and victim: Michael Sams and Stephanie Slater
Great Barr estate agent Stephanie Slater suffered an eight-day
ordeal at the hands of a kidnapper who got away with a £175,000
Stephanie was seized by chisel-wielding Michael Sams as she showed
him around a house in Turnberry Road and spent part of her time
in captivity blindfolded.
Dumped at 1am on January 30 only a few hundred yards from her
home, she walked the rest of the way and and threw herself into
the arms of her parents.
At a press conference later, she said she never believed she would
be killed - Sams had assured her of that.
But she admitted her "sheer absolute terror", not knowing what
was going to happen to her.
Smiling weakly, the former pupil of Churchfields High School,
West Bromwich, told how she lived on soup, porridge and lots of
Kit-Kats during her ordeal.
"I don't know how I kept going, I just tried not to think what
was happening to me," she said.
During the kidnap newspapers, TV and radio bosses agreed a news
blackout to give the police the chance to run a massive undercover
Lenny and Dawn's surprise: Dudley-born comic and his comedienne
wife Dawn French revealed they had adopted a little girl, Billie.
had planned to have their mixed-race daughter christened at The
Church of God of Prophecy in Brierley Hill where Lenny's mum was
But the plans were ditched after Lenny refused to let any Press
photographers attend. He had already sworn his family to secrecy
over the proposed christening.
Instead the couple held an invitation-only service near their
home in Berkshire.
He told the Express & Star in a letter: "I appreciate that
your readers are interested in my career but I'd like some aspects
of my private life to remain private.
"I decided rather than turn this important occasion in our lives
into a circus sideshow, my daughter should be blessed quietly in
a local church."
Lenny and Dawn had waited six months before announcing the adoption.
Tension rises as temples are hit by arsonists: Fears that India's
religious violence was spilling over into Britain were sparked in
December following three fires which destroyed one West Bromwich Hindu
temple and damaged two others in Birmingham and Coventry.
Arsonists were blamed for the fire which gutted the Shree Krishna
Temple in Black Lake in the early hours - and religious leaders
estimated the damage as running into "millions of pounds."
The cost included severely damaged statues said to be irreplaceable.
Temple officials at West Bromwich called for calm amid fears that
the fire was prompted by religious violence in India.
The Black Lake blaze followed a spate of similar incidents at
Hindu temples on the same night in Birmingham, Coventry, and Bolton.
There had been earlier attacks on temples in Derby and Bradford.
An attempt to fire the Hindu temple in Birmingham's Sparkbrook
was unsuccessful when a petrol bomb failed to set the building ablaze.
An Arabic slogan was daubed on the wall of the Pragati Mandir
Krishna temple and police believed the attack was motivated by religious
upheaval in India.
MP airs laundry issue: Wolverhampton MP Dennis Turner was backed
by local residents when in December he launched a fight to halt the
proposed shut-down of loss-making laundries in multi-storey flats.
The MP put down a Commons motion, to be signed by MPs, calling
on Wolverhampton Council to re-think the proposal.
Mr Turner maintained there was a "weight of feeling" against the
Under the plan 62 laundries would go by April 1993 unless tenants
associations or private firms came up with acceptable offers to
run them free of council subsidy.
Council urges government to rethink plan: Wolverhampton's Tory-led
council called on the Government in October to back-pedal on legislation
aimed at clamping down on gipsy families and "new age" travellers
- because it could hit property owners.
It was feared that some of the Government proposals could leave
the door open to more invasions of council and privately-owned land
in the town.
The council's policy committee decided to protest to the Environment
Department over the plan.
Councillor Malcolm Gwinnett, told the committee that the proposals
would leave Wolverhampton to pick up the bills for planned improvements
to the Showell Road gipsy transit camp in the town.
Big hike in price of school meals: The price of school meals
in Dudley were set to rise to 1 a day in October - making them the
most expensive in the West Midlands.
The need for a hike in dinner money was blamed on the increase
in the number of free dinners Dudley local authority was having
And there was a warning that there could be job cuts in the council's
catering division if hard-up parents could not pay and fewer meals
The council's deputy chief education officer, Don Moss, said in
a report that meals were costing the local authority 1.2 million
It was revealed that a 15p increase would make Dudley's dinners
the most expensive in the West Midlands, Staffordshire, Shropshire
In brief . . . Wolverhampton Council unveiledplans to shut
down three secondary schools in June.
In a row over safety and maintenance, West Midlands Travel was
ordered in October to have all its 1,800 vehicles MoT tested.
A vice girl was robbed at gunpoint in December by a client immediately
after having sex with him in Walsall. Police were alerted after
the 20-year-old victim ran to a factory and told workers what had