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Fatal car crash caused by 100mph Snapchat challenge

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Swansea Crown Court

A DRIVER returning home from a holiday in Fishguard caused a fatal crash near Aberystwyth when he tried to reach 100 mph to create film footage for Snapchat.

Ricafort Gamboa raced along country roads while friends inside his car filmed him on their mobile telephones.

As he approached 100mph, his Citroen C3 left the road and smashed into a cottage, demolishing a 16 inch thick stone wall.

His friend, 18-year-old Ernest Pideli, was killed, and two other passengers were injured.

Gamboa, aged 25, admitted causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving and was jailed for four years.

Paul Hobson, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court the group had been returning to Manchester after a holiday at a caravan site in Fishguard.

Gamboa’s friends could be heard on mobile ‘phones recovered from the crashed car encouraging him to drive faster and he began taking corners on the wrong side of the road.

Gamboa was recorded saying: “I am going fast. I will go faster.”

But as he raced downhill into a series of corners he said ‘oh s**t’ as the car fishtailed, mounted a bank and then swerved across the road and into a cottage by the side of the A487 at Chancery a few miles south of Aberystwyth.

Mr Pideli died four days later from head and neck injuries.

Gamboa, a Philippinno with British status, told a police officer at the scene he had been doing ‘more than 90’ and explained later that his friends had wanted him to reach 100 mph so they could take photographs for Snapchat.

He said in a police interview: “I take full responsibility for what happened. My stupid decision to drive so fast was the cause of the collision.

“I deserve to be punished. I am deeply sorry for what happened.”.

The court heard that Mr Pideli had been a talented footballer and had an ambition of returning to his native Philippines and playing for the national team.

Gamboa’s barrister, Charles Row, said he was so remorseful that he was genuine when he said he wished he had died and not his friend.

Mr Row said at one point police had considered charging his friends for their encouragement of him to drive faster just so they could film him and the speedometer.

Judge Keith Thomas told Gamboa, who wept as he was being sentenced, that he had used the road as a racetrack.

“You drove at breakneck speed saying you were trying to reach one hundred miles an hour.

“And you ignored signs telling you to slow down and that there were bends ahead.

“Your friend was only eighteen and had his whole life in front of him. You have caused incalculable loss to his family,” he added.

Gamboa, a Domino pizza restaurant shift manager, of Johnson Fold Avenue, Bolton, was banned from driving for five years after his eventual release from prison.

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Aberystwyth: Driver on drugs hits lorry and causes ‘road chaos’

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A DRIVER high on drugs caused 15 miles of chaos as he approached Aberystwyth on the A44.

Brian Pitts hit an oncoming lorry and road signs as he drove on the wrong side of the road.

A car passenger filmed him because she was sure a serious accident was about to happen.

Pitts, aged 57, of Delmont Close, Tipton, west Midlands, admitted dangerous driving and driving while unfit through drugs he had taken.

Dean Pulling, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that on June 16 last year Pitts had been driving his Rover MGZR, towing a trailer full of wooden fencing posts, towards Aberystwyth from his home.

Richard Brooks followed the car through Llangurig and became so concerned he telephoned the police while his wife Victoria filmed Pitts on her mobile.

The Rover collided with a 13 tonne lorry driven by Andrew Paxton but failed to stop.

Pitts failed to take a roundabout and hit road signs and an embankment but still carried on.

During the 15 miles, said Mr Pulling, oncoming traffic had to swerve off the carriageway to avoid a collision.

Several motorists telephoned the police to report what they were witnessing, he added.

Pitts came to a stop in the middle of the road and another motorist snatched the keys out of the ignition–and noticed that Pitts had been driving with a dog on his lap.

Mr Pulling said police officers could tell there was something wrong with Pitts, but an alcohol text showed he was below the limit.

“He was clearly unfit,” said Mr Pulling, although it was still unclear what drugs he had taken.

Pitts was taken to Aberystwyth police station and then to Bronglais hospital, where he appeared to recover after treatment. But he soon deteriorated and had to be taken back to the hospital.

Pitts developed pneumonia and had to be kept in for nine days.

His barrister, Tom Scapens, said when Pitts had been shown the mobile telephone footage he felt physically sick.

Judge T Mervyn Hughes jailed Pitts for 10 months and banned him from driving for four years.

He told him, “If you had not been stopped I am quite sure you would have caused serious injury if not death.”

Pitts was told to pass an extended driving test before getting his licence back.

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Motion to support the reduction of plastic use in Ceredigion approved

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In a Full Council meeting on 22 February 2018, the Council unanimously supported a motion to reduce the use of plastic and to support plastic reduction initiatives in Ceredigion.

The motion was proposed by Councillor Mark Strong and was seconded by Councillor Gethin Davies. The motion calls on Ceredigion County Council to support the various ‘Plastic Free’ campaigns throughout the county by reducing single-use plastics within Council facilities and offices and to promote the use of sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics at all Council supported events.

Councillor Mark Strong said, “I’m delighted that the Council unanimously supported the motion. This is an important step for the Council but we must carry on to reduce plastic use. Everyone has a responsibility to reduce the environmental damage caused by plastic. Carrying out small acts such as buying milk from your local milkman supports the local economy but in turn also supports our environment by using reusable glass bottles.”

The motion also calls on the Council to encourage local businesses, organisations, schools and communities to move away from single-use plastics and use sustainable alternatives as well as to support beach cleans and other events which aim to raise awareness of the issues of single-use plastics under the “Plastic Free”, Caru Ceredigion, Tidy Towns or any similar initiative.

The motion was amended in the meeting to include the establishment of a Members’ Task and Finish group to support measures to reduce the Council’s use of plastic and to support initiatives in the county that reduce plastic use.

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Richards-Keegan cleared of sending underage girl nude pictures

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A BOW STREET man has been cleared of charges that he sent an underage girl photographs of his penis.

Paul Robert Morgan Richards-Keegan, aged 21, had denied two allegations of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Richards-Keegan, of Tregerddan, said the only messages he sent her via the internet were in response to approaches from her and did not include photographs of his private parts.

Catherine Richards, prosecuting, had told a jury at Swansea Crown Court that the 14-year-old girl had shared messages with Richards-Keegan via Snapchat.

At one stage police issued to him a child abduction notice, which he signed, instructing him not to contact the girl

In 2016 she told her mother that he was again sending her unwanted photographs of his penis attached to messages.

Richards-Keegan was arrested, and told police he had obeyed the order apart from messages he had sent after being contacted by the complainant.

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