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Swansea Crown Court continues to consider if Lily Sullivan’s murder was sexually motivated

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THE MAN who murdered an 18-year-old on a night out and left her body in a reservoir confessed to his girlfriend “I’ve strangled somebody”, a court has heard.

Lewis Haines killed Lily Sullivan after meeting her at Out nightclub, formerly known as Paddles nightclub, in Pembroke, south-west Wales, on December 16 last year.

The 31-year-old admits murdering Ms Sullivan, but denies it was sexually motivated.

A trial of facts is being held at Swansea Crown Court to determine whether there was a sexual element to the killing before Haines can be sentenced.

Police investigate at the crime scene (Image M Cavaney/Herald)

He could face a life sentence with a minimum term of 30 years if Judge Paul Thomas finds the killing was sexual, compared with a minimum term of 15 years if he does not.

The court heard how Ms Sullivan was discovered face down in Mill Pond, a two-mile long fresh water reservoir near the town.

She had been strangled and was no longer wearing the cream lace crop top she had been pictured in that night.

Just hours before, she had been seen partying with friends in the club where she had met Haines through their mutual friend Charlene Jones.

Sealed off: The area where Lily died (Image M Cavaney)

In a statement read to the court, Ms Jones said: “I could tell he was trying to chat Lily up. He was buying her drinks and standing close to her.
“He was being very flirtatious with her. I think he wanted to have sex with her.”

After the club closed, Ms Jones said she saw Haines and Ms Sullivan walk away down the street together and shouted: “You’ve got a girlfriend and a baby at home. She’s only 18.”

CCTV footage shows Haines and Ms Sullivan ended up in Morgans Way, an alleyway leading to Mill Pond.

William Hughes QC, prosecuting, said “a substantial part of the incident” must have taken place there because it was the location where Ms Sullivan’s phone and Haines’ baseball cap were later found.

Two people living nearby the alleyway said they heard a man and woman arguing in the early hours of the morning, with one witness saying she heard a woman scream.

During this time, Ms Sullivan’s mother Anna – who was supposed to pick her daughter and friend Lara Wood up at 2am – was becoming concerned.

She eventually spoke to Ms Wood who told her she was no longer with Ms Sullivan.

After dozens of calls and text messages to her daughter, Ms Sullivan answered the phone and told her mother she would meet her at a nearby garage, but she never arrived.

She last spoke to her daughter just before 3am when Ms Sullivan answered the phone again and said she was just “minutes away”.

Lily was enjoying a drink in a Pembroke nightclub hours before she died, according to friends. (Image: Facebook)

The phone call was cut off mid-sentence.

Sometime later Ms Sullivan’s mother said she saw a man walking casually past her car swinging his arms before his behaviour changed and he began wringing his hands, shaking his head and running across the road.

Mr Hughes told the court on Monday: “While she’d not seen him before, her description of the man is similar to Lewis Haines.
“The prosecution believe the person Anna Sullivan saw was her daughter’s killer.”

Haines arrived home at 3.40am and told his girlfriend Maisie John: “I’ve strangled somebody. They’re in Mill Pond.”

Ms John said Haines’ jeans were damp and he had blood on his arms.

She said he was “hysterical” and repeatedly asked to be taken to his mother’s house.

Admitting to her while in the car: “I think she’s dead.”

He later told his mother that Ms Sullivan had called him a rapist and hit him, and that he had strangled her, hit her and pushed her into the water.

Haines claimed to have tried to pull Ms Sullivan out of the water but said she was a “dead weight”.

Ms Sullivan was declared dead at 6.02am despite paramedics’ attempts to revive her.

A post-mortem examination revealed she had bruising to her face and had been strangled, but there was no evidence she had been sexually assaulted.

Central to understanding whether the crime was sexually motivated or not is when Ms Sullivan’s top was removed, the court was told.

The prosecution believe the bralette was removed while Ms Sullivan was on land.

Defence barrister John Hipkin QC said when the item arrived at the laboratory, it was noted as being “slightly damp”.

Crime scene investigator for Dyfed-Powys Police Alexander Morgan confirmed the top was dry when he recovered it, but said it was a cold day and he was wearing two pairs of gloves.

Haines, a father-of-one, of Flemish Court, Lamphey, previously denied murdering Ms Sullivan but pleaded guilty a week before his trial was due to begin.

On Tuesday (Aug 23) the court heard that on the white top Lily was wearing that was found by the Millpond, Mr Hipkins QC said there is absolutely no evidence to suggest it was forcibly removed.

It was explained that the area the top was located is an unlikely area for any sexual misconduct to have taken place.

Mr Hipkins QC said that the defendant did get into the water to try get Lily out, and the cutting off of the phone call at 2.47am does not assist the court in identifying whether any sexual misconduct was committed during the murder.

Prosecuting solicitor William Hughes QC summed up the prosecution’s case by saying there are several different strands in the case which suggest Haines was sexually motivated.

He highlighted two witness statements that had formed the views Haines had shown sexual interest in Lily on the night, and that he was warned off Lily more than once, including that he had a child and reminding him of the age difference between the pair.
Mr Hughes QC said that up to a point Lily was also prepared to have a degree of intermate contact, and in addition, Haines had admitted kissing Lily in the nightclub. Haines also accepts he kissed Lily down the lane.

In CCTV footage between 1.25am and 1.55am in Main Street there is a doorway to which Lily and Haines ‘absconded’ and it is not unreasonable to say there was some form of intimacy happening at that point.

Prosecution highlighted the evidence of Dyfed-Powys crime scene investigator Alex Morgan who found Lily’s jacket and Haines’ jacket in the alleyway, which were all dry. Prosecution argued that these clothes must have been removed in that location and that it was indicative some sexual activity increased in intensity at that point.

Mr Hughes QC said the actions to leave OUT nightclub, formally Paddles, towards the Millpond, were sexually motivated.

Judge Paul Thomas QC: “Two adults have been drinking, go off together down a dark secluded lane, they spend some time in a doorway together and they spend a long period of time down the alleyway.”

THE CASE CONTINUES

News

Five people have been charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis and cocaine

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FIVE people have appeared in court charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis and cocaine in Carmarthenshire.

On Wednesday, October 27, 2021 officers from Dyfed-Powys Police executed a warrant at a farm in Capel Dewi, Carmarthenshire, where they found firearms and large quantities of cannabis, cocaine and cash.

Stephen Paul Leyson, aged 54, of Capel Dewi, Carmarthen, was this week charged with possession of a firearm and conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs, while Lynne Ann Leyson, aged 51, and Samson Paul Leyson, aged 22, both of Capel Dewi, were charged with conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs.

Andrew Leslie Jenkins, aged 50, of North Hill Road, Mount Pleasant, Swansea, was charged with conspiracy to supply class B drugs and Ritchie John Coleman, aged 32, of Vetch Close, Pembroke, was charged with supplying class B drugs and cannabis production.

All five appeared before Llanelli Magistrates Court yesterday, with Stephen Leyson, Jenkins and Coleman remanded into custody.

Lynne and Samson Leyson were granted bail with conditions.

They are next due to appear at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday, January 5, 2023.

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Business

Town council to help elderly with online banking as last bank in Tenby set to close

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LOCALS in Tenby have been left reeling at this week’s news that the town’s HSBC branch is set to close next year.

The closure, announced on Thursday (Nov 30) will leave Tenby without any of the UK banks.

In recent years, Lloyds, NatWest and Santander have all left the town. Barclays has also just shut its doors for the last time, with the nearest branches being in Haverfordwest or Carmarthen.

The move comes as part of the latest round of closure, which will see 114 branches of the bank closed across the UK.

It follows 69 HSBC branches closing earlier this year and 82 HSBC branches closing last year.

Other HSBC branches closing in Wales include Abergavenny, Chepstow, Port Talbot, Pontypool, Brecon and a branch in Cardiff – Rhyd y Penau.

HSBC says its customer numbers have fallen rapidly since the pandemic and that some of the branches that are being shut now serve less than 250 customers a week.

Jackie Uhi, HSBC UK’s managing director of UK distribution, said: “People are changing the way they bank and footfall in many branches is at an all-time low, with no signs of it returning.

“Banking remotely is becoming the norm for the vast majority of us.

“Not only can we do it anywhere at any time of day or night, many more things can be done at the customers’ convenience and don’t rely on a branch visit.

Speaking to The Herald by telephone on Wednesday evening (Nov 30), Mayor of Tenby, Cllr. Sam Skyrme Blackhall said: “This is really bad for the town of Tenby, and it’s just very, very said. This is a case of where are banks going?

“We have always looked after our banks here in Tenby, and it feels like no one is looking after us. Its as if no one in the banks cares anymore.”

Pointing out the number of retired people living in the area, she said: “We have a lot of elderly people in town who do not use online banking, and depend on the branch being open.

“I am talking to the Post Office and other people with the aim of looking to the hub system, which is happening in other towns where they are also loosing their banks.

“Its very sad that we will losing another cash point. How is a busy town expected to function without a bank or cash points. Where do people go for money?

Asked if she thought it was possible that the branch would be saved, as Tenby HSBC was one of the few banks without a confirmed closure date, Cllr. Sam Skyrme Blackhall seemed to think that the decision had been firmly made. She said: “They have to give six months notice, so we could be looking at May or June 2023 for the closure.

“I don’t think the branch could be saved.

“Barclays officially finished the other week.

“Banks don’t care about residents and people don’t matter [to them] during these very worrying times.”

Town council is planning to offer struggling Tenby residents help with online banking from their offices, creating a kind of drop-in-service, The Herald has been told.

Like in any time of difficulty the people of Tenby will rally together as they always do, but no matter what is done in the face of the closure of the last bank in the historic town, nothing will fully replace traditional face-to-face banking services.

Tenby Mayor Cllr. Sam Skyrme Blackhall: These are sad times for Tenby
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Community

Park Authority sponsorship boost for Boxing Day Swim’s belated half century

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PEMBROKSEHIRE Coast National Park Authority says that it is delighted to be one of the main sponsors of this year’s Tenby Boxing Day Swim.

The popular event will mark its belated 50th anniversary this year, after Covid-19 enforced cancellations of the event in 2020 and 2021.

Chair of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Di Clements said: “The Authority is delighted to be helping this well-supported community event celebrate its half-century landmark, especially as the National Park celebrates its own notable 70-year milestone this year.

“We hope this support will help raise much needed funds for a range of local causes, recognise the efforts of the brave participants and link to the Authority’s wider winter of well-being support programme, helping communities across the Park to stay well this winter.”

Chairman of the Tenby Sea Swimming Association, Chris Osborne added: “The swim’s stunning location on Tenby’s North Beach calls for continuing collaboration between community events organisers, like Tenby Sea Swimming Association, and environmental custodians such as the Park Authority.

“These joint anniversaries, and this generous sponsorship for which we are very grateful, are a choice way of celebrating this partnership.”

The 2022 Tenby Boxing Day Swim is raising money for the Tenby Memory Café, the Dai Rees Foundation, Tenby RNLI and the Paul Sartori Foundation.

Swimmers are asked to register online and make a small donation to help cover the cost of organising the event, which will ensure more of the sponsorship money raised goes to the chosen good causes.

For further information, visit www.tenbyboxingdayswim.co.uk, or follow Tenby Boxing Day Swim on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Ends

Caption: National Park Authority Chair, Cllr Di Clements with Tenby Sea Swimming Association Chairman, Chris Osborne.

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