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‘Cinderella’ daughter wins share of £7m estate

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A CINDERELLA farmer’s daughter who says she was left at home ‘with a muck fork’ whilst her teenage sisters went dancing has triumphed in her fight for a fair share of her elderly parents’ £7 million estate.

Eirian Davies, aged 45, was repeatedly assured by her parents, Tegwyn and Mary Davies, now in their 70s, that she would ultimately step into their shoes and take over the family’s ‘golden egg’ – thriving Henllan Farm, Whitland, and its herd of pedigree Holstein cows.

And three Appeal Court judges on Wednesday ruled that a stake in the thriving 182-acre farm was no more than her due for the years of low-paid toil she put in.

The family war had culminated in a “physical altercation” in the milking parlour, during which milk was thrown over Miss Davies by her mother, and she and her father ended up entangled on the floor where she bit her father’s leg.

Miss Davies had testified that she missed out on going to Young Farmers’ Club dances with her two sisters as a teenager because she had to stay at home to deal with her farming chores.

“They always told me that the farm would be left to me. Even on my birthday, when the other girls were having things, they would say – ‘you will have the damn lot one day, it will all be yours’,” she said.

Her father would regularly warn her “not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg” if she complained about her meagre wages, she added.

Until she reached the age of 21, Miss Davies was paid nothing at all for her work on the farm and, after that, there was a period when she was paid just £15-a-day for milking the cows, although sometimes she received more.

She claimed she could have ‘made a better life elsewhere’, but her 75-year-old father and mother, 76, insisted she had earned a fair income during her stints working on the farm, also being provided with free ‘bed and board’ and other benefits.

Describing her as ‘a self-employed herdswoman’, they argued she would have done no better financially had she worked away from the farm.

However, Lord Justice Floyd on Wednesday ruled that measuring Miss Davies’ contribution to the farm was not just ‘an exercise in forensic accounting’ and that her parents should be held to the promises they made to her.

The judge, sitting with Lords Justice Richards and Underhill, said Miss Davies had for years laboured under the impression that she was running the farm in partnership with her parents – however they had never signed the agreement.

In 2009, she was shown a draft will, which left the lion’s share of the farm to her. However, her parents later made changes to their bequests and proposed to place the farm in trust for the benefit of all three sisters equally.

Miss Davies had a ‘passionate interest in pedigree milking cows’ and, by 1989 when she turned 21, she was the only sister left at the farm, ‘her sisters having departed to follow other paths’, the judge said.

And, when she left the farm to work elsewhere for a while, her father begged her to return.

The milking parlour fracas in August 2012 was the final straw that broke the family asunder and her parents launched proceedings to evict Miss Davies from Henllan farmhouse, where she still lives.

However, at an earlier court hearing, Judge Milwyn Jarman QC ruled that Miss Davies had relied on her parents’ promises and thrown herself into working on the farm for low wages. She was thus entitled to a ‘beneficial interest’ in the business.

Dismissing the couple’s appeal against that ruling, Lord Justice Floyd said Miss Davies had received ‘less than full recompense’ for her contribution to the farm which could not be measured in purely financial terms.

The appeal judge concluded: “This is in many ways a tragic case.

“The bitterness between the parties was such that each had few, if any, good words to say about the other.

“The fact remained, however, that between them they had over the years built up, by hard work, great skill and passionate dedication a prodigious Holstein pedigree milking herd and a highly successful business.

“It is greatly to be hoped that they might now be able to resolve such remaining differences as they have in relation to Eirian’s entitlement without recourse to further costly and divisive litigation”.

Judge Milwyn Jarman told the earlier county court hearing that the bitter relations between Eirian Davies and her parents came to a head after she discovered their plans to split the farm equally between the three sisters.

“After one such argument with her father in February 2010, she went to the barn and put a rope from a beam around her neck,” said the judge, adding that, by good fortune, a farm worker saw what was happening and intervened.

Although there was evidence that her parents had “pinned their hopes” on Eirian over the years, they had become increasingly annoyed by her relationships with men following her divorce.

The judge said part of this concern was – not so much the men involved – but “any children that they had and how that may impact upon their duties to keep the business in the family”.

“Her mother referred to a string of men, to whom she referred as ‘wretches’, with kids behind them,” said the judge.

Family relations hit rock bottom in August 2012 during a “physical altercation” between Eirian and her parents in the milking parlour.

“Accounts differ about that altercation, but at some point milk was thrown over Eirian by her mother and she and her father ended up entangled on the floor where Eirian bit her father’s leg”, the judge said.

“Eirian received from her parents the next day a notice terminating her services, and two weeks later a notice to quit the farmhouse requiring vacant possession by October 31 2012”.

Despite the intense friction in the family, the judge said it was to their credit that Eirian and her parents had over the years “by hard work, great skill and passionate dedication built up a prodigious Holstein pedigree milking herd and a highly successful business”.

He described Eirian as having a “passionate interest in pedigree milking cows”, also referring to her evidence that she was consistently promised that the farm would one day be her’s.

“Eirian says that she first heard that ‘it will all be your’s one day’ when she was still at secondary school, for example when her mother took her sisters shopping and she was left at home, as she put it, ‘with a muck fork’.

“She says she regularly missed school and that her sisters were not interested in farming at all.

“She claims to have heard the same thing regularly thereafter from both parents, whenever she asked for money. She was told: “don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg'”.

A “major factor” in the family’s difficult relationship was the “strong personalities of both mother and daughter”, he noted, as well as Eirian’s frustration at her role in the farming business not being formalised.

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Charity

Calls for help over VHF radio may have been a hoax, say RNLI

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THE ANGLE All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch on service at 10:23am this morning, Monday (July 22).

Following a call to the Coastguard from Milford Haven VTS, the crew were tasked after the VTS operators overheard a female voice calling for help on VHF channel 12.

After narrowing down the transmission to having been received on the Pembroke aerial site, the crew were requested to conduct a search.

Launching at 10:30am, the lifeboat made best speed to the moorings at Hazelbeach, and a hasty search was requested by the Coastguard of any moored vessels. The crew began making their way amongst the moorings, heading up to the moorings off Neyland. With nothing untoward sighted, the crew proceeded to search the moorings off Hobbs Point, Barnlake Point, Burton, Llanion and Rudders Boat Yard.

With nothing found, the Coastguard requested that the crew continue their search up river to Picton Point. The lifeboat continued searching up the western shore encompassing Llangwm before altering course just past Landshipping and searching the eastern shore back down the river, calling in to Lawrenny on the way to check any vessels moored there.

The RNLI said that the search continued back down as far as the Cleddau Bridge.

On Facebook the organisation posted :”Following a thorough visual, communications and radar search the crew were subsequently stood down when no further information or calls had been received.

“The tasking was therefore deemed to be a hoax call.

“The lifeboat was back alongside and readied for further service by 1pm.”

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Crime

Police investigating after man injured during altercation in cemetery

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POLICE have confirmed that they are investigating a report of an altercation which occurred in the cemetery off Gelliswick Road, Hakin, Milford Haven sometime between 4.30 and 5.00pm, Wednesday 17th July, 2024.

Following the incident, a 32-year-old man went to hospital for treatment and was later released.

A 19-year-old male has been arrested on suspicion of assault and released on bail pending further police enquiries police have confirmed.

The incident caught the attention of locals, who said there was a large police response to the incident included armed officers.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing [email protected], or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: 394 of the 17th

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org

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Crime

West Wales man jailed for rape after victim’s cries heard

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A WEST WALES man has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison for raping a woman in an attack that ended only when her cries for help were heard by others. Charlie Evans, a 22-year-old former Exeter University student, ignored his victim’s repeated pleas for him to stop during the 45-minute ordeal.

The incident took place after Evans and his victim had attended a party, where both had been drinking. The court heard that after kissing, the pair left together, with the woman under the impression that Evans lived in a flat with her friend.

Upon returning to the flat, the woman used the toilet before Evans raped her, despite her repeatedly saying no. The prosecutor described the victim as crying hysterically and added: “She did not want these things to happen.”

During the attack, one student testified they could hear the victim not consenting and begging Evans to stop. Another person said they were so concerned they inquired about what was happening.

Police were alerted after the incident was reported to campus staff, who then contacted the emergency services. Evans was told to leave his flat and was subsequently removed from the university. He denied the offence during his police interview.

Evans, of Victoria Avenue, Mumbles, Swansea, was convicted earlier this year at Exeter Crown Court of rape and sexual assault. He was sentenced on July 12. In a victim statement, the woman said her life had been forever changed by Evans’s actions. She expressed feelings of fear, confusion, and shame during the incident and continues to suffer from nightmares. She now feels distrustful of men and has sought support to cope with her trauma, the court heard.

Christopher Quinlan KC, defending, presented multiple good character references for Evans, describing him as a “kind and respectful” young man who was “always positive, compassionate and thoughtful.” He argued that his client’s life was “in ruins” as a result of his actions.

However, Judge Stephen Climie told Evans he had “completely misrepresented” his victim’s position, adding: “She was so far away from wishing to engage in your sexual activity that the only explanation for your attitude and approach was alcohol that blinded you to what was clearly and obviously the word ‘No’.” He continued: “So far as your life is concerned you will be crushed as a result of the sentence I’m required to impose.”

Following the sentencing, DC Michele Hicks from Devon and Cornwall Police’s major crime investigation team praised the victim for her courage and resilience throughout the investigation. She said: “I hope this case reassures the community how seriously the police take reports of sexual violence against women and girls and gives people the courage to come forward in future.”

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