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‘Cinderella’ daughter wins share of £7m estate

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A CINDERELLA farmer’s daughter who says she was left at home ‘with a muck fork’ whilst her teenage sisters went dancing has triumphed in her fight for a fair share of her elderly parents’ £7 million estate.

Eirian Davies, aged 45, was repeatedly assured by her parents, Tegwyn and Mary Davies, now in their 70s, that she would ultimately step into their shoes and take over the family’s ‘golden egg’ – thriving Henllan Farm, Whitland, and its herd of pedigree Holstein cows.

And three Appeal Court judges on Wednesday ruled that a stake in the thriving 182-acre farm was no more than her due for the years of low-paid toil she put in.

The family war had culminated in a “physical altercation” in the milking parlour, during which milk was thrown over Miss Davies by her mother, and she and her father ended up entangled on the floor where she bit her father’s leg.

Miss Davies had testified that she missed out on going to Young Farmers’ Club dances with her two sisters as a teenager because she had to stay at home to deal with her farming chores.

“They always told me that the farm would be left to me. Even on my birthday, when the other girls were having things, they would say – ‘you will have the damn lot one day, it will all be yours’,” she said.

Her father would regularly warn her “not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg” if she complained about her meagre wages, she added.

Until she reached the age of 21, Miss Davies was paid nothing at all for her work on the farm and, after that, there was a period when she was paid just £15-a-day for milking the cows, although sometimes she received more.

She claimed she could have ‘made a better life elsewhere’, but her 75-year-old father and mother, 76, insisted she had earned a fair income during her stints working on the farm, also being provided with free ‘bed and board’ and other benefits.

Describing her as ‘a self-employed herdswoman’, they argued she would have done no better financially had she worked away from the farm.

However, Lord Justice Floyd on Wednesday ruled that measuring Miss Davies’ contribution to the farm was not just ‘an exercise in forensic accounting’ and that her parents should be held to the promises they made to her.

The judge, sitting with Lords Justice Richards and Underhill, said Miss Davies had for years laboured under the impression that she was running the farm in partnership with her parents – however they had never signed the agreement.

In 2009, she was shown a draft will, which left the lion’s share of the farm to her. However, her parents later made changes to their bequests and proposed to place the farm in trust for the benefit of all three sisters equally.

Miss Davies had a ‘passionate interest in pedigree milking cows’ and, by 1989 when she turned 21, she was the only sister left at the farm, ‘her sisters having departed to follow other paths’, the judge said.

And, when she left the farm to work elsewhere for a while, her father begged her to return.

The milking parlour fracas in August 2012 was the final straw that broke the family asunder and her parents launched proceedings to evict Miss Davies from Henllan farmhouse, where she still lives.

However, at an earlier court hearing, Judge Milwyn Jarman QC ruled that Miss Davies had relied on her parents’ promises and thrown herself into working on the farm for low wages. She was thus entitled to a ‘beneficial interest’ in the business.

Dismissing the couple’s appeal against that ruling, Lord Justice Floyd said Miss Davies had received ‘less than full recompense’ for her contribution to the farm which could not be measured in purely financial terms.

The appeal judge concluded: “This is in many ways a tragic case.

“The bitterness between the parties was such that each had few, if any, good words to say about the other.

“The fact remained, however, that between them they had over the years built up, by hard work, great skill and passionate dedication a prodigious Holstein pedigree milking herd and a highly successful business.

“It is greatly to be hoped that they might now be able to resolve such remaining differences as they have in relation to Eirian’s entitlement without recourse to further costly and divisive litigation”.

Judge Milwyn Jarman told the earlier county court hearing that the bitter relations between Eirian Davies and her parents came to a head after she discovered their plans to split the farm equally between the three sisters.

“After one such argument with her father in February 2010, she went to the barn and put a rope from a beam around her neck,” said the judge, adding that, by good fortune, a farm worker saw what was happening and intervened.

Although there was evidence that her parents had “pinned their hopes” on Eirian over the years, they had become increasingly annoyed by her relationships with men following her divorce.

The judge said part of this concern was – not so much the men involved – but “any children that they had and how that may impact upon their duties to keep the business in the family”.

“Her mother referred to a string of men, to whom she referred as ‘wretches’, with kids behind them,” said the judge.

Family relations hit rock bottom in August 2012 during a “physical altercation” between Eirian and her parents in the milking parlour.

“Accounts differ about that altercation, but at some point milk was thrown over Eirian by her mother and she and her father ended up entangled on the floor where Eirian bit her father’s leg”, the judge said.

“Eirian received from her parents the next day a notice terminating her services, and two weeks later a notice to quit the farmhouse requiring vacant possession by October 31 2012”.

Despite the intense friction in the family, the judge said it was to their credit that Eirian and her parents had over the years “by hard work, great skill and passionate dedication built up a prodigious Holstein pedigree milking herd and a highly successful business”.

He described Eirian as having a “passionate interest in pedigree milking cows”, also referring to her evidence that she was consistently promised that the farm would one day be her’s.

“Eirian says that she first heard that ‘it will all be your’s one day’ when she was still at secondary school, for example when her mother took her sisters shopping and she was left at home, as she put it, ‘with a muck fork’.

“She says she regularly missed school and that her sisters were not interested in farming at all.

“She claims to have heard the same thing regularly thereafter from both parents, whenever she asked for money. She was told: “don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg'”.

A “major factor” in the family’s difficult relationship was the “strong personalities of both mother and daughter”, he noted, as well as Eirian’s frustration at her role in the farming business not being formalised.

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Pembroke: Leave teenage girls alone, sex offender told

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A SEX OFFENDER from Ashdale Lane, Pembroke has been jailed for repeatedly ignoring court orders which were put in place to protect young girls.
Gareth Thomas James Flynn, aged 41, frightened a 14-year-old girl who refused to get off a bus in case he managed to find out where she lived.
41-year-old Gareth Thomas James Flynn scared a 14-year-old girl because she refused to get of a bus, frightened he would learn her address.
He admitted breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was jailed today for a year.
Sitting at Swansea Crown Court, Judge Geraint Walters berated the defendant.  His Honour said that Flynn had shown a complete disregard for the original SHPO.
The judge said: “Leave teenage girls alone. They are scared of you”
He told Flynn he would be on licence for 12 months after his release from prison, and he reminded him that the SHPO remained in place.

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Narberth: ‘My mum’s camper was stolen and found burned out down the road’

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A CAMPER VAN stolen on Thursday night in Narberth was found burned a short distance from where it was parked, the owner’s son has said.

Zachary Bunce posted an appeal on Facebook on Friday morning saying: “Can every single one of my friends please share this my mother’s Ford transit campervan was stolen last night in the Narberth area can people please be on the lookout for this van as my mother is completely heartbroken.”

But three hours later he updated the post to say: “Thank you everyone who shared, sadly my mums van was driven 1.3 miles down the road and driven into a ditch and burnt it out.

Mr Bunce has said on that the incident has been captured on CCTV, and took place at 2.10am in the morning (Jan 24).
Anyone with any information should contact the police on 101.

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Hook: Police and school confirm death of boy, 13

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POLICE are investigating the sudden death of a 13-year-old boy from Hook on Wednesday (Jan 22)

A police spokesman told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 13-year-old boy, from the Hook area of Pembrokeshire.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious at this time. Next of kin have been advised and are being supported.”

A letter was sent out to parents and carers by Haverfordwest High VC School headteacher Jane Harries following the death. The letter reads: “It is with great sadness that I have to inform you about the sudden death of a year nine pupil at our school.

“The children in Year nine were told this morning by myself and other pupils were told by their teachers during their lesson this afternoon. The full detail surrounding the death are not known at this stage – but children have been reassured that this is something that does not happen very often. Your child may or may not want to talk bout it, but it is likely that he/she will need your special care, attention and reassurance at this difficult time.

“We are deeply affected by the death, but we are trying, for the children’s sake, to keep the school as normal as possible over the coming days, whilst allowing the children opportunities to talk about the pupil if they wish to. Trained support staff and counsellors are helping to support us through this difficult time. If you feel that your child needs extra support, please let us know.

“Our thoughts are with the pupil’s family at this difficult time, and the whole school community sends them our sincerest sympathy and support. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s achievement leader, or Miss Thomas, pastoral support manager. Paul Lucas, chairman of the governing body at Haverfordwest High VC School, said: “The governors are shocked at the tragic loss of this young student. The family are in our thoughts at this very sad time.”

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