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Family brawl results in court case

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A 46-YEAR-OLD woman from Pembroke Dock was found guilty of assault following a trial at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court on Monday (Feb 11).

Nadine Billington of Imble Street, had been accused of assaulting her ex-partner’s sister in June last year following an argument.

Prosecutor, Sian Vaughan, told the court: “The complaint was made on August 13. There is a history of family dynamics but we will try to stay away from that.”

Ms Vaughan explained there had been issue taken with the complainant after she bought a colouring book, crayons and chocolate for Billington’s son. She was also accused of smashing the complainant’s phone.

The complainant, Nicola Algeri, gave her evidence via video link to the magistrates.

She said: “My mum and myself were in the kitchen. My father was in the living room watching football. Nadine came in through the front door and I had a colouring book and crayons with me. I’d been downtown so I thought I’d bring them.

“She came into the kitchen and I said ‘there’s a colouring book and crayons there’, and she said ‘you might as well take them home with you’.

“She takes the crayons off me and slams them on top of the book. She threw the book first and it just missed my face, and then she threw the crayons at me but they didn’t hit me. It was quite a big book.

“She comes toward me and grabbed me by the throat, and she put her fingers down my throat. She had four fingers in my mouth. There was no need. It felt like she was going to strangle me. She was horrible and vicious.

“She cut my lip as well and scratched my arm. I wasn’t saying anything, I didn’t do anything, I didn’t provoke her. She just went off on one.

“She was just abusing me and being mouthy. My mother tried to split us up, and then my father came in and managed to get her out of the house.”

It was put to Nicola Algeri, that in her statement that she made on August 13, she claims that the colouring book hit her on the head but caused no injury.

Nicola claimed she could not remember.

When speaking of the assault, Nicola said: “She prised my mouth open and she had her bloody fingers down my throat.”

When asked why she didn’t bit down, she said: “I didn’t do nothing. I was scared.”

The court was shown a photograph of a bruise on Nicola’s arm following the incident, however there were no photographs of her mouth or her ‘cut lip’.

When asked why she didn’t take a photo of her lip, she said ‘no comment’, then later said she ‘didn’t have a camera to take a photo’.

Nicola’s mother, Ellen Algeri, took to the witness stand following her daughter’s cross-examination to give her account of what happened.

Mrs Algeri told the court that she saw a chocolate bar being thrown across the room and ‘hitting Nicola on the head’, however when she was pressed further, she said she couldn’t be sure it was a chocolate bar that was thrown, and she wasn’t entirely sure whether whatever was thrown did actually hit Nicola.

She also admitted she did not see Billington put her fingers inside Nicola’s mouth.

Albino Algeri, Nicola’s father, was next to speak to the magistrates. He said: “Nadine was trying to do as much damage as she could.”

When asked why he thought Billington would have her fingers down Nicola’s throat, he said: “That’s what I’d like to know! Why did she have her fingers down my daughter’s throat?”

He told the court that Nicola Algeri was crying following the incident, however was the only one to mention this during their evidence.

Finally, it was Nadine Billington’s turn to speak. She told the court that as she was leaving, Nicola Algeri said she had bought a gift for her son.

Billington suggested leaving the gift there, and said Nicola ‘became verbally aggressive’.

She said: “I chucked the book and crayons toward the bin. Nicola started shouting at me because she thought I threw it at her but I didn’t, I threw it diagonally. I threw it because she was being verbally aggressive.

“Nicola came around the table towards me so I pushed her away toward the sink. She looked very angry and aggressive. I thought she was going to hit me. I told her I had enough of the way she was talking to me and she was screaming and shouting, calling me names like slag and slut.

“Ellen Algeri followed me out and said that Nicola wasn’t right in the head and to ignore her. I didn’t strangle her, I just pushed her toward her neck away from me. I didn’t pull at her mouth, and I didn’t touch her phone. I didn’t even see it in her hand.”

After a short time deliberating, the magistrates at Haverfordwest Law Court felt there was a case to answer, and found Billington guilty of common assault.

Billington was handed a 12-month conditional discharge, and ordered to pay £600 costs to the Crown Prosecution Service and £20 victim surcharge.

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Welsh Guards sergeant shot dead during Castlemartin live-fire training exercise

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A BRITISH ARMY sergeant was killed on Thursday night (Mar 4) in a shooting accident at Castlemartin Training Area, The Herald can confirm.

The solider was training with live ammunition, ahead of a planned deployment to Iraq this summer.

Five police cars and an ambulance were seen screaming through Pembroke towards the incident at approximately 10pm towards the incident.

A coastguard helicopter, CG187, was scrambled to the scene, and hovered near Bosherston for a while, but was stood down and returned to base.

The Herald has contacted the MOD for a comment, who said: “It is with great sadness we can confirm the death of a soldier on the 4th of March.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.

“The circumstances surrounding this death are being investigated and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

THIS STORY IS UPDATING

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Pembrokeshire County Council bills Home Office for Penally camp costs

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THE COUNCIL has sent an invoice for more than £80,000 to the Home Office.

It is to cover some of the costs that the local authority has incurred in connection with the Penally Asylum Seeker Centre, near Tenby.

Following a question on the issue from Cllr Jonathan Preston at Full Council the Council have confirmed that a bill has been sent.

The Member for Penally ward asked: “Please can the relevant Cabinet Member provide a breakdown of all costs to this authority which have been incurred in providing staff, services and other associated resources to Penally camp since its re-purpose by the Home Office last September?”

Council leader Cllr. David Simpson confirmed that on February 22 Pembrokeshire County Council submitted an invoice for £83, 858 which includes £65,564 in staff costs, £12,799 of specialist support and £5,495 for works such as barriers.

Pembrokeshire County Council is currently awaiting payment, the Authority confirmed.

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Hospitality sector welcomes Budget boost

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IT HAS been so long it seems since we could stand at a bar and enjoy a well-earned pint, but now we are on the road back to normality, the Herald has spoken to some of those in the hospitality sector who have been asked to close. We wanted to know what the owners in businesses in these sectors locally thought of the budget and if Rishi Sunak had done enough to help them.

We first spoke to a Milford Haven restaurant business. Owner of Martha’s Vineyard in Milford Haven, Dan Mills said that the budget was not a silver bullet to fix all problems but said that the budget had gone a fair way to delivering what many in the Pembrokeshire hospitality sector have been calling for in recent weeks.

Dan Mills said: “The biggest risk many of us were facing was the cliff edge of a VAT increase, the end of the Furlough Scheme and a return to full business rates, I’m pleased that the Chancellor has recognised this and taken action on all fronts.

“With talk of the Welsh Government restricting us to outside trading for an initial period, the flexibility that the Furlough Scheme brings will be a huge help to ensure staff retain their jobs.

“I was also delighted to see that the Chancellor has provided funding to Wales to ensure that we benefit from a further 12 months of Business Rate Relief here in Pembrokeshire, that’s money that many of us can instead invest into restarting our businesses.

“I hope that the conversation that unfortunately began due to Covid between politicians and the Pembrokeshire hospitality and tourism sector can continue long beyond this crisis, it seems that through some open and honest feedback we are making real progress.

Award winning gastro-pub The Griffin Inn is well known throughout Wales and has received many national reviews. Their reputation puts them in a strong position once they are allowed to re-open. We spoke to Sian and Simon Vickers about the budget.

Simon Vickers, co-owner is also a director of Visit Pembrokeshire. He told The Herald: “I think the budget was very positive for the hospitality industry with the reduction in VAT being the biggest help.

“Overall I feel the government have supported the industry amazingly

In regard to tax on alcohol, Simon said: “Duty has been frozen It would have been nice to have seen a cut in it. Whether there’s a cut or not the breweries always increase their prices so in all honesty it never affects us.”

The ongoing financial support has been welcomed by industry group CAMRA, The Campaign or Real Ale, but the organisation said that the Chancellor had missed the opportunity to lower beer duty to save our pubs.

Their national chairman Nik Antona issued a statement to The Pembrokeshire Herald saying: “Freezing alcohol duty is obviously better than a rise. However, CAMRA had hoped to see the Chancellor announce a cut in duty on beer served on tap in pubs and social clubs to benefit consumers and help the great British pub recover and thrive in the difficult months and years ahead by being able to compete with supermarket alcohol.

“The Government’s commitment to review alcohol duties in the coming months is welcome. CAMRA will continue to call for a lower rate of duty for beer served in pubs – an option available to the Government now we have left the European Union.

“Reducing tax on beer served in pubs and social clubs would encourage responsible drinking in a supervised, community setting – as well as boosting jobs and local economies, helping consumers and benefiting pubs and licensees.”

On financial support announced, Nik commented: “Cutting VAT as pubs begin to reopen, and reducing it until April next year, means they can now start benefiting from that cut – but CAMRA believes this VAT cut should be extended to alcohol so that traditional locals that don’t serve food can benefit too.

“The extension of furlough until September and new grants of up to £18,000 are very welcome. However, pubs are unlikely to be able to fully reopen at pre-COVID trading levels due to outside space and then table service only indoors. The beer and pubs sector will need further support over the coming months, over and above new loans, to help them get back on their feet until there is a full and proper re-opening and they can trade at full capacity.

“Extending the business rates holiday until the end of June will help keep the wolves from the door for many English pubs, with the two-thirds reduction for the rest of the financial year a welcome step. However, given how tough it will be for many pubs we believe the 100% cut in business rates needs to be extended for a full 12 months as has already happened in Scotland.”

Picture: Simon Vickers, Griffin Inn, Dale

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