A GERMAN motorist who pulled out into the path of a Blaenporth woman, killing her and her dog, has today received a suspended prison sentence.
Haki Celik, aged 37, admitted causing the death of Nicola Owen by driving without due care and attention.
Mrs Owen, 42, of Bowls Road, Blaenporth, near Cardigan, had been returning from Aberporth beach on February 19, 2015, after walking her collie pup Floss.
Her Peugeot car collided with Celik’s Skoda Yeti as he pulled out of a side road on the A487 between Blaenporth and Tanygroes.
Celik later told police he had been disturbed by a car behind him and had not paid sufficient attention to traffic using the main road. He said he did not see Mrs Owen’s car until it was only five metres away.
Swansea Crown Court heard today that Mrs Owen, who worked in catering but had once worked at Cardigan post office, was trapped in the wreckage for three hours before she could be cut free.
During that time her husband, John Charles Owen, was able to make it to the scene and to speak to his wife, who was still conscious although badly injured.
She was taken to hospital suffering from chest and other injuries and was put into an induced coma. But she died two weeks later from multiple organ failure.
Her pet dog Floss also died from injuries sustained in the accident.
Georgina Buckley, prosecuting, said witnesses saw Celik’s car “slowly” move out from a junction into the path of Mrs Owen’s oncoming car.
Celik had been working at a local farm at the time.
He was sentenced to three years in jail sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work for the community.
Celik was also banned from driving for 12 months.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Owen said, “I’ve been devastated at the loss of Nicola, I miss her terribly and coming home every evening to an empty house is very difficult.
“The accident happened around one and a half miles from our home and I go past the scene every day and every time I’m reminded of what happened.
“She was only forty two and had so much ahead of her. Her death was unnecessary and should not have happened. Questions about it are always on my mind and I often stop at the spot trying to make sense of what happened. My life has been completely turned around.”
Judge Paul Thomas said what happened was not a momentary lapse as Mrs Owen’s car had been visible for many seconds before the collision.
But, he said, Celik appeared genuinely remorseful. “I have seen many of these type of cases and it’s an understandable human emotion to think of oneself and the ramifications for yourself after an accident but the defendant’s approach has been remarkably different.
“He has expressed his remorse and condolences and the first thing he said to police was to say how sorry he was for the predicament of the other driver.
“From his family background and good references, it seems he will carry the guilt of this incident for many years to come.”
He added, “What happened on that February day in Cardigan was an utter tragedy, the loss of a valued life, her husband, family and friends being left bereft by the cutting short of a well loved and much valued lady.”
Warning to drug users in Ceredigion over ‘Street Valium’
POLICE are once again warning drug users in Ceredigion to take extra care when taking illegal prescription drugs especially when taken in conjunction with other drugs and/or alcohol. Mixing drugs, knowingly or unknowingly, can be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “We have reasons to believe that drug users are making use of “Street Valium” at the moment and this is very concerning as individuals just do not know what these tablets may have been combined with. Valium, also known as diazepam – is a benzodiazepine. Combining opioids and benzodiazepines is particularly dangerous because both types of drug sedate users and suppress breathing”.
“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately should they become unwell.
“Please share this information with anyone that you believe could come into contact with these drugs.”
To seek advice and support, visit https://barod.cymru/where-to-get-help/west-wales-services/ddas-dyfed-drug-and-alcohol-service/
Please be aware that some services may operate an automated service outside office hours.
In an emergency, or if you think someone’s life is at risk, always dial 999.
Ben Lake MP stands up for Ceredigion’s hospitality sector in Parliament
A WESTMINSTER Hall debate, brought about by an online petition signed over 200,000 times, saw MPs on both sides come together to shine a light on the challenges currently faced by restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and supply chain businesses across the UK.
During his contribution to the debate, Ben Lake MP emphasised the importance of the hospitality industry to Ceredigion’s local economy. Ceredigion is home to nearly 400 food and accommodation businesses, including 75 pubs, and together hospitality businesses employ 4,500 people in the county. This equates to over 16% of all employees, without accounting for the many supply chain jobs that are dependent on the sector, such as those found in breweries, food wholesale, and catering equipment hire businesses.
Figures published by UK Hospitality have shown that approximately 41% of hospitality businesses suggested that they would fail by mid-2021 and only one in five sector businesses have enough cash flow to survive beyond February.
Ben Lake MP said: “The vaccination programme of course offers some hope that we will see the level of Covid disruption reduce significantly this year, but hospitality businesses across Ceredigion tell me that they are deeply concerned about their immediate prospects for survival.
“I support calls for the Treasury to provide additional funds so that businesses can be supported to bounce back once restrictions have been eased, and to pause employer national insurance contributions for furloughed employees as a way of alleviating the burden on businesses that are still, in many instances, required by law to close. I also urged the Treasury to consider extending the business rates holiday for the forthcoming financial year, as well as extending the hospitality VAT reduction scheme into 2022.
“Not only would these support measures give businesses the support they require to see out this pandemic, it would also avoid the terrible situation whereby businesses that have previously received Government support are forced to close for good – leaving their employees without a job and previous Government support in vain.”
While there will be no direct action as a consequence of this Westminster Hall debate, it is hoped the result will put increased pressure on the UK Government to consider the proposal more seriously.
Lifeboat Operations Manager in New Year’s Honours list
Richard Llewelyn Griffiths the Lifeboat Operations Manager of Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station has been recognised for services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Wales.
He has been awarded a BEM.
Having served as a RNLI volunteer for an impressive 47 years, it is his role in the last 21 years as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) which has earned him the most respect.
His local knowledge has provided reassurance to casualties and crews alike when launching in difficult conditions.
His operational decision-making and station management skills are outstanding, and he is greatly valued by crew, management, volunteers and coastal personnel both past and present.
He has contributed greatly towards Aberystwyth being recognised as a ‘benchmark’ Inshore Lifeboat Station, serving as an example to the whole institution of how a station could and should be run.
Richard said: ‘I’m very surprised but honoured to be receiving a BEM – the news still doesn’t feel real. My father was awarded a BEM in 1988 and I still have his medal at home, so to be awarded one myself for my work with the lifeboats is a great privilege. I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of characters during my time with the RNLI – both at Borth and Aberystwyth – and continue to volunteer alongside a good crew today.’
Nationally, a total of six Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have been recognised for their vital role in helping the charity save lives at sea through the New Year’s Honours.
Mark Dowie, RNLI Chief Executive said: ‘Following a challenging 2020, it is particularly pleasing to see these RNLI volunteers recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. Together, they personify the RNLI’s ‘One Crew’ ethos, representing the variety and diversity of roles from a former full-time mechanic to shore crew and fundraisers to station managers, who collectively deliver a shared vision to save every one. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, congratulations to you all for being recognised for your longstanding service, hard work and selfless commitment. And thank you for everything you do to help the RNLI save lives at sea.’