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Teenager jailed over 2019 Ceredigion road death

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A TEENAGE motorist has been jailed following an investigation into a crash that killed an 18-year-old girl in November 2019.

Dylan Wyn Benjamin, aged 19, from the Bontnewydd area of Aberystwyth, was sentenced to five years in prison, reduced to three years and four months following his early guilty plea, for causing the death of Ellie Catherine Bryan by dangerous driving

He was also charged with causing serious injuries to both Kelsey Jarvis and Tee Jay Lewis by dangerous driving following an investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police.

Ellie Catherine Bryan tragically died in the accident in 2019

Benjamin was the driver of a Vauxhall Astra in which Ellie, Kelsey and Tee Jay were passengers, when he lost control on the A487 between Aberystwyth and Commins Coch on Saturday, 16th November 2019. 

The car collided with a tree before rebounding into the carriageway and hitting an oncoming vehicle.

Benjamin had previously pleaded guilty to all offences at a hearing on 6th November 2020.  

His co-defendant Lena Faye Evans, driving a separate vehicle behind Benjamin at the time of the collision, was acquitted of all offences at her trial earlier this year.

HHJ Geraint Walters told Benjamin that a custodial sentence was inevitable and stated: “Cases such as this should remind us that roads such as this are not a playground, and at the top of Penglais Hill is exactly what it became for you.”

Giving him credit for his earlier guilty plea, HHJ Walters sentenced Benjamin to three years and four months in custody, with a driving disqualification of five years, including the requirement of sitting an extended test.

Officer in charge of the case PC Eleri Edwards read out a statement on behalf of Ellie’s family in which they said Ellie was a ‘remarkable person’, and that her death had left them in complete shock.

The family said they were relieved that the prosecution case was over and that they now wish to be left alone to come to terms with their loss.

PC Edwards added: “We hope the end of the police investigation and court proceedings brings some comfort to Ellie’s family, who have remained incredibly strong throughout.

“This incident was a tragedy that could have been avoided, leaving a family mourning the loss of a much loved young lady.

“We urge drivers to take care on the roads, which as the judge stated in court, are not a playground.”

Ceredigion AM Elin Jones had called at the time on the Welsh Government to take action.

The Welsh Government said the Trunk Road Agency had inspected the site.

The A487 is the main route for coastal traffic between north and south Wales.

Elin Jones told The Herald: “The amount of accidents on this stretch of road over recent years has been high, yet the improvements desperately needed have not taken place,” said Ms Jones, who is the presiding officer for the National Assembly for Wales.

“After every accident there are calls from myself, local councillors, MPs, local residents and families devastated by accidents here for the improvements that are desperately needed to be done.

“The Welsh Government cannot let another accident take place. We’ve had site meetings and reports, but the Government must take action and commit to improving safety on this stretch now.”

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Police and Crime Commissioner secures almost £300k for Safer Streets across Dyfed-Powys

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POLICE and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has secured funding of almost £300,000 that will deliver a series of initiatives that aim to ensure safer streets within towns and communities across the Dyfed-Powys area.

In particular, the initiatives will look to address anti-social behaviour and acquisitive crime in specific areas, address women’s safety, increase prevention and intervention resources within youth support services in Carmarthenshire, and increasing the number of CCTV cameras in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion.

The total amount of funding secured by Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn is £292,741, and will include;

Installing 4 additional CCTV Cameras in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion as an intervention to mitigate issues including drug misuse and anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the town.
Purchasing 14 CCTV rapid deployment units aimed at not only tackling ASB, but violence against women and girls (VAWG) issues and acquisitive crime
Funding for a Youth Support Service Interventions Co-ordinator based in Carmarthenshire County Council to work closely with Dyfed-Powys Police to assess and deliver interventions to children and young people, aged 8-18, to reduce their risk of committing offences or ASB.
Hollie Guard Extra app designed to protect users, focussed on young women and girls and will play a pivotal role in keeping members of the public protected against VAWG. Victims from will be able to download the app with vouchers from the Force to access it.
Community Champions’ education programme – delivery of an awareness raising and educational programme, and roll out of Community Champions. The Programme will aim to raise awareness of stalking, harassment and hate crimes, to work towards creating Safer Streets and communities.
ASB Help partnership training – to police and key partners on ASB tools and powers and the community trigger process
This latest funding secured by PCC Dafydd Llywelyn from the Home Office’s Safer Streets fund is in addition to the almost £500,000 that has already been secured by his Office through previous bids to the Safer Streets fund over the last two years.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “I am extremely pleased to announce that we have been successful in securing this latest safer streets funding from the Home Office. We have worked closely with our partners to identify certain initiatives that will aim to ensure that our communities and streets are safe environments for residents.

“Over the last two years we have received almost £800,000 from the Home Office’s Safer Street Fund, which highlights our commitment to making streets safer for those in local communities, and to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour related issues, including violence against women and girls.

“Preventing harm to individuals and communities caused through crime, anti-social behaviour and vulnerability is one of my three key priorities, and the safer streets funding supports us significantly to work collaboratively with partners to address these issues.”

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Passengers advised to avoid rail travel as more strikes hit the network

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PASSENGERS are facing major disruption as nearly all trains in Wales are cancelled on Wednesday.

More than 40,000 UK railway workers, who are part of the RMT union, are set to take part in national strikes over pay.

Transport for Wales (TfW) urged people to “only to travel by rail if necessary” during the industrial action.

It said the strikes are expected to cause “severe disruption” across the whole of the UK.

TfW is not in dispute with the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers (RMT), but as Network Rail maintains tracks services in Wales will be hit.

This means only a handful of trains will be running on Wednesday.

GWR says on strike days it will operate an extremely limited service between 7am and 6.30pm and last trains will leave much earlier. Due to the timing of the strike action, services after strike days will also be affected. Passengers are advised to find alternative ways to travel on these days and to only travel if absolutely necessary. The majority of train services will not operate and there will be no services on some routes.

Avanti West Coast has published revised timetables for travel and says passengers can amend their tickets, or ask for a refund. “If you do travel, expect severe disruption and plan ahead. The days after industrial action are also likely to be affected.” They say their timetables will be “significantly reduced with shorter hours of operation, less frequent services, and trains that do run are expected to be very busy.”

Cross Country says their services will be impacted on Wednesday, July 27, as well as Thursday, July 28, and Saturday, July 30.

Nick Millington, route director for Wales & Borders at Network Rail: “We are doing our best to run the trains that we can – we recognise that’s a significantly reduced service here in Wales.”

He added: “We are in dialogue and we have made progress. I recognise it’s not the progress that everybody wants.”

“It’s not all about money either – we want to make sure that we get a sustainable deal for the railway industry and for those that pay for the railway industry, but also the people that use the railway industry.”

TfW say customers with existing non-season tickets valid for travel on the two strike days can use those tickets any time between Tuesday, July 26, and Tuesday, August 2. 

Customers are encouraged to avoid travelling on Friday, July 29, and Sunday, July 31, as services are expected to be extremely busy.

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New Quay RNLI has now launched 13 times in 12 days

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AT the weekend New Quay RNLI volunteers launched both lifeboats on Saturday 23 July and Sunday 24 July.

On Saturday afternoon (23 July) New Quay RNLI was tasked to a report of multi persons in difficulty on kayaks near Penbryn. Cardigan RNLI and HM Coastguard Rescue helicopter had also been paged. However, soon after launching the lifeboats were stood down as they had all made it safely back ashore in Llangrannog.

Then on Sunday (24 July) New Quay RNLI launched both lifeboats at 16.25 to a report of two paddleboarders in trouble on rocks near Llangrannog. They had paddled out but could not back into the beach due to the strong wind.

Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “One of the paddleboarders had been able to clamber up the cliff and raise the alarm with the lifeguards on the beach in Llangrannog. A lifeguard then paddled around to find the casualty and wait for the lifeboats to arrive.

“In the strong south westerly wind we made good speed down the coast and was first on scene. Locating the casualty and the lifeguard we were able to veer down near the rocks to pick them up and take them back to Llangrannog beach.”

Also on scene were New Quay HM Coastguard team and New Quay RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat, the relief Mersey class lifeboat that stood by and then escorted the inshore lifeboat safely to New Quay.

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Operations Manager added, “These recent shouts demonstrate the importance of always telling someone where you are going and when you will be returning, having the right equipment, wearing a wetsuit in cold water temperatures, always having a buoyancy aid and means for calling for help – a mobile phone or hand-held radio. Remember if you are in trouble or see someone in difficulty call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

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