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Teenage driver killed man 12 weeks after passing driving test

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A TEENAGE driver killed a man just 12 weeks after passing her driving test, a judge heard today (Oct 12).

Hanna Lewis, now 18, lost control on a sweeping bend and her red Audi ploughed head-on into a Rover driven by Bryan Smithers.

Mr Smithers, who was still working as an accountant at the age of 79, died at the scene from multiple injuries.

Lewis’ friend and front seat passenger, Bronwen Tinney, suffered serious back injuries and will need further treatment more than a year after the accident.

Lewis, of Dolau Gwynon, Llandovery, admitted causing death by careless driving. She was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years, and banned from driving for three years.

She must also complete 200 hours of unpaid work for the community.

Georgina Buckley, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court how Mr Smithers had been on his way home from Carmarthen Bridge Club, where he was the treasurer, at 10.15pm on August 29 last year.

Lewis went into the left hand bend, on the B4312 between Llangain and Llansteffan, at 55mph and lost control. Her car ended up on the wrong side of the road.

Immediately after the collision Lewis, then a 17-year-old schoolgirl, tried to save Mr Smithers.

The collision had been heard by Paul Norman, a retired nurse who lived nearby, who raced to the scene. But it was already too late to help Mr Smithers.

But, with the help of two passers-by, he continued to try and revive Mr Smithers until an ambulance arrived.

Miss Buckley said Lewis was tested for alcohol and drugs and the results were negative.

After her arrest, Lewis told police she had swerved to the right to try and avoid a collision.

During a second interview, the conclusions of a road traffic investigator were put to her and she refused to answer any more questions.

In a victim impact statement Mr Smithers’ widow, Margaret, said they had been together for 45 years.

“I have lost my best friend and my carer,” she added.

Mr Smithers had been an accountant all his working life and had run a successful business.

Nicholas Gedge, the barrister representing Lewis, said she had been an inexperienced driver who was not used to the road or at driving in the dark.

She was now at university, he added.

“She cannot say or do anything that would mitigate the loss to Mr Smithers’ family,” he added.

Judge Keith Thomas said human life could not be measured by a court sentence.

“You were inexperienced at driving and at driving at night.

“It has had a devastating effect on Mr Smithers’ family. He was a large part of their lives and the life of the community.

“The consequences have been catastrophic.”

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Cold temperatures likely to lead to icy conditions

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A YELLOW weather warning is in place over Wales from 10pm tonight (Jan 16) and 11am tomorrow morning (Jan 17).

As temperatures drop, there is a strong chance of ice patches causing dangerous conditions for motorists.

Icy patches developing with wintry showers also affecting some areas.

What to expect

  • Some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces
  • Probably some ice on some untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths
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Police target burglary suspects in dawn raids

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SIXTEEN addresses have been raided by police in an operation responding to a spate of high-value burglaries in the south Wales area.

Officers targeted locations in Fforest-Fach, Clase, Morrison, Brynhyfryd and Bonymaen following a year of thefts in the city and Neath Port Talbot.

Operation Timmia also saw locations in Swansea citry centre targeted by South Wales Police.

Six people have been arrested and remain in custody, The Llanelli Herald has been told.

The large scale operation used the police helicopter, forensics teams, financial investigators and cash-detecting dogs.

Police seized three caravans, a cannabis cultivation, large amounts of cash and jewellery, and a number of other items believed to be linked to crimes.

Detectives said those arrested are being held on suspicion of several offences, including conspiracy to commit burglary.

They have also issued an appeal to trace a further four suspects: Daniel Casey, 27; Terrence Casey, 19; Michael Casey, 18; and Patrick Joyce, 20.

All four men have links with the travelling community and are known to travel throughout the UK, said police.

“We know the recent spates of burglaries and car thefts across the division has been of real concern in our local communities and I hope the scale of this morning’s enforcement action reassures the public that we do take the matter seriously and that we are fully committed to bringing those responsible to justice,” said Det Insp Dave Peart.

“We now have a number of individuals in custody and enquiries are ongoing to locate a number of outstanding suspects.”

As part of the raids, officers searched an industrial unit in the Fforestfach area of the city, and nine caravans on Millstream Way traveller site.

The force said the investigation follow what has been described as a “high number of burglaries and aggravated burglaries in the past year”.

In some instances, homeowners were confronted by armed gangs who either threatened or inflicted violence.

Supt Cath Larkman added: “During some of the recent burglaries we’ve seen an increasing use of, or willingness to use, violence, so today’s action was absolutely proportionate and necessary to protect the public from further criminality and potential harm.”

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Band leader sexually assaulted 14-year-old cadet

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THE LEADER of an Army cadet band turned a kitchen into a sauna and sexually assaulted a naked teenage boy.

And Philip Pryor, now 65, used a British Legion computer to download child pornography.

Pryor, of Llys y Llyfgell, Burry Port, has been jailed for two and a half years.

Swansea Crown Court heard how Pryor had been the leader of an Army cadet band in Burry Port, which attracted members from across west Wales, as well as being a branch secretary for the British Legion.

Robin Rouch, prosecuting, said the Army had a hut in Burry Port which the band used for rehearsals and some cadets slept there, as did Pryor, before a concert.

A man who was a 14-year-old cadet at the time told police how Pryor would boil pans of water and place towels around doors and windows and turn the kitchen into a sauna.

Boys were encouraged to take off their clothes, as did Pryor.

On at least three occasions he touched the boy indecently, said Mr Rouch.

The victim did not complain until many years later after he had seen a television news item about young footballers being abused and confided in a friend about what had happened to him.

He later told police that at the time Pryor, who had played in a military band while serving in the Army, had told him that because of his standing in the community there was no point in complaining as no-one would believe him.

Mr Rouch said a police investigation began and officers removed a British Legion computer used by Pryor and found he had downloaded a small number of indecent images of schoolboys.

Pryor admitted three offences of indecent assault and one of possessing child pornography.

His barrister, Frank Phillips, said Pryor was now remorseful and ashamed and had lived as a recluse since his arrest.

Judge Geraint Walters told Pryor he had been in a position of trust.

“You targeted him and abused him more than once.

“The fact that he went to the police so many years later demonstrates the long lasting effect of what you did to him. It has never left him.

“It shows the wickedness of an adult taking advantage of a youngster.

“There was some grooming here in that you allowed him to have alcohol and cigarette.

“I accept you have led a blameless life since the offending but it is not possible for me to pass a sentence that could be suspended,” he added.

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