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.
Ceredigion Youth Service’s Summer Activity Programme
THIS YEAR, Ceredigion Youth Service’s Summer Programme offers a wide range of activities over a period of four weeks during the summer holidays. There are 19 different projects, activities, workshops and events planned for young people aged 11-25 from across the county.
Activities this year focus on topics such as employability and upskilling, health and wellbeing, participation, sport and leisure and the environment. Young People will have the opportunity to develop new and existing skills including self-esteem, confidence, communication and problem-solving. They’ll all be held in fun environments where they’re able to meet new people, gain accreditation and participate in a range of activities.
Activities include a summer camp, an adventure residential stay, mountain biking, trips, taster workshops and more.
Gethin Jones is Ceredigion Youth Service’s Principal Youth Officer. He said: “The Summer Programme has been a big success for a number of years. It is of great importance to us that we continue to offer both targeted and open access opportunities for young people during school holidays, as well as term time so that support and engagement is available to young people throughout the year.
“The program offers a range of fantastic opportunities for young people from all across the county to get involved with, providing them with valuable opportunities and experiences that educate, build skills and develop confidence and esteem.”
Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services, Lifelong Learning & Leisure. She said: “The Ceredigion Youth Service is providing a quality service which is clearly beneficial to our young people over the summer. The activities are great opportunities not only to enjoy but also to develop educationally, personally and socially.”
Ceredigion Autism Conference 2019
ON JULY 5, 2019, Ceredigion Autism Spectrum Team and Aberystwyth University Accessibility Services hosted the Ceredigion Autism Conference at Aberystwyth University.
At the sixth annual conference, autistic people focused on what is important to them about how other people think about autism. They also looked at how they are supported if and when they need support, and how other people can help them to build self-esteem, confidence and identity.
The conference was attended by over 130 people, bringing together autistic people, parents, carers and professionals from health, education and social care services and the voluntary sector. The agenda promoted our shared ethos and vision of understanding autism as a different way of thinking, learning and being; different but equally valuable.
Councillor Alun Williams, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Adult’s Services and Champion for people with learning disabilities co-chaired the conference with John Harrington Head of Accessibility Services, Aberystwyth University. The conference was opened by Carys James, Corporate Lead Officer for Children and Adult Services.
Councillor Williams said: “This was the sixth autism conference to be held in Aberystwyth and once again was very well attended. Whilst the audience was a healthy mix of autistic people, friends and carers alongside professionals working in related fields, the speakers and panellists were all autistic people. This allowed them to set the agenda and provided a unique learning opportunity for professionals to better understand the kind of support that can make a positive difference and to further improve the services we provide in Ceredigion.”
John Harrington said: “It is always an immense privilege to co-host the Ceredigion Autism Conference at Aberystwyth University. This year’s line-up of key note speakers were all inspirational and thought provoking about their autistic journeys through life.”
Key notes speakers this year were Chris Bonnello, who gave his 11 top tips for building autistic adults and children; Marianthi Kourti, who spoke about the challenges of being an autistic autism professional; and Kieran Rose, who gave a moving and insightful presentation about the effects of ‘masking’ and about what needs to change for autistic people to be fully accepted and supported.
For the closing session of the day, local autistic individuals joined the key speakers to form an expert panel, giving their experiences and perspectives of support services and answering questions from the audience.
Ceredigion Leisure Centres Summer holiday programme
A BUSY TIMETABLE of inclusive summer holiday activities for children has been organised across all Ceredigion County Council-run leisure centres in the county.
From football to bouncy castle sessions, from cycling skills to archery, there’s a wide variety of activities to choose from over the course of the summer.
There will also be day camps and multi-skills activity days available at some of the leisure centres, for children to attend for the whole day. There’s even a day trip to the beach with Teifi Leisure Centre!
A range of learning to swim programmes are available at Lampeter Swimming Pool and Plascrug Leisure Centre across the summer holidays. A week of swimming lessons will be delivered solely through the medium of Welsh in Plascrug Leisure Centre starting on 5 August.
Councillor Catrin Miles is the council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure Services. She said: “Ceredigion Actif is once again providing a busy timetable of fun activities during the summer. It’s a healthy and worthwhile way for children to spend their time during the summer.”
Booking for sessions is essential and staff at leisure centres reserve the right to cancel any session if attendance is too low.
For further information on the summer holiday activities planned, visit the Ceredigion Actif website.
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