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Llandysul: Paranoid schizophrenic slashed his partner’s throat

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Swansea Crown Court

Swansea Crown Court

A PARANOID schizophrenic slashed his partner’s throat to save her from a fate worse than death, a judge heard on Friday (Oct 31).

James Blair Hamilton developed a “tremendous fear” that demons were about to break into their house and to kill him and Patricia Anne Durrant “in a particularly unpleasant way.”

Hamilton cut her throat from ear to ear before trying to take his own life.

Today, Hamilton, aged 60, denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The pleas were accepted by the prosecution and Hamilton was detained under the Mental Health Act without limit of time.

Huw Rees, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court how Hamilton and Miss Durrant, aged 65, lived together at several locations in Wales before settling down in a house in High Street, Llandysul.

In 2002 he had received treatment for a mental illness, and responded well. But he had stopped taking medication and had lost contact with the mental health services.

Late on March 2 this year neighbours noticed at a window Miss Durrant, a seamstress, working at her sewing machine making a red dress.

It appeared, said Mr Rees, she was killed very shortly afterwards.

The following morning Hamilton dialled 999 and Pc Rhys James arrived to find him sitting on the stairs covered in blood.

He went into the kitchen to find “a scene like something out of a horror film.”

Miss Durrant was already dead, having suffered “catastrophic” injuries to her neck. She had also suffered at least eight defence wounds across her arms as she had tried to protect herself.

Hamilton later told police he had approached Miss Durrant from behind as she sat on a chair in the kitchen and cut her throat.

He said he believed demons were about to go on a killing spree.

After the killing he stabbed himself in the neck and stomach, and lay down next to Miss Durrant. He thought he was going to die but he awoke a short time later.

He said he spent the rest of the night “wandering about wondering what to do” before dialling 999.

Mr Rees said although Hamilton did not have any previous convictions for violence police discovered a conversation between the couple had been video taped. In it, Miss Durrant accused Hamilton of breaking her arm while he blamed her for the injury because she struggled too hard to get out of his grip.

Mr Rees said Miss Durrant had been unhappy living in Llandysul and had wanted to move to Pembrokeshire.

Dr Roger Thomas, a psychiatrist, told the court he had “absolutely no doubt” that Hamilton suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, but since his arrest and subsequent treatment he had shown significant recovery.

Hamilton’s barrister, Geraint Walters, said the killing of Miss Durrant had been “a tragedy that no-one saw coming.”

Judge Keith Thomas said Hamilton was the only person who could say what had happened that night.

He said Hamilton had thought of leaving the property to escape the demons but that would have “left her unprotected and the entities would have got her and a fate worse than death.”

Hamilton, who sat in the dock surrounded by four mental health workers as well as dock officers, was told he would be detained at the Caswell Clinic, near Bridgend, until the Secretary of State for Justice deemed it was safe to release him.

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Ceredigion Youth Service’s Summer Activity Programme

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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.”

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Ceredigion Autism Conference 2019

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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.

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Ceredigion Leisure Centres Summer holiday programme

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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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