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Paranoid schizophrenic slashed partner’s throat

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crowncourtA 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.

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Visit to inspect new Active Travel works held

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SUSTRANS CYMRU director, Steve Brooks visited recent work to the Aberystwyth Active Travel Network on 26 September. The network of pedestrian, cycling and general accessibility improvements has been developed in partnership with the Welsh Government and Sustrans.

Mr Brooks met with Councillor Alun Williams, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Adult Services and the Council’s Sustainability Champion, as well as Council Officers. During the visit they discussed the work carried out so far and future work to improve the Active Travel Network in Ceredigion.

Councillor Williams praised the work undertaken to date, “It was a pleasure to meet with Sustrans colleagues and County Council officers. The excellent work that the County Council has done so far in Aberystwyth was showcased, with the aim of encouraging children to cycle, scoot and walk to school. The improvements do of course benefit everyone in the community by helping to encourage healthier and more active lifestyles whilst reducing traffic congestion and we had a useful discussion about further developing active travel initiatives across the whole of Ceredigion.”

Three towns in Ceredigion have been designated as Active Travel Settlements under the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013. The Council carried out a public consultation during 2017 to identify and prioritise future improvements. As a result, walking and cycling routes are being improved incrementally through various Welsh Government grants as funding permits and subject to physical constraint.

Steve Brooks said, “Plascrug Primary is one of many schools in Ceredigion where Sustrans’ Active Journeys Programme is delivered and it’s great to see the positive difference made at these locations, in conjunction with improved routes and new scooter and cycle shelters installed by the County Council following successful grant funding from the Welsh Government. The Programme includes classroom activities where pupils can help influence future grant bids and also embraces a range of engaging activities which helps to build the confidence, enthusiasm and skills needed to help form new active travel habits. These activities and lessons support schools’ efforts in achieving Eco-Schools and Healthy Schools awards as well as working towards Sustrans School Mark award which recognises excellence in sustainable travel.”

The Council is also improving active travel opportunities outside these three settlements, such as near schools, employment sites and key tourism destinations.

Image: Left to Right: Sioned Lewis, Sustrans Cymru; Plascrug Primary School Pupils; Councillor Alun Williams; Steve Brooks, Sustrans Cymru; Gari Jones, Ceredigion County Council.

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Free parking in Ceredigion for the three Saturdays before Christmas

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PARKNG will be free in all Ceredigion County Council operated Pay and Display car parks on the three Saturdays preceding Christmas this year.

The development follows a decision made the by the Council’s Cabinet on 16 October 2018. Parking charges at Council operated Pay and Display car parks will be waived on 8, 15 and 22 December 2018.

The Cabinet Member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services, Councillor Dafydd Edwards said, “Christmas is a very important time of year for many small businesses in our towns. This decision will support people to prepare for the festivities locally and help small businesses compete with the increasing influence of online shopping.”

The decision contributes towards one of the Council’s corporate priorities of boosting the economy.

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Development of the Welsh Language at Ysgol Bro Pedr a step forward

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A CONSULTATION is to take place on the development of the medium of instruction to Welsh in the foundation phase at Ysgol Bro Pedr, Lampeter.

On 15 March 2018, members of Ysgol Bro Pedr’s Governing Body unanimously agreed to support a consultation on the development of the medium of instruction in the Foundation Phase. In its meeting on 16 October 2018, Cabinet supported and approved the Governing Body’s decision to commence a consultation to develop the medium of instruction to Welsh in the foundation phase at Ysgol Bro Pedr.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Services and Lifelong Learning, said, “The Governing body’s decision to seek approval to proceed to consultation supports the wider context noted in Ceredigion’s WESP, to see more seven year old children being educated through the medium of Welsh. The decision also supports the Council’s aim to teach Ceredigion pupils so that they are fully bilingual when they leave primary school and to develop this ability during their time in secondary education.”

Currently, pupils transferring from the reception class to Year 1 are taught in separate classrooms. One classroom is taught mainly through the medium of English and the other through the medium of Welsh. Implementing the decision of the Governing Body would mean that only Welsh-medium education would be provided to the end of the Foundation Phase. English and Welsh medium classes would continue in Key Stage 2.

The formal consultation will begin on 06 November 2018 with an opportunity to present views and comments on the proposal or express support for status quo. In addition, drop in sessions will also be undertaken at the school to allow parents to discuss the proposals in detail with members of the Governing Body and County Council officers.

The Cabinet decision contributes towards realising the Council’s corporate priorities within the Corporate Strategy of investing in people’s future.

If the proposal is approved following the consultation, it would be implemented from 01 September 2019. However, pupils currently receiving their education in the Foundation Phase through the medium of English would continue to do so until they enter Key Stage 2.

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