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Police and Crime

Offenders to pay back society more visibly under £90 million plan

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Offenders’ community punishments will be better focused on paying back society, the Deputy Prime Minister vowed today.

Up to £93 million extra will be invested over the next 3 years to increase the community work undertaken by offenders to around 8 million hours per year.

The funding will be used to recruit 500 more community work supervisors and develop new national partnerships between the Probation Service and major organisations. There will be a particular focus on outdoor projects that help improve the environment and allow the public to see justice being done.

Offenders will clean up hundreds of miles of rivers and canals every year under the first such agreement. The deal with the Canal and River Trust will see offenders make reparation to their local communities by clearing litter, tidying tow paths and maintaining beauty spots along the 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales.

The move is designed to restore the public’s confidence in community sentences by ensuring offenders are visibly atoning for their crimes in a way which benefits local people.

Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab MP said: “It is right that the offenders who have damaged their communities should be seen to pay back with their time and some hard graft.

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“With new projects such as the one run by The Canal and River Trust offenders will learn new skills and do their bit clearing and maintaining our country’s waterways.”

Offenders will wear a high-visibility “Community Payback” tabard while they work, and the initiative will also provide training opportunities for them to develop skills to boost their employability.

Probation services have previously worked with the Canal and River Trust on projects in the West Midlands and London and this new partnership will see that type of work replicated and expanded across England and Wales.

The government is aiming to sign a range of partnerships with national organisations over the coming months and is working with local authorities and Police and Crime Commissioners to identify new projects. It comes after the creation of the new Probation Service in June which saw the government take on the delivery of unpaid work.

Community Payback will see a renewed focus on cleaning up streets, alleyways, housing estates and other open spaces, helping to cut crime and the fear of crime, and making a real difference to the quality of life for local people in neighbourhoods most affected by crime and anti-social behaviour.

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More than £300 million worth of extra funding has been pumped into the Probation Service since July 2019 helping to more than double the recruitment of trainee probation officers to a record high of 1,500 this financial year. Combined with the innovative use of tags, it means staff can keep a closer eye on the most dangerous offenders and ensure many more take up the opportunity to reform their criminal ways.

(Lead image: West Midlands Police / Wikimedia)

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Clydach

Review announces new forensic evidence linking Dai Morris to bloody sock found at scene of Clydach murders

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A review of issues relating to the conviction of David Morris for the murders of Mandy Power, her two daughters Katie and Emily and her mother Doris Dawson in Clydach in 1999 has led to significant findings as a result of analysing key forensic evidence.

A scientific link between Morris and a sock, widely accepted as being used by the offender during the killings, has now been identified during an independent investigative assessment of various matters raised by his legal representatives.

Scientific examination of the sock has identified the presence of a mixed *Y-STR profile using technology which would not have been available to the original investigation team over 20 years ago.

While the presence of a link to Morris (or a male relative of his paternal lineage) and the mixed Y-STR profile has been identified, the science cannot determine how or when this profile was transferred onto the exhibit, but the conclusion of scientists is that it is “more likely” that Morris contributed to the DNA profile found on two different areas of the blood-stained sock than if he did not contribute DNA to them.

Following the tragic events in Kelvin Road, Clydach in June 1999, South Wales Police carried out an extensive investigation into the murders and the scale of the investigation was the largest and most complex ever undertaken by a Welsh police force.

In 2002, David Morris was convicted of the murders by a unanimous verdict at Swansea Crown Court. His conviction was overturned on appeal due to a conflict of interest by a defence solicitor. A retrial was held at Newport Crown Court in 2006 and Morris was convicted again. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

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Mandy Power with her two daughters Katie and Emily murdered along with Mandy’s mother Doris by David Morris

The matter has been considered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission as recently as 2018. Following a thorough review of the case material they decided not to refer it to the Court of Appeal as no new evidence had been identified.

In November 2020, legal representatives of Morris contacted South Wales Police requesting the release of various exhibits from the investigation.

This request was the subject of careful consideration and the force decided on a course of action which involved the appointment of an independent senior investigating officer and an independent forensic laboratory to oversee a forensic review of the case material.

This work – carried out under the banner of Operation Dolomite – has been led by experienced detectives Steve Carey and Ian Ringrose, supported by police forensic expert David Lloyd, all of whom are from Devon & Cornwall Police. An independent forensic science laboratory, Cellmark Forensic Services, was commissioned to carry out forensic work.

Following the death of David Morris on 20th August 2021, permission was given by his family to obtain a blood sample to allow forensic examinations to take place.

Assistant Chief Constable David Thorne, of South Wales Police, said: “The decision to carry out an investigative assessment did not constitute a reopening or reinvestigation of the murders, nor did it demonstrate any lack of confidence in the conviction of Morris and the subsequent case reviews. Morris was convicted unanimously by a jury on the strength of the prosecution case and independent reviews by the Criminal Cases Review Commission have never identified any evidence which would determine the conviction to be unsafe.

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“However, the advancement of forensic technology has provided the opportunity for evidence-based answers to some of the questions which have been raised about forensic issues in this case, along with other matters raised by the BBC Wales documentary ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’. The appointment of Steve Carey and his team has ensured the review has been conducted with a layer of independence.”

The outcome of the investigative assessment has been communicated to the victims’ families, the family and legal representatives of Morris and others affected by this case.

Mr Carey said: “My team has carefully examined the issues raised and subject to the terms of reference for Operation Dolomite.

“In the opinion of the forensic scientist regarding these results – which were obtained from samples extracted from two separate areas of the sock at the time of the original forensic examination – it is more likely that David Morris (or a close paternal-line male relative of his) contributed DNA to them than if he did not.

“In relation to one sample, the lead forensic scientist has stated to me that in his opinion the low-level and incomplete mixed Y-STR result is as would be expected if Morris had contributed DNA to it. For another person to have contributed to it, the components must match by chance.

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“The scientist would have a very low expectation of selecting a male individual at random from the Western European population having components in their Y-STR profile being represented to the same extent as those in the Y-STR profile of Morris.

“To test this, an evaluative tool developed by Cellmark Forensic Services showed that from a dataset of 9,357 Western European males, no-one is represented to the same extent as the component in the Y-STR profile of Morris.

“It should be noted that the results do not allow the scientist to interpret how the DNA got onto the sock and therefore whether this was through directly touching the item or indirect transfer but the identification of this link has been possible due to the development of technology which would not have been available to the original investigation team.

“This is significant as the sock was recovered from the murder scene and it was widely accepted that it was used by the killer.

“The outcome of the forensic assessment and completion of further actions have not established any information that undermines the conviction of Morris. In my view, as the independent senior investigating officer, the new findings from the samples taken from the sock support the existing evidence that originally convicted him.”

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Operation Dolomite also investigated accounts provided by two witnesses who featured in the BBC documentary. They were interviewed by officers and several enquiries were conducted to try and corroborate and support their accounts.  All this evidence was shared with the Crown Prosecution Service. None of the information provided by the witnesses undermines the conviction of Morris.

ACC Thorne added: “Notwithstanding the fact that Morris has been convicted based on overwhelming evidence against him, South Wales Police has shown a commitment to providing evidence-based answers to the issues which have been raised about this case over many years.

“This commitment has now resulted in a forensic link between the convicted killer David Morris and an item of great significance which was recovered from the murder scene. South Wales Police commissioned the review in the hope that we could in some way provide closure for those most affected by the murders. In particular, those who lost three generations of the same family and have had to revisit those painful memories time and time again over the last two decades.

“The findings from Operation Dolomite will be shared with the Criminal Cases Review Commission to complete the due process and demonstrate transparency.  However, in the knowledge of the conclusions drawn from this review, South Wales Police would like to show respect to the family and those affected by these terrible crimes by finalising this case.

“Our thoughts as ever remain with the family of Mandy Power, her children Katie, aged 10, and Emily, eight, and her 80-year-old mother Doris, who still experience such painful memories even to this day.”

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Neath

Neath mother and sons dupe victims into investing over £300k in fraudulent business

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A Neath woman and her three sons were each sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for 12 months after pleading guilty to fifteen counts including Conspiracy to Commit Fraud, Obtaining Money by Deception and Fraud, following an investigation by the South Wales Police Economic Crime Unit.

Audrey Osborne, 65, and her sons Gary Moore, 43, Clayton Moore, 46 and Ian Moore, 44 all from Neath, ran a mortgage brokerage business; Credence Finance Limited which they used to submit falsely declared income on mortgage applications then set up a property development company; Dreamscape Homes Ltd. This was used to deceive victims into investing money.

Shareholders of Dreamscape Homes Ltd were persuaded to invest under the premise that the company was building five, five-bedroom executive houses. These investors were later told that due to planning delays, the project had changed to a 21-property development. Victims invested a total of £307,975 into this, the majority of which was transferred into Audrey and her sons accounts as if it were their own.

Investors included a retired teacher who put in a portion of his retirement lump sum, another teacher who invested funds obtained because of a critical illness, and a couple looking to invest to help secure financial security for their children.

Another victim was convinced to take out a mortgage in their own name, for one of the plots owned by Dreamscape Homes Ltd. The victim was assured by Osborne and her sons that Dreamscape would cover the monthly repayments, but these quickly stopped.

Financial Investigator, Craig Brown said: “The sheer amount of financial frauds that this family conducted against a large number of victims, and over the course of five years have made this investigation complex.

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“The victims of these crimes were people with the best intentions, trying to make life better for themselves and their families, and Osborne and the Moore’s took advantage of this for their own financial gain.

“The Economic Crime Unit and I work very hard to unravel often very complex financial crimes, and I hope that our investigation shows that this kind of criminality will not go unnoticed.”

 

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Killay

Killay assault investigation stood down as Police find incident ‘not as reported’

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South Wales Police have stood down an investigation into an alleged assault of a 15 year-old girl at Killay Shopping Precinct in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

A section outside a number of shops on Gower Road were cordoned off for much of Wednesday which investigations into the alleged assault took place.

While recognising the alarm caused by the alleged assault, South Wales Police have since released a statement saying that they are “no longer appealing for information to locate a suspect”.

“An extensive and thorough investigation has taken place into the alleged incident on Wednesday, October 13, and officers are now satisfied the incident was not as reported”, the statement added.

Detective Sergeant Meirian Evans said: “ We appreciate the alleged incident will have caused alarm within the local community, however I would like to reassure the public that reports of this nature are always taken seriously and are fully investigated.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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