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Pensioner cleared of sexual assault

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courtA 78-YEAR-OLD man was found not guilty at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Wednesday of last week after being accused of sexual assault.

John Joseph Colfer, of Haven Court, Monkton, had been charged with sexual assault on a woman from Monkton on two separate occasions. The first was cuddling and kissing her on May 23, and the second was grabbing her while she was in a phone box on May 25.

The Herald cannot name the woman for legal reasons. Three 999 calls were played from the two incidents. During the calls, the alleged victim refused to give her name a number of times and mumbled considerably over the phone. She was very unclear about the reason she was calling and said: “I went to use his landline. I was on my own. I was being stupid” and later “I know you won’t do **** all about it because you don’t do **** all around here”. In the last call, we hear her say “I just want him to leave me alone” and “I hate him” while crying.

She claimed that she had gone to Colfer’s home address to use his telephone. She then gave her version of events: “I went to use his phone and he asked me to sit down. He sat next to me and put his arms around me and started kissing me. I didn’t want him to. I used to live next door to him. I went to get up to leave and he said ‘You only leave when I tell you to’. I was scared. After he went to do something with the dogs, I just got up and walked out of his front door”.

She then spoke about the second incident: “I was in the phone box and I didn’t know he was there until he put his arms around me and said we’ve got to finish what we started and called me a slut. I said I didn’t start nothing and he went home”.

Defence solicitor, Kate Smith said: “You have indicated that you have known Mr Colfer for a long time and brought your children up next door to him. I understand that you no longer have a relationship with your daughters. I imagine that much be very stressing and upsetting for you?”

The alleged victim confirmed this. Miss Smith continued: “I understand you attended at his address. He was the last link to your daughters, so is the reason you attended the house not to use the telephone, but to inquire about your daughters and you got upset?”

She denied this fact and said: “We were talking earlier and he said I’m welcome any time”.

Miss Smith asked the victim why she went to the house. She said: “I was invited. He said I could come over and chill out. I knew he had a landline and I wanted to use it”.

Miss Smith then said: “You’re lying, aren’t you? Mr Colfer doesn’t have a landline and you’re lying about the conversation. Your statement says ‘I went over to Shaun’s phone to call the police. I’d been having problems with kids. He said if I ever have any problems I can use the phone’. What I’m suggesting is you’re giving a different account in the court than you did to the officer. Why didn’t you tell the police what you told us?”

The alleged victim said: “After what happened I was really upset”.

Miss Smith replied: “How do you say that affected you? Did it affect your memory?”

She told the court: “I’ve got depression and health problems and I don’t need to sit here getting a mouthful from you”.

Miss Smith then asked the victim: “Can I suggest you’re giving an inconsistent account on what happened? Mr Colfer did not have a conversation with you”.

She replied: “He did because I was with my ex-partner. He went to Nottingham a couple of weeks ago”.

Miss Smith asked again: “You went to discuss your children” and was cut off by the alleged victim, who shouted “No, I don’t want nothing to do with my children”.

Miss Smith told her that she knew it was difficult for her. Her response was: “You know something, you’re doing my bloody head in! He told me he didn’t have a phone, I went to get up but I couldn’t and said you leave when I tell you to. Now can we leave it?”

Miss Smith said: “I’m afraid I can’t. Did you tell him why you were there or did you just go in?” After not receiving an answer, she continued: “I understood you came into the property, he told you he didn’t have a phone and then you sat down. You haven’t said why you’re there, and he didn’t ask?”

The victim denied this and Miss Smith continued: “Why didn’t you leave the house after he told you he didn’t have a phone?”. She replied saying: “I couldn’t get up”.

Miss Smith asked: “Why didn’t you inform the police about the conversation about the landline? The defendant told you he didn’t have one, why is it a matter you have failed to mention? My problem is, you’re telling the court one thing and your statement says another. Can you explain why you failed to mention the conversation about the landline?”

The alleged victim had no answer.

“On two occasions in your statement you asked to use the telephone. Why didn’t you include his response that he didn’t have a phone?”

This question was asked twice. The alleged victim failed to give an answer.

Miss Smith read her 999 call: “I went in to use his phone. He kissed me all over and said I’m the Monkton slut’. Why didn’t you tell 999 what happened?”

She replied: “I know what happened”.

Miss Smith said: “You have given different accounts. There is nothing in your statement about him calling you the Monkton slut. It’s inconsistent and isn’t in your statement because it didn’t happen. The defendant’s case is you came to speak about your children”.

The alleged victim screamed: “Leave my children out of this!”

Miss Smith continued saying: “He put his hands over your shoulder to comfort you,” and was cut off by the alleged victim shouting “He was putting his hand all over me”.

Miss Smith replied: “Was he? You’ve never said that before. You’ve previously said ‘he had his arms around me’. Where did he actually have his hands?”

Her reply was: “You’re female, you should know”.

There was a pause before Miss Smith continued: “’He had his arms around me and I couldn’t move’. Where on your body did he have his hands? This defendant has been charged with extremely serious offences and I need to establish exactly what happened. Had you been drinking May 23?”

The alleged victim denied this. Miss Smith asked: “Why were you refusing to give your name?”

Her reply was: “Because the coppers know me”.

Miss Smith said: “In the incident on May 25 you were on the phone and you had just put the receiver down, and you state ‘he was right behind me. He put his arms around my waist and said we’ve got to finish what we started’. You made no mention about the comments he made over the phone. Upon being asked by Miss Smith if she claims to have told Mr Colfer to ‘sod off’ with reference to the alleged incident on May 25, she said: “Yes. Any more language? Because I’ve got plenty” and later said “I am having enough of you!”

Prosecuting, David Weale read out Mr Colfer’s statement: “She came to my house about her children, and she was crying a lot saying she is not allowed to see her children. I put my arms around her and gave her a kiss on the lips and her cheek. It lit her up a bit. It put a smile back on her face. When a woman’s in distress you give them a cuddle, in a way she gave me permission. I couldn’t help her with her problem. She did not ask to use the landline, and she left around 10 or 15 minutes after the kiss. “I didn’t call her a slut. I saw her to the door and waved goodbye. I’m 78 years of age, I lost that long ago. In the second incident I didn’t see her that day. I got off the bus around 5pm and I walked past the phone box on the way home, and I did not see anyone.”

Miss Smith pointed out in her final submission that it is concerning that there were no other eye witnesses to back up her account of what happened May 25 and that her evidence falls short.

Magistrates found Mr Colfer not guilty, and told the court: “We do not believe beyond a reasonable doubt that a sexual assault took place on either occasion”.’

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Climate change protesters pack the streets of Haverfordwest

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Hundreds of protestors flooded the streets of Haverfordwest today to join in one of the biggest global climate strikes to date.

The event took place at County Hall from 11am on Friday, September 20, where hundreds flocked in unison to show their support for the many global activists around the world in protest of the way we live on our planet.

Leading the charge for the world-wide events were multiple organisations including Extinction Rebellion and UK Student Climate Network, as well as 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish activist for the planet’s well-being. Children all across the globe have been puled out of their schools to join the protests for change on how we consume our planet’s resources and these acts have been met with mixed responses.

Some are happy that others are taking a stand for the greater good of our planet, whilst others seem to be disgruntled by all the commotion the protests have caused in their areas.

At County Hall in Haverfordwest, singing and chanting could be heard as the school children, toddlers, pensioners, families and college students all joined the call for imminent action to tackle the climate emergency.

The climate protest was also attended by Cllr David Simpson and director of development Dr Steven Jones, who assured the public that the authority was working towards its zero carbon goal.

In a statement on Facebook, Extinction Rebellion said: “Hundreds turned out to support today’s Global Climate Strike in Haverfordwest alongside hundreds of thousands around the world! A clear message was delivered and responded to by the leader of Pembrokeshire County Council who has invited you to be represented in their work in months to come to meaningfully address the climate emergency in our beautiful county and beyond. The tide is rising, and so are we!”

The protests ended as the groups made their way to Castle Square, where final chants and songs echoed around Haverfordwest.

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Refinery protest over: Two activists arrested at scene, others reported for summons

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THE PROTEST organised by Extinction Rebellion at Valero Refinery came to an end last night (Sept 19).

Specialist officers were deployed to the scene and as a result of that, two protestors were arrested for unlawful obstruction of the highway and transferred to Haverfordwest custody.

Others who took part, police said, decided to end their protest and have been reported for summons and the items used by them have been seized by the police.

Police said: “All protestors have now left the area and police are maintaining high visibility patrols.”

Superintendent Robyn Mason said: “Officers spoke to the protesters and partner agencies throughout the day to ensure a balance was maintained between allowing people the right to peaceful protest and the requirement to ensure the safety of, and minimise the disruption to, business and the community. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

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Pembroke Dock: Man hospitalised after ‘jumping through pizza shop window’

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A PEMBROKE DOCK man has been taken to hospital after becoming injured by glass in Pembroke Dock.

According to a passing motorist a male was seen shouting and screaming in the street – he was being restrained by others.

He then jumped into the glass window of the PizzaTime take away in Meyrick Street, cutting his stomach on the glass.

Multiple police vehicles and an ambulance attended the incident which took place at around 15.30 HRS.

The road was temporarily blocked.

Once police car remains on scene (16:49 HRS)

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