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Two-year-old was ‘singing’ moments prior to death, inquest hears

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A TWO-YEAR-OLD who died when the car she was in rolled into the River Teifi was ‘singing’ just moments before, an inquest has heard.

Kiara Moore, who drowned on March 19 in the River Teifi, Cardigan, was left alone for just two minutes prior to the car entering the water.

Ceredigion coroner, Peter Brunton, opened the inquest this morning (Nov 27) in Aberystwyth.

The inquest heard that Kiara’s mother, Kim, had snapped her credit card and had to leave the car to re-enter the family business, owned by Kiara’s father, Jet.

In this short period of time, Kiara was left in the car.

Kim said that the car was left in reverse on the slope where she always parks with the handbrake on. The car was recovered in third gear with the handbrake disengaged.

The car was reported as stolen and a police search was launched. It was later spotted in the river, with Kiara’s body inside. She had tragically drowned.

Experts told the inquest that Kiara moving around in the car may have been enough to start the car rolling.

The car was tested and found to be in good condition with no defects.

When asked if Kiara could have knocked the handbrake, Sgt Shane Davies, Dyfed-Powys Police’s Senior Forensic Officer, said ‘I don’t know is the honest answer’.

He added: “I can’t say with any degree of certainty how it went from the handbrake being on at the slipway to not being on in the water.

“You could release the handbrake by pressing the button at the front of it.”

No charges were brought by Dyfed-Powys Police, and the inquest was formally closed with a judgement of death via misadventure.

Kim Rowlands said in a prepared statement: “Jet owns and managed Adventure Beyond in Cardigan. I work with the company and normally go there to work in the office.

“Since Kiara was a baby she has been coming with me to the office.

“On the day there was nothing unusual. I got up, called Kiara, and got her ready. She asked me what I was going to be doing. I said going to work and she asked if she could come with me.

“I’m not on any medication. I was feeling tired but not unusually so. I parked on the slipway. Monday was only the second day I’d been there that year.

“I checked the handbrake which I always do. I left it in reverse. I parked so that the back of the car was level with the scout hut.

“I didn’t go back to the car all day. During the day we stayed in the office.

“We did walk into Cardigan town centre to go to the bank. Sometime around 3pm I got ready to leave. I unlocked the car and walked round to the passenger side and loaded all Kiara’s things. I then put her in the car seat but didn’t fasten her seat.

“I closed her door and walked round to the driver’s door which I opened and as I did I realised my bank card had snapped. I took the card out and knew I didn’t have any food at home. I gave the card to Kiara and told her I would be two secs.

“The keys were either in the driver’s door or in the ignition. I told Kiara I would be two seconds. I opened the padlock and went into the office. I could hear Kiara in the car.

“When I left there was singing and shouting. I knelt down by the safe in the office. I got a £10 note out and shut the door.

“I went out of the office and put the padlock on. I could see that my car was gone.

“I was gone for about three minutes. I went down to the river and couldn’t see anything. My next thought was that the car had been taken. I asked people if they’d seen anything.

“I dialled 999 and told them my car had been taken with daughter inside. I looked everywhere. I phoned my mum as I was panicking.

“We bought the car second-hand and to my knowledge there were no handbrake issues.

“Kiara normally sits in the front passenger seat of the car. Her seat is for zero to four years. She’s used to travelling in the car and she liked to play with the radio controls but I never saw her playing with any other controls.”

The inquest also heard from PCSO Carol Griffith, who jumped into the river and smashed a window to pull Kiara out of the car.

A statement was read on her behalf. It said:  “On Monday, March 19, I was on call at Crymych police station. I started at 9am. I had just arrived at Cardigan police station when I heard that a car had been stolen with a three-year-old girl inside.

“I began searching for the car and was directed by inspector Gareth Jones to make CCTV inquiries in the area.

“I was walking to the right-hand side of the scout hut and I was notified that a car had been located in the river. I ran back towards the river and the ARV drove past heading in the same direction.

“As I reached the bank I looked to the water. I could see a small bit of the car above the surface.

“I was stood next to PC Harvey and I said I was going to go into the water. I took off my vest and boots and dived headfirst into the river. The river was freezing cold and you could tell the current was really strong.

“I put my head underwater and I could not see anything underwater. The car was fully immersed in the water and was facing towards the main bridge in Cardigan.

“I swam towards the middle of the car and managed to climb onto the roof.

“I went under the water by the front passenger window. The water was so cold I couldn’t keep under for very long.

“I went down to the window and could not see inside the car.

“I was able to put both arms inside a small opening of the window. I could not see anything.

“I tried the handle on the outside but could not.

“I felt something when I put my arms through the window. I came to the surface and said that someone needed to smash the window.

“Myself and Nick managed to smash the glass after several hits and it broke. I immediately felt Kiara’s body. Both of us held her little body.

“I knew it was her because the coat she was wearing matched the description. I swam to the shoreline and Nick carried her out onto the river bank.

“Other officers started to conduct CPR but I can’t remember who that was.

“All I remember was looking at her body and her face was purple.

“I remember hearing the noise of a defib (defibrillator) and then I was taken back to the police station as I had blood on my hands. I hadn’t realised that I had cut myself.”

News

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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News

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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