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Solva axe attacker jailed for 14 years



Swansea Crown Court

A MAN attacked his adoptive father with an axe before chasing him through the streets of Solva and proceeding to attack him for a second time in a pub.

Swan, aged 40, denied attempting to murder David Swan but admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He was given a 14 year prison sentence.

Swansea crown court heard that police had inadvertently provided Philip Swan with the weapon and the location of his intended victim.

Swan will serve between six and nine years behind bars but after his eventual release will be liable to be recalled to prison until February, 2030, after Judge Paul Thomas passed an extended sentence.

Ian Wright, prosecuting, said the offending began on July 3 last year at Gloucester railway station.

Swan had set off to attack Mr Swan but was arrested by British Transport Police after getting into a row on the platform with a stranger.

By then Gloucester Police had told him that Mr Swan was living somewhere in Solva.

BTP found the axe in Swan’s rucksack but gave it back to him after he claimed to be “interested in bush craft.”

Swan went home but the following day travelled by train to west Wales. Early on July 5 a warden at St David’s church in Solva found him asleep on a pew.

He asked her where “David and Margery Swan” lived and was innocently directed to Anchor Down.

Swan broke into the property through a window and confronted Mrs Swan, described by Wright as an 89 year old lady suffering from advanced Alkzeimers. She was effectively his grandmother, Mr Swan having married Swan’s mother and later adopting him, but would be wounded during the violence that followed.

Swan set about removing telephone handsets and kitchen knives and hiding them on the top of a fridge and bedroom wardrobes.

About midday Mr Swan arrived but left his partner, Anna Gifford, in his car parked outside.

Mr Wright said as Mr Swan entered the house “he knew immediately that something was wrong.”

Swan ran at him and delivered a blow to his forehead with the axe.

Mr Swan managed to grapple with his son and gained control, but agreed to release him after Swan promised not to resume the attack.

But that was exactly what he did and again struck Mr Swan with the axe as Mrs Swan tried to defend him, suffering leg injuries in the process. A forensic science officer later found blood and “fatty tissue” belonging to Mr Swan in the hall, kitchen and living room.

Miss Gifford heard screams coming from the house and then saw Mr Swan running out with Swan in pursuit.

He chased Mr Swan to The George pub and both entered virtually alongside. Swan hit him to his back with the axe and Mr Swan “screamed in pain.”  Mr Swan was ushered by staff into the kitchen area leaving his son “swinging the axe around above his head.”

Before police could arrive Swan returned to Anchor Down and “touched” the shoulder of Mrs Swan, before returning to the pub, to tell the landlord, “I’ll get fifteen years for this.”

On his return, staff smuggled Mr Swan out of a private door but Swan saw him, approached him and made more threats, before telling a staff member, “It was a hell of a thing to attack someone with an axe when they had put their hands up to defend themselves.

He also said, “The look of fear on my step father’s face was worth it.”

Mr Swan was taken to the critical care unit of Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest, where he spent seven days receiving treatment for a broken arm and “multiple” lacerations.

Police later discovered that Swan had put a photograph of the axe onto his Facebook page.

Questioned by police Swan refused to answer apart from offering to write a statement “that could take months to write.”

During the court hearing Swan repeatedly shouted from the dock and Judge Thomas sent him to the cells below.

James Jenkins, representing Swan, said that, while he had been in Gloucester, “it was sad that the axe had been returned to Swan when it must have been obvious that he was in a state of heightened, nervous tension.”

He added, “The police told him where David Swan lived.”

Judge Thomas said, “So, one police force gave him the axe and another gave him the address.”

Mr Jenkins said Swan had complained “for years” about having being physically abused by his adoptive father when he had been a child.

Judge Thomas said he was unable to decide whether that was true or not.

Mr Jenkins said Swan had indulged in “both legal and illegal highs.” Since his arrest he had been held in custody and was now a “very different man.”

Judge Thomas said Swan’s behaviour was unpredictable, especially after he had taken substances.

He deemed Swan, of no fixed address, to be dangerous, as defined by law.

“There have been numerous occasions in the past when he has lost his temper and become unpredictably violent.”

Judge Thomas said he noted that Swan’s criminal record included a row with a colleague at the store he was working in – Swan pushed her into a meat freezer and locked the door.

Residents of Solva who witnessed his attack on his father “must have been frightened out of their wits,” he added.

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50



EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea



A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms



A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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