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Prosecution: Bevan ‘a bully that would viciously batter a two-year-old’

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DURING closing statements in the murder trial of Lola James from Haverfordwest, murder accused Bevan was branded a “bully”.

In her closing statement, Caroline Rees KC, for the Crown Prosecution Service told Swansea Crown Court how on the evening of July 16, 2020, Lola James described as a “beautiful, bright two-year-old” went to bed without a bump, scrape or bruise on her body, apart from the nose injury in which she received the week before.

By 6.32am the following morning, Lola was “battered, scratched, heavily bruised from head to toe, unconscious and seriously injured”.

The prosecution argues that these injuries were caused at the hands of Kyle Bevan, 31, who is accused of murdering the tot during a “brutal, frenzied violent attack”.

Lola had catastrophic head injuries along with 101 surface injuries on her tiny body when she was presented to hospital.

Tragically, on July 21, 2020, Lola succumbed to her injuries at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff

Bevan has maintained his innocence throughout the case, insisting that Lola’s extensive injuries were caused by the family dog jumping up and knocking her down 12 carpeted stairs.

Ms Rees KC said: “To cause such serious and extensive injuries must have involved a frenzied, brutal attack with blunt force trauma all over her head and body along with violent shaking which caused the head and eye injuries.”

As mentioned in their opening statement, the Crown makes no suggestion that Sinead James, 30, Lola’s mother, took part in the “attack” or was aware that it was happening.

At the time of the incident, James was asleep upstairs in her bed with the door open.

Caroline Rees went on to say: “The fact that Sinead James had not been woken by noise whilst Lola was under attack suggests that Kyle Bevan rendered Lola unconscious early on, but carried on to inflict injuries.”

At 4.26am Bevan took a photograph of Lola on his mobile phone. Lola was conscious, but had bruising and marks to her upper back. It is not believed that Lola had sustained the catastrophic head injury at this point.

At 6.32am, Bevan used his mobile phone to make an internet search which read: “My two-year old child has just taken a bang to the head and gone all limp and snoring, what’s wrong?.”

This was followed by a screenshot from a medical website which states medical assistance should be sought immediately.

Despite this an ambulance was not called for almost another hour.

Ms Rees said: “Bevan’s behaviour between 6.32am and 7.20am proves beyond doubt there was no accidental fall down the stairs from a dog.

“Bevan needed that hour to conduct lies to protect himself and come up with an excuse as to how an alive and well to a perilous state to cover his tracks.”

Mr Hipkin KC, Bevan’s barrister, took reference to this during his closing statement. Citing that Bevan was not the most intelligent or articulate person.

“He has been criticised relentlessly by normal standards for not calling an ambulance – does it mean he’s guilty? Or might be an innocent explanation. 

“His mother said he believed she could fix things, he’s done that all his life. He did eventually ask her to call an ambulance.”

The prosecution went on to make reference to the fact that Bevan did not take to the witness stand.

They proposed they would have sought to get answer to the following: 

  • Why was lola wet when the ambulance arrived?
  • Why was there vomit on a onesie and Lola’s duvet, 
  • How did lola get through baby gate?
  • Why was the bath cleaned? 
  • Where did Lol’s tattoo vanish too? 
  • Explanation for the delay of an hour to call an ambulance or wake her mother?

Ms Rees said the answer to this was simple, that Bevan could not offer any answer to what happened on that morning.

“ The prosecution’s position is clear.

“Bevan is a bully, the kind of bully that would viciously batter a two-year-old child. 

“Like most bullies, he is a coward and not willing to stand in that witness box and give his account.”

This was something opposed by Bevan’s barrister.

On this matter, Mr Hipkin simply invited the jury to remember that Bevan had undergone hours and hours of police interview for which he had cooperated.

Mr Hipkin said: “What can be said is he has been interviewed on this on many occasions and answered questions repeatedly. Hour after hour, year after year.”

The prosecution asked the jury to consider all the medics and medical expert opinions.

She added: “You heard from many doctors. Every single medic that saw Lola noted extensive and significant injuries and they all expressed concerns that this was not accidental.” 

The prosecution argues that Bevan had a “volatile and unpredictable temper” and on July 17, launched a “murderous attack” on the defenceless two-year-old.

Ms Rees said: “Everything you heard about him demonstrates an aggressive and unpredictable temper which was exacerbated by drugs such as amphetamine and xanax and alcohol.”

The prosecution argues that James knew Bevan was a “volatile” and “angry” man due to past incidents witnessed by her along with her history of previous domestic violence relationships should have set off “alarm bells”.

She said: “With her knowledge and things witnessed herself. Alarm bells should have been loud and clear.

“On the date of the fatal attack, she heard a bump and scream.

“She had an opportunity to intervene but didn’t. 

“Instead left her with what we say is Lola’s killer. 

“Prioritising his need to be trusted with lola over Lola’s safety.”

Something that Mr Elias KC, James’ barrister denies.

Mr Elias said: “On that morning Sinead James woke to every parent’s nightmare.”  

He asked the jury to remember the evidence provided to the court by Social Services and James’ Health Visitor.

Both gave evidence in the stand to the fact that James had engaged well with all of the authorities working with her, and had not concealed any of the injuries that the children had suffered leading up. Which he suggested meant she genuinely considered them accidents.

He added that Sinead had already recognised and took herself and her children away from two other domestic violence relationships and that social services were content with her parenting and ability to keep her children safe and concluded that James had done everything that was asked of her.

He invited the jury to remember that James had no reason to disbelieve Bevan’s account of how small bumps and bruises had appeared on the children in the week prior to Lola’s death.

During police interviews, James had told officers that she had failed her children and that she wished she had never met Bevan.

Mr Elias went on to say, how when you hear of these awful injuries, every parents is going to question themselves on what they could have done different.

He said: “Every parent is going to say omg i failed them. 

“She’s going to say that to herself for the rest of her life.”

Mr Elias asked the Jury to take into consideration that hindsight is an incredible thing, and that James must be judged on what she knew at the time and not what she knows now after seeing evidence.

He added: “What she knew then was a very different picture indeed.”

Mr Rees closed his statement by saying:“The totality of evidence safely and surely finds it proved that Bevan attacked Lola intending at very least to cause that little girl serious injury.

“The evidence points to one conclusion that Kyle Bevan is guilty of murder.”

The Court heard how the dog in question, Jesse, was put down in 2022 after attacking a person.

Closing his statement, Mr Elias said: “There was arguments and damage caused, she was grabbed, on one occasion. He didn’t hit her, he treated the kids regularly very well. 

“She was always open about the injuries, constantly reassured by friends and family that all was fine, accidents happen.”

Mr Elias went on to tell the court how before the evening of 16th July, no significant injuries were apparent on the children. 

And indeed if Bevan did launch a “frenzied attack rendering Lola unconscious” that behaviour was completely out of the blue.

The jury is expected to start deliberation before lunch time tomorrow morning.

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Labour promises ‘most significant investment in Britain’s ports in a generation’

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LABOUR has said this week that it will “Build it in Britain” with the most significant investment in Britain’s ports in a generation, as part of Green Prosperity Plan to support the creation of 650,000 good jobs across the country.

A Labour Government will “Build it in Britain” Keir Starmer said on Thursday, as he visited the North East of England to highlight Labour’s plans to deliver the most significant upgrade of Britain’s ports in a generation. 

Visiting a port in the North East, Labour Leader Keir Starmer, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, and Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband will set out how Labour’s £1.8 billion investment in Britain’s port infrastructure will help crowd billions more of private sector investment into the UK’s energy industry.

Labour’s announcement comes after Jo Stevens, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, visited the Port of Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire last month alongside with Henry Tufnell, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Mid and South Pembrokeshire, to learn more about the port’s operations and challenges.

After the visit, Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens said: “Upgrading our ports, like this one here in Milford Haven, can help us seize the golden opportunity we have to become a world leader renewable energy, delivering cheaper bills and the jobs of the future.
 
“But the Conservative government is holding Wales back, with narrow-minded, poorly run investment schemes that leave us lagging behind international competitors.
 
“A UK Labour government will switch on GB Energy to invest in projects that can secure our lead in floating offshore wind, unlocking the jobs and investment that the Tories have left to languish.”

Henry Tufnell, Labour’s candidate in this year’s General Election, added: “Pembrokeshire’s first Labour MP, Desmond Donnelly, was instrumental in the creation of the Port of Milford Haven, transforming Pembrokeshire’s economic fortunes. Today, as in the 1950s, we face a crossroads. We must put our county at the forefront of a new Labour Government’s industrial strategy to build it in Britain.

Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan will secure our energy supply, develop industry, and create good well paid jobs right here in our county. We don’t want the young people of Pembrokeshire to feel they must leave their home county to get on in life. We want to provide opportunity here, and we want to provide it now.”

Labour’s plan for ports will help reverse fourteen years of industrial decline under the Conservatives and support domestic manufacturing across the country. The pledge is funded through Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan, which includes a proper windfall tax on the oil and gas giants making record profits, to fund investment in British industries.Keir Starmer’s announcement comes as Labour confirms that its Green Prosperity Plan will help support the creation of up to 650,000 good jobs in Britain’s industrial heartlands, including here in Pembrokeshire, by crowding billions of private investment into industries such as Britain’s nuclear, steel, automotive, and construction industries. 

The last Labour government led the way on upgrading Britain’s ports, providing funding for the development of port sites to support offshore wind turbine manufacturing. This industrial advantage has been squandered after fourteen years of the Conservatives, with recent research showing the UK could have created almost 100,000 more jobs in the wind industry if it had followed Denmark’s example in recent years and built up domestic supply chains in clean energy.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Labour Leader Keir Starmer outlined the choice facing millions of voters: continued industrial decline after 14 years of Conservative rule, or national economic renewal with Labour, saying:“The legacy of fourteen years of Conservative rule is Britain’s industrial strength reduced to the rubble and rust of closed-down factories. They have let good jobs go overseas and done nothing about it, and every community has paid the price. 

“A Labour government will reindustrialise Britain – from the biggest investment in our ports in a generation, to a British Jobs Bonus to crowd billions of investment into our industrial heartlands and coastal communities.“

The wealth of Britain was once built on a bedrock of industrial jobs that offered security and a good wage. By investing in Britain’s homegrown energy sector, we can rebuild this dream for the twenty-first century- good jobs, higher wages, and the pride that comes from good work for all.”Through policies such as Great British Energy, the National Wealth Fund, and the mission for Clean Power by 2030, a Labour government will invest in technologies like floating offshore wind, hydrogen, nuclear, and carbon capture and storage, which will help secure Britain’s energy independence.

This will create a new generation of skilled jobs in growing industries, which will offer people good wages, give confidence in their job security, and provide them with opportunities to progress. This policy is part of Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan, to cut energy bills for families, make Britain energy independent, and rebuild the strength of British industry.

This historic investment in working people and their communities is the only way out of the high energy bills, energy insecurity, and the doom loop of low growth, high taxes and crumbling public services under Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives.Commenting on Labour’s landmark plan to invest in Britain’s port infrastructure, Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband MP said: “Making Britain a clean energy superpower requires flourishing national ports. Whilst the Conservatives are letting other countries plunder jobs that could be ours here in Britain, Labour has a plan to help win the race for the industries of the future.“

This is what Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan will do for every community in Britain – slash energy bills, create good jobs, boost our national energy independence, and help to tackle the climate crisis.”

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Scheme to upgrade Dinas Cross holiday park withdrawn

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PLANS to create a ‘five-star resort’ in one of Wales’s most popular holiday locations have been withdrawn.

In an application submitted to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Chester-based Boutique Resorts Ltd sought permission to relinquish 50 mixed touring pitches (caravans and tents) at Fishguard Bay Resort, Dinas Cross, replacing them with “36 high quality timber-effect holiday lodges”.

The application, recommended for refusal at the April 24 meeting of the national park’s development management committee, also included an increase in the site area of the approved park, a new entrance, a new reception lodge, staff and visitor parking area, with extensive environmental improvements.

The site, established in the 1950s, currently has planning permission for 50 static caravans and 50 mixed touring units, and it is intended 23 of the proposed lodges to be sited at the entrance, with a further 13 throughout the site.

Despite the proposals seeking a reduction in outright numbers, the applicants say the scheme would see an increase in the number of full and part-time jobs associated with the resort, from 29 to 62 jobs.

A previous application was refused in 2019, mainly on visual impact, ecological impact and highway impact, and the applicant has sought to address the issues raised by that refusal, a supporting statement says.

It adds: “The applicant purchased the site in 2014 with the intention to upgrade the site into a five-star luxury resort. This is very much still the applicant’s intention and whilst he has replaced some existing static caravans with luxury lodges, he also seeks to replace the touring caravans and tents with luxury lodges too.

“The resort is now considered one of the most desirable holiday parks on the Pembrokeshire Coast which is evident on the number of holidaymakers who return to the resort year on year. Such is demand for luxury lodges on the site, the applicant requires additional units.

“The applicant now wishes to move the resort further by replacing the mixed touring pitches with luxury lodges but also provide a much-needed new entrance into the resort.”

Objections to the scheme were received from the National Trust, the national park’s strategic policy and ecologist, and the South Wales Trunk Road Agency, and 12 members of the public, along with one letter of support.

The application was recommended for refusal for reasons including it was “likely to have a significant detrimental impact on the special qualities of the National Park by intensifying the visual impact and intrusion of a large static caravan site within the extensive coastal views of this section of the National Park,” it would represent an intensification of the site, and was likely to “have an unacceptable impact on neighbouring residential amenity through increased noise and traffic movements”.

The application, listed for consideration by park planners next week, has since been withdrawn.

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First step towards council tax and business rate reform

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MAJOR reforms to council tax and business rates have cleared the first hurdle in the Senedd.

MSs backed the general principles of the local government finance bill, which would introduce a five-year cycle for council tax revaluations from 2030.

The bill would lay much of the groundwork for Welsh Government proposals to redesign council tax, with current bands based on property values from 2003.

It would also increase the frequency of business rates revaluations from five to three years.

Rebecca Evans told the Senedd the bill forms a vital part of the Welsh Government’s wider programme of local tax reform.

Wales’ finance minister explained the bill would enable ministers to modify business rate relief exemptions and the multiplier to support policy priorities.

John Griffiths outlined the local government committee’s stage-one report recommendations aimed at improving the bill and guarding against unintended consequences for taxpayers.

Mr Griffiths explained that the bill provides a framework for future policy changes to be made by the Welsh Government via secondary legislation.

The Labour MS, who represents Newport East, said the committee heard concerns that this limits opportunity for public engagement and scrutiny by the Senedd.

Welcoming the Welsh Government’s commitment to retaining the single-person council tax discount at 25%, he highlighted wide-ranging powers in the bill over vital reduction schemes.

In terms of business rates, the committee chair said MSs heard broad support for a move to three-yearly revaluations, which he described as a reasonable, proportionate cycle.

Peredur Owen Griffiths, who chairs the finance committee, backed the bill’s key aim to create a fairer, more flexible system.

The South Wales East MS welcomed reassurances from the Welsh Government that the intention of council tax reforms is not to raise more revenue.

“Given the regressive nature of council tax, we support the aim to make it fairer without affecting the tax base,” he said.

Plaid Cymru’s finance secretary said the proposed powers will reduce the Welsh Government’s reliance on UK bills to make changes.

Alun Davies, a Labour backbencher, warned that delegated powers in the bill risk diminishing the role of the Senedd.

Sam Rowlands, the Tories’ shadow local government secretary, raised concerns about the bill putting more power in the hands of the Welsh Government rather than councils.

He warned the bill is a stepping stone towards higher taxes through the back door, saying: “This bill in and of itself does not necessarily do that but it certainly enables future changes.”

The former leader of Conwy council, who represents North Wales in the Senedd, called for reforms to the formula used to allocate funding to Wales’ 22 councils.

Raising concerns about digital exclusion, Mr Rowlands opposed a provision in the bill which would remove a duty to publish council tax notices in local newspapers.

He said: “We believe it’s a really important part of the democratic process in local government, especially in relation to transparency.”

Backing a revaluation of all 1.5 million properties in Wales, Labour MS Mike Hedges described council tax as fundamentally unfair.

He said: “Someone living in a property worth £100,000 pays around five times as much council tax relative to the property value as someone living in a property worth £1m.”

Mr Hedges, who represents Swansea East, also opposed the removal of the duty to provide council tax information in newspapers.

On business rates, he said: “I’ve always supported the returning of them to local authorities. We don’t need an all-Wales system; let each local authority set its own business rates.”

Ms Evans told the chamber she intends to make a statement on the next steps for council tax reform before the summer recess.

The Senedd agreed the general principles of the reforms without objection, and the bill now moves to stage two which will see MSs consider detailed amendments.

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