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Ashley Keegan jailed for life for brutal Cardigan murder of John Bell



A VIOLENT man who stabbed his victim in the back seven times in a brutal attack has been jailed for life for his murder.

Ashley Keegan will serve a minimum of 20 years for the murder of 37-year-old John Bell in Cardigan on July 21 this year.

The 22-year-old had been drinking outside his home in Golwg y Castell on the afternoon and evening of July 20.

As the day went on, his behaviour became more erratic, including becoming abusive to Mr Bell and his friend Daniel Saunders, when they arrived at the home of his neighbour, Daniel’s mother, Amanda Simpson.

At around 11.40pm, Daniel was taken out and put in a taxi my Amanda, when Keegan once again became abusive.

The taxi pulled off and during the argument that followed Amanda was pushed to the floor.

Keegan then turned on Mr Bell, approaching him and throwing multiple punches to his head.

Mr Bell, the court heard, did not retaliate, instead holding his hands up by his chest trying to calm things down, or his arms up protecting his head and face and moving backwards.

Mr Bell then walked off down the hill.

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Instead of leaving him walk away, Keegan was then seen walking to his driveway and picking up a large kitchen knife, before going after his victim.

He approached him from behind, raised his hand high and stabbed Mr Bell repeatedly.

At no point did he turn around – no defensive wounds were found – and instead he walked away from the street.

Keegan was then seen to throw the knife away, before heading to his home, where he told his partner Chloe Phillips: “I’ve stabbed him”. 

Just before midnight, police received several reports of both the incident witnessed on Golwg y Castell and of member of the public who had seen John Bell, injured and bleeding on Cardigan Bridge.

Police attended Castle Street and located Mr Bell seriously injured in a side street adjacent to Fusion restaurant.

Despite efforts to save him, he died at the scene. 

Victim: John Bell

A post-mortem examination revealed seven stab wounds to Mr Bell’s back, which resulted in him losing a significant amount of blood.

Speaking following the sentencing, DCI Gareth Roberts said: “Today’s sentencing of Ashley Keegan to life imprisonment for the brutal murder of John Bell at Cardigan in July 2021 is welcomed.

“Our thoughts are with John’s family at this time. The devastating impact of his tragic, unnecessary loss will be long lasting for this close-knit family.

“John’s family have been respectful and dignified throughout the criminal justice process and no outcome can compensate for their loss, but I hope some comfort will come from the imprisonment of a dangerous, violent offender that will not be able to harm others.   

“Keegan’s actions on the evening of Tuesday, 20th July, 2021 were brutal and cowardly. Neither Keegan nor John were previously known to each other and John’s death was an unnecessary act with no prior motive.

“Keegan was intoxicated with his behaviour deteriorating throughout that afternoon. John came to Golwg y Castell to visit a friend and an altercation instigated by Keegan occurred. John walked away from that altercation and Keegan chose to return to the garden of a premises within the estate and pick up a knife that had been left there. Keegan had an opportunity to walk away but chose to pursue John and in a cowardly act stabbed John Bell seven times to the back area.

“John was unlikely aware of Keegan’s presence and had no defence wounds.

“Despite being severely injured, John managed to walk away some 150 yards from Golwg y Castell towards Cardigan Bridge where he later tragically died despite the best efforts of emergency services.

“Ashley Keegan did not raise the alarm or call an ambulance, instead he hid in Cilgerran Wildlife Centre until his capture.

“Our thanks must go to the brave witnesses who saw events and gave crucial information to identify Keegan as the offender and provide the evidence to ensure this successful prosecution.

“The investigative response was swift and effective, with a number of police resources mobilised to ensure that justice was served.

“Nationally, there is an increasing prevalence for individuals to carry knives. We’re fortunate in the Dyfed-Powys area that such violent offences using weapons are rare and infrequent.

“However, the tragic consequences are realised in cases such as this. Dyfed-Powys Police continue to work with our partners to raise awareness of the risks of individuals carrying weapons and remove dangerous weapons from our communities. This case has shown that any person carrying weapons presents a significant risk to the life of others and themselves, if their own weapon is used against them.”

Anyone with information around the use of weapons is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at:, 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. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting


Wales embarks on floating wind energy venture with £180,000 commitment



OFFSHORE RENEWABLE ENERGY (ORE) Catapult, in association with Floventis Energy, is set to boost the floating offshore wind sector in Wales. The partnership aims to prepare Welsh businesses for this rapidly growing industry.

This initiative, termed the Fit 4 Offshore Renewables (F4OR) programme, is tailored exclusively to propel the floating wind market in Wales. It marks the debut of such an initiative in the region, reflecting the nation’s progressive stance on renewable energy.

The joint venture sees a promising £180,000 committed by Floventis Energy towards the 12-18 month floating wind specific development scheme. Welsh businesses are set to benefit extensively with unique access to the team developing Llŷr 1 and 2 in the Celtic Sea. This, in combination with the forthcoming Celtic Sea Round 5 projects, promises lucrative prospects for local ventures.

Vaughan Gething, Wales’ Economy Minister, expressed his enthusiasm: “The offshore wind sector has an incredible potential for our economy and its people. By bolstering the awareness of Welsh firms, we aim to pave the way for them to harness the opportunities of the green future.”

The programme, commencing in 2024, will kick-start with an initial group of three companies. Since its inception in 2019, the F4OR initiative has flourished across the UK, boasting five successful regional programmes and aiding over 100 companies. Many of these beneficiaries have seen a significant surge in their turnovers.

Andrew Macdonald from ORE Catapult commented on the potential of the sector: “Our goal is to ensure a top-tier supply chain developed in the UK, ready to cater to the world. With the proven success of F4OR in other parts, we’re eager to tap into the vast opportunities that Wales, particularly in floating wind energy, presents.”

The Celtic Sea in Wales is poised to be a frontrunner in the UK’s net-zero ambition, targeting a deployment of 4GW of floating wind by 2035. Early estimates suggest the potential creation of over 3,000 jobs, injecting a staggering £682 million into the supply chain of Wales and Cornwall by 2030.

Cian Conroy of Floventis Energy, noting the importance of the programme, stated: “Initiatives like F4OR, in tandem with projects such as Llŷr, are vital for building a robust industry. Our end goal is to fortify the UK’s offshore renewable energy supply chain, both domestically and on the global stage.”

Applications for the programme are open for firms employing over ten individuals and boasting turnovers exceeding £1 million, provided they cater to the offshore wind sector. Interested companies can apply at F4OR – ORE ( by 10 November.

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Pembrokeshire identified as having too many empty properties



PEMBROKESHIRE has been identified as the third major empty home hotspot in the UK.

The recent study on the UK’s housing market, conducted by Alan Boswell Landlord Building Insurance, disclosed a startling fact – the country has 4,331 vacant properties. This figure contradicts the popular belief of a fully occupied UK property market, especially given the weighty 5.1% rise in rent over the last year.

Gwynedd, in north-west Wales, tops the list with a staggering 5,286 vacant properties per 100,000 residents, an actual number amounting to 6,204. Surprisingly, a significant 77% of these are second homes or holiday residences. This has consequently resulted in escalating house prices, pushing the average up to £136,095.

Following closely is Argyll and Bute, which, with its historical splendour and breathtaking vistas, now has 4,887 empty homes per 100,000 people. This makes up over 10% of the area’s households. Furthermore, to address the increasing number of vacant properties, the Scottish Government has augmented The Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) to 6% of the property purchase price for individuals who already possess one or more residential properties, anywhere in the world.

However, it’s Pembrokeshire’s standing at third place that’s turning heads. Despite its reputation as a sanctuary for nature and history aficionados, the county is grappling with a surge of holiday-home ownership. A vast 74% of its vacant properties are owned by individuals possessing second homes. The data indicates 4,331 empty homes for every 100,000 individuals in the county, summing up to 5,346 overall.

Concluding the top five are the Isle of Anglesey and Ceredigion, both in Wales, with 3,752 and 3,595 vacant properties per 100,000 residents, respectively.

This overwhelming number of vacant homes across these areas not only affects the local housing market but also impacts the native residents, many of whom find it increasingly challenging to own a home in their own community.

Methodology: The analysis used government data, StatsWales website information, and the Scottish Government’s figures. Data utilised spanned from 2021 to 2023, considering population and house price figures.

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Pembrokeshire restaurant fined for employing illegal workers



A PEMBROKESHIRE-BASED restaurant, Panache Indian, located on Queen Street, Pembroke Dock, has been slapped with a hefty fine after being found guilty of employing illegal workers over the past year.

The authorities acted on intelligence provided to the UK government, leading to raids at the Panache establishment earlier this year. Investigations uncovered that several staff members employed there had no legal right to either reside or work in the UK. The exact number of illegal workers discovered on the premises has not been disclosed.

As a consequence of these findings, the restaurant, owned and managed by Fahinoor Rahman, has been penalised with a fine amounting to £30,000.

Furthermore, Panache Restaurant now features in the Government’s quarterly report, which lists companies penalised for the use of illegal workers. This data is publicly released by the Home Office four times annually, with the most recent data spanning from January 1 to March 31, 2023.

The UK government underscores the severe repercussions awaiting companies or individuals found employing those without the right to work or live in the UK. According to, guilty parties could face up to five years imprisonment, alongside an unlimited fine, particularly if they knowingly or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ they were employing individuals without the right to work in the UK.

This category comprises:

  • Individuals lacking the leave (permission) to enter or stay in the UK.
  • Those whose permission to stay has expired.
  • Individuals restricted from certain job roles.
  • Persons providing incorrect or fraudulent information.
  • In a related incident, the Nehar Indian Restaurant in Lampeter, owned by Ruhul Amin Choudhury, has also been penalised with a £20,000 fine for employing illegal workers.
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