A LAMPETER man has been sentenced to two years imprisonment for his role in a fatal road traffic collision that left a union official dead.
Having initially pleaded not guilty to causing the death of UNISON organiser Roger Bevan, Jack Leon Isaac Weston, of Tir Bach, Cilcennin later changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced for the crime on Monday (Oct 10) by Judge Phillip Harries-Jenkins at Swansea Crown Court.
The court heard how Weston lost control of his Honda Civic Type R motor vehicle on the B4337 between Cross Inn and Lampeter after pulling out to overtake two slow moving vehicles on a bend.
Prosecution barrister Ian Wright told the court that the foolhardy manoeuvre forced another vehicle approaching in the opposite direction to brake. However, when Weston tried to cut back in, he lost control and ploughed into Mr Bevan’s VW.
Mr Bevan was trapped in his vehicle and died at the scene.
VICTIM’S FATHER HITS OUT
In a statement made following the sentencing of Jack Weston, the victim’s father, 81-year-old Ken Bevan, said: “I would like to thank all the witnesses that came forward and the thoroughness of the Dyfed- Powys Police investigation.
“I’m also grateful for the support of the Crown Prosecution Service. Undoubtedly, it was their professional actions that led to Jack Weston changing his plea to ‘guilty’, allowing this case to be concluded without the need for a full trial.
“No sentence will bring Roger back. But I don’t see how a two year prison sentence can be seen either as an adequate punishment or a deterrent that will stop others from driving their cars in such a completely selfish, reckless and dangerous manner, like Jack Weston did when he caused the death of my son last year.
“I have lost the closest and dearest person to me but found some comfort in the comradeship and love of Roger’s friends and colleagues, and in our work for the Roger Bevan Memorial Fund.”
Roger Bevan was a UNISON Area Organiser based in Swansea and long-time activist with NUPE and then UNISON, before becoming an Area Organiser in June 2008.
UNION ORGANISER ‘WAS PASSIONATE ACTIVIST’
The 50-year-old organised and represented public sector workers in Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. He dealt with UNISON members in local government, health and further and higher education.
He is particularly remembered as the face of UNISON for student nurses as he was responsible for recruiting, into UNISON, hundreds of students training for this key health service profession.
As well as being a talented trade union activist, Roger was a passionate political activist with a particular interest in international solidarity, in particular with Cuba and, more generally, Latin America.
Dominic MacAskill, UNISON co-worker and a close friend of Roger Bevan, commented: “The conclusion of this criminal case allows us to now start to look forward and focus on securing Roger’s positive and inspirational legacy; through the work of his Memorial Fund which Ken and friends established to support the causes that were close to Roger’s heart: socialism; internationalism and anti-racism. Our dear comrade and friend will live on, in
Aggressive man found naked and abusive
A NAKED man who urinated in a police cell required six police officers deal with his arrest.
Brian Warren Kerley, 24, of Clos Yr Helyg in Crymych, attended Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (Nov 15) to face four offences.
Kerley pleaded guilty to assaulting two constables in the execution of their duty, using threatening behaviour towards another with intent, and damaging police property by urinating in a cell and on its mattress.
Prosecutor Helen Tench said on October 31, police received a call regarding a disturbance in a public place in Cardigan. They arrived at the scene to find Kerley stripped of clothing and behaving in a threatening manner.
The defendant was escorted to the police vehicle, where he became increasingly aggressive towards a member of the public. He then wrapped his leg around one of the officers’ to trip him up. He spat on the other officer’s arm.
Ms Tench said the defendant continued spitting and became ‘extremely aggressive and violent’ when he banged his head inside the police vehicle.
A total of six police officers assisted with the arrest.
At custody, officers attempted to reason with Kerley whilst he continued his threatening behaviour, and was monitored in his cell every 30 minutes.
In the early hours of November 1, the defendant urinated in his cell three times. Two of these times, he urinated on the mattress.
In a statement, Kerley said he was sorry for committing the offences and did not remember the incident.
Defending, Katy Hanson said Kerley was filled with remorse and regret for his behaviour and accepted responsibility.
She added that it ‘clearly is not the way for someone to behave’ and the defendant ‘now realises the potential consequences of his actions’.
Ms Hanson concluded by saying Kerley admitted to having consumed three cans of lager on the night in question and has no recollection of the events.
Probation officer Julian Davies said the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order imposed on September 20 for an offence of common assault.
For the offences, magistrates allowed the current community order to continue and added a six-week curfew.
Kerley was told to pay £50 compensation to both officers he assaulted, but no compensation for the offence of criminal damage.
He was also told to pay prosecution costs of £85 and a surcharge of £85.
Scrutiny committee votes to close Bodlondeb
AT A recorded vote this morning (Nov 20) Ceredigion’s Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee voted to back the Cabinet’s decision to close Bodlondeb Residential Home by the end of March 2018.
In refusing to remit the decision to Full Council, the committee dashed the hopes of campaigners fighting to retain Bodlondeb until adequate replacement facilities are in place.
The vote was nine to seven with no abstentions.
There will be more on this breaking story later and in this week’s Ceredigion Herald.
AM calls for further protection of wild animals after Lynx deaths
MID AND WEST AM Simon Thomas has called for further protection from the Welsh Government following the death of two wild cats from a zoo in Borth, near Aberystwyth.
The AM quizzed the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths in a topical question in the Senedd.
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs for Plaid Cymru Simon Thomas said: “The deaths of the two Lynx wild cats have created a great deal of concern to many people in the area and, more broadly, to people who care for animals and their welfare at zoos.
“I asked whether the Welsh Government approved of the steps taken by Ceredigion County Council in this case and more broadly with the position of the zoo. It’s clear that there’s something amiss when a wild animal can escape and another dies because of its handling. I requested we look at national regulations that govern organisations such as this to ensure that people who run zoos do have the appropriate skills, but also that the equipment is suitable for the animals kept there.
The Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths replied: “Ceredigion County Council is investigating the escape of the lynx and the death of a second lynx linked to the zoo to establish whether there have been any breaches of the operating licence. While inquiries are ongoing it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on this matter.”
She added: “Officials have been in frequent contact with Ceredigion County Council. The decision to dispatch the animal was taken by the county council along with Dyfed-Powys Police, officials from Welsh Government and also the chief veterinary officer. There are several issues that I think need to be looked into very carefully around the licence.”
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