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Tragic death of university field trip student at Dale

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West Dale Beach

West Dale Beach

AN INQUEST into the death of a 20-year-old man was held at Milford Haven Town Hall yesterday (Oct 27).

James Thomas Manto, of London, died on May 7 this year; he had been part of a university field trip to Pembrokeshire with Plymouth University. Family members were present at the inquest.

Mr Manto had been staying at Dale Fort; he was found face down and unresponsive on Dale Beach.

In his second year of a geology course, Mr Manto was described as having ‘no concerns and was looking forward to the future’. His mother had been in contact with him on social media while he was in Pembrokeshire; he had told her how he was ‘really enjoying the field trip’.

The night prior to Mr Manto’s death (May 6) marked the final night of the field trip – students and lecturers had arranged to go into the village of Dale for food and drinks.

Statements read by students and lecturers recalled that Mr Manto was ‘highly intoxicated’ on the night leading up to his death the following morning. Members of staff at The Griffin Inn had asked Mr Manto to leave the premises.

Mr Manto was last seen standing outside The Griffin Inn at around 2am (May 7).

By 8.30am that morning, lecturers informed staff at Dale Fort that they had a student missing; the police were also informed.

A search party was launched by police, with the help of RNLI lifeboats and a helicopter search party.
Mr Manto was found by members of the RNLI, with police reporting they had located a missing body at around 11.15am; Mr Manto had suffered severe lacerations.

RNLI crew members attempted to resuscitate Mr Manto for 20 minutes. This was followed by the arrival of a Coastguard vessel carrying a defibrillator, after which crew members attempted a further 10 minutes of CPR. The inquest also heard how ‘attempts were made to inject adrenaline into his groin’.

An Air Ambulance was also called to the scene. A statement by winch man and paramedic Austin Harley was read during the inquest.

Mr Harley recalled how he and other crew members had been ‘instructed to respond’ to the incident following a training exercise; little information had been given other than ‘male with head injury’.

When Mr Harley arrived at the scene, he recalled how several emergency services were already present.

An ambulance had been waiting on the shoreline; however, Mr Harley made the decision that Mr Manto needed to be airlifted to hospital.

He recalled: “On three occasions we were instructed to shock the patient, which we did.”

Mr Manto was later pronounced dead in hospital.

The post mortem report was also read during the inquest, described by Coroner Gareth Lewis as ‘difficult reading’, and therefore only provided relevant details of the report.

The post mortem labelled Mr Manto’s death as ‘unnatural’, adding that he had suffered several injuries included ‘blunt head trauma’ and ‘left rib fractures’, as well as ‘multiple injuries to the head and chest’.

It also suggested that such injuries ‘may have been caused by a fall from height’, and concluded that ‘the cause of death was multiple injuries’.

Mr Matthew Watkinson, a lecturer on the field trip who had known Mr Manto since the start of his course, was called to give a statement during the inquest.

He described Mr Manto as ‘in a group and highly intoxicated’ on the night of May 6.

He recalled: “I saw James leave the pub but didn’t see where he went.”

Coroner Lewis went on to ask Mr Watkinson if the university had learned any lessons for future field trips: “Has the university implemented any procedures?”

Mr Watkinson said how the university had held several meetings between senior staff.

He said: “We looked particularly at how to further encourage students to be responsible regarding alcohol intake.”

Mr Watkinson also added the students would be reminded of their ‘responsibility to one another’.

He added: “I’d specifically briefed the students that afternoon about responsibility and being mindful of the local people.

“In my heart, I wish I’d come across him and was able to bring him home.”

Following his statement, Mr Manto’s mother questioned Mr Watkinson as to why her son had not been escorted home, given his intoxicated state.

Mr Watkinson replied: “My view of James at the time was he was with a large group of students.”

He added: “I didn’t think it was a situation where he’d be a danger to himself.”

Several statements by other students on the field trip were also read. They described Mr Manto as ‘swaying’ and ‘unsteady on his feet’. Commenting on Mr Manto’s character more generally, it was said he was found to be ‘very quiet’ and ‘shy’.

In his concluding statement, Coroner Lewis said: “We can only speculate as to what happened in those last few moments.”

With reference to Mr Manto’s injuries being consistent to those of a heavy fall, Mr Lewis stated the death was ‘accidental’, adding: “James Manto died as a result of an accident.”

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Rider of a motorbike taken to hospital following collision with a car

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A COLLISION which involved a car and a motorbike on Friday afternoon (Jun 18) saw one person being transferred to hospital.

Dyfed-Powys Police have confirmed that the collision, which happened at approximately 1.17pm at Dwrbach, Scleddau, involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike.

The Herald understands that the accident happened at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

The incident caused the road to be closed while emergency services dealt with the situation.

The rider of the motorbike was transferred to Glangwili Hospital for treatment.

A Police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a two vehicle road traffic collision which occurred in Scleddau, Fishguard early Friday afternoon, June18th 2021.

“The collision involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike. The rider of the motorbike was taken to hospital.

“The road was closed for emergency services to deal with the collision.”

A rapid response vehicle and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called to attend a road traffic collision involving a motorcycle at Dwrbach, Fishguard at 1.17pm on Friday 18 June. We sent one rapid response vehicle and one emergency ambulance. One patient was taken to Glangwili Hospital for further treatment.”

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Residents urged to be alert to Covid-19 symptoms following cluster of cases

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PUBLIC HEALTH WALES, Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board are urging members of the public to be alert to COVID-19 symptoms following the identification of a cluster of cases in the Tenby area.

The 22 confirmed cases are linked to social and sporting events and local schools and have generated a large number of contactssince the first cases were confirmed on Saturday, 12 June. 

A number of individuals, including pupils, are currently isolating and close contacts of the positive cases continue to be traced.

From Monday 21 June to Sunday 4 July, a mobile testing unit will be available for local residents in and around Tenby to access if they have symptoms.

This is based at Salterns Car Park, Marsh Road, Tenby, SA70 8DU.  To book a test visit the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ring 119.

Residents can protect themselves and others from Coronavirus by remaining at least two metres away from everyone else, washing their hands regularly, and by wearing a face covering where required. 

The virus disperses in a well ventilated environment, so opening windows and allowing fresh air to circulate is another way to keep ourselves safe.

Residents should take up the vaccine when offered, and self-isolate and get a test if they or anyone in their household develop symptoms.

As well as the three most common symptoms of Coronavirus – a fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell – people with any of the following, wider symptoms that are persistent and/or unusual for them are also strongly encouraged to get a PCR test:

  • Mild summer cold symptoms – including sore throat, runny nose, headache
  • Flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

If you have any of the above symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated, please stay home and book a PCR test through the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119.

When booking your PCR test, you will also be asked about your symptoms: if you have wider summer cold or flu-like symptoms as described above, rather than the classic three symptoms, choose ‘None of these symptoms’ and then choose one of the following options to enable you to complete the booking:

• My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms or

• A GP or other healthcare professional has asked me to get a test.

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Paul Davies submits views to Health Board Consultation

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Senedd Member Paul Davies has fed his views into Hywel Dda University Health Board’s consultation, “Building a Healthier Future after Covid-19.”

In response to the Health Board’s proposals, Mr Davies has made it clear that he opposes any movements to centralise or downgrade services at Withybush hospital.

Mr Davies said, “I cannot emphasise how important this consultation is and so I’d urge everyone across Pembrokeshire to read through the Health Board’s proposals and make their views known. In my submission, I’ve made it crystal clear that the people of Pembrokeshire should not have to travel further for vital health services.

“I want to see Hywel Dda start prioritising Pembrokeshire by investing in services at Withybush hospital so that it can support people living and working across the county.

“There’s still time to feed into the consultation and have your say on the Health Board’s plans. The deadline is Monday, June 21 and you can find more information here – https://www.haveyoursay.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk/building-a-healthier-future-after-covid-19.” 

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