A PARANOID schizophrenic slashed his partner’s throat to save her from a fate worse than death, a judge at Swansea Crown Court heard on Friday (Oct 31). James Blair Hamilton developed a “tremendous fear” that demons were about to break into their house and to kill him and Patricia Anne Durrant “in a particularly unpleasant way.” Hamilton cut her throat from ear to ear before trying to take his own life.
Today, Hamilton, aged 60, denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The pleas were accepted by the prosecution and Hamilton was detained under the Mental Health Act without limit of time. Huw Rees, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court how Hamilton and Miss Durrant, aged 65, lived together at several locations in Wales before settling down in a house in High Street, Llandysul. In 2002 he had received treatment for a mental illness, and responded well. But he had stopped taking medication and had lost contact with the mental health services.
Late on March 2 this year neighbours noticed at a window Miss Durrant, a seamstress, working at her sewing machine making a red dress. It appeared, said Mr Rees, she was killed very shortly afterwards. The following morning Hamilton dialled 999 and Pc Rhys James arrived to find him sitting on the stairs covered in blood. He went into the kitchen to find “a scene like something out of a horror film.” Miss Durrant was already dead, having suffered “catastrophic” injuries to her neck. She had also suffered at least eight defence wounds across her arms as she had tried to protect herself.
Hamilton later told police he had approached Miss Durrant from behind as she sat on a chair in the kitchen and cut her throat. He said he believed demons were about to go on a killing spree. After the killing he stabbed himself in the neck and stomach, and lay down next to Miss Durrant. He thought he was going to die but he awoke a short time later. He said he spent the rest of the night “wandering about wondering what to do” before dialling 999. Mr Rees said although Hamilton did not have any previous convictions for violence police discovered a conversation between the couple had been video taped.
In it, Miss Durrant accused Hamilton of breaking her arm while he blamed her for the injury because she struggled too hard to get out of his grip. Mr Rees said Miss Durrant had been unhappy living in Llandysul and had wanted to move to Pembrokeshire. Dr Roger Thomas, a psychiatrist, told the court he had “absolutely no doubt” that Hamilton suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, but since his arrest and subsequent treatment he had shown significant recovery. Hamilton’s barrister, Geraint Walters, said the killing of Miss Durrant had been “a tragedy that noone saw coming.”
Judge Keith Thomas said Hamilton was the only person who could say what had happened that night. He said Hamilton had thought of leaving the property to escape the demons but that would have “left her unprotected and the entities would have got her and a fate worse than death.” Hamilton, who sat in the dock surrounded by four mental health workers as well as dock officers, was told he would be detained at the Caswell Clinic, near Bridgend, until the Secretary of State for Justice deemed it was safe to release him.
Baroness visits New Quay RNLI
ON Friday afternoon (4 October) Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist paid a special visit to New Quay Lifeboat Station to meet key crew members and to see the workings of the all-weather lifeboat station.
Having recently been appointed as the House of Lords’ spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales, Baroness Bloomfield was keen to visit the lifeboat station while passing through Ceredigion.
Baroness Bloomfield said, “The RNLI is a shining example of a voluntary organisation that goes above and beyond to save lives, serving as an inspiration to us all.
“It was an honour to meet the brave crew and lifeguards and those working behind the scenes at the New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Station. Their work to educate, supervise and rescue anyone at risk at sea across the UK and internationally is truly priceless.”
Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager added, “It was great to show the Baroness around the station and chat about our operations here in Cardigan Bay. We hope she can visit again soon.”
Aberystwyth University hosts debate on the Constitution Reform Group’s Act of Union Bill
WITH Halloween and Britain’s impending departure from the EU looming, and with it a potential constitutional crisis between the four nations of the UK, a proposed new constitutional settlement for the UK will be the focus for debate at Aberystwyth University on Thursday 24 October 2019.
Joining leading constitutional expert Sir Paul Silk to discuss The Constitution Reform Group’s Act of Union Bill will be former Labour Ministers Lord Hain and Gisela Stuart and former First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones AM.
The Bill has been described by The Times journalist Iain Martin as “the first attempt to devise a coherent plan for what happens after many powers return from the European Union”.
It proposes a new federal structure for the UK and establishes the principle of self-determination for the nations and parts of the United Kingdom.
It also makes the case for radical reform and possible abolition of the House of Lords as well as a fairer distribution of tax collected by the centre.
Hosted by the University’s Centre for Welsh Politics and Society and chaired by Professor Emyr Lewis, Head of the Department of Law and Criminology, the debate takes place at Old College and runs from 6 until 8pm.
For more information, see attached news release or go online: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/news/archive/2019/10/title-226343-en.html
New Young Ambassador leaders trained
104 new young Ambassadors attended training at three different venues across Ceredigion to begin their Young Ambassador leadership pathway.
The Young Ambassador leadership pathway is implemented across all schools in Ceredigion and begins at Bronze level, which starts in years five and six at primary school and progresses in secondary school with the levels of Sports Crew, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
The Young Ambassador programme, delivered by Ceredigion Actif, aims to empower and inspire young people to become leaders through sport and help encourage their peers to become hooked on keeping fit.
Aberystwyth Bronze Young Ambassadors, Lampeter Bronze Young Ambassadors, Bro Sion Cwilt Bronze Young Ambassadors
During the training days, they prepare their ‘pledges’ for the year ahead and these action plans are announced to the rest of the school’s pupils and their parents. They then return to school and start organising activities and events to encourage more children to get active.
The training includes information on picking teams, how to encourage everyone to get involved, Disability Inclusion and Ceredigion Actif programmes such as Fit in 5 and the QR Codes which encourage skill development in early years.
All Bronze Young Ambassadors are tasked with arranging sports and skills for other year 5 & 6 pupils at sports festivals held around the county. Autumn term festivals are for years 5 & 6, Spring term festivals are for years 3 & 4 and Summer term festivals are for foundation phase children. They are also required to run lunchtime and after school clubs back at their schools.
Alwyn Davies is Active Young People Manager for Ceredigion County Council. He said “We’re really excited with this new group of young leaders. Now that they’ve attended the training days, they are ready to start delivering opportunities back at their schools. They will mostly lead lunchtime and after school clubs with the aim of getting more children active, creating an interest in health and wellbeing and improving children’s confidence to try a wide range of activities.
“In their first month, we will be asking them to work with us to provide a range of activities at our multi sports festival. This will be a useful way of mentoring them slowly as they start to achieve results. They have received their polo shirts and are eager to start on the leadership ladder.”
Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Leisure Services. She said, “I’m very impressed to see the vast amount of young people interested in being Young Ambassadors. Fitness and well-being are key to the development of young people, and these new young Bronze Ambassadors will be role models in Ceredigion schools. I wish them the very best.”
For more information, or to learn more about opportunities that are available to you, go over to Ceredigion Actif’s Facebook and Twitter pages or visit their website on www.ceredigionactif.org.uk. You can also contact Alwyn Davies, Active Young People Manager on 01970 633 695 or by e-mail on Alwyn.Davies@ceredigion.gov.uk.
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