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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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​Pembrokeshire Women’s Institutes visits Senedd

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MEMBERS from Women’s Institutes across Pembrokeshire visited the Senedd last week.

Mid and West Wales AM Helen Mary Jones met Pembrokeshire residents and gave a speech giving background to her work as an Assembly Member.

The focus of the meeting was how more women can get involved in politics at a local and national level, particularly when marking 100 years since some women got the vote for the first time.

Plaid Cymru Mid and West Wales AM Helen Mary Jones said: “I was pleased to chat with WI members from Pembrokeshire about how we can get more women involved in Welsh politics.

“There are persistent barriers to get more women involved in public life including the cost involved in standing for election, the time it takes particularly because caring activities usually falls on women. There is also a confidence issue.

“While the National Assembly has a strong reputation in relation to balanced gender representation, more has to be done to protect Wales’s achievements. I’m pleased therefore to see the panel on Assembly Electoral Reform recommend parties put forward balanced slates of male and female candidates.

“Women are the minority in our council chambers and in the House of Commons – making up 28 per cent of Welsh county councillors and 28 per cent of Welsh MPs. Plaid Cymru is taking active steps by passing a motion in last week’s conference to increase representation of women. We need deeds not just words.

“The private sector also has a long way to go. In 2017 in Wales, only six per cent of chief executives of the top 100 businesses in Wales are female.

“A number of issues were addressed during the question and answer session from the election of Donald Trump to the need for the protection of services at Withybush Hospital. I made sure the women were aware that the buck stops with the Cabinet Secretary for Health Vaughan Gething when it comes to the health service in Wales.”

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Police name Carmarthenshire man killed by Storm Callum landslide

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE has confirmed the man who died in a landslide at Cwmduad during Storm Callum yesterday (Oct 13) is 21-year-old Corey Thomas Sharpling, from Newcastle Emlyn.

Corey’s family has paid tribute to him, saying: “We are heartbroken at the tragic loss of our beautiful son Corey.

“Many knew his wit, charm and sense of loyalty and we take those things with us in our hearts. We would like to thank the community for their support at this time and also friends and colleagues at University of Wales Trinity, St David, Carmarthen.

“As a family we would appreciate time to grieve and ask to be given privacy in which to do so.”

Specialist police officers are supporting Corey’s family. Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating the circumstances of his death.

Inspector Chris Neve said: “Dyfed-Powys Police officers attended the A484 near Cwmduad on Saturday, October 13, following reports a tree had fallen on to the road.

“While officers were dealing with the obstruction a large scale landslide occurred, which tragically resulted in Corey losing his life at the scene.

“We are currently working with partner agencies to make the area safe for residents and road users and I urge people to stay away from the location at this time. The road is closed.

“Corey’s death will no doubt be a shock to the local community and on behalf of Dyfed-Powys Police I offer my deepest sympathy to his family and friends.”

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Haverfordwest: THI project to renovate old post office

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THE OLD Post Office building in Quay Street, Haverfordwest, is undergoing a major refurbishment project thanks to the Haverfordwest Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

The grant funders to the THI are the Heritage Lottery Fund, Cadw and Pembrokeshire County Council, which has awarded £100,000 towards the project.

“We’ve been working with the committed Haverhub team for many months now and I’m pleased we’ve been able to support their efforts through this Grant award,” said Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture.

The building, which has been empty for many years, is an example of the high quality neo-Georgian post offices of the inter-war period.

It is constructed from Bath stone ashlar, with its doric colonnaded door and finely-carved royal arms providing striking architectural features.

All the windows will be refurbished or replaced as necessary, with necessary repairs undertaken for the masonry and architectural roof lantern.

Steven Jardine, Project Co-ordinator, said the old Post Office is one of the last projects to benefit from the Haverfordwest THI, which will end by April next year.

“Haverfordwest THI has provided grants of more than £1.5 million in the town since 2016, enabling more than £2 million worth of renovation work to take place to historic properties,” he said.

“The buildings refurbished during the two years include commercial properties at Castle Square, Victoria Terrace, High Street, Mariners Square, and now at Quay Street.”

Haverfordwest County Councillor Tom Tudor, whose ward includes Quay Street, said: “It’s wonderful to see the restoration work providing real regeneration action for Haverfordwest.”

Pictured inside the building are (left to right); Steven Jardine; Malcolm
Arnold, building director; Gitti Coats, founder and project coordinator;
Dan Payne Haverhelper and builder; Tom Symonds, events director,
Cllr Tom Tudor and Jerry Evans, owner and financial manager.

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