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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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Carmarthenshire

Police officer uses miracle spray to save life of Llanelli drug overdose victim

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A police officer equipped with a miracle spray has saved the life of an overdose victim in Carmarthenshire.

PC Gareth Rees, one of several officers across the force carrying nasal spray Nyxoid in a trial launched on Wednesday, 1 December, was called to a man in an intoxicated state shouting for help on the floor in Llanelli late at night earlier this month.

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By the time PC Rees arrived the man was unconscious and his breathing was laboured.

Identifying this as a sign he was suffering an overdose, PC Rees administered the spray.

“Within five to ten seconds he was conscious,” said PC Rees.

“It’s quite amazing how it works so quickly, it definitely made a difference for this man.”

The man involved has been positively dealt with and referred to Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service (DDAS) who have been commissioned to support Dyfed-Powys Police.

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The trial is operating in Llanelli, Aberystwyth, Pembroke Dock and Llandrindod Wells for six months, with the ambition of reducing deaths from drug overdoses.

APB Prevention and Population Health Improvement Strategy Manager at Hywel Dda UHB, Craig Jones, said, “Response officers are quite often the first on scene to an overdose and by providing them with Naloxone, they will be in a position to save lives.

“Numbers of drug related deaths in Hywel Dda have fallen since 2020 and we see this as another initiative to keep the data moving in the right direction. The fact that an officer utilised his training and used Naloxone to save a life just 9 days into the trial is very rewarding and shows the impact this initiative will have.”

Chief Inspector Christina Fraser, who is leading the pilot, said the force had been using Naloxone within custody suites for many years but the introduction of the Nyxoid nasal spray, meant officers could easily use it whilst out on patrol. 

She added: “We have trained officers on a voluntarily basis to carry and utilise Nyxoid spray as part of our first aid provision.

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“We went live with the pilot on 1st December and I am pleased to report that we have been notified of its first successful use.

“It is really heartening to see the use of Nyxoid making a difference in saving peoples’ lives.

“I am extremely proud of those officers who have put themselves forward to be trained in the use of and carry Nyxoid and grateful to our partners DDAS, Kaleidoscope, Hywel Dda and Powys Health boards for their support on this trial.”

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Dyfed Powys Police

Police stop check leads to seizure of £14k found in car

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A routine stop check carried out by officers from Dyfed-Powys Police resulted in more than £14,000 being seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

On the evening of Thursday, 28 January, a stop check was carried out on a car on the A477 just outside Pembroke Dock for suspected driving without insurance.

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The driver, Steven Davies, aged 47, of West Lee, Riverside, Cardiff, and his passenger, Craig Williams, aged 37, of Heol Eglwys, Caerau, Cardiff, stated they had come down for a spin to get away from Cardiff.

When pressed, Davies became quite nervous and started shaking, which led the officers to search he vehicle under Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

PC Rob Garland, who made the stop, said: “In the footwell of the front passenger seat was a sat nav box wrapped in silver gaffer tape.

“Once we managed to prize the box open he could see that it was stuffed with bundles of notes.”

Both men were arrested and the money seized under the POCA.

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On Friday, 26th November, at Llanelli Magistrates Court an application was made for the permanent forfeiture of the seized cash, which totalled £14,070.

PC Garland added: “The courts agreed that the occupants’ accounts were not credible and that they could not account for and nor evidence being in possession of such a sum of money, therefore the court authorised the forfeiture of the money.

“I hope that as a force we can apply for some of this money that can be used to help victims of crime in our force area and to help safeguard the vulnerable.”

PC Garland also thanked the force’s Economic Crime Team, which helped ensure there was sufficient evidence to prove the money was not legally obtained.

Superintendent Anthony Evans said: ”This is an excellent example of our officers targeting organised criminals and depriving them of their criminally gained assets.

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“We are determined to proactively catch those that target our communities for criminal gain.

“We cannot do this alone and urge everyone to report, anonymously if required, those that commit crime in our communities via 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”

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Dyfed Powys Police

Llanelli drink driver who crashed car into mobility scooter pleads guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving

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A drink-driver who was involved in a crash with a mobility scooter has pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, drink driving and failing to stop at the scene of a collision.

At around 11.20pm on Sunday, Leighton Panayiotou, aged 35, of Maes yr Haf, Llanelli, crashed his Mazda 6 into a mobility scooter in Caswell Street.

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A woman on the scooter was thrown from the vehicle and suffered serious injuries. She remains in hospital in a stable condition.

However, Panayiotou then left the scene, before he was found by police at Furnace Ponds at around 2am on Monday, 6 December.

When breathalysed, he provided a sample of 65 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, well above the legal limit of 35.

At Llanelli Magistrates Court yesterday Panayiotou pleaded guilty to drink-driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene of a collision.

He will next appear at Llanelli Magistrates Court on Friday, 10 December.

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“This was a serious collision, which resulted in the victim suffering nasty injuries,” said Roads Policing Unit Inspector Andy Williams.

“This just shows the dangers of driving under the influence, and it could have been so much worse.

“Do not do it, this could have ended with a family grieving the loss of a loved one.

“It has ended in a conviction for drink driving, as well as other serious driving offences, so he will now lose his licence and he could spend Christmas behind bars because of his own recklessness and disregard for the law.”

It comes after 24 people were arrested on suspicion of drink or drug-driving in the first week since the Christmas Anti-Drink and Drug Campaign launch on December 1.

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Of the 24 arrested in the past week, 14 have already been charged, with others bailed or released under investigation.

Inspector Williams added: “It is frustrating that on the week we launched our Christmas anti-drink and drug driving campaign, we have arrested so many people.

“Drink or drug driving at any time of the year is not acceptable.

“If you believe someone is drink-driving, please report them to us so we can get them off the road before someone is seriously hurt or killed.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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