A FAMILY member of Cardigan blackmailer Linda Thomas is to repay the £10,000 she got out of her elderly victim to save her from a longer prison sentence.
Thomas, aged 62, refused to say what she did with the money.
Her barrister, Dean Pulling, told Swansea crown court today that it was now accepted that, because of the jury’s verdict, she had indeed made £10,000 by threatening to make a false allegation of sexual assault.
Mr Pulling said a member of Thomas’ family would raise the money.
Judge Geraint Walters said that if the whole of the £10,000 was not handed over within 56 days Thomas would serve an extra six months in prison.
Thomas, of Briscwm Cottages, is currently serving an 18 month sentence.
Thomas came unstuck when she demanded a second £10,000 and “caring bank staff” persuaded her 85 year old victim to tell them the what was going on.
Judge Walters said at her sentencing hearing that there was a suspicion that Thomas had been told that the police were on their way and that she hid the original £10,000.
Thomas, a cleaner, denied blackmail but was convicted after a trial.
The jury heard how the man was in the habit of giving her a peck on the cheek from time to time.
Thomas took advantage of that and told him she would claim that he had touched her breasts unless he gave her £10,000.
Her victim gave her £8,000 but she complained it was not enough and he withdrew a further £2,000.
By then staff at the town’s Lloyds bank had become worried about why he was withdrawing such large amounts of cash.
Thomas then threatened to complain that he had tried to rape her unless he handed over a further £10,000.
The court heard that he was so worried and embarrassed that he went to the bank again, but this time staff managed to persuade him to explain what was happening.
Staff then called in social services who contacted the police.
Judge Walters said if the staff had not shown such a caring attitude the entire £20,000 would have disappeared and the offending “would have forever remained a secret.”
Police trying to track stolen tanker
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a fuel tanker containing approximately 8,500 litres of diesel (4,000 litres of red diesel and 4,500 litres of white diesel).
The vehicle was taken from Tan Y Foel Quarry, Cefn Coch, Welshpool, between 5.30pm on Wednesday, May 23 and 6am on Thursday, May 24.
The police are asking people to see if the tanker is now in this area.
Anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: DPP/0006/24/05/2018/01/C.
Reprogrammed virus offers hope as cancer treatment
A CANCER treatment that can completely destroy cancer cells without affecting healthy cells could soon be a possibility, thanks to research led by Cardiff University.
The team of researchers has successfully ‘trained’ a respiratory virus to recognise ovarian cancer and completely destroy it without infecting other cells. The reprogrammed virus could also be used to treat other cancers such as breast, pancreatic, lung and oral.
Dr Alan Parker from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “Reprogrammed viruses are already being used in gene therapy procedures to treat a range of diseases, demonstrating they can be trained from being life-threatening into potentially lifesaving agents.
“In cancer treatment, up until now, reprogrammed viruses have not been able to selectively recognise only the cancer cells and would also infect healthy cells, resulting in unwanted side effects.
“We’ve taken a common, well-studied virus and completely redesigned it so that it can no longer attach to non-cancerous cells but instead seeks out a specific marker protein called αvβ6 integrin, which is unique to certain cancer cells, allowing it to invade them.
“In this case we introduced the reprogrammed virus to ovarian cancer which it successfully identified and destroyed.
“This is an exciting advance, offering real potential for patients with a variety of cancers.”
Once the virus enters the cancer cell it uses the cell’s machinery to replicate, producing many thousands of copies of itself, prior to bursting the cell and thereby destroying it in the process. The newly released viral copies can then bind and infect neighbouring cancer cells and repeat the same cycle, eventually removing the tumour mass altogether.
The virus also activates the body’s natural immune system, helping it to recognise and destroy the malignant cells.
The reprogrammed virus is from a group of respiratory viruses called adenoviruses. The advantage of using these viruses is that they are relatively easy to manipulate and have already been safely used in cancer treatment.
The technique used to reprogramme the virus to identify the protein common to ovarian, breast, pancreatic, lung and oral cancers could also be used to manipulate it so that it would recognise proteins common to other groups of cancers.
Additional refinement to the viral DNA could also allow the virus to produce anticancer drugs, such as antibodies, during the process of infecting cancer cells. This effectively turns the cancer into a factory producing drugs that will cause its own destruction.
The research was carried out in a laboratory, using mice with ovarian cancer, and has not yet reached clinical trials. The next step is to test the technique with other cancers, with a view to starting clinical trials in five years’ time.
Dr Catherine Pickworth from Cancer Research UK said: “It’s encouraging to see that this virus, which has been modified to recognise markers on cancer cells, has the ability to infect and kill ovarian cancer cells in the lab. Viruses are nature’s nanotechnology and harnessing their ability to hijack cells is an area of growing interest in cancer research.
“The next step will be more research to see if this could be a safe and effective strategy to use in people.”
The team includes researchers from Cardiff University; the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, USA; Glasgow University; the South West Wales Cancer Institute; and Velindre Cancer Centre.
The research was funded by Cancer Research UK, Tenovus Cancer Care and Cancer Research Wales.
The paper ‘Ad5NULL-A20 – a tropism-modified, αvβ6 integrin-selective oncolytic adenovirus for epithelial ovarian cancer therapies’ is published in Clinical Cancer Research.
Money raised by Canolfan Padarn in the Race for Life
STAFF and service users from Canolfan Padarn took part in this year’s Race for Life which took place on Sunday, May 13.
Service users Debbie, Lowri and Donna had been training for months as part of the centre’s healthy lifestyle group and were joined by staff members Lina, Ellie-May, Heather, Jenny, Dawn and Anwen, along with Heather’s daughter Cala, and Anwen’s daughter Jena.
Canolfan Padarn Support Worker Ellie-May Watkins said: “The crowd gave the crew great support and we’re grateful to everyone who cheered us on. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Queens Road Bowling Club for use of their facilities on the day. Previously, Canolfan Padarn raised £330 for Cancer research, we hope that we will match or exceed that in sponsorship this year.”
Canolfan Padarn is a community resource base for adults with learning disabilities in Aberystwyth, offering social, leisure and work opportunities in the local area.
Popular This Week
News2 weeks ago
No charges over Kiara Moore death, police say
Sport2 weeks ago
Street through to League Cup Final
News2 weeks ago
Man wanted by police after failing to attend court and breaching bail
Sport2 weeks ago
Bow Street finish in style
News1 week ago
Police officers to have spit and bite guards from today
Sport1 week ago
Commoners and Aber lead the way
News6 days ago
Blue flags to fly high over Ceredigion beaches this summer
Sport3 days ago
Aber too good for Pembroke in KO Cup final