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17-year-old sentenced to 15 year minimum term after brutal axe and sword murder

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A 16-YEAR-OLD schoolboy sipped tea with his stepmother at their home near St Clears and then slaughtered her with an axe and a samurai sword.

Reuben Brathwaite – who can be named for the first time today – even took photographs of the injured and then dead Mrs Scourfield and tried to upload them to the internet.

Brathwaite, now 17, admitted the murder and was today ordered by a judge to be detained at her majesty’s pleasure. He will be held in custody for a minimum of 15 years.

Brathwaite could not receive a life sentence because of his age but the sentence is effectively the same.

Swansea Crown Court heard how Brathwaite lived in a log cabin within the 14 acres of Broadmoor Farm with his father, a tree surgeon and landscape gardener, and his step mother, a keen animal lover.

Brathwaite moved into the cabin after his relationship with his step mother deteriorated.

The High Court judge, Mr Justice Picken, said he developed an interest in murder and constantly researched it on the internet, studying graphic images of executions and mass murder. He also began to feel isolated, depressed and “fed up with life,” but psychiatrists later confirmed he had not been mentally ill.

Brathwaite developed the idea that he would commit suicide but if he killed someone instead it would ‘somehow get him out of it’.

After returning home after a ‘regular, matter of fact’ day at school he put his plan into action.

Brathwaite chatted with his stepmother over a cup of tea and then indicated that there was something wrong with a cat she was looking after.

As she left the farmhouse to attend to the animal Brathwaite hit her over her head with the blunt side of an axe ‘eight or nine times’ until he could see her brain.

He took a photograph of her as she lay on the floor and tried unsuccessfully to post it on the internet.

Then he retrieved a samurai sword from under his father’s bed and cut her throat with it.

Brathwaite telephoned the police and told then what he had done and said he would put the sword into a caravan, not to hide it, he said, but to put it out of the way.

After his arrest he said he had used the axe in the hope of knocking Mrs Scourfield unconscious so she would not suffer when he cut her throat.

Mr Justice Picken said he found Brathwaite’s internet activity – and the attempt to post images of the murder as he committed it – to be ‘most disturbing’.

He told Brathwaite: “You made a clear decision to to go to find those weapons and to use them to kill your stepmother.

“This was an attack of savagery against someone who cared for you.

“This was not a spur of the moment attack. It was clearly pre-planned.”

Mr Justice Picken said if Brathwaite had been 18 the starting point would have been life with a minimum of 25 years.

But he had to have regard for his age to discount the sentence in return for his plea of guilty.

Brathwaite displayed no reaction as he was led away.

Mr Justice Picken then ruled that the court order protecting Brathwaite’s identity should be lifted because of the seriousness of his offending and because people in the area had the right to know who had murdered Fiona Scourfield.

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Fishguard: Traws Cymru bus destroyed in vehicle fire

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THE TRAWS CYMRU T5 Bus caught fire on Friday evening (May 17) in Fishguard, no passengers onboard.

According to local reports, only the driver was in the bus, which was on the way back to the depot.

The Herald understands that the driver got off safely.

Police and fire service were at the scene and the blaze was quickly extinguished.

Bus enthusiast Jim Horrissey said on Facebook: “The bus was Optare Tempo X1200 YJ56 WUG.

“It had finished it’s device on the T11 and was heading back to Fishguard when the fire started. Nobody was hurt, and only the driver was onboard.”

The 19 year old bus was formerly on service with the Norfolk Green Line, which is owned by Stagecoach before being put into general Statecoach service.

It was most recently operated by Richard Brothers.

According to their website, The TrawsCymru T5 provides a regular and direct service along the scenic Cambrian Coast, linking Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, New Quay, Cardigan, Fishguard and Haverfordwest.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Parked up: Bus before the fire

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Dementia Action Week

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LIBRARIES across the county will be supporting Dementia Action Week this month.

Dementia Action Week (20-26 May) aims to unite individuals, workplaces and communities to take action and improve the lives of people living with dementia.

“Unfortunately there are many people living with dementia in Pembrokeshire,” said Laura Evans, Library Development Officer.

“It is important that we do all we can to raise awareness of the condition and to help those people who are living with it.”

Reminiscence sessions will be the focus in some libraries, with members of the public invited to bring along old photographs of their local area to help people recall events, places or people.

Craft activities will be taking place to make ‘twiddle sheets’, that provide visual, tactile and sensory stimulation to people with dementia, with the finished sheets being donated to local groups and charities.

Libraries in Pembrokeshire offer a range of books about dementia, including the ‘Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia’ collection.

The collection, which has been recommended by experts and endorsed by well-known charities and health organisations, provides information and advice for living well after diagnosis, as well as personal stories and practical support.

Information on all Dementia Action Week events taking place at local libraries will be available from:

· www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture,
· on the Libraries Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PembrokeshireLibraryService
· or ask at your local library for details

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TPS scam alert issued

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PEMBROKESHIRE Trading Standards are warning local residents of a current telephone scam.

Callers claiming to be from the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) have been phoning residents asking them to pay for the service or to update their contact details.

In fact, the TPS is free – and it does not contact its customers to update their details.

“The TPS is the official service for people to register to opt out of receiving marketing phone calls to land and mobile telephones. It is free and once a phone number is registered, it remains on the list with no need for it to be updated,” said Sandra McSparron, Trading Standards Officer at Pembrokeshire County Council.

“If you have been contacted by phone asking you to pay for TPS services, or update your details, it is a scam.”

Pembrokeshire Trading Standards has also received a report of someone being phoned regarding national insurance fraud and asking for details of the person’s National Insurance number.

Trading Standards would advise people not to share this information with unknown callers.

· If you suspect a scam call, hang up and report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 / 03454 040505 (Welsh Speaker).

· Registering your telephone number with the TPS can be done via their telephone number 0345 070 0707 or the website www.tpsonline.org.uk

· The Trading Standards Team offers talks to any groups in Pembrokeshire advising how to spot and avoid scams and what to do if you or someone you know is receiving these contacts. For further details please phone 01437 764551 or email tradingstandards@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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