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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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MP calls on Welsh Government to explain broadband delays

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STEPHEN CRABB has called on the Welsh Government to come clean over broadband rollout delays.

Minister Julie James AM, whose responsibilities include digital infrastructure and inclusion, has been urged to explain the reasons for delays to the rollout of superfast broadband to rural properties across Wales.

Last year, the Superfast Cymru scheme saw BT receive £425m in return for connecting the vast majority of premises in Wales to next-generation broadband.

When the contract ended, 90,000 mainly rural properties still had not been connected. Further details of another scheme to complete the work were due to be announced in July, but at the start of August, Julie James AM suddenly announced that ‘unforeseen issues’ were causing delays which could not be further discussed because of ‘commercial confidentiality’.

Stephen Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said: “It’s simply unacceptable for the Minister responsible to announce delays to the next stage of Broadband rollout but refuse to explain why. Access to reliable, fast broadband is of increasing importance to businesses, large and small, in Pembrokeshire and I have worked with many across the constituency to improve their broadband access.

“However, the digital divide continues to exist with rural communities in Pembrokeshire suffering again. It is an inescapable fact that delivery of broadband infrastructure is devolved to the Welsh Government and Julie James AM should now come forward and explain the reasons for these delays.”

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Air ambulance lands at ‘serious’ crash scene

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THE WALES AIR AMBULANCE has landed at the scene of a serious crash this morning (Sept 25) between the Sentry Cross and Honeyborough roundabouts on the A477.

Posts on Facebook from witnesses at the scene say a man is being treated by paramedics.

Police have said one car was involved in the incident.

In addition to the helicopter, Dyfed-Powys Police, the Welsh Ambulance Service and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place.

A police spokesperson said:  “Dyfed-Powys Police is at the scene of a serious RTC between the Sentry Cross and Honeyborough roundabouts, Pembrokeshire.

“The A477 stretch between those roundabouts is currently closed while emergency services deal with the incident. One car is involved; the driver has received serious injuries.

“No further information is available at this time.”

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Drone guide to limit wildlife disturbance

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE COAST NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY has released new drone guidance for recreational users that seeks to limit the disturbance the aerial devices can cause to protected wildlife.

As well as reiterating general safety advice from the Civil Aviation Authority’s Drone Code, the guidance will help recreational users of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to understand the impact their use could have on rare species and on other people’s enjoyment.

National Park Authority Biodiversity Officer, Sarah Mellor said: “While the Drone Code focuses on safety, we have produced this simple guide to help protect the array of wonderful wildlife that attracts many people to Pembrokeshire.

“Species such as seabirds and seals are particularly vulnerable when they are breeding or nurturing their young and even low levels of disturbance can impact on them and can lead to reductions in populations.

“The guidance also highlights how livestock can be easily startled by drones, including the sheep, cows and horses that graze the coastal slopes alongside the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

“We want everyone to enjoy their visit to Pembrokeshire, so being aware of the impact drones can have on other people and the area’s peace and tranquillity is also important.”

The guidance has been prepared in collaboration with partners including commercial drone operators, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, National Trust, Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Natural Resources Wales and Pembrokeshire County Council.

The information will be updated as more rules and research findings are released. The document, which is available from the National Park Authority’s website, can also be printed as a reference guide.

You can download the guidance by visiting www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/filming.

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