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Memorial fund thief escapes jail term

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charityA WHITLAND woman who stole cash raised to start a memorial fund in the name of a friend killed in a car crash has escaped an immediate jail sentence after borrowing enough to reinstate the fund. Natalie Thomas, aged 25, borrowed £8,500 to repay the fund set up after the death of Laura Rees, who worked at the day nursery at Glangwili Hospital and who died after a road accident on the A40 St Clears to Whitland road. Swansea crown court heard how friends and family members organised money raising events with the intention of donating in Laura’s name to the Bandi appeal, which was helping to finance the building of a centre for sick children in Carmarthen. Chris James, prosecuting, said Thomas, of Bryngwenllian, approached Laura’s mother Angela and told her she wanted to help, and went on to raise more than £10,000 during a charity night in January, 2013, attended by 800 people. Further, unknown amounts were donated in cash in collection boxes. Mr James said Thomas became obstructive and neither handed over the money or paid it into the charity’s bank account. However, Miss Rees’ family still trusted her, such was her perceived closeness. A year after Laura’s death, the turf was cut to begin the building of the new children’s centre and Mrs Rees had wanted to present the money raised so far in the name of her daughter. But Thomas still refused to hand over the money. And when Mrs Rees checked the status of the bank account she found there was only £1,950. The rest, added Mr James, could not be accounted for. Thomas tried to claim the real balance was about £11,250 but that she still had a number of cheques to pay in. In a bid to cover her tracks, Thomas began approaching local businesses asking for donations – she asked a monumental mason to give £10,000 and the resident of a care home for £1,500. Mr James said even after her arrest Thomas denied stealing the missing money, and claimed at first it was at the home of her brother. On being questioned by police a second time she admitted she had been “dipping” into the fund. David Williams, the barrister representing Thomas, said she had used the stolen money to help her family and not to finance a luxury lifestyle. “She regrets the pain that she has caused to her friend’s family, particularly Angela Rees. That was not her intention,” he added. He said since the offending had come to light local people had expressed “their severe disapproval in brutal terms.” A friend of Thomas had taken out a loan of £8,500 so she could repay the charity fund, and Thomas would in turn pay off the loan. Thomas admitted theft. Judge Christopher Vosper QC said an immediate jail sentence would badly affect Thomas’ children and could mean she could not continue to repay her friend. Thomas was jailed for 12 months, the sentence suspended for two years. She was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. Laura was killed in October 2012 while on the way to a bridesmaid dress fitting.

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Pembrokeshire residents can quickly check symptoms for variety of conditions on NHS 111 Wales online

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NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker can save Pembrokeshire patients time by helping them find the right NHS service for treatment. Symptoms can be quickly checked for a variety of conditions and advice given on the best way to treat them by visiting www.111.wales.nhs.uk which is hosted by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The way we access NHS services has changed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with more options now becoming increasingly utilised, including the NHS 111 Wales online service which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be used for both health information and advice and to access urgent primary care in Welsh and English.

In a recent YouGov survey, a third of Pembrokeshire residents had not even heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker and only 19% had used it during the past 12 months.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are asking everyone to help us by reconsidering the way you access NHS services. The methods available have changed but we are still here for you. It is worth getting to know the different ways you can access the NHS so you can be seen and treated quicker with your first port of call being NHS 111 Wales.”

According to the YouGov survey, carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign, only 67% of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker. However, 86% said they felt it was important to have access to the service.   

NHS 111 Wales online can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. The way it works is: You answer questions about your symptoms on the website and depending on the situation you will:

  •           Get self-care advice
  •           Be told how to get any medicine you need
  •           Find out what local service can help you
  •           Be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  •           Get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  •           Be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E – this might mean you spend less time in A&E

For those who don’t have confidence going online to seek advice, there is the NHS 111 Wales phone service. This is also a free service where patients can contact the NHS by dialling 111 to receive advice on the best way to manage their issue or gain further assistance if needed. The bilingual telephone service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Eighty-four percent of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales phone service when asked for the recent YouGov survey but only 20% had used the telephone service during the last 12 months.

 

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Trial date for son accused of killing mum

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THE SON of Judith Rhead, 68, who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Feb 20 will now appear in Crown Court again in October.

Dale Morgan, 43, said to be a scout master, appeared in court only to confirm his name, date of birth and address – which was listed as Honeyborough Green, Neyland.

A plea and trial preparation hearing date was set for March 26 with a provisional trial date set for October 4.

He was remanded in custody.

In court papers it stated that the alleged murder took place between December 10, 2020 and February 21, 2021.

The paperwork demonstrates that the police are unsure of the exact date that Ms Rhead died. The large date range, two months, points to the likelihood that this will be a challenging case for all those involved.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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