21 people were evacuated from their homes, some stayed with family members and others were found emergency accommodation.

Several people were taken to the Kingstanding Inn, Warren Farm Road.

Kathy, the landlady, said: “After the tragic events of last night, we want the community to know we are happy to help.

“We currently have TCI with us which is a local community charity, and have housed those in need overnight.

“Should anyone need clothing, food, or just somewhere safe to chat, please pop in anytime. One thing this has shown is how our community can pull together.”

Young father Callum Attwood raced into the home to save a stricken resident, but after being praised as a hero by the national media wanted to set the record straight this afternoon.

He said: “I don’t want no credit for any of this there was another 10-15 lads in the garden helping and doing much more. I don’t want no credit for this.”

However, despite his modesty Callum and his fellow rescuers have been hailed heroes by thousands of people of social media.

Kiara Parkinson said: “People can say what they like about Kingstanding but when it comes to it we’re some bloody good people, Callum Attwood and anybody else who put themselves at risk running into a house that’s literally burning to help others in these horrific circumstances should be so proud of themselves.”

Kingstanding resident Sam Wellings, who lives on Birdbrook Road, set up a Go Fund Me page to help the ‘immediate victims of the Kingstanding house explosion.’ At the time of writing the page had received nearly £800 in donations.

He said: “Such an unpredicted accident which will leave many temporarily homeless.

“The money will be donated directly to the immediate victims to cover costs of temporary accommodation, clothing, food and anything else needed in such a tragic time.

“I don’t personally know those affected by the tragedy but as a resident of Kingstanding also I feel the community can support those affected.

Two young girls have been left “with just the clothes on their back” and Claire Deleon is also collecting donations for those in need and has already organised a charity night at Second City, Kingstanding Circle.

She said: “We are doing a collection of anything you have or can donate food, baby supplies, blankets, anything you can think of that can help the family’s out effected from the fire.

“Come on people let’s all pull together as a community, anybody can drop stuff into Second City and just let a member of staff know it’s for the collection, we will also be doing a charity day/night Friday with a live singer, there will be a collection pot, football cards etc on the day and night so please come and join us.”

The club are also donating 50p of every drink sold on Friday 1 July to help support that affected by the blast.

For more on Second City Sports Bar and Lounge visit www.facebook.com/secondcitybar.lounge

For more on the GoFundMe ‘Kingstanding house explosion’ campaign visit: www.gofundme.com/f/kingstanding-house-explosion

NEWS: Suspected gas explosion on Dulwich Road destroys house – leaving one woman dead and man with “life threatening” injuries

By Erdington Local editorial team – with images from WMFS and local residents

A woman was killed and a man is left fighting for his life after a believed gas explosion destroyed a house on Dulwich Road, Kingstanding, early evening yesterday.

Three other houses and surround vehicles suffered “significant damage” from the blast, which tore a hole through the quiet suburban street at around 8:38pm on Sunday 26 June.

A statement released by West Midlands Fire Service at 9:23am on Monday, 27 June, confirmed:

“We’re saddened to confirm that a woman has been found dead at the scene of the explosion.

“The man who was taken to hospital informed us there may have been another person in the property where the explosion happened.

“The woman’s body was recovered overnight. Our thoughts and sympathies are with everyone affected.

“We would like to thank members of the local community for their continued support, understanding and patience.”

The woman’s body was not immediately recovered, but following the explosion people at the scene were able to rescure a man trapped in the wreckage, who was then taken “on blue lights” to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after sustaining “life threatening” injuries.

Four further men were assessed by ambulance crews at the scene and discharged with “minor conditions”.

Following multiple reports of an explosion, with reports of it being heard over miles away from the scene, emergency services and utility companies were immediately called to the scene – including West Midlands Fire and Ambulance Services, the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), the MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic, West Midlands CARE team, and an emergency planner.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “One property has been completely destroyed with three others badly damaged. Cars have also been damaged.

“A man was helped from the property by people at the scene but had suffered very serious injuries.

“After assessment and treatment at the scene, he was taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham with the MERIT team travelling with the ambulance.  His condition on arrival at hospital was described as life threatening.

“Four further men have been assessed by ambulance crews for minor conditions but have been discharged at the scene.

“Members of the Hazardous Area Response Team continue to work with specialist firefighters at the scene.”

Once emergency services arrived at the scene, the affected and surrounding properties were evacuated, with a search and rescue dog and handler mobilised at the scene – with an additional search and rescue dog from Lancashire requested to assist.

West Midlands Fire Service eventually took over command of the incident, reporting “good progress is being made by crews at the scene” by the early hours of Monday morning.

Drones were in operation to identify any possible “hot spots” with Fire Investigation teams deployed “during daylight hours” to further explore the scene.

After appealing for witnesses online, West Midlands Police had fielded responses from hundreds of concerned residents – many extending thoughts and prayers to anyone affected, offering help and support.

Some people also reached out looking for loved ones who lived on Dulwich Road, near the site of the explosion, with West Midlands Police helping them track down friends and relatives.

Others claimed they could hear the blast all across Erdington, with one local resident, Cheryl Meehan, stating: “I’ve never heard an explosion so loud & I’m about a mile away. Hope everyone involved from emergency services find the actual cause.

“Can’t be easy on a sunny evening when many people were outside. Thoughts are with injured parties & those living nearby in shock.”

Lesley Anne Slim said: “Hope everyone is OK our house shook were like 3 miles away.”

Emma Harrop added: “I heard and felt this in the centre of Sutton. My goodness it was strong, I just thought it was a particularly weird thunder clap. That’s so awful.”

Kingstanding Councillor Rick Payne was at the scene following the explosion. He told Erdington Local:

“One house has been destroyed whilst the adjoining houses have been seriously damaged, additionally houses close to the blast have sustained damage to windows and structures.

“I am here to work with the City Council haven spoken to the Chief Exec to ensure that the City Council can work towards accommodating those who have been evacuated either as a direct result of the explosion or as a precaution whilst the Emergency Services work.

I hope that there are no serious casualties and that all those affected by this incident can be returned to their homes as soon as possible.”

A statement issued by West Midlands Police later confirmed: “All emergency services and utility companies are that the scene of a house explosion on Dulwich Road, Kingstanding, Birmingham.

“One house is destroyed with others significantly damaged. Cars have also been damaged. Evacuations are taking place. Those evacuated will be told where to meet. People in the area must immediately follow the instructions of first responders.

“Dulwich Road and surround roads are closed and will be for a very long time. Please help us by avoiding the area.”

Watch live footage from the scene after suspected gas explosion on Dulwich Road

NEWS: Watch amazing public response to driver trapped in overturned car – following crash on Church Road

Words by Ed King

On Friday 24 June, a driver flipped their car onto its side following a road traffic collision on Church Road.

Miraculously the driver was unhurt, and after being assessed by emergency services at the scene was discharged without needing hospital attention – despite the severity of the crash. The van driver involved was also unharmed.

Although West Midlands Fire Service only took two minutes to arrive at the scene after mobilisation, the general public and eyewitnesses to the crash were also heroes of the day – rushing to the lone driver’s aid and pulling them from the wreckage.

After trying to open the car door, which was jammed shut following the impact of the crash, people at the scene used cardboard and an axe to pull out the shattered back window – eventually being able to reach the stunned driver who was trapped inside.

In a fantastic show of community and compassion, passers-by immediately rallied round to support the victim of the crash – finding bedding and soft materials for them to rest on until the emergency services arrived.

The first at the scene were West Midlands Fire Brigade, who took confident control of the situation – checking for any potential danger and securing the road, whilst administering roadside care to the driver who was shaken by thankfully not seriously hurt.

In amazing footage taken by Andreea Neagu, a local resident who lives near the scene of the crash, you can see the incredible public response as people fought their way into the upturned vehicle to rescue the driver.

There is also footage of the impressive response by West Midlands Fire Service, who put themselves on the line every day to keep the public safe.

After sending the footage to Erdington Local, Andreea Neagu said: “I would like to say that I am really proud to be part of such a great community.

“Even though I was shocked about the scene, the image of all this people trying to help the poor woman got me in tears. All be blessed!”

An official statement from West Midlands Fire Service added: “On Friday 24 June at 11.43am, West Midlands Fire Service were called to reports of a road traffic collision on Church Road, Erdington.

“Crews from Aston and Erdington Fire Stations attended the incident and the first appliance was on the scene within 2 minutes of mobilisation.

“Crews made the scene and vehicles safe following a collision involving 5 cars and a van. Four of the vehicles were parked.

“Our colleagues from West Midlands Police and West Midlands Ambulance Service were also in attendance at the scene, with one person receiving a precautionary check up at the scene. No-one was trapped in the vehicles.”

Erdington Local would like to thank every member of the public who helped at the scene, and to commend West Midlands Fire Service for their incredible response.

However it is important to ensure the saftey of anyone involved in an accident, as any untrained moving could cause more damage.

We hope the driver is OK and has the right support around them – if they need any assistance, please contact our editor: edking@erdingtonlocal.com

Public rescue driver from car crash on Church Road

West Midlands Fire Service at the scene of car crash on Church Road

NEWS: Local driver escapes serious injury in overturned car crash on Church Road

Words by Ed King and Gary O’Brien

A local driver narrowly escaped serious injury or death after overturning their car on Church Road earlier today.

At around 11:40am on Friday 24 June, emergency services were called to an incident on Church Road – just by Erdington Aquatics – involving a car and a van who had collided, with the car flipping dramatically on to its side.

Three other stationary cars were also damaged in the collision.

Miraculously, the lone driver of the car was assessed on site and discharged without needing hospital attention – despite the severity of the crash. The van driver involved was also unharmed.

Emergency services were quick to respond, with West Midlands Fire Service reaching the scene within two minutes of mobilisation.

In serious road traffic collisions, the difference between life and death can be determined in seconds, and the immediate response from Erdington’s emergency services could have played a crucial role if those involved in the accident were more seriously injured.

West Midlands Ambulance Service were also called to the accident, sending an ambulance and a paramedic officer.

Although after assessment at the scene, those involved in the collision were given advice and guidance but did not need hospital treatment.

One Erdington local resident who witnessed the crash, Andreea Neagu, posted on the Next Door website: “Accident on Church Rd, Erdington. The driver lady is ok. The fire department got here really fast. Another 3 cars hit. Please drive safe.”

An official statement from West Midlands Fire Service said: “On Friday 24 June at 11.43am, West Midlands Fire Service were called to reports of a road traffic collision on Church Road, Erdington.

“Crews from Aston and Erdington Fire Stations attended the incident and the first appliance was on the scene within 2 minutes of mobilisation.

“Crews made the scene and vehicles safe following a collision involving 5 cars and a van. Four of the vehicles were parked.

“Our colleagues from West Midlands Police and West Midlands Ambulance Service were also in attendance at the scene, with one person receiving a precautionary check up at the scene. No-one was trapped in the vehicles.”

A spokesperson from West Midlands Ambulance Service added: “We were called at 11.39am to reports of a road traffic collision involving one car on Church Road, Erdington. One ambulance and a paramedic officer attended the scene.

“Upon arrival we found the driver of the car. She was assessed and had injuries not believed to be serious.

“She received self care advice and was discharged at the scene.”

A statement from West Midlands Police confirmed: “This was a non-injury RTC (road traffic collision). The matter is in the hands of the insurer.”

NEWS: Shock verdict as all defendants found not guilty of murder in Dea John Reid trial

Words by Ed King

After three days of deliberation, the jury for the Dea John Reid murder trial delivered their verdict at Birmingham Crown Court today – finding all the defendants not guilty of murder and assisting an offender.

One of the minors accused of murder, the teenager that delivered the fatal blow, was found guilty of manslaughter, with sentencing set for 5 May.

With all five defendants accused of murder as a joint enterprise, once one verdict of not guilty was returned it paved the way for the rest to likewise be acquitted of murder.

Hollie Davis (36, Castle Bromwich) who had been on bail after being charged with assisting an offender, was also found not guilty.

The others found not guilty of any crime, including George Khan (39, Kingstanding) and Michael Shields (36, Castle Bromwich) – who had been remanded on custody since their arrest – would be back home as soon as the court could process the relevant paperwork for their release.

In a case that has gone on for almost a year, tears of relief were shed both inside and outside the courtroom as friends and family members of those accused had been waiting at Birmingham Crown Court since Monday to hear the jury’s verdict.

Dea John Reid was fatally stabbed on Collage Road in Kingstanding on 31 May 2021, following incidents earlier in the day where he and a group he was with had attempted to rob the minors eventually accused of his murder.

Throughout the trial, extensive CCTV footage had showed Dea John Reid and his group coming into Kingstanding from Perry Barr – including the moments when both groups had met and the attempted robbery had taken place.

If found guilty of murder, the adults accused could have spent the rest of their lives in prison – with a ‘whole life order’ as a possible starting point for sentencing. As minors, the teenagers accused could have faced custodial sentences of a minimum of 12 years before being eligible for parole.

Before the jury returned to deliver their verdict, the presiding judge – Mr Justice Johnson – asked members of the public present to “control themselves” as the court would not tolerate any “outbursts” once the verdict had been read.

Dressed in white shirts and black ties, George Khan and Michael Shields hung their heads and looked down at the floor upon hearing the verdict of not guilty – with both wiping tears of relief from their faces.

However, for Dea John Reid’s mother and brother, who were present in the courtroom as the jury delivered their verdict, the judgement was a bitter blow for a family that has suffered such a tragic loss – as no murder charge was upheld.

Dea John Reid’s family, accompanied by Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, left Birmingham Crown Court calmly and quickly, and were initially unavailable for comment.

In a later statement, as the official family spokesperson, Bishop Jaddoo stated:

“Dea John was a well loved, brother and uncle. His family are mortified at the verdict and are of the opinion that is no justice for Dea John.

“The evidence clearly shows intent with a young man with a balaclava over his face and wearing a hood chasing Dea John with a knife and inflicting a stab wound to his (Dea John) chest and is not reflected in the jury’s decision.

“Many will say, where is the justice for Dea John.”

Bishop Jaddoo went on the say, on behalf of Dea John’s family, that whilst they were “mortified” with the verdict they wanted to thank West Midlands Police for the “support and the thorough investigation” they had conducted.

Kate Seal, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, stated: “I cannot begin to imagine the crippling sense of loss felt by Dea-John’s family and friends.

“The verdict of manslaughter will not undo the devastation felt by so many at the senseless loss of a young life.

“Such unnecessary violence has no place in our society and the death of Dea-John Reid should have never happened.

“The irrational use of violence that is now prevalent on our streets and in our communities must cease if we are to prevent further tragedies among our youth. While no verdict can return Dea-John to his family, my thoughts remain with them.”

Sentencing for the minor now found guilty of manslaughter will take place at Birmingham Crown Court on 5 May.