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Milford Haven: Former solicitor Simon Griffiths jailed

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Facing charges: Simon Griffiths

Facing charges: Simon Griffiths

A FORMER West Wales solicitor who went bankrupt has been jailed for two years on Friday (Mar 27) after cheating an elderly disabled woman out of her inheritance.

Simon William Griffiths, aged 52, admitted two offences of fraud involving £60,000.

Swansea crown court heard the money came from the estate of Helen Ward Jones, of Pembrokeshire.

Robin Rouch, prosecuting, said that two sisters, Barbara Collins and Christine Sheridan, were to be the beneficiaries and the women put their trust in Griffiths, then running Eaves Solicitors in Milford Haven, to handle the will.

Christine Sheridan was by then disabled and living in sheltered accommodation in the Midlands.

Mr Rouch said Christine Sheridan did not receive the £60,000 she was entitled to.

There was also mystery over the sale of a flat in Aberystwyth for £107,000, added Mr Rouch. When Barbara Collins received a cheque from Griffiths in relation to the sale it bounced and it was still unclear what had happened to the proceeds of the sale.

The court was told that on two occasions Griffiths, of Rose Valley, Lower Lamphey Road, Pembroke, transferred money totalling £60,000 from Helen Ward Jones’ estate to a property company he was in charge of.

The judge, Mr Recorder Chris Clee, told Griffiths, “Christine Sheridan didn’t receive a penny and the question remains what happened to the £107,000 from the sale of the flat?”

Mr Clee said: “Griffiths had told police that he had been in practice for 23 years and had been “well aware that the worst thing he could do was to utilise a client account.”

But that was exactly what he had done, added the judge.

Griffiths maintained that he had used the money to invest in property and he had intended to repay the money in full.

“You don’t need me to tell you that your life’s in ruins. You’ve been struck of the solicitors’ roll, made bankrupt and lost your good character and reputation.

“This was a significant and high degree of breach of trust and you took advantage of Christine Sheridan’s disability. The public expects members of the profession to be above reproach.”

Dyfed Thomas, defending, said his client was remorseful and after police involvement had made it “abundantly clear” he would admit the two offences of fraud, each involving £30,000.

He said Griffiths had no previous convictions and added “he wants me to express to the court his genuine remorse”.

Mr Thomas added,“He was a trusted professional until his spectacular fall from grace.”

Mr Rouch said Griffiths appeared to have any or many assets out of which the women could be repaid.

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Aberystwyth CID appeal following serious assault

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ABERYSTWYTH CID are investigating a serious assault that occurred in the Castle Street area of Aberystwyth at approx. 4.45pm on Tuesday, June 15 2021. Following medical treatment the victim is recovering at home. Police are appealing for any witnesses to the assault and anyone in the vicinity around this time, or immediately prior to the incident, that may have witnessed people acting suspiciously.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org. Quote reference: DP-20210615-268

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New Quay RNLI’s special artwork to honour local volunteers is unveiled

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ON SUNDAY (June 13) saw a special artwork unveiled at New Quay Lifeboat Station by RNLI’s Director of Lifesaving Operations, John Payne. The artwork was created by local amateur artist and wife of New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mrs Tina Couch who wanted to pay tribute to the special job the volunteers do, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mrs Couch talking about the artwork said, “Last year some of the volunteers went above and beyond and worked hard in the community by delivering food parcels and medicines to those shielding in the area. I wanted to pay tribute to all the volunteers at New Quay Lifeboat Station so decided to paint a mural with a portrait of each volunteer. This artwork is to recognise all the hard work they did during the lockdown, as well as being on call 24/7 to save lives at sea.” 

John Payne, RNLI’s Director of Lifesaving Operations added, “It was an honour to unveil this wonderful piece of artwork, a great end to celebrating Volunteers’ Week. Our communities benefit enormously from our volunteers’ selflessness and this is a special way to reflect on their achievements. I would like to thank every one of you who make the RNLI what it is today, and recognise the sacrifices and efforts undertaken in giving your time, energy and positivity to the organisation.”  

While Mr Payne was visiting New Quay Lifeboat Station he had another presentation to make, a certificate of thanks to Steffan Williams who raised over £2,200 for the RNLI’s Mayday Mile campaign. Steffan, aged 12, a pupil in Ysgol Bro Teifi, paddleboarded not just one mile but accomplished 10 miles in under four hours and smashed his target of £100.  

Mr Payne said, “This is a great achievement for someone so young. Steffan has shown his determination in being a lifesaver, and he is definitely someone to watch in the future as he continues his volunteering within the RNLI.”  

Steffan recieving award

Steffan said, “I am so pleased that I’ve raised so much for the RNLI and want to thank everyone who has donated. It is a charity close to my heart as my Dad is a crew member and I want to join when I’m older too. They are all volunteers and need our help to pay for equipment and lifeboats.” 

If you would like to volunteer for the RNLI please visit the website to find out more: https://rnli.org/support-us/volunteer/how-you-can-volunteer/be-a-lifeboat-station-volunteer

Or if you would like to donate to New Quay RNLI to help the volunteers save lives at sea please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/new-quay-wales

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Strategic plan to strengthen Welsh medium education

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A CONSULTATION period will be held during the autumn term this year to increase the number of pupils in Ceredigion who will be able to develop and learn through the medium of Welsh.

During a Cabinet meeting held virtually on Tuesday, 15 June 2021, members discussed the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan for 2022-2032. The plan is a 10 year strategy which sets out the requirements to reach the Welsh Government’s target of achieving one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Cabinet Members agreed to hold a consultation period during the autumn term of 2021 for eight weeks, incorporating views by pupils, parents, schools and governing bodies.

The strategy outlines aims which include increasing the number of nursery and reception age pupils in Welsh medium education; encourage more learners to study Welsh as a subject and subjects through the medium of Welsh; increase the provision of Welsh medium education for pupils with additional learning needs and increase the number of teaching staff who can teach Welsh as a subject and subjects through the medium of Welsh.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Support and Intervention, said: “The Welsh in Education Strategic Plan reinforces Ceredigion County Council’s aspiration to strengthen the position of the Welsh language through its Language Strategy. I’m pleased to see that a consultation period will be held this autumn to gather ideas in order to plan and develop Welsh medium education in our county.”

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, added: “I welcome this draft document which aims to create more opportunities for pupils across the county to take full advantage of Welsh medium education.”

Following the consultation period, feedback will be considered and the plan will be reintroduced to the Healthier Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the full Council for consideration and final decision. The proposal supports the Council’s Strategic Objectives and the Welsh Government’s Million Speakers by 2050 Strategy.

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