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Solva axe attacker’s double sentence

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Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 10.55.47

Anchor down: Solva

A MAN attacked his adoptive father with an axe before chasing him through the streets of Solva and proceeding to attack him for a second time in a pub.

Philip Swan, aged 40, denied attempting to murder David Swan but admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He was given a 14 year prison sentence.

Swansea Crown Court heard that separate police forces had inadvertently provided Swan with the weapon and the location of his intended victim.

For the tragic offence Swan will serve between six and nine years behind bars but after his eventual release, he will be liable to be recalled to prison until February, 2030, after Judge Paul Thomas passed an extended sentence.

Ian Wright, prosecuting, said the offending began on July 3 last year at Gloucester railway station.

Swan had set off to attack Mr Swan but was arrested by British Transport Police (BTP) after getting into a row on the platform with a stranger.

By then Gloucester Police had told him that Mr Swan was living somewhere in Solva.

BTP found the axe in Swan’s rucksack but gave it back to him after he claimed to be “interested in bush craft.”

Swan went home but the following day travelled by train to west Wales. Early on July 5 a warden at St David’s church in Solva found him asleep on a pew.

He asked her where “David and Margery Swan” lived and was innocently directed to Anchor Down.

Swan broke into the property through a window and confronted Mrs Swan, described by Wright as an 89 year old lady suffering from advanced Altzheimers. She was effectively his grandmother, Mr Swan having married Swan’s mother and later adopting him, but would be wounded during the violence that followed.

Swan set about removing telephone handsets and kitchen knives and hiding them on the top of a fridge and bedroom wardrobes.

About midday Mr Swan arrived but left his partner, Anna Gifford, in his car parked outside.

Mr Wright said as Mr Swan entered the house “he knew immediately that something was wrong.”

Swan ran at him and delivered a blow to his forehead with the axe.

Mr Swan managed to grapple with his son and gained control, but agreed to release him after Swan promised not to resume the attack.

But that was exactly what he did and again struck Mr Swan with the axe as Mrs Swan tried to defend him, suffering leg injuries in the process. A forensic science officer later found blood and “fatty tissue” belonging to Mr Swan in the hall, kitchen and living room.

Miss Gifford heard screams coming from the house and then saw Mr Swan running out with Swan in pursuit.

He chased Mr Swan to The George pub and both entered virtually alongside. Swan hit him to his back with the axe and Mr Swan “screamed in pain.” Mr Swan was ushered by staff into the kitchen area leaving his son “swinging the axe around above his head.”

Before police could arrive Swan returned to Anchor Down and “touched” the shoulder of Mrs Swan, before returning to the pub, to tell the landlord, “I’ll get fifteen years for this.”

On his return, staff smuggled Mr Swan out of a private door but Swan saw him, approached him and made more threats, before telling a staff member, “It was a hell of a thing to attack someone with an axe when they had put their hands up to defend themselves.

He also said: “The look of fear on my step father’s face was worth it.”

Mr Swan was taken to the critical care unit of Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest, where he spent seven days receiving treatment for a broken arm and “multiple” lacerations.

Police later discovered that Swan had put a photograph of the axe onto his Facebook page.

Questioned by police Swan refused to answer apart from offering to write a statement “that could take months to write.”

During the court hearing Swan repeatedly shouted from the dock and Judge Thomas sent him to the cells below.

James Jenkins, representing Swan, said that, while he had been in Gloucester, “it was sad that the axe had been returned to Swan when it must have been obvious that he was in a state of heightened, nervous tension.”

He added: “The police told him where David Swan lived.”

Judge Thomas said: “So, one police force gave him the axe and another gave him the address.”

Mr Jenkins said Swan had complained “for years” about having being physically abused by his adoptive father when he had been a child.

Judge Thomas said he was unable to decide whether that was true or not.

Mr Jenkins said Swan had indulged in “both legal and illegal highs.” Since his arrest he had been held in custody and was now a “very different man.”

Judge Thomas said Swan’s behaviour was unpredictable, especially after he had taken substances.

He deemed Swan, of no fixed address, to be dangerous, as defined by law.

“There have been numerous occasions in the past when he has lost his temper and become unpredictably violent.”

Judge Thomas said he noted that Swan’s criminal record included a row with a colleague at the store he was working in – Swan pushed her into a meat freezer and locked the door.

Residents of Solva who witnessed his attack on his father “must have been frightened out of their wits,” he added.

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Funding secured for volunteering support at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home

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PAUL SARTORI Hospice at Home, a Pembrokeshire-based charity, is delighted to announce that they were recently awarded £29,814.00 by the Pembrokeshire County Council Enhancing Pembrokeshire Scheme. The charity has been awarded a grant to develop the “We Care: Volunteering Support” project, which will improve the volunteer infrastructure and support the volunteer community.

The project will combat issues around Second Home ownership by increasing community engagement and opportunities to connect people through training, open days, new social events and wider community outreach and communication. The first phase of the project has been completed with the successful recruitment of Eleanor Evans, the We Care: Project Officer. Eleanor joins this part of the charity, on a secondment basis, and brings a wealth of
experience, not only within the charity but also working with volunteers throughout the county.

The charity has experienced challenges over the last 12 months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new project will enhance the existing volunteer structure within the charity, develop incentives to increase volunteer engagement; support volunteers by providing increased training opportunities and develop a new social culture to decrease loneliness and isolation. Recognising that the pandemic has been a difficult time for many, improving and increasing community communication will also be a key aim.

Furthermore, the Sartori Stores throughout Pembrokeshire, have been through a difficult year, closing, opening and closing again. Most volunteers have gracefully assisted the charity, often at the drop of a hat, to open the stores.

Unfortunately, the charity has witnessed a decrease in the number of available volunteers to help, due to the pandemic. So therefore, another key objective will be to recruit and train more volunteers to assist in generating vital income and supporting areas within the clinical services.

“I am very excited to join this area of the charity and am looking forward to this new role. Having worked within the retail sector previously, I know how a lack of volunteers within a store can have a detrimental effect on the opening days and times. This will be where I will be concentrating my recruitment efforts on initially,” stated Eleanor Evans, We: Care Project Officer.

“Here at Paul Sartori we work hard to deliver a rewarding volunteer experience – we
ensure that adequate training is given to all volunteers. Our managers provide training and invest time with our volunteers to ensure they have the skills to work in many areas across the charity. Our stores can be a very busy, fast-paced environment, which offers a great opportunity for the environmentally conscious individual who wishes to help out a local charity selling pre-loved goods,” added Eleanor.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said the Council were pleased to support Paul Sartori deliver their We Care: Volunteering Support project.

“This project will add to the wide range of essential services Paul Sartori already provide to people in Pembrokeshire, improve their volunteer infrastructure and support the volunteer community,” he said.

“This is such a difficult time for charities and local organisations to maintain their services and volunteer activities and it is important to support them to strengthen their volunteer base, especially at this time when Covid is increasing the incidence of isolation and loneliness.”

The Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant, using funds raised via the Second Homes Tax is available to provide funding for new projects that help address the negative impact of second homes and in doing so adds value to our communities.

“This grant has come at a good time for the charity. Assisting our valued volunteers; recruiting more active volunteers and investing more in our existing training programme will ensure that the charity is financially sustained for many years to come,” said Judith Williams, Grants Coordinator at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home.

Paul Sartori Hospice at Home provides a range of services to Pembrokeshire people living in the final stages of a life-limiting illness, including home nursing care, equipment loan, complementary therapy, bereavement and counselling support, under 18’s anticipatory grief and bereavement support, physiotherapy, advance care planning and training.

The services provided by the Paul Sartori Hospice at Home enable people in the later stages of any life-limiting illness to be cared for and to die at home with dignity, independence, pain free and surrounded by those they hold most dear, if that is their wish. All of the services are free of charge and are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, thanks to the generosity of the Pembrokeshire Community. Further information on the charity and its services can be obtained by visiting their website www.paulsartori.org, or by phoning 01437 763223.

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Police at scene of RTC – officers seeking witnesses

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POLICE in Milford Haven are making door to door enquiries in the Great North Road area following an accident involving a pedestrian and a vehicle.

It is understood that CCTV in the area was not pointing in the right direction so police are appealing for help with the case.

There is still a large police presence in the area as of 11.20am this morning (Feb 26).

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “We were called to a collision in Great North Road, Milford Haven, at around 11am today.

“A vehicle pulling out onto the road has come into contact with a pedestrian.

“No-one was injured.”

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Crime Commissioner continues to secure funding for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual violence

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THE POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police is again making the offer for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual abuse to bid for additional funds.

Funding was made available last year, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence.

It was part of a £76 million package of support made available by the UK Government.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Thanks to this additional funding, we can ensure that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Dyfed-Powys can access specialist services for support, at a time when they are needed the most.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic and victims need help now more than ever and I am grateful for the work of all the service providers across the Force area that help these men, women and families who are most in need.

“I want to reassure anyone who is in an abusive situation or relationship that you do not need to suffer in silence, and I urge anyone to report abuse to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“This funding is open both to providers whom I currently commission and those that I do not currently fund. However, unlike the extraordinary Covid-19 funding provided in 2020/21, organisations do not need to be a registered charity, a charitable incorporated organisation, or a social enterprise to be eligible for this funding. They must, however, provide support services which have the purpose of helping victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse cope with the impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced. We would also encourage applications from small specialist organisations that support groups with protected characteristics.

“If you wish to submit a request for this funding, further guidance is available on my website, and can be requested via the office e-mail address.”

Closing date for submissions is close of play on Friday, March 12, 2021.

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