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Police officer ‘should be sacked’ over rape interview mess-up

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A TEENAGE victim of an alleged rape will have to re-live her ordeal for a second time after police in Pembrokeshire messed up her video interview.

It was the second time a judge at Swansea Crown Court has criticised the way Dyfed-Powys Police has dealt with alleged victims off serious sex crimes.

In the latest case, Judge Keith Thomas, the most senior resident judge, said the officer who monitored the interview should be sacked.

Those making allegations of a sexual nature are allowed to make a statement to police in a comfortable and secure environment, which is video taped and placed onto a DVD.

Later, if the alleged attacker is traced and put on trial – possibly years later – that DVD is played to the jury and becomes the victim’s evidence, without her having to repeat her story in person.

But Swansea Crown Court heard that the interview of a teenager who complained of being raped when she was a child had been handled so badly the DVD was useless.

Judge Thomas said it was so poor he would not allow it to be played to a jury.

Instead, she will have to re-interviewed.

Carina Hughes, prosecuting, said at one stage the camera was not even focused on the victim.

“It is completely unfair because it’s not her fault, but the DVD is not acceptable,” she added.

The poor audio was also an issue, said Miss Hughes.

Sex assault victims are supposed to be interviewed by a trained officer with a second officer monitoring the process from a different room.

Judge Thomas said he was not sure that anyone had bothered to monitor this particular interview but if he or she had then they should be sacked.

“There’s absolutely no control over the recording. They (the police) must get a grip.”

He also slammed the police for questioning the victim for one and half hours about a single allegation.

Judge Thomas said the next interview must be completed within 30 minutes or he would want an explanation ‘as to why he or she is incapable of carrying out a simple instruction’.

He said: “I cannot understand how any trained officer could think it is appropriate to question a [girl of this age] for ninety minutes.

“The new tape must take only thirty minutes maximum,” he added.

It is not known where the interview was conducted.

In 2014 another judge at Swansea Crown Court criticised Pembroke Dock police who left a window open during an interview with a rape victim. The sound of passing traffic drowned out her testimony and she had to give live evidence in court.

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News

Savers store to shut up shop in another yet blow to county town’s centre

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ANOTHER Haverfordwest chain store has announced when it is shutting up shop, it what seems to be a growing trend in large businesses abandoning the market town’s centre

A spokesperson for the health, home and beauty retailer Savers told The Pembrokeshire Herald that it was hoped that the staff from the Haverfordwest store would be able to take up positions at other branches in Tenby and Carmarthen.

The final day of trading will be this Saturday (Jun 15).

The closure notice on the shop door.

On Facebook the store’s management posted: “It is with great sadness that Haverfordwest Savers will be closing its doors for the last time on Saturday 15th June.

“Management and team would like to take this opportunity to thank all our amazing customers, past and present, for your custom and support, and wish you all well in the future.

“Thank you all.”

The herald broke the story back in march 2024
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Charity

Generous legacy donation boosts St Davids RNLI lifesaving fund

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A LIFELONG RNLI supporter and fundraiser who enjoyed visits to Pembrokeshire has made a generous donation of £10,000 to St Davids RNLI lifeboat station following his recent death.

John Broadhurst of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire joined the Aylesbury fundraising branch in 1974, volunteering as a committee member and secretary for almost 40 years. In 2013 he was awarded a gold badge for his dedicated support of the charity through his service and fundraising support.

The large contribution will go towards lifeboat station running costs, including essential lifesaving kit and training. The family have also made a donation to the RNLI ‘launch a memory’ all-weather lifeboat to be based at Exmouth.

The Broadhurst family started visiting Pembrokeshire in 1972 when family members moved to the area.

Jo Lynch, John’s daughter, said: ‘Visits to lifeboat stations were always an inherent part of our holidays, and St Davids was always part of that. Dad was a keen sea fisherman, and used to fish regularly from Newgale, Solva and Whitesands. In the early 80’s, mum and dad bought a touring caravan and we used to stay all around the local coast, including at the caravan club site at Lleithyr Meadow near Whitesands on a regular basis. St Davids has always been a favourite part of the county and we continue to holiday in the area.’

Alice Coleman, RNLI Community Manager, said: ‘On behalf of all the crew and members of St Davids lifeboat station I’d like to extend our sincere heartfelt thanks to John and his family for this very generous donation. Knowing John devoted so much time to our charity over many years, and he chose St Davids to benefit from this legacy, is humbling and greatly appreciated. This donation will enable us to continue delivering a lifesaving capability from our lifeboat station.

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Crime

Fines imposed on gardener after Trading Standards investigation

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A LANDSCAPE gardener has been fined after complaints led to a Pembrokeshire County Council Trading Standards investigation.

Complaints were made by customers of Timothy Lovell of Under the Hills, Haverfordwest, after he had carried out work at their homes.

It was established that Lovell had carried out work without providing essential paperwork, including his business address and cancellation rights, which is required under Consumer Protection form Unfair Trading Regulations.

Lovell appeared at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Thursday May 23 and pleaded guilty to two charges.

Lovell was fined £300 for each offence and also ordered to pay £250 costs plus £240 victim surcharge.

Jeff Beynon, Public Protection Manager at Pembrokeshire County Council, said: “We are pleased with the guilty pleas and the level of fines imposed by Magistrates.

“We hope this case will be a reminder that essential paperwork must be provided when work is agreed.”

Anyone wishing to complain about work that has been carried out at their homes should contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 (English) or 0808 223 1144 (Cymraeg). This information will then be shared with Trading Standards.

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