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Llandysul: Paranoid schizophrenic slashed his partner’s throat

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Swansea Crown Court

Swansea Crown Court

A PARANOID schizophrenic slashed his partner’s throat to save her from a fate worse than death, a judge heard on Friday (Oct 31).

James Blair Hamilton developed a “tremendous fear” that demons were about to break into their house and to kill him and Patricia Anne Durrant “in a particularly unpleasant way.”

Hamilton cut her throat from ear to ear before trying to take his own life.

Today, Hamilton, aged 60, denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The pleas were accepted by the prosecution and Hamilton was detained under the Mental Health Act without limit of time.

Huw Rees, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court how Hamilton and Miss Durrant, aged 65, lived together at several locations in Wales before settling down in a house in High Street, Llandysul.

In 2002 he had received treatment for a mental illness, and responded well. But he had stopped taking medication and had lost contact with the mental health services.

Late on March 2 this year neighbours noticed at a window Miss Durrant, a seamstress, working at her sewing machine making a red dress.

It appeared, said Mr Rees, she was killed very shortly afterwards.

The following morning Hamilton dialled 999 and Pc Rhys James arrived to find him sitting on the stairs covered in blood.

He went into the kitchen to find “a scene like something out of a horror film.”

Miss Durrant was already dead, having suffered “catastrophic” injuries to her neck. She had also suffered at least eight defence wounds across her arms as she had tried to protect herself.

Hamilton later told police he had approached Miss Durrant from behind as she sat on a chair in the kitchen and cut her throat.

He said he believed demons were about to go on a killing spree.

After the killing he stabbed himself in the neck and stomach, and lay down next to Miss Durrant. He thought he was going to die but he awoke a short time later.

He said he spent the rest of the night “wandering about wondering what to do” before dialling 999.

Mr Rees said although Hamilton did not have any previous convictions for violence police discovered a conversation between the couple had been video taped. In it, Miss Durrant accused Hamilton of breaking her arm while he blamed her for the injury because she struggled too hard to get out of his grip.

Mr Rees said Miss Durrant had been unhappy living in Llandysul and had wanted to move to Pembrokeshire.

Dr Roger Thomas, a psychiatrist, told the court he had “absolutely no doubt” that Hamilton suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, but since his arrest and subsequent treatment he had shown significant recovery.

Hamilton’s barrister, Geraint Walters, said the killing of Miss Durrant had been “a tragedy that no-one saw coming.”

Judge Keith Thomas said Hamilton was the only person who could say what had happened that night.

He said Hamilton had thought of leaving the property to escape the demons but that would have “left her unprotected and the entities would have got her and a fate worse than death.”

Hamilton, who sat in the dock surrounded by four mental health workers as well as dock officers, was told he would be detained at the Caswell Clinic, near Bridgend, until the Secretary of State for Justice deemed it was safe to release him.

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42 new officers for Dyfed Powys Police in the first wave of police recruitment

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DYFED Powys Police has a recruitment target of 42 new officers in the first wave of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to increase officer numbers across the UK.

The Home Office on Wednesday (Oct 9) confirmed the officer recruitment targets for every police force in England and Wales for the first year of the unprecedented drive to increase their ranks by 20,000 over the next three years.

Stephen Crabb, Preseli Pembrokeshire MP has said that this is ‘a strong start’ to helping Dyfed Powys tackle new forms of crime and keep West Wales as one of the safest parts of the country.

Following the Home Office announcement, Stephen Crabb said: “Forty-two additional police officers for Dyfed Powys Police is a strong start to strengthening frontline policing and making people feel safer.

I praised the good work local officers do in tackling County Lines drug gang in Parliament earlier this year and asked that additional resources be provided to help them stamp out this and other terrible crimes. I’m pleased the Prime Minister listened and is delivered on his pledge to increase officers numbers.”

Strengthening police numbers is a priority for the government, which is providing £750 million to support forces to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers onto our streets by the end of 2020-21, the first stage in this new uplift. This is thanks to the additional funding announced by the Chancellor in the Spending Review.

Every single police force in England and Wales will be able to recruit additional officers this year to help keep all of our communities safer.

All officers recruited as part of the 20,000 uplifts will be added to those hired to fill existing vacancies. They are also on top of the extra officers already being recruited because of the £1 billion increase in police funding for 2019-20, which includes money from council tax and for serious violence.

Government funding for recruitment in 2020-21 will cover all associated costs, including training and kit.

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Anti-Slavery campaigner receives medal

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A Pembrokeshire woman who has committed herself to combating modern slavery has been presented with the British Empire Medal.

Dr Anne Kelly of Saundersfoot was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June.

A Swansea University lecturer, she sits on the Dyfed Powys anti-slavery forum that meets in Carmarthen. Much of her work is done
through the Soroptimist International organisation.

Through her personal commitment, she is contributing to more victims of slavery being identified, recovered and supported as well as
bringing their perpetrators to justice.

It is partly through her determination and constant lobbying of MPs that the Modern Slavery Act became law in March 2015.

Dr Kelly was presented with the British Empire Medal by the Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, in a ceremony at County
Hall on Friday (Oct 11).

Dr Kelly was accompanied by family members.

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A letter and petition in support

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PUPILS from Milford Haven school were outside County Hall on Thursday (Oct 10) handing out letters to Councillors as they entered the main building to attend a meeting which had Milford Haven School on the agenda.

A PLEA TO DECISION MAKERS

Stevie Joseph, 14, who wrote the three-page letter said that it contained the reasons why she felt that the sixth form should stay open.
“The college is just not the same for some of us”, she said, “we need the pastoral care and support that a sixth form gives us”.

“The decline in pupil numbers is something we have noticed but Milford now has one of the biggest primary schools in Wales so its stupid to close the sixth form…. The numbers are going to go up. We should not close it now and then wait to see that improvement.”

Stevie’s classmate Rebecca said: “I would like to be in an environment where I know people. I have known these teachers for many years, and it will be weird [if I go to college and] they will not be there.”

PETITION AGAINST CLOSURE

A petition to Pembrokeshire County Council has been started on Change.org.

At the time of going to press around 500 people had signed.

Organiser Jenny did not give her last name but wrote on the page: “Milford Haven School may have to close the doors to their current sixth form department.

“The residents of Milford Haven hold the sixth form very close to their hearts as a lot of them attended themselves.

“As a community, we are all deeply saddened to hear this could be coming to an end. In previous years, this sixth form was thriving.

“As a collective, hundreds of thousands have been raised for Children in Need as well as other good causes and charities.

“Sixth form has provided pupils with vast amounts of opportunities and helped them to mature into respectable young adults. It has given students the chance to further their education in subjects they are extremely passionate about. In some instances, Milford Haven Sixth form has provided options that wouldn’t be offered anywhere else in the county.

“As it stands, if our sixth form was to close down, all pupils in year 11 and younger would have to attend either Pembrokeshire college or one of the last remaining sixth forms in the county which is Haverfordwest High which would be the closest in distance to attend.
“But in college you lose the family and community connection you have when you become part of the sixth form family.”

To sign the petition online click the link on the Pembrokeshire Herald Facebook page.

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