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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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Proposal to give firefighters a council tax discount to go to Cabinet

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PEMBROKESHIRE on-call firefighters could enjoy a reduction in council tax “in recognition of the vital work performed” by them if a call is backed by senior councillors.

At the July 18 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, a Notice of Motion submitted by Newport and Dinas county councillor, and leader of the Independent Group, Cllr Huw Murphy was heard.

Cllr Murphy’s call stated: “There is currently a significant and severe shortage in suitable applicants coming forward to be on-call fire fighters (retained) for the Mid & West Wales Fire Service.

“Currently there are vacancies for on-call fire fighters at all fire stations throughout the region, which impacts considerably upon the safety of both residents and visitors who may need the assistance of the Fire Service. Pembrokeshire is heavily reliant on our on-call firefighters.

“In recognition of the vital work performed by our on-call fire fighters (retained not full time employees of the service) and to encourage others to consider undertaking this vital role within our communities this Notice of Motion proposes that Pembrokeshire County Council offers every retained fire-fighter working and living in Pembrokeshire a 10 per cent reduction in the council tax they pay after achieving a qualifying period of service annually, to be determined by the Chief Fire Officer.”

At the July 18 meeting, members agreed Cllr Murphy’s call be considered by the council’s Cabinet at a later date.

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Newly elected Labour MP reveals how she was raped, age 15

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NEWLY elected Labour MP Natalie Fleet has bravely revealed how she was raped at the age of 15.
In a harrowing GBNews.com interview to be broadcast this Sunday (July 21), Ms Fleet says she still has “weekly nightmares” about what happened two decades on from the attack.
After being raped, Ms Fleet fell pregnant but says the daughter she gave birth to is now the “love of her life”.
Sitting down with GB News’ Gloria De Piero in an exclusive interview she explains that she’s decided to speak about what happened because the actions of her attacker – who told her to have an abortion – were “not ok”.
Ms Fleet also fears many women are suffering and unable to get the support they need.
That’s why she plans to use her platform in Parliament to use her teenage experiences, which also saw her spent a period homeless, as a catalyst for change.
Reflecting on what happened to her two decades ago, Ms Fleet, now a mother-of-four, said: “Today, 23 years later, I look back and I think, it wasn’t ok. That was an older man. I didn’t know we were having unprotected sex. I was a child and (it) is statutory rape. At the time this isn’t something that we were talking about. It’s not how I saw myself. I still have weekly nightmares about it.
“I have a huge privilege and advantage to be in Parliament and I’m thrilled to be here. But what happened in my childhood still has a massive impact on me, which is why I’m so excited about what the next Labour government is going to do.
“At 15, you definitely think you’re old enough to do all these things. I wanted to give my daughter the best life. But another thing that I can do now I’m in Parliament is I want to be a voice for all of those people, all of those women that have children in far from ideal circumstances.
“That’s why I wanted to talk about where my daughter came from and about what happened. It was really difficult for me to say to her, ‘I don’t think this was entirely consensual, and I think I might have been groomed, and I don’t think this is an appropriate relationship’. She took it really well. I Googled in advance f0r some tips, just a fact sheet or ‘how to deal with this’ and I found nothing.
“I found absolutely nothing. I found there were fact sheets about rape being used as a war crime. But there was nothing else. There’s no acknowledgement that it happens in the UK. And the more research I’ve done, I’ve found that there are over 3,000 conceptions every year from rape. But there’s no charity to support those women.
“There’s no help, advice, or support helpline that you can go to. No help on ‘how do I tell my child, that I love, that is everything to me, that this is where they came from?’”
Explaining why extra support in this area is so desperately needed she continued: “It is biologically very clear what happened to me because I was 15 years old, and he was older. I can prove where she came from, so that’s statutory rape. But there are so many women that this happens too who don’t speak about it.


“They dare not speak about it because they know they won’t be believed. And then even if by some miracle, we move to a society where women are believed, once you say this is your child, then that man can come and have access to that child.
“Even if you prove it’s rape, that man can have access to that child and help bring it up. And that’s absolutely terrifying. This is a perpetrator that has hurt the mother, who can then have access to the child.
“He told me to have an abortion at the time. He’s never met her. He never wanted anything to do with it. And he was very dismissive. He told me many times that he knew lots of ways that he wouldn’t have to pay a penny towards her, because all his friends had already evaded the CSA.”
Describing the relationship she now has with her daughter, Ms Fleet said: “So she’s 23 now and is the absolute love of my life. I am so proud of everything she is. I am thrilled. She makes me proud every single day. But at the time, when I was 15, I felt full of shame and guilt and responsibility. And all I was determined to do was make sure that she had a life that was as good as she would have had to any age parent. That was what I was determined to do.”
Outlining how she plans to use her role as an MP to push for change, she said: “I am a product of the last Labour government. It wasn’t a perfect Government, but it changed my life and it was transformational. When I was younger, things were tough and I had a Labour government.
“When we were homeless, the Labour government made sure that there was enough housing stock for us to be rehoused. And then when I had my first child at a very young age, I could send her to a Sure Start nursery. I could carry on, go to university with a first in the family scholarship.
“I could work in a minimum wage job. I could send my children because I’d got two by then, to a Sure Start nursery, and it just felt like I needed the support of the state. And my God, I got it.
“And, before I became an MP, I worked for a trade union and I was absolutely desperate to give back to my teachers. My teachers had invested in me. The Labour government made sure that my teachers had time to teach me and look after me, and I then saw that I was paying taxes and they weren’t being invested in young children like me or teachers. That’s why we needed a new Government?”
“On my estate, the estate where we were rehoused, I looked around and people struggled. And I see now there are people that I was close to when I was younger who are now suffering with addiction and poverty scars.
“What poverty has done to me has meant that I work and work and work and work and work. If somebody knocks on my door, I won’t answer it because I’m still scared it’s the bailiffs. That’s what happens to you in your childhood, it stays with you. In areas of Bolsover it’s absolutely heart-breaking.
“But I could either be angry about what’s happened over the past 14 years, sad and feel powerless, or I could come into Parliament and try and do something about it. I mean, what an honour.”

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Second home numbers in Pembrokeshire drop after council tax hike

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THE NUMBER of second homes and self-catering holiday properties in Pembrokeshire has declined year-on-year, while those seeking council tax exceptions have, in one class, gone up 255 per cent.

A call for an update on Pembrokeshire County Council’s position on a potential relaxation of the ‘182-day’ rule, allowing self-catering accommodation to avoid paying a council tax premium was heard at the July meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council.

Last year, the rules on holiday lets in Wales changed; Welsh Government criteria saying holiday lets must be filled for 182 days a year – up from a previous 70 – in order to qualify for business rates rather than pay second homes council tax.

In Pembrokeshire, second homes, and self-catering businesses not meeting the criteria, are now paying a 200 per cent council tax premium in the county, effectively a treble rate of council tax.

At the July 18 meeting of full council, a question was submitted by Cllr Huw Murphy was heard, a follow-up from a previously unsuccessful notice of motion where he had called for a relaxation in the ‘182-day’ rules in the county down to 140 days.

After that notice failed last year, it was agreed the position be reviewed in 12 months, with Cabinet agreeing to write to Welsh Government to highlight concern over the 182-day occupancy rule.

In his question, Cllr Murphy said: “Can council be provided with an update of what data has been obtained since Dec 2023 to examine the impact of the 182-day occupancy rule for self-catering properties in advance of a review to be completed by December 2024 prior to any decision over what level of second home council tax to be levied for 2024/25 as it may be necessary to consider a reduction to support an industry under pressure?

“Have PCC received a reply from WG with regards to the concerns raised with regards to the 182-day rule and its impact on the Pembrokeshire tourism industry?”

In response, Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance and Efficiencies Cllr Joshua Beynon said a decision on future council tax premiums would be made by full council at its October meeting, after earlier committee discussions, adding that the council is currently undertaking a consultation on the second homes and long-term empty property premiums and has included questions on using its discretion on properties which did not meet the 182-day rule.

“In the interim, the Revenues team are monitoring the movement in second homes and self-catering units and the number of properties receiving an exception to paying the council tax premium,” he told members.

Members heard, as of July 1, the main increases in the level of exceptions related to Class 1 exceptions, properties that are up for sale, which had increased by 97 in the last 12 months, a rise of 255 per cent, and in Class 6 exceptions, properties that have a planning condition prohibiting year-round occupancy, which had increased by 78, or 21.6 per cent, with an overall increase in the seven classes of exemptions of 37.45 per cent.

Councillors were told the number of second homes had dropped year-on-year on that date from 3,364 to 3,271, roughly a 2.7 per cent drop; self-catering units dropping from 2,621 to 2,425, roughly 7.47 per cent.

Members heard, in response to Cllr Murphy’s second question, the-then leader Cllr David Simpson had received a response in May.

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