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Dyfed Powys Police

Man jailed for life for brutal murder in unprovoked attack

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A man who stabbed his victim in the back seven times in a brutal attack has been jailed for life for his murder.

Ashley Keegan will serve a minimum of 20 years for the murder of 37-year-old John Bell in Cardigan on July 21 this year.

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The 22-year-old had been drinking outside his home in Golwg y Castell on the afternoon and evening of July 20.

As the day went on, his behaviour became more erratic, including becoming abusive to Mr Bell and his friend Daniel Saunders, when they arrived at the home of his neighbour, Daniel’s mother, Amanda Simpson.

At around 11.40pm, Daniel was taken out and put in a taxi my Amanda, when Keegan once again became abusive.

The taxi pulled off and during the argument that followed Amanda was pushed to the floor.

Keegan then turned on Mr Bell, approaching him and throwing multiple punches to his head.

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Mr Bell, the court heard, did not retaliate, instead holding his hands up by his chest trying to calm things down, or his arms up protecting his head and face and moving backwards.

Mr Bell then walked off down the hill.

Instead of leaving him walk away, Keegan was then seen walking to his driveway and picking up a large kitchen knife, before going after his victim.

He approached him from behind, raised his hand high and stabbed Mr Bell repeatedly.

At no point did he turn around – no defensive wounds were found – and instead he walked away from the street.

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Keegan was then seen to throw the knife away, before heading to his home, where he told his partner Chloe Phillips: “I’ve stabbed him”. 

The knife used by Keegan in the attack (Image: Dyfed Powys Police)

Just before midnight, police received several reports of both the incident witnessed on Golwg y Castell and of member of the public who had seen John Bell, injured and bleeding on Cardigan Bridge.

Police attended Castle Street and located Mr Bell seriously injured in a side street adjacent to Fusion restaurant.

Despite efforts to save him, he died at the scene. 

A post-mortem examination revealed seven stab wounds to Mr Bell’s back, which resulted in him losing a significant amount of blood.

Speaking following the sentencing, DCI Gareth Roberts said: “Today’s sentencing of Ashley Keegan to life imprisonment for the brutal murder of John Bell at Cardigan in July 2021 is welcomed.

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“Our thoughts are with John’s family at this time. The devastating impact of his tragic, unnecessary loss will be long lasting for this close-knit family.

“John’s family have been respectful and dignified throughout the criminal justice process and no outcome can compensate for their loss, but I hope some comfort will come from the imprisonment of a dangerous, violent offender that will not be able to harm others.   

“Keegan’s actions on the evening of Tuesday, 20th July, 2021 were brutal and cowardly. Neither Keegan nor John were previously known to each other and John’s death was an unnecessary act with no prior motive.

“Keegan was intoxicated with his behaviour deteriorating throughout that afternoon. John came to Golwg y Castell to visit a friend and an altercation instigated by Keegan occurred. John walked away from that altercation and Keegan chose to return to the garden of a premises within the estate and pick up a knife that had been left there. Keegan had an opportunity to walk away but chose to pursue John and in a cowardly act stabbed John Bell seven times to the back area.

“John was unlikely aware of Keegan’s presence and had no defence wounds.

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“Despite being severely injured, John managed to walk away some 150 yards from Golwg y Castell towards Cardigan Bridge where he later tragically died despite the best efforts of emergency services.

“Ashley Keegan did not raise the alarm or call an ambulance, instead he hid in Cilgerran Wildlife Centre until his capture.

“Our thanks must go to the brave witnesses who saw events and gave crucial information to identify Keegan as the offender and provide the evidence to ensure this successful prosecution.

“The investigative response was swift and effective, with a number of police resources mobilised to ensure that justice was served.

“Nationally, there is an increasing prevalence for individuals to carry knives. We’re fortunate in the Dyfed-Powys area that such violent offences using weapons are rare and infrequent.

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“However, the tragic consequences are realised in cases such as this. Dyfed-Powys Police continue to work with our partners to raise awareness of the risks of individuals carrying weapons and remove dangerous weapons from our communities. This case has shown that any person carrying weapons presents a significant risk to the life of others and themselves, if their own weapon is used against them.”

Anyone with information around the use of weapons is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. 

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

(Lead Image: Dyfed Powys Police)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Eight people have lost £58k in the last week to criminals in ‘courier fraud’ – with Llanelli area being hit hardest

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thoughtful adult woman talking on smartphone

Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating a growing number of reports of people posing as bank staff or police officers, as eight people have lost £58,000 to criminals in the last week alone due to ‘Courier Fraud’.

This increase is particularly prevalent in the Llanelli area.

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DC Gareth Jordan from the Economic Crime Team said: “People posing as fake bank staff or police officers have been calling residents and persuading them their accounts have been compromised, then sending a courier to collect the money. This is known as Courier Fraud.

“In the past week alone we have seen eight people lose a significant amount of money between them, and it’s very distressing for those victims. We are asking friends and family to look out for those that could be vulnerable – talk to them about this scam, advise them to be vigilant, and report any suspicious calls.

“Please remember that police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a ‘safe’ account.”

Dyfed Powys Police warn that if someone is claiming to be a police officer asks you to withdraw money for safe keeping or that they’re investigating the bank staff, it’s a scam.

The police, or your bank, will never ask you to assist in an internal investigation. They will never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN either. Never hand your card over with the PIN number.

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And the police will never send someone to your home to collect money, nor will they ask you to transfer funds out of your account.

Top Tips to protect yourself from fraudsters

Stop: Always take a moment to think before parting with your money or information – it could keep you safe.

Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam and report it to the police.

Report suspicious emails to: report@phishing.gov.uk

You can also report suspicious texts by forwarding the original message to 7726, which spells SPAM on your keypad. 

Anyone who receives a similar call is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police either online; by emailing: 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or calling: 101.

Anyone who thinks they have fallen victim to a scammer should report it by calling 101, or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. For further advice and information on how to avoid being scammed visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.

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Dyfed Powys Police

Four men fined £6,000 for ‘barbaric’ illegal foul hook fishing

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Four men caught using a barbaric and illegal fishing method by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) enforcement officers during patrols of the River Loughor, near Llanelli, have been fined a total of £6,000.

They each appeared before Llanelli Magistrates Court on 16 and 17 June and pleaded guilty to the offence of foul hooking – also known as snatching – which is prohibited under Section 1 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

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They were fined a total of £6,000 and ordered to pay £10,300 to NRW for investigation costs.

The men were caught by NRW fisheries enforcement officers who were undertaking riverbank patrols of the River Loughor in summer 2021, working to address and prevent the use of foul hook fishing.

Each fish caught using the foul hooking method had been snagged on its tail, back or flank. All fishing equipment and illegally caught fish were seized by NRW and later confiscated by the court.

Alun Thomas, Senior Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “Foul hook fishing is barbaric, unethical and illegal. This method of fishing is not only indiscriminate on what species or size fish that are killed, but also inflicts untold damage to unseen numbers of fish which are likely to die of their injuries soon after. This is often made worse by using deliberately tampered fishing lures.

“NRW’s Fisheries Enforcement Officers and police take these incidents seriously, as do the courts. Hopefully, the small minority of anglers considering using illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines issued by the courts.”

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Romuald Krzysztof Biernacki of Dwyfor, Llanelli, was caught using the foul hooking method on 4 July 2021. He had illegally caught four mullets and six flounder fish.

Biernacki was fined £1,500 and made to pay part of NRW’s investigation costs of £2,500.

Hung Van Tran, travelled from his Gibson Road home in Handsworth, Birmingham, to fish on river Loughor on 25 August 2021. NRW fisheries enforcement officers discovered he had illegally caught four mullet fish using the foul hook method.

Hung Van Tran was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay part of NRW’s investigation costs of £1,800.

Duc Duy Tran of Brithweynydd, Tonypandy, and Tan Van Tran of Pentrebane Street, Caerphilly, were caught during another river patrol carried out by NRW fisheries enforcement officers accompanied by Dyfed-Powys Police’s Wildlife Crime Officer on 6 September 2021.

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Duc Duy Tran had illegally caught 14 mullet fish and was fined £1,500. He must also pay £3,000 to NRW for investigation costs.

Tan Van Tran had illegally caught four mullet fish. He was fined £1,500, plus £3,000 to NRW for investigation costs.

Alun Thomas added: “We would like to thank Dyfed-Powys Police, the local community and law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities. I urge them to continue to report such activity and we will investigate.

“We would encourage anyone going fishing to familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations before going.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape of Ammanford woman on victim’s phone jailed for 10 years

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A man who filmed himself raping a woman on his victim’s phone has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept in Ammanford on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan, who was midway through his trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing, changed his plea to guilty after the jury was shown the video of the attack.

He was back before Swansea Crown Court today and was sentenced to 10 years in prison .

Senior Investigating Officer DI Melanie Havard said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation and trial.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We appreciate this is not easy for anyone to do but the victim has expressed her gratitude to the officer in the case for her support and empathy throughout this process.

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“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

You can report it to Dyfed-Powys Police online, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101.

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