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Betty Guy ‘murdered by her daughter and grandson’

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BETTY GUY was murdered by her own daughter and grandson, a jury heard today (Jan 9).

Penelope John fed her crushed transquilisers and alcohol and Barry Rogers smothered her with a pillow, it was alleged.

John, aged 50, of Union Terrace, St Dogmaels, and Rogers, 32, of High Street, Fishguard, deny murdering 84 year old Mrs Guy on November 7, 2011, at her home in Hillcroft, Johnston, near Haverfordwest.

Paul Lewis QC, prosecuting at Swansea Crown Court, said at first Mrs Guy’s death was put down to natural causes and her body was cremated soon afterwards.

But in the following years, he alleged, Rogers made a series of confessions to women he later had relationships with.

And police tape recorded more confessions after they secretly bugged John’s home and heard both of them discussing what they had done.

They included, said Mr Lewis, Rogers telling his mother: “But I did it. No honestly you have got nothing to worry about, it’s me that’s the one that’s done the act.”

Later they became concerned about whether Rogers had spoken about John putting tablets into Mrs Guy’s whiskey on a mobile telephone or put it in a text.

Rogers could be heard saying, softly, to John: “Are you starting to crack? Keep our story the same.”

John was taped saying: “No, I can’t remember. Did I text you when I said I crushed the diazepam up and I crushed zopiclone and put it in her….

“No, I would not have text that to you Barry. On reflection, I would have told you on the telephone.”

Rogers allegedly replied, “On the phone, yeah. I’m sure we spoke on the phone about it.”

Another recording caught Rogers, referring again to mobile telephones, saying to John: “But it’s f***ing technology like, a slip of a word here or there and we are in deep s**t like, we’re in jail for life.”

Mr Lewis said the prosecution case was that both Rogers and John had decided to end Mrs Guy’s life.

At 2.48am on November 7 John dialled 999 and said her mother had died. She said she had been suffering from stomach and bowel cancer, both of which were untrue.

She also said Rogers was in the house.

Because Mrs Guy was to be cremated her body was examined by two doctors. Dr Roger Burns noted small pinpoint bruising on the left side of her face.

No postmortem was carried out and the cremation went ahead at Narberth.

Rogers developed a relationship with Sandra Adams, who had been a junior school pupil in Haverfordwest with him many years before.

In November, 2015, Miss Adams went to the police to say Rogers had told her that he had smothered his grandmother with a pillow and an investigation began.

Detectives traced his estranged wife, Lisa Watkins, and another woman he had had a relationship with, Rhianne Morris.

Mr Lewis said they discovered that Rogers had also confessed to them.

The defendants were arrested on October 5, 2016.

While they were being interviewed bugs were placed at John’s home and on their release Rogers was granted bail on the condition he stayed with his mother.

“Almost as soon as they got in they began to talk,” said Mr Lewis.

When Rogers was re-interviewed and told about the tape recordings, he claimed to have made the statements ‘to take the p**s out of you pigs’.

Rogers, a former soldier, told police he knew the house had been bugged because he had bought a bug detector on EBay the day after he and his mother had been released on bail.

But, said Mr Lewis, the incriminating conversations had been recorded in the early hours of the morning or their release and ‘well before Barry Rogers could possibly have bought any bug detector’.

Mr Lewis said Rhianne Morris had told them that in 2010 she had moved in with Rogers, then living at 6 Rhydyfelin, Cardigan. Later, they moved to Frome in Somerset.

Late on November 6, 2011, Rogers received a telephone call from his mother and he could be heard saying: “It’s time, is it?”

Rogers then drove to Johnston and telephoned Miss Morris in the early hours of the following day to say ‘his Nan had gone’.

He allegedly told Miss Morris that John had given Mrs Guy ‘a load of tablets and a bottle of whiskey’.

Their relationship deteriorated and during a heated argument Rogers allegedly said to Miss Morris: “You want to be careful, or I’ll do to you want I did to her.”

Rogers allegedly picked up a pillow and held it to his face, saying to Miss Morris: “I’ll do it while you’re sleeping and you won’t know.”

Both John and Rogers deny having any involvement in Mrs Guy’s death.

t was now too late for anyone to prove medically how Betty Guy died, the jury heard.

Her body was cremated four days after her death.

But, said Paul Lewis QC, the prosecution would still show that she was suffocated as the result of an agreement between the two defendants.

After police had become suspicious about how she had died a Home Office forensic pathologist, Dr Deryck James, had reviewed her medical history and the notes made by the two doctors who had examined her body before she had been cremated.

Dr James concluded that although she had suffered ill health she had not any terminal illness.

Dr James said he noted that bruising had been visible on Mrs Guy’s face.

“In his opinion where a person is found dead, is face up and has not been the subject of any resuscitation attempts, then such petechiae (bruising) warrant further investigation because they raise the question of there having been pressure applied to the face or neck and thus the possibility of suffocation.

“However, such petechiae do not point inexorably to there having been an obstruction to Mrs Guy’s breathing and, from a medical standpoint, Dr James cannot now rule out that Mrs Guy suffered a natural death.

“The medical evidence cannot therefore provide any certainty as to how Mrs Guy died.”

He told the jury, “You will have to decide upon all the evidence that you hear.

“Did she die of natural causes as the defendants contend or, as we allege, was she suffocated as the result of an agreement reached between the two defendants.

“We submit, however, that she did not die from natural causes and that the defendants did not tell the truth in interview.

“Instead, they lied to try and conceal the arrangement they had made and the steps that they took to end Mrs Guy’s life.”

The trial continues and is expected to last for three weeks.

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Closing date approaching for reception placements

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PARENTS of children who will have their 5th birthday between September 1, 2018 and August 31, 2019 are being reminded that the closing date to apply for a reception school place is January 31.

Reception places are allocated by Pembrokeshire County Council’s admissions office – not the individual schools – and applications need to be made to the Council’s Admissions Officer.

Applications received after the closing date will be considered late and this may have a bearing on whether the child gets a place at the preferred primary school.

School places are not automatically allocated, even if the child has older siblings at the school or lives in the catchment area.

The County Council’s admissions office will let parents know the outcome of their application on April 16, 2018.

Applications for reception school places should be made using the online application form on the Pembrokeshire County Council website at (https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/schools-and-learning)

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‘Once in a lifetime’ reorganisation planned by Health Board

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THE LOCAL Health Board is embarking on a ‘once in a lifetime’ reorganisational plan which is looking at all potential options to ‘change the status quo and focus on improving health’ of locals.

This will involve, a press release has revealed, transferring more hospital services into the community where appropriate.

This is part of a strategy that the Health Board is looking into, to help solve an acute recruitment problem which is putting a great deal of pressure on the way that the Heath Board operates – and is leading to an untenable level of use of costly temporary staff to plug gaps and services.

In the summer of 2017, the Health Board embarked in an engagement with the public called ‘The Big Conversation’ which involved public workshops and drop-ins being held across the three counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

The Health Board now says the it has independently analysed opinions of the general public and has been using that data to explore, challenge and test different scenarios.

It is yet to be seen what these changes will mean for end service users.

The Herald understands it is likely to mean hospital services being reduced or cut, and replaced with community alternatives.

The Health Board has said it will not make any changes, unless it can guarantee the safety of the people which it serves.

The Health Board has insisted that no preferred option for change has yet been determined, and nothing has been signed off or agreed at this stage.

Medical Director Dr Philip Kloer said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our health service and community to work together to design an NHS which is fit for our generation and beyond. It has been acknowledged for some time across the UK that healthcare services are challenged like never before and we need significant change. Indeed this has been recognised in the recently published ‘Parliamentary Review of Health & Social Care’ here in Wales.

“We need to develop more proactive, resilient and better resourced local community services to support and improve people’s health and wellbeing, and avoid deterioration where possible. This will involve closer working with our partners, particularly colleagues in social care. We are also looking at ways of providing the most modern clinical practice, using the latest digital, technological, and new scientific developments, in fit for purpose facilities to provide better patient outcomes and experience.

“A number of our services are fragile and dependent on significant numbers of temporary staff, which can lead to poorer quality care. For us specifically in Hywel Dda, the geography we cover is large, with many scattered communities that are getting older, needing more holistic health and social care treatment and support. Because of this, we need to better resource our community based care, which is where most of our patient contact is, and help people manage their health conditions. We also need to evolve traditional ways of working and provide a more proactive approach. This should give patients – young, older and frail and everyone in between – the services they need when the need it, so people do not have to wait too long.

“This will mean changing hospital-based care, as well as community care, and we appreciate the attachment local people and our own staff have for their local hospitals. They have been cared for in them, or work in them, and they also play an important role in our wider communities. The options may propose change to a local hospital; however this is about more than the buildings. This is about investing in our communities, attracting doctors, nurses and therapists by operating a modern healthcare system and keeping hospitals for those who really need hospital care.

“We will not put in place any change that isn’t safe for our patients and population. And we will look at all the impacts from ensuring services are safer with better patient outcomes, to considering the wider impact on people, including the most vulnerable.”

Dr Kloer added: “The potential options are evolving, with changes to them on almost a daily basis. Many will never even reach public consultation, for a variety of reasons including safety, accessibility and affordability, or will change significantly as they are tested against population needs and healthcare standards.

“We will be coming back to the public in the spring with fewer options that have been more rigorously tested and we will open and honest about what we think our preferred option is and why. We would not, and cannot, propose something that would not be safe for our population.

“We live in this community, use our NHS and work for our NHS and we want to work with our patients, staff, partners and public to ensure it is the best it can be.”

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New ferry service brings uncertain future for Pembrokeshire ports

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A DIRECT ferry service between Ireland and Spain could have an impact on Pembrokeshire’s ports.

The ferry service, which will sail from Cork to Santander, in two return journeys a week, could result in traffic bypassing the UK.

This highlights the preparations being made by Irish businesses for a hard Brexit, a Liberal Democrats spokesperson has said.

The spokesperson said: “Whilst the establishment of a new service is not explicitly linked to Brexit, the new route does give firms the opportunity to bypass Welsh ports in the event of a hard Brexit. Should we get a bad Brexit deal that leads to substantial customs delays at our ports, that opportunity will begin to look very attractive.”

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader, Jane Dodds, commented: “This is yet more evidence of the devastating impact Brexit could have on Welsh ports. These ports make a vital contribution to their local economies and the economy of Wales. Leaving the customs union could lead to lengthy delays at these ports, increased costs for companies and even rotting produce. It is essential the UK stays in the single market and customs union to protect our ports and the Welsh economy.”

Andrew Lye, Chair of Carmarthenshire & Pembrokeshire Liberal Democrats, said: “News that Ireland and Spain will be linked by a direct ferry service for the first time should set the alarm bells ringing. With Brexit negotiations continuing, Ireland is preparing for a hard border with the UK and who can blame them! But the creation of a direct route between Ireland and Spain rightly concerns us here in Pembrokeshire.

“The ports of Pembroke Dock and Fishguard are crucial to their communities and the economy of Pembrokeshire. A hard border after Brexit would have devastating consequences for these ports and the jobs, trade and tourism they support. No-one wants to see Pembrokeshire lose out, but the signs are worrying.” 

The Commercial Manager Captain for the Port of Corck, Michael McCarthy, said:  “The option for freight carriers to bypass the UK land bridge will be seen as very attractive, as Brexit uncertainty continues.

“We have no doubt that both exporters and importers will make this a viable service.”

The service will start in April.

A Brittany Ferries ship, Connemara, will have the capacity for 500 passengers and 195 cars.

Brittany Ferries Chief Executive, Christophe Mathieu, said: “Green Spain promises visitors a wealth of opportunities, whether they travel with us from the UK or Ireland.

“However, this new route will also present more options to freight companies operating throughout Ireland, Spain, Portugal and southern France.”

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