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Pembrokeshire oil rig worker admits drink-driving on A40

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A PEMBROKESHIRE oil rig worker has appeared before magistrates after driving from Gatwick airport to his home in Pembrokeshire despite being over the drink-drive limit.

Stuart Owen, 46, had reached Robeston Wathen at around 11 pm on April 17 when he collided with an oncoming vehicle.

“Despite the collision, the defendant made off from the scene,” Crown Prosecutor Abigail Jackson told Haverfordwest magistrates this week.

“Police were dispatched and they discovered the vehicle being driven by the defendant.”

Officers carried out a roadside breath test which proved positive and Owen was taken to a police custody suite where further breath tests showed he had 57 mcg of alcohol in his system.  The legal limit is 35.

Owen pleaded guilty to the charge of drink-driving and was legally represented by solicitor Mr Regan Walters.  Mr Walters informed the court that Owen’s alcohol consumption escalated to ‘an unmanageable’ level since leaving the armed forces, where he served for six years with postings in Bosnia, Iraq and Germany.

“As a result, he suffers from depression and takes alcohol to address it,” said Mr Walters, in mitigation.

“This has crept into his life and he recognises that when he begins to consume alcohol, he simply can’t control it.  It’s become a hindrance, and has got to the point where it’s now unmanageable.”

Mr Walters said that on the day in question, Stuart Owen had flown from Aberdeen to Gatwick airport where he’d collected a hired car which he then proceeded to drive to his home in Gwili Road, Hakin.

“He bought some food, some soft drinks and some alcohol, but there’d been an on-going argument with his wife and this acted as a trigger.  He decided to pull off the motorway, turn off the ignition and drink the alcohol before trying to sleep.  But he failed [to sleep], and decided to drive home.”

Mr Walters went on to say that Owen was recently referred to the VC Gallery which assists army veterans who are suffering from post traumatic stress disorders.  He also engages with Alcoholics Anonymous approximately four times a week.

“These sessions are helping him to understand why he turns to alcohol,” he said.

The court heard that in 2019 Owen re-trained as a production technician, working on off-shore oil rigs where he carries out checks on pumps, compressors and valves.

“This is a high pressure placement because if he makes an error, it would lead to whichever rig he’s working on being shut down,” said Mr Walters.

Owens’s employment results in him driving approximately 10,000 miles a year to various UK airports from where he catches helicopters that fly him to the oil rigs.

“He will now have to explore public transport,” added Mr Walters.

After considering the mitigation, magistrates fined Owen £923.  He was ordered to pay a £369 court surcharge and £85 costs.  He was disqualified from driving for 15 months.

Crime

Pembrokeshire fisherman strangled partner’s mother in front of child

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A PEMBROKESHIRE fisherman, Jake Bowman-Davies, 26, of Lighthouse Drive, Llanstadwell, has been handed a suspended prison sentence after strangling his partner’s mother in a terrifying incident witnessed by a young child, Swansea Crown Court heard on Wednesday (Jul 24).

The court was told that the incident occurred on December 17 last year. The victim had been asleep when she received a frantic phone call from her daughter around 1am. She could hear her daughter shouting and screaming, with Bowman-Davies audibly in the background. Concerned, she went to the nearby property to intervene, only to find the front door ajar and Bowman-Davies in a heated argument with her daughter inside.

Prosecution barrister Georgia Donohue described Bowman-Davies’s behaviour as “erratic and loud.” When the victim asked him to leave, he screamed in her face before grabbing her throat and restricting her ability to breathe. Miss Donohue added that the victim “felt genuine fear that he was not going to let go.”

Bowman-Davies’s partner and a young child were present during the assault. After releasing his grip, Bowman-Davies was ushered out of the house but retaliated by spraying alcohol over the victim and remained outside for another 10 minutes before police arrived and arrested him.

In a statement read in court, the victim expressed fear for her daughter and family following the incident.

Defence barrister David Singh argued that Bowman-Davies, who works at sea and tends to “binge-drink” when off work, is “a young man who clearly needs intervention.”

Judge Huw Rees addressed Bowman-Davies, emphasizing the lasting impact of such violence on children. “No child should see violence between adults of this kind. It’s seared into their subconscious and that could damage them irreparably,” he said. The judge warned Bowman-Davies of severe consequences for any future breaches of court orders.

Bowman-Davies, who pleaded guilty to intentional strangulation, received a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. He is required to complete a 25-day rehabilitation activity and 120 hours of unpaid work. Additionally, he was issued a restraining order, prohibiting contact with his victim for three years.

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Eluned Morgan appointed new Leader of Welsh Labour

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ELUNED MORGAN MS has been appointed the new leader of Welsh Labour.

Morgan has served as Welsh Labour MS for Mid and West Wales since 2016 and has delivered for the people of Wales as both a Welsh Government Minister and Cabinet Secretary since 2017.

She will now go forward as Welsh Labour’s nominee to become the first female First Minister of Wales, and Labour’s first female head of state in the UK.

Born in Cardiff, Morgan was a founding member of the Yes for Wales cross-party group which campaigned for the then Welsh Assembly to be established.

Eluned Morgan MS, Leader of Welsh Labour, said: “I am truly honoured to become the first woman to lead Welsh Labour and to be put forward as our party’s nominee to become the next First Minister of Wales.

“At this pivotal time for our country, strength, stability, and unity will be my guiding principles. I want to ensure that everyone in Wales has the opportunity and ability to fulfil their potential.

“Huw Irranca-Davies and I stood proudly as a partnership, and we are delighted to have received the overwhelming support of Welsh Labour MS’ and support from across Wales and the wider Labour movement.

“When we pledged unity, we meant it – and that is how we will lead. Working with colleagues across the Senedd and standing shoulder to shoulder with Keir Starmer’s UK Labour Government, my focus will be on improving the things that matter most for everyone in our great country.

“Through my leadership, Wales – and what is best for our country – will always come above all else.”

Keir Starmer MP, Prime Minister and Leader of the UK Labour Party, commenting on the election of Eluned Morgan as Welsh Labour Leader, said:

“Eluned’s election as Welsh Labour Leader and candidacy for First Minister is fantastic news for Wales and for the Labour Party. Eluned brings with her a wealth of experience and track-record of delivery, and as the first woman to lead Welsh Labour, she is already making history.

“Just three weeks ago, people across Wales voted overwhelmingly for a changed Labour Party to lead a government in Westminster. We have a been given a strong mandate to deliver change for working people, and I look forward to working hand-in-hand with Eluned to deliver on our promises to Wales and Britain.”

Jo Stevens MP, Labour’s Secretary of State for Wales, said: “Eluned will be a fantastic leader of Welsh Labour and candidate for First Minister, bringing her many years of experience on the front line of politics to the important task of delivering for people across Wales.

“I am particularly pleased that Eluned has been overwhelmingly backed by the Senedd Labour Group.

“I look forward to working closely with Eluned at pace, to implement the UK government’s plans to address the priorities of people across Wales, which received resounding support at the General Election.”

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Crime

Stalking victim in plea for indefinite restraining order

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A STALKING victim has made an impassioned plea before a judge sitting at Haverfordwest magistrates court to impose an indefinite restraining order on the man who has already served a custodial sentence for stalking her.

Despite serving 21 weeks in custody following his conviction for stalking in 2023, Christopher Marsh, 48, continued to breach the court-imposed restraining order which prevented him from contacting the victim.

This week he pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching the restraining order by once again contacting the victim on social media on November 27, 2023 and sending her a friend request.

In a victim impact statement that was read out to District Judge Mark Layton sitting at Haverfordwest magistrates, the woman said that since his release from prison, she has grown increasingly fearful for her safety.

“I find myself going out less, and that night, when I was sitting at home, he sent me a friend request which made me panic that I was still in his thoughts.

“I just want him to leave me alone and get on with his life.”

The victim requested an indefinite restraining order which prevents Marsh, of Grove Court, St Florence, from having any form of contact with her for the rest of his life.

After considering the facts, Judge Layton granted her request. Marsh was also prevented from entering Shrinkle Haven, South Beach in Tenby and Penally Beach between certain times of day. He has also been prevented from approaching the victim’s home address in Tenby and from contacting her via any form of communication device. He was sentenced to 26 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months and was ordered to pay a £154 court surcharge and £85 costs.

“You really have to make every effort to ensure that you don’t come before this court again,” said Judge Mark Layton when imposing sentence.

“Otherwise you’ll end up serving 26 weeks in prison.”

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