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Couple banned from owning animals




Poor Rocky: He was unable to see before due to matted fur.

A HAVERFORDWEST couple appeared in front of the town’s magistrates on Tuesday (Feb 11) to face charges of animal cruelty against their own dog. Jason Arnold and Kerry Ann Webber both of Freeman’s View were over an hour late arriving at court but finally attended face the charges against them.

Jason Arnold pleaded guilty to the three charges of animal cruelty. The court heard that Arnold had not taken the right steps to look after his long-haired mongrel, Rocky. According to the RSPCA who were prosecuting the case, he had not provided a safe environment, he did not ensure the need of a suitable diet and he failed to protect his dog from pain, injury or disease. Kerry Ann Webber pleaded guilty to the one charge placed against her; she failed to protect the dog from pain, injury or disease.

The prosecutor John Tarrant summarised the charges against the two defendants. He commented that Kerry’s involvement with the dog was far less than Jason’s, but Rocky was a household dog. Before going into detail about the charges, Tarrant handed Magistrates the original copies of photographs of Rocky at the time he was taken into RSPCA custody.

Tarrant reported that the couple’s home environment was messy and that Rocky was kept in a two foot by two foot cage – he had no room to move. When the RSPCA entered their house, they noticed that the two dog bowls were empty and that Rocky was extremely matted. He talked about the fact that Jason had said in a previous interview that their family social worker was going to take the dog to a vet or groomer.

The RSPCA visited the couple’s home on July 14, 2014, after an anonymous call was made in regards to Rocky’s welfare. Arnold refused when an RSPCA officer asked for the dog to be signed over to them.

When Rocky was taken to the vets, he weighed 7.05 kg and was given a condition score of one out of five. Rocky could not see because huge matts covered his eyes and he could not defecate because his anal area was completely matted. The prosecutor described the pain that Rocky would have been in by asking the court to imagine their hair being pulled and twisted constantly for six weeks. Rocky had to be sedated twice over four days in order to remove all of the matting. When his matts were removed, he weighed only 6 kilos. The vet said that there was no way to know the true weight of Rocky when he came in four days earlier, but it definitely would have been less than 6 kg. In a follow up examamination on the October 8 2014, Rocky weighed an average weight for his size.

Arnold had said in a previous interview that they had owned Rocky for a few months, but he had not noticed the matting. Kerry had said that she knew that it was unacceptable but that she should not be blamed as much.

Tarrant added that Rocky was in the hands of the RSPCA still and that the boarding costs were exceeding £3,000.

The defence, Sara Lewis, asked for full credit for the pair’s guilty pleas. She went on to comment that Arnold said it was completely unintentional and that he had been feeding Rocky twice a day. He took responsibility for the fact that he may not have been feeding the dog an adequate amount of food and water. He accepted that Rocky’s coat was in a mess and that it must have been like that for a period of time.

Lewis went into further detail about the fact that the family’s social worker had been making arrangements for Rocky’s coat to be groomed. The couple do not drive and were trying to look for a mobile groomer. The two had been taking steps to resolve the problem and Anna, their social worker, had made an appointment for the week following the RSPCA’s visit. Anna helps the family with their middle child, who has learning difficulties. She attends the house to help with the children, but has never raised concerns about the state of the house. Lewis stated that this would have been something that Anna would have picked up on.

Lewis went on to say that the couple are not in the position to meet the level of costs required from them. There would be little chance of them fulfilling that debt and Lewis said that they would be set up to fail if they were ordered to pay the full amount. She went on to say that the dog meant a lot to the family and that it would be an excessive punishment to let the RSPCA keep him.

Magistrates asked why the pair were late earlier in the day and they said that they had been up overnight as their youngest daughter had earache and they had overslept. He then asked the two if they were aware that the court had been waiting around for over an hour.

The decision on the case was to be made after lunch.

When the case continued after 2pm, John Tarrant told the Magistrates that when leaving court, Webber had used abusive language against the RSPCA officer who was present. The RSPCA officer had said that Kerry has called him a p***k, a f***ing liar, a w****r and said that he was telling a pack of lies. She also followed him, pointing her finger at him aggressively. The RSPCA officer informed security.

The defence responded to Tarrant by saying that it was her first time hearing the exact allegation, so she requested that she could talk with Kerry. Magistrates agreed and Webber left with Lewis. They came back shortly after, with her crying.

Lewis said that the matter would be dealt with through an apology. She requested if she could apologise on behalf of Webber, but they wanted the apology to come from the defendant. She stood and said: “I’m sorry if I caused any offence. I know I never said it but I’m sorry anyway.” The RSPCA officer accepted this apology.

Magistrates finalised the case by stating that Rocky would not be able to go back to live with the defendants. The RSPCA will rehome him. The two were also disqualified from owning animals for ten years, and they will not be able to appeal for this time to be shortened. They were both given community orders, Jason will have to complete 90 hours of unpaid work, and Kerry 40. Their £3,155 fine was reduced to £500 each and they will also have to pay a victim surcharge of £60. They will pay £5 each per week. Magistrates asked for it to be ensured that the vet would have his fees of £906 paid first.

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The Pembrokeshire man on the Titanic



ON the morning of April 15 1912, in the North Atlantic some 450-miles south of Newfoundland, the RMS Titanic slowly slid beneath the sea just two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg.

Stories from that night are famous, from the lookouts misplacing their binoculars to the ship’s band playing even as the sea washed over their feet, the sinking of the Titanic holds a special place in the public consciousness and continues to grab our attention some 109 years after the ‘unsinkable’ ship sank.

Over 1500 people lost their lives in the biggest maritime naval disaster at that point.

Among the dead were American and British millionaires, White Star Line employees and countless anonymous immigrants from across Europe who were all seeking a better life in America.

908 crew were on board the Titanic when it left Southampton on its fateful maiden voyage, one of the crew was a man called Charles Essex Edwards, 38, who sometimes gave himself the first name of ‘Clement’.

Charles was born in 1862 to John and Harriet Edwards of St. Martin’s Place, Haverfordwest.

He worked as a carpenter as a 19-year-old man and would end up moving out of Pembrokeshire and going to sea.  By the time he married a lady called Lavinia Ann Poulter, from Llanstadwell, in May 1892 he was living in Newport.

Lavinia, a Pembrokeshire woman herself, was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Poulter who lived on Lawrenny Terrace in Neyland.

By 1895, Lavinia had returned to Pembrokeshire following the death of her mother. Charles and Lavinia’s marriage suffered but Charles would continue visiting Lavinia and stayed at his father-in-law’s house when he was on shore leave.

Although still married in the eyes of the law, Charles and Lavinia were basically separated by 1901.

Charles signed on to work on the brand new RMS Titanic after it had completed its sea trials in Belfast Lough, he gave his address as 7 Brunswick Square, Southampton. He worked on the Titanic as an assistant pantry-man steward who earned a monthly wage of £3 15s on his previous ship the SS Zeeland.

SS Zeeland: The ship Charles worked on before the Titanic

When RMS Titanic left Southampton a massive crowd had gathered to see the newest addition to the White Star Line fleet depart. Charles Edwards was there. He was there when the ship picked up more passengers at Cherbourg and Cobh.

He would’ve been working during the day, his job entailed keeping the ship’s pantries stocked with food and wine, a vital job on a ship with such a high-class passenger list as the Titanic.

He was, more than likely, sleeping when Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg in the ship’s path at 11:40pm on Sunday, April 14. He would’ve been woken by the noise of metal on ice and the ship shuddering as it was torn open on the starboard side.

As the ‘unsinkable’ ship took on water Charles, as a White Star Line employee, would’ve been given the unenviable task of waking up passengers, informing them of what happened and getting them to put on their lifejackets.

Once the scale of the situation on the Titanic became apparent, the command structure effectively disintegrated.

Captain Edward Smith would’ve cut a forlorn figure as he wandered around near the wheelhouse and his last words to his crew, according to reports at the time were:

“Well boys, you’ve done your duty and done it well. I ask no more of you. I release you.

“You know the rule of the sea. It’s every man for himself now, and God bless you.”

This would’ve been around 2:10am, at that point Charles would’ve faced a literal up-hill battle with male members of the crew only having a 24% chance of survival and many people gathering ‘like bees’ on the stern of the stricken liner which, experts say, raised to a 12 degree angle.

The Pantryman-stewards from the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic

Many male crew members elected to stay at their posts as, according to Victorian culture it was better for men to die than to live and be perceived a coward, so the lights of the ship remained on until about 2:18am, just two minutes before Titanic broke apart and began its journey to its final resting place some 12,000ft below on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

But now you know there was a man named Charles Edwards who was born in Haverfordwest and who died when the Titanic sank in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. His body, if it was recovered, was never identified and we don’t even have a picture of him.

When news of the disaster broke, The Pembroke County Guardian described the tragedy as ‘one of the most appalling calamities in the long history of shipwreck’.

Four men from Maenclochog, it was later revealed, had a lucky escape as their plans to emigrate that April on the Titanic were thwarted by one of their number being unable to travel, so the group decided to wait for their friend. That decision saved their lives.

Pembrokeshire responded to the sinking by raising money for the Titanic Relief Fund, Pembroke Dock raised £12 2s 0d through a collection at the Royal Dockyard and, in Haverfordwest, Sidney White, who would later go on to own The Palace Cinema, hosted benefit performances to packed houses which raised £5 15s.

Lavinia, after a legal battle with Charles’ brother William, was given £192 in compensation for Charles’ death and went on to look after her father at Railway Terrace, Neyland until he passed away.

Lavinia went on to move to Middlesex where she lived until 1934. She left her estate to her chauffeur.

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Marloes pensioner in child abuse images case



A PENSIONER has been bailed to attend Swansea Crown Court by magistrates sitting in Haverfordwest Law Courts this week.

Derek Lister, 72, of Marloes is accused of making indecent photographs of children.

He appeared before the bench, on Tuesday (Apr 13).

Lister was represented by Redkite Solicitors.

The court heard that between June 2009 and November 2019 in Marloes, Pembrokeshire, Lister allegedly created 3 indecent category A images of a child, 14 indecent category B images of a child and 152 indecent category C images of a child.

He will now appear at Swansea Crown Court on May 11 at 10am for the next hearing after the local court declined jurisdiction.

Lister has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Derek Lister: Accused of making child abuse images
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Primary school teacher described as ‘touchy-feely’ on day two of trial



A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher, accused of sexually assaulting his pupils was “very touchy-feely”, Swansea Crown Court heard on the second day of his trial.

James Oulton, 34, of Haverfordwest would put his hands around students’ waists and touch their bottoms, an ex-female pupil said in a video interview played to Swansea Crown Court.

The defendant denies 30 charges of sexual assault at a primary school in Haverfordwest. The alleged offences took place between 2012 and 2018.

On the opening day of the trial, court heard that Oulton said the case was a “witch-hunt” and that he always behaved appropriately with children.

On Tuesday, the jury watched the video interview with one of Oulton’s former pupils, who said he was a “friendly person, very chatty and sociable and quite outgoing and wanted to know everything that was going on.”

She added: “Mr Oulton often wanted to know a lot of details on what we had done over the weekend, where we had been, and also who they had been with.”

“At the time I just thought he was trying to be really friendly but now when I look back at it now, it does seem odd.”

The witness also described the defendant as a “very touchy-feely teacher”.

She added: “If he was marking your work or if you approached him to ask him a question, he would put his hands around your waist or around your bum”.

“If he was standing by his desk, he would, like, motion to his knee, so he wouldn’t ask you directly to sit on his lap but he would tap his knee.”

Swansea Crown Court heard that the witness eventually came forward and told her parents parents after she heard them speaking about Mr Oulton being suspended from his job.

“Did you feel under pressure to say something had happened to you?” asked Mr Clee.

The witness answered “No”

Oulton, of Richmond Crescent, Haverfordwest, previously told the court he had behaved appropriately.

He also believed letters were sent by Pembrokeshire County Council to parents which encouraged “deliberately false evidence” and collusion between pupils.

The trial continues.

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