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Former AM handed suspended sentence for child sex images and videos

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FORMER Assembly Member, Simon Thomas, was handed a suspended prison sentence this afternoon (Oct 31) after pleading guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children.

Appearing at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court, the former Plaid Cymru AM admitted making hundreds of indecent images of children.

He was found with more than 600 images and video of children.

94 images and 56 videos were in the most serious category A, with 87 and 16 in category B, and 354 and five in category C.

The judge said that there was no evidence he produced or distributing the material, only possessing them.

Defending the former AM, Richard Williams said that since his arrest, Thomas’ family had been strained and he was ‘anxious’ to address his issues.

Following his guilty pleas, he was handed a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and he must also sign the sex offenders register for the next seven years.

An NSPCC spokesperson said after the sentencing: “Within these images are young victims of abuse and by possessing them, Thomas has fuelled the demand in this awful trade. It is not a victimless crime.

“His actions betrayed the trust placed in him by the communities he represented at Cardiff Bay and Westminster and it’s now extremely important that he receives appropriate rehabilitation as part of his sentence.

“Ridding images like these from the internet must be a priority for tech companies, government and law enforcement.”

 

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Police report finds no ‘major shortcomings’ in use of force

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, has conducted a review of police officers’ use of force, and is assured that there are no major shortcomings.

The full report on the review of the use of force will be shared with local Police and Crime Panel members at their public meeting today (Nov 16).

This scrutiny review signifies a new, enhanced approach to the Commissioner’s continued commitment to holding the Force to account, for the delivery of an efficient and effective police service for the residents of Dyfed-Powys.

Sparked by national requirements to improve transparency around officers’ conduct, recent controversy around the introduction of spit and bite guards, and feedback from the inspectorate, the review involved consultation with the public, officers and staff, independent scrutiny of incident footage and a detailed review of available data.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn said: “I have been encouraged by the Force’s response to my office undertaking this work, and thank all those who contributed honestly and thoroughly to the review. I would also like to thank the members of the public who were willing to share their views with us, through my online survey and in person at the various events my team and I have attended over the summer months.”

Whilst the review found no significant concern to suggest that force is being used inappropriately by officers, it was identified that under-recording and limitations in the current systems require some improvement.

A series of recommendations have been accepted by the Chief Constable, Mark Collins, who has detailed the Force’s planned course of action in a formal response to the Commissioner.

The Commissioner’s office will use this action plan to review the Force’s progress over the coming months.

Superintendent Craig Templeton, Head of Operations, said: “We welcome this scrutiny by the Police and Crime Commissioner and accept there are improvements to be made. Work has already started to address the recommendations, including changes to the Use of Force recording system and introducing Body Worn Video, to make scrutiny easier. We are confident force is used legitimately in Dyfed-Powys Police and will continue working towards achieving accurate recording.”

The Commissioner is committed to continuing this approach and will be looking for the public to get involved in future engagements and consultations, details of which will be available on the Commissioner’s website, or through contact with the office.

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Tributes paid to woman following Lampeter death

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TRIBUTES have been paid to a woman who died after she was assaulted in a town centre on Thursday (Nov 8).

The woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries following the attack in the Bridge Street area of Lampeter, Ceredigion. The incident happened at approximately 6pm.

Dyfed-Powys Police have formally identified her 39-year-oldold Katarzyna Elzbieta Paszek.

Her family said in a tribute: “As a family we are distraught by our loss of Katarzyna who was 39 and from Lampeter area.  She was a loving mother, daughter, sister and aunt and was loved by so many.

“We would now like time to grieve and would ask to be given privacy in which to do so.”

Two of the four men who were originally arrested in connection with the assault have been released with no further action.

A 40-year-old man remains in custody and a 27-year-old man has been released on bail.

Det Ch Insp Anthony Evans said: “This is now a murder enquiry and I am appealing to anyone with information that could help the investigation, no matter how insignificant you may feel it is, please get in touch.

“I would like to reassure the public that we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.”
H.M Coroner has been informed, the police have confirmed.

Four men from the Lampeter area were arrested in connection with the incident.

A 40-year-old man remains in police custody. A 27-year-old man has been released on police bail.

A 31-year-old man has been released with no further action, and a 37-year-old man has been released with no further action.

The police said that 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.

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Three teenagers accused of ‘trashing’ caravan park

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THREE teenagers appeared at Swansea Crown Court this week accused of ‘trashing’ a caravan complex in Llandeilo.

Maximilliam Langford, aged 19, Daniel Sieuw, 18, and James Wright, 19, were before Judge Keith Thomas for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

Paul Hobson, prosecuting, said it was his case that the three had been involved in a joint enterprise to wreck caravans and other buildings, some of them used as dwellings.

Langford, of Heol y Garreg Las, Llandeilo, admitted burgling a log cabin and four caravans at Taylors Wood, Gwynfe Road, on May 2 last year.

He also admitted damaging a 4×4 vehicle belonging to Roy Taylor and a ‘military style vehicle’, also belonging to Mr Taylor.

Langford denied setting fire to a caravan owned by Lawrence Good and a caravan owned by Barry John Smith.

Wright, of Rhydfro, Llangadog, denied the burglaries and the charges of criminal damage but admitted the two charges of arson.

Sieuw, of Bryngwyn, Llandeilo, denied all nine charges.

Mr Hobson said the prosecution would proceed against the defendants on all the outstanding charges.

Judge Thomas laid down January 29 as the start date of a three-day trial.

All three were granted bail meanwhile.

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