Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Youth worker jailed for sexual offences against children (UPDATED)

Published

on

mike1 (2)A PEMBROKESHIRE man, who formerly worked as a child youth worker employed by Pembrokeshire County Council, appeared before Swansea Crown Court this morning (July 1), and admitted 14 sexual offences against children.

The offences include sexual touching, taking indecent photographs, and the possession of 1,129 indecent photographs of minors.

Michael John Smith, known as ‘Mik’, aged 49, of Prendergast, Haverfordwest, has been jailed for six years for offences which include touching the genitals and bottom of an eight-year-old boy, and encouraging a boy of eight to engage in sexual activity of a non-penetrative nature, including masturbation.

Michael John Smith, was a line manager with Pembrokeshire Youth Service who was sacked after “several warnings” about inappropriate behaviour towards young people.

He went on to abuse the young son of a couple who supported him following his dismissal, a judge at Swansea crown court heard today.

Smith admitted three offences of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13, four of causing or inciting the child to engage in sexual activity, two of taking indecent photographs of the child, four of making indecent images and one of possessing 1,136 indecent images of children.

Brian Simpson, prosecuting, said all the offences, apart from the last, related to the same boy.

He said Smith had worked for Pembrokeshire Youth Service and later Pembrokeshire Youth Action Service until he was dismissed in 2012 after children complained about the ways he touched them.

But before he was sacked, said Judge Paul Thomas, he had been given “several warnings.”

Mr Simpson said some people continued to support Smith but his response was to “groom” the son of one of the couples for his own sexual gratification, sometimes videoing himself as he abused the naked boy.

The alarm was raised when the boy’s parents noticed that he was becoming more sexualised, sometimes touching his mother’s bottom and talking about “humpy.”

He also developed sleeping difficulties and one night his father went into his bedroom and asked him if there was anything wrong. The boy told him Smith had shown “new ways of humpy.”

Mr Simpson said his father felt physically sick and called in the police.

Smith was arrested but denied ever touching the boy indecently. But officers took away computers and cameras, and found the two videos and the indecent images, 19 of which were in the most serious category. Smith was arrested a second time and on being told about the evidence that had been discovered chose not say anything in reply to questions.

Mr Simpson said the boy now had bad dreams, felt sad and cried a lot. He did not play with friends in case he said something about what had happened and worried that Smith would hurt him because he had told the police about the abuse.

His father, said Mr Simpson, had felt suicidal. Both he and his wife had undergone counselling.

Jim Davis, the barrister representing Smith, said there was no doubt his sexual orientation was towards young boys and he might benefit from psychiatric treatment, although that would not be available in jail.

“The word betrayal is quite appropriate. He tells me he knows that an apology is not enough. He cannot find the words to express how sorry he is and how ashamed he is,” he said.

Mr Davis said Smith would be positively “extremely glad” if the judge made an order that would keep him away from children.

Judge Thomas said Smith had applied for jobs and positions as a senior youth worker and with the cubs, scouts and children’s homes so that he could have contact with young children.

He had used the boy, he added, as his own “sexual play thing without any regard to the consequences to a boy of that age.”

And he had even videoed the abuse.

Judge Thomas said he could pass consecutive sentences, but he had to have regard to the totality.

Smith was jailed for six years for causing the child to engage in sexual activity, four for sexual assault, two for videoing the abuse and 12 months for possessing indecent photographs, all to run concurrently.

Smith was also banned from working with children for life and ordered to register with the police as a sex offender, again for life.

Smith, who had arrived at court with a rucksack expecting a jail sentence, did not react as he was sent down.

Pembrokeshire County Council said in a hastily prepared statement that they welcomed today’s conviction. The council press release said that “justice has been achieved for a vulnerable young person and our thoughts are with that young person and their family”

An effective piece of joint working between the Police and Social Services in Pembrokeshire has contributed to this successful prosecution.

The council went on to say: “The offences for which he has been convicted do not relate to his period of employment with the Council. Michael ‘Mik’ Smith was employed as a youth worker for Pembrokeshire County Council but was dismissed in January, 2012. It is a matter of fact that there were significant failings in the disciplinary standards within the Council’s Education directorate in 2005 when Mr Smith was the subject of various allegations about inappropriate behaviour. A joint investigation by the Council and Dyfed-Powys Police at that time revealed no criminal activity or allegations of abuse. The significant failings in the Council’s disciplinary processes was brought to the Authority’s attention by the national inspectorates in 2011, leading to formal intervention – intervention the Authority has accepted and acted on.”

The council added: “Since that time the Council has completely changed its procedures and management of the Education department and is confident that the failings of nine years ago would not be repeated now.  No manager from the former Education directorate involved in the decision-making in 2005 is currently employed by the Authority. Despite a further joint investigation with police, we have not received any allegations that he abused children while employed as a youth worker.”

However, we urge anyone with any concerns to come forward and contact our duty team on 01437 776444 or the police on101. They can do so in complete confidence and in the full knowledge that these will be robustly investigated. The Tanyard Youth Project, where Mik Smith was a director, distancing itself from him. Speaking last month, Kenwyn Corris Jones, of the Tanyard Youth Project, told The Herald in a statement: “Mik Smith was not a founder member of the Project when it was set up in 1999 [as previously reported]. He became an employee in 2001 and resigned in 2003 to take up other employment. He later became a member of the Trustee Board from 2004 until 2008 when he resigned due to other commitments.

He added: “None of the current staff has ever worked with him, and no complaint relating to his employment or his time on the Trustee Board has ever been made. “Our child protection policies and practice and safeguarding training are robust and in accordance with the Pembrokeshire Safeguarding Children’s Board. “The Tanyard Youth Project is an independent organisation that works with many different partners and funders and is fully committed to providing a high quality service to young people in a safe and welcoming environment.” The Tanyard Youth Project added that they would make no further comment will be made by the Project whilst criminal proceedings are ongoing. Pembrokeshire County Council, who employed Smith until 2012, has written to concerned parents urging them to contact the police if they have concerns. It is understood that Smith had worked at, amongst other locations, the Pupil Referral Unit in Penally.

Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Health

Give someone “the best gift” this Christmas by giving blood in West Wales

Published

on

A MOTHER who needed in-the-womb blood transfusions during her pregnancy and a man who depends on regular, lifesaving blood donations are encouraging communities across Wales to give “the best gift” this Christmas by donating blood.

The Welsh Blood Service is preparing to face Winter pressures on its services and is hoping their new Christmas campaign, “the best gift” will raise awareness about the importance of donating blood and the lifesaving difference it makes.

Last December over 900 donations of blood and blood products were needed across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire to provide care to patients at Prince Philip, Withybush, Bronglais and Glangwili hospital. 

These donations play a vital role by supporting a range of treatments from helping recovering accident victims and patients with blood cancers to supporting mothers and new-born babies during childbirth.

Blood donations were needed during both pregnancies for mother of two, Shelley Parry. After her own life was saved during her first pregnancy, Shelley received several more blood transfusions directly into her womb to keep her youngest daughter alive.

Shelley explains: “Receiving blood is truly the best gift we have ever received. We’re forever indebted as a family to those who have taken the time to donate. Without the generosity of blood donors, quite simply, we wouldn’t be parents. Thanks to their selfless act, we can look forward to Christmas together as a family.

“It only takes one hour of your time to donate, if you can, please consider donating.”

Giggs and his daughter

Also supporting the campaign is blood recipient Giggs Kanias. Since birth, Giggs has received over 1,000 blood transfusions as part of his treatment for beta thalassaemia major, a severe blood disorder. Thanks to blood donors, Giggs is looking forward to celebrating Christmas with his family.

Giggs said: “I am so thankful to the incredible people who give blood. When I’m in hospital, I stare at the bags of blood being transfused into me and always wonder, who is the person that has helped me?

“I know the difference these people have made to my life and I’m so grateful to each and every one of them. Without their generosity, I wouldn’t be here today, I wouldn’t be a dad, or have had the opportunity to see my daughter grow up. Receiving blood is truly the best gift anyone could ever receive.”

Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said: “For patients like Giggs, receiving blood will be the best gift they receive this Christmas. It truly is the best gift you can give.

“Blood products have a short shelf life and is needed by hospitals 365 days a year, including Christmas day, to help support patients in need, which is why we can’t stop collecting.”

The Welsh Blood Service provides lifesaving blood products to 20 hospitals across Wales and four Wales Air Ambulance aircraft for use in emergencies.

Alan continues: “It is critical the service prepares. We need to build up blood stocks ahead of a potentially challenging winter, where seasonal illnesses and Covid-19 may exacerbate the usual winter pressures faced by the NHS.

“We are reaching out to communities across Wales to ask them to make a lifesaving blood donation and give “the best gift” this festive season.”

Do something amazing this Christmas. Give someone the best gift. Give blood. If you are aged 17 or over, book to give blood at: www.wbs.wales/Xmas21 or call 0800 252 266 today.

Appointments are available in Pembrokeshire on 7 December and January 6 and 20 in Tenby, 16 December and 27 January in Crymych, 20 December and 17 January in Haverfordwest, 10 January in Letterston Village Hall and 21 January in Milford Haven. 

Appointments are available in Carmarthenshire on 10 December in Pontyberum, 29 December and 13 January in Carmarthen, 28 January in Kidwelly Community Hall, 23 and 24 December and 4, 12 and 25 January in Parc Y Scarlets and 31 January in Llandeilo.

Appointments are available in Ceredigion on 14 December in Newcastle Emlyn, 14 January in Aberaeron and 18 January in Lampeter.

Continue Reading

News

Children are invited to join the festive fun with the Language Charter’s Virtual Welsh Advent Calendar

Published

on

Day 1 of the Advent Calendar

SEREN a Sbarc are inviting children in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to join the celebration of Christmas with a host of activities through the medium of Welsh.

Daily surprises will be shared on the Shwmae Pembrokeshire Facebook page and Ceredigion Cardi Iaith Facebook page from 1 until 25 December 2021.

A wide range of Welsh language activities will be hiding behind the calendar doors – for example the Cyw Christmas Story and Decorations with Elin Haf Jones a presenter from Ceredigion, a clogging session, poetry and much more.

The virtual advent calendar has been created by Language Charter Leaders in Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.

Visit www.facebook.com/shwmae (Pembrokeshire) and www.facebook.com/cardiiaith (Ceredigion) to be part of the excitement and remember to share your pictures and videos to spread the festive fun!

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Côr Dyfed to perform Messiah

Published

on

Côr Dyfed

A PERFORMANCE of possibly the greatest of all choral works, Handel’s Messiah, is something to look forward to, especially after the hiatus caused by Covid.

This immensely popular work will be sung by Côr Dyfed Choir in St Davids Cathedral on Saturday December 11th at 7pm.

Acting Music Director Luke Spencer will conduct the choir, with four renowned soloists:

Ros Evans, soprano

Ralph Thomas Williams, countertenor

Peter Wilman, tenor

Stephen Hamnett, bass

With the acclaimed British Sinfonietta accompanying, this opportunity to begin celebrating Christmas in spectacular surroundings promises to be a very special occasion.

Tickets: Front Nave £22, Rear Nave £18, Side Aisles £12 unreserved (Under 16 free)

Available online at www.dyfedchoir.co.uk

Telephone Ticket Source 0333 666 3366* or 01348 840312* (Mon – Sat 10am – 1pm)

*All telephone and online ticket purchases subject to a booking fee

Continue Reading

News1 day ago

Secondary school staff and pupils must wear face coverings from December 1

FOLLOWING the written statement from the Minister for Education yesterday (Monday) evening, all secondary school learners and staff will be...

News1 day ago

‘Unpleasant’ trader must pay over £19,000 for shoddy shed work

A MAN who carried out substandard work on a shed in north Pembrokeshire and became unpleasant when challenged has been...

News1 day ago

Covid-19 cases highest in Tenby; lots of new cases in Neyland and Pembroke Dock

THE NUMBER of Covid-19 infections still taking place in Pembrokeshire is still significant, with the latest figues broken down per...

News2 days ago

Vaccine-sceptic care workers urged to get jabbed to save lives

A SOCIAL CARE leader has urged the minority of vaccine-sceptic care workers in the Hywel Dda Health Authority area  to...

News3 days ago

Woman with broken leg airlifted off Preselis by Coastguard helicopter

A WOMAN who broke her leg whilst out walking on the Preselis was taken to hospital by helicopter after a...

News5 days ago

Firefighters want justice for Josh after leaked shock report

A SHOCKING draft report into the circumstances of the death of a firefighter in Pembrokeshire in 2019 is firmly pointing...

News5 days ago

Milford Haven fast food worker tragically took his own life, inquest hears

A MILFORD HAVEN fast food worker took his own life after drinking a large quantity of alcohol, the local Coroner,...

News5 days ago

Email from Councillor prompts Pembroke Dock mayor to resign

AN EMAIL enquiring to why the Mayor of Pembroke Dock had been absent from his civic duties has led to...

News6 days ago

Reprieve for Cawdor Barracks: Base will not close until 2028

CAWDOR Barracks at Brawdy will remain open until 2028, the Westminster Government announced on Thursday (Nov 25). The Barracks were...

News7 days ago

Wales has ‘worst rail services in the UK’

NEWS that Wales has the worst train services in the UK is disappointing but not at all surprising, the Welsh...

Popular This Week