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Bridgend

Logan Mwangi: Three sentenced for murder

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Three people have been sentenced for murdering five year-old Logan Mwangi, whose body was discovered by police officers in a river near his home in Sarn, in July 2021.

Angharad Williamson, 31, John Cole, 40, and 14 year-old Craig Mulligan, appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday, June 30.

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They were convicted of murder and perverting the course of justice back in April. During a trial which lasted for 10-weeks, the court heard how the defendants colluded in an attempt to cover-up Logan’s murder in the hours that followed his death.

Logan’s body was found by police officers in the River Ogmore at around 6am on Saturday, 31st July, shortly after a 999 call was made by Logan’s mother, Angharad Williamson.

The defendants tried to convince officers that Logan had gone missing overnight but all three were arrested when officers became suspicious.

Damning evidence was gathered by the Major Crime Investigation Team in the days that followed and they were charged with murder.

A Home Office Post Mortem carried out on Logan found that he had suffered more than 56 injuries which were described by a pathologist to be so extreme, that you would expect to find them as a result of a fall from great height or a high speed road traffic collision.

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John Cole was jailed for life and will serve a minimum of 29 years before he can be considered for release. Angharad Williamson was jailed for life and will serve a minimum 28 years. Craig Mulligan will be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure for a minimum of 15 years.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Lianne Rees, of the South Wales Police Major Crime Investigations Team, said: “Today’s sentences are a reflection of the appalling crimes committed back in July last year.

“It is incomprehensible that Logan had his life cut short in such tragic circumstances at the hands of those very people who should have been there to protect him.

“For Logan’s father, Ben, who stands beside me, today’s sentences are welcome news, however no amount of justice can bring Logan back, or compensate for the grief that continues to be felt.

“Ben, and his family, have demonstrated incredible strength throughout the investigation and legal process. What they have been through is hard to comprehend, but they have endured everything with tremendous courage and dignity at this most difficult time.

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“The impact Logan’s death has had, and continues to have on all those who loved and knew him within the local community, is immeasurable.

“Knowing that justice has been done for Logan, I hope they can now begin to rebuild their lives and celebrate the joy that he gave them during the precious time they had with him.

“Once again, I would like to pay tribute to the professionalism displayed by police officers and emergency service colleagues who were faced with the most traumatic scenes imaginable back in July of last year.

“I would also like thank my team of detectives and staff who have worked tirelessly on this investigation, together with the Crown Prosecution Service and Prosecution Counsel. The efforts of all involved have contributed to today’s outcome.”

Following the verdict handed down in the Logan Mwangi case today, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their calls for an independent inquiry into Children’s services in Wales to try and prevent any more tragedies.

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Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS, who worked for over 25 years as a child protection social worker said: “This case is utterly tragic and we must ensure lessons are learned so that it never happens again.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats are very clear, following a number of alarming incidents, the Welsh Government should announce a review of child protection across Wales.

“Social workers, their managers, family support workers and colleagues in the health and education systems are working hard to protect children. But, more is needed to help social workers to do their job and a Chief Social Worker for Children is needed – as they have in England.

“Both Scotland and England are carrying out independent inquiries into the state of children’s social services in their jurisdiction. There is no reason for Wales not to do the same.”

(Lead image: South Wales Police)

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Maesteg

Progress continues on multi-million-pound redevelopment of Maesteg Town Hall

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Progress is continuing on the £7.9m redevelopment of Maesteg Town Hall, Bridgend County Borough Council have said.

Contractors Knox and Wells have completed steel framing work for a new glass extension.

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New floor levels in the extension have been formed and from the Talbot Street entrance, a new series of stairs provides access to what will be the lower ground library and café area.

The council said that decorators have recently arrived on site preparing to paint the ceiling of the new library.

Improved access to public spaces are being provided by new staircases and an accessible lift.

Recently, the clock tower, which needed extensive repair and refurbishment, was completed and now the scaffolding has dropped, you can once again see the Hall’s most identifiable feature.

Inside, similar attention to detail has been taken whilst uncovering and preserving the Hall’s heritage features, which include the brick archways, tiling, cornicing and columns.

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Maesteg Town Hall and Bridgend Theatres Manager Marina Newth and Awen employees recently held sessions with representatives of local community groups to discuss how the hall will be used when it reopens.

The sessions provided an opportunity for questions and answers as well as open discussions about using the hall and its facilities. It was well attended by music, dance, drama, children, and charity groups, some of which who have already booked the hall for dates in 2023.

Local dance group UDC Dance said: “We can’t wait to come home.”

Councillor Neelo Farr, Bridgend Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration said: “It is fantastic to see work progressing on the redevelopment of Maesteg Town Hall and I am pleased to hear that it is set to be enjoyed by the community when it reopens, with events already being booked in 2023.

“As the brand-new atrium structure begins to take place, the vision of what will be an all-new community and cultural space for local people is starting to come together.

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“This historic Grade II-listed building is set to remain as a pillar of the community in the heart of Maesteg, with brand new accessible and inclusive facilities for everybody to enjoy.”

The project is being funded by Bridgend County Borough Council, Welsh Government regeneration funding, the Valleys Task Force, the European Regional Development Fund, Awen Cultural Trust, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Maesteg Town Council, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Davies Trust, the Pilgrim Trust, CADW, the Welsh Government’s Community Facilities Programme and its Museums, Archives and Libraries Division.

(Lead image: Bridgend County Borough Council)

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Bridgend

Senedd member criticises ‘gaps’ in Bridgend children services review in light of Logan Mwangi murder

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Liberal Democrat Senedd member and former child protection social worker Jane Dodds MS has said a report by Care Inspectorate Wales on children’s services in Bridgend County Borough Council has “significant gaps” and calls for a Wales-wide inquiry and an overhaul of the inspection regime in Wales.

Bridgend County Borough Council meanwhile has welcomed the report into its children’s services, which it says has highlighted where the authority is performing well while also identifying areas where further improvements need to be made.

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The council says the inspection has confirmed that a number of improvements have already been delivered since a previous inspection was held last year, and that the council has an ongoing action plan in place which is supporting further positive developments.

It says the report emphasises that the council must continue to deliver these identified improvements in order to avoid variation in the quality of its services and social work practice.

It also recognises the combined impact of national factors such as the Covid-19 global pandemic, significant increases in demand and ongoing issues around the recruitment and retention of staff, and how these are having an adverse effect upon the delivery of some services.

The report states: “Sustainable progress at pace is now needed across a range of service delivery areas if the local authority is to consistently deliver their core business of reducing risks to and promoting the well-being of children in need of help and protection.

“The application of effective quality assurance processes will be essential to securing and sustaining improvements and to ensure the timeliness, quality, and consistency of services for children and families.”

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Gillian Baranski, chief inspector of Care Inspectorate Wales, said: “I am pleased to acknowledge there has been some improvement since our assurance check in April 2021.

“However, further urgent action must be taken to secure and sustain improvement in the care and support for children and families in Bridgend.

“This work must be prioritised to ensure the best possible outcomes for children.

“We will continue to liaise with the local authority’s senior leaders and are closely monitoring the local authority’s performance.”

Jane Dodds MS, who worked for over 25 years as a child protection social worker before entering the Senedd has been critical of the Welsh Labour Government, accusing them of ducking from scrutiny for not backing an independent inquiry into children’s services across all of Wales, as is taking place in England and Scotland.

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According to Jane Dodds the report from Bridgend has significant gaps.

Ms Dodds said: “Missing from this report is the use of comparisons, there is no metric to identify how Bridgend is measuring up to other local authorities in Wales or even to previous inspections.

“The report also contains no reference to the tragic death of Logan Mwangi or what impact this has since had on workers in Bridgend children’s services. This is something that would have had a huge emotional impact on people and the services they deliver.

“There is also no specific focus on child protection work and how children are protected including no assessment about whether this service performs well or not. This is something we would want to see in a Wales-wide review.

“The report lacks context and does not tell me as a Senedd Member, how Bridgend are doing in comparison to Wales as a whole and how they could be supported with good practice from other local authorities

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“It is my opinion that the inspection regime in Wales needs overhauling to focus on a pan Wales performance picture, assessing how local authorities measure up to this and then how they can be helped to improve.

“Finally, the Welsh Government must outline what it is doing to address the staffing crisis in children’s services, which is mentioned consistently throughout this report. Local authorities clearly need assistance in finding ways to recruit new staff and retain existing staff.”

Bridgend Council Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help, Councillor Jane Gebbie said: “We welcome the findings of this report, and have assured inspectors that the progress we have already made will continue. A great deal of work has already taken place to improve the overall quality of our services for children and their families, and much of this has been highlighted by the report.

“For example, we have commissioned a programme of independent quality assurance to assess the strengths and areas for development in children’s services, are actively recruiting new employees, and are carefully redeploying existing staff to provide additional support in areas experiencing the most pressure. Management oversight and decision-making has been strengthened by increased frequency of supervision in priority areas and the better collection and scrutiny of performance information data, and greater planning to reconfigure and improve the resilience and sustainability of the service in the longer term is also being taken forward.

“I would like to thank our children’s services workforce for the commitment and dedication that they have demonstrated during the considerable challenges of the pandemic and beyond. It is pleasing to note that when surveyed by the Care Inspectorate Wales, 93 per cent of our staff said that they felt well supported. We are committed towards giving our workforce all the support they need to do their jobs well, and to help them to develop their careers in Bridgend County Borough. The council also remains committed towards strengthening the overall effectiveness and resilience of its services for children, and we will continue to liaise closely with the inspectors as we seek to deliver further improvements.”

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Bridgend

Russia bans Huw Edwards: Newsreader one of 39 Brits on new blacklist

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Bridgend-born BBC newsreader, Huw Edwards has been named as one of 39 high-profile Brits that Russia’s foreign ministry has blacklisted in retaliation for the UK’s support of Ukraine.

The Welsh TV veteran, who was brought up in Llangennech in Carmarthenshire, joins other politicians and journalists to be banned from Russia, including former Prime Minister David Cameron and TV host and journalist, Piers Morgan.

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Other names listed as being blacklisted include ITV’s political editor, Robert Peston and Labour Party Leader, Kier Starmer.

Russia said those listed ‘”contribute to the hostile course of London aimed at the demonisation of our country and its international isolation.”

Tensions between Russia and the West continue to rise as the six-month anniversary of its Ukraine invasion draws nearer.

The Russian Foreign Ministry have said that this latest list will be expanded further.

Moscow has banned dozens of UK citizens, primarily politicians and journalists from the country since the start of its hostilities.

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(Lead image: BBC)

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