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Dyfed Powys Police

Arrest after fourth person dies in Pembrokeshire paddleboarding incident

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Dyfed Powys Police have arrested a South Wales woman on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter as part of their investigation into last weeks paddleboarding tragedy on the River Cleddau in Haverfordwest.

She has been released under investigation.

The move comes as a fourth person, 41 year-old Andrea Powell from the Bridgend area, who was in hospital following the incident has now died.

Calls for help were received shortly after 9am on Saturday 20 October, after a group of nine adults paddleboarding on the River Cleddau in Haverfordwest got into difficulty.

Dyfed Powys Police say that the exact circumstances surrounding the incident is still being investigated.

Three other people, Morgan Rogers, 24, from Cefin Coed, Merthyr Tydfil; Nicola Wheatley, 40, from Pontardulais, Swansea and Paul O’Dwyer, 42, from Sandfields, Port Talbot died at the scene.

A large multi-agency rescue operation was launched following the incident, including 30 specialist firefighters, two fire boats, coastguard and helicopter assistance from National Police Air Service, Coastguard and Wales Air Ambulance.

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A further five people were rescued without injury.

(Lead image: Christian Still / Creative Commons)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Eight assaults EVERY DAY on Welsh emergency workers in first six months of 2021

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Eight assaults every day were committed against Welsh emergency workers during the first six months of this year, new figures have revealed.

More than 1,360 assaults were committed in the six-month period from 01 January 2021 – 30 June 2021.

They included kicking, slapping, head-butting and verbal abuse, and ranged from common assault to serious premediated attacks involving grievous bodily harm.

At least 21 incidents involved a weapon.

With Christmas fast approaching – the time of year when assaults traditionally spike – emergency workers are asking the public to treat them with respect.

Jason Killens, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been a fraught time for all of us, but that’s no excuse to assault an emergency worker, who are normal human beings just trying to do a job.

“The run-up to Christmas means more people are out enjoying the revelry, and with alcohol consumption comes an increase in assaults, both physical and verbal.

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“There were 60 verbal attacks alone on our ambulance control room staff in the first six months of the year.

“We know it’s distressing when you’re waiting for help, but abusing our call handlers is not the answer – if anything, it could potentially delay help.

“On the road meanwhile, crews might have no choice but to leave a scene if their safety is compromised, and that’s not helpful for anyone, especially the patient.

“The debt of gratitude we owe to our emergency workers has never been greater, so we’re asking the public to work with us, not against us this Christmas.”

Almost half (47%) of assaults in the six-month period took place in South East Wales; Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Bridgend are among the most prolific local authority areas.

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Offenders aged 26-35 account for the highest portion of offending (24%), while a third of incidents involved people under the influence of alcohol.

May 2021 saw the highest volume of assaults (281) as the hospitality industry re-opened in Wales after the second Covid-19 lockdown.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, there have been at least 36 incidents where an emergency worker has been deliberately coughed at.

Assaults on police account for two thirds (67%) of the total number, averaging 152 victims every month in the six-month period.

Claire Parmenter, Temporary Chief Constable at Dyfed Powys Police, said: “Assaults on police officers continue to increase and this is completely unacceptable. 

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“Assault is a traumatic offence that causes great distress to anyone, and it is no different when the victim is an emergency worker.

“In September, we saw a man handed a 26-week prison sentence suspended for two years after he violently attacked two of our police officers who had gone to his aid.

“Concerned for his safety, they gave him a lift home – and in return both were physically injured.

“The psychological impact on both officers is something they will take time to recover from.

“In the same month alone, three officers carrying out their duties suffered injuries in an unprovoked attack at the hands of the man they were trying to arrest.

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“Despite the offender’s efforts, the officers were able to arrest him although they were left with injuries.

“The offender appeared in court the day after his arrest, where he was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

“Assaults such as these stay with the victims for the rest of their careers, and none of my officers and staff should have to go to work serving the public and be afraid of being assaulted.

“With the upcoming season of goodwill, please respect and protect our emergency workers.”

Although fewer in number – 22 incidents over the six-month period – March 2021 saw an unexplained rise in assaults on fire service colleagues, especially in South Wales.

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Chief Fire Officer Huw Jakeway QFSM from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Our emergency services work hard every day keeping the public safe and should not have to deal with abuse.

“Attacks on crews while protecting our communities and keeping people safe is completely unacceptable.

“Our blue light services come to work to serve and protect the public and the impact of such assaults can lead to life-changing consequences for those involved.

“This type of behaviour is, of course, carried out by a very small minority, and we once again thank our communities for their continued support in working with us this festive season to stay safe.”

Under the Assault on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act, the definition of an emergency worker includes police, fire and ambulance staff, as well as prison staff and NHS workers.

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Judith Paget, Chief Executive of NHS Wales, said: “Our emergency workers provide life-saving and life-changing care every day in often difficult circumstances.

“Our NHS staff are preparing for a challenging Christmas period so now, more than ever, they deserve to be treated with respect.

“Any form of attack on our emergency workers is completely unacceptable and we are doing everything we can to work with NHS Wales employers and our partner agencies to eradicate physical or verbal assaults on staff.”

Last week, UK Government announced that it was introducing a new law that will mean a mandatory life sentence for those who kill an emergency worker in the course of their duty.

The Ministry of Justice said it would aim to pass ‘Harper’s Law’ in England and Wales – in memory of Thames Valley Police PC Andrew Harper, who was killed in the line of duty in 2019 – as soon as possible.

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The With Us, Not Against Us campaign was launched in May 2021 by the Joint Emergency Service Group in Wales to try and reduce the number of assaults on emergency workers.

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Dyfed Powys Police

Parents warned of pitfalls of buying e-scooters this Christmas

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Thinking of buying an e-scooter as a gift this Christmas? You may want to rethink that idea.

Dyfed-Powys Police are reminding people that privately owned e-scooters are illegal to ride on public roads, pavements, parks and cycle paths.

Anyone caught doing so risks being issued with a £300 fine, six penalty points on their driving licence and having the e-scooter seized.

E-scooters can only be used on private land with the permission of the landowner.

Chief Inspector Thomas Sharville from Dyfed Powys Police’s Specialist Operations Department, said: “I would remind anyone considering purchasing an e-scooter as a Christmas gift that it is illegal to use a privately owned e-scooter on public roads, pavements or cycle paths.

“Their speed and silence can pose a significant danger to other road users and pedestrian safety, especially vulnerable pedestrians.

“Please consider a more suitable, and safer, gift for your loved ones

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“Retailers may be happy to sell one to you but it could be seized the moment you attempt to use it in a public place.”

For any driver or motorcyclist that has passed their driving test in the last two years getting caught using an eScooter could result in a driving disqualification and the need to re-take both the theory and practical driving test.

Trials of rental e-scooters are taking place in some parts of England, but people are warned that they should only be used within the local area hosting the trial.

(Lead image: Varla Scooter / Pexels.com)

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Carmarthenshire

Llanelli drink-driver jailed for causing death of baby in collision

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A drink-driver who caused the death of a six-month-old baby girl last month has been convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.

Lucy Dyer, aged 23, of Heulwen Terrace, Llanelli, admitted causing the death of Eva Maria Nichifor by dangerous driving during a hearing at Swansea Crown Court yesterday (15 November).

Dyer was arrested on Friday, 8th October, following the collision on Heol Goffa, Llanelli, where she failed to stop at a give way junction and crashed into a vehicle being driven by Eva Maria’s father, Florin.

Passenger Eva Maria sustained un-survivable head injuries and tragically passed away at the University of Wales Hospital Cardiff the following day.

Dyer answered ‘no comment’ when interviewed by police and was subsequently charged with causing death by dangerous driving and driving whilst over the prescribed limit and was remanded in custody.

Dyer provided a specimen of 46 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35. 

The junction of Heol Goffa and Corporation Avenue in Llanelli where the collision took place (Image: Google Maps)

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Eva Maria’s mum Carmen said: “I came to this country to assure a better life for my family and ended up tearing it apart.

“Since this tragedy has happened, I couldn’t sleep, I ate very rarely and when I close my eyes we only see her, my husband could no longer work, my mother too and we couldn’t make a living, we encountered difficulties in communicating with the police, the hospital, the insurance, things we probably shouldn’t have encountered.

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“In the house where we live, we can’t see our place there without our little Eva because everywhere we look, we see only memories of her, how happy she was with us and how we learned with her what happiness means.

“The house is empty without her, we can no longer stay in the room where we used to live with her where we used to play all the time, now I can’t go into the room because I remember how happy she was when the 3 of us were together.

“We are low on morale and what we want is justice for our baby because she was taken from us too soon.”

Lead investigator PS Sara John, of Dyfed Powys Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Lucy Dyer’s decision to drive in the manner she did and whilst over the prescribed limit has completely destroyed the lives of Eva Maria’s family.

“The devastation she has caused can never be undone and no sentence passed today could ever be enough. 

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“Eva Maria’s parents have shown remarkable strength and dignity throughout this investigation.”

Dyer, who also admitted a charge of drink driving, was banned from driving for five years with an extended test pass requirement.

(Lead image: Dyfed Powys Police / Family photo)

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