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‘Date rape’ drug found in ‘inspirational’ woman’s body

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A YOUNG woman who was found dead in Tenby last year had ‘date rape’ drug in her system, an inquest has heard.

Michaela Haines, 25, was discovered hanging in a stairwell – but the hearing was told her family refuse to believe that she would have killed herself.

Her family say ‘inspirational’ and ‘vivacious’ Michaela had no history of suicide attempts and was planning for her future.

The inquest found the levels of so-called ‘date rape’ drug GHB in her body were so high they could have caused her drowsiness.

The hearing was told toxicology test showed Michaela was almost twice the drink-drive limit when she died and there were levels of GHB in her system.

Michaela Haines: Had a ‘date rape’ drug in her body (pic. Wales News Service)

However the inquest was told it was possible for the body to naturally produce GHB after death – and it didn’t necessarily mean she had taken it.

Barrister Peter Donnison, representing her family, said police failed to investigate if Michaela’s death was anything other than a suicide.

He said: “There is no evidence that this is suicide other than the body being found as it was, there was no history of suicide attempts.

“There are no witnesses present saying they had spoken to her and she was thinking of doing this; on the contrary you had people saying the opposite.”

Mr Donnison also questioned why a policewoman allowed a friend of Michaela’s boyfriend to remove her body instead of preserving the scene.

Inquest: The family are looking for answers (pic. Wales News Service)

PC Jayne Colley said the man – known only as ‘John’ – went into the block of flats in Tenby and helped her take the body down from above a stairway.

PC Colley told the hearing: “I was aware that there was a female hanging, possibly I didn’t want to go in on my own; I have a young daughter.

“I can’t remember whether I asked him to come or he volunteered, but I am very grateful for him coming in.

“I was the only officer present at the time. I asked ‘John’ to hold her body as I couldn’t handle her on my own, I didn’t want her to fall down; we laid her on the stairs, we gave her that respect.”

Pathologist Dr Daniel Houser told the inquest there were no signs of suspicious circumstances.

The cause of death was given as asphyxia by hanging.

Toxicologist Phillipa Wood said the levels of GHB had been found in blood following a request for a second test – finding 70 milligrams per millilitre of blood, a level which could cause drowsiness.

The inquest in Tenby into Michaela’s death two days before Christmas Day last year was adjourned for the coroner’s conclusion later this month.

 

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Police officer was assaulted on Christmas Day

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A 25-YEAR-OLD woman from Haverfordwest appeared before the town’s magistrates on Tuesday (Jan 15) to face a charge of assault by beating against a police officer.

Tiffany Rowlands, of West Court, pleaded guilty to assaulting PC Gareth Potter on Christmas Day.

Prosecutor, Sian Vaughan said: “The officer was at the defendant’s property searching the childrens’ bedrooms.

“Rowlands pushed the officer to the chest, and after she calmed down apologised following the incident.”

Defence solicitor, Mark Layton, said: “There’s no record of any injury. They were upstairs, the lights were off so it was dark, and she realises it was wholly inappropriate.”

Magistrates fined Rowlands £40 for the offence and ordered her to pay £85 prosecution costs and £30 victim surcharge.

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Milford Haven: Booms to be removed following oil spill

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BOOMS installed earlier this month to contain an oil spill in the Milford Haven waterway will be removed tomorrow (Jan 17).

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and partner agencies have continued to survey the affected areas since the incident on 3 January and are satisfied that they have contained as much oil as possible.

Where oil has been found on local beaches, Valero’s clean up team have removed it under advice of NRW officers.

The investigation into how this incident, and the previous oil spill in December 2018, happened is ongoing.

Following further assessments and an inspection of the affected fuel pipelines, Valero now believe that no more than 500 litres of oil was released during the incident on 3 January – significantly less than originally feared.

But the pipelines will remain closed after NRW took action last week to suspend their use. NRW will not allow Valero to reopen the pipelines until it is satisfied they can operate without causing further damage to the local environment.

Andrea Winterton, Operations Manager from Natural Resources Wales, said: “Following a swift response from everyone involved, much of the pollution has been contained and cleaned up quickly, reducing the impact it could have had on wildlife and the environment.

“Along with our partners, we will continue to monitor the situation and will respond to any further reports of oil washing ashore in the coming weeks.

“Valero continue to support our efforts and cooperate with our enquiries into how the incidents happened. Our investigation also continues as we consider what further action we need to take to stop this happening again.”

NRW is asking people who live in the area to report any signs of pollution to their 24/7 incident hotline on 03000 65 3000.

The multi-agency response to this incident has involved the following organisations: NRW, Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Milford Haven Port Authority, Marine and Coastguard Agency, Public Health Wales, Food Standards Agency.

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Fishguard: Sex offender caught trying to flee to Ireland

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A sex offender from Bow Street near Aberystwyth who tried to move to Ireland without telling anyone has been jailed.

Dennis Bull, aged 67, was caught trying to drive a van onto the Fishguard–Rosslare ferry with his belongings in the back ready for a new life in the Republic.

Bull, of Nirmit, admitted failing to comply with the conditions of registration as a sex offender and was jailed for 16 months.

Dyfed Thomas, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court it was the third time he had breached the order, imposed at Caernarfon crown court in February, 2016, for possessing indecent images of children.

That conviction was on top of earlier offending in New Zealand that included indecent exposure, outraging public decency and gross indecency with a child.

Mr Thomas said Bull had been jailed for 16 months in 2016 and ordered to register with the police. The restrictions imposed included a requirement to tell the police if he intended to change address.

On November 13 last year police at Fishguard harbour became aware of a Ford Mondeo registered to Bull.

A few minutes later Bull was arrested as he attempted to drive a van onto the Stenna ferry, which was loaded with household items.

Bull told the police he had made arrangements to move to Ireland “lock, stock and barrel” because he understood the monitoring of sex offenders was less strict.

In particular, said Mr Thomas, Bull did not like prospective employers being told about his convictions.

Judge Geraint Walters told Bull, “This was a planned and determined attempt to avoid detection. It was only the eagle eyes of the authorities that brought you to book.

“Your record is troubling and you present a risk of committing more offences of a sexual nature.

 “You are defiant of court orders that are there to protect others and it is truly disturbing that you are so keen to breach them.”

Bull was warned that the 2016 order remained in place for a further seven years.

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