Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
AN OFFICIAL paving stone commemorating Stratford-upon-Avon’s forgotten war hero for the 100th anniversary of the First World War will be placed in the town, the government has confirmed. Rex Warneford – the first man to single-handedly shoot down a zeppelin - was ignored in the government’s initial plans to recognise Victoria Cross winners because he was born abroad in India. The Herald launched a campaign, together with King Edward VI school, where Rex lived and studied for five years, to get the fighter pilot recognised.
A GANG who broke into a disabled man’s home in Alcester, in a bid to steal his prescribed supply of morphine, fled when their victim began firing at them with a BB gun.
But a police dog followed a trail from the scene of the burglary to the home of one of the gang members, just a quarter of a mile away.
At Warwick Crown Court, Laurence Rawlins, aged 52, of Avon Crescent, Alcester, was jailed for five-and-a-half years.
Rawlins, who had pleaded not guilty to the burglary, was found guilty following a trial by a majority of 11 to one, but continues to deny being involved.
During the trial it was said the victim of the burglary is registered disabled and has a hospital bed in the living room of his bungalow about a quarter of a mile from Rawlins’s home.
He has been described as being ‘exceptionally vulnerable’ and suffers from a variety of conditions including a number of tumours on his spinal cord.
Because he is in severe pain for a lot of the time as a result of his condition, he takes a combination of strong pain-killers including morphine, which he keeps in a safe.
In September 2012, he was at his home with a friend shortly after midnight when three or four men burst in, with black scarves over the lower part of their faces. They began shouting at the victim and his friend in a bid to intimidate them.
But the man had a BB gun which, despite his condition, he managed to grab – and the intruders fled as he began firing plastic pellets at them.
Rawlins was arrested after a police dog followed a trail from the scene of the burglary to his home, and he was later picked out on an identity procedure by the victim.
Following an adjournment for a pre-sentence report to be prepared, prosecutor Gerald Bermingham said that Rawlins had previous convictions, but had never been jailed and his only convictions in recent years had been for begging.
Nick Devine, defending, pointed out: “He continues to deny his involvement in this offence, so there is little I can say by way of mitigation.”
He commented that Rawlins had been given ‘a totally unrealistic expectation of what might happen’ by the author of the report who had recommended a non-custodial sentence.
Mr Devine, who said that Rawlins does not do drugs any more, added: “When he goes to prison today, it’s going to be a first and salutary experience for him.”
It was not referred to in court, but in July last year a 16-year-old youth was sentenced to four years detention for his part in a later raid on the same victim’s home.
On that occasion the intruders, one of whom had a gun, attacked a visitor before fleeing when the man fired at them.
Jailing Rawlins, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano said the group had targeted their victim for his supply of morphine, and despite his continued claims of innocence, she had to sentence him in accordance with the jury’s verdict.
She told him: “The only reason it came to nothing is that your victim had the presence of mind to get a BB gun and shoot at you all.
“This is an extremely vulnerable man who suffers from considerable pain and is targeted in his own home in the early hours of the morning.”
And referring to sentencing guidelines, she added: “There was clearly planning, it was a group attack, and it is aggravated by the fact that disguises were worn. It must fall high in the range.”