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Coroner raises need for anti-bullying law following 14-year-old’s death

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A PRELIMINARY hearing into the death of St John Lloyd student Bradley John was adjourned last Friday (Nov 30) to allow further information to be gathered.

Carmarthenshire coroner Mark Layton said that while preliminary enquiries were making progress, he thought it would be a further four months before he had the information needed to proceed to a final inquest hearing.

“The police are doing an awful amount of work and really are on top of this,” Mr Layton said.

Bradley’s family attended the pre-inquest review hearing, during which the Court heard Police had recovered CCTV footage from the school’s cameras for the day of his death.

The Police will examine Bradley’s movements around the school and in class on the morning of September 12.

Mr Layton said: “We will be going through that evidence with a fine-toothed comb.”

Bradley John was found at St John Lloyd Roman Catholic Secondary School in Llanelli on September 12. He subsequently died at Morriston Hospital.

Bradley’s father, Byron, handed in a letter calling for members of staff to resign in the wake of Bradley’s death.

Byron John said that Bradley’s ADHD made him a victim of bullying at the school. He accused staff of doing little to address the alleged bullying in spite of previous assurances that it was on top of the issue.

Speaking to The Herald, Mr John said that his presence at the school to hand in the letter was not a protest, but ‘a show of feeling and show of support and strength for what has happened and events which need looking into concerning the death of my son’.

“It seems like the entire nation knew Bradley – I would like to thank the people who were there for him during his short life and have been there after his passing,” he added.

“Bradley was a very special individual to me, and I feel that failings have led to his death.”

Neither Carmarthenshire County Council nor Dyfed-Powys Police has commented on the allegations of bullying at this stage.

A Facebook group set up to support staff and pupils at St John Lloyd following the incident currently has over 700 members.

Speaking at the time, Inspector Chris Neve said: “We are following up all possible lines of enquiry to establish a picture of what happened in the lead-up to Bradley’s death.”

At Friday’s hearing, Coroner Mark Layton said he wondered whether a specific law should be introduced to tackle bullying behaviours.

Mr Layton said he had used the inquest as an opportunity to discuss with Dyfed Powys Police whether more action is needed over bullying and cyber-bullying.

“I have asked the police to look at existing legislation covering bullying,” he said.

“At the moment there is no statutory offence of bullying. Is there a need for any formal legislative procedures to cover bullying and cyber-bullying, which is very much in the public domain at the moment?”

Speaking on behalf of Carmarthenshire council, Edward Ramsay confirmed the option of a child death review had been put forward for consultation last week and would be considered at the next board meeting in December.

Mr Ramsay confirmed the local education authority would be represented separately at the inquest.

Following the claims that Bradley was bullied, Dafen County Councillor Rob Evans suggested that volunteer bullying protection officers be appointed by schools.

“In schools, we have child protection officers. Why can’t a bullying protection officer be officially appointed?” he asked.

“This person could be contacted by telephone and the help number extended for every child through Carmarthenshire. This way bullies will be unaware that the child affected has triggered a call for an emergency response.

“The authorities could then take immediate action to protect that child. This position doesn’t have to be a paid position. I would volunteer as would others. I know there are children’s helplines but this could be unique in Carmarthenshire.”

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Laugharne Luxury Lodge plan hits pothole

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THE OWNERS of a luxury lodge development in Laugharne face potential enforcement action from Carmarthenshire County Council. The company is alleged to have built a substantial roadway across fields near the development without planning permission.
Milkwood Spa, due to launch this autumn, is located on a site with a chequered planning history. It is located in a prominent position overlooking Carmarthen Bay and the village of Laugharne.
The current developers, UK Luxury Lodges, acquired the site from its previous owners after their attempts to get development going on the site stalled.
UK Luxury Lodges says the development will be the first resort of its kind in the region; welcoming guests after an investment upwards of £30 million.
Laugharne and nearby Pendine are popular tourist destinations, but with a track record of insecure, poorly paid employment. Speaking to us earlier this year Sharon Hurley, a director of the company behind the project, told us that she hoped the lodge and spa development would help create up to 110 new jobs in the area.
Past developments and proposals for developments have run into problems concerning their environmental impact and their effect on the local landscape.
A previous owner obstructed and extinguished a public footpath. The footpath was not relocated. No enforcement action took place over its loss.
Concerns also exist about the disturbance to a nearby scheduled monument and the area around the lodges and spa. Ironically for a project using the ‘Milkwood’ brand, developers have received local criticism for removing a significant number of mature trees to facilitate the development and damaging the landscape which is one of the locality’s chief selling points.
Issues of traffic, local parking solutions, heavy plant using residential roads, and blocked footpaths also exercise some residents.
Before we published our original article in August, we carried out an extensive search of the site’s planning history.
The County Council’s planning portal recorded no objections to the location’s development either when initial outline planning was granted for developing the location by its previous owner, or when it was acquired by the current owners in 2013 when reserved matters were dealt with under application number W/30157.
Concerning the wider conservation questions, one letter, about the linked application number W/33378, is blank on the Planning Portal.
We are assured, however, objections were raised.
A conservation area application had been submitted and approved and that the statutory consultees Cadw, Dyfed Archaeological Trust raised no objections to the development in so far as it affected the scheduled monument on the site.
When we questioned Ms Hurley about those prior concerns about development, she told us: “Creating a property that honours and celebrates the existing natural environment is so important to me and the team is working closely with local planning authorities to ensure the conservation of the surrounding historic environment.”
However, earlier this week, The Herald received a series of photos which show a permanent roadway being dug out across green fields. Machinery still being used on the works is plainly visible in some of the photos, as is the extent of the hardcore base and gravel laid over the top in some sections.
No planning permission exists for such development. Whether Carmarthenshire County Council, Cadw or the Dyfed Archaeological Trust would have been quite so supportive had they been aware of plans to dig a roadway across a green-field site in a prominent and sensitive landscape is open to question.
We asked Carmarthenshire County Council to comment on the roadway’s construction.
Head of Planning Llinos Quelch said: “We have been alerted to potentially unauthorised works on this site and we are dealing with it as an enforcement matter. Investigations will continue and appropriate action taken.”

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Zoe Evans, Llanelli painter and decorator, is British Apprentice of the Year

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Zoe Evans, a 21 year old painter and decorator from Llanelli, has been named the GB Apprentice of the Year and Welsh Apprentice of the Year at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
Apprenticeship Awards.


The CITB Apprenticeship Awards celebrate the achievements of apprentices and employers across the UK for their commitment and dedication to construction.


The winners were presented with their awards at a ceremony hosted by broadcaster and property entrepreneur, Sarah Beeny. The ceremony took place at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London (7 November).


Zoe completed a level 2 apprenticeship in painting and decorating, to go onto achieve her Advanced level 3. With her artistic flair, Zoe enjoys the creative aspects of her trade and plans to take a career route in interior design. Zoe’s amazing commitment to being the best she can, has attributed to her becoming an ambassador for women in construction and being the face of the posters across her college, Coleg Sir Gar.


Zoe said: “I’ve loved every single part of my apprentice journey, from the classroom learning to the practical application and the more creative aspects of the job. I want to thank my mentor, Ken MacKay and my employer Ian Williams Ltd. It’s a really good feeling to know that I’ve been
recognised in this way. I’d definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone willing to work hard, have goals and go full out to achieve them.”

Jon Davies, CITB Apprenticeship Officer, said: “When Zoe started her apprenticeship we saw her potential so we fast tracked her from level 1 to level 2. It was important for me to make sure she had the right support to reach the heights she is capable of, and she is doing just that. Zoe makes work a brighter place for everyone around her. Her positive attitude and ability makes her a perfect ambassador for women in construction, and I am really pleased this has been recognised with her award.”

Kevin Mcloughlin, CITB board member and founder and Managing Director of Mcloughlin Decorating, said: “Congratulations to Zoe, a clearly dedicated apprentice – it’s great to recognise her hard work. Apprenticeships provide a fast track route into the construction industry. With so many rewarding careers opportunities in construction there is something out there for everyone. I wish Zoe all the best in her career in construction.”

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Police difuse hostage situation in Cae Glas

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AT APPROXIMATELY 10.10pm on Wednesday (Nov 6) police were requested to attend at a property in Cae Glas, Felinfoel, in respect of threats being made by a man within the property to harm himself and a woman inside with a knife.

Officers were deployed immediately, and to ensure the safety of everyone at the scene firearms officers were also deployed.

Chief Inspector Stuart Bell said: “A specialist negotiator worked with the man for a number of hours, bringing the incident to a close at about 1.45am this morning, when the man surrendered himself and was arrested for an outstanding warrant.

“A woman at the scene was also arrested for obstructing police officers. No injuries have been reported.

“There is no threat or danger to anyone outside of the property in the area, and we can reassure residents that there is no need to be concerned as this was an isolated incident.”

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