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Pembroke Dock: Jury to set retire in Bladen child sex case

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swanseaA JURY will retire tomorrow (Oct 28) to decide if a Pembroke Dock man carried out a 30 year long campaign of rape and sexual assault against children.

Stephen Bladen, a 55 year old painter and decorator, told the jury at Swansea Crown Court that he could not understand why five different women now complained that he had assaulted them when they were as young as five years of age.

Bladen, recently of Sycamore Street and once of School Gardens, Pembroke Dock, has denied almost 30 charges of indecent assault, including rapes, and of possessing indecent images of children.

Judge Keith Thomas today summed up the case against Bladen and his defence.

He told them that one of the many issues they should consider was whether the women had “put their heads together” to make false claims about Bladen. But if they believed one of the complainants had been telling the truth they could use that knowledge as giving support to the evidence given by a different complainant.

Judge Thomas reminded the jury of the evidence given by the women, one of whom told how Bladen raped her and got her not to struggle by threatening to kill her bunny rabbit.

She said she had few friends at that stage in her life and she regarded her rabbit as her best.

Another told how Bladen performed a sex act on her after promising to give her sweets, but then didn’t give her any.

“That sticks in your mind, as a child,” she said.

Bladen told the jury that none of the assaults had taken place and that one of the women had never been to the address where she claims to have been assaulted.

And he had “absolutely no knowledge” about 89 indecent images found on an Acer machine, 19 of which fell into the most serious category.

Bladen said he had bought the computer second hand at Carew market and had never seen the images.

 

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Entertainment

Live music event for Nia, raising money for the Withybush Hospital Cancer Day Unit appeal

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Twenty years ago, the world lost another star to the clutches of cancer. This particular person was a member of the increasingly successful Pembrokeshire rock band JYlt, and her name was Nia George.

JYlt had been praised by John Peel of Radio 1, completed a UK tour including a performance at Glastonbury, distributed over 20,000 CDs, and were in talks with Sony about furthering their record deal. Nia was just 21 years old when she passed away after battling leukaemia for a year.

This summer, Nia’s life will be celebrated with a gig at HaverHub on August 10th. The event will feature Bryde (former JYlt singer), Tom Jenkins (who recently released his EP ‘Meadows Pt1 & Pt2’ through Xtra Mile Recordings), Persona B (with two other JYlt members), and SLAK, the winners of Pembrokeshire College’s Battle of the Bands 2024. There is also the potential for a special appearance that cannot be confirmed yet.

This event is not just a celebration of Nia’s life. It is also a poignant reminder of how cancer can affect anyone at any time, and it focuses on supporting the remarkable Withybush Cancer Day Unit. All ticket proceeds and donations will be given to this wonderful place that supports so many people during unimaginably difficult times, often resulting in beautiful stories of success. This unit is a lifeline to many, and we aim to give a little back.

Please note, this event is for those aged 16 and over, with a strict ID policy in place.

Event Details:

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Crime

Fraudster ordered to repay just £16,700 after victims lost £620,000

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A MAN described by a judge as the most “fundamentally dishonest” individual he had ever encountered has been ordered to repay only £16,700 after defrauding his victims of more than £620,000.

Darryl Evans, aged 62, was sentenced to eight years in prison in January after being convicted of 26 charges of fraud and one charge of theft. The convictions followed an almost three-week trial in December, during which the jury deliberated for less than three hours before returning guilty verdicts on all 27 charges.

Evans, of Green Court Crescent in Tenby, deceived his victims into handing over large sums of money between 2013 and 2020. Described by one victim as operating a “Ponzi scheme,” Evans persuaded friends and acquaintances to invest substantial amounts, claiming he would place their funds in lucrative schemes. In reality, Evans was unemployed and using the money to finance his own lifestyle.

The theft charge stemmed from Evans appointing himself as the executor of a will and transferring money into his personal account, where it swiftly vanished.

Sentencing Evans, Judge Paul Thomas KC remarked: “In over 40 years in these criminal courts, I do not remember ever dealing with someone as fundamentally dishonest as you. Over several years, you cynically, ruthlessly, and dishonestly took in excess of half a million pounds. Many of these people considered you to be their friend. You knew many of them could not afford to lose the money you were taking from them.”

Evans recently returned to Swansea Crown Court for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, where prosecutor Robin Rouch revealed that Evans had benefitted to the sum of £629,926.17 from his offences. However, only £16,736.11 of Evans’ assets could be seized to repay his victims.

Mr Rouch explained that the available money had been deposited in a Co-op bank account set up by Evans and could be directly traced to the estate of the person for whom he had acted as an executor. Unfortunately, none of the other victims’ money could be traced to this account.

Judge Thomas inquired if Evans owned any property that could be sold to compensate the other victims. Mr Rouch responded that extensive enquiries had been made, but nothing of value was found.

Judge Thomas ruled that the available funds would be split between the two beneficiaries of the estate. He emphasised, “The money will be paid. There’s nothing you can do to either facilitate it or thwart it. The money will be taken from your account. It will be done without your involvement.” He added, “It’s unfortunate for other investors who have lost rather more.”

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Community

Mayor welcomes luxury cruise ship as it visits Milford Haven

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THE LUXURY vessel Star Legend, part of the Windstar Cruises fleet, made a call at the Port of Milford Haven on Wednesday (Jun 12), with its next destination set for Portsmouth on June 14.

Dignitaries, including The Mayor, went on board the vessel to welcome it into port.

Milford Haven Town Council said on Facebook: “The Mayor – Cllr William Elliott and Consort – Mr Lloyd Jones had the pleasure of welcoming passengers off the cruise ship Star Legend, with the Port of Milford Haven.

“The cruise ship is currently being charted with a two week voyage around the British Isles on a cycling tour with the passengers mainly from the US or Canada.

“Delighted to be invited onboard for a tour of the ship and to meet the Captain and Crew.
Have a lovely day in the lovely weather!”

Windstar Cruises is embarking on its largest agent ship schedule in the UK and Ireland this summer. Both of the company’s Star Class yachts, Star Legend and Star Pride, will offer up to 450 places for trade partners between June and August. The ships will visit 11 different ports across the UK and Ireland. The programme includes tours of the respective yachts and brief business updates from the Windstar team.

Augustus Lonsdale, Windstar Cruises’ Head of Sales for the UK & Ireland, commented: “After the success of last year’s ship visit programme, when we welcomed over 250 agents onboard, I’m delighted that so many UK agents will have the chance to come onboard Star Legend and Star Pride this year.

“Windstar Cruises is fully committed to the UK, especially after a record start to the year, and we are continuing to increase sales and visibility within this important market.

“This expanded ship visit programme provides our trade partners with a great opportunity to experience a taste of Windstar’s ‘180 Degrees from Ordinary’ experience for themselves – which will, in turn, help them sell the product.”

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