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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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Burton Ferry: Public advised to avoid oil on beach

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MEMBERS of the public have been asked to avoid a section of the beach at Burton Ferry following the discovery of oil on the shoreline.

Officers from the Public Protection team at Pembrokeshire County Council have put up warning signs advising people that part of the shore between the Jolly Sailor and the NATO jetty has been contaminated with oil. 

The County Council and other agencies are investigating the source of the oil. Work to clean up the beach will be starting soon to ensure there is minimum impact on the public and the environment.

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Stephen Crabb MP speaks out in 40 hour Brexit debate

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has spoken out against a so-called ‘No Deal Brexit’ which would see Britain leave the EU next March without a transition period or an agreement in place for the rules that will apply to trade after next March.

He defended his support for Brexit and said that he had promised on the night of the Referendum in 2016 to implement the result and do it in a responsible way which protects the economy of Pembrokeshire.

Speaking on Wednesday night in the House of Commons, Mr Crabb drew attention to the risks facing local industries like oil refining and the ferry ports connecting to Ireland if Brexit is mishandled.

“How we leave the EU really does matter to the lives of people who work in these sectors,” he said.

He warned of “very serious and specific reasons” why a No Deal Brexit would be “very bad news indeed” for the Valero oil refinery in Pembroke. He described the closure of the Murco oil refinery in 2014 as a “horrible” time for the County and said that he could not vote for anything that would create new risks for Pembrokeshire’s last remaining refinery.

Mr Crabb said that no responsible Member of Parliament for Preseli Pembrokeshire could vote for No Deal and look their constituents in the eye again.

He closed his speech by saying that he would vote for this “imperfect” deal because a perfect Brexit does not exist and Britain needs a way forward from the current divisions and argument.

FOR MORE SEE THIS WEEK’S PAPER

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Welsh Assembly Government will probe Bay City Deal

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THE WELSH Government has announced an independent investigation into the Swansea Bay City Deal.
Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Ken Skates, issued a written statement this evening which said that the UK and Welsh Governments had agreed the project required ‘a rapid and independent review’.
While Mr Skates’ statement is upbeat about the progress made on elements of the Deal, saying ‘all partners are committed’ to its success, the review will cover due diligence and governance in respect all aspects of the deal.
The statement concludes the review will ‘ensure that governance and oversight at programme and project level are robust’. If the review identifies weaknesses, it will recommend measures to strengthen them.
The Cabinet Secretary’s statement follows suspensions of staff from Swansea University who were concerned in elements of the Deal’s delivery, particularly the £200m+ redevelopment of the bog at Delta Lakes into a Wellness Village and Life Sciences Centre.
The move follows a call for the WAO to examine the web of companies and the tendering process made by Carmarthenshire Labour Leader, Rob James.
Carmarthenshire blogger Jacqui Thompson has highlighted potentially serious issues affecting due diligence on the Delta Lakes project. Pat Dodd Racher of West Wales News Review has also probed the project and highlighted a series of overlaps between personnel in different parts of it.
If governance and failures are identified or due diligence is shown to have been less than optimal sub-par, Mark James CBE, the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council who also heads up the City Board could find himself considerably embarrassed.
The Wellness project has been the subject of a number of articles in The Herald which have examined the corporate backgrounds of the County Council’s development partners in the project.
Tomorrow’s Herald digs further into the tangled web of connection between key individuals concerned in the Deal and particularly at Delta Lakes.

Exclusive By Jon Coles, Senior Reporter

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