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Pensioner cleared of sexual assault

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courtA 78-YEAR-OLD man was found not guilty at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Wednesday of last week after being accused of sexual assault.

John Joseph Colfer, of Haven Court, Monkton, had been charged with sexual assault on a woman from Monkton on two separate occasions. The first was cuddling and kissing her on May 23, and the second was grabbing her while she was in a phone box on May 25.

The Herald cannot name the woman for legal reasons. Three 999 calls were played from the two incidents. During the calls, the alleged victim refused to give her name a number of times and mumbled considerably over the phone. She was very unclear about the reason she was calling and said: “I went to use his landline. I was on my own. I was being stupid” and later “I know you won’t do **** all about it because you don’t do **** all around here”. In the last call, we hear her say “I just want him to leave me alone” and “I hate him” while crying.

She claimed that she had gone to Colfer’s home address to use his telephone. She then gave her version of events: “I went to use his phone and he asked me to sit down. He sat next to me and put his arms around me and started kissing me. I didn’t want him to. I used to live next door to him. I went to get up to leave and he said ‘You only leave when I tell you to’. I was scared. After he went to do something with the dogs, I just got up and walked out of his front door”.

She then spoke about the second incident: “I was in the phone box and I didn’t know he was there until he put his arms around me and said we’ve got to finish what we started and called me a slut. I said I didn’t start nothing and he went home”.

Defence solicitor, Kate Smith said: “You have indicated that you have known Mr Colfer for a long time and brought your children up next door to him. I understand that you no longer have a relationship with your daughters. I imagine that much be very stressing and upsetting for you?”

The alleged victim confirmed this. Miss Smith continued: “I understand you attended at his address. He was the last link to your daughters, so is the reason you attended the house not to use the telephone, but to inquire about your daughters and you got upset?”

She denied this fact and said: “We were talking earlier and he said I’m welcome any time”.

Miss Smith asked the victim why she went to the house. She said: “I was invited. He said I could come over and chill out. I knew he had a landline and I wanted to use it”.

Miss Smith then said: “You’re lying, aren’t you? Mr Colfer doesn’t have a landline and you’re lying about the conversation. Your statement says ‘I went over to Shaun’s phone to call the police. I’d been having problems with kids. He said if I ever have any problems I can use the phone’. What I’m suggesting is you’re giving a different account in the court than you did to the officer. Why didn’t you tell the police what you told us?”

The alleged victim said: “After what happened I was really upset”.

Miss Smith replied: “How do you say that affected you? Did it affect your memory?”

She told the court: “I’ve got depression and health problems and I don’t need to sit here getting a mouthful from you”.

Miss Smith then asked the victim: “Can I suggest you’re giving an inconsistent account on what happened? Mr Colfer did not have a conversation with you”.

She replied: “He did because I was with my ex-partner. He went to Nottingham a couple of weeks ago”.

Miss Smith asked again: “You went to discuss your children” and was cut off by the alleged victim, who shouted “No, I don’t want nothing to do with my children”.

Miss Smith told her that she knew it was difficult for her. Her response was: “You know something, you’re doing my bloody head in! He told me he didn’t have a phone, I went to get up but I couldn’t and said you leave when I tell you to. Now can we leave it?”

Miss Smith said: “I’m afraid I can’t. Did you tell him why you were there or did you just go in?” After not receiving an answer, she continued: “I understood you came into the property, he told you he didn’t have a phone and then you sat down. You haven’t said why you’re there, and he didn’t ask?”

The victim denied this and Miss Smith continued: “Why didn’t you leave the house after he told you he didn’t have a phone?”. She replied saying: “I couldn’t get up”.

Miss Smith asked: “Why didn’t you inform the police about the conversation about the landline? The defendant told you he didn’t have one, why is it a matter you have failed to mention? My problem is, you’re telling the court one thing and your statement says another. Can you explain why you failed to mention the conversation about the landline?”

The alleged victim had no answer.

“On two occasions in your statement you asked to use the telephone. Why didn’t you include his response that he didn’t have a phone?”

This question was asked twice. The alleged victim failed to give an answer.

Miss Smith read her 999 call: “I went in to use his phone. He kissed me all over and said I’m the Monkton slut’. Why didn’t you tell 999 what happened?”

She replied: “I know what happened”.

Miss Smith said: “You have given different accounts. There is nothing in your statement about him calling you the Monkton slut. It’s inconsistent and isn’t in your statement because it didn’t happen. The defendant’s case is you came to speak about your children”.

The alleged victim screamed: “Leave my children out of this!”

Miss Smith continued saying: “He put his hands over your shoulder to comfort you,” and was cut off by the alleged victim shouting “He was putting his hand all over me”.

Miss Smith replied: “Was he? You’ve never said that before. You’ve previously said ‘he had his arms around me’. Where did he actually have his hands?”

Her reply was: “You’re female, you should know”.

There was a pause before Miss Smith continued: “’He had his arms around me and I couldn’t move’. Where on your body did he have his hands? This defendant has been charged with extremely serious offences and I need to establish exactly what happened. Had you been drinking May 23?”

The alleged victim denied this. Miss Smith asked: “Why were you refusing to give your name?”

Her reply was: “Because the coppers know me”.

Miss Smith said: “In the incident on May 25 you were on the phone and you had just put the receiver down, and you state ‘he was right behind me. He put his arms around my waist and said we’ve got to finish what we started’. You made no mention about the comments he made over the phone. Upon being asked by Miss Smith if she claims to have told Mr Colfer to ‘sod off’ with reference to the alleged incident on May 25, she said: “Yes. Any more language? Because I’ve got plenty” and later said “I am having enough of you!”

Prosecuting, David Weale read out Mr Colfer’s statement: “She came to my house about her children, and she was crying a lot saying she is not allowed to see her children. I put my arms around her and gave her a kiss on the lips and her cheek. It lit her up a bit. It put a smile back on her face. When a woman’s in distress you give them a cuddle, in a way she gave me permission. I couldn’t help her with her problem. She did not ask to use the landline, and she left around 10 or 15 minutes after the kiss. “I didn’t call her a slut. I saw her to the door and waved goodbye. I’m 78 years of age, I lost that long ago. In the second incident I didn’t see her that day. I got off the bus around 5pm and I walked past the phone box on the way home, and I did not see anyone.”

Miss Smith pointed out in her final submission that it is concerning that there were no other eye witnesses to back up her account of what happened May 25 and that her evidence falls short.

Magistrates found Mr Colfer not guilty, and told the court: “We do not believe beyond a reasonable doubt that a sexual assault took place on either occasion”.’

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Plaid’s Dafydd Llywelyn re-elected as Police and Crime Commissioner

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THE NEW Police and Crime Commissioner for the Dyfed Powys Area has been announced.

Incumbent, Dafydd Llywelyn, of Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales, has been re-elected for a second term.

The election was held Thursday, 06 May 2021, at the same time as the Senedd Cymru elections.

In order to follow all coronavirus regulations, the count for this election was held on Sunday, 09 May 2021.

The announcement was made in Ceredigion, at the Ysgol Bro Teifi, Llandysul.

Dafydd Llywelyn, was first elected as one of the two new Plaid Cymru PCCs during 2016’s election and is the PCC for Dyfed-Powys Police. 

The force covers over half the land mass of Wales and during the PCC elections had the highest turnout of all PCC elections at 49%.

Mr Llywelyn is a former Principal Intelligence Analyst and worked within Police Intelligence for many years before, in 2014, moving to Aberystwyth University to lecture on Criminology. His career has provided him with considerable insight into core policing issues as well as an understanding of what the public want from the service. He has pledged to reinvest in CCTV and prevention activities and has refused to appoint a deputy.

Standing against him were three other candidates – Jon Burns (Conservative); Philippa Thompson (Labour) and Glyn Preston (Welsh Liberal Democrats).

The results for Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner’s elections were as follows:

1st Round

Jon Burns (Conservatives); 69,112

Dafydd Llywelyn (Plaid Cymru); 68208

Philippa Thompson (Labour): 48033

Glyn Preston (Welsh Liberal Democrats) 17649

2nd Round

Jon Burns: 8209

Dafydd Llywelyn: 26280

This was the third time police and crime commissioner elections have been held. The election was originally due to take place in May 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new PCC term begins on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

Under the terms of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, PCCs must:

  • secure an efficient and effective police for their area;
  • appoint the Chief Constable, hold them to account for running the force, and if necessary dismiss them;
  • set the police and crime objectives for their area through a police and crime plan;
  • set the force budget and determine the precept;
  • contribute to the national and international policing capabilities set out by the Home Secretary; and
  • bring together community safety and criminal justice partners, to make sure local priorities are joined up.

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Counting underway following police and crime commissioner vote

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COUNTING is under way to find out who will be the four police and crime commissioners (PCCs) in Wales today (Sunday, May 9).

Polls were held on Thursday for South Wales Police, Dyfed-Powys Police, North Wales Police and Gwent Police alongside the Senedd election on Thursday (May 6).

With the exception of the North Wales Commissioner, all the incumbents are running again.  

The rules of the election are that unless a candidate gets more than 50% of votes in the first round of counting, then all but the top two candidates are eliminated from the election, and secondary votes on the ballot paper are then counted.

In Pembrokeshire the count is taking place for the Preseli constituency and the West Carmarthenshire and South Pembrokeshire constituency at the County Show Ground.

When will the news Commissioner be sworn in?

The swearing of the oath will also take place today, Sunday (May 9), and the elected Police and Crime Commissioner’s new term in office will start on May 13.

“The Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Declaration of Acceptance of Office) Order prescribes the form of words that the elected Police and Crime Commissioners will be required to declare before they take office,” said a PCC spokesperson.

“The term of a person elected as a PCC at an ordinary election begins on the seventh (calendar) day after the day of the poll, and ends with the sixth (calendar) day following the subsequent poll.

“The term for incumbent PCCs should cease on May 12, and the newly or re-elected PCC will commence in office on May 13.

What is a Police and Crime Commissioner?

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) were elected In 40 force areas across England and Wales. Every force area is represented by a PCC, except Greater Manchester and London, where PCC responsibilities lie with the Mayor.

The role of the PCCs is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account. They are responsible for the totality of policing.

PCCs aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area.

PCCs have been elected by the public to hold Chief Constables and the force to account, effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve.

PCCs ensure community needs are met as effectively as possible, and are improving local relationships through building confidence and restoring trust. They work in partnership across a range of agencies at local and national level to ensure there is a unified approach to preventing and reducing crime.

Who are the candidates?

Standing again: Dafydd Llywelyn

The incumbent, Dafydd Llywelyn, was elected as one of the two new Plaid Cymru PCCs during 2016’s election and is the PCC for Dyfed-Powys Police. 

The force covers over half the land mass of Wales and during the PCC elections had the highest turnout of all PCC elections at 49%.

Hoping to be re-elected, Dafydd is a former Principal Intelligence Analyst and worked within Police Intelligence for many years before, in 2014, moving to Aberystwyth University to lecture on Criminology. His career has provided him with considerable insight into core policing issues as well as an understanding of what the public want from the service. He has pledged to reinvest in CCTV and prevention activities and has refused to appoint a deputy.

Standing against him are three other candidates – Jon Burns (Conservative); Philippa Thompson (Labour) and Glyn Preston (Welsh Liberal Democrats).

Under the terms of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, PCCs must:

  • secure an efficient and effective police for their area;
  • appoint the Chief Constable, hold them to account for running the force, and if necessary dismiss them;
  • set the police and crime objectives for their area through a police and crime plan;
  • set the force budget and determine the precept;
  • contribute to the national and international policing capabilities set out by the Home Secretary; and
  • bring together community safety and criminal justice partners, to make sure local priorities are joined up.

How the voting works

If there are more than two candidates, the Police and Crime Commissioner is elected under the supplementary vote system: 

  • A voter can vote for a first and second choice candidate they want to elect.
  • If a candidate obtains more than 50% of the first choice votes, they will be declared elected.
  • If no candidate obtains more than 50% of the first choice votes, all candidates except for those in first and second place are eliminated.
  • The ballot papers showing a first preference for one of the eliminated candidates are checked for their second preference.
  • Any second preference votes for the remaining two candidates are then added to their first preference votes and the candidate with the most votes is elected.

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Multiple RNLI lifeboats launched to aid yacht in distress

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THE NEW QUAY RNLI lifeboat has rescued a stricken yacht, with the casualty evacuated by helicopter. 

On Saturday (May 8) New Quay lifeboat ‘The Frank and Lena Clifford of Stourbridge’, was paged at 9.06am by HM Coastguard to search for a yacht in difficulty 10 miles west of Aberystwyth with two persons on board. 

The Mersey class lifeboat launched at 9.20am with seven volunteer crew members on board to search for the 9m vessel, which had travelled up from Pembrokeshire, in a moderate south-westerly wind. 

The yacht, on passage from Fishguard to Aberystwyth, was experiencing mechanical and communications problems, and had failed to berth in Aberystwyth marina due to the tide. The severely fatigued crew had raised the alarm by mobile phone when they realised they were in trouble, struggling with the winds and poor visibility.  

Daniel Potter, New Quay RNLI Coxswain said, “We proceeded to the position given but on arrival another position was given 10 miles further north, and then again 5 miles north east. We searched for over an hour for the vessel as they had become lost in the deteriorating weather conditions. Barmouth lifeboat was also requested to launch but stood down as we located the vessel.  

“When we located them, we had to act quickly as we found her close to shore and in danger of going aground on the reef near Tywyn. I had one opportunity and we took it, we set up a tow and pulled her into deeper water.  

“We then requested to launch Aberdyfi’s lifeboat to assist us with getting crew on board as we had concerns over the health and wellbeing of the stricken vessel’s crew. Two volunteer crew from Aberdyfi and one from New Quay boarded the yacht. They assessed the casualty and it was decided as a matter of urgency to evacuate one of them. We requested an immediate helicopter evacuation, and HM Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 936 arrived and transferred the casualty to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. 

“It was quite an ordeal for the yacht, but it wasn’t over as we had to get the last of the crew members and the boat to safety. Aberdyfi lifeboat then transferred another one of our crew onto the yacht when they took theirs off and returned to station, and we began the tow to Aberystwyth.  

“On approach to Aberystwyth we requested assistance from Aberystwyth lifeboat who launched and met us outside the harbour to transfer the tow into the marina, and to deliver us much needed supplies, fish and chips! 

“We then headed home and returned to New Quay by 6pm, nine hours after launching. It was a very long day in difficult conditions. However, it was a fantastic effort by everyone, and we want to say a big thank you to all lifeboats and crew involved, and the helicopter. It was an amazing team effort by all.” 

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Operations Manager added, “We would like to give our thanks to all the lifeboat stations involved. It was a great joint endeavour by Cardigan Bay lifeboat stations. The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea and our volunteer crew are on call 24/7. Remember if you find yourself or see anyone else in trouble at sea or on the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” 

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