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Milford Haven: Homeless man back in prison after cannabis arrest

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A HOMELESS man, who had become a recognisable character on the streets of Milford Haven, dressed in his trademark army gear, was arrested on Tuesday night (May 8), for possession of cannabis.

Police were seen speaking to the Big Issue seller on Hamilton Terrace at around 6pm.

The 39-year-old, who calls himself ‘Craig Jones’ or ‘CJ’, wore a day-to-day outfit which included a helmet, stab vest, combat fatigues, and field boots. However, subsequent to his arrest his true identity been confirmed as Charles James McBride.

The PATCH charity volunteer had been squatting in the crazy golf cabin at the top of the Rath until recently, when he was evicted and the structure secured by owner Pembrokeshire County Council.

In the short time that he had been in the Milford Haven area he was known by a large number of locals, including the mayor, a county councillor, the editor of this newspaper, and had found himself a girlfriend on the Mount Estate.

But what no one knew was that behind his new name was a hidden past.

Ipswich Crown Court heard in February 2014 how Charles McBride bound and gagged his girlfriend, 27-year-old Melissa Cousins, and then kept her prisoner for five hours, as he believed she was possessed by demons.

The pair, who had been living in a World War 2 bunker near Lowestoft, had been in a relationship for two years prior to the incident.

McBride, the court heard, threatened to break her arms if she didn’t comply. She was ‘scared and frightened and crying’ as he tied her hands together with shoelaces, and then tied her legs together with tape and string.

With Cousins tied up, he then zipped her in her sleeping bag and recited extracts from the Bible.

McBride was diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having a severe mixed personality disorder, and that he genuinely believe she had been possessed by demons.

He said: “It didn’t entitle him to act in that way but his genuine belief was that he was acting in her best interests.”

Ms Cousins later withdrew her statement to police.

McBride was jailed for six years, with an extended licence of five years.

PATCH Charity manager Tracy Olin said she was both shocked and heartbroken to hear about CJ’s past and that he had was in Swansea Prison.

McBride was seen regularly outside Tesco selling copies of The Big Issue, as well as being a regular volunteer at PATCH.

He had been helping by giving out balloons at the recent Herald family fun day, and was seemingly well liked in the town.

Following that, the owner of a disused building had given him a roof over his head, but he had been struggling for money after his Big Issue vendor licence had been revoked, following an argument with Tesco management.

Herald editor Tom Sinclair said: “It is obvious that mental health issues were the reason behind the original offence. It is a shame that in mental health awareness week CJ is back in jail for having some cannabis on him. It is my understanding that he smoked this to keep his condition under control but he will now be in prison for at least six months.”

“I had allowed CJ to keep warm by staying at the Working Men’s Club which I am currently renovating”

McBride will be in court in Haverfordwest on May 29.

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Amroth: RNLI rescue three people swept out to sea

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THE RNLI rescued three people after they were washed off rocks by huge waves at Telpyn Point near Amroth.

At 5pm on Sunday (Dec 9) as the lifeboat crew’s children’s Christmas Party was ending, both of Tenby’s RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch after a report that three women were cut off by the incoming tide somewhere between Marros and Amroth.

The casualties had been forced to cut their call to the Coastguard short as their mobile phone battery was about to run out, so the Coastguard didn’t have an exact position for them.

The lifeboats were quickly on the water and the volunteer crew made best speed to towards Amroth to begin their search in pitch black conditions and with a large swell running into the rocks.

Despite the low battery, once the casualties spotted the lifeboat in the distance, they turned on their phone’s screen and began waving the phone towards the lifeboat. The volunteer crew on the inshore lifeboat immediately spotted the light and headed for it, closely followed by the all-weather lifeboat.

Once on scene, it was apparent to the lifeboat crew that this would be a difficult rescue due to the heavy swell crashing on the rocks, just feet from where the casualties were precariously perched, so Tenby and St Govans Coastguard Rescue teams were paged in case a rope rescue was required.

With the numerous underwater rocks making it impossible for the all-weather lifeboat to get anywhere near, the bigger vessel illuminated the rocks with floodlights, whilst the inshore lifeboat prepared their anchor to veer down into the rocks through the swell in an attempt to reach the casualties.

As the crew made attempts to get close enough to shore in very tricky conditions, a large wave hit the rocks, washing one of the casualties into the sea. As the casualty struggled in the heavy swell, the helmsman managed to get the lifeboat alongside her and the crew pulled her to safety.

She was rushed to the all-weather lifeboat where the crew were waiting to assess and treat her. On their return to check on the remaining two casualties, the inshore lifeboat crew could only watch as another wave hit the rocks and washed them into the surf. Again, the helmsman managed to get inside the surf line and the crew plucked them to safety, before dropping them aboard the all-weather lifeboat.

With everyone accounted for, the boats returned to the station, where the casualties were further assessed and were delighted to be able to take warm showers. Despite the ferocity of the surf that washed them off the rocks, the women were lucky to escape with only a few minor grazes.

Once they were warmed up enough and had had a warm drink, they thanked the crew and then made their way home.

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Interviews to take place this week for £91k council job

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INTERVIEWS are to be held this week for a controversial senior role within Pembrokeshire County Council, with an advertised salary of up to £91,000.

On Wednesday (Dec 12), interviews will be held for the Head of Economic Development and Regeneration post, which has a salary bracket of £53,982 – £91,443.

In addition, the job was advertised with £5,259 subsidy for a leased car and a ‘generous pension scheme’.

Relocation assistance was also being offered for applicants outside of Pembrokeshire.

In July, at a meeting of Full Council, the new job post was approved, with most agreeing that the post should be advertised in order to ensure improvements and large investments are made around the county. The former head of regeneration recently retired.
Despite initial concern at the meeting, the only councillor strongly against the new role was Cllr Reg Owens, saying: “I really can’t see any justification in filling this post, I’ll say that from the start.

“Over the past year quite rightly we have been lectured… about the need to be far more prudent in our expenditure. When we approved the budget last year, and we approved the 12.5% [council tax] I did say at the time we are asking the people of Pembrokeshire to contribute towards Pembrokeshire County Council and we have also got to be seen to be doing our bit as well.

“When I look at the job description…we have certainly got those skills with our current chief officers and heads of services and of course the cabinet members, so I don’t think we will be cast adrift by not making this appointment, in fact, if we don’t make this appointment, we will be showing everybody that we do mean business trying to save some money.”

Despite this, Cllr Owens was ultimately persuaded by justifications of others.

Cllr Michael Williams of Plaid Cymru argued: “If you want justification just go and walk through our towns. I mean the whole economic base that used to be in these towns is now almost dead.

“To do nothing is not an option. We have got to show some ambition for the benefit of this county, otherwise the whole place is going to fail.

“I think this is an opportunity, I think we’ve failed in the past because we haven’t resourced in any way adequately enough this unit. And we have got to get that right.”

The proposition by Cllr Williams, seconded by Cllr Miller, detailed how the Senior Staff Committee recommend to the Council that the role of Head of Economic Development and Regeneration be advertised.

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Milford Haven: Defibrillator donated to town

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ON SUNDAY (De 9) a defibrillator was presented to the town of Milford Haven by The 3 Amigos & Dollies motorcycle group.

After the death earlier in the year of fellow 3 Amigo Little Bri (Brian Craig), money was raised at his funeral by the Amigos to make the donation possible.

The defibrillator is now dedicated to Little Bri, with a brass plaque hung on the wall in his honour. Brian’s widow, Kath, his friends, and the Amigos all attended the presentation.

The defibrillator can be found on the wall by Tom Neewing & Son funeral directors.

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