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Paranoid schizophrenic slashed partner’s throat

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crowncourtA PARANOID schizophrenic slashed his partner’s throat to save her from a fate worse than death, a judge at Swansea Crown Court 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 noone 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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New Chairman for Pembrokeshire County Council

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THE NEW Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council is Councillor Pat Davies, who represents Fishguard North West.

Cllr Davies, previously the Authority’s Vice-Chairman, was installed at today’s Annual meeting of Council at County Hall in Haverfordwest.

She succeeds Cllr Mike James, the Elected Member for St Dogmaels.

Councillor David Simpson – who will remain as Council Leader – proposed a vote of thanks to Cllr James.

The new Vice-Chairman of the Council is Councillor Thomas Tudor (Haverfordwest Castle) who expressed his pride at the nomination.

Councillor Simon Hancock will remain as the Authority’s Presiding Member.

Cllr David Simpson, who was elected to Council in 2004, was the sole nomination for Leader.

Cllr Simpson will complete his Cabinet choices over the coming days but he announced that Councillor Paul Miller (Neyland West) will become Deputy Leader of the Council.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr Rowland Rees-Evans, attended the Annual Meeting as guests.

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Monkton: One person flown to Cardiff following incident

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THERE was a large emergency services presence in Monkton last night (May 25).

At around 7.30pm, emergency services were called to a report of an incident.

Back Terrace was temporarily closed off while officers dealt with the situation.

An Air Ambulance was dispatched and flew one person to The University Hospital of Wales.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at approximately 7.30pm yesterday, Wednesday 25 May, to an incident in the Monkton area of Pembroke.

“We sent a rapid response car, an emergency ambulance and an air ambulance to the scene, where the crew were also supported by a duty operations manager.

“One person was flown to the University Hospital of Wales.”

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Nature is blooming at Withybush Woods three years after enhancement project

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THREE years after the launch of a project to enhance Withybush Woods, there are abundant signs that biodiversity is thriving.

Swathes of early purple orchid – a scarce wild flower – have been spotted in shadier parts of the tranquil woodlands while a pair of rare breeding stock doves have made the woods their home for the second year.

Song thrushes can be heard everywhere on the 1.5km accessible footpath together with chiffchaffs, willow warblers, nuthatch, woodpeckers, blackbirds, blue tits and many other woodland birds.

Mallards and moorhens and their young can be seen on the restored lower pond, together with the resident swans, and a new wetland area nearby is providing a new habitat for other species of invertebrates and pollinators.

The EU-funded improvement project was led by Pembrokeshire County Council, which owns the woods on the outskirts of Haverfordwest.

Dr Steven Jones, Director of Community Services, said: “Withybush Woods has always been a beautiful and special place to visit and even more so now, thanks to its increasing range of species and biodiversity habitats.

The enhancement work received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. 

The scheme also received funding through the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme, through the WCVA.

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